Saturday, 18 June 2016

Blood, Sweat and Tears - Metaphorically

Guild Ball tournament review

I'm almost slumped over my keyboard as I write this.  It's a really good sort of tired, not the type of tired I got from Malifaux tournaments where I would immediately have to get home and fall sleep due to the mind numbing headache that I would have.  I'm not entirely sure why Malifaux used to make me get headaches.  I would think on it, but it involves brain power I really don't have right now.

Today was a lot of fun though, even the vicious defeats were still a giggle.  Guild Ball, even in tournament games, just seem to be a massively social game.  So, here is a review of my five games (means I've now played nine games in total of Guild Ball, and I have to say I'm definitely hooked on this).  I took Midas and friends (Flask, Calculus, Vitriol, Compound, Venin, Mercury and Snakeskin), though I only ever swapped out once the whole tournament.  I can't remember the exact details of the game, but I'm going to highlight if I can

Game 1 - Pete Coyle (Union)

So game one was my first time against Union.  I was somewhat worried about what was going to happen here, having no idea of how to play against a team genuinely makes life a little harder.  So I decided to bring in my "normal" team, if such a thing is possible after four games.  I had Midas, Flask, Calculus, Compound, Venin and Vitriol.  Pete had Blackheart, Coin, Mist, Gutter, Averice and Greed, and Rage.

So, from this game I learnt a couple of tricks certainly.  Firstly Mist is amazingly fast, but doesn't do so well when he gets pushed off the side of the pitch by Midas.  Admittedly this left Midas out of most of the rest of the game (only appearing again at the end to kill Gutter; she didn't get to hang around long in most of the match), but it was definitely funny.

Rage hates Venin, with a burning passion.  More accurately he really doesn't like Venin standing next to him for most of the game and throwing Sacrificial puppet on him.  Without anyone else around to do anything to him, redirecting the first hit back to Rage stops him getting his additional free hit.  There are ways to break this trick, but that did sort of mess him up.

Also Vitriol has serious anger issues, running up with the ball, scoring a goal and then killing everything that came near her was definitely good.

I managed a 12-8 win, with one goal and four take outs.  Pete, I think, got 4 take outs.  It was a cracking game.  At one point we were at 8 all, but there was no way that Pete could take anyone out due to the Venin speed bump in the middle.

Game 2 - Rob Smith (Butchers)

I realised my mistake immediately.  Winning the first game meant I was playing someone way more experienced that me, and to make matters worse I was playing against Butchers (who I hadn't experienced yet).  Ox, Princess, Tenderiser, Brisket, Shank, Boiler and Rage lined up against me, and in a vague hope I could slow down the incoming mess I swapped out Calculus for Mercury.  Sadly, it really didn't work out so well.

It's difficult to explain what happened.  I spread out, but not enough that Rob couldn't chain this kills together.  I over committed Midas and Mercury (twice) and an experienced player was well and truly able to take advantage of it.  That said, it was still a good game.  Rob made sure he explained where I made mistakes as the game progressed, and gave me plenty of ideas of future reference.  I was actually amazed as to how much Rob went through the game with me, and I really appreciate it a lot.

It was a 12-0 loss and all through take outs, painful painful take outs.  Butchers are able to output masses of damage, and even Venin couldn't pull off his damage redirection shenanigans, he was just folded up and sent to the sidelines in a little box.  (I also forgot to take a photo before, during or after this game, I really wasn't thinking).

Game 3 - Mat Cook (Fishermen)

Yay, a team I've played before.  Mat Cook took the male voice choir of the Fishermen (Shark, Salt, Sakana, Greyscales, Kraken and Jak).  I'd gone back to Calculus, I'm not sure why, it just made sense.  Winning the initial dice roll helped, I thought, but Shark still got to the ball even with it being almost all the way back on my start line with Vitriol.  With a little bit of tackling back and forth Shark scored the first goal and Jak had managed to punt Venin off the board.  I wasn't impressed and I was 6-0 down already.  However, the situation was such that Midas was now in the middle of the board on his own, and had managed to take where'd they go off of Greyscales.

