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Thread: Lets talk competitive Seamus
04-01-2012, 10:52 PM #1
Lets talk competitive Seamus
Hi everyone, first post and glad to be here. I did a search for Seamus tactics and read the pullmyfinger article on Seamus and I just wasn't getting quite the info I'm looking for. There have even been a few starting Seamus posts in the last few days and I've read them but I promise mine is different.
The issue I'm having is that the models recommended on the wiki are what I would call models that fit his theme, Belles, Sybelle, Bete, and Copycat Killer, and when I come to the forums the models suggested aren't even mentioned in his wiki article, Von Schill, Dead Rider, Night terrors.
I'm not interested in a theme or fluffy list, his theme and fluff are the reason why I'm playing Seamus over Kirai or Pandora, so now I want to squeeze as much as I can out of him regardless of his perceived power level. I've read more post on this forum than is probably healthy, I know CalmDowns views on HtW2 and I understand Seamus is considered by some to be a low tier master in a low tier faction, but I'm still gonna play him so now I need your help figuring out how.
This is where I'm starting at, I love Von Schill, Seamus, and his avatar, Luckily I hear those are all pretty good. Other than that everything else is free game, what kind of pool do you take with Seamus to a tournament? what is your go to all comers Seamus list? Any sneaky tips for Manifesting? I've seen people mention Taelor and Convict gunslingers, what outcasts does Seamus like?
Thanks for anyone that takes the time to read this and reply
04-01-2012, 10:56 PM #2
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I'll help out as much as I can with this post when I have some extra time. Reserving this space for getting back to a little later. GL to you, Seamus is my favorite master and I've personally never found him what I would call competitive, which depresses me. He's no where near the league of Pandora or Kirai, both of which are also Masters I play. I hope if you discover any tips you'll pass them on. Signing off just for a little.
04-01-2012, 11:09 PM #3
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Don't take my opinions with a great deal of weight since I know next to nothing about ressers other than theory and playing against Kirai and Mcmourning. To me, Seamus's weakness comes from being a weak summoner in a faction known for summoning. Given a crew of generic good-stuff Resser models he doesn't really bring anything that another resser master couldn't do better. For a combat master I feel Mcmourning does it better, and both Nico and Kirai have better summoning options.
04-02-2012, 12:15 AM #4
Haha discouraging first two posts, but its ok! I'm still on board, excited to hear what others have to say
04-02-2012, 12:46 AM #5
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Welcome to the Forums and the world of Malifaux. Don't worry, it is kind of odd in the fact that you normally run into discouraging post way more than encouraging post here, but I guess that is helpful also (in a way?). Seamus was the first Resurrectionist set I got and I played him for a while. Unfortunately, I was still pretty new to Malifaux at the time so I was not playing Malifaux the way you should play Malifaux. I found Seamus works well with the models in this box set mainly because he can only make belles, he helps belles move faster so there is kind of a link there. With all the strats and schemes there are I find it hard to make a link that would take on everything. To me, it really just depends on the strats and schemes being used. Night terrors are great for dealing with enemy shooting and crooked men work well with the belles and their lure spell. I never have used outcast mercs, so I can't offer any help there, but the gunslinger with Seamus' own gun could set up a nice gun line. So for me, I use the Redchapel gang most (his box set) and add in what I need for objectives. I am no master of Malifaux, but hope that helps out some.
04-02-2012, 01:01 AM #6
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All right, let's examine Seamus purely from a competitive Standpoint.
Firstly keep in mind my opinions are based on my personal play experiences and based on being addicted to Malifaux and watching all Tourney Reports and battle Reports I can. Now also in the interest of full disclosure you must also keep in mind that my play group is very small at the moment. That said I'd also like you to keep in mind that just because my play group is small it also doesn't mean I need to L2P. I understand Malifaux very well and feel justified in any opinion I give. Now with that said please do not take my word as gospel. Please take what I say, keep it in mind, but play Seamus to the max and make up your own mind. If you have better luck with him than I have I hope you will share what you are doing. It is possible that you will discover something I just haven't thought of. Now on to our favorite dapper serial killer.
