The Egg Cup
A last minute dropout saw me free to join a 16 man GB tourney in Manchester this weekend, the "Egg cup".
I was pretty certain that I was going to get noob-stomped, having only played a handful of games in Season 3 and (to paraphrase Will Wijnveld) not being blessed with the ability to win. But nevertheless I packed up my trusty Morticians and headed into the lion's den.
Looking at the field there was only one Butchers Guild (so much for my initial impression that Fillet was everywhere, this guy was running Ox only). A smattering of Masons, Fish and Engineers stood in contrast to a quarter of the field being Spooks. Ah.
My 9-man roster consisted of both Obulus and Scalpel with Dirge (screw Vileswarm, he's pointless), Graves1, Ghast, Cosset, Silence (no longer an auto-include I'm finding) and Casket (a total bluff). My one permitted Union model was Mist (Stent, stop yelling at the screen).
Morticians vs Fishermen
First off was a game vs Shark. How broken would Fishermen be in Season 3 I thought? Happily the guy only had Season 1 models with him, so no Veteren Siren. Bliss. I felt cornered into taking Obulus due to the propensity of Fish to have 2" melee coming out of their arses. Hence I went with my usual Scalpel lineup but with Obulus instead: Dirge, Cosset, Graves1, Ghast and Mist. Plenty of 2" melee of my own there.
I won't attempt to go in depth for each game but we traded two goals apiece whilst Graves smashed Greyscales into the dirt. Momentous 2 damage on three hits plus Crucial artery and 2" melee means he can decapitate isolated targets over a couple of activations. Loading him up with four influence and letting him go to town makes me feel warm inside. Graves2 can suck it (please refer to my earlier remarks regarding Vileswarm).
This left us at 10-8 at the start of the turn with a straight dice roll for the initiative. High noon. Obulus and Shark stared each other down. First to activate and get to the ball would almost certainly score. Obby flinched for a fraction of a second and was left eating Shark's dust as he sped off to score effortlessly.
Final score: 12-10 to the Fishermen
Morticians vs Butchers
I loathe Butchers. As I've said it initially felt like Fillet was everywhere in Season 2 and Season 3. I'm not entirely sure what can be done against a fast, hard hitting captain with a very useful AOE attack (so even if you get out of her threat range, you aren't out of her threat range). But hurrah! This guy is playing Ox. Bonus. Is it? What does Ox do? Well, he only has a 1" melee and no access to dodges, right? If I take Obulus over Scalpel then he'll find it hard if not impossible to get around Unpredictable Movement. Sorted.
Graves, my poor Graves. Having recovered the ball on turn one he found himself hit by "mark target" from Boiler. From there Ox, Meathook and Shank managed to get to him and a thin red smear remained where once the proud gravedigger stood. My own stupidity also allowed Ox to end the turn up on momentum and within 1" of Obulus. Unpredictable movement isn't useful if you forget it.
From there Ox popped his legendary play and causally removed Obulus, Cosset and soon thereafter Dirge from the pitch. I didn't like the colour that Ghast was turning either. It looked like he was haemorrhaging. Fortunately by this point I'd scored and taken out Ox in revenge. A freshly icey sponged Obulus returned to the fray in time to dispatch Shank and with superhuman effort puppet mastered Mist forward toward the goal whilst paralysing the Butchers team with the stiffness of death. Ghast bled out, leaving the score at 11-8 to the Butchers. Mist heroically ricocheted off Boar, sprinted at the goal and.....
....scored! I was just as surprised as anyone really. I mean it's not what he does, is it?
Final score: 12-11 to the Morticians. Thank goodness that mascots are only worth one VP now.
Morticians vs Masons
Excellent. Another team that I haven't encountered yet in Season 3. I have however learnt my lesson from getting smashed by Hammer in Season 2 in that if Obulus plays carefully then he should be able to avoid Hammer's hammer. Oh, I guess that means I'm playing Obulus again. Oh well.
I kick off and a beautiful scatter means that his only turn one goal threat, Flint, has to retrieve the ball and pass to Mallet. He doesn't dodge away however, leaving Mallet within puppet master range to pass me the ball back. Surely this is a trap? Perhaps not. Sounds good. Mallet, the ball s'il vous plaît.
Bastard missed. Football legend my arse.
This denies Obulus the ability to get the ball and dodge to safety so Mallet got a few swings in. Cosset gets the ball back to Obulus and I take first activation next turn. Obulus surges on goal and promptly, obulusly, misses. Now he's properly screwed, surely.
From the above pic, I was terrified that Mallet and Flint could box Obulus in while Brick and Hammer go to town and destroy the Ferryman. Instead, the GB gods smiled on me and my opponent sent Hammer and Decimate after Graves, down there in the bottom right.
What do you do when Hammer zigs right? Zag left, hard. My entire team ran off from the Mason captain and his union consort, leaving his heavy hitters stranded on one side of the pitch. Too late I think my opponent realised that he was grossly of position and I collected the ball from the armadillo for a second goal to add to two takeouts. Thats a sentence I never thought I'd write.
Final score: 12-4 to the Morticians.
Morticians vs Union
Veteran Rage. Veteran Rage. 1" melee, and he isn't really all about dodging either. Scalpel should be a safe bet. Yeah, Scalpel sounds good.
I panic and take Obulus.
This guy had Veteran Rage AND Harry the Hat. BOTH have Rising Anger (Ghasts ability to gain two momentum the first time that you damage them per turn). That is hilarious! Until you keep on bloody forgetting it. Then it's really not hilarious.
I kick off with Obulus. Can I pull the same trick and reel in the ball from Gutter? Why yes, I can. And successfully this time. Having passed the ball down the line I'm on my way to scoring with Mist until his (evil twin) Mist runs and stand directly in front of him. Boo-urns. Instead I dodge off, pass the ball back to Obulus and leave Obulus alone in the centre of the Union half of the pitch. Obulus promptly scored, and in response I think my opponent criminally underfuelled Mist, relying perhaps on bag of coffers for efficiency. Seemingly all too keen to spill blood, Rage charges into the midst of the Spooks taking the ball with him. Hacking left and right he leaves Graves (why is it always Graves?) fighting for his life. However he ain't dead yet and after Ghast smashes Rage into the floor Graves deftly scoops up the ball and with the last of his strength passes to Mist who dodges away from evil-timeline Mist and into a scoring position. All well and good unless Gutter has anything to say about it.
Friends, I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like it. Between a charge and two further bought attacks, Gutter doesn't even manage to scratch the paintwork on Mist. Not a sausage. After that the bottom rather fell out of this guy's world and I pick up two further goals with Mist and Obulus. Graves and Cosset earn a visit to the nurses office but it's little comfort.
Final score: 12-4 to the Morticians.
I was aiming for 2/2 so to go 3/1 was a pleasant surprise! To add to that I came 2nd overall, which was shiny. I picked up a voucher, patch, GB die and even an egg-cup. Nice touch.
So what's my view of the English meta? Well I think I'm happy to report that rather like Warmachine/Hordes (as opposed to Warhammer) the Guild Ball rules are tight enough that there aren't any "house rules" or cultural differences in how the game is played. Beyond that it's personal preferences and I will say that I've seen a lot of Engineers and Butchers, which is nice(ish). However some people were extolling the virtues of Casket to me and so are clearly stark raving mad.
Until next time my little ravens. Stay spooky.