Let's lead off with the pictures of decent looking models. I like to start my articles with stuff that I know more things about, and then it devolves into random nonsense based on 0 experience from there.
Any less experience, and I could playtest for PrivateerPress.
Anyways. The Season 2 Brewers Captain, Esters. I was slow in picking her up. I spent a lot of time trying to play the Dark Horse on Tapper and even into the Hunters I was doing ok. However, he really does very little for the team, and after a particularly brutal matchup where he was easily tied down and the team just died without him, I went to Esters. Esters can literally support the team with 0 influence. She's a dangerous lady with 4 influence, but once the scrum is engaged in the middle, she mostly sings. Occasionally knocks down. She likes to be the first one into Corsair who can be difficult to get momentum off early, but with momentous 2 damage and KD, she can get past both his tough hide and initial KD, and then her second hit puts him on the ground. I'm enjoying her playstyle, but her model is definitely far from my favorite in the lineup.
Gutter is my control piece at the moment, though I'm warming up to Stave. Gutter goes into Tapper lists, being far better at threat extension than Tapper's Marked Target play. I'm playing her less currently, but again, I've gotten better at keeping Stave alive. However, Brewers love that scrum in the middle, and Gutter slots into that kind of thing perfectly.
Rage is my surprise favorite. I really loved both Rage sculpts, and ended up getting them both and painting simultaneously because of it, even though I haven't played vRage yet, or even Union, and it's not really that high on my list. However, the list I want to talk about a little has Rage in it, so he's painted up and rolling. We're in the middle of a Big League, so I haven't been able to field him as much as I would like to, but when he gets on the table, he's hella fun.
vRage is straight up because I like his sculpt, and one of these days, I'm going to play him just to abuse Red Fury. May not be the best reason, but I love that character play. It ignores so many things. He can cast it on himself even. It's hilarious.
The whole party of painted models. Not everything I own, just the painted stuff.
However, this idea started with someone pointing out that Rage cannot be affected by friendly character plays. So I began wondering if I dumped most of my ball players, leaving one or two that don't need a lot of support, and everything else was bashers, how well I could do. The biggest thing to try was Rage, and his number one problem is getting tied up by engaging models. Guess who loves blowing away engaging models?
Stave. Stave can toss that bomb in there and blow off the entire crowd, leaving Rage alone in the middle, free to charge whoever. This is especially fantastic if it's early enough in the turn that the opponent doesn't have the momentum to stand a model up and charge.
Who else? Hooper brings 2'' melee, which is extremely important in many matchups. For awhile, I really bounced back and forth between Hooper's 3 inf max and Stoker's 4, or 5 if Stave is around, but Hooper just hops up to TAC7 so easy and requires less setup for more damage. Stoker wants things on fire, he wants stuff unable to escape his 1'' melee. Hooper doesn't care. So Hooper comes along in most matches.
Before we go on, let's talk Captains. Esters is obviously the best choice. She's capable of giving away all of her influence and still contributing, but she's also just better against so many more matchups. The 2/2 movement has been the biggest thing though. Being able to just toss that out there so easy has been make or break. So that ups Stave's sprint, Hooper's charge, all sorts of things. The only issue is that it doesn't affect Rage in this lineup.
Mascot. Scum doesn't bringing anything to table for a bashy list, I don't feel. Quaff is obviously better at that with Bag of Quaffers. More importantly, with Second Wind, he does a lot to remove Stave's ability to farm momentum for the other team. That, by far, is my biggest complaint with the big 2/0 defense guy, and Quaff protects him for the most part.
Rage, again, was the big model I wanted to play. This team so far has 3 1inf models between Rage, Stave and Quaff, but Rage can't even have more than one so it works out. He goes and wrecks models, and between him and Hooper, causes a ton of damage. People like to engage him too, knowing that's what shuts him down, and Stave loves it when you walk into his range, letting him throw and then walk away. Also, Rage has Tooled Up. But so does Spigot, so why bring Rage? Well, don't bring Spigot.
