Friday, December 8, 2017

Guildball Batrep - Blacksmiths vs. Farmers - 6 December 2017






   Hey folks, this will be the first of a new series of articles from Diceotfirstdegree and published on MidwestWargaming. If you've been following DotFD since the Warmachine days, you've already seen a lot of my batreps since that was most of my content. Guildball takes a bit more to write up though, and a lot more pictures, so I've really avoided doing them since I just really hadn't had the time. Things have settled out now though and I've missed the batreps. I find they're a great way to explore the game for myself, and for others too. Warmachine was ripe with batreps, but Guildball really seems to be pretty devoid of them. If anything they're streamed more than written and that's a great format, but I miss the written ones. So let's start those back up again.


  Instead of just any opponent I can find though, I'm introducing Adam, or Zarodis on the forums. This is Adam's first miniatures game, but he's picked it up in leaps and bounds and has been dominating the local scene for most of the time he's been playing. He's primarily a Mason player, and even more specifically a fan of Hammer. However, he owns Alchemists and Blacksmiths as well and it's undecided yet if we'll see him transition to Blacksmiths completely or not. 

  If you don't know me, I'm JD Haigler, or Jedianakinsolo on the forums, originally from Omaha and having just recently moved towards the Southern Missouri/Northern Arkansas area. This is not my first miniature game, and I've owned armies in 40k, 30k, several in Warmachine and I dabbled in Xwing for a bit. Guildball's my only one right now though (Until my Shadespire gets here). I started in Brewers, have been playing Union most of a year, and then transitioned to Farmers when the first box released. I've spent most of my life in the plains of Kansas and Nebraska, so I have a hard time not relating really well with the Farmers and it helps a lot that they're a blast to play. I do own every Guild but the Butchers and Engineers, so between Adam and I, we should have pretty solid variety. If we have to import a friend to play Engineers or Butchers, we may do that. I've been eyeing Butchers for a bit, but I don't know that either of us wants Engineers. We'll see.

 JD's lineup plan - Today's matchup is my Farmers into Adam's Blacksmiths. I've got Grange, Thresher (Tapper), Peck, Buckwheat (Quaff), Tater, Millstone (Friday), Fallow (Hag), Harrow, Bushel and of course, Jackstraw. I'm tempted to trade out one of these characters for Grace or Benediction but with the Union drop announcement, I've been hesitant to add them. That said, the Farmers aren't potentially getting their minor guild for a few years so who knows. Into Blacksmiths, my drop will most certainly be Thresher. He can kill any apprentice in a single turn nearly, especially with a Tooled Up from Harrow. Tater can follow up and do nearly the same thing. My Thresher team is almost always Thresher, Peck (Buckwheat is too INF hungry in a Thresher team), Tater and Jackstraw (Two Harvest Markers are desperately needed in a Thresher team). Millstone is pretty common, but I've held back on her against some teams with next to no KD (like Butchers). Against Blacksmiths, I'll probably bring her. The last spot is Harrow or Bushel. Because Iron, the close control double push ball holding nightmare is probably coming, I'm likely picking Bushel for Ball's Gone. Otherwise, it's probably Harrow. Harrow isn't my favorite choice because it's not often he's close enough to Thresher for me to get his free Harvest Marker. On top of that, Thresher likes to go first so it's rare I get Tooled Up onto him. Bushel, I actually like because of I'm open, but I really don't expect to play much ball against Blacksmiths.

Adam's lineup plan - Playing Into the Farmers, I know I want to avoid trying to fight with them.

