So while the vast majority of Guildball players were over at Steamcon for the weekend, I attended a small (10 person) tournament at one of my favourite venues the Tanelorn Wargaming Club. The last time I attended an event there it was for a Malifaux event which was an absolute blast, and my second ever Malifaux tournament win. Would this day be as successful? Read on to find out!
I took my usual tournament lineup bar subbing in Siren for Fangtooth (Shark, Salt, Sakana, Jac, Greyscales, Angel, Siren, Gutter). The other captains in play were Ox (3 of them!), Fillet, Smoke (2), Midas, Corsair, and Theron. So 7/10 were alchemists or butchers, my two least favourite matchups for Siren... guess she may not get her first tournament action after all...
Game 1 vs Jay (Butchers)
I took my standard lineup for facing Butchers of Shark, Salt, Sakana, Greyscales, Jac, Angel. I don't like Siren into Butchers because they are so fast and she is so easy to kill, and I don't want to get in a fight with Butchers so Gutter was out as well. Jay took Fillet, Princess, Boiler, Meathook, Rage and Tenderizer leaving Shank and Brisket on the sideboard. I think this lineup was a pretty big mistake as the two players I find frustrate me the most in Butchers are Shank (cause he is so hard to escape from with his high speed and 2" reach) and Brisket (cause she is great at keeping a hold on the ball, especially as my team is very male heavy and the two female players I have either have 1" reach, Angel, or no low tackle result, Siren). Tenderizer was a good choice though as I find him very tough to deal with and scoring on a 5+ sucks.
Jay won the roll off and chose to kick. He kicked off with Boiler which somewhat confused me as I assumed the only reason he would choose to kick was to get Fillet up the field ASAP. Kicking to Shark is almost always a bad idea as it just makes the game much easier for to me, so I was happy to get the ball.
Turn 1 I grabbed the ball, passed it around a bit and made sure to stay out of the Butcher's threat range. Angel passed the ball to Shark who dodged forward to get ready for a turn 1 goal. Fillet then activated, quick foot herself and charged into Shark who defensive stance and counterattacked. He took the momentus tackle and I took the ball back on the counter attack. With a couple inf left he might have done some damage, but not much. Shark than bounced off Fillet and Meathook and scored a turn 1 goal managing to stay outside of Tenderizer's range (since he had not yet activated). My opponent then kicked the ball up the pitch into the center of the action, which I think was a pretty big mistake as I was up 3 or 4 on momentum.
I won the roll for turn 2 and after realising Shark couldn't get the ball, but Angel could grab the ball and bounce off Princess for a goal i went with her. I was a bit nervous as she couldn't charge and I needed to get three 4s on four dice in one of my first two attacks to be able to score (as i needed the last two for supershot and a kick). If I failed I could still pass the ball to shark and dodge him to safety so it wasn't a huge risk even if i failed. I managed to get the three 4s I needed on the first attack though and so could put up nimble as well as knock in a super-shot goal to put me up 8-0. He kicked it off to the side of the board near his goalline and it scattered where none of my players could reach it. My opponent was definitely starting to get a bit frustrated at this point and IMO he made a mistake activating Rage to charge into Angel. He did a bunch of damage and got 4 mom but didn't take her out (Nimble, Defensive stance and Damage sponge). However he had 6 inf on Fillet and I went with Shark next who popped his legendary (catching his whole team except rage) and started beating on Meathook for momentum, getting lucky and having all 6 dice hit so I could tidal surge fillet where she could no longer charge anyone and then I ran away to engage tenderizer. My opponent was not very happy at this point and he basically just passed on all his activations at this point, which was a shame as even with -4mv Fillet should've been able to do something with her access to quick foot and her pain circle. Sakana charged Rage to get in position to grab the ball and score next turn.
I was up 3 again on mom and won the roll off, Sakana activated hit rage for 2 mom, sprinted to the ball and scored to end the game 12-0 to me. I felt pretty bad at this point as both of us had over 30 min on our clocks and the game in total took less than 40 min. My opponent made some major mistakes which I was able to capitalize on and Shark can really punish players who don't know who to deal with him.
Game 2 vs Adam (Butchers)
Adam had also won his game 12-0 so it was pretty clear we were going to face off. I took my same lineup as the previous game as it is still my preferred choice to face Butchers and it worked well in the first game. Adam took Ox, Princess, Boiler, Brisket, Boar, Shank. He had no sideboard. Outside of Boar this is definitely a much scarier lineup for me to face than the previous game as Shank makes bringing my own models back very risky and Brisket can kill the ball incredibly well. I won the roll off and chose to receive.
