Friday, December 23, 2016

S3 Batrep 4 - Averaging Daves

I sent an open invitation for Friday Guild Ball Dojo out on the national Facebook page and was delighted to have Little Dave respond in the positive. There's a fairly serious ancestry of Daveage in NZ and to differentiate between the might and power that is an individual Dave, appropriate nicknames must be fully utilised in all their majesty. So we have:

- Little Dave
- Evil Dave (aka Double D)
- Handsome Dave (aka That Imperialist Traitor Who Just Exported Himself Back To The Motherland After Ravaging And Pillaging The Beauty And Viginity Of Our Fair Maiden Land)
- and me, Average Dave (aka Shit At Guild Ball Dave)

Handsome Dave was not the first of the English line of Daves. That honour belongs to Pommy Dave back in the Warhammer days of yore (the bloody days of the Ji'Dave) when I was also known as Lucky Dave. It is indeed a somewhat curious and meandering geneology. One might call it a Daveology.

We even have our own Facebook page, so yeah... you could say it's pretty serious.

Anyway, Little Dave rocked over for his first Season Three game with Masons.


We drew Plot Cards and I introduced LD to the horrifying Season Three concept of only having one Union player in your 9-man roster. In the end, having not played a game with Hammer yet, he chose Honour, Marbles, Harmony1, Brick, Mallet, and Tower. This left Chisel, Minx and Flint on the bench.

I took the same thing as last time (Scalpel, Dirge, Ghast, Cosset, Minx, Graves1). I was doubting the impact that Cosset (and arguably Minx) might have on the game given all the natural armour Masons possess. Casket was going to get a look in but you're effectively (debatably) losing 3INF in the swap (1 influence on the card plus losing a Furious charge). Silence was another strong option and one I would try the future, especially as the game played out with Masons clumping together in bubbles of mutual support (Fire Blast hitting DEF3 is pretty good). Also SPD debuffing Brick is fine. More things to think about for team selection I guess.

I won the roll and Mallet kicked off with the ball scattering into a very awkward position.


1. Before the stupid errant ball did a crazy scatter I was all about Scalpel collecting, passing to Dodge, engaging Mallet, removing his INF with Tormented Agony, Push/Dodging him into range of the rest of the team for an early Take Out, and laughing all the way to the Momentum Bank. Truth be told I look for this in every game and it's something to be wary of when kicking off against Scalpel Morticians. Ideally you want to place your kicker so they're far enough away that she would have to use Voodoo Strings to pull them in (thereby removing her Legendary from the rest of the game). Geez... at this point I start to imagine what her LP would be like if it was Push 3" directly towards or away. Yikes... Anyway, that didn't happen. Instead, the ball was within collection range of Harmony so I was forced to activate Dirge first to collect and drop it next to Cosset. Brick immediately advanced to push out a Counter-charge bubble.

Graves Tooled Up Scalpel and Marbles moved to within 4" of Brick, giving Little Dave another Counter-charge option. This synergy's been getting a pretty bad rap on the forums but the reality is that a Counter-charging monkey is very likely to get to the second column on his playbook for a Momentous Push and that can easily be enough the screw you (spoiler alert). Cosset passed the ball to Ghast (success) and ran to point where Harmony could used Acrobatic to position after an advance in order to punch her once. This gained LD a point of Momentum because I'm awesome and just love to give the opposition more opportunities to win.

Ghast Bonus Timed his pass to Scalpel (success, thank goodness!) and sprinted up the board (though sadly not quite far enough it would turn out). Scalpel used the Momentum to Dodge up the board. Tower laid down Defend the Ground giving himself, Marbles and Mallet a free Defensive Stance. Good grief that suddenly looked like an awesome ability. I hear 4/2 dudes are nails. Minx wandered up looking for something to do next turn, and Mallet advanced forward a little, positioning himself so that I could engage him, Brick and Marbles with Scalpel.

Finally - Scalpel. What a disaster this was... She charged Brick, staying engaged by Mallet, and was Counter-charged by Marbles. He rather cheerfully Pushed her out of combat. So now she didn't get her charge attack.

But hey ho... Brick could still take his Counter-attack! He smashed some damage onto her and she felt rather stupid. Attempting to get something out of the turn I resigned myself to using Voodoo Strings to pull Mallet into melee range. I spent the next 4INF Push/Dodging him around. Couldn't use Tormented Agony because everything in range had either activated or was on a full stack (Honour). She did some reasonable damage, hopefully setting him up for death next turn.

What I'd completely forgotten about of course (and this is truly a sign of not playing Masons enough as well as just being bad at the game) was Superior Strategy. Honour advanced and used this on Mallet (oops) who punched Scalpel enough that she fell over and sat down, the ball scattering into a terrible position for both of us.

Fortunately for Scalpel, I won the initiative roll for the next turn!


2. A fully loaded Scalpel really needed to activate first. She sacrificed her movement and started punching Mallet. Some bang on averages took him down but this required selecting Tormented Agony and putting his two influence onto Marbles. My reading of the rule for Tormented Agony is that the reallocation of influence is not optional but I misplayed here and should have just allocated the influence back to Mallet instead! Sigh. Scalpel healed herself up and used Unnatural Stamina to Second Wind herself, pick up the ball and engage Brick. With the close angle achieved from last turns Counter-charge, Marbles was unable to launch another free charge in response.

Harmony launched into Cosset once again but was unable to put down as much damage as she'd hoped, needing Dodge into base contact after I declared a counter-attack (which I would have used to Dodge out of melee completely. Her activation did gain Little Dave a couple of Momentum though and she used Back to the Shadows to disengage (such an awesome Character Trait). Minx had her charge lined up against Brick and she went in, engaging Marbles at the same time because the Counter-charge gag was starting to get really old. She hit with pretty much everything putting down a couple of damage and gaining two Momentum with the wrap, and a total of 3" of Dodging. And Snared because why not? Brick's counter-attack did two points of damage, Crowded Out as he was by Scalpel and after Dodges no longer aided by Marbles. Minx then punched him again for some Momentum before using Back to the Shadows to disengage.

Now finding himself with two influence Marbles advanced and used this to Goad Ghast. Noooo! Accidentally equipping an opponent with fun and engaging opportunities is fast becoming my speciality! Graves charged Brick from downtown thanks to Damaged Target, engaging Marbles thanks to his 2" melee and once again taking the dreaded Counter-charge out of the equation. Rolling with TAC 12 (base + charge + one Gang + Snaring a big fat guy) he did fantastically, Pushing Brick 3", doing some damage, applying Bleed, and gaining two points of Momentum.

Tower moved to engage Scalpel and used his Heroic Play Protect Those Close to make most of the Masons team Sturdy. Ghast was not impressed! Cosset charged Marbles and Push/Dodged him across. I was trying to mitigate stupid Goad by repositioning the monkey so that Ghast could still charge Brick. Brick then activated and cleared his conditions, moving slightly to engage Scalpel, while still being engaged by Graves. The scrum was starting to get messy! Dirge flew over to engage Harmony on the other side of the pitch.

Time for the Honour show! She charged into Scalpel who opted to counter-attack. Little Dave's dice imploded and he managed a meagre Momentous 2 damage. Scalpel's counter-attack gave her just enough hits to Push/Dodge, not only getting out of Honour's melee range, but also Tower and Brick's! That's ok, Honour does all the things - a simple Quick Time re-engaged Scalpel and two more punches took off some hit points and tackled away the ball.

Finally Ghast - charged Brick moving in a line directly towards Marbles due to Goad. Wrapped like a champ taking two Knockdown results, blasting through Sturdy. His second attack put down some more damage.

2-0, Morticians.


