It's time, one and all, for the second battle report of Truth & Consequence! This time I took our new Exemplar Interdiction theme out for a spin, and at the helm... Vice Scrutator Vindictus, the Protectorate master of infantry himself.
Can't crack this egg.
This was a wild game, with a lot of back and forth. Two extremely fast lists meant the fight was raging from the first moments of the game, and the scenario forced a pretty aggressive and violent mess in the center of the table.
I've been planning to try out Vindictus with the new theme force since it dropped on us. Unfortunately, as there's a lot of things in the mail right now, it's not *exactly* the list I wanted to run, but it's pretty close. The only model that showed up as a proxy was a Knight Exemplar Seneschal, played by a Knight Errant Officer.
Vice Scrutator Vindictus
Knights Exemplar + Officer
Knights Exemplar + Officer
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven and Honor Guard
Knight Exemplar Seneschal
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
min Choir of Menoth
My opponent is our local minions and mercs player, who today brought a little bit of both in the form of a Phinneus Shae build running Dahlia and Rorsh.
Captain Phinneus Shae -Freebooter -Rover Rorsh -Brine Dahlia Hallyr -Skarath Bosun Grogpsar Doc Killingsworth Lord Rockbottom First Mate Hawk The Commodore Cannon & Crew min Sea Dog Pirates + Mr. Walls, the Quartermaster min Press Gangers
Our scenario today was from the Steamroller 2017 CID packet, and was Scenario 2: Standoff. In this scenario we have two horizontally placed rectangular zones, one on each player's side, a circle zone to each player's left and right, and an objective in the center of each rectangular zone. I chose Fuel Cache as my objective, and my opponent chose Armory.
I won the start of the game roll, as we're both playing very fast armies but he has access to advance deployment, taking as much of the table as possible is going to be important, especially given that he's got a zone he can just park himself in for as long as he feels like with his 'jacks scoring points. He chose table side, giving me two buildings and a patch of rough terrain to slog through.
I deployed with my Vengers off to my right, then Knights Exemplar, my battlegroup models all packed in the center with Rhoven n Co and the choir right behind, with Vindictus sitting dead center. A vassal hung out behind each Reckoner, and the other unit of Knights Exemplar stood to my left. The Seneschal is around the middle, I believe.
Such Dudes. Much Mk. 3. Wow.
Shae's army set up with the two Minion lessers to my right, Grogspar and Killingsworth next to them, Shae and his 'jacks central, Rockbottom and Hawk to my left, and the Cannon out to my far left near the hill. His Press Gangers were to my left, Sea Dogs to my right.
A great and powerful finger looms in from the east...
Protectorate Turn 1:
I'm very fast. He's also very fast. Unfortunately, I make poor decisions this round.
Vindictus starts things off and casts True Path, then Defenders Ward goes onto the Knights Exemplar to my right. The Vengers blitz 18" up the table, spreading out all over the right side zone, threatening basically across his whole rectangular zone if they wanted. The Knights on the left fanned out towards that zone, the ones on the right packed in through the space between the building on my right and the objective. The Reckoners sidled up on either side of the objective, giving Vindictus a nice wall of metal to hide behind, and the support and Devout all came up behind. The Seneschal stuck a bit to the left. Really just a lot of running.
Sorry, my game room sits right outside the Pearly Gates, the glow is obnoxious.
Mercenaries Turn 1:
Well, I didn't really account for how insanely fast a Shae army can be. He opts for the bottom of 1 feat and starts getting to work. Shae, of course, feats and pops Coup de Main, sidling up in the rectangular zone. The Sea Dogs got Tough from Rockbottom. Rorsh popped his AOE to cruise him and Brine forward, and Brine proceeded to charge and slaughter one Venger in the zone. Dahlia popped Haunting Melody and gave Skarath pathfinder, which he used to charge another Venger, killing him. The Sea Dogs got their minifeat, charging and killing a third Venger, along with two Knights Exemplar from the Defenders Warded unit to my right. His Press Gangers charged on my left, obliterating three knights exemplar from the other unit. Some of the support solos ran up but mostly weren't able to get in range to effect much. His 'jacks ran up on either side of Shae in the zone, the freebooter leaping into the water to get that sweet, sweet concealment (plz nerf Amphibious). The Commodore, now sitting on a hill, blasted one of Rhoven's boys off the face of Caen. Overall, a pretty good amount of damage for a bottom of 1 play.
