Guild Ball GenCon 2016 Roundup

GB-Teams-MorticiansSo GenCon 2016 is over and the first US Guild Ball Championships where held.  The event was won by  Jordan Nach with the Mortician’s Guild.

In second was Brian White (Morticians), third Alex Botts (Morticians) and fourth Patrick Van Valzah (Morticians)…

The final was between Jordan and Brian and was a complete mirror match with both taking Obulus, Dirge, Silence, Ghast, Rage and Avarisse & Greede.  There tournament added Cosset, Casket and Mist (I’m surprised Mist wasn’t in the final).

The ‘meta’ game in the US certainly seems different from what I’ve experienced in the UK, but I don’t know whether it’s a case of Mortician’s being better or better players using Mortician’s.  Control archetypes are always difficult to play against and in the hands of a good player that’s just exacerbated.

There were some interesting spoilers and titbits that came out of GenCon:

Starter Set

A Guild Ball Starter Set will be released in November with two full 6- player teams. The figures will be one piece plastic to make initial set up easy.  Nothing confirmed as to who the two Guild would be but some possibilities:

  • Butcher’s and Fishermen
    • Seen as the two archetypal guilds (Beating vs Footballing) and the basis of the current demo set
  • Mason’s
    • It’ s been said before that some of the models  are in need of a resculpt as they are on the small side of the scale compared ot teh Season 2 models and the show exclusive Flint. Would seem like a good time to do this
  • The Union
    • A flexible team that could go a number of ways. Would also be attractive for existing players.
  • Brewer’s
    • A fairly straightforward play style that would lend themselves to an introduction. they haven’t really been touched on that much in the fluff yet either.

I would say that the Mortician’s, Alchemist’s, Engineers and Hunter’s are unlikely due to there playstyles as are the Farmer’s and the as yet unnamed team for Season 3 as the starter set seem due around SteamCon in November but Season 3 isn’t due until April 2017.

We also don’t know if they will be pure guild or include Union choices (assuming that Union aren’t one of them).

Rookies

A new player type will be added, the Rookies.  These will be a seventh player on the pitch with a powerlevel similar to Mascots. The suggestion was they attach to a ‘mentor’ and give them a specific buff (presumably if in close proximity as he mentioned following them around).

New Guilds

There will be two new Guilds in Season 3 (available at Salute 2017). One we know (The Farmer’s Guild), the other we don’t.

Tater was released at GenCon and we have also seen the first sight of another Farmer. He appears to be some sort of scarecrow with a a skeletal face.

Picture1

 

New players

An existing Guild will be getting a new Captain in Season 3, which I woudl assume would be the Hunter’s to add parity.

We have seem the first images of Veteran Katalyst and he looks huge!

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Russ Charles (Steamforged’s go-to sculptor) was also at GenCon doing what he does and this was one thing on show?

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Looks a lot like Brick to me so whether he is getting the Veteran treatment or whether it’s an indication that Mason’s are in the Starter Set is unknown.

An interview with Mat and Rich from Beasts of War:

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What’s in a name? – Season 2 Mascots

It’s been a while and as the Season 2 Mascot models are due to be released shortly, I thought I would round off the ‘What’s in a name?’ for Season 2. Some of these are fairly obvious, but others have more depth to them.

Alchemist’s Guild

Naja, Venomous Viper

Naja

So Naja is Venin’s ‘pet’ snake and ties in well with his poison theme.

Naja is the taxonomic game for the genus of snakes more commonly known as cobras and derives from the Sanskrit for snake, Naga.

 

Brewer’s Guild

Quaff, Faithful

Quaff

Quaff is modelled on a St Bernard, a breed of working dog common to the Alps and bred for mountain rescue. They are famous for carrying a barrel of brandy around their necks.

The verb quaff means to drink ( a usually an alcholic drink) heartily.

 

Butcher’s Guild

Truffles, Cantankerous Swine

Truffles

Truffles is a pig and the name is likely to arise from the domestic pigs (also known as truffle hogs) used for locating and extracting truffles from forests in Europe.

