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EpicChris

Tactics for the Masons Guild

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Last Updated 09/04/18

In tandem with @Mako excellent beginner player rundowns, this is a post for beginner tactics for the Masons Guild to improve our new player resources. It is not intended to be a bible nor do I propose this is the only way to play Masons. Please feel free to suggest your own tactics that would be useful to a beginner here. I will outline a few strategies I have played myself which may or may not be helpful. Together we will try to make this a useful guide for beginner players - remember this is not designed for the 'expert' or top-level play.

Play style

The cornerstone (see that’s a Masons pun…) of the Masons play is versatility. Not only in their team roster before the game but on the pitch they can switch playstyles between beatdown and goal scoring depending on the situation. This makes Masons one of the most adaptable teams when playing against multiple different Guilds. They are the all-rounders – they can fight and they can move the ball. They like to synergise with each other and are stronger than the some of their parts – but even individually they are still strong.

Masons pay for this versatility in two ways. Firstly they have lower DEF (but higher ARM) than other teams so they are vulnerable to Character Plays. Secondly, they have low column momentum playbooks. What this means is that only their first few results are momentous but the end of their playbook is not momentous. This often leads to a Masons dilemma – if you roll big do you grab momentum or go for the big result.

TIP: This guide will not discuss Union players. Partly because the minor guild will take these away, partly because this is a beginner guide.

1: Team Selection

When picking a Masons team, the choice of team will often be decided by the captain choice. This is because each captain naturally brings a different synergy to certain players and because Masons thrive on these synergies, the captain starts the appropriate chain. Of course this is not prescriptive – you should try out different team setups, but when beginning you may want to be aware of these synergy loops.

Captain Honour

Honour is a perfect example of Masons playstyle – a very versatile model that both supports her team and can be loaded up to taken on the opposition herself. She has good stats and even her defence is surprisingly good – 3+/2 can make her hard to put in the dirt. She is limited by her 1” melee zone, so be aware of this. Her simplest character trait is Poised so anyone engaging her within 1” and not Knocking Her down is likely to see her dance away for free on the Counter Attack.

Her playbook is very good – Tackle on 1 means she can strip balls effortlessly. Low 2 DMG is also excellent if you want to switch her up to beatdown (see below). She also has plenty of repositions very low down - << on 2 (with DMG!) or >< on 3. She is very slippery and can bounce around enemy models when required. This plays into her Poised trait allowing her counter attacks to be particularly good at disengaging. As befits a Mason the high end playbook is not momentous, but with 3 and 4 DMG in there along with KD, she can trigger some powerful results if she gets the successes.

TIP: Honours KD is very high and difficult for her to trigger. Be careful when charging enemy models with low down 2” repositions – Honour CAN get back into melee if they counter attack but it is very expensive in INF. Consider adding in debuffs like Weak Point or Singled Out to enemy targets to help her hit these.

Her Character Plays are all about supporting her team or getting Honour out of a Jam. Quick Time allows her to extend the threat range of either herself or another critical model. It’s also a dodge so can be useful against certain enemy models with special movement Character Traits.

TIP: Quick Time can be used on Honour if her target disengages through a Counter Attack. It can also be used to circumvent Unpredictable Movement and Rush Goalie.

TIP: Quick Time can also be used to extend threat ranges, and not just for Honour. Consider it for models looking for goal runs like Flint or Harmony.

Superior Strategy is such a versatile play that it is discussed below. Suffice it to say that it is rare she will cast this on herself but she can do so if it would help her score or move into a better position.

Her two team Character Traits are Linked [Harmony] and Assist [Marbles] and these demonstrate not only a preference in Team Selection but also how the Masons work together. Linked is a special trait here as Honour is a Captain and thus the bond can be extremely powerful – it is discussed below. Assist is more straight forward – you want Marbles to be engaging models for Honour to walk over and remove from the pitch. This is also discussed below.

Her Legendary is also versatile and powerful – adding ARM or INF is an incredible ability (and 6” is a wide area) but when in doubt, usually INF is the better choice.

TIP: Aside about Allocate and Gain. Allocate is a game term and means you cannot exceed maximum INF. Gain is a separate term and does allow exceeding maximum INF.

TIP: While Superior Strategy is Allocate (and thus cannot exceed max INF), Topping Out is GAIN and so CAN exceed max INF.

TIP: Topping Out affects Honour as well – this can give her a 7th INF to spend hitting/shooting etc.

Honour the Beatstick

If you want to, Honour makes a very effective beatdown model. With a stack of 6 INF, good speed and low 2 DMG, Honour can do a lot of DMG. However she is even better if supported by her team. Marbles gives her +1 TAC and DMG, so with 7 TAC and +1 DMG she is extremely likely to be hitting 3 DMG a hit – not much is going to last against that. Tower can give her Tooled Up to also boost her DMG and these both Stack so she can start doing 4 DMG trivially – nothing in the game can take that for long.

