Sunday, January 31, 2016

Morticians 201

Because all the games I've played (a little more than ten?) - and (as predicted) having not played for weeks due to the imminent and now recent start of the school year - qualifies me to write this, here's some insight and next levelling into the morbid masters of mischief, mayhem, and model movement manipulation.

Classic Morticians humour.



Defensive Midfielder, Captain

- The most important thing to know about Obulus is that he is without doubt going to screw you massively at some point and that the flexibility of his shenanigans makes him extraordinarily hard to predict. This is largely due to the unbelievable OPness that is Puppet Master and the 1 INF cost, cast on all your friends and yourself, "let's manipulate the dice math" Confidence. These two Character Plays combined with his deceptive movement abilities, Reach, and a surprisingly ball-busting (albeit nuanced) Legendary Play do in fact a captain make! He looks slow, his Kick seems pretty pathetic, and his defensive stats are nothing to write home about. In actual fact he is hella fast, his Kick is legit solid due to his potentially crazy speed and ability to manipulate Momentum, and you can't punch what you can't engage. This semi- unwritten added mobility can seal the deal in the heat of the game if/when your opponent forgets to account for it in their own planning.

- His team buffs are either real (affecting a friendly model) or artificial (affecting an enemy model) threat range extenders and again this stems from effective and timely application of Puppet Master. And Confidence. If you haven't taken a Confidenced, Furious Charging, Crazy!, Damage Supported Cosset to the face then you just haven't lived!

- His impact on the game is so driven by Puppet Master that not giving him at least 4 INF automatically feels like a terrible mistake almost regardless of his position on the field. In fact it's so easy to load him up with the maximum of a mind-boggling 8 INF and have him do all the work that here in the Dojo he's actually been renamed Captain Obvious.

Probably a Magic joke. I wouldn't know. I've never played.

- So it would be remiss of me to write this and not delve at least a little into what Puppet Master can accomplish in the game. Here are a some things that have happened in my own experience:

  • Obulus' personal threat range is 14" (straight line) before he punches anything to get a (Momentous) Dodge on one hit. Shadow Like (2" Dodge) + Sprint (6") + Puppet Master himself (4" jog) + Melee Zone/Reach (2"). It costs him 5 INF just to achieve this threat but that also means... he can kick for goal from a staggering 18" away! And if you happen to win the game in that activation then it doesn't really matter how much it cost you to make it happen. Pre-measuring in Guild Ball and the use of proxy bases is an enormous benefit for the discerning Morticians player!
  • Forcing an enemy player to Pass the Ball -  there's a whole lot of jank going on with this play. If you manage to target a model with a good to excellent Kick stat you can all but ensure a point of Momentum from a successful Pass. Jackpot time if they are Kick 3/8" and don't forget that because this is the friendly successful exchange of the ball you not only gain a point of Momentum but can trigger a Pass 'n Move 4" Dodge after receiving it! Again this gives Obulus himself unprecedented personal threat on the goal depending on field position, especially if he can receive the ball after Shadow Like but before a Jog/Sprint/Charge. Finally, the passing model counts as a friendly player so in addition to all the other aforementioned benefits, you can also Bonus Time their kick! This is a great way to hedge your bets if the ball is being held but a mascot with crappy kick stats.
  • What if their Kick isn't so great or you don't want the ball? Kill the ball by having them Pass to empty space away from the rest of their team! Teams that want to play football hate a dead ball out of position and even a ball that doesn't appear to be well out of the game can force positioning issues that stretch the best Kick stats to breaking point.
  • Forcing an enemy player to Snap a free ball and bring it to you. I did this against Scum in a recently while he was trying to keep the ball away from me without holding it (having been forced to Pass it to me in a previous game). Turns out you can't also have them drop the ball at your feet (sorry Nick!) as there's a big difference between the activation of a model (where you can Snap the ball) and being the active model (only active models can choose to drop the ball).
  • Jog a friendly player into an unexpected location. This was especially amusing when cast on Ghast in one game allowing him to engage models that didn't have the INF to swing at him in their own activations but then couldn't move away for fear of a Knockdown Parting Blow. I also used it on Silence once at the very start of a game allowing him to Embalming Fluid a particularly clumped enemy deployment which was kind of hilarious. Turns out Masons struggle a bit when three of their players are on fire before they've left the starting zone.
  • Jog an enemy player to the board edge and Push them off in the next activation.

