Chandler's Protectorate Corner! Batrep 4: Thyra vs. Thyron

Thyra.... oooh Thyra.

The Daughters of the Flame were a huge draw for me in Mk. II when I originally picked up my Protectorate. Sadly Thyra, while a lot of fun, was a bit one dimensional. She was the tricksy, movement shenanigan caster of Protectorate but didn't really have the tools to do much with it rather than just use it as a threat extender. In my opinion, though, the changes made to her in Mk. III were the most appropriate, well designed changes to any sub-par caster in the game. They gave her precisely the tools she needed to actually do the things she wanted to do while having plenty of options, without going overboard and making her some kind of meta breaking monster.

So Thyra. I've been asked about this list a lot, and I mean *a lot.* It feels like once a week I repost it to somewhere or another or get a PM about it or some thing or another, so I thought this would be a great place to just come out, get a bunch about it in writing, and have somewhere to direct people when they ask. So, where did this build come from?

Original this list started as me playing with a Durst list. The idea was to have a large number of models running Righteous Vengeance, go very solo heavy with models like Nicia, Paladins, Dartan, Pyrrhus, etc, Fire of Salvation, Blood of Martyrs running Durst's Hallowed Avenger spell, and all those goodies with the feat to deliver them. The list played reasonably well, it was a bit 'jack-light (typically those two characters, a Templar, and maybe a Devout or something) for a Durst build, but delivered itself well, was a little more alpha-strike oriented than I think Durst typically goes, but overall I wasn't sure about its consistency. My biggest thing, and it sounds silly, but it was that Nicia and Pyrrhus are only MAT 7. The Paladins being MAT 8/9 was fine but something about the cost of solos like Nicia and Pyrrhus bothered me for only being MAT 7. So I got to thinking about 'casters that can functionally buff the accuracy of solos. The obvious choice is Severius1, of course, as Eye of Menoth buffs everything. He didn't really work with the theme though; in short, there were just better ways to build him.

Then I remembered Thyra. Thyra has Carnage, one of the best MAT buff spells in the game, and it would help out every model in her army. In gaining her new signature spell Gates of Death, she may also be better at applying Carnage wherever she wants better than any other caster in the game. Further, she actually made the theme I was going for even better! She gives Daughters of the Flame Vengeance, Blood of Martyrs gains his Apparition, and her feat pushes out of activation movements to its limit.

The list back then ran TFG + Pyrrhus, all the solos, and two units of Daughters with some support. At Warmachine Weekend 2016, though, I found myself in a predicament: I only owned one unit of Daughters, I'd been borrowing the second for various events. So I stripped support way down and worked in a unit of Knights Exemplar with the CA, as well as swapping TFG for Idrians because I had picked them up recently.

So here we are... Thyra, the Shenanigan Queen of the Protectorate.

Thyra, Flame of Sorrow
-Blood of Martyrs
-Fire of Salvation
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance
Paladin of the Order of the Wall x3
Daughters of the Flame
Idrians Skirmishers + Chieftain and Guide
Knights Exemplar + Knights Exemplar Officer
min Choir of Menoth

That's it. Possibly my favorite list in Mk. III, I compare it to my Morvahna2 list which I pioneered to reasonable success before Mk. III tore it to pieces. So who was I playing against today? Why, none other than a caster whose name is almost identical: Thyron.

Thyron, Sword of Truth
-Banshee x2
-Griffon x2
Mage Hunter Assassin
Narn, Mage Hunter of Ios
Lys Healer
Arcanist Mechanik x2
Stormfall Archers x2
Mage Hunter Infiltrators + Eiryss, Mage Hunter Commander + Soulless Escort

Hopefully that's the whole thing. This Retribution/Protectorate player is one of the locals I get to play with the most these days, and it's always a great time. He's practicing for the Utah Cup this month (I would be too, but I'm running it) and is working out his Thyron build. I believe he's playing it in ADR but we didn't mess around with specialists before this one.