TIP: Consider moving Marbles as a last activation when you know you can likely go first with Honour – this way you can engage models setting them up for Honour and they likely can’t move away.

TIP: Remember Topping Out gives Honour +1 INF, use this if you need one last attack to take a key model out.

TIP: Remember that Honour is unlikely to KD her target - be careful of slippery enemies who will disengage from her.

Honour can also Link into Harmony. This means that Harmony activates immediately before your opponent gets a response. As long as Harmony was within 8” of Honour she gets Honour’s TAC 6, which can allow her to continue a beatdown. This is extremely INF inefficient and only recommended on priority targets (e.g. Shark before he activates legendary/scores) or to ensure maximum use of the INF. A far better use is to try and score (see below). Harmony has 2 DMG on 3 which with Honour’s assist she can likely hit – it is worth triggering her Weak Point to help her hit this more reliably.

TIP: To lessen the INF inefficiency of this, consider using Topping Out to at least boost the remaining INF left after these two activate.

Honour the Striker

When not beating face, Honour is very adept at scoring goals with or without Harmony. Firstly she can easily tackle any model. She can also dodge around models using her low <<. She also has access to Quick Time for a further 2”. This can extend her goal threat from beyond her basic 16” to much more. Look for opportunities to Dodge around like this towards the 6" Kick on goal range.

However the real show is working with Harmony. After easily stripping a ball and getting to within 6” of Harmony (either by attacking for << or Quick Time), Honour can pass Harmony the ball and potentially Harmony can then jump 4” from Give N Go Momentous Teamwork. Then Honour can Link into Harmony immediately and Harmony can run and score. This can give a very long threat range for goal runs and doesn’t require a massive INF investment.

TIP: Harmony has Acrobatic so measure out the goal run to see if the Give N Go is even required.

TIP: Remember to try to keep Harmony still within 8" - 4 Dice KICK is much better than 2 Dice KICK!

Honour as Support

Lastly Honour can support her team. Topping Out is a fantastic support power and if you are looking to select INF, try to maximise the number of Mason players in range. 4+ Extra INF is a fantastic boost to the team for one turn. However pushing ARM to 2/3 on multiple models can reduce enemy counter assaults so it is worth weighing up whether you want to try to do more, or defensively protect your players.

While Quick Time and Linked are great support plays the special one is Superior Strategy. Superior Strategy is hard to use after the first turn because of the cost but it has situational uses even then. But on Turn 1, Superior Strategy is extremely powerful as it unlocks a play often called The Mallet Missile.

There is an excellent video on this here by Vincent Curkov ( @TheCurkov ): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAIXy4xs-OY

TIP: I strongly recommend you watch his videos and subscribe to his channel – his fast forwards through games allows you to quickly digest tactics in 20 minutes. His comments are insightful and I recommend the Strictly The Worst podcast if you would like to improve your competitive game. http://strictlytheworst.libsyn.com/

The summary of this tactic is you put N-1 INF onto Mallet, cast Superior Strategy on him (which takes him to N maximum INF), move/run up the pitch on his first activation, whale on someone in his second activation. You can burn Topping Out to give him more INF but this is a waste and not recommended.

In short, you can use Superior Strategy to not only give you last activation, but also extend the threat range of your team substantially and allow them to punch into the enemy to either DMG a target to hopefully capitalise on or score a goal. The beauty of Superior Strategy is that it allows you keep models safe before they attack and allows you last activation even when you receive the ball (as normally the kicker would have last activation). There are variants to the Mallet Missile (you don’t have to use Mallet) and you can choose goals over DMG.

Suggested Beginner Team Selection

Building Blocks: Honour (C), Marbles, Harmony, Brick, Mallet, Flint

TIP: This line up is the Kick Off box set. This box is strongly recommended to new players as a cost effective way to start Guild Ball providing two teams, a pitch and all the gubbins you need to play.

Captain Hammer

While Hammer is the opposite in style to Honour he is still a Mason. Hammer leeches from his team to make himself better. As such he likes to play the Super Solo role of smashing people up or scoring goals (or both). He has a lot of tricks to him, but is also a little more predictable than Honour and less versatile. However he can be a scary dude and fun to play.

TIP: Hammer’s secret weapon compared to Honour is his easy to hit KD. This makes him annoying to escape from on Parting Blows and he can disable annoying models that try to counter attack to dodge away.

Hammer the Super Solo

Hammer’s stats are not particularly remarkable other than his TAC and KICK distance. He has low DEF (although Tough Hide will keep him alive) and can only carry 5 INF and is surprisingly slow for a 1” model. However in his character plays you start to see where his power comes from. Hammer can steal INF from friendly models within 6” to boost his DMG, MOV and KICK. He can do all three but it will leave his team starved of INF so choose only what Hammer needs when he activates.

TIP: Hammer can steal INF at any point during his activation so he can potentially move closer to a friend and take DMG or KICK (he cannot interrupt a move so MOV buff wont help).