- This said, if you can "get around" or negate Puppet Master then you are waaaay up on Obulus. He hates Siren for example; the -5" of range to Character Plays targeting her frequently takes Puppet Master off the board (it is very easy to forget she has this as it's a passive ability). Any abilities that apply INF penalities or ignore effects (the first attack or Character Play targeting Ghast, Clone etc) are pretty much gold and while they can often be creatively played around it forces the Morticians through additional hoops to regain their dominance of the control game.

- Misdirection is incredibly niche and will come up maybe once in 10+ games. And when it goes off it will cripple you. Be aware of it's existence but don't be overly stressed out about it.

- Obulus' playbook is sadly not amazing. He gets a good number of swings in with TAC 6 but the book itself is really lacking in Momentous options with only the Dodge on one hit, 2 damage on two hits, and a Push/Dodge on 5 hits. While he's capable of doing considerable damage by racking up Momentous 2 damage results (non-Momentous 3 damage on 5 hits is a rarity) it's a big sink of INF to make it happen and you can't help but feel you should have played a better game with your punchy players (Cosset, Graves, Ghast et al) instead. If he manages to wrap on the charge or with a lucky roll it's probably a non-Momentous Knockdown and some minor damage or a Momentous Dodge on the wrap - nothing to write home about and certainly nothing Ox, Tapper, or Blackheart-like to fear. He really struggles against ARM 2 models, often getting nothing more than a swell of Dodge-based Momentum and little or no damage. Also considering most turns he's spending an effective 3 INF on Puppet Master (assuming it's successful) you begin to realise that he really needs to be contributing positioning shenanigans to the rest of the team instead of going hammer and tongs on a one man Rambo mission.

- If you want to engage Obulus in combat the easy answer is you need a Melee Range 2" model to get into base contact so that he can't Unpredictable Movement away and make you flip the table. Unpredictable Movement is VERY easy to forget in the middle of the game and brain-farting just once on this can screw your whole turn. You can also play around the "once per turn" nature of this Character Trait by forcing difficult decisions from the Morticians player about when he wants to use it.

- Rigor Mortis, Obulus' Legendary Play, is another excellent endorsement of the control and denial play style of the captain himself. Timing of course is crucial and there are two issues to exploit if this LP is giving you grief:
  • To get (arguably) best use out of it (i.e. the most Momentum) Obulus has to go late in the turn once a base of Momentum has been built by the opponent. Use this activation knowledge to your advantage by getting work done early and making plays with less worry about Puppet Master wrecking you.
  • Spend spend spend! If you have no Momentum to take then he has no Legendary. This is of course a double-edged sword because no Momentum = no initiative in the next turn and Obulus guaranteed to go first from a position that he wants will cause you a real headache. On the flip side look for opportunities to heal players and remove conditions, making the long game more difficult for the Morticians. The other downside is that if he has no Momentum to steal, he'll be saving his LP for the next turn.
  • It you end up giving the Morticians player 5-6 Momentum and Obulus is activating last, reconcile yourself to the fact that you're going second next turn and watch the Morticians player desperately try to spend their overflow of Momentum in their last activation. "Too much of a good thing" is a real possibility.
I've consistently found that the better I get at reading the opponent's team, likely activation order and overall strategy, the better I've become at timing Rigor Mortis correctly and frequently it's only used to steal 1-2 Momentum. This sounds like a waste but stay alert to players positioning for the goal kick and those that need to remove conditions (especially Knockdown and Fire which reduces their movement range and options). The crucial loss of even a small Momentum base in the middle of the turn can ruin your enemy and Obulus activating 1-2 places early in the order can be a nasty surprise! Count out INF allocation to enemy models and calculate how it can be used without Momentum and you'll get better at finding the best moments to frustrate your opponent as you screw with one of the core aspects of higher level Guild Ball gameplay.

- Pro-tip: Obulus is such a HUGE part of the Morticians turns (every turn) that once he's activated you get the chance to unclench your butthole a little. The timing of his activation is massive to the Morticians and you can sometimes use this knowledge to force the issue, get over the Obulus hump, and start to smile again (until the next turn).

