Butchers in Season 4

The next guild in line for a look is the Butchers’ Guild. They are guild that appears pretty linear at first glance, but is more versatile than it seems. In general however, Butchers are fast, relatively flimsy, and do large amounts of momentous damage. They’re one of the stronger guilds right now, and they’re good at all levels of play with their direct style and proactive game plan.

Ox

Ox.PNG

Ox is here to take people out, and does it well. He is a little lacking in threat range with a 5″ jog, 1″ melee and no way to speed himself up, especially for a captain. While he charges 8″, his 4/5 INF stat means he doesn’t really want to be spending two inf to charge often. He is TAC7 with a lot of momentous damage, like all Butchers – he can’t generate momentum other than by doing damage, but that’s fine. His counterattack isn’t great, but a >> result on column 3 isn’t completely worthless, even if it’s let down by his 1″ melee zone. He can kick a ball, but don’t expect him to score many goals. Defensively Ox is durable (for a Butcher), with the only ARM2 stat in the guild and a reasonable number of hit points to back him up. His primary defensive ability is to threaten to kill anyone who moves in to engage him, though. Ox’s KD isn’t till column 4, which means he’s somewhat vulnerable to counter attacks himself if he does connect with someone – if you have the opportunity, it’s often worth bonus timing his first swing to improve your odds of preventing the enemy from disengaging, if they have an early double push or double dodge.

They Ain’t Tough! is a strong ability to have on a captain who really wants to be hitting things. It’s also available with damage attached on the second column of the playbook, though nonmomentous. That means if you aren’t worried about getting KDed or something immediately, it’s a great option. It’s good for popping Resilience on other models, or just setting up an otherwise durable model to go down quickly – removing a point of ARM effectively adds one net-hit to every attack, which in the Butchers is worth somewhere between 0.5 and 1 damage per swing. If you’re planning on hitting someone four more times this turn, that means you’re spending 1MP (which you would have otherwise got by picking the momentous damage result) for ~3 damage which can tip the balance often between a takeout and a model surviving.

Butchery is also a very powerful debuff. Access to both Butchery and They Ain’t Tough! means you can happily allocate 3+ influence to Ox and remain confident that if nobody is foolish enough to come within his threat range, he’ll still be able to do something useful. Like TAT, Butchery is effectively ‘free’ on the playbook if you get enough hits for it, and trading a point of momentum for +1 damage on every following swing is pretty much always worth it, unless your target is guaranteed to die anyway and you won’t be able to hit anyone else this turn. Note that neither Butchery nor They Ain’t Tough is OPT, so you can happily throw multiples around or take another try at one of them if it misses and you have spare influence.

The Owner is Ox’s biggest strength, and it does a huge amount of work. It’s a large aura, and it turns up the Butchers’ damage hugely. It works on Ox himself, meaning he has a momentous 2 damage on his first column which is nice to have. One of the big strengths of The Owner is that it doesn’t require Ox to activate to apply it, unlike other similar effects like Commanding Aura. This means Ox can be allocated influence, not activate immediately, and still buff his team while threatening to go in and kill any enemy model which tries to strike back against his teammates. Many Butchers have 2 momentous damage on column 2, which means they are pretty likely to do 12+ damage to a lot of targets while under The Owner, and so have good odds of one rounding enemies, which makes enemy influence allocation quite difficult, as you can often put the enemy in a position when you’re going first and can reasonably kill any one model in range, and so can aim for whoever the opponent has allocated the most influence to. The Owner also applies to character plays, which can be relevant for a few Butcher models we’ll get to later.

Get ’em Lads! is pretty much the Owner again, putting everyone at +2 damage. This puts Ox to a point where he can pretty reliably one round anyone in the game if he can jog to engage them and not get counterattacked. On Ox’s Legendary turn, you’ll want to activate him very early, kill someone immediately, and then follow up with damage from the rest of the team. These damage buffs will very quickly take models out if you get to use them even partially, since a lot of Butchers can be expected to apply 16+ damage if they have +2. Be aware that the Legendary (and The Owner) disappears if Ox is taken out, so the main counterplay available to the opponent is to either run away, or take Ox out ASAP. He’s durable enough that he usually doesn’t get one rounded, though. Because Get ’em Lads! also removes a point of ARM, it makes Ox’s KD much more achievable against a lot of targets meaning he’s a bit less worried about counter attacks than he would be otherwise. Be aware that while the ARM debuff only applies to enemies within 6″, the damage buff works on your models within the aura, meaning you can stand at the edge of it and hit a model up to ~9″ away from Ox depending on base size and melee zone, so it’s even bigger than it first appears.

In general, Ox wins scrums. There are very few teams which can survive against a team that’s damage focused, when all their models get Tooled Up for free without needing to invest influence or an activation. This usually means that if Ox is alive and anywhere near a fight, you’re winning that fight. Most people will therefore go for one of three plans against Ox. Firstly, you can try to kill Ox or otherwise make the fight not work for Butchers. This has potential to go well, but Ox is not easy to kill and doesn’t need to be very far forward to do his thing, so it’s difficult to execute. Also, if the opponent fails to execute their plan, their attacking models are next to Ox and Ox isn’t dead, which means they’re going to die very fast. Secondly, they can play keep away and try to never fight and instead work with ranged plays etc. This works to an extent, but Ox does have a few models with very long threat ranges which can be used to get a fight started anyway. It’s also only available to some teams – some just don’t have the ranged control/damage tools to wear the Butchers down. Finally, you can try to avoid Ox / accept you’re going to lose models and go for goals. This also depends somewhat on the enemy team, but it usually means that keeping control of the ball is very important for an Ox team because ball control gives Ox a great grip on both primary routes to victory. Ox is particularly good into fighting teams which want to get into a brawl, since he’s just so good in one – examples would be Brewers, Farmers, some Masons teams, and some Union teams.

Fillet

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Fillet is a captain who supports her team a lot less than Ox, and instead does a lot of work herself. She’s extremely fast, and while she has a 1″ melee zone and a bad KD making her vulnerable to counters, she’s a Butcher you can put six influence on which means she’s really quite deadly. Her damage has dodges attached letting her maneuver around the board nicely, and she’s not a bad striker either since she’s mobile and can kick a ball well. While her tackle is on column 3, she’s TAC8 so that’s not necessarily bad. She’s also DEF5, which helps to make up for her 14HP pool, and makes her hard to control with character plays. She is quite vulnerable to getting taken out if she suffers any form of DEF debuff however, whether it’s a KD, Snare or from a character play.

Blood Rain is not exceptionally impactful in a vacuum, but Fillet really wants enemy models to be Bleeding to do other things. She usually wants to get this on her first attack – it’s just high enough up her playbook that this is a little difficult to do sometimes. If she Charges for it the enemy can use Defensive stance, and without a Charge she is not particularly likely to reach it on a model with reasonable defensive stats. It’s also not momentous, which means if the enemy counter attacks and has a KD, it’s risky to take a result that leaves you unable to clear conditions afterwards. This means that Fillet does best hunting down models with poor defensive stats, poor counter attacks, or that she doesn’t need to hit Blood Rain on. Fortunately for Fillet, she’s fast enough that this is definitely an option.

Pain Circle gives Fillet something to do if she isn’t within 1″ of an enemy model. It’s nowhere near as efficient as making attacks, but lets her play more safely if she needs to. It’s also a way Fillet can personally apply Bleed against enemies she can’t reliably reach Blood Rain against, which is sometimes pretty relevant. If you’re going to do so, though, make sure you throw Pain Circle before you reach engagement so you avoid suffering the Crowding Out penalty on your character play dice pools. Access to ranged damage is a very powerful tool for Butchers because they are so good in a fight. Against teams which need to engage you to be useful, you can put 6 influence on Fillet and threaten to kill anyone who comes to engage you. Then if they do some in, you can take them out – and if you don’t, you can either go for them at the end of the turn, or throw a Pain Circle and do exactly the same thing next turn (only they’re on 4-5 less HP than they had beforehand) until they either commit to a bad fight or start getting Taken Out.

Quick Foot gives Fillet a bit of extra threat range, which is useful but not something you want to use often. If you want to go in with Fillet, sometimes there just isn’t a model you can reach within 10″, if the opponent is playing carefully. In that scenario QF is just fine. The rest of the time you’d rather just jog/sprint. You won’t often want to Quick Foot other models, unless you’re not going in with Fillet this turn, in which case you can still spend your influence by Quick Footing two allies to threaten attacks themselves, and throw a Pain Circle.

