The Farmers have been a strong team since the release of the second box in season 3. Thresher was a tad overtuned and raked up an almost 70% win rate over the course of a couple of weeks. A mid-season patch helped to get them back in line, but they’re still up there in the standings.
The Farmer’s Guild is, like the Blacksmiths, another Guild with some specific rules. First of all, they have a dichotomy within their ranks; Planters and Reapers. Planters usually have high influence generation, non-momentous playbook damage, and usually provide the Guild with supporting abilities. The Reapers are the actual payoff models; momentous damage on the playbook, aggressive plays or traits, they’re built for either scrumming or scoring. Besides this, they make use of their own special kind of markers; Harvest markers. Harvest markers are usually produced by Planters, and used by Reapers to power their abilities. Also, any Harvest markers still around on the Pitch during the Maintenance phase can be collected to add an addition influence to that turn’s influence pool. Because of this mechanic, it’s not unusual to see 9-11 influence Farmer squads on the Pitch.
Going into season 4, the Farmers received quite the change to their playbooks. All kinds of TAC or DMG buffs were removed from the Guild, and basically every Farmer playbook is changed to already have said damage buff; all of their playbooks start with (non-)momentous 2 damage. The reasoning for this change was to speed up their game and to make the Guild less dependent on activation order. Players had to adjust to the change for a while, but it seems that they’re just fine.
At the time of writing, Farmers are at a very decent 52.4%, trailing only the Miners, Butchers and Morticians in the rankings. Just as there is a dichotomy in model types within the Farmers, there also is quite a huge disparity between their captains. Thresher, who actually even received a buff in the 4.1 patch, can be considered as one of the best captains of the game. His win rate is at a whopping 56.7%, making him the fifth best ranking captain behind Shaft, Boar, Corbelli and Scalpel. But the Planter captain, Grange, has been the lowest ranked captain for a while, at only 38.3%. It’s quite obvious, there a disturbance in this Guild’s balance.
The Farmers have sóme footbally models (Bushel, Jackstraw), but are mostly built around scrumming and taking out the enemy team. This shows in the votes; over 70% were for a take-out centric gameplan.
Almost 20% went for an opportunistic play style, which gives me the idea that, while their main goal is take-outs, the Guild can also quite easily move into a 2-2 gameplan i.e. by placing the likes of Thresher and Bushel together. Bushel already immensely increases Thresher’s threat range, but she herself can go on impressive goal runs.
The remaining 10% chose a captain dependent gameplan. I can understand that, as these captains have a very different outlook on how the game should play out. Thresher is much more aggressive, while Grange likes to use the ball to build a stronghold and pull in hapless victims.
As expected from the Longshanks data, Thresher wins the vote by an overwhelming margin.
Thresher has a lot going for him at this time. Due to the fact that Tooled Up has already been incorporated into his playbook, he doesn’t have to wait an activation to jump into the fray and delete models off of the Pitch. His damage track is excellent; 2-3334 at TAC 7. This means that Thresher will most likely hit his 3 damage result. Wrapping might even result into a 6 damage hit, but the absence of TAC buffs in the Guild makes this unlikely to happen. Added to that, he can also use a Harvest marker to deal 3 damage to models within his melee zone. Add in Thresher’s 2” melee range, which can even be extended to 3” by Scything March, and you can see the amount of pressure he’ll exert on the enemy team. For an old fellow, Thresher is also quite mobile; he sports a 5”/8” movement, and he has dodge results on his first, third and fourth column. Also, his counter-attack is quite strong with a KD+< on 3 hits. Besides being a killing machine, he also has a non-momentous tackle on 2 hits and a kick of 3/8″, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for him to go on 6 VP runs, first taking out a model and shooting a goal afterwards. Only having a 4+ defense and no armour would make you think that he was easy to take out, but you’ll have to chew to 20 hit points. Besides this, Crow Scarer makes him get Poised, so his first counter-attack will be for free, and his Legendary gives him Lifedrinker, so he’ll just heal back up on every swing. Still, getting Thresher out of the game should be your first priority. Either that, or get him stuck on a tarpit model, while the rest of the team scores goals.
