Hey all! I’d like to converse my hot takes on the changes of the 4.2 errata to you. I’ll be starting with the changes to the entire game, and will go through Guilds in alphabetical order after. This first part will describe the Alchemist’s, Blacksmith’s, Brewer’s, Butcher’s and Cook’s Guilds.
In their blog-post on Sunday, Steamforged released general changes to the game, which I will discuss here as well.
First of all, starting Monday the 12th of August, Guilds will be unable to bring Union mercenaries for their tournament rosters. While this might seem unfair to those that could still bring them (Alchemists, Brewers, Masons), it does open up space for the design team to finally rework the Union to it’s former glory. I for one am glad that they decided to not wait until the Alchemist, Brewer and Mason minor Guilds were released, as the Union was becoming a non-factor within the game, although I would have greatly preferred to have seen those released already.
Also, some rules have been reworded, and these changes have been added to the FAQ. Vitriol’s Clone ability now reads like Resilience, Corker’s Legless Drunk can’t be used during an advance, and Veteran Chisel’s Adaptive Strategy now is stated as a pulse. These are all wording issues, and I’ll not go over them in great detail.
Finally, the Charmed rule has been removed from the game. Political correctness set aside, the rule has always been quite bipolar. Models were either too fragile (i.e. Flint against females, Harrow against non-Animals) or too strong (Tater against females, Brisket against males). The following changes have been made to the cards to make up for the removal of the Charmed trait:
- Brisket: +1 HP
- Harrow: +1 DEF, -2 HP
- Tater: +2 HP
- Siren: +1 DEF
- Flint: +1 DEF
- Snakeskin: +1 DEF
For me, it seems like Brisket and Tater have drawn the short end of the stick, while the rest are given a nice buff.
The Alchemists seem to have fallen on hard times. No Minor Guild announcement, no FCD Rookie, no third captain; they just want something new and exciting to play with. They are feeling forgotten; so much so, that the Alchemist subforum has actually become a meme for being a salty, pitchfork-raising mob at times. I’m pretty sure that this errata will bring a smile to their faces.
From his Season 1 True Replication days to the Season 3 striker hegemony of the Alchemists and Fishermen, Midas has always been a point of interest for the design team. He either is too strong, or doesn’t bring enough to the table to even be considered as competitively viable. Season 4 showed us that Smoke is still considered very much as thé captain, even after the 4.1 buffs to Midas’ playbook, his Lure of Gold character play and his Fulmination trait. The 4.2 changes to Midas are in line with the 4.1 changes; a stronger playbook, a stronger character play and a stronger trait or play on the back of his card.
This time, Midas finally gets his momentous tackle on 1, as is usual for strikers since the start of season 4. He hasn’t received a T< result due to his Fulmination trait, I’d hazard. Also, his momentous >>< on 6 has been changed into a momentous >><< on 6, buffing his options when he’s hitting those high numbers. Thirdly, Acrobatics has been changed into Where’d They Go?!, which is huge, as he now has access to momentous 5″ dodge on 3 in addition to the flat 2″ increase in range.
The last change is to his Legendary play, Magnum Opus. Before, it stated that enemy models within 6″ would receive the Burning and Poisoned conditions. Now, they’ve also added that any friendly models within the pulse gain the benefit of the Fulmination trait, which means that friendly models gain a dodge on each of their attacks. For me, this opens up a lot of mobility for the team, but I’m also quite hesitant in calling this an actual buff. Midas is often found in the middle of the action, so the effect to his opponents should be usable quite often, but as one of the more fragile Guilds, the Alchemists also tend to spread out somewhat. I feel that this means that it’s going to be hard to be able to affect both his opponents ánd his own squadmates with the pulse. But if it works? Ohhhh boy… It certainly adds a lot of versatility to the old boy.
Yes, Midas has been buffed to now being one of the best strikers in the game, but will it affect his playrate? Only time will tell.
- Non-momentous T on 1 –> Momentous T on 1
- Momentous >>< on 6 –> Momentous >><< on 6
- Addition of Where’d They Go?! character play
- Removal of Acrobatics character play
- Additional effect to Magnum Opus: friendly models within 6″ of Midas gain the Fulmination trait.
Almost everyone that has played Alchemist can tell you one thing: Veteran Katalyst is useless in his 4.0 iteration. Steamforged seems to agree and has given some great buffs to the big man. His playbook has been improved with easier pushes, knockdowns and early momentous damage results. Together with that, Burst of Fumes has received a 100% damage increase, now dealing 2 condition damage after every successful attack. This means that VetKat can deal an easy 12 damage against a 4+/1 on a jog, and 6 to any other models within his melee zone, without any setup. After some setup, Veteran Katalyst is a nice first activation to remove one or two models off of the Pitch.
