So first of all my sincerest apologies for taking so long to write a second article, but travelling overseas in the US of A (shout out to my Liberty Guild Ball bros!) and coming home straight into Doctoring took a bigger toll on my spare time than I had intended, and starting a podcast (Go check it out here: Protect Your Balls Ep1) took up the remainder of spare time I had remaining. However as I now have my first (and probably last) 3 days off in a row, I decided that it’s time to start delving further into the tactical iceberg that is the Masons. I recently postulated a number of potential articles to a few of my closest Guild Baller friends and the overwhelming majority suggested that I begin with player highlights, starting with my top 8. And today I’ve decided to write about Chisel.
Why Chisel, you ask? Because it seems that not many seem to rate her as a regular pick in their top 6, and she will sometimes make it into their top 8 but not get played very often. Also she is probably the player that I get the most questions about on Facebook and Twitter, so I thought it might be time to get around to answering them. I need to note before this article that when Chisel first came out, I thought she was absolute bollocks. Complete and utter tripe. The guys in my meta will attest to how much I disliked Chisel (almost as much as Brick in the beginning; more on that later), but I have now come around to absolutely loving her to death. She is a foxy little emo minx, sadist to the core and loving every second of it. Kind of reminds me of the girls from my teenage years…
Anyway. Let’s begin by having a look at her base stats.
- 30mm base size: Standard.
- 2” melee zone: Absolutely amazing. I think having a 2” melee is one of the most powerful things you can put on a model’s card, and with her it brings the total number of models with this in Masons to 3 (with Brick and Mallet), plus we have access to Mist in Union. What this means is that when Chisel was released, Masons could finally run an entire team of models (besides Honour and Marbles) with 2” melee which is invaluable against factions like the Fishermen.
- Move 6”/8”: Overall threat of 8” jogging, or 10” sprinting/charging is pretty decent. Given that the pitch is only 36” long and wide, being able to reposition 1/6th of that without any influence expenditure is good.
- Tackle 4: This is below average for a beater, but takes into account Crazy so has to be low. The only real issue with this is poor hitting power when making parting blows (6 dice) or counter attacks (4 dice) since Crazy doesn’t add dice outside of your activation, and counter attacks can be further crowded out to make Chisel a sad panda.
- Kick 2/6”: Eh, basically average. She’s a beater so it doesn’t really matter, but with easily accessed dodges on her playbook and Mallet hanging around to give out his Football Legend aura she can go a long way and be 3/7” for the shot on goal, which is nothing to sneeze at on a beater.
- Defence 3+/Armour 1: Eh. She was the first Mason to have this rubbish (though apparently average) statline, as pretty much everyone else had defence 3+/2 armour at the time of her release. It’s still her major vulnerability, coupled with her 13 base health, but this is what makes her such a great glass cannon and requires a bit more nuance on the part of the player.
- Influence 2/4: Again pretty much standard. She brings 2, wants 4 most turns, and there’s usually no point giving her less than that unless you have no better place to put it (which you often will if there’s a striker on the table).
- Health: 13 boxes is ok; it isn’t 10 but it isn’t 14+ (why yes I do have a doctorate, that’s how I can make these insightful deductions). It’s a bit low when you want to be using Crazy most activations. Icy Sponges at 4 and 8 are also low, but to be expected. As above in the Def/Arm part she is a glass cannon and this is further reinforced by her health boxes.
Ok next up are her Character Traits, which probably define Chisel more than any other rules on her card.
Crazy was a rule we only saw on Cosset card prior to Chisel’s release, and it pretty much plays the same with both characters except that Chisel is basically a better beater than Cosset due to Painful Rage and 2” melee. Cut for 3 damage to get +3 tackle; the rule seems pretty simple on the surface, but in the beginning I would often cut Chisel down in the first couple of turns of the game when I thought she was completely out of harm’s way so that turn 3 she could do it once more and get Painful Rage going immediately for full effect.
Painful Rage is the money maker with Chisel, and enables her to get to 9 tackle on her lonesome and with incredible damage output, particularly if you’re able to get Tooled Up on her from Marbles. 4 damage on one hit? Yes please! But at the same time this shows us the difficulty of using Chisel well: you want to keep her below 6 health basically at all times yet doing that at the same time as keeping her alive is supremely difficult and something I still struggle with. For this reason I view Painful Rage as a little bit of a trap, or rather a bonus to be used only when your opponent has taken her down to that low health and not damaged to that extent by Crazy only. A great way to use this is if your opponent took her out the previous turn, you can come back on the table with 4 health, give her 4 influence, activate her first up, go Crazy down to 1, and at TAC 9 (without crowds) deal a likely 10+ damage to any character unlucky enough to be within 17” of a board edge. Yowzers.
Speaking of damage, let’s have a look at the playbook. She’s base tackle 4 and playbook length is 7. Crazy gets TAC to 7. Painful Rage takes it to 9. Add in the potential for Singled Out and crowds. Welcome to Wrap City Bitch.
