The mirror match... and a Faithful Masses mirror match, no less. This is one of the weirdest matchups I've played in forever, just because of the models involved.... deliverers, zealots, sunbursts, paladins, what's even going on?!?
My opponent today brought my favorite Faithboi, Severius1. I was testing out some Harbinger with double Champion of the Wall, among other things. We rolled the scenario "Outlast" and prepped the field. Here are our lists.
The Harbinger of Menoth
Idrian Skirmishers w/Chieftain and Guide
Holy Zealots w/Monolith Bearer
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon
Paladin of the Order of the Wall x3
Champion of the Order of the Wall x2
min Choir of Menoth
Deliverer Sunburst Crew x2
My opponent ran some glorious Severius1.
Grand Scrutator Severius
-Blessing of Vengeance
Deliverer Sunburst Crew
Deliverer Arms Master
Holy Zealots w/Monolith Bearer
Idrian Skirmishers w/Chieftain and Guide
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist x2
max Choir of Menoth
Yeah. This is a weird fight.
Proxies on the table: my opponent had a Vigilant which is his second Dervish, and his Crusader is a Sanctifier (I'm painting his Sanctifier currently.) I had a set of proxy bases I used as my second sunburst crew. My Vengers are Champions of the Wall, and Knights Exemplar are used as dismounts.
I win the starting roll and choose to go second and give myself the way worse side because I'm an idiot. Time to enjoy slogging through terrain! Admittedly the forest was pretty beneficial to me, wasn't all bad.
Enemy Protectorate Deployment
My opponent leans pretty heavily to the left zone, putting his zealots there, as well as his 'jacks. His Sunburst crew sat central, Severius to my right from there, and then the Deliverers. The Idrians also leaned to my left.
Friendly Protectorate Deployment
Scenario was a big play for me here, I didn't love the idea of taking his list to attrition. I deployed my Sunburst to the left and one central. A Champion took a spot on either side of my army. Zealots deployed directly opposite his Zealots, and my battlegroup all leaned a bit to my right, seeking to go overpower that zone. The Paladins scattered throughout, and the Idrians sat more or less central; I needed them in the forest to try and survive a while.
The Idrians chose each other as prey.
Enemy Protectorate Turn 1:
No attacks here, mostly everything running. His Sanctifier swung to my right to go help that zone. His Idrians received Defenders Ward, no other upkeeps went out. His Zealots prayed for fire immunity so as not to instantly die to Sunbursts. His Idrians advanced and minifeat. His Allegiants moved up the right side and went into Shifting Sands Stance.
Friendly Protectorate Turn 1:
I chose... the worst terrain. This rubble and water is an issue. I'd love that trench he has, and the hill... I did not look at the table very closely when I chose, like a fool. But ah well, here we are. My Zealots all crammed in through the small space between the pond and the rubble. Paladins set up in Stone and Mortar near them. My Sunbursts fired, but only succeeded in lighting two Idrians on fire. My Idrians moved forward and I believe shot two Deliverers to death, and minifeated right back. The blast damage across these two armies is real. Harbinger with her entourage of Dartan and Devout moved up centrally to go threaten my own flag, my Champion on the right moved up with one Paladin. My Guardian ran to my left, since his lights were all over there and the Zealots weren't gonna kill them.
Enemy Protectorate Turn 2:
Fire rolls out on both Idrians I lit up, because of course.
Let's be real... my Zealots explode. I don't Martyrdom them. He allocates no focus, and his Deliverers blast all of them off the planet except one random Zealot and, of course, the Monolith. His Idrians did some shooting at mine, forcing some martyrdoms, and his Sunburst lit my Champion and Paladin on my left on fire. His secondary Deliverer AOE, firing at my Champion, misses and deviates.... right onto one of his Allegiants, and is nice enough to kill it for me. The other Allegiant moves up to engage two Idrians in Shifting Sands. His Zealots pray fire immunity and keep moving up, and the 'jacks hang back.
