Savage Oppress is classified as a “Durable Attacker,” and with a Zeta on his Unique Ability, Brute, he more than lives up to that billing. Savage is annoyingly tough to bring down, all the while dishing out massive damage. After the Sith faction pass in February 2017 and receiving a Zeta upgrade for his Unique ability, Brute, Savage Oppress has been reborn as the fearsome Sith attacker we all know and love from The Clone Wars.
Breakdown of Zeta
“Whenever Savage takes damage, he gains Offense Up, Defense Up and Heal Over Time for 2 turns and gains 30% Turn Meter. At the end of his turns, Savage Dispels all debuffs on a random other Sith ally and gains those debuffs for 1 turn. Dispel all debuffs from Savage whenever he is Critically Hit.
There is a lot going on with Savage Oppress’s zeta Unique ability, Brute. Carrying a boatload of defense-oriented interactions, Brute goes a long way towards making Savage an Attacker who can be as hard to bring down as some Tanks are. Let’s take a look at everything that’s going on here…
“Whenever Savage takes Damage, he gains Offense Up, Defense Up and Heal Over Time for 2 turns and gains 30% Turn Meter.” Whenever the words “Whenever a hero takes damage” pop up as a condition for an effect to occur, my interest is instantly piqued. It is so difficult to wholly avoid dealing any damage to a hero in SWGOH. In the context of Arena, there are so many top-tier Arena heroes who have an AoE ability that the A.I. will use without hesitation. The same can kind of be said for raids, especially when discussing Tank Takedown. Thus, we know that an effect that only requires damage to occur is going to be going off quite a bit; high-mileage effects like this are just inherently valuable. Savage’s is no exception.
Offense and Defense Up are decent buffs to maintain for basically an entire fight, but the real bread and butter here is the Heal Over Time and the Turn Meter gain. With the Heal Over Time, he can easily reach the same annoying level of self-healing that Chirrut provides for Rebels. As far as Turn Meter gain goes, If you look at all of the abilities that grant a hero Turn Meter when some condition is met, a majority of them have a stipulation that must also be met; B2 only has a 40% chance to gain Turn Meter off of Relentless Barrage, Cody only gains additional Turn Meter if the enemy is at certain Health or Turn Meter benchmarks, and Rex’s allies must be Critically Hit for them to gain Turn Meter from his Leader ability. These are just a few examples. There’s none of that with Savage; he must simply take damage, and he gets that bonus 30% Turn Meter. This will generate a ton of extra turns for Savage, which is very advantageous. There also exists the smaller benefit of not necessarily needing to go all-out modding him for Speed.
“At the end of his turns, Savage Dispels all debuffs on a random other Sith ally and gains those debuffs for 1 turn. Dispel all debuffs from Savage whenever he is Critically Hit”
The only change here from the Omega version of Brute is that Savage will have all debuffs on him whenever he is critically hit. Again, the prevalence of AoE attacks is what makes this so attractive, as your A.I. opponent is not going to factor in that using an AoE attack might completely cleanse Savage. Personally, I wouldn’t say this effect is valuable enough to warrant a Zeta in a vacuum (that is to say, if this was all the Zeta ability did, I wouldn’t upgrade to it), but it is a nice secondary effect that does a reasonable job of keeping Savage in the fight. The Turn Meter gain from taking damage also means that debuffs that Savage picks up from allies don’t stick around very long.
Positives of Zeta
+ Guaranteed Turn Meter Gain
+ Strong Healing utility
+ Strong against AoE-heavy heroes/squads
+ Makes Savage very difficult to kill and simultaneously a very irritating opponent.
Downsides of Zeta
+ Dispel is still not reliable enough
+ Turn Meter gain and Healing can be negated by certain debuffs, hampering his utility.
+ Doesn’t specifically fit very well with some of the more popular Sith Arena squads.
Where does Savage Oppress Fit?
While Savage Oppress still seems to be a bit of a niche hero, I believe that his Zeta ability vaults him up to a high tier of both viability and mileage. He is a heavy-hitting, tanky attacker with self-healing…so he is a naturally strong choice for helping complete Galactic War (regardless of whether or not he’s paired with other Sith). In Arena, he can definitely find a home in most Sith squads, although I would hesitate to call him an auto-include in many of them. As far as Raids go, while a Sith squad outside of Zeta Vader-lead has yet to really find much popularity or success in the AAT raid, his general survivability and damage make him a strong choice to include in situations where you’re just looking for a fifth to fill out your team.
