Hello, and welcome back for another article about my experience with Butchers in Guild Ball!
As I mentioned in my last article (Part 1 on Choosing a Team), I had a tournament just recently. After many discussions with my usual gaming compatriots and former podcast celebrities (Leeps and Moops), the traditional sledging occurred, both of them claiming that I was not focused enough building the community in my local meta. I suggested Ben should write my team for me, in an attempt to help me play for fun and see how things would pan out. He clearly had only my best interests at heart when he selected my team: Ox, Princess, Harry the Hat, Meathook, Boar, Tenderiser, Avarisse & Greede, Brisket. I think on paper the team looks quite poor, it has all three big guys available to Butchers, who are traditionally seen as a bit of a momentum fountain, and a lot of INF1 players which makes it hard to get full value in any given turn. In fact, the only player that makes my normal roster with any consistency is Brisket… he ran out of junk players I guess. However on second glance, there is some really nice synergies in there as well, which I will discuss after I go through my game reports! Fun fact, I lost the roll off in all four games, and as a result kicked off in all of them!
Game 1: Jason “Greatlife” – Fishermen (Sakana, Jac, Kraken, Siren)
My team was Tenderiser, Avarisse & Greede, Brisket, Meathook. I opted for this team because I didn’t want to give Shark/ Siren an easy target to proc all of their plays on, so Boar was out. I had Tenderiser and Greede man the goal for the whole game, and usually for a shot on goal I was able to reduce the dice pool by a minimum -1, sometimes -2, and make the TN5, as well as causing placement difficulties for them thanks to Rush Keeper. I kicked off with Briskey, and tried to put some pressure on the centre with Ox and Meathook. My last activation of the turn was after Brisket was Tooled Up, she walked forward into Ox’s aura and threw two lots of Dirty Knives at Kraken and Jac. I managed to cheekily win the first turn in turn 2 with a -2 on the roll, and my first activation was with Ox, who took out Jac, and forced the ball to scatter into the middle of my players. Shark played cagily and stayed away from the centre of the board, setting himself up for a goal next turn, but he wasnt able to pull the ball out, and Meathook followed up Ox and left Kraken pretty much on vapours, including making Salt bleeding with 3 health left, thanks to a Scything Blow under the Legendary. Brisket finished up Kraken, and after that turn I was 6-nil up, and with the initiative again. I was able to take out Siren, leaving me just 4 more vps required. Sakana had finally managed to get possession, and with his first activation in the 3rd turn, Sakana scored (just able to avoid a Rush Keeper charge, and needing a 5 with two players in his way). The ball was kicked out and landed right beside Brisket, who picked it up and slotted the winning goal immediately. Final Score 12-4.
Game 2: Jerod “Jarret” – Butchers (Boar, Brisket, Boiler, Gutter)
My team was Tenderiser, Avarisse & Greede, Brisket, Boar. I again was forced to kick off, and as my opponent had Brisket, I had stuck with Tenderiser but subbed out Meathook and put in Boar. I needed more damage output in this game, a better bang for my 1INF buck. Tenderiser is really quite strong against a player who doesn’t have a lot of dodges available with Rush Keeper. I kicked off to make it difficult and my opponent was forced to leave Boiler in threat range of Brisket on turn 1 after retrieving the ball, and as a result I picked up a small lead on momentum, getting me initiative in the second turn. Unfortunately for my opponent he had left Ox in range of my Ox, and I charged in and took him out with my Legendary. Gutter then dragged me away from the rest of my players and forcing them out of the Legendary aura. Brisket put some damage on Boiler and with Avarisse’s help, and Singled Out, I managed to leave him fairly low on health. I set up for my next turn, moving Boar into position to kill Brisket. I won, and charged forward, at which point my opponent played Dont Touch the Hair. I also managed a glorious 1 5+ on my 12 dice, which was of course negated by ARM, so my first activation was wasted. I was able to shut down his Boar after he forgot a Parting Blow, and Ox KDed him. I then was able to take him out with a combination of Brisket and Avarisse, who followed up the next turn by taking Boiler out also. After Brisket then backed up her maddog takeout skills and killed Gutter, I needed two more takeouts or a goal to win, but the opposing Brisket had stayed on the board edge with the ball the whole game, trying desperately to slot a goal, but Tenderiser had kept her in check the whole game. Fortunately Ox had strayed a little too close without getting healed enough, and I managed to take him out again, and finished up by killing Princess to win 12-0.
