Sunday, November 26, 2017

Statistical Analysis of Guildball: Season 3 updates – The Blacksmiths

  For a holiday week, this is a ton of articles, but once I've got momentum I can't quit or none of it will ever be completed.  Plus, the Blacksmiths are up and going and this is stuff I'm curious about too.  A lot of people have said that Steamforged is on other side of the seesaw this go around.  The Hunters flopped on release and failed to sell (Surprise Mystery Box!), whereas the last two releases are going strong and are very well received. I love my Farmers, and I think I'd be ok with playing Blacksmiths too.  The argument though is that they went too far on the seesaw and we have two top tier Guilds now that are dominating the tournament scene.

  This may be true.  They just hit the scene in literally the last few weeks (Blacksmiths specifically), and the Farmers are only just now getting into the tournament scene with bits and pieces of the second box where the real offender supposedly is.  Speaking of the Farmers, here's their article on this same subject, right here at Statistical Analysis of Guildball: Season 3 updates - The Farmers.  Comparatively, the Season 2 charts of the other guilds is here at Guildball at a Glance: A Statistical Analysis.

  So in these two articles (Farmers and Blacksmiths), I want to see the numbers and where these guys shine and where they don't.  This is a direct result of watching Moneyball (The Baseball movie with Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and a surprise Chris Pratt).  Not even going to lie.  I love Baseball, and Baseball loves numbers.  They don't tell the whole story though and the Farmers are the worst offenders with Character Plays and Traits that just sideline you out of nowhere.  Blacksmiths, on the other hand, kinda play by the numbers rules a bit more, but only if you break Guild in half and look at them in two groups of players as they're intended to be played. The Masters and the Apprentices.

  Sidenote: I can't offer you the same tactical advice as another Midwest Wargaming Blog contributor who's got some actual experience to bring to the table.  All I can really give you is the numbers and what I see from them.  As far as numbers go, this sheet is going to be unique because of the way Blacksmiths are constructed.  There are more statistics for starters, because I feel the story isn't told by a simple Guild Wide analysis.  I haven't left that out, mind you, but I've also added the same charts for both Masters, and Apprentices because while there's 10 KDs in the playbooks, 7 of them are on the Masters.  There is 36 Damage options in the Guild playbooks, but only one master has any Momentous damage, and the Apprentices have 11.  Also, all guilds have 12-14 players, but two of them are mascots so don't factor into the intial Statline averages because they're universally outliers.  The Blacksmiths do not have this problem. So let's look.

  The full sheet without all my rambling, is right here: Blacksmith Metrics
  For my caffeine fueled late night ranting, continue scrolling.

  Right off the bat, the averages look really good for a supposedly slower team.  MOV2 is higher than average, so is TAC, KICK, and KICK2.  KICK2 is actually best in game.  DEF, and INF are all low.  KICK, ARM and MELEE are higher, and ARM is the best stat in the game, go figure.  However, you break them into individual groups and we start seeing differences.

  Masters are considerably slower than Apprentices.  They just barely come in above the Brewers on SPD.  Their TAC is also average, actually slightly below.  DEF is low, Lowest In Game actually by a full half point. ARM, on the other hand, is Highest In Game by a full 1.11, with Masons in second at 1.22 compared to 2.33.  INF1 is very high, but INF2 sucks.  I even put one Master at 5 INF max instead of 3 since one Master will always have that stat.  So it's clear, the Masters are Slow, Defensive contributors to the game.

  Apprentices bring up the MOV a bit, with an ok, but still lower Jog speed.  Overall, this team is slow.  They jog faster than the Brewers only marginally, but the Brewers outsprint them.  TAC is still low. KICK1 and 2 are comparable and DEF spikes noticeably, almost a full point.  The seesaw effect is completed by a full 1.26 drop in ARM average from the Masters.  However, at 1.17 ARM, they are still only .05 below the Masons.  If we were to separate the Apprentices and Masters into a full sorting sheet, the Blacksmiths would take 1st and 3rd, bracketing the Masons at 2nd.  INF is miserable, Lowest In Game, on the low end, and only bottom 3 on the high end.  Melee perfectly average at 1.33.

  So we've got some pretty solid blockhouse players.  You're always down a few dice on the attack against them, but it's obvious that the Apprentices really are the weak ones  The Masters are slower, harder to kill, and donate the INF but it's the Apprentices who have to deliver the product, making them the obvious weak link.  It's like bringing six bags of nails, but no hammer (Or Sledge) to drive them home.

  Now we look at Playbook results.
  This doesn't seem to out of the ordinary.  High Momentous GB results but they only have 6.  Dodges and Pushes have some momentum, and a combined 30 options for them puts them far ahead of the Farmers as far as positioning by Attack.  Damage is low momentum, while KDs are high but neither of these tell the whole story.  Lets look at the two groups specifically.
  Here, we see that every GB is momentous, and that like, 85% of KD is momentous.  In fact, on the pie chart, you see that there are 7 KD compared to the 10 available to the whole Guild.  This leaves the Apprentices with only 3 KD options, and they are high on the playbook.  The next one is Damage with a paltry 1 momentous Damage (Momentous 1 on Furnace).  They also top out at 3 damage before Tooled Up (Also from Furnace).  These guys are not your killers.  Momentous Tackles are prevalent at least.  There's only 2 dodges in the Masters, so don't let that 50% momentous stat fool you.  There's exactly one momentous dodge in the Masters, and both dodges are on Ferrite, the momentous one being a Push Dodge.  Pushes, on the other hand, are everywhere.  Everybody thinks they're Harry the Hat with momentous single and double pushes.  Almost every master has a momentous Single and Double Push.  Between the Momentous GB, KD, Tackles and Pushes, these are your setup guys.  You're encouraged to run them that way with their stats, their playbook, their character plays.  If you look at the Master Character plays, you start seeing Singled Out, Tooled Up, Weak Point.  Things to set up other models for the Apprentice to end them easily.  The only Master who doesn't know his role is Flamethrower Chaska, Burnish.  That guy's confused.
  Last, but not least, the Apprentices.  Some non-momentous pushes, a lot more dodges, here and there on tackles.  At 21 Damage opportunities though, 11 of them are Momentous.  These are the murderers right here.  There's only 3 KD options, 1 on Iron and 2 on Sledge.  Sledge's are on columns 4 and 6, and at TAC5, he needs the charge or some setup to get there.  It's the Damage these guys are wanting to do.  A couple of them think they're strikers, and have some momentous dodges to support, but all of them have relatively high momentous damage that other guilds top out at.  Spigot in Brewers kind of runs similar to an Apprentice in my opinion.  He's a bit of a glass cannon, but he's got Momentous 3 on Column 4, and it's not uncommon for him to be at +2 or +3 damage, and TAC10 by the time he's set up with Commanding Aura, Dirty Knives, and going in on a KD model (So Floored for +2 TAC now too) with two or three Crowdouts.  Spigot1 just starts murdering things and will one-round serious models like Brick.  I feel like the Blacksmiths come to the party with 6 Spigot1s, but they're even moreso glass cannons.  Low health and out front.

  Character Plays are the next one.  We're back to viewing the Guild as a whole again.