3. I won the initiative roll again and really needed to activate Scalpel first before Honour smashed her face off. Already engaged, my first attack gave me the momentous Push/Dodge I needed to avoid Honour's Poised counter-attack. Scalpel spent the momentum Glide over the rough ground both players were standing in and engage Honour again. She variously tackled, Push/Dodged, and Tormented Agonied herself into a position where she could take a shot at the goal and thanks to Bonus Time (and after healing herself!), managed to slot one in. I played Knee Slider to reposition her next to the goal (thoughts of the last game spinning in my head), less than 1/4" too far away to engage Mallet who had just returned to the pitch. Little Dave played Super Fan which let him put the ball on a player within 6" of the goal (Mallet) instead of risking a goal kick.

Honour activated and the red mist descended. With Graves on 3 influence he looked like a prime target. Honour activated her Legendary Play Topping Out! giving herself, Marbles, Brick and Tower an additional point of influence. Dave's dice imploded horribly once again and he singularly failed to remove Graves from the pitch, taking him down to 3HP and also taking one damage and Bleed from the counter-attack. Dave played Field Dressing to clear Brick's conditions and also remove Honour's Bleed. I decided it was best to activate Graves now - he healed and punched Honour, bleeding her once again, before punching Brick and also Bleeding him. He then crucially put Tooled Up on Ghast. Brick used his one influence from Topping Out! to try to Knock Down Graves but the Crowd Out from Ghast and Minx proved too much and he only managed to put down another 2 Momentous damage.

Time for Ghast baby, oh yeah! He advanced, suckering Marbles into making a Parting Blow and triggering Rising Anger. Three glorious influence and some Bonus Time momentum spent punching Brick generated a momentous Knock Down and THREE momentous Unmaskings (I wrapped like an absolute champ with the first hit to get an Unmasking and the Knock Down). Dealing 4 damage with every Unmasking he blew the Monkey off the pitch, took Honour down to 1 box, half killed Tower, and thrashed Brick to within an inch of his life. Best. Ghast. Ever! He also used Come on, Mate! to heal Graves again.

Tower, now engaged by Ghast, advanced and used his influence to once again attempt to remove Graves from the table. Dave's dice decided it was a running gag and failed to cooperate once more. I've seen more joy in a Shakespearean tragedy than in Little Dave's horrendous cubes of backstabbery and betrayal.

Mallet Bonus Timed a pass to Harmony who Dodged towards the goal. Dirge flew to engage her again but she just used Acrobatic to Dodge once more and close on the goal. Took the shot... missed! The horror! The horror! Unbelievable!

9-0, Morticians.


4. The game was winding down now but LD was determined to not get fully downtrailed. Honour died to Bleed and put the score to 11-0! Scalpel took Tower down to 1HP before Harmony ran up to recollect the wayward ball that was sitting next to my goal. Taking advantage of the new Tap In she scored on her second attempt and Dave was on the scoreboard at last! The goal kick landed near Graves.

Graves activated and I widget-measured out the chance of a goal to close the game but he couldn't run far enough to collect the ball and finish in range of the shot. So, in the tradition of winning more and achieving maximum overkill, he unnecessarily used Tooled Up on himself and obliterated Tower in one glorious swing.

12-4, Morticians win.


Far out, what a game! Little Dave's dice fairly consistently shit the bed in that one - far from the statistical averages we are often led to believe exist as attribute of random number generation. I guess this is one of those statistical clumps that happen from time to time. Once again the strength of the game was demonstrated in the plays and counter-plays, questions requiring solutions and answers. Solving for two counter-charging dudes is tricky and the general Mascot changes again had an impact upon Marbles' expendability.

I was pleased with how the team played. Scalpel had a great game after an embarrassing start (all my fault of course). Ghast was exceptional. Everyone else except Dirge made significant contributions. Graves was absolutely brilliant with multiple use of Tooled Up and applying Bleed. He got a very good work out this time. Cosset did surprisingly well. Could definitely have traded Minx for Silence in hindsight. Good food for thought.

Dave learned a lot about some of the new card rules (Loved Creature change, Tower's new Character Plays and Traits, the power of Home Crowd every turn, Harmony's bigger Family range with Honour (which is awesome) and a few of the implications therein (models tied to other models). We wondered at the inclusion of Tower and whether the ball handling and independent operation of Flint might have been a better bet. Maybe.

We got some value out of the Plot Cards but nothing game breaking. Their use was timely and effective.

Post-game chat was focused on building a 9-man Masons team. That one Union model spot is tricky - we boiled it down to A&G or Minx. Decimate's strong attachment to the missile, Chisel's perceived lack of effectiveness (not fully sure why), Tower's odd spot as a support guy with a less than stellar playbook. We looked at pods and mini-groupings of players in synergy - Honour/Harmony, Brick/Marbles, Hammer/Tower (Tooled Up so good! Kill all the things!). Talked over the advantage of having multiple Furious models for INF-efficiency. We both bitched about Fishermen for a bit too (always nice to find a kindred spirit).

So here's cheer and Merry Christmas to everyone reading. A big shout out especially to all my fellow Daves. More games to come in the New Year or perhaps a bit earlier!

Dave (Average)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

S3 Batrep 3 - Good Will Hunting

The thing with committing to write battle reports is that you have to take the bad with the good and roll with the punches like a champ. Locals may have heard a devastating crashing sound last night around 9:15pm. That wasn't an earthquake; just me falling off my high horse and returning rightfully to my well-earned status as "Shit at Guild Ball Dave". Yes, sadly the once lofty heights of "Decent at Guild Ball Dave" are once again beyond my feeble reach. And good grief if there was a more righteously, come-uppancey way to lose I'm not sure even I could have found it.

Spoiler alert: #HuntersOP


Sick of the brainpower and strategic vision required to bring Shark to full fruition and success on the table, Chris decided to not only ditch him from the team, but to ditch Fishermen entirely! On the off-chance that he could score a game with Nick he decided to roll out the Hunters, ably led as always by that stunning example of Guild Ball captaincy...

Matt Damon. I mean... Theron.

Chris chose from what must surely be the only 9-man team available - everything in Hunters + Minx. He ended up with Theron, The Furious Three (sounds like a bloody Tarantino movie...) - Fahad, Seenah, Minx - Herne, and Egret (who probably could/should have been Jaecar?).

Full of confidence and the bloat of ego that can only come from winning 2 games in succession (a new record!) I chose the same team again - Scalpel, Dirge, Minx, Cosset, Graves, and Ghast. We had a very interesting discussion about team selection after the game (more on this later) but I took this build largely in the interest of trying it against something that's not Fish. I'm currently suffering not only from a lack of games, but as has been the case for the life of the game itself so far, a lack of breadth of competition. My total games against Engineers, Alchemists, and Butchers can be counted on one hand (like, actually added all together) which I feel has really impacted my understanding of how to build teams for different match ups (that is, to ask or answer different questions). 

Anyway, I lost the roll after choosing Plot Cards. Scalpel kicked up the pitch (as per tradition - this in itself requires a future article) looking for a risky punt near the table edge. The scatter was good, Chris played Match Fixing, I rerolled the kick, and the damn ball flew off the table like it was born for it. Theron took possession of the ball in the middle of his crew and it was game on.


