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 third part will contain the Mason’s, Miner’s, Mortician’s, Navigator’s and Ratcatcher’s Guilds.
Since the rise of Corbelli, the Masons have been thriving and doing well and/or winning major tournaments. Just look at the Australian Nationals, the German Nationals, the GG WTC Proving Grounds, the Summer Ball at the Forge, Vengeance 5, need I go on? Also, Corbelli has taken over Veteran Boar’s position of being thé captain to go for. I feel that a (small) nerf is due, but only if the First Lady of Guild Ball will be touched as well. She has been down in the dumps for far too long…
And touch up on Honour they did! Some small changes to her playbook, but more importantly her character plays, will likely see her get more play time. The reduced cost to Quick Time and the non-momentous KD coming down a column are nice, but the most important changes are the momentous 1 on 1 and the reduced cost for Superior Strategy.
The momentous 1 on 1 means that Honour will always have a useful result to generate momentum with, which is very important. Superior Strategy‘s influence cost has gone down, from 4 to 2! The play doesn’t hand out the extra influence anymore, though, so you could say that it’s cost has gone down from 4 to 3. But it means that, for 2 influence, Honour squads will ALWAYS have a seventh activation, which could be major against known last-to-first activation teams. While these changes are nice, I’m not sure they’ll be enough to get Corbelli or Hammer out of the twelve. I’m hoping that at least her sister and Marbles will also get looked at, as these changes won’t be enough.
- Non-momentous 1 on 1 –> Momentous 1 on 1
- Non-momentous KD on 5 –> Non-momentous KD on 4
- Quick Time cost reduced to 1 from 2
- Superior Strategy cost reduced to 2 from 4. Play no longer allocates an influence to the target.
Speak of the devil, here’s the absolute leader of the pack. Corbelli has actually been the #1 captain on the Longshanks leaderboards, overtaking Shaft and Veteran Boar. He’s taken the game of Guild Ball by storm, and it seems that he would’ve been the new fearmonger, if not taken down a peg in this errata.
After having played against him, I’m glad to see he has been nerfed to a more normal power level. The way Corbelli’s legendary play, Playing the Game, worked before the 4.2 patch virtually meant you would start the game 8-0 up, which felt very oppressive for many other Guilds. That’s mainly why they’ve removed the ability to strip the ball from enemy models from this legendary play. This way, Corbelli actually has to put in some work to get that ball back, and not just push some lazy cheat-button.
Lastly, his momentous 2 result has been taken up a column. This means that Corbelli has to get some help now to reach that 12 damage – or 18 with Tooled Up or Assist – which seems fair for a striker captain.
I’m actually very happy that the design team hasn’t touched Making Space, honestly one of the most fun abilities that this game has ever seen. And totally fair, in my opinion, as the trait does nothing when your team doesn’t have possession of the ball. I think Corbelli is still quite strong; he’ll just have to flex his muscles a bit more to get to the same results he was used to.
- Momentous 2 on 2 –> Momentous 2 on 3
- Playing the Game legendary play no longer targets enemy models with the ball.
Marbles’ main problem was his dependency on Brick, and with Brick not being played that often anymore since his melee zone decrease, Marbles’ playrate has also suffered in favour of Wrecker. In my opinion, the design team has hit the nail on the head by removing this dependency and just giving Marbles the Counter Charge trait. This makes him protect his squaddies better, makes him a cheap goalie, and more importantly, Honour now finally has her pet bodyguard!
- Addition of Counter Charge trait
- Removal of Go Ape trait
In my Mason Breakdown article, I talked about removing the range dependency on Family, as Rivet almost had the same trait and gave it to her entire team. I think that the changes that the design team have actually made to Harmony are even better, as they also make her a relevant squaddie for Hammer and Corbelli.
Increasing her TAC, KICK and HP, and revamping her playbook to five columns, while still keeping the Family trait in my eyes is a master stroke. Now, she can be a nice winger model for Corbelli, so he has three goal threats, or debuffer for Hammer, to get rid of some high ARM values. But when played with Honour is when she really goes online, as she gets a Brewer playbook, and that ever juicy 4 kick dice to play with. Also, knowing that Superior Strategy has also become more efficient, making Linked plays has never felt better. Welcome back to the 12, girl!
- +2 HP
- +2 TAC
- +1/+0″ KICK
- Non-momentous 1 on 1 –> Momentous 1 on 1
- Momentous GB on 3 –> Momentous GB on 2
- Non-momentous 2GB on 5 –> Non-momentous GB on 4
- Removal of non-momentous 4 on 6
When I saw the card, one sentence kept repeating in my mind…
THEY DID IT! THEY DID IT! THEY DID IT!