- There's one other substantial hole in Obulus' game and it becomes most apparent in a tournament setting when you're on the clock. Such is the range of his options for optimal Puppet Mastering, remembering Shadow Like, keeping in 4" range for Confidence buffing and so on that his activation can take a HUGE amount of time. Once you start adding widgets and pre-measuring and proxy bases and rethinking and mind-changing to the equation you're looking at the distinct possibility of death by clock. This likely means that against a less experienced Mortician player the Obulus activation will be more straight-forward and possibly more predictable, determined in the early planning stages of the overall turn in the Maintenance Phase when INF is allocated. More experienced Morticians will have greased the wheels on a larger number of "set plays" and be more fluent and fluid in their approach when it comes to sudden surprises. It's with good reason that on the GBHL YouTube channel in the "Meet the Morticians" video, the commentators are in awe of a chap who managed with considerable success a forced 2 minute, 8 INF Obulus activation!

This game from the Armada Games YouTube channel vs Engineers illustrates the range of the Obulus game - Puppet Master to force a pass, Dodging from receiving, shooting at goal, issuing beatdowns, utilising Unpredictable Movement to escape Colossus. You can also see that between Mist and Obulus the Engineer player is under substantial pressure when returning the ball to play with a goal kick as it's incredibly difficult to keep it out of Mortician hands.




Stupid Dirge. Or so I thought when I had just started playing and was even more of a complete scrub than I am now. You look at all those other sexy team mascots like Princess and Marbles and "WTF why?!?!?" Coin and bemoan being burdened with this useless feathered mess with no defensive tech and this bizarre juxtaposition of conflicting abilities. He's simultaneously designed to die a quick death while buffing your other players.

- It's reasonably easy to play around Dark Doubts - just spend all your Momentum so you have nothing to lose! Of course at the same time, you're playing into the hands of the Morticians player who all but guarantees that crucial first activation in the next turn...

- Worse for you the wretched budgie can be returned thanks to Silence having Creation [Dirge]. Killing Dirge the first time nets you the standard 2VPs (and probably loses you any Momentum you had in the bank). Killing it a second time gets you 0VPs and you still lose Momentum. While the Morticians player isn't necessarily going to go out of their way to get Dirge killed off, it does make him an incredibly frustrating annoyance as a contributing player when Crowding Out.

- Follow Up is a lot better than I first thought. The move directly towards a player leaving the bird's 1" Melee Zone is advantaged by two things:

  • Flying allows you to ignore intervening models and terrain.
  • As the text specifices "move" and not "Advance" it is more akin to a reposition and therefore not subject to Parting Blow attacks. So once Dirge has engaged something, with an above average jog of 8" it's going to stick like glue. 

- Gluing Dirge to an isolated player (like a Winger or Striker trying to avoid unwanted attention) on the flank creates one of those delightful "royal pain in the ass" situations for your opponent. Suddenly DEF 5+ kicks in and without Ganging Up bonuses a lot of models can spend their whole activation flailing ineffectually at the flapping menace, unable to effectively escape it's clutches thanks to Follow Up. More hoops for your opponent to jump through every turn is more fun for the Morticians player :)

- The playbook of this mascot is about as bereft of excitement as you would expect. Singled Out looks cute but you frequently have better stuff to do with even 1 INF (and your activation order) than to attempt a TAC2 Singled Out against anything DEF 4+ or better. That said, despite its somewhat niche location when combined with Follow Up, Singled Out can swing the dice math substantially (plus Confidence, obviously). Cosset with +3 TAC (Singled Out + Ganging Up) on top of her "normal" dice pool is a sight to behold (at +1 damage to boot!) and Ghast doesn't mind a carefully positioned buff to help trigger Unmasking (even if it will nearly kill the bird off!). Especially useful against a model that's already activated and has been Lured or Puppet Mastered forward into the rest of your team.

- Playing the Dirge game required careful timing and positioning to take full advantage if it's unique abilities and I quite like the meta-game, high wire balancing approach. Big unlocks to higher level play are tucked away in there and it takes some work to get consistent value.



Central Midfielder

This chap takes a bit of getting use to from both sides of the table. As a player with one of the best Kick stats in the team (3/6" or 4/7" within 4" of Dirge) you'd be fooled into thinking that's the focus of Silence's game. But then you look at a non-Momentous Tackle on 5 hits and a single Dodge needing 3 hits and you die a little inside. So he's a man of some great inner conflict. Let's unpack...