Our scenario is Extraction. Neither of us actually picked Objectives because... we probably forgot. I won the starting roll and opted to go first.

I got a hill, and a forest, water in the middle. walls on sides, forest on left. 

My Idrians picked one of the Griffons as their prey target, as I figured the Banshees would sit back and shoot for quite a while.

Protectorate Turn 1:
Well, my favorite thing to do with this list is to crowd people out with the fast, hard hitting Advance Deployment line but unfortunately he's got Infiltrators. My Idrians and Daughters run upfield, basically staying just out of charge ranges. There's really no spreading out quite enough to handle the AOEs of the Stormfalls but... my list frankly gets stronger when stuff dies so I don't really mind AOEs flying around. The 'jacks got Hymn of Passage which does nothing against the Banshees but keeps the Stormfalls from smashing away at them and their DEF 10 goodness. Mostly everything just ran, though. Thyra put Silence of Death on Blood of Martyrs, Occultation on the Idrian Skirmishers, and Gates of Death on herself. She walked 7", pulls off my Wrack to camp one with promptly explodes, and I end my turn, jumping her 6" further forward. Nice and aggressive.

Sad I had to hold back a bit, really. 
Retribution Turn 1: 

Well, I took first blood from him by murdering my own Wrack, so he has to take seconds. The Infiltrators run to jam up my front line a bit. The Mage Hunter Assassin runs out to flank one side. Stormfall Archers kill a couple of Idrians and half the Daughters of the Flame with blast damage. This procs Righteous Vengeance on every single model that has it (which is Dartan, the three Paladins, and Fire of Salvation) as well as giving the Daughters a Vengeance move on my next turn. Storm Rager goes onto Narn, who runs way off to the left away from Nicia. Beyond that everything basically just runs, typical first turn nonsense.

A few of my models dead, but lets see what we can do in return. 
Protectorate Turn 2: 
Time to start making some attack rolls. When everything is activated in this list, in many ways I almost get an extra turn before my turn actually starts. Sadly I'm not quite in position to use it but at least I can reposition stuff a little. My Paladins scoot a bit closer, with the one on the right walking over towards the Mage Hunter Assassin. Fire of Salvation scoots up a bit as well, and my Daughters position for their actual activation. One gets into melee with a Mage Hunter Infiltrator but misses her attack.

I know this is a Carnage turn so I don't give the 'jacks any focus (they don't need it anyway), drop Silence of Death from Blood of Martyrs (who apparitioned a little, really it's not important), and drop Occultation from my Idrians since things are already pretty stuck in. Thyra casts Carnage and walks up to the two Infiltrators ahead of her, killing both and overtaking backwards twice so I can jump back with Gates of Death at the end of the turn to a safer position. Nicia charges Eiryss, missing her charge but hitting her with Rapid Strike and killing her, using Sprint to get back behind his lines and engage his Banshee. My Daughters walked into back arcs on a few Infiltrators, beginning the process of clearing off my Idrians. Sadly the Paladins, while they did have range to move up and smack some, would have left themselves very vulnerable. All of them just advanced this turn and did Stone and Mortar Stance, including the one on the right to just engage the Mage Hunter Assassin; she was very unlikely to kill him, and I'd rather be able to Stone and Mortar the next turn and hit her rather than rely on a 6 to hit this turn to hope she dies.

My Idrians did a bit of aiming and advancing, and between some melee, aimed gunshots, and CRAs I remove every Infiltrator from the table except for one way off to one side, as well as the unit's Soulless Escort. They then popped their minifeat, which would keep them safe from Stormfall Archers for the next turn.

The 'jacks just sort of positioned for the next turn, staying out of charge threat of his heavies and using the units as a screen to keep the Griffons away. They got Passage again to keep the Stormfalls from doing too much damage. My Knights Exemplar on the left just ran and spread out so they could try and do work next turn. I knew they would eat casualties from the Stormfall Archers but... really you only need a few to get there to kill whatever you want anyway. I end my turn and Thyra teleports back behind Fire of Salvation.

