This time round I’ll be taking a look at the Fishermen. Generally one of the teams that goes for takeouts the least, the Fishermen bring a lot of options and different playstyles to the team, particularly because they have the great quality of bringing solid captains who do very different things to each other.
Shark is a captain with pretty impressive defenses and excellent footballing ability. He’s extremely fast, with an 11″ basic threat range and a playbook full of dodges, and has one of the best basic kick stats in the game. With his 2″ melee and TAC6, he very reliably hits his dodges and can tackle from anyone that isn’t a dedicated ball killer without difficulty. Defensively his 4/1/16 is pretty reasonable for a captain – his main defensive ability, however, is his second column << counter attack result, which keeps him quite safe from 1″ melee fighters unless they have extremely reliable KD access. His long threat ranges also mean that he’s able to keep himself safe through sheer distance, forcing enemies to spend influence to even reach him in the first place. Shark’s playbook isn’t great for damage, which is common in the Fishermen, but if someone’s taken a few hits already he can spend 6 influence on attacks for a takeout if you really need him to.
Quick Foot lets Shark charge 13″, with two influence left to generate momentum and shoot after tackling, which is great to have if the opponent is keeping the ball far away from your team. It does cost a lot of influence and doesn’t generate any momentum, so you need to be somewhat careful with when you use it – other models in the Fishermen can give you additional threat range much more efficiently, so Quick Foot is more of an emergency measure if you need someone all the way up the pitch now and don’t have time to set it up with others.
Stagger is somewhat relevant if you’re trying to set up a takeout, or if you’re hitting someone with very low defensive stats and aiming to reach Tidal Surge next attack. If your target is a 4/0 or 3/1 model, Stagger lets you reasonably expect to hit the m>< result on future attacks, which means you can push that model ~5″ (potentially more if you spike to Tidal Surge) which can net a sneaky 2VPs for pushing them off the pitch. Stagger also gives you something somewhat usable for your influence if you’re just building momentum.
Tidal Surge is a very powerful ability but it costs a lot of influence to buy, and is hard to reach on the playbook. Note that because the target model is friendly during the action, you can’t use TS to put someone off the pitch directly – though you can push them to within 1″ of the edge of the pitch, then charge them for the m>< result and push them off that way. Tidal Surge is also a nice bonus if you get a lot of hits on your charge, but don’t rely on it. If you already momentum, you can use TS on Shark + charge for a 15″ threat range on tackle, with 1 inf left to shoot with, but this line has no momentum generating options (barring a wrap) so you need to make sure you have one already if you want to go for a goal run.
Light Footed extends Shark’s threat range a bit, or rather it saves on valuable momentum. It also means he ignores Foul Odor models and he has a lot of options for kicking off. Shark’s kick off threat is fantastic, and the possibility of scoring as soon as he gets an activation is very real. Because of his 7″ jog and 8″ kick, he’s great at putting the ball somewhere awkward for the enemy team – usually, that means as far as possible from anyone who has the defenses to hold onto it against Shark.
Caught In A Net helps to prevent Shark from getting pinned down and taken out after he makes his goal run. Usually you’ll want to be using it on the first activation of turn two, immediately before scoring a goal and using Run The Length to dodge back away from the enemy. This helps to prevent the enemy team from reliably retaliating, which is important when you probably spent a lot of influence and momentum on that first activation.
Overall Shark is a pretty linear player – he does one thing well, and that’s score goals. He’s also an excellent kickoff model. He dies a lot, however, because he tends to want to play aggressively and get up the pitch into the opponent’s half to score those goals, and so is a prime target for a takeout. Because he is so fast, however, Shark can regularly reach the ball immediately upon returning to the pitch, so getting him killed isn’t the worst thing – you’d much rather Shark be Taken Out than stuck between four enemy models on 1HP, which is where he does occasionally end up. Try to keep him out of reach of enemies that might be able to set that up. Sometimes you are forced to send him into the scrum to retrieve a ball, but there are other options for dealing with that. Because his tackle is on column two, he doesn’t reliably reach it against models with exceptional defenses, such as DEF5/ARM1 enemies, and he only has 50% odds (before bonus time) to tackle a DEF4/ARM1 model in cover. He has enough influence to make multiple attempts, at least, but do be aware that if you send Shark in to try and get the ball and don’t get there, you probably lose your captain for very little back. Because he’s quite good at generating momentum from his attacks, it can be worth playing it safe if there are temporary effects making a tackle harder – just generating six momentum, winning initiative, and then going for the tackle at the start of the next turn after Tough Skin or something has expired. Bonus Timing to get that tackle is often worth it, as is Bonus Timing Shark’s shots on goal. Even if they’re fairly reliably successful, the penalty for missing a critical tackle or shot is so impactful that you usually don’t want to be taking that risk. Shark is at his best when he isn’t the only threat on your team – if there are other models available to also threaten the ball, it means the enemy has a lot less of an easy time preventing your goals, where if Shark is the only goal threat he is likely to find himself knocked down, snared, burning, Blinded, Goaded or similar. Don’t be afraid to play Shark aggressively – trading his life for a goal puts you up in VPs (unless they got him with Casket, anyway) and if he gets dealt with, you have other models which can apply pressure to the enemy while he demands resources from the enemy. Shark is at his best into teams which don’t reliably kill the ball, or which want to group up and stay together, and are slow. Brewers are a good example, as are Farmers.
Corsair is a lot slower than Shark, and trades a point of DEF for 2 HP which makes him a lot more vulnerable to character plays and control effects. However, in exchange he gets a really great playbook, with 5 columns to his 6 TAC, excellent access to pushes, and some reliable (if non momentous) damage with attached pushes. Shoving people around is a big part of Corsair’s game, and he really gets to make use of his short playbook by pushing people into his allies’ melee zones for additional ganging up bonuses, setting up wraps. There aren’t many TAC buffs in Fishermen, and no damage buffs, which means that grouping up and putting lots of melee zones on someone is the best option Corsair has for taking people out. He also has a great Tackle result and an easy to reach KD, which sets his playbook to reach the higher columns. His counter attack isn’t quite as good as Shark’s, but with a double push on column three it’s not terrible either – he’s still going to cause problems for someone like Jaecar.
Drag greatly makes up for Corsair’s slow movement speed. It doesn’t help him reach the goal, but it does huge amounts of work yanking people out of position. It makes playing defensively into Corsair extremely hard, since it’s very easy for him to pick a target and force it forwards to where it can be knocked down, pushed around and taken out. Often when setting up a takeout, Corsair can take Drag off his playbook to pull in the next target while the previous one is about to go, ensuring there’s always a target available, and removing the chance for Drag to miss. Be aware that you can’t Drag a model over an obstruction, barrier, or other model. Some opponents will protect against Drag by hiding important models behind less valuable ones. Other effects which are good into Drag include Stoic and Resilience, since while Drag isn’t OPT, forcing Corsair to spend 4 influence just on moving a model around for no momentum makes it a lot harder for him to take anyone out.
Rough Seas is a useful ball control tool. The Fishermen are generally quite good at controlling the ball and this is another option for the list. It sets Corsair up for opportunistic goal runs, since with his 4/8″ kick he has a reasonable ability to sprint into shot range, snag the ball from someone and score with it. Because Rough Seas just takes the ball – without a Tackle – it’s also good against models with Close Control or good counter attacks. You do need to hit on two dice, however.
Coup de Grâce makes up for the Fishermen’s lack of momentous damage, to an extent. Be aware that it does not trigger if you push someone off the pitch, and it only happens once per turn. It does sort of let you ‘bank’ momentum from one turn to the next however – if the momentum race isn’t close on one turn, you can leave a model alive and then take it out at the start of the next turn instead and have the momentum then. It also doesn’t have to be Corsair that actually does the taking out, so you can happily leave the damage dealing duty to other models if Corsair is busy threatening the ball, pushing/controlling models or something else.
Sturdy is a very powerful rule – especially on a model with a 2″ melee zone and an easy KD. Against most 1″ melee models, walking up to them and knocking them down from 2″ away causes them a lot of problems, since if they clear conditions and walk up to engage Corsair, he’s just going to KD them again on his counter attack. They’ve already cleared conditions and walked, so they won’t be able to stand back up again- and even if they have a good KD of their own, Corsair is just going to ignore it. There are ways out, of course – getting help from other models is the primary one – but it’s a good plan if you can catch someone isolated, and against a lot of brawlers it buys time while they clear the KD elsewhere for you to take more activations before they can act. Sturdy helps Corsair stay alive, but be aware that if Sturdy is broken / Corsair gets knocked down, he dies very quickly. 2/1/18 is not a durable statline and results in a taken out captain very quickly. Corsair is also not a fast model by any measure, so keeping him alive is important because otherwise he is going to take a long time to get back into the game again. Sturdy also lets Corsair happily take the occasional parting blow to reposition, since unless he has the ball he isn’t going to be too worried about most things that could happen to him.
Tough Hide keeps Corsair alive against chip damage and ranged plays. Tough Hide, Sturdy and poor defensive stats makes Corsair a somewhat unappealing takeout option, but very vulnerable to a focused attack if he gets isolated. Some teams – other Fishermen, for example – have a lot of issues dealing with a model with Tough Hide due to lack of damage buffs, but others – like Blacksmiths – have models which do a small number of very high damage attacks, which are much harder for Corsair to endure.
Hook, Line and Sinker lets you pull someone in without spending influence once per game. This has a few important uses – primarily, it lets you drag someone and still have 6 influence to spend hitting them afterwards, which often means you can just take them out immediately. It also allows you to drag a model with Resilience without needing to break it (since it’s not a character play) and it also lets you drag in high DEF models which might otherwise be missed by Drag. You can use it if the enemy is bodyblocking your Drag with another model and simply pull them both in. Pulling multiple models is also occasionally useful with good positioning. While usually you only want to be dragging in and taking out one model at a time, you can pull in a takeout target and simultaneously get a striker further from the goal, force them spend influence to disengage from Corsair’s good parting blow, or set up two models at once in the KD+Engage bubble of problems.
