Hey all! I’d like to converse my hot takes on the changes of the 4.3 errata to you. I’ll be starting with the changes to the entire game, and will go through Guilds in alphabetical order after.
Since the 4.2 errata, the Alchemists seem to have taken over the world of Guild Ball by storm. Let’s see if Steamforged can tone them down somewhat.
Oh, there’s no changes to Midas? What the…
At first glance, it seems like not a lot has changed for Veteran Katalyst, and that’s actually true. The big lad received two nerfs: -1″/-0″ MOV and Burst of Fumes is reverted to only doing 1 point of condition damage instead of 2.
The movement nerf will affect the power of Midas’ Lure of Gold, and decreases Katalyst’s jog threat. With only 3 influence to receive, he actually doesn’t want to charge, as that decreases the efficiency of his Burst of Fumes ability. And now that the damage from that trait has been toned down as well, he dislikes needing to charge even more. Losing 2-3 damage per activation might seem trivial, but this might tip the scales and remove him from auto-pick status for any captain.
The third Alchemist captain has been dubbed as one of the strongest captains within the game, and his win rate does not lie. The way to balance this, according to Steamforged, is to limit Inferno to only two models by increasing the influence cost from Raging Fire from 1 to 2. This means that Soma can’t use Raging Fire ánd Nitro in the same turn, which seems fair.
Besides this, the legendary form of Pneuma has also received a slight change. It’s not possible to heal Pneuma anymore, due to an addition to its Waning Light trait. This means that Pneuma’s time on the pitch will be even more limited, affecting how much he can get done on the pitch.
These changes will shake things up for the Alchemists for sure. Veteran Katalyst was such a mainstay for each captain, but this decrease in output might just make him un- or less viable for Midas or Smoke respectively. The changes to Soma/Pneuma will also help in mitigating the damage output of its team. I can see the Alchemists still being a top team, as the likes of Midas, Crucible and Kami haven’t been touched, but they’ll have to think a bit harder on who to play in what scenario, which is a good thing.
Going from the #2 team in the League to the current last-placed team, people have been asking for Blacksmiths to get back to their 4.1 form. Well, Steamforged might have something else in mind…
Instead of reverting changes on the current power models, Steamforged has focused more on buffing lesser played models within the Blacksmiths. Starting off with Burnish, we can see a buff to Flame Belch’s damage, which has been increased from 2 to 4, although it has also been changed to Once Per Turn status.
But what might even be stronger, is the change to his Reduction trait. Before the errata, models within the Reduction AOE would suffer the Burning condition after the removal of their previous conditions. This has been removed, which means that Burnish has been changed into an anti-condition bot with a gun.
Another model that was rarely used, was Cast. In a Guild of specialists, Cast was the odd one out, being more of a generalist. This has been changed.
First off, her playbook has received some upgrades. Her momentous 2 and momentous GB token results have been added together, and her momentous 3 has been increased to a momentous 4! For me, the combining of the momentous 2 and momentous GB is massive, as she now has damage ánd ranged debuffs or ball removal – you don’t have to choose anymore! Cast with Tooled Up means momentous 6<< on two once per turn, turning into momentous 3 afterwards. That’s an easy 14 damage on a jog. This number goes up to 19 when her target is Burning. That is just dirty.
Besides that, Cast’s main problem was counter-attacks. Anyone with a decent counter-attack could stop her dead in her tracks. But now, she can still deal damage ánd go for Shield Glare… ánd add to that another -1 TAC from her new trait, Bright Shields. This means that anyone that wants to disengage from her, will have to contend with a -2 TAC debuff and being -1 DEF afterwards. Hitting that double reposition on your second column with TAC 3 or 4 against Cast’s 4+/1 defensive stats is now suddenly quite hard to reach.
A model that might have not seen play since Season Four started, or at most a very small amount. Cinder had always suffered from the problem of being a 1″ 3+/1 with only 13 HP. Any decent 2″ beater could end her, easily.
First off, Cinder has received a DEF buff to 4+, which was long overdue. But this DEF buff comes at the cost of losing Unpredictable Movement… I’m not so sure about this change, although it dóes increase her survivability against 2″ melee models.
Kindled has also been changed, so that she doesn’t gain Burning Strike, but can declare a free attack when she activated within 6″ of Furnace, giving her some influence efficiency. Lastly, she also gains the Searing Strike trait, which means that like her Veteran version, she can also help with setup by shredding armour.
She’s long been called ‘the Smiths’ striker captain’, but has been out of sorts since Season Four. A couple of small buffs might get her right back, which is exactly what Steamforged has given her.