Seamus' Design has issues, also let me say I'll be mainly comparing him to the other Book 1 Masters. Kirai is honestly so far above all of them that, in my opinion, comparisons to her just aren't useful. Now, you've probably noticed that Seamus doesn't kill things anywhere near how well McMorning does. He Also doesn't have the flexibility of Nicodem. He also Summons less well than either of them. So in Book 1 Seamus' bag of tricks seemed to be Terror and Survivability. The problem is that one of those abilities is almost worthless, and the other is just not the case. We'll leave Terror for now and look at the other of Seamus' supposed Strengths, Survivability. Simply put, he isn't.
On the surface Seamus looks like he could survive an atomic bomb being dropped on him. He has 12 Wds, which is tied among many models for the most wds in the game, he has h2w2, which means that an opponent will never get to cheat, unless they can ignore it or have +twists to dmg baseline, and he is Hard To Kill. He also has Necrotic Ministrations which can heal him and give him cards, as well as live for pain, another healing ability. The issue comes in because, while these all abilities look good on paper, in game most of them turn out to be less than effective. Firstly he has a low Def. That means you are going to be hit. For some reason Wyrd decided that the Ressers would all have crappy stat lines, especially in Wp, and most especially in Df. A 5 Df in many other factions is pretty run of the mill, ho hum. With the ressers 5 is "OMG Amazing". So Seamus is going to be hit. He is going to take dmg, and while he does have 12 wds, if you have a min dmg of 3 that's only 4 hits to take him out. If your min dmg is two then that's six attacks, but they can come from your second string because it is not hard to hit Seamus, which is where the next issue of his survivability comes into play, H2W2.
If you've done as much reading as you said you have then you know the arguments for and against H2W2 being a bad thing. You'll have to judge it based on the games you play. From the sum total of all the games I've played with all my crews he is the master that dies most often out of all of the others. Now while it's true I've played many more games with Seamus than my other masters (Save perhaps Kirai) I think his death rate can be easily understood without needing to resort to the argument that it is just games played. Seamus, without any question, is the easiest to kill master I play. He dies about in about half the games I play with him, and a good percentage of his deaths can be attributed to a Red Joker flip on H2W2. If it never happens to you, or if your meta never learns to exploit this, awesome for you. That said we can leave this for now.
So next we move on to Seamus' other abilities that are supposed to keep him safe. Necrotic Ministrations and Live for Pain. I doubt you'll get much use from them as with the advent of book 2 and 3 most of the competitive models in the game are not living. So most of the time you'll only be getting the heal and card from Ministrations when your own models die within 6" of Seamus, which I find, doesn't happen very often. Once the opponent has Seamus on the ropes they usually kill him first, then worry about his minions. You might find this different however, and perhaps can learn to exploit this tendency.
Live for Pain is a 6" Ranged Attack Spell, which I don't understand the design decision behind. The practical upshot of which is that the spell can only work on models just over 1"-6" away from Seamus. As once you are that close you have better act before them, or you are going to be bogged down in Melee and then won't be able to use it.
So Seamus isn't really Survivable at all. McMorning is as easy to hit as you, but he has a monstrous cache, and his ability to heal is tied into melee attacks, which is something he wants to do, and does really well. Nicodem is easier to kill, sort of, until he gets Mindless zombies around him, then he becomes very difficult to take down. So Seamus falls down in the Survivability department. Let's look at his next strength, Terror.
Terror is a subpar ability for several reasons. Firstly it is a flat #. Outside of a few situations you cannot do anything to force an opponent to fail, and thus fall back. Pandora can cheat a high card, and then spend a soulstone when her Ca Trigger pops up, thus helping to ensure the ability gets through. Static numbers don't work that way. Also added to the issue is that when a susceptible model encounters terror their WP vs the terrifying # ratio is pretty low. Seamus has a Terror score of 12, which means that an average Wp of 5 will pass the check on a 7 or better. So 29 cards of 54 will just auto succeed, and with that many cards cheating one is rarely going to be a problem. Keep in mind that once a model passes their check, they don't have to check it again as long as they stay in the range of the terror score they already passed. So if, say, the judge charges Seamus and passes his Terror check he won't have to make one again as long as he doesn't let Seamus get away. Now there are some tricks with this, but I think you can see the issue. Add to this that Terror only affects living models, of which there are a rarity. On the positive side almost every master in the game is living. On the downside all Master's have use SS, which again makes it hard to get it to work, or they happen to be immune to Terror via having it themselves (Seamus, Lucius, aPerdita, etc) or have an ability that makes them immune to it (frozen heart). So Seamus' other strength isn't going to win any awards for competitive effectiveness. So what is Seamus good at, and unfortunately not alot.
