protectorate_banner
By: Seth (MenoThink)

 

Week 4 – Full Idrian Skirmishers with Chieftain and Guide and choir to full.

So. Many. Options.

Week four is a brutal jump. I’m adding my biggest number of points yet. It’s the only time in the 6 weeks I’ll get to add more than 20 points of my choosing at once. Not only that, but this is the week you and everyone else who wants to is trading out their caster.

It’s because of this level of complication I was initially reluctant to suggest the Idrian Skirmishers here. Don’t get me wrong; they’re great (as I’ll get into below). However, they’re also complicated. In the end, though, any list I built without them felt really light on ranged attacks. I decided that even new players could (eventually) learn their nuances. That stated, if you hit week four and are feeling a little overwhelmed, try taking a reckoner, hierophant, wrack, and max choir this week instead. I’ll put suggestions for the list those choices make at the end as alternatives in the TL;DR.

Skirmisher? I barely know ‘er!

kv6ygdhIdrian Skirmishers are shaping up to be one of the best Protectorate units in this edition. At first glance, though, they don’t look like much, so let me explain why I’m recommending them.

At range, the Idrians employ their RNG 10, POW 11 guns. If you’re just viewing them that way, though, you’re doing them an injustice. The Guide attachment gives them the “Prey” ability. This gives them +2 to attack and damage rolls against their prey target. So you pick what you want to die (ideally something in front you can get to) and those guns are now POW 13. Under Eye of Menoth those are POW 14. They also have combined ranged attacks. So six sets of two men combining can get up to six POW 16 shots against their prey target. At that point you’re removing a light beast or jack from the table on average dice.

Melee looks similar. They are only P+S 10, but got to 12 against their prey and P+S 13 under Eye of Menoth. They have Brutal Charge, so are attacking at the equivalent of MAT 9 and P+S 15 on a charge and under Eye of Menoth.

Worried about keeping them alive? At first glance, their DEF 13 ARM 12 stats look pathetic. Their special abilities, however, help compensate for it. The chieftain grants tactics: reposition 3”. So you can shoot with those 10” guns, then back up 3” so you’re 13” away from whatever you were shooting (assuming it’s still alive). They also have pathfinder, so don’t hesitate to shoot from the edge of a woods, then back up into the tree cover.

The chieftain also grants a once-per-game ability called “Go to Ground.” It grants the unit cover, (+4 DEF) immunity to blast damage, and stops it from blocking line for sight for one round. So those DEF 13 models just became DEF 17 for a round. Just be careful; the benefits go away if they move, get placed, or get engaged by an enemy. Even once they have used this ability, transferring Defender’s Ward over to them makes them DEF 15 and ARM 14, which is far from terrible.

Finally, they have “Advanced Deploy”, so they can start an extra 6” forward and you need them to. Don’t hesitate to just use this ability to place them across from their prey target, but not place them too far forward where they can get shot at. Just because you can start 16” up the board doesn’t mean you have to, or should.

All in all, this is a versatile unit which can bring an enormous amount of pressure to bear on your opponent from early on in the game. They can kill infantry or damage heavier targets.

That stated, they require a LOT to use. I came very, very close to changing this whole list to put off having to learn such a complicated unit this early. You need to figure out:

  • How advanced deployment works
  • How to use their advanced deployment to your advantage
  • How the prey rule works
  • Which prey target to pick
  • How the brutal charge rule works.
  • How to get line of sight at range with a unit
  • How combined ranged attacks work
  • How pathfinder works
  • How to use pathfinder to your advantage
  • How to keep your command attachment protected
  • When and how to use reposition
  • When and how to use dig-in
  • How cover works
  • Managing the now 22 infantry models on the table (between the Temple Flameguard and these guys)

 

Don’t get me wrong: these are all valuable skills. You will use them, and this amazing unit, in many, many other lists. Just be prepared for the learning curve with this unit to be steep. You’ll forget or mis-manage rules and get them killed. Forgive yourself and learn from it. If you can master using this unit, you can master just about any model in the game.

 

More Bodies Re-Choired.

With three points left, there are a ton of solos we could pick up. Right now, though, I have exactly one choir member per ‘jack. To protect my (sizable) battle group as it grows next turn, I’m going to need more of these guys.

From a purely monetary standpoint, I also already bought the choir in a pack of six choir. This week I’m shelling out for an expensive unit and UA. Maxing my choir is going to save me a little money, plus be fewer activations I need to learn as I tackle the Idrians absurd number of rules. I’ll bank the last point for next week.

