In Complete Control…
Hey Ozballers! This is your friendly neighbourhood Dan Cam bringing you another guide to a key Mortician player.
In this article, we are going to unravel the enigma that is Silence. First and foremost, while some people may disagree with this, I am going to, without hesitation, say that Silence is the premier control player in the game of GuildBall right now (Feb 2016). Yes, that includes Obulus. Throughout this article I am going to give you pieces of strategy and tech that will shed some light onto this bold statement beyond the simple “he has Tucked and Shutout” view.
There are a few noteable stats on Silence’s card that are crucial to his role in the Mortician team. Silence is slow. He is one of the slowest players in the game sprinting or charging for just 1 extra inch then his jog. Many players scoff at the idea of spending influence for 1 extra inch and for the most part, they are right to do so.
Kick 3/6 is actually one of the best kicks available to the Mortician’s whom clearly suffer the “puppet master tax” as I have frequently been told. The important note here is the addition of Kick Support, increasing Silence’s kick to 4/7 while within 4’ of Dirge. It is also worth mentioning that with Bonus Time, Silence has the best kick available to Morticians with a 5/7.
This is crucial. Without Silence, the Morticians would struggle to play the Momentum starving game that so many Guilds elect to undertake when they receive the ball. The combination of Silence and Mist passing the ball to generate momentum in correlation with Obulus is a fantastic means to bring about initiative when the Morticians receive the ball and can lead to a number of key tactics that we will cover a little later in this article.
What is significant here is that the Morticians utilise this distance and control game better than any other team. Many players that I have played against recently (CanCon) express a genuine frustration at the control capabilities of the Morticians when I receive the ball and successfully generate momentum and set up favourable encounters with Puppet Master, Lure and Silence. Silence kick stat is crucial in allowing this to happen.
Skipping past Silence’s fantastic 5+ DEF / 0 ARM stat we get to the real allure of his card for early Mortician(ites?) – ¾ influence. Wow. Silence allows the Morticians to typically be ahead of their opponents in influence OR allow them to field more “big guys” whom typically have 1 influence, without suffering in the influence pool for it. The 4 influence threshold is also very, very crucial to his game and we will cover exactly why in a few moments.
Finally, a typically overshadowed stat on Silence’s card that is one of his strongest is his health. 15HP! This is incredible for a Def 5 player and is often maligned by opposing players when they attack him. This survivability allows Mortician players to play Silence in the midfield and opens up an array of new opportunities and plays that out otherwise be deemed not worth the risk.
The Character Traits
We have already covered “Kick Support” so the only other Trait Silence has access to is a good one. Creation is a fantastic rule that opens Mortician players to a number of key strategies. The first is aggressive Dirge – playing Dirge upfield as a crowd out, hamper for kicks and an overall annoyance with follow up is a strong strategy in some matchups (Fish for example) as it typically forces players to kill or dodge away from Dirge which requires resource expenditure ( something the Morticians pride themselves on forcing). If they elect to kill Dirge for the early 2 VPS reduces the momentum typically to 0 and places the Mortician player in a strong momentum lead without utilising Obulus’ Legendary play. The Mortician player can then utilise this momentum lead to bring Dirge back and not suffer from activation depletion.
The second play involves Silence recreating Dirge as a crowd. This strategy can be employed by Silence when engaging another player and generating momentum to create Dirge to crowd for the final 2 attacks (assuming you began with 0) or to protect Silence with the crowd out.
Wow. I don’t even need to go into too much depth with his playbook- it is clearly a fantastic playbook for what is commonly referred to as a ‘backline player’. Momentous 2 damage on 2 results is Butcher level of momentous damage and can be immense in many situations and will typically be the result utilised by Mortician players the most. The reason this is so crucial will be more apparent when we look at some Character Play strategies later on – but for now…take a moment to appreciate the playbook…
Momentous dodge on 3 results is a fantastic deterrent for many players who risk Silence dodging away with a counter attack.
Tackle on 5 results is unfortunate but will only usually come up with a counter attack after a striker has picked the ball off Silence.