Haemophilia gives Fillet a little bit of durability, but nothing particularly impactful. 1-2 additional HP is probably not going to save her often – usually she’s either high on HP (because she killed the models that threaten her) or getting taken out pretty easily, with little in between. It’s a minor bonus, and the main relevance is making it harder to ‘jail’ her, since if she goes in and puts Bleed on a lot of enemies, she can heal a bit at the end of the turn and cost more of an activation to kill at the start of the next turn. This is useful because otherwise she’d be the exact sort of model the opponent wants to jail, since she’s fast enough to have a high impact the turn she returns to the pitch.

Smell Blood makes Blood Rain much more impactful, since it’s a free Tooled Up on a model which can make a lot of attacks. If she’s able to jog up and apply Blood Rain, Fillet can reasonably expect to put out ~22 damage with no setup and without using her Legendary play. This also means that Fillet scales extremely well with dice spikes – if she rolls well on her first attack, her expected damage against a target can easily change from 10-12 up to 17-20, which switches things from ‘lots of damage, but no takeout’ to killing models which have influence on them (even captains) from full HP. Bonus timing Fillet’s first swing is often a good idea if you don’t need the MP elsewhere, since it greatly increases her odds of just killing an important model out of nowhere. Smell Blood is also a free threat range extender if you can get Bleed onto models before Fillet activates, which is somewhat difficult to do in Butchers but not impossible. It does mean that if you have other models which apply Bleed, Fillet being nearby with influence pretty much forces them to clear conditions immediately or die if they’re bleeding, or at least activate right away to spend any influence before they’re taken out.

Exsanguinate is a bundle of free AOE damage which helps Fillet one-round models more. Because it’s Condition Damage, it ignores Tough Hide, although it also doesn’t benefit from Tooled Up. Usually you’ll want to pop Exsanguinate either to finish off a model you’ve been hitting (or set it to bleed out at end of turn, if they won’t have a chance to heal), or just put a lot of damage on multiple enemies if you have the opportunity. Hitting Blood Rain to put bleed on multiple models and then using Exsanguinate is 6 damage to models that aren’t even the primary target, leaving them in a position to be easily taken out by any follow up damage from the rest of the team, or just finished off by Fillet next turn.

Fillet is much faster than Ox, which means she’s a lot more useful against teams which don’t want to fight you and instead want to keep away. She’s good at chasing down mobile teams which can interact at range, like Hunters, especially if they have targets with poor defensive state (like Seenah) which she can tag with Blood Rain and take out. She doesn’t like teams with good defensive stats and counterattacks, and she doesn’t like enemies who can reasonably take her out with little setup. Fillet generally plays a more aggressive game than Ox – she is less likely to win the scrum if it happens (though not bad at it) since she’s more prone to getting taken out herself, but instead wants to use her high movement numbers and burst damage to take out critical parts of the enemy team and keep the opponent on the back foot. While Ox doesn’t need as much influence (even on legendary turn he can only take 5), Fillet really wants a lot of influence allocation every turn, and possibly additional setup like Tooled Up, which means she’s much more interested in influence efficient squaddies.

vBoar

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vBoar is here to kill things, and kill things he does. He has 2″ melee which is always a great bonus, and while he doesn’t have the inbuilt damage buffs of Ox and Fillet, he makes up for it with a playbook that scales close to 1:1 between hits and damage. His 4/2 influence stat means he’s always going to be giving the team more influence than he takes, which means he’s actually a more efficient choice than the already influence-generous Ox. His third column KD with TAC8 is also noticeably more reachable than the other Butchers’ captains, although he doesn’t actually want to pick it often as we’ll get into. His counterattack isn’t exactly pushing people away often, though, and he is pretty awful at football, so don’t expect him to do things that aren’t killing things. Defensively he’s also pretty tough – while his 3/1 statline isn’t fantastic, he has 24 HP which is plenty. He’ll go down to a dedicated assault but there are very few models in the game which can one round him, which means he always gets to fight back if you want him to. Also, because of his 2-inf cap, if he does get taken out before he can activate the rest of his team still gets to make plenty of attacks.

Stagger and Singled Out are very scary character plays on a model with as good a playbook as Boar. If you’re going to be picking one, Stagger is generally stronger unless the model you’re hitting is already DEF2. Because they are on combined results which don’t give any less damage than you would be taking otherwise, the only reason not to take these is if you need the momentum generation immediately – note that if you get both on, you’re potentially wrapping and so can make up the momentum later if you need to (unless your target is dead, which is actually quite likely). If you can hit one of the GB results on your first and second swings (which is likely), you are probably going to be able to follow up with 5-6 damage on each subsequent attack, which is a nice clean ~22 damage at a minimum over six swings, if you aren’t forced into taking the KD first. If you are forced into taking the KD, following it with 1GB, then 4GB, then 6 and 6 is pretty likely and still does 17 damage. To put it bluntly, there are very few models in the game that Boar doesn’t get to one round, especially if he’s got a damage buff available.

Berserk and Furious together are what actually lets Boar make the six swings mentioned above. His default line is to charge for free, take KD if necessary / the highest result available if not, and then take five more swings for the same result. Setting up Boar to charge is definitely helpful, so you want to disengage him where you can. However, with his own KD pretty accessible, he can do things like hit someone for damage, Berserk at them for a KD or >> result, and then charge afterwards. It’s not particularly hard to free him up if he’s controlled, unless the enemy model in question has some specific defensive tech that’s good against him, like Fear. Because influence on Boar is so powerful and valuable, any effect that drains his influence or prevents him getting damage on an attack is highly useful, whether it’s Resilience, Fear, Concussion or Misdirection. He also really doesn’t like movement reduction effects like Ghostly Visage.

Blood Lust lets vBoar spread his efficiency to other models in the team. Because they have to spend 1 influence to gain Berserk, this effect breaks even if they follow up with one damaging attack, and puts you in ‘profit’ for influence for each one you get to make afterwards. This means it’s best on models which get to make as many swings as possible, so those with a 4-inf cap, and preferably ones that aren’t too worried about counter attacks, which means 2″ melee or Resilience or similar. Shank is the obvious target since he has 4 max-inf, reach and an easy to reach 2 damage result. Other good options include Roast, vGutter, and Boiler. Note that the model has to be within 6″ of Boar at the start of its activation, which means getting Boar isolated from the team removes the option to use this. However, you can have a model take Berserk and then go off somewhere else on their own to apply it, which is handy.

Chop Chop! is yet another efficiency tool and one that does very scary things if even one of two models gets to use it. I wouldn’t try to set up the perfect turn where it applies to every member of the team – it’s difficult enough to apply it to one model, since unlike Bloodlust Boar has to activate before it applies to anyone which puts more restrictions on actually getting it to work. Rather than wait to get it perfect, the most reliable use case is probably to just drop it on turn one to let a Tooled Up Shank threaten to make 6 attacks from 14″ away and one round the enemy captain / a critical model. If you can get the payoff on multiple models later on though, you probably just immediately win the game, so that’s nice.

Boar is a highly influence efficient model that demands control from the opponent, since if he isn’t handled he’ll kill pretty much anyone on the enemy team from 9″ away, which is quite scary, especially when he only needs 2 influence to do it. He also, as mentioned above, has a better turn one than Ox by virtue of putting Bloodlust on a model with a long threat range to do a lot of damage and potentially kill someone and/or win initiative on turn one. His kicking threat isn’t as good as Fillet’s though, since she’s the fastest model in the guild and harder to control. Because he’s great at bringing raw damage and hard to control, Boar is particularly good into enemies who want to play slowly and group up together, like Masons and Blacksmiths, all of whom are very sad to see Boar one rounding their durable models – because of his high TAC, he’s at his best against low DEF / high ARM targets. The means that Boar primarily competes with Ox for a captain slot, as they fulfil the same niche. While both of the captains buff the team in different ways, they probably add up to approximately the same increase in damage output. However, the big advantage Boar has is that his buffs also amplify momentum output in a way Ox’s don’t. Ox doesn’t help his models get any more attacks/momentum, he just makes those attacks they do make more impactful, where Boar helps with efficiency. This momentum advantage means Boar is more likely to be able to heal up his team after making the attacks, and means he’s more likely to win initiative. When you have as powerful an activation as Boar (or a Berserk model making six swings), going first is a big deal.

Princess

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Princess is another dangerous model. While she doesn’t have the max-inf to actually bring output herself, she’s fast and has a good playbook, meaning she’s not a bad place to put influence if you really need somewhere for it to go – for example, if the opponent is going to take out some of your other models so it’s not worth allocating to them. Princess is also pretty durable for a mascot, as 4/1/8 is about standard, in a team which is generally a bit on the flimsy side. Because she’s only worth 1VP, Princess can be good for a mobile crowdout and generally being problematic for the opponent.

