Do you want to play the most metal caster in the game? Do you want to ride a burning chariot in the name of an angry god, protected from petty gunfire by the screaming of heretics chained and stretched up the back of your holy vehicle? Do you want enemies to explode in an inferno of holy fire when they die, blasting apart their close allies in the blaze? Then Servath Reznik, Wrath of Ages is the warcaster for you.
Reznik has had an interesting Mk. 3 history, coming in strong as one of the greatest answers to some extreme balance issues within the game. Early Madrak2 and Wurmwood, both absolute terrors of their time, at the very least had to give pause to the might of Reznik, whose denial elements countered any number of power lists perfectly. As many of those hyper-powered casters got brought more in line, though, Reznik saw a decline in favor of other options. The Sevvy2/Amon pair weasled into position and, it feels like, the faction never really looked back.
Well, everyone, I say it is time to look back. SR 2017 is here, and Protectorate's place competitively has declined further than it already had. Many have been forced to start coming to the same conclusion as me: Sevvy2/Amon isn't working. That's not to say it's a poor pair, far from it; checking over tournament results, when a Protectorate player *has* done well, it has typically been with one or both of these casters. In team events, as well, Protectorate actually fares quite well. The trouble is, in every big event, the player hits Haley2 and/or Ghost Fleet and falters. Sevvy2 is a fightable matchup into both, but the counter tech that particularly a Haley player has makes that fight almost counterintuitive. Further, the new Steamroller scenarios push more terrain and more distance to cover. These scenarios are large and need mobility to keep up with.
In comes Reznik2, and his absolutely vicious warjack, Scourge of Heresy. Between his kit and Scourge's Arcane Vortex (not to mention frightening output and threat), Reznik brings a ton of tools that are I think are vital to the current environment.
The Front of the Card - Stats, Weapons, Icons
Reznik, Wrath of Ages is a Protectorate Battle Engine Cavalry Warcaster. This brings with it a mess of great rules, including the ability to be repaired, access to cavalry charges and impact attacks, and immunity to knockdown, stationary, and push effects. Further, he has Pathfinder which is a huge boon for us in general.
He's slow for a cavalry, but fast for Protectorate at a solid SPD value of 7. He's MAT 7, but with the Cavalry rules and stuff on the back of his card, he's deceptively accurate up close. His DEF of 13 is mediocre, but not terrible if you account for his immunity to Stationary/KD/etc... but really what's saving him is his ARM of 18, his good FOC stat of 7, and the kit on his spell list and back of card. He brings a PS 14 weapon master melee weapon with 2" melee, giving him a flat 12" threat range but this is increased by his spell list. He also has a mount which is POW 12 and causes continuous fire. Between ARM 18 and his 20 boxes, he's killable but can definitely take a punch.
The Back of the Card - Abilities!
Reznik has an awesome bunch of abilities when you flip his card over. Curse [Battlegroup] is one of my favorite tools on any warcaster, giving Reznik and his 'jacks a +2 to hit against a target model/unit. What makes this so great is it's any time during his activation and costs no focus whatsoever; an easy +2 to hit buff is a big deal. Lamentations of Suffering makes him safe from most gunfire, although you have to be wary of what magic guns there are because Reznik is *not* hiding. He's Repairable, which is neat, and has Reposition 3" which is actually pretty phenomenal. He can move up and get some work done, then scoot back out of threat ranges pretty easily.
His mount has critical knockdown, which is actually quite good but I forget constantly. Remember he has that, it could definitely come up!
The Spell List - Tools For Every Occasion
Reznik brings some fantastic tools to the table. Not a single spell on his card is a dead spell, although a few are a maybe more situational or require list building considerations.
Boundless Charge is good. Everybody wants Boundless Charge, especially slow factions with limited access to Pathfinder, which Protectorate certainly is. This gives Reznik himself a 14" possible threat, which is nothing to shake a stick at. It makes our SPD 5 'jacks quite fast and our SPD 4 'jacks keeping up with the typical faster enemy heavies, and... I can't overstate how huge the pathfinder is. It has come up in 100% of games in a big way that I have played since SR 2017 dropped. Boundless Charge is a huge spell for us. Hierophant making it cost 1 is extra nice!
Death March is a wonderful little upkeep that gives a unit +2 MAT and Vengeance. As a threat extension on units like Idrians it's superb, and we have any number of other nasty weapon masters that can make great use of this as well. I typically have been running Reznik in Creator's Might, though, so I don't always have great Death March targets. It tends to just sit on Rhoven n Co until I need the focus and drop it, but under different list designs this spell is great.
The Flesh is Weak is a situational but very good nuke. It's a little expensive, but has a decent POW 13 and an actually pretty great AOE of 4. While that on its own is alright, what it does that's really great is forces Living or Undead models hit to be unable to run, charge, slam, or trample for a round. This is huge control against Hordes in particular but is just... not a style of thing we get very often. We don't control enemy movement all that much, and this is a premium way to do it. Special mention to this spell against Ghost Fleet; the Wraith Engine is *not* a fan of The Flesh is Weak. Just sayin.
Lamentation is one of the spells Reznik is most known for. While hardly a unique spell to him, showing up on Kreoss1 and a Skorne warlock (I forget which, apologies!), Reznik makes a use of this spell the others don't just by being an actually quite aggressive caster. Hordes armies hate this, but it's not uncommon for Reznik to seriously crowd enemy warcasters out of the game, or force ones relying on 2-3 upkeeps to drop way more of their stack than their comfortable with. Stacked up with some of our other anti-spell tech, you can create a situation very quickly where the enemy army is incapable of using their spells and upkeeps properly, can't stand where they want, and eventually just get bullied away through sheer denial. As an ex-Circle player, I've taken a degree of satisfaction in watching a Kreuger2 player flounder just trying to get TKs out as Reznik is slowly bearing down on him. It's good times.
