Thanks, that was a peculiar game. I know Dom's one of the top farmer players in the country but I couldn't see where he planned to get the rest of his VP from.
Played them three times last night against Hunters. First game Mist scores immediately, dies, then it's impossible to get the ball back and I get wiped out. Second game doesn't get past the first couple of activations. Mist whiffs, gets taken out and it was going to be a rinse and repeat of the first so I called it.
Third is a little better. First turn I get the whole team to move forward so that the strikers aren't isolated. Mist scores a lucky goal (that really should have been a repeat of the first two games), Brisket pops the legendary, using the dodge to get a ganging up bonus on the model I'm tackling, and scores. Amazingly Grace gets a take out on Hearne (five inf, getting two damage each roll thanks to lots of ganging up and knocked down). Harry pushes a model close to the edge of the pitch and Mist gets the final push to win the game.
Moment of the game was Benediction spotting a model in close range with the ball and barging his way through the team to make an attempt on goal. Would have been spectacular if it worked.
So my initial thoughts in no particular order:
Momentum generation is an issue. Mist needs his inf to ensure the goal, so can't waste attacks trying to get momentum for the goal. Harry and Benediction are the guaranteed momentum generators, so they can't afford to sit back. Your opponent does well to not trigger Rising Anger until after the Church have committed.
Take outs are tough. I had to spend ten influence in one turn to take out an already wounded Hearne (his team was in one half of the field completely surrounding Benediction while the entirety of my team was in the other half fully surrounding Hearne). I also got lucky that my opponent foolishly let a model get close to the edge of the pitch for a push off. Take outs are possible, no doubt, but that is almost a game in itself.
The team is vulnerable to take outs. Your strikers naturally want to go after the ball, but that leaves them isolated and vulnerable to gang ups. Benediction is key here. He stands in the centre of the pitch and comes to the rescue of stranded strikers. Committing the strikers without this support can be fatal.
Tac 4 sucks. In a normal Union team Mist can gain Tac bonuses in many ways. In Church his only bonus comes from gang ups. As he's off on his own so often this makes his playbook very hit and miss, especially when you are right on influence. Goals that need a tackle on route are not reliable at all. You can find yourself sacrificing your striker for no VP in return. The dodge from Brisket's legendary is essential for getting a gang up bonus, helping you hit something good in the playbook.
With Aplomb is worthless. In a normal Union team an extra VP opens up different paths to winning the game. One VP makes almost no difference to the Church game. Brisket also has an OK chance of getting it on the playbook thanks to Tac and Def modifiers in a Union team. Church has none of this, so you're entirely reliant on Brisket's natural Tac to get it. Against a 4+/1 you're wasting your time.
Playbook is everything. This team does no damage from its plays. Only two models have plays that affect the enemy, and one of those is Pride, who is limited to affecting goal shots. So really only Harry affects the enemy. Aside from him you can't reposition the enemy, you can't slow them down or make them weaker or more vulnerable. This team has to make attacks to achieve anything. That means you have to be close to the enemy if they are in your way. There's no Lure or Puppet Master here. No Deadbolt, Unexpected Arrival or Tidal Surge. You're whole game relies upon what you can do with your models, not what you can do to your opponent. (I dread the thought of a Church on Church match up. One of the Benedictions gets the ball and it will be the slowest, most boring grind of a game).
So those are just my first thoughts and I'm open to suggestions on how to work around the problems I've encountered.