What Canon of the True Law could be complete without the Book itself?
Lovingly (or hatefully) referred to by most players as 'The Book', the Covenant of Menoth is a character support solo in the Protectorate arsenal that exemplifies many of the qualities of what makes the faction great. A combination utility/scenario piece, the Covenant is an easy pick as a solo in any of the themes he is available in (at the moment Creator's Might and The Faithful Masses), and when played well will leave your opponents tearing their hair out in frustration.
So what do we do with The Book?
The book is a SPD 5, DEF 10, ARM 12 character solo with five wounds. It has MAT and RAT scores but those are irrelevant, and it has five wounds which is... of a particular relevance for this model which we'll bring up in a moment. It only costs 4 points.
What we bring the book for, though, is not the front of its card, but the back. Firstly it sports Ancient Shroud, one of the most frustrating rules in the game to deal with if you don't have very specific and uncommon tools. Ancient Shroud says when a damage roll against this model exceeds its ARM, it suffers 1 damage point instead of the total rolled. This means, in most cases, the book will take five attacks to chew through, making it actually among the more survivable solos in the game, which you wouldn't expect given its extremely poor defensive stats. That said, it goes down extremely quickly when the opponent decides to put the attacks into it, so keep in mind that it isn't invulnerable. The big things to watch out for are models that do damage without actually having to crack your armor; this means things like Kell Bailoch, Eiryss1, Ghost Snipers, etc, these all have the rule Deadly Shot which causes 3 damage instead of making a damage roll, making them extremely adept at killing the book quickly, since Ancient Shroud doesn't trigger if no damage roll is made. Just a good thing to watch out for if you're dropping the Book into a matchup.
The Book also has Spell Ward, meaning it can not be targeted by any spells at all, including your own. You can't bounce Ashes to Ashes off of it or things like that, and you can't put spell buffs on it, although frankly I'm not sure why you would. I've never had Spell Ward feel like a detriment and it's randomly helpful into some matchups.
Man-Sized is kind of an awkward fluff rule, but isn't a huge deal unless you forget about it at the wrong time. Essentially, the Covenant of Menoth is treated as a small based model for all purposes. If something effects a small based model, it works on the Covenant. Of particular relevance here is effects like Consume, such as the critical effect on the Hyperion's main gun or innate Consume on the Archangel; it removes small based models from play, and the Covenant is a small based model, therefore this will remove it instantly. Also, it does not block line of sight to medium or large based models behind it, so don't put it in front of Harbinger and expect that to work. However, it does still take up the full diameter of its base, which means it can block off multiple small based models potentially; it's just not very tall.
Lastly, the Book has its three spells, which we will break down individually!
The Blessings of Menoth
The Book brings with it three spell options, each of them acting as strong support or denial tools depending on the situation.
Flames of Wrath is probably the least used of the three, but that definitely doesn't mean it's ineffective. Using this ability, the Book can give a friendly faction model/unit continuous fire on direct hits with their melee or ranged attacks for a round, as long as they stay within the Book's command bubble of 10". Typically I have used this on things like Idrians into feats that give extreme defensive buffs to infantry, such as against Makeda who keeps her troops alive for that turn, anyone with an ARM buff that will end before their turn starts like Iron Zeal or certain feats. Another place this can work well is against factions like Trollbloods, whose Krielstone's Protective Aura only lasts a round, meaning their infantry are rather vulnerable during the Maintenance Phase when fire can get some work done. Most of the time if you're directly hitting something with an attack and it's something that would be vulnerable to fire damage rolls, you probably already killed it with your attack, but it definitely has its uses if you keep an eye out for them.
Lawgiver's Creed is the highly frustrating denial ability of the Book, creating a 10" bubble where opponent's models can not cast spells. This applies to the Animi of warbeasts, which means when the Book is placed aggressively (which it can often do due to Ancient Shroud), it can really mess with certain Hordes lists that are relying on animi to get certain things done. Often, especially if the opponent is low on attacks and can't reasonably kill it, the Book will start crowding out casters in its no spell aura, which can create some really awful situations for opponents going into the late game.