Game 3: Dave “Dodgy” – Brewers (Stave, Gutter, Hooper, Spigot)
My team was Brisket, Boar, Avarisse & Greede, Meathook. This would be a real test for this team, with one of the most difficult prospects in the game, playing against a team with huge repositioning capabilities, and nothing in my lineup to reposition in return. I needed to try and win the fight, so I concentrated on not protecting my goal, and went full damage. I also picked up a decent Plot card for the first time this weekend, with Dont Touch the Hair. I decided not to detach Greede in this game turn 1, hoping that I would be able to detach him in turn two and then use him offensively, happy to lose him for maybe taking out another player. Unfortunately, Avarisse was the target of a drag, followed by a push, and Tapper went in turn 1 and was able to leave him with about 14 health remaining. I had moved Boar forward and put him in range of Stave. I lose the initiative turn 2, but he had a difficult option now, to go for the push back and potentially concede a player to Ox, or to go for the takeout on Avarisse. He elected to takeout Avarisse with Tapper, and he managed to get there on his last attack. I went for Boar first, and went buck nasty on Stave, but was unable to take him out, leaving him with a few health left. Gutter went and tried to drag Boar away from Stave, succeeded and KDed him to setup for Hooper to come in. At this point Ox took out Stave. I had baited him into Boar with Hooper, and here I played Dont Touch the Hair, saving me from 3INF worth of attacks, and avoiding a chunk of momentum scored against me. Meathook went next and charged forward, piling the damage on Tapper. I won initiative, and thanks to Ox saving his Legendary, he went, took out Tapper, and left Gutter with only a few health. She survived and made some attacks, but Meathook was able to take her out. I was then 3 takouts to 1, and in good shape. Hooper went ballistic on Boar, who returned serve but left him alive. Brisket, who had been floating in and around the middle, managed to walk over to Spigot, after Princess engaged him the previous turn, and steal the ball right as he was about to go for a goal. I then picked up a dodge and got away, so that she was now unable to be engaged by Spigot. Vintage stuff. The following turn I messed up by not healing Boar, and Gutter was able to drag him in and kill him, getting the takeouts to 3-2. I finished off Hooper and with Brisket in possession of the ball, I won momentum and just needed to pick up two hits to generate a momentum, and then another two hits to dodge away and have a shot. I missed the first one, but then rolled 3 hits on my second attack (this is vs the cat, DEF5), got a 1″ dodge and a momentum and she slotted the winning goal in a great, close game. Final Score 12-4.
Game 4: Darren “Freesy” – Alchemists (Vitriol, Calculus, Hemlocke, Compound)
My team was Brisket, Boar, Tenderiser, Avarisse & Greede. I went for Boar in this game, which is contrary to my usual play vs Alchemists, because I wanted a target. I wanted him to soak up the Blind AOEs, hoping that I would be able to keep him spaced far enough away from everyone else. He is a danger in that sense because he has such a big potential output. I knew that Darren would be looking for goals with Vitriol, so again I went for Tenderiser as she has no dodge innately, needing to proc it off playbook results. My kickoff was good enough to prevent Vitriol from kicking back to someone else, so again, no momentum generated meant I was able to win initiative in turn 2. Also, thanks to Brisket and her Dirty Knives I was able to put 6 damage on Flask as the last activation. Ox went first, used his Legendary and charged Calculus, as well as engage Compound to prevent the Rush Keeper charge. I rolled well under average on Calculus on the charge and the subsequent attacks and left her alive on 3 health. She attacked Ox back and walked away after Blinding Boar. I was unable to really get much more meaningful damage out there with the rest of the turn, getting some points on Hemlocke though. I positioned Tenderiser to shut down Vitriol, who had moved over the far left hand side with possession. I was able to takeout Calculus with Ox in the following turn, and engage Compound and negate Gluttonous Mass. Avarisse punched Hemlocke in the mouth to pickup Singled Out and KD her after she again Blinded Boar. Brisket came into Hemlocke, and thanks to two crowds from Avarisse and Princess, and Singled out, she was rolling 10 dice per attack, and every attack was wrapping and the damage racked up quickly. I used one of my successes to throw Dirty Knives at Flask and again bring him down to 4 health, and Poisoned, and took out Hemlock. During these two turns Midas was attacking Princess, and spectacularly failing to make any progress at all. Third turn, I manage to negate Gluttonous on Compound, and Boar, the big unit, is finally able to charge, and he wrecks Compounds face, killing him. I then sprint Ox, and very cheekily buy an attack on Calculus (who Freesy had not moved forward from the goal line) and pushed her off the board, taking me to 4 takeouts, with Flask on 2health and in range of Brisket… But the best was yet to come. Vitriol moved forward and had a shot on goal, missing thanks to Tenderiser and Greede blocking. The ball landed behind the goal, near my board edge. I simply walked Tenderiser 4″ to the right, so that anywhere Vitriol may go to get the ball I would get a Rush Keeper charge. He did not cast Clone before walking to the ball, and my Rush Keeper charge KDed her, the ball scattering off the table, and landing, of all places, right beside Brisket. At this point I just apologised to Darren, as he hadn’t had a lot of luck go his way with the dice. Brisket once again, never failing when it counted, put the winning goal in, and with that, we secured a 12-0 win to take out the trophy. I am not going to lie, going into this game I felt very behind the 8 ball, as the Plot Cards I had been dealt were junk, I lost the roll off to receive, and double Blind/ Midas… It could have gone very badly.
