The Vessel of Judgement, Protectorate Battle Engine
No host of men can withstand the fires of judgement. -Hierarch Severius
The vessel of judgement is a powerful addition to any Protectorate army. It functions similarly to a warjack, but is much more akin to a gun platform. It brings 3 powerful and potentially game changing abilities in addition to it's untyped-damage main weapon as well as having a large number of damage boxes and an innate ability to boost attacks and damage rolls. The cherry on top is quite possibly that the entire 5+ meter church-on-wheels is being pulled by one man.
Attacks: For being such a powerful unit, it's very surprising that it only packs a single magical RNG 12 POW 15 gun.
Stats: The Vessel is as fast as a Reckoner with +1 RAT. Its defense is the same, but has +1 ARM.
Abilities: Aside from being another model in our army that is immune to fire, the Vessel has several features. First of all, it can boost attacks and damage rolls it makes by taking a single point of damage per boost. With its gun, just like eSeverius, after it hits its primary target, the d3 closest enemies to the target take a magical POW 10. This makes it a large threat to infantry and just like with Ashes-to-Ashes, you can bounce it off a target to kill things in melee.
The Vessel brings 3 unique abilities called miracles to the table which can be extremely powerful. Each of these abilities causes the Vessel to take d3 damage when it is activated. The first ability simply removes animi and continuous effects within 10 inches of itself. The second ability simply allows you to keep a warrior model alive after it becomes boxed within 10 inches of the Vessel. This can only be used once per turn and will not work if the model died while advancing. The model can then make a full advance ignoring free strikes followed by one attack. While this ability might seem unimpressive, the majority of silliness this model can provide you comes from this ability. Finally, the Vessel's last miracle simply pushes enemies within 2" back 4" and lights them on fire.
That's great, but tell me why should I care? WHAT?! This thing is amazing. While it is expensive for Menoth units, having an accurate untyped magic damage gun is fantastic! Vs. other Menoth Players, you can hit their jacks and bounce extra hits into Vassals or choir. Having the ability to boost innately even makes it arguably better than the other battle engines that need some circumstance to occur in order to boost.
The miracles when used well add an entirely new dimension of play. The first and third miracles are very straightforward. You'll use the purification to remove fires and corrosion effects and animi. The other is used primarily to move things from objectives or get things out of melee, specifically out of melee with itself so it can shoot the gun. The second miracle, Doors of Judgement, on the other hand, is impossible to completely discuss.
Doors of Judgement opens some outrageous doors (ha!) for us. Typically as our solos are very powerful, using this ability to keep a solo alive is the way to go. Nicia, for instance, can move her 7 inches avoiding everything in her path and get a powerful swing on something up to 9" away. Paladins including Vilmon can charge on your turn and, once they get splatted on the enemy's turn, make one more attack. When used with certain infantry like TFG with their UA or Cinnerators, you can make another swing and light an enemy of fire. If a powerful infantry unit has charged you, you can kill the enemy unit leader and deny that attack plus a little known rule prevents a model from making attacks that turn if it was replaced. This way you have denied 2 attacks. This trick of course can be applied to ranged weapons as well. If someone kills a zealot, that zealot can now move and throw his bomb. If someone kills the leader of the Sunburst crew, you can move it into contact with the grunt and out of melee and shoot also giving him the +2 to hit bonus. Even though the Sunburst is artillery, it can still move and fire as that rule only applies during its turn. You can also use Doors to deny opponents abilities that trigger when the model is destroyed. The model will still be boxed and the enemy can gain benefits, but your model will be removed from play regardless. Lastly, this miracle can also save your game. If the enemy kills your warcaster, they can be Doors-ed. This can easily allow you to kill warcasters like eStryker. There are simply too many tricks that can be applied with this miracle. Test it out and try not to forget it!
Alright, you convinced me. What works with it? Glad you asked.