Battle Plan

The reason I want the Idrians starts to be clear as I envision my battle plan. The Idrians can advance to shoot anything which steps into the zone. This puts my opponent in the unenviable position of having to give me options for what to kill. I want to set up at the back edge of the zone, then shoot at whatever tries to come in. If they rush me, I have my TFG and, of course, my ‘jacks. I just need to make sure they don’t kill all my ‘jacks in the zone.

 

Week 4 Summary
List Plan Learning Objectives
Severius 1

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Max TFG

Max choir.

Max Idrians with UA

Use the scenario to make them come into my guns. Kill them for their trouble.   Using a complex ranged unit.
Keeping a fragile caster alive.  

 

Week 5 – Reckoner (or a Templar).

At this point I’m getting a lot less certain about my recommendations. The problem with Severius making everything in the faction better is that almost everything starts to look good. Moreover, it’s been a month from when the league started. Writing ahead of time, I don’t know what other players are taking, or how they’re using them. Thus, I have two possible recommendations for week five. Just remember – you can pick one of these, not both.
Option 1: A Dead Reckoning

 

The Reckoner is the workhorse of the Protectorate army. Its gun is range 12 and POW 14. Remember, that’s a POW 16 with hymn of battle on it, and POW 17 with battle and Eye of Menoth. The gun has flare, giving what it hits with -2 Def. With Eye of Menoth on your own things, that’s a 3 DEF swing in your favor from what you see just looking at the cards. 

In melee the reckoner has 2 inch range and P+S 17 before buffs. Under Eye of Menoth and choir buff, that’s P+S 20. Thump.

Defensively, the Reckoner has 32 boxes, Arm 19, and Def 10 with ashen veil. That makes it Def 12 much of the time, and Def 14, Arm 21 should you chose to put Defenders Ward on it. It also has immunity to fire, making it the second heavy in your list with immunity to fire. That’s randomly quite useful against, say, another Protectorate player, or a Legion player.

Take it. Shoot things, Smash things. Revel in the tears of the heretics.

It’s also worth noting that this ‘jack kit is the same chassis as the Castigator. That means that you can save the parts and potentially magnetize both ‘jacks, or turn your castigator into a Sanctifier later, should you so choose. If you’re looking to save a little money, this is not a bad way to go.

Option 2: Temp(lar)tation

If you find that Severius is dying to random gun shots, you could opt to take a Templar instead. While you’re giving up an amazing gun, you’re gaining an ARM 21 shield guard with 32 boxes. Like the Reckoner, it’s primary melee weapon is P+S 17 before buffs and has 2” reach. It is, however, 1 speed slower.

menoth-indictorDon’t underestimate the Templar’s ability in scenario, either. If you keep it near Severius as a shield guard until later rounds, then transfer over Defender’s Ward, you have a DEF 12, ARM 23 heavy you can march up the field and laugh as your opponent scrambles to find something in her or his (hopefully now somewhat depleted) army which can hurt it. The Templar’s beat back ability is icing on the cake, letting you push enemies away and follow up, keeping them away from your objective.

After the league, you’ll love the Templar with any caster who has a defense buff, especially if they can also speed it up. It slots into multiple lists, so you can feel certain it’s a decent investment for later on.

Final Decision

For me, I’m going with the Reckoner. My reasoning is that the scenario is changing again, and a slow melee jack isn’t going to be nearly as useful to pressuring my opponent (it might keep my own objective alive, though, so it is still a great option). This week also gives me something of a mental break, since the Reckoner isn’t that complex. I can focus on getting down the Idrians without having to dedicate a ton of mental energy to my new model.

Battle Plan

Between the Idrians, the Reckoner, the Repenter, and spells arced through the Revenger, this list now has a LOT of ranged power. The new scenario relies on you protecting your own objective while destroying your opponent’s. I hope to leverage my ranged power to shoot them down as they come at me, or just get line of sight to their objective and shoot it off the board. With their objective being arm 18, even those 30 boxes are going to melt if my Reckoner or the Idrians gets a few turns to shoot at it.

 

Week 5 Summary
List Plan Learning Objectives
Severius 1

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Reckoner

Max Temple Flameguard

Max choir.

Max Idrians with UA

Use the scenario to make them come into my guns. Kill them for their trouble. If they won’t come to me, use guns to kill their objective. Using ranged force.

 

Week 6 – Wrack, Hierophant, Dartan Vilmon

Week six is the most nebulous, simply because it’s so many games away. My choices may well be shaped what I know my opponents have been playing. For example, if my opponents have adapted by taking a gun or two, I may be desperate for that devout or vigilant I passed over in week one.