- There's three reasons Silence is on the team. In order of importance:

  • His crazy big contribution of 3 INF each turn. Amaze.
  • His ability to control the board with some reliability as the 2nd or 3rd activation of the turn.
  • His ability to return to play the bird of most malicious malcontent.

- It's hugely important that if you want to gamble on Tucked or Shutout you need to either man up and gird your loins (i.e. roll one dice and pray), or Bonus Time the attempt. Or both. I hate relying on either of these abilities but to be fair, depending on how well you know and understand the enemy models, a successful hit with either one at the right time can break the turn for your opponent. Tucked on a ball carrier with 1 INF for their late-turn kick is quality, as is forcing them to go last and giving you the most time possible to clobber them and steal the ball. Shutout will stop the ball carrier off-loading and passing to a friend which is also magnificent if they aren't positioned to score on goal.

Surprisingly dangerous stuff.

- Embalming Fluid is money and again plays into the control style plays for which Morticians are renowned. Movement debuffs are incredible and forcing the spending of Momentum to remove conditions helps to lock in your initiative for the following turn and reduces spending opportunities for the likes of Bonus Time and pass/receive Dodges for your opponent. Abusing the placeable nature of the AoE also means laying down Poison - don't disregard the chip damage and stacking of conditions that Bleed, Poison and Fire incur over time, and/or the inherent challenges in attempting to nullify these over the course of a turn.

- Silence's playbook is oddly damage intensive with Momentous results most likely to occur around the 2-3 hits area. With TAC5 this goes against his strangely wizardly appearance and "spell caster" Character Plays. The lack of Character Plays generated by playbook results is disappointing and requires INF to be spread wide in the Maintenance Phase, and the lack of Knockdown and Pushes (I've not yet managed a Push/Dodge - requiring 5 hits! - that would have been worthwhile) also pigeonholes his options. As previously mentioned you can't rely on him in the slightest to Tackle the ball off almost any opponent but I guess if you're looking to create miracles and highly improbably situations there's a special place where a Kick Supported Silence Snapshots! at the goal. Good luck with that!

- In my experience Silence plays around in the mid- to backfield and I'm convinced I have a lot of learning to unlock with him. His DEF 5+ doesn't do nearly enough to keep him alive and aside from that Dodge on 3 hits there's nothing special about his playbook that allows him to escape the jaws of the enemy. There are also arguably better places to stack INF if you want to put someone into the dirt. This all means you can get a good read on INF allocated to Silence and how it will be spent. One INF and the Morticians are looking for a Bonus Timed Shutout or Tucked in the 2nd-3rd activation (after gaining Momentum elsewhere). Two INF and he's looking for both or an Embalming Fluid, and so on. This makes Silence fairly predictable on the table when he's not just being an INF battery for the rest of the team (which he frequently is) and I definitely struggle with this aspect of his game - knowing how much of my hand is revealed before I play the cards can be very frustrating.



Centre Back

This very big, very bad man has been in almost every list I've made and with good reason. Reading around the internet there's a lot of discussion on the pros/cons and comparisons to Casket/Fangtooth and sometimes even Graves, all of them fighting for a similar spot (though with obviously enough difference to not make it clear cut). For the most however, especially when compared to his comparable peers, his game plan is both reasonably straight forward while also being horribly effective despite its relative predictability.

I knew it!!! Ghast is just a blonde Alice Cooper!

- He's not invulnerable. Between Fear and 21 boxes and a 3+/1 statline (not to mention giving up "free" Momentum when he gets damaged the first time each turn), it can initially feel insurmountable and some teams struggle more than others but if you apply enough of a blowtorch the big fella can go down. And hard. And once he's off, his jog of 4" means that he can (depending on where the scrum is) struggle to impact the game when he returns.

- The most likely outcome of his first punch in combat is a Momentous Knockdown on 2 hits. After that he can struggle to make money in the Momentum game being TAC6 and needing a mighty 4 hits to generate a Momentous damage result (as Knockdown cannot be selected if it has already been applied). The outcome of this is I have tended to use him as a "barrage o' Knockdowns" player, trying to engage 2-3 models, abusing Reach when he can, and Knocking Down as many targets as possible to make life easier for the rest of the team. This also allows you to build maximum Momentum.