Grange being bad seems to slowly turn into a meme nowadays. “This model is actually really bad!” “Well, at least he’s not Grange.” It’s sad to see that the Planter captain has fallen on such hard times, being the worst performing captain in the game. For a team that has so many strong squaddies, it’s actually quite surprising. In my eyes, most of this lies in how Grange has been built; he’s quite a mess at the moment. First of all, Grange has a 2” melee zone, a momentous KD on 1 result, 26 hit points and can give himself (or someone else) Tough Hide through his Constitution character play, and Sturdy through his Legendary. Lastly, he gives his squaddies Close Ranks to basically make crowd outs count double. You’d think this’d make Grange a very hard model to take out, but (in my experience) this is not the case. Due to him not having a 2” reposition on his playbook until his fourth column, you’ll only have to worry about the KD on the counter, which is easily removed by spending a momentum. Sure, he also has a single push on his second column, but being in B2B solves that problem. Also, if you’ve noticed, his defensive tech means he himself has to activate to get it. If you can get into Grange before he has activated, you can quite easily grind him down. At only 3+ defense, a single KD makes him a 2+ with 0 armour; beater heaven. A Tooled Up Scalpel can easily one-round him, for instance. This makes that Grange should always be one of the first activations of a turn, which means that losing first activation can be quite devastating to his squad. Besides making himself and/or his squaddies more tanky, he actually doesn’t really do anything. With a damage track of 2-2323 at TAC 6, you’re not expecting him to do any damage. With his easy KD and momentous single push, he could set up your beaters somewhat, but that’s basically it.
So you’d think Grange is basically a self-made tank, but one of his traits also opens up another playstyle; For the Family gives everyone within 4” of him +1/+2” kick. This makes him a 4/8”, Buckwheat and Jackstraw a 3/10”, and Bushel even a 4/10”! It sounds very nice at first, but then you remember the aura only being 4” wide (so basically 9” across). This means that, for the aura to be any useful in the goal scoring part of the game, the Grange team has to play very much upfield. In my mind, I’m now thinking of a game plan that involves bringing strong goal threats (Buckwheat, Jackstraw and Bushel), ball retrievers (Bushel, Tater, maybe even Grange himself) and a defensive bulwark to keep Grange safe so close to the opponent’s goal post (Grange, Buckwheat, Tater, Fallow). Sadly, Tater hasn’t been doing very well, and Fallow really needs help to even get back to ‘viable’ status. Also, if anything goes wrong and Grange is taken out, the whole game plan falls apart, as it is so much centred around For the Family to be up. Living in an era where loads of models can quite easily take down the big guy due to the huge increase in damage output in season 4, this game plan is quite risky. So maybe it’s best to just use the aura to more reliably use the ball to reposition his own team to get better crowd out possibilities, and really get the most out of his Close Ranks aura. Build a fortress, and just grind the opponent down with the likes of Windle. Still though, Goal Grange would be an awesome playstyle if it’d be less risky. Would you agree?
In my opinion, Grange at the moment doesn’t do enough for the team. He’s absolutely too fragile to be considered a tank before his activation, so I’m thinking he either needs a 2” reposition earlier on his playbook, and/or he just starts with either Sturdy or Tough Hide already slapped on him. Also, being the Planter captain, and seeing that the new captains have these Pitch-wide buffs, I’d like him to receive a trait that empowers his models while being close to Harvest Markers, maybe instead of the For the Family aura. Extra movement speed while being within X”? The Strictly the Worst guys have been talking about this as well, but they can’t get to a resolution on how to actually fix him… yet. Do you guys have any thoughts?
You guys must like KFC. The chickens get almost 85% of the votes, and can therefore be considered as the most valuable mascot for the team.
Peck actually brings quite a lot for the team. It’s a 5+, has a decent 2/4” kick to move the ball around, is fairly quick at 6”/8”, and provides some condition defense with the Cocksure character play and his heroic play. Usually, Peck hands out Cocksure to Thresher and, if Millstone is played, is positioned within 4” of the goal post to receive Get in the Goal. Other uses for the poultry are, as mentioned, condition removal (i.e. against Alchemists or Rats), and ball killing. Peck is fast, 5+, and can therefore easily put the ball in a corner and make it hard for the opponent to get it back. Also, upon losing Peck in the Activation phase, you’ll get a Harvest marker, which is an added bonus.
The donkey on the other hand has a nice TAC 4, a 2/8” kick, also has a sprint of 8”, and has nice KD and momentous damage results on his playbook. This means that Bucky can be used as a minor payoff model, who can quite handily start wrapping on a charge to get a momentous 3 and non-momentous KD. Also, the Ass Kicking trait makes that he’ll also directly disengage due to a 4” push after the successful attack. This means he’s excellent in breaking up scrums, or holding a side of the Pitch. Being Stoic, he himself has some protection from being pushed out, as it means that it’s very influence inefficient to grab the 1 VP for pushing out the donkey. As he is the Reaper mascot, he can also use a Harvest Marker to power up one of his traits; Carrot & Stick basically gives him an addition jog, giving him a 13” threat on attacking an opposing model, or a 20” threat on goal.
