Chandler's Protectorate Corner! Batrep 2: Kreoss1 vs. Rask

Welcome back, followers and foes of the Devourer alike! We're here to take a little break from your regularly scheduled stalking and sprinting to yet again bask in the glorious light of Menoth!

I've been throwing Kreoss1 around the dojo for a while but have never really seemed to quite get him on the table. One thing I like about him is the same thing I love about Severius1: he lets you play stuff you wouldn't normally play and make it work to brutal effect. So I figured this might be a fun time to bust out my big, expensive Protectorate models and throw some huge bases on the table again.

Today's list was a bit of a thrown together concoction. Most of my competitive lists start out as just silly fun nonsense and then I see what worked and what didn't; this is the same style I used back in my time with Circle as well, and lead to finding a lot of interesting gems in places you wouldn't expect, including my Mk. II Morvahna2 list which I believe was one of the best lists I ever constructed. So, here's what we're working with:

High Exemplar Kreoss
Vessel of Judgement
Idrian Skirmishers w/Chieftain and Guide
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
min Choir
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & Honor Guard
Wrack x3
Vassal Mechanik

I believe at this point that Kreoss1 may be one of the only plays you can still take a Judicator and have it be worth his points... but we'll see how he plays out during this game and talk a bit about more serious changes to the list I'd make afterwards.

Today's game was into our local minions player, and one of the better players in the northern Utah area. He was also playing a bit of an experiment... lets see if I can remember his list exactly.

-Ironback Spitter x2
-Blackhide Wrastler
Farrow Brigands w/Warlord
min Croak Raiders
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew
Bog Trog Mist Speaker x2
Bog Trog Ambushers
Swamp Gobber Chef

Let's get this show on the road!

Our scenario was Close Quarters (Take and Hold.... it will always be Close Quarters to me) because that's what was set up on the table when we got there. He won our starting roll off and opted to go first, so I took the side with two forests because I had plenty of pathfinder so whatever.

Bottom of 1, forgot to take a picture after deployment. 
I chose the Wrastler as prey for my Idrians. His Brigands chose my Idrians as their prey. I deployed my Judicator on my left side, Vessel on my right, and all the support right in the middle with Kreoss dead center. Idrians lined up on the center, with Nicia taking a spot over on the far left of them, Eiryss on the far right.

Minions Turn 1: 

He moved up but kept back from my Idrian threat range (the two black bases there are the front end of my Idrian threat range. Huzzah, premeasuring. Admonition went up on the Wrastler, I believe (might have been the next turn but doesn't really make a difference.) Rask was cruising up on the left; it seemed he was going to go for aggressive scenario play on his own flag, which was a decent idea since my Judicator couldn't really get up to the flag very well. In hindsight I think that wall isn't supposed to be there since a huge base can't control on that side, but whatever. Most all of his beasts were on my left, facing off against the Judicator, and on the right were most of the infantry, directly opposite my Vessel.

Protectorate Turn 1:
My Idrians moved up and popped their minifeat, digging in to survive the onslaught of attacks coming into them this next turn. I wanted them as far forward as they could be to react to Rask's feat turn; I knew they wouldn't fare well this game but they could at least do a bit of damage before going down. Digging in would give them at least a chance to survive against the Spitters (still get corroded) and would keep the Brigands from doing much work into them. Nicia nestled in among the Idrians in the hope she didn't die to blast damage.

The Judicator plodded forward and launched some shots towards his brigands, hoping for some neat deviations to land on them and blow up some piggies, but all the deviations sort of durdled around no mans land between the armies. Kreoss snagged a focus off the left side Wrack, which stuck around, and put up Lamentation on himself and Defenders Ward on the Idrians. Choir had done Hymn of Battle on the Judicator (he wasn't really in danger and I hoped to kill some pigs), and Rhoven n Co ran up the center. Eiryss killed a Croak that had run up (apparently my picture above was like only 2/3 of the way through his turn for some reason) and stayed where she was at.

Prepping to deal with Rask's feat turn. I've done it so many times before... 
Minions Turn 2:

So it begins.

