Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rookie's Corner 1 - Choosing a Team

Choosing a Team

One of the first things you have to do when starting Guild Ball is choosing a team. Some will stick to this one team for a while, others will buy multiple teams and switch it up. But ultimately, you have to start somewhere.
I have prepared the summaries below to help new players in making this pivotal decision, based on the game developer summaries of each Guild (Season 1).
As to advice on what to play, I would recommend reading the summaries, skimming the rulebook and the player entries, then just going with your gut feeling. Past experience has demonstrated to me that rationally over-analysing will lead to frustration rather than an actual result.


Melee damage - 3
Ranged damage - 1
Ball control - 8
Speed - 8
Toughness - 5
Special - 5
Fishermen are unapologetically aggressive football players and excel at moving around the field, passing the ball, and scoring goals with their good to great KICK stats. They want to get the ball quick and are able to take it from you and keep it away. On the flipside, they are weak in the damage department, and try to play around this by being quite hard to pin down and controlling their opponents in other ways.
Most of their players have a momentous dodge in the first or second column of their playbooks (which are quite low on damage results). Character plays usually involve movement or ball control.
Fishermen might suit you if you:
  • prefer to be the aggressive actor rather the reactor
  • prefer to win almost entirely by goals and thus don't mind having poor damage output
  • like pirates, scullywags and norwegians


Melee Damage - 3
Ranged Damage - 5
Ball Control - 7
Speed - 5
Toughness - 6
Special - 4
Engineers are the “ranged” guild of the game. In an absolute sense, they are not that amazing at ranged (see the score of 5/10 above), but relative to other guilds have a lot more options in that department. On average they are weak in combat (low TAC scores) and don’t have many amazing tricks (besides blowing things up), but have the skills to move the ball up field and score while slowly grinding down an opponent at range.  Season 2 models bring their football game up to the high score given here.Tackle and push/dodge results are dominant in their playbooks, while character plays are usually focused ranged damage and minor control. 

Engineers might suit you if you:
  • like the idea of a ranged team with control elements and good football skills
  • want to generally avoid scrapping it out in melee
  • like the steampunk aesthetic and don't mind the Collosus model :)


Melee Damage - 5
Ranged Damage - 3
Ball Control - 6
Speed - 6
Toughness - 3
Special - 7
Alchemists are ideally focused on board control via AoEs and stacking conditions and debuffs on the enemy to gain advantage and move around the board without getting wasted (see low Toughness score), or inflict multiple small chunks of damage. However this playstyle has not quite gelled in Season 1. As a result, most of the strong Alchemist teams have focused on using captain Midas as a super solo, together with striker Vitriol (both excellent football players) and a selection of Union representatives. Season 2 brings new options to conditions game, allowing existing synergies and combos to become viable and making all-Alchemist teams a lot more attractive.
Their playbooks feature a good mix of skills, with a good spread of damage, while character plays are usually condition-inflicting.

Alchemists might suit you if you:
  • like the idea of condition and AoE based gameplay
  • can live with the idea of having a relatively fragile team if you get caught out
  • love victorian-era high fashion and the periodic table


Melee Damage - 6
Ranged Damage - 1
Ball Control - 6
Speed - 5
Toughness - 6
Special – 6
Masons are the jack-of-all-trades toolbox team, being good but not great at almost everything (except the ranged game). They are flexible in play and built a bit like a swiss army knife, relying on highly specialized players for specific roles and specific synergies. If you can sufficiently support the right player at the right time, they can get the job done for you.  The one thing most of their players have in common is low DEF but high ARM scores.
Their playbooks are also quite diverse, with a good spread of abilities, and momentous results low on the playbook . Their character plays are as varied as you would expect from these jack of all trades.

Masons might suit you if you:
  • prefer tactical flexibility and a team of specialists
  • are willing to sacrifice strategic determination  (ie. being excellent at any given aspect of the game)
  • think that steel plate armour and swoon-worthy men go hand-in-hand


Melee Damage - 6
Ranged Damage - 2
Ball Control - 4
Speed - 4
Toughness - 6
Special - 8
Morticians are the control team par excellence. They aren’t particularly great at damage or playing football on the whole, but they can screw with you enough to throw you off your game enough to bring you below them and beat you where you are weak. Examples of their tricks include moving your models, stealing your resources or reducing your stats. If you love playing tempo control or messing with your opponent in a calculated fashion, Morticians are your team.
Their playbooks are generally weaker and less focused than other teams (relatively less momentous and joint results), and their character plays are mostly about screwing with the other team.