  Thresher is a monster and I don't want any part of fighting him while trying to figure out the
Blacksmiths. So my Line up is built around trying to play more around playing the ball. I end up taking Ferrite, Iron, Furnace, Cinder, Anvil, Sledge, Hearth (Granite), and Alloy (Hammer). I should have included Burnish and Cast here, just to round out the ten. Blacksmiths are very unique in the fact that they have a Master and Apprentice Mechanic. Each pair are made to work together, with one master setting up an apprentice. I don't have a mascot, and if I pick one Master, you'll probably be able to guess my next pick. Playing into the Farmers I definitely want Hearth and Alloy. The main reason I take the two here, is because of Thresher and millstone. If I want to fight his captain, Hearth can hang in a fight with him, avoid a knockdown with Sturdy, and put him into the dirt with a solid KD on one. Hearth also can set up any other player, by allowing them to immediately get two results on their playbook. This leads to Furnace and Cinder being a powerful combo as well. Cinder can kill free balls, and tackled from 6 inches away. If you're set up with Hearth, she only needs one success to get the ball. To me these 4 are auto included, it's to solid of a combo to pass up. The other unique characteristic to this guild, is that any master can be your captain. This allows you to build different teams in different scenarios. I personally don’t thing the Blacksmiths really have a bad model, all models seem viable to me in various situations, and compliment others well, so the last 6 spots are very interchangeable, depending on how you want to play the game.

   JD - Standing by my Thresher decision, I took him and Peck since I appreciate Peck's ability to donate an INF to the cause and provide some more anti KD. He picked Ferrite as a Captain, which I expected. I'm also taking the GIC that grants me two Harvest Markers at the beginning.

  Adam - At this point my choice becomes Ferrite for my captain, and Iron as her apprentice. With her legendary play Tong in Cheek, giving all friendly guild models +2/+2 mov, and Hobble (which slows down enemies by -2/-2 mov if damaged), this is great for my ball playing team. Iron is an auto include here since he is her apprentice. I choose the GIC Tough as Nails, which allows me 5 healing, and extra armor if a model is knocked down for this activation. I also forget about this all game, so yeah, great job me.

The Rolloff

  JD - I won it with a 3 to his 2. I debated kicking off since I really think Thresher is one of the best kick off models in the game, and I also am concerned about my ability to hold the ball against the Blacksmiths. I ended up choosing to Receive though.


The Draft


   JD - I ended up drafting my standard Tater, Millstone and Jackstraw. The flex at the end was either Bushel or Harrow and I chose Bushel since he was bringing Iron. I also didn't get amazing plot cards. I got Composure, Good Marker and Who Are Ya?

   Adam - I end up drafting Heart, and Alloy, because of Thresher. My final two here becomes, Furnace and Cinder just so I have a lot of ball pressure. My plot cards were Knee Slider, Wingback, and Match Fixings.

  The Kick

   Adam chooses to kick with Ferrite. She moves towards the center and tries to punt the ball into the edge but even with a successful kick, can't get the deviation she wants. The ball ends up four inches from Jackstraw.


  I allocate max of five to Thresher, three to Jackstraw, two to Bushel, just one to Tater, and I think one or two to Millstone

  Adam gives Ferrite three, Cinder two, Iron two, Alloy three, Hearth two and... Furnace just one. 


  JD - I do the math and the only way to retrieve I can see is either Cinder somehow gets within 14'' with a sprint and her "Kill the Ball" ability, but either Iron has to push her or Ferrite has to legendary. The other option is for Ferrite to move forward, call Iron to her and activate him to go get it. Either option will require a turn of setup though, at which point Jackstraw will simply retrieve the ball. So I'm not worried there.

  Because Ferrite kicked the ball, I'm pretty comfortable hanging onto it. She's somewhat INF intensive or has to use her legendary, or both, to really get within range of a character that would have it, so I'm able to plan around it. If Alloy or Cinder had kicked, it would be a different story and I'd be considerably more concerned. Hearth is in the list, and can hand out "Instruction" or 2 net hits on the next attack. So if Cinder or Alloy were closer, both, with instruction, could be really threatening. Cinder just needs one success to tackle at range if she's got Instruction. Alloy can pick up 2'' melee for free, Instruction gives him an auto Tackle, and 3 hits would get him the tackle double dodge. He also threatens 13'' if he uses acrobatics. Quite a danger zone if he or Cinder had kicked.

 But because Ferrite kicked, I'm not super worried. So I don't retrieve the ball. I sprint Tater up to one of the GIC Harvest Markers and set up counter charges with my first activation.