  There's only a handful of character plays.  8 of them can be applied by Guildball, 4 of them by range.  Some of those plays are both, so it's not like there's 12 plays.  There might be like, 9 and around half have both options.  Shield Throw and Dirty Knives are good examples.  However, it's not about the quantity of players with access to ranged plays if you're curious bout the viability of a Gunline.  It's about how many times they can do this.  Dirty Knives and Flame Belch are not once per turn while Shield Throw is.  Dirty Knives and Flame Belch could be done together for a total of 6 times, or 7 if Alloy triggers Dirty Knives by Guildball.  That's 2-4 times from Alloy and 3 times from Burnish if he's a Captain.  Predictable, but an option.  Watch out for the GIC card that lets Blacksmiths swap Captains for a turn.  On the plus side, nothing in Blacksmiths give the ability to accrue Momentum through ranged Character plays so while it's dangerous, it INF/MOM inefficient if that's important to you or your opponent.

  Actual buff plays though, they've got a good number of them.  18 different Character Play buffs from 12 players is very, very good.  Comparatively, the Brewers were known as the buffing team, and they had 15 over their S1 and S2 players, and most of them were Defensive buffs.  Only a handful of Attack or Speed buffs.  And almost no debuffs.  Blacksmiths have it all.  The Character Plays and access to Momentous Guildballs is a solid thing to be aware of or keep in mind.
  Character Traits!  The stuff on the back of the card.

  No random damage from Heroics or Legendaries, and surprisingly few Debuffs.  I think Hobble from Ferrite is the only one.  Next to no conditions.  Mostly Speed, Attack and Defensive buffs.  Also not a lot of Influence buffs, which in contrast, the Farmers had the second most of.
  A high number of Heroic/Legendaries comparatively, but you're talking about the Masters who each have one, and then Iron has a Heroic.
  Character Traits are rarely Offensive but there are a few.  Again, this is Hobble from Ferrite I believe.  Offensive vs. Defensive is kind of an odd metric in character traits, but there are a few out there like Katalyst and Mercury causing fire.  Not really so much here though.
  So where does this leave us?

  Well, I don't know.  I've got a few games in against them but they're really only just now hitting the scene.  In fact, I really can't tell you how to play them.  I'm not even sure what the gameplan is. Many Guilds are obviously Kickers, Fighters or Control.  There's bits of overlap, but always a core.  A couple can kick better than fighters, and fight better than kickers and it's in that adaptability they find their strength (Brewers and Masons).  Blacksmiths... seem more fighters but there's some strong strikers in there.  The guy in a suit of armor will surprise you.  But more or less, they're going to fall back on fighting when the chips are down.  With playbooks holding Momentous 6 and 7s, they've got to.  Their high damage average is 4.17, but that's over the whole guild.  The Apprentices have 5.33 for an average, which is insane.  Their playbooks are long though, averaging 6.00 compared to the Masters at 4.67.  This is further reduced by an average TAC  of 5.17.

  The Apprentices are the lynchpin.  The weakpoint.  Their overall health is low and their DEF is no higher than 4, with an average of 3.33.  They do have ARM, and they'll likely have ARM 2 near the Masters (Any Master with Sentinel, which is either Anvil or Furnace).  Your hits are still more likely though, unlike a 5/0 or 6/0 with defensive stance, and once you start getting KDs and debuffs involved (And not many), the Apprentices go down quickly.  Anatomical Precision is worth it's weight in gold here, and any control elements.  The trick is identifying the Apprentice that's coming, or even easier, identify the target.  If you can prevent them from getting there by either goading them somewhere else, debuffing their MOV stats or just luring them off to other sides of the field, you really neuter the power of the Blacksmiths.  This is further compounded by the fact that they really want the Masters to go first, to get the Singled Out, or the Weak Point, or the KD or push positioning.  This gives you an activation to pull that guy out, or clear him off, or worst case scenario, stand him up.  Again, only 2 apprentices had KD, and they're not low in the playbook.

  My first game into Blacksmiths was in a tournament where it surprised me they were there.  On the plus side, the player that had them was new to them as well.  I was playing Brisket3, and I dropped Gutter and Decimate both into them.  This allowed me to ignore some ARM and handle the game a bit, but what really killed them was Brisket3 is nearly impossible to button down, and what's worse is that when you get a model really singled out and isolated, Brisket3 uses her legendary to dodge that player out of there while she dances around and runs away.  Rage is still probably a better choice because of his ability to remove 1-2 Apprentices every turn, but my point stands.  Deter the obvious plans, and be ready to do so after they've activated the Master and before they've activated the Apprentice, and you can wreck their plans.

  I can't tell you how to play the Blacksmiths though.  No idea.  I need to get some tabletime in with them and they look fun.  I hope this article helps you though, hope it gives you an idea of what's going on, both for you playing them, and you playing against them.

  Enjoy the holidays folks!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Statistical Analysis of Guildball: Season 3 updates - The Farmers

  I'd say the update is somewhat overdue, except that we only just got the final Farmer card spoiled this last weekend.  As quickly as Steamforged modifies the game, or rather, as sporadic as the updates are, a true figure analysis is going to always be behind.  In fact, in compiling the Farmers and Blacksmiths (Coming soon), I didn't even bother to factor in Union stats since A) Blacksmiths won't even use them, B) Farmers only got 2 and C) everyone's losing their Union soon anyways.

  If you don't remember the original article, I've done a lengthy infographic on every Guild, plus an overall one (That's about to be updated to include Farmers, Blacksmiths and the Winter's Moon Hunters).  That article is located Here, and I'll be referencing it throughout this article.

  I'll steal the quick blurb I wrote for each guild on the infographic and place it here:

  The Farmers, though a newer team, are a welcome addition to the Guild lineup.  They're more of a bashing guild, and while their TAC isn't extremely high, their playbook lengths and ability to crowd out make up for it.  They also are one of the more synergy-reliant guilds in the game through the unique use of their Harvest Markers.  While their INF stat is very low, they make up for it with key positioning and retrieval of Harvest Markers.  This also requires a fine balance in the team building process because a team of all Reapers will struggle to fight or play the ball with no resources while the Planters will struggle because they lack the abilities.  A good melding of the two creates a fantastic team with great, support pieces and a few key models that reap the benefits of the plan you have built over the turn.

  They are also a very defensive team.  Attacking a Farmer team means nearly no ARM to speak of, and not great DEF either.  However, expect to find Countercharge, Poised, crowd outs and lots of condition prevention as you try to take them down.  A good player will keep his Farmers very well positioned and attempt to build a puzzle for you to unlock every turn in order to take out a single player.  A great guild with a high skill cap, the Farmers are a well-designed team and looking good on the fields already.

  Let's talk about a few of those points.  Well, actually, here's the sheet: Farmer Metrics

  Now lets look at some points.  For starters, the stat averages are not good with the exception of their Kick (Amount of dice used, not Kick distance) and their DEF is above average.  Everything else, even their sprint distance, is below average.  The only Guild slower than them is the Brewers, which surprised me. 

