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Relearning Shark

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So way back when, I started playing Guild Ball with the Fishermen led by Shark. Since then, I've bought three other teams (Butchers, Hunters, Morticians) and played mostly Corsair when I run Fish. However, I recently decided to revisit Shark (this partly motivated by a move to Poland which demanded that I downsize the number of minis I keep with me). This has met with some mixed results.

My first game was against Ballista Engineers and I ran Shark, Salt, Sakana, Siren, Greyscales, and Snakeskin. It was not pretty. Ballista, Salvo, and Colossus just had too much control and my team was never able to gain any traction. Sakana was particularly useless as his average defense could protect him from the many ways the Engineers had to knock people down. In addition, my lack of any knock downs outside of Shark and any damage whatsoever made it easy for my opponent to dictate play without worrying about my response. Props to my opponent for playing a great game.

After the move, I played my first game ever against Butchers, in this case run by Ox. My team was Shark, Salt, Jac, Angel, Kraken, and Siren. This game was crazy close, with the Butchers opening up an early 6-0 lead but the Fish managing to roar back with three goals to take the game 12-10. Kraken went down very quickly at first but ended up being huge, tying up Brisket and Shank for the back half of the game. Meanwhile, Jac pulled off some heroics (haha I hate myself) and scored the final two goals after Angel banged in the first one. Even though I manged to win this game, I still didn't feel very good with Shark. I screwed up my deployment, overextended Kraken early and really only won because of some mistakes by my opponent. This game did remind me that Season 3 Salt is going to be huge.

A couple days ago I played Shark into Pin Vice Engineers and finally had a game that felt good. I ran Shark, Tentacles, Kraken, Siren, Greyscales, and Gutter against Pin Vice, Mother, Velocity, Colossus, Compound, and Ratchet. The idea behind my build was that I would use the repositioning abilities on Siren, Kraken, and Gutter to isolate a player from the enemy team while Shark and Greyscales took care of scoring and Tentacles floated around the edge of the fight, Blinding anyone who came up to help. This didn't work because I missed every roll I took this game that was on two dice. However, the Engineers dependence on Pin Vice for damage and my range advantage allowed Kraken to really dominate this game. After an early goal from the Engineers, he managed to control Velocity and Pin Vice for a couple of turns while Gutter duked it out with Colossus and Shark helped give Greyscales the speed to score. Throughout the game, the combination of crowd control out of Kraken and Tentacles (Blind was game-changing), damage from Gutter, and speed from Shark and Greyscales felt very in sync. I know my opponent didn't play a perfect game and it would have been different if he had brought someone like Velocity or maybe even Rage, but this build felt very difficult for him to deal with.

I'm still learning but this last game made me feel good about Shark for the first time in a while. My problem with Shark isn't that he's a bad captain but rather that he doesn't really bring anything to his team that Corsair doesn't also. Shark's good at scoring? Well Corsair makes the team great at scoring with his legendary and ability to easily control the ball. Plus, Corsair brings a toughness and damage-potential that is just non-existent in a Corsair list. But in this game I allowed Shark to entirely focus on being a striker rather than a captain and it felt a lot better. Rather than trying to control field, I brought a team meant to do that so he had the opportunity to safely focus on scoring or facilitating goals,.

So moving forward, I'm looking for any advice on how to run Shark, whether it comes in the form of build recommendations, tactical suggestions, match ups, or even play style. Any feedback is appreciated!

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Personally I feel like a lot of people do not use Shark to his fullest potential. Shark is an incredible support model for the first and second turn of a game, but no one ever looks at him that way. You said " Well Corsair makes the team great at scoring". Shark has the capacity to do the exact same thing. Don't forget the reason Tidal Surge is so expensive is because it works on EVERYONE. Quit foot is a terribly under utilized ability as well. With Quick foot, almost every character on our team turns into a goal threat from the back line. Try this next time you bring good ol Sharky - Don't let and/or depend on him to do all the work. Keep him in the centerback of the pitch supporting the rest of the team. Do this for turn one AT A MINIMUM. Let someone else score. If you have the choice between shark scoring and someone else scoring the answer is never shark unless it is the last goal in the game. 