   JD - I'm not used to taking pictures every activation yet, so there's a gap here. Hearth (Granite) scooted way to the left to get Instruction on Cinder. My chicken moved up. Furnace tooled up Cinder and moved forward, dropping his AOE for free. Jackstraw Crop Dusts the woods, moves up to the ball and kicks it to Millstone and misses. The ball scatters and Bushel is able to snap it. Ferrite flees to the right, staying out of Counter Charge range. Millstone (Friday) uses "Get Out!" to push Thresher (Tapper) 2'' and then moves to within 4'' of Tater, dropping a Harvest Marker down by Bushel. Iron does the same shenanigans and pushes Alloy (Hammer) up a little. Bushel pulls the Harvest Marker Millstone put down, picks up the ball, punts it to Thresher successfully and then sprints up near Peck. Thresher uses the momentum to Dodge forward. He's now 6'' up, and positioned behind the woods so that even though he's within easy tackle range of Cinder, she can't see him to pull it off. 



 Alloy acrobatics, sprints over (Sledge was a proxy) to within 6'' of Hearth and Dirty Knives Thresher successfully. However, he forgets to dodge with "Back to the Shadows"



  Thresher does Thresher things. He charges into Alloy, to his left and within 4'' of the Harvest Marker at the far end of the woods. Thresher whiffs the charge horribly, only gets a Momentous 2 damage. Next, he does "Don't fear the reaper", pulling the Harvest Marker and dealing 3 damage to Alloy. Next hit is a KD and he dodges into range of goal. Then a momentous 3, a shot at goal with a bonus time and gets it. He takes the momentum and dodges back to the other side of Alloy. The goal kick puts the ball over by Cinder, who leaves it. Score is 4-0.

  Cinder sprints up and shoots Thresher for 3 damage.



  And then I don't take pictures. I fail to win initiative, and Iron goes first. He charges Thresher and contacts him at 90 degrees, pushing him back out of Millstone's aura, and away from the Harvest Marker, while simultaneously engaging Tater. He beats on Thresher a bit, and between Dirty Knives from Alloy and the poison, he takes Thresher down to 7 health. 


  Thresher activates. He heals 4 with the one momentum I still have, legendaries for the +2 TAC and life drinker. He hits Iron with a wrap, momentous 4 and momentous 2. He hits him again and takes the non momentous 3 and a KD, then dodges back into melee with Alloy, and within 4'' of the Harvest Marker between Tater and Millstone. He pulls "Don't fear the Reaper", leaving Alloy on 4 health whom he then hits and kills. With the last two INF, he wraps again on Iron, and boosts the last one for another wrap, killing Iron as well. With the wraps and Life Drinker, Thresher is back to 18-19 boxes of health. He jogs 5'' over to cover. Score is 8-0.

  Furnace activates, picks up the ball and kicks it to Cinder who dodges into cover on the left. 


  Jackstraw moves to the right and puts Crop Dusting and 2 Harvest Markers near Tater and Thresher.



  Ferrite charges into Tater, disarms him. His counter attack shoves her back, and she acrobats in and gets another couple points of damage on him. At this point, Adam clocks out, but we keep playing. It's only his second game with the Blacksmiths, and he's going into the tank every activation.

  I ignore Ferrite for a moment and jog Bushel around behind her.

  Cinder sprints up, shoots Tater I think for a double dodge out of the woods and boosts a shot on goal which whiffs, sucking the life out of Adam. The ball scatters behind goal and to the left a little. Neither of us have a way to retrieve it currently. 

  Peck blocks Ferrite in. Hearth meanders to the left aimlessly. Millstone walks into Ferrite and takes 10-12 health out of her. Tater activates, hits her once and leaves her on one health. He walks away into Cinder and leaves her on 8. I have all the momentum in the world, so I go first into the next turn.



  I've pretty much blocked Thresher in, which will hurt. I want Tater to finish Cinder, but he's at TAC4 with her in cover, and can't get it done. He gets her pushed out and into Jackstraw's melee and leaves her on 5 health. She hits him and tries to dodge out to run and get the ball, but crowded out and swinging at DEF4, she doesn't get the double dodge until her 3rd INF and she has to walk away and try to stay alive. 