Rask moves up aggressively, feating and standing on his flag and boosting his gun into an Idrian, hitting and stripping off Defenders Ward (as well as killing the poor thing.) Brigands moved up and proceeded to attempt to hit my Dug In Idrians needing 10s. A couple shots do connect, taking two Idrians down. Sadly I forgot about the Vessel of Judgement's Doors of Judgement ability or I probably could have killed a Brigand during his turn. His Croak Raiders realized they basically had no function here and just ran to engage stuff on my right side.

The Wrastler moved up on the left, Admonition keeping him... somewhat... safe. The Spitters walked up and flung shots out towards Nicia and my Idrians. In the end, Nicia is on 1 hp and corroded and an Idrian is corroded. Mist Speakers and Bog Trogs move up and throw some clouds around.

Nicia.... please don't die girl! We need you!
Protectorate Turn 2:

Nicia doesn't die.

Unfortunately her Idrian friend does but that's acceptable. With corrosion rolled out on Nicia, she gets more time to try and get some work done. Rask's feat is up, though, and I've got to try and shave off what I can. I've played against Rask so many times, it doesn't even phase me anymore but man is he strong.

My play into Rask, though, is typically the same: get aggressive. My Idrians, having mostly weathered the storm, moved up and started putting shots into anything they could. Three of them put a few points into his Wrastler, and a few Brigands go down to gunfire. On the right side, my Vessel scoots up close to some Croaks and fires his Eruption of Faith, killing a couple. He then fired Divine Wrath into a Brigand on the far right that was outside Rask's feat, Admonisher rolling max jumps and in the end, three Brigands are dead, another knocked down. The Vessel has begun its game-long pain train. Spoiler: I'm in love with this battle engine after this game.

Eiryss scooted into the forest just barely getting LOS to a croak raider and shoots him... basically all she's going to do this game is shoot a dude per turn, but if you know much about Protectorate, you'll realize that my positioning on her was very poor. If you don't see it.... you'll see next turn. The Judicator runs, not having much to do (I debated having him use an Idrian as a firing beacon but... really I'm more likely to kill my own stuff than his.) Kreoss snags another focus off the Wrack on the far left, which explodes, having done its duty. He puts Defenders Ward up on the Idrians again (figure I'll make him shoot if off again), and stomps forward aggressively. Gius and Cassian run up to block LOS to him, Rhoven lags behind.

My Choir sing Hymn of Passage for the Judi, and the Mechanik moves over closer to the Vessel (not pictured below, I forgot about him until after I flipped my clock but my opponent graciously let me scoot him over a bit.) Nicia runs over to the left to get away from the Spitters. I figure they can shoot her if they want but if they get that close, they're in for a world of pain.

Come on, Nicia! Stay on your feet! Also, Kreoss, don't die either, because... yeah. 
Minions Turn 3:

So I successfully contested, and Rask is feeling a little bit crowded. Ambushers pop up over on the right side, which is more or less what I expected. Rask steps back a bit onto the hill and shoots Defenders Ward off of my Idrians. Brigands shoot a bunch of Idrians, really that unit gets basically decimated this turn but that's about what I expected. My Vessel does use Doors of Judgement this turn, causing an Idrian to walk up and smack a Brigand in the face, which actually saved my Chieftain from a follow up charge attack, even though the Brigand did succeed his tough check. The Spitters move up and start blasting shots into Gius and Cassian. In the end, Gius is left on 1 hp and corroded, Cassian is dead, and a crazy blast damage roll puts a few damage onto Kreoss, leaving him also corroded.

His Wrastler (not pictured because it was a post-turn mulligan) walked up on the right and snacked an Idrian. His Ambushers charged! So this is where my positioning with Eiryss was bad: one charged the Wrack there and it exploded, taking Eiryss with it because she was too close. Derp. Four Ambushers get range onto the Vessel, poking it a bit. ARM 20 is a thing, it seems. The rest fan out to try and be a second charge wave. The one remaining Croak Raider charges Nicia, failing to hit because 10s are hard. The attrition war is in full swing.

Fun little note, the Spitters wanted to put up Counterblast but couldn't because Lamentation is sweet.

