The Brewers are seen as a ‘starter Guild’, being part of the Kick Off box. Steamforged has called a Guild, focused on absorbing early aggression and taking out the enemy team afterwards. The team has been undergone quite some heavy changes going from season three to four, and it seems to have dropped it’s ‘power level’ quite a bit. At the end of S3, Brewers were at the top of the food-chain, mostly due to the powerhouse that was Veteran Decimate. Nowadays, Brewers are back to the middle of the pack, actually only leaving the worst of the worst behind them in Longshanks statistics. In S4, they have a win chance of 47.7% with a standard deviation of 2.5%, which has the showing of a slightly behind the curve, but nicely balanced Guild as 50% is within the upper limits of its probability interval.
When looking at the captains, we can see that the new toy, Corker, is storming up the ranks at 52.8%, while Esters and Tapper, respectively 48.4% and 47.2%, are content at being in the middle of the pack.
Looking at patch 4.1, after the Miner’s errata and with the addition of the new captains, the percentages chance quite a bit. Corker stays at 52.8%, obviously, but Tapper now has 49%, while Esters drops immensely to 41.2%! As the Esters games entail near 50% of the Brewer games in post Miner patch era, the Brewers win chance also dropped slightly towards 45.4%.
Knowing that the Guild has been called a ‘starter Guild’, there’s also the notion that the amount of beginners playing this Guild at tournaments is slightly higher than average, attributing to its low-ish win chance. Let’s break it down…
Well, something that was totally expected is that the majority of the voters went for a take-out centric style of play for the Brewers. It doesn’t really matter if you’re playing Tapper, Esters or Corker; scrumming is going to be a big part of your gameplan.
Still, 10% of the votes go towards ‘opportunistic’, which I somewhat understand due to the ‘weather the storm’ aspect of the Guild; soak up the early aggression, and punish those that have overextended into your ranks afterwards. But I feel that this notion of the Guild isn’t entirely true, looking at the assertive ‘taxi’ strategies, which use Veteran Decimate pushing power or Stave’s barrel to separate opposing models from their own team and imprison them in your ranks. I think this is why only 10% voted for an opportunistic playstyle.
The answer to this question is actually quite interesting, when looking at the post Miner patch era of the game. Esters, in her last 200-odd games, only has a 41.2% win chance – even placing her behind Grange! Still though, this might be temporary, so let’s focus on the numbers. Would you guys have any idea as to why Esters might have such a hard time lately?
Esters gets just over half of your votes, which firmly puts her in the prime position as most valuable captain of the Guild. When looking at her card, it’s not that far of a stretch to see why. Nice buff-based Character Plays, an aura that grants free heroics, Resilience, and a condition clearing heroic. Esters is a very adaptable support captain, that can let the team change gears on the drop of a dime, and lets the team use their hard earned momentum for healing or teamwork actions. Positional play is very important for the Esters team, as the Aria aura is only 4” wide. My guess as to why Esters is seen as most important captain, is that she greatly empowers certain impactful squad members, like Hooper or Veteran Decimate. Spigot’s Time’s Called together with her Quick Foot gives a massive +4”/+4” movement boost, while also handing out a +1 damage buff. The important part to note is that, while she’s seen as a support captain, her 12-3 damage track at TAC 5 shows that she herself is also decently adept at beating down her opponents. While she only has a 1” melee zone, she doesn’t really care for Counters due to Resilience. In Spigot’s aura, she has a 7” jogging threat, which is decent. Be careful though; at 3+/1,1” melee and no good Counter, she’s quite the target after her Resilience has been popped, so be sure to not overextend her.
At a third of the votes accrued, Tapper comes in at a solid #2 spot of the captain list. This is not weird, as the Grand Brewer provides a different style of support to the team, which is slightly harder to set up. Through Commanding Aura, Tapper is likely to be the spearpoint of the action, setting up his beaters with knockdowns, and pushing their targets into range. At 2” melee, TAC 6, a first column KD, second column push, and third column double push, he’s quite adept at it. This means that, if he’s going in first, he’ll better be a tough guy to put down. Well, luckily for Tapper, that he is. 18 HP, Tough Hide, and the ability to give himself Sturdy, makes for a very durable model with a very strong Counter. The difficulty in playing Tapper lies in his influence and momentum balance, I feel. Only bringing 3 influence to the team, he needs his heroic play to actually be efficient, which means he needs momentum before he goes into the opposing Guild. In a Guild where momentum already is quite sparse, and very much needed to power up all those important heroics, this might cause some activation issues. Also, Tapper’s support abilities are much less adaptable than Esters’ support is; Tapper is very much focused on laying the beatdown, while Esters also provides some buffs to the goal game.