Rabid Animal won’t come up much – you can’t take it on a parting blow and so you need influence allocated to Princess to use it. It also doesn’t do damage directly and isn’t momentous, which really reduces the number of times you’d consider it. Occasionally you’ll really need to put -4″/-4″ MOV on somebody to prevent them from scoring a goal, but reaching Princess’ third column isn’t exceptionally easy anyway so I really wouldn’t count on this unless you have absolutely no other options.

Loved Creature is a very powerful ability, especially in Butchers. Princess is a model that wants to be moving towards the enemy, doing a bit of damage and getting in the way, so it’s easy for an opponent to damage her. Giving Butchers +1 TAC is a major issue, however, because Butchers are very short on this sort of buff. They have a lot of damage buffs but very few TAC modifiers. This means that any effects which make them more likely to wrap their playbooks are extra valuable, since they get to double dip on their damage buffs if they do. It also makes them more likely to reach their difficult KD results and so avoid counter attacks.

Vicious makes just wandering out of Princess’ melee zone very punishing, especially if she’s inside the Owner or something. Parting blows made at TAC8 have a real potential to wrap, and can easily do 6-7 damage – 8-9 if in The Owner. This means that models have to dedicate influence to pushing or dodging away from Princess, giving them a lot less to use actually doing work, take a lot of damage for free, or stay engaging Princess which can mean they get killed very soon afterwards.

For a model which doesn’t actually get influence often, and doesn’t have any ability to attack or otherwise act for free, Princess does a lot. She contributes influence to the team without needing any, and forces the opponent to spend influence to deal with her or take a load of damage. A model that’s taken a parting blow from Princess is very much in the danger zone when it comes to getting one rounded by most other Butchers, and a model that’s in Princess’ melee zone is also worried about that same problem. She’s particularly useful against teams which don’t have easy pushes or dodges to disengage, or they aren’t momentous.

Truffles

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Truffles is pretty awful in terms of statline, with low defensive stats, slow speed and the lowest TAC in the Butchers. He does have a bit of extra HP however. The main strength of Truffles is in exactly one place on his card, and that’s the momentous KD on column two. Momentous KDs are pretty rare in the Butchers, and getting one one a mascot in particular is much appreciated. As mentioned above, effects that let Butchers get more net-hits are very valuable because they benefit a lot from a wrap but don’t do so often. This also means Truffles’ Parting Blow is similarly unappealing compared to Princess, though the pig is a lot easier to get a playbook dodge or push against with that great 3+/0 defensive statline.

Sturdy helps Truffles get in the way of models with good KDs but no Pushes, though that isn’t a large number of models. He can also sometimes take a Parting Blow without suffering for it, although moving your pig around doesn’t actually do very much if he isn’t charging. Avoiding KDs get more valuable the better your attacks (especially counter attacks) are, and since Truffles’ are not good it’s not as valuable as it seems.

Tough Hide makes Truffles a bad target for taking out. It doens’t help against teams that want to abuse his low DEF for other reasons like dodges, but it means that nobody wants to kill him, the same as Princess. Both mascots are pretty unappealing to take out – most of the opponent’s take out focus is going to be on your squaddies and captains, whichever mascot you end up running.

Vindictive puts a point of influence allocation on Truffles at a reasonable rate. For 1 influence, applying a KD and potentially wrapping for multiple momentum and damage is what you’d want, and it’s not that unlikely to get a wrap on 7 dice with a three column playbook. However, if you don’t get to charge with Truffles that point of influence probably isn’t doing very much compared to other places in Butchers it could be spent. This makes it hard to justify allocating to Truffles, since if he’s engaged he won’t do much (and it’s not worth the resources to disengage him), and he has an unimpressive 7″ threat range even on the charge.

Truffles is a difficult model to include in a lineup. He wants influence more than Princess, is a bit of a liability when it comes to the opponent’s playbooks, and is not much harder to take out. (+1def and +1 arm generally mitigates more damage than Tough Hide does). He’s also pretty easy to control. I would usually prefer to play Princess in most matchups since she’s still useful, needs less influence and more consistent. The main time you would want to play Truffles is if the enemy team has great counterattacks. His momentous KD is good for setting up if you’d otherwise be worried about getting disengaged, and he doesn’t care about the enemy counter himself. The difficulty is in finding a slot in the 12 for your pig when his uses are somewhat niche, and Princess is pretty good in every matchup anyway.

Boar

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Boar is a TAC8 Squaddie, which is a pretty good place to be starting. His other stats are definitely unimpressive, though – he can’t play football, he isn’t fast, and he’s easy to hit. His 1/1 influence stat makes him efficient, though. In terms of playbook he has some good numbers, with 2 on 2 and 3 on 4 making his output very nice with his high TAC, and some good momentous numbers up on the top of his playbook make spending time setting up for him worthwhile. He’s got some KDs and Pushes but they aren’t what you want to be taking usually. The other strength Boar brings is 2″ melee, which helps make up for his slow speed a bit and is moderately difficult to find in Butchers. His 20 HP won’t last long on DEF3/ARM0 with no defensive abilities elsewhere really, but it’s enough to avoid being worried about the occasional bit of chip damage. His playbook also only has 7 columns to his TAC8, so he wraps pretty well for a Butcher, though still not very commonly.

Concussion isn’t a big deal, since anyone Boar is hitting is going to be taken out soon after anyway. It isn’t even momentous. If you already took one model out and are hitting another and not expecting to take it out, it can be worth it, but usually only if you reach column 6 for the combined result.

Berserk and Furious together let Boar make four swings for one influence, which is a great rate. Most teams can put ‘kill threat’ inf on somewhere between two and three models in their lineup. A team with Boar in it can get use out of ~3.5 which is a really great place to be. Obviously there are disadvantages – Boar is somewhat easy to control with his complete lack of positioning tech and inclination away from taking KDs. He does threaten a lot of damage within 8″ of himself, though, at very little cost to himself. It’s not that difficult to set him up with some pushes, and spending 1-2 influence to set him up is worth it when you get 3inf worth of ‘free’ work out of it and often end up ahead in momentum because of it. If Boar is standing next to Ox, moving up to attack Ox is all but guaranteed to get your model taken out immediately afterwards by Boar, whether or not you kill Ox. This also makes controlling Boar a good use of enemy influence, since his activation is so valuable. However, spending influence controlling him leaves your actual influence allocation mostly untouched, which is also a problem for the opponent.

Life Drinker makes Boar resistant to chip damage, since he’ll heal himself for a bit whenever he hits someone. It’s not very impactful, however, since generally if Boar is taking damage he’s probably going to get taken out very soon with his terrible defensive stats. Healing off his counterattack is also not very relevant because he’s very easy to KD.

Boar is an influence efficient damage dealer and does absolutely nothing else. However, that’s fine. He extends an 8″ threat (potentially more with help) area which the opponent really really doesn’t want to enter, and if they do they need to be aware that if they don’t deal with Boar as they do so they are going to be taken out pretty quickly. His efficiency makes him a good choice with either captain, if you just want damage – however, he’s inconsistent and requires setup. It can be worth instead playing other models which will more reliably do work rather than Boar who’s very feast or famine – he’ll either run over the enemy team and do absurd damage, or he’ll get controlled and be near useless. If you want other models for specific reasons into the enemy then you can take them, and if you don’t need any other model’s utility for a matchup then you can take Boar insted who brings no utility at all but kills people very well. The other issue Boar has is that naturally, you can’t play him with vBoar, which makes him a lot harder to justify.

Boiler

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Boiler is a nice all round model. He’s pretty quick, and reasonably tough for a Butcher at 4/1/14. He’s also one of the Butchers who is most resistant to enemy counterattacks with his KD on his third column. In terms of damage Boiler is also looking good, with a 12-34 playbook scaling well with support, though his TAC of 5 is a little on the low side. His first column also isn’t momentous, which means he doesn’t wrap quite as well as other Butchers and is a little less powerful when unsupported. He’s not great at football, but can pass for a dodge if he needs to. His 4 max-inf is also important, since after getting that KD you want to capitalize on it as much as possible with 3 follow up attacks.

Axe Throw is an extremely useful character play, since ranged damage is so useful to Butchers. It benefits from Ox’s aura, putting it at 4 damage which is very much not something you can ignore. Ranged damage is very strong in a team that can fight well as mentioned above, since it lets you force people to come to you and engage rather than sitting back and forcing you to come to them, if you can have the ranged advantage. It also gives Boiler something to be doing with his influence if he can’t reach engagement in melee, which is very useful on a model with great melee output, and makes your turn one a lot better when you aren’t expecting to be able to spend much influence on actual attacks.