Get off my lawn, bog trogs. 
Protectorate Turn 3:

I wonder if this is feat turn?

So I've weathered Rasks feat and taken... relatively minimal losses. It's time to show him what a REAL feat looks like.

Disclaimer: I'm joking. Rasks's feat is really good.

Kreoss loads up the Judicator with focus.
Rhoven tromps over to my Vessel and hands it some sweet, sweet Eyeless Sight. Kreoss feats, snags a focus off the Wrack in my back center which decides to stick around a bit longer, and walks backwards. The only things not in the feat are Rask, the Brigand Warlord, one Brigand, and two Ambushers. Kreoss stands just at the edge of the killbox, which puts him in range of one Spitter (we thought it was both but... more on that later.) My Vessel aims now that it isn't engaged, and fires another Eruption of Faith, killing three Ambushers and the remaining Croak Raider, shoving the surviving Ambusher out 4", which actually was an amazing result, which you'll see in a minute. It then puts a shot into the Bog Trog Mist Speaker, using its glorious Eyeless Sight to see through Prowl and killing both the Bog Trog and one Brigand.

Nicia lived the dream; because the one knocked down Ambusher was pushed back against his buddies, she was able to charge another KD'd one and get in range of two of them. She proceeds to kill both knocked down Ambushers, and also fire Quick Work twice and kill two more. She then sprints over closer to the Brigands.

Idrians move to the right, a couple putting a few points of damage onto his Wrastler, the one out of range shooting his remaining Swamp Gobber (the other had been eaten for tasty fury management.)

Hymn of Battle goes up on the Judicator, who walks up to within 8" of his Wrastler. He then proceeds to blast the Wrastler off the face of Caen (also one of my Idrians but whatever). Just doing Menoth's work.

My Mechanik fixes up the Vessel a little. I pass the turn.

Alright... don't die Kreoss.... Plz....
Minions Turn 4:

My opponent yanks in some fury and does a bit of quick measuring to check distances on the Spitters. He decides it's time to shoot at Kreoss. His Brigands stand, the two that were already standing moving up and putting shots out to finish out my Idrians, moving Prey to the Vessel. His Spitters then activate. One walks up and fires, hitting Kreoss square in the face and putting a few points on him, corroding Rhoven but doing no damage to him. The other Spitter walks up... and we realize he's out of range. His measurements had been quite quick and in the end he was a good half inch out, shutting down any thought of assassinating Kreoss. He shoots at Kreoss anyway, but it deviates into the middle of nowhere.

Rask moves up and boosts a damage roll into the Judicator with his gun, putting a few points onto him. He casts Admonition onto one Spitter. The Ambushers over on the right stand and move around to flank. Not much left on the table at this point, really.

Picture is a couple activations into my turn. 
Protectorate Turn 4:

Well, Judicator gotta go do some work. The Mechanik repairs the battle engine for a couple points. My Vessel scoots back a little, firing another Eruption of Faith which finishes out the other three Ambushers. He shoots a Brigand, bouncing I think once, knocking down the main target and killing another. Nicia walks into the back arc of a Brigand, killing him with her second swing and using Quick Work to shoot another. Honestly the dead Brigand count confuses me slightly this turn but whatever, end result is the next picture.

My fully loaded Judicator gets Hymn of Battle, Kreoss fires Purification and puts Defenders Ward onto the Judicator, and Judi goes in to do work. At dice +5, a couple awkward damage rolls leave me at killing one Spitter and getting one attack into the other, which does a respectable 14 damage. The Judicator feels safe to me though; even with Fury, Spitters don't hit that hard, I should have some systems left next turn to finish things out. Rhoven runs up behind the Judicator to start getting involved next turn.

Wish I'd killed or otherwise done more damage to both Spitters, but ah well. 
Minions Turn 5: 

Operation murder a Judicator is a go!

Rask scoots over a bit, boosting a damage roll from his gun into the Judicator, stripping Defenders Ward and doing a few points. Fury and Boundless Charge go onto the Spitter.