Another thing to consider is Balista is one of shark's hardest matchups, at least in my opinion. That team doesn't care about how fast you are because their range trumps your movement speed. Have Greyscales keep an eye on Colossus for basically the entire match. Ball's Gone > Close control. 

I'll say is I personally don't believe the Center Control list (Shark, Salt, Jac, Angel, Kraken, Siren) is very effective. Jac and Kraken have anti-synergy. Also the team is a little influence greedy at times without accomplishing much. It's difficult to switch to a 2-2 strategy on the fly with this list as well because the damage just isn't there and it is almost all non-momentous. I'd decide on Kraken OR Jac, but not both. This way you can slot Gutter in for damage. I prefer Sakana or Greyscales as well on the flex list over Angel because Angel does nothing for your momentum game.

At his soul, shark is a captain who cares more about game tempo than anyone else. If you can get to 8 points as quickly as possible you can force the opponent into a ball control game they don't want to play. Is the opponent running an Inf Hog like Hammer/Fillet/Tapper? Learn when/how to bait them into a takeout on a pawn in order to respond with a goal. Remember Counter-Attacking is important and useful with our dodges on 1. Never be afraid to let Shark die on turn 2 because he comes back on the field already within goal threat. 

Sorry this got kind of rambley. If you have any questions at all, let me know. 

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I just bought into Fishermen and this is me speaking with 4 games of Shark so far (haven't tried Corsair yet, so I'm actually researching WHY he's good, since I don't see it from reading his card). 

SHARK. IS. AMAZING.

There, that's all I needed to say. :P

Just kidding.  Shark has easily scored 2 goals for me in 3 of the 4 games I played with him.  If I kick, I put in up forward to dare the other team to retrieve the ball, because then he goes in, takes the ball from them and scores, as well as G&S or Legendary the entire team so their T1 is wasted.  T2, if they don't kill shark first and I get lucky with the init (or even just Shark doesn't die after their first activation), that means Shark takes the ball again and scores.  His speed is incredible (11" charge/sprint with Quick Foot for a 13" threat range, +4" with Tidal Surge if absolutely necessary).  I've won all of my games without dealing more than 1 damage to my opponent and scoring 3 goals.

Sakana is the other MVP of mine, scoring 2 goals in 1 game and at least scoring 1 goal in the other 3 games.  His speed, general utility (Weak Point, Anatomical Precision, Poised, 2" reach, decent playbook, etc...) is just too good. 

I just played against Ballista/Mainspring/Salvo/Gutter/Compound/Rachet yesterday with Shark, and won with 3 goals.  I kept Shark far far away from Ballista, received the ball with Siren, passed it around my deployment zone where Ballista couldn't really reach too well, and used Hemlocke to stand people up if needed.  Using a 4" dodge from the teamwork pass to Shark, Shark went last, scored, and then Legendary on Gutter so she couldn't reach him (and Shark stood inside an obstruction so she couldn't chain grab him either).  Next turn, since I had a slight MP advantage (OMG Siren is amazing against character plays, I never realized how "Beautiful" was used until last night!), Shark got the ball from Salvo fro half the board away, scored again, and then stood there to die.  Sakana did the final goal to win from the other flank.  Key I realized is to keep the strikers far apart on both sides and away from Ballista/Salvo. They can only knock one down unless they split up completely, and then they have to deal with Kraken, Siren, and Tentacles, while Hemlocke can always stand the striker that's more relevant up just before he strikes, without any need for MP.

The team I usually play is:

Shark, Tentacles, Sakana, Kraken

Then pick 2 out of these:

  • Siren (great against ranged teams),
  • vSiren (great against Butchers and other high TAC teams),
  • Jac (if I want to be more pushy, but I haven't figured him out yet),
  • Hemlocke (required against Smoke Alchemists or Ballista Engineers), or
  • Greyscales (a bit slow, but I somehow never thought of using Quick Foot on him, good idea!)