So much bloodshed! This game was pretty violent.
Retribution Turn 2:

It looks like it's Thyron's feat turn! This is a bit out of order, but Thyron walked over and smashed poor Nicia, popping his feat. Stormfalls fired shots on both sides, killing one daughter on the left and a couple of the Knights on the left, as well as doing a bit of damage to Dartan who used Shield Guard to keep one Knight alive. His fully loaded Griffons charged into my units; unfortunately he forgot his Field Marshal: Cleave this turn, but across all of his attacks and side steps, a handful of Idrians and one Paladin was dead. The remaining Infiltrator and the Escort finished off my Daughters, and Narn charged and killed two Idrians, Sprinting out the back to mirror my Nicia... before she was dead anyway. His Mage Hunter Assassin took a flailing swing at the Paladin engaging her, but fails to roll the hard 15 required to kill him (he didn't quite break armor), leaving the two of them locked in their death struggle. Banshee's knocked down both of my heavies. Sorry I'm not more descriptive about enemy turns, I don't always know the thought process, just what they did :P In the end, he'd given a fairly solid that left three Idrians, my Idrian Chieftain, and four Knights + CA alive as far as my combat units go. This also put some Griffons right in my face.

Griffons! In my face! Narns in my backlines!
Protectorate Turn 3:

It's feat turn, kids. Time for jank. So everything with Righteous Vengeance has it ready to go, so lets position a bit. One Paladin walks over and smashes the Infiltrator sitting on the left flag, and Dartan just scoots up a bit. Fire of Salvation is knocked down, but Blood of Martyrs repositions a little with his Apparition in case I want to think about going in on his Banshee this turn. Both heavies use a focus to stand, but I end up not giving them any focus because I realize in my planning phase that I don't really need them to do much beyond help with the unjamming a wee bit.

So to start, Thyra needed to go. I upkept Gates of Death, cast Carnage, and had her walk back behind Narn, smacking him in the back of the head, then overtaking an inch forward feating to jump forward 2" and be closer to my army and get Carnage onto as much as possible. My Knights Exemplar then activated, feating 2" closer to get into range of his Banshee and three of them charged it. The Knights popped minifeat and three absurd damage rolls later, the Banshee is dust. As usual, I'm not sure I've ever failed to have three minifeated Knights Exemplar with Battle Driven kill a heavy. Now it was time to handle the Griffons in my face.

Dartan and the Paladin on the left both charged the Griffon. Dartan puts 15 damage into it in one swing (my dice did goofy stuff this turn), and the Paladin leaves the little jack on just a few boxes. The Idrians activate and teleport their two inches to give themselves charge ranges when they typically wouldn't on the Griffons. One charged the nearly destroyed Griffon, and two plus the Chieftain charged the other, which was their Prey. The one on the nearly destroyed Griffon finished him out easily (three boxes, shield was out), and then... the real dice happened. Two Idrians rolled 6,6,5 damage rolls on the Prey Griffon, killing it instantly. I wasn't really expecting the two Idrians to do that... that Griffon was certainly dead but I expected Blood of Martyrs to get involved a little. Still... I'll take it.

My Paladin on the right teleported over a bit to be closer to the fight for later, then forfeited his movement for Stone and Mortar before smashing the Mage Hunter Assassin in the face. The 'jacks get Passage yet again (those damn Stormfalls), Blood of Martyrs wanders over to the left while Fire of Salvation walks up and crushes the Soulless Escort. My turn ends and Thyra teleports forward and to the left.