1. Theron plonked a forest down near on half way that Herne would be able to access later (after a Give 'n Go Dodge) advanced to within 8" of Scalpel, used Sunstrike and shot her with Arrow to the Knee. He passed the ball to Egret to give himself another quick MP. As the receiving player I needed to build a Momentum bank to at least challenge the roll-off assuming Chris passed the ball around enough and possibly scored, so we got right to it. Cosset advanced and managed to successfully Lure Theron 5" forward and into walking/punching range of Scalpel. I was very wary of Minx's Marked Target interaction with Seenah and really needed to move Theron as far away as possible in order to keep Scalpel reasonably safe. Egret passed to Minx, advanced and Snap Shot Scalpel for light damage and the Poison condition before fading away with Back to the Shadows. Scalpel charged Theron using Wing Back (one less INF to charge if you start within 8" of a table edge) and he declared a counter-attack. I hopelessly failed to knock him down, taking the 1 damage Push/Dodge option. Theron cheerfully double-Dodged off his riposte and I was forced to pop Voodoo Strings to suck him back in for more deserved beatings. A combination of Pushes and Dodges brought him into range of Minx and Graves (both sitting on 2INF) and also engaged by both Cosset and Scalpel.

Minx passed the ball to Herne who as expected used the momentum gained to Dodge within 4" of the forest. She free charged towards Scalpel but not so far that I could get the drop on her with anyone. I had some options now but if I didn't charge with Minx she would likely end up engaged by Herne after he shot at the goal, so she fired up a charge into Theron putting him down to 5 boxes. Herne forest jumped around like a dork, lined up an easy shot at goal and slotted in a Screamer! to give Chris 4VPs. He spent a point of momentum to Dodge away from the very nearby (but influence-less) Ghast. 

The next few activations were setups. Dirge advanced to engage Theron, Fahad charged up to get stuck in next turn, Seenah advanced into maximum options range. Graves advanced, picked up the loose ball from the Goal Kick, punched Theron hoping for non-momentous 2 damage and the double Push, but only got the momentous Push. He freed up Scalpel and with his last INF, now guaranteed to win initiative next turn, successfully passed the ball to her. She used this to Dodge up the field, lining up a charge onto the big bear next turn.

4-0, Hunters.


2. I didn't think about this as hard as I should have, but taking initiative and giving your opponent a free point of momentum, AND looking to score with your first activation... that's really asking for a quick goal in response if the Goal Kick works out ok-ish. Hmm...

Scalpel charged Seenah who took it on the chin. She variously knocked him down, used Tormented Agony removed an INF and put it on the INF-less Theron, and she eventually double Dodged into range to shoot for a goal. Success! and she played Knee Slider to get the hell out of there. Bad plays I think and a mistake on my part. I was so focused on getting away from Seenah (who obviously couldn't take her out with a free charge and 1INF) that I practically removed her from the game. What I should have done is Dodge her at least to decent Snap Shot range. Lessons...

If I was Dad-joking this one, I'd angle for something like rEgret
Right? Right? Because Egret. Like, Reee(E)gret? 
(Yes, my children are suffering horribly).

The ball went out and generously landed at the feet of Herne who did what comes naturally - he Skewered Minx and fired in another quick goal. Bloody hell. Sadly I was somewhat lacking in both foresight (Scalpel positioned to Snap Shot) and 8" range kicking players. The ball went out wide to at least make it a challenge for Chris to retrieve. My opponent sitting on 8VPs put me in "Sudden Death" mode and my players suddenly looked very squishy.

Unable to resist the temptation, Ghast charged into Seenah getting off a peach of an Unmasking and following this up with a second one to take out Theron. Seenah went down to 14HP and Chris's Minx went down to 6HP. Intimidating Roar Pushed Ghast away (good Character Traits are good!) allowing Seenah to then charge him, wrapping for the Knock Down and a Bear Hug. Seenah took a swipe at Dirge but DEF5 saved his feathered butt. Minx was healed for 4HP. Dirge flew over Ghast to engage Seenah and cleared the conditions on Ghast.

I thought that with Ghast standing back up he was engaging Minx. I was wrong. Minx and Graves ended up having a fun little exchange where she charged in to get a double Dodge in order to snap the loose ball and come back in for a second attack but Chris fluffed the roll. Instead she Dodged for 1" and Graves pushed her out of combat completely. Chris cleverly took the opportunity to knock off Fear by using his now otherwise useless two remaining influence to Mark Target Ghast before redeploying with Back to the Shadows, his Minx engaging mine.

This is where I made the next big mistake. I should have activated Cosset next and Furious-charged Seenah while I was still unengaged. Leaving Graves where he was helped keep Egret honest (sitting on 4INF near the Hunters deployment line. Instead I outsmarted myself, snapped up the loose ball and tried to slap Minx around. A pointless gesture. Fahad used the Marked Target bonus movement to position optimally against Ghast and my counter-attack was nullified by good dice and a solid wrap, allowing the cat to double Dodge away and engage Cosset (who had no influence). She walked out of combat to line up against Minx next turn, cheerfully taking 3 damage from another bonkers cat-wrap. Finally, Egret activated and a mix of Flurry, Snap Fire, and general dodging shenanigans put her on Graves' doorstep; massive amounts of Poison conditions for most of my team (and Seenah who was tagged by friendly fire).

8-6, Hunters.


Wishful thinking aside, this was likely the end of the game. Even with a Parting Blow from Minx inflicting the Snared condition, Egret was able to walk around Graves, tackle the ball (counter-attack missed completely), and double Dodge into shooting range. Despite still being engaged by Graves she easily rolled the desired '4' and that was game. GG - I just lost to Hunters entirely on goals. So...

Where did things go wrong?

Losing is surely better than winning when it comes to learning lessons, and aside from being well and truly humbled by the mighty Hunters (or rather, instead of bemoaning how obviously underpowered and radically nerf-batted Season Three Morticians are... obviously) I feel like some serious learning needs to happen as a result of this game:

- My activation order was at times pretty dire. The Cosset thing noted above. Not delaying the more significant activations for longer. Tool Up was a wasted resource in this game and I just couldn't seem to get my timing right with it's useful application.

- Some of the specific placement of models was terrible. On reflection, Ghast should have been making Herne's life more difficult and I should have been either removing or otherwise somehow disabling his immediate threat to the goal. With Theron out early the Hunters had Herne and Egret (initially too far away) to take reliable shots at the goal and Herne was stupidly well positioned for the crack-back after Scalpel scored.

- I consistently failed to plan ahead and position correctly for the following turn. Good grief, Scalpel using Knee Slider to remove herself from the game. Graves barely moved 7" out of the deployment zone for the whole game. Ghast did ok and Dirge was fine. Some discussion post-game about Furious models really needing the breathing room to take advantage of that Character Trait.


Once the tears had dried and sufficient amounts of tea and scorched almonds had been applied to soothe away the horror of the past hour or so of the misery that is my Guild Ball career, discussion turned to team builds and what might just be the most significant flaw in my thinking. I seem to be concreted into much of the build of my team, to the point where I see five players as a lock and one position the switch-in to account for different match ups. This was described to me as a very 'American' way of thinking.

What I'll be trying in the future is a total refresh of the team, built from the ground up for each game. I really need to push into the unfamiliar now - Graves2 is due for a run and yes, even Bonesaw needs to get his fat ass on the table. I've been delaying the return of Obulus but maybe even he deserves a look in now. Silence fell out of favour once he became another 2/4INF chump but in reality (almost) everything else about him is actually better now!

Time to break away from the set team ideal and move towards shakier ground. Clearly the correct play at this point is to totally destroy anything that currently works, right?

New team motto: "Be like Portugal".


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

S3 Batrep 2 - Plenty More Fish in the Sea

Yes, we've got a load of relevant, instantly hilarious, but then suddenly tired and old titles lined up for these reports. Much like the current Dojo drink du jour (2% alcohol, the so-called "warm fuzzy" of grapefruit juices) they are short, sweet, and leave no lasting ill or long-term effects. I like to think of these reports as imminently forgettable time-wasters - good for a 5 minute bathroom break while you try to fill your work day with anything but.

More like alcolol, amiright?

