In my previous article, I gave an overview of the kinds of support that truly enable the protectorate gunline. Now that we’ve got a good grasp on the models that form the core of the lists, let’s start arranging some battlegroups. You’ll note that these are caster-independent and generally do their own thing without too much help – which is part of what makes them so good. Anything that does its job without needing a warcaster to enable it is a great deal – and it lets you focus on adding elements that your warcaster does enable.
Friends with Benefits – Reckoner, Redeemer, Choir (Minimum), Vassal
Simple and effective, this battlegroup is great for Warcasters who can rely on their Infantry for armor cracking, such as Vindictus or eKreoss. It’ll demand 4-5 focus a turn, but you’ll enjoy every minute of it. For all its strengths the Reckoner doesn’t deal very well with Stealth or masses of infantry. However, the Redeemer can cover those weaknesses by tossing out three templates a turn. The Redeemer also greatly appreciates Flare, which can bump its effective RAT up to 7 after Battle and Aiming. Being able to turn even the Inaccurate Redeemer into a legitimate and deadly armor cracker is a huge boon.
Menage a Trois – Reckoner, Redeemer, Choir (Minimum), Vassal, Vessel of Judgment, Vassal Mechanik (he likes to watch)
If you’re looking for more firepower but don’t want to invest any extra focus, this is your go-to. This combo is similar to the one below in terms of versatility, but without the extra focus investment. You also get the bonus of the “Vessel Bunker” to protect your Warcaster. pKreoss particularly likes this setup, as he has plenty of things he likes to do with focus, wants plenty of powerful ranged attacks, and appreciates having somewhere to hide in the middle of the field. Be mindful, though that this “battlegroup” has some of the lowest melee potential, so bring something that’s hitty in melee.
Happy Family – Reckoner, Vanquisher, Redemer, Choir (Minimum), 2xVassals
If you’re looking for a do-it-all Battlegroup, this should be your starting point. While relatively focus-hungry, this battlegroup can and will eat a heavy warjack from a comfortable distance, while remaining plenty capable of clearing out infantry and extremely capable of delivering a beat-down in melee.
Everything’s better with Twins – 2xReckoner, 2xRepenter, Choir (Maximum), 2xVassals – Ideal as a second line, this battlegroup can deal with a variety of threats while being relatively cheap and a very low strain on the warcaster if you’re willing to let the Repenters do their thing without focus. Twin Flamethrowers with Vassal support are a very bad time for any Infantry, and twin Condemnor Cannons will put the hurt on heavy armor quick. Don’t discount the Flamethrowers agianst heavy targets, either – two boosted POW14s (at effective RAT9 after Flare) are a great way to take out that extra column or two.
These are just some examples of battlegroups that have a good amount of synergy and cover a lot of bases between them. These don’t have to be your only warjacks, they simply form the core of your “gunline” and allow the other elements of your list to shine.
Of course, it’s still likely that your opponents will take the dishonorable path of not simply rolling over and dying to your massed firepower. There are several things you should keep in mind when putting your army together.
Stealth and Protectorate Warjacks have an interesting relationship. There’s basically two kinds of stealth: low-armor (14 or lower) and high armor (15+).
The former is more or less handled by the fact that the Protectorate’s shooting gallery has buckets of AoEs, so low-armor Stealth models are generally not a big deal – assuming you’ve brought enough of the “solutions” below. Redeemers and Judicators weren’t going to directly hit those IF Kayazy anyway, but they sure as Urcaen will blow them up on deviations. However, anything past about ARM15 is a high order for POW8 and POW9 hits, so have a backup plan.
Stealth models with high armor are more difficult to deal with. For single-wound models, Blast damage is often not enough – but that’s where Menoth’s Fury comes in. attacks that cause Continuous Fire (Vanquishers, Repenters, eFeroa’s bonded Judicator/Redeemer) are still effective solutions – particularly against Shield Wall units, who lose Shield Wall just in time to burn to death.
Stealth models with high armor and boxes are the real sticking point. Occultated Gators, Heavies, or just anything that shrugs off blast damage will resist your shooting quite well. Rhoven and a Reckoner or The Vessel of Judgment are good for picking them off one or two a time – you can’t boost an Ancillary Attack, but it will still ignore stealth. Keep some melee heavy hitters in reserve in your list to deal with those types of threats – and always keep in mind that shooting support through Stealthed units is a great way to sap their power indirectly.
