Fishermen Breakdown

Fisherman’s Guild

As stated in the Butchers Breakdown, Guild Ball teams can usually be divided into three archetypes: take-outs, scoring and control. The Fishermen are the direct opposite of the Butchers; all they want is to score goals.

In season 3, the Fisherman’s Guild, and in particular Corsair, was considered as one of the top dogs on the scene. At the start of season 4, though, several Guilds were given loads of options to deal with the mobility and ball threat that goal teams had. Mostly due to the rise of the Hunters and Morticians, the Fishermen seem to have been struggling to keep up with the absolute best of the best. They’re now at sixth place, at a respectable 50.8% chance of winning, and a 2.3% standard deviation. To me, this seems that, within the entire game that is Guild Ball, the Fishermen are actually quite well balanced.

In season 4, the Fisherman’s Guild also received a new toy; their third captain, Yukai. Still, Corsair seems to be the absolute top dog of the Guild at 54.1%. Shark follows at a respectable 49.9%, and the new captain trails them at 45.9%. Yukai, while having the same goal as Shark, has a totally different, much more intricate gameplan, which might give rise to the somewhat lower winning percentage for the new captain. 

The Guild is absolutely awaiting their Free Cities Draft model, Knuckles, as it seems that he’ll be another fine addition to an already strong captain in Corsair. But let’s see what you guys think of the Guild as of now…

Obviously, most of you chose a mostly goal centric playstyle for the Fisherman’s Guild, but still 20% went for captain dependency. And rightly so, as Corsair can do some serious clobberin’! 

Nothing weird to see here, so I’d like to move on.

Another answer I expected from looking at the Longshanks data. It’s a near 50/50 vote between Corsair and Shark, with the former having a slight lead.

So, first of all, let’s talk Corsair. Proclaimed as ‘sumo-king’, Corsair teams do one thing very well; isolate targets, push them around and gang up on them, and beat them to a pulp one by one. Besides that, the likes of Fathom, Greyscales and Sakana still give strong goal threats, so the team can quite easily go 2-2. Corsair himself is nigh impossible to touch; pushes everywhere on his playbook, an easily attainable KD result, and he has the Tough Hide and Sturdy traits. Add Kraken’s Gravity Well and Protective Instinct into the mix, and you’ll never be able to touch him (unless you’re Veteran Boar, obviously). Usually, going for Corsair means breaking up this powerful sumo-duo, something that several models can do quite well, i.e. Scalpel. Trying to out-football Corsair also feels quite the uphill battle, as with Rough Seas, Ball’s Gone, Seduced, Fancy Footwork and Dread Gaze available, the Corsair team has enough options to retrieve the ball even from the best of ball killers or Close Control models, and they have their own ball-kill model in Greyscales. Basically, Corsair is always the right model to put down, except when your opponent can play the long game better. This means Corsair is usually the drop against the likes of Butchers, Hunters, Farmers and even Blacksmiths.

When you need to be fast, drop Shark. Shark is coined as ‘the goal machine’. If you activate him and you didn’t get a goal, you did something wrong. With a near 50% winning percentage, it’s obvious to see how polarising playing against Shark is. Either he makes it to 3 goals, or you’re able to stall him out long enough to capture the win. Shark himself is actually quite easy to use; you point him to where the ball is, or to where the goal is. The only problem Shark has, is that his tackle is non-momentous, so he’ll always have to attack twice before going for goal. With his only dodge having a massive 3 influence cost, if he gets disengaged upon before tackling the ball away, he’s got a problem. But this dodge, Tidal Surge, can also be targeted on enemy models; you’re able to basically get the enemy model out of cover to increase your odds of tackling the ball away. And since it is a dodge, you can break up cages quite easily. Lastly, Shark can be quite safe after doing his goal run. Ideally, you set him up for a last activation goal run, win the momentum race through momentous dodges and pop Caught in a Net on the start of turn 2, and go for another goal. I’d say he’d be the pick into teams like Falconers, Brewers, Hammer Masons and Alchemists.