So a rematch of sorts after the previous game and such derp. This time I decided to unfairly catch Chris almost immediately post tax exam while he had all the remaining mental faculty of a half-baked and physically-exhausted-from-causing-chaos-and-destruction-on-an-unforeseen-scale corgi pupper.

Said pupper. Creating the apocalypse of the universe can be downright tiring!


Chris chose from the following reworked 9-man squad: Shark, Corsair, Salt, Jac, Siren1, Siren2, Sakana, Greyscales, Angel.

I picked from: Scalpel, Obulus, Dirge, Ghast, Cosset, Casket, Minx, Silence, Graves1.

A few small changes from the last report. I subbed out Bonesaw for Silence on the off-chance that he looked more consistently relevant. Plus I'm a sucker for internet chatter and I'm still not convinced Bonesaw will go the distance. Wanted to try Ghast in place of Casket otherwise the team remained the same giving me at least a sense of consistency over time. Chris took Sakana in place of Angel otherwise his team also remained the same as the previous game. The inclusion of both Siren1 and Siren2 in the team excludes Kraken which I guess is part of the experiment.

I won the roll-off after we dealt and selected Plot Cards. Shark kicked off moving all 7" up the pitch. He looked for an acute angle to put the ball towards a flank but even with a successful kick managed to go sufficiently "to the 6" both times to put the ball back into his own half. Legend. Scalpel took position of the ball and I started up the Mortician engine.


1. With Shark fully loaded in the middle of the pitch, the top two priorities for this turn were gaining MP and attempting to disable him in some way. Scalpel activated, passed the ball to Graves and used the MP to dodge up the field. This put her in walking range of Shark so she advanced into melee. On 6 dice (Shark within 1" of a wall) I simply hoped to Tormented Agony a few INF off him and Push/Dodge the guy into range of Ghast. Instead with the first hit I blew the dice off the pitch and knocked him down. Unexpected... but I'll take it. Now being hit on 3s I stripped him of 2 INF (placed onto Sakana who was in no position to be useful at this stage) and Push/Dodged him into Ghast range as planned, leaving him on 11HP.

Not best pleased by how this was unpacking so far, Chris stood Shark up and used Tidal Surge to get the heck out of there!

The rest of the turn continued to play out with me passing from Graves to Ghast and using the momentum to dodge Ghast up the field (back into range of Shark) and applying Tooled Up. Greyscales intervened and put up Decoy (Operation: Save Shark is a real thing). Ah, Guild Ball... the plays and counter-plays. I didn't have any way to delay the next part of the plan so Ghast dropped the ball and ran to engage both Shark and Greyscales. Punched Shark twice but only managed to knock him down (really wanted two double Pushes which would have put him charge range of both Minx and Cosset!).

Now occupying prime real estate, Ghast took the attention of the rest of the Fish team. Fear and Rising Anger were both triggered in order to gain as much MP as possible. He ended up being engaged by everyone and obviously just tanked like a champ. This did put Chris ahead on MP though.

The turn ended with Dirge picking up the loose ball and rather dubiously dropping it to Graves who snapped it up, which was probably a terrible idea but how the hell do you hide from Greyscales and Sakana and Siren?

0-0, no action.


2. Chris won the roll-off and took the initiative. Greyscales, Sakana and Siren were all loaded up and Shark received a token INF. I loaded Scalpel and put some love on Ghast, Graves and Cosset.

Siren went first using Seduction on Graves to force him to pass the ball to her before playing the Composure Plot Card allowing her to pass the ball to Sakana with effectively a +1 to her kick stat (engaged by Ghast). A successful kick allowed Sakana to Dodge away and the ball was safely in Fishy hands. Ghast went next taking two Parting Blows from Greyscales and Salt (maximum disrespect) and gaining me 2MP after Rising Anger was triggered. Now engaging Shark (still knocked down), Siren and Jac he opted to punch Jac first and managed with a Bonus Time to roll uber-dice with Ghast landing all 6 hits and dialling up a monstrous (and fully unexpected) Unmasking! Five Fish players took damage (everyone except Sakana - a new record!), as did Graves who was just a little too close to the action now. Jac was then knocked down. Baller.

Sakana responded the only way he knew how, lining up a goal that was made only slightly tenuous when he missed entirely with his first attack into Dirge (looking for a Dodge to get into range to strike). I played the Plot Card that gives him a Vengeance token for scoring a goal and Sakana, standing well within jog range of Scalpel, turned an interesting and pale off-white. The ball went out wide way away from Greyscales, hitting a wall next to Minx.

Killing Sakana demanded some setting up though so Dirge played Sic 'Em (love this Plot Card!) to charge Sakana for free applying Singled Out and gaining 2MP from wrap city. The free counter-attack dealt two points of damage in return. Greyscales tickled Scalpel and Graves for Dodges and a Where'd The Go? to build momentum and chase towards the ball. The Scalpel train continued its inexorable advance with Graves giving her Tooled Up - looked like a LOT of tokens were going to be involved in that activation!

Cosset free-charged into Siren, taking her out and engaging Shark.

Finally, gloriously - Scalpel. Fluffed her first attack but spent the Vengeance token to get a Knock Down on Sakana. Push/Dodged him around a bunch (one attack wrapped for a Push/Dodge; a total of 7 damage - lovely), got the Take Out, and used Unnatural Stamina to engage Shark.

Minx grabbed the ball, retreated to behind a wall, and dropped it.

4-4, tied.


3. I won the roll for initiative. Scalpel took 6INF and the rest was scattered around. Greyscales and a returned Siren were fully loaded, as was Jac. Sakana came back on waaaay the hell away from everything.

Scalpel opened up on Shark, taking him out and using Unnatural Stamina to do a circuit of the board centre to engage Greyscales. She triggered Unpredictable Movement (oops!) which gave him a 2" Dodge around her and towards the ball. A combination of Where'd They Go? and punching gave Greyscales the necessary mileage to snap the free ball, grab some much needed momentum and stay safe. Unfortunately he was unable to off-load the ball too but Siren was lurking on 4INF and could likely solve that problem (EDIT - Seduction is target enemy model only. Cheers to Trent for pointing this out). Graves advanced into Greyscales and punched but instead of tackling and taking the counter-attack he just double Pushed him away (towards the side of the board, away from the goal). Siren decided for a completely different tack and advanced towards the centre instead, using Lure to pull Cosset out of the scrum and engaging her to prevent a charge.

Cosset went Crazy! and with two attacks punched Siren down to 1HP. Siren suddenly regretted her life choices. Jac and Ghast slapped each other around to generate MP while the otter tried to stay out of the way but remain a thorn in my side. The new 1VP rule for Mascots is incredibly frustrating! Finally, because the dice were in the mood to be overly generous, Minx Furious charged into Greyscales, wrapped to the 2nd column, did 3 damage, double Dodged and tackled the ball, before using Back to the Shadows.

6-4, Morticians.


4. After two tied rolls Chris won initiative! Greyscales went first, easily stealing the ball from a hapless Minx and scoring to take the Fishermen to 8VPs. The ball was kicked out and scattered but not enough to stop Scalpel from picking it up and she sprinted towards Siren. The free momentum from losing the initiative roll allowed me to glide over a patch of rough ground. Maximum widgeting told me that Scalpel wasn't in range to kill Siren and shoot for goal so instead she took her out and passed to Cosset who Dodged away.

And here we called the game. Jac was knocked down and unable to help, and the otter was about to be pulled in by Scalpel's Legendary and dealt to with the 4INF I had left. Cosset was free to run in and shoot for the Tap In goal and the win.

12-8, Morticians.


A great game. The constant answers and solutions provided by both teams turned it into a staggering and gruelling mental battle. Once again we didn't use the clock (time to use the clock methinks) and so it took around 2.5 hours to get to a conclusion. This might be the last we see of Shark for a while :) There's predictable talk of Corsair making a swift return to the pitch but also distressing murmurs of "Hunters aren't that bad, right?" and "Engineers look pretty good...".