My lists thus far have also been pretty light on support. I have the choir, but everything else is aimed squarely at killing the enemy. While I’m leery of “support bloat”, (putting in so much support that you don’t have the attacks you need to kill the enemy) Protectorate has a lot of really good support models.

I’m not going to look at mercenaries for now. We have so many options, adding that many more seems overwhelming. While Protectorate has access to some of the best mercenary solos in the game, I’ve also barely scratched the surface of the in-faction options we have. I’ll be a faction purist for now.

Wrackerteering.

The thing I want to buy in this final week is one of the cheapest solos in the game – the Wrack.

I love these things. They generate focus which your caster can pull when they need it. They blow up a third of the time, though, so be careful not to pull it until you need it. The good news it that with power-up and 8 focus, Severius doesn’t have to pull this until the turn he really needs it (like to cast several ashes-to-ashes and wipe out entire units).

In all honesty, this is probably the thing you buy last when you realize you have one or two points left in a list. I mention it first, though, because you may have actually taken this earlier. For example, if you opted for the Devout in week one or the Templar in Week 5, you had an extra point already and can pick this up earlier.

Hierophantalism

While I don’t want too much of my list to turn into pieces with poor attacks the hierophant adds considerable value to my caster. Harmonious Exaltation is going to be his main action, making 1 spell the caster casts cheaper each round. Between him (or her – hard to tell under those robes) and the wrack, Severius is operating at a functional 10 focus. Not many casters in the game can say that.

The Hierophant also has value in “Spiritual Conduit”, which extends the range of spells dd6extras046the caster casts himself (as opposed to through an arc node) by 2”. While you almost certainly don’t want to get Severius within 10 inches of the front lines if you can help it, being able to put defender’s ward on something 8” from him instead of just 6” can help keep him safe. Plus, if the game drags on, it’s nice to bring that threat to bear from a little farther away.

Finally, the hierophant can heal. Honestly, odds are that if Severius gets targeted, he’s going to die. That said, it might help if he just catches the edge of an AOE or something.

With these two additions, Severius us suddenly a much more active participant in your army. He’s not just providing Eye of Menoth and upkeeping Defender’s Ward, he’s getting out a couple of offensive spells each turn. Your arc node will become more valuable, and it’ll be a challenge to decide how much to want to spend as opposed to camp, but by now you have plenty of models to hide behind.

Vilmonster

Until now, I’ve tried to recommend pieces which I can see being good with many or most other Protectorate casters. For these last points, however, I’m going to go a little more specialized. That stated, I make a few alternate suggestions next. If you want to really go with pieces you’ll use repeatedly, you absolutely could and still be fairly competitive.

With that in mind, I am going to spend my last points on High Paladin Dartan Vilmon.

The reason Vilmon actually makes the list is because he’s a (relatively) cheap shield guard. Severius has a tough time with high-pow shots. We probably could have used a shield guard early, but now’s the time I finally feel like I can get enough work done if I have something sitting in back.

When Vilmon uses his “Stone-and-Mortar stance” he’s ARM 21 with 8 boxes. That’s not too shabby. By putting Sev’s “vision” spell on Severius and keeping Vilmon nearby, that’s two shots a turn which are far less concerning for the old man. One cute interaction is that the hierophant can heal any living faction model with whom he’s in base-to-base, so if Vilmon takes a shot for Severius and lives, he can actually get healed up before striding into battle or taking another hit.

Vilmon’s utility, though, doesn’t stop there. He’s a MAT 9, P+S 14 weapon master. That’s before Eye of Menoth, not after. He’s also the only other magic weapon in the list, so if your opponent brought an incorporeal model (say, the feralgeist) you don’t have to use one of Severius’s spells to kill it. He also has “Righteous Vengeance”, which lets him advance up to 3” and make a basic attack if a friendly faction warrior gets killed within 5” of him. Since there are now 23 non-warcaster warrior models in the list, getting this ability triggered may not be too difficult.

I envision Vilmon sitting in the back until late in the game, then charging to deliver the finishing blow to an enemy heavy, solo, or objective. This is good practice for how to use combat solos, so he is also a chance to practice a new set of warmachine skills.

 

Alternatives

Vilmon is expensive for a solo. This is especially noteworthy if you opted for a Devout or a Templar earlier in the game, so that you already have a shield guard. There are a few alternative models you may want to seriously consider.

Vassal Mechaniks are as cheap as wracks. They wander around and can repair your ‘jacks. In a list with this many warjacks, it physically hurt me to leave them out.