Friendly Protectorate Turn 2:
Seriously though, love Martyrdom. Only reason I'm even sort of in this fight. Fire doesn't roll out on my Paladin, and he slams her with a huge damage roll, which I'm forced to Martyrdom.
Harbinger gets healed by her Hierophant, then heals herself a few, casts Purification to strip Defenders Ward, and casts Rebuke on the Idrians (she'd done Purification the turn prior, actually, I forgot. Just slapping down Defenders Ward repeatedly.) My Zealots activate and minifeat, bringing the whole unit back into play, and proceed to firebomb almost his entire Idrian unit into oblivion. Between them and some other attacks I don't remember, only two Idrians survive. However, the Zealots are bunched up and ready to explode again.
My Idrians on the right circle up around his Allegiant, and I martyrdom two free strikes to keep some Idrians alive. They put a 7 man CRA into his back arc, and unfortunately he toughs. If he had failed that tough roll, scenario goes crazy in my favor right from the start but... alas. My Champion on the right charges his Deliverers, killing one and repositioning into the trench to engage a couple more. Vilmon walks up to my flag and goes into Stone and Mortar Stance. My other Paladins move around in Stone and Mortar, and my Champion on the left runs through the gap in the water and rubble to try and finally be useful.
Sunbursts I believe killed a couple Idrians.
Reclaimer puts Ashen Veil onto Harbinger to give her just a bit more survivability. I end my turn and score 1 on my flag.
Enemy Protectorate Turn 3:
He activates his Deliverers and blows up all my Zealots again. Huzzah.
His Sanctifer walks over and beats the Champion to death. Under Eye of Menoth, Hand of Vengeance, and Battle... not too hard. I don't get Retaliatory Strike because, oh boy, Lance and a 1" melee. At least I got Unyielding from his Deliverers...
His Zealots move up and finish off my Paladin who was on fire. His Sunburst sets a few Idrians on fire, which I martyr to keep around. Ashes to Ashes kills a few more. His Allegiant walks back away from my stuff, engaging an Idrian, and does Shifting Sands again. He moves up his Arms Master onto his flag, but my Idrian in the front is contesting it. He ends his turn and I score up to 2-0.
Friendly Protectorate Turn 3:
Scoring is going well and frankly it's my main win condition because attrition blows.
My Guardian moves up to threaten the zone and gets way too close to a Dervish because... reasons. My remaining Zealots activate and take a chunk out of his, as well as killing one of the remaining two Idrians. Killing that Idrian gives my Sunburst a line of sight to one of his Sunburst crew members, which I fire into and kill his entire sunburst crew in one go, lighting his Dervish behind the wall on fire. My Champion charges that Dervish, taking a respectable chunk out of it (breaking one arm), and then.... loses Unyielding because Lance and is forced to step over the wall with his Reposition, which I'd rather use for protection but would rather have the armor, engaging the Dervish. He also impact attacks the remaining Idrian and kills him, so Prey swaps to his Allegiant.
My Idrians spread out, one dies to a free strike from the Allegiant, and I put a big CRA into it again, this time killing it. My Paladin on that side moves forward and puts up Stance again. I'm now scoring that zone; that Allegiant dying was very important. Prey shifts to his Sanctifier.
Harbinger moves to the right to be able to move into that zone if necessary. Vilmon enters Stance again. I end my turn and score up to 4-0.
Enemy Protectorate Turn 4:
His Dervish near my Guardian gets loaded up. It charges with Battle, hitting at MAT 10 and PS 18, leaving the Guardian on 1 box. His Zealots minifeat, pray Fervor to finish off the Guardian, my remaining Zealots, and my Paladin in the zone (his damage rolls on the Paladin in stance were madness.) The Dervish side stepped into a position to contest my flag finally, too. I honestly don't remember what his Deliverers shot at this turn, I think they helped finish off the Zealots. Severius feats and puts a couple Immolates into the Paladin in the right zone.
