Thursday, 10 November 2016

Competitive Fishermen: Shark and Friends after 3 Events.

Prior to my first event I wrote this article detailing my though processes on choosing my 8-man lineup:

Having now played in 3 events I thought it would be a good time to look at my lineup again and how it has worked out. In all 3 events I have run the same 8: Shark, Salt, Sakana, Greyscales, Jac, Angel, Gutter and Fangtooth. I have played 14 games and won 11 of them, which I am pretty darn happy (and surprised) with. This article I'm going to go over these 8 players and look at who has been making me 6-man lineups and how they have done. I'll start with some quick comments on how Shark and Salt have been doing, but since I have no options to sub them out during an event, and I have neither Corsair nor Tentacles painted anyway, I'll mostly be focussing on the 6 players and if/when they see play. I'll go in order of games played as this seems the most logical

Shark (Played in 14/14 Games)
Shark is awesome fun. He is the star of the show and the whole team really revolves around him. He basically takes 6 inf every turn and my first thought at the start of every turn is "can Shark score". I've found that in competitive play he has consistently done more for me than he ever did before I started playing on events. I assumed that opponents would key on shutting him down and I would have to rely more on my team, but in fact the opposite has happened, where he has been even more of my rock than he was in casual games. For example Shark has 25(!) goals in these 14 games compared to 7 by the rest of the team (with no player having more than 2). Comparatively, looking at my casual games Shark has 35 goals in 32 games. That means his scoring average has soared from 1.09 GPG in casual games to 1.79 in tournament games. Also the rest of my team's scoring is much higher in those 32 games where Angel alone has scored 22 goals in 24 games and the rest of the team has scored 15. Shark also has never had a 3-goal game in casual play but has done it in two tournament games. What a star. He is also a captain that is very easy on the clock, until you time out. Trying to do a 6 inf Shark activation in 1 minute is a nightmare but I tend to find clocking out doesn't occur too often with this team (unless I miss a gimme goal chance). The biggest relevance all this has to my team construction is that I've found Shark is such a reliable goal scorer, it lowers the necessity of having another pure goalscorer (Angel) in the team for most matchups. I will cover this more under Angel. In short, Shark is amazing and I look forward to continuing to take him as my Captain to events (although I do need to learn how to use him against Corsair, the one matchup I still haven't won).

Salt (14/14)
I think Salt gets a bad rap.. there I said it! He is so darn fast that I tend to run him as a goaltender who can go get the ball if it ends up on my end of the pitch where noone else can reach it. Also he is a mobile df buff for Angel and becomes even more maneuverable with Jac. Since I tend to run Jac or Angel in every game (though often not both) Salt always has some synergy. Also, Loved Creature tends to keep Salt safer than you would think, as I haven't lost him in 14 tournament games. I haven't given Tentacles a run yet, but don't really see him beating out Salt in this team as he is just too slow and easy to kill. I think he could be stronger with Corsair and plan on using him there when I start playing Corsair.

Sakana (14/14)
Sakana is the only player that I could have dropped that has nonetheless played in every game. Our Season 2 new addition did not revolutionize the way I played when I started using him (see: Gutter). Nor is he nigh unkillable and slippery as hell (Greyscales). Sakana excels at two things that bring him into my team.

1) He has no substantial weaknesses as he is fast, tough, a good kicker and has a solid playbook (weakpoint is great, though I don't get as much use out of it as other players do).

2) Outside of Shark he is the most reliable player on the team at turning influence into momentum. Thanks to Tac 5, Anatomical, and a mom dodge on 1 every inf on Sakana will be turned into momentum (unless he is making a play on the ball). In certain lineups this is a big deal as both Angel and Jac really struggle to turn inf into momentum (lacking a reliable mom result on 1 hit) and Greyscales is often away from the action (end doesn't have anatomical anyway). This means if I have some leftover influence that I don't know what to do with it will often go on Sakana.

Despite his 8" kick range and his status as a striker, I very rarely play him like that since Shark scores most of my goals and Angel is my secondary striker if I feel the need for two. Even Greyscales tends to be used in this role more often just because of how slippery he is with WTG. Sakana instead plays like a midfielder for me, hanging around the centre and using his long kick stats for passing the ball around more than scoring goals. That being said if the situation arises where the ball is somewhere Shark/Greyscales can't get to, Sakana is usually capable. Though he has only score once in my tournament run with him, he does a great job threatening the ball. He's also one of the tougher players and I have only lost him twice in 14 games.

Having him AND Greyscales in every team gives me two models that I am comfortable with having no inf if needed and comfortable putting 3 or 4 on and knowing they can track down and free a dead ball. I'm not convinced Sakana needs to be in EVERY lineup, but at the moment I just never see a reason to drop him. Also I would never drop him against teams that rely on armour as the more armour they have the more important he is for keeping your ability to turn influence into momentum.

