Seraphon players from around the world are rejoicing as we finally got our updates for the rules, and while they came just in time for quarantine rules to be placed into effect, we are left with plenty of time to dive into and learn the new rules. I’ve been getting pretty deep into the new rules, and I’ve got some big ideas for Seraphon’s future.
Now, this is going to be the first part in a four part series. The biggest change that we got was versatility. We now have Constellations that we can add to our army, which act as a sub-faction that give us additional abilities past our regular abilities gained from choosing Coalesced or Starbourne. These Constellations are; Dracothion’s Tail, Fangs of Sotek, Koatl’s Claw, and The Thunder Lizard. The first two can only be chosen if you are Starbourne aligned, and the last two can only be chosen if you are Coalesced aligned. I will be doing an in depth breakdown of all four of these, but today we’re starting with Dracothion’s Tail.
Before I go any further, here is a link to a google spreadsheet I created that has listed all of the allegiance abilities for Seraphon (but no artefacts of power). I recommend using this throughout this article so as to understand my talks better. I’m still in the process of writing and revising it, but it will work best here for easy access to the relevant abilities.
Dracothion’s Tail, in my opinion, isn’t insanely special, it is however the best Constellation for spell casting. Appear on Command honestly feels pretty meh to me. The restriction of having to set up the reserve units wholly within 18” of a SLANN makes it so you can’t exactly ambush in your opponents territory, though it does give you a good amount of free movement for closing in on an objective extremely quickly if you would like.
If you use it in combination with Lords of Space and Time (they are both activated at the end of the movement phase, so you can stack the two abilities as you choose) you can teleport your SLANN deep into your opponents lines and then set up all of your reserve units. This could be a little sketchy, as you’re throwing one of your SLANN right into the fray, and your units aren’t great in combat to begin with. I think this ability will be fine for objective capping, but won’t be used for much else.
By taking Drocothion’s Tail, our SLANN general is required to take the Ancient Knowledge command trait. Knowing an additional lore spell is fine, but when used in conjunction with Contemplations of the Ancient Ones, where a SLANN can swap them around, it makes your spell casting incredibly versatile. Also being able to re-roll a casting, dispelling, or unbinding roll makes your spells even more consistent. This command trait is quite good.
The last ability that comes with Drocothion’s Tail is the artefact of power, The God Pendants, which our general has to take. Allowing a 50% chance to completely heal after being slain for the first time, it’s one of the better artefacts for a spell casting SLANN anyways, so I’m not too sad about having to take it.
So we are going to be heavy spell casting. As I stated earlier with the Appear on Command, it’s pretty linear and restricting in its usefulness, and there’s not many singular models that can benefit from not being set up at the start of the game, especially when most of the action is going to take place during the hero phase.
Ancient Knowledge combined with Contemplation of the Ancient Ones is particularly good, so long as we have the spell slots to make it matter. Lord Kroak has access to four spell casting attempts a turn, meaning he will be able to make the most use of these abilities.
There is one spell in particular that I need to mention now, and is the core reason why I believe this spell casting build is excellent. Comet’s Call. With a casting value of 7, you pick 1D3 enemy units (or 1D6 if the casting roll is 10+) and deal 1D3 mortal wounds to each of them, with no range or visibility requirements. This spell is absolutely absurd. Before this rule update, it was Lord Kroak’s signature spell and was only known by him, now however, the spell can be cast by Kroak, Slann Starmaster, and Skink Oracle on Troglodon. That’s three separate casts every hero phase. We are going to be focusing primarily on how to make the most of this spell for this build.
Which brings us to perhaps the next most crucial spell in our arsenal, the lore spell Celestial Equilibrium, which gives all other wizards in my army +1 to all casting, dispelling, and unbinding rolls until my next hero phase. This is a linchpin in my plan, and will come in great use for obvious reasons.
The last big thing I want to touch on before moving on to theory crafting are Bound Endless Spells. With the new rules, Seraphon can include ‘Bound’ versions of regular endless spells. The bound variants each cost 10 more points than their unbound versions, but a predatory endless spell that is bound can only be moved by Seraphon players. This is massive, and you will see how it pushes the list.
