Battle Report: Locke vs Durst

Protectorate of Menoth and Crucible Guard are set to face off on the King of the Hill Steamroller 2019 scenario today! We have Anson Durst in the popular Faithful Masses theme taking on Aurum Lucanum Athanor Locke running a Magnum Opus force. Let’s hear from our players about their list selection process and overall tactics going into this match.

Protectorate – Lance

Theme: The Faithful Masses
75 / 75 Army

Anson Durst, Rock of the Faith - WJ: +28
-    Hierophant - PC: 3
-    Sanctifier - PC: 14 (Battlegroup Points Used: 14)
-    Sanctifier - PC: 14 (Battlegroup Points Used: 14)
-    Templar - PC: 15
-    Templar - PC: 15

Champion of the Order of the Wall - PC: 8
-    Champion of the Order of the Wall (Continued)
Champion of the Order of the Wall - PC: 8
-    Champion of the Order of the Wall (Continued)
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon - PC: 0
Paladin of the Order of the Wall - PC: 0
Paladin of the Order of the Wall - PC: 4
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist - PC: 3

Holy Zealots - Leader & 9 Grunts: 12
-    Monolith Bearer - PC: 3
Initiates of the Wall - Leader & Grunts: 0
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 3 Grunts: 4

This list was paired with a Creator’s Might Amon army, so I knew that both of my drops would be able to crack armor — both of Drew’s lists were very warjack-heavy. I felt like Drew was going to have a harder time cracking armor on my side, so I went with Durst!

This Durst list isn’t going to pull off any crazy assassinations, but boy, it has solid attrition game. The Holy Zealots are there to screen my warjacks and provide souls for my Sanctifiers when they die. I have really been enjoying 2x Sanctifiers, 2x Templars in my Durst lists! It’s just such a solid battlegroup that not only makes use of his armor feat, but also gives me Shield Guards for my high-cost solos and a mechanism to recycle Zealots into souls/focus. Paladins of the Order of the Wall make great flag holders at ARM 21 when in Stone-and-Mortar Stance, although there’s only one flag in this particular scenario. Initiates of the Order of the Wall under Deceleration are ARM 23 against shooting with five boxes, which is insane.

I have Champions of the Order of the Wall that I usually like to play wide. Even if I send one in to engage key models, they usually make up their points in the amount of activations my opponent needs to take to remove them. In my head, the Champions flank wide, pulling Drew’s battlegroup-heavy army apart to go deal with them early. Once his force is spread out, I’ll try my best to dig as far into the middle of the field as I can and feat, which should hopefully give me the attrition advantage. That was my thought going into the game anyways!

Crucible Guard – Drew

Theme: Magnum Opus
75 / 75 Army

Aurum Lucanum Athanor Locke - WJ: +29
-    Aurum Ominus Alyce Marc - PC: 0
-    Aurum Ominus Alyce Marc (Big Alyce)
-    Vindicator - PC: 15 (Battlegroup Points Used: 15)
-    Vindicator - PC: 15 (Battlegroup Points Used: 14)
-    Toro - PC: 13
-    Toro - PC: 13
-    Liberator - PC: 10

Prospero - PC: 5
-    Suppressor - PC: 13
Crucible Guard Mechanik - PC: 0
Crucible Guard Mechanik - PC: 0
Crucible Guard Mechanik - PC: 0
Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter - PC: 0
Ogrun Bokur - PC: 5

Dragon's Breath Rocket - Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Dragon's Breath Rocket - Gunner & 2 Grunts: 5
Lynus Wesselbaum & Edrea Lloryrr - Lynus & Edrea: 5

This is my 3rd game with Locke and somewhere around my 12th game with Crucible Guard. My primary faction (for now) is Circle, so diving into the world of Warmachine and non-native pathfinder has been quite the adventure. I tend to play very beast heavy in Circle, so running Locke with her love for battle group models feels very familiar and is lots of fun.

This list is a variation on the first 2 games I played with Locke. The original list was in Prima Materia, had a 2nd Liberator in place of Bokur & Lynus/Edra, and the combat alchemists in place of Hutchuck. The first 2 games felt very tough to play on scenario as I didn’t have models that were good at holding flags or zones. I also struggled getting the DBRs where I wanted them due to their super quick speed of 4. Changing themes gave me the ability to make my Mechaniks and DBRs more maneuverable via the 3 inch reposition theme bonus. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the free upkeep in MO vs PM since Locke doesn’t need to pay for upkeeps after turn 1 anyway. MO ultimately lets my Mechanik’s be more maneuverable when handing out pathfinder via the reposition and lets the DBRs get Withering Humor in the places I want it more effectively.