The last, but hardly least, is Spellpiercer. Magic Weapons and Blessed for every single friendly faction model in your control area. Talk about a powerful effect. Admittedly, some games Spellpiercer doesn't really come up; opponent doesn't have incorporeal or non-magic shooting denial, doesn't rely on any defensive spell buffs in that particular army, etc, but when the spell is good, it's *very* good. It's also quite cheap at only 2 focus, 1 if you have the Hierophant. Get wrecked, Arcane Shield. Not that we had a huge issue with spells like that in the first place.
Purge the Faithless is... admittedly a little unimpressive in some matchups. Many matchups, in fact. However, when it's good, it's horrifying. Some infantry swarms are just incapable of spreading out enough not to take absolutely extreme damage from this feat, and the RFP effect is useful in some specific matchups. At the very least, using it as a counter punch after what units your enemy *does* have come charging in and are clumped together lets you clear a lot of infantry quite quickly. This is hardly the most amazing feat in the game, but when it's good, it's real good. Special note to Redeemers for being hilarious with this; drifting AOEs that explode enemies into more AOEs... feels good.
What To Do With Him
I'll be talking about a specific list or two later but I just want to talk about Reznik's playstyle and *why* I think he's so good and should be used these days.
This is a competitive meta dominated by Haley2 Heavy Metal and Cryxian Dark Host/Ghost Fleet pairings. The Protectorate struggle right now is finding the right designs for dealing with both. One thing I've found in my experience is, in the pairing process, the Haley2/Ghost Fleet answers have to be the same list. That's not universally the case but... that's how it keeps playing out for me based on other matchups that need to be covered. Typically, the drop here has been Hierarch Severius.
I'm going to throw out my controversial opinion on this topic: Severius2 is not the correct answer right now. That's not to say he's useless, far from it, he's a great caster, but he is not the caster we need right now. He's slow, too much of his tech is countered directly by Haley's list design, and his lack of pathfinder is an extreme liability in today's scenario environment. He fights Ghost Fleet quite well, but I think there are better ways to handle it.
Reznik2, when designed correctly, can be constructed to fight these two, and do it quite well. Haley2 is always a rough matchup, but the guy is a monster into Ghost Fleet just by his design. The key to both, truthfully, is actually not just his kit but the tools of his personal 'jack, Scourge of Heresy, whose Arcane Vortex is a nightmare to both these lists. Further, Reznik's design can also fight Dark Host quite well. He's uniquely tooled to fight the top end of the competitive meta.... or at least from a Protectorate standpoint.
So... let's talk playstyle a little bit. How are you getting the most out of this guy.
What I enjoy about playing Reznik is he's actually the only Protectorate caster I believe can genuinely push for position to bully the table with his own presence. I think of Reznik's threat as a bubble the size of his control area that is his kill zone. Then I evaluate what things can actually hurt him; if you're camping a few, ARM 13/18 will actually protect you against many 'discount' heavies and most non-weapon master troops. Each turn, the goal is to take that killzone bubble and push it as far forward as it can go without entering the killzone bubble of things that can hurt Reznik. Keep killing or pushing things forward to get Reznik further and further up the table until Lamentation becomes outright punishing to warcasters and he can threaten almost anything he wants.
This slow plod forward, which suddenly turns into explosive output when you find a position Reznik can dig deep and not be in danger, is a lot of fun to me. The turn you charge in, kill a heavy or whatever, and reposition into a spot where you aren't in danger while the enemy caster is deep in your Lamentation bubble with nowhere to go... it feels good. Reznik is scary; he's no Butcher, but the man gets work done. On top of that, there's the neverending threat of Scourge of Heresy. If Reznik can get a charge angle on something and you're within 15" of Scourge of Heresy, you're probably dead. Especially if you were foolish enough to have an upkeep on you. The Scourge bullet is pretty real and the 'jack kills most things he gets to.
What To Avoid
At the end of the day, Reznik is still a huge based warcaster. He relies heavily on Lamentations of Suffering to keep himself alive from heavy gunfire, but sometimes that's just... not enough. Retribution notoriously brings a lot of magical gunfire to the table which can be quite scary for him. Other casters with Spellpiercer running a gunline are of note. That said, he's not really threatened by small arms fire, so you're mostly just looking at what really big guns the other person has that can put chunks of damage on him, and with a couple Mechaniks and a few shield guards (I have 4 in my current build), you can actually weather those armies often times. Still, it's something to be wary of.
Another thing to worry about is just enemies with extreme threat ranges that can threaten Reznik. If they can cruise a heavy halfway across the table at some wacky angle and you don't think he can stop it... it doesn't take much on a more elite heavy for 13/18 to seriously not be enough.
My third thing to avoid is... thinking Reznik is safer than he is. He's still your warcaster and he's still quite killable. Use good positioning more than anything else, and know really well what can threaten him effectively and what can't. He's fast, he hurts, use that mobility to your advantage.
This was just some thoughts on Reznik, I'm likely to have a whole series of articles going into aspects of this guy, list builds, and of course battle reports and tournaments reports taking him around. Thanks for reading!