My normal thought with Fish is that I can't outscore them, but I can kill them if I get my hands on them, but I just couldn't work out how to get to them.  With Midas on his own though, and a good kick out, I managed to immediately score back, and the resultant kick out really wasn't good for the fish.  While Greyscales got to the ball first, Midas was then able to get over to the right side of the board to get in the way.  Fourth turn Midas, first unpredictable moving out of the way of Jak's ramming speed and then dodged around and stole the ball from Greyscales, more dodges and running later and I'd managed to get to another goal.

Shark did end up with the ball again, and promptly scored.  With the fish on a 10-8 lead and absolutely no damage on any of the fish anywhere I had one option.  A bad kick out to Vitriol, I lost the ball and Sakana booted it to the middle of the pitch.  A badly wounded Venin ran up and booted it towards Midas, but Salt managed to nick it.  Jak shoved Venin out the way, but Midas was still lurking and stole the ball and took the last shot of the game.

This was the only instance of the Midas show, with the rest of the team running about after the fish just to get in the way.  In my opinion a really really lucky 12-10 win for me.. really lucky.

Game 4 - David Millington (Moticians)

I've played these before too.. not like this though.  It all started so well.

Having kicked off to the Morticians I took a big gamble and sent Vitriol off at pace to steal the ball and score a goal.  At the same time Cosset did the crazy lady thing and went off to hit Midas.  Sadly in range and in sight of Compound, who punted her to the floor and Midas went a little postal on her.  6-0 up, great start.

So Midas still had influence, Obulus was in sight and unable to get away, great though I, I'll go have a go at him.  Apparently I can't hit the broadside of a barn when I need to.  Midas let me down.  At this point the coral began.  Midas was beaten off the board and then everyone else just started sucking up damage.  Once everyone was low a pumped up Obulus and David's Rage just went to town.  I lost 4 models in one turn, and having already lost Midas once I was 10-6 down and had 2 models on the board.  Before anyone could get back and lend a hand Obulus had sized up Compound and found him wanting.  I couldn't even hold on long enough to take out a 3 health Silence who was stood right next to Compound and looking like he would die.

It was an interesting game though, if for nothing else than seeing Mortician's played as a killing faction rather than a scoring one.  I'm going to have to give Obulus some more thought, or actually kill him when I have the chance!

Game 5 - James Reece (Brewers)

I did it again, I forgot to take pictures in this game.. thankfully I already had a picture of James' best painted Brewers team.

So there was a chance we would only have four games, all that had to happen was James had to win his fourth game.  He did not, so I got the fun and games of playing against him for game five.

Now James I know, I played against him in a Dystopian Wars tournament a couple of years back, and in fact in Malifaux last year (I'd completely forgotten this til I got home).  We'd caught up a bit during the day and it was really cool to get to play him again.  He fielded what I would assume is a standard-ish Tapper team, with Spigot, Scum, Friday, Hooper and Hemlocke.

There were so many things going on here.  James loaded one side of the board with all his models, but fortunately for me, I was receiving the ball.  The other thing I was quite happy about was that the side the ball was kicked to was fairly tight, and Venin was there.  He didn't last long, but did enough to hold the Brewers back.  In the meantime, Midas and Vitriol went off and scored, and poor Hooper got steamrollered (card and metaphorically) by Midas and Vitriol in the following turn.  In the meantime the rest of the Alchemist team where tarpitting the Brewers, just living through each of the Tapper rounds and then jumping up, healing and lobbing poison on everything.  I actually had all 5 poison tokens I own out at one point.

So, yes, being lumped on one side and with Hooper back on the Brewers did get the ball, and get it to Friday.. who promptly tried to score.. and missed.  So I did have 2 people around her, one of whom was also blocking her line to the goal completely, but still.  She missed.  I actually think the game hinged on this one moment.  Calculus, just back on after being Trapper'd, bounced into action, grabbed the ball and punted it straight to Vitriol.  Still out on her own in the middle scoring a goal was a given, and even though Spigot and Trapper promptly killed Compound they did it too close to Friday, who got herself covered in Compound bits and had to leave the field, meaning I only needed one kill.  Spigot, the poor lad, promptly got picked on by Midas and I managed to win the game 12-8.

Review over

Five mad and really good games.  I'm not actually sure how I'm awake at this time.  I'm now going to go out and unpack and clean out the car as I haven't for a while and I have a very very good and full week coming.  So, I bid you a due and here is hoping I can stay awake long enough.

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