Well, at least I agree with ONE of those quotes...


Sunday, December 11, 2016

S3 Batrep 1 - Swimming in the Shark Tank

After putting the new Season Three cards and (delightfully minimal) rulebook changes through the theoryball machine, a fortuitous alignment of my overwhelming desire to play Guild Ball coincided with Chris's deep yearning to not study for his tax something something exam this week, so we crushed in a game this afternoon - Morticians vs Fushermen (it's a Kiwi accent thing).

More quality English that Handsome Dave will be missing out on.

I was hoping Chris would drop Hunters but it turned out he's already melted down the resin for a more useful purpose so he opted to drop Fish instead. FML. With little to no real experience to draw upon, here were our 9-man rosters.

Fishermans: Corsair, Shark, Salt, Sakana, Angel, Jac, Greyscales, Siren1, Siren2

Morticians: Obulus, Scalpel, Dirge, Graves1, Casket, Ghast, Cosset, Minx

So we're clearly finding our feet yet. We rolled off and as per tradition I not only lost the roll and was blessed by my generous opponent in being rewarded with the kick-off but we also stayed where we were instead of legitimately choosing sides (a time-honoured practice amongst lazy gamers). We chose teams and I took my opening kick.

Then we remembered we should have dialled up some Plot Cards. Good grief. L2GuildBallNoob.


The teams chosen ended up being Shark, Salt, Angel, Greyscales, Jac and Siren1 into Scalpel, Dirge, Cosset, Casket, Minx and Graves1. I couldn't understand why Chris didn't take Sakana instead of Jac, and Chris couldn't fathom why I'd taken Casket instead of Ghast. So all in all, a confusing time for everybody.

1. Scalpel kicked off a good 6" advance up the pitch. Kick went "1 to the 1" just over the line so we'll call that a success. Greyscales retrieved and passed to Shark who held the ball. Stupid Greyscales and stupid Unpredictable Movement. Graves sprinted and Tooled Up Scalpel. Shark Tidal Surged and charged Scalpel. Mom Gut and String and a Mom Dodge (wrap city) put him in striking range. Legendary went up to screw the rest of my turn. Shooting for goal through Dirge we got the kicking penalties wrong like the champions we are - he should have been kicking with a (Bonus Timed) 4 dice needing a 4 to hit. Instead he took a shot with 5 dice needing 5s to hit. Whatever, the big dork MISSED and the ball sailed well behind the goal line.

I mucked around thinking a bit because Scalpel at -8" of speed was too far away to sprint and engage Shark and I was trying to avoid popping my Legendary because the clever git would otherwise just Dodge away after my first punch. So Minx went first and fluffed a Marked Target. Then she charged and pinged him for some damage and a Double Dodge. This avoided the declared Counter-Attack nicely and gave Scalpel the opening she needed. Jac and Salt caroused up one flank, intent on the distant ball marker. Scalpel popped Voodoo Strings and pulled in both Shark and Greyscales (although Greyscales was out of anyone's melee ranges). I can now confirm that Tooled Up Scalpel on Snared Shark is legit good. She left him on one box and had Dodged into engagement with both Shark and Greyscales. Siren durdled up.

Cue the real tech. Shark on 1HP. Cosset comes up, angles it just right, and Lures Shark into range of Casket. Angel durdles up. Boosh! Casket Timed Shark - in the box you go lad! Dirge flaps around semi-pointlessly.

4-0 Morticians.


2. Morticians win the turn. Scalpel tucks into Greyscales, being engaged and so not triggering UM. Tight. He ends up Knocked Down and sitting on 5 boxes. Chris holds the MP from losing initiative to pursue goal-scoring plans with Salt. Plans go off and Salt scores an easy goal with the Tap In. Nice. Kick in lands near Minx (close to the goal) and I opt not to snap the ball. Graves, also engaging thanks to a timely Push/Dodge from the captain, finishes Greyscales off and advances up the board looking to receive for a goal next turn. Fish tech play of the turn is Jac Goading Minx in one direction before Siren Seduces Minx in the other direction. Minx snaps the ball under Chris's control and it look bad until the rules kick in. Seduced models are friendly to the controlling team so Minx suffers a badass Parting Blow from Dirge who tackles the ball off her (and accidentally wraps like a boss and does a point of damage). Ha.

Dirge. On the wings of eagles.

Dirge drops the ball (snaps to Scalpel) and I play the Sic 'Em Plot Card to get a Furious charge onto Jac, putting up Singled Out. Cosset charges towards my own board edge to club a baby seal. Chris is wise to the plan, playing Braced for Impact (Tough Hide and Stoic against the Charge attack) and Counter-Attacking. I punch the seal, trigger Loved Creature (oops). Counter-Attack fails because rolling a single 4+ is obviously too challenging. Cosset then continuously fails to dial up the 4 hits required for a Push/Dodge to move the damned water rat off the board.

6-4 Morticians.


3. I win the turn again but Scalpel, holding the ball, is about to get swamped in angry Fish who are hungry for another goal. Successfully passes to Graves who tries to Dodge upfield before tickling Angel (possibly crucially taking 1INF with Tormented Agony and putting it on Jac). Alas Graves does not get far enough away and Siren proves the Seduction gag is still worth a laugh. She drops the ball next to Angel who snaps it up. A series of plays lacking any synergy or real foresight lead to Graves charging Angel (Damaged Target negating the speed penalty he was suffering by loitering in some rough ground), tackling the ball, and wishfully smashing it into space towards the Fish goal. Unfortunately Graves isn't as great a footballer as his card suggests and the kick scatters "6" to the 1". Literally just enough for Shark to Quick Foot, Sprint and successfully kick to an engaged Angel who dodges away. Minx disengages herself from Jac with a Double Dodge, charging Angel and tackling the ball, and Dodging away another 4". The ongoing play and counter-play shenanigans are taking their toll on both players now.

A second cup of tea is ordered and we steel ourselves for the increasingly bitter battle for ball control.

Angel steals the ball back, Pushing Minx into Siren engagement and Dodging herself away. Casket engages her but otherwise can accomplish nothing. Cosset, tiring of the attempted Push/Dodge attempts on Salt's life, just decides to let nature take it's course and obliterates him the old-fashioned way. Not only do I trigger Loved Creature again (allowing Jac to punch Dirge for 2MP - Knock Down and a Push) but I realise the full horror of Mascots only being worth 1VP. Probs still worth it to remove the Snapshot opportunities (I guess?).

7-4 Morticians.


Fish are up on Momentum by two but Morticians take the initiative anyway. Woo! Scalpel loads up and charges Angel who uses Defensive Stance. To Chris's surprise I manage the tackle but don't take the ball. Instead I just opt to pound Angel into the dirt, using Second Wind (plot carded to effectively cost zero) to collect the scattered ball and put myself in a reasonably safe place. Siren tries to take it but can't get past a Defensive Stance in combination with the wall that Scalpel is cowering next to.

And we call the game. Siren is about to die (on HP, fully loaded Graves and Cosset about to come in) and Shark is on 9HP having not healed when he returned to the pitch. Chris is way down on momentum (although a fully loaded Jac could have dialled some up quite nicely). If I could have taken out Siren (possible) and set myself up to win the next turn, then it was a matter of time before I collected Shark for a second time or even gone all in with the whole team on Jac and just ground him down.

Game called 9-4. Morticians win.