Marked Target is a great threat extender. On Boiler it isn’t momentous, but it’s very low in the playbook. It also increases Boiler’s threat rang to 10″, since otherwise he’d only charge 9″ without support. It’s great for setting up other models in the guild too, like Boar who really likes threatening 10″ rather than 8″. Fillet also loves threat range extension since she doesn’t want to spend her own influence for Quick Foot. Because it’s on the first column it’s also useful if you wrap to it on the playbook, when you can use it to break Resilience or set up teammates. It isn’t OPT, so if you miss the first time you can just throw it again if you need the distance.

Anatomical is a great benefit to Boiler since his playbook scales up in damage so quickly. It pretty much gives him one additional point of damage per swing against almost every target. If he’s hitting someone where he’d get exactly two hits normally, and gets three instead because of Anatomical, that gives him the KD to reach his fourth column next time round, so even then it’s great. It also means Boiler wraps a lot more often with his short playbook, and scales excellently with damage buffs. The only targets Boiler isn’t happy to be attacking are those with DEF5/ARM0 defensive stats – and even then, he’s reasonably likely to reach 7-8 damage, especially if you’re willing to Bonus Time. Only getting one hit with Boiler is rather saddening, though, so usually you’d prefer to hit those targets with somebody else.

Assist[Princess] makes Boiler’s damage scale to absurd levels. With no other support, he’s rolling at TAC7 with a 23-45 playbook and Anatomical, which is pretty fantastic. He will very easily reach his KD on the first swing and then probably do 7+ damage on each swing after that against a lot of targets, which kills almost anyone. In general this means that letting Boiler walk up to you while you’re within 1″ of Princess is something to be avoided at all costs by your opponent. This makes Princess’ activation actually quite a scary one, since walking up to a model usually means it has to move immediately or be taken out, while not costing you any influence. It’s particularly strong if the opponent doesn’t have an easy way of disengaging and may need to take a Parting Blow from Princess – and even if they end up staying out of Boiler’s threat range, he can still throw an axe so they don’t even get to blank any of your own influence.

Crucial Artery makes Boiler a bit better at taking opponents out in melee, since three extra damage puts him in a position where he can reliably kill a lot of enemies. It’s not as impactful as it seems there however, since Boiler often takes people out without needing the +3 anyway, and he often wants to KD his target making removing the bleed ‘free’ if the target was planning on clearing the KD anyway. The important thing to note is that Crucial Artery also applies on Axe Throw. This makes it a play that does 6 damage (potentially more near Ox) for 2 influence with is a good rate, and really puts anyone he tags into position to be taken out. It also lets Boiler set up for Fillet extremely well – applying Bleed at range sets her up to take out a lot of targets – if she can avoid a 2″ disengage on a counterattack she can take out pretty much anyone she wants to if they’ve been tagged by Boiler first. A combination of Axe Throw and Marked Target lets Boiler increase Fillet’s charging threat (via Smell Blood) to 14″ without Fillet having to spend any extra influence, which is a huge distance.

Boiler is a great include in any Butchers team. He has lots of utility with Axe Throw and Marked target, and outputs a scary amount of damage, especially because he has an accessible KD which is a huge deal for consistency. His only real downsides are his 1″ melee zone (which is somewhat mitigated by his easy KD) and his hunger for influence. Boiler really needs at least 3 influence to threaten most targets in melee, and about the same to do useful things at range, so he’s pretty much always going to want to take more influence from the team than he generates. This isn’t a disaster for Butchers, but it does have some impact on list building – especially in Fillet lists, since Fillet is another very influence hungry model. All your captains benefit greatly from Boiler’s presence – Axe Throw helps Fillet set up takeouts a lot, and Ox loves access to ranged damage output since it benefits from The Owner helps him win standoffs without having to commit too hard, forcing the enemy team to come to and engage the Butchers instead where they can be more easily carved up. vBoar does a lot of charging (and hates Resilience) which makes Marked Target very valuable, and especially wants setup for Shank on turn one, whose threat range Boiler extends very well.

Brisket

Brisket

Brisket is similar to Boiler in terms of baseline numbers, though she doesn’t have Anatomical which makes her TAC5 much more underwhelming. She isn’t really much of a damage dealer – her playbook is the only one of any non-Mascot Butcher without a damage result above a 2. Instead, she has a 3/8″ kick, a first column momentous Tackle result, and good access to dodges. Brisket is the best option the Butchers have for putting the ball in the goal, and she does it pretty well. She’s not particularly great at getting the ball back off enemy models compared to most dedicated strikers – her 1″ melee zone and lack of buyable dodges means she has difficulty dealing with good counterattacks and Unpredictable Movement.

Super Shot gives Brisket an easy 18″ threat on goal, if you put 3 influence into her. It also puts her KICK stat up to four dice, which makes her good at scoring even through an enemy melee zone. A 10″ kick stat also makes scoring through some defensive abilities more doable, since you have more available positions to shoot from and can avoid auras like Rush Keeper. It also extends Brisket’s Tap In range to 5″ which is nice for guaranteeing a goal if you need it.

Dirty Knives gives Brisket something to do if the ball isn’t available – or if she has the ball, but you don’t want to score yet. You can put 2-3 influence on Brisket holding the ball, and score if you have the opportunity with an option to switch to Dirty Knives otherwise and not waste influence. As a damaging play it benefits from The Owner, effectively putting out 4 damage or 5 under Ox’s Legendary Play. The DEF debuff is also pretty impactful – DEF debuffs and TAC buffs are hard to come by in Butchers but when they get to wrap they kill anything easily, so it’s always appreciated. It’s also an option for breaking Resilience at range without spending too much influence (especially if triggered off the playbook) although you’d usually prefer to use Marked Target for that. If you aren’t under pressure at the start of the turn and Brisket has an easy to hit target, moving her up and using her playbook to Dirty Knives two or three models can make a fight really difficult for your opponent to win.

Above and Beyond gives Brisket some payoff for scoring early in the game, especially on turn one. The additional influence is particularly relevant in a Fillet team which tends to be more on the influence hungry side. You usually won’t get a lot of opportunities to score multiple times a game with Brisket, since the Butchers just aren’t good enough at getting the ball back to do so. In general, the Butchers’ primary plan is going to be to hold on to the ball until they’re at 8 VPs, then score to end the game – this isn’t really something Above and Beyond contributes to. However, sometimes scoring early is correct – if your opponent is going to steal the ball in the near future anyway you may as well get 4 VPs out of it, and if you have already claimed control of the center of the pitch then the downsides of scoring become less impactful.

Speaking of holding onto the ball, Charmed[Male] and Unpredictable Movement make Brisket a huge problem for a lot of teams. Both these effects don’t require Brisket to activate, meaning that an opponent going first doesn’t get any easier of a time getting through her defenses, and they cut out a lot of models from the possible options for ball retrieval. Pretty much anybody who isn’t an actual dedicated striker has no chance of getting the ball back, and some strikers still have difficulty – particularly Male ones with their Tackle on the second column, like Shark and Greyscales. Brisket often spends a lot of time sitting in cover holding the ball, and hopeing the opponent goes in to try and tackle it, hopefully being taken out immediately afterwards.

Brisket is somewhat linear but very important against footballing teams. Preventing goals is essential, since otherwise goalscoring teams can relatively easily score VPs faster than the Butchers if they aren’t interacted with, and oBrisket is your best tool for doing so. She is also reasonably useful while holding the ball (with Dirty Knives) and has 2 damage on 2 so she can even beat people up in a pinch. Most footballing teams have a few models who can still steal the ball from her, but restricting the opponent’s options is important and you can always just put Brisket on the opposite side of the pitch to Siren or whoever you’re worried about.

vBrisket

vBrisket.PNG

Brisket’s Veteran incarnation has the same statline as the original, but gains a single hit point to go to 4/1/13. She doesn’t have Charmed, however, which means she’s easier to take out than before for a significant percentage of attackers, even with this extra hit point. She’s still a solid striker but has less ability to go and do something without getting threatened back for it. In terms of playbook, vBrisket doesn’t have the m2 on column 2 common to almost all other butchers, which makes her a less impressive output model than most. She does have a m3 result, unlike original Brisket, but it’s high up her playbook and the investment required to actually hit it is hard to justify putting into vBrisket as opposed to some of the other Butchers. Her double dodge result is also a column higher than that of oBrisket, so her counterattack is a bit worse – although with UM, her counterattack doesn’t come up super often.

Ball’s Gone! is a handy ball recovery tool, especially momentously on column two. Unfortunately there aren’t many Butchers you really want to be passing to often, since the best defensive stats for holding a ball are on Brisket, and she’s also the best goal scorer on your team. The main strength of Ball’s Gone! is bypassing Close Control. A standard striker goal line involves dodging into engagement, tackling you, ignoring your counterattack tackle with Close Control, and then shooting on goal. This isn’t an option here, unless Brisket doesn’t reach column 2. This means she’s pretty good at dealing with Flint or Velocity. However, against strikers with other ways of avoiding the ball getting stolen back (2″ melee, for example) she isn’t as effective as oBrisket.