Corsair is a model that plays like almost no other in the game, but he’s very effective. His long threat range and ability to bring the fight to him (rather than go in to the fight) means he’s very reliably able to spend his influence on useful things. He’s also got excellent damage (especially by Fishermen standards) if you are willing to accept that the momentum race isn’t going to go too well in that scenario – though CdG does help a bit there. You do need to avoid the very real threat of getting Corsair killed, since if he does you’re in a lot of trouble. He is one of the few models in Guild Ball that can score VPs in three different ways – taking models out with damage, scoring goals, and throwing models off the pitch. With all his pushes, Corsair can play the ringout game exceptionally well and get a lot of VPs for it. However it can be risky, since he isn’t Stoic or anything himself and a few well timed pushes from the enemy can get him thrown off himself, since in order to throw someone off he usually needs to be within 6″ of the board edge personally. Corsair is great against enemies who want to set up defensively and force you to engage on them – such as Engineers – since he breaks the normal rules of how an engagement starts, where the engaging team is the one that is more out of position and the defender is able to react accordingly. Corsair’s teams tend to be quite focused on enabling Corsair himself, and often if you’re going for the takeout game Corsair is the only model that remotely threatens to actually score any VPs, so getting him controlled (such as with Heavy Burden or Blind) or unable to get VPs in some way can be an issue. A reasonable tactic is to run a durable model at him – while he has damage, Fish have no damage buffs, which makes a model like Casket take an enormous amount of time to actually kill for Corsair, which really buys a lot of time for the rest of the team to position to get goals or outfight him.
Yukai is not quite as much of a super solo as Shark, but they’re still no slouch when it comes to football. With a reasonable 6″/8″ MOV stat, the standard Fishermen 2″ melee zone, and a momentous tackle on the first column, they’re pretty good at grabbing the ball even with TAC5. They do lose out on some of the other Fish’s mobility however, without the customary momentous first column dodge or any really effective dodges at all until column four. Defensively, 5/0/14 is pretty even with Shark’s 4/1/16, slightly easier to beat down but more resistant to ranged character plays instead. Yukai does have additional issues because their counterattack is a lot less impressive, but they can still do the job if needed with their second column GB result.
Swirling Waters is a character play with a lot of uses. It gives Yukai a second column momentous double dodge – which is great – but it can only be used on themselves once per turn – which is a whole lot less great. If you used it for mobility during Yukai’s activation, you lose the ability to relevantly counterattack for the rest of the turn, and vice versa. Be aware that even if you have no valid targets, you can still attack for the momentous GB result and not use Swirling Waters, letting you at least generate momentum if you need it without having to reach column 4 to do so. Still, I wouldn’t want to rely on Swirling Waters on the counterattack often, and keeping Yukai out of enemy melee zones is usually a good plan. Swirling Waters is also great for repositioning allies, whether it’s moving models up for crowdouts, getting models disengaged for easier snap shots, or just extending threat ranges. With Swirling Waters, Yukai’s personal threat range is a solid 12″ which is pretty reasonable for grabbing the ball back off whoever is holding it.
Speaking of grabbing the ball, Break The Surface does it pretty well. When targeting enemies, it’s good for pulling the ball holder out of position to somewhere they can be easily tackled, getting important models (especially ones with auras) away from your team or their own team, and disengaging allies again. It’s also useful for grabbing the ball though – especially after goal kicks. The versatility of this character play means Yukai pretty much always has something useful to be doing with their influence, which is great on a model that isn’t fantastic at just turning it into momentum like most Fishermen.
Last Cast Catches the Most is a terrifying rule for the opponent. It isn’t relevant extremely often, since a lot of the time you’re spending most of your influence stack on a striker getting the ball and shooting, so you don’t have many opportunities to do much. It does let you use the momentum from scoring to heal your model if needed though. It does, however, change the flow of the game significantly. Rather than score as soon as you get the ball, pulling it back instead can be the correct decision, because if you can instead score with a snap shot at the start of a model’s activation you can follow it up with a potential second goal straight away if the goal kick goes badly, or at least put a lot of pressure on the ball carrier.
Beating Wings Over Water makes it harder once again for the opponent to hide the ball. Be aware that it does nothing for avoiding parting blows, so you can’t just wander over the opponent with impuinty, and it also makes Fast Ground give no benefit to the Flying model. On the plus side, it’s great against stuff like Theron’s forest, and any enemy hiding behind a Barrier or Obstruction to prevent a charge. It’s definitely the least impactful rule on the back of Yukai’s card but it’s still a good benefit to have available.
Cormorant’s Calling is the biggest reposition in the game and does very scary things. The primary use of this play is to take a model with a good snap shot from your deployment line and put it into snap shot range on turn one, letting you score and then have the rest of Yukai’s activation to try and score again. It’ll only work against some opponents/teams, but it’s pretty impressive when it happens. Because it only works on unengaged allies, you can’t use it to rescue an ally very often, but given that it’s so good at getting 4VP off a snap shot, using it to save 2 VPs is a bit underwhelming anyway.
Yukai is similarly footballing focused compared to Shark, but rather than doing so by chasing the ball directly, they instead enable the squaddies to do the work. Fortunately the Fishermen have some squaddies who do so very well, so that’s nice. Yukai is also not bad at going after things on their own – with a momentous first column tackle, a buyable dodge, and a 4 die kick, while they don’t have the enormous pressure that Shark provides it’s not like they are bad on their own too. Generally Yukai plays a different style of football to Shark – where Shark has one activation a turn with which to score a goal against a lot of teams and is hard to disrupt, Yukai instead often spends a bit more time setting up before trying to score multiple goals in a single turn. The two of them function pretty similarly though – both captains rely on Tackle results to reclaim the ball personally most of the time and don’t like enemy teams that kill the ball, so running both in a 12 doesn’t really help either captain actually shore up their weaknesses, like Corsair does. Most of the time you’d do well to run either Shark/Corsair or Yukai/Corsair since the pairing then involves two captains who fulfil actually different roles and instead complement each other with unique strengths.
Salt is very mobile, and reasonably tough for a mascot with 5/0/7 defensive stats. She isn’t going to be taking anyone out any time soon with her TAC2, but does have reasonable footballing ability (for a mascot). Like most Fishermen, Salt has a momentous dodge on column one, although that does mean she doesn’t tackle till 2 which is a real downside. The two column playbook does mean that on a charge, Salt needs three hits to tackle and momentously dodge away, which isn’t too bad.
Where’d They Go? makes Salt hard to pin down and a pretty good goal threat, with a 17″ threat range which is high for a player, let alone a mascot. Using Salt to score goals is a definite possibility, and can work out very well, since if you do so you are only giving up 1VP for 4VP in return, halving the amount you give to the opponent. The distance the otter can move also helps in retrieving balls which have been dropped – dropping the ball behind your model negates quite a bit of the Fishermen’s ball retrieval tools, so having an option for getting it in that scenario is very useful.
Loved Creature penalises the opponent a little for attacking Salt. While not as impactful on the Fishermen as it would be on a more fighting oriented team, it’s still a handy bonus to have, especially on Corsair. It’s quite relevant because in order to be remotely useful, Salt needs to be right up in the enemy team snagging the ball and/or scoring goals, which involves quite a lot of risk and often means a dead mascot in the near future.
Salt is a pretty simple mascot in terms of functionality and use. Scores opportunistic goals without risking a real player, and then threatens to snag the ball if they try and avoid Rough Seas / Seduced by dropping it. The main issue you have here is that the tools Salt brings are all ones which other Fishermen also have access to, so you can get the same effect in other places if you really want them anyway. If you’re an aggressive player Salt can do a lot of work – Shark really thrives on putting pressure on the opponent from multiple different angles, and if the mascot is also threatening to snag the ball and get a goal it’s just another problem in the list for the enemy team to deal with. Salt is best into teams which don’t kill the ball well, lack armor, or which have only a few output models and wouldn’t want to dedicate a whole activation with one of them to dealing with your mascot.
If Salt is a mascot mirror of Shark, Tentacles is Corsair. Tentacles is slow, but otherwise a great include, with an excellent kick stat (6″ means easier tap ins!), great defenses for a mascot at 4/1/9, and 2″ melee with a first column tackle. The octopus’ influence stat means it won’t often gets to do a ton of work, but otherwise it looks promising.
Blind is a very powerful character play, and messes with a lot of opponents’ activations. It’s particularly good at shutting down the enemy kicker on turn one, since it makes it harder for them to reach you, harder for them to do anything when they get there, and also shuts down any goal run hopes they had with the KICK penalty. It’s also great against high impact captains or other models with great playbook topends, or anyone with a lot of influence. Finding the time to use Blind early in a turn can be a bit difficult, especially since Tentacles’ own activation is unlikely to generate any momentum elsewhere, meaning you need to give the opponent the opportunity to act before you actually blind them unless you like living dangerously by throwing one-die blinds which leave you passing to the enemy with 0MP when going first with Tentacles.
Close Control is another tool for making opposing strikers’ kick offs much less reliable. Blinding the kicker and then putting the ball on a close control model with 2″ melee and a first-column Tackle pretty much completely ends any chance of a goal run. It’s also good on later turns, where you want to be able to keep the ball out of play while Corsair beats the enemy team down. Against teams that want to fight it’s naturally a lot less relevant, but it does make opportunistic goals a lot less of an option, especially since beatdown focused teams are probably a lot worse at tackling the ball. If you’ve been grinding your way up the pitch, you can also have Tentacles make his own goal runs too, ignoring parting blows with Close Control – but the 12″ goal threat isn’t exactly impressive there.
