It's time to talk about a Warcaster. In fact, it's time to talk about my *favorite* warcaster.
Grand Scrutator Severius, or Severius1, is a big part of what caused me to fall in love with Protectorate as a faction in the first place. My favorite part of playing any faction is digging through its refuse and finding the gems hidden throughout, and no caster allows you to do that in Protectorate quite like the original Severius himself. There is very little in this faction you can take that isn't going to shine... even if a bit dully... when the Grand Scrutator is at the helm. There are exceptions (here's looking at you Deliverers...), and there are definitely sub optimal choices (Cinerators do fine, but... for now, take something else), but overall if you just want to play a model you like and give it the absolute best chance to succeed, there's a good chance you can reach for this guy to make it happen.
The Pope of Nope himself, saying "NOPE!"
So what makes him that way?
This does not make him that way.
You do not bring Severius for his statline. It is among the roughest in the game, and alongside Nemo has made him the progenitor of the phrase "old man stats." Severius is old and creaky, this guy is running on pure religious zealotry.
To start, Severius is SPD 5. He's got bad knees, he's tired, leave him alone. Not winning any sprints.
Severius is MAT 4, which... is about as low as it gets for warcaster MAT outside a couple of specific casters, but this is a little deceptive due to Eye of Menoth. He's also RAT 4 but... that doesn't apply in any way.
The important stats: Severius is DEF 14, ARM 14, giving him one of the lowest defensive statlines available to any warcaster in the game. A Severius based list always has one vicious weakpoints: Severius himself. Points of your list dedicated to just keeping this old man alive are points well spent.
This caster has 16 boxes, which is pretty average but...with his 14/14 defensive statline, he dies quick.
The last stat is one of the most important, though: Severius is FOC 8. On top of Eye of Menoth and his character warjack, this makes him absurdly accurate with offensive spellcasting and, in my opinion, makes him one of the best offensive spellcasters in the game, topped somewhat by his epic form. Severius isn't going to be mixing it up in melee, but he has a massive control area, hyper accurate spells, and a lot of focus to cast his spells or fuel a very large battlegroup. This is part one of why you brought this guy.
I think most people wouldn't mention this but... Severius has a pretty large focus stack (9 focus to play with if you have a Wrack), he's MAT 5 with Eye so needs to boost to hit but has the focus to do it, and his weapon, again with Eye of Menoth, is POW 14. That's not too terrible and follows a trend of Protectorate casters often having a weapon that hits just a teeny bit harder than you'd expect. Also he has 2" melee. This won't come up often but... he can go smack something if he really, really needs to.
The back of Severius' card is simple, but no rule on it is wasted.
I'm going to mention Sacred Ward first. This is a great thing to have on a warcaster. Assassinations lose the ability to spellcast on him, which often is enough to cause them to fail. It will 'gotcha' many people as well; the number of assassination runs I've had go into me that suddenly fizzled because they didn't realize he wasn't targetable by spells is kind of funny. This helps you into nasty spell assassinations like Rahn, but it won't stop everything. One example is Zerkova, who you would expect to have a hard time killing him directly with all the spell sprays coming at you, but they can just target something else with sprays and get the template to pass over Sevvy, and he will die. Really good, but be aware of the things that can get around it.
Now, the big one. Eye of Menoth. In the previous edition, Eye of Menoth was an upkeep spell, but they moved it to the back of Severius' card because, let's be honest, he always had this spell going. All Friendly Faction models in Severius' control range get a +1 to attack and damage rolls. Just straight up, simple, and extremely effective. Most models are balanced with their MAT, RAT, and damage output at very particular levels for a reason. This rule pushes almost any model its under just barely over a curve of power and is, truthfully, one of the most powerful passive effects in the game.
This takes our non-character jacks to MAT 7. This pushes Idrians up to base POW 14, RAT 8 guns on their Prey (twelve POW 14 guns with CRA... that's pretty good.) Cleansers are firing RAT 6 sprays, Rhoven becomes magic ability 9 for his spells, Allegiant's bump up to MAT 8, the list goes on and on. Further, as I mentioned earlier, Severius becomes essentially FOC 9 for the purpose of hitting targets with his spells. I adore Eye of Menoth and it's a huge part of why I, or anyone, run this caster.
My Sevvy got an 'I'm bored" quick paint job from Jaden of Druid's Dice forever ago ;P He's looking a bit worn since then...