 

Engineer’s Guild

Mother, Arachnid Queen

Mother

A mechanica created by the Engineer’s Guild that resembles a spider (although the art work has 9 legs) and it’s brood. The name is a possible reference to Broodmother from DOTA 2. She is possibly modelled after Wolf Spiders which carry their spiderlings on their backs.

 

Fisherman’s Guild

Tentacles, Eastern Mystery

Tentacles

Modelled on an octopus and named after the flexible, mobile, elongated organs the species is famous for.

 

Mason’s Guild

Wrecker, Giant Shrew

Wrecker

Although described as a shrew, it doesn’t really resemble one and is modelled after an armadillo, a small armoured mammal. The name probably follows the Mason convention of names deriving form tools and is a possible reference to a wrecking ball.  There is also a link to Rammus from League of Legends due to the game being a favourite of many at Steamforged games.

The Rolando is in homage to the Guild Ball Tonight desire to have a baby elephant Mascot.

 

Mortician’s Guild

Vileswarm, Fearful Tide

Vileswarm

Vileswarm is a swarm of rats, which are often reviled. Not much more to say…

 

The Union

Strongbox, Tribute to the Pirate-King

Strongbox

Strongbox is a tortoise carrying a chest on it’s back. A strongbox is a small lockable box, typically made of metal, in which valuables may be kept.

Strongbox is ‘Rage’s idea of a tribute to the Pirate King apparently, one last piss-take. Strap a treasure chest to the top of it, fill it with Blackheart’s gold, and parade it around’

 

Game on!

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In the second in a series of articles about the early game (the first being Kick Off!, I’m now going to look at who may be a good choice to go and collect the ball and how to generate crucial early momentum.

The thought process behind collecting the ball in turn 1 is somewhat similar to that as to who kick’s off.  You need to consider which area of the pitch the ball is in, what you are planning on doing with the ball once you have it and who you want to collect it. However, you are restricted to a degree in that some players may not be able to get to the ball, e.g. if someone us on the left wing and the ball has been kicked to the right one.

I’ll now go through some of my thoughts as to who is a good player to retrieve the ball in different situations, but once again I’m not experienced with some teams so any comments are gratefully received.

Alchemist’s Guild

alchemist-s-guild

Midas is a possibility to collect the ball from the kick, he has enough movement to collect the ball and pass it back to a team mate to generate early momentum. It’s puts him in position to use True Replication early depending on the opponents deployment, especially if the kicker has something he wants.  He also has enough defensive abilities with Unpredictable Movement and Clone to survive until backup arrives. He is probably more useful if the ball has been kicked centrally rather than to the wings.

Mercury and Calculus are also possibles as they can set up ‘defensive’ AOEs (Fire and Noxious Blast)  to either force the opponent to go round or through and suffer the conditions. Again probably more use centrally and they wouldn’t normally be my first choice.

Vitriol is useful to get the ball back from wide areas. Her movement is high enough to either retrieve the ball and retreat back and pass to a central area (generating momentum) or to move forward and go defensive with Clone.

Brewer’s Guild

brewer

Friday is a good retriever as she has high Mov and Kick as well as Shadow Like. Get Over Here! is also useful to drag Scum forward to give her an additional target to pass to to gain early momentum, it also potentially puts her in position to use Dirty Knives.

Stave is also useful going early as he can get Lob Barrel off on the kicker, which is especially useful if they have decided to kick off from a wing, potentially knocking them off the board (don’t let this happen to you, it’s very embarrassing).

Mash is another possibility with his reasonable Mov, Kick and Super Shot to generate momentum or Long Bomb if you need to move the ball to another area of the pitch. It’s also useful to get him to trigger Unpredictable Movement early to get him closer to the enemy goal.

Butcher’s Guild

Butchers

Boiler is a possibility as he is fast with a reasonable Kick as well as being able to add Marked Target to the Kicker allowing the rest of the team to swamp them for a potential early take-out.

Brisket is a great choice with her high Mov, high Kick, Unpredictable Movement, Charmed [Male], Super Shot and Dirty Knives.