A very blow-counter blow kind of game... but I think my blows hit harder.
Retribution Turn 3:

He's low on tools. all the Stormfalls are alive, his support is alive, and he's got the Banshee and Thyron. Luckily my Paladins are out of Stance (aside from the one way on the left) but... he has to deal with these Knights Exemplar, and unfortunately only Thyron himself is in a position to do it. He walks over and puts Storm Rager on himself before cutting the three Knights down. His Stormfall Archers activate and between the two units I'm left with a single Idrian, no Knights Exemplar left on the table, and both the Paladin and Dartan dead. The Banshee finishes off the last Idrian, but there's nothing left to activate besides the support. One Arcanist runs in front of Thyron but.... Righteous Vengeance and Hand of Vengeance have been triggered. Thyron is camping two without anywhere left to hide.

Forgot to take a picture so this was after a quick reset, so models are in weird spots.
Protectorate Turn 4:

Well, Thyron should be pretty dead, but I'm also very focus strapped. I want to cast Carnage, but I won't be able to give myself the insurance policy of upkeeping Gates of Death, and my 'jacks weren't getting fully loaded. Fire of Salvation steps three inches forward and a bit to the right, so he could clear the Arcanist. Blood of Martyrs apparitions 2" to get mostly out of the water, which gives him the distance to reach the Arcanist for side stepping purposes. Fire of Salvation gets a full load of three focus, Blood of Martyrs gets a measly two.

Thyra advances to within appropriate range and casts Carnage. Fire of Salvation charges Thyron and activates his Imprint; Thyron has Riposte, and even with Carnage I need sixes to hit. The Banshee shot earlier did a bit of damage, and I'd rather not lose an arm or something to a missed roll halfway through this. One focus to basically assure I wouldn't miss seems good. With only one focus left on him, Fire of Salvation swings his charge attack, easily hitting at MAT 9 with boosted rolls. He's dice +2 on Thyron, and rolls a nasty 14 damage swing into him for his first hit. The second attack is less powerful and puts a few points on him, but even after both attacks being reduced by focus, the bought third attack finishes him out.

The Pain Train Cometh
Post Game Thoughts

This list is my baby. I've spent more time with it than with any other in Mk. III, and have found very few lists able to keep up with it from just a straight up speed and wild angle perspective. Retribution in general has some great, fast options; his Griffons, Infiltrators, and great AOEs from the Stormfalls kept me from overly dominating the table, but not every list brings tools quite like that and really... most Protectorate-answers people will drop are not teched to fight a list like this one. It's also just a serious blast to play, I love the Paladins and they don't always find a place in the faction in general which is unfortunate.

So, the game itself. Both of us were actually gunning for a bit similar style of lists, although he was running with gun heavies and a bit more support, and Thyra plays the threat range game just a little bit better. The Idrian Guide was killed early on by Narn, which was unfortunate and I wish I'd placed him better to keep him alive; the turn after they killed the Griffon they could have repositioned to both score me a point and be harder to kill by AOEs, but it was no longer available to me. I also wish I'd swapped Occultation onto my Knights Exemplar in round 2, but if this list has one issue its that Thyra is extremely strapped for focus; a single wrack, no vassals, and no hierophant gives me less focus manipulation than I'm used to, but I don't really know where to find those points. Really I like running so support light in favor of just points that can kill things, but it does force some hard choices occasionally.

The water in the center was difficult to work around and forced me to split my force and commit pieces to either side, luckily Thyra is quick enough to work around it a bit. We talked a bit later on about using Mage Hunter Assassins as more of a late game finisher than anything... that said, she did tie up more than her points the whole game (4 point Paladin vs. 3 point MHA and he did nothing else the whole game) so could have been worse. Stormfalls did great work knocking down my Idrians and Daughters but just didn't have enough attacks to quite get through everything, but it was enough to keep us looking pretty close in the end game. Unfortunately I wasn't giving him a lot of good choices, such as Thyron *having* to go over and handle the Knights Exemplar which forced him into deadly threat range of my heavies.

Anyway, thanks for getting through this one everybody. As usual, here's an overly stylized shot from a model in my list... I think today we'll do the great High Paladin Dartan Vilmon, who doesn't get enough love these days.

The filter hides my scratched up, half done paintjob!