The main downside to VetKat were his victim defensive statistics. At only 2+/1, the big lug was usually used as a momentum farm. The design team has now given Katalyst easier pushes and knockdowns to be able to disengage himself from any unwanted fights, and if he can’t get away, the enemy models will be punished for not immediately taking him out via Toxicity. This new trait will cause any enemy model still engaging Veteran Katalyst at the end of their activation to suffer 2 damage and the poison condition – a trait much like Pelage’s Grim Caress.
I feel that Veteran Katalyst has gone from ‘literally unplayable’ to ‘this model has some potential when positioned correctly’. At least he is back to being the largest damage threat on the Alchemists again, which to me is great. If I’d ever play Alchemists, I’m certainly going to try him out in a 2-2 Midas list.
- +2 HP
- Non-momentous 1 on 1 –> Momentous 1 on 1
- Momentous > on 2 –> Momentous > on 1
- Non-momentous KD on 4 –> Non-momentous KD on 2
- Momentous >> on 4 –> Non-momentous >> on 3
- Non-momentous T on 5 –> Non-momentous T on 4
- Non-momentous Cup on 6 –> Momentous Cup on 6
- Burst of Fumes damage increased from 1 to 2
- Addition of Toxicity trait
The Blacksmith’s Guild has had a good track record as of late. Top table players are calling them ‘god tier in the hands of a skilled player’. Still though, they’re quite a challenge to play correctly, and therefore lesser skilled players will usually flounder and balance the win-rate out to around 50%. The fact that the Guild has such a high ceiling, but also a high entry point, might give the design team some headaches in choosing which models to balance, and for what reasoning. Luckily, with the latest addition of Fraser McFetridge to the Steamforged Design team, they have an actual Blacksmith master in their midst. Let’s see what that did for the team…
First off, it was apparent that Anvil was considered as the best and strongest Master of the Forge option. Mostly his Legendary turn could be oppressive and negate anything that the opponent would want to achieve. Due to this, the design team has chosen to grab the buffs his Legendary hands out, and divide them into a buff for Masters and one for Apprentices. Whereas Tested Mettle would first grant Stoic and Tough Hide to any friendly model within 6″, the Masters are now granted Stoic and the Apprentices Tough Hide. This means that, while Apprentices are still somewhat harder to take out, you at least are able to push them out of their protective auras, i.e. Sentinel. While this change may reduce the oppressive game state that Anvil brought to some match-ups, I feel that some already hard match-ups for the smiths, i.e. Scalpel, have now become even harder. Lastly, Anvil has lost a single point of health.
- -1 HP
- Tested Mettle reworked. Now grants Stoic to Masters and Tough Hide to Apprentices.
Coined as the second best Blacksmiths captain, and most likely thé best when receiving the ball, Farris always granted a major increase in the team’s mobility when being the Captain through Ride Off. To make this extra mobility a tad more constrained, and to decrease her own goal scoring potential somewhat, the design team has decided to remove the kick range bonus from the Legendary play.
I feel that this change will affect the Blacksmith’s receiving strength quite a bit. Especially goal-focused squads will suffer. I’m expecting to see a bit more of Ferrite now, although I’m not sure. I guess time will tell.
- Ride Off kick range bonus reduced from +2″ to +0″
Being the absolute powerhouse of the Guild, Sledge has always been a point of discussion for being ‘too strong to deal with’. To make him a tad more fragile, and less oppressive to 1″ melee models, Steamforged has decided to reduce Sledge’s melee zone from 2″ to 1″. I feel that this change will have a huge effect on mostly his defensive capabilities. Powerful Charge will still protect him from any counterattacks. Sledge will just be much harder to keep safe after he goes in, as he will no longer be able to poke his hammer in between two masters he is hiding behind.
- Melee Zone reduced from 2″ to 1″
Throughout Season 4, the Brewers have been staying around the middle of the pack. They are quite easy to play, but they can perform nice feats of strength in the hands of a capable player. As a ‘starter Guild’, I’m expecting to see the Guild being made more straightforward. Let’s see if I am correct in this notion…
I must say that I’m quite surprised that captain Tapper will see some changes, but I guess that I’m happy he is. Tapper, in my book, has always been a solid captain; a real frontline captain, the head of the vanguard. Whereas Esters more or less likes to pull people in using Veteran Decimate, and Corker likes to bide his time and stock up on Beer tokens, Tapper has always been the more aggressive “we’re going in” choice, and I liked him for it.
With the 4.2 changes, we can see that Marked Target is back on the menu, and it came back with a vengeance! Tapper can now also use the play via his playbook through his 1GB result on a single hit! Also, his triple push result on 5 has been changed to a momentous 3>>, which leads to Tapper still being able to push people towards his own squaddies, while also dishing out decent damage. Did I also mention that Tapper has gained 2 HP, now having 20 hit points? The man is a true juggernaut!