TIP: Hammer can over extend himself such that no friendlies are within 6” – this severely weakens him. Try to keep a friendly near him.

Most of the time Hammer is likely to want to engage in beatdown Take Outs. With his own DMG buff and Tooled Up from Tower, he can start pulverising enemy models. Hammer will like to run with maximum INF every turn because he is all about himself. With 5 INF, he should see whether he needs the accuracy buff of KDing his target. If he does not, then 5 swings of 3 DMG should take most models out. If you can wait and Tool Him up, he should destroy most models.

TIP: Hammer can take the MOV buff to allow him to walk into melee rather than wasting INF on charging and risking Defensive Stance.

TIP: Hammer has Stoic. What this means is that he ignores the first push. Combined with his low momentous results, this means he can often ignore KD and Pushes on counter attacks and only be vulnerable to Dodges that might allow prey to escape. This can allow Hammer to avoid wasting INF on KD and just pick DMG, knowing an opponent cannot push him away or he can just burn Momentum to stand up.

Hammer has Knockback (as do many Masons). Knockback has a variety of applications but here are some examples:

1.    Allow Hammer to disengage a 1” melee model. For example, Hammer can Tackle and Push the model away 1” (Hammer also KDs so this will probably only be relevant to Sturdy models or when Hammer picks a DMG result).

2.    Allow Hammer to ‘surf’ by pushing a model and then moving after them. This can allow Hammer to push further towards the enemy goal than might seem possible initially.

3.    Burn through enemy Stoic. If Hammer selects a Push Playbook result, then this result burns Stoic and his Knockback will then fire and push the model.

4.    Surf the model into Gang Ups with friendlies

5.    Push enemy models off the pitch and earn VPs.

TIP: Hammer can use his pushes to line up Knockback direction. This is because unlike other pushes on playbooks (which are combined into one single push in one direction), Knockback happens afterwards, so you can pick a Push Playbook result, then push the model, then fire Knockback and push the model again directly away.

TIP: Remember that Knockback works on ANY successful attack.

Hammer the Striker

As well as pulverising the enemy, Hammer is good striker. This is because he is very good at ball stripping with a low T result, and can then surf to within 8” of the goal (see above) and score. Hammer is often able to do both – pulverise the model he tackled from (which is now Knocked Down), probably surfing and Taking them out and then with his last INF, take a shot. As long as he steals INF to boost his KICK to 3/8”, he is pretty reliable. This often leads to Hammer making 6 VP activations.

TIP: Remember that you can use Momentum to boost the number of dice rolled by one, so Hammer can boost himself to 4/8” if required as he usually generates plenty of momentum.

TIP: Hammer has a unique interaction with models with Close Control. Because his Tackle and KD are together, Close Control absorbs the Tackle but then the KD knocks the model down so the ball scatters. This can make it harder for Hammer to take it and score. Be careful around Close Control models and be aware of this effect.

Hammer’s Support

Hammer does not support his team at all except for his Legendary Play. This allows teammates when they activate within 6” of Hammer to take one of three benefits – MOV, DMG or KICK. This can be very flexible but it requires that Hammer be near his team – consider using it when a scrum develops, or when Hammer isn’t launching himself off into the enemy.

Suggested Beginner Team Selection

Iron Fist: Hammer (C), Wrecker, Mallet, Flint, Veteran Harmony, Tower

2: Kick/Receive

The Masons are flexible about Kicking or Receiving, especially with Honour, but here are a few suggestions.

Possible Kicking Strategies

Hammer & Honour

Flint Kick Off Pressure

Flint threatens 13” from his KO position – which is virtually the entire enemy starting line. With an 8” KICK, he can probably Tackle and score from almost anywhere. Use this to threaten a sneaky first turn goal. Use vetHarmony to clear KD if Flint is KD, or Honour if using her team with Superior Strategy.

Hammer

Hammer Time

Kick off with Hammer. That’s it. Oh and cast Tooled Up on him for chocolate sprinkles. Pretty much anything that pushes Mr Hammer further up the board is great. Hammer has a fixed Threat Range so be aware canny players will measure this out and stay outside it. But this can work to your advantage as it fences them in. Veteran Harmony has Marked Target which can unexpectedly extend his Threat Range by 2” – it’s a gamble as you won’t be able to boost beyond 1 dice, but consider it if facing low DEF teams.

Also if they try to score a first turn goal you can kick the ball out to Hammer and he can potentially smash the striker’s face in and score, or setup a 6 VP activation first activation of Turn 2. Use vetHarmony to clear any cheeky conditions on Hammer. Hammer will activate last and leech 2-3 INF from his team (make sure you leave team members with 2-3 INF within 6”).

Honour

Mallet/Flint Missile

As described above, use Superior Strategy to give a model a double activation, ensuring that you get to activate a model twice after all the enemy models have activated. This could allow you to setup DMG from Mallet or Scoring from Flint.

