That’s right; I’m doing it. Even after the last two disappointing Protectorate previews I’m going to talk about my hopes for the upcoming Exemplar Errant Officer and Standard Bearer. Errant themselves are solid, and if the Temple Flameguard are any precedent their UA will boost them into the realm of teh win.
In Mk I, Errant were known for their outrageous point costs but now a Protectorate only pays a whopping 5 points for a minimum unit or 8 for a max. For that point cost you can field an efficient jack-of-all-trades unit with at least one ability to help them fill any roll on the table:
- Melee: MAT 7, P+S 9 Weaponmaster means an average damage roll of 19 (23 on the charge). That’s enough to kill even most unbuffed Shield Wall troops.
- Ranged: Although their RNG is only average, RAT 6 is very respectable and Blessed means their crossbows will be able ignore most non-terrain defensive buffs.
- Attrition/Speed bump: ARM 16 is respectable and helps survivability against Shield Wall troops. Bond of Life means you can keep that one important model alive until the end of the unit.
So what do they need a UA for? To answer that you have to look at the rest of the Protectorate army, where you’ll see the Errants’ weakness is that there are units that can serve most roles better.
- Melee: All Exemplar sport the same MAT as the Errant and hit even harder.
- Ranged: Idrians sport better range with better RAT & POW once you factor in Combined Ranged Attack and Prey. The Protectorate also has a glut of AOE options.
- Attrition/Speed bump: Temple Flameguard are cheaper, faster, and have a slightly better defense. Zealots as well.
With the Protectorate’s cheap warjacks and fantastic support pieces space for units and solos tends to be at a premium. I can’t afford much redundancy, meaning my unit choices have to be able to pull a lot of weight compared to the points I spend on them. If I take Errant I’m doing one of two things: purchasing an all-purpose unit because it’s all I can fit in, or banking they can fill a role “well enough” (comparatively) and hoping to get lucky enough to get some mileage out of their flexibility.
As much as I like Errants I find myself taking TFG+UA far more often if I need a speed bump because I can use their SPD 6 and Reach to run and tie up an opponent and fire off Iron Zeal (and usually Tough from Rupert) to keep them alive for a round. Bastions have seen play as heavy hitters lately just because of their reach higher-damage weaponmaster attacks. Redeemers and Vanquishers play the ranged role because of the Choir.
Therein lies my hope for the UA: to make the Errant equal to the top dogs in one of the above categories so that they can better compete with table-time. For example while SPD 6 Flameguard that advance in Shield Wall may very well be giving up the charge, SPD 5 Errant with an ability like Defensive Line could move forward while firing to help thin out potential attackers before hand and still sport sufficient melee abilities to cause casualties once engaged. Or just run 10″ at ARM 18 – outracing the TFG in Shield Wall by 4″ but lacking Reach to tie up models.
I could rattle off the abilities I hope that the Errant will pick up, but the short of it is they’re just one or two rules shy of fighting for space in my lists. Between flexibility and the aesthetics of the Knight Exemplar, the UA could very well turn them into my favorite unit. But then again, now that I jinxed it…