Tag Along is useful for repositioning Tentacles if you sprinted forward earlier in a turn to throw a Blind. It’s also great for setting up damage, since with 2″ melee Tentacles can be brought along with an attacking model to provide an additional crowdout. It’s also pretty easy to set up an advance that leaves his melee zone with that 2″ melee. This also means that Tentacles is actually probably a more reliable source of +1 tac (via ganging up) than Salt’s Loved Creature is.
Tentacles doesn’t score VPs like Salt does, but has a lot of utility. Importantly, the two effects the octopus brings that are its major selling points – Blind and Close Control – are effects which are not available elsewhere in the guild at all, and which have major impact on the game. If you want to deal with opposing high-threat models, Tentacles makes that much much more doable. If you want to deal with opposing ball pressure, Tentacles makes that much more doable as well. Those two scenarios cover a vast majority of the teams in Guild Ball right now. As such, I’d be pretty happy to pick Tentacles into any team pretty much, and while Salt is a reasonable flex option, the question is ‘do I want to include a second mascot in my 12?’. Running Tentacles as your only mascot is an option, running only Salt is – in my opinion – making several matchups much harder for no real benefit.
Angel is another model that might as well come with a big label saying ‘STRIKER’. Fast, high DEF, low health, fantastic kick stats, and low TAC all look exactly like you would expect. The main problem Angel has is that unlike most other Fishermen she only has 1″ melee. She makes up for it with a momentous T< result on her first column, which really helps out with her low TAC and does a huge amount of work. It means she still gets momentum tackling Close Control models, which is important, and it means she can use her influence maneuvering into position for a shot while getting the ball for ‘free’. It also means she needs five hits on the charge to tackle and disengage from pretty much anyone, even if they have Close Control. She also has a 2″ disengage on column 2 for her counterattack, which is handy – although reaching column 2 is a bit difficult on a counter for Angel. She isn’t the most durable model in the world, especially if she eats a KD, but she isn’t the flimsiest either.
Nimble pretty much makes Angel unkillable for a turn. Going to DEF6 from DEF5 is a huge difference, and means anyone without a first column KD just isn’t really going to harm her. It’s possible, of course, but usually it just means they’ll go for someone else. This also means a lot of counter attacks worry Angel very little, since unless the opponent has a 2″ disengage on column one she is probably just fine. Note that hitting someone with a column 1 KD on the counter is still a bit iffy, since if you want that momentous dodge result you have to take the tackle – you can’t just dodge, let them KD you, stand up and then take the tackle next time, so the ball might scatter somewhere awkward if you eat a KD. Fortunately most models with a first column KD have terrible defensive stats so you can just take the column 2 >< or something anyway most of the time, and save the tackle for after their counter attack.
Super Shot puts Angel up to a 5/10″ kick which is absolutely terrifying to deal with. It also means she has a great 5″ Tap In distance which is very handy. Scoring with Angel once she’s got the ball is pretty easy – the difficult bit is getting the ball, especially considering she has 1″ melee and no buyable dodge. However, if you have backup threats to threaten wherever the ball goes, Angel can score early in a turn with Nimble and Super Shot up, and be a very worrying Snap Shot turret for your other players later on in the turn, which is also very hard to dislodge with DEF6. Be aware that while Super Shot makes her a 10″ kick, it can be worth staying within 8″ anyway for Snap Shot purposes, since it means you can still threaten to bash a goal in at the start of the next turn, rather than needing to reactivate Angel to put up Super Shot first.
Get Over Here lets you pull Salt up, playing into the primary Salt/Shark plan of presenting a large number of ball threats and getting it with whichever model isn’t controlled. Because it lets Salt make a 7″ dodge, it’s also good for pulling the otter out of danger after attempting a shot or ball retrieval. Wander is the Navigators’ mascot, but I’ll ignore that until we look at the Navs in a future article.
Light Footed is less relevant on Angel than it is on Shark, since she is less likely to be your kick off model, and her threat on the ball is much less impactful. Angel is one of the Fish that’s less likely to actually try to get the ball, and instead sits back waiting for the others to do so so she can put it in the goal afterwards.
Angel is a model with a lot of power but some real downsides. Primarily, she’s a model that’s almost entirely useless if you don’t have the ball, while also not being very good at getting the ball back, which is not a very good combination. She’s also a little bit vulnerable to getting killed by dedicated damage dealers, particularly those with good early damage or KDs, such as most Masons. She doesn’t like dealing with teams with lots of armor, since her low TAC really suffers against those teams, or Unpredictable Movement, since she has real issues engaging those models. She doesn’t really care about Close Control at all, however, so she is a solid choice into models like Bushel, Velocity, or opposing Fishermen. Angel’s main strength is as a snap shot turret, and as such she’s much more useful with Yukai and Corsair than with Shark – since those captains are good at getting the ball back and then moving it to their team, rather than going after the ball carrier to score personally instead.
Greyscales is pretty slow (for a fisherman) but has reasonable stats otherwise. His 4/0/13 defensive statline is really quite vulnerable against some attackers, however, and if he gets pinned down he’s going to get taken out very quickly. His playbook is pretty solid, with easy access to momentum, and a 2″ disengage on column two for a nice counterattack. Columns 4 and 5 are pretty irrelevant though. His column 2 tackle with TAC5 isn’t exceptionally consistent, but he is pretty good at going for it multiple times with his 2″ melee.
Ball’s Gone! is a very handy play to have access to, since it gets around Close Control and lets you avoid a lot of counter attacks. You don’t have to actually pass the ball, so you can use it as a momentous tackle that can’t be ignored with CC which is just fine. You can’t use it for just a pass if you aren’t doing the tackle part, however. Ball’s Gone! is pretty good for snagging the ball off wherever it’s been killed and putting it somewhere safe for the Fishermen to score with later – while Greyscales might well be taken out as a result, that’s probably still a worthwhile trade.
Decoy makes Greyscales very hard to pin down. It greatly increases the odds of him being able to actually make his counter attack (since a 4/0 model is easy to KD, but 6/0 is fine against everyone not named Tapper, Hearth or Kraken), which means he can disengage freely with his easy dodges. It also works against Character Plays, which is both a benefit and a penalty – it means he’s harder to tag with control effects sometimes, but also causes real issues. Opponents can throw a cheap 1-cost character play at him to negate Decoy before going in with someone to hit him. Note that it’s the next time an actual TN test is rolled, which means you at least can’t have it broken through a character play triggered from the playbook which automatically hits. It’s at its most useful when you score with Greyscales, and put up Decoy to prevent the opponent from actually doing anything to you on the backswing.
Where’d They Go? makes up for Greyscales’ poor movement stats. It lets him get into and out of engagement very easily which makes him extremely effective against any opponent that doesn’t have very safe places to put the ball. It also means he’s one of the better models – like Salt – at picking up balls which have been dropped to avoid Rough Seas and so on. It’s also more efficient in terms of distance than sprinting, and means that on turn one when you just want to set up to threaten a goal run at the start of turn two, you can move GS 9″ for a single influence.
Unpredictable Movement is how Greyscales doesn’t just get taken out as soon as he comes onto the pitch. Evading enemy models – especially 1″ models – is a great upside and another reason why he’s a pretty good model to score with and present as the only possible target for opposing retaliation. Some models can get around it, but it usually costs some influence, since even 2″ models may need to sprint to reach B2B, and Decoy + UM means the first model to go for Greyscales probably doesn’t get to do much.
Greyscales is a pretty good all round football player – his 2″ melee and buyable dodge means he’s good at getting the ball back, and he isn’t bad at kicking or reaching Tap In range which makes him solid at scoring once you’ve got it, too. He’s also one of the more forgiving and durable models on the Fishermen lineup, since Unpredictable Movement makes him such an awkward target. He doesn’t like enemies who can get around his UM – such as those with ranged character plays, or 3″ melee – and he can’t really be expected to deal with dedicated ball killing effects. He isn’t a bad ball killer himself if you need it – or at least, he’s probably the best option the Fishermen have available if you aren’t playing Tentacles. Since Greyscales does pretty much everything you want (as long as you want to play football and have inf spare) he’s a pretty good filler model into most opponents if you don’t specifically want any others – his resilience means he’s unlikely to ever really be a liability.
Hag isn’t tough or mobile, with the same defensive statline as Greyscales, lower speed, and less TAC. Her 2/3 influence cap, third column tackle, and underwhelming playbook mean that this is not a model that’s going to get you many VPs. Her playbook also doesn’t have momentum on column one, which with TAC4 means she really isn’t going to do much of relevance if she’s buying attacks. You aren’t picking Hag because of her base numbers.
Decoy, as mentioned in Greyscales’ writeup, pretty much makes this model an unappealing target for the enemy. Hag needs to use it a lot less than Greyscales, however, because she’s going to be spending a lot less time up in the enemy lines scoring goals, and much more time behind her own team helping them out, which makes her defensive stats less important. If Hag is being attacked, she’s unlikely to have had time to put up Decoy – and if she did, the one attack it protects her from is less important than on Greyscales. Since she doesn’t have a good counterattack, avoiding the KD on the first swing doesn’t really mean as much, where on Greyscales it might mean he gets to dodge away and negate an entire activation.
Fisher’s Reel is a great support character play. Moving your models around is important to Fish, since they want to maximize their threat ranges on the ball and have as much influence left over as possible once they get there. Note that Hag can’t use this to disengage herself. It also helps Corsair threaten more of the enemy team, and can be used to pull people into or out of engagement according to what you need. It isn’t often you’ll get to trigger this on the playbook, since most of the time it’s free or you won’t have an available target to attack (since you need multiple crowdouts before you can reach it reliably) but if you do get the opportunity, you may as well go for it, since it costs you 1 influence either way but gives you a free momentum point if you poke an enemy model while you do so.