Possible Receiving Strategies

Hammer & Honour

First Turn Goal

The simplest version of this is to simply collect the ball, pass it around (using Mallet’s Football Legend Aura as much as possible) until it lands on Flint, then Pass N Move Flint 4” using the Momentous Teamwork action. Then Flint should be able to easily run, Where’d They Go and kick the ball in with 24” of combined Threat (4” Pass N Move, 8” Run, 4” WTG, 8” KICK).

Honour

Mallet/Flint Missile

Same as above but with Superior Strategy, Honour’s team can hold on to the ball passing it around for momentum and steal last activation so the opponent cannot respond and lacks any momentum for counter attacks. Move Harmony up one wing, Honour somewhere in the middle (8” from Harmony) and Flint ending up on other wing. This has the unique approach of combining patient progress up the pitch with VPs and going first Turn 2. This way depending on where they kick it out you threaten another immediate goal from Honour/Harmony or Flint. When it all works you’re 8 VPs up after the first activation of Turn 2.

Hammer

Hammer Time +

Same as above but Hammer can use the ball to extend his Threat Range beyond what the opponent can deal with and potentially score as well. Tool Up Hammer. Pass the ball to Hammer, Pass N Move him 4” forward. He can activate, suck in INF as required for his Character Plays and then pass the ball to Flint (who should Pass N Move) or Give N Go to move Hammer another 4” (if the enemy models are outside Hammer’s Threat Range). If you passed to Flint, Hammer can then charge into the enemy and generate momentum through destruction. Then you activate Flint who can do his First Turn goal run as above.

If you had to Give N Go, give the ball to another model who hasn’t activated yet to pass to Flint if possible to let Flint First Turn Score. Hammer can cause mass destruction as he walks/charges into the enemy and then Flint scores.

3: Building Blocks Strategies

This team has a lot of internal synergies that increase the potency of the parts. Honour and Harmony can function as a unit to beatdown or score, Brick and Marbles can provide defensive counter charges, Mallet can smack the enemy while providing setup and Flint is a striker supreme.

Honour has all the options listed above and is a versatile piece on the pitch. What she does each turn will depend on board state but you should try to keep her and Harmony near each other to maximise the two models and the Linked ability. She will want her loyal Marbles to be chasing her around as well.

Marbles

Marbles has two links to players on this team – Brick and Honour. With Brick Marbles gains Counter Charge – one of the most powerful and disruptive abilities in the game.

Counter Charge

Counter Charge is triggered at the end of an enemy models normal movement and this will often mean said enemy is engaging (and hopefully engaged by a friendly). It is powerful because it triggers before the enemy can carry out an attack (even a charge) and allows Marbles to charge the enemy.

Marbles gaining +4 TAC so rolling 7 dice (potentially 8 if a friendly model – the charged target – is engaging the model) allows him a couple of options:

1.    Tackle the ball from a Striker. This can mess up a striker’s INF calculation and prevent goals

2.    Hit his Push – potentially moving the enemy out of melee with the charge target, wasting their charge INF. The enemy can still activate, they just may no longer be engaging. He only needs 5 successes to 2” Push – not impossible.

3.    If nothing else inflict some free momentous DMG.

This is particularly devastating against 1” melee models as Marbles can push them 1” such that they are no longer engaging ANY model (remember that Marbles only needs to be within 1” not base to base).

Even if you cannot disengage the enemy model, Marbles is now engaging the target, reducing their TAC through a Crowd Out and helping the charged target with a Gang Up.

TIP: Counter Charges are considered NORMAL charges – all normal rules apply and you CAN generate momentum from them. Consider this free Momentum if nothing else.

TIP: You can still declare a Counter Attack from the (charged) target and gain a +1 Dice from Marbles Gang Up.

TIP: Be careful with Marbles positioning – Brick is a 40mm base so a canny opponent could charge a model (even Brick) in the total eclipse granted by this larger base – Marbles MUST be able to see the enemy model to declare a Charge.

TIP: Marbles and Brick will often be close together to allow Marbles to Counter Charge – it may happen that BOTH can Counter Charge and this is perfectly fine. You declare the order of the charges and carry out the charges sequentially. Be careful with positioning models – if one cannot reach the enemy through blocking player the charge fails.

Marbles has the Character Play Goad. Goad can be very powerful if inaccurate to hit with. Goad forces the target model to move DIRECTLY towards Marbles. Note that the model must move directly towards Marbles and cannot move around Barriers/other models etc. This can be used to:

1.    Position Marbles such that a Barrier is partially along the path to effectively freeze a model in place as it can only move into the Barrier which is not allowed.

2.    Marbles can Goad a model and then Run/Walk off – this can waste a model’s activation as it cannot move towards a target it wants to, potentially only able to move into a pointless space near Marbles.

3.    Marbles can Goad a model it is in base contact with pinning the model completely as it cannot move in any direction that would be DIRECTLY towards Marbles. This can lock down Striker models. This can also work well with Honour as then Honour can come in and benefit from Marbles and the enemy cannot escape.