Shank is another great choice with high Mov, reasonable Kick and Where’d They Go? to either retrieve the ball or move into a better position for next turn.

Engineer’s Guild

engineer-s-guild

Ballista is a possibility with a good Mov, reasonable Kick as well as Deadbolt to knock the kicker down and push them back as well as Second Wind to manoeuvre at the end his activation.

Salvo is another option with good Mov, reasonable Kick as well as Kick Bolt and Floored Bolt to target the kicker with Swift Strikes to reposition.

Velocity has good Mov and Kick as well as enough defensive abilities with Close Control and Nimble to spoil anyone’s day.  Particularly good collecting the ball from out wide.

Colossus is also someone else to consider, although he does divide opinion. He has a good Mov and reasonable Kick and is the bane of many an opponents Strikers with Smashed Shins.

Fisherman’s Guild

Fish

Shark, the one man team, has enough movement tricks to get the all and put it where he wants, so is definitely someone to consider getting the ball early.

Angel is another great option with her high Mov and Kick as well as Super Shot to pass the ball to generate early momentum and Nimble to up her Def.

Greyscales is another good option with his good Mov, reasonable Kick and Where’d They Go! as well as Unpredicatble Movement, and Decoy to keep him safe.

Jac is also possible with his high Mov, reasonable Kick and Get Over Here to move Salt up for an early pass (See the otter does have  a use!) to generate momentum.

Sakana is also another possibility with his High Mov (particularly with Smoke Bomb/ Cover of Darkness) and Kick, with Poised being a useful defensive or offensive ability.

As you can see the Fish have a lot of options.

Mason’s Guild

masons_buttons

Honour is a definitely a possibility (especially if Harmony is in the team too), with her high Mov and reasonable Kick coupled with Quick Time to move support up the pitch, Responsive play to give you offensive and defensive options as well as Linked to allow you two consecutive activations if harmony is on the pitch too.

Flint (as with anything else in life) is the first person you should look to, with his high Mov, high Kick, Super Shot and Where’d they go? he can pretty much go anywhere and do anything – a great retriever of the ball. charmed [Male] is also very effective.

I’m contractually obliged to include this:

sfgbmas01-005_flint

Brick is also a slightly unorthodox choice as he has reasonable Mov with a slightly underwhelming Kick, but it does put him in position for a Turn 1 Counter Charge or at least stops your opponent advancing as far as they may have wanted to.

Mortician’s Guild

Morts

Obulus may be a good choice for your first activation if he is in a position to get the opponents Kicker in range to Puppet Master them forward to allow him to get into melee range. He should then be able to generate a lot of momentum, and if you manage to get the KD your opponent won’t be able to clear the condition with Momentum (as they haven’t got any yet), so they either have to activate the kicker first and still stay in melee range of Obulus or risk to activating them and having another Mortician beat on them when they are KDed next activation.

Silence is a good choice to get the ball as he has good (for a Mortician) Mov and Kick stats as well as Tucked and Shutout to try and control your opponents activation order.  Embalming fluid can be used to control the ground to prevent your opponent engaging Silence directly.

I’m a fan of activating Casket first (when he plays) as his Mov and Kick are fairly reasonable and he has enough defensive abilities (Tough Hide, Reanimate, Ghostly Visage and Heavy Burden) to cause your opponents problems, as well as Foul Odour to disrupt a fairly substantial area of the pitch.

Bonesaw also needs to be considered with his high Mov and Kick to retrieve the ball as well as Offensive Defence benefiting him more if he activates early.

The Union

Union

Blackheart should be considered with his fairly good Mov and Kick stats (and Shadow Like) as well as allowing him to get Commanding Aura up early.

Decimate should be high on your list with her high Mov good kick and Second Wind, she’s a great retriever allowing you to move the ball to where you want it to be.

Gutter is another option with high Mov and good kick and Chain grab allows you to isolate the opponents kicker quickly too.

Mist is very much like Flint in that he can go where he likes and do what he wants with his high Mov, high kick, Cover of Darkness and Where’d They Go?