First of all, she has received a +1″/+1″ MOV buff, helping her be that threat on the ball that she’s meant to be. Besides this, Tong in Cheek has been reverted to being a Pulse, meaning that the +2″/+2″ MOV bonus stays on her squad, while she’s off scoring goals. I’m very happy seeing this change, and I can see her being one of the captains of choice from this point onwards.
While the changes to Cinder are quite minor, and those to Burnish and Ferrite are nice, the changes to Cast are just bonkers. Mister T would say “Any Blacksmith coach that is not playing Cast after this errata is a damn fool!”
The Brewers have been notorious for a certain match during the UK Nationals of last year. The so-called Corker Six – an impenetrable bastion, which uses Veteran Decimate to slowly pull models in and grind itself to victory – was the reason why Jamie Perkins suddenly took to Facebook to say that he and the development team would actively work on removing this kind of stand-off play.
So yeah, it might come as no surprise that the model that enables this strategy has been taken a look at. Funnily enough, only a single thing on her card has been touched – Duellist’s Lunge dodge has been decreased from a 2″ to a 1″ dodge, basically slightly shortening the amount of taxi’ing she can do within an activation. While the tactic has been affected, Deci will still be a huge powerhouse, so I think job well done.
While she was the absolute #1 Brewer captain in Season 3, the Season Four changes were not as positive as Steamforged had expected them to be. Esters needed something… Ask and you shall receive.
While Tooled Up and Quick Foot are still there, Esters has also gained a third play – a new one, called Voice of Command, hailing back to her previous iteration. This play is a 4″ pulse in which friendly models all suffer a 3″ push directly away from Esters. With some decent positioning, this means that you can effectively enhance Brewer threat ranges by 3″, or basically adding a second kicking model – think of Hooper with this ánd Stave’s Battering Ram. Now both Veteran Decimate and Hooper are 5″ up the pitch, and both could have a +4″ MOV buff with Quick Foot and Time’s Called. That’s quite a big bubble of pain!
Also, since positioning is very important within the Brewers, Esters’ Aria aura has been increased from 4″ to 6″, lessening the positional constraints of her team. Lastly, Soothing Voice’s range has also been increased from 3″ to 4″. These increases all work well with her new character play, making it so that an Esters squad can play a bit more spread out than before.
Since the arrival of Corker, Pintpot’s Beer tokens have become a common commodity, filtering the brawler out from play somewhat. His damage potential was lacking, when looking at the likes of Hooper and Veteran Decimate.
First of all, PP’s playbook has been touched. His momentous KD has moved down a column, the momentous 1> on column two has been changed into a non-momentous 2>, the momentous 3> result has also moved down a column, and Pintpot has received a momentous 3>> result on his fifth column. This means that his damage track has been improved from 112-3 to 12233. Wrapping with Pintpot is quite juicy now.
Secondly, Pintpot has received a new trait – Taunt. When Pintpot ends his advance, he may choose an enemy model within 2″ and push said model 1″ towards himself. This means that his effective melee threat has been increased by 1″, and also given the rowdy lad some janky tech. What about pulling someone away from another friendly model, freeing them up from engagement? What about triggering Stoic even before throwing a punch? What about not having to worry about Unpredictable Movement anymore?
I have to say that while the small vDeci nerf and nice Pintpot buff are deserved, I’m mostly impressed by the change to Esters. Adding the Voice of Command play gives her such a strong kicking pressure, meaning she might dethrone Tapper from being their dedicated kicking captain.
While the Engineers have been doing fine within the metagame, this has been largely due to the strength of Rivet. The Engineers’ other captains have been down in the dumps since the start of Season Four, as everyone around them received buffs and they themselves hardly saw any changes.
One of these captains was Ballista, the gunline captain of the squad. Ballista has had the problem that everywhere around him, he has seen threat extensions, while he has not received tools to work around those threat extensions. Did he get some help?
Why yes, he did! First of all, we can see that Minefield’s cost has been decreased from 2 to 1 influence, and we can also see that the Cup Token on the playbook has also received 2 damage, meaning that Ballista can still keep on dishing out damage, while also setting up his defenses.
Another change to Ballista is within his Momentous Inspiration trait. With a playstyle that is so hugely dependent on hitting your character plays, it always felt like you were trading the momentum gained from this aura for a Bonus Time to even hit your plays. From now on, Bonus Timing plays while within this aura is FREE. That will help Ballista’s team in gaining momentum, while staying at range.