On the back of his card, Tapper has gained the new Barroom Brawl trait, which states that his squadmates can charge enemy models within Tapper’s melee zone for 1 influence. This trait, together with Marked Target, basically makes him captain Veteran Minx! Lastly, Old Jake’s range has been increased by 2″, making it less awkward for Tapper to go in onto the enemy lines and still be in range to hand out some influence through this heroic play. I’d say Tapper is awesome right now, and I’d have a hard time deciding which two captains I’d bring to tournaments if I’d be playing Brewers…
- +2 HP
- Non-momentous 1 on 1 –> Non-momentous 1GB on 1
- Momentous >>> on 5 –> Momentous 3>> on 5
- Addition of Marked Target character play
- Removal of Stand Firm character play
- Addition of Barroom Brawl trait
- +2″ range for Old Jake’s
With the latest addition of Corker to the Brewers squad, Stoker has seen a small rise in playrate, as chucking free Flame Jets around seemed nice. Still though, his playbook let him down, only having 2 damage on 3 and 3 damage on 4. Steamforged have now given him a serious buff by switching his tackle and 2 damage results around, and also giving him the Searing Strike trait, effectively making Flame Jet a 3 DMG, Burning and -1 ARM ability. After the free Flame Jet, Stoker can now go in onto a 4+ and hit four times for 3 damage a pop, which results in a massive total of 15 damage, taking out loads of 4+/1 squaddies. Non-momentously, yes, but you still get the take-out. Lastly, they buffed his Heroic, making Stoker a 6″/8″ when activating it. Consider this with Esters and Spigot also giving him Quick Foot, Tooled Up and Time’s Called for a possible 11-13″ threat with +1 or +2 DMG on each hit. I feel that Stoker now has a decent shout to be present in the 12.
- Non-momentous 2 on 3 –> Non-momentous 2 on 2
- Non-momentous T on 2 –> Non-momentous T on 3
- Addition of Searing Strike trait
- Human Ball of Fire gains +1″/+1″ MOV added effect.
Home of the 4.1 Boogie Man himself. The Butchers are the absolute leaders of the game. The strength of Veteran Boar has caused an even bigger surge in the amount of Butcher games played, as can regularly been seen in the Beardmini’s Snowflake report. It would be nice if the Guild would be toned down a tad; not to nerf them into the ground, but just to make it harder to grab the win against an evenly skilled player…
So, let’s start with the Boogie Man himself, captain Veteran Boar. I actually applaud the design team with the changes for this model. He has been touched in such a way, that he’s less of a monster on the pitch, but can still be quite impactful. He’s been made a tad slower, a tad less meaty, and now has to choose whether to go for actual damage results or for his Character Plays. Also, he brings 1 less influence, so he pays for himself ánd for the Blood Lust cost. He can still absolutely delete models in a single activation, just not all of them anymore. Important models that will now survive his onslaught are i.e. 5+ DEF captains with 14 HP (Midas, Fillet, Pin Vice, Yukai, Skatha, Mourn, Windfinder, Piper), Anvil, Hammer under vHarmony, and Seenah. 2″ models with strong counterattacks, i.e. Veteran Decimate, will now also have more chance to survive the onslaught. “Still strong, but not as oppressive” seems to be the concept for this nerf. Has the design team hit home? Only time will tell…
- -1″/-1″ MOV
- -2 HP
- -1/-0 INF
- Non-momentous 1GB on 2 –> Non-momentous GB on 2
- Non-momentous 4GB on 5 –> Non-momentous 1GB on 5
The removal of Charmed from Brisket and only gaining a single point of HP will be tough for the little lass. 13 HP makes her one of the least survivable squaddies with 4+/1 defenses, although it makes sense for her being a Butcher, and therefore being a ‘glass cannon’. Still, receiving the ball and scoring with Brisket for +2 INF on the following turn is an amazing result. She’s just become less good of a ball killer, but the Butchers have just received Close Control Layne for that purpose, I feel.
- +1 HP
- Removal of Charmed trait
The minor buff to Quick Time is nice for Veteran Brisket, but the influence efficiency value that her original version brings might still edge her out of contention for the 6, maybe even the 12 now that Layne has arrived. This model needs something more, and I guess we’ll have to wait until the 4.3 errata hits for that to happen.
- Quick Time cost reduced from 2 to 1
As Steamforged had already mentioned in their own blog, the Cooks were playtested using the Season 3 ruleset, which led to them being behind the curve upon release. With this errata, the design team is hoping to pull up the Guild from the absolute depths of the Longshanks rankings. Let’s see what they’ve done to realize this…
The captain for the Cook’s Guild has received quite a number of buffs, which I’m sure he’s nothing but thankful for. Getting 1 extra HP isn’t thát impactful, but Scathing Rebuke no longer hurts the models it’s been used on, Chef’s Special has had a 2″ range increase to 4″, and now also works on Character Plays (i.e. Intensify, indirectly buffing Spice), and lastly his momentous 2>< on 5 has been changed to a massive momentous 4 on 5.
