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Author Topic: Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor  (Read 3242 times)

sillybrit

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Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor
« on: 20 August 2012, 13:35:42 »
Se'irim Medium Battle Armor - Technical Readout 3075 page 25



     The lighter of the two stealthy Battle Armor fielded by the Word of Blake, the Se'irim is one of the later Demon series designs, apparently tailored for ambush tactics, although equally adept at urban combat. Lightly armored and fleet of foot, unlike its heavier stealthy cousin, the Nephilim, the Se'irim isn't built to stand and fight, but is the knife that stabs you in the back from deep in the shadows.

     As commented by one player the first time he read Technical Readout 3075, at first glance you'd be forgiven to think that the Se'irim was a Taurian design. Given the bull-like appearance, that impression is understandable and it's only upon reading the text that it becomes apparent that the suit is actually another of the family of Battle Armor intended for the cyborgs of the Word of Blake's Shadow Divisions. 

     Lacking jump jets, the Se'irim relies upon its superb ground speed to maneuver around the battlefield. Such suits are generally best used in urban combat, and as noted above the Se'irim is no exception to that guideline. Naturally, the Se'irim can be used in other environments, but the inability to simply jump over problem terrain often results in the suit being slowed enough that it loses its Target Movement Modiifer, or even finds its path blocked completely by rivers and other such features.

     Where the terrain is kind, the Se'irim can happily zip around, using its ability to run at 32.4 kph to dart into range to deliver its attack, aiming to overwhelm its foe before the latter can exploit the Se'irim's relatively weak armor. Supremely useful in city fighting, given the inability of jump jet-equipped suits to use their jets to move around within buildings, Se'irims can reach the top of tall structures quicker than more common suits like the IS Standard, despite the latter potentially getting a head start by jumping straight into the third floor. Adding the ability to run through larger buildings faster than jump-capable suits can jump over or around them, and it's understandable why Battle Armor with high ground speeds are so favored for the urban battlefield.

     The situation with the armor is both good and bad. Unique among the Demon series, the Se'irim uses Stealth materials to make itself harder to hit, with the Nephilim using Mimetic armor instead. Able to combine its penchant for high speed and sensor baffling capability to avoid enemy fire, the Se'irim's Basic Stealth isn't the best available, but is sometimes just enough to allow the suit to close the range unharmed. Generating only a +1 targeting modifier at Medium range and +2 at Long range, the Se'irim unfortunately loses its stealth bonus at the very ranges its typically strives to reach, which is an unfortunate flaw. Added to this issue is the relatively flimsy armor, that is the second weakest among the Demon series, and that often makes the Se'irim something of a glass hammer.

     Ideally, a Se'irim unit will be manned by Manei Domini with Dermal Myomer Armor, adding another point of much needed damage capacity, but even then the suit will not survive a hit by a standard Inner Sphere Large Laser. Given the affinity to Anti-'Mech attacks, Triple-Strength Myomers are another favored implant for some players, increasing the damage inflicted by close quarters assaults, but given that Anti-'Mech attacks rely more upon the crits they can generate than the raw damage, I personally prefer to use other cyberware, unless fielding Delta-rated Manei Domini, that aren't forced to chose between the melee enhancing hardware and other useful modifications.

     With mobility for its size that ranges from excellent to below average, depending upon the battlefield, plus sub-par defenses, the Se'irim needs to have a payload that puts other Medium designs to shame. Sadly, none of the three canon variants truly rise above the crowd, instead they focus on a niche or situational armament.

     First encountered in 3072, the Se'irim Standard possesses a devastating alpha strike capability as its party piece, and is also (barely) the best of the Demon suits when it comes to melee combat thanks to its Vibro-equipped Battle Claw. Interestingly, the vibrating blade is actually mounted as a forearm attachment rather than directly part of the claws themselves; purely a cosmetic feature, this in no way changes the effectiveness of the manipulator itself. Thanks to the Vibro-Claw, the Se'irim adds an extra one point of damage to its Anti-'Mech attacks, allowing a Level I to inflict five points with a Leg Attack and up to thirteen with a Swarm. Against infanty, both Battle Armor and conventional, a full Level I can potentially inflict six points of damage as an added bonus on top of any kills achieved by the suit's armament. When Triple-Strength Myomers add their weight, all these physical attacked increases their damage by six points, assuming a full strength Level I with all the Manei Domini implanted with the strength-enhancing cyberware.