Snakeskin is another good choice with high Mov good Kick (and Shadow Like) as well as enough defensive abilities (Charmed, Nimble and Clone) to cause your opponents some real headaches.

Fangtooth also needs to be considered as he is great at controlling the centre of the field and Gluttonous Mass offers great protection until support arrives.

As you can see form the above all of the Guilds have a number of options for who to activate at the beginning of turn 1 to retrieve the ball, as well as generating crucial early momentum.

Once again, please let me know any thoughts you have as some of this is form watching opponents rather than my own experience.

Until next time sports fans!

Kick-off!

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This is the first in a series of articles where I am going to look at a few situations that look simple enough at face value but caused me a few headaches when I started playing, which seems to be a feeling shared by other members of the community. Those situations being, tactics to use at the kick off,  how to generate momentum in the early game (particularly turn 1) and how to deal with going first vs second.

The Mortician’s Guild is my usual team, but I have some experience of most of the current teams.  I will aim to look at general tactics as well as some in depth discussion of each of the Guild’s, giving suggestions, but please feel free to comment below.

Kick-off

At face value the kick off seems a fairly straight forward occurrence (you kick the ball forward), but as with much with this game there is a lot more to it. You need to consider; who is going to kick-off, which area of the pitch will they kick too and how far you want the kick to go.

As a reminder the rules for Kick-off are:

p.21 “After both players have deployed their teams, the kicking player activates the kicker. The kicker may move up to their base-move followed by a kick-off action.

The kick-off action does not require Influence but otherwise uses the normal rules for kicking the ball.

After resolving the kick-off, if the ball-token went out of play, or finished within the kicking player’s half of the pitch, then the receiving player may give possession of the balltoken to any model of his choosing on his team.

After the kick-off has been resolved, the receiving player automatically wins the initiative roll for the first turn.”

Who?

gb_guild-ball-teaser-2

Initially, you need to think who your kicker is going to be. Will you give it to a striker? They tend to be faster, have longer kick distances but fairly average defence stats.

Will you give it to someone who wants to boss the mid-field? They tend to be slightly slower, have shorter kick distances than the strikers but are slightly more resilient and have plays that will affect the opposition more than themselves.

Will you give it to a defender? They tend to be slower, with shorter kick distances but are more resilient but have some sort of area control, which they would be able to use sooner than if they hang back.

You do need to consider that the player that goes forward may be isolated from their team mates and that does play into the hands of some teams who like to pick off isolated models quickly.

If I am playing with a team I want to brawl against, I would typically give the kick-off to a defender/ defensive midfielder to get them into the action quicker so they can control the board. If I am looking to score more than take out, I’d be looking at strikers or more attacking midfielders to get into positions where they can do the most damage quickly.

I would typically not give the kick-off to a captain as the risk of them being isolated early is too great, but I would be happy to hear others thoughts on this.

Guild                       Brawling                               Balling
Alchemist’s          Calculus/Mercury              Vitriol
Brewer’s                Stave/Stoker                       Mash/Friday
Butcher’s              Boar/Meathook                  Brisket
Engineer’s            Colossus                              Velocity/Hoist
Fisherman’s         Jac / Kraken                        Sakana / Greyscales*
Mason’s                 Mallet / Brick                     Flint
Mortician’s           Casket / Ghast                   Bonesaw
Union                     Fangtooth/ Hemlocke     Mist

*I think there is a possible argument to allow Shark to kick-off for the Fisherman’s Guild, but they are one of the team I’ve used the least.

Where?

Once you have chosen who is going to kick-off you need to think where on the pitch will they kick off from.

When you think of a Guild Ball (or Football – not Gridiron) pitch you can split the area into 5 (shown below). These are the left and right wings, left and right channels and the centre of the pitch.

Pitch**

Different player want to act in different areas of the pitch. You don’t want Hemlocke out wide, wasting a lot of her potential. Similarly, Mist is going to act more effectively out on the wing rather than the more congested midfield.

