by Felix Flauta
Thyra, Flame of Sorrow was released in Warmachine: Wrath and she is different from other warcasters in the Protectorate of Menoth. Where other warcasters emphasize attrition and denial, Thyra emphasizes speed and knives at the enemy's throat. For 35 points, and for a Hardcore-style event, I finally settled on the following list.
Thyra and her custom warjack the Blood of Martyrs charge into combat with their abilities neatly complementing each other. Thyra moves fast with her Acrobatics Ability, moving closer with SPD 7 and the Overtake Ability getting her closer with every kill. The Blood of Martyrs, while nowhere near as fast as Thyra, screens her quite nicely. The Parry Ability gives it some extra maneuverability, as does having the Side Step Ability when fighting with Thyra.
The Shadows of Urcaen Feat gets the two even closer to where the fighting will be, and in a pinch Thyra can use the Pursuit Spell to get either of them closer after the targeted enemy advances. Once combat is assured, Thyra casts the Carnage Spell increasing both their MATs or upkeeping the Silence of Death Spell to get past models with the Tough Ability or to put a 'caster on their heels by preventing them from healing damage.
Though technically not a member of Thyra's battlegroup, the Avatar's presence in a Thyra force is meant to fulfill some of the same purposes. It's a well armored ball of concentrated force that costs Thyra nothing in focus. Though it can't benefit from Pursuit, the Avatar becomes an effective MAT 10 under Carnage and gets a 12" threat range during the Feat turn. Its Gaze ability can be used to keep some pressure off of Thyra by preventing models from charging her.
It seems as if every non-Black Widows Theme Force will have a pile of points put into Mercenary solo support, and my list is no exception.
Anastasia offers an increase to the starting roll, giving me more deployment options by going second against slower armies and 'casters/'locks (catch me if you can!) or first against faster or ranged armies (position in and around terrain on turn 1 before the shooting begins). In addition, she uses her Ambush Ability to get in close to the side where the enemy deployed their 'caster, and they will either have to devote resources dealing with the DEF 16 model with the Stealth Ability or risk her getting close enough by turn 2 or 3 to trigger the Espionage Ability. In the right circumstances, an extra movement and attack is all that a Thyra army needs.
Not only does Saxon Orrik work with Thyra in the pages of Wrath, but he also provides a useful skillset to her army. With the Pathfinder Ability being foreign to most Protectorate models, he can offer it to the fast moving daughters with his Reconnaissance action or to Thyra herself. Stealth and ARM 14 keep him alive, and in a pitch he can charge in to use his Take Down Ability to deal with troublesome Tough models.
Gorman di Wulfe provides a cloud effect early in the game to hide Thyra behind. The only concern he has is keeping up with her SPD 7 Acrobatic movement. Later, he can help her deal with the high armor of a warjack by using a Rust bomb to debuff their ARM or, of course, a Blind grenade to make her attacks all but guaranteed to hit. If he hits the target with Blind, she can charge in, use her feat and place herself 2" away after dealing damage to prevent enemy warcaster retaliation. And if she's upkept Silence of Death, the hurt she puts out will remain hurt.
Choir provide the obvious in a Protectorate of Menoth army. Can't-shoot-me or can't-spell-me or can't-avoid-me-+2/+2-weapons. Even with just two warjacks, choir keep them both alive, and their Battle Hymn bonus stacks with the Blood of Martyrs' Hand of Vengeance. After Menites die by the 'jack, and the choir sing their support, AND after Thyra casts Carnage (if she even feels the need to cast Carnage after all those bonuses) the warjack becomes an amazing MAT 12 and P+S 20 for two initial attacks. And if it tramples (and the Blood of Martyrs WILL trample), it will have a STR 15 damage roll squishing most infantry flat while ignoring freestrikes from their nearby friends.
The Covenant of Menoth is simply a tournament choice. Thyra simply cannot afford to be knocked down by annoying long distance traitor rockets or Gatorman/Menite feats. DEF 17 means nothing when she's frozen or dropped, so the Covenant will probably be used less aggressively except against spell slinger armies (Druids and Battle Mages, oh my!). And when no native knockdown or stationary effects remain, the Covenant can read the Flames of Wrath giving Thyra or her Daughters the ability to light things on fire with their attacks. ARM 18 'caster camping focus? Stab them with fire.
And the cries of the Wracked help Thyra manage her own focus. If she's upkeeping 2 spells, she's left with 4 for herself and her 'jack. Assuming she wants to cast Carnage, that leaves her with just 2 focus. A little help from a Wrack on crucial turns will do her much good over the course of a battle. Of course they will have to be deployed fairly close together since she'll be tethered to them by her 12" CNTRL and her ability to outrange them, but with advance deployed daughters it's not like most of her line troops will take up too much space.
Knights Exemplar are a mainstay in many Protectorate armies for their staying power. They're not fast, but they hit harder the more of them your enemy kills, which means most enemies try to kill them outright. However, if just two or three survive (one is usually far too few) enemy heavies tremble at the combined might of POW 14 weaponmasters. But why are they here? And in this list? MAT 7 misses. It just does. But with Carnage, Knights Exemplar don't miss. And with Thyra's Occultation Spell, Knights Exemplar aren't quite so easily wiped off the table before they get to use their relic blades.
The Knights are also in this list (as are the choir) to fuel the Blood of Martyrs's Hand of Vengeance trigger. As Knights and Choir die, the Blood of Martyrs becomes even more fearsome in combat to the point where sometimes it will be beneficial to make it immune to spellcasting rather than empowering it with a hymn of battle.
Thyra is the head of the order of the Daughters of the Flame, and as such there is always a place for them in her army. Not only are they fast, but with Thyra they become Elite Cadre and gain the Vengeance Ability. When one falls, the enemy better be able to kill the entire unit or they will move and attack in the maintenance phase. Originally the army had two of these units, but the time constraints of the Hardcore format made taking extra Vengeance moves undesirable.