Vassals of Menoth (distinct from Vassal Mechaniks, despite the similar names) are another good option here. They have a magical shot you hope to never use. They also have “Empower”, which can give a ‘jack a focus. This means you get to keep even more focus on Severius for his spells. It also removes disruption, which is handy if you’re in a meta with a Cygnar player who likes lightning.

The Vassal’s last ability, though, is why he’s so interesting with Severius. It’s called “Enliven”. When a Vassal puts enliven on a ‘jack, that jack gets to make a full advance the first time it takes damage. So, for example, when they load up their heavy to come kill your heavy, you get charged and take the hit, but then back up.

Backing up triggers a free strike, so they’re getting two boosted damage rolls against you. It’s still better than getting wrecked (especially if you have Mechaniks waiting in the wings). Severius makes this exchange far more profitable, though. He can cast his “Vision” spell on the ‘jack, which lets it ignore one damage roll of your choosing. Now you still take the charge, but when you back up you can cancel the free strike. You just took a single hit and are (hopefully) still ready to roll.

The Covenant of Menoth is the third noteworthy support solos, and it can also fit into the enliven package. It has three abilities from which you can choose. One of them, “Power of Faith”, stops friendly faction models from being knocked down or made stationary while within 5” of it. So now your opponent can’t even knock down your enlived ‘jack to keep it from backing up.

The Covenant’s second ability is “Lawgiver’s Creed”, which stops enemy models from casting spells while within its command range of 10”. There’s more of that lovely Protectorate denial ability. Delicious.

Finally, it has an ability called “Flames of Wrath” with which a friendly faction model or unit within its command can cause the continuous fire effect when they directly hit with their weapons. This doesn’t get used a lot, but take a moment to picture combining it with your Idrians and Malekus. That’s some good stuff.

 

Battle Plan

Our list in week six has some serious strengths. It hits harder and more accurately than most lists can. It can bring some serious ranged power to bear against either infantry or heavy targets. It has a ton of attacks, and It can hold zones with cheap heavies and infantry. Plus it has a few defensive tricks to help it win the attrition battle.

It also has some weaknesses. Taken as a whole, the list is somewhat slow. Its threat ranges are predictable. It may be slow to play with so many models on the table. It only has one unit which can deal with terrain. It also has no upkeep removal Most importantly, it relies on a caster who decided that tissue paper armor was fashionable. There’s plenty here a savvy opponent might exploit.

The battle plan, therefore, has to be pretty straight-forward: use the advantaged offensive power this list brings to bear to kill whatever comes close. Swing attrition in Severius’ favor as hard as you can at range so that they either leave a path to their objective open for the guns, or they don’t have anything left which can deal with your heavies.

 

Week 6 Summary
List Plan Learning Objectives
Severius 1

Hierophant

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Reckoner

Max Temple Flameguard

Max choir.

Max Idrians with UA

Wrack

Vilmon

Use the scenario to make them come into my guns. Kill them for their trouble. If they won’t come to me, use guns to kill their objective. Using solos to optimize the turn.

 

Afterthoughts

This list uses a lot of pieces which are useful in other lists. Honestly, once the league is over I could still see playing something close to this list. I could take out the repenter and Vilmon, use those points to upgrade the Revenger into the Blessing of Vengeance, the Castigator into a Templar, and put in a Vassal, the Covenant, and a mechanik.

Even better, I could play this same list with the High Reclaimer, Kreoss 1, or Vindictus and have a good list with very different play experiences. Protectorate has a ton of other, amazing models not touched on here, but these models can form the foundation of a lot of future lists.

 

TL;DR

 

As promised, here’s the short version.

 

Week List Alternatives
1 Malekus

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

N/A
2 Malekus

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Devout
3 Malekus

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Min Choir

Max Temple Flameguard

Add Wrack if took Devout week 1
4 Grand Scrutator Severius

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Max Choir

Max Temple Flameguard

Max Idrian Skirmishers

Chieftan and Guide

Reckoner, Hierophant, Wrack, Max Choir
5 Grand Scrutator Severius

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Reckoner

Max Choir

Max Temple Flameguard

Max Idrian Skirmishers

Chieftan and Guide

Templar
6 Grand Scrutator Severius

Hierophant

Revenger

Repenter

Castigator

Crusader

Reckoner

Wrack

High Paladin Dartan Vilmon

Max Choir

Max Temple Flameguard

Max Idrian Skirmishers

Chieftan and Guide

Vassal of Menoth

Vassal Mechaniks

The Covenant of Menoth