His Dervish fighting my Champion flails at it and leaves him mounted on 3 boxes, taking a Retaliatory Strike that does a few points to him. Blessing of Vengeance charges and finishes the dismount, but can't see the Champion anymore from where I placed him. One of my Idrians, the one on fire, dies from I think a Deliverer actually, I'm having trouble remembering, but it gives the Paladin righteous vengeance. His Sanctifier is forces to trample into the zone (the Arms Master runs in as well but I think he wants more than one random solo in the zone), killing three of his own Deliverers, and buys two attacks on the Paladin which I Martyrdom. He ends his turn scoring the left zone while I score nothing, making the score 4-1 in my favor.
Friendly Protectorate Turn 4:
Attrition isn't going beautifully, but I should be able to swing it in my favor a bit. Vilmon uses his Righteous Vengeance to get over the wall, ready to go smack a Dervish. The Paladin in the right zone walks over and cleaves a decent chunk off his Sanctifier. My Devout gets loaded up to 3 focus.
My Idrians charge his Sanctifier, and with Prey and some great damage rolls, leave it on only a single box. The Paladin activates and does like 11 damage, which was a bit overkill but... ah well. Vilmon then swings dice back around by charging the Devout and rolling snake eyes. Huzzah. My Flamebursts kill basically all his Zealots, and light most of the rest on fire. Choir run into the zone to contest. My dismounted Champion smacks the Dervish next to him, doing like... 2 damage. Harbinger gets healed up as much as she can and moves up into the zone. Basically I want to make Sevvy have to turn around and run, he's not safe in this spot at all anymore and if I can keep him from casting spells by threatening anywhere he can walk to... he's gonna be scared. Harby is on 10 boxes and 1 focus. I end my turn, nobody scores, score remains 4-1 in my favor.
Enemy Protectorate Turn 5:
We're only a couple turns from the 7 turn clock at this point, and he's behind enough on scenario and not confident he can score consistently enough to get ahead of me. Harbinger is a bit low and not camping much; he can't target her directly with spells, but he can certainly target the Devout. He goes for it, shooting three Ashes to Ashes into Harby. His initial damage rolls leave her on 3. The Deliverers activate and shoot the Devout, a 3 man CRA which is in total a POW 9 blast into Harby. He fails to crack armor with that shot, and we GG at that point. Sevvy is in Harbingers charge range (as well as 4 Idrians with him as Prey and a Paladin), and camping no focus, it's very unlikely he'd survive the counter hit. He had to go for it, so close to the 7 turn clock, while he could possibly clear the zone on the left of the choir (only two of his Zealots survived the fire), he can't stop me scoring 1-2 more times on the right zone and, with my already huge lead, would have been hard to come back from.
What a weird matchup. Like seriously weird.
So... the weak points here... were the Paladins. I hate saying that; the one on the right actually did great, and Vilmon was instrumental in just sitting on the flag, behind a wall, nearly impossible to kill. The ones on the left were played poorly in bad terrain and also just got a bit unlucky, they were getting like 2 shot by random things. The Champions of the Wall, though... while it's possible I'd have lost a free solo somewhere in there and had to rework some points, if those two had been Dervishes, it would have been a totally different ball game, attrition wise. Retaliatory Strike, even with the caster it is most likely to be useful with, never happened a single time on the regular Paladins, they were killed either at range or with 2" melee attacks. The Champion did get to ret strike once, doing... next to nothing, and I was forced into a very poor position defensively because of his tiny melee range.
The Reclaimer wasn't super useful, likely swapping him for an Allegiant would be prudent. All in all, this was a matchup where we both countered each other's list style in a huge way which meant it was extremely bloody, fiery, and violent, with a ton of damage going into either side. Martyrdom kept me in the game. Harbingers feat, you'll note, was never used at any point because there was not a single point in which an enemy would have taken a damage roll from it. I've had the feat be good, but it's extremely corner case... this caster needs an actual feat that does something. You give her a real, interesting feat, and she could easily move up into the A tier solidly again without being broken. Just have to give her something actually useful....
Anyway, Faithful Masses has been a blast to play around with, and this was a very interesting mirror match overall. Hope you enjoyed, see you all next time!