TIP: Character Plays do not lose dice if targeting a model you are engaging/engaged by. However Goad only has 1 Dice so this is just an FYI!

TIP: Consider using Bonus Time momentum to boost the accuracy of Goad. It is usually worth the investment given the power of the play.

Marbles boosts Honour as discussed above so should always try to move up and engage enemy models that have already activated (unless trying to Goad a model to pin it as discussed). This offers Honour the option of an easy take out if she is nearby.

Loved Creature, Marbles’ other Trait works well with the above as if the enemy if pinned to Marbles they will likely trigger it, or if Marbles is exposing himself to the enemy by moving up the pitch to support Honour, they may be given a dilemma of whether to trigger Loved Creature or not as the rest of the Masons will benefit from the TAC buff.

Brick

Brick is a tank – he is unlikely to score goals and while he can do DMG, that isn’t necessarily a good use of INF. However with Tough Hide and 2 ARM, he can be very annoying to deal with and his counter attacks can be irritating as he has Knockback (see discussion above) and Tackles. His best trait is Counter Charge though.

As discussed above Counter Charge is an amazing rule that will confound your opponent because they will forget it, or have to work out how they are playing around it. Brick doesn’t have any Pushes but instead has an Auto-Push in Knockback. This means that should an enemy model move into his Counter Charge Bubble, Brick might be able to disengage the enemy model or even Knock them down and disengage. Knocking down the enemy model is a great result as it wastes the Charge INF of the enemy and they need to burn Momentum to stand back up. If they don’t have any (say at the start of the turn) this can be devastating.

TIP: KD, Parting Blows and Counter Charge. It may happen that a model chooses to risk a Parting Blow from Brick and gets Knocked Down. If this happens, they are considered to have Ended their normal move – within 6” of Brick and outside his melee….yep, you can Counter Charge the now Knocked Down model to really add insult to injury and reengage them.

Brick is ‘easy’ to hit so be careful with him against teams with lots of Character Plays – they may try to use him to throw these around at other Masons or just slow Brick down. However a Burning Brick can still Counter Charge like normal as the enemy model has to be within 6” and Brick’s Threat Range is 6” when Burning.

Brick and Marbles – Always Two There Are...

A few quick words on these two working together. Once Marbles is within 4” of Brick, the Mason player can create a huge bubble of Counter Charge. Use this to lockdown the centre of the pitch and protect other Masons. It takes practice on where to put these modes, but usually you’ll want Marbles about 3” from Brick. This is to:

1.    Reduce the positions in which an enemy model can engage both Brick & Marbles and prevent either Counter Charge

2.    Allow Marbles’ Counter Charge Bubble to cover Brick

3.    Force enemies to have to push Brick more than 1” to ‘switch off’ Marbles.

4.    Reduce the Eclipse angle

TIP: Be aware enemies will try to ‘switch off’ both Brick and Marbles – if they do this, consider using other Masons to Push these models out of position so these two are ‘switched on’ again. Remember that both have Pushes so can at least switch one of the pair back on.

TIP: While not relevant when starting out or playing casually with friends, if you decide to play competitively then you will appreciate the pressure these Counter Charge bubbles place on the opponent’s clock as they try to work it out is worth its weight in gold.

Harmony

Harmony has links with Brick and Honour. While the main reason to take Harmony is her synergy with Honour, don’t discount having her hang within 4” of Brick for the +1 ARM. A 5+/1 model is hard to take out.

Honour and Harmony working together has already been discussed but to summarise – you can consider Honour & Harmony to be a Super Player (a Voltron-like entity) that can use up to 10 INF and do AMAZING things that no other player can do. Just be aware that if Harmony starts her activation NOT within 8” of Honour she is extremely weak. Try to keep her in that bubble.

TIP: If Harmony scores, use Run the Length to bring her back to 8” of Honour. This can be combined with Back to the Shadows for an 8” Dodge, which should bring her within 8” of Honour.

Harmony has access to Acrobatic, often used to disengage her from enemy models or increase her Threat Range, and Weak Point. It can be worth going first with Harmony prior to Honour to apply Weak Point (she still gets Honour’s TAC if within 8”) so that Honour and the rest of the Masons can take the targeted model out.

TIP: Linked is amazing, but don’t get too obsessed with it – sometimes you’ll want Harmony to go first.

Harmony has Back to the Shadows so she should try to inflict some DMG to trigger this and allow her to disengage back to near Brick or at least away from enemy takeout machines – Harmony is not untouchable and only has 10 Health Boxes.

Mallet

Mallet doesn’t have any particular links to other players but he is a strong support piece, able to setup his fellow Masons and contribute to the beatdown game. Mallet is slow and easy to hit with Character Plays (but his ARM is high) but his secret tech is a 3” melee zone during his activation. This allows Mallet to attack any model in the game without fear of retaliation.

