Warmachine: Underdog Story – Protectorate
What’s the least-used model/unit in Protectorate of Menoth? Can a list highlight them?
Before I go any further, my guess is that you’ve heard the news: there’s a new edition (Mark III) of Warmachine and Hordes coming out from Privateer Press. Haven’t heard that yet? Well, read about it here.
Or listen rather than read if you want the poor little newsboys of BoLS to go hungry again tonight.
All caught up on the changes? Okay. So obviously this changes my series a bit–as one of the likely improvements that we might see in the move to Mark III is a balancing of models and rules. And that might mean that the entire edition will bring new life to the underdog models that form the least-used across the various factions. It’s a grand possibility: a new chance at better rules, less points costs, better sculpts, removing unclear bits, match to potential casters, and so forth.
So given all of that, I think it’s prudent to change up my underdog series somewhat. The prior articles have covered Cryx, Circle, Cygnar, Trollbloods, Khador, Legion of Everblight, Convergence of Cyriss, Retribution of Scyrah, and Minions. Each of those articles tried to make a list that would make them work better.
Given that we’ve only got about two months until these models might receive rules changes, points reductions, or other moves that make them better, I’m going to adjust the article format for the last few (Protectorate of Menoth, Mercenaries, and Skorne being the three that remained to be covered after the Mark III announcement). Instead of building a list that can potentially make the model work, instead I’ll detail what changes Mark III could make that would best solve the problems that limit the model’s effectiveness. It’s a different sort of underdog story–one that fits the possibilities of a new edition much better.
Least Used Protectorate of Menoth
Winner: Flameguard Cleanser Officer UA
Sometimes the rules on a model are a little confusing, or lead to order of activation problems. And sometimes they present directly contradictory options (the classic Skornergy problem). The Flameguard Cleanser Officer has so much Skornergy it’s surprising that he’s not donning the distinctive crimson armor. He has two main abilities that simply conflict with each other and the rest of the unit. The unit leader can use an order called Incinerate to drop a scather AOE template with a combined ranged attack by the unit. However, the Flameguard Cleanser Officer has a different order that he can use: Bushwhack, which lets the unit move after shooting. It’s a bland order to begin with on the short-ranged spray templates, counting on the opponent to get close enough and lined up in perfect spray formation. Unlikely to say the least. It’s all the more complicated because the unit can only receive one order per round. The other ability that the Officer has is an action to create a Sheet of Flame template. However, that also cannot be used when the unit leader gives the Incinerate order. With no increase in command and a mini feat that decreases the unit’s damage at a gain of range, there’s not much upside to including the Flameguard Cleanser Officer UA.
Runner Up: eReznick was the other top vote-getter for the Protectorate. The weaknesses of a warcaster on a huge base are fairly evident, and the lack of ability to transfer damage in the way of a Xerxis2 or Lylyth3 makes him all the weaker. He’s a melee warrior who has to play as far back as possible to stay alive, leaving him simply too limited to be a strong caster.
Fixing the Flameguard Cleanser Officer
Give him a non-contradictory role to play with the unit. First off, remove the Bushwhack order entirely. Then, make his other abilities mesh with the unit Leader’s. For instance, the simple change of allowing him to use his Sheet of Flame when the unit receives the Incinerate order would go a long way to giving him a role. Then the unit would have a clear mission–tossing out a scather AOE at range, then blasting with their sprays when close. If the UA could put up the flame wall while they did that, it would leave two layers of protection for the unit–the scather and the wall. Infantry would have real problems getting close, and lights would have a rough time as well if they ended in danger.
The other option would be to swap his abilities entirely, giving the Officer some new lease on inclusion. For a unit that sprays, a movement bonus instead of Bushwhack would go a long way to getting them into the right spot for their shots. Perhaps something that gave the unit +2″ movement and Pathfinder when making an advance could be a strong ability. Even if it were a once-per-game mini-feat, it would still be a great improvement for the unit’s ability to get to the right spot.
Either way, if these changes were part of Mark III, the Flameguard Cleanser Officer would be more likely to be included and more effective when he was: a chance for a long-time underdog to shine.
Thanks to the Protectorate of Menoth folk who chimed in: Sheik Yerbouti, Alzer, Claptrap, Juggernautie, Cannotcope, vvp, Brother Zed, PG_Straight Line, GooeyGungan, Bilbostomper III, neonchameleon, daersalon, Gothical, and the_true_druid.
~ Would these changes fix the Flameguard Cleanser Officer? Would a different change transform him into a superstar? What is Mark III likely to hold in store for this model? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Interested in what underdogs the author is fielding? Check out Chalkboard’s blog at www.chalkboardwar.com