After playing these games in what I would consider fairly competitive conditions, one thing I noticed was how much I really had to consider my turns and Influence allocation. Most games I was playing with a pool of 10-11 Influence, which is almost as low as you can possibly get. It certainly made it challenging, because even though Butcher’s pump out a lot of damage, without the Influence to make attacks, it makes it a lot harder to get that damage out there… Having said that, there was some very neat synergies that popped up during the game which increased the output signficantly, which I want to detail here.
Tenderiser: I’ve been critical of Tenderiser in the past, and to be fair, I still have not changed my mind completely on him. My issues are that a Dodge will completely bypass his Rush Keeper, and the best strikers in the game have the ability to do that without much trouble. However, when combined with Greede standing on goal, suddenly a 5TN and -2 dice to a pool for shooting, even the best strikers start to get a little shaky, even if they can bypass the Rush Keeper. He only generates 1INF, but when he is helping someone else with that 1 instead of trying to do things himself, there is some real value there. Whilst I have not come back around to him, I am considering putting him back in the list for another crack.
Avarisse & Greede: Absolute star performers. The only two players who made the roster every game were A&G and Brisket. Now this had a lot to do with the fact that I wanted as much INF as I could possibly manage, and they are kind of 2INF package, but they do a surprising amount of work. Avarisse is an excellent midfield player, who uses Singled Out, double Pushes and KD to just manipulate the midfield and make it easier for the other players to do work. Timing his play is difficult, usually your best option is for him to go after your big hitter, but before your backup hitter, using him to generate a few momentum, setup some players with Singled Out and just be a damage soak. Tough Hide makes him pretty durable, even with DEF3 and 0ARM. Greede rarely gets involved, standing on goals and being an early junk activation to force your opponent to reveal their hand.
Meathook: One of the key damage dealers in the team. Meathook does a surprising amount of damage when she gets into her wheelhouse. Attacking a Bleeding player, with her full INF stack and the Owner up, she will crank some damage. Bleed can never be underestimated either, its a very powerful condition. I didn’t get to make much use of her Heroic, although I was constantly looking for those opportunities, but she was too busy taking players out. When you have spare Influence to fuel her, she really is an excellent piece.
Boar: Boar is someone I try to avoid using, because he is so easy to generate plays off, and his actual damage output is outweighed by his low SPD. I never had possession of the ball in any of my games early, so he was stuck being very static. I tried to generate situations where he got to do his thing, but it rarely came about, and I was further reinforced of my opinion. However, rolling 12 dice thanks to 2 crowds and Singled Out is pretty legit, and when you need efficiency for your Influence investment, its hard to go past him.
Brisket: The other player who made every roster, and scored in three games to win me the game. She is such a fantastic player, with her incredible DEF4/5 and 1ARM, and Unpredictable, she can survive most players and most situations. Reliable passer, and the player I kicked off with in every game, to allow me some cheeky bottom of 1 damage with Dirty Knives. She was also incredibly powerful in taking out players, when all the pieces are in place. The key is wrapping the playbook, and when she has a playbook 4 columns long, yet rolls 6+ dice on every swing, her wraps really add up. 6 or even 8 damage per attack is up there with some of the very best damage dealers in the game. This weekend left me wanting to play more Brisket.
Harry the Hat: I unfortunately didn’t feel that taking Harry was a good option during any of my games. He is an interesting piece, with some neat control elements, but his biggest drawcard for me is his Heroic Play. But in a team that has very few dedicated out and out melee pieces, like the one I was playing, taking Harry with his 1INF seemed a little risky. I would get much better value for the 1INF out of Boar. I need a few more games with him, because I think there is something worthwhile there.
I certainly did not expect the team I played to so smoothly play together. Tenderiser and Greede made a goal shot a risky prospect, even for a decent Striker. Avarisse was helping pump Brisket up to actual damage dealer, as well as being a strong damage soak and manipulating the position of other players on the board (Singled Out, double Push, double Push, occasionally throwing some damage in there as well, all Momentous). Meathook when I needed her, always delivered with the Bleed and being quite fast. Ox was a titan, and he needed to be given that if I gave him 5INF, the rest of my team had to fight over scraps, with only another 5-6 to go around 6 players. It has certainly made me reevaluate some of the players who I had considered wasted slots, and given me a lot of faith that those players we may initially write off perhaps have some value that is yet undiscovered.