Fear makes Hag a poor target. It makes most enemies have real difficulty one rounding her – generally, since most attacks on Hag do ~3-4 damage, you can think of her as a 4/0/16 model or thereabouts, which is just outside the ‘kill in one activation’ range of most captains. It’s particularly good against models which make a small number of high value attacks. Note that it gives a ‘free’ bonus time if it makes a character play cost more – Deadbolting Hag costs 3 inf, but they get to roll three dice to hit her. It also doesn’t do anything if the attack was free anyway – so oRage, while he can’t hit her once he’s engaging, could put Tooled Up on himself, and then charge her and take a Berserk attack, without triggering Fear at all. Fear also doesn’t do anything to AOE character plays, since they don’t directly target a model. Noxious Blast is very much not Hag’s friend.
Shadow Like is the only dodge Hag gets to actually make herself. It helps her diesngage if she’s pinned down – although if she’s B2B with a 2″ melee model, she still needs to somehow get more distance before she can jog away, which can be difficult with her poor playbook. It pretty much makes her a 6″/8″ movement stat, which is much better than her printed 4″/6″. It’s not like she was going to be making your kick off jog anyway. It also means she can hop 2″, do things, and then move the other 4-6″ afterwards.
Talisman makes Hag an influence efficient support piece which is great in a guild full of influence hungry models. Moving a model 2″ for free every turn is a pretty good use of 0 influence, and moving up both your inf-stacked models to threaten the enemy more is great for just one influence. If you have no targets, you can also put up Decoy for free, which is a useful tool if you’re in a lot of trouble but probably isn’t going to come up often unless things are going horribly wrong.
Call of the Sea is a pretty major game changer. You can happily just use it early on in the game to jump a few models 4″ up the pitch for a good turn one, but it does a lot of other things too. You can use it to pin in enemy models with lots of dodges by shoving them into a triangle of three other models they can’t move through. It also lets you reposition a scrum that isn’t going your way, moving allies out of enemy melee zones or enemies into positions that make their attacks suffer multiple crowding out penalties. Like Fisher’s Reel, it doesn’t work on Hag herself – and the damage she suffers means she’s often in a very vulnerable position soon afterwards, so do take care.
Hag is a fantastic piece into most teams because her utility really helps amplify the Fishermen’s mobility to great levels. She’s probably slightly more of an autoinclude in a Corsair team, since he really wants as much threat range as possible, while Shark appreciates the distance but also wants as many models as possible to threaten the ball themselves. Yukai already does a lot of what Hag does and probably wants payoff models more than additional setup. She doesn’t like AOE / chip damage and conditions very much, but it’s not usually enough to justify not playing her in a Corsair team – if the opponent is throwing ranged damage at you, 2-4″ of extra distance to close the gap is probably worth more than the ~2mp you’ll need to keep Hag alive. While Hag is a flimsy backline support piece, Fear means she still is quite difficult to hunt down, even for those teams with mobile assassin models, so she is never really a liability.
Jac is quick and has good reach, as with most Fishermen, but is really let down by his defensive stats. He’s 3/1/19 with no Tough Hide, which makes eating a KD really very problematic for him since he’s going to get taken out extremely fast. He does, however, have a pretty solid playbook. While he doesn’t have the dodges to really threaten goals, his first column tackle means he’s not bad at grabbing the ball and putting it on someone who can score later, and he’s great at pushing enemies around. His column 3 mT>> is great for preventing counterattacks on his tackle, and his good pushes combined with his 4-inf cap and 2″ melee make him a real threat at pushing enemies off the pitch. His KD isn’t reliable enough to set up for his teammates often, but definitely doable with a bit of help. He also has a 3 on his playbook, which isn’t particularly impressive but makes him an acceptable follow up model for Corsair if you need to finish someone off when they’re being ganged up on by five of his teammates.
Goad is a very useful character play, and does a lot of useful things – especially on a model which can be reasonable expected to generate momentum itself to fuel a Bonus Time if needed. It prevents the enemy model from disengaging if you’re close to them, and stops them from spending their activation getting too far from the edge of the pitch if you’re planning on pushing them off next turn. You can also use it to force a captain or other important model into acting suboptimally, if you want to prevent them from scoring or killing somebody more important than Jac. There’s potential to Goad and then run away with Jac if you started within 6″, which can kill an activation altogether and deny a lot of resources to your opponent. Goad isn’t something you’ll use every turn, but the few times it comes up each game have the potential to be absolutely crushing.
Battering Ram is another way of giving your team 2″ of additional threat range without investing any influence. It means Jac can do a budget Hag impression if you aren’t running her, or you can give your team even more free movement if you’re running both. It also lets you shove enemies out of the way which can put a scrum more in your favour, disengage Jac from 1″ melee models without a parting blow, or give you 2″ of additional distance ‘free’ towards pushing an enemy off the pitch.
Resolute makes Jac TAC7 on the counterattack, which is a big difference from TAC5 and makes his mT>> a much more possible result. This is important, because if Jac didn’t have a good counterattack he’d just be a free bundle of VPs for a lot of opponents. As is, he is reasonably safe against enemies who aren’t going to knock him down, but very vulnerable to those who can, which at least means he isn’t dead meat against everyone. It also makes Jac a reasonable ball holder if the opponent isn’t very football heavy – most models will need to wrap to both tackle and disengage from Jac, and his T>> makes failing to wrap probably kill a whole activation.
Trident Tested is Jac’s second set of pushes, meaning that like Hag he can move his allies 4″ – although Jac’s costs a point of momentum, you can also do it every turn if you want to. It also means he can move enemy models 4″ without rolling any dice which has real impact when trying to score some ring outs, as long as you have the momentum. If you aren’t worried about enemy retaliation, Jac can reasonably sprint to push 2″ with Battering Ram, continue moving into base to base, push 3″ more with attacks and then Heroic from the extent of 3″ for another 2″ of pushes, moving a model 7″, or more if he can continue round the enemy’s base rather than just going straight towards them after pushing. If you’re going to push people off the pitch, though, you probably need to be bonus timing a lot of those attacks to hit those pushes. Unlike going for standard takeouts, missing on a ringout often means the opposing model walks back away from the edge and undoes all your hard work, leaving you with nothing for your efforts, where whiffing on a takeout at least still leaves the target on 2hp or whatever, and your opponent needs to spend momentum if they want to avoid just dying next activation rather than the jog they get for free.
Jac is a great utility model, with a leaning towards throwing people off the pitch but some potential to assist at both goalscoring and taking out enemy models too. He brings quite a lot to the table in terms of team support while also bringing some VP scoring ability himself, where Hag is all-in on the support plan. The downside is that he needs to be close to the enemy to get those VPs, and his durabilty really doesn’t support that. While you’re the one with the initiative that’s fine, but if your opponent manages to catch Jac at an inopportune time or go first when you don’t expect hit, Jac has a real tendency to just get taken out immediately. If you can’t use his counterattack to protect him – which is inconsistent at best, since he’s so easy to KD – he’s going to give up 2 VPs very quickly. His utility, with his team movement and Goad, is effective enough that you don’t actually have to risk Jac’s life to get reasonable amounts of use out of him, though.
Knuckles is an enforcer. His profile is like Jac and Kraken’s, with mediocre defensive stats but plenty of HP, and 2″ reach with lots of pushes. He’s got plenty of TAC and does respectable damage, with the only 4 damage result in the Fishermen, and his playbook when it comes to pushes and KDs is slightly better than Jac’s but worse than Kraken’s.
Heavy Tackle gives Knuckles a mTKD result on his third column, which is very reachable with TAC6. It also gets around Close Control and similar effects. This also means Knuckles’ mKD on his fourth column is only really relevant on parting blows and when hitting Burnish. Because the ball stealing and KD effect of Heavy Tackle are separated by an ‘And’ rather than a ‘Then’ in the play’s text, you can choose to apply the effects in either order, so if you’d rather scatter the ball than take it, you can choose to do so. You also are able to take the result even if the opponent doesn’t have the ball.
Speaking of hitting the ball carrier, Backfield Presence puts Knuckles’ TAC up to an extremely solid 8 when going for that tackle. This makes Heavy Tackle pretty reliable against most targets – if they have poor defensive stats you could also just leave the ball on them and try to kill them instead. He’s a pretty good ball holder for the Fishermen if you want to keep it safe from other scoring teams, and his counterattack against strikers is excellent. If Knuckles declares a counter, a striker can pretty much never afford to tackle you anyway unless they’re dodging away, so it almost always costs them an additional INF point unless it’s a Nimble Velocity or something.
Close Ranks helps Knuckles to protect his teammates, and makes it difficult to get past Knuckles to attack someone else. It combines particularly well with Kraken’s Protective Instinct, but a lot of the Fishermen’s more ball focused models are quite flimsy, so any way of helping them survive is great. Knuckles isn’t fantastic at stopping enemies from just running around him, but if he can get close to them and start pinning them down, it’s quite difficult for them to get away.
Lightning Reflexes is a good tool to have available and makes it harder again to disengage from Knuckles, but the ‘directly towards’ rider on the dodge does make for some counterplay options. If your opponent dodges away from Knuckles to where there’s another model between the two of them, it gets a lot harder to re-engage. However, it’s still something the opponent needs to think about if they are going to try and disengage, and can make some goal runs quite difficult to set up – stealing the ball from Knuckles and then dodging to disengage is a very difficult plan to pull off.