Power of Faith is an extremely good defensive tool, making friendly faction models immune to knock down and stationary for a round while they're within 5" of the Book. Most commonly this is combined with Tough using models like Rhupert, but is also great defensive tech for our typically a bit squishy warcasters. This is one of the most easily applicable no-knockdown bubbles in the game, and it's one we're known for enough that most people assume that knockdown-centric tech just won't work into Protectorate lists. Some casters and feats are shut down pretty hard by this effect, but it's a small radius so it's about knowing where it needs to be applied.
Of Special Note
There are a few just general things to note about this particular model that don't really fit into a general explanation category, so here we go.
Firstly, the Book is a whole different beast when used in Creator's Might. For one, it's just a decent scenario piece since it can be kind of annoying to remove, and Creator's Might is hurting for those in most instances. The big thing, though, is giving it Reposition 3, which seriously extends how far it can reach with its various effects and can seriously be a nightmare to deal with. The Reposition effect on the Book has consistently proven to be extremely powerful, and I never run Creator's Might without it.
Next, any effects that heal your models have a pretty ridiculous effect on the book. Often people will work it down over multiple turns, maybe lighting it on fire or corroding it or just having a solo or two take shots at it in order to kill it in a couple of turns; if you're able to heal it, it basically has to be fully one rounded, and especially in a close game it's pretty rare anyone has the attacks to spare. The Vessel of Judgement, Sovereign Tristan Durant, or just Harbinger incessantly keeping it alive can seriously be a headache for opponents.
Also, think about its positioning vs. the rest of your army. The Book is both extremely survivable and extremely fragile depending on a balance of positioning, army composition, and knowing your opponent. If you put the book in a position where a handful of enemy shooting infantry can shoot at it but have no other reasonable targets... it's going to die. Either saturate threat up the table along with it so they can't afford to put shots elsewhere, or keep it in a safer location in the back or midfield of your army. This positioning game with the Book is often key to it getting the most bang for its buck, and the longer the game goes, the more attrition whittles armies down, the more the Book starts to turn into something that just can not be dealt with. When there's only a few models left on the table, it can even block charge lanes for enemy heavies and, when there's not much left, there's just not much people can do about it.
Some casters to think about the book with!
I want to start off with saying that the Book is going to be worth it with basically any Warcaster and list style; the utility the Book brings to the table is useful for nearly anyone, especially given that our typically low stats on Warcasters means we're just a knockdown away from getting obliterated by small arms fire. Casters like Durst, Amon ad-Raza, or Harbinger definitely don't care as much about the knockdown immunity, but it's still useful for avoiding Stationary effects. Reznik2 doesn't care about either, so the book is less of a warcaster defense and more about utility as a whole, but still useful.
Durst is a good caster because he tends to have innate scenario issues by design, and also his feat means you can place the book extremely aggressively on a turn if you so desire.
Durant2 works well with his ability to heal the Book every turn, making it basically impossible to whittle down.
Feora2 is notable because it gives you very easy access to continuous fire beyond just her kit, so you can get more use out of her feat if you wish. However, Flames of Wrath doesn't really work well with any of our warjacks so you're taking troops to use it on, which she doesn't support all that well.
Harbinger likes the book quite a bit; Martyrdom makes it so most people won't even try to attack it since the number of attacks you'll need is just madness. However, don't make the mistake many people do early on and try to use it to block line of sight to her, because Man-Sized makes it useless for this role in a Harby list.
Malekus has some synergy in that his feat makes fire damage rolls off Flames of Wrath triggers much stronger and definitely going to happen rather than rolling to find out. If you're running troop centric versions of him, though, it's mostly with things that already light their targets on fire in a lot of instances so isn't really super important, and for battlegroup heavy builds the issues with warjacks mentioned about with Feora2 apply.
The Covenant of Menoth is a very powerful piece in the Protectorate arsenal, and one that has almost defined certain aspects of the faction on its own for a very long time. It's not an easy piece to use, though, and its power might not be evident in early play; stick with it and keep trying it out in new situations, and it may surprise you!
Thank you for reading, and we'll see you next time!