Sometimes I get a ton of games in without facing a specific faction. Until yesterday, I hadn't faced the Protectorate for a long time. When I play Haley2 Thornwall I'm confident facing just about any Menoth list that exists. As this report will show though, they have some tricks that can totally turn a game around if you don't remember them. Let's get to the action!
:: Lists ::
Major Victoria Haley - WJ: +5Opponent:
- Stormwall - PC: 19
- Lightning Pod
- Thorn - PC: 8
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution - PC: 3
Gastone Crosse - PC: 3
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile - PC: 2
Lynus Wesselbaum & Edrea Lloryrr - Lynus & Edrea: 3
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt - Lady Aiyana & Master Holt: 4
Tactical Arcanist Corps - Leader & 2 Grunts: 4
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team - Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Intercessor Kreoss - WJ: +5
- Fire of Salvation - PC: 9
- Hand of Judgment - PC: 10
Wrack - PC: 1
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 2
Initiate Tristan Durant - PC: 3
- Redeemer - PC: 6
Vassal Mechanik - PC: 1
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 3 Grunts: 2
Exemplar Vengers - Leader & 4 Grunts: 11
Temple Flameguard - Leader and 9 Grunts: 6
- Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard - Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard 2
We were playing close quarters and I went first. I deployed Stormwall centrally with a weak left flank, intending to simply camp around my own flank and slowly sweep the outer flank around. My opponent put his heavy jacks slightly to the left with the Vengers far out on the right flank. Interesting!
:: Game ::
I send stuff up. Because I'm wary of the Redeemer landing scatters on me I spread out a lot.
The Protectorate advances in return, offensively in the middle and defensively on the right flank, save for a sole Venger who wanted to lock down Eiryss (he didn't have enough movement to do so). Holy Ward went up on TFG.
So my idea here was to kill a couple of Vengers and Time Bomb the TFG between the heavy jacks so I could save my feat. All went well until Haley activated. It appears that Holy Ward stops spells. Wow. Ok, so if I don't stop those jacks he'll get both into the Stormwall quite likely, which is disastrous as it's game over. I have to hit the panic button and feat instead. This is not how you want to use Haley's feat, especially not when she's one of the last pieces to activate.
One heavy jack goes into Thorn, the other chills. Not much else happens as the Redeemer is unable to land the necessary scatters for Warpath and thus some action on Thorn.
I put 3 focus on Thorn, 2 on the Stormwall and 4 on Haley. I shoot up Vengers and Stormwall charges in to finish them off. I Time Bomb Hand of Judgement only to discover its Enliven which sends it 3" towards the Stormwall. Ok, not good. Thorn bashes Fire of Salvation with his Shield so it loses its Cortex.
Kreoss3 feats. Battle goes up on Hand of Judgement as well as Ignite. That gives it dice + 3 vs Stormwall, whose Arcane Shield disappeared to the feat. After all is said and done it has 16 boxes left. Thorn loses his arc node. This is quickly turning into a bit of a disaster.
Keep calm and assess the situation: Hand of Judgement got Enliven again so I have to headbutt it. I can probably bring it down with shooting, which leaves Fire of Salvation as the biggest problem. I reckon that with Collaboration on Aiyana and Holt + Gastone throwing in it should go down. I put 4 focus on Stormwall, 3 on Thorn, 2 on Haley. Stormwall headbutts and pummels Hand of Judgement. I follow up with shooting it with TAC and B13th and it dies. Haley TKs Holt away from TFG melee range and Lynus gives Collaboration to Aiyana. I kiss Fire of Salvation and Holt shoots it for some boxes. Gastone tanks a free strike, with the -2 from the obstruction the TFG misses and I kill Fire of Salvation with boosted POW12s. Dougal helps clear up some TFG and only the standard is alive.
Kreoss goes into the Stormwall and kills it. Not much else noteworthy happens.
I Kiss the Redeemer and charge it with TAC who deal massive damage. Thorn + Gastone clear up the left flank and Thorn takes the flag, TK + reaction drive taking him far up the field.
Kreoss starts throwing his weight around but crucially he doesn't have Holy Ward up. Eiryss died to a Redeemer shot earlier on (note to self: She is much more useful as a mid-late-game piece in this matchup) so that would've been a bit of an issue for me. Anyway I suppose he was afraid of camping too little as getting Thorn in might've been a possibility.
I Time Bomb Kreoss and TK him into the water before I shoot him up what I can. He loses ~8-10 boxes or so.
With the game having gone on for so many turns we're both really low on time. Kreoss moves toward Haley but 7 focus is insufficient to pull off a reliable assassination. He instead camps and clocks over to me. Since I'm ahead on scenario I simply allocate 3 to Thorn so he can kill off Durant who's chosen to contest and run Haley behind the wall on my right flank. I thus move to 3-0 and my remaining models all box Kreoss in, meaning he can't even reach Haley (who's DEF20 ARM19). As I'll move to 5-0 regardless of what he does he concedes the game.
Victory to the Swans!
What a disastrous chain of events. Failing to pod between the heavies for Time Bomb since Holy Ward was on TFG, Time Bombing a jack with Enliven and then having the Stormwall charge in... Let's just say I could've played this one better.
What I did get right at least was the overall strategy. Thorn, Gastone and A+H completely shut down the middle while I controlled the right flank well. I think this game goes a long way to show how much a Haley2 Thornwall list controls the Protectorate. Even having a fighting chance after such a bad feat says more about the matchup than anything else I believe.
A thing to note: The Stormwall charging in was ill-advised irregardless of the Enliven move. Warpath essentially gives him the same 3" out of activation move and with the Redeemer that can always happen (i.e. I can't ensure it won't). I could have handled a Venger or two surviving and ensuring the Stormwall could not have been engaged would be a significantly better play. The right flank would eventually have been won anyway.
Lastly I'd like to point out how much pain this list throws around despite the Stormwall going down. I'm slowly learning when and how sacrificing the Stormwall can ensure me a win because taking it out will cost my opponent too much. I'm not saying this game was a good example because it wasn't, but it's an important play to keep in mind. Think of it as a game of chess where you sacrifice your queen for a rook in order to get a pawn across the board and be up a queen. Isolated it looks like a bad trade but it can definitely be the best play.