A couple of specific notes about using Savage in Arena:
- Savage fits the role of a “cleanser” with only mild success, yet he is the only Sith with the ability to dispel other allies. The cleanse is only a single, random target…which frankly is not great. Furthermore, Savage must take on the debuffs himself. Even though they tend to get cleansed fairly quickly due to Brute’s mechanics, it should still be quite obvious that there are far better options for cleansing your squad.
- Savage is relatively easy for human enemies to shut down. Humans are generally smarter than the A.I. is about hitting Savage and activating Brute’s many conditions. They also can bring specific heroes to apply Daze, Healing Immunity, and other debuffs that negate Brute’s positive effects.
- At Gear Tier 11, Savage can be modded to hit close to 20k damage Critical Hits with his Basic attack. He is not a one-trick pony.
- Savage unfortunately is not a “perfect fit” in any one Sith squad. He doesn’t bring much utility to a zVader squad because he does not dish a ton of Debuffs out, and you’ve already got an “Execute” ability in Vader’s Saber Throw. He hamstrings himself in a zMaul squad, because he only gains the positive effects from Brute if he’s actually getting hit. He doesn’t become an unkillable beast under Darth Nihilus, because his Heal Over Time buffs don’t heal him. My point is this: you’re not bringing Zeta Savage into your Sith Arena squad because of his synergy with whichever leader you’re running. You’re bringing him because of his durability, damage, and utility.
A couple of specific notes about using Savage in Raids:
- Overpower does NOT work on Raid bosses. In fact, it doesn’t gain any extra utility against Raid bosses at all, regardless of whether or not they’re below 50% health. It does deal 234% of Savage’s Physical Damage, so it is still a strong attack to use on Cooldown, but don’t expect to see massive numbers from Overpower.
- Savage has almost no utility in The Pit raid, where your entire strategy is focused on reducing the enemy’s Turn Meter. In Tank Takedown, its best to use him in P1/P3, where you can rely on him getting hit by a ton of attacks and generating himself a ton of Turn Meter. P2/P4 wouldn’t be a terrible place to use him, but between Clones, Rebels and Droids, there are just better options for those phases.
How to Mod & Use Savage Oppress
Modding Savage is nearly as troublesome as some of the other Sith are (where you may be forced to make compromises on important stats like Speed, Physical Damage, Critical Chance and Critical Damage). Disclaimer: everything I’m about to say assumes a max-gear Savage (4 pieces at Gear Tier 11 included)
- Health & Protection: Savage already has pretty high marks for Health and Protection. At 23.5k Health and 25.5k Protection, there isn’t much of a need to focus on beefing either of those stats up.
- Physical Damage: Savage has an above average base Physical Damage stat (both of his attacks deal Physical Damage), sitting nearly inside the Top 20 highest Physical Damage stats amongst all heroes in the game. To achieve the 20k damage Basic Critical Hits that I mentioned above, your target here should be in the 2900-3000 range. This can usually be achieved with at least one Offense Primary mod (Cross/Slot 6 being the most ideal place) along with making sure you get flat Offense boosts (as opposed to percentage-based) on 3-5 Mods, depending on how high the secondary stat is.
- Critical Chance: This stat’s importance varies, but ultimately Savage’s Critical Chance is just a little low, requiring you to give it some love even if you’re utilizing an alternate strategy to boost his Crit chance. Somewhere in the neighborhood of at least +10% would probably be adequate for most situations, but 50% would be ideal.
- Critical Damage: At the very least, put a Crit Damage Set or Primary Triangle on him. Both would be ideal, as that’s when you’ll really start to see his Basic attack become cripplingly strong.
- The ideal mod loadout would be as follows: 1 Critical Damage set, 1 Critical Chance set. Arrow/Slot 2 would have a Speed primary. Triangle/Slot 4 would have a Crit Damage primary. Cross/Slot 6 would have an Offense Primary. Physical Damage would be in the ~2,900 – 3,100 range. Critical Chance would be in the 45 – 50% range. Critical Damage would be at 216%.