Turn 1 was pretty standard, I passed the ball around a bunch, avoided his threat ranges and scored with Shark. Shank went last (good call) and his threat is so high I couldn't stay out of it so he managed to get into combat and get a couple momentum.
Turn two I believe he won initiative and put a bunch of damage into Shark with someone (I think Brisket or Boiler) and then I managed to get the ball off of Brisket and score with Sakana. Shank then took Shark out to make it an 8-2 game for me. Was a very good start, but getting to 8 vs Butchers isn't necessarily that tough, it is the last goal that is always the tough one.
Turn 3 most of my players stayed out of his threat ranges and his team killed off Sakana making it 8-4 for me. He also ran the ball away close to his goal with brisket. I had a 6 inf Shark charged into his boiler and score me a ton of momentum and pop his legendary to stop shank from getting into him without using WTG. He managed to get Shank in but he had to WTG and Charge so only got 2 mom.
Going into Turn 4 I was up 4 Mom at this point and the turn ended with me in range to dodge off shank, walk up to Brisket, tackle the ball and score to end the game. It was no guarantee thanks to Brisket's 5/1 defensive stats but with 6 inf on shark seemed likely. Then the unthinkable happened. I rolled a 1 for initiative and he rolled a 6 (the only way he could win initiative). I was pretty livid. That cost me a shot at winning the game and Shark only had about 6 health left. Ugh. I put 4 or 5 inf on Shark anyway just in case something crazy happened. Ox went first and easily killed him though, making it 8-6 and killing my only player in range of getting to the ball... this is where I realized I could easily lose this game. I managed to use my longer threat ranges to out maneuver my opponent (Shank/Ox being where Shark was away from the rest of my team on the opposite board half) and ended up winning the momentum race this turn by two. I also had Jac engaged with Shank and Brisket. With a tackle on 1 and a push on 2 I had a very likely winning play of pushing Shank away, tackling the ball, walking and scoring to end it.
Turn 5 I lost the initiative again! Argh! Two turns in a row I could've ended the game. I felt like I was playing really well and just getting screwed by the initiative at this point which was very frustrating. My opponent was playing excellent as well, keeping the ball on Brisket and making me come to her. Boar charged into Jac and was unable to kill him, however he did knock him down so I couldn't score with him. At this point my opponent clocked out and as I had loads of time (15+ min) left on my clock I could win the game as long as I stopped him from scoring a goal and a takeout or three takeouts in the next three activations. I snuck greyscales in who used his 2 inf to bounce off boar back to safety, giving me momentum to score. Sadly Shank tore right through Jac, putting the game at 10-8 for me after clocking again. I did have some momentum at least (so did my opponent) and I wasn't 100% sure if Brisket was in scoring range so didn't want to risk it. Shark healed himself, tidal surged into charge range of brisket and charged her. I had 1 inf and 1 mom left so if I could tackle the ball on the charge I could score and end the game. He smartly defensive stanced and I got zero hits. damn. Used my final inf and did manage to tackle the ball though. Can't remember who he used but someone managed to get shark very low on health and then I brought Sakana out, got 3 mom off of boar and healed Shark and Sakana. This meant that Brisket had to take out Shark and score to win the game. Brisket killed Shark but was unable to score and the game ended 12-10 in my favour. Phew.
What a game. Turn 4-6 blurred together as I can't remember exactly how many turns we had. All I know is that this was one of the closest games of Guildball I have played. My opponent played it really well and if we weren't on the clock I very likely would've lost that game. Losing that initiative roll up 4 momentum sucked though. Was a really, really fun game and I felt very lucky to escape with a 12-10 win.
We then had lunch and I grabbed a pint of cider from the pub downstairs. It turned out only Brad (mechanical dove), Conrad and I were all 2-0. Funny considering we are all more malifaux than GB players. It turned out I would be facing Conrad in a potential final and Brad would be facing my previous opponent Adam. If Brad won there would be a round 4. If not the winner of the table 1 Fish game between Conrad and I would be the final
Game 3 vs Conrad (Fishermen)
Conrad was running Corsair, a matchup I had not yet won with Shark (noone plays him locally and I had lost to John Layfield twice in tournaments in that matchup). He went with Corsair, Salt, Jac, Angel, Siren, Greyscales with Kraken left on the bench. I finally switched up my team going with the usual core four of Shark, Salt, Greyscales, and Sakana. I dropped Angel and Jac for Siren and Gutter. I decided it would be too tough to win vs Corsair without the threat of two takeouts so Gutter was in. And I needed some one who could get the ball with all the close control he had and stay safe from Harpoons so Siren was in for her first tournament game.