Quick Time is a good option to have for increasing your models’ threat ranges, but it costs a lot of influence for a short distance. You’ll often use it on turn one – when you only have a limited amount of influence available to spend on output anyway – and otherwise not bother. Generally it is only going to get used if something has gone wrong and you really need to reposition. Butchers really want to be spending as much influence as possible on momentous damage results, and Quick Time really doesn’t line up with that well.

Field Medic is vBrisket’s main selling point in the team. Condition heavy teams like Alchemists are something it’s good to have an answer for, and repeatable free condition clearing is great, especially as a payoff for doing something you want to be doing anyway. It’s also handy against Brewers and against Hunters for clearing KDs and Snares, respectively. Note that since vBrisket doesn’t have a 2 damage result until column 3, she can have difficulty getting Field Medic to trigger when attacking a model with Tough Hide (unless she has access to The Owner).

Support From The Wing is a nice efficiency option, but it’s important to remember that unless you’re getting benefit from Field Medic or scoring a goal, vBrisket’s charge is not much more impactful than a standard attack from an actual dedicated damage dealer like Boiler.

Unpredictable Movement means vBrisket can still hold the ball for you, and is generally better at it than any other Butcher with a different name. She’s not quite as insufferable to retrieve the ball from as oBrisket, but if you need to kill it and you took vBrisket, that’s probably where it’s going to end up.

Veteran Brisket is much more of a niche pick than oBrisket is. This is primarily because most teams are at least tangentially interested in the ball, and controlling it is oBrisket’s main purpose. There are only a few teams which are heavy enough on conditions to justify needing Field Medic, and that’s the primary reason to take vBrisket – if Field Medic isn’t useful, you should probably be taking oBrisket or someone else. However, Field Medic has an additional downside. Anti condition tech tends to be most important for letting your players be mobile. The biggest issue conditions present is how they prevent you from reaching engagement by reducing movement – once you’ve got people in your melee zone, you can just hit them for momentum and use that to heal up. This means that Field Medic is a little redundant, since in order for it to do anything you need to have already reached engagement anyway. It’s not very useful if the opponent is staying far away from your team and peppering you with ranged plays like Alchemists and Hunters, and it’s also quite difficult to use well into Brewers because it’s hard to actually enable against Tough Hide models. It can also be avoided to an extent by just killing Brisket – and as a 1″ melee 4/1/13 model who needs to be in engagement to do anything, she is very much killable by most dedicated damage dealers, unless her UM saves her – which it can’t if she’s moving to within 1″ of them herself in order to actually do anything.

vGutter

vGutter

Veteran Gutter is another Butcher with the same baseline stats – 6″/8″ MOV, TAC5, 4+/1 ARM, and 14 HP meaning she’s even with Boiler, which is slightly on the tougher side of the Butchers. She has a major upside though – a 2″ melee zone, which is a pretty big deal. Her playbook is a little underwhelming, but it’s easy to actually apply her damage because of her reach which is a really big deal – she’s consistent even if she isn’t going to have the enormous spikes of damage that Boiler brings. She doesn’t have a very threatening counter attack and her KD isn’t till the fourth column, however, so she’s relying entirely on her raw defensive stats to actually stay alive.

Route One gives Gutter a great threat range. It costs a lot of influence but it can be useful, especially on turn one, where she can threaten 10″ on the charge, 12″ with Route One, or 14″ with Route One and a sprint which is high enough that she’ll usually be able to do something even if it isn’t very efficient. Its ability to trigger from the playbook is only somewhat relevant, since if you’re engaging someone you don’t really need it that much. You can use it to disengage occasionally if you’ve positioned well, by Route One-ing to a different model. You’ll take a Parting Blow, but even if Gutter eats a KD she’s still outside her attacker’s melee zone.

Anatomical Precision helps to make up for Gutter’s somewhat underwhelming playbook. She’s still not going to be doing enormous amounts of damage but she generates momentum very reliably and wraps quite easily with a bit of support. The main different between Anatomical and just having slightly higher TAC is that Gutter really doesn’t want to be hitting DEF5+ models, especially without a 2 damage result on column 2. However there are a lot of other Butchers who do have access to playbooks which wreck DEF5 models with low HP, so it’s usually fine to just leave those targets to them.

Fan Favourite is a nice little bonus and, again, makes Gutter great at generating momentum for the team. It’s not usually something you’re particularly focused on enabling – the payoff is too small – but if you’re going to finish someone off and could use any model, it may as well be Gutter.

Sweeping Charge is a big deal and makes Gutter’s charges extremely impactful for the influence you pay. Gutter wants to be charging pretty much every turn, and really likes effects which reduce the INF cost of her charges or increase their range, like Marked Target and the Full Back plot card. While she can have 4 influence, she’s somewhat like an efficiency piece in that she only really needs 1-2 to do the majority of her work. On a charge with 9 dice and anatomical precision, she can reasonably expect to get to 3 columns at a minimum, meaning she’s getting 5 damage before we include any buffs, and that’s assuming she only gets one enemy model in her melee zone. She will very commonly tag multiple players, which really amps up her damage – and while the trait’s damage doesn’t benefit from Tooled Up or The Owner, it also ignores Tough Hide. Getting a little bit of chip damage onto targets while killing the primary target is great for Butchers since many of their players are very good at finishing off weakened opponents.

vGutter is a great model for all three captains, mainly because she’s a damage output piece with a lot of consistency thanks to her 2″ melee zone and Anatomical Precision.  She’s also reasonably durable, which means she’s less likely to just get taken out before she can actually spend her influence than someone like Shank who’s a bit more on the flimsy side. Butchers like models which bring good damage output without being excessively influence hungry, since some of their core models (looking at you, Boiler) really want a lot of infuence – Gutter does that very well. She’s a reasonable include in pretty much any lineup. Try to avoid getting her pinned down away from allies though – while she’s useful, if she doesn’t have support and she can’t charge she’s often just taking m1 results which while not completely useless, isn’t a great use of influence compared to some of the other options Butchers have.

Layne

Layne.PNG

Layne is reasonably mobile and he’s got a nice 8″ KICK stat, but he is horrifyingly flimsy, even for a Butcher. 4/0/13 is a statline which will disintegrate when any enemy connects with it, and while he has a 2″ dodge on column 2, that’s not exactly reliable with TAC5 and he only has a 1″ melee zone. If you’re taking Layne, expect him to get taken out easily – especially considering that he needs to be getting within 1″ of enemy models to actually get anything done. He has access to the usual Butcher momentous damage, including a nice m1< on his first column, but it’s nothing exceptional for the guild. As such, he’s probably a player you’re bringing as a ball chaser.

Acrobatic lets Layne threaten a total of 11″. This isn’t exactly very impressive – Butchers have a lot of fast models, and compared to other dedicated strikes Layne isn’t anything outstanding. It lets him disengage from enemies, which is always useful on a goal scoring focused model, but it’s not a particularly great place to be spending influence, when the Butchers usually want to be turning their inf into momentous damage instead.

Bleed the Cleats lets Layne get a whole lot of kick dice. It’s not unlikely for him to have a 5/8″ or 6/8″ KICK stat when he goes for a shot on goal. Unfortunately for Layne, KICK dice aren’t really the most important stat to have when trying to put the ball in the net. It helps Layne to make shots even when engaged or otherwise disrupted, but Layne’s main downside is his poor ball retrieval ability, which isn’t really something that this helps with.

Close Control is important for Layne’s goal runs, since he’s not very good at getting around enemy counterattacks and he has terrible defensive stats. This means that the number of opponents he can eat a counterattack from increases from ‘nobody’ to ‘models with no KD and no other disruptive options’. It’s not going to make him immune to the enemy or anything, but it does give him the potential to score if the opponent doesn’t give your goal threat at least some respect.

Get On With It, Boy! is a great rule to have – it’s a pity that Layne’s character play is Acrobatic. Clearing all conditions is always nice and very much appreciated, given that Butchers don’t have a ton of other anti-condition options. The free character play is both somewhat low impact, and weaker than it looks – note that the play has to be used immediately. This means that it’s only relevant if Layne wants to be chasing a ball that’s on a model more than 7″ away but less than 11″ away, and it also doesn’t let you use acrobatic if you’d need it for something else later – if you need to dodge into engagement with an UM model after you jog, this doesn’t help. Same for dodging out of melee after a tackle in order to get into range for an easy shot. It’s handy for efficiency when it comes up, but even when you have the option of using it, it’s not always correct to do so because Acrobatic is OPT.

