The 12 Factions of Christmas CID is here! Protectorate got some amazing new tools in the form of the Faithful Masses theme force and the potential of the Champion of the Order of the Wall. For the first day of the CID I figured I'd not go super into trying to shoehorn in stuff and really just make a list I thought looked really good and fun.
My opponent today played Skorne, trying out the new Primus Jalaam in the Winds of Death theme. Not a style of Skorne build I've ever played against so... it's definitely an interesting change of pace.
Grand Scrutator Severius - The Faithful Masses
-Blessing of Vengeance
Idrian Skirmishers + Chieftain and Guide x2
Holy Zealots + Monolith Bearer
Lady Aiyana and Master Holt + Attendant Priest
min Choir of Menoth
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon
Paladin of the Order of the Wall x2
My opponent, of course, ran Jalaam in Winds of Death.
Venator Reivers + Venator Reiver Officer & Standard
min Paingiver Beast Handlers
Our scenario was Spread the Net. I won the roll and opted to go first. My opponent decided to choose a side with a hill that wasn't as bogged down by obstructions or rough terrain. He also had a lot of anti-shooting defense in general on that side between his free wall, the hill, and a trench.
We placed our walls from the theme, with mine taking a spot on the right where there wasn't a ton of terrain and I knew it would be mostly Idrians and some Zealots, he chose a spot on my left touching his hill so he could stack up defenses to stupid levels if he wanted.
This list is so wonderful to deploy compared to other infantry builds I've done; it reminded me of old Mk. 2 Circle days. Severius went central with Blessing to his right, then a Repenter. To the right of the Repenter was the Zealots, then a Paladin of the Wall. To Severius' left was Dartan Vilmon, then Aiyana and Holt, then the second Repenter, and the other Paladin. The Choir interspersed centrally. Wracks went right behind my army (don't really need to play them aggressively with Severius) and Idrians just went right out front to my left and right.
To my far left was the unit of Reivers, the moving to my right were the Bronzeback, the Archidon, and Aptimus. Central was Jalaam, played by Makeda I believe in this match, then the Gladiator, Extoller, and Cannoneer, played by a broken Tiberion. Directly behind Jalaam was the Animantarax, ready to come screaming up the table.
We each chose our Prey targets. Jalaam put Prey on Severius, I put my left side Idrian's Prey onto his Bronzeback, the right side Idrians put Prey on the Animantarax.
Protectorate Turn 1:
I have to sort of decide how into the zone I'm running here. I decide to go pretty extreme, using the terrain on the left and Defenders Ward to protect my Idrians from his Reivers, and the right side just take as much space as I can at the cost of a couple casualties (which, in hindsight, were completely unecessary, but ah well.)
Left side Idrians ran, blocking LOS on some with the forest, getting into the rubble with others, and keeping distance with the last few. My 'jacks received Passage and ran, Blessing moving left to go get Ashes to Ashes ready for the left side, with a Repenter with him, and the second Repenter moving up the right side. Idrians on the right ran and just spread out.
Zealots piled in behind the Idrians on the right, some using my wall as cover, and Aiyana and Holt ran to the center, ready to adjust to whatever side needed the damage. Vilmon ran up to the wall. Severius got Harmonious Exaltation and put Vision on himself and Defenders Ward onto the left side Idrians. While Jalaam can seriously output some pain at extreme range on a caster like Sevvy, it would be with very few attacks and I felt like between Vision and 1-2 shield guards, I wasn't likely to ever be in danger.
Skorne Turn 1:
Time for some pew pew! Dead Eye gets onto the Reivers and they do a bit of work on some Idrians on the left, killing three of them. The Bronzeback plonks up on the hill by the wall, and the Gladiator runs up the center. The Cannoneer with his animus is able to put a shot into a zealot near Aiyana, luckily his damage roll doesn't quite play out and she's left on one wound. A couple of zealots do die to the blast, and an Idrian. The battle engine walks up and shoots a couple Idrians, then backs up. The Archidon runs full blast and hangs out behind the building in the middle of the table.
