I play Protectorate for the teleportation shenanigans, clearly.
Often times a list can really end up being a lot more than the sum of its parts. There's definitely something to be said about taking various, already quite strong pieces, applying synergistic buffs and the right warcaster, and going from there. There's some instances, though, where an entire list skews in a direction, regardless of whether the individual pieces in it are good or not. We've seen that in the past with box spam, such as Karchev and approximately a thousand Berserkers, each of which are quite poor pieces in a lot of ways but become absurd in the numbers they could be taken. Sometimes we see armor skews in which even less effective pieces are taken just because their ARM value is high, or DEF skews in similar veins.
Sometimes, though, lists skew slightly odd things. A common "skew" in Protectorate is spell hate, for example; entire lists designed with Blessed, anti magic bubbles, sacred ward or similar rules, and the like. The nature of Defenders Ward on a handful of casters allows us to design towards DEF or ARM skews, but many of our defensive effects are more technical in nature.
This build utilizes a skew I've seen very rarely, mostly in some Tanith + Scarsfell Griffon dojo with the Leyline hosts but... overall, quite rare: out of activation movement.
Thyra, Flame of Sorrow
-Blood of Martyrs
-Fire of Salvation
Paladin of the Order of the Wall x3
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon
Daughters of the Flame
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance
Idrian Skirmishers + Chieftain and Guide
min Choir of Menoth
Ever wanted to dust off your paladins? Outside maybe some Harbinger builds, I think this is probably the place to do it.
There have been a number of iterations of this particular build, and they all have strengths and weaknesses. Originally, the Knights were a second unit of Daughters, but I forgot to pack my second unit at an event, ran it with Knights instead, and actually found I preferred it. The Idrians were also Temple Flameguard + Pyrrhus, which gives the list a lot more staying power but less aggression and virtually no guns. Just so you know a few different ways you could also try this out.
So let's break this down... why did I bring what I brought here.
Support, the usual. Thyra is strapped as hell for focus so she needs all the help she can get, but unfortunately there's not really room for Vassals here. Really the 'jacks don't need a lot of focus to get a remarkable amount done, though, and on the turn they really need the focus she can typically oblige.
Blood of Martyrs
Stick 'em with the pointy end!
The first piece of our heavy push towards out of activation movements, Blood of Martyrs' bond with Thyra is that he gains Apparition. Further, Blood of Martyrs under Thyra can become one of the most insanely accurate and hardest hitting 'jacks int he Protectorate, hitting MAT 11 PS 22 on his two melee attacks with Carnage, Silence of Death, and Hand of Vengeance active. Blood is a really good 'jack who struggles a little to find a place with a lot of casters, but gaining Apparition with Thyra makes him a steal.
Fire of Salvation
I talk a bit about Salvation's capabilities in my
, and this list is really where he has been a great option. He adds on to the out of activation movements with Righteous Vengeance, has even slightly better accuracy than Blood of Martyrs if he wants to activate his Imprint, and threatens a mile when stacked with Thyra's feat.
"I'd like to be able to turn my head..."
This list was actually originally a Durst build, trying to make something good for him with Paladins, and lead to Thyra when I was trying to work out the best ways to give our solos good accuracy buffs (other option is basically Severius, at least on an army-wide scale.) Vilmon gives all the paladins Righteous Vengeance. This, on top of Thyra's feat, means they can be coming at you from really absurd angles at pretty ridiculous ranges (if Righteous Vengeance is activated and you pop feat, they each will threaten 15"). They'll duck this way and that when they do it, too, with two movements before hand that will send them at angles your opponent would never expect. I'll talk more about Paladins in general in another post someday, but for now... they're a ton of fun in this list.
Nicia has two major problems: she dies to boostable blast, which this list doesn't fix, and she's only MAT 7. Carnage helps this quite a bit. She's very much a finesse piece, and is just nice in that she gives kind of a long range missile that can go in as a small activation and do a bit of work before sprinting away. She's not *necessary* to the list, but I think she's helpful. Alternatives could be a CA for the Knights Exemplar or a Knight Exemplar Seneschal, even.
Honestly? They're just really good, throw occultation on them, shoot stuff, reposition around... the list really needed a core combat unit that would be the ones being attacked to proc Righteous Vengeance and the like, and Idrians are really good at doing a ton of work and dying at a very controlled pace to keep all your abilities activating. The biggest advantage they have over TFG is that, with the Flameguard, the opponent can sort of ignore you for a turn if they really want... with Idrians, they have to keep coming at you or they're going to get shot off the planet. Pretty rare you can go too wrong with Idrians.
Daughters of the Flame
One of my favorite pieces of Warmachine art that exists.
More out of activation movements, and these are ridiculously good against some of the super high ARM units some people are running (get rekt, Iron Fangs and Sentinels). With Vengeance from Thyra's Elite Cadre, they'll seriously cut through some stuff, and in a pinch can hunt solos and whatnot as well. Really great little unit.
So as stated above, originally I had two units of Daughters but in an emergency was forced to switch to KEs. Best choice I could have made; even with the Paladins, the list lacks a wide range of real punch. Adding in the unit of Knights pushes the potential of the build to fight battlegroup-centric armies with more boxes and armor. The feat helps deliver them, and they can take Occultation if the Idrians aren't in quite as much danger. Occultated Knights Exemplar are pretty brutal. They don't help the out of activation theme, but they do work on a similar, related theme: giving your opponent no good options. Models in this list dying only helps this list work better, and Battle Driven is a great example of that.
And that's the whole thing. You won't want to fight extreme infantry clear (it's obnoxious that our Occultation caster frankly just isn't going to be a good Cygnar drop...), but low model count battlegroups will have trouble and most more well balanced lists just won't be able to keep up. A huge theme of the list is damned if you do, damned if you don't; almost every single model you lose helps you in some way, activating a slew of different on-kill abilities across the entire army. Especially with the second unit of Daughters in there, it felt like if my opponent decided to attack me at all, I'd get a free turn before my actual turn what with all the Vengeance moves and attacks.
It's a little hard to explain how this list runs because it thrives on flexibility. You have so much movement and ability to decide where your pieces will go on a turn by turn basis that you can react to whatever situation you desire in whatever way you want. Watch out for the future posts on some of the individual pieces, I've had quite a bit of experience with Paladins in Mk. 3 and have some great ideas on how to utilize them effectively. Otherwise... just throw this build, or something like it, on the table. It's some of the most fun I've had playing Warmachine, and I'm thinking in SR 2017 it may be time to give it a once over, see if any pieces need to change, and then get it back on the table.