Going into the game, my hope for the list is to be able to use the DBR and Vindicators to snipe important models off the table before they become a problem for me in the early game and then mid-to-late game let the Toros and the Vindicators beat the snot out of my opponent. Suppressor is mainly there for support to hand out Rust via those sprays (in this game, handing out ice-cage doesn’t give me much since I can hit most things as it is) and the Liberator to let me easily swap Redlone around the battle group and Jackhammer stuff when its important. I know I’m gonna to struggle when Lance feats, so my hope is to take out key models early game before he gets the chance to shunt the damage and the be positioned that I can ignore the Jacks when they’ve got the ARM boost.

We’ll see how it goes! Either way it will be a good learning game!

Deployment

Protectorate – Lance
With Drew winning the roll off, I was given the side with two difficult terrain pieces. My only real Pathfinder in this list is via Boundless Charge, so I decided to deploy most of my army between the rough terrain and the rubble. My force is middle-of-the-pack in its speed and threat, so I’m ok going first and applying some eventual scenario pressure early!

Holy Zealots are the front line that I’m hoping jam & die turn two, so I deployed them in front of my warjacks and the Choir. Deploying the Templar to the left of Durst was a mistake, he had to run around the rough terrain later which wasted an activation. One Champion, Vilmon, and a Paladin took the left flank, while another Champion and Paladin deployed on the right side past the rubble. The Allegiant set up shop centrally to be an annoyance around the flag.

Crucible Guard – Drew
I won the roll off and decide to go 2nd, picking the far table side. My goal is to use the acid pools, rough terrain and rubble to provide some choke points. Especially the acid pools as Lance’s infantry doesn’t really want to come near the acid pools. I felt the amount of rough terrain would slow down his jacks to let me position better in the early game and maybe knock of some troops and solos.

Given I’m still very early in Crucible Guard and Locke, I’m not used to missing pathfinder on models. So my big mistake for this deployment was putting Locke right in the middle of a plot of rough terrain. Aside from that, my deployment with this list is typically far symetrical. A DBR, Toro and Vindicator on each side of Locke with 1Mechanik supporting each side depending on terrain. Prospero and the Suppresor hangout in the middle to make the most Prospero’s Veteran Leader and the Supressor to use his sprays on each side. The Liberator was deployed to the left with the 3rd Mechanik to help with arching spells as I intended to fight for the left rectangular zone as the building on the right was going to make it hard for me to hold or contest that zone.

Protectorate – Turn One

My entire force ran up the field this turn as far as they could except for the Champions who stayed just out of the ranged threat of the Dragon’s Breath Rockets. Durst put Hallowed Avenger up on the Templar to his left, cast Deceleration, then charged a warjack. The Allegiant walked 7 inches towards the center zone and activated Shifting Sands Stance.

Crucible Guard – Turn One

Locke puts out all her upkeeps this turn: Road to War on herself, Redline on the right Vindicator, and Sentry on the left Vindicator. I’m hoping Redline lets me get the Vindicator up the field a bit farther turn 1 to get a lucky shot behind enemy lines. Sentry on the other Vindicator to hopefully setup for some shenanigans during maintenance phase next turn.

Mechaniks handed out Pathfinder to Prospero, the right Vindicator, and the Suppressor to get them through the rough terrain in the middle of my deployment zone.

The right DBR and Vindicators advance and lob some shots hoping for really good drifts; which ends up being the case. Lance ran his Allegiant pretty close to the center flag turn one which gave a really good drift target. Thankfully of all my direction rolls were 1s, 2s and 6s so I got some good drifts back into his Zealots and Battle Group; a couple 5 and 6 inch drifts feels real good. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to break armor on the blast damage rolls so the drifts ended up burning more time than they did models. Since my shot targeting the Allegiant missed, Lance did a full advance with him forward toward my line preparing to be really annoying next turn.

The left DBR walks forward and lobs a shot towards the Champion. He’s out of range so it drifts; but the drift is only 2 inches so it still clips the Champion failing to cause damage from the blast. The rest of my army just advances forward to get into position for next turn.

