Greetings sports fans, sit back with me on this short article while I dip my toes into the sea of sports ball writing. I’ve been playing Guild Ball for about three months now and am feeling confident enough to put some of my thoughts onto paper, a medium that I am very comfortable with (Desertspiral on Muse on Minis).
This evening though I’ve had a topic that has been rolling around in my brain for the last month or so and the crux of it comes down to whether or not having a high TAC value is in and of itself a reason to include or discount a member from your team – or even a good thing at all.
Most war games follow a very linear progression of stats – that is high stats are unequivocally better than low stats, and this is mirrored in guild ball. A high move is better than a low move and the same can be said for defence, armour, etc.
High TAC, Long Playbook?
TAC though is an amazing example of a primary stat where higher base integers do not immediately equate to better on table performance. The reason why I feel that this is the case is because it is intrinsically linked to a derived set of options (the playbook) that gains significant advantage from existing in a tighter spread. What I mean by this is that a playbook of three columns can be seen as better than a playbook of eight columns.
In many cases a broad playbook includes an abundance of duplication. The most poignant example of this is Harry the Hat’s Playbook which is simply an incrementally repeated series of Damage and Pushes. Conversely, there are other characters who manage to fit an exceptional amount into a wide playbook though and Honour is a great example of a character that has a playbook filled with just about everything.
Counter to this though characters whose play book is three to four columns wide lose out on the biggest advantages of a wide playbook (which is typically incremental damage, variety and increased options for Momentous results) and gain the ability to wrap columns with much greater ease than their counterparts. A player with a very tight and focused playbook of four columns can achieve wrapping far more easily whereas larger playbooks can be much harder to gain access to wraps. A player with a shorter playbook may have less multi-effect results on their Playbook (only Damage, only a Push, only a Dodge), but as soon they start wrapping the results compound more easily and their Momentum accumulation can skyrocket.
For the most part the TAC is balanced in parity with the columns of a characters playbook. Then of course there are those blessed players whose playbook is natively shorter than their TAC score and can generate wraps just from attacking (Brewers are a primary case here). The down side here being characters with in built TAC buffs typically have a playbook that has already compensated for the modified stat. This can really hurt those characters when they are unable to trigger the buff as they are left with the low end of an unwieldy play book.
There are a number of highly available ways to supplement a low printed TAC score into a much more effective tool. Firstly amongst these are the game rules themselves; knocked down, crowding and charging. All of these increase the mathematical likelihood of a wrap and can be leveraged to increase the effectiveness of influence allocated to a player.
On top of that are the shifts from synergies like [Assist] and other passive traits to plays that also increase combat effectiveness. Again these vary from the immediately obvious like singled out and commanding aura to the less obvious like Dirty Knives and Thousand Cuts which not only increase likelihood of hits but can also increase your pool by dropping a player’s defence below two.
Wrapping is Awesome
Wrapping and in particular the dreaded Wrapopolis (2+ wraps) allow a player to achieve some truly god like plays on the field and particularly to rapidly build up Momentum. The most immediately egregious instance of this might appear at face value to be high damage outputs like Gutter getting a double scything blow or Boilers fabled five point palm exploding heart technique. Instead let’s consider a character like Hemlocke with three columns or Mist/Flint with four getting the wrap into a double 2” dodge or a 2” dodge and Where’d They Go to get into scoring position can easily be just as game changing and potentially much easier to do. Then again there are characters like Velocity with a double push/dodge on four hits and a push/dodge on two – having her shepherd players off the field may not be immediately apparent and with the right set up though it’s very achievable. The right choice of playbook combinations applied to the right situations and even more so when wrapped can generate significant advantages and help to save or outright win games.
In the end – a low TAC is a surmountable obstacle whilst the playbook is for all intents set in stone. If you are able to stack buffs and or de-buffs to propel a low printed TAC player into the position where they can double their base TAC then wraps become almost academic.
TAC though is a tool and proper utilisation in creative and effective ways allows you (the player) to leverage it and the associated playbook. The more you understand the strengths as well as the limitations of all characters’ TAC/playbook interactions the better off you’ll be at the game.
I feel that knowing what I know now, TAC alone isn’t the most important ingredient in determining a good use of expenditure of Influence on attacks. Having achievable and effective wraps that let you turbo charge your momentum and shoot ahead are just as, if not more important. Planning end turns to set up Crowding Out benefits for the upcoming turns or preparing buffs/debuffs early in the game can be crucial for maximising that potential.
So back to my original topic: whilst in a vacuum a high TAC is certainly a good thing, TAC alone is not a quality that I would chose a character based on. Certainly as with everything it is a contributing factor and for me it more comes down to three things:
- Is their TAC critical to their role? Do I have models that can make plays against high Armor players?
- Are they able to leverage their playbook towards my strategy? If not, do they have character plays that I can leverage?
- Does my team harmonize to provide achievable wraps? Do I have the proper buffs/de-buffs to place? Do I want my team crowded on a target or a small group of targets?
Ciao for now sports fans!