Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Guildball union player Mist - Broken or Not?

Hello dear reader, it's time for me to climb up on my soap box and share some of my opinions. I'm on my soapbox today relating to some recent discussion and opinions about a character in the game Guild Ball. I've been listening to recent opinions, jokes, commentary, and discussion about concerns that have captured my attention. It's captured my attention because I think that the direction of the discussion is inaccurate and uninformed. Overall I am getting the feeling that there are some sour grapes being used to fuel an agenda to scale down a character that simply works well and is not an issue. The focus for this soap box article is the Guild Ball Union player Mist.

The Problem

Mist is a striker who plays on the union team and can also play for the Alchemists, Masons, and Morticians. Mist has a base movement stat of 6"/8" and a kick stat of 3/8" along with 2 inch reach for attacks. Mist is able to use a character trait called "Cover of Darkness" to increase his movement to 8"/10" if he starts his advance (jog, sprint, or charge) within cover. He can create his own cover for the cost of 1 influence by using a character play called "Smoke Bomb" and also have a 1 influence character play called "Where'd They Go" that gives him a 4" dodge. The final consideration for the perceived problem is that Mist has a playbook which includes a Tackle result on 1 success that also generates a momentum.

All of this rolled up together means that Mist has a potential 22 inch threat range to make a goal shot if he is holding the ball at the start of his activation. It means he can potentially take the ball from a model 12 inches away from him, and if he ends up 12 inches from the goal when he does that he can make a shot after taking the ball.

Doing some digging for clarification, and listening to the various discussion and commentary, I've been able to ferret out the support for a "Mist is Broken" claim. The concern is that Mist can score a goal in the first turn, then score a goal at the beginning of the second turn, and potentially score a third goal during the second turn to win the game very quickly.

Let me acknowledge that this can absolutely happen, if the player kicking the ball to Mist is frankly not that good of a player or the player playing Mist is an exceptional (or exceptionally lucky) player. To go further, Mist is not the only model in the game that can do this.

Mist is not Broken

Let me come out here and say that Mist is certainly not broken, and there is really no reason to look at him for any type of revision. Instead of broken we need to be using the correct term, Mist is a Striker. While there are better and worse strikers in the game, let's take a look at the current strikers and see if we can discover the design methodology used for them.

Guild Ball Strikers
  • (Union) Mist - 6"/8" (8"/10") move, 3/8" kick, 22 inch threat goal shot
  • (Masons) Flint - 5"/8" move, 3/8" (4/10") kick, 22 inch threat goal shot
  • (Brewers) Friday - 6"/8" move, 3/8" (4/10") kick, 20 inch threat goal shot
  • (Alchemists) Vitriol - 6"/9" (8"/11") move, 4/8" kick, 19 inch threat goal shot
  • (Fishermen) Angel - 6"/8" move, 4/8" (5/10") kick, 18 inch threat goal shot
  • (Butchers) Brisket - 6"/8" move, 3/8" (4/10") kick, 18 inch threat goal shot
  • (Engineers) Velocity - 6"/8" move, 4/8" kick, 16 inch threat goal shot
 Looking at the threat ranges for all of the strikers it's pretty easy to see that they are very similar, with Flint and Mist being at the top and scaling down after that. Poor Velocity is one of the worst strikers in the game overall, with only a 16 inch threat range on the goal. It's interesting to me that one of the characters that seems to be most used to compare to Mist, Velocity, sits comfortably in the middle of the threat ranges.

Part of the complaint was not only Mist's threat on making a goal shot, but also his ability to easily take the ball from another player. The ability to take the ball from another player is a combination of low success tackles plus reach of an attack plus momentum generation. We should take a look at how many strikers have a 1 success tackle, and how many of those plays generate momentum.

Strikers and Tackle
  • (Union) Mist - 1 success Tackle, momentum, 2 inch reach
  • (Masons) Flint - 1 success Tackle, momentum, 1 inch reach
  • (Brewers) Friday - 1 success Tackle, momentum, 1 inch reach
  • (Alchemists) Vitriol - 1 success Tackle, no momentum, 2 inch reach
  • (Fishermen) Angel - 1 success Tackle, momentum, 1 inch reach
  • (Butchers) Brisket - 1 success Tackle, momentum, 1 inch reach
  • (Engineers) Velocity - 1 success Tackle, momentum, 1 inch reach
Ratty's Vitriol
So looking closely at this it appears that there is only a single striker in the game who does not have a momentum generating tackle. This seems to be a bit of an aberration in how the strikers are designed, along with Mist and Vitriol both having a 2 inch reach.

It really appears that the design methodology for strikers is pretty straight forward. It's baseline design includes a momentum generating tackle on 1 success, a base move around 6 inches, a sprint move around 8 inches, a kick stat around 10 inches, and then some other abilities to add color.

Overall, while Mist is certainly a top tier striker in the game, he is not broken by any means. I will go further and respond directly to the claim about his ability to score repeatedly 1st and 2nd turn. If a striker is set-up on the deployment line (10 inches onto the board) and my opponent kicks the ball near that striker, 3 strikers (Flint, Mist, Friday) can make a shot on the goal without receiving a pass. Every striker in the game can score turn 1 if they receive a pass from another player on the team and use the 4 inch "Pass 'n' Move" dodge. In every case at least 1 (and for Brewers 2) momentum needs to be generated prior to the striker moving out to make their shot on the goal.

I want to offer some closing thoughts before stepping off my soapbox. First, if you kick the ball at the start of the game, don't kick the ball toward your opponents striker. It does not matter if that striker is Mist or another striker, just don't do this. Second, take some time and think about how you will deal with any of the strikers on the field. They are important parts of the Guild Ball game, which ultimately has the primary objective to be scoring goals. These are going to be the best models your opponent has to score those goals. It pays to think about how to deal with them.

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