Yukai are the newest captain of the Fisherman’s Guild; a coach, entirely based on not only your positioning, but also that of the opposing team. Swirling Waters is a non-OPT Hag-like dodge, Break the Surface places free balls, or enemy models which are blocking your way towards the ball. Beating Wings Over Water makes one of your models flying, ignoring Barriers and Obstructions, which opens up far more goal threat lanes. And lastly, Cormorant’s Calling lets you place an unengaged model for just over 20”. This last one, together with their last trait Last Cast Catches the Most, makes for some very janky plays, as this last trait basically states that the Fisherman’s activation won’t end after scoring a goal. This means that it’s technically possible to score twice in a single activation! How would you set this up? Angel sets up Super Shot. Yukai get the ball and use Cormorant’s Calling to move Angel into Snap Shot position. They pass towards Angel, make the Snap Shot, and can afterwards still move and threaten 10” around them to get the ball back; 14” with Break the Surface, 16” with Break the Surface. Another possibility: Fathom scores, ball gets kicked out, Fathom didn’t have to declare the Linked activation as her activation hadn’t ended yet; if the ball is near Angel, Fathom declares Linked and Angel retrieves the ball and scores another goal. The problem in playing Yukai lies in the setup; your positioning, and most of all the opponent’s positioning is key for success. Where usually Shark would be able to retrieve any ball, Yukai won’t be able to get it back that easily, and relies heavily on their squaddies for ball retrieval. With lots of strong Guilds getting ball killing options nowadays, it seems Yukai have their work cut out for them.

In my mind, there’s actually nothing wrong with the Fisherman’s captains. They each have their own place, and I guess people are still figuring Yukai out, as they have so much raw potential. Would you agree with me, or do you have other thoughts on the matter?

The vote for most valuable mascot is heavily in favour of Tentacles.

Tentacles is a very diverse mascot; for a Fisherman mascot quite slow, but with an easy tackle, Close Control, a 2/6” kick, and having access to Blind. Also, Tag Along helps with getting the squid upfield faster. Also, yes, you heard it right, a 2/6” kick. Morticians are scratching their eyes out, having Obulus and Veteran Hemlocke as some of their main goal threats and those having the same kick stats.

When looking at Tentacles, Salt actually does… virtually nothing. She’s fast, like SUPER fast. 9” sprint, Where’d They Go for another 4” dodge, and Angel’s Get Over Here for another 7” dodge, adding up to a total of 20” of movement possible for the little girl. But that’s basically it. Salt was initially created as being a mascot goal threat, but she only has a 2/4” kick. Loved Creature should give her a bit more security, but a TAC buff isn’t all that important for a goal-scoring Guild. Oh, and she’s 1” melee, whereas Tentacles has 2”. So yeah, the main question you should be asking yourselves is: why would I give 2-3 influence to my mascot to score a goal, if I have 3-4 other squaddies and/or a captain who can do the same, but more efficient?

What are your thoughts on making Salt more ‘viable’? I mean, she’s perfectly fine as is, but she’s a bit too… Shark-y, too one-dimensional. Thoughts?

The most valuable Fisherman squaddie by a figurative mile isn’t even a Fisherman’s Guild member. It’s Fathom, the Navigator squaddie with a larger goal threat than even Shark. Other votes are cast towards Angel, Greyscales, Hag, Kraken, Sakana, Veteran Sakana and Veteran Siren. Actually, the only ones not receiving votes are Jac, Siren and Horizon.

While this huge diversity in votes is amazing to see, as it shows me that in-Guild balance is quite good, almost 60% of the votes going towards Fathom is quite problematic. Let’s zoom in on the Navigator striker.