Protectorate – Turn Two

My second turn ended up being mostly a positioning turn, but that’s ok! Durst upkept Hallowed Avengar on the Templar. The Zealots advanced up as the front line, and chucked a few Fire Bombs at the Toros that were not Alchemically Treated. I think they did a point or so of damage, but they continued to provide a nice screen for my warjacks. The Holy Zealots prayed for Fire Immunity, which at the time I thought was a good play to mitigate some of the ranged Fire Damage that Drew had, but in hindsight I think I actually would have liked more Zealots to die to fuel my Sanctifiers!

My Allegiant of the Order of the Fist charged in and killed two of the Dragon’s Breath Rocket grunts, slipping past the Toro thanks to Parry. My Paladins all advanced and went into Stone-and-Mortar Stance. The Champion of the Order of the Wall on the left flank advanced to just out of the charge threat of the Toro. The Champion of the Order of the Wall on the right flank advanced close to the Dragon’s Breath Rocket, hoping to draw fire towards himself. A Templar moved towards the right rectangle zone to be a Shield Guard for the Paladin who moved into the zone and activated Stone-and-Mortar Stance.

My Sanctifiers positioned behind the Zealots, ready to collect souls! My other Templar ran to be within Boundless Charge range of my opponent’s objective next turn. The Choir advanced and sang Passage on both Sanctifiers and the right-most Templar. Durst advanced up next to the Initiates, put up Deceleration, and camped the rest. I decided to hold my feat for one more turn.

Crucible Guard – Turn Two

My main goal on turn 2 was to try and score the right rectangular zone. Additionally I wanted to try to setup the field to prepare for Lance feating turn 3. Lance had a Paladin, a Champion and his objective contesting the target zone. Locke upkeeps all of her spells (obviously), loads the right Toro and Liberator to full focus, and camps the rest. To set things up for the Toro to come in hard, I took my Sentry shot from the left Vindicator against one of the Zealots but missed and the drift failed to cause any damage. Finally, Hutchuck enters play with an ambush behind the acid pool getting ready to Rust the objective for the Toro.

I know that Lance wants me to kill all, or at least a bunch, of Zealots this turn to fuel his Sanctifier. I have mixed feelings about this; on one hand if he’s full on focus it is more likely he’ll trigger a bunch Catalytic tokens from Locke’s feat, but on the other he’ll likely retaliate real hard which I don’t want. So I decide to go somewhere in between and use the Suppressor to take out enough models to trigger Road to War to help position my battle group. Before activating the Supressor, I use the 2 right-field Mechaniks to make the Toro and Liberator all-terrain (pathfinder). This will allow me to advance each of them into the forrest via Road to War without taking the speed penalty. Mechaniks then repo forward a bit to get into position for more work on turn 3. Supressor activates next; walks up and sprays to the left to take out one of the Choir and use Road to War on the Toro to move him towards the left flank and into the forest. A 2nd spray to the right ignores the Zealots because of their Fire Immunity this turn, but does contact the Sanctifier behind them. The damage roll on the jack bounces and I move on to my melee attacks thanks to dual-attack. Both fists splat the 2 Zealots in range and the Liberator and left Vindicator make their 3 inch advances from Road to War.

Hutchuck activates next and tosses a grenade with the Rust attack type on the objective. The Templar can’t be targeted because the Choir made him immune to non-magical weapons (bummer). Hutchuck then charges the objective dealing some significant damage. Locke activates next and advances forward. Her movement is a bit slow since she was still stuck in some of the rough terrain. She uses the Liberator as an arch node to swap Redline from the Vindicator to the Toro; Liberator rolls for experimental arch node but takes no damage. Locke pops feat and ends her activation.

Toro now makes a move on the objective. He’s within walking distance of the Paladin, objective and Templar so he steps on over and starts swinging. I make the initial initial attack with the sword on the objective, bringing the objective down to 2 boxes. 2nd attack with the shield on the Paladin, almost killing him. I then buy 3 attacks: 1 on the objective killing it, 1 on the Paladin killing him, and then 1 on the Templar dealing some minimal damage.

Liberator and DBR activates next with the hope of taking out the Champion on on the left so I can score the zone. Unfortunately the DBR is horrible in melee and I miscalculated the damage the Liberator needed to do to break through the Champions armor, so he was still alive at the end of the turn. I miss these activations and should have had the DBR activate first for the rocket and grunt carbines; then activate the Liberator to benefit from the -2 ARM of Withering Humor.