No, we didn't use a clock. Yes, absolutely one or both of us would have clocked out (I assume me first). Other things that were or felt particularly relevant:

- Cosset was pretty good. Didn't manage to arrange the Assist death-dealing machine this time.
- Minx was VERY good. Applying Snared, a great playbook, and the extra 4" Dodge are all fantastic.
- Casket Time went off on a key target but much discussion post-game about whether Ghast should be in there instead. Dat 2" melee range with low playbook Knock Down.
- Scalpel was all sorts of awesome, as usual. Killed two dudes and didn't score a goal mostly because I'm bad with both timing and positioning.
- Graves was good. Tooled Up Scalpel once, Punched some guys. Low tackle was good. Felt quite versatile which was appreciated.
- Dirge was bloody amazing this one time. Who knows if he'll ever manage that level of impact again. Yoinking the ball off a stupefied Minx, dishing out a (pretty much irrelevant but still moderately exciting) Furious charge into Jac and getting off a Singled Out and Dodge on the wrap (both momentous).

- Shark missing the goal was mind-bogglingly statistically unlikely. If he nails it and uses the 4" Dodge I don't kill him. Figuring out just how badly I lose at that point is up for discussion.
- Angel felt better. Natively higher DEF was relevant. Damn fragile though.
- I managed to work around Greyscales jank and to be fair he didn't have a great game. I've found him to normally be exceptionally frustrating to deal with.
- Salt. Scored a goal, sucked up Cosset's attention for two turns, gave up practically nothing effectively when he finally went down. Jerk.
- Siren gave Chris the "ins" and opportunities he really needed. I thought she was pretty fantastic.
- Jac. Still maintain he should have been Sakana. Not sure if he wants to be in a Corsair team instead. Definitely felt out of place for some reason this time.

Lots to think about and obvs very keen for more games. Hooray for Season Three!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Strike while the hypetrain is running

The hype is real (excluding Hunters and Masons - and possibly Brewers). It's like 98% of all Team Discussion posts have happened within the last month, so I'd best post something while people care about Guild Ball and aren't distracted by Infinity/WMH/Magic/Dust/whatever derpy kickstarter comes out next. Sad really because the GB forums have been a fun and entertaining (or is that fun and engaging?) place to hang out in the lead up to Season 3 - rumours, gradual teaser releases (I liked the way SF did this although some of it hilariously blew up in the wrong way, cf. Marbles) and I'll be sad to see the return of posts in team sub-forums where the last one wasn't "just now" or "5 minutes ago" but weeks and weeks in the past. Such is life I guess. Also some guy at some point said that you can't really talk about Guild Ball that much, or that theoryball is a limited prospect, so I'd best get in quick before someone writes down all the obvious stuff before me and takes the credit.

Anyway, the real business is talking about everyone's favourite team - Engineers!

j/k (even though they're going to get bandwagonned harder than St Louis on the Royals).

I don't know what this means #lazymemes

All jokes about Seige's Ballista's Feat Legendary aside, I reckon Steamforged have done a bang up job of the vast majority of the Season 3 release (probs 1000% better than the release of the Season 2 token set at least!) but what I really should be talking about is rules and changes... so less cider for me, and more pointless conjecture for you! Onwards!


Here's what JS said in the post I've just obnoxiously bumped down the page:

To give a broad overview of the core changes and trends, without digging into too much detail (read the cards!)
·                Tap In is now baseline - -1TN to goal kicks within 4"
·                Home Crowd is now baseline - 1MP if you do not go first each turn after the first.
·                Mascots now have icy sponges, and give up only 1VP when taken out. As a result, most mascots have had small (1-3 boxes) health reductions.
·                All players now only have 1 Icy Sponge marker about halfway up the playbook. Many players have had slight health reductions.
·                Many healing effects outside momentum use have been reduced or removed.
·                A lot of players changed nationality (for the purpose of the 'Homelands Cup' format)
·                Most (but not all) buffs are 'friendly Guild' so no longer affect Union models.

What does all this noise actually mean?

Tap In

Actual Tap In rule is much less confusing

- fast models are even better (be that base move/jog, sprint/charge, dodges or preferably some rad combination therein) because if they get within cooey of the goal they score on a 3+ (assuming no other modifiers).
- kick 2/x models are automatically less bad Bonus Timing to 3/x hitting on 3+.
- high kick range models (x/7"+) are still good but you're encouraged to close the distance to save MP (i.e. being Kick 4/8" and not Bonus Timing your shot), ergo position better, ergo play better.
- pretty much anything that can get into 4" range of a shot at goal is a legit threat which means Mascots can actually play a part in the footballing game. I saw a crazy great play in a batrep yesterday where (spoiler alert!) a free charging Mother (Sic 'Em Plot Card) double dodged from the charge result, burrowed, reappeared, and shot for goal successfully. It. Was. Awesome! I'm probably going to die trying for a Dirge goal every game but Flying + sprint 10" means a Bonus Timed shot scoring on a 3+ could work!

I think this is a good/great change but I suspect it's going to result in a lot of very quick games. Honestly wonder if they shouldn't have made the range within goal 2" instead of within 4" so you have to be practically on top of it to earn the bonus. Time will tell!

Home Crowd

Nice to have the home crowd on your side. Football's such a classy game.

The other really big change to the core rules in my opinion. Getting the first activation of the turn was such a massive advantage in the first two seasons, but now having a free MP to Defensive Stance or Counter Attack the clutch early charge is going to have a huge impact on the game. There's a huge loss of certainty and the sense that you're invulnerable for the player who won the initiative roll. It puts the relevance back on early playbook results, having your toys positioned to account for the possibilities either way.

I'm still trying to figure out who gets to break the game the most or gets the most advantage out of this one. I thought it was Fish because of all the 2" and because I hate them but now I'm not so sure. Or is it Brewers with all their Knockdowns and Pushes? No... Internet wisdom tells me Brewers are only beaten to the bottom of the barrel by tree-huggers and the boys in blue.

Icy Sponges

Another good reason to buy tokens, right?

Mascots get these thereby causing no end of grief/whinging/psychological imbalance to those who overly treasured/abused the [Creation] rule (when everyone is special... then nobody is!). Everyone has one now instead of multiple levels - I assume Steamforged just eventually realised that no one was stupid enough to keep players off the pitch for more than one turn - so that's nice. "Best Icy Sponge Change Award" of course goes to Chisel (or it is Chiselle? Chisselle?) who must get sponged up to the indicated level (cheers Peter for checking that - made me laugh) and therefore can't make use of her sweet rules when she comes back on. Need to find an GB equivalent term for Skornergy...

This is a good change combined with Mascots only giving up 1VP. It sucked a bit to lose a Mascot and not only give up 2VP but also permanently lose not only their cutesy rules but also the INF they were contributing to the team. Everyone else having one Icy Sponge is there or thereabouts common sense.

Healing Effects nerfs

Obviously totally OP players such as Hemlocke and Esters (the last one - zero sarcasm) and probably others took a hit. Fine. If your biggest concern was Esters healing 2HP on her burning dudes then you haven't experienced real trauma.

(Most) Buffs not affecting Union dudes.

Good. In fact, bloody great. Why should a model that isn't from your Guild get the advantages of naturalised players anyway? Creates more decision points in the inclusion of Union models. Wondering if we'll start to see all in-Guild teams.

That's a descending list of the stuff I care about. Players changing nationality is a non-issue.

Tied somewhat into this is the tournament support material, specifically the bit where you can only take one Union model in your roster. While this obviously only applies to competitive/tournament games (we've yet to have an SF-sanctioned event in NZ so I'm not holding my breath) it's likely to something that winds it's way into casual play too.  I LOVE this change (surprise surprise)! Hopefully it yields more varied rosters and with the changes made to Union players those choices are already less obvious that they once were (wishful thinking? Maybe).