TIP: Be careful with Mallet’s Extended Reach – once your activation ends the enemy model will no longer be engaged and can move off without risk. Consider whether you want to engage at 3” or 2”.

Mallet has Forceful Blow which encourages him to charge (which with his slow MOV you may find you need to do) but given he has a 7” walk threat don’t feel like you have to charge every time – decide whether you need the Push or 2 DMG, and if not walk up and attack twice.

TIP: Forceful Blow is not affected by either Tooled Up or Tough Hide

Mallet also has a KICK boosting aura always on around him which boosts his own KICK to 3/7”. This can be used if you receive the ball and want to kick it around to minimise kick failures.

Perhaps Mallet’s best ability is Singled Out. This is relatively easy for him to hit, generate momentum, and prime the target for a whooping. Mallet himself can benefit because he can do tremendous DMG at the end of the playbook, but once setup like this, the model is extremely vulnerable to the rest of the Masons.

TIP: He also has Smashed Shins. Consider using this on annoying strikers such as Shark or Midas to cripple their goal threat ranges and reliability.

Don’t be afraid to load up Mallet when you can – he is a very capable player and can do a lot of DMG and disruption to the enemy.

Flint

Flint is one of the best (maybe the best?) strikers in the game. With a built in 20” goal threat, Close Control and a 4 Dice KICK, he is reliable and effective. He also has a Momentous Tackle in Column 1, so when charging he WILL tackle the ball and potentially even wrap against some Close Control models. He’s not a complicated model – he’s easy to hit (by non-male models), is very slippery with Where’d They Go (the best Dodge play in the game) and WILL score if given the ball. Basically, as Alan Partridge might say ‘He’s Liquid Football’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xhlx43rTs2Q

TIP: Flint can be a very effective Snap Shot turret – consider leaving him within 8” of the goal after scoring because then anyone passing to him and slot another goal in.

TIP: Flint has an ‘easy’ >< result – use this to disengage or ‘surf’ closer to the goal.

In short, it’s well worth giving Flint 3/4 INF to threaten a goal from pretty much anywhere.

4: Iron Fist Strategies

This team will revolve a lot around Hammer – be careful with him as he will be easy to over extend with. Hammer is not indestructible and once taken out the team suffers substantially. However if you martial his abilities as described above, he can be a one-man army, Taking Out or Scoring Goals with ease.

TIP: Hammer works very well with Flint as Hammer can smash people up while Flint threatens to score leading to a dual dilemma for opponents.

There are no obvious synergies on this team – it’s all about raw power. Hammer will be the focus of every turn – making sure he has the necessary INF to achieve your plans. However make sure you give INF to the rest of the team – every player has their part to play in victory.

Wrecker

Ah the little ball of fury that is Wrecker. While Marbles is very good to take if taking Honour or Brick, if you take neither (as here) then Wrecker is a great model to be extremely annoying to your opponent.

Firstly he is 2+/3 making him surprisingly hard to hurt – it takes dedicated beaters to take him out and since he is only worth 1VP this is usually a waste. So throw him in as a Gang Up model at the very least. However what makes him particularly special is his Character Trait Rollerball.

Rollerball increases his MOV to 8”/10” and he can cast Ramming Speed for free. This allows him for no INF at all to move around 8”, and push enemy models 2”. This can be used to:

1.    Push them towards your players – Threat Extension for Hammer is worth pure gold.

2.    It can be used to push them away from cover.

3.    It can be used to push them off your models, freeing them to move away or have less Crowd Outs

4.    It can be used to push enemies away if the extra 2” (and then Wrecker being in the way) will block a goal run.

TIP: Combine pushing enemy models out of scrums and replacing them with Wrecker for a 2 TAC swing.

TIP: Remember it only affects ENEMY models – you can’t push friendlies.

Aside from his free powers, Wrecker has a powerful playbook. He has a 1 DMG & KD making Parting Blows against him very dangerous – players will have to waste resources to disengage from Wrecker. He can also Tackle – consider charging to Tackle the ball (preferably into cover). The ball being on Wrecker can be painful for Strikers with low TAC to get back, especially combined with That’s Not the Ball.

TIP: Always try to combine Wrecker’s ARM with Cover – it can make him nigh untouchable.

Wrecker has other abilities that make him extremely annoying. Follow Up means that even if they pass the Parting Blow, Wrecker simply follows them and makes their life a misery. That’s Not the Ball can ‘wreck’ Strikers – they may no longer have the INF to score after dealing with Wrecker.

TIP: Remember that Rollerball lasts until the end of the turn so works nicely with Follow Up.

TIP: Wrecker is also a great battery for Hammer as he can store up to 3 INF for Hammer to leech. Putting INF here means that other players don't suffer.

Mallet & Flint

These are both operating similar as in Honour’s team. Flint will be looking to tackle and score and Mallet will be supporting Hammer in Take Outs. Mallet can either setup enemy players or act as a finisher if Hammer doesn’t quite close the deal.