The Character Plays
As a Mortician player, It is hard to contain your excitement when you discuss Silences’ Character Plays and if you have ever played against a good (or even new) Mortician player – you have a very good understanding why.
All three of his plays scream control and make opponents utilise every bit of the extra 1-3 Feet of the table edge to dish out their frustration.
Lets take a closer look…..
Silence is defined, to many players, by these two Character Plays, which is difficult to dispute. Tucked and Shutout are phenomenal in many matchups and are never useless. There are an unbelievable amount of applications for these two plays that hinder the opponent in a plethora of ways. The easiest way to break this down is to draw upon specific scenarios against some of the Guilds:
Butchers: Tucked and Shutout against the Butcher Guild is paramount in being able to match them in a brawl- and yes, Morticians, if played correctly, can brawl with the Butchers and come out on top. Being able to Shutout Ox to ensure the legendary is unlikely to be utilised that turn and keep his distance minimising the effectiveness of The Owner is incredible. Moreover, being able to control his fantastic character plays that a canny Butcher will utilise such as They Aint Tough and Butchery, is essential. Similarly, with Ox being target priority #1 for Morticians to either control or ideally kill, Shutout is unbelievable. Puppet Mastering Ox into your lines after he has been Shutout to unleash on him with Ghast and Obulus and even Rage will likely bring the Mortician ahead of Momentum with enough to heal and ahead of the game with Ox likely to be dead. This is where the Morticians can really make segways into unravelling the Butchers. Another option, if you are not game on the math to kill Ox and do not want him to be in the centre of your lines is to instead cast Tucked in the right situation. This involves Ghast or Obulus having activated first, attacking Ox, knocking him down and generating a lot of momentum. The Butcher player will not want to activate Ox now as he will be unable to touch Obulus and not wanting to attack Ghast with Counter Attacks available (double pushes are not friendly for him). If they leave Ox knockdown and were not able to generate momentum as Obulus is difficult to catch – cast Tucked on Ox and force his activation to consist of standing up and burning influence. I said the Morticians can out fight the Butchers if done correctly – I never said it was a fair fight 😉
Brewers: There is no better use of Silence Character Plays then against the Brewers. The ability to force Tapper to go first after he has been set on fire and is without momentum – unable to charge a player is incredible. It is a glorious day watching you opponent say “I cast commanding aura and run forward – your turn” with Tapper – knowing full well you are likely to puppet master him out of range of Commanding Aura as well and really rub in how useless he is that turn. Similarly, forcing Tapper to go last and apply all of the affects during the turn, stealing momentum from them with Obulus works just as well – with careful placement! Controlling Tapper with the Morticians is essential and allows us to get ahead on the pace of the match and dictate the take outs/goals. Similarly, being able to force Spigot or Stave to go last to either dictate the usefulness of their Plays or prepare them for death by Ghast is unforgiving.
Fishermen: Shark does not like being controlled and dictated – knowing you don’t have to suffer through a legendary play on a key turn can be game saving. Being able to direct who goes last and who goes next in the Fishermen team – PARTICULARLY when they have the ball is incredible. Forcing the player with the ball to go last in the Fish team is setting yourself up for a win by crazy Puppet Master plays or flat out kills. This allows the Morticians to keep up with the pace of the Fishermen and not allow them to play the game they want. Similarly, with the advent of Corsair, Silence has a new juicy DEF 3+ target to Shutout making his legendary play and key character plays like Stand Firm somewhat redundant. The Fish are an orchestra of synergy that melodically flows through the field with harmony and efficiency to score without repercussion. Anytime the opposing team can squash that shit with a well placed and time Shutout or Tucked it is like farting during their performance – glorious to watch and, if effective enough, brings a tear to their eye.
These basic principles can be applied to nearly every Guild and in many situations (one exception being Alchemists as a result of their denial and high DEF) – Honour and Mallet controlled in combination with Puppet Master to make much of their INF redundant, Blackheart forced to go last limiting the use of his Legendary and Commanding Aura, Ballista – discouraging his legendary and not allowing him to get into crucial Momentous Inspiration positions for the team.