Resilience keeps Knuckles alive, and lets him always use his counterattack. His 3/1 defensive statline isn’t perfect on its own, but with Resilience he’s very likely to survive any dedicated beater for at least one activation. Be aware of models with cheap character plays that can crack Resilience before an enemy engages – while it’s down, Knuckles is as flimsy as Jac and has a slightly worse counterattack, which makes for a reasonably easy takeout. If you can keep Resilience up, though, Knuckles is definitely on the durable side – it’s also one of the few tools Fish have for avoiding ranged character plays, meaning Knuckles is a very solid ball holder both against tackles (with his great counterattack and Backfield Presence) and against ball-stealing Character Plays.
Knuckles is a model that’s obviously useful in a Corsair line up, pairing up well with Kraken to make for a durable and useful frontline of brawlers that are hard to score VPs into by any method. He isn’t particularly amazing at scoring VPs himself, however, although his 4 damage result is one of the better options for getting takeouts against teams with lots of Tough Hide. Knuckles is also quite good at slowing down enemy teams while goalscorers do their work – both Yukai and Shark can make good use of Knuckles in this capacity. Because he holds the ball well, if you can retrieve the ball but not immediately score with it Knuckles is a good place to hold it in the meantime. He’s also a pretty good model for Yukai to fling into the enemy team, since he’s unlikely to get taken out before he does anything, and his presence tends to disrupt enemy plans quite a lot.
Kraken is pretty underwhelming in terms of numbers, although his 20 HP will keep him alive for a reasonable while. He’s a bit slower than most fishermen and caps out at 3 influence, but he’s carried in terms of strength by his playbook. With a KD on column 2 and 2″ reach, he’s off to a good start, but follows it up with an easy momentous >> for some good ringouts, a second column 2 damage and 3 on 4 for taking people out if you need it, and a nice KD>> in case of a spike in rolls at the top end. He’s not going to be scoring you goals often, but Kraken has a great playbook for controlling the enemy team, setting up teammates for damage, or throwing people around. His counterattack is also pretty strong.
Drag is, if anything, better on Kraken than it is on Corsair, since it means you can follow it up with six Corsair attacks. Kraken is also slightly faster than Corsair, so he can drag people in from further away – although if he sprints, he can’t KD them afterwards. Running two Drags on the same team lets you move enemy models enormous distances, especially if they are models which can’t dodge away or take a parting blow from models with 2″ melee and great counter attacks – which is a lot of models.
Tough Hide is what sets Kraken apart from Jac in terms of durability. It makes him almost exactly as tough as Corsair, which is a solid place to be – he loses Sturdy, but gains 2 boxes and his KD and >> results are a column earlier in his playbook with 1 less TAC. Actually killing Kraken is a relatively difficult proposition, although it gets much easier if he eats a KD, if he’s in trouble the Fishermen have a lot of support tools like Fisher’s Reel to pull him back out and slow down the attack.
Gravity Well makes trying to reach other models near Kraken very difficult. Yanking in models can cause them problems – especially since it means that disengaging on an attack difficult, and prevents enemies from getting away from Kraken once they’ve reached him without spending ~3 influence to disengage. It also has other uses, like breaking Stoic for free occasionally, and making it difficult to engage Kraken without taking crowding out penalties from nearby allies – if Tentacles is base to base with Kraken behind him, there’s no way to engage him without getting pulled in to another dice pool penalty. Be aware that you don’t have to pull models in if you don’t want to, and not all the way – if in the scenario above, Tentacles has the ball and you want to move your octopus soon, you could pull them in to break Stoic or get them somewhere it’s harder to disengage from, without putting them within 2″ of Tentacles to avoid a parting blow later, if you wanted to.
Protective Instinct is another problem for the opponent. It makes reaching models that are hiding behind Kraken even harder, and generally just forces the opponent’s first plan to be ‘deal with Kraken’. This is really not what they want to be doing, and chewing through all his health boxes takes a long time. It’s also great for disrupting the enemy’s other plans – particularly with pushes. Several models in the Fishermen’s Guild (Jac, Hag, Corsair, even the strikers with their >< results) have ways of putting a model into engagement with Kraken on a counterattack, which can blank activations at times and at the very least force them to spend influence doing something other than attacking their primary target.
Kraken is a great roadblock for the enemy who buys a lot of time for the other Fishermen to set up their goals. He’s also great at throwing people off the pitch and not bad at the takeout plan. He wants quite a bit of influence because his playbook (and Drag) are just so good, but that’s not necessarily a problem. He also benefits a lot from other models’ ability to move allies around or push enemies in different directions, since he creates an area that forces the enemy to spend a pile of influence to actually get anything done. It’s also nice that Kraken’s control abilities all still work while he’s KDed – he just loses his excellent counter attack – which makes him a bit harder to just stop with a Deadbolt. In general he’s usually at his best when you’re forcing the enemy to kill him first, and then taking advantage of the time this takes them to do something else that gets you VPs. He’s good against fighting teams since he prevents them from taking out too many Fishermen too quickly, and also great against footballing teams for preventing them from making their goal runs unhindered – if you aren’t playing Kraken in any specific matchups you probably need a very good reason why not.
Sakana is a pretty standard Fisherman, with the exception of his 8″ kick range. His playbook is pretty average too, with the main downside of not having a double dodge until column 5, meaning his counterattack is very underwhelming. At 4/1/14 he’s very vanilla in terms of defenses, but without a good counterattack he’ll go down quickly to any threatening attacker. His playbook does have a useful 5th column with a >><< result for ringouts and a 3 damage for takeouts, but it’s pretty hard to reach and that investment might be better spent elsewhere.
Smoke Bomb lets Sakana bring cover with him wherever he goes, which is a cool bonus but not exceptionally impactful given that you’re spending inf for it. Most of the time with good positioning you can have cover even without using Smoke Bomb.
Weak Point is Sakana’s main contribution to the takeout game, since giving Corsair a free extra net-hit on each swing means a lot more wraps and a lot more damage as a result. It’s a bit telegraphed however, and because Sakana has no KD, anyone he Weak Points that isn’t already in the zone of crowdouts and KDs is probably going to just leave, and anyone that is in that zone is probably going to die either way. It does help out against heavily armoured teams like the Blacksmiths, especially against ARM2+ targets where it also helps Sakana himself. If you’re going for goals, though, Weak Point doesn’t do much, since if Sakana can get three hits to apply it, he can definitely get two hits to tackle the ball anyway.
Anatomical makes Sakana’s momentum generation extremely reliable and his Tackle also quite good. He really doesn’t like dealing with DEF5 targets, but he’s often only going for column one anyway so it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference most of the time.
Cover Of Darkness gives oSakana a 12″ threat range on the ball and an 18″ threat range on the goal, both of which are pretty solid. Neither of them are the best in the game or anything, but they are good enough to make him a threat. Greyscales threatens 1″ further on the ball and 1″ less on the goal, but doesn’t have Anatomical so has more difficulty tackling, and Sakana spends 1 less inf getting there if he’s got cover without using Smoke Bomb.
Poised is a nice piece of free momentum, but most of the time doesn’t do very much because Sakana’s counterattack isn’t disengaging him from pretty much anyone. It does mean you can use both defensive stance and a counterattack against a first activation charge, which can be useful against some goal runs – however, if you’re holding the ball, you have other good options there, so it doesn’t come up much. It’s a useful tool to have because it’s free, but don’t count on it to actually do very much.
Original Sakana is a reasonable all round piece, mainly focusing on the football game with a little bit more takeout support than somebody like Greyscales. He doesn’t have a buyable dodge but otherwise does everything you’d want from a striker, with a long threat range on both the ball and the goal and a reliable Tackle. Which striker you play is pretty much a matter of taste, since they’re all quite similar to each other. Sakana’s best matchups are those where Anatomical Precision is particularly relevant, like Blacksmiths and Masons. The main point against oSakana is that vSakana is also an option, which we’ll get to in just a moment…
Veteran Sakana has the exact same statline as the original, with the exception of his influence stat, but we’ll get to that later. His playbook is slightly adjusted, however – importantly his T and m< results are swapped. This makes vSakana better at getting the ball, but worse at generating momentum in those cases where the ball isn’t available. He is still pretty good at getting momentum though, since Tac5 Anatomical is pretty good at reaching column two against everyone but Def5 models. He also swaps the column 4 m<< for a m><, and the >><< on the last column becomes a m>>. Since he’s a bit more pushy than oSakana, he’s a bit better at ring outs, but still nothing to plan for often. His counter attack is still pretty terrible.
Fancy Footwork is an excellent ability. Like Ball’s Gone!, it lets you snag the ball off a model with Close Control, and works as a momentous tackle, too. It’s slightly different to Ball’s Gone!, however. It isn’t as good against counter attack tackles, since there is no way to offload that ball before the opponent hits us back. However, instead, it lets us tackle from anyone within 4″, not just the target of our attack. This is a really big deal, and gets round a lot of ball killing tech. A lot of the ways a team can cap out a model’s defensive stats for ball killing rely on other nearby models – whether it’s Spigot giving +1 DEF to Friday, or a Blacksmith Master giving +1 ARM to Iron. That means there’s another model nearby – often one with 1″ melee whose counter attack doesn’t need to be worried about – who can be used as a target for Fancy Footwork while you steal the ball from its holder. It also means vSakana maintains the 12″ threat on the ball of oSakana even without Cover of Darkness, as long as there’s someone to bounce off in the right place beforehand. Note that if you want to get the ball off someone who can ignore a character play – such as someone in Burnish’s Reinforced Plating – you can’t use Fancy Footwork as it’s OPT limited.