Conrad won the roll off and chose to receive. I chose to kick with Siren as she could be quite agressive without worrying about being dragged into his team and could also get the ball back for me or drag one of his players in. I went strong to one flank and kicked off the ball to just pass the line directly across from a giant piece of slow ground. He had Jac/Salt over by the slow ground (really should've put Angel there). I missed the kick but ended up with the perfect scatter anyway where I could easily get the ball with Siren and pass it back to Shark and he didn't have any models that could reach it. Was a very lucky start for me. He started moving models forward as I got the ball, passed it with Siren to Shark (who dodged forward) and started moving my own models around. He was quite aggressive with his models so gutter managed to print and chain grab in Salt and hit him for 1dmg and a momentum. Shark than bounced off Jac and knocked in a goal after his whole team had activated. He kicked off the ball towards his greyscales well away from my team (other than my Greyscales).
I won initiative turn 2 and my Greyscales was 1" short of being able to charge his Greyscales, grab the ball on the way, dodge, WTG and score. So instead I just sprinted (I was on fast ground) got the ball and WTG to put myself way out on the right flank behind a forest where he couldn't get to me. It was risky as not scoring gave Corsair more time to beat me down, but it was the safest way to stop him from scoring and guarantee myself a goal on turn 3. Shark popped his legendary this turn to keep Corsair/Siren's threat range down but the game did turn into a scrum in the middle anyway (though Corsair had to sprint and harpoon a model that he could normally have charged). Gutter started taking damage from Corsair and co and I got some damage into Salt and Angel. Angel had 5 health left at the end of the turn.
I won initiative turn 3 and had to decide who to go with. Gutter could generate me momentum but was only going to be rolling 3 dice against Angel cause of crowd outs (and she was df cause of Salt). Shark however would be rolling 7 dice and although he couldn't kill him and get momentum, he could take him out in all likelihood. I therefore chucked 6 on Shark, 3 on Gutter, 1 on Sakana, and 4 on Greyscales (so he could score after I got momentum). Shark managed to take out Angel, though it took 4-5 influence and then walked up and did a bit of dmg to salt (leaving him on 3 health I believe). Corsair pummeled Gutter but left her alive on 3 health. She managed to land enough hits on salt to barely kill him (i had to bonus time to get 4 dice...) triggering Loved Creature. Jac charged Gutter (who had healed back to 6 health from lifedrinker) and just blew it, getting 0 hits on the charge despite 3 assists and loved creature. Ouch. He did hit her for a couple damage after taking her back down the 2 health. Sakana bounced off siren to get me back up to two mom so greyscales could Bonus Time a shot. His Siren then failed to kill Gutter despite rolling 8 dice on the attack. Conrad's luck was not great this game. Greyscales then easily knocked the ball in to end another game 12-0 to me. So Siren played her first game, got a super lucky kick off and got stacked with inf turn 1 which basically turned into a sprint and a pass. She never had inf the rest of the game as she stayed out of the scrum and there was no need for Lure or Seduced as I controlled the ball the whole game and had tied down his team with Shark's legendary. Not a star turn for her but she wasn't a liability at least.
After my game vs Conrage I went and got another pint while waiting to see if Brad and I would face off or if I would win after 3 rounds. Brad was up 10-4 when I went to grab my drink so I was already starting to think of my lineup (Prob would've gone with the core four, gutter and angel). When I came back up though it was 10-8 and shortly became 10-10. Brad had a last minute chance to win, but it didn't go off (Brisket defensive stancing to 6/1 vs men is just rough) and Mist got killed to end the game 12-10 for Adam (who came second) and knocking brad down to third place.
So I had won my first ever Guildball tournament, which was really cool. However, the most exciting part of the day for me was I won my first ever best painted award! It was a pretty small pool of players (and a few people weren't fully painted) but I am still very proud to win it. I was terrible in art my entire life and have really tried to push my skills on my fishermen team so I was feeling very happy at the end of the day, though I still would've rather gotten 1 more game in against Brad.
Thanks for everyone involved in the organization and running of the event and to all three of my opponents for giving me some really fun games!
With Season 2 over and Season 3 going to multi-captain format it is time for me to start playing Corsair and figuring out how he works. Fishermen have not changed much, definitely the least of any team, so I'm not planning on writing a big article on lineup changes in s3 cause I'm not sure there will be any for me. However I will have some more Guildball content coming in the future so I hope you enjoyed this!