Insider 9-20-2013

[DC] In today’s blog, Will Shick and I are going to explore the Protectorate of Menoth in WARMACHINE High Command. The devoted followers of the Menite faith are zealous in their worship, sacrificing anything for the will of the Creator of Man. Unfortunately, they are a bit stuck in tradition and do not embrace mechanikal research with the same vigor as Cygnar or Khador. In WARMACHINE High Command, their zealotry is represented by low purchase costs and the ability to move cards to the occupying forces pile (using the Forging the Faithful card) while their lower-tech, traditional mindset is represented by their lower VP totals and higher rush margins.

WARMACHINE High Command includes numerous card stats and multiple ways to approach them. “Rush margin” is not a raw stat you can find on a card but is the difference between the purchase cost and the rush cost. Protectorate of Menoth cards often have higher rush costs than other factions’ cards despite having lower purchase costs. This sets them apart as a faction that plays a strong mid-game and contrasts with factions that come out swinging or that build up for a powerful late game.

[Will] One of my favorite things about playing Protectorate decks is the layering of abilities available to you, similar to how the Protectorate plays on the tabletop. Take one of my favorite Protectorate combos: Holy Zealot Mob and Temple Flameguard Phalanx. At the cost of only 2 CMD each, by themselves they represent typical fodder units with 1 POW and 2 Health. Toss them together on a location, however, and suddenly Fervor and Defensive Line bump the pair’s combined combat effectiveness to elite infantry levels, on par with Cygnar’s Stormblades, for 1 less CMD.

And then there’s my favorite Protectorate ability: Fire! Dropping an enemy’s Health by 1 can be a huge advantage in any battle, and even more so when facing enemy cards that only have a Health stat of 1, as any card whose Health is equal to 0 at the start of an attack from card abilities doesn’t participate in the battle. Scrap Thralls got you down? Burn them to a crisp before they can level their 3 POW against you!

[DC] Much like in WARMACHINE, timing is a key element to successfully playing the Protectorate of Menoth. You typically want to buy low purchase-cost, high rush-cost cards during the first few turns, play aggressively to capture locations in the following turns of the game, and then prevent your opponent from overtaking your lead during the late game.

Regardless of the current turn, however, the Protectorate of Menoth has numerous cards that make good emissaries to unoccupied locations. Paladins of the Wall and Vigilant warjacks have really low purchase costs relative to their staying power. Even Wracked Heretics, which cost next to nothing, force an opponent to respond immediately or allow you a distinct advantage. Keep the battle moving rather than focusing solely on a single location, and your opponent will have a difficult time keeping up.

[Will] Preferring to maximize the potential card synergies available to the Protectorate (and to have as much Fire as I can while doing so), my preferred warcaster choices are Feora, Severius, and Kreoss. Feora causes everything not already affected by Fire at her location to be affected by Fire; Severius drops enemy POW, increasing the survivability of my cards across the table; and Kreoss forces opponents to discard a card. Kreoss is perfect if I find myself as the first player when Inclement Weather flips. These three also give me access to the red, yellow, and orange detachments. These detachments boast four Forging the Faithful cards as well as four Crusader heavy warjacks, which is an amazing warjack with an incredibly low cost. Forging the Faithful is great not only for its versatility as a resource (2 CMD/2 WAR), but more important because it allows you to move a card from your discard pile to your occupying forces pile when discarded for resources. Smart use of Forging the Faithful allows you to really fine-tune your deck on the fly.

[DC] I’m going to choose yellow-blue-purple with Severius, Kreoss, and Vindictus as the combination I want to highlight. The Devouts are a key element in this deck due to the way they protect lower-Health cards from being destroyed first. It’s like adding Superior Range to any warrior cards of your choice. The five Paladins of the Wall are also a high purchase priority and have amazing stats for a cost of 3 CMD. They’ve got to Meditate, but proper timing mitigates that disadvantage quite handily.

I particularly like this combination in free-for-all games because Severius and Kreoss have control abilities that weaken the rest of the table, and there are plenty of locations at which my Paladins or Wracks can establish a forward outpost. There will frequently be a bigger threat or a bigger fight for my opponents to focus on, and that sets up a following turn where I can support the location with additional forces, ultimately leading to the Protectorate capturing the location.

[Will] When playing the Protectorate, my focus is always on the mid-game. With my deck’s combination of detachments the majority of non-resource cards have a Purchase (and more important Deploy) cost of 4 or less. With the mix of cards from my detachments it’s not unlikely to be able to deploy two or three cards a turn, starting with the fourth or fifth turn. While pushing for locations is important, your low purchase costs also allow the Protectorate the ability to deploy and purchase multiple cards in the same orders step. Also, while Temple Flameguard Phalanxes and Holy Zealot Mobs are great in the early and early mid-game, even together they will find themselves hard pressed to overcome late-game fighters like Juggernauts and Titan Gladiators. While other factions might suffer from this, Forging the Faithful lets you move those cards to your occupying forces pile fast and often, meaning you’ll be drawing your durable warjacks and warriors far more frequently to maximize every turn and hold back late-game-centric decks from overtaking your mid-game established lead.

Until next time!