Raise the Black Flag is quite difficult to use well, since in order to speed Sakana up himself he’d need someone in his melee zone before he moves. It’s mainly relevant for the movement penalty – with a 6″ range, some models can’t reach Sakana after he’s applied it to them, and if they can there’s potential for them to be unable to get close enough to avoid being stopped by his incredible 1″ dodge on the counter attack. Occasionally you get to speed up Corsair or Kraken with it, which is nice, but not something to be relied on. This scenario would mostly come up when Sakana is finishing off a pulled-in target at the start of a turn, and can freely put a movement buff on one of the Drag characters to set up for the next pull in and take out later on. It also lets you break Resilience on a ball holder, allowing you to follow up with Fancy Footwork and take the ball.
Anatomical is still as good as it was on oSakana. It also means vSakana is still good into those matchups where oSakana was a strong choice. If anything it’s slightly more important here than it was on oSakana, since he wants to hit columns 2 and 3 more frequently.
Bag Of Coffers more than makes up for vSakana’s influence stat. You can use it mid-activation after spending some influence, which means it’s only ever a downgrade on just being 2/4 influence if you want to allocate 0 inf to vSakana and activate him last – or he dies before he can activate. This gives him a little bit more versatility than just generating 2 inf, since you can put some influence on Sakana and see how his activation goes before you decide where that point of influence goes, such as getting an extra attack to tackle with if you need it or putting 1 on someone else if you don’t. The free Bonus Time! also makes Bag Of Coffers great for setting up the guild’s one die character plays, such as Blind and Goad. It’s also nice for improving the odds that Sakana reaches his third column for an important Fancy Footwoork, or letting Kraken bonus time a Drag. Be aware that it can’t be used on Corsair.
vSakana is similarly useful into armor heavy guilds, but also does a lot to improve the team’s ability to bypass ball killing tools. He doesn’t quite set up takeouts as well as oSakana does with Weak Point, but instead capitalizes on them by using the victim to speed up Corsair for the next Drag. He brings a lot more useful little tools than oSakana, who is much more linear. In my opinion oSakana isn’t even that much better at football – the threat range is nice, but vSakana is better at actually getting the ball back which is the hardest part of scoring goals. The point at which vSakana is least necessary is when you have other ball retrieval models that can deal with it being killed, like oSiren and Corsair, and just want the best striker you can get.
Siren is fast, but her statline is otherwise absolutely awful. 4/0/10 is one of the worst defensive statlines in the game for a non-mascot, and frankly is worse than some mascots’ too. She’s also TAC3, so isn’t going to be taking people out very often, and has an influence cap of 3. However good Siren’s character plays and traits are, she has definite potential to give up a lot of VPs and generally be a liability. She has the usual early dodges, and a double dodge on column 2 – but good luck getting there on a counterattack with TAC3.
Lure is a control play very similar to Drag. It has 2″ more range, but the distance it moves the enemy model is dependent on its MOV stat. Drags and Lures get stronger the more of them you have in the team, since each lets you threaten to pull another model out of position or get a target even deeper into your lines. Lure should be used first, though, since Drag is often followed up by the target being KDed, which means they can’t jog for Lure. Speaking of which, some opponents will position their models such that they can take a parting blow and KD the Lured model if it jogs away, which stops them in their tracks and prevents them from ending up so far into your lines, so be aware of that. Moving Siren up into Lure range is risky since she’s so flimsy, so be careful when you use it.
Seduced is a great way of getting the ball back. Since it only has a 4″ range, it’s only really doable if Siren is within 11″ of the ball carrier, or has a charge target within 11″ she can use to trigger it off the playbook. Often using the playbook is optimal, since it costs 1 less influence leaving Siren with a point of influence to potentially shoot a goal with, kick the ball back to her team, or otherwise make use of it. Because seduced causes an actual pass – not just moving the ball – you can use it to dodge models around. You can also get the opponent to pass to space if passing to Siren would be difficult (say if she charges a model with 2″ melee), or you want the ball to go further. Seduced can also be used to make the enemy model attack, but that isn’t often very relevant since a single swing is not a huge deal. You can sometimes mess with enemy plans with it, however – KD a model at an inopportune time, or get a model that’s already activated to tackle the ball leaving the enemy with no way to get it back off them. On column 2, Seduced is quite difficult to trigger on a normal swing, but not too hard on the charge – especially since Siren has only 3 TAC, so charging actually gets her more dice than just making two swings would, even discounting the impact of armor.
Beautiful makes Siren a lot harder to mess with using ranged control. She can occasionally hold the ball against models which would otherwise take it, like an opposing Corsair/vSakana/oSiren or Obulus. One thing it does not do is protect her from ranged AOE character plays – like Hag, Siren really doesn’t like Noxious Blast, Fire Blast, Rataclysm or similar effects – especially because she only has 10HP and comes back on an incredible 5 health.
Charmed makes Siren a slightly harder model to kill for male players, but it’s often better to think of her as a 5/0 model that is particularly vulnerable to female / mechanica / animal players. A lot of the more mobile damage dealers that would hunt Siren down are female, and the others (e.g. Shank) are still definitely able to worry Siren even if she is DEF5.
Protected means that inside 4″ of Kraken, Siren is actually acceptable durable against some targets. Fortunately, if she’s close to Kraken, she probably can’t be attacked anyway whether she’s getting +1 ARM or not. The ARM bonus still doesn’t matter against the above ranged AOE plays, however. Siren usually ends up sitting behind Kraken until you need use of Seduced / Lure, walking out and using it, and then either backing away to safety immediately or getting blown up by the enemy when she does so.
Siren is entirely about her character plays. If you really want to be able to get the ball back from the enemy reliably, she’s the one to do it, but she doesn’t really do anything else. She’s an okay striker occasionally, especially if she has someone to charge for Seduced to pass-dodge into threat range, putting her at a 19″ goal threat. The main question with Siren is whether you value your ball retrieval tools more or less than occasionally giving up 2VPs to the enemy, and then afterwards needing to play extremely carefully with your 5HP model. Siren is very easy to mess up with and get killed, but the trick is in knowing when committing her to the fight for the ball is worth her life.
Veteran Siren is just as fast as the original Siren, but gains a point of DEF and a point of TAC, going from ‘horrifyingly flimsy and useless in a fight’ all the way up to ‘moderately flimsy and somewhat bad in a fight’. She loses her 2″ melee but instead has the same result as Angel, with a momentous T< on her first column, which greatly compensates for her low TAC value. She also has reasonable access to pushes, and with a bit of setup can move someone a few inches towards the edge of the pitch or out of a scrum if needed. Her extra point of TAC also means, like Angel, her counterattack isn’t too bad.
Dread Gaze is a powerful character play. Being able to apply ranged knockdowns is a big deal, especially since the guild has a lot of models with good melee knockdowns too. Forcing the enemy to use Rest at the start of their activation to clear a KD means they’ve very vulnerable to counter attacks later in the turn. It also means that even if by taking vSiren you lose access to Seduced, you still have some tools for popping the ball off a model which is holding it, since scattering the ball off a KD frees it up and at the very least puts it on a different model which may be easier to Tackle. Dread Gaze is also a 2″ push, which while not exceptionally impactful does mean the enemy is 8″ from Siren – enough to keep her out of a few threat ranges and force others to sprint – and can cause occasional problems for enemies if you push them into rough ground or behind an obstruction. Be aware that if you’re scattering the ball, you can choose whether to push first or KD first, so either scatter the ball from the original spot or their post-push location.
Fair Wind makes vSiren the inverse of oSiren – where oSiren gets the ball off models which are holding it and hard to tackle, vSiren gets the ball when it has been dropped on the ground to avoid Rough Seas. It also can be used in combination with Dread Gaze to KD someone, force the ball to scatter, and then move it afterwards. With a 6″ range, unless there are other models or markers in the way, Fair Wind can be used to move the ball 4″ edge to edge directly towards vSiren, which is enough for her to snap it – though you may need to contest for it with other models within 1″ of it. It also means Siren can ‘pass’ without a dodge possibility or MP generation by dropping the ball and then Fair Wind-ing it – which lets her give it to a model just over 8″ away with no chance of failing any die rolls, if you really need to.
Escaping Fate is vSiren’s durability, and it’s much more consistent than oSiren’s but still really not enough to make her ‘tough’. Against a model with 2″ melee, it costs them one additional influence to kill her. It’s okay against 1″ melee models however. Against a 2″ model, if you’re expecting them to trigger Escaping Fate next swing, you can declare a counter attack, use EF to dodge to 1″ away, then hope for a >< or << on the counter to move to 3″ total away. 1 HP is risky, but sometimes it’s all you need – it does make Siren relatively difficult to kill in a single activation which is a nice bonus, especially when she is protected by Kraken.
Shadow Like makes vSiren absurdly speedy, which makes up for her lack of 2″ melee. She has a jogging threat range of 10″, which is more than Shark’s. She’s also good at disengaging, since even when B2B with a 2″ melee model she can dodge to 1″ away, take a ><, and then sprint. She has pretty good threat on a lot of ball carriers, with her easy T< and long threat – the only reason she isn’t among the best strikers in the guild is her 3 influence cap, but even so she’s not a bad option.
vSiren brings another element to the control game, along with some reasonable footballing ability. She’s still a little on the flimsy side but harder to punish than oSiren. Her tools are all useful options for the toolbox – though she is a little bit risky to play, as a lot of her power depends on hitting with Dread Gaze and/or getting good results on that circular scatter that can’t be snapped up by another player. Even disregarding her character plays, however, she’s a very mobile threat on the ball. She doesn’t like teams with lots of armor like Smiths, since her 4 TAC can have trouble into some of those targets.