- The "Ghast Jam" tactic is real. If you pick your placement carefully he can threaten multiple Parting Blows (read: Knockdowns) and Fear can completely stuff some Guilds. Be aware that models that don't spend INF to attack (Boar's initial charge attack and Berserk for example) ignore the effects of Fear. One INF cost ranged abilities (costing 2 INF for the initial attack against him) are also useful to burn the Fear penalty allowing other models to step up and do the real work. I've had this successfully used against me with Gutter's Chain Grab and Engineer shooting.

- For goodness sakes be VERY careful about putting a big guy in his sights surrounded by friends. After many games I managed to engineer three The Unmasking results in a single turn by punching a Knocked Down Stave with 3 of his nearest and dearest taking an absolute thrashing as a result (before Pushing them all into positions of great inconvenience). You certainly won't see The Unmasking in effect in every game but when it goes off good grief it can be fantastic. Again, be watchful for friendlies clumped near a big guy.




The Mortician's Wingers are both fascinating players that I've found to be love/hate as I read around the internet and forums, watching games on YouTube, and review lists. I personally think they're both fantastic and I love the design philosophy behind them, the differentiation in their approach, and what they add to the game.

When Guild Ball becomes a movie, she gets my vote to play the role of Cosset. Golly! Keep reading you pervs!

- Cosset is most commonly seen as a damage dealer who at full steam - Crazy, Furious, Damage Support form Dirge, maybe a Tooled up from Rage and a Confidence from Obulus - can potentially wreck house. With a "base" TAC7 she can punch out 4-5 Momentous damage on 2 and 4 hits respectively with the proper support. This is key to the Cosset damage game because unsupported she's actually pretty pathetic - a series of Momentous 2-3 damage results is obviously good but she's fighting uphill with 12 boxes (you should almost always spend to heal during her activation to recover Crazy damage) and a 4+/0 defensive statline.

- Of more interest is the clutch control plays she is capable of. Chaining Lure with Puppet Master is hilarious and you can pull an unsuspecting first/second activating enemy player right across the board for a good thrashing in the opening turn of the game. The faster the player, the better! Bear in mind that Lure is directly towards Cosset so other models and terrain may interfere with this movement.

- Screeching Banshee is yet another legit movement debuff. I'm losing count of how many movement debuff options we have in this guild. Amazing. It requires 6 hits (ergo, Crazy + Charge against a Knocked Down enemy is optimal) to achieve but movement wins games and applying this at the right time to the right model will get you up on the scoreboard in the long term.

- Taking Out Cosset is a double-edged sword because she's fast enough that she can project considerable threat from a number of vectors when returning to the pitch. She's especially happy finding a luckless Striker lurking near her goal - be wary of killing her off only to lose a key player in a more significant position. There's a few Guild Plot cards in particular that are enormously effective with her.

- Cosset's playbook is looong (7 columns!) and hugely various. She can hand out up to 6 damage in one big slap with bells and whistles up and has a useful Tackle on 3 hits.




Another low-end contributor to the INF pool, taking Graves puts considerable focus into dealing damage and the awesome Bleed condition, while putting pressure on your INF pool and ability to resource other players. With no cost-INF Character Plays or ranged Character Traits, or friendly player buffs, Graves is all about getting into (the right) combat on his terms and getting value from his inherent abilities. He's therefore at once very direct and straight-forward, and also quite nuanced and dangerous to your own players too!

- People tend to gravitate straight towards Crucial Artery and Scything Blow but don't overlook Damaged Target. Abusing this rewards positioning and planning. There are very few movement buffs available to Morticians and this one literally turns Graves up to 11 (11 inches of threat that is!). It's also persistent - the model in question doesn't have to be damaged in that turn, just damaged full stop. It also isn't "damaged from a melee attack" so a successful Embalming Fluid that immediately causes 1 point of damage makes for quite a nice synergy.

- Following on from this, putting him around 2nd to 4th in the activation order, is a strong desire to Scything Blow all the things, not only inflicting 3 damage on everyone in his 2" Melee Range (including friendlies, not including Rage - hint, hint) but applying Bleed to them all as well. Ideally he's charging in against a previously damaged, Knocked Down target (threat 11" Charging that target, easier to hit and therefore trigger Scything Blow) and engaging a bunch of enemy models that don't themselves have 2" reach (ergo, not getting Crowded Out and suffering TAC penalities). This makes him somewhat matchup dependent. Having no Knockdown himself can also make him susceptible to reach counter-attacks but if all he's done is Scything Blow 3 models then he's actually done a lot of work (9 damage now, potentially 9 damage from Bleed, forcing spending of Momentum).

