Welcome back for another article about the complex strategy in Guild Ball, and specifically the Butcher’s Guild. This article I am going to focus on a model that most people look at and consider quite sub par, Avarisse and Greede. I am going to make a bold statement here (how very unlike me!): Avarisse and Greede are probably the most broken model/s in the entire game of Guild Ball. Before I quantify that statement, lets look at their card in a little more detail.
The big man has a very innocuous statline, 4/7 is definitely on the low side for Movement, a 1/6 Kick is certainly amongst the worst. TAC6 on the other hand is very good, and one thing that initially a lot of players miss, he only has a Playbook of 5 columns. As we get into his other abilities, you will see why that is actually quite strong. Withonly 3+ DEF and no ARM at all, he is somewhat easy to proc plays off. However, he does not go down easily, with 20 health boxes, and Tough Hide reducing all incoming damage. 1″ Melee Zone is unfortunate and probably his biggest weakness, preventing him from being one of the best Counter Attackers in the game. His Playbook has a lot of momentous damage, and its all attached to Double Push results. You can use him to reposition the enemy very easily, as well as KD on two hits. Where he truly shines is his only Character Play, Singled Out. And model targeting a model affected by Singled Out gains +2TAC. Avarisse goes to TAC8 after his first attack, since Singled Out is on 1 hit. This bonus works on all friendly models, and taking Ox to TAC9 is mildly amusing, but making Brisket TAC8 is potentially terrifying, with wraps from her generating big, big momentous damage. I like to think of him as a facilitator for the rest of the team. He is not going to be your main takeout option, but he can help others and build up the chances.
The little fella is a strange one. 4/5 Move is very slow, TAC5 is respectable, but a 4/4 Kick is sensational in Butchers. His Playbook is an astonishing 8 columns long, with very few momentous results, and no momentous damage. With only 4 Health and Crazy, the temptation to charge off into someone is very real. Pro-tip: Never do this. Greede in my opinion should be used for three things – Passing the ball to generate momentum in the early turns, Ganging Up to help Avarisse out, and standing in front of goal, reducing the enemy dice pool by 1 dice on goal shots. DEF6 whilst near Avarisse is decent enough, but I have lost him to Mascots before. He is not someone you want anywhere near the front lines. If you want to hold onto the ball during the early turns, he is a decent model to do so, as he can pass reliably well, and if he is near the Goal Token he gains cover, and DEF6. Where’d They Go is alright at getting him out of a sticky situation, but honestly, if he is in a sticky situation… he is fucked. It is so important that he does not become a cheap 2VPs for your opponent to pick up.
So having looked over their two cards, they only generate 2 Influence between them. They do not really do any one thing amazingly well, although the two of the combine to having some decent abilities. But truthfully, why bother? The hidden value of Avarisse and Greede, their real strength, is that crucial extra activation. It is a difficult concept to explain well. The first turn it is easy, using Greede as your first activation sets you up to have the last activation in the turn, even if you went first. It gives you the ability to see your opponents plan unfold, and allow you counter that. You can sometimes have two consecutive activations if you do this, and if you have saved Gutter and Shank as your last two, Gutter can drag, hit a model and damage it and Shank can charge in and generally you can pick up 4/5 momentum and turn a potentially losing race into Initiative in the second turn. It is a lot easier to do this with Greede than without. The mid-turns its often a lot harder to know when you should activate Greede first, because you are potentially giving away the ability to use Influence, and generate momentum. If you feel confident that you will not lose a player, or have a goal scored on you by a single activation, using Greede first can be a pretty clutch play. I have a concept in the game that I like to call a “dead model”, which is where a model has already activated. If a model has already activated, their position is locked on the board for the majority of situations. You can accurately move guys into Ganging Up range and know that unless your opponent has one of the few abilities that can allow them to escape, or has possession, that you will definitely be able to create a later turn advantaged attack. Boiler and Princess is a good example, forcing your opponent to take an activation and giving Princess the chance to walk into a “dead model” is just absolutely printing money. Greede creates the opportunity for more dead models before you activate your key models with influence. This is a riskier play than the first turn option of activating Greede first, because if you have miscalculated, you have let your opponent take the initiative. More often I will aim to activate Greede second or third in a turn. With a few momentum on the board after the first activation, doing Greede next will again, open up the opponents planning, and create more dead models to manipulate with your activations.
I do not think the real value of always having the last activation can be understated. If you have a momentum lead, you can choose to risk it to heal, clear conditions or even bonus time passes, shots. You can potentially spend that last activation trying to catch up on a deficit. One of the more clutch plays to try for is taking two players down to very low health, but killing neither of them. If you go on to win Initiative, you can then kill both players with your first activation, your opponent loses more activations at the end of the turn, and you can continue to build up steam. It is an ongoing game plan that Avarisse and Greede facilitate without directly influencing. I urge any player who has been on the fence about these guys to stick them in your team, and give them a red hot go. They will often surprise you.
As always, you can find me @sious69 on Twitter or comment here with your experiences playing this pair.