As a general rule, the combat will mainly occur in the centre of the pitch with bits spilling out into the channels. With this in mind, you will want players of the ‘brawling’ type to mainly kick off from the centre section, particularly if you want them to control wide areas of the pitch that your opponent also wants to control.

Conversely, your ‘balling’ players will want to make more use of the wings and channels so this is where they will kick off from. Players like Mist really want to stay wide as much as possible, whereas players like Greyscales and Bonesaw will act more out of the channels. Mash may even want to act more centrally to mitigate his slower movement.

That isn’t to say that you’ll use these players to kick-off into the same area of the pitch they are based. You may want one of your central players to kick the ball out towards a wing to either force your opponent to activate one of their wider players early than they would have wanted (preventing them gaining an upper hand in the centre of the pitch) or risk ignoring the ball and activating a central player for one of your wide players to pick it up in the next activation.

Similarly, a wide player may want the ball to be played into the centre to allow them more space to run into unopposed with a more direct route on goal in subsequent activations (Flint and Mist I am looking at you).

Obligatory Flint picture:

sfgbmas01-005_flint

How far?

Once you have decided who is going to kick-off and where they are going to kick from and to you need to decide how far the ball will travel. As a kick-off follows the normal rules for a kick, you can re-roll the kick-scatter (both distance and direction) on a success.

There seems to be two schools of thought on kick-off distance. Those that want the ball as far away from their goal as possible, who move the maximum possible, followed by their max kick or those that will look to regain possession early who move but only kick so the ball just crosses into the opponents half, meaning an opponent has further to collect the ball and it’s as close to your lines as possible to regain.

These tactics largely tie in with whether you are aiming for a predominantly take out  based win or goal based win respectively.

I have also seen a few players who will give the ball to a mascot or slow player, to get them further up the pitch, but kick the ball into their own half or off the pitch so opponent is given the ball so that it is as far away from their goal as possible.

Comparison of maximum kick-off distances (before scatter):

Guild Max kick-off (“; before scatter)
Alchemist’s
Calculus 11
Compound 11
Flask 9
Katalyst 11
Mercury 11
Midas 13
Vitriol 14
Brewer’s
Friday 14
Hooper 10
Mash 10
Scum 10
Spigot 11
Stave 10
Stoker 10
Tapper 10
Butcher’s
Boar 10
Boiler 12
Brisket 14
Meathook 12
Ox 11
Princess 10
Shank 11
Tenderiser 12
Engineer’s
Ballista 11
Colossus 12
Compound 11
Mainspring 10
Ratchet 11
Salvo 12
Velocity 14
Fisherman’s
Angel 14
Greyscales 11
Jac 11
Kraken 10
Sakana 14
Salt 11
Shark 15
Siren 13
Mason’s
Brick 10
Chisel 12
Flint 13
Harmony 12
Honour 12
Mallet 10
Marbles 10
Tower 11
Mortician’s
Bonesaw 14
Casket 11
Cosset 13
Dirge 12
Ghast 10
Graves 11
Obulus 10
Silence 11
Union
Avarisse 10
Blackheart 11
Coin 9
Decimate 12
Fangtooth 10
Gutter 12
Harry the Hat  11
Hemlocke 12
Minx 13
Mist 14
Rage 11
Snakeskin 12

 

My view

Casket

I will typically look to kick off with either Casket, Ghast or Fangtooth from the centre of the pitch, moving them as far as possible and kick the ball so it just crosses into the opponents half, forcing them towards me whilst controlling the space with their various plays and traits – Foul Odour is great for restricting enemy movement in a fairly wide area. However, if I am facing the Butcher’s or a beat down Union team, I would probably kick to wider areas to avoid getting bogged down in a ruck that would be difficult to win.

I have also started experimenting with kicking off with Bonesaw straight down a channel for him to get him closer to where he needs to be.

I hope the above has been useful and I’ll continue next time with looking at how to generate momentum early in the game, particularly in turn 1.

If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them below.

Until next time sports fans!