- The very rare Momentous Push (rare for Morticians) is on 2 hits in Graves' playbook, providing an easy kill for an enemy player Puppet Mastered to the board edge. Tackle (non-Momentous *sob*) on 1 hit is also uncommon and most useful on a reach model.

- Rabid Animal much like Screeching Banshee on Cosset is another gem, although it requires a mighty 6 hits to unlock. Still, Fire from Embalming Fluid combined with Heavy Burden, combined with Rabid Animal... well, you can see where this is going. There's nothing quite as frustrating as having a MOV stat of 0"/0".



Centre Back (Guest spot: Peter Hunter)

When I started playing Morticians I immediately gravitated away from two players - Casket and Bonesaw - but as I become more experienced in the game I'm starting to think that maybe (maybe!) that was an early mistake on my part. Casket in particular seems to open up a quite different direction in both play style and opportunity.

- If you're going in on Casket, bear in mind that he's deceptively tanky. DEF 3+ is unusual for a big guy and ARM 1 + Tough Hide can really slow you down (in addition to any healing managed by the Momentum-rich Morticians). In this sense, Reanimate is the icing on the cake and grinding out another 3 damage to a model with Tough Hide isn't as easy as you would hope. Of course what will literally slow you down is forgetting to account for Foul Odour. It's the combination of these abilities that not only enables him to be more survivable than first appears on the page, but also contribute to the control game of the Morticians. Seems that 3" of rough-ground around a medium base is a lot of table space.

- Remember than Reanimate is once per turn. Seriously, if you can't kill Casket off in one turn (burning through the first Reanimate) then he can be healed back up a bit (8 boxes if you really stuff things up) and can then Reanimate again!

- Use Foul Odour to your advantage because it also affects friendly models (Pro-tip: don't get caught out by Rage ignoring friendly Character Traits and Plays!). This giant, ugly walking no-go zone of rough-ground requires Gliding to play around which in turn means needing to gain that Momentum first. Reading these requirements carefully will give you immediate insight into how the activation order must play out if Casket ends up in a place of considerable inconvenience for friendly models (and he will be inconveniently placed once he commits to a melee!). He presents a real challenge to Morticians looking to assist with Crowding Out bonuses. This also means he will often be last to contribute to a combined melee - the combination of his rough-ground and Legendary Play puts him late in the activation order.

Yeah... Casket has issues.

- The more supportive play with Casket is applying Ghostly Visage to a crucial location on the battlefield. Stack this with the Foul Odour aura and timely application of Embalming Fluid from Silence and you can slow down a whole bunch of unfortunate scumbag opposition players. This is one of his more cost-effective options - generating the 1 INF himself that he needs to apply the AOE. It can also give him the surprise jump on the enemy - his 5"/7" MOV is curiously ok in a world where charging models suffer a -6" penalty on their charge (rough-ground + ghostly Visage penalties). The TAC penalty adds further to his survivability and that of his friends (and only affects enemy models!).

- But wait... let's stack it with Heavy Burden (ideally applied with Bonus Time) for more fun. Allocating Casket 2 INF and having him activate second after gaining a point of Momentum can really stuff your opponent. Even a Light Footed, Quick Timed Shark can struggle with those numbers (-4" on the Jog, -8" on a Charge!).

- Meanwhile he's lurking and waiting patiently for the timely application of Casket Time. I've read articles that suggest if you're taking Casket then your whole team is all in on the Casket Time play for the game and I really couldn't disagree more. It's the ace up his sleeve while he mopes around slowing down enemy players and denies table space while not dying. Both players need to understand how valuable Casket Time is and how it will impact the game - the best time to apply, the optimal target, what it means for the following turn. Suffice to say if you get your captain in the coffin you are probably completely screwed. Even with the errata change to "just" delaying their return, being down not only the INF they contribute but also being behind on board position and options for even one additional turn is game-breaking. The big 'catch' with this ability is that Casket has to be the one to deliver the Take Out blow. Because the Morticians can't risk it not going off this means a Casket allocated more than 2 INF is likely a Casket looking to cause you a real headache. His playbook makes this a not totally straight-forward prospect however - TAC5 with no damage on 3 hits means he tends to do Momentous two damage with each swing. He can inflict a Knockdown himself but that's a waste of a valuable attack if he's looking to coffin something. Whole turns (not necessarily whole games) need to be built around Casket Time going off - Puppet Master something to move it into range, applying just enough damage that Casket can finish off the target etc. So much can go wrong that it turns into a Rube Goldberg machine against a canny opponent so look at it as an option in the game, not necessarily the focus. Celebrate the removal of an enemy captain when it happens, but also revel in the removal of a slow big guy who is almost out of the game completely if he goes down, or a Striker whose removal stymies goal scoring opportunities.