Overall, I lost a few models that were pretty unecessary to lose and nearly losing Aiyana was a little scary but... well, it worked out. He's running a gunline with a set of punching heavies in the middle of it, I'm bound to take some losses on the approach and I bought myself a bit of table by running as far as I did so... I don't feel too bad about it.
Protectorate Turn 2
Couple of main things, I really need the Reivers on the left dead since they're just going to pick my Idrians apart. The Archidon also really needs to go down. Beyond that, just need to do what big of damage I can to other targets. One focus is allocated to the Repenter on the left.
I upkeep Vision and Defenders Ward. The Idrians on the left move out of hiding and roll pretty well, almost none of them missing, killing a ton of Reivers. They minifeat to try and survive a bit longer.
My Repenter on the left gets Battle and moves up, spraying the Archidon and doing a bit of damage, lighting him up. Blessing runs forward, Severius activating and firing an Immolation with the Bond bonus into the Archidon and hurting him, then firing an Ashes to Ashes into the Bronzeback, rolling max jumps and killing his Dakar and two Reivers. Aiyana and Holt hide behind the building, activating Stealth to not die. Vilmon moves up at an angle to force a wider angle to get line of sight to Sevvy on the right side of the building and puts up Stone and Mortar Stance.
Idrians on the right move up and start putting CRAs into the Archidon. Luckily their angle stops it from getting cover, and they're able to shoot it down. They minifeat as well. The Zealots just run, getting in the way of what few things they can. My Paladin on the left runs into the rubble and onto the flag, my Paladin on the right walks up into the mass of Idrians and puts up Stone and Mortar. The Repenter over there just walks around, he's really just there for a bit of extra punch and to score that zone for me. I pass the turn.
Skorne Turn 2
I'm about to eat the hit from the heavies... hoping I spread out enough. I know Blessing and the Repenter are in awful spots, I'm not certain it was worth their position on the table... you know... staring down a Bronzeback.
Jalaam moves up a bit and feats. He shoots a couple things (Idrians, I think... I can't remember), puts Artifice of Deviation on himself. On a hill... yeah he's safe. His Bronzeback warpaths forward with one of his shots and absolutely crushes the Repenter and Blessing. Damage rolls went off the charts here, but he did have to buy a few attacks. Cannoneer and Gladiator just start making their way through troops. One thing to note here, my opponent was very wary of Hand of Vengeance for my Repenter, and rightfully so. This actually saved multiple models and stopped him from making attacks in some cases; things like Zealots just weren't worth the additional damage output on the Repenter, so were left alive to be jamming bodies. Even with my Zealots just running all up in his face, only three actually die this turn.
The battle engine just runs over to the right, prepping to come do work next turn. Aptimus puts Dead Eye on the Reivers and they shoot some Idrians down. At this point I score my flag on the left and my zone on the right, as he's unable to get anything close enough to contest (without just giving it up anyway, the Animantarax was basically the only thing over there that could have done it and it likely would have just died).
Protectorate Turn 3:
Scenario is pretty live here. My opponent doesn't really have the means to get through to me if I just keep jamming him out and killing whatever I can. Unfortunately it's his feat turn, and I don't really understand that feat well enough yet but now I know how potent it can be when a Bronzeback happens to have cover from many angles. The said, I do have some answer to this.
I upkeep Defenders Ward and Vision, and allocate nothing. I'd love to have my Repenter charge one of his Titans but I need him in the zone, so he's not really going anywhere.
Severius activates and feats, shrinking Jalaam's control area significantly. The Bronzeback, Gladiator, and most of the Reivers are still in there, but I have targets now. However, I do need to get damage onto that Bronzeback. This turn goes really wonky, but I Death Sentence and Immolation the Bronzeback, doing basically no damage. Aiyana and Holt activate, and Aiyana attempts to kiss the Bronzeback, needing a 6 on one die with one reroll, and fails. Holt shoots him a couple times, doing basically nothing. My Idrians activate and I opt to just shoot what Reivers I can, killing the ones outside his feat and engaging the Bronzeback.