Moving to the other side of the table, I know that Prospero doesn’t need a shield guard this turn (or really this game at all) so Bokur runs up to contest the zone and flag and just be generally annoying to Lance’s Zealots next turn. I’m hopeful his toughness lets him stick around longer than he should.

The left Vindicator and DBR try to fire some shots into Lance’s left flank at the Paladin. I target the Paladin rather than the Champion to mitigate the risk of the AOE damaging my object. However both shots are unable to effectively break armor and the Paladin lives to fight another day. The Vindicator dealt damage, but not enough to make the kill. I finish out the turn with the right Toro smashing the Allegiant of the Order of the Fist and the left Vindicator tossing out a shot into the Zealots without much success.

Protectorate – Turn Three

Durst upkept Hallowed Avenger on the Templar again, and allocated two focus to the left Sanctifier. The Champion of the Order of the Wall on the right flank killed all three members of the Dragon’s Breath Rocket weapon crew, then repositioned a little to block the Liberator from just walking into the rectangle zone. The Holy Zealots prayed Fervor and took a few shots at the other Dragon’s Breath Rocket, killing it. The rest of the unit moved out of the way to leave space for my warjacks to charge in.

The Choir advanced up and sang Battle on all of the Protectorate warjacks. The right Sanctifier (who had Hand of Vengeance) activated and turned his souls into focus. He charged the Suppressor and took out the jack on his last bought attack. The Templar in the right rectangle zone activated and put both his initials (his shield was crippled, but he still hit!) and a bought attack into the Toro, taking about half its health.

Vilmon felt confidant that the Templar would be able to take out the objective by himself, so he advanced up the field and activated Stone-And-Mortar Stance. The Hierophant cast Harmonious Exaltation on Durst. Durst activated, advanced into the central zone, and cast his feat. This definitely seemed like feat turn, since I was able to deal some solid damage to his battlegroup and he would be retaliating next turn. Durst casts Boundless Charge for one on the left Templar, and camped two. The left Templar charged the objective at an angle where he landed in the zone. The Templar was unsuccessful in killing the objective, leaving it on 2 health. This was especially disappointing because Drew’s objective contests the left rectangle zone, so I was out two points that I expected to acquire.

The left Champion of the Order of the Wall charged a Vindicator and did a ton of damage. Initiates charged the Ogrun Bokur, killing him, which cleared both the flag and the circular zone. The Sanctifier that I allocated two focus to decided he should hang back as a second wave. Allocating focus to him was a complete waste, in hindsight! A Paladin walked up B2B with to the central flag and activated Stone-and-Mortar Stance. I score two points to go up 2-1. I felt fairly safe here with my feat up, although I had envisioned being up 4-1 instead of just 2-1.

Crucible Guard – Turn Three

At this point my only hope of securing the win is to try and line up an assassination on Durst. If I don’t Lance will easily be able score the flag and zones and steal the win from me next turn. Additionally, since Lance feated this turn, I don’t feel confident in my ability to break through his +4 ARM on any of his warjacks.

As I’m preparing my maintenance/control phase I notice there’s a pretty clear line between my right Toro and Durst; the only thing in the way is a few choir boys and a Templar waiting to give the free strike. Thankfully when Lance feated he didn’t put Durst B2B with a jack, which means he was wide open to take some damage if I can get there. While I had my feat active last turn Lance spent 2 focus within range of Locke, both of the generated Catalytic tokens went on the right Toro. This means he has a little extra protection if he suffers a free strike with the +2 DEF/ARM.

With this in mind, the right Vindicator takes a Sentry shot at one of the Choir models. This shot has 2 purposes: trigger Road to War for the Toro and clear the charge lane to from the Toro to Durst. I easily take out the Choir boy and use Road to War on the engaged Toro to change his facing and inch closer to Durst without triggering a free strike from the Templar. The rest of maintenance and control phase includes Locke up-keeping all 3 spells, allocating 2 focus to the left Toro and camping 5 focus as a backup plan to use Jackhammer.