    When the Standard needs to reach out and touch somebody, its main weapon is its fearsome five-tube SRM launcher. Although only loaded with a single salvo, this is enough to mutilate or kill many opponents, pummelling them with an average of thirty-six damage across eighteen hits. When loaded with Infernos instead of high explosive warheads, a Se'irim unit can potentially autokill even a full strength Level I of Battle Armor, which is bad news for the ComStar troopers that encounter such foes. It should be remembered that the Se'irim does need to launch (or drop) its missiles before it can conduct an Anti-'Mech attack, and after that Macross-spam is gone the suit's firepower drops massively, so the Standard does require careful handling to get the best benefit. The SRMs' damage is too high to casually expend them simply to free up the ability to physically assault enemy 'Mechs and tanks, and at least the lack of jump jets means that the suit doesn't have to worry about any loss of mobility before it drops the launcher.

     Backing up the SRMs and providing the less formidable sustained firepower once the missiles are gone is one of the best lightweight Inner Sphere weapons available for Battle Armor. The Light Recoilless Rifle combines decent range and damage, with an added bonus of improved anti-infantry performance, and all for a mere 175 kilograms. Adding an extra eight points of damage on average, the rifle also allows a Level I to shred conventional infantry outside the reach of their claws. Without the missiles, the firepower and range combination is respectable for Medium Battle Armor, but other designs play the long game much better, and the Se'irim's questionable armor can put it behind the curve in that contest. Rounding out the design, the Standard variant adds a torso-mounted Searchlight, making it a natural for night combat, although personally I would have prefered an Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount. Despite the usefulness of the Searchlight when fighting in the dark, it's still a niche system, whereas the AP mount can be used in every fight.

     jymset: In my opinion, the weakness of the Demon series is that at its core, both medium suits are fecally inspired. I find it difficult to put it more nicely. After the Purifier, the Se'irim thing feels like reinventing the wheel, not even improving it. The Purifier's 350 kg MWM is sexy. This has no such thing. Yes, the LRR saves its face and the missile attack can be brutal - once - but I'm still not impressed.

     Maelwys: Whenever I fire off a Battle Armor's missiles, I always worry that I'm going to miss, even with the Elementals and their two shots. When there's a single shot, I'm even more nervous. With a single shot of a SRM5, you really run the risk of hesitating until you get that perfect shot. With the armor on the Se'irim, hesitating too long can see the Level I disappear before it gets a chance to use the missiles. Still, if I'm going to take the Se'irim, this is the version I'm going to take.

     The appropriately named Anti-Infantry variant is the second of the original pair of Se'irim models produced in 3072, and as you no doubt can guess its focus is killing infantry. The Se'irim Anti-Infantry is no doubt a daunting sight for any PBIs unfortunate enough to encounter them, and given that most can easily be ran down by the Blakist design, it's likely to be their last sight. Armed with a pair of shoulder-mounted Machine Guns instead of the SRM5 launcher, the right arm Light Recoilless Rifle has been swapped for a Flamer, increasing effectiveness against conventional infantry at the cost of range. With a trio of anti-personnel weapons, the Anti-Infantry is somewhat overpowered for its intended role, unless it lucks upon multiple enemy platoons that're close together. A full Level I can kill an average of 70 infantry per Turn, or double that number if they're caught in the open, which can frequently leave a unit shooting corpses.

     In complete contrast to my opinion on the Standard variant's choice of a Searchlight over an an Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount, the installation of the latter on the left arm of the Se'irim Anti-Infantry is redundant, even wasteful in the eyes of some. Compared to the anti-personnel damage that can be inflicted by the main armament, the few points that could be added by the Anti-Personnel Weapon Mount aren't that much of a benefit, at best adding just five more points of damage on average when using the incredibly powerful M42B assault rifle. Trying to find a bright side to the mount, it does add the possibility of (typically) an extra crit or two against armored targets, and when not limited to the default AP attack rules it can offer a token attack with a range greater than ninety meters, such as when fitted with a Mauser 1200 or Radium Sniper Rifle.