– Rhoven + Vessel of Judgment
Immunity to Blast Damage
It can be a problem if you’re a little too heavy on Redeemers and Zealots, and to some extent Judicators. Blast damage shuts down a lot of our anti-stealth potential – heathen that don’t know when to explode can be difficult to remove. Thankfully, continuous fire still works plenty good – and while it may be less reliable, it’s certainly better than nothing. Most things with immunity to blast damage do not enjoy being lit ablaze in the name of the Creator.
Additionally, the major source of mass blast immunity, Solid Ground, is an Upkeep spell, meaning it can be removed by Purification or other Dispel effects.
– eFeora’s Bonded Judicator/Redeemer
Immunity: Fire shuts down a lot of protectorate warjack shooting – which in turn means that your ability to kill armor from range drops precipitously. You’ll be glad to know that Immunity: Fire is basically the purview of the Protectorate – and even then it’s pretty rare. The big things you will need to watch out for are casters with the trait (Feora, Strakhov, Bethayne/Belphagor), and Troll lists with the Pyre Troll, whose animus grants Immunity: Fire. This will usually not be widespread, but keep in mind that being unable to damage things like the Vessel of Judgment or a Bomber from range can really swing a game hard. Diversify your shooting and you should have little issue.
The Flaming Fists animi can be removed by any of our plethora of animi removal effects, including Purification, the Vessel of Judgment, or the ever-useful Rhoven.
– Vessel of Judgment
– Rhoven & Honor Guard
Immunity to Targeting
There’s a number of abilities that render things outright immune to being targeted at all. The big cluprits here are going to be traitorous menites and their Hymn of Passage, but effects like Wind Wall, Swamp Pits, or eSkarre’s feat will come into play as well. A couple can be addressed by Aiyana & Holt or the Vessel (who grant/have Magical Weapons), while others you may have to simply grin & bear it – and make sure that your list has enough melee output to keep up if you can’t bring your guns to bear.
– Aiyana & Holt
– Vessel of Judgment
This one gets a special mention because of how it interacts with our plethora of Inaccurate units. DEF12 is perfectly reasonable for a Redeemer to hit directly if it manages to Aim and have a Reckoner to help it out – at an effective RAT 7, it’s only 5s. However, your opponents will likely not want to eat holy rockets to the chin and may take the cowardly approach of hiding behind/in the nearest shrubbery. This presents a problem, as any defense buff bumps your Reddemers’ to-hit up to 7 or 9 or even higher, which makes them far less versatile. Just keep this in mind when selecting your list against armies that can create Concealment/Cover, or on tables where such terrain is abundant.
– Errants w/ Seneschal
– Reckoner Shots
Now that we’ve thoroughly delved the deepest darkest depths of the gunline, I’d like to present a list that I think is emblematic of this playstyle.
Grand Scrutator Severius (+6)
^ Reckoner – 8
^ Reckoner – 8
^ Repenter – 4
^ Repenter – 4
6 Choir of Menoth – 3
Vassal of Menoth – 2
Vassal of Menoth – 2
10 Exemplar Errants – 8
^ Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard – 2
10 Holy Zealots – 6
^ Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer – 2
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt – 4
Reclaimer – 2
3 Wracks – 1
This list has a little bit of everything in terms of shooting. It’s got direct-fire cannons, blessed shooting, spray shooting, and of course AoE shooting – all backed by Aiyana’s Kiss of Lylyss for truly brutal damage output and bypassing things like Passage or Wind Wall. There’s very few ways to stop this list from applying its guns to you. Only the Zealots are unhappy when forced into melee, and the list has plenty of ways to dig them out.
Perhaps best of all, this list can be run effectively by a variety of warcasters.. While the list was designed with pSevvy in mind, I’d also happily helm it with eSevvy, eFeora, pKreoss, Kreoss3, Vindictus, or even the Harbinger. That choice I leave up to you.
If the list has one weakness, it’s that it’s not as good as it could be against Stealth units – you could swap the Repenters for Redeemers to address this issue. It’s also heavily fire-based shooting, which may become a liability against other Protectorate and Troll lists – but you have the Melee power to back yourself up in case of mass immunity: Fire.
I hope this article was informative and helpful, and that you enjoy purging the enemies of the faith with your newfound firepower. Make them pay for every drop of menite blood spilled!