I haven't used Gutter yet, but then again, I don't do any damage with my Shark Fish team.  Will use Gutter when I play Corsair Fish next. :)

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I agree that Sakana is pretty much auto include in any Fish list I play (should I say that?  Plz no nerferino SF), but one of the great things about the fisherman's guild is that I don't think any other models are like that for me.  Greyscales is close, but that 6" kick has burned me more than once.  2" melee and Unpredictable Movement is super good though.

As for what makes Corsair good, he's a good captain for kicking off as that puts him in harpoon and rough seas range of a good bit of the opposing team.  Harpoon is just good in general, because you can pull models out of position and beat them down, which is the other thing Corsair is good at.  If you're playing fighting Fish, he's great for pulling someone into range, knocking them down and putting some damage on them before your other damage dealers come in and finish them off.  That's similar to what Kraken does but Corsair is better at it, and not nearly as easy to take out, not to mention able to hold more than 3 influence so that he can get in more than one attack after harpooning someone.  Corsair as your captain makes it much easier to switch to a 2-2 plan instead of straight up 3-0.  The first two goals are usually the easy ones, but that third one can be tricky, and having the ability to close out the game with a couple of takeouts can make it easier on you.  Then some people on this forum actually go for 6 takeouts with their fish teams!  Never managed that one myself though.

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I feel like I need to step in here.

Shark is the single most defining player in the game for any team (maybe obulus might contest this).  this being said after 30 to 40 games playing with them same 6 players, a tournament where I went 4-1 before having to leave, I've come to believe there are 3 ways to play him:

1. Control.  gut and string everyone,  use his legendary, tidal surge models around and poke them off the table.

2. Support.  quick feet and tidal surge is the name of the game here.  add 4 inches to krakens threat or get angel to move all the distance, or pull a moses and part the opposition to open up a shot or get compound away from their net.

3.  God among men.  score the goals.  score all the goals.  every game.

I feel like I've gotten pretty damn good at the 3rd, and now in my meta, every single dam person plays the keep away game.  he's become a huge target.   so what does he excel at now?  support and control.  he's such a huge impact on the game around him that people adjust, so adjust the roll he plays.

Start out giving him 5 or 6 influence every game.  every turn.  score first activation of turn 1 or score last activation turn one and first activation turn 2.  make you opponents respect him.  eventually they will play keep away.  he now holds value to you with out a single influence or activation.  he's a huge zone where your opponents won't put the ball.  then he becomes support.  but still can win you the game by himself.  who cares if he dies.  he comes off the bench and slams home another goal from downtown before going right back to the pine.  there are lots of ways to play fish, but learning how to play a good shark will do wonders for how you feel about this game.

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Great summary @WWJonnyD!  I'm still in the #3 phase right now and most people in the area haven't adapted yet.  I am going to try the #1 and 2 when people start adapting, but I'm really loving playing Shark right now.

 

Played Corsair for the first time against Ox and got murdered.  Really didn't like Corsair and his style.  Will try again with Jac.  But Shark is still the way I like to play fish right now.

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Just now, WWJonnyD said:

I'm a huge fan of this line up:

Shark, Salt, Angel, Kraken, Greyscale, Sakana.

Sakana is king of the kick off.  That guy is a machine at getting the ball back and scoring.

I've seen it work once against me, Sakana kicked and then scored by taking the ball back.  But I noticed Shark does it better (and can Gut and String/Legendary plus has more INF to play with).  Is there a reason to risk it with Sakana instead of Shark?

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Sakana can counter attack with no momentum. Also if you get him in cover he can get farther with less influence spent and ignores armour in order to guarantee tackles.

Just now, kryzak said:

Is there a reason to risk it with Sakana instead of Shark?

Also Shark is able to get that far anyways by himself.  Also doesn't put shark in danger.

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Ahh ok.  not sure how the counter attack helps Sakana in kicking off and stealing the ball to score, but getting him to Cover to kick off makes perfect sense.  I also do love the ignore armor part, unless there are lots of 5/0 models (Alchemist striker team), then Shark would be the better player to tackle, right?

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4 minutes ago, kryzak said:

not sure how the counter attack helps Sakana in kicking off and stealing the ball to score

It keeps him safer. lets you potentially get an extra inch here and there. and possibly move around to keep you from getting dirt napped.  And you don't want midas getting access to gut and string so having Shark up there so early might be scary for you.