8” sprint, 2” melee, Acrobatics, Light Footed and the Waverunner heroic adds up to a native 16” threat on the ball, or a native 22” threat on goal. Also, being a Navigator, her 2/8” kick can figuratively be seen as a 4/8”, as she can reroll those dice anyway. Lastly, she has a momentous T<< on her fourth column. Normally, you’d say that this result would be hard to get to, but then you have to remember those rerolls. If she’s charging against a regular 4+/1, she has an 88.6% chance of getting to that result. Bonus Timing that charge would even give you a near 61% chance of wrapping towards the second column tackle, thereby ignoring Close Control. Just this would justify bringing her along as a goal threat, but she brings even more. Smelling Salts protects the Guild against condition teams, like the Alchemists or Rats, and she has the ability to declare a Linked activation together with Angel, one of the best linear goal threats that the Guild has access to with her Super Shot 5/10” kick. With Angel nowadays also having a momentous T< on her first column, she can also quite handily retrieve the ball after Fathom scored and the ball was kicked into her direction.

Greyscales received 10% of the votes. Greyscales is one of the most elusive models within the game due to his 2” melee Unpredictable Movement, Decoy and having a << on his second column for an excellent counter-attack. Also, he brings Ball’s Gone, which is an answer to Close Control. With his 7” sprint, Where’d They Go 4” dodge and a 6” kick, he has a respectable native threat on goal of 17”. Usually, Greyscales is the ball retriever, who can stay safe for a while after retrieving said ball. 

Kraken received 8% of the votes, which might mostly be attributed to him being Corsair’s sumo-buddy. Corsair wouldn’t be as strong as he is right now without Kraken protecting him from harm through Gravity Well, Protective Instinct and having an excellent playbook for controlling opposing models. Kraken has access to Drag as well, so either him or Corsair can be used to set up beatdowns.

6% of the votes go to Angel. Angel is one of the best snap shot turrets within the game, becoming a 6+ DEF with Nimble, and having a 5/10” kick stat through Super Shot. Playing her basically means that your opponent has to deal with her or face the consequences, which decreases the imminent threat on your other models.

When looking at the tournament rosters, the big losers are Salt, Horizon and Jac, which I’m expecting to see for my last category. Big winners are Tentacles, Greyscales, Hag, Kraken, Veteran Sakana and Fathom. This graph also shows me that the captain choices usually are Corsair with either Shark or Yukai.

So erm… it seems everybody here received votes for being the least valuable player? This is something absolutely unprecedented, and shows me how spread apart the ideas about the Guild are. There might not be a clear consensus on which models are the absolute best.

The ‘winners’ of this category are Salt, Horizon, Jac and Angel. While Salt is to be expected, Angel is quite surprising as 6% of you also decided that she was the most valuable member of the squad.

Other votes were cast onto everyone, except for Tentacles, Kraken, Veteran Sakana and Fathom. Even the likes of Corsair and Greyscales received at least one vote.

Horizon is an interesting model to say the least. Being the first ‘mascot-squaddie’, he brings a native 17” threat on goal, but will mostly be used as a snapshot turret after having been taken out. Said take-out will only result into 1 VP for the opponent through his Don’t Get Cocky trait, and he’ll also then be able to get back into play from the opponent’s deployment zone! Also, he’ll bring Unexpected Arrival, so can break up scrums quite easily on a charge. He has his uses, but they’re so janky and niche that it’s to be expected that he is considered as a possible drop from the roster.

Jac is a model that was designed to soak up all of the threat, and therefore keep your other models safe, as can be seen by his Goad character play. Nowadays though, he just wants to push people around, even his own teammates. Battering Ram, Trident Tested and momentous pushes on his playbook attest to this, but that’s basically the only thing he does. Corsair and Kraken do this job better, and Jac actually is quite the target, being a 3+/1 and only having 19 health points and no real defensive tech other than Resolute. As he also has no real defense against pushes, putting him on the edge of the Pitch will usually also result in him leaving the field as well. Clearly, another easy drop from the roster for most people.


And there we are, another Guild done. The Fishermen seem to be in quite a nice place at the moment. They don’t really have any models that need priority for the upcoming 4.2 patch. Maybe Salt needs some love, or Fathom can be tuned down a tad, but that’s all really.

I’m actually quite happy about these results, and really commend Steamforged on a job well done. The Fish have been described as being a nuisance to play against since the start of season 3, and they seem to have been downtuned enough to still be competitive, but not as overwhelming as before. Excellent!

Do you agree with me on this statement? Any other thoughts? Let me know!