What’s the least-used model/unit in Legion of Everblight? Can a list highlight them?
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with part six of a series on on the least-used models for each faction in Warmachine and Hordes. For the full description of what the series is doing, check out Part One. The series has focused upon my love of the rags-to-riches underdog story. We all love those moments- when the overlooked and under-utilized protagonist gets the moment to shine and be the hero themselves. Warmachine and Hordes are much the same. There’s a powerful joy to taking a model that most people don’t use and make it shine on the tabletop. So this series has focused upon locating the least-used model in each Warmachine and Hordes faction and seeing if I can find a list to give them that moment. After some thoroughly non-scientific polling, I compiled what many players agree is least-used model within each faction in the game. The goals? First, to figure out why they’re least used (meta has shifted, model is over-costed or under-powered, bad sculpt, strange rules, no clear spot, better choices for the points, no caster to pair with them, etc.). Then, to try and theorize a list that could make these underdogs shine.
Least Used Legion of Everblight
The trick with Proteus is that almost every reason a model might make a least-used list all come together in the case of this character warbeast. He’s expensive, at the same price as the Carnivean and two points above the Scythean. He’s got an okay, but expensive animus that provides feeble healing and a remove from play that’s better managed by the Scythean’s animus. He has a ranged drag attack, but feeble claws following the ranged drag. And the drag is only a single shot, so it cannot really do a lot of heavy lifting–especially when it’s so short in range that other faction heavies can get near equal threat on a charge (Scythean has reach so is a mere inch less charging, and the Carnivean’s assault lets him reach further). Even it’s Herding ability that could seem to have some fun tricks for expanded control range is something that meager Shepherd can manage anyhow. Finally, for a long time he was a fiddly metal upgrade kit that you added to the plastic model.
Ultimately the Proteus’ problem is simply that he’s too costly with too little effect on the battlefield–why take it when you could take another, more effective beast for a certain role, and maybe save some points in the process.
Runner Up: This was much closer than some of the other factions, which was telling. The Blighted Nyss Scather Crew got some recognition, as Light Artillery is generally iffy in almost all the factions. The Grotesques got plenty of mentions as well, as they for a long time combined expensive metal models plus lackluster rules (mercifully new plastics improve the first element now). There were a few mentions of the Afflictor and/or Incubii, which seem mainly to suffer the “paint a whole unit of these to use that one” problem.
Building a Proteus List
Even though the two Absylonias are supposed to be the ones for whom Proteus is linked–thanks to Special Issue–their theme lists are rather unappealing spots for what Proteus is doing. The first can just get better utility from other heavies, while the second emphasizes flying beasts. And neither version of her has abilities that makes the Proteus particularly interesting.
So if the goal is to make the Proteus the underdog hero of the list, we’ve got to be pretty creative. It seemed like Lylyth2’s feat is the best mechanism for making the Proteus get maximal utility (granting a second shot and the +4 range). The value that drag effect attacks have is their ability to draw enemies in piecemeal to be eliminated. That means that it supports a trade-up style of play, where your more numerous forces get an advantage by taking out the key damage-dealers to get a lead in the piece trade.
The List: “Balancing Act”
Max Blighted Nyss Legionnaires with Captain Farilor and Standard UA
Max Blighted Nyss Legionnaires
Balancing Act Tactics:
Okay, remember the goal here is to make the Proteus the linchpin of the list. The basic intent of this list is to use Lylyth2’s feat turn to let the Proteus pull two different targets with his enhanced range. Then the lighter elements of the list try to finish off those two targets, with the Blightbringer’s bonus to Strength making smaller targets hopefully hit harder than they normally do (and leave them still in the way). To set up Proteus’ ability to get off two drags in the same turn, be sure to have pre-positioned a unit so that hopefully they obstruct the first pull target’s path to Proteus (one he draws the target in, he’ll be in melee so he cannot take the second shot–unless his single swing somehow completely destroyed the target, which is doubtful). But with two draws, hopefully the force can start the piece trade more effectively. If the list takes out two heavies in that turn, then the advantage of the cheap little beasts and Legionnaires who are fielded in massed numbers can potentially turn the tide even if they’re exchanging one-for-one against similar pieces. The force could hopefully leave the foe without the heavies they need to deal with the Blightbringer, and it–plus Lylyth’s spot removal–can end up dominating the interactions. All thanks to Proteus’ pulls.
Underdog Grade: The Bad News Bears. And I mean that in the sense of, this list is one of those moments like the film: realize that you could be playing with the more competitive pieces, but instead you give every kid on the team a chance to play.
Every second of playing that list, the question would be “Why am I not playing some other, BETTER Lylyth2 list?” The feat turn would be extra tricksy, and still may yield less benefit than it could with other efforts. Forcing foes to get to the point where they cannot deal with something in your list is a good strategy to be sure, but even then there would be better routes than the Proteus that would leave the Blightbringer in a dominant spot. It’s merely a bunch of hoop jumping to try and get a confused model to seem like the hero. Like The Bad News Bears, I think Proteus is a benchwarmer who loses the game. Maybe thanks to the new sculpt release, more creative players than I will give him and try and find him a spot where he’ll be effective.
Thanks to the Legion of Everblight folk who chimed in: Sletchman, Grunntor1, Juggernautie, Cannotcope, and Jabberwokk.
~ What would you pair with the Proteus to make it better? Is there any chance for an underdog story on this one?
Interested in what underdogs the author is fielding? Check out Chalkboard’s blog at www.chalkboardwar.com