Monday, May 9, 2016

Character Assassination (4) - Corsair

The big fat man with the wooden leg, and if ever there was a model released that changed up the playstyle of a Guild, this guy would arguably have to be it (my other vote being Smoke). You think you know Fish once you've sussed out Shark's eDenny-esque Legendary, Gut and String spam, Momentous 1" Dodges, and "lol 3 Goals, I win" shenanigans...

Then Steamforged released a new Captain and boosh - "lol 3 Goals, I win" suddenly has new life when the Fish can turn on a dime and morph it into "lol 6 Take Outs, I win" (probs small exaggeration, but). Way to work the design space, SF.


So big that he even disrespects the "Relevant Links" sidebar! #FishOP

The strength in Corsairs game is the comparatively substantial depth of play options that he opens up for the rest of his team - a combination of his Legendary, ball handling skills, control options, enabling abilities, and personal survivability. Where Shark is a superstar striker who does his work almost independently of his colleagues, Corsair can cheerfully manage scoring the odd goal while providing stealth buffs and Take Outs.

Let's break it down....

Ball Handling and Goal Scoring

Corsair is superbly built to both take and receive the ball and retain it until such time as he is ready to unleash the goal scoring apocalypse. It's easy to forget his many options in this regard and therefore probably worth inspecting them closely so you don't get caught out in the future.

Rough Seas will make it difficult to have your own players hold the ball. It's a bit of a niche ability in that I haven't seen it come up in every game and it's especially unlikely to be used against a Winger playing in position as Corsair deploys centrally in most games in order to affect the most control (and to a lesser extent get value out of using his Legendary Play aura). But if you have a player holding the ball in the interior board space then you can reasonably expect to not be holding it for long! The two dice rolled on this Character Play (fortunately it cannot be triggered through his Playbook) gives him a 75% chance of simply taking the ball from a DEF4 player. By way of example he could therefore Rough Seas the ball away, Legendary Play, pass it 8" away. The ball is now 14" (plus his base size and advance, plus a possible Dodge from receiving) from where it previously was. That's a lot of ball movement. It's not conditional upon how good the player holding the ball is at kicking so unlike Puppet Master where you could hold the ball with a KICK 1/4" Mascot and flip the middle finger based on the fact that you're so trash at kicking it's actually advantageous in that situation, Rough Seas literally just takes the ball. Corsair of course doesn't generate Momentum by taking it, but most of the time he doesn't care anyway. This can lead to a surprising number of Snapshot goals and you should be especially wary of Fishermen players that have already scored a goal but are lurking within shot distance in the next turn.

Sturdy allows Corsair to ignore the first Knock Down result against him and therefore not automatically lose the ball to a random scatter on Knock Down. Outside of Engineers very few teams can muster multiple ranged Knockdowns in a turn, and burning a melee attack to get through his first Knock Down "immunity" can often be enough to tip the numbers against you.

Close Control is again a fantastic natural ability to have on his card. Where these two abilities really shine is in combination with his playbook, 2" melee, and the option to take a Counter Attack in melee. His Knock Down on two results and/or Push or Dodge on three results means that after your initial attack you might find yourself on the floor or out of range to follow up with more punching. He could even ignore the first tackle with Close Control, let you attack again to tackle the ball, and then Counter Attack and tackle the ball back with his tackle result on one hit. Amazing.

Meanwhile with Stand Firm and his Legendary Play One Leg Stance, he can hand out these abilities to his team mates. This makes him one of the premium ball handling models in the game - able to not only manage the ball well himself, but also place it into the very safe hands of a teammate at the right time.

One Leg Stance also ups the kicking game of the already very capable Fishermen for one glorious turn of elite super scoring. While superficially it can allow Corsair or another player within the aura to take a "guaranteed" (obviously with dice where is no such thing) shot at goal, you're in jackpot territory if you can position players in earlier turns and score multiple goals in a turn under it's effects. Look for synergies that will exacerbate the already competent scoring abilities of the Fish:

- Angel's Super Shot and the Legendary turns her into a 6/12" kicker threatening the goal from 20" away with a Sprint.
- Sakana's superior mobility (Cover of Darkness/Smoke Bomb) and the Legendary means he can Sprint 10" and shoot with a 4/10" Kick for a 20" threat.
- Siren's natural high speed have her kicking at goal from 17" away.
- even Tentacles can threaten the goal from 14" with a (surprising) 3/8" kick.

Obviously to reach these incredible numbers you need to have the relevant player within 6" of Corsair himself. It also makes Corsair a 4/8" kicker.

Just Fish things.