Magic Touch lets Layne actually get the ball. He’s still reliant on his 1″ melee zone, but he can at least get a reasonably accessible t<< or m1t< result, which lets him avoid enemy counterattacks. He can also take a TT result on three hits, which has the nice effect of letting him get around enemies’ Close Control – although he has difficulty reaching column 3 against most Close Control models.

Layne is a goal scoring tool in a team that doesn’t really need one. He’s not such a superstar striker that he forces your opponent to take dedicated ball killing models, especially since trying to apply pressure with him is likely to get him taken out. Strikers generally get better the more of them you have – if you have a goal threat on both flanks, it limits the opponent’s options for protecting the ball a lot more than trying to pressure it with only a single model – and he doesn’t really have any good backup in the guild. If you aren’t planning on scoring multiple goals in a game, then there isn’t really any good reason to bring Layne, since his damage is nothing special. If you’re only scoring once, you’re more concerned about protecting the ball than retrieving it, at which point Brisket does that better. Layne’s biggest issue, though, is that he’s just so very flimsy, and even if his role was something you wanted in your team, he’s still be difficult to justify because actually using him gives your opponent a bunch of free VPs and momentum to make up for anything he achieved.

Meathook

Meathook

Hey look, it’s another 6″/8″ 4/1/14 model! This time around we’re back down to 1″ melee zone again, and our 2DMG result isn’t till column three still, but Meathook does bring TAC6 which is a nice stat bump. She doesn’t hit 3 damage till column 6 and she has a max-inf of 3, however, which means she isn’t really an output model. She does have pushes on her damage, which is great for setting people up if you get the opportunity and moving people into your threat ranges / away from allies / into crowdouts.

Scything Blow is a powerful character play which does a lot of work on some other models which bring it. However, Meathook’s Scything Blow isn’t momentous. She also has a 1″ melee zone which is a huge downside – if you want to get real payoffs for Scything Blow you need to be engaging multiple models, which if you’re 1″ means you’re likely to be taking Crowding Out penalties, especially with how limited Butchers’ KD access is. Her 3 influence cap means that even if you do put the effort in to enable Scything Blow, you’re still only getting a relatively small amount of payoff. If she walks up to two people and happens to hit the fourth column, go ahead and take Scything Blow (unless you need the momentum, of course) but I wouldn’t recommend actively aiming to reach it.

Tooled Up, on the other hand, is a character play I’d definitely actively aim to use a lot of the time. Damage buffs are always great for Butchers, especially ones which don’t rely on positioning which can be disrupted like Assist. Tooled Up is somewhat superfluous on an Ox team at times, since they have other buffs already easily available. That’s not to say it doesn’t have impact, but it’s less of a huge deal which is worth spending a whole player slot when he has so many other good options. Meathook’s main useful role is applying Tooled Up to Fillet, especially on turn one. This puts her firmly in the ‘one round anyone I can reach’ territory and can be a real problem for the opponent. Tooled Up is worth more / generates more damage the more times you can get one model to deal damage, so it’s far more noticeable on a model with a 6 influence cap like Fillet than on a squaddie with a 4 influence cap.

Hooked makes Meathook’s attacks great at setting up and often demands conditions be cleared immediately. Snared is not accessible anywhere else in the Butchers, and a DEF debuff is a big deal in a team with so many good playbooks. It also makes Meathook’s parting blows and counter attacks very scary, since getting to put these conditions up without even spending any influence or an activation is even better. Once more Fillet likes this effect more than Ox, since she benefits from the Bleed well. Be aware that because Meathook doesn’t have a 2 result until column 3, it can be difficult to apply Hooked to a Tough Hide model under some circumstances.

Sanguine Pool lets Meathook pin down targets to prevent them escaping before the damage dealers arrive, which is a great option to have available. You won’t use it every turn, but it’ll often do work. It’s also good for preventing the occasional goal run, especially since Meathook’s own Tackle result doesn’t show up until column four (!). Combined with Hooked this makes for a -6″/-6″ movement debuff, which is great, and only 2″ of that distance penalty can be cleared with momentum as well. Pushing people into range of your team with Meathook’s combined damage/push results and then using Sanguine Pool to keep them there generally means the model targeted is pretty much dead – if Meathook is able to jog up to an enemy as your first activation it’s a good option in a lot of scenarios.

Meathook is a setup model, and does so well into a lot of opponents. Tooled Up is important enough that she should probably be in every Fillet team if you’re kicking off, since making Fillet’s last-activation commit deal more damage is very impactful. She’s a lot harder to justify in an Ox team since he already brings plenty of damage and generally prefers squaddies who have a high personal threat and can take people out solo, rather than additional support – and Tooled Up is only worth ~4 damage since it’s probably going on a squaddie (and Ox himself doesn’t really need it). She’s also great in Boar’s team for setting up on turn one to send a Berserk model right into enemy lines- she has a lot more Tooled Up targets in that team since two models (Boar and the Bloodlust target) are going to get to make six swings, rather than just one.

vOx

vOx

Veteran Ox naturally can’t be played in the same team as oOx, and so is only a consideration for a Fillet or vBoar lineup. He’s a pretty solid include there, although his numbers aren’t particularly impressive. Defensively he’s underwhelming with a 3/1/19 statline, and on the offense he has a 2″ melee zone and TAC7, but isn’t particularly fast and caps out at 3 influence which means he isn’t great at killing people himself. His playbook has some reasonable pushes in it, but they aren’t momentous, and his damage is pretty average. He doesn’t have 2 damage on column 2, but column 3 is pretty reachable with TAC7 and 2″ melee so that’s not a huge disaster. As before on Meathook, the 3 influence cap means it’s not often worth putting work into enabling vOx to reach the top of his playbook.

Whirling Chains is a character play which doesn’t come up often, but does a lot of work. Pulling in enemies is exactly what Butchers want to be doing, and often means they’re going to get killed by Fillet or Boiler or someone afterwards. Note that Whirling Chains is a pulse that targets vOx, which means you don’t need to roll to hit to drag anyone in. It’s not easy to trigger off the playbook and can be difficult to set up on turn one (and isn’t often required past turn one) which means it’s not going to come up every game. Whirling Chains is even better in a vBoar list, because unlike Fillet, Boar has a ton of power and his main downside is his threat range, so pulling people 4″ in (and doing a load of damage) is a huge problem for the enemy there.

Lash Out is free damage, and brings some extra influence efficiency to a team that likes it. It also works well with Whirling Chains, especially if you can pull in multiple enemies. Like Sweeping Charge, it doesn’t benefit from damage buffs but also ignores Tough Hide. It also doesn’t require you to roll any dice whatsoever, which is nice if you need someone who’s guaranteed to finished off a model with <4 HP to end the game and have absolutely no chance of rolling awfully and failing to do so. It’s particularly handy against models with Reanimate. Auto-hitting damage is generally very strong against models with low HP pools which rely on defensive numbers, since you get to completely ignore their best defenses.

Rowdy again helps out when you’re dragging everyone in with Whirling Chains, and means vOx can reasonably expect to get to his 2 result against most targets. Most of the time if you’re buying Whirling Chains you aren’t going to be making a ton of attacks, though. This isn’t a hugely impactful rule but it’s nice to have to enable jumping in to a crowd of enemies and doing something useful. While Ox doesn’t suffer crowding out penalties, opponents do still get Ganging Up bonuses against him, so be aware that he is likely to get killed pretty quickly if you aren’t careful – his defensive statlines really aren’t very impressive and so generally you only want to be committing him if your opponent doesn’t have many damage dealers available or the impact he’s going to have is big enough that you don’t mind if he gets Taken Out.

The Old Ways is a terrifying effect and if you can trigger it at the start of a turn you pretty much immediately win any fight you’re in. This makes it risky for the opponent to commit into your team, and makes it particularly scary for high-def, low-HP models. It also makes hunting Mascots something vOx is really quite good at, along with other low-HP low-value models like Horizon and Memory. Leaving models on 1HP to kill at the start of the next turn is often a good plan in general, but it’s particularly good when vOx can be the one to take them out.

vOx is something of a high risk, high reward model. He’s not exceptionally impactful from his playbook – though Lash Out does help a lot – and he’s really quite easy for a lot of teams to kill, but in exchange if you do get to set up the optimal scenario with him tagging multiple models with Lash Out and setting up the Old Ways, he does a huge amount of work for very little influence investment. Just having vOx in your roster is usually enough to mess with the opponent’s player choices – Brainpain & Memory being the main model he counters – but he’s also just generically good in most places even if you don’t have those models on the other side of the table.