Greyscales (13/14)
I love Greyscales, he may be my favourite player in the team outside of Lord Shark himself. The only game I left him out of was in my first event where I wanted to give Fangtooth a game (which has been his only game.. see later). So really Greyscales, much like Sakana, tends to be in all my teams. He has scored 2 goals in 13 tourney games, which is not that many, but both his goals were HUGE. I tend to run him on the flank opposite the majority of my team and Greyscales tends to sit on that flank around the middle of the board with no inf on him most turns. His unpredictable movement tends to keep him safe and until very recently I had never had him taken out (he has now been taken out once in the 39 games I've used him in, which was immediately after he scored a goal).

Basically I use him as a threat to stop my opponent from killing the ball on the side of the pitch away from the action. If the ball ends up over near him I will put 3-4 inf on him and he will go get the ball and either bring it back to the team or score himself depending. Greyscales also plays exactly like his fluff implies he should, rarely does he do anything amazing or flashy but he is always super solid and he doesn't bring any major weaknesses to the team (while providing 2 inf a turn most turns). He even got a cheeky takeout of Fahad one game. I do think I need to test him out a bit more aggressively at times, but overall he is going to stay part of my core 6 in most games.The only player I really worry about seeing is Mallet as that 3" reach is killer, but since both Masons captains have 1" reach I still tend to keep him in the list, though I could see this being the matchup I would most likely drop him from if I had to choose one (as he also struggles with armour)

Gutter (12/14)
The moment I started using Gutter in my Fishermen was really the moment I started becoming good at Guildball. I had played 20 games of Guildball by this point and outside of a few games where Jac pushed two people off the pitch I was aiming to win via 3 goals. In my first two events, Gutter played in every game. However in my most recent event she played in 3/5 games as I started finding matchups where I knew I wouldn't get two takeouts before the game ended, thus decreasing her value. She is still very tough to drop because even when you aren't getting 2 takeouts she is one of your three (alongside Shark and Sakana) most reliable sources of momentum. She is only less reliable than these two when you are facing tough hide, but she is particularly useful vs teams with heavy. For this reason she will ALWAYS be in my lineup against Masons (also because she kills Flint very easily) and currently one of the matchups I am consistently dropping her from is Brewers (she hates tough hide and I tend to find 3 goals is a better way to go vs brewers as I can't last in a fight vs them). I also left her out against Butchers for the same reason. I'm also not sure she is worth it against certain footballing alchemist builds since I tend to find I need the additional counter scoring that Angel provides more than the momentum generation, and the games tend to end too quickly for me to get two takeouts.

In her 12 games, Gutter has 7 Takeouts (of my teams total 13) and 1 goal, but this underlies how important she has been. She has closed three separate games for me with 4-6vp activations. Once when she killed both Siren and Salt to end the game, once when she did the same to Flint and Marbles and once she killed Rage and then scored the winning goal in the same activation. She also allows me to win the momentum game which is something Shark Fish sometimes struggle with (especially if Shark is not turning 6 inf into 5-6 momentum, which he is not always able to do if he is chasing the ball). That is why outside of very specific matchups I tend to leave her in the team as she is no easier to kill than Angel and is a lot more flexible. So she will probably continue to see the pitch in the majority of matchups, only being left out for games against specific teams (Brewers, Butchers, some Alchemists, maybe Vet Rage... not faced him yet) where I am better off going full in on football.

Jac (11/14)
Jac is the toughest player in my tournament 8 that sees significant play time. I tend to pick him over Angel or Gutter (usually Angel) when I am expecting to face a very killy team which likes to take advantage of auras (Brewers, Union, Ox Butchers) as he is harder for them to take out AND can do a great job of breaking up a killing aura by utilising his heroic play. In fact I've only lost him once in the 11 games (compared to 6 times Gutter/Sakana have each gone down). I tend to drop him in games where the opponent is fast, likely to spread out and/or has a lot of ranged character plays/conditions where his df 3 tough hide is more of a disadvantage than an advantage (I have currently dropped him when facing Shark Fish, Engineers and Hunters).

I tend to run him with low inf most turns and then will chuck 2 on him when I think being able to charge, get a momentous push and burn his heroic will be important (which probably happens once or twice a game usually). He is also fantastic at guarding the edges of the pitch, or if he ends up playing more aggressively he can be a massive threat to the opponent's players that are coming back on the pitch. After Gutter he has caused the most takeouts during my tournaments (5) and is a great threat even with 0-1 inf on him thanks to his heroic. Really it does all come down to his increased toughness and his heroic. He very rarely gets stacked up with inf as he is probably the second worst player in the team (after Angel) at turning inf into momentum since he doesn't hit a momentous result until the 2nd column and is tac 5 without anatomical. He very rarely tends to be the star of the game and often doesn't do very much at all. But he provides 2 inf to more needy players and still has a massive effect on the board thanks to his heroic. Also he score my favourite goal I've had in any game so far (and the only goal I've ever scored with him) when he managed to charge tenderizer (while picking up the ball on the way), play steamroller and take the dmg for a 2" push, and then popped his heroic ( i already had momentum) to push tenderizer outside of 4" from the goal, before kicking in the winning goal. It was awesome. I really rate Jac as one of the few solid batteries in a team full of greedy players and although he will prob get dropped a bit more once I start using a true 8 man lineup, I think he is still a core part of my team plans.