The bread and butter of most casters, Severius has a solid spell list with a ton of options and some of our best offensive and defensive tech.
Ashes to Ashes - A bit of a signature spell to Protectorate (though we aren't the only ones with it), Ashes to Ashes is our version of Chain Lightning, though with some different quirks. It's costly and a bit random, but highly effective at clearing 2-4 infantry models in an area. Eye of Menoth also pushes this spell and its jumps up to POW 11, which is helpful. Note, Ashes does not work like Chain Lightning or Electro Leaps; firstly, the "jumps" will only hit enemy models, which means you can hit your own models in the back if you want and it will seek out enemy models (although the initial hit certainly does damage your own stuff.) The main hit is not fire typed, but the "jumps" are. It does not leap from model to model, but instead sort of "spreads" out from the initial model in all directions, so if you roll two on the additional hits, you'll hit the two closest enemy models to your target, not the closest to the first, then the closest to the second. Further, the jumps are not "attacks" so do not trigger things that require an attack. Overall, really great spell.
Defender's Ward - Another 'signature' spell for Protectorate, although again now one completely unique to us. This is the defensive upkeep everyone wishes they had, and Protectorate has it in a few places. It's simple, yet effective: your model or unit gets +2 DEF, +2 ARM. That's it, nice and clean. Some models like the additional DEF but won't much use the ARM, like Daughters of the Flame or Idrians. Some like the ARM but don't do much with the DEF, like most of our heavies and heavy infantry. It's extra value when you get both, such as our Ashen Veil warjacks who always have concealment and will be, with this spell, DEF 14 against living targets within 2". Both of our Cavalry units or, really, most multi-wound models use both the DEF and ARM pretty well. Casters don't hate it either, don't be afraid to throw it on Sevvy and bump him to a reasonable 16/16 if you really feel threatened. Great spell, one of the best in the Protectorate arsenal, rarely is this one going to be bad.
Vision - This is a rare spell, and a hard one to use well. Vision is an upkeep that allows you to stop one damage roll made against you from an enemy attack. Then Vision expires. Aside from on hit effects, the attack may as well never have happened. Sometimes this is really good, sometimes it's not super useful. Vision won't help you much against a ton of chip damage, when you're taking a point or two from low damage attacks or Sniper models. It also won't really save you against a high volume of attacks; in my experience, Warbeasts chew right through Vision without too much trouble. Overall, though, this gives you some defensive tech to put on your caster or an important piece if you prefer Defender's Ward to remain elsewhere, and is particularly good against guns, which usually only have a couple really good shots to put into you in the first place. Mathematically, Vision only beats Defender's Ward against a very low volume of extremely high value attacks (a charging Colossal, for example, often only swings four times and Vision actually will probably save you more damage than Defender's Ward... unless your DEF is high enough to matter, there's a ton of considerations here.) Special note to Eye of Truth, who has a separate ability that allows him to ignore a damage roll, which does stack with Vision to make him ridiculously difficult to kill.
Death Sentence - Nice little offensive upkeep, I never really use it since an army under Severius, with our already usually fairly good MAT balues, doesn't really miss its target all that often. I typically prefer to use focus differently, but Death Sentence is a tool in your toolbox and if you're putting a lot of attacks into something and don't want to miss, it's not a bad option.
Influence - One of my little Severius blind spots, I always forget he has this spell. It's a little bit costly for a lot of dice rolling to try and kill a target, but it has good range and you can fire ranged attacks, which can be really ridiculous in the right situations. Keep an eye out for it, but it's a little hard to apply these days.
Immolation - Severius' "crappy nuke" isn't so bad with him, frankly. Most of your offensive spellcasting will be with Ashes to Ashes, but Immolation has a great damage value when all the bonuses are stacked up (bring Hand of Judgement for extra pain) and can seriously take a chunk out of a heavy in a pinch. I actually cast this spell quite often, but my Severius builds are very friendly to this spell usually. Also, it only costs 1 focus with a Hierophant and is usually accurate enough to not need to boost to hit, as far as nukes go, it's extremely efficient with Sevvy.
Feat - Divine Might
Divine Might is a great feat, although the mileage can vary somewhat depending on matchups. Enemy models cannot cast spells or be used to channel spells while in his control area, and enemy warcaster/warlock models suffer -2 FOCUS and FURY. Lasts one round, of course.
