Season 4: Player Summaries
Hello, please find some ranting about S4 mason players, current focus on Honour team. Note that Hammer tends to play quite differently, but of course some applies to both.
The First Lady of Guildball has excellent stats and is a powerful all round captain. Her playbook is very good, and having double dodge available on 2 is a very useful counter attack (held back only by her reach of 1).
Honour's signature ability superior strategy cost four, (making it as far as i'm aware the joint most expensive play in the game). However, it gives an additional influence to a player and gives them an additional activation.
(Why is that good?)
Well, Masons don't have many ranged plays, which would give them an otherwise weak turn 1.
TURN 1 Superior Strategy
However, in a typical Honour team,
Honour / Any mascot / Tower / Ochisel / Flint / Granite
You allocate 3-4 to Chisel, 6 to Honour, 1 to Tower, 3-4 to Flint
Depending on flint kicking or receiving, he will do something with the ball, having 4 on him.
But, what you are trying to do is to move Chisel into the middle of the board (preferably within 10 of a reach 1 victim that they have already moved.)
Tower will then tool up Chisel.
Your final activation will be to activate Honour, who will both superior strategy Chisel and Quick Time her.
You will then have your 7th activation which lets Chisel walk up to her target, who in an ideal world will have reach 1 and can't respond with counter attacks. You heroic, so with tooled up you're doing +2 damage. Hitting momentous 2 on 2, gives you 4 damage. Letting you do 16 damage.
However, if you are going to win the MP race, (which with +4 you may well) it is sometimes advised to leave your victim on 1-2 health.
You then activate Chisel immediately at the top of turn 2, finish off the target, then instead of running forwards and attacking someone else, you run chisel 6-8 back to the protection of the rest of your team. Even with arm 3, it is very rarely a good idea to give her undefended to your opponent, bring her back so that Honour/Granite can protect her. If you are unsure whether you will kill the target, I often allocate her 2-3, with a view of running her back to my lines with 1-2 influence, whilst this may be wasted, if I Superior Strategy her, it will be available again. See Turn 2+ Superior Strategy below.
Turn 2+ Superior Strategy
You may find, when you are playing against another scrummy team, that whoever commits to the attack first gets punished. For example the first model to advance into their scrum will be retaliated against by their captain with a stack of 6 etc.
This is most evident in the Butcher matchup, where you know that whoever goes to attack the butcher lines will have the Master Butcher go ham (get what I did there), on them. This is bad. HOWEVER, the good news is that the Butcher's have the same problem that Honour will threaten death to anyone who they commit. Plus they have to play around Granite etc. So it's entirely possible that they will play a stand offy game, where Brisket and Boiler pepper you with ranged plays, but they don't want to commit.
This is where Superior Strategy comes in, as it allows you to get back to back activations. Again, it's best with OChisel where it lets you at the end of the turn, get Chisel tooled up with iron fist over, to plonk 4 attacks onto boiler or brisket. Avoiding counter attacks or Unpredictable Move. Again, you want to reset, by running her top of the next turn to the warm protection of Granite and Honour, else you let poor Chisel get issolated. Remember, time is on your side. In this matchup, I spent 12 influence to kill Princess for 1vp and considered myself up because of it. 6 influence to superior strategy and quick time, 1 to run chisel, then 4 attacks, and 1 to tool up. The point is, your influence resets next turn, so IF YOUR OPPONENT got nothing out of the turn then spending 12 influence to get 1VP is absolutely fine. In stally play, you're playing to keep your formation intact (keep Honour's activation back as long as you can, because once she's gone, the opposing players can come in, knowing the First Lady isn't able to smack them up.) Always look for opportunities to get a small advantage and reset, unless the opportunity to dominate and crack their formation presents itself.
Honour + Vet Chisel
This strategy allows you to superior strategy Honour herself, and then use Vet Chisel to reellocate her back to full, allowing you to have a 7th activation with her, with full influence.
If I'm honest, I've not played this variant, as I find Ochisel works so well with Honour (see the million lines of text above). I am not sure which matchups where this is super relevent, my problem with it, is it forces you to activate Honour earlier in the turn, and its main advantage is allowing you to walk her into a target. Then beat the target to death, and with your 2nd activation movement, walk her back. This is powerful, however, I am concerned that it risks Honour being pulled back into their lines by defensive opposing players, issolated and beaten to death, or worse farmed for MP. Activation advantage is your friend with Honour and I feel this strategy is too vulnerable to disruption.
Tower is very useful in this team, because you are spending a lot of influence on a few attacks, being able to make them really count is key. He also is time efficient and putting the heroic up to protect Chisel from a counter attack can be good.
You should be considering, will my opposing team give me the time, to slow the game down and pick apart my formation?
A general point that's worth noting for all masons is that you will find yourself choosing momentous 2 a lot. Therefore, as emphasised a lot above, you must know when you want to reset the scrum, where no-one is engaged, and you can punish them for overcommitting.
For this reason, you may find yourself going 2nd despite winning the MP race by choice as this lets you guarantee yourself the last activation. AND, the queen of taking advantage of last activation is OChisel.
Why's she so great?
Well, she has reach 2, tac 6, and momentous 1 on 1, momentous 2 on 2.
Generally, my OChisel spends most of her life with +2 damage, from her heroic and tooled up, so being able to do momentous 3 on 1 success which is very likely on tac 6 is very reliable. As long as you can hit 2 hits four times that's 16 damage.
Generally, you will want to heroic, but before you do, ask yourself, what do I want to achieve?
Are you trying to get your opponent to 1-2 health, before killing them top of next turn? Are you going for a straight 16 damage take out?
Do your maths, it's 2+2! But it may be that the heroic isn't required and you need the MP for the MP race.