     If all that firepower is not enough, don't forget that the variant retains the Vibro-Claw, so that it can slice and dice any survivors that remain after their platoon is riddled with bullets and burned down. The Anti-Infantry variant is just as effective at Anti-'Mech attacks as the Standard, and doesn't even have the worry of having to detach a missile launcher first. Sadly, the mounting of the Machine Guns prevent them from adding to the damage total of Swarm attacks. Presumably Vapula prefered style over substance when he was designing the Se'irim, although for many players this is a minor issue at best, given how few use Swarms in the first place. With the possibility of twelve hit location rolls with the typical attack, plus one to four more from the AP weapon, the Anti-Infantry variant can also prove effective against armored targets. An average of twenty-four damage threatens even the largest 'Mechs with a Piloting check, while vehicles have to fear the multitude of possible crits.

     The fly in the ointment for the Anti-Infantry variant is the short range of its main attacks, forcing it to rely upon catching the enemy unawares or otherwise unable to keep the Battle Armor at a distance. Foot Infantry might struggle in that regard, and even some Battle Armor or heavily-equipped Jump Infantry can be slowly overtaken by Se'irims in open terrain, but for most other opponents it can be a relatively easy task to get out of range and turn the tables on their attacker. In my experience, that was often the fate of Se'irim Anti-Infantry once they were spotted, especially for sides fielding significant amounts of infantry. That could present a canny Blakist player with an opportunity to sandbag an opponent, but given the fragility of Se'irims that opening was typically brief.

     Maelwys: The lack of range can't be ignored on this design. Non-mimetic Stealth armor doesn't work on infantry, and half of the basic, TW infantry platoons can start firing on the Se'irim before it can start firing back.

     Then we come to the Capture Team variant, that first stained the battlefields of the Jihad in 3073. As the more astute will already gather, this is yet another Demon suit equipped with the excrable 'Mech Taser. Just like the Capture Team variants of the other Demon designs, the Se'irim version mounts its Taser on a Detachable Weapon Pack, thereby adding insult to injury, and resulting in it being the slowest of its variants until it offloads the useless waste of mass. To recap the problem that drives me to such distaste, the Battle Armor-scale 'Mech Taser not only has little chance of actually forcing an enemy target to shut down, it also runs the risk of disabling the firing unit, and it's not impossible for a Capture Team to achieve nothing more than knocking itself out of the game. Okay, the Taser occasionally gets lucky, and it feels great when it does, especially if you hit the jackpot and take down a pristine, high-value target, such as an Assault 'Mech. Unfortunately, those results are so few and far between that it's not unknown for players forced to field a Capture Team unit to simply jettison the Tasers without them even firing a shot.

     Retaining the Searchlight of the Standard variant, the Se'irim Capture Team's other armament consists of a pair of arm-mounted Light Machine Guns. Lacking the punch of the standard version of the weapon, the Light Machine Gun makes up for that with double the range, making them a useful lightweight option. The firepower might not be impressive, but is still enough for a Level I to gut an infantry platoon if the dice gods are kind. The increased range over Machine Guns even make it possible for the Capture Team to do this while remaining outside the range  of some infantry, although the heavier or more advanced units will typically match or exceed the reach of the Battle Armor.

     The heavier armament did require that the Capture Team sacrifice its Vibro-Claw, although in compensation Precentor Vapula replaced it with a pair of standard Battle Claws. Unfortunately, the twin claws don't offer any melee enhancement in regular BattleTech tactical game scenarios, although they do help give the variant a useful Marine Boarding Point total of no less than four points, making it one of the better Inner Sphere designs for that role. By comparison, the IS Standard has only two or three points depending upon its configuration.