- Casket Time doesn't work on animals (Human models only). If a Morticians player forgets this feel free to laugh obnoxiously in their face.

Pete says!

- I've only put Casket on the table once - and wished he was Ghast - but that was back when I had zero experience with the game. Casket is definitely someone I would like more play time with against footballing teams where his damage output and player removal (Casket Time Legendary Play) could be more decisive.

- The problem is that both Casket and Ghast only produce 1 INF, wanting more than they generate and making them challenging to field at the same time. Maybe I just have to get used to running with less Influence on the pitch, but with anything lower than 13-14 I really start to feel like my guys aren't doing enough.

- This is all from my perspective of finding games against footballing teams far more compelling than the games against fighty teams where I feel behind the 8-ball from the word go and struggle to implement a successful gameplan, and instead get suckered into a fight in the middle, or even a fight across the pitch where I don't feel I can get free enough to score the points required to reliably put away the game.


Bonesaw (Guest spots: Peter Hunter and Will Wheaton)

I am not responsible for the atrocious spelling and grammar that you overlooked the first time in this meme.

I'm sorry to say that, unlike Casket, I simply cannot reconcile myself to Bonesaw. He has a playbook absolutely flooded with Momentous results and the ability to Advance through enemy models but in my eyes he's crippled by too many associated issues:

- Swift Wind doesn't allow you to ignore Parting Blows and despite his ninja-like appearance he isn't Steady (needs more Ghost Walk - early call from me: Scalpel will be able to hand this out), nor does he have Close Control. His enormous ass (50mm base - why Steamforged, why?!) also gets in the way by itself a lot of the time. And of course you need Momentum to trigger it - you'd think this isn't exactly a problem for Morticians but then Offensive Defense wants him activating earlier in the turn rather than later. Much conflict.

"Poor Bonesaw. The one member of my Morticians that remains unassembled."- Will Wijnveld

- Kick 3/8" is legit but the otherwise weird combination of abilities seems to force you into using Bonesaw as a Snapshot! Striker which is just playing with fire.

"His Character Play makes no sense and 1" melee on him is trash." - Will Wijnveld

- It dead set feels like Close Control or Where'd They Go? (or both) would have made him. As it is I can't see a place for him on an 8-man roster when there's so much competition from Eiryss (sorry... Mist) and other players making a more varied contribution.

"I feel like they intended to give him another rule but forgot." - Will Wijnveld

- He looks like a total beast but only has 13 boxes.

"Seems fine." - Will Wijnveld (may have been referring to Nikola's money-maker, not Bonesaw's rules)

Pete says!

- All my experiences with Bonesaw have led me to wishing he was Mist. While in theory his Character Plays seem sweet I've found that having TAC4 is a real ballbuster, especially when you don't really want to have to charge with your Striker all that often, or are trying to get one of the more hit-intensive playbook results against a medium to high DEF model. 

- His Heroic Play has been good a couple of times, but I haven't felt it's enough of an upgrade to Gliding for it to be super relevant all that often. 

- Having to have your Striker activate early to go up to DEF 5+ has been problematic, especially when I don't want to commit Puppet Master or rely on Snapshots! as my goal scoring opportunities.

- Reanimate has been good a couple of times however most the time I've found that people just commit and extra 1 INF and inflict a Take Out as per usual. It's been rare that the 'once per turn' addendum has been relevant, rather than just having 3 extra hit points.


So cheers - there's another brief article. Next time I'll be back to the Veteran's Playbook and examining the excellent design concept of the 8-man roster in tournament gaming as we edge closer to the possibility of actual for reals tournament Guild Ball in New Zealand.

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