  On the plus side, the key players you want to move quickly do move very quickly.  Tater, Bushel and Thresher are all sprint 8. The statistic is highly impacted by characters like Windle and Jackstraw though.   Bring Windle and Jackstraw up to average and the team jumps to a 7.58 instead of 7.17.  This puts them closer to the faster Guilds, but they're still short of the fastest 5.  This is compounded by the fact that there's only 6 dodges in 12 playbooks, and 2 players have four of them (Jackstraw and Bushel).  Thresher and Peck both have a single dodge. 

  Their TAC is lower than their playbook too, believe it or not.  4.42 to 4.50, but that's largely Fallow and Windle's fault, again.  Most of the playbooks are one shorter than the TAC, giving them good ability to wrap, similar to the Brewers.  Many buffs include a TAC increase as well, such as Honest Labor and Thresher's Legendary.

  Kick stat is good.  Only a couple of long range kicks, but a lot of 3 dice kicks makes a team of reliable passers at least.  This is really good for Bushel's "I'm Open" character play.  I'm a Brisket3 fan, and Bushel having it too really makes me like her. 

  DEF is higher than average but Millstone's literally the only one with ARM, so if you can hit, you don't lose any dice for it.

  INF stats are pretty rough, but since there's a Harvest Marker mechanic, that gets countered a lot.

  Melee Range is crazy good, unsurprsingly.  What did surprise me is that it clocks in at 1.80, which takes the 1st place spot from the Fishermen.  Since we're not counting mascots, this means only 3 models don't have 2'' melee in the Guild (Fallow, Bushel and Millstone.  Which are all women...  All the women... actually...  All the guys have long tools, I guess.) 

  Melee range is actually right in line with everyone else, which surprised me.  I felt like there was a lot of 2'' melee in the team, and 3'' melee even on Thresher. The difference is probably that most of the 2'' melee models are pretty playable, so it feels like you have more of it on a team.  Butchers have the same Melee range stat, but you're looking at Boar and Tenderizer who don't make the team often.  Farmers don't have a 1'' melee Captain, you're never leaving home without Tater.  Jackstraw and Harrow are both great choices and lesser choices like Windle and Ploughman have it too. 

  Playbook Results.  There's no super surprising thing here.  Only 6 dodges in the Guild, but we knew that.  Momentously, it's KDs and Damage where you can expect to find it.  There's very few pushes, fewer dodges and only a couple of Guildballs.  I think the only 2 Momentous Tackles are Jackstraw and Harrow (Harrow?).  Damage is largely Momentous, so this means whether or not the team wants to kick the ball, they'll need to be doing some fighting to stay ahead in the Momentum game.  They certainly can't run about and farm it from pushes and dodges like the Fishermen can.

  Character Plays.  This is where Farmers start showing up.  It's balanced pretty well between Offensive and Defensive, and only one of them is a Ranged Damaging attack (Jackstraw's Cropdusting) so no gunline game from the Farmers.  Most of it is debuffs, though a couple are damage, Tooled up and Don't Fear the.... being the prime examples.

  Many of them are defensive though, or defensive aspects, which is going to be typical of the Character Traits too.  Speaking of which.

  Character Traits.  It feels like the back of every Farmer's card is loaded, which is true, but not much truer than any other guild.  It's just better quality stuff.  This is where the abilities like Plantin and Reaping are, and really, what makes this Guild click.  Farmers can't be played against by what's on the front, it's the back that makes them murderers.  TAC3 Fallow is a great example.  That model is amazing, and very little of it is on the front. 

  Playing the Farmers

  This is coming off of my Lineup article, The Concept behind a Guildball Lineup.  Here, I talk about building a list for a tournament and the questions you'll want to ask.  It's not an expert level article, it's more for the newer player who's expanding from a 6 man team and wants to play more. 

  For Guilds previous to the Farmers, this was an important question financially since you had to buy each extra player individually.  When I began playing Union, I didn't buy Harry the Hat for a long time (His S1 rules and even early S2 were not good).  Now with 6 man boxes being the deal for Farmers and Blacksmiths, it's not a question of who to buy.  If you buy both boxes, you have them all.

  But who to take to the tournament?  As I stated in the Lineup article, personal preference has it's place.  Again, I enjoy Brisket3 but she's not considered particularly competitive compared to Blackheart or Rage2.  So don't take what I say here and melt your model down. 


  Thresher and Grange are it right now.  Captain number 3 will be Honor2, a year from now and not in a wheelchair as I had hoped.  Right now it's these two. 

  Grange is a kicking team support Captain.  He's not a super solo, and he struggles to kill even medium tough models.  His Honest Labor play is his most dangerous gimmick in the Take Out territory, but I feel that it's a trap.  There are those that disagree.  However, coming from Tapper who has Commanding Aura that is far better, I've still seen models escape in between activations.  That's a 4'' aura.  Grange's is 2'', and it doesn't even work on him.  So while I do use it some, I don't build a list around it and it's really only if I feel like I can get Tater there that I use it.  I feel that Grange wants a kicking team, and he wants models moderately near him for his "For the Family" aura so he can buff their passing stats.  This is what makes Bushel's "I'm Open" really good.  Jackstraw's a 3/10, and Tater's a 4/8'' then, but only the first number matters for "I'm Open" which is range 6 (Or 8'' with the correct plotcard.  Keep that in mind).  Grange wants to receive a ball, pass it around effectively and score with Bushel bottom of 2 maybe.  He doesn't want to kick off very much, and if he does, he'll probably use Tater for it.  On the Planter note, Grange provides an INF heavy team and lets the Reapers really do what they want, so Fallow, Tater and Bushel all like him.  Technically, so does Windle, but we'll talk about that.  Speaking of Windle, that was my main problem with Grange when he came out but LE Tater helped with that some.  Still, Grange really felt like he wanted Windle to do the heavy lifting but Windle sucks.  Fallow fills that role, and fills it really well.  I think Fallow brings a Grange list up fairly decent.

  Thresher, on the other hand, doesn't care.  Kickoff, Receive, doesn't matter, he'll do both himself.  The man's a super solo Hammer with less INF and 3'' melee.  Thresher is currently the better choice IMO because he can do both though Grange receives better.  Thresher can receive and first turn score with only a little setup.  He can also kick off and retrieve pretty easily.  If they hide the ball, he starts murdering people.  He runs a lower INF team, so he needs strong planters like Jackstraw.  He also really likes ignoring conditions like KD so Millstone is really good too.  Thresher is going for a 2 score, 2 take out game at the most, but probably 1-4 instead.  Him and Tater are going to tag team all game and lean on the planters for support.  Most of the turn will be decided by the glass cannon that is Thresher.  He plays kind of like a murdering Shark.

  Because of that all-around ability, I would take Thresher over Grange.


  Buckwheat and Peck are the options.  I actually like both. I was playing straight Buckwheat, but I've come to like Peck too.

  Buckwheat's a murderer with an easy 4'' push.  He's got good damage too.  I was playing him exclusively, but in all of my Thresher games, I've not had the INF to fuel him, or really the Harvest Markers either so he really does very little all game.  In a Grange list though, he's probably a really good option.

  Peck brings an INF and hides a ball halfway decent.  It's the INF I need in a Thresher team though.  So I'll bring Peck, but I'm probably bringing Buckwheat too.  If it comes down to needing a Union model, I'll drop Buckwheat but since Union models are going away I'm likely bringing both.