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2 minutes ago, WWJonnyD said:

It keeps him safer. lets you potentially get an extra inch here and there. and possibly move around to keep you from getting dirt napped.  And you don't want midas getting access to gut and string so having Shark up there so early might be scary for you.

Not that's it's a problem anymore, but True Rep is Human non-Captain so he can't take G&S from Shark.

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Thanks for all the responses guys!

So I probably also should mention that I've been forcing myself to kick off every game as practice. I played a game against Ballista last night and received. Holy cow did Shark feel amazing. Should have won 12-4 halfway through turn 2 but Shark missed a 5 dice Snap Shot. Still haven't hit one of those but haven't seen anyone else miss one.

However, I played a game against Brewers earlier this week and it really showed me Shark's strength's and weaknesses as a captain. The truth is he's a tight rope act. He has some of the highest potential in the game but has to choose his moments well. Now I did not play a clean game against the Brewers and disrespected how powerful their heroics can get when they're bunched, but if I had been playing Corsair that game...well, Corsair lets you make a mistake or two and still fix it since he's just so difficult for the other team to deal with.

And now looking forward to Season 3, I have mixed feelings about Shark. Everything that made me want to play Shark now makes me want to play Midas, who's going to be faster, tougher, and a more dynamic scorer. We'll see if Shark gets his control element expanded - although I'm pretty sure we're going to see Gut & String and Caught in the Net deal out Snared rather than just the movement debuff - to compensate for the fact that he is no longer going to be the end all be all of scorers. Maybe he'll also get On my Mark like Blackheart, though Steamforged did refer to it as Blackheart's "signature play."

Next game, I'm probably going to let Siren take a break and swap in Sakana, who hasn't seen the field for me in a few games. I know he's a great model but usually it feels like Greyscales is just a more versatile version of him while Angel brings a scoring ability that Sakana can't match. Plus I'm going to try some more stuff with Jac, maybe try going without Kraken again, though I really like bringing a tar pit model to help distract the other team from my scorers.

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I have been transistioning from using Shark as a sick scorer to being a sick scorer AND a control piece. I need to get more gut and string on there to make things interesting. Shark can be great for a goal or two, greyscales and Sakhana are perfectly capable of being a threat as well. I love taking advantage of the 2" melee that fish has, really makes it easier to not proc unpredictable movement.

Here is the list I have been using and am sticking with through the rest of Season II-

Shark, Tentacles, Kraken, Sakhana, Siren, Greyscales.

learnign that Kraken and Sakhana can be a melee threat against those that are of medium health and medium defense. I have not tried it but dropping siren for Gutter may be a viable option for more take out threat. Nothing better than forcing an opponent into making a mistake because you have gutter and shark on the pitch and you are sitting at 10 points. the more avenues to victory the better chance you have.

That being said the way I play the list now is that everything is a threat on goal at all times other than Kraken. its a very interesting way to control the game, essentially through speed and goal threat. Should be interesting to really try adapting to people that do not keep the ball.

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8 minutes ago, skaroreg said:

I play the list now is that everything is a threat on goal at all times other than Kraken. its a very interesting way to control the game, essentially through speed and goal threat. Should be interesting to really try adapting to people that do not keep the ball.

This.  SOOOO much this.  I find I'm successful with a similar line up (2 players different) but the comments coming back about why my opponent thought I won or had a hard time was the over saturation of scoring threats.  Shark in the midfield, sakana and greyscales swooping in from the wings, angel ready to pick up the ball and get it deep into my players, even if they're under heavy coverage (she's the best kind of quarter back, 5 dice to float the ball into a reciever under super heavy coverage) and salt as an impromptu goalie as kraken tries to keep a lid on the opponents.  I am starting to feel like Angel is the Shea Weber (NHL defensemen for the Montreal Canadiens).  Long passes and a momentous tackle to play solid defence with the ability to boot the ball up field, and threaten a wicked downtown shot if needed.  This keep her alive too!!!!!!

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