Well this escalated quickly.
Protectorate Turn 2:
Scenario was going to be an issue. I had some plans though, so... time to enact them. I upkept Defenders Ward. Ideally, this turn I kill Skarath and quite a few of the pirates, but... things gonna have to play out well.
My Reckoner on the left just wacked a couple Sea Dogs, not much getting done there. Choir sang Battle, since I wanted to put a bit of pain onto Skarath before my remaining two Vengers charged in. The Devout made a bit of room for the Reckoner on the right, after getting a focus from a Vassal, to scoot back, getting out of melee with the two Sea Dogs in front of him and freeing up room for the Knights to pass between him and the building. He shot Skarath, boosting to hit, and missed completely. So. Off to a good start.
My Knights on the left started working on some Press Gangers, but only got through a couple after tough checks and the like. Luckily, they'd knocked the perfect one over for Rhoven to charge over, autokilling the knocked down Press Ganger and firing a battle wizard AOE into three of the Pirates. When all was said and done, even after the Press Gangers that had been made out of my own Knights, only three of the pirates remained on that side.
On the right, my Defenders Warded Knights cleaned up two of the Sea Dogs, failing to kill the third in my melee.
Vindictus puts Penitence on my Knights on the left, Admonition on my Reckoner on the left. I feat, trying to avoid charges to keep my good armor values in a good spot to save me.
The Vengers then charged Skarath, with no help besides Battle Driven. Both were able to impact, and rolled enormous damage rolls. They then proceeded to crank the charge damage, and two Vengers outright kill Skarath, easily making up for my mediocre dice on the Reckoner. They reposition in to be annoying with the Freebooter and some of the infantry. This more or less finishes out my turn.
Sadly I'm having trouble leaving my little box in my zone.... these damn buildings!
Mercenaries Turn 2:
Honestly this game looked like a Round 4 game to me alright, crazy how fast things kicked off.
My opponent cleared off the Vengers, but took a lot of work doing it. Both the Freebooter and Brine had to get involved, but the two did die. Dahlia and Rorsh both move up to toe the zone.
His Rover moves up and shoots my Reckoner, which gets shield guarded by the Devout, who takes no damage.
His Sea Dogs received Tough again, and managed to kill... a single Knight Exemplar under defenders ward. The Press Gangers on the left start working on the Knights on that side, but only succeed in killing one... and more importantly, leaving one alive toeing the zone. He even attempts a clever play in which the new Press Ganger put into play from the dead Knight went just outside my Knight's 1" melee, and the Cannon slammed him... exactly 1", failing to do anything. His Press Ganger did tough and this time Grogspar and Killingsworth were closeby, as they had run into the zone. He wouldn't be scoring that side this turn though. The Press Gangers proc Admonition on my Reckoner as they move around, letting him scoot up 3" towards his Rover.
Shae drops Veil of Mists in front of my Reckoner so I can't see the Rover. He remains hanging back for the most part.
At the end of the turn, he's only able to score 2 points instead of the three he anticipated.
Remind me never to point my table in this direction again. Bloody window.
Protectorate Turn 3:
Have to... keep... grinding...
Stuff needs to start dying a whole lot quicker or this isn't going to go well.
I upkeep my spells and hand one focus to the Reckoner on my left. He's got work to do.
My Vassal on the left hands out a focus and moves out of the way for Rhoven's Honor Guard. The two of them charge, the Honor Guard member (I don't know which is it, let's call it Cassian) kills a Press Ganger. Rhoven's target, sadly, toughs. However, the Knights on that side use Overtake, their mini feat for the hit rolls, and Cleave to cleanly kill the rest of that unit in that zone. My Knights on the right cut through the couple Sea Dogs there, finally clearing my path forward for the rest of my army. The 'jacks get Battle. My right side Reckoner puts a gunshot into his Freebooter, doing an alright little chunk of damage and reducing its defense. The now fully loaded Reckoner on the left received Admonition again from Vindictus, then charges the Freebooter, wrecking it with his last attack.
