Free Cities Draft – Amber & My Thoughts on the First Wave

In the previous two posts, we looked at the first four spoiled FCD rookies. Gaffer and Edge both showed great potential, but at the cost of being very fragile – something that seems to be a trend amongst the rookies.

After discussing the last rookie of this first wave, I’ll also give my thoughts on these rookies, and what they will bring to their respective Guilds.

AMBER

The last of the Free Cities Draft rookies to be spoiled in this first wave is the winner of the draft process – Amber, the new attacking midfielder for the Farmer’s Guild.

Amber’s card can easily be discerned to be a Reaper. The 1/4 influence stat, and the momentous 2 damage on 1 hit are very telling. Amber is a nippy model, with a 5″ jog, 8″ sprint and having a 2″ melee zone. At TAC 5 and a 5-column long with a 2-234 damage track – all momentous! – she follows the same progression as Tater. Defensively, she’s a 4+ with no armour and a massive 18 hit points, as Farmers usually tend to have chunky health pools. You would think that the momentous tackle on 2, together with the character play Swerve Shot (ignore intervening models when kicking), would make Amber a nice ball threat as well, if not for her 2/6″ kick.

GB-S4-Farmers-Amber.png
Amber’s card front

The back of Amber’s card is where things start to make sense. Left Boot gives her a +1/+2″ kick increase when removing a harvest marker, enhancing it to a mighty 3/8″ – or even 4/10″ with Grange. She can even kick the ball once for free, after activating the trait. It seems that the design team has taken a gander at Ballista’s Breach! play and disassembled it into little pieces – kick range increase, ignoring intervening models, kicking for free, it’s all there!

The other trait on her card is One of Our Own, which states that if a friendly non-mascot model is taken out within 6″ of Amber, she will get +2 TAC for the remainder of the turn. This means she’ll be TAC 7 on a 5-column long playbook. A nice little nod towards her Brewer heritage!

Amber’s card back


Amber is very much the first all-round Reaper, whereas all others were specialized in one way or another. I can see Amber filling up a lot of spots when squads don’t need a particular niche filled. She might be a regular alongside Grange, as together with Bushel, Jackstraw and Buckwheat, that team can have 4 (!) 10″ kick models.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE FIRST WAVE OF FREE CITIES DRAFT ROOKIES

When thinking about the word rookie, I think about a player that has great potential, but doesn’t have the experience of all the grizzled veterans yet. It seems that the Steamforged design team has chosen to go for this same definition as well, as most of their first wave rookies show potential for crazy plays, but also lack some of the survivability that the veterans are known for. Great examples of this idea are Amber, Layne, Edge, Gaffer and, to some extent, Cutlass – models that can be impactful on the game in their own specialized way, but will be battered down very easily if they position themselves erratically. In a way, this concept actually balances them quite nicely. I wouldn’t want to make any statements about their viability in top-table competitive play yet, but I can see them being picked up for tournament rosters.

But then there is Knuckles. At 3+/1, Resilience and 19 hit points, he surely isn’t the most tanky character in the game, but his readily available pushes and knockdowns, and the fact that he’s in a Guild alongside the likes of Yukai, Corsair and Kraken, make sure that anyone trying to bring him down will need to invest a large amount of resources to do so. Sure, Amber has Fallow to protect her, Edge can keep herself safe with the Hunter’s traps, Gaffer is in a Guild that says ‘no’ for a living, and Cutlass can make use of all the defensive tech there is available for the Smiths (Sentinel anyone?), but without all of this defensive tech, they fall quite fast. Knuckles doesn’t. Oh, but Hat, Knuckles doesn’t impact the game as strongly as the other rookies! Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Backfield Presence, Close Ranks, Heavy Tackle and Lightning Reflexes make him a total menace for goal scoring teams, while his 3 and 4 damage on the playbook make him a valuable asset for a Corsair beat ’em up playstyle into beater teams. He can readily be played with either of the Fisherman’s captains, and I have yet to find a match-up where I’d not want this man on the field. Of all of the rookies, Knuckles, for me, breaks the initial concept, and I guess the Fishies can be called the actual winner of the draft – for this first wave of models anyway.

Anyway, today’s the day for the 4.2 errata. I’ll see you guys soon with my hot takes on the changes!

Hat signing off.