These changes seem to indicate that the Dev Team wanted to give Ballista more efficiency in spending his resources. He doesn’t have to choose between damage or Minefield anymore, he can also just choose to forego one attack to hard-buy Minefield, and his momentum efficiency has gone through the roof. No increased damage, no increased ball threat, no increased range. Just resource efficiency, which might affect all of the above.
The other Engineers captain is Pin Vice, a captain with a strong focus on scoring goals, or acting as a super solo punchy unit. The main gripes the community had on her, was her playbook. Let’s see what changed…
And oh my god, did her playbook change. WOW. Her momentous tackle has been moved down to the first column, replacing the non-momentous 1. In its place, Pin Vice has received a momentous 1<, finally giving her the option to do reliably momentous damage. With Tooled Up and Deletion, this is a momentous 3< on two. She has also received a momentous T< on the fourth column, helping with disengaging after having tackled the ball away.
Besides this, Controller’s influence cost has been decreased from 3 to 2, getting in line with Honour’s Superior Strategy. Linked on a stick with a 2 influence cost sounds great! She can now Ctrl+Alt+Del ánd pass.
Lastly, Pin Vice’s old Legendary play has been upgraded to being a trait. Yes, a TRAIT. Pin Vice will ALWAYS have her old legendary active, which means that she’s finally able to keep on playing her one-two style type of football, not just for a single turn. Oh, and it’s not just when she passes. It’s when ANYONE passes. No range restriction, also works when Pin Vice is not on the pitch. Basically this reads: Once Per Turn, a player gets an 8″ dodge for 1 influence. Bonkers! Be sure to read that the one-two is only possible once per turn, not once per model as before.
But obviously, where there’s buffs, there also have to be nerfs, especially in a Guild that has been doing decent. Salvo has been a battle buddy to Rivet for a while now, mainly because she turns him up to eleven. Having a semi-captain-esque model on the pitch, whenever your actual captain isn’t in range to impact the board, was quite strong.
There’s only a single change to Salvo, and that’s nerfing his INF stat by -0/-1. Salvo only being able to have 3 influence means that he can’t use three plays per activation anymore. It also affects how far the lad can go on goal runs, and makes playing into Close Control quite the problem. It’s safe to say that Salvo was too strong for his own good, and he got (veteran) Decimated.
While the buffs to Ballista are most certainly nice, the nerf to Salvo is quite gut-wrenching. Salvo was such an important tool for the Lord Artificer, and that tool has been clipped of his wings. I understand that Salvo was just way too good alongside Rivet, but now Ballista has to suffer for that. Still, I feel that this should be enough. I can see him and Pin Vice’s winrates rising for now. Especially Pin Vice, what a monster!
The Falconers have been in a rough spot within the metagame, constantly hanging around the bottom parts of the ladder. But they’re actually quite okay, and fun to play. The main problem was that a single model was hardly getting any playtime – Mataagi.
Mataagi’s main problem lay in his playbook, having the GB token on column two and his tackle on column three. The tackle was usually out of reach against 4+/1 models, and the GB token also wasn’t a certaintly most of the times. Add to that, that he had mascot-level HP, and Mataagi wasn’t that appealing to put onto the Pitch.
Well, these problems have been addressed. His GB token has been moved down a slot, added to the momentous < on column one, and his tackle has followed suit, ending up on column two. This will help with Mataagi’s reliability. Also, his HP has been increased from 10 to 12.
Another change has been into Mataagi’s INF stat, which has been decreased from 2/4 to 2/3. But do not fret, this has been paired with the change from Far Strike to Hawk Eye. Hawk Eye basically is the same as Far Strike, but with the added clause that he can perform said ranged attack free of charge, meaning that Mataagi will still feel like a 2/4 in spirit. Having Hawk Eye means that only putting 1 influence on him is enough to get the tackle and pass away, or tackle-jog-goal, or harrier/damage and snap fire.
These changes will not only affect Mataagi in Falconers, but also within Hunters, as his ball retrieval has gotten more reliable, something that the Hunters have been lacking. Especially Skatha and Theron will be happy to see him.
Obviously, the Miners had to be touched. Even after the initial nerfs, they’re still solidly on the #1 spot, which is quite impressive for a Minor Guild. They had to be reined in, but touching the models also playing for the Engineers would affect their win-rate as well, and that’s not something that Steamforged wanted to do. Therefore…
Fissure has basically only been touched on a single point, namely her You’re Coming With Me trait. While before it read ‘friendly model within her melee zone’, the chosen friendly model now has to be in base to base contact with her. Also, the end position of the chosen model will be base to base with Fissure, not within her melee zone. This basically means a decrease of up to 2″ of placement for the chosen model, decreasing the amount of movement the Guild can muster. It’s not a lot, but it’s something.