One Knight had run around to contest the right side zone, and my 'jack was now in his zone, keeping him from scoring on my turn. I'm certain I can start scoring myself, soon, and once that happens, I think scenario will go off the table quite quickly. I just have to hold out one more round and I think the attrition goes into my favor.
Also, this is an activation of note: my Vassal fires an Arcane Bolt at Hawk, hitting her needing a 9, killing her with a 6, and she failed her tough. Dude went MVP mode.
Cut through their center! Divide and conquer!
Mercenaries Turn 3:
Operation clear the zones continues.
Rorsh walks up to kill the Knight Exemplar on the right. He proceeds to miss, then hit and boost damage but fail to crack armor, then throw an AOE which deviates right off of him. Go, Rorsh!
A pair of Sea Dogs wanders over to try and kill that Exemplar. They fail to do so, Defenders Ward saving his life repeatedly. Rockbottom moves up to start trapping my Admonition'd Reckoner, so I activate it to pull him back a few inches. He's totally dead, I know that, but I can at least make sure whatever kills it is well inside my range to handle. Unfortunately I disengage Rockbottom when I do this, and he sprays two Knights, killing one and lighting the other on fire. The Rover and Brine move up and tear the 'jack down fairly easily. Rorsh moves up to prepare to attack my remaining Knight Exemplar next turn, but... he's not dying for now. Dahlia runs across the zone to stop my units from charging this turn.
On the left, Grogspar charges and misses a Knight in the zone. Killingsworth shoots down one Knight, killing it easily.
The Cannon fires a fire AOE into the cluster of guys in the rough terrain. He hits Cassian, my Seneschal, a choir member, and my vassal on the left.
He scores a single point, going to 3. My boys just won't die.
Time to get into a giant pile in the middle of the table, it seems.
Protectorate Turn 4:
My Reckoner gets one focus in addition to power up. My Devout gets fully loaded. I upkeep Defenders Ward, drop Penitence.
Cassian, the choir member, and the vassal die to fire. The Knight on fire to my right survives. It goes out on the Seneschal.
The Seneschal charges Grogspar, killing him instantly. Rhoven walks up and shoots a Cleansing Fire into Killingsworth, killing him as well. The Knights on that side run to threaten the Cannon and stop that damn fusillade of nonsense. My Reckoner, under Battle, charges his Rover, leaving it on two boxes in its cortex. The Knights on the right mini feat and walk up to Brine, taking a pretty good chunk out of his health, and the Knight in the zone kills the two Sea Dogs in melee with him. My Devout charges Brine, leaving him on a few wounds. In the end, I've cleared the left side and score my first point, and his heavies will be very easy cleanup after this.
Attrition has swung enough in my favor I think I'm in a good spot now.
Mercenaries Turn 4:
Brine pops his animus and proceeds to do 4 damage to my Knight Exemplar CA. That is all he succeeds at doing. Ashen Veil nearby + Defenders Ward is a thing.
The Rover moves over and flails at the Reckoner a bit, failing to do any damage. Shae moves up to attack the Reckoner, at which point I activate Admonition and step back a bit. Shae fires a Blow the Man Down into the Reckoner, who is engages and has Ashen Veil, and succeeds in hitting, critting, and slamming the Reckoner into my Objective, breaking the gun arm. Mr. Walls runs to the left zone to contest. The Cannon attempts to slam shot my Reckoner again, but the Devout takes it and gets slammed into a building, taking a little chunk of damage. Rockbottom walks over and sprays the Knight CA in the left zone, doing a couple points of damage to her. Rorsh charges the Knight in the right zone and finally kills him. He scores a 4th and 5th point in the zones, but I score in my zone, making the score 5-2.
Back and forth... back and forth... back and forth...
Protectorate Turn 5:
Continue the attrition!
The Knight that was still on fire on the right dies to it finally. Fire on the Knight CA on the left rolls out, luckily.
Both 'jacks shake knockdown, and are otherwise fully loaded. Vindictus snags a focus off a wrack and gets Admonition up onto the Reckoner again and sets up behind a fort of Choir.
