He’s big, lovable and he carries a a big metal-rimmed cricket bat ready to smash some faces and smash a ball or two. After playing Mash in my roster for the last few weeks I’ve gotten a good level of what he can do, what he can’t do, why he’s great and when he’s not. He’s a great ball handler for the Brewers even in full-smash lineups, but definitely pairs well with another all-rounder or ball-handler. I believe he’s an incredibly solid addition to the Brewers roster, and has a place regardless of the overall tactic you’re trying to bring to the table (Footballing or Smashing Faces).
Mash comes to the table with a pretty average looking Brewer stat line, with a pretty average Kick stat and a decent stack of Influence he offers to the team.
Where he starts to get really interesting is his Playbook, where he heads in mostly the same direction as the most other Brewers with Pushes and Knockdowns, but then throws in a twist with a Push/Dodge result and even a 3 Damage Tackle result. While those later may not be Momentous, the ability to have access to those choices, especially a Dodge, is a twist for Brewers. He still has a shorter Playbook than his TAC, so he can come up with wraparounds more readily. He’s got a great 4 result Momentous 2 Damage Knockdown that if you’re just going in for a charge can chip in a bit of damage for you and get that lovely Knockdown that Brewers love so much. As always, that little bit of help from Tapper with Commanding Aura just makes it all so much better.
Handling the Balls
Once you hit the Character Plays and Traits, there’s a lot there for ball handling /goal scoring in the form of Super Shot, Long Bomb and Volley Threat. Then there’s Unpredictable Movement…daaayummm, which definitely works towards handling the ball, but has plenty of applications that make Mash’s position on the field even stronger. One tactic that beater teams like Brewers want to take is effectively removing the ball from the game until the time is right, so they can get up on field position and scoring by taking out opposing players. Mash is a piece that makes that tactic even stronger with the combination of Unpredictable Movement and reach which then relegates a player to have to fully commit to Mash to be able to get the ball away from him once he takes possession. Pair this with a plot card or two (Don’t Touch the Hair or Protect Your Balls) and Mash can be a really big headache for some teams to deal with. Remember too that there are some interesting interactions you can make work with Unpredictable Movement, and having a Medium base guy with it allows you to play some funky janky stuff like Dodging Mash in front of someone after they make their charge movement on a friendly nearby to block LOS to the original charge target if the opponent was forced to stretch to the furthest extent of their threat range.
Super Shot and Volley Threat definitely give Mash a strong Snapshot threat, and even more so when you add Spigot into the lineup with his Football Legend Aura. Mash can be sitting within 8″ of a goal and within 4″ of Spigot with a Kick Value of 5 and take Snapshots with the same Momentum value as a regular goal. The hardest part will be getting him into position to make full use of all of these strengths, with his relatively slow 4/6″ speed. Passing the ball around, Spigot’s Heroic Play and a little singing help from Esters all help towards this end, but it will take some mastery to get Mash doing all of the things you’d ideally like him to. If you are working towards a football team, having Mash as your kicker is a good way to get him up the field further, but he can also become an easy target for Gutter grabs or Stave throws being a lowly 3+ Defense, so tread that line carefully.
Adding Mash to the Lineup
Now that we have a deeper stable to the Brewer captain lineup, the overall place for slotting in Mash gets a bit more interesting since his role changes depending on whether your team is being led by Tapper or Esters. Mash has obvious synergies with Esters from Protected and the fact that Esters really pushes the capabilities of a Brewers goal scoring team. Mash isn’t generally ideal when he’s only got himself to deal with the ball, so having a couple other players with Kick of 3 or better on the team to feed him the ball are generally preferred.
Mash is one of those models that into certain match-ups I take as much as possible because he can really flex his power, namely Alchemists and Masons. Against any team that is filled primarily with non-reach models Mash is just gravy, but especially because it really pushes 1-3 models into have to be the ones to take the ball from Mash (A combination of Hemlocke / Mist / Vitriol for Alchemists or Mist / Brick / Mallet for Masons). If you are in a situation where you are able to force a specific section of your opponent’s lineup into your scrum on your terms it can help you swing the game into your favour.
-Stave or Spigot
Mash’s role in this list becomes as a secondary beater and one of the primary holders of the ball. The only matchups where I’m not 100% sold on his position in the team are against Union and Engineers. Both of those matchups have plenty of ways around his strongest strengths and play into his weaknesses pretty well. He’s also questionable against Fish due to the fact that Siren exists. If you’re relying on Mash to hold the ball as a 3+ DEF dude he’s not going to hold up long to against Seduced.
Possible Esters Roster
Mash’s role in this would become more of a ball handler with multiple speed boosts and the ability to place himself relatively safely in a Snapshot position and go to town. Will be able to talk more about this when I get the chance to grind out some games with Esters.
I’ve mentioned them a bit above, but he’s not a fast guy and he suffers the same issue the rest of the Brewers have with relatively low defensive stats. Unlike guys like Tapper, Hooper and Stave he doesn’t have the failsafe of Tough Hide to keep him safe. He has the capability to be a total victim once any amount of targeted pressure comes on him, so it’s important to make him not be the primary target against heavy beater teams and instead do what you can to funnel attention away from him until you can make it become beneficial for you.
At the end of the day, Mash is strongest when he’s finding a good, sneaky spot to prepare for Snapshots and leading up the charge for a football-centric team and is a great second line member who can hold the ball, join in for crowding and even throw down some damage for a beater team. Mash is a unique new type of model that’s entered the design space for Guild Ball and helps Brewers play to their strengths while adding new strength into the lineup.
Have you been playing Mash? How are you feeling about the big guy? Let me know!