One of the biggest nuisances of playing against Miners was that your kicking model, or the model receiving the ball after the Miners kicked to you, would get a Mule in their face.
Fissure’s transport-trait was a big part of this strategy, which has been nerfed, so Mule won’t get as far as before. Also, getting Mule in your face is way less problematic now, as Lockdown has lost its -1 TAC debuff, and Mule’s 2>> and 3>> results on respectively columns three and five have lost their momentum. Mule now only has two momentous results, the KD and the GB token, fully changing him into a setup character instead of also acting as an efficient off-beater model.
It seems that the Dev Team wanted the Miners to be a bit less oppressive from the get go, giving the other team more room and/or time to play with before the Miners start their assault on the goalpost. Also, if a Miner coach does want to go for take-outs, it’ll 100% have to come from ring-outs rather than beating someone up.
The final Guild that has been aching for some help is the Navigators, currently fighting the Blacksmiths and Ratcatchers for last place in the standings. Again, Steamforged wants to help them by aiding their own models, so they’re leaving Fathom and Horizon alone.
While already being a total badass, it seems that Steamforged wants Azimuth to carry the Navigators on his back even more.
Playbook-wise, Azi has received a non-momentous > on column two, and his momentous >> has been brought down from column five to four. Also, his influence cap has been increased from 3 to 4, making it possible to bring the beat down. Azimuth is a friggin’ monster now. Expect easily obtainable ranged KD’s or Disarms more often.
Furthering on the beatdown plan, Ebb now also gains a new trait – Sharp Eyes. This aura trait gives any friendly model that activates within 4″ of Ebb the Anatomical Precision trait, giving the Guild a way around their biggest counter – armour. This trait also helps with activation order issues, as it’s no longer needed to activate Ebb first to hit Sprung a Leak. Fun fact: Navigators can now change the likes of Anvil, Farris and Brick into 2+/0 models.
Besides this, he has lost the Smooth the Way play for Grasping Earth, which is a -2″/-2″ MOV debuff, buyable from the playbook with a GB token. While this is a useful tool in decreasing the opposing model’s threat range, it’s even more important to recognize that Navigators now have another way of dealing with Resilience that’s low cost and not on their captain, Azimuth or Siren, who have better things to do with their influence/plays.
These changes are mostly based on increasing the Navigator’s damage output, it seems, making it easier for them to go for a 2-2 victory. Azimuth and Ebb will be mainstays for the Guild for sure, and I can see their winrate skyrocket within a couple of weeks…
Another Guild that has risen through the ranks on the back of certain models, and is in contention of the #1 spot with Miners and Alchemists. The main problems here were their new captain, Veteran Greede, and the 4.2 iteration of Minx. Let’s see who got touched…
And it seems that it’s the new captain, who has been heavily touched. The main gripes with Greede upon release were how strong Forward, Minions! was, and how much output the little guy could do, while being sold as a support captain.
First of all, Do The Thing!, Lance, Shelling Out and Trusty Steed have not been touched – something that I don’t mind. No, Steamforged have addressed exactly the right points.
Forward, Minions! has had its influence cost increased from 2 to 3, and it now is changed into a 6″ aura, adding some positional constraints to such a strong play. Sure, Ferrite’s legendary is a pulse now, but it’s a one-off per game, while Greede can use this every turn, if he so desired.
Lastly, his TAC has been brought down to 4 – basically giving him TAC 5 due to Shelling Out and therefore not giving him a Brewer-type playbook.
Basically, his efficiency has been touched rather strongly. I’m hoping he’ll stay in contention as a captain choice within the Guild, as these changes are quite harsh, in my opinion. Or are they deserved? What do you guys think?
While I still have some questions about why certain models haven’t been touched – either positively or negatively – I still find that this is a step in the right direction. A small step, which is most likely the best, as we’ve seen that the bigger an errata gets, the more unforeseen issues can arise over time.
Here’s a little wish-list for 4.4, if Jamie and Bryce are listening…
- Veteran Calculus never sees play, which is sad
- Isn’t Kami still a tad too strong?
- Veteran Spigot will still not see play over original Spigot
- Hoist might not have seen play since Season Four started
- Ulfr? Who is that?
- Lucky doesn’t feel so lucky
- Minx still has momentous 3 on 3 and BttS? Why?
- Should Tooled Up become a captain-only play?
Well, that concludes my review of the 4.3 errata. Do you guys agree, or do you think I’ve missed some points? Anyway, thanks for reading, and see you next time!