The Spitter does a jank charge because huge bases are a thing. He then proceeds to beat the Judicator mostly to death, leaving it on only a couple boxes, surprising me a bit. A Brigand Warlord charge leaves me suddenly with no colossal, and a Spitter with more health than I like standing there. Somewhat concerning. I get a bit lazy about the pictures here so... sorry.

Protectorate Turn 5:

Well, gotta just get some damage on the Spitter, I guess. Carapace makes it hard for the Vessel to do a ton but... commence poking. The Vessel fires at his Spitter, boosting damage and putting a few points onto it. Admonisher jumps to his Brigand Warlord, doing 4 damage to him. Rhoven charges his Gobber Chef, who had actually charged the Judicator and done a point of damage in there somewhere. He kills it and Battle Wizard's a Cleansing Fire into the Warlord, finishing him out. Nicia walks around the forest and shoots a Brigand in the back of the head. At this point no Brigands are left.

Kreoss puts Defenders Ward on himself and heals a few points; the only attack he can get on me is the Spitter, so I just keep one focus. The Choir runs way off to the left to start turning into contesting pieces.

Judicator, where did you gooooooo
Minions Turn 6: 

The Spitter has a choice: go shoot at the Vessel and die to Kreoss, or try to start a scoring race. He opts for the second option. Rask walks up B2B with the flag and shoots Rhoven, leaving him on 1 hp. The Spitter charges Rhoven and finishes him out. I believe he also puts up Counterblast. Minions score 1 point. I get extra lazy about pictures here.

Protectorate Turn 6: 

Operation continue poking the Spitter to death, awaaaaaay. The Vessel scoots up a bit to get range and shoots the Spitter in the back, doing a few points. Admonisher jumps to Rask, where I boost damage and figure hey, I can force transfers into the Spitter, that would be neat. Rask takes about 6 points.

Nicia walks up into Rask's back arc and shoots him. Well, it turns out his Spitter was maxed out and I didn't realize it so... Nicia's bullet goes right through the back of Rask's skull, finishing the game instantly.

Post Game Thoughts

While Rask is an amazing warlock, there's no denying that Kreoss is a vicious creature as well. My Judicator actually did pretty well; in the end he traded down a few points, but my damage rolls into one spitter were very awkward. In hindsight I should have swapped over and put two attacks into the other Spitter when the first was only on 3 hp, I can handle two 3-10 HP spitters a bit better than I can one that has around 20 hp left, since I wasted a ton of damage swinging a dice + 5 hit into the 3 hp one. That said... the Judi comes out if I want to take the list seriously, he's just so inefficient.

Eiryss I'm also not a huge fan of here or... really anywhere outside ADR. She's a lot of points and as soon as you drop into Hordes it's like great, guess I'm just pew pewing one dude per turn. Also the new focus mechanic in many ways reduces her usefulness; I'm fairly sure I can shoot most casters off the table even through focus camp once they're knocked down. My first edit was to drop Eiryss and the Judicator, add two Reckoners, a Redeemer, and a second Mechanik. More focus efficient, more effective guns, all the good stuff. Another thought would be to drop a Wrack or that second Mechanik, drop Nicia, and put in two Allegiants of the Fist, who fulfill a somewhat similar role but without as many points in one basket and really more obnoxious to actually get rid of.

The Vessel of Judgement.... boy was that thing a beast this game. 6 Ambushers, I think around half the unit of Brigands and enabling killing the Warlord, a Mist Speaker, and about 1/3 of his casters health on the accidental assassination run... the gun is great, the utility is great, this is just an awesome piece. With the drastic increase to WJ points in Mk. III, Battle Engines are extremely hard to fit into lists, but I forced myself to squeeze him in there and boy did he do some serious work. I think taking a second Mechanik to just top off its health as much as possible is warranted, the thing does enough work and the Mechaniks do have good use elsewhere.

Anyway, thanks for getting to the end! Was a great game, playing our local minions player is always a seriously enjoyable time, and he stuck around super late into the evening to make sure I could get a game in when I really wanted to. Glad he did, it turned out to be one of the more epic games I've played in quite a while.

To finish out, here's a heavily filtered image of my Judicator, who I love but unfortunately isn't what he used to be.

Maybe I'll actually paint him someday...