TIP: Mallet is a good target for Tooled Up because once he Singles models out and potentially KD them as well he has a good chance to wrap and do a substantial amount of DMG. A single Tooled Up wrap with Mallet can do 7 DMG – if he charges (increasing the likelihood of wrapping) 9 DMG!

TIP: Mallet also likes Hammer Time Legendary for +1 DMG as it achieves the above without Tooled Up or even better stacks with it to take his DMG output into the stratosphere.

Veteran Harmony

Veteran Harmony is very different to her original self. Firstly she is completely independent of Honour and cannot be Linked to. Secondly she has a several ways to help her work better with those around her.

Marked Target is an unreliable Character Play to extend Threat Ranges – but it can be worth a gamble if it makes the difference between Hammer hitting a target. If you do get access to Momentum, you can boost it.

Smelling Salts is a great AOE to remove conditions and while it will see most use against condition heavy teams such as Alchemists, it can be used to remove KD when you don’t have access to Momentum.

Her final team buffs come from her Character Traits and are always on. Team Player and Breaking Play. The simplest use for Team Player can be to prevent Take Outs on friendly players within 4” – Harmony tanks the DMG instead. Consider using this before Harmony activates so she can clear the DMG with just 1 momentum.

Breaking Play can help with your team’s weakness to Character Plays and leads to a difficult activation point problem with vHarmony – activate early to trigger Breaking Play or late to heal the DMG she took for Team Player and throw out a Smelling Salts. It will depend on board state and whether you fear incoming Character Plays.

On top of all her abilities, Harmony is a good ball stripper with a Tackle on a 1 and can walk/charge in, strip the ball and pass out to a team member such as Hammer or Flint.

Tower

Tower is a versatile player that is best suited for setting up other players and offering unexpected goals through ‘surfing’. Tower has pretty standard stats with the classic 3+/2 Mason defence. What makes him shine is a combination of his Traits and Character Plays.

Firstly he has Knockback and as discussed with Hammer, this rule can be very powerful. Tower has a 1” Push (momentous) on his first column – this means that he has an easily reachable pseudo >> and a >>> on 3 successes. This can be used to Counter Attack to disengage 1” melee models, or used to surf models towards the goal etc. Use Tower to setup enemy models (particularly those that have already activated) into kill boxes with other Masons, or even consider using him to push models off the pitch if they hang too close to the edge.

He can Tackle reasonably reliably – and combined with Knockback, he can Tackle and push a 1” melee model out of counter attack range – preventing many models from getting the ball back. He can then pass it to a friendly or attempt a Snap Shot of models like Hammer or Flint.

TIP: Tower also has Floored – try attacking models already setup for him by Mallet or Hammer to reach the end of his playbook and do substantial DMG. Note unlike Spigot, he doesn’t really benefit from Tooling himself as he is unlikely to wrap.

Tower comes with Tooled Up and this play is very useful to the Mason Take Out game. Useful on Hammer or Mallet, this play can give them enough DMG output to easily Take Out models. His other play, Defend the Ground is situational, but can be useful if starved of momentum or of the Masons are clumping together to allow them to maximise their DEF bonus. You will use this play less, but it can be useful, especially on early turns.

TIP: Remember that models can Defensive Stance even when Knocked Down (somehow…). Use this and Defend the Ground to protect models from sinking to DEF 2+.

Tower’s last trick is his Heroic – Protect Those Close – which can be very powerful, especially for Masons. Masons are often DEF 3+. Moving from DEF 3+ to DEF 2+ from KD doubles the number of dice successes. Thus it makes immunity to the first KD very powerful to prevent Masons getting whaled on in melee. It also means that Masons will get a chance to Counter Attack (although many Masons have 1” melee, many enemy models do as well, particularly Butchers) and try to disengage (through Pushes or Dodges).

TIP: Consider going first in a turn with Tower to Charge an enemy model, generate momentum, cast Tooled Up on Hammer and then cast Protect Those Close. If Hammer then activates he can benefit from the aura and be immune to the first Push and KD. Only Dodges can disengage him and he has an easy KD for them.

5: Other Players

Lucky

Lucky is player that can work for Masons or Brewers. His card looks odd but if it is a filled in playbook result it is momentous – it doesn’t have to be the right colour! He has pretty standard stats (perhaps higher than usual for Masons) and he has some great low down momentous results as well as a low KD. Lucky works well with either captain – condition removal is always useful and extra INF welcome. Raise the Stakes can be hard to use, and initially it is recommended only to use if Lucky would do nothing in a turn. It can be very powerful (enable Lucky to make a goal run for example) but it’s a double edged sword.

TIP: Try Kicking with Lucky and combining with Raise the Stakes & Stack the Deck to get early momentum and soften targets up.

TIP: Sleight of Hand is excellent and can be used on Lucky himself.