I’d like to show an excerpt from my Masons Breakdown article: “…rework him into being a bruiser and take away Counter Charge. I’m thinking Sledge’s Powerful Charge, I’m thinking upping his influence cap to 4. He at least needs a playbook change, as it needs loads of pushes. Bring him up to 5”/7” MOV and add an ARM to his defensive stats, or keep the 2+/2 and 4”/6” but at least give him his 2” melee zone back…” It was kind of eerie to see how precise I was with my predictions…
If there’s anything that might persuade me to come back to playing Masons, this guy is it. Alongside all the changes to Honour, Marbles and Harmony, I’ve kind of fallen back in love with the Guild. This version of Brick can be used in various different ways; his early results make him an ideal first activation as setup for the output models, and his massive 4 damage on 5 can also make him a last activation damage dealer, if push comes to shove. That 3+Cup result on 4 is extremely juicy on certain Furious models or strikers that need their influence for a goal run. Oh, and don’t forget that Brick can easily push someone 6″-7″ using Knockback, so ring-outs are an option as well.
Brick is not only useful on his activation, but also outside of it due to Gravity Well and the new Fulcrum character play. Proper placement of the big lad will protect any of your other models, especially against 1″ melee threats. And trying to take him down will be futile at best – 19 HP, 3 Armour, Tough Hide, Knockback counterattacks with easy early single and double pushes or knockdowns. Add in Tower’s Protect Those Close, Veteran Harmony’s Team Player or Granite’s Close Ranks, and it’s virtually impossible to take him down. I feel like Anvil has some fierce competition as to who’s the hardiest model in the game. The only problem I can see with Brick, is that he now needs influence to work properly, losing his battery status for a Guild that already has a figurative boatload of greedy models, but that’s something we can work around.
- +1″/+1″ MOV
- +1/+0″ KICK
- +1 ARM
- +0/+1 INF
- Removal of non-momentous 1 on 1
- Addition of momentous > on 1
- Momentous KD on 3 –> Momentous KD on 1
- Addition of momentous >> on 2
- Removal of non-momentous 3 on 4
- Non-momentous 3+Cup on 5 –> Non-momentous 3+Cup on 4
- Addition of Fulcrum character play
- Addition of Gravity Well trait
- Removal of Counter Charge trait
In a world with models like Scalpel, Veteran Cinder, Fillet, Fathom and Vitriol, it’s a definite buff for Flint to go to a static 4+ DEF. The upgrade to the momentous tackle dodge on 1 is just an added bonus. Flint already was an ace striker, and he just got better.
- +1 DEF
- Momentous T on 1 –> Momentous T< on 1
- Removal of Charmed trait
The Miner’s Guild has had quite the uproar since their release. Everyone remembers the screenshot with 6 (!) Miner teams in the top 8 of the French Nationals earlier this year. The fact that they were só strong made for an immediate course of action from the Steamforged team, hotfix nerfing them in March. The Miners are still strong, but not as oppressive anymore. I for one am not expecting any changes to their models.
And I was right. Miners, rejoice!
Another one of the stronger teams of the current meta, the Mortician’s Guild has mostly been made powerful by the Season 4 changes to Scalpel. Her ability to delete most models, while also reposition the entire playing field in her immediate surroundings via her Voodoo Strings trait, has solidly cemented her in the top 5 captains for Season 4. In the 4.1 patch, she received a well deserved nerf, alongside the change to Midnight Offering, leading to the Mortician’s being toned down to match the rest of the flock. During that same time, the Spooks also received their third captain, Mourn, but this model hasn’t seen much play as of late. It seems that Obulus and Scalpel are still the top dogs. Would the design team help the little girl compete with the others captains? Let’s find out.
Now this is a captain, no, a model that’ll take some time to learn how to play, or even understand what she does. The first iteration of Mourn was pretty straightforward – buff other models, start a scrum, don’t forget your re-roll. Sadly, this game plan had multiple issues. You’d always lose tempo, as Mourn has to activate early to buff up your squaddies. Enemy squads could just choose to not engage in a scrum and play around your little ball of death. And lastly, playing around Grave Candle is very hard, as the trait doesn’t remove conditions or effects and therefore lets the victim stay a massive target.
This new iteration of Mourn hasn’t changed her Grave Candle aura, so playing around that will still be the main point of practice. You will also still lose tempo, but Malice now isn’t Once Per Turn anymore, so you can buff up more squaddies, and you’ll also automatically gain momentum through Creeping Dread, which is the replacement for her previous Rising Anger trait. Activating Mourn first will still feel… kinda bad, but at least you’re not punished for it so harshly anymore. Mourn’s last issue was her problem of dealing with mobile teams, or with teams that could break up her scrum and push people out of Grave Candle. For this reason, she has lost 2″ of her movement… but gained Control Strings, a trait we know from the puppet Memory. This, alongside Quick Time‘s reduced cost, should make the Mourn scrum far more mobile. The death cloud is still in effect, but now at least there’s a wind blowing it around the pitch.