Shank

Shank

At 4/0/14 with no early 2″ disengage in his playbook, Shank is a bit of a target for a lot of enemy damage dealers. However, he also has an 8″ sprint, 2″ melee zone, and an excellent playbook with TAC6. His damage all comes with dodges which is very useful, and it’s all momentous with 2 on 2 and 3 damage on column 4 which is great output. With 2″ melee, if he’s in Ox’s aura he will very consistently turn 4 influence into 12+ damage which is enough to oneround a lot of squaddies – if he isn’t taken out first.

Thousand Cuts is a highly deadly character play. Costing 3 influence means you won’t be buying it often, and on the sixth column it’s not something which comes up frequently. However, if you do get the opportunity to take it your team becomes extremely scary. Remember that it does 1 damage which means it deals 2 under The Owner or 3 under Get ‘Em Lads!. If Shank could hit his sixth column before Thousand Cuts was applied, he can plausibly wrap to column two on future attacks which makes for enough output to take out durable players, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of support for him to reach it. You don’t have to put it on the model you’re targeting, either, so it’s also useful for setting up your next takeout after the current one is gone. Whether bought or triggered from the playbook, Thousand Cuts is also very scary for enemy captains and other high value models, since it pretty much guarantees that if that model doesn’t immediately run away it is going to be taken out by whichever Butcher can reach it.

Where’d They Go? puts Shank at a baseline 14″ threat range, and unlike vGutter he gets a charge attack and one more afterwards, rather than just a single basic swing, once he gets there. This makes Shank a great model on the first turn, since he can often reach the enemy lines immediately. On turn one he’s also less likely to get killed back as the opponent has other things to be concerned about like the ball and whatever they were planning on doing with the kicker. Speaking of the ball, Shank is pretty good at grabbing it and scoring if the opponent isn’t being careful. With his tackle nonmomentous and on column three, it’s not particularly easy to do, but if it’s loose after a goal kick he can scoot over and grab it pretty easily with his high movement, and if he charges the ball carrier it’s not that unlikely that he’ll be able to just grab it – and if he doesn’t reach his tackle, he has the fine fallback plan of just doing a load of momentous damage. If he hasn’t used Where’d They Go? yet, Shank has some disengagement options since he effectively has a 4″ dodge on column three on his counterattack – however, this isn’t very reliable since his 4/0 defensive statline means he’s likely to get KDed a lot.

Damaged Target makes Shank great at hunting down low health players who’ve escaped from a scrum, or who’ve just returned to the pitch. With a Where’d They Go? and a charge, he’ll reach someone damaged from 16″ away and reasonably expect to do around 5 damage to them, which while not huge can finish off some enemies who weren’t expecting to be reached immediately. On turn one he doesn’t often get to use this extra 2″ of threat range, but it can be useful when combined with Boiler’s Axe Throw or Fillet’s Pain Circle (if for some reason Fillet couldn’t reach engagement herself), or as followup for whichever model you kicked off with.

Shank is a very powerful and versatile model. He is consistent in damage with no support at all, and at the same time benefits greatly from buffs of all kinds, whether it’s a Tooled Up effect or just crowdouts. His main weakness is that he needs to be within 2″ of the enemy to really do his thing, and is easy to kill with almost no defensive abilities of relevance. This means that he’s particularly effective into teams which weren’t planning on killing you anyway, like Shark fishermen, or which have a few dedicated damage dealers you can avoid and otherwise don’t threaten all that much, like Hunters. He’s pretty good into just about everyone, however, he just sometimes needs you to play more carefully. Most butchers are easy to kill in general anyway, so having that weakness be a bit more exaggerated isn’t a disaster – a dedicated damage dealer from most guilds will take out a Butcher each turn either way, and whether it’s Shank or Gutter that’s getting eaten by Seenah doesn’t really make a huge amount of difference, so you may as well take advantage of his high mobility and output when you can. Because of Shank’s long threat range, he’s probably the single best model to put Bloodlust on, especially on turn one. Just try not to get him killed between him receiving Tooled Up / Chop Chop and actually doing things.

Tenderiser

Tenderiser.PNG

Tenderiser is pretty similar to vOx in numbers. He still has good TAC (though only 6 this time) and 2″ melee, and defensively he’s the same at 3/1/19, so a bit easy to take out. His 2″ push is a column lower, which means his counterattack is slightly better, and he has easier access to his KD as well. He also brings a m5 result up there on column six, which is pretty scary – his main strength is his ability to just walk around hitting things with a good playbook and 2″ melee, although he competes a lot with Shank and vGutter for that role.

Ground Pound is a play you won’t use often, not least because it requires Tenderiser to be within 2″ of (preferably multiple) enemies. However, it is a KD effect which hits automatically which is very impactful against some teams. You won’t often reach it on the playbook but buying it to KD 3+ people is sometimes a very good use of the first activation of the turn – although it’s not great for your momentum generation. It does benefit from The Owner which is a nice bonus, but be aware that it also KDs and damages your own models.

Outfield Defence is an important piece of anti-goalscoring tech for a takeout heavy team. Most footballers will still score pretty consistently even despite this effect, but it’s useful against opportunistic shots. The +1 TN is not relevant very often because it’s pretty easy for a striker to reach Tap In range or bonus time up to 4-5 dice usually. However, missing shots against a team like the Butchers is extremely punishing and generally means the striker is immediately getting taken out, the ball killing team now has the ball, and the momentum race is also in the Butchers’ favour. This means that while the TN is not often impactful, when it does matter it pretty much immediately wins the game, so that’s nice.

Celebrate THIS! is actually pretty much a downside. Getting some free damage on striker who score looks nice as first glance, but it’s much weaker than it appears. This is mainly because any striker who comes close enough to the Butchers’ goal to score is probably going to get taken out anyway, so you don’t necessarily need the damage often. Even worse, Celebrate THIS! is damage dealt without momentum being generated. Butchers have almost no playbook results which generate momentum without dealing damage. This means that after the striker comes in and scores, the Butchers get to generate less momentum off the striker before they inevitably die, which is a real downside in stand off situations.

Tenderise is a difficult model to justify in Butchers. He’s most relevant when punishing goal scoring teams, but Goal Defense is easy enough to play around that they probably don’t mind all that much – if you’re going to include a model in your lineup to shut down goal scoring, it should probably be oBrisket for her ball holding ability, not Tenderiser. He’s okay as a 2″ melee outfield player to hit stuff with, but the Butchers have lots of good options there and all of them are more mobile than Tenderiser or more consistent – TAC6 with no m2 result is worse than the playbooks of Shank, Gutter and Boar by a reasonable margin.

Roast

Roast.PNG

Roast is a scary threat with a very obvious downside. 2/0/18 is pretty much the worst defensive statline on any printed card in guild ball by a reasonable margin (of models worth 2VPs). However, he has his upsides. He’s got a solid TAC and a threatening charge with his bizarre 4″/8″ MOV stat. He also has (momentous) pushes on all his damage (including the one on column one, unlike Meathook’s) and by far the most accessible KD in the Butchers, even if it isn’t momentous this time around. His playbook goes 1-23-4 which is very threatening and gives him pretty impressive damage output, since he has a 4 influence cap.

Turn Up The Heat is relatively low impact. Putting Burning up on enemies doesn’t really play into the Butchers’ game plan all that much (they don’t really do kiting or attrition) and the movement debuff doesn’t matter very much when they’re within 3″ of a DEF2/ARM0 model, since they can easily generate all the momentum they could possibly need soon afterwards to clear it with. It could occasionally be relevant on a counterattack but it’s not an important part of Roast’s card. It isn’t even momentous!

Get It While It’s Hot, however, is a very impactful buff and helps out a lot of Butchers immensely. Because it costs 1, if Roast uses it and immediately charges himself, it’s effectively free – though it does have some positioning requirements. Roast usually wants to sit within 1″ of an ally before the start of his activation to make it work at its best, though use putting it on an ally that needs it more than Roast does is also fine – sometimes you don’t want to commit Roast to a fight himself. The charge discount is particularly relevant for Fillet (who often charges turn one, and an extra attack on her initial assault is a big deal) and Shank (who’s also often charging in on turn one to get some damage off). It’s also amazing on vGutter since she wants to charge as much as possible. vBoar doesn’t benefit from the effect himself, and on his legendary turn it does nothing, but the rest of the time it lets the team set up well, and extends the threat range of models without forcing them to spend additional influence, which is a big deal with each point of influence is worth two attacks rather than one via Bloodlust.

