“Okay my deathripper runs up to here.”
“I’ll activate Lich and move forward, then cast excarnate.”
“The errants and zealots can’t be targeted.”
“Yup, pretty sure I’m in range of that mechanik though. Yup, I sure am. And that will get him, I’ll place the bi-”
“I’ll just martyrdom that guy. Excarnate doesn’t trigger.”
The Lich’s tricks are many, and his greatest trick is making you fear every move you make is the wrong one. The crux of many of these articles is trying to lessen or nullify as many of the tricks as possible so that you aren’t as trapped in nervous fear. For all of the tricks possessed by Lich, one faction stands head and shoulders above the others for just saying no. That faction is the Protectorate of Menoth. Cygnar deny space and movement, Circle uses counter-trickery, but PoM players get to say no more than anyone else. And saying no to the Lich is just viscerally satisfying!
Tools of the Trade
Protectorate like many of the factions with less horrible Lich matchups has a lot of caster independent tools. The first, and most obvious is the widespread spell immunity. Errants and Zealots have it. Errants also have magical crossbows. You can give it to Mercenary units with an attendant priest. The warjacks can easily have it, and its rare enough that you need to pray for passage (no-shooty!) against Cryx. This enormously limits Lich’s ability to place parasite and more importantly excarnate where and when he wants. However, he can and will still try to excarnate your easy-to-kill support models if he can run an arc node into the right position. PoM support is usually pretty deep in the army, but Cryx arc nodes can run 14”. It’s something to keep in mind, and biles will ruin your infantry screen’s day. Errants and zealots both will die horrible deaths from purges. Even under greater destiny, 2/3s of the unit of zealots die to corrosion next turn.
Any of many effects that deny the enemy the destruction of models are really powerful. The battle engines doors of judgement should be saved for the model that gets excarnated, and the Harbinger should never not keep excarnat-able models within her command range, and just martyr them. [EDIT: Doors of Judgement doesn’t stop excarnate, as they are both activated on boxed and the active player may choose the order of resolution.] The errant solos are nearly impossible to destroy with an attack, etc. There is of course also the warjacks. I love the redeemer with both Rhoven and Aiyana and Holt in the list. As is so often the case you want to kill the blood hag really early so that entropic force doesn’t ruin your errants’ day, she also stops Martyr on Harbinger. The redeemer is really good at this. He’s also good at killing Tartarus, though it takes two shots, if T-sauce is in the back ranks you have the range to have two goes. If he’s up forward a reckoner can get him. The Avatar’s Gaze ability can be very powerful in controlling the directions of Lich’s infantry/feat models. Mostly though, I see it as an 11 point model that can be used to draw out the feat. Keep it behind your lines, make it awful to deal with and if you get ahead he will probably feat on it. Just let the Avatar be a robot with a death wish and the feat will get predictable.
Why cheesoid exist? Petril! Petril!
Remember always that I think the Protectorate’s biggest problem against Lich is having the jacks close together, it lets him get incredible feats. Just be very wary about where your jacks are. Two choirs is advisable, so that most jacks are shielded but you can battle the redeemer while being a bit spread out.
PoM is a weird faction in that it’s casters are the garnish rather than necessarily the list’s beating heart. So in the discussion of using PoM most of the casters aren’t bad, who’s where on the good bad slider isn’t too unusual. That’s part of Protectorate’s strength. You can just play your list and probably not have that bad of a matchup. I do think that melee PoM will have a revival as most people’s second list after shooting PoM, but that’s a topic for another time and place. That said, some casters have especially pleasant tricks.
Equines of the Night
Severius2 has some interesting plays. He can hex blast off hellbound, holy ward lets you have yet another spell warded unit, and this time with +2 def, or just def 14 errants. Holy Ward is in general a fantastic spell against Cryx, also possessed by Kreoss3. Fear of god is also awesome, though requires an arcnode. Preventing orders from a unit a turn is a great way to control the pace at which your opponent comes at you. You’re feat isn’t able to do my favourite thing, like it does against valuable living enemy models (Yum Champions!), but you can kill off the blood hag, maybe the bane thrall banner, etc. It’s a few more free dead models. If nothing else use it to wipe up a unit of bane knights so the vengeance isn’t scary.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
My favourite tech in this matchup is the High Reclaimer! The inspiration for this is derived entirely from a HR list heard on MoM. You can place clouds for 2 focus? I do it for one! You bring back ten models which then disappear? I brought back an entire unit of Bastions for the rest of the game! Bwahahaha! Don’t try to be too aggressive with the clouds once the lines are engaged, Lich will just feat on your caster. Other than the feat though, soulstorm keeps you very safe. You can buy the alpha very well as you can shoot out through the double cloud wall and he can’t! That said, I like him with double Bastions, and I’m not convinced that’s very good against Cryx. So I’m just going to give a double Bastion list!
High Reclaimer +6 warjack points
-Reckoner, 8 points
-Redeemer, 6 points
Holy Zealots, full unit, 6 points
-Monolith Bearer, unit attachment, 2 points
Exemplar Bastions, full unit, x2, 8 points each
Choir, minimum unit, 2 points
Aiyana and Holt, 4 points
Bastion Seneschal, x2, 3 points each
Rhupert Carvolo, 2 points
Covenant of Menoth, 2 points
Vassal of Menoth, 2 points
The Usual Suspects
Kreoss1 is one of the most powerful casters in the entire game. He gives most Hordes factions fits. He’s also good against infantry swarms, he just kills the world. He gives you one of those huge attrition advantages that even Lich2 lists might not be able to come back from. Especially if you kill all of his beloved stuff and still have your tarpit units so that he can’t feat into your battle group. It is largely about the feat, and keeping Kreoss alive, but that’s nothing new with Kreoss1. Against Cryx I’d favour a third unit, and as you want to maintain spell immunity a Mercenary unit seems like a good play with the attendant priest. PoM can’t use Boomhowlers or Nyss, but they do have access to pirates! It’s a fun random inclusion. A standard Kreoss1 list will have a very solid game against Lich though.
Does anyone else think that bald dudes are all porters in the Protecterate? Pull this battle engine, stop that teenager from floating away, let me stand on your back.
Honestly though, I think the best answer in the PoM is the Harbinger. Her feat is incredible. Martyrdom just stops excarnate. If she can ever safely cast fear of god, or brings an arc node, she has another layer of control. General Harbinger lists will do solidly in this matchup. Though adding Rhoven, Aiyana & Holt with an attendant priest, and, if for some reason you don’t have one already, a redeemer really gives you a huge edge. Also, I recommend you feat late in the game. Shoot some, take the charge, then feat and kill everything engaging you, then do that again next turn. Fun times! Feating early with control feats is a hold over from when that used to beat other new players on scenario for free. Use the feat to lock your opponent in a place where you can reach and kill everything two turns in a row.
The last three weeks have been pretty positive! Take your berserk warpwolves, your lightning and your Harbingers and just be very careful against Lich. That probably sends the wrong message! He’s still a nightmare for most factions! Next week is Troll week on Overload!
P.S. I apologise for the late article. I didn’t sleep on tuesday, which made word use pretty hard on Wednesday which was leaving it way too late anyway!