The no spells/channeling part is where it varies somewhat. Some armies, this just breaks. Rahn can be delayed beyond the point of attrition, Zerkova2 can't pull her nonsense, Wurmwood is trapped in place if he doesn't have any shifting stones around him and can't cast any of his spells, there's a mess of ways this part of the feat will screw up peoples plans. You have to know your enemy to know when that part will be useful so... it takes a bit of practice and learning.
The second half reduces the FOCUS/FURY stat of your enemies caster/lock for the round. The actual reduction of the number is solid, you reduce focus allocation to warjacks, you screw up leeching from their warbeasts and may cause frenzies, overall it's just a really good effect. What I think is more important, though, is the reduction of control areas. Taking 4" off the control area of many casters is very, very bad for them. Suddenly their feats are often not projecting as far as they'd hoped, they may have warjacks or warbeasts out of control range at the start of the turn so they can't allocate or leech anything. This is the part of the feat that, if the no casting isn't that important, I lie in wait for the perfect moment for, often waiting to use it as a counter feat or to just hold into late game for the moment their army is spread thin and they can't deal with suddenly having that small of a control area.
His feat takes a bit of knowledge of the enemy to use well, but it will end games at the wrong time; it gets bad when an opponent thought to use a control feat to keep himself safe and suddenly... isn't safe anymore.
Menoth Favors the Fabulous
Well, we're through his card and a bit about why his card is good... what should you bring with this guy?
Blessing of Vengeance - This is top of the list. I ran him for a little while without Blessing, before I got the model, and he ran fine but Blessing changes how you play the game drastically. Firstly he's just a really solid jack, although he's at a pretty vicious point cost so you're paying for it. He's super tough, has an arc node, has solid MAT and damage values, and then has Shield Guard, Defensive Strike, Repel on his shield, and Powerful Charge on the spear. Just a good set of abilities. What you're bringing him for really, though, is his bond with Severius. Once per turn, when you channel a spell through Blessing, Sevvy can gain +2 to attack and damage for the spell. Do you like POW 13 Ashes to Ashes? POW 15 Immolation? And of course with Eye of Menoth's increase to accuracy, you're firing at a magic ability of 11, making it one of the most accurate uses of a spell in the game. This gives Sevvy a great arc node, huge focus efficiency, and just a bit of everything he wants.
Hierophant/Wracks - Focus efficiency stuff, these are a consideration with any caster but just wanted to call them out as pretty necessary for Sevvy. You want as much focus as possible to do as much work with Sevvy as you feel safe doing, so they help.
Eye of Truth - Obviously requires you to stay out of any theme forces, but Eye of Truth is possibly more absurd with Severius1 than he is with any other caster. Stacking Defender's Ward on top of his Ashen Veil and ability to ignore one damage roll per turn puts him at insane defensive stats, particularly against Warbeasts. On the flip side, against most 'jacks where the attack volume is lower, he takes Vision to ignore two damage rolls a turn. Then there's Eye of Menoth, which anything loves, and the ability to give Severius (and his army) the ability to ignore spell bonuses to DEF and ARM. Severius has no out for upkeeps, so this is something he's a fan of. All in all, Severius just loves this warjack.
Hand of Judgement - This is a pretty tertiary suggestion, it doesn't work in any list exactly but what I like about it is you stack gunfire with Eye of Menoth to *insane* damage values (POW 19 Reckoner guns, anyone?) and, the main use I get, Immolation actually turns into a serious concern. A 1 cost spell firing at magic ability 11 that is POW 17? Seems ok. Plus this bumps Hand of Judgement's spray up to RAT 6 which is very good. He's expensive, and requires you to play out of theme, but I've really enjoyed him.
Rhoven & Honor Guard - I run a minimum of 3 shield guards in almost all Protectorate lists. Blessing of Vengeance, Rhoven n Co, you're good! Also Rhoven is actually pretty silly with Eye of Menoth, and if you brought Hand of Judgement he can hit even harder!
Really though, Severius is just great with almost everything. There's very little he won't do well with, he buffs accuracy, he buffs output, he buffs defensive stats, he has denial built in, he's a little bit of everything I love about the Protectorate all rolled into one. Just keep him alive (which is definitely the tricky part) and he'll do you good.