Intimidation really enables Roast’s playbook. He reaches his m2> result very reliably, which is already great under Ox, and requires only a small amount of help to hit that m3> result – and has the pushes to get extra crowdouts for himself for ‘free’. If Roast gets to walk up to someone and hit them, he is scarier than any other squaddie except Boar (who is situational and easier to counterattack) and Boiler with Assist (which is also more easily disrupted). His >> result is also really quite easy to reach on a counterattack.

Resilience and Big Belly make Roast a much less appetizing target than he first appears. He still isn’t extremely durable – especially against opponents who can easily break Resilience and KD him. If he’s being attacked by someone without a KD, his counter attack is a bit of a problem – since if they stay outside 1″ to avoid it, Big Belly can disengage, while if they go to within 1″ he can decline to push with Big Belly and then take his counter. The main way around this is to position such that the push can’t move your attacker, such as by making sure there’s another model or a marker behind you. Some models which would otherwise be able to kill Roast easily can’t deal with Big Belly well – although going into B2B lets you make 2 damaging attacks at least – 3 if you’re 2″ melee – which is definitely enough to put some serious hurt on him, and anyone with repositions baked into their damage like Hammer or Decimate don’t care. Footballing teams also get to ignore Big Belly completely, although if you aren’t killing him then being being within a few inches of him probably means they’re going to die.

Roast is a fantastic piece who does a lot of work for all three captains. Like Meathook, he’s a great enabler for a Fillet kick off on turn one. However, he has the additional upside of being extremely deadly himself and so also works well for Ox. Unlike Tooled Up, Get It While It’s Hot doesn’t scale with max-inf or anything, and so it just as good in an Ox or Boar team as it is in a Fillet team. Giving Ox himself a 1-inf charge has a lot of potential to see enemy captains getting one rounded, and Gutter and Shank also like it a lot. Roast is a great include into a lot of matchups, but he does have his issues. He works best when you’re grouping your team up together, which means when the opponent has AOE character plays and is playing keep-away he can be a lot less effective. He’s also going to die very quickly once Resilience is gone from him which can make allocating influence to him risky. Pushes and positioning shenanigans from models like Scalpel and Fuse can also make him a lot less scary.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is fast but pretty easy to take out at 5/0/11. She only has TAC4 but makes up for it with a 2″ melee zone and an excellent playbook with 1-23 damage results, all momentous – which means she wraps pretty easily and benefits from buffs well- or she would, if it wasn’t for her 2/3 influence cap. This is her real downfall and makes her much worse than she would be otherwise, since she can’t really compete in output with those models which have ability to make 4 swings. If she had a 4 inf cap she would be pretty terrifying, though, so that’s probably for the best.

Acrobatic gives Cinnamon a 13″ charging threat which is pretty solid, although still not as good as Shank’s. She will wrap frequently on the charge however compared to Shank, but she doesn’t get as many attacks afterwards. It would also be useful for tackling the ball and then getting out with it, but with only 3 max-inf that’s still quite difficult to do.

Get Set, BAKE! is a useful buff for Fillet’s and vBoar’s kick off. Extra threat range is a big bonus and helps a lot, since staying more than 10″ from Fillet is a lot easier to do than staying outside 12″ to force her to use Quick Foot, and it’s very difficult to keep everyone outside 14″ for complete safety (barring Pain Circle). For vBoar, extending vOx’s Whirling Chains range, or the range of vBoar and Shank on turn one, gives a lot of opportunities to get stuck into the fight immediately and kill someone. Similarly to on vOx, vBoar’s main downside is his threat range and effects that extend it – particularly that extend it without requiring the attacking model to spend influence – are fantastic.

Anatomical Precision and Intimidation on the same model – with a 4 long playbook – make for a huge number of wraps. Against a standard DEF4/ARM1 target she’s pretty even with most butchers without any support (usually doing 2 damage per swing), but scales much better with buffs. Because she only makes 3 attacks, she still needs quite a lot of support before she’s going to be one-rounding anyone, which is a definite downside – at the same time, if you aren’t bothered about that and instead want to maximise your momentum generation with wraps Cinnamon definitely does that well.

Cinnamon is difficult to justify in Ox’s line ups, pretty good in Fillet’s but not amazing, and extremely effective in Boar’s. Get Set, BAKE! is what it’s all about and the primary thing to be thinking about with her activation. Later on in the game, she’s an efficient model who can finish off most enemies easily even if she isn’t going to be taking Bloodlust or Tooled Up herself, she’s mobile and deadly which is just fine.

Overview

butchers

The Butchers are a team with a whole lot of power and a lot of mobility, which is a great combination. They primarily play a proactive game where they commit hard and fast to taking out key players. In general they are a team with a lot of risk and a lot of reward, since they are flimsy but want to be aggressive often. They are also a team that doesn’t really disrupt the opponent’s plans in many ways other than by just killing them, which means the opponent often gets to try and execute their own game plan relatively undisrupted also. This means Butchers’ games are often fast and deadly, since their presence on a pitch generally means models get taken out very fast on both sides. Most of the time Butchers are looking for a 4-1 plan by default, since they are great at taking models out and not the best at scoring goals. Once they’ve got to 8 points they’re happy to score to end the game, which is the usual plan – scoring before then is usually difficult, since once you’ve done so your opponent has the ball and you’re probably not getting it back barring them scoring again.

The Butchers are a team that defends itself primarily by killing whoever threatens it the most. Depending on the opponent, this can be their strikers or damage dealers, but in general the best options are whoever has influence on them. Killing influence is a powerful control tool and it’s something Butchers do particularly well. Fillet can one round anyone she can get 4 hits against and Ox lets anyone near him reliably output 12+ damage in an activation – unless they get counterattacked. Counterattacks are the bane of a Butcher’s life and one of the most important issues to be dealt with – particularly for Fillet, because she has neither an accessible KD nor a 2″ melee zone, she needs to pick her targets carefully or get disengaged. Most other butchers (at least those that do most of the damage) have a way to still be useful – whether it’s Shank and Boar with their 2″ melee zones, Boiler with his good KD, or Gutter who often only makes the charge attack and doesn’t mind if the enemy wanders away afterwards. vBoar does pretty well here also, since he has a 2″ melee zone that helps a lot of the time, and an accessible KD – particuarly when against a lot of models he can afford to take the KD and still one round them.

Into Butchers generally you need to dictate the terms of engagement – if you just walk up to the Butchers and try to fight them head on, they are going to win. Just spreading out is also not a huge benefit because Butchers are generally pretty fast, and while they benefit from support a lot of them are also happy to buy attacks with no help at all, with their early momentous 2 damage results. If they have to come to you to avoid being worn down by ranged damage however, that often causes them problems as they’re a lot more vulnerable to getting taken out if your models have support from teammates. Ranged damage isn’t the only way of doing so though – other options include control effects to move them towards you (whether Lure / Puppet Master, or just pushing them into you with vDecimate or someone) and models which can go in and set up for your team without immediately being taken out. These models are rare but exist, like Anvil and Benediction – note that vBoar still has potential to oneround these guys, though. Models which can commit to a fight and immediately get a takeout are very useful as well – if you can kill Ox or Boar the team is a lot less threatening, and dealing with Shank makes it much easier to split up and avoid the rest of the team. In general the important thing against Butchers is to have a plan and stick to it – the team will do plenty of damage so if you ever end up spinning your wheels without any real options for actually winning the game or disrupting them your models will die very quickly – and expect to get models killed. A lot of the time if one model is going to get taken out in the neat future, committing more models to try and save them will just mean the Butchers get 4VPs for their work rather than 2. Commit the minimum number of models necessary to do the work you need doing and let them die if needed, or lean the other way and commit heavily with everyone and hope to come out on top of the ensuing brawl.

As far as team selection, a lot of it depends on the kick/receive roll and the enemy team. Ox is great when receiving but doesn’t like kicking, where Fillet is very happy to be the kicker. vBoar prefers to receive but can deal with kicking much better than Ox can, since his buffs apply even if the target leaves the aura during their activation.  You are likely to want Princess as your only mascot. After that you have quite a few options – Roast is great with any choice, but does die quite quickly against some teams. Boiler is great into just about everyone, but at his best into teams which want to scrum. Shank is always a good include, especially with vBoar and against teams which want to spread out and avoid fighting. Gutter is a solid option everywhere but particularly with Ox, while Meathook is the same for Fillet. oBrisket is most useful against footballing teams, while vBrisket is most relevant against condition heavy teams (if she makes the 12). oBoar is best into teams that want to scrum, again, where his low threat is less of a problem and his raw damage helps win the fights against people who commit to you – although into those teams if you’re playing vBoar you can’t take oBoar anyway.

For roster selection, Butchers have access to 17 players and so need to drop four squaddies/mascots and one captain. The first drop is pretty inarguably Truffles, who just doesn’t have enough upsides over Princess to be worth the slot