It’s safe to say that people want to try out Corker first, before making any statements on his value, which is entirely reasonable. I’ll therefore not go into great detail, but will only say that I see great potential in his Beer Tokens and empowering the likes of Hooper with Whisky Chaser.
Over three-quarters of the votes went for the pooch, which also is very much as expected. Quaff is very efficient in bringing his support through his free Pick Me Up and giving the team one of its only dodges through Second Wind. He also brings weapons for the scrum, or even ring-out potential, via his excellent pushing power on a charge.
While Quaff is very all-round useful, Scum is slightly less so. While being able to go full murder kitty on an opponent, it’s usually less impactful than an actual squaddie will be able to do. Certainly with the loss of the Sic’Em plot card, Scum doesn’t want to go into the fight unless he’s able to take the model out. At only 6 boxes, he’s fairly easy to take out. Nowadays, the cat is being used as a place to hide the ball on, being 5+ and having Unpredictable Movement. In their latest podcast on the Strictly the Worst channel, Patrick Van Valzah came up with a fix for Scum, which I very much liked: Back to the Shadows. While being very flavourful, it also heightens Scum’s survivability after going in for some damage. What do you guys think?
When looking at the squaddies, the prime suspects are Spigot, Hooper and Veteran Decimate, while Mash and Pint Pot also get a couple of votes in.
It’s quite obvious to see why Spigot is called the most valuable player of the team. His Time’s Called aura is invaluable for the team, he has a first column KD, he has Tough Hide, he has one of the only methods for the Brewers to get around Close Control, and he might bring the highest damage output out of all the squaddies through Floored, which makes him a TAC 7 with a 4 column long playbook and having a momentous three damage result on column 4. I don’t think I need to say more.
Hooper also brings loads of potential to the pitch, but usually needs to be set up to really shine. After popping his heroic, he is a 2” melee TAC 7 model with a 5 column long playbook, which ends with a momentous four damage result. Oh, did I mention that his heroic also clears all of his conditions, so knocking him down before his activation won’t do you any good? While Spigot is excellent in setting himself up for dealing damage, Hooper has a slightly harder time to do so, with his KD being at his third column. If the opponent is knocked down, though, his output greatly increases through his Shove The Boot In trait. Adding up Quaff’s Pick Me Up, Esters’ buffs and Time’s Called, Hooper suddenly jogs 9” and has TAC 8 with momentous six damage on column 5. It’s clear to see why they’ve given him an influence cap of three, but think about what Corker can do with his Beer tokens… that’s a 5 attack Hooper. Ouch! Lastly, he also brings some anti-footballing control with Smashed Shins, but only being available at column 3, together with the knockdown, it usually means the Character play is never used.
Lastly, a sixth of you have chosen Veteran Decimate as your most valuable player, which might be caused by a late S3 syndrome. Luckily for the rest of us, she has been tuned down somewhat; her damage output has been decreased quite a bit, but her pushing power is still top notch. Veteran Decimate is usually used for the ‘taxi’ strategy, in which she basically pushes an overextended opposing model towards her own team, making great use of her heroic play. This heroic can also be used to set up ring-outs. Also, being another 2” melee and Tough Hide character and having an excellent Counter, she’s quite hardy, even at only having 14 boxes. Besides that, her 7” run (which can be boosted to 11” through Esters and Spigot) and Acrobatics dodge give her a 19” goal threat, which is nothing to scoff at. With a momentous tackle and push result at column 3, her ability to strip the ball off of someone is also quite decent. So again, a model that brings a load of possibilities to the table, giving the team more options to deal with certain situations.
I was actually quite amazed by these results. I expected way more people to go for Esters, and think that the ‘new toy syndrome’ is causing all the Corker picks in spite of Tapper. Also, there’s only a 13% difference in picking rates between the mascots, while only 25% of you actually valued Scum over Quaff.
The clear losers of the draft, it seems, are Tapper, Stoker, Lucky and Veteran Spigot. Like I said, I think Tapper’s problem is that Corker is a new toy to try out. This leaves Stoker, Lucky and Veteran Spigot; three models that I’m expecting to see show up in my ‘least valuable’ question.