  Obvious models I'm taking

  Tater.  Counter Charge is amazing.  It's a problem I've had to solve every game against Masons and it's really nice to have on my side for a change.  Tater makes going into Thresher very difficult, and lets Thresher play very aggressive because of it.  Tater's also a heck of a damage dealer himself and can either finish what Thresher started or vice-versa. 

  Jackstraw.  Thresher and Tater need Harvest Markers really bad, and Jackstraw brings 2.  If nothing else, Thresher needs that.  There's no other model the brings more than one Harvest marker, so Jackstraw is required for a Thresher team.  He's a good passer in a Grange team if he's close, but he's super required for Thresher.  Plus, 3/3 INF is pretty key.

  That's 3 models.  Let's look at some other ones I'm likely taking.

  Millstone.  She almost makes the Required models slot, but not quite.  I didn't take her into a few teams that lacked conditions, or Knockdowns.  Without the KDs to shut Tater and Thresher down, I've left her out and brought Harrow instead.  In most cases though, she's a must have.  The death triangle that is her, Tater and Thresher is a hard puzzle to solve.  You can't KD Tater to prevent the countercharge because Millstone will take it.  She's also got her 2'' push and a Harvest Marker, plus the 3/3 INF Thresher wants.  So she's in most lists, and will always be in my 10.

  Bushel.  She's not a favorite, and doesn't make every list, but if I'm going to strike, I like her.  She's also really good into teams with strikers that have Close Control because "Ball's Gone" ignores it.  I also like "I'm Open" a lot (Have I said that yet?) and will play her as a winger until she needs the ball from someone, at which point she sprints in, "I'm Open", dodges and kicks.  She's also one of the few models with dodges in the playbook and what's more is that they're momentous.  I think she's required in a Grange team, but optional in a Thresher.  Again though, against Close Control models, she's really solid.

  Now we're starting to see some variety.  Harrow is next, and he's ok.  I like Tooled Up as much as the next guy, but Harrow doesn't do much else.  He's got a situational Harvest Marker drop compared to Millstone's free one, and that's about it.  I like his 2'' melee, but I'm only going to bring him when I really need the damage.  I think he makes my 10, but my 6 only when I reaaaally need Tooled Up.

  Fallow.  This model is amazing, and I think pretty much kills Windle's chances of making the list ever.  I like the idea of her in a Thresher list except that I already struggle to fuel 2-3 Reapers, and I don't think I can afford another one or replacing one of the others.  Maybe if both Bushel and Buckwheat are gone, I can get away with it, but only just.  However, she's really solid in a Grange list too.  She's got great defensive tech (second only to countercharge) with her ability to walk into the fight like Granite does but better.  She's a murdering machine and while the dream is to have her go last, she can go third or fourth and still do really good work.  I think a Grange team is her real home though.  He's got the Harvest Markers to fuel her, her kick stat works well in his team, and she brings the damage that he needed from Windle, without bringing Windle.  She's a really, really solid model.
  Union Models

  Benediction and Grace.  For now.  Til they're gone, per UK Steamcon 2017 Keynote.

  Benediction is a tank and a ball holder.  He hangs out really well with 2'' melee in a Farmers team and brings some ARM to a fight where there is none.  I like to sit him in the middle of the group on high ARM with the ball and dare someone to come into he forest of 2'' melee and get it.  I really like him, but as the rest of the Farmer models come out, I'm playing him less.  I have taken him instead of Grange before but Fallow probably changes that for me.  The real reason I bring Benediction though, is for "I'm Open".  Getting "Impart Wisdome" and having a 12'' range on "I'm Open" makes Bushel able to play pretty far from the pack and still get the ball.  No one has a 12'' kick range, but Grange and Jackstraw both have 4/8 under Grange's aura.  That's hella better than 6''.  Benediction also brings some pushes (momentous at that) that Farmers don't have without Ploughman.

  Grace is the other option and she's ok.  It's the Quick Foot you bring her for but I'm not playing Windle so I don't reaaaallly need it.  Healing light is neat, but the Farmers are the last guild that needs healing.  So Benediction probably wins this fight.

  Models I'm not taking.

  Windle.  2/0 sucks.  I hate it.  He's also a complicated monster to run and yeah, if he works, he gets like 2 takeouts every activation.  It's nice.  If it works.  However, he's extremely easy to control.  Goad wrecks him and so does any other ranged control play whatsoever.  Grange removes conditions pretty well and gets him sturdy, (which I've been begging for on Stave for a long time) but he still doesn't bring enough to justify 2/0, in my opinion.  Especially since Fallow is here now.  Every time I play against Windle, I bounce off of him for whatever I actually want. 

  Ploughman.  He's cute but either he's overkill or not enough.  Under Grange, it's too many harvest markers and under Thresher it's not enough since it's only one extra marker, not just double.  His rough ground stuff is neat but Farmers don't really struggle for momentum so it's not often I can't afford to glide.  The main things I would bring Ploughman for would be his pushes.  They're the most pushes the Farmers have access too and they're momentous as well.  It's a playbook like Harry or Benediction, but that's really all I'd bring him for.  Once we lose Union, I might consider it but I doubt he'll make it.

  The Lineup

Thresher, Peck, Buckwheat, Tater, Jackstraw, Millstone, Bushel, Benediction, I guess Grange, Fallow.

  I'll go ahead an let Grange come, otherwise I just have wasted slots in my 10.  I don't know what I'd take him into.  Butchers maybe. 

  Thresher's team is Peck, Tater, Jackstraw for sure.  Probably Bushel for ball retrieval early on and then just winging from there on out.  Millstone in most cases unless they have almost no easy access KD.  I didn't take her into Morticians. If I don't need Bushel, I might take Fallow and try it but it's a lot of Reapers.  However, I was playing Buckwheat and not Peck, so that's one more INF than what I had.

  Grange would be Buckwheat, Tater, Jackstraw, Bushel and Fallow or Benediction.  Jackstraw is the most efficient Harvest Marker guy, and Grange can support while Bushel scores goals and Fallow and Tater murder things.  Benediction is there for Bushel's "I'm Open".

  That's my off-the hip analysis of the Farmers, plus the Statistical comparison of their stats and plays compared to other guilds.  I hope this information has been of some use to you.  The Blacksmiths are on their way, but Midwest Wargaming has another guy doing a better overview of the Blacksmiths than I could do, so I'll skip the lineup talk with them and focus mainly on the Statistical analysis.  Enjoy the holidays folks!

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Concept Behind a Guildball Lineup

  Guildball's a weird game when it comes to the genre it fits in.  Technically, it's a tabletop miniatures game.  Most of the players (as of right now, but the demographic is changing) come from a tabletop wargaming background like Warmachine or 40k so it kind of fits into that category at the moment.  It's certainly the experience that the high-level players are coming from in most cases.  For example, Jordan Nach, a Guildball Podcaster for awhile, was a very skilled Warmachine player before Guildball.  They show up to Guildball with a decent concept of listbuilding and understanding the meta, be it the local meta or the game meta, so these concepts aren't new to them.  For newer players though, this is kind of a big step.  People seem to think it's like Chess.  You show up with what amounts to equally good players and may the best man win.  That's really not the case. You might show up with the standard 20 Chess pieces, but I'm showing up with 12 pieces.  King, 3 queens, 4 rooks and 4 knights.  Good luck.  That's a drastic example, but that's also why Chess isn't played that way.  So lets look at how Guildball is played in a tournament setting.