Seamus' cb on both his bag o' tools and his gun are mediocre at best, so if you want to hit with them you are often going to need to use a SS, which is another area Seamus has issues with. He has a criminally low Cache, which means you often have to decide between bringing a fleshed out crew or giving Seamus a cache of 8, which he really needs. You can also only fire his gun once per turn, and although it has the highest printed dmg spread of any gun in the game, many, many others have effectively the same dmg arc, with often longer ranges, and better cb, and they can be fired more than once a turn. His cb triggers can be useful, but both are very situational. Excessive bleeding could be an awesome signature ability, except that Seamus has a good amount of trouble escaping from combat, See def 4, uless you lure him out with a belle, and Seamus' walk is only 4, so even if he gets free he isn't going to be booking across the field, giggling manically as he hands out insignificant. Slit Jugular is neat, but is Suit dependent, and is only effective if used at the right time, so it's very niche.
Also keep in mind that many f his abilities either do things that we have discussed about that don't really work all the time, or get him into cb, which is not really where he wants to be, or only work on living models.
So if you are playing Seamus what can you do to mitigate these issues. Firstly don't hire resser minions. With a few exceptions resser minions are pretty bad overall, and you have options and acess to merc outcasts who are very good. Von Schill is amazing. I didn't sy he was amazing with Seamus, Von Schill is actually just flat out amazing. If you include him in a Seamus crew it is actually better, I find, to think of Von Schill as the Master, and Seamus as a tag along support model. If you do hire Von Schill you can't use other nonfreikorp mercs. So If you decide not to bring Von Schill you might want to look at Desperate Mercs, which I find work ok with Seamus, and the Convict Gunslinger.
Another thing to look at is to look at running Seamus as a swarm. Remember Seamus isn't going to be summoning all that often, so if you bring a ton of 2 SS cost models you not only can stack the crew to possibly achieve Army of the Dead, but you also make it possible for Seamus to take advantage of Necrotic Ministrations, either for cards, or to heal if Seamus gets caught in combat. Be aware if you go this route that you might be giving your opponent exterminate as it can be easy for the opponent to exterminate beasts or living. The other advantage to swarming is that if you bring the avatar (which I almost always would) it makes more models Terrifying. If your opponent is susceptible to Terror, swarming them so each model has to take multiple terror tests is one of the few effect ways to utilize this ability. Also be careful about the amount of non-undead models you include. An ability many people rave about, but I've never had much success with is Undead Psychosis. The more living models you include the less effective this ability is.
Now that we've looked at some of the reasons I find Seamus not to be effective, and looked at one or two tips for how to make him as competitive as you can, we will continue to examine more tips in a future post. I appologize for breaking it up, but this is a wall of text and I'm drifting off as I type. I'll share additonal things I've found useful tomorrow morning.
Last edited by Fetid Strumpet; 04-02-2012 at 01:04 AM.
04-02-2012, 02:23 AM #7
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I for one think Seamus has got a bad rap.
First of all, the best advice for any Master is always hire for your Strategy. Barring a fixed list tournament, this is really what Malifaux is about, achieving your goal, which isn't always to crush the enemy.
Seamus is not a Summoner like his counterparts, rather, he's a buffer. Seamus and Molly can make Belles rather fast for any Resser model. Seamus and Sybille can alpha strike with belles. Don't underestimate this synergy.
More importantly, his Avatar is a monster (literally). The ability to terrify everything is priceless, remember that Anathema doesn't care about immunity to Morale Duels and doesn't just target living models, it gets everything. More importantly, don't forget that while falling back, models get a on all duels except for Morale duels. Taking away the ability to cheat is a huge handicap for any model.
Some tips on Manifesting. Try to out activate your opponent, saving Seamus and at least one belle for last. Face of Death is easy enough to cast, and don't be afraid to soulstone of you're going for that turn 2 Manifest. Run Seamus up as close to one of their minions as possible and turn on No Escape. Then, using that belle you saved, lure the model. Obviously saving more than one belle can increase the range. Once lured within [6"?] of Seamus, he charges. Once again, don't be afraid to soulstone to get that Slit Jugular trigger.