Bring Vet Spigot. I hated this guy's card when I first looked at him, but the more I thought about this low influence team, and the desire to have just one kicker on the board, vSpigot fit the ticket. He doesn't need influence to score, he just wants momentum. He has close control, sits on the edge of the board, counter attacks for free, and scores from 18'' away for FREE if he starts with the ball. That's ridiculous. So, he contributes 2 inf, and doesn't actually want any of it after the first turn. He can use it, but doesn't need it. He even has Goad if you need it for some reason. It's like Pinned, except a third of your team's influence doesn't go down the drain when you miss.
That's 6. That's the list. It brings 11 influence. Esters wants 4 at the beginning, maybe second turn. Stave wants 2. Rage gets 1. Hooper gets 3. Throw 1 at Spigot so he can run if you want, or Esters if you want her to sprint. Or Stave for the sprint. Hopefully Stave can blow somebody towards your lines. Esters can go early and buff whomever for whatever, maybe Hooper for Speed or Damage, and then she throws AOEs in the way of the scariest models, slowing them down. Stave blows in the nearest guy and Hooper builds momentum off of them for next turn. At that point, he could be +3 Damage with KD from Stave, Tooled Up from Rage and +1 damage from Esters. That's a Momentous 6 Damage at the end of the playbook. Once Rage gets involved, it gets pretty ballistic.
The two I have on sideboard have varied a bit. One is almost always Mash. If I really feel like I'm going to lose the melee fight (Butchers) or if I'm bringing more than enough melee and need to protect the ball more (Shark Fishermen), then I bring Mash for 2'' unpredictable movement. Between Him and 2'' UM, Spigot with CC and Poised on the edge of the map and Esters with Gluttonous Mass, the ball can be extremely difficult to get away from the team. Hooper and Stave still smash face and even Esters can get involved.
The other one on the Sideboard... I had Stoker for a bit, but I always preferred Hooper. Avarisse and Greed are an option instead of Rage, and it's possible, but I haven't decided the matchups I would sub them in for. The biggest reason I would keep Stoker is to sub in for Rage if I'd rather have Guild, and 12 influence. Again, I haven't decided why I should do that, but it's an option. Gutter is another possibility, to replace Stave if I feel like I can't protect him. The list is going to take some figuring out, and more playtesting before I decide it's trash.
The game I got in with it was against Corsair Fishermen, and I trashed that list without using any of my sideboard. Corsair brought Kracken, Jac, Avarisse and Greed, Sakana, and Salt (for now). My opponent tried to play a bashy game, but Esters easily controlled Corsair, Kracken and Avarisse all game long with AOEs and conditions and they only ever got involved when Stave brought them. Every turn, Hooper was +2 or +3 damage. Corsair went after Spigot early turn 1 and got him, but had to come up the board quite a ways to make it, after which Stave blew him in close. Hooper took him down to one or two points, and then with the momentum, won the next turn and Esters killed him I think. Next was Kracken, pulled in by Stave. Hooper and Rage killed him too with room to spare. It took until round 3 for him to finally score and kill Vet Spigot simply because Stave was blowing models away and Corsair simply couldn't get enough momentum to stand up and do things. Spigot came back on in the back of the pitch and picked up the goal kick then mosied around. Hooper and Rage killed Salt and Jac in round 4, Rage being cleared off by Stave, and Spigot meandered up the board with an influence to sprint and scored the goal, no sweat.
I think if my opponent had played a considerably more scoring team (subbed out Avarisse for one of the strikers, maybe Kracken too), I would have had to focus considerably more on protecting the ball or losing against goals. As it was, I was happy to trade Spigot for Corsair, and then farm enough momentum off of Corsair and Kracken to heal Spigot and stand him up throughout the game until he finally died. And when he finally died, it was fine because Icy Sponge was faster at getting him back to pick up the ball than him trying to run back there was.
Overall, Rage and Hooper converted their combined 4 influence into 12-14 Momentum every turn. Rage was getting 2 per attack, and so was Hooper. My opponent really struggled to get into the fight at a pace faster than I was allowing, but with everything MOV 4/6", Esters was easily reducing the scary guys to 2/0". Even with their harpoons, I just had to stay outside of 8'', and even Stave can do that.
So yeah, I'm excited to play some more Rage, and I'm excited to do it with a completely painted team, with the exception of Quaff. But Gencon is next week and Quaff should be on shelves shortly after that. I'm excited.
Hopefully you enjoyed seeing some more painted Brewer's models, and don't think I'm completely crazy for trying Rage. We'll see you around.