Basically, the Cooks don’t have to bunch up as tightly anymore, which might help them spread out the damage even more. For me, the change to Scathing Rebuke is massive; the Cooks have always had low life totals, and losing those 2 HP was a real problem more often than not. Also, having that 4 damage result makes that Wellington is also rewarded for rolling those high numbers.
- +1 HP
- Chef’s Special +2″ range
- Momentous 2>< on 5 –> Momentous 4 on 5
- Scathing Rebuke no longer damages models
Pepper hasn’t changed much. It has gained a free attack in Feral, but also lost a point to it’s maximum influence allocation. Nothing much to talk about.
- Gains Feral trait
- -0/-1 INF
While her little buddy Pepper hasn’t changed all that much, Spice herself hás. Her playbook has massive been improved to also deal decent single target damage, and this is indirectly further improved by Wellington’s Chef’s Special and Singled Out. Also, Chef’s Special works on Intensify now, so her AoE damage potential is quite something.
The last change to her card is the switch from Get Over Here to Assist with Pepper. While Spice’s damage will absolutely go through the roof when both Chef’s Special and Assist are ‘on’, the Guild hás indirectly lost some mobility. One method of using Get Over Here was to move the buff auras around, making sure that every model of the Guild could have that 1 influence charges or that +2″/+2″ MOV increase. The Spice/Pepper combo has become much more linear, and I’m not sure if that is for the best…
- Non-momentous 1< on 2 –> Non-momentous 1< on 1
- Momentous 2 on 3 –> Momentous 2 on 2
- Non-momentous T on 4 –> Non-momentous T on 3
- Momentous 3 on 5 –> Momentous 3 on 4
- Addition of momentous 4 on 5
- Removal of Get Over Here! trait
- Addition of Assist trait.
Sugar has also seen quite some changes. First off all, that juicy +2″ range increase to her kick makes her a real goal threat, but that is offset by the -2″ range change to the bonus of Icing on the Cake. Sugar is still a massive 5/10″ threat as a Snapshot turret, but can more easily score goals on her own now. She has also received Wellington’s Chef Special, which means that the Cooks can now spread out their +1 DMG buff over an even larger area. Also, making her 3 damage result on column 4 momentous rewards the player for rolling high numbers when attacking with Sugar.
Another update to her card is changing Fire Blast into a new character play, Chilli Cook Out – basically a higher damage Fire Blast, but at close range. It also works together quite nicely with Chef’s Special, resulting in a huge 5 damage spike in a 3″ area of effect.
Sadly, Sugar loses Is Something Burning?. Again, it seems that the design team is wanting to make the team more linear in its approach through massive amounts of damage, but sacrificing janky mobility plays to attain that. This means that Sugar will not have that nice 4″ dodge after setting someone on fire anymore.
- +0/+2″ KICK
- -0/-2″ KICK bonus for Icing on the Cake
- Non-momentous 3 on 4 –> Momentous 3 on 4
- Addition of Chef’s Special character play
- Addition of Chilli Cook Out character play
- Removal of Fire Blast character play
- Removal of Is Something Burning? trait
CONCLUSION PART 1
For now, I’d say that the Alchemists have had a major buff, as their weaker match-ups have just become less of a problem. Also, Veteran Katalyst is back in the 12 for sure. I can see them being picked more often from now on.
The Blacksmiths have received a blow, but I think it’s not going to blow them out of the upper tiers. They’ll maybe not be S-tier anymore, but certainly A-tier.
The Brewers should rejoice. Having a third viable captain, and Corker getting a new, strong model to play around with makes me think that they’ll see (even) more than before.
The nerf to Veteran Boar is quite strong, after thinking about it somewhat. Not being able to just remove certain important models from the field will open up more counterplay. They’ll still be a strong Guild, but I think they’ve just been bumped out of first place. Bandwagoners are most likely going to jump onto Cooks, or the next best thing (most likely Farmers, Masons or Morticians).
The changes to the Cook’s Guild are good, but I regret seeing the loss of some of their mobility jank. But I guess minor Guilds have always been designed to be linear in their approach to victory. Time will tell if these changes will have the desired effect, but I feel that they’ll certainly be closer to the middle of the pack. At least their playrate will increase massively, as I suspect loads of Butcher players will try something else now that their favorite toy has been besmirched.
Next time, I will be talking about the changes to the Engineer’s, Falconer’s, Farmer’s, Fisherman’s and Hunter’s Guilds. See you then!