     The Se'irim is definitely a suit you want to keep on the move unless you're using he Hidden Unit rules and have it waiting in ambush. With the common abundance of Beagle Active Probes and other similar sensors, that can be a risky strategy, especially when using the advanced rules from Tactical Operations that allow the sensors to detect hidden units during the whole of the movement phase, rather than just those in range at the end of movement. Clever use of jamming units is recommended, ideally 'Mechs and tanks that can cover more than one Level I of Battle Armor with their ECM field while avoiding alerting the foe that there are hidden units laying in wait. Once the ambush is sprung, strike fast and then get out of sight as quickly as possible unless you can overwhelm the foe before reinforcements arrive. With the cat then out of the bag, keep mobile, attempting to back door the enemy if possible, or at the very least using the Se'irim's speed to minimize the time taken to close the range.

     Like the rest of the Demons, the Se'irim is on the way out now that the Jihad is winding down. No doubt many a player will have fond memories - or the cold sweats - as they recall the incredible damage the suit can infict in its often equally short life. Like the Shadow Divisions as a whole, the Se'irim burned brightly and burned fast, but not before both left their brutal mark stamped on the Inner Sphere.

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Maelwys

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #1 on: 20 August 2012, 14:25:39 »
Once again, the Master Unit List. Uncheck "Only Units with BV" and search again to see the data on the Capture variant.

Moonsword

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #2 on: 20 August 2012, 18:19:10 »
One of the advantages of overkill in an anti-infantry situation is the ability to reliably and rapidly punch out heavily armored infantry formations.  Since standard issue armor for the Clans and ComStar both give you armor divisor 2 and well-equipped Clan foot infantry units can throw an unpleasant amount of fire at surprisingly long ranges, the Word may have had them in mind when they were building the Anti-Infantry model.

invallid effort

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #3 on: 20 August 2012, 23:12:20 »
I have to say this is oddly one of my favorite of the WOB BA series(if not performance wise than by far the amazing mini and downright evil looking art makes up for it in my book), the standard is a wicked ambusher, and oddly enough the anti infantry is quite good when paired with a Preta dominus (or 2  O0) as part of a trap against mechs in city streets. the one game I had this combo claimed 5 units 3 mechs and 2 vees I think by the end my one se'irim had 3 of those kills. If used right(or just getting incredibly fortunate terrain layout  ::)) these can be beasts
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Maelwys

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #4 on: 20 August 2012, 23:46:02 »
I don't mind the Se'irim as much as Jymset and sillybrit. The standard version to me has similar firepower to an Elemental, it just fires the SRMs all at once, instead of in two salvos. The LRR isn't as good as the MRR or APGR, but it doesn't completely suck.

The issue is being used to the 3 ground movement and the low armor. Once you've resigned yourself to that, and picked good terrain, the suits can definitely become effective.

SCC

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #5 on: 21 August 2012, 04:18:59 »
One of the advantages of overkill in an anti-infantry situation is the ability to reliably and rapidly punch out heavily armored infantry formations.  Since standard issue armor for the Clans and ComStar both give you armor divisor 2 and well-equipped Clan foot infantry units can throw an unpleasant amount of fire at surprisingly long ranges, the Word may have had them in mind when they were building the Anti-Infantry model.
Not just them, the Faction Armor Kits part of the Conventional Infantry Armor table lists FedSuns, FWL, LA and Marian Hegemony ( ??? )  (and WoB of course) as using divisor 2 armor as standard (note: table not containing latest errata)

sillybrit

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Re: Battle Armor of the Week - Se'irim Medium Battle Armor
« Reply #6 on: 21 August 2012, 13:00:35 »
That still leaves the Anti-Infantry with a Machine Gun's worth of overkill on average. Of course, that's assuming that the weapons hit, which you can't rely upon, but with the core of the firepower from the single Flamer, if that misses then the MGs don't have the damage to do it alone without lucky rolls.

My prefered solution for a short-range infantry killer is Firedrakes; multiple Firedrakes. With the weight saved, that frees up options, such as getting a longer ranged weapon in lieu of the flamer or adding armor or adding more weaponry or a combo thereof.