Definitely a positive start to Season 3. If I sound overly cynical at times it's only due to my driving need to balance out the saccharine boot-licking of our favourite (and occasionally Guild Ball-playing) Pundit :) I don't believe SF have got it all right but you have to dig a bit deeper than surface level in most cases to justify truly egregious hatred and loathing of their practices. And I'm far from that at this point.

Season 3 really does represent a big step forward and up for the game. If you don't play Hunters.


Season 3 Overview

Yay Season 3!

To give a broad overview of the core changes and trends, without digging into too much detail (read the cards!)
  • Tap In is now baseline - -1TN to goal kicks within 4"
  • Home Crowd is now baseline - 1MP if you do not go first each turn after the first.
  • Mascots now have icy sponges, and give up only 1VP when taken out. As a result, most mascots have had small (1-3 boxes) health reductions.
  • All players now only have 1 Icy Sponge marker about halfway up the playbook. Many players have had slight health reductions.
  • Many healing effects outside momentum use have been reduced or removed.
  • A lot of players changed nationality (for the purpose of the 'Homelands Cup' format)
  • Most (but not all) buffs are 'friendly Guild' so no longer affect Union models.


What was thought as the "weakest" guild in Season 1 (largely due to lack of synergies between their team & captain) received a big boost to their AoE condition play with Smoke in Season 2. Season 3 in turn brought them big changes to their non-AoE aspect, with huge changes to both Midas and Katalyst.

The most significant changes were to Midas and Katalyst, who were heavily reworked:
  • Midas has lost every single Play and Trait he had before (other than arguably combining 2 of his previous 3 heroic plays into 1), and became an A-list shifty showoff of a striker instead, with some excellent (indirect) team support options.
    The Midas of S1 and S2 that you either loved or hated is completely gone and replaced by a whole new different beast.
    In my opinion this rework is with good reason, as the first Midas had some issues that broke the game and its future development - True Replication combining with his Playbook being foremost and throttling future options for little real gameplay benefit.

    One more important note - Midas' new Legendary brings the Snared condition to the Alchemists, giving them access to every condition in the game, without Union models.
  • Katalyst has become a human ball of flame that can spread fire and KD like a madman. 2/4 INF, shitload of health, and Seismic Kick to take advantage of his decent (for a big guy) kick stat and inflict KD at range. Legit.
    Somewhat ironically, the only way to "force" him to remove the fire is to get him or his team to shake ALL conditions off him - bleed him, KD him, poison him, snare him....
In terms of minor changes: Vitriol received a surprisingly small but measured nerf (Hidden Damage once per turn only), Mercury received small systemic buffs (extra INF, Flame Jet cheaper), Compound's Rush Keeper is once per turn, while other guild models were mostly unchanged.

The real MVP of the changes is Veteran Katalyst's Heroic Play, which has been rightfully renamed to "Witness Me!"

All in all, I think Alchemists are in a position where they can, at one extreme, play a very strong football game (led by Midas) , while on the other end have an identity as a grindy, condition-based team (based on Smoke), and plenty of space in between to play around in. A very strong contender for top Guild in Season 3.


Brewers received perhaps the fewest changes of any team (tied with Fishermen):

  • Small changes to Tapper (+1/+1 INF but can no longer Old Jake's himself) and a change to Commanding Aura (now a +1 TAC/DMG buff to friendly guild models with 4")
  • Esters' Heroic Soothing Voice no longer heals 2 HP
  • Friday's 2 DMG on column 2 no longer momentous
  • Mash traded Long Bomb for a 4" push/KD playbook ability and slightly different playbook
  • Stoker received sizable buffs (extra INF, cheaper character plays, faster)
All Brewers basically the same. Praise be to the Spigod. Don't fix it if it ain't broke? Brewers remain a synergy-driven, durable guild with good options in both the goal scoring (especially with Harry the Hat!) and "good old fashioned scrap" department.


Overall Butchers have received a number of balance changes, while retaining their core identity of "extremely hard hitting but relatively fragile" aka. glass cannons:
  • Nerfs to Shank (2/3 INF), Brisket (no Princess TAC buff) and Fillet (Haemophilia effectively removed). 
  • Small system buffs to vBrisket and Tenderizer (improved character plays)
  • Significant buffs/reworks to Boar (3+ DEF, new playbook, better healing) and Meathook (+1 ARM, 2/3 INF, pushes added to most playbook results, inflicts -1 DEF on damage)
Ox and the mascots have received slight changes that in the greater scheme of things evens them out, and Boiler is entirely unchanged. 

Perhaps the biggest stealth change is that Ox's auras no longer affect Union models, thus likely removing Gutter from most Ox lineups in favour of a Butcher player, despite Gutter's actual playstyle with Ox being relatively unaffected. Minx's rework (more on that later) will also be interesting for Butchers, since DEF debuffs are huge for them.

The Butchers should remain a strong guild in Season 3 with an emphasized '4 TOs- 1 goal' strategy, although Tap In definitely boosts someone like Shank to a viable striker (likely the reason for his INF cap reduction). I don't think the nerfs invalidate any of the affected players at all, and the reworks make those two players a lot more valuable (Meathook will become the new cornerstone/support player for the team). The mascot changes I think will be especially visible in Butchers, who have mascots capable of dealing good (momentous) damage. Meathook also looks like she will work very well with both captains.


Likely the most fundamentally changed guild, from a ranged attrition/denial guild to a much clearer football-oriented direction.

Engineers had too many changes to cover in detail, but here are the big ones. As a trend, most models have received reworked playbooks, with more impactful momentous and damage results:
  • Ballista now has a weaker version of his old legendary as a character play to replace Flurry, and a Seismic Super Kick as a legendary.
  • Pin Vice character plays now deal only 2 DMG, she's now DEF 5+/0 and traded 5 health for Reanimate.
  • Mother's nests and Burrow reworked to be TN debuffs and ball retrieval instead of fire.
  • Mainspring gets a 3/8" pass FOR FREE every turn, with a momentous tackle on 1. What a mascot.
  • Colossus picks up Unexpected Arrival, Stoic and the ability to pick up loose balls within 2".
  • Ratchet gets some momentous damage, Tooled Up, and more Mechanica support abilities (the recursive cricket bomb is gone though).
  • Salvo loses his Bolts, but gets Flurry, Arrow to the Knee and the ability to pick up loose balls at a distance, effectively making him a striker in all but name.
  • Velocity picks up Acrobatic (2" dodge, 1 INF)
  • Hoist maintains True Replication, but it costs 0, targets friendlies and is usable every turn. Lots of really cool plays to steal!

Basically, most players got better, the guild picked up a handful of ball retrieval abilities, they can do better damage and momentum generation in combat, and their ranged KD game (ie. Salvo) was reduced severely.

Overall they will be a very different Guild in Season 3, with better combat options and unique ball-control abilities to make up for the loss of mass ranged KD. Whereas Fish football relies on mobility and dodges to score and pick up loose balls, Engineers rely on teamwork actions (Harry!), pushes and character abilities. 


Relatively few changes to Fishermen, which I considered the possibly the most balanced guild in Season 1 & 2 (others may disagree, #FishOP)

  • Small buffs were received by Angel (base DEF 5+), Salt (2/4" KICK)
  • Kraken got a few more buffs with 2/6" KICK, DEF 3+/0 and some 2" pushes on the playbook.
  • Greyscales lost 2 health in exchange for Decoy working against character plays and a better Ball's Gone!
Everything else appears untouched.
Somewhat surprisingly, Shark and vet Siren both remain completely untouched, despite the murmurs of 'negative play experience' resulting from their core abilities.

All in all - Fish remain Fish, but the game around them has become even better for them .


Hunters were considered by many to be the weakest guild in the game by the end of Season 2, in my opinion largely due to having a lower number of models and therefore tactical depth than other teams. 