As for minions, taking a Nurse with his Avatar can be mean, I once faced his Avatar who was fully healed by the Nurse after I was almost able to take him down. Molly's summoning and belle synergy can help replace Seamus' normal role, as he doesn't do either while hulked out.
Hope some of that helps!
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04-02-2012, 02:26 AM #8
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Seamus is very much like his own Bag o' Tools. Within his rules comes a proper tool for the job in a given game situation, in my experience though, he is very unforgiving because of this. He is all about positioning, one miss play or failed action can really put you in a bad/game losing situation.
What makes him bad:
Most of his rules are useless against the book 2, more "competitive" masters, as they require models to be either living or undead for them to take effect. I'm talking about Necrotic Ministrations, Face of Death and Trail of Fear. He is a poor fighter when going head to head with another master. He is Df 4, so he is always taking damage from strikes. HtW2 makes most of the flips weak, but damage is still damage. Seamus has a lowly SS cache of 2, amongst the lowest in the game, accept for Outcast Masters. He is a poor summoner, only being able to summon non-unique Belles and only once per turn as it's a 0 action.
What makes him good:
Belles of the Ball makes all models with the Belle characteristic pretty quick. Undead Psychosis can keep models from engaging your crew, and Seamus. I like to use it to deny people objectives by parking Belles on objectives after I've hit a few enemy models with a cast or two. His combat triggers with his Bag o' Tools are pretty decent when used right. Excessive Bleeding is awesome to make enemy models insignificant for the game, and it's an auto trigger upon landing a strike. Slit Jugular can kill a model outright if used at the right moment, but a is required. Wp 7 is really high for any model. He can really take advantage of living crews with most of his abilities.
I have tactics I can share but for now I'm too tired to type, so I'll have to get back to you tomorrow on crew selection and tricks.
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04-02-2012, 02:51 AM #9
The way I look at it there are two very effective ways to play Seamus.
The first way, which I find works well is to use of Seamus' gun to put down a lot of damage. Firstly you will need a decent Pool of Soulstones, I take 1 a turn as my minimum Pool for this kind of crew, as you need to make every gunshot count. I consider Belles to be the second part of this equation, you either use them to get the enemy into position or to get Seamus into LoS for his shot. Now there are going to be times when Seamus fails to kill with his gun, and for this eventuality you need a second model that can put out a reasonable amount of damage. Von Schill fits this role quite nicely. Though I quite like going with a Convict Gunslinger and Jack Daw. Set up Jack Daw, then drag the target into his aura. With them being unable to cheat, and the amount of damage the Convict and Seamus can put out you can almost guarantee a kill against any model in the game. Jack Daw also synergizes with Seamus' other Wp abilities. You are not going to be able use these ability against every crew, but I don't feel it matters as even without them he can really help support Seamus.
The second way to play Seamus is to go for playing to his Wp strength. Now as you don't know whether your going to be playing against a living crew or not, you can't guarantee it will work with basic Seamus, and this is where his Avatar comes in. So what do you need in the rest of the crew? models that will either help Seamus manifest, or models that will help him once he has manifested. There are quite a few good models to look at. Night Terrors are really nice, they are fast so great for grabbing objectives, they can give Seamus a bit of protection and they have an aura that can lower Wp. I also like Molly, after Seamus has manifested you can't summon new models, so Molly can fulfill this role. Also Molly can copy spells off other members of your crew. This is often overlooked, but take a Hanged in your crew. Copy off his spell that stops the opponent's model healing and halves their wounds. Then throw it at the enemies toughest model with a soulstone, a Lilitu that can't heal is a dead Lilitu, Coryphee run for the hills if they can't pull back and heal themselves etc. And it's not like the Hanged won't be useful anyway. They have quite a few nice tricks in their own right.
So this is my suggestion, don't try to do everything with him,
Make a list that is about maneuvering and taking down targets one at a time.
Go for a list that is about Manifesting and scaring the bejezus out of the enemy.
Last edited by Nyarlanthotep; 04-02-2012 at 02:54 AM.
04-02-2012, 03:11 AM #10
Thanks for all the comments so far they have been very helpful
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