  Before you waste too much time on this article, if you've been to a few tournaments before, this article is information you probably already know.  I don't have any deep insight into why you bring only Fillet and not Ox and what models to take with her. This is geared towards the new players who have the first six, and they A) don't know why you would need more than that and B) don't know the questions to ask when they decide to begin bringing more than six.  I'm in a relatively new meta (Though I come from a far more experienced meta), and many players at the last tournament brought their starting 6.  That didn't mean I won the game right off the bat, but it felt like playing Rock, Paper, Scissors and I know all they had was Scissors.

  So when people talk about building a list, or a lineup, they're used to building armies.  Guildball is unique in that there is no point value, just a number of players.  It's a little overwhelming at first to look at the Organized Play document (OP from hereon out) and try to select 10 models to take into the vast variety of Guilds that is steadily growing for you to play against.  In 40k, you took one army.  Either you played a balanced list that could handle everything, or you played a hard skew that was extremely good at one thing.  This boiled down to either answering the question your opponent brought, or asking the question.  E.G., can your gunline handle a billion Tyranids? Or are you the guy that brought the Tyranids?

  Warmachine attempted to answer this in it's effort to be the US Wargaming Tournament game of choice, which in many ways it was for a long time.  Warmachine let you build two lists, and at each game you would look at your opponent's list and choose who you wanted to take.  This allowed you to tech armies into specific problems a little more.  Army A was good into gunlines, while Army B was good into melee.  Or maybe Army A wasn't amazing into anything, but it was extremely difficult to kill while Army B was good into everything that could kill A.  Warmachine's tournament list building was half the battle and a lot of that game was won long before the models ever hit the table.

  Enter Guildball.  Guildball doesn't bring the two list format technically.  Instead, you build the list at the table, but the choices made in the ten you bring limit you enough that you need to know your playstyle before you get there, and what your team needs to win.

  So we need to talk about the OP document, since the OP document is what dictates what we can and can't take, and what happens to set that up.  This document is available right Here.  The "Regional Cup" document is the one you want. Beginning on Page 4, where it talks about the "Pre-Season Friendly".  This is most tournaments you'll attend.

  On page 5, it talks about creating a roster.  Currently, the standard list is 10 models.  This can be 2 Captains, 2 mascots, 6 players.  It can be 1 Captain, 1 Mascot and 8 Players.  It can really be any variety.  There's only one guild that has more than 2 Captains, so no, Union players, you can't take all 3.  For non-union players, you can only take one Union guy per roster.  You'll pick your ten, take them to the tournament.

  Once you get there, you'll line up against your opponent, and you'll get his sheet.  You'll see what Guild he's playing and what 6-10 models he brought.  Then the game begins to get set up.  Look at the OP document, and you'll go to page 8 for the exact process.  The important steps are C, where Guild Plots happen, then D, where you select Captains and Mascots simultaneously, followed by E where the initiative roll happens.  This is a change from earlier seasons where you knew who went first before you picked Captains, and it affects good lineups.  Farmers, for example, really like Grange for kicking teams, but if you don't know if you're getting the ball or not, Thresher is typically a better all rounder.  Once we know who's going first and second, we draft players one at a time taking turns and the game begins.

All these great models, and you can only take 10 of them.

  When you build a 10 man team for a tournament, keep this draft in mind.  There's a lot of questions to ask yourself, and let's roll through some of these.  The goal here is to understand our gameplan, our flex pieces, and what conditions change what.  It's important to note that your ability to read your own list and knowing it well enough to modify it correctly into an opponent's list is pretty much useless if you don't know what their models do.  And please, do not wait until the game starts to start reading about the Alchemists.  If that's the first time you've browsed through their cards, you've probably already lost.  You don't need to memorize them, and you're still going to get caught by a few things but it's definitely in your favor to read through all the cards periodically and try to understand the Guilds out there.  Real familiarization won't happen till someone in your meta is playing them regularly, but at least a passing understanding of the gotchas in the Guild are worth knowing.  There's a great series on Youtube called "Guild Ball Gotchas" by a great guy named Vince.  He goes through these and tries to give you the heads up on them.  So, read the other cards before the tournament.  Preferably before you do this article, but maybe do this, then go read the cards.  Either way, read the cards.  So, on to your own list.

  1. The Captain(S) and their pets  How many Captains/Mascots are you bringing?  There are certainly weaker captains in Guildball that don't even make the 10.  Pre-errata Hammer is a good example, and Scalpel also struggles to ever be a better option than Obulus in the Morticians.  Then you have Guilds like the Alchemists where both Captains are movement oriented kicking geniuses, it's just a matter of what playstyle you want to play.  What are you comfortable with?  Then there's a few like the Fish who's captains do very different things and answer a lot of questions.  Brewers can kind of do the same thing, Tapper supports a fighting team and Esters is better in a kicking team.  Also, many Mascots are designed for a specific Captain, like Marbles and Honor.  If you're bringing two captains, you may be bringing two mascots as well. So:

 A. What playstyle and Captain are you more comfortable with and confident are you that they can be enough in any situation?

 B. Do both Mascots offer enough to be taken, or is one a good enough all-rounder for both Captains, or just any situation in general?

  So lets build a lineup.  I'll use a recent example of mine (not necessarily a great example but I liked it).  I took a Union team to a tournament recently and had a lot of fun with them.

  In answer to A, I will take two Captains.  I'll take Brisket3 and Rage2.  Blackheart is considered a better captain than Brisket3, but her playstyle fits me and I enjoy playing her, so I'm more comfortable and confident in playing her.  As far as any situation though, I think there's some teams she'd really struggle into and that's why I brought Rage2, another playstyle I enjoy.  I prefer Captains with a strong playstyle and the various tools to make that playstyle work, over a jack-of-all trades like Blackheart who has a strong toolbox, but isn't simply amazing at one thing.

  My plan with these Captains is to put Brisket3 into fighting teams, specifically teams with lots of 1'' melee that can't button her down.  So, Butchers for sure, I'd play her into Brewers too, maybe Masons (Definitely Hammer Masons), Hunters and probably Blacksmiths a little.  Hunters, she's uniquely good at because of toolbox of dodges.  Her legendary straight up ignores Pinned from Theron, and even into Skatha I think Brisket3 simply outkicks her.

  Rage goes into the kicking teams, so Alchemists, Fishermen, Honor Masons, etc.  I think the two Captains cover a wide enough variety of options to give me a fighting chance in any game.

The ends of my list's spectrum.

  In answer to B, I only took Strongbox.  I really like Coin with Brisket3, but I needed another slot for players and Strongbox is more important to Rage2 than Coin is to Brisket3, plus he brings Confidence and an extra TAC to the Brisket3 game.  He's a little slow, and I really miss the extra inf from Coin, but confidence is pretty decent, and it's actually very solid for helping a couple of players buff their kicking stats enough to be reliable for Brisket3.

It was at this moment, writing this article, that I remembered I still haven't finished painting Strongbox.