As you might understand from my writing, I quite like the donkey, but I can understand why Peck gets so many more votes; Peck is self-sufficient, usually only requires 0 or 1 influence to make him work, but most importantly he gives Cocksure to Thresher via a mascot. Cocksure on Thresher means, together with Millstone, that he can negate 2 KD’s after kicking, which is HUGE.
Buckwheat really needs to be loaded up to do anything (although a 4” push + KD for 1 influence sounds quite nice…), which makes adding more Reapers to a Thresher line-up quite harsh on influence allocation. I feel that Buckwheat will see more play in a Grange squad, but this’ll have to wait until Grange gets some love.
I’m quite happy to see that the voting here has been so varied. This means that there are quite a number of squaddies regarding as highly impactful, and there are no real ‘auto-includes’. Still though, Jackstraw gets just over 40% of the votes.
I’m feeling that placing down Harvest markers at range, having very non-linear threat ranges, and also being a pain in the neck to put down, is quite good. Certainly Thresher really likes having the scarecrow around, as he puts down the Harvest markers for Thresher to use when he goes into the fray to power up his Don’t Fear The… and give him Poised. Jackstraw’s Harvest marker hopping makes that you can never expect where he’s gonna go on his activation. At full length, Jackstraw has a 8”+4x30mm+2”+8” threat on goal, which is somewhere between 22” and 23”. The fact that this is non-linear, and he can just teleport out of melee zones while going for his goal run, makes him very strong. Sure, he has only a TAC of 3, but Jacky’s not going to attack anyway, although momentous T on 1 and momentous KD on 3 are very nice results on Parting Blows.
Another 40% of the votes has been divided up between Ploughman and Windle.
Ploughman is nowadays considered as one of the most efficient Planters, providing the team with ample Harvest Markers via Planting Season and Fertile Soil, giving free Gliding via True Path, and being excellent in setting up a favorable scrum with his 2” melee zone, his Broken Earth play, and his momentous pushes and KD results.
Windle, on the other hand, is thé beater of the team. At only 2+/0 and 22 health points, he’s quite easy to take down, but his output is massive. He has an excellent playbook, has Berserk, and can spend a Harvest marker to give himself 1 influence and add +2”/+2” to his movement speed. His counter-attacks are also quite nifty, so you’ll usually need to knock him on his arse first, before laying into him. Also, he has Empathy, so you’ll not receive any momentum for damaging him. This means that Windle can’t be used as a momentum farm. If you don’t immediately take Windle out, he’ll just heal back up with Snack Break and Rest, getting 10 hit points back, which is almost half of his health pool!
Other votes went to Tater, Bushel and Veteran Honour.
With the Farmers not yet having access to their Minor Guild, not having access to Union, and not yet having their third captain or Free Cities Draft model, their roster is made up of only 13 models. This makes forming a tournament roster quite easy, as you’ll only have to leave a single model home.
The graph shows that either Veteran Honour, Fallow or Harrow grabs the shortest end of the stick. I’m expecting them to return as the main contenders for my follow up question. Having Veteran Honour here surprises me, as she received some votes as ‘most valuable squaddie’ just a moment ago… Still, when looking at the model itself, it’s understandable.
Not much to talk about here, I guess. I actually thought Grange’s pick rate would be much smaller, but I guess people still like bringing him along.
Holy hell, almost EVERYBODY received votes for this category. This is something I like to see, as it usually means that there are no clear problems in the balance of a Guild. Still though, some stand out; Fallow, Veteran Honour, Grange and Harrow.
Other votes are for Millstone, Ploughman, Buckwheat, Bushel, Windle and Tater.
Harrow is a support model and his stats support that claim. At only 3+ with no armour, 19 health (low for a Farmer), and no good counter-attack results, he’s quite the target. His support lies in bringing Harvest markers, giving better threat ranges with Marked Target, and having a regeneration aura with Rapid Growth. The problem with Harrow lies in how he is built to generate his Harvest markers; Harrow makes one via Planting Season, but Sow the Seeds is only activated through attacking enemy models. This means Harrow will be in the thick of things, which is not where he likes to be. Furthermore, his playbook is not that good; his damage track is 2-2-3 at TAC 5, his tackle is on 3, KD on 4, and his 2” reposition in also on column 4. Also, being a Planter, only his 3 damage result on column 5 is momentous. So basically, you don’t want to attack anyone with Harrow, unless you really want him to produce loads of Harvest markers. Marked Target has its uses in popping Resilience, or adding to Thresher or Windle’s threat, and Rapid Growth has its uses against condition-heavy teams, like the Alchemists or Rat Catchers. Harrow is very much a niche model. I’d not consider him a hard drop, but you’ll only see him in certain matchups.