Morticians might suit you if you:
  • derive pleasure from the suffering of others
  • love tricks and sneaky tactics more than raw ability
  • are the person that always picks the 'undead army' in any game


Melee Damage - 7
Ranged Damage - 2
Ball Control - 5
Speed - 3
Toughness - 8
Special - 5
Brewers are the grinders and tanks of the game. Most of their models have large health pools and good resistance to damage, while being able to deal very solid damage themselves. The downside to this of course is that they are not particularly great at scoring fast goals outside their dedicated strikers. One thing that does stand out with Brewers is that almost all their Season 1 players have heroic plays (which cost momentum rather than influence) - as a result, once they get going in a turn and racking up momentum, they can really get some work done and pull out surprise plays.
Their playbooks are generally straight forward and shorter than other teams (much potential for wraparounds) and have a lot of momentous KD and push results, while the character plays are mostly subtle buff/debuff abilities.

Brewers might suit you if you:
  • love a good scrap and want a team that can take a beating
  • prefer to focus on takeouts and grind rather than scoring and speed
  • like alcohol, douchy cats, and copious amounts of facial hair


Melee Damage - 8
Ranged Damage - 3
Ball Control - 4
Speed - 6
Toughness - 5
Special – 4
Butchers are the archetypal fighting team, with the highest average TAC scores. They can stack damage like nobody else and roll up huge momentum in combat, and are one of the few teams that can reliably take out almost any player in 1-2 activations. The downside is that while they can deal out a lot of damage, they are not especially great at taking it back or maintaining control of the ball.
Their playbooks are chock full of momentous damage results, and most of their character plays revolve around this as well.

Butchers might suit you if you:
  • are all about that damage and stacking buffs
  • are willing to have a weak football game and give up sneaky tricks for that damage
  • Think that Jack the Ripper films, games and literature is awesome

Union numbers vary due to the flexibility of the models

Melee Damage - 4-7
Ranged Damage - 1-3
Ball Control - 3-7
Speed - 3-6
Toughness - 3-6
Special - 3-6
Union was the strongest team in the game in Season 1 - not only under Blackheart (who is arguably the best captain in the game) but also within other teams. This is clear in the number of Union models that received nerfs at the end of Season 1 in order to bring them in line with the rest of the game.
Even with this, they have access to excellent damage, resilience and ball control. The only issue really is that you cannot take everything you want! As a whole, although the Union has access to some very strong individual players, they lack strong synergies relative to Guild teams which can hold them back in certain gameplay situations.

Union might suit you if you:
  • prefer individual greatness over team strategy and have access to a wide range of playstyles
  • can't get no satisfaction
  • are inclined to like suave characters in nice outfits.

Information, reformated:

Melee Damage - the ability to deal damage in melee:
  1. Butchers – 8
  2. Brewers – 7
  3. Masons / Morticians – 6
  4. Alchemists – 5
  5. Fishermen  / Engineers – 3
Ranged Damage – ability to deal damage at range:
  1. Engineers –  5
  2. Butchers / Alchemists – 3
  3. Brewers  / Morticians –  2
  4. Fishermen / Masons –  1
Ball Control – ability to move, retrieve and protect the ball:
  1. Fishermen –  8
  2. Engineers –  7
  3. Masons –  6 / Alchemists –  6
  4. Brewers –  5
  5. Butchers / Morticians – 4
Speed – ability to move around the battlefield:
  1. Fishermen – 8
  2. Alchemists  / Butchers –  6
  3. Masons / Engineers – 5
  4. Morticians – 4
  5. Brewers –  3
Toughness – ability to soak up damage:
  1. Brewers – 8
  2. Engineers / Masons  / Morticians – 6
  3. Fishermen / Butchers – 5
  4. Alchemists – 3
Special – things that do not fit in the above ie. Denial and control mechanics, conditions, resource manipulation, etc.
  1. Morticians – 8
  2. Alchemists – 7
  3. Masons – 6
  4. Brewers / Fishermen – 5
  5. Butchers / Engineers – 4

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