  2. Are we asking a question, or answering a question?

  We talked about this briefly earlier, about Warmachine lists that posed very difficult questions rather than being able to answer them. Guildball has less of these, but a few.  The quick examples are things like a tanky Corsair list, where he brings Kracken, Jac, Sakana, and Tentacles, and then whatever else you feel like you want.  This presents a very survivable list that can still control and score the ball very well.  You have be careful when fighting it because A) You will struggle to kill any one model before they suck you in and kill you instead, B) If you try not to engage, either Kracken or Corsair will drag you in, and C) It's a somewhat simple list to run compared to the puzzle you have to unlock when answering it, causing you to clock out.

  Another example is Corsair's brother Captain, Shark.  Shark and Siren can take the ball from nearly anyone, anywhere and score it.  They can't fight, they can't tank, but can you stop them from scoring?  They do one thing really, really well and can you stop it?

  Rage2, Hammer and Ox1 are the same way, on the other side of the coin.  They kill all day and that's all they want.  Can you control them enough to not lose players faster than you can score?

  So are you playing to answer problems, or be the problems?  The Guild you are playing will partly answer this for you.  Engineers, for example, don't answer a lot of problems, they live to score and that's all they really want to do.  Ballista will attempt to control the board a little while they score, but that's about it.  Guilds like the Farmers or Brewers, however, don't have very strict gameplans.  They can play the ball or fight, but they need to be able to adapt into it and answer the question.  If they're going into Shark, they need to hide the ball and fight his team.  If they're going into Ox1, they need to control Ox1 and play the ball.  So what Guild are you playing, and how are you playing them?

  My Answer: I'm playing Union, the jack of all trades.  I can answer questions pretty well, and pose them too if I'd like.  I'm playing to somewhat answer questions, but I want to answer them with questions of my own.  Into killing teams, I'm going to play the ball, and I'll use Brisket3 to do it.  Brisket3 has many abilities to recover the ball, control it and score it.  My question is can you button her down?  Players with 1'' melee really, really struggle to catch her and when you finally do, I use her legendary to pull her out and the chase is on again.

  Rage2, on the other hand, is an unstoppable melee monster, and he has the tools to prevent him from being buttoned down as well.  Can you stop that?  If you're playing the ball, I'll bring Rage2 and attempt to kill everything.  I feel like between my two contrasting Captains, I can answer most questions, and do it well enough to cause problems.

  3. With that question answered, we can break it down into further problems and begin assigning players to our roster.  

  Who are the immediate choices?

  Now we start looking at the gameplan.  We have a mascot(s) and Captain(s) picked, and we're left with our player slots, including one Union.  In my case, I have 2 Captains and 1 Mascot and I'm all Union so I don't care about that last bit.

  So now, let's identify our staples.  The basics of who we want.  The guy we never leave home without.  Alchemists usually talk about Vitriol here.  Brewers won't show up without Spigot1 and Friday.  These are the easy options.  You can break it down on what slots they fill, and you should so you know what you have left.  There's a few categories.

A) Ball players 
B) Brawlers
C) Support

  Some of this overlaps but that's the gist of it.  Spigot1, for example, is a staple in the Brewers because he does all 3.  He has Tooled Up and Football Legend, he's a hell of a fighter with Floored, and he's a decent kicker with Ball's Gone and Football Legend again.  With moderate scores in all three categories, we can't leave home without him.    He answers a lot of questions.

  My Answer:  Each Captain in Union has a few players they absolutely need.  Players that both Captains need are the obvious choice.  Mist and Harry make most of my lists.  Mist is an amazing standalone striker with 2'' melee.  Mist and Brisket3 for sure go hand in hand because she triggers his 2'' dodge, and he's a really good "I'm Open" target for her.  She won't leave without him.  Harry is a toolbox that brings some control to the game, and 2'' melee as well.  Furthermore, Rage2 likes him for his pushes that Rage2 can use through "Red Fury" and this can free up Rage2 or set him up.  Also, Harry and Brisket3 get along great because of his aura that allows players to dodge for free, which Brisket3 and Mist both particularly enjoy.  I generally find that I don't do a lot with Harry in the game, he doesn't kill, he doesn't win games, but he's an important piece that does a few key things.  This last Errata to Harry really put him in a nicely balanced place I think to where he doesn't quite make every list (Benediction, we'll talk about him in a minute) but he's in the 10 for sure.

  There's the basic 2 for both Captains.  I'm at 5 on my roster now.  Now lets pick for individual Captains.

 Gutter is a Rage2 requirement, in my opinion.  She's not great on her own these days (which is fine, she's nicely balanced compared to Season 1 and 2) but "Red Fury" makes her very solid.  She's an ok striker if I need her to be but she's a bit slow for it.  However, the 2'' melee gives her some reach, and she's very much a damage dealer if I can line her up with Rage2.  He really needs her to finish players off.

  Benediction is also a requirement these days for me I think.  Benediction kind of pushes Harry out of the way a bit because he brings the same pushes that Harry has, and are why I brought him in a Rage2 list.  Benediction can't deal much damage, but every fighting list needs a way to hide the ball.  This is a specific role that Benediction fills very well while also being able to push models around for Rage2.  He gives me that time I need to kill models without getting behind in score.  Also, his ability to extend character plays gives Rage2 a lot more freedom with "Red Fury".  A lot more.

  On Brisket3, I already mentioned Harry and Mist.  Those are the requirements for her.  I've played her with Benediction but he's a bit of a waste with Harry.  So now I'm at 4 required players, and my 2 Captains, 1 mascot.  I have 7 out of 10 slots filled.

  This maths out to 2 Brawlers (Rage2 and Gutter), Ball players (Mist and Brisket3) and 3 Support (Harry, Benny and Strongbox).  Again, there's some overlap (Gutter can kick, Harry and Benny can brawl a little if the situation is right)

  So 3 slots left.

4. What questions are left unanswered?

  If you've gotten through this far, you should have 2-4 slots left.  This is where you shore up your weaknesses in the gameplan.  Look at what lists you expect to drop and what they need.  You have your ball players and your brawlers, but do you want more of the same, or options?  Can your ball playing list survive into a brawler and can your brawler kill faster than a ball kicking list?

  There's specific roles to look at too.  You probably already have them answered, but lets recap.

Who is kicking off in your lists? Your Captain, to get them up the board, or another player that can capitalize on it?  Vitriol and Friday both come to mind as viable kickers that can put pressure on the ball since both can recover it and score.  My answer:  I have Mist, who can do it in both lists.  Rage2 and Brisket3 both are good at it, but Mist is much faster, and I find that Rage2 is still slow enough that even kicking off may not get him up far enough to get him into the enemy.

Who will recover the ball?  Again, Mist.  Maybe Brisket3.  And by recover, knockdown isn't a bad option all the time either.  Vitriol comes to mind again.  Siren is a classic option.

Who will hold the ball?  I have Benediction, as I mentioned.  For you, this can be a high-def model, a fast model, or a model with good defensive tech like Unpredictable Movement.  Brewers, for example, can try to hide the ball on Mash who has 2'' melee and UM, or the cat, who is just stupid fast.  I used to bring Mash specifically for this purpose.

