The Seven-Month Itch
My name is Siskey and I am a Kreoss player. Any kind of Kreoss, it doesn’t matter( there are only three…Ed.), I’ve played him lots of times now. I’ve used every spell on those cards, feated, charged, whiffed, been assassinated and assassinated others. I’ve done it all, with those three. In the run-up to the Irish Masters this year, I decided to play the three incarnations of Kreoss and so played nearly nothing else for four months. Now, with the World Team Championships looming close, my natural choice for lists has settled on my two most familiar casters. It helps that they’re very good in their own right.
But as a Protectorate player, I’m feeling limited. Committing to playing nothing but Kreoss in competitive play has started to grate a little. The High Exemplar and the Intercessor are great, don’t get me wrong. But there are twelve other warcasters out there that I haven’t played in a serious game in months now. I’ve begun thinking of the aftermath of the WTC as my post-Kreoss phase.
I’m hesitating a little in doing this. As restless as I’ve been getting, playing the Kreosses has gotten me more victories and closer games than I’ve ever had before. I’m not one of these players who claims to be able to determine match-ups and in-game interactions based on paper or deduction alone…to the extent that I don’t believe anyone who says they can! Learning which Kreoss is for which situation has been a long graft, and the lists that I do play I have gotten to know backwards and forwards. Starting from scratch with a new warcaster is pretty daunting, but if I want to grow as a player it’s necessary.
Playing Power Casters, Someone’s Gotta Do It!
Everyone wants to be the innovative player who breaks the mould and wins a Masters event with Amon Ad-Raza. My first instinct is to tilt at that windmill and show up to a tournament with underrated casters and wacky lists. I’ve certainly done that a time or two, and had fun doing it even when I lost the majority of my games. Since I’ve been trying to improve, it would be counterproductive to return to old habits, particularly when I’ve played so little of the bench of the Protectorate’s better rated casters.
All signs point to Harbinger, right? Well we’re not going to talk about Harbinger this time, we’re going to talk about Feora2! I have given up the ghost and bought and played the Harbinger a few times, but to start with on my post-Kreoss phase I want to recreate the feeling of capability that I get with Intercessor Kreoss. The threat extension for warjacks, the ability of the warcaster to go and get things done themselves, and a utility feat are all things Kreoss3 and Feora2 have in common. I’ve grown used to having my two anchor lists as archetypes, I understand what each of them does and what they’re good against. The best way I can see to bridge the gap of experience is to recreate those lists in a different mould.
Making Lists Is Hard!
Where do I start? Well, after Nordicon I started thinking about Feora2 a lot. I had played her a couple of times at SteamStorm, but to no great effect. That was with a list concocted by Mícheál Ó Puircheartaigh (otherwise known as Mike Puryear) for last year’s World Team Championship, which I assumed should be good. It has a Judicator, lots of warjacks, min Zealots and some support stuff. But I didn’t have the practice that I had with Kreoss, and so I made the usual foolish errors and threw stuff away. Still, my last game had an epic Feora assassination run where she ran half the table and used her enormous flamethrower to miss Durgen Madhammer completely. There was lots I could do, I just hadn’t thought about it enough.
I admit I have a weakness for theme forces. My Protectorate army has been assembled to fill all of them, which has brought me to some odd places. So when I got back from Nordicon, I blew the dust off my Protectorate book and had a look at the Defenders of the Temple. Two units of Flameguard? But of course. One unit of Daughters and one unit of Flameguard Cleansers? Natch. Visgoth Rhoven and Honour Guard? Fine by me! I ended up thinking a lot about this list:
Feora, Protector of the Flame (+6 warjack points)
* Sanctifier (Bonded) – 9 points (3)
* Redeemer – 6 points (9)
Max Temple Flameguard + UA – 8 points (17)
Max Temple Flameguard + free UA – 6 points (23)
Daughters of the Flame – 5 points (28)
Min Flameguard Cleansers – 5 points (33)
Visgoth Rhoven & Honour Guard – 4 points (37)
Min Choir of Menoth -2 points (39)
Max Flamebringers – 10 points (49)
Vassal Mechanik -1 point (50)
The extra 2″ of deployment and +2 SPD in the first turn of the game means that Flamebringers are 31″ up the board at the end of turn 1, and the Temple Flameguard are past the halfway point. The Cleansers are there to provide concealment for Feora. The thing about this list is that Feora doesn’t do much for her troops apart from fixing command problems and sometimes handing out Ignite. The idea of the Sanctifier is that it can get up to four focus if it’s gotten a good crop of souls with only one focus from Feora, while sometimes helping out against Cryx with its anti-Incorporeal bubble. It seemed a bit nutty, and I wanted to give it a go to see what troops worked well with her, and whether the Sanctifier could cut the mustard. This list is a learning tool rather than a serious attempt.
At this stage I’ve played three games with this list, and have won every game. This is perplexing. I brought it up to Adamcon (Northern Ireland’s best wedding-themed tournament) where I won two out of three games against less-experienced players with Feora. I had underestimated the panic caused by most of my army being up in my opponent’s face at the end of my first turn. Even without an extra defensive buff, Iron Zeal’d Flameguard are a pain for most armies to remove, particularly if they flood the zone to prevent tramples. Against Retribution they won me the game by causing Terror check after Terror check. Against Skorne they set things on fire and used CMA to do reasonable damage. The Flamebringers made back their points in both of the Adamcon games to my surprise. In the first game I played with them my opponent expended enormous effort to clear the unit, eventually killboxing himself with Lylyth2. Feora can stomp about and wreck face too. The list is great fun to play, just for the sheer disgust the first turn causes in your opponent!
I’d love to get more games in with this list, as I’ve said before I can’t visualise what it will be good or bad against until I’ve seen it on the table. The objective at the moment is to get up to 10 games with the same list. Soon though it will be time to try a more serious Feora list. I’ll probably go back to the list I tried out at SteamStorm, which is much closer to the Kreoss3-esque approach I had in mind for Feora originally. The post-WTC phase will involve a frenzy of planning and playing prior to the Iron Moot, where I hope not to disgrace myself. Next time I’ll have more feedback on the theme force and some initial thoughts on a regular Feora list, plus who I’ll bring alongside her.