Fathom’s stats are a little odd, but that’s to be expected for a Navigator and we’ll get to it later. In terms of survival ability she’s a mirror of Angel on 5/0/12, although her counter attack isn’t as good with no easily accessible double dodge. She’s slightly slower on a jog, and the top of her playbook is where the good stuff lives, which means she wants to spend a lot of her time charging. Since she doesn’t have the traditional Fishermen momentous dodge on column one, she isn’t going to be impressive at farming up momentum points. She also isn’t fantastic at doing damage – though she can wrap to three damage on five hits, anyone with Tough Hide doesn’t care in the slightest. Her 8″ kick stat solidifies her role as someone who puts the ball in the goal, along with her mT<< result which is exactly what you want on your ball chasing models.
Acrobatic puts Fathom’s threat up to 12″ already, which is on par with plenty of other striker options. It also helps her to disengage from enemies and then re-charge them, which is often important because Fathom’s non-charge attacks are really very unimpressive, especially if you need momentum.
Smelling Salts provides the Fishermen with much appreciated condition removal. This isn’t available anywhere else in the guild barring just spending MP to clear things, which works but is pretty awkward on occasion since the Fish aren’t the best guild at generating momentum. It’s particularly important for a Corsair team because they tend to group up a lot and really don’t like getting tagged with AOE character plays, and they play a slow grindy game where effects like poison and disease can add up. It’s also a way of clearing KDs from your models without needing to worry about them getting stuck if they’re knocked down again in future, which does a lot to improve things against particularly KD heavy guilds like Brewers. Having 2 influence on Fathom means you can afford to use Jac’s heroic to move your kicker forward potentially, without needing to worry as much about them being stranded if they get knocked down before they can activate. On the other hand, Fathom probably has better things to be doing on turn one than enabling 2″ more threat range on your kicker.
Precise Calculations more than makes up for Fathom’s low kick and TAC numbers. Her two die kick is effectively 4 dice – it also means that if she is crowded out, Bonus Time puts her at a ‘4 die’ minimum regardless of how many penalties she’s suffering. On attacks, this approximately is worth a -1 def debuff with regards to how many hits you expect. It makes DEF modifiers a lot less impactful, and greatly increases the value of TAC buffs (i.e. charging). However because Fathom’s playbook is toploaded, it also means that highly armored models, or dice penalties like cover, aren’t great for her to deal with. Because she can wrap to her tackle on the charge, Fathom doesn’t worry about close control or high def much, and she doesn’t care at all about distance with her mobility. Instead she has difficulties dealing with high arm and control effects like Blind. This makes her an interesting mirror of Corsair/Siren, whose ball reclaiming abilities work well on the exact targets Fathom dislikes, so between them they can get through most ball killing tech. Bonus Time is very effective on Fathom since each die you add is much more likely to be a hit.
Light Footed helps keep Fathom’s threat range high. She spends a lot of time sprinting around the pitch chasing the ball, and so being able to position her wherever you like helps a lot – especially since she wants to go in a straight line for a charge often, so can’t really skirt around terrain.
Linked [Angel] is a powerful effect to have available. It means Fathom and Angel together are one of the best options Fish have for getting the ball and scoring to end the game, since Shark teams in particular are generally great at getting a goal or two but have trouble finishing things up afterwards. It’s risky to use if you aren’t immediately going to end the game with it – since a lot of the time you’ll be spending 6+ influence and giving your opponent the last activation of the turn, which is a big commitment. However this does enable Fathom to really dive deep into an enemy backline, snag the ball and boot it up to where Angel can happily collect it and score. This is a good reason to play Angel, especially in a Yukai team, although Fathom is still great even if you want more utility focused models rather than going all in on goal scoring. Between them if you just need 1-2VPs Fathom and Angel can also do 8 or so damage to an injured model if you really want that final takeout to end a game, but I wouldn’t recommend aiming for it often. As well as using Fathom to set up an Angel goal, you can also score with Fathom and use Linked to activate Angel immediately afterwards. You have to say you’re doing so before the opponent makes their goal kick, however, which means they will probably put the ball far away from Angel. If she’s central on the pitch, however – which she often is, if she’s being a snapshot turret – this forces them to put the ball in very awkward places, and all but eliminates the possibility of a snapback goal unless Angel is thoroughly pinned down already. Sometimes you’ll want to use Linked either way, since just getting to do two things with two useful models at opposite ends of the pitch is often very impactful – like scoring early with Fathom, and then putting Nimble up on Angel to avoid them killing her if she’s vulnerable.
Waverunner makes Fathom’s threat ranges truly absurd. It’s not that hard to find a terrain piece to bounce off, especially with other dodges available. You can use it before or after your move, or use Acrobatic to get in range. Goalposts and Theron and Skatha’s AOEs are terrain pieces (but Foul Odor is not). Waverunner puts Fathom’s linear goal threat at an impressive 22 inches, and there’s potential for her to Acrobatic + Waverunner 6″, charge 8″ for a mT<< for an extra 2″ then shoot 8″ for a 24″ goal run including tackling the ball. You need a little bit of alignment in terms of terrain to get it working, but it really isn’t unlikely.
If the opponent isn’t actively trying to kill the ball, Fathom scores goals more effectively than almost anyone else, which puts a lot of pressure on an opponent, especially when the rest of your team could easily be primarily focused on other avenues to VPs. Fathom also brings more utility to the rest of the team than Sakana or Greyscales, with Smelling Salts helping out some matchups quite a lot. Her main downside is her durability. Fathom really wants to be jumping in to the enemy and running after the ball, and at 5/0/12 she isn’t exceptionally durable, especially with her poor counterattack, and she doesn’t have Nimble or Decoy or anything to keep her alive after she goes in. Trading Fathom’s life for a goal is probably going to happen a lot – but that’s probably fine, since she’s fast enough to do useful things next turn anyway, especially since returning to the pitch has plenty of positioning options for getting Waverunner going. Since she really doesn’t like dicepool or net-hit reduction, Fathom is awkward into heavily armored teams like Blacksmiths and Masons, but solid into teams without much armor like Hunters and Farmers. Yukai in particular loves the Angel-Fathom combination since Linked lets them execute even more goal-chaining silliness. Fathom also benefits a lot from the Flying granted by Yukai as she often wants to be near terrain.
Horizon is pretty bizarre looking. His offensive stats suck because he’s a Navigator, but then he also has poor movement stats and a highly worrying 3/1/8 defensive statline, which is bottom tier even for a mascot. He also comes back from being taken out on full HP, which is a blessing at least. In terms of his playbook, it’s similar to Fathom’s. Horizon is even less of a damage dealer, but with a first column tackle he wraps easily to a T<< even against a Close Control model. His m>< result is also quite hittable, meaning he can actually throw people a good distance with some Bonus Times.
Unexpected Arrival makes Horizon great at messing with positioning. He can chuck people off the pitch, or just charge into a scrum and disengage as needed. It’s also quite useful as a way of shoving enemies away from your important models. If you’re sending Horizon in to do any of these things, he’s definitely going to get taken out – but as we’ll get to later, you’re probably okay with that.
Precise Calculations still does what it did on Fathom. Horizon only needs three columns worth of hits to get a useful result, where Fathom really wants to reach 4, though. He’s also a bit better at disengaging, so he has more opportunities to charge. While Horizon has a 3 influence cap, wanting to charge every turn makes him quite influence hungry.
Don’t Get Cocky allows Horizon to play aggressively and not worry too much. He’s going to get Taken Out a lot, but that’s not necessarily an issue as long as he’s done his job. He’ll spend a lot of time right up in the face of important models on the enemy team – they can take him out if they want to, but it’ll cost them an activation, and generally for a lot of teams’ output models spending a whole activation generating a single VP really isn’t a good deal. Someone like Hammer, Fillet or Seenah killing Horizon is really quite underwhelming for them – models that take two whole turns for a dedicated beater to kill are very rare, and in terms of vp generated per turn taking out Horizon every turn is even with that. Returning to the pitch on the enemy deployment zone also makes Horizon a real annoyance. He’s usually available as a snap shot threat, and with Precise Calculations he’s reasonably likely to score when he tries it. He also has pretty good odds of throwing any enemy models which return to the pitch straight back off again. One thing to avoid with Horizon is getting him killed before he activates, though – he wants to be a very early activation in your turn, since he’s easy to kill and often has influence. Losing Horizon isn’t a problem, but losing 3 influence’s worth of momentum and output is a lot more of a problem.
Stellar Navigation is an important component of Horizon’s mobility – it makes Horizon even with vSiren as the Fish model that goes the furthest without influence. Since he comes back from Taken Out so often, his low jog distance is still noticeable though. Being able to dodge around for free does a lot of useful things – it means he is very reliably able to charge for Unexpected Arrival or his tackle, and he can re-engage after being counter attacked. He can also charge for UA, then follow up with Stellar Navigation for an extra attack to >< someone off the pitch from 5″ away. Quite a few low-def models only have a 5″ jog so this can result in a quick ringout against anyone returning to the pitch. Horizon’s total goal threat is 17″ which isn’t exceptionally huge but is enough to make him a solid goal scoring option – like Salt, he can also do this while only giving up 1VP in return if he’s taken out in response. He isn’t as good at tackling the ball as Fathom with her 2″ melee, but he’s still got reasonable potential to hit that mT<< and score from there. He’s also good for grabbing the ball from an enemy and booting it back towards your team, since again committing him is something you’re happy to do. He needs five hits on a charge to tackle the ball and Unexpected Arrival, which is not unlikely either and great for messing with enemy formations while you retrieve the ball.