Who will fight if I need them to?  In my Rage2 list, it's Rage2 and Gutter.  In my Brisket3 list... do I want a fighter?  If I feel like there's a soft target (Flint hates Brisket3), I may bring Rage1 with Tooled Up to help out Brisket's Momentous 2 on Column 3. Harry also can brawl a little but eh.

Who is my support, and do they do what I need them to?  What do you need?  Healing? Speed? Rage2 is slow, so speed is good.  Brisket3 has "I'm Open" so she likes good kick stats, and Harry's Aura is very key for her.  Are you Brewers? Do you need Spigot1's Tooled Up? (Yes, yes you do.).  Are you Farmers and do you have condition removal? Will you need it?  Both Masons and Farmers have models with Counter Charge, and KD sucks.  If you have a way to clear it, that may be key.  It's a question of how bad your day gets if X tool in your list can't work.  That's the matrix to justify your support.

Where is your momentum coming from?  Some teams don't have to ask this question.  Masons and Brewers both farm momentum on the low end of the playbook like it's growing on trees.  Other players need to think about it.  Hunters, for example, can collect it at range but it's only pennies on the dollar.  I think Jaecar, for many reasons but this one specifically, is absolutely required in the 10 man roster, if not a 6 man list too.  Even if he doesn't kill a model, he's good for 4-5 momentum every turn that he's fully loaded.  You may not go first, but you absolutely need that Momentum.  Decitmate is a popular option in the teams that can take her for the same reason.  She's basically guaranteed 1 Momentum per INF that you put on her.

 Actually, I mentioned Masons a little as not worrying about it, but it's actually an issue if they want to kill in a team.  An Honor team doesn't mind so much but a Hammer team will be starved on Momentum because if his team is killing models, they're on the high end of their playbook and not getting momentum.  I know a lot of players used to bring Decimate to keep the momentum game up.  Now that they're down to one Union option, Mist kind of takes over but it depends.

Last, but not least, do you have enough INF?  This one is usually what I didn't think about until I have an 11 INF list and 5 models that want 4-6 each (Hello, Hunters).  A 6 man list full of very, very capable models is worse than a 6 man list with 3-4 very, very capable models, and 2-3 models that don't actually want INF that much.  The Farmers would love nothing more than to bring 6 Reapers, but they get maybe 8 INF out of it.  You have to bring Planters.  Millstone is happy with just 1 or 2 a turn, but she contributes 3.  Coin is a great mascot because he doesn't want any, and can give out 2.  Another great thing about Benediction is that he gives 2, and maybe only wants 1 if that.  Think about your gameplan again, and what's your allocation going to look like?  It's worth having a model or two that can do a good thing for the team for free.  Minx in the Union is a great example.  She donates 2 INF every turn, but can charge for free.  She's not an amazing player, she doesn't win games, but those 2 INF help everyone else do what needs to be done and she can still get you a little momentum.

This is also the biggest argument in favor of Spigot2.  Spigot2 can score from a mile away on 1 INF.  If he's not in range, but has the ball, he can still hide it pretty well as fast as he is, and he's donating 2INF to the INF starved Brewers every turn.  Think about your gameplan and where the INF is going every turn and where it's coming from.

My final 3 picks

  Rage2 has Strongbox, Benediction and Gutter.  Mist is already in my roster, and I like to bring him sometimes for some additional ball pressure.  Another option is Decimate.  She can deal a lot of damage in a Rage2 list and is guaranteed Momentum.  Plus, Thousand Cuts is always good and so is Second Wind to get Rage2 up a little further.  Decimate is in my Roster.

  I mentioned Minx earlier.  Minx has actually made my Rage2 list more often because she donates 2 INF and doesn't need anything to do work.  If all she does is charge in and snare something momentously, I'm ahead.  Rage2 loves the free 2 INF.  Minx is also in my roster.

  The last one is tough.  Hemlock is a little bit of a consideration because of Blind and her condition removal.  If you find that your Brisket3 list is getting wrecked by melee lists, think about Hemlock for Blind.  However, I went with Rage1 for Tooled up and his Furious charge.  Generally, I find that good players tie him up, but this works in my favor since they're busy tieing him up and not Brisket3 or Mist.  And if he is tied up, he tools up Brisket and she kills someone.

5.  The Lineup

  You've got the sheet now.  Your tournament tray is on the table.  Your opponent shakes your hand, introduces himself.  He puts his guild down, hands you his sheet and looks at yours.  This is where the game begins to get played.  You've built your list, now you need to read his and understand it.

  At a base level, I have two lists.

  Rage2, Strongbox, Gutter, Benediction, Minx and Mist.  I'll sub Mist for Decimate if I feel like I really just want to hide the ball and not score at all.  I'll keep Mist if I need something to engage countercharge or furious models (Brick or Seenah).  Rage2 will go into ball teams, or team that I can outfight.  Fish, Engineers, Farmers (maybe), and I haven't decided on Blacksmiths.  I'm pretty comfortable with him into Masons and Brewers as well.  He wrecks Hunters too but Pinned is a bit more difficult work with so I'll probably do Brisket3.

  Brisket3, Strongbox, Mist, Harry, Decimate and Rage.  Decimate subs with Gutter if I feel that the 2'' melee will be important (Obulus Morticians, Farmers, Seenah or Brick, etc).  Rage can sub out if I want both Decimate and Gutter for kicking all day.  I may do this into Hammer and Butchers, where I really don't want to fight at all.  Brisket3 goes into the definitely fighting team.  Butchers, maybe Blackmiths, and I feel ok into Corsair fish with her but not amazing.  I also really like her into Hunters since her dodges negate Theron's Pinned and she can outkick him all day long.  Even if Skatha comes into the game, Brisket3 is better and Skatha will struggle to keep the ball.

  If you look at the individuals in the list, they answer smaller problems.

  Rage2 kills better than most things.  He can dodge himself or others into and out of situations, and he has "Red Fury" that can enable other players to trigger out of activation character plays and pushes.  Benediction being crowded out? Red Fury, attack, push that model away.  All kinds of stuff.

  Brisket3 brings dodges and unpredictable movement.  She's very hard to pin down for 1'' melee models, and her legendary makes it difficult to finish her or Mist since usually I'm saving him.  She also has "I'm Open" which means the ball is never dead on a player.

  Strongbox is good with Sic 'em, has Confidence, and can do a good thing for the team for free.

  Mist kicks, retrieves, has 2'' melee and is wicked fast.

  Harry has pushes, enables ball dodges and brings both Goad and Molotov for easy board control and neutering major threats.

  Gutter and Decimate both farm Momentum like crazy, can ignore armor, damage players and kick the ball. They both also answer an armor problem with Anatomical Precision.

  Minx donates INF and can do her job without any in return.

  Benediction kills the ball, brings those all important pushes, and enables "Red Fury" or "I'm Open" that much more.

  Rage1 brings some more kill to the team, a damage buff, and presents a problem the other team has to deal with.  He's a distraction that doesn't take away from the INF pool.

