I've been thinking for a bit about how to take on colossals, especially if you
don't bring your own and thought it would be interesting to work through a
case study. In this case, I'm talking about what will probably be the most
common Colossal you see, the Stormwall. In particular, Stormwall with Arcane
Shield or some other defensive upkeep. Generally you would only see something
else if you have one of those casters with a Jack-only defensive upkeep
(Failsafe for instance) that they want to put on Stormwall so Jr. can put
Arcane Shield somewhere else. Because of this, I'm going to consider
Stormwall to be a PC 22 model.
So lets see what happens if we take two 8 point models, a 4 point model, and a
minimum choir. For the 8 point models, we will assuming a generic
Protectorate heavy, with a P+S 17 main weapon and a secondary weapon that we
will not be concerned about. The 4 point jack will be a Dervish that combo
strikes but buys no more attacks.
Lets see what happens if the Jacks simply charge with a full focus load (9
focus total). The Stormwall is a mighty ARM 22 thanks to Arcane Shield, but
the heavy jacks are P+S 19, and the Dervish is going to Combo Strike for
another P+S 19.
The charge attacks should do 7.5 damage each or so, for a total of 22.5 (of
56), and then two bought attacks each that average 4.03 damage a piece (16.12
total), for total damage of 38.62, more than half the damage grid but not
enough to really destroy it. Maybe we should really consider boosting those
additional attacks, for a total of 5 attacks at 7.5 damage a piece. That's
37.5, better but still not nearly enough to get the job done.
Clearly Arcane Shield has to go if you want anything like a fair trade in
points here. Luckily, the Protectorate has a number of options for dealing
with Arcane Shield, including:
pKress: Spellbreaker (if you're feeling lucky), and Purification
eKreoss: Chasten (but you have to damage an ARM 22 model with a POW 12
pSevvy: His Feat can knock down upkeeps after a turn delay, unless they're
upkept for free by Wishnailer.
eSevvy: Hex Blast should have no trouble directly hitting.
Reznik: Hex Blast might miss, but still probably not, with Purgation on his
weapon you may not want to remove it right away.
eeKreoss: His feat blows away upkeeps
Gravus: Smashes upkeeps with his flail
Fire of Salvation: Knocks away upkeeps when run by Kreoss
eEiryss: Ranged upkeep hate that she can use from behind smoke or trees out of
Scourge of Heresy: Arcane Assassin and Purgation, we'll look more into this
So there are a goodly number of options for dealing with that pesky Arcane
Shield. Lets see how it changes the numbers:
Charge case: 3x10.5 + 4x7 == 59.5 damage, dead Stormwall.
Non-Charge case: 9x7 == 63 damage, dead Stormwall with room for bad rolls, or
letting the Dervish do something else.
So clearly blowing away Arcane Shield is essential unless you want to devote
three heavy jacks or more to killing it.
Now lets look at a special case, the Scourge of Heresy. Long derided for
being too specalized at a task that rarely happens on the table, this jack may
find new life as a Colossal killer. This jack has Imprint: Arcane Assassin
and Purgation on one of its weapons. Lets look at the case of the Scourge of
Heresy with a Vassal against an Arcane Shielded Stormwall:
Case 1: Imprint Activated, charge the Stormwall, buy attacks. 1x15, 1x6,
and 2x11.5 == 44 damage, very respectable.
Case 2: No Imprint, charge the Stormwall, buy attacks: 1x12, 1x3, 3x8.5 ==
40.5, use the imprint!
Case 3: Imprint Activated, advance and buy attacks: 1x6, 5x11.5 == 63.5, dead
That's a 9 point jack, 2 point Vassal, and 1 choirboy to drop a Colossal that
is roughly double its points. Delivering a SPD 4 non-reach character jack to
the Stormwall without getting it disrupted is an exercise left to the reader.
We should also look at some of our jack hunting units to see how they fare:
Full Bastions on a charge, Blessed ignores Arcane Shield, so each does about
7.02 damage each, or 35.10 total. Not enough, although if you get two units
charging you should be able to finish it off (9 attacks should be enough).
1/2 Knights Exemplar on a charge: They aren't ignoring Arcane Shield, but they
are hitting at P+S 14, for roughly 9 damage each, or 27 damage total. Not
impressive sadly. Blow away Arcane Shield and they jump up to 12 damage each,
for a respectable 36 damage or so, you still need roughtly 2 half dead units
to get the job done however.
Errants on a charge: Assuming they aren't ignoring Arcane Shield it is
barely worth the effort, you would need 30 charge attacks to finish it off.
With Arcane Shield down it isn't quite as hopeless, you only need 14 or so
Full Vengers on a charge, no damage taken: You need a little over 2 full
units to get the job done. If you have lost 1 horse you need a little less
than those 2 units (each at 4 riders). Blessed is a big help.
Overall, if you were equipped to deal with a Darius list running two
Centurions (one Arcane Shilded, the other Fortified), you're more than
equipped to deal with the Stormclad, assuming you manage to avoid getting
disrupted too much. For once, the Scourge of Heresy isn't overpriced
overkill! Some sort of upkeep hate is essential however, because Arcane
Shield is just too obvious to avoid putting on a Colossal.
Final Bonus round:
Reznik vs. Stormwall with Arcane Shield.
Option 1: Reznik charges, 1x6.04, 6x2.82 damage swings, 22.96 damage, and
Reznik dies to a very angry Colossal next turn.
Option 2: Engine of Destruction, Reznik Charges, 1x10, 4x6.5, 36 damage, much
better, but still a dead Reznik.
Option 3: Upkeep Ignite, Engine of Destruction, Reznik Charges: 1x12, 3x8.5
37.5 damage, even better.
However, lets take a look at what happens if you get some focus efficiency
Option 1: 1 extra: 25.78, 2 extra: 28.6, still not worth it.
Option 2: 1 extra: 42.5, 2 extra: 49. Not dead, but feeling it
Option 3: 1 extra: 46, 2 extra: 54.5. Very close to death, and maybe not a
Impressive damage, but really only possible because we were abusing Purgation
to negate Arcane Shield and only with full focus support for Reznik. The good
news is that he can blow his feat to deny focus allocation to Stormwall,
greatly improving his chances of survival. The bad news is that he's still
right up front and with no focus.