Horizon is a very strange player. He’s an influence hungry models that’s not exceptionally good at generating VPs, but he does a lot of very useful things which no other player really does, because he is worth half as many VPs as other models. Sending him in to push someone off the pitch is a lot safer, since getting Horizon himself chucked off afterwards is no problem. Charging to UA people out of position is fine, because delaying the opponent’s best models’ impact by a turn is very much worth 1VP. If you can set up a goal with Horizon you’re very happy since you’re going up by 3VPs. Do be aware that some models and opponents can control him or take advantage of his being taken out in other ways – vOx is happy to spend a couple of influence killing him to put up The Owner for a turn, and there’s a reasonable number of times where giving up 3VP to Casket Time is enough to end the game. Giving up a VP is still a nonzero cost, and Horizon is a pretty easy player to generate momentum off, so committing him needs to be towards some actual purpose, even if that purpose is just ‘get in the way of the Furious model’ or something. Horizon is particularly useful against teams which don’t focus on takeouts, since he can do things to disrupt them without worrying as much about being taken out, and the 1VP they get if they do take him out is less likely to be relevant. Like Fathom, he has difficulty against heavily armored teams, although he gets to charge more than Fathom does since his disengage is more reliable, so he can still reasonably plan on triggering UA against a team like Masons. His lower DEF does mean he’s more vulnerable to ranged control – no Navigator likes being Blinded – and while he isn’t worth VPs, negating any influence allocated to him is still something you should try to avoid.
The Fishermen’s Guild is probably the most scoring focused team in Guild Ball, with a huge number of models which are great at going long distances, tackling the ball, and putting it in the goal. You really need to be actively trying to make a Fish lineup that doesn’t at least have the potential to go for a 3-0 footballing game, and the Fish do not often aim for anything more combat heavy than a 2-2 plan – not to say it isn’t possible or viable, however. The Fish do have some control effects – mostly around positioning rather than actively debuffing the enemy. Good use of positioning is very important to all three Fish captains – Shark wants to spread his team out such that the enemy can’t pin down multiple models at once, leaving someone always free to pressure the ball. Yukai wants the same things as Shark, but with additional positioning requirements if you want to have things set up to go for Snap Shots. Corsair wants to group up for crowding out bonuses, but also cares a lot about the enemy positioning, and pulling enemies away from their allies. Corsair also often appreciates keeping a model or two away from his main group, forcing the enemy to deal with a goal threat in addition to his own ganging-up plan. The Fishermen don’t really have a ton of setup for offensive purposes, with no damage buffs, no real TAC increases beyond crowdouts and no access to momentous damage. Corsair isn’t bad at takeouts, but he isn’t going to kill an entire team on his own – or if he does, they probably end the game long beforehand – and almost all the Fish are quite vulnerable to getting taken out themselves.
The Fish’s primary weakness is getting the ball killed, since if the ball isn’t in play they need to be really quite creative to actually get any reasonable number of VPs. Most teams are better at fighting than the Fishermen, especially if the game goes late – while you can Drag in a model and hit it a bunch, if an entire team of six models gets close enough to start a fight, they’re going to have a lot more relevant attacks than the Fishermen and they’re going to generate a lot more momentum while they do so. Getting into a ‘fair fight’ or a straight up brawl is something to be avoided pretty much at all costs. Models with Tough Hide are also very difficult for the Fish to deal with, since their lack of damage buffs means the most any single playbook damage result ever does to a Tough Hide model is 2 unless you’re Knuckles, which is just not good enough most of the time. However, models which are highly durable are something the Fish are generally pretty happy to see. Durability usually comes at the cost of lower defensive stats, and if you are planning on pushing and dodging rather than doing damage, Tough Hide really doesn’t do anything at all. Tough Hide also doesn’t do anything to save a model from being thrown off the pitch. Ring Outs are quite difficult to engineer but can result in a lot of VPs for a team that can enable them like the Fish can. However, it’s also somewhat easy to disrupt. Think of a model’s distance from the edge of the pitch (in inches) as its health. Drag and momentous push results suddenly look very appealing, as does Unexpected Arrival. You can choose to do slightly less ‘damage’ and push targets into more melee zones for more ‘damage’ on your next swing, you can keep models 1″ from the edge of the pitch to push them off at the start of the next turn, and so on. It’s also the only real way that Fish can generate momentum while making progress towards a take out. However this also comes with downsides. The Fish’s own durable models, if they’re pushing people off the pitch, only have ~6 “HP” themselves because you need to engage someone in order to get those push results to send them off, so you have to be close to the edge yourself. Also, the counterplay is much easier to pull off. Healing a model from actual damage is generally capped at 8 per turn (and an attack often does more than 2 damage, where ringout attacks don’t often push more than 2″). Any model can use its jog to ‘heal’ for free when trying to avoid being pushed off the pitch, and dodges are much more accessible than free healing effects outside of momentum uses. This all means that if you’re aiming to push a model off the pitch, you should be aiming to do so when it has already activated, or when you can get it all the way off reasonably reliably in one go. Putting a model 1″ from the edge of the pitch doesn’t mean anything if they’re just going to activate next and walk back away again, and it requires you to risk your own model a lot as well. Models that have already activated are fantastic targets, since they often have no way of being rescued by their teammates, especially if you can KD them to prevent them from being passed to.
Dealing with ball killing by actually getting the ball back is somewhat difficult – there are a lot of ways to keep the ball out of play. However, they all have their downsides. Every team has models with at least some ability to prevent the Fish from taking the ball, whether it’s Beautiful, Resilience, Close Control, Reinforced Plating, or just excellent defensive stats. Generally, most character play resistant models can be tackled by a fast striker like Fathom or Greyscales. If a model is hard to tackle because of excellent defensive stats or close control, then the job probably falls to oSiren, vSakana or Corsair. If the ball is instead being dropped far away, or distance is being used as the primary defensive tool, then you want Salt, vSiren, or one of the Navigators to zoom in and grab it. When there’s a defensive position with multiple of these effects up at once, you could have an issue – the primary example would be Iron, who can reasonably easily be a DEF3/ARM3 model, in cover, with Close Control and an ability to ignore a character play via Burnish. This requires a lot of resources from the opponent but isn’t something that is easily circumvented. The best bet here would be to peel away layers of defenses one at a time, focusing on those models that have already activated. That means pushing Iron to outside of cover and outside the 1″ auras if possible, then claiming the ball afterwards – or just putting 6 influence on your captain and throwing them at the problem – even in the scenario above, double Rough Seas means the ball is yours if you want it, and a model with a first-column tackle and 2″ melee (vSakana?) can just break close control and then try again. The other important thing to note about ball killing is that a lot of it requires active spending of influence by the enemy. If the effects protecting the ball carrier are temporary (such as Tough Skin to make vMinx a DEF5/ARM2 model), don’t be afraid to back up a little outside of the enemy threat ranges, generate momentum off whoever you can, and aim to go first and threaten the ball at the start of the next turn when things are easier to handle.
Fishermen have quite skewed matchups because they don’t generally take models out easily. This means they have poor matchups against those teams whose flimsiness is their main downside, since they can’t capitalize on that downside very well. Butchers, for example, are fast enough to catch the Fish and do plenty of damage, and their lack of durability isn’t a huge liability here. Other teams have a lot of their strengths rely on their durability, and so don’t get to capitalize on it so much into Fishermen. Brewers are very tough, but that doesn’t matter to most Fish models whatsoever.
All the Fish captains have their own strengths and weaknesses, but generally Shark and Yukai are more vulnerable to ball killing and control effects, where Corsair is worse against teams which can outfight and overwhelm him. Shark and Yukai also usually want to take at least three models which can threaten the ball carrier, to make it harder to kill it with distance – you want to be starting turn two by scoring with one of them, and leaving one on each flank or thereabouts so that the enemy doesn’t have anywhere safe to put the ball afterwards. Corsair usually still wants one or two goal scorers, especially if they can also help his Drag plan somewhat. If you’re expecting to need to group up ever, or just want someone to protect your other models, Kraken is never a bad choice and does a ton of work into almost everyone – though teams with a lot of damage can ignore a lot of his defensive ability by just killing him directly, it takes a while and his counterattack helps a lot. The Fishermen’s Guild 12 man roster is quite awkward to construct – there are 17 models listed above and you can’t have three Captains in your 12, so four squaddies or mascots and one captain need to be taken out. In my opinion both Sakanas do relatively similar things, so you don’t often need both of them in the lineup – personally I lean towards dropping oSakana since vSakana brings more utility, but raw speed is still definitely useful and either of them could be the cut. The second drop I go for is Salt, since he doesn’t really bring anything unique and Tentacles has a lot of important tools which are useful in most matchups. Angel is a bit low impact and only really good with Yukai – who has other great options anyway – and she’s a model who is useless without the ball but bad at retrieving it, which isn’t a great combination. The final cut is more difficult, and could be a lot of models. Personally I’m actually leaning towards oSiren, just because she is so flimsy that she ends up being a real liability, and the teams she’s meant to be good against (those that kill the ball and then fight you) are also the ones that are particularly able to trivially kill her. Don’t drop both oSiren and vSakana though, or some models will be very very difficult to tackle. Horizon is also difficult to justify the player slot for in some scenarios since he has such an odd role, but he’s very useful and I really like using his unique toolbox. Greyscales is an all-round ‘filler’ model in a lot of lineups and is also quite killable if the enemy can get round UM, and he isn’t a great tackler either. Jac is another model that has lots of utility but tends to die a lot. I feel like the core of the team is Shark/Yukai, Corsair, Tentacles, Knuckles, Kraken, (a Sakana), (a Siren), and Fathom. Once you’re on the above, you can fill out the rest of the roster with pretty much whoever you like and it’ll probably work out quite well. You have three footballers for your goalscoring focus, a utility model that doesn’t need inf in Hag, good tackling models, ball retrieval character plays, and support for Corsair’s brawling. The Fish look linear at first but can bring a surprising amount of versatility, and if you want to score goals they have more tools to do so than any other team by a huge distance.
Until next time,