**Plug for the pitch image used:  https://thepaintingmonkey.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/custom-guild-ball-mat/

What’s in a name? – Mason’s Guild

Next up the Mason’s Guild

masons_buttons

Honour

Honour

During the Century War, Honour made her living as a mercenary, fighting for the side with the most coin. A disastrous battle left her company decimated, and she was promoted to commander of a defeated unit. The Mason’s guild spotted her talent, where she quickly became captain of the team. She now exists as one of the best examples of Guild Ball’s role models. Every little girl in the stands dreams of living the life of the romantic mercenary turned Guild Ball star and every red-blooded male wants to be the one to thaw her icy heart.

Honour is  an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body Accordingly, individuals (or corporate bodies) are assigned worth and stature based on the harmony of their actions with a specific code of honour, and the moral code of the society at large. Honours name is probably a result of her perceived mentality and her military background.

Marbles

Marbles

Marbles was presented to Honour for her services to the city of Dharli in the far-flung Sovereign State of Indossa. Mischievous by nature, an annoyance to both friend and foe alike, no other mascot in all of Guild Ball divides both players and fans so much as Marbles does.

Marble is a  metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Geologists use the term “marble” to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however, stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone. Marble is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material.

Brick

Brick

Brick is the imposing centre back found playing for the Mason’s team. The Unstoppable Juggernaut considers the game an exercise in smashing his way through the opposition with a mighty blow from his knuckledusters. Few have the ability or even the will to try and stop him.

A brick is building material used to make walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Traditionally, the term brick referred to unit composed of clay, but it is now used to denote any rectangular units laid in mortar. A brick can be composed of clay-bearing soil, sand and lime, or concrete materials.

Chisel

Chisel

A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge of blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal by hand, struck with a mallet, or mechanical power.

Flint

Flint

Flint is a handsome man, and a charmer by nature, but do not let his appearance fool you. He is a hardened rogue, who gained his skills playing his inmates whilst incarcerated. The sport is now his fickle mistress, and he lives for the thrill of the high-stake games in front of the cheering crowds.

Flint is a hard, sedimentary form of the mineral quartz. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Flint has been used from antiquity up to the present day as a material for building stone walls, using lime mortar, and often combined with other available stone or brick rubble. Particularly in Southern England.

Harmony

Harmony

Beautiful, charming, talented, and flamboyant. Those would be the words Harmony would use to describe herself. Others would tell the rest of the tale. Vain, arrogant, conceited and filled with an overbearing sense of self-importance. She is not in the game for the long term, and is only interested in catching the eye of a wealthy noble or prince so she can marry her way in to higher society.

Another slightly odd name, harmony refers to an orderly or pleasing combination of elements in a whole or a relationship in which various components exist together without destroying one another. The name is probably a reference to the interaction she has with her sister, Honour. Harmony is also one of the key tenants of the Freemasons, but i don’t know  whether this is coincidence or not.

Mallet

Mallet

Mallet can call himself one of the oldest players in the game, and he shares the old values and code of honour long since abandoned by the new blood. Off the pitch, he is a sullen man with nothing good to say about anybody, but it will be a sad day when he retires, and one of the game’s best talents leaves the pitch for good.

A mallet is a kind of hammer, often made of rubber or sometimes wood, that is smaller than a maul or beetle, and usually has a relatively large head. The term is descriptive of the overall size and proportions of the tool, and not the materials it may be made of, though most mallets have striking faces that are softer than steel. Mallets are often used in stone masonry in combination with other tools such as chisels.

Tower

Tower

Tower is a man of his craft, and dedicated to the furthering the masonic art. He quickly showed an equal talent for the game, and was promptly hired as an apprentice player. Despite only playing one season, he has already earned the respect of his colleagues, proving himself a capable addition to the squad.

A tower is a tall structure, taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are specifically distinguished from “buildings” in that they are not built to be habitable but to serve other functions. The principal function is the use of their height to enable various functions to be achieved including: visibility of other features attached to the tower such clock towers; as part of a larger structure or device to increase the visibility of the surroundings as in a fortified building such as a castle; or as a structural feature as an integral part of a bridge.

Tower is also a reference to the character backer creator of Tower, Steven Tower.