Lastly, Mourn has received a legendary play, Haunting Gaze; a 6″ aura that forces enemy models to move towards her, rather than get away from her scrum. Obviously, there is some counterplay to it, as enemy models can just choose to dodge out of the aura before starting their advance, but not every model has a buyable dodge. Also, this aura keeps moving throughout the turn due to Control Strings, which can get some models off guard who were previously out of the aura. The cost for getting this aura, and the Control Strings trait, is losing the Fated re-roll, which is sad, but not insurmountable. We received some help in Gaffer’s The Knowledge, Red Fury and Careless Whisper, so I’m sure that we’ll manage. Who doesn’t like a 12+ TAC Tooled Up Ghast attacking six times?
- -2″/-2″ MOV
- Malice is no longer Once Per Turn
- Quick Time cost reduced from 2 to 1
- Addition of Control Strings trait
- Addition of Creeping Dread trait
- Removal of Rising Anger trait
- Removal of Fated trait
- Addition of Haunting Gaze legendary play
The Navigators are considered as a potent team, which has the problem that the current strongest teams are their unfavoured match-ups, i.e. Blacksmiths, Masons, Butchers, etc. I actually think that if there’s anything that the Navigator’s Guild should get, it’s ways of dealing with those problems.
One huge problem for Navigators is high Armour values. Their playbooks are based on having rerolls, and Armour basically negates the amount of dice they can effectively roll. One of the ways of dealing with this Armour is by shredding it, like Ebb did via Sprung a Leak. But that was only -1 ARM. Guess what? It’s now -2 ARM. Just think of 2+/1 Farris, 2+/0 Hearth, 3+/0 Corbelli.
But is this enough for Navigators, besides the DEF buff to Siren? I actually think not. The Navigator’s Guild has great potential, but their problem is the amount of bad match-ups that they have to contend with, and the amount of tech that’s around to deal with their re-roll mechanic. I feel that the Navigators will have to wait until 4.3 before they’ll see any help.
- Sprung a Leak Armour shred effect increased from -1 to -2 ARM.
In my mind one of the most interesting Guilds to play, but also one of the least linear or straightforward. The Ratcatchers can be described as “constantly asking difficult questions, and afterwards making use of the opponent’s misery”. If you can ask the right questions, you can win games. Their continued bottom tier placement in the Longshanks ranking showcases how hard it is to navigate the Guild through a game, but I’d say that streamlining it would remove some of the essence of the Guild…
The big guy of the Guild, ready to clobber people around. You would think that Scourge doesn’t really add to the kicking game, but he’s about to. The addition to this model is the new trait Good Feet, for a Big Man. It showcases that, even though he is the Guild’s designated beater, the Guild really wants to let the ball move around, or use the ball for added mobility. This new trait makes that any pass to or from Scourge will be free, which is massive for increasing Scourge’s threat range, staying at his 3 influence ánd keeping the ball safe in your team, or basically making Reverie on Scourge have an effective cost of 3 influence. The only problem here is his 2/6″ KICK, but it’s the same for the Order’s Veteran Fangtooth and Potbellied Pass. There’s nothing a nice Bonus Time! won’t help.
- Addition of Good Feet, for a Big Man trait
CONCLUSION PART 3
First of all, I’d like to think that, even though Corbelli has been nerfed, the Masons will stay a top tier Guild. The original Sister Act has been brought back into the fold, and the changes to Marbles and Brick also affect Hammer’s power level quite heavily. Corbelli also stays a strong captain with the addition of another goal threat in Harmony and the buffs to Flint. If anything, I’m expecting Masons to be the new Butchers in play count.
The absence of any Miners changes gives me hope for the minor Guilds. I previously had the idea that Steamforged would want the minors to be easy to buy entry Guilds, but not competitive enough for high end tournaments. The Miners staying in their strong position debuffs that theory, and here’s hoping that the other minors will get their fair share of love in the (near) future.
The absence of nerfs to Scalpel actually quite surprised me, as the Killer Queen hasn’t left the top 6 captains on Longshanks, even after her 4.1 nerfs. With the nerfs to Veteran Boar and Corbelli, I’d like to think that she, Thresher and maybe Corsair will have to battle it out who’ll be the ‘king’ of the 4.2 patch. The Mourn changes are nice, but I’m not sure if it’ll be enough to break up the Obulus-Scalpel captain duo. Time will tell.
The Navigators have fallen on hard times, and the buffs to Ebb and Siren, in my opinion, won’t be enough to pull them out of the lower echelons of the rankings. The team certainly has potential, and seems very fun to play, but still has too many bad match-ups to be considered as competitively viable.
The change to Scourge helps the footballing side of the Ratcatchers quite a bit. I’ve been listening to some of the podcasts, and I’ve heard Bryce mention that he had “not seen Scourge been played very often”, which I thought was very odd. I think I’ve actually never played a game of Rats without the big man, just because I feel that the Rats need a damage threat to open up the 2-2 game plan. For me personally, this buff basically just cements Scourge even further in my Rats 6.
Next time, I’ll be discussing the changes to the Solthecian Order and the Union. See you then!