  My opponent is playing say... Brewers.  I know Brewers.  He's got Esters and Tapper.  Tapper is more likely because he's got 2'' melee into both of my Captains.  His team can kick some but it's probably better at fighting.  Or he may take Esters and try to take Rage2's charge on the chin with gluttonous mass.  Let's say he's new at the game and take Esters and the cat.  I picked Rage2 and Strongbox because I was more concerned with Tapper since he can definitely kill Brisket3.  I think he's building an all around team, and probably more of a kicking one since Esters doesn't brawl quite as much.  As he picks players, I'll analyze and answer.  Most of the time, I'll build the list I was planning on but I can account for a few surprises.

  He wins the rolloff, so he'll pick first.  He has the cat, so you can expect Friday to be one of the players.  He picks Spigot1 for starters. Spigot1 is in every list, so this tells me nothing.  Supports the kicking theory, but also he fights. So yeah.  In other news, Hemlock's ability to stand people up hurts Spigot's Floored ability, so she'd be a consideration if I'd brought her.

  I didn't, so I'm going to pick Benediction.  Let him know he made a mistake because good luck getting the ball off of that guy.  Spigot1 can maybe. Maybe.  It's more important to get "Braced" up though against Spigot1.

  He picks Stave.  This is a horrible decision because Stave sucks, but the barrel will be good into a lot of things on my list.

  I take Mist.  Stave basically guarantees a goal since Mist will bounce off of him like a trampoline, get 2 momentum on the charge and score.

  He picks Hooper.  A standard, brawly pick.  Someone's gotta do some fighting.

  I'll take Gutter.  I was going to anyways, but 2'' melee since Hooper is coming is required.

  He takes Friday.  Surprise.  Going for a few goals it looks like.  Probably a 2-2 game, including a goal on the first turn.  Let Esters take Rage2 on with Gluttonous Mass, and Hooper to support her.  Spigot1 will get a take out or two if things go well.  Friday will focus on scoring.

  I'm actually going to take Harry.  Harry and Benediction together is kind of weird, it's a lot of pushes which doesn't actually kill anything, but I really, really need low cost ranged plays that I can pop Ester's gluttonous mass with before Rage2 kills her.  I also don't mind that many pushes because I can break up his scrum a bit.  As far as the ball goes, Benediction can hang onto it halfway decent and when he's not, Mist will score with it.  I'm up for a 1-4 or 2-2 game.  Mist will kickoff, possibly recover because I have Benediction in there for that 2'' dodge, and Rage2 can dodge him as well.  If he recovers, I can score (Thanks Stave).  Killing Friday will be a goal since that'll hurt the goal threat, and killing Esters removes the support quite a bit and she takes a bit to get back on the board.  That's the gameplan and I have answers for the issues this list brings.  I will probably have to take a barrel lob on the chin but I have enough options that I don't think that will bother me.

  That's my Union lineup.  If I was personally playing, say... Hunters, I'd take:

  Theron, Skatha, Fahad, Seenah, Jaecar, Hearne, Zarola, Ulfr, Chaska, Minx.

  Theron brings control, and can fight a bit.  He's going for mostly takeouts and maybe one goal.  Pin targets, control the board and snare things for Fahad and Seenah.

  Skatha can play ball into the fighting teams.  She'll be absolutely destroyed by any teams that can play the ball at all, but into Butchers or even Brewers, she's possibly better.

  Fahad because he donates badly needed INF, and does things for free.  He also hides a ball pretty well at DEF5 plus Nimble.

  Seenah's a beast.  He annihilates players.  I'll drop him into ball teams other than Fish who will bounce off of him.  He's a threat they have to be concerned about but you have to know how to play him.

  Jaecar builds badly needed Momentum, and can murder people.  He's hard to button down and his trap is some nice control.  He'd be in both lists for me.

  Hearne1 has come a long ways.  He's got good tools including singled out, and also brings some momentum and 2'' melee.  He's a decent striker as well and has decent movement shenanigans.  His kicker is his heroic that also helps with the INF game, which he needs to since he only brings 1 INF to the party.  I'll bring him to help spread out that Blessing of the Sun Father, which is key if I want to play Chaska.  I'll bring Hearne1 with probably both, but Skatha for sure.

  Zarola is specifically anti Obulus or Siren tech.  You displace my player, I fix the problem.

  Ulfr is the designated Striker.  He's cute, not bad, but only decent on Skatha.

  Chaska is control.  If they're going to spread out Chaska goes to the edges and shoots them off the board.  If they're trying to scrum, Chaska forces them back.  Hopefully he does it for free with Blessing of the Sun Father, but at most, I'll give him 2 INF maybe.

  Minx is my 2 INF model.  She does some work for free and provides INF and Snared to the party. Any Hunter list I build can have 3 models that charge for free.  That's fun.

  My Theron list would be Theron, Fahad, Jaecar, Seenah or Hearne1, Minx or Hearne1 and probably Chaska or Zarola.  Hide the ball on Fahad, kill and control models until I feel like Hearne1 or Jaecar can score.  Seenah comes out if they have enough models with 2'' melee to stop Furious on him (Farmers.  No Seenah for Farmers ever).

  Skatha would take Fahad, Jaecar, Ulfr, Hearne1, and then flex.  Minx maybe.  Ulfr, Skatha and Hearne1 focus on scoring.  Jaecar can kill some stuff maybe, Minx can help.  Chaska's an option too with his decent kick stat but you won't have enough INF to do much with him.

  I'm not an amazing Hunters player, many aren't.  But that's my off the top of my head considerations for a 10 man lineup on them.

  The thing is, put some thought into it before you go.  It's ok to play what you want to play, but if you're going to play the 6 man starting Ox team, I'm going to wreck you with a list that has all the answers to your problems and lots of problems you have no answers for.  Maybe I won't wreck you, maybe you're really good.  It's an uphill climb though.  You're talking the basic 6 that everyone knows, and no options.  If it was those basic 6 into another basic 6, that's one thing.  Basic 6 into my 14 options before Union, and then 10 man roster I can choose from, that's a lot of ways to shut you down.

  But I also understand not knowing where to go from there, especially if you're pretty comfortable with those 6.  There's a few exceptions.  The Brewers really struggle to not take most of the first box.  Tapper, Scum, Friday and Spigot are pretty much in every Brewers list, and Hooper was for a long time.  Really, he still is, just not in my lists.  The last spot is Stave's, but he's really the only player that's been largely sidelined from the original 6.  The Masons are pretty comfortable with their first 6 too.  Harmony gets pushed out for Tower, but Honor, Marbles, Brick, Flint and Mallet are still very common.  Then you have Guilds like the Butchers, where you rarely see Ox1 or Boar.  Or the Fish which actually use most of their models somewhere.

  Before a tournament though, roll through these questions.  Have an idea of what your list does.  It's one thing to pick a guild you enjoy, and then hope your skill at the game carries you the rest of the way.  There's a lot of forethought to be put into it, and understanding your list, and the options you'll utilize in what ways will win you many of your matches before they even get to the table.  I'm not a high level player, and my name probably isn't even on the ranking system, so don't take my lineup as the gospel truth, best list ever, or that every consideration or conclusion I've made is the best one.  I'm saying look at your models and try to understand the puzzles you'll need to unlock out there.

  I hope this article is of a little use to you as you branch out from the starting 6.  Thanks for reading and good luck!