Despite this perception, there were only few changes on the Hunter side of things:
  • Theron's Nature's Growth can only be used at the start of his activation, but can now be placed within 2" of other terrain (rather than 3"). He also lost Forest Sight.
  • Hearne is now 3/6" KICK
  • Seenah gets a free 2" push within his melee range at the start of activation and a reworked playbook.
  • Also Minx.

Other models appear unchanged. Overall Hunters received some nice little improvements, but the community complaint seems to be based around not getting enough buffs to bring them into line with other guilds, and a nerf to their 1 captain on top of that. 

My (completely speculatory) theory is that the Nature's Growth / Forest Sight change is partially to do with Farmers, and partially because getting a forest in front of your face and then getting Pinned is a pretty hard counter for which only a minority of players have a counter-play, and you could do it every turn (more likely you missed the Pinned and got tilted at Theron :)

Otherwise the other buffs seem pretty solid to me for a guild that had good internal balance and will likely (hopefully) become more openly competitive with the release of a couple of new models in Season 3. 


Masons received a significant number of small to medium adjustments on top of Harmony & Tower's reworks:
  • Hammer 4/5 INF
  • Honour got several small changes that mostly even out (perhaps a small decrease in overall power) - Responsive Play -> Poised, Legendary 4" -> 6" (still "gains" INF!), Superior Strat now allocates & is OPT, KD result down a column.
  • Flint loses Super Shot, but is 4/8" KICK baseline
  • Vet Harmony traded Scything Blow for Marked Target, but Smelling Salts no longer heals.
  • Marbles loses Tooled Up, but gains Counter Charge while within 4" of Brick
Harmony was reworked to have a longer Family leash (8" instead of 4"), Back to the Shadows, new character plays, and a better playbook.
Tower picked up Tooled Up, has an AoE play that grants Sturdy, and one that grants Defensive Stance. He's like the defensive cornerstone of the Masons, leaving Mallet as the offensive cornerstone.

A handful of vocal posters on the Masons forum community seem to be taking a very siloed, model-by-model approach to evaluating these changes, thinking of everything strictly in "buff/nerf" terms and not looking at the model in context of the team and in context of the game. Which is a strange way to look at it, given that almost every model that received a nerf also received a buff, and there were a lot! On top of this, the two reworked models are in my opinion also significantly better than their previous incarnations.

I think Masons remain as almost strong as previously and most of the "nerfs" received have good reasons behind them. The "power roster" will likely change a bit from what it is now but they will still be able to do their thing with great effectiveness.


The boogiemen of Season 1, dominating metas everywhere with the Obulus/ Dirge/ Silence/ Ghast/ Mist/ Rage/ Avarisse + Greede roster.

  • Obulus himself took a few hits: -1 TAC, -2 health, 5/7 INF, Puppet Master no long refunds an INF.... but then again his Misdirection was significantly improved at -2 INF & OPT
  • Silence, the other terror in the lineup, took a hit with 2/4 INF and -3 health. At the same time, he got +0/+1 MOV and traded Embalming Fluid for Fire Blast (significantly better IMO)
  • Dirge's Dark Doubts is only -2MP now (net -1MP, rather than -3MP).
And that's it in terms of nerfs. Most models were unchanged, but 3 got significantly better:
  • Graves picked up 2/4 INF, traded Rabid Animal for Tooled Up and now has a momentous Scything Blow.
  • Cosset got a reworked, shorter and much more efficient playbook, and traded Damage Support Dirge for Assist Dirge (more potential, but harder to set up). Screeching Banshee now a DEF debuff over a MOV debuff.
  • Bonesaw now a legit goal threat with the reworked Football Dervish allowing yoyo football dodges, a very reliable goal kick and more consistent defensive abilities in exchange for 1 health and Reanimate.

Morticians in general have lost slivers of health on most players, reducing their tankiness down a few notches. Most of the power roster was addressed both directly (Rage's Tooled Up being Guild only, A+G rework, Mist nerf..) and indirectly (1 Union player per roster max), resulting in an understandable loss of power for the Morticians. At the same time, most of the underused models were significantly improved, and Scalpel has become a very competitive choice with Obulus, which I think will open up the guild a lot.

The Union

Steamforged's favourite nerf bat target (mostly on account of being ridiculously OP in Season 1), the Union make a stellar recovery in Season 3 with a few small nerfs and a number of sizable reworks:

  • Blackheart, in my (unpopular) opinion the best captain in Season 1, was reworked from being a mobile tank deathstar into something a little more tricky and football oriented. He is still very mobile and durable, but his team's area damage output has been reduced significantly in exchange for gaining one of the few abilities in the game to get the ball off a friendly model that has already activated, plus a usable Misdirection.
  • Minx' Hunter identity has been well and truly developed, with a number of Hunter traits like Back to the Shadows, the ability to apply Snared on damage and the new Screeching Banshee. Very INF efficient winger for any team. May actually be legit OP.
  • Harry has gone from dumpster to throne with a massive rework, the most notable features of which are a new playbook, 2" melee and an aura that grants -1MP cost to teamwork actions. Rock solid midfielder.
  • Finally, Avarisse and Greede have changed significantly, most notably on the Greede side of things: lots of stat buffs and icy sponges. Both activate at the same time and Greede can detach at any point in the activation and use Avarisse' INF. Still look really solid in both the damage department and ball-control/striking.
    I have a small fear that losing Greede won't be as big a deal anymore though, as you can bring him back on straight away and just hide in a corner, giving out his 1 INF at no risk like Mascots of old.

A few tune ups (two of which are sizable buffs):
  • Vet Rage's Heroic can now be used on other models as well.
  • Gutter now has Scything Blow on the 5 column (which no longer heals her), and 6" Chain Grab on the 3.
  • Snakeskin picked up a momentous dodge result on column 1.
The only arguable 'nerfs' are to: 
  • Coin (who now has a 1" melee range and Bag of Coffers is "allocated")
  • Mist (who lost Where'd They Go for Acrobatics, and Shadow Like in certain teams). 
  • Oh, and Hemlocke's Smelling Salts no longer heal. Good old Hemlocke, taking it on the chin again and beating Gutter for the crown of Most Nerfed Model.
    At least, if you ignore that she gained +1 TAC and a new << >> momentous result on 4 hits....
All other models appear to be the same. Union as a guild will remain competitive but now have the ability to play the game with team-oriented football lining, instead of just outfighting and outtanking most rosters. This could make the two captain pairing very interesting in 9 man rosters, since a lot of Union players can go both ways (ie. are good fighters with 3/6" KICK stats)

Also it looks like we might be getting a red haired, striker-oriented Union captain in Season 3, coinciding strangely with the exile of Brisket from the Butcher's Guild and Ox's release by the Solthecian Church.....


You may have gotten the impression I think Season 3 is very good, and I do. Is it perfect? Of course not. There are several areas where changes were perhaps warranted but weren't implemented - Hunters as a whole, Chisel, and Stave have each received a large amount of attention as underpowered models in S3, and there are likewise some concerns that Minx & Harry the Hat have become too powerful and too much of a shoe-in for that coveted 1 Union slot.

What I think is most important about this process is not only that the overall changes are by and large overwhelmingly well-received and backed by good reasoning, but that Steamforged continues to show willingness to do what is necessary in order to make Guild Ball a more compelling, competitive and enjoyable game, to the point of making significant changes to about 1/3rd of the models in the game, and even going so far as DELETING a captain model entirely and building him back from the ground up, because he was a negative games experience for many and skewed the game in a way that affected future development.
Not only this, but the game's developers have repeatedly shown to be willing to directly interact with community media in order to explain their decision making process. And you still don't have to pay a cent to access the full rules for the game.