Monday, April 18, 2016

Melee Ranges

As of Season 2, there are 98 models in the game (11 in the Season 1 Guilds, 14 for Union and 8 for Hunters, and -1 for Compound being in Alchemists/Engineers).

32 of these models have a 2" melee range, approximately one third (exactly one third if you consider Compound as two entities).

Here is the data in table form:

2” melee ranges


  Engineers are the at the bottom of the pack with only two 2" melee models (Colossus and Compound). This reinforces their general design of avoiding protracted combat when possible, only going in to get the ball or push players around for momentum, and having high KICK die stats so they can pass the ball around even if they are engaged.

  Hunters are next, with 2/8, but given that they are a brand new guild with 1 season worth of releases, they are probably on par with the next group.

  Brewers, Butchers and Masons are the next lot with 3 of their 11 players each. The three most melee-centric, scrappiest teams strangely have a pretty low number of 2" melee models (just over 1 in 4). There is an impression that Brewers have a lot of 2" melee due to Tapper and Hooper's inclusion in the team's starter box and their consequent inclusion in almost every Brewer lineup since.

  Next is the Union, which has the same percentage of 2" melee models as the previous group. Two of these models are only found in Union (Blackheart and Coin), while the other two models are arguably the most played Union models both inside and outside the Guild (Mist and Gutter). Funny that. They also received no 2" models in Season 2.

  The penultimate duo are the Alchemists and Morticians with four 2" melee models (just over one third) each. The Morticians had three in Season 1, while the Alchemists only had one - then the positions were switched in Season 2. Neither team is especially focused on combat, but are more goal-oriented than the previous scrappy teams (both very likely to take Mist as well). Their playbooks also, on average, have fewer reliable low momentous results than the fighting teams.

  Finally we have the Fishermen, who are way ahead of everyone else with 8/11 models (almost three quarters). Fish are not really a scrappy team and generally focus at getting out of melee, but having plenty of 2" melee models also gives them an edge in Ganging Up/Crowding Out, or attacking without getting counter-attacked in turn.
Fish skew the game average a lot - from 28% to 33.3%

Many consider 2" to be amongst the strongest abilities in the game. What is it about 2" melee that makes it so good?

  • Threat Extension - Simply, you threaten an extra 1" in all directions. Pretty good in itself. You can also project your threat over other bases and in tighter gaps, which you are not able to do with a 1" melee.
  • Engage Multiple Models & Gang Up/Crowd Out - This is the main benefit for a fighting model like Gutter. Not only can she hit 2-4 people somewhat reliably with a Scything Blow in most fighting situations (effective 5" AoE of death) without getting Crowded Out by 1" melee ranges, but she can also provide Gang Up bonuses for the rest of her team on those same models (big deal for someone like Tapper as well).
    A 1" melee model cannot attack two separate enemy models without also getting Crowded Out. As such, 2" melee is a pretty good TAC buff in context.
  • No counter attack - This is a big one for footballers like Mist, or Fishermen in general. Being able to attack an enemy model and generate momentum while staying safe from counter attacks is a pretty big deal. It also allows you to play the ball better as you are not losing dice on the pass.
    Another benefit is being able to KD someone with a 1" melee range from 1.1" away, thereby forcing them to use momentum or select character plays to get into combat and actually do something.
  • Unpredictable Movement - 2" melee is WAY better than 1" melee for this trait. It effectively grants you one-off attack immunity against all 1" models and all 2" models unless they get B2B with you. The same logic holds true for the fabled Don't Touch the Hair! plot card.
    Likewise, 2" melee models can get around Unpredictable Movement if the target only has 1" melee!
    It's why people hate Obulus and Greyscales so much (both of which also have a dodge on 1 success, so are getting out of there anyway if they have any momentum and you don't have KD).

At the same time, I can't think of a downside to 2" melee. Perhaps being able to manoeuvre around a 2" melee model without taking a parting blow may be situationally beneficial?

At the same time, it is worth noting that 2" melee does not automatically make you good. Rage is often seen by Butcher players as a 'better' version of Boar, as the other abilities and stats he has outweigh his lack of 2" melee. The same thing can be said of Graves - despite having both 2" melee, TAC 6, Scything Blow, Crucial Artery and a long charge distance, Mortician players get hung up on his 1/4 INF over anything else.

Guild Ball is a complicated system with many pieces, and 2" melee is one of the stronger ones. Fishermen's (and Alchemists'/Morticians') high number of reach models is balanced out by the generally lower combat and damage dealing potential, either via playbook or lower TAC scores.

Conclusion - Fish OP.


Appendix 1 - Raw Data

1": Midas, Calculus, Mercury, Flask, Katalyst
2": Vitriol

1": Venin, Smoke
2": Compound, Naja, vKatalyst
Total - 4/11

1": Friday, Scum, Spigot, Stave, Stoker
2": Tapper, Hooper
1": Esters, Quaff, vSpigot
2": Mash
Total - 3/11

1": Ox, Brisket, Boiler, Princess, Meathook
2": Boar, Shank
1": vBrisket, Truffles, Fillet
2": Tenderizer
Total: 3/11

1": Ballista, Salvo, Velocity, Ratchet, Mainspring
2": Colossus
1": Pin Vice, vVelocity, Broodmother, Hoist
2": Compound
Total - 2/11

1": Angel, Salt
2": Shark, Siren, Kraken, Jac, Greyscales
1":  vSiren
2": Sakana, Corsair, Tentacles,
Total: 8/11


1": Honour, Harmony, Marbles, Flint, Tower
2": Mallet, Brick
1": vHarmony, Wrecker, Hammer
2": Chisel
Total - 3/11


1": Cosset, Dirge, Silence, Casket,
2": Obulus, Graves, Ghast
1": Scalpel, Vileswarm, Bonesaw
2": vGraves
Total - 4/11

1": Decimate, Avarisse + Greede, Fangtooth, Hemlocke, Minx, Rage, Snakeskin
2": Blackheart, Gutter, Coin, Mist
1": Harry the Hat, vRage, Strongbox
2": X
Total: 4/ 14

1": Chaska, Egret, Fahad, Zarola, Jaecar, Theron
2": Hearne, Seenah
Total - 2/8

Game total - 33/99 (32/98 as Compound is under two teams)

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