The interesting part for me, is that most of you seem to value Scum over anything that these three squaddies brings. For me, this seems like quite a problem in Guild balance, as it’s very clear that they do not bring enough for the team. Let’s see if I was correct in guessing the outcome of the last question…
Yup, I guess I was right. Stoker (37.8%), Lucky (28.9%) and Veteran Spigot (17.8%) seem to be the main balance issues for the Guild. Funny enough, the likes of Tapper, Stave, Scum, Spigot (!), Mash and Veteran Decimate (!) also get some votes.
First of all, I’d like to talk about Veteran Spigot, as I think the issue for him is clear. Spigot is clearly valued as your most valuable model, so his main problem is being called Spigot. When looking at his card, he actually is a VERY good striker. With Football Aura, he himself has a 9” kick. Adding his heroic’s effect, Veteran Spigot has a 19” goal threat at the cost of only 1 influence. Besides that, he is also excellent at stripping the ball off of models with a momentous tackle on his first column ánd having Close Control ánd having Ball’s Gone. Momentous tackle on his first, third (with an added KD) and fourth (with an added 2” push). And, on top of all that, he has Goad, which can be considered as one of the strongest protective abilities of the game. So, why doesn’t Veteran Spigot see more play? My guess is that Brewers are mainly take-out focused, and Veteran Spigs doesn’t bring anything for that gameplan, while Spigot is a lynchpin. I think Time’s Called on Spigot is just TOO strong to make Veteran Spigot a viable pick; even in 2-2 lists, Spigot’s +2”/+2” movement is just too strong to leave on the bench. What would your ideas be on fixing the balance between these models?
The dual-Guild Lucky also seems to be on the chopping block. Lucky is a jack-of-all-trades; decent defensive stats, decent damage dealing capacity, condition removal, decent ball play. But to get a spot within the Brewers 12, you’ll need something to work out the likes of Spigot, Hooper and Veteran Decimate. Lucky does not bring anything special to the table to push out any of the staple picks for the Brewer squad. The problem for Lucky is that he is dual-Guild, so he has to be balanced for two teams. While Compound, for the Alchemists and Engineers, is considered a reasonable pick due to his niche nature in his goalkeeping abilities, Lucky is just too all-round to bring anything to the special to the table. If they buff his damage dealing capacity, he might become too strong a pick for the Masons, who already value him over some of their own. What are your ideas on Lucky?
Lastly, there is Stoker, the firebreathing arsehole of the squad. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go read the Season 4 fluff!) Stoker is a model that has an inbuilt damage buff via Burning Passion and his heroic, Human Ball of Fire, and a damage track of 1-23 on TAC 5, which is decent at best. Sadly, only his three damage result is momentous. Luckily, he does have a double push on column 1 and a KD on column 2, giving him excellent Counter options… if only he wasn’t a 1” melee. At 3+/2, 16 hit points and having Magical Brew, he’s actually quite hardy. Besides that, he is one of the only models in the Guild that has ranged Character plays with conditions/damage. Molotov is excellent for breaking up charge lanes, and Flame Jet is a nice jolt of damage at 6” range. Sadly, he doesn’t bring anything useful for the likes of Tapper and Esters. His damage track is decent, but won’t provide you with any momentum without TAC buffs, and other models are as good as, or even better, at positional setup through pushes and knockdowns. He cóuld have a place in a Corker team, as Beer Tokens can be spent to buy Character plays. This means that Stoker can be allocated 0 influence, and still chuck out 1-3 influence of burning effects around. I think Stoker has to be tried together with Corker for a while; if it doesn’t work out, and he is still outclassed by other models (Stave, Hooper, Spigot, Veteran Decimate, Friday, etc.), he’ll need something… but what? Any thoughts?
After looking at the data, I think that Brewers are actually in a nice spot. In my mind, there are actually only two points of attention; the Spigot debacle, and what to do with Stoker.
The Spigot problem is actually quite a major one, as nerfing anything on original Spigot will effectively nerf everything the Brewers can do offensively, while only giving a bit more incentive to play a more goal-oriented (2-2) gameplan with Veteran Spigot. I actually think that making Veteran Spigot a super striker is not the way to go; what would help immensely, is if he would bring something for the take-out side of the team. What that would be, I don’t know at this time… it’s quite a conundrum.
Stoker… has potential, but there are just better options in the Guild at the moment, in particular for Esters and Tapper-led squads. Let’s hope Corker can bring him some more love, although I doubt if that’s going to work without looking at his playbook. Only having momentous damage on his last column and not having great access to TAC buffs – like Spigot and Hooper – is quite problematic.
Are you guys agreed with me, or do you think there are other points that also have to be considered?
Anyway, that’s all for the Brewers Breakdown. Thank you all for reading!