The thing I love about this playbook is the versatility. Damage on literally every single column shows that she’s an alright beater even if you’re only getting 1-2 hits. Low momentous results is fitting with the rest of the faction, but having the fourth option still momentous is amazing. Lots of dodges show her maneuverability, but in addition to this she has the option of the push/dodge (one of the best playbook results in the game) on 4 hits and the double dodge on 6 hits. Plus the momentous tackle on 2 hits. Words can’t state how amazing this playbook is, even though it’s lacking a KD result. You have so many options even just from 3 hits, and the value of having a momentous result on one hit can’t be understated. 3 hits to momentously drop a character play is also great, especially when combined with damage. The key with such a versatile playbook is to remember what you want to achieve for the turn because she can do it all; if you’re going for goal you only need one hit and the dodge, if you’re going for momentum you have multiple low choices, and if you’re going for damage you have 2 (pre-buffs) on 3 hits. Boy does this girl have game.
The final part in the 1000 piece puzzle of pure blue sky that is Chisel are her character plays.
Sadism is a very situational character play, and I don’t really find myself using it very often. It costs 1 of her 4 max influence, so if you give her 4 and use one to do Sadism you’ll potentially recover the 3 damage you do to yourself using Crazy and that’s it… Alternatively you could just spend that extra influence on another attack to get another momentum and heal yourself for 4 with that as well as doing more damage to your target. I can understand using it in the late game could be beneficial, but once she’s damaged below 6 health you want to keep her there until the end of her activation so you benefit from Painful Rage so it’s kinda counter-intuitive to heal after every attack if that might put you back to 6 health. It has a fun interaction with Feel My Pain in that if they get damaged by FMP you get to heal more health outside of your activation, but again this can be very situational.
Feel My Pain is another interesting ability. It can only be triggered in combat, and three of the total seven playbook results have FMP included (only one being momentous however). The problem I see with FMP, despite it being a good ability, relies on your opponent attacking Chisel. If you’re hitting a model with no influence allocated to it then there is literally no point in putting FMP on them (unless they’re going to counter attack for a guaranteed 2 damage). Also with all FMP options there’s also the choice to just do 1 more base damage which is often better anyway, particularly with the 2/FMP and 3/FMP options later in the playbook since you’re not sacrificing momentum to choose the higher damage.
So the above is all well and good when you’re reading stuff on the internet and then forgetting it the next day when you’re getting smashed by your resident noob stomper at the LGS. So let’s talk some anecdotal, all natural, raw, and unprocessed quinoa and kale gaming advice. How do you make her work on the table? Good question astute reader!
As befits my OCPD I like to have a general plan for every player on my team, and whether they print money in the early, mid, or late game. For me, Chisel is undoubtedly a late game piece for me; she is the mop-up crew. Early in the game my sole objective is to keep her as healthy as possible against any teams that have ranged damage output (being basically every guild these days besides other Masons). If she has conditions, clear them. If she takes damage, heal her. In these turns you basically want to be using her to crowd opposing players where she isn’t in danger of dying to a single activation and using her bubble as a control effect to dissuade players putting their vulnerable pieces within her striking distance. You should almost always keep her within 1” of a terrain piece if at all possible. If Brick is on the table keep her close to him to dissuade your opponent’s players from coming too close to her lest they get smashed by the big doofus.
First turn I never give her influence as it will likely make you more inclined to sprint her and get her further up the board. Use her as an extra nothing activation to better suss out what your opponent’s plan for the first turn is. Keep her close to Honour for the inevitable turn 2 legendary so she can benefit from the extra influence. Keep her close to Marbles so that the subsequent turns she is close enough get Tooled Up.
Turn 2 I’m usually maxing out Honour and Mallet with Marbles getting one, so there’s only one more to go around which will go to my striker. Stick to the above rules again; keep her out of danger yet put her close to something she can kill with Tooled Up and 4 influence to keep your opponent on their toes. Ensure when you finish her movement you measure 10” between her and the thing you want to kill (or the thing you want your opponent to think you want to kill) so they are unmistakenly aware that is your plan so they respond to that. Chisel is a good psychological tool because on a good turn with everything going your way she can do more than 20 damage to a model in a single activation.
Late game, once they’ve removed Mallet from the table (this basically happens every game), shift the influence you’d usually give to him to Chisel and use her as your beater. She isn’t as good overall as Mallet but she’s faster and does more damage. Use this to your advantage in the late game against your opponent’s damaged models; it is entirely possible that she can get 2+ take outs in one activation.
And my final piece of advice: Don’t forget Crazy before you charge. You can’t interrupt the charge roll to do it, and you’ll be throwing 8 dice instead of 11 for no reason but your own stupidity. God do I know what it’s like to feel stupid, and it ain’t good.
Wrap City Bitch
Hopefully the above information has provided some assistance into how to play Chisel, why I think she is a great player, and why she’s always in my 8 (and 6). If you have any questions or queries the best place to reach me is @EpicSaviour on Twitter where I’m happy to answer any and all questions. Also you should listen to the Protect My Balls podcast; I hear it’s a right hoot. Next episode out soonish. Additionally everyone should get on twitter and annoy Mat Hart (@C4RP3R) and Jamie Perkins (@jamielpfringe) to give us Hammer spoilers instead of stupid queefing mascots.
Until next time sportsfans, keep it real and never stop protecting your balls.