Monday, February 8, 2016

Guild Ball - Learning Morticians

This may not be among the best tactics articles on DTP, but its a glimpse into tactics nonetheless. I prefer to write tactics articles that help players do better with their teams, or to discuss a particularly misunderstood portion of a game. I prefer to provide a small tidbit or insight that lets someone maximize the return on playing a model or using a group of models. One example would be a recent discussion I had with a friend about my view on the brute squad acting as a single "unit of models" opposed to three separate models. I may do an article on that in the future, but for today I want to write a bit about my Morticians.

My very first actual game of Guild Ball was played using the Morticians. I was on one of my semi-annual trips to New Hampshire and my friend Mat convinced me to try out the game. This was after the kickstarter campaign had ended, but before the final rules were released. He brought along some of the playtest cards and I played Morticians while he played Masons. I faintly remember the team being the "core 6" players, Obulus, Dirge, Cosset, Graves, Ghast, Silence.  During the game Obulus manipulated the board a bit, Graves punched some people, and Cosset went crazy and smashed apart his Masons team in a killing spree. It was a fairly short demo and I don't believe we finished the game.

Jumping ahead a bit to the final rules, I expected I would enjoy playing the morticians. It was one of the teams I specifically looked forward to playing, along with Union and Brewers. Morticians brought a control and manipulation element to the game that I expected would "click" for me. A variety of circumstances and decisions pushed the Morticians models back in my painting queue, making them the second to last team I'm ending up painting from the original set. I've only recently painted enough to get a full team on the table and start playing.

I've played 2 full games with a Morticians team, along with 3 partial games which ended early for a variety of reasons. My initial lineup has been Obulus, Dirge, Silence, Bonesaw, Cosset, and either Casket or Ghast. I've not painted my Casket yet, but for one game a friend of mine loaned me his. I've not played against Morticians much at this point, so my handful of games have not given me the best ideas on how to use the individual models.

My initial expectations have been that the team plays heavily to denial and control, with a fairly even focus between being able to score goals and take-outs for points. I realize that Morticians did not have a native striker until Bonesaw, and that Mist was likely to be my competitive choice for the team. I expected Bonesaw to be decent as a striker, Ghast to be a tarpit, Cosset to be a glass cannon, and the Combo of Silence and Obulus to lock down the opponent team. I anticipated that Obulus would be critical to the team, but also be my switch hitter as a goal scoring threat and as a surprise damage dealer.

At this point the team has not operated as expected nor has it clicked with me, yet. Yet. Obulus has been a terror using Puppet Master, and that play delivers everything I want from it. I've used it to get the ball from my opponent along with positioning key opposing players for advantageous attacks and take-outs during the turn. I've also used the play to have one of my own players make an out of activation attack on a target, although I misplayed that and it ended up as a poor delivery. I did not think to confidence my own player before using puppet master to have them attack. Had I done so I may have delivered an out-of-activation take-out instead of a jump start on damage. Overall, Obulus has truly delivered the greatest effectiveness (so far) by passing out confidence to other players. The Confidence character play is amazing and very effective in the team.

I've been finding that the Morticians are more effective as a damage dealing team than they have been as a goal scoring or balanced team. I'm gaining more points through targeting and taking out opposing players than I am from trying to move the ball around. I'm also finding that I am playing much of the game on my side of the field. This is not something I like, and it's something I'll be keeping an eye on moving forward. I seem to be more effective in pulling target opponents into the maw of my own team then taking them out than I am at moving onto an aggressive footing and pushing the opponent back. Considering my opponents so far have been Alchemists, Fish, and scoring Brewers this is a dangerous place to be playing the game.

On the take-out side of the house, I am also concerned about making a choice between Ghast and Casket. Currently my core Morticians team seems to be shaping up to Obulus, Dirge, Cosset, Silence, with 2 spots left open. I can easily see swapping Mist in for Bonesaw, and I fully understand how Mist works overall. This leaves me with 1 remaining spot which should be some sort of beater to help Cosset finish the job. She is only reliable delivering 10 points of damage an activation which is a bit low for taking out models. Using a knockdown and crowding out on the target before she attacks brings her damage up to 13 which is much closer to necessary to take out most models. Ghast delivers a reliable 2 success knockdown and 2 inch reach for gaining up. Casket needs 3 successes for his knockdown, only has a 1 inch melee, and doesn't have Rising Anger or Fear. He does bring Casket Time as his legendary play however, which could raise that single take-out to 4 victory points instead of 2.

Overall I need to get more games in with the team. I feel like they will finally click quicker than the Brewers did, but they already are slower than the Union and Masons. Union and Masons both clicked in their first two games and I was then exploring the most effective build for the teams. I am looking forward to learning them more.

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