Raza: Kinda likes it because it can clear screens and annoying solos plus it frees up his focus. However, Raza wants lots of jacks and 9 points is a large investment. I would not discount it, but it requires some sacrifice in army creation. If you have a large army and already have at least 4 jacks, it can be a consideration.
pFeora: likes having it around as it can free up some focus. She can place walls in front of it to prevent charging from infantry or lights as well as can spray through it as the Vessel is immune to fire.
eFeora: doesn't mind it, and caustic presence with the Eruption miracle can remove entire units or EASILY set up her feat as it does no damage.
Harbinger: can hide behind it and provide martyrdom silliness combined with Doors. harbinger becomes the angel of death, choosing who lives and who dies.
Reclaimer: can blast it with Ashes-to-Ashes which it is immune to, but then the spell chains into several other enemies. Regardless of any factors such as hills, being engaged, or being concealed, Reclaimer will only need a 5 to hit with ashes because of the rules regarding battle engines. This drops to a 3 if he has rear-arc. Although the Vessel requires no focus so it can help Reclaimer, anything that has Doors used on it is removed from play. This means no souls and the model cannot be used in the feat. Keep in mind that the Reclaimer's clouds will not be able to screeen the Vessel and as such the enemy can use it as a target for aoes or spells similar to Ashes-to-Ashes.
Testament: Incorporeal units can charge through this monstrous base as well as the obvious other benefits the Vessel provides. Like the Reclaimer, remember models that have been targeted with Doors cannot be Revived and will provide no soul after their attack.
pKreoss: Another gun that can kill fire immune casters and isn't inaccurate? Hell yes!
Reznik: Provides a nice gun and helps him save focus. Really not much other synergy here.
pSevy: Eye see you with a Rat 7 POW 16 shot. Vision is very nice spell to put on the Vessel, as well.
eSevy: being slightly easy to kill is less of a disadvantage when sevy can have creator's wrath on himself, die, get the miracle used on him, and kill the enemy caster.
Thyra: Absolutely loves this thing. The gun and the miracles combined with her infantry horde can do a lot. She can also stealth it which makes a lot of people scratch their heads wondering, "How?"
Vindictus: I strongly recommend guns with him, and this is possibly the best in the faction. Taking this instead of a jack means you can Sac Lamb choir more often with the Vessel providing great support. Vindy's horde will also help to protect the Vessel.
TFG: as I mentioned, can get one more attack off with Doors. This can light something on fire and can cause a terror check!
Zealots: BOOM! Already mentioned.
KE: Keep that last one alive for another swing and take someone with you from that POW 16 WM attack.
Deliverers: Can get one more super-long range blast off at something. Just remember it's POW 6. You're honestly better off with something else.
Bastions: One more Blessed WM attack? Awesome!
Cinerators: These can potentially kill something and flameburst people around them.
Cleansers: Being immune to fire, the cleansers can spray through it and not hurt it. It also gives them some protection. Giving a dead cleanser a spray could kill several models and avoid many attacks.
Idrians: Idrians can focus on clearing Preyed units while the Vessel handles solos and other targets for them. Prey can be a massive boost, and remember they can shoot, too, during a Doors miracle.
Rhoven: Keeping one of the guards alive can be a nice swing, as now they are guaranteed battle driven. Rhoven can also provide Menoth's Sight to the Vessel allowing it to avoid clouds and stealth. Rhoven can also help to keep the Vessel alive slightly longer by providing the same ability as its first miracle.
Vassal Mechanik: The Vessel hurts itself quite often and of course the opponent will want it dead. This guy can keep it in working order. Many people consider it a requirement to take the fixer, but it really isn't needed.
Gravus: This is a SUPER strong choice as Gravus can swing his dispelling chain weapon to remove upkeeps and the Vessel can remove everything else, except non-upkeep spells. In addition, getting one more swing out of a MAT 8 model that removes upkeeps can make your opponent think twice about killing him before the Vessel.
Nicia: Was mentioned already.
Vilmon: Was also mentioned. Pay attention!