Embalming Fluid is incredible. This play is often criminally overlooked by opponents and even many Morticians players whom are so focused on the power of Tucked and Shutout that they neglect the potential control Embalming Fluid provides. Setting opponents on Fire with the combination of Tucked is ruthless. Often, opponents will not have the momentum to shake the effect and you can effectively dictate who, if any, of your models the opponent can get to. This combination works amazingly well when controlling Tapper, Ox, Honour etc at the beginning of turns.
A deeper and more advanced tactic to perform is to place the Embalming Fluid in awkward positions for opponents to avoid and Puppet Master enemy players through the AOE to be poisoned. This comes into play when you are aiming to leave the enemy player on only a few HP ready to kill the next turn. For Example- the Mortician Player Puppet Masters Shank (who has already activated) through the AOE and is Poisoned. Obulus and who ever else proceed to damage Shank and generate momentum BUT do not kill him (intentionally leaving him with 5-3 boxes). This will bring Shank to 1-3 HP and allow the Mortician player to kill him the first turn of the next activation generating momentum early and getting ahead on activations. Embalming Fluid is essential for this as it prevents opponents from simply healing Shank to a reasonable health (as the poison will aid in bringing him down anyway) and also leaves the Mortician player with options should they allocate 0 INF to Shank who can now be ignored and will die to poison unless he heals in which they are wasting momentum and the Mortician player will likely be in a position to kill him anyway.
While Silence is slow, I want to draw upon the previous Kick Stat that I mentioned aids making these plays effective. Here is an example of a situation which comes up very often in games for me and I would dare say many other Mortician players:
Having received the kick off by Tapper, Dirge flys to drop the ball of to Silence to snap. Another Brewer has activated and moved up. Silence, who is still on the goal line is able to utilise Dirge’s kick support to confidently roll 4D6 to kick the ball to Mist (within 7”) and dodge 4’ up the field. Silence is now well in range to drop Embalming Fluid onto the Brewer players and proceed to move back after the play. The Brewer players (whom have not taken Hemlocke in this case) are now severely hampered on fire, setting the Morticians up for future turn control as mentioned above and allowing them to still dictate momentum for initiative the ball on Mist which can be passed to Silence again, Puppet Mastered to Obulus who then passes it back to Mist or Silence etc (We will look at Obulus and Puppet Master in an article soon enough 😉 )
One closing play that I want to discuss is what I like to call “The Situation”. Yes the play earns the drama of the title. The Situation is basically a position on the pitch and in the game that allows Silence to dictate the entire turn – every, single time. It is not flawless, but it can be a serious issue for opponents to break free and it only costs 4 INF and does damage in return.
In this scenario, there is a player who has been left knocked down the previous turn and momentum generated to win the initiative after Obulus Puppet Mastered and attacked him. With the initiative to the Morticians, Silence is allocated 4 INF and ready to unleash The Situation!
Silence activates, attacks Spigot twice aiming for momentous 2 damage on 2 results, generating 2 momentum and dealing 4 damage. Silence then proceeds to Bonus Time a Shutout on Tapper and a Tucked on Stave who will not be doing any damage with his Barrel Lob without momentum and Tapper is stuck in the position we mentioned earlier. The potential to have Tapper 8’ away, on fire from previous turns and forced to go next via Tucked while Silence proceeds to move out of the way leaves Tapper stranded and wasting INF. Generating 2 momentum, causing 4 damage, Bonus Timing Tucked and Shutout on key players and proceeding to move away is the ideal situation for Silence and will often leave opponents gobsmacked while you dictate what they are going to do during their turn.
I will end the article there, while there is so much more I would like to say about Silence, I think this short 2500 word piece will suffice until I’m ready to share some more 😉
If you have any questions or would like me to elaborate, or even share some of your tech, please feel free to message me on Twitter on @dancam1992 or here on this article.
Until next time, keep in control, try to find yourself in The Situation and reap the rewards of your opponent smiling asking “what do I do now?”.
– Dan Cam