With the larger portion of information intake out of the way, what can we do with this knowledge? I am now going to build a Dracothion’s Tail list from the ground up, explaining my choices as we go, starting with the Leaders in the army.
Lord Kroak is going to be my general, taking the Ancient Knowledge and God Pendants command trait and artefact. From the spell lore (remember, he gets two and can swap between them) he will take Celestial Apotheosis and Stellar Tempest, as these are the two spells from the SLANN lore that will be the most relevant at the highest frequency. Of note, Lord Kroak also has the ability Masters of Order, which gives him +1 to all his casting, dispelling, and unbinding rolls.
Slann Starmaster is next up. I was never a fan of this guy before, but he hit the gym, and just look at him now. He also has the Masters of Order ability, and will take the Celestial Equilibrium spell from his lore. The reason I’m giving it to the Slann Starmaster is actually quite easy to explain. The only wizard outside of Kroak and the Starmaster that I’ll be running is the Skink Oracle, who can only cast one spell a turn, which will almost always be Comet’s Call. Lord Kroak can know two different spells from the lore, and both Kroak and the Starmaster can swap around, but the difference is Lord Kroak knows spells that are great to cast after Comet’s Call, whereas the Starmaster does not.
The Slann Starmaster will almost always take his spell slots in the following order; first Celestial Equilibrium, second Comet’s Call, and the third spell will be put into Celestial Conjuration Points.
Skink Oracle on Troglodon is next up for the Leaders, and holy guacamole am I excited. Troggy is a fully fledged wizard with an ability called Oracle of the Slann, which does the exact same thing as Masters of Order. Taking from the Skink spell lore, he will know Bind Endless Spell, which, um, binds an endless spell. It gives it the Bound keyword until my next hero phase, giving me full control over my opponent’s endless spells.
Next up is our Saurus Astrolith Bearer. He gives us 1D3 Celestial Conjuration Points a turn, and more importantly has the Celestial Conduit ability, adding 1 to spell casting attempts made within 12” of him. Another greatly welcomed buff to spell casting. He also provides a 6+ feel no pain for units within 12” of himself, inconsistent but not irrelevant.
The final Leader unit in our army is none other than an Engine of the Gods. I feel like Engine of the Gods got nerfed, the Cosmic Engine ability in particular. It used to be able to summon any unit, now only summoning Saurus Warriors. There are a few more differences, but ultimately it provides excellent value for most hero phases and I’m glad to be running it as another big threat to distract my opponent from my squishy wizards.
That’s it for the leaders, and now onto my very basic battleline, which consists of four units of Saurus Guards. These guys are fine, but have the ability to take wounds and mortal wounds in place of my Slann, which is incredibly relevant for keeping my wizards alive as long as possible. Past that, they aren’t bad in combat, but they’re not the brick walls that they used to be.
These four units will generally be divided up, one unit with Lord Kroak, one with the Slann Starmaster, and the other two with the Engine of the Gods. This will ensure that if I happen to roll an 18 from the Cosmic Engine, I have a good target. Also acts as added padding.
The last things I decided to fill out the list with are endless spells. Having full control over predatory spells is huge, and we need to capitalize on it. In terms of the predatory spells, I am running three; Bound Purple sun of Shyish, Bound Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws, and Bound Emerald Lifeswarm. The first two simply shovel out mortal wounds, and the third can either heal wounded units, or bring back models to units that have no wounds. Very useful, and excellent now that we have full control.
In terms of non-predatory spells, I am running Chronomantic Cogs, Bound Balewind Vortex, and Umbral Spellportal. The Cogs and Vortex allow for extra spell casting and better saves which is always great, and the Spellportal allows me to essentially teleport my predatory spells from my side of the board to my opponents, getting them right to the action.
Some may ask why I am running a bound version of a non-predatory spell. This may seem like a waste of 10 points, but it is relevant for the spell from the Slann’s lore, Drain Magic, which dispels all non-bound endless spells. Lord Kroak does not appreciate getting knocked off of his Vortex, so I am running the bound version.
And that’s going to wrap it up for this breakdown of Dracothion’s Tail, I had a ton of fun brewing up this list and I expect it will change over time, but if I were to bring 2,000 points to the table right now, this is what I will be packing. Join me next week and I will be breaking down the next Constellation in line; the Fangs of Sotek.