Angel (5/14)
When I first started playing Guildball Angel was probably my favourite player, or at least 2nd after Greyscales. She is by far the best goal scorer in my 8 outside of Shark. She has only scored twice in 5 games, but this is still tied with Greyscales for the 2nd most in the team. As previously mentioned under Shark however, she tends to be a much higher scorer in casual games. She is also a phenomenal counter scorer vs other scoring teams, which is where her main place in the lineup is for me right now. She is also quite strong against teams that rely on character plays as she can be sitting at df 5/6 quite easily. These are the games where she will often replace Jac. On the other hand, she tends to replace Gutter in games where I think going for two takeouts is a waste of time and I want to go for 3 goals. 3 goals is too tough to score without Angel IMO so she tends to always crack the lineup vs Brewers (and sometimes Butchers).

I think I need to be more aggressive with getting her into Snapshot range (especially vs scoring teams) and get Nimble up to protect her, but I must admit I have not done that very often. I used to score turn 1 with Angel when I first started, and she is the most reliable kicker we have, but she struggles to generate momentum so I switched to having Shark do it the majority of the time as he can tend to get a bunch of momentum and score, which helps you win turn 2 initiative. And this brings us to Angel's biggest weakness: her inability to generate momentum if she is not tackling the ball. Her mom push-dodge on two is great, but super unreliable with only tac 4 unless you are charging. She is a scorer and does nothing else for the team. Her threat range is lower than the top tier strikers (Mist, Flint) and she doesn't have the utility of Vitriol (killing) or Friday/Brisket (Dirty Knives). She is also one of the easiest strikers to kill. So in conclusion she is bad at 3 of the 4 things you would like in a striker. She is the best kicker in the game, but that only goes so fall. And she also is very influence greedy. The free inf she gets for starting near Shark is nice, though I only tend to get it turn 1 as then he is off doing Shark stuff. This is not to say I don't like her, I still think she is a lock for Shark's 8 and she will continue to crack the lineup whenever I really need the football ability. I do wish she was either a bit tougher or a bit better at getting momentum. She is also the player in the lineup I am most intrigued about season 3 for, since she is reliant on being near Shark and Salt for her buffs and they are trying to move away from that. We've already seen tactical advice going to +0/1 inf and I seriously doubt Angel will become a 3/4, which means currently she's actually looking at a minor nerf. I am hoping tactical support goes and she just gets df 5 (still making her easier to kill than velocity, her most comparable player imo) as that would be the slight buff I'd want to be happy with her (as I think she is pretty darn good already).

Fangtooth (1/14)

Poor Fangtooth... So far the only game he has played in was the 3rd game of my first event vs Honour Masons. I hired him in that game because he was the only player I hadn't used in the first two games and he was.. alright. He didn't die, but he didn't do much either. Knocked a few people down, but often was just too slow to keep up or I couldn't afford to put influence on him. He took Greyscales' slot in this game so was replacing someone who brings 2 inf, instead of 1, and tends not to need much influence unless the ball comes near him. The loss of 1 inf wasn't crippling, but really doesn't seem worth it. I still like the idea of him as an anchor in the center slowing down the opponent, but I find against super killy teams he still goes down and fast teams will just avoid him. Not to mention he is an easy way to trigger dangerous character plays.

I want to try him in a more killy focussed game with Shark/Gutter, which was the plan in this game, but I tend to find Gutter/Jac do enough killing on their own to get 2 takeouts and Shark is usually too out of position scoring to support Fangtooth after t1. I do plan on trying him out in more casual games (whenever I manage to get some in...) but do think he may end up getting dropped from the team for Siren when she is painted. Even if I don't end up using Siren she presents a greater threat to my opponent than Fangtooth does in the team selection part of the game.

In conclusion, I love playing Shark and I love playing Fish. I have one more tournament (Rush Goalie 3) coming up before season 3 drops and I am planning on dropping Fangtooth for my newly painted Siren (who I have been running quite a bit lately to get a better feel for her). I hope to talk about her a bit once that event is done and also to talk about my initial impressions of the fishermen players (and union options) in season 3 as soon as I have my hands on the cards for them. Until next time!

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