Veteran Honour is another Planter. She’s quite slow (which is not unusual after having an extensive leg injury), has 3+ defense and 1 armour, and 17 hit boxes. Also having the Faithful Protector trait, somewhat makes her have 2 armour, as the opponent suffers -1 TAC. Putting Honour in cover virtually makes her a 3+ with 3 armour, which is very strong. With a momentous tackle on 1 result and momentous double push on 2, she has excellent counter-attacks. Sadly, she’s only a 1” melee with TAC 4, so you’ll not want her to do much attacking. As a Planter, she brings Planting Season and therefore brings a Harvest marker to the Pitch. Via Fields of Wheat, Honour brings a tool within the Guild to move a Harvest marker. While it sounds nice to have, it’s not very useful in the grand scheme of things. Usually, if you need to move your Harvest markers, you placed them wrongly in the first place, or your Reaper models have been repositioned. Her Legendary, Surpassing Strategy, basically works like Power of Voodoo, but only for non-Captain models. This basically means that Veteran Honour is a model that can do a tonne of work against teams that like to push your squad around. Tater is moved from his Harvest marker and Fork Off is turned off? Just move it back onto him and it’s back on, at no price. Someone is pulled into the enemy team and needs to get out? Put Cocksure on him (yes, Honour has this as well) to negate the KD on the Parting Blow and move them back to safety with the Legendary. Want Bushel to have some extra range on her goal run? Legendary. It has loads of uses. But basically this means that Honour is a model whose main use is dealing with the actions of the opponent; she’s quite reactive, while the Farmers team wants to be proactive. I feel that Honour is an excellent model to bring when first learning to play the Farmers, to be able to fix some of your mistakes, and she’ll be a nice tech piece against pushy Guilds. Her Legendary doesn’t work on Thresher, which is a major downside to her potential. (I don’t mind, though. Thresher with Power of Voodoo? Please no.)
Lastly, Fallow has the most votes, which makes her as the least valuable model within the Guild. But this is only with a quarter of the votes, which isn’t a lot, so there’s that. Fallow is a protective Reaper model, who likes to get stuck in and protect her teammates. Via Get Stuck In, Between a Rock… and Protective Instinct, she has all the tools to make sure that her opponent has to deal with her, before he can go for his actual target. At 5” jog and a 1” melee zone, this is a 6” bubble around Fallow to protect people, which is quite nice. The problem for Fallow is that she’s only a 1” melee at 4+ defense and no armour, which means that any model with decent pushes or dodges can just get out of her Protective Instinct. The nice thing about Protective Instinct is that it’s based on the enemy engaging her, not Fallow engaging the enemy, so a knockdown won’t work against it. Fallow is a 1” model with very nice counter-attacking options, but her With Age Comes Wisdom trait makes that she’s very vulnerable early in the turn. This can be used to your opponent’s advantage, as they can deal with her early in the turn and not receive any real repercussions from Fallow herself. Any 2” beater can handily beat her down, but that’s actually why she’s on the Pitch; you want people to hit her, as that means that your own payoff models are safe. Also, if your opponent doesn’t deal with Fallow, she’ll come in with a vengeance. Through Making Hay, she receives 2 influence every time she uses a Harvest Marker, so she’ll top herself off with 2 markers. If she’s your last activation, she’ll be a TAC 8 model with a 6 column long playbook, and a damage track of 223-34, which is quite decent. Fallow’s main problem, in my eyes, is this: she doesn’t do anything for Thresher. She brings no influence and brings a hefty tax on the Harvest marker pool, she’s more a protective model within quite a small bubble while Thresher is all about long range threats, and she plays the long game, while Thresher wants to either go fast or he himself be the last activation. I think the first reason is actually the most important, as other Reaper squaddies (Bushel, Tater) bring more for Thresher, while being less of an influence or marker sink. Fallow is very much a Grange squaddie, which means she’s an easy drop as almost everybody only plays Thresher nowadays.
I feel that Farmers are in an excellent position balance-wise. There’s only one problem; they’re considered as a one-captain Guild. Grange needs some love, either towards his survivability, and/or towards having a better direction for his team. I don’t think Fallow and Veteran Honour need any changes, as I feel that their play rate will go up when Grange is fixed, or if the third captain also vibes with their style of play; defensive and reactionary.
Do you agree with my statements? Or do you have some insights I might have missed? Please let me know!