Offense and Control

Bringing both Harpoon and a Momentous 2 damage + Push on three hits, plus a Momentous Knock Down on two hits to the game has a substantial effect not only on how Fishermen can choose to play the range of their game, but on what players you might choose to add to your team. Essentially he's an interesting enabler for damage and while he's not easily able to solo down other players with a flood of 3-5 damage results, he can certainly set targets up to receive a good curb stomping from other members of his team in combination.

Harpoon plays a big part of this game and provides as element of active control (as opposed to the inactive control of Shark's Caught in the Net)  - pulling individuals into his loving embrace to find not only a swift Momentous Knock Down from Corsair himself but also numerous follow up attacks from his 2" melee range-rich team members. I've seen Corsair and Co do some horrendous things in this regard and it really turns the Guild as a whole in new directions when you start considering 4 Take Outs/1 Goal with Fish as a reasonable path to victory (albeit in the right matchups).

Fishermen can take the Harpoon control game further by doubling down, including Kraken in the team. Furthermore they could consider taking Siren1. Where one Harpoon is good, two is better and adding in Lure/Seduction puts you into Morticians-like levels of control. Few ball carriers are safe and players are getting pulled or walked out of position all over the show. Careful thought must be given to how far down the control rabbit hold you want to go however because there's potential for more control to equal less punching. Sakana, Jac, and Greyscales are useful additions or subs on the bench.

Once the target is reeled in, Corsair's damage results being Momentous becomes perhaps the most telling difference between him and the alternative. After a successful Harpoon and a (Momentous) Knockdown, a fully loaded Corsair can expect to put 6-10 Momentous damage into the target prepping them nicely for a finish from the likes of Kraken or Jac. Harpoon threatens 10" with a Jog and while this doesn't seem terribly exciting on paper, remember that Corsair deployed on the line is already able to target 2" into the opponent's half. Fish players should be well aware of the power of Pass 'n' Move or Give 'n' Go to give players a pseudo-speed boost. Once you've added that to the maths Corsair is spearing you if you've moved more than 2" out of your deployment zone.


As noted above Corsair has Sturdy to keep him safe from the first Knock Down of a turn and with 18 boxes and Tough Hide he takes a fair beating to put down. His 3+/1 defensive stats aren't amazing but again you must never under-estimate 2" melee and some very generous playbook options when it comes to Counter Attacking. Unless he's been Pushed away or the opponent has opted to flee (Dodge), Corsair should almost always be Counter Attacking when he can. It will not only put down those seeking blood, but put paid to a lot of Strikers and Attacking Midfielders looking to reclaim the ball.



Like any other player, Corsair is susceptible to co-ordinated and focused attacking - nothing in Guild Ball is either fool- or bullet-proof. Burning through Sturdy can be costly and if you have it low on your playbook you may be better off jogging up to make your initial run unless you think wrapping to generate two Knock Down results is a possibility. Make sure you go in on Corsair with Momentum in the bank or when the opponent can't spend to make a Counter Attack.

His Knock Down on two hits makes surrounding him and not taking him out a risky proposition. He will cheerfully load up and a flail around himself, Knocking Down most or all of your players before retreating away.

Barriers and other players are the only things that will prevent the Push from being harpooned. Standing low DEF models behind much higher DEF teammates is a (risky) way to avoid being dragged in unwillingly (Dirge often get this job when I play into him with Morticians). It's pretty niche, but the goal marker is a barrier and you therefore cannot be Pushed through it. In the Dojo we infrequently find very small buildings make an appearance and they make for useful anchors (pardon the pun) against a Corsair-led Fish team (incidentally also providing Cover in the Season Two rules). He also can't Harpoon what he can't see so any handily positioned forests are definitely up there on the anti-Corsair priority list.

In terms of losing the ball to Rough Seas it's a bit of an Obulus game. Dropping the ball so you have nothing to give to him is a possibility, but them Fishies are slippery and liable to grab a free ball if you leave it lying around. Risky stuff but a viable tactic. Killing the ball at least puts the Fish in Murderball mode and while Corsair has surprising options in this area they're still Fishermen at their core and likely to preference shooting for goal than smashing face. Be wary of a Corsair team including Siren when it comes to ball handling and management.


To finish up, as luck would have it, THIS VIDEO was released today. Trent plays a tight game into luckless Alchemists with a Super-Shotting, Corsair LP'd Angel crushing out a fantastic goal. Gutter misses the pass to Angel but a fortunate scatter followed by Nimble allows her to tank the Parting Blow, uncaring of a tackle result due to the LP giving her Close Control. #FishOP

Meanwhile check out Corsair punching the shit out of Decimate to close out the game, casually playbooking his way through Don't Touch the Hair, KDing the poor fool, then pounding her into the grass. Lovely. #FishOP

So much to like... a true hard man of the game, simultaneously changing it up for Fishermen while reinforcing one of their most powerful game-winning options. Awesome.

Underestimate him at your peril!

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