Chisel

Chisel is a strange player – her long playbook and low TAC means she needs Crazy to operate at normal efficiency. However while she can be a little awkward, she brings a 2” melee threat, low Tackle and plenty of Dodges. Chisel is best deployed as a Striker or setting up Flint to score by stripping the ball. She is vulnerable to counter attacks though, with only 3+/1 defence and Crazy, she may find she lacks health boxes to last long. Painful Rage is best used as a defence tool in case they fail at the job.

Don’t overlook her Character Plays – Sadism can help her heal (for example on a Counter Attack) and Feel My Pain can be a huge disincentive to attack Chisel – especially if Sadism is up as these two Plays will reduce the DMG Chisel suffers while hurting the health of the attacker.

TIP: Feel My Pain triggers off targeting an Attack – the result is irrelevant (even if it fails or was a Dodge!). It doesn’t affect Character Plays.

TIP: You can trigger Painful Rage if Chisel is at 6-8HP by firing off Crazy which immediately pushes her below trigger for Painful Rage. Be careful with Sadism and healing – if she rises above 5 HP it turns off Painful Rage.

Granite

Granite has a beautiful playbook. In fact it’s so amazing, combined with TAC 6 that you'll wonder why she isn’t an auto-include. We will examine her issues in a moment, but first let’s look at her abilities.

Granite comes with a very low KD (for a TAC 6 model) which is momentous. So her first strategy is to simply KD players as an accuracy buff for her fellow Masons. The real money though is Gut & String & Tar Pit. Gut & String is an extremely powerful Character Play – it cripples model MOV while also placing a DEF debuff on them – neither of which can be removed. This sets up enemy models to be annihilated by the likes of Hammer – they can’t escape and they are easy for him to hit. Tar Pit is a nice extra MOV debuff as it puts up rough ground. It at least causes them to waste momentum on gliding, and it will quickly (if setup in the right location such as the centre of the pitch) get annoying.

TIP: ALWAYS, always apply Gut & String if you can. It cannot be stressed how powerful this play is.

Granite also has Sturdy so she will often get to Counter Attack against 1” melee models. She also gets a free jog at the start of the game and also ONCE per turn if any of her friends are hurt within 4”. Finally she has 24 Health Boxes which is substantially more than other Masons. She can tank DMG – but not for long (see below).

However after all this awesome, we do need to examine her problems. Firstly she is the second slowest model in Guildball at 3”/5” (Jack Straw is the slowest but he has secret tech to actually be insanely fast). This means that once she is taken out of the game, she is out. She will take too long to get back into a meaningful place. So try to heal her and make sure she doesn’t get taken off or your opponent will capitalise on having less models in the main channel to deal with. Because of her slow MOV, opponents will likely either kite her Threat Range at 6.1” or worse, debuff her MOV with Burning, or some other form of movement debuff, rendering her stationary. Be very careful when playing into these teams when you put INF on her – it can be rendered useless.

She is also very easy to hit at 2+/2 and while her ARM will help her, a determined attacker will mulch through her health boxes. She has Determination, but this is situational and a canny opponent won’t let this happen – they don’t really need Gang Ups to punch through her DEF. Also be aware – two or more Gang Ups renders Determination useless – and they can still KD her to take her back to 2+.

Lastly her Between a Rock Aura has a few issues – firstly the above MOV debuffs she is likely to be taking will make this not work. Worse, her 3” Jog means she might not be able to engage the model pummelling your ally within 4”.

TIP: You can do some amusing Jank with Veteran Harmony’s Team Player and Granite’s Between a Rock. If the model hit is within Harmony’s aura and Harmony is within Granite’s aura, Granite will get the Jog even if the original target was too far away.

Granite is best deployed in the centre, trying to be as annoying as possible and forcing the opponent to waste resources on her, while she looks for an opportunistic Gut & String. She is particularly effective against teams that like to scrum and don't throw out any MOV debuffs.

6: Guild Weaknesses & Other Guilds

Masons are ‘Jack of All Trades, Master of None’ in their approach to Guildball and have few weaknesses. They aren’t the killiest of teams or perhaps the best at football, but they possess players and abilities that can do both, and can often switch between styles as required. They are usually easy to hit, although they use armour to defend against melee blows, so Character Play teams are their nemesis – Hunters & Alchemists are not your friends. Veteran Harmony & Lucky can help here, so all is not lost.

Their strongest opponents are probably fast scoring teams as Masons like a medium speed tempo – they start strong but they like to work together to maximise their potential so they aren’t the fastest in gaining the upper hand. Masons should look to either pull back tempo through Hammer eliminating models and scoring, or blowing a Honour/Harmony activation to suddenly pull the game around, leaving Flint and Mallet to threaten the rest of the turn.

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I'm just hoping there'll not be too much overlap, as I seem to write down detailed player summaries. :rolleyes: Great read, Chris!

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1 hour ago, Nykolae said:

I'm just hoping there'll not be too much overlap, as I seem to write down detailed player summaries. :rolleyes: Great read, Chris!

You can't give people too much information! Keep up the great work!

Besides - I'll take that as confirmation of my wild prose. :) 

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