Rhoven charges Mr. Walls, killing him, then Battle Wizard puts a Cleansing Fire into the Cannon, killing its entire crew and making it worthless. Holy crap did Rhoven do work this game.
My Knights on the left charge in a bid to kill Rockbottom, but the little bastard toughs.
The Seneschal walks up and one shots the last couple boxes of the Rover. The Reckoner then finishes off Brine, then boosting an attack into Shae which misses. My Knight CA on the right walks around behind Rorsh and finishes him off. The Devout boosts two attacks into Dahlia, connecting the second and killing her. At the end of my turn, it's a useless Cannon on the hill, a knocked down Rockbottom, and Shae left. I score the left and right zones, as well as my own zone, making the score 5-5. Scenario is effectively off the table at this point.
Burn, pirates! Buuuuurn!
Mercenaries Turn 5:
I think we're into the stage of going for silliness at this point.
Rockbottom makes a flailing swing at my Knight CA but fails to do anything. Shae decides to go for a play on a couple damage rolls on my caster on the off chance it somehow kills me. He walks around the Reckoner, taking a free strike from it and the Devout. Once he lands, the Reckoner spins around with Admonition, stopping any chance he had of shooting. Still, he fires a Blow the Man Down into the Choir in front of Vindictus, and even with the -2 to hit from Ashen Veil he's getting, he connects and crits again, knocking my caster to the ground. The Choir member dies, Vindictus takes four damage after using a focus to negate it. Unfortunately, with no gun, he has nothing beyond that and proceeds to smack my objective, beat backs closer, then kills my Vassal, which was rude. He ends his turn and I score three more points, making it 8-5, my favor.
Shae is a travellin' man.
Protectorate Turn 6:
Well, I'll summarize this quickly: I could end my turn and just win instantly 11-5, but where's the fun in that?
My Knight Exemplar CA proudly smacks Rockbottom in the face... rolling triple 1's damage and failing to crack armor. Awkward.
My Exemplar Seneschal charges into Shae's back with the intent to try and combo smite him into my objective for funsies. He misses his first attack, but the second connects and does some damage.
The Reckoner then walks up behind him and crushes the little pirate.
And there was much rejoicing!
Post Game Thoughts
What a grind.
I love games like this, and to be honest I love this scenario. The zone on the far side is a little concerning when you're fighting a list this fast, and a little luck kept me in it, but overall it was a live scenario in a lot of ways that forced an intense, aggressive fight. This game always felt like it was 2 turns later than it was, since it all kicked off so fast.
I need to get better at playing Vengers. I could have just hung back and flanked way around the side of that zone, to where very little could get to me and just threaten the entire thing easily. Wasn't any reason to move them forward that much. The Knights Exemplar on the right also should have fanned into that zone rather than trying to go up the center, as if they're all there, he can't send two heavies in to kill my Vengers like that without them just being instantly lost. They're scary pieces that hit harder than almost any infantry model I can think of with their minifeat, gotta use that to the best of its ability.
Little mistakes on both sides, but was an intense matchup. Shae is faster than me for one turn, but the additional deployment and, of course, True Path were considerable. The +2" deployment is a great boon to a list like this one, and hopefully as Exemplar get fleshed out more, the theme gets a bit more depth to it.
Protectorate List Thoughts
So I have a Gravus on the way, among other things, that I think will tighten this list up a bit, but honestly I really like it! I like the double Reckoners in addition to having my favorite minimum of 3 shield guards. I actually straight up forgot to activate the Seneschal one turn, but I really like him as a free solo, he's order of activations awkward to properly kill, is hard to target among all my other threats, but will just do insane damage if left to his own devices. I really want to play with a pair of them when I get the physical models in.
The only 'hole' in the list really is I have very little ranged presence. Errants can shore that up a bit but... overall, this is the Exemplar theme force and Exemplar just aren't very shooty. Vindictus shores up a bit of that weakness by being quite hard to shoot *back* at, then very very fast, so I think it's ok.
Also... Rhoven... what a beast. Dude killed 4 Press Gangers, Killingsworth,Walls, and effectively killed the Commodore Cannon by clearing off its crew. Rhoven and Co become more of an auto include for me every time I play them, I swear.
Overall, really great game with an opponent I always enjoy playing. See you all next time!