On the right, I do a little damage to the Cannoneer with Idrians, but mostly make very few attacks. My Zealots minifeat (returning only 3 zealots) and run again, just gumming up everything they can and getting in the way. The Repenter scoots up and finds an angle to spray the Cannoneer without hitting my own stuff, doing a bit of damage. All of my Paladins more or less retain position and keep up Stone and Mortar Stance. I end my turn and go up to 4 points, making the score 4-0.
Skorne Turn 3:
Unfortunately for him my feat has left him in an awkward position as far as fury goes. His Cannoneer isn't in control at all, and the Bronzeback has run too hot to handle. The Cannoneer passes his threshold, but the Bronzeback frenzies, killing the Idrian I used to engage him.
The Reivers get Dead Eye again (Aptimus being able to cast that is intense!) and shoot down most of my remaining Idrians, who are out of sneaky defensive tech at this point beyond Defenders Ward. Luckily the Bronzeback frenzy means he really can't do much over there beyond that. His Gladiator kills a Zealot but... opts not to make further attacks on the infantry jamming him up, trying to keep Hand of Vengeance off my Repenter. The Cannoneer makes no attacks at all for the same reason.
Jalaam activates and has a bit of an awkward turn ahead of him. He walks back, out of my feat, and shoots a Zealot in the battle engine's way. Then he Vanishes himself back into the zone to score a little bit.
His battle engine needs to charge the Repenter. That jack is stopping him from doing anything over there. However, a single zealot is in the wrong position and won't let the turtle quite reach the Repenter. He's forced to make an impact attack on that zealot to get there (this is basically do or die at this point), and he fails the attack roll, getting stuck on the Zealot and failing his charge.
We talked about this later; he had access to tramples of course, and likely the use of a Trample would have at least made him not instantly lose but... he'd have activated Hand of Vengeance at this point by killing that Zealot, and likely after having to use a trample the turtle just won't do enough to the Repenter. He *might*, if the right system goes down, but... well, that's not how it played out. In hindsight he felt he should have been using trample more to get over my infantry.
At this point, though, he passes the turn and we both score a point, making it 5-1. At this point, all I have to do is walk an Idrian into his zone and end my turn and the score goes 6-1, ending it. I did activate a few things to see what kind of damage I could do to the Bronzeback, Kissing it and putting whatever I could into it and failing to do a damn thing really. My damage rolls this game were actually seriously abysmal, both of our dice were all over the place. Ah well.
This theme force is important. Guardians of the Temple has a bit of a rough design to it just from its options available, Creator's Might has some glaring scenario problems and just doesn't keep up with other, similar themes, and Exemplar Interdiction feels a bit like some pieces or missing and has some important pieces that could use a buff... aside from maybe the Paladin concept not being 100% fleshed out feeling (Paladin unit plz?), Faithful Masses feels like a very complete design, with the pieces it needs to do well. On top of that, the pieces in there are very strong and give a wide range of options.
The idea of using lights rather than heavies I think has some merit, but truthfully I'd prefer to be using Dervishes, I just was already borrowing a few pieces and didn't feel like borrowing half my army. I have a version that drops two regular Paladins and the Repenters in favor of three Dervishes which I'll want to try when I get a chance; you end up with heavy-level damage output if Hand of Vengeance is activated, on a very cheap, effective, and versatile piece. I'll talk more about the theme itself later, I'm sure.
Overall, was a good game, we both made some mistakes and had some weird dice for sure but all in all I think the scenario presence on this build is great with the handful of very resilient solos running around. I think really it's a case of playing with the 'jack loadout, maybe working Sanctifiers in, I dunno. With Eye of Menoth and access to Kiss I think I can crack quite a bit, typically, this game just never really lined that up for me but I think in the future and with better play I can make good all in charges a little more effective. It doesn't look initially like it's going to hit *that* hard, with the lack of many weapon masters and heavies, but has a lot of staying power in its infantry, softens up targets on the approach, and has the potential for PS 17 charging Idrians at the end of it all... not too shabby, really.
Thanks for reading! We'll be talking a lot about Faithful Masses and this CID in general in the future. I'm super excited to keep playing with it!