She is particularly good at the top of 2 take out, because it takes her to arm 3 for the turn, and people will be gunning for her, as she and honour are your premier damage dealers, protect your chisel and she will look after you.
Counter attacks: Chisel is reach 2, which is great for beating up on reach 1 people. The issue is people with reach 2 are a bit awkard as 3/1 she is vulnerable to counter attacks. If they're a reach 2 with a single push or dodge, don't be afraid to get Chisel only 1 inch away, so that after the counter attack you're okay. But the advantage of Superior Strategy Chisel is that she can move 12-14 inches, so there's an element of choosing your target carefully.
In the Scalpel / Smoke matchup, Chisel has one job to take those ladies out. (note both are reach 1). But in other matchups, she is an opportunistic killer, you don't really care who you take out, you want to take out someone with 14-16 health and reach 1, before resetting. 2 vps are 2 vps, i'd rather take out someone less important and reset 2vps up, than risk going after a more important piece to my opponent and fluffing it due to a powerful reach 2 counter attack.
Granite is a defensive piece, her main trick is that if anyone does damage to anyone within 4, she may make a jog. With reach 2, it means that unless she's snared or rough terrain etc, she can get within reach of any reach 2 attacker of anyone within 4 of her. (Vs reach 3 like Thresher or Mallet, you can leave yourself within 3 of everyone to take this into account).
Granite then inflicts a -2 crowd out penalty on anyone whose within reach of her. This generally means that with your stylish mason defense of 3/2 they just hit Granite.
Remember to heal Granite. She is tough, but 3/2 20 boxes doesn't last that long, she doesn't have tough hide or anything. Generally, you can create enough MP that you should be recovering her in every activation, even if she's only taken 3-4 boxes. Keep her healthy and she will keep everyone else healthy!
Granite is interesting in the sense that she can operate perfectly effectively on 0 influence or 3-4. After loading up Honour and Chisel, my general consideration is does Granite need influence. At tac 6, with powerful early momentous KD, push 2 and 2 damage she can dish out the hurt or provide combat control that other pieces don't generally.
I generally activate Granite earlier in the turn, even without influence to 'waste' an activation, stalling for a late turn Honour / OChisel. So it would be perfectly normal to go with granite, move her half an inch to stay within 4 of everyone, heal herself 4 and pass.
Note: granite is steady, which comes up a lot, as people tend to want to knock her down, instead of taking her out, but this is particularly relevent with...
Veteran Harmony's main unique selling point is the ability to take any damage from anyone within 4 of her.
Do you remember me talking about healing a lot. If someone is wailing on Chisel, does 4 damage to her. Then granite goes in, so they do 4 damage to Granite, then hits her again, to do 4 more damage to Granite, which you redirect to Vet Harmony. Now in each of your activations you can heal 4 to heal all 12 damage for 3MP. Instead of healing Chisel for 3mp 8 health, over 2 activations. This would be Chisel on 2 health, she goes to 6. They have a turn to take her out whilst she's only on 6, then if she's still alive you can take her to 10. With Vet Harmony and Granite dispersing the damage, you can heal all 12 for 3.
As long as I'm keeping control of the scrum, it's perfectly normal to accept you're losing the MP race, because you've spent 5-6 mp healing. That's fine, your teams all on full health, and your opponent has no opportunity to do a top of turn super turn with their captain, because between your defensive pieces they're not going to take anyone out.
However, there's more:
First, if someone is attacking someone out of 4 of Granite, but within 4 of Vet Harmony, Vet Harmony can take the damage, allowing you to trigger Granite's Rock and a Hard Place, which may be enough to get Granite in. (If the attacker is closer to Granite than the person they're hitting for example.)
But the second use for this, is that Granite's rock and hard place doesn't specify where she goes. Meaning, if someone comes into the scrum and starts wailing on Granite herself, Granite can redirect the damage to Vet Harmony, triggering Rock and Hard Place allowing Granite to then walk 4 out of reach of the attacker. She will take a parting blow, but generally 2 attacks worth of damage is better than 4. Also, being steady the parting blow on it's own won't knock her down. Even if they've used up the Steady, taking the parting blow and ending their activation knocked down but out of reach of their attacks may be better than taking all the hits.
Marked Target: doesn't come up much, as generally you don't want to be sending pieces issolated into the depths of their scrum, but is particularly efficient at removing resilience from low def resilient models. Also, note that Vet Harmony is a piece you activate early in the turn.
That sword does work, it's tempting to use her as a piece who hides at the back and avoids all engagement. This is perfectly valid, but it's also worth noting she is tac 5, with momentous 1 on 1 and momentous 2 on 2. With a gang up, she is more than capable of doing momentous 8 (4MP) for 4 inf. If I've left someone on low health, say 1, to take out the next turn, I generally will use Vet Harmony to reliably finish them off for 1-2 influence saving Chisel and Honour for the rest of the turn.
Field Medic: every time that she does damage she can heal ALL conditions off someone nearby, this includes KD. So again, can be a powerful top of turn activation to stand some of your pieces up, saving momentum.
Tower provides 3 things:
1. He has tooled up, providing 1 extra damage- because your setting up for a powerful end of turn activation this is very powerful. The difference between Chisel doing 12 and 16 is huge.
2. He wants to activate early in the turn in a team of people who want to go near the end.
3. He can stand next to people providing crowd outs. He has 18 health and 3/2.
It's worth noting he has a relatively powerful counter attack, tac 5, but push 2 on 1 success. It's nice if it comes up, but if he gets beaten up a bit, you're not that bothered. With the counter attack, you have the option to vs a reach 2 person base to base that you can't push out of reach, you can push them into the rest of your team, so yes they can attack you but they might be getting -3 tac from crowd outs.