Hutchuck activates first. His goal is to make it safe for the Toro to come in on Durst. Since he’s in the back arc of the Templar he takes a few steps back to get out of melee range and lobs a grenade with Quake as the attack type. The Templar is an effective +2 DEF (+4 for being engaged & -2 for Hutchuck in the back arc) but the grenade has no problem connecting. As a result the Templar is knocked down and the Toro is free to move safely away (the Toro was out of the 3 inch AOE blast range so did not become knocked down via the Quake AOE).

Toro activates next and tramples over the Choir to get in the back arc of Durst. The trample removed 1 Choir and another tried to free strike the Toro but missed real hard. I buy 2 attacks on the Toro’s sword against Durst, rolling at dice +2 thanks to Redline. Both attacks hit and Durst gets down to 7 boxes after mitigating 5 damage from both attacks.

Since the Toro wasn’t able to take out Durst, I needed to spend the rest of my activation trying to get Jackhammer through the Toro. My option is to either get Locke or the Liberator within 6 inches of the Toro to make it happen. After a quick survey of the table the Liberator feels like the safer option. However, he’s jammed up with a Champion of the Order of the Wall in the Zone so I need to figure out a solution to unjam him. The left Vindicator advances forward and fires a shot into the Zealots killing one. The dead Zealot triggers Road to War which I use on the Liberator; allowing him to move 1 1/2 inches through the forest. This clears up LOS to the Champion for Prospero to try and dismount him as an extra safety precaution. Prospero gets Pathfinder from the last Mechanik, walks into the forest to get with 8 inches of the Champion, and casts guided fire to help the hit. Even with boosted dice the shot missed and the Champion is still on his horse. The Liberator activates next and runs. He needs 4 inches of movement to get through 2 inches of forest and skirt around the Champion of the Order of the Wall, and then an additional 7 1/2 to get within 6 of the Toro; he can run up to 12 so he just makes it. Doing so triggers a free strike from the Champion which results in 6 damage being allocated to column 5 — all systems still intact — allowing the Liberator finish his run.

Alyce activates next walking to get Locke within command range and casts Harmonious Exaltation so I can maximize Jackhammer attacks with Locke. Last thing to do is activate Lock and sling some jackhammers. Turns out I only need 1 jack hammer. Durst was on 7 boxes and I rolled 9 damage for the assassination securing the win.

Conclusion

Protectorate – Lance
What a game! I learned a few things this game, the most important being that I ALWAYS need to base a warjack with Durst on his feat turn. If I had walked the Sanctifier back and put him B2B with Durst, this assassination would not have been possible. I also didn’t know that Hutchuck had a Quake shot! Drew being able to knock down the Templar that was engaging the Toro, then Road to War the Toro to an angle where he could trample was a very cool play I did not anticipate!

Two initial attacks from a heavy warjack do not guarantee that an objective dies! The more you know!

My deployment worked out well for the most part aside from the one Templar getting stuck behind the rough terrain. I’m happy with how my list performed overall! I have a few potential tweaks to make, but I won’t be making the same positioning mistakes again!

Crucible Guard – Drew
I honestly didn’t expect to win this game; had I not seen the assassination run with the Toro I definitely would have lost on scenario at the end of turn 3 or beginning of 4. I felt my biggest mistake was deploying Locke into the rough terrain. She got tied up just past deployment balancing spells, walking and running. I’m still not used to running casters (or models for that matter) that don’t have pathfinder and I’m finding I take that for granted.

Additionally I felt that the units in this list didn’t get much work done, which has been my general feeling with variations on this list so far. The DBRs were able to to a bit of work, taking out Zealots but I think I could have deployed them better. Rather than using them on the flanks I could/should have leveraged Arcing Fire to let them shoot over the jacks and prep some of the warrior models with Withering Humor. Additionally Lynus and Edrea did squat this game. I think I made a mistake deploying them in the back line and they ended up getting stuck in the back line and just running around doing nothing. It would have been better to deploy them in front of my jacks or flank to the right to be there to contest zones.

Overall though, I feel I learned a lot more about the synergies in this list and came up with some ideas to adjust in the future. Combining Road to War with Redline, a Liberator and Redline is really really good and I need to work on identifying those potential opportunities through the game to take out key models and go for the assassination. I want to try to utilize that more in the future. To help with that, I think i will be trying out a variation of the list by dropping a DBR and Lynus/Edrea in place of another Liberator.

Also, Quake on Hutchuck is amazeballs.

Lance and I hope you enjoyed reading our battle report! We’ll try to continue these in the future! Thanks!

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