  Millstone kills Ferrite, putting me at 10-0, walks back and drops a Harvest Marker near Tater. The rest of his team meanders forward, staying out of Thresher's range who is pretty much useless at this point. He'll sprint forward towards the end, and Jackstraw lands "Crop Dusting" on Cinder for another 2 damage. Nobody has retrieved the ball though. Adam spends 2 momentum to heal Cinder, and I win initiative. 

  Thresher walks into Cinder's melee. She unpredictable movements out, but it's not far enough. He pulls a Harvest Marker for 3 damage, and hits her to finish her. That's game at 12-0.

  There was some confusion at the end because he declared a counter attack on Cinder, and then she unpredictable movemented away, and we wondered if she could use her ranged attack for the counter which would be really cool. It doesn't work that way as the rules forum has shown and so we played it out correctly.

  Thoughts on the Game  JD - Adam has faced my Thresher team... twice or three times. I've played him several times, including Blacksmiths twice. I feel like this game was lost more on Adam's unfamiliarity with his newest Guild, compared to my relative comfort of playing Farmers, which are really just better Brewers whom I have played for over a year now. 

  That said, the game should have been 12-4 at least, possibly 12-6 if he could have closed the gap on Thresher. Cinder blew the kick, so I really feel like there should have been at least 4 for the Blacksmiths but that would have resulted in an immediate Bushel Counterscore who was waiting for it with 2 INF. 

  Thresher could have gone down I think if there'd been any time for setup. "Instruction" from Hearth concerns me quite a bit, and it makes the apprentices very dangerous IMO. However, I feel like any chance of catching me went away when he gave me both Alloy and Iron to kill and in an ok crowdout situation on legendary turn no less. It sucks, but I probably would have gone for a Master activation first to get some setup and help on Iron or maybe an early activation with Alloy and get him out of there with Acrobatics. Instead, he put Iron in there to get him out of Millstone's aura, engaged Tater, and then Thresher killed them both, and healed up doing it too.

  The other thing was the Kick Off strategy. It concerns me a lot more if Alloy or Cinder kick off. That may or may not be correct, but I feel like Cinder, with Instruction from Hearth, recovers the ball easier than almost any other model in the game. Actually, I think she does do it the easiest. Even Corsair needs a success on 3 dice and Cinder only needs 1 success on 5 dice if she has Instruction. Barring her, Alloy is nearly Mist or Vitriol like if he activates near Hearth. He's guaranteed that Tackle with Instruction, and a few hits gets him the double dodge. Either of those models makes it very difficult for me to retain the ball. On the other hand, I'll probably kill whichever one gets close. I think that's a tradeoff of 2VP instead of 4-6VP though. The advantage of an Alloy recovery is that he's capable of scoring after he gets that tackle too so there's also that. I have to play a lot more cagey into that I think.

 Adam - So this game was riddled with stupid mistakes from me. I have quite a few mistakes that put me in just stupid situations, starting with deployment. When I started this game, Cinder should have been closer to Hearth for instruction. Because I didn't put her in the right spot, it keeps Alloy from getting his bonus, because cinder needs instruction. If I positioned right, I would had more flexibility, and two models that could have threatened the ball, changing up the flow of activations. The Kickoff was another thing, I'm not sure why I thought Ferrite was my best option here. Cinder can yank a ball of someone from 14" away, and Alloy can run all over the place as well. Cinder would almost certainly kick off next time. These easily mess with my Turn one activations. Another big mistake was my dirty knives hit on Thresher, I fail to take my free 4 inch dodge, which just leaves Alloy as the next Thresher harvest. I want to get Thresher away from his support bubble, and saying, please kill Alloy and position yourself advantageously is not how you do that. I also forget to give myself the extra armor on all of the beatdowns I receive, which is really important, considering it negates an entire result. These little mistakes dictate a lot of things as the game continues. I use Iron to try and save Alloy and fail, which could have been entirely avoided. I should have run out with the ball and tried to force a fight more on my terms, with some actual set up.

    The soul crushing failed goal was another big issue for me as well. Having Knee slider here was supposed to be my get out of jail free card. I should have kicked a goal, and slid back to safety and never given up Cinder but, alas, I'm heading to jail, and not passing Go, as Tater comes in to ruin my day.

   Looking back at my line up, I think I may have also gone with Burnish, and Cast instead of Ferrite and Iron. They would be able to slow down Threshers advance some, with flame belch, and can ignore Threshers Character play if I have MP. Cast here gets extra damage on burning enemies, and Cinder applies burning from 6 inches away easily. If I tooled up Cast, and set Thresher on fire, I have a solid chance of getting 8-12 damage off on a charge, and then hitting for 4-6 more damage on two more attacks. The other big utility here is shield throw, which allows me make an enemy lose possession of the ball marker and cause it to scatter. Since Cinder can kill a ball from 14 inches and Alloy can move 11 inches, I have a lot of options to play the ball game here.

  Thresher is a model I have been really challenged by. I've never struggled against a model quite like this one. I've been working on figuring him out for a while now, and will continue to do so. I haven't really reached a point yet to where I feel like he's just too good. I would say he's quite strong, but I plan to figure some more stuff out with my new guild, and try some new stuff with the Masons before I make my final judgement call on it. I do expect to see him getting changed a little bit after his exceptional performance at nationals though.

  The Blacksmiths are a really cool guild to me as a Mason player however, and I'm really looking forward to playing more with them, they've got a lot of awesome mechanics, and I don’t think they have a bad model. So I really can't wait to invest more time into them.

  JD - I think we might switch it up next time. I don't know. Let Adam have a chance to pilot the Farmers and I might run my new Morticians, or try my hand with Union into them. I've only had one chance to put Union into them and I did really well, but it was another really new player and I was able to get away with some Brisket3 shenanigans I don't think Adam would let me get away with.

   That's a wrap folks. This might be the first of many, or it will be the only one ever. Nobody knows. Hopefully there was something to be learned in there and some ideas. Even better, Adam and I are both happy to be on the learning end, and if you have any suggestions, questions, ideas or angry rants, feel encouraged to comment. Enjoy your week!


























Sunday, December 3, 2017

Statistical Analysis of Guildball: Season 3 updates - All Guilds Overview


  I'm really spamming this formula, aren't I?  There's one more too, the Hunters.  That's only 4 new players and they don't change the statlines that much, although their playbooks contain more momentous options.  Nobody cares about those guys though.

  The Blacksmiths and Farmers are upon us.  While most of the Farmers were in the book, the Blacksmiths were something of a surprise and have been unleashed pretty dramatically.  We've gotten a decent in-depth view of both Guilds, but lets see how they stack up against the others.  For reference;


  There's also the old Season 2 guild sheet that this will override, but on that article are the individual Guilds if you're interested in further analysis on your particular team.  That's here Guildball at a Glance

  Then we have the real sheet, what we're talking about today.

  Statistical Analysis - The Guilds

  For a further breakdown and some notes, lets take a closer look at these statlines.  Before we continue, I should point out that mascots are left out of the statlines because of how far outside of the average they are, and how little their statlines really matter.  Playbooks, Character plays, I'll include them, but for actual statline averages they remain excluded like I did last year.  So, let's open the ball with MOV1/MOV2 or, Jog and Sprint speeds respectively.


  Not many surprises here.  Brewers, Blacksmiths are slow.  Alchemists, Fish, Engineers and Butchers are faster.  The stats show the Farmers having the lowest jog speed, but that's largely because Windle sucks the life out of both MOV averages.  They are still not the fastest Guild, but the ones that you see the most of are pretty quick (Tater, Thresher, now Fallow).  That said, it's somewhat interesting to throw the same statistic in with melee range. This was an idea from my Pundit, so kudos to that guy.
  With high speed and a high melee average (spoilers), Fish obviously dominate the scale while Brewers with their low speed and only a few in-house 2'' melee models are at the bottom.  Farmers, technically slower than the Brewers, come in at 5th because of melee while Engineers who were tied for second with Butchers and Fish are back to 4th.  1st and 2nd swapped too, Alchemists dropping behind the Fish significantly.  
 
  Now TAC.



    Butchers clearly dominate this, but there's a catch.  This is the one stat that I think it completely pointless without further information.  We can agree Blacksmiths are slow and Fish are fast but a high TAC indicates that they're good at using their playbook and this is not the case.  This is because of Playbook length.


    This chart's bottom is 4, mind you, so it's not like Brewers average playbook length is 2.  You can obviously see though that while the Brewers don't have the highest TAC, they've by far got the highest chance to wrap.  This is compared to the Butchers who, yes, have high TAC, but their playbook is exactly the same length.  Farmers have some of the same benefits as the Brewers do.  In fact, they're very similar and the only reason it's not more drastic is because of Windle and Fallow who have low TAC and normal playbooks, but you're expected to get them their extra TAC. 

  Kicking, KICK1 being Dice, KICK2 is distance.


 Engineers dominate the kick accuracy department.  Everyone else just kind of wallows in 2-3 range, fish coming in at second with most of their kickers having 3.  Distance is a bit tighter, and Engineers actually lose to the Fish Butchers and Farmers here.  The losers are the Hunters.  With not great MOV stats and some of the worst KICK stats, Hunters are the ones that struggle for goal range.  Keep in mind, there's 3 different kicking auras out there that singlehandedly change the stat.  Spigot1 and Mallet both have "Football Legend" for a 1/1 bonus and Grange has a 1/2 bonus for passing only.  Corsair has a 1/2 legendary, but that's just one turn.  Mallet and Spigot both are staples for their respective teams, so while it looks right at average or slightly below now, they can jump up a few notches pretty easy.  This is before any heroics or character plays like Friday has.


  Defensive stats are up next.





   The DEF kinda hangs together with a few outliers like the Masons, Brewers and Blacksmiths.  ARM is way out of skew though.  That one gets kind of wild with a few that really spike and some that have none at all.  Most guilds have fairly balanced ARM vs. DEF.  If one is high, the other is low, while medium in one is pretty nearly a medium in the other.  Fish sitting at 5th for DEF, but 10th for ARM seems a bit weak but they really want to play a kicking game.  This is also before their counterattacks where they dodge away, but for the most part, they go down easy.  Butchers are very similarly placed, but rather than kicking, they're killing.  Glass cannon mentality.


  There's a few where you can see an obvious schtick, like Masons and Blacksmiths both having very high ARM.  Morts and Union have higher DEF than I expected, but nearly everyone in Union is a DEF 4 so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Alchs winning the DEF game isn't any surprise.  Farmers are, again, a little deceptive here.  They're tied for 7th in DEF, and lose the ARM race like a quarter mile sprint where Honor represents them.  However, this does not take into account their health boxes, of which there are many, nor their other defensive tech like strong anti-conditions.  The individual sheets break this down a bit more and show you the traits available to buff these areas.  That said, you're pretty much guaranteed to hit the dice numbers you want on Farmers, Blacksmiths and Masons.  The kicker on the Blacksmiths specifically, and sometimes the Masons, is that you have to begin factoring in whether or not you have enough dice to get past the arm.  The Blacksmiths, for example, have Iron.  At DEF2, Flint can get the ball from him pretty easy, except for three things.  First, we haven't mentioned ARM.  It's base 2, so poor TAC4 Flint already needs 75% hits to get the Momentous Tackle he has on 1. Second, Iron has Close Control, so Flint is going to need to hit him twice at 75% success to get what he needs.  Third, Iron has a double push on Column one.  At TAC6, it's rare he won't get it.  This is before a possible fourth problem, where Iron is within Sentinel range of Anvil or Furnace and has an extra ARM, taking him to 2/3.  Now Flint needs 100% hits twice in a row to get a ball off of a model he can only attack when the opponent doesn't have momentum because the counterattack is brutally successful.  Flint could WTG in, sure, but we're 3 INF into this problem now.  I'm glad my Farmers have a bunch of 2'' melee, or my good ol' striker Mist, until Hearth gives Iron 2'' melee too. 

  When these stats spike one way or the other, look at the reason why and what the trap or the buff is to correct it.  With the exception of the Hunters, it isn't because they just straight up suck at the game, there's some gameplan options to be had.

  Alright, enough rambling.  INF stats.




    No surprise, Blacksmiths are in the gutter with this stat.  This is including a +2 inf on one master since one of them will always be Captain.  As far as generation goes, Engineers and Alchemists are the winners.  Actual allocation matters somewhat less since it's worthless if you don't generate any.  Obviously though, Obulus with a crazy 7 that he can take is carrying them pretty far on that end. 


  Farmers are second from last in both cases, but we all know that, again, the Farmer stats are lying since Harvest Markers are a thing.  You can add 1-2 INF to nearly every turn for them.  What is interesting to me is that the teams with highest INF generation are also the most likely to score as well.  This is kind of a win more situation but it's interesting. 


  One more for statline.  Melee ranges.


  Again, this is not covering mascots.  In most cases, they'd drop the stat.  The exceptions are Naja in the Alchemists, and Tentacles in the Fishermen.  I think all the rest are 1''.  Fishermen and Farmers are way out ahead at 1.80.  Third place isn't even close, but surprisingly it's the Butchers.  The Butchers have long been lamented as not having great access to 2'' melee but statistically this is untrue.  The problem is that their 2'' melee is Boar, Tenderizer, Shank and recently, Ox2.  Shank was the only player to consistently make lineups, and many times people used Union players to shore up the 2'' deficit. 

  Alchemists are still in the middle of the pack, even with their S3 model having 2'' melee (Vet Katalyst).   Union is low, but they have such a deep pool of players that building a 6 man list with ample 2'' melee isn't a problem.  They have 5 2'' melee models, which is 2 less than the Farmers at 1.80, but they also have 16 non-mascot models to choose from as well.

  Incidentally, these numbers also reflect Mallet and Thresher's 3'' melee, but not the legendary that Hearth has since it's a one time deal.  Mallet and Threshers are only during their activation, I know, but that's when you're going to use it.

  Playbook results

  Now we're bringing the Mascots into the game.  While their TAC isn't really fair to include with the rest of the team, they do have some abilities that mean their playbook does get used occasionally.  Dirge's Singled Out, for example, is pretty key in enabling the Morticians to kill sometimes.  They also do have KDs, Tackles, and Pushes that are worth considering.  Hilariously, some of the best damage dealers out there, thanks to the "Sic'em" card, are the mascots.  Scum (Brewers), Strongbox (Union) and even Peck (Farmers) can do surprising amounts of momentous damage.  That chicken will mess you up.

  Let's look at these.  Pushes are first.  Unlike some of the other options later, pushes are not evenly distributed.  Pushes, at a basic level, are the beginning of Control in Guildball.  Some teams are considered Control teams like the Morticians and the Hunters, but a few other teams have some minor abilities when it comes to positioning models around the board.  At 21 pushes on the Brewers, it's no surprise they love a good scrum.  Oddly enough though, 1st place is taken by the Engineers.  It's important to note here that a single "Push Dodge" result will show up on both the Push charts, and the Dodge charts, and Push Dodge is something Engineers do have. 
  Momentous Pushes is even better.  It's an easy way to score Momentum on models you don't necessarily want to hurt, or can hurt.  Models with Rising Anger, or other detriments are good examples.  More often though, it's a way to generate momentum without committing to the kill.  The Brewers can push a player all over the map reliably and generate momentum while setting up a good scrum, whereas other teams really need to position models well as they move in to get the crowd outs they need.  Perfect contrast here is, again, the Brewers, the pushing positioning masters, and the Farmers who have only 2 momentous pushes in the game.  Both feel like they play something of a similar combined arms scrumming game, but Brewers have the pushes to set it up while the Farmers have to position themselves. 


  Dodges, on the other hand, are the bread and butter of strikers.  What's a striker without a dodge to get the ball and bail?  Brewers have very few, same as the Farmers.  Butchers and Blacksmiths aren't much for evasion either, and oddly enough, neither are the Alchemists.  Alchemists and Fishermen often seem to sit at the same table, but we're seeing a strong difference in their playbooks. 
   Brewers aren't even on the momentous dodge chart and Farmers barely register.  Engineers keep most of theirs though, as do the Alchemists.  Where the Fishermen have far more dodges, the Alchemist's are almost universally momentous.  Morticians are up in that group too, keeping up with a control and evade style of game. 


Tackles.  This one isn't super surprising since nearly every model in the game has a Tackle somewhere.  Engineers and Blacksmiths have a pretty high amount though, indicating multiple tackles in playbooks.




Momentous tackles, on the other hand, is a whole different story.  Morticians and Farmers have next to none while Masons and Engineers dominate the stat with a surprise 3rd place Butchers. 





  Damage is next.  Not quite as evenly distributed as Tackle was, but copious amounts everywhere except in the Fisherman's Guild.  Brewers also seem kind of low, but that's a reference to their low playbooks rather than the percentage of damage in them.  That particular stat is located on their sheet.



  Momentous Damage tells some more stories.  Almost none for the Engineers and Fish.  Alchemists have a moderate amount, giving them something of a mixed playstyle similar to the Masons who are strong in both Momentous tackles and Damage.  Unsurprisingly dominating this particular piechart is the Butchers with 36 momentous damage results. 


  Knockdowns.  Another form of control, with a condition option too.  Brewers, Union and Masons have plenty, but it's Farmers that really carry it.  Fish and Alchemists have only a few, and the Butchers aren't much better, adding to their issues in getting through counterattacks.



  Everyone act surprised that Brewers have 100% momentous KD.   Farmers aren't far behind, and then it's kind of scattered after that.  It's interesting to note that the Blacksmiths only have 10 KD options, and 7 of them are momentous.  If you look those up, you'll notice that every momentous one is on a master, and there's only a couple of KDs on the apprentices.  Momentous KDs are the cherry on top for a charge.  You need the debuff and to prevent a counter attack, but it sucks not to get that momentum for it, which is a problem that we can see the Alchemists, Morticians and Fish all have.  


 
 Last, maybe least, we have Guildballs.  These are the character plays.  Butchers and Fish lead the way, followed by Morticians.  Engineers and Blacksmiths anchor the chart while the Brewers are just glad it isn't them.

  Momentously, the Fish and Alchemists dominate the scene.  This is where a lot of the dodges and defensive play they have resides, not in their pushes and dodges.  This is where gut and string used to be.





  Character Plays

   Just a few more charts.  Character plays are offensive if they cause damage or debuffs, and generally you need to roll to hit.  Defensive plays are generally buffs.  It's not that they make the team more defensive perse, they're just not offensive.  The offensive stuff is things like Dirty Knives, or Blast Earth.




 Then we have buffs and such.  Union has a very high amount, but a lot of that is just the model count too.  Otherwise, you see teams like the Engineers, Masons and Blacksmiths carrying the weight of buffs located in their character plays.

  Then for the guys trying to play a gunline in Guildball, we have the ranged offensive character plays.  Alchemists, we expected.  Brewers are a little bit of a surprise, but Esters and Stoker both have 2 ranged plays each, you just don't see them super often.  I've also included things like Goad and Lure in the ranged section as well.


  That's kind of the party folks.  I don't think there's any major upsets, just more or less seeing how the new teams slot into the party.  There's some stark contrasts and certainly their own playstyle is evident as Steamforged tries to find gaps in the playstyles to slot new guilds.  I'll be curious to see what the new Minor Guilds bring to the table and what I'm going to do for colors when that happens. 


  I hope this has been an informative article.  It's not going to change any great strategies, introduce new tactics or break the code on a certain Guild.  It's interesting to see the inherent strengths and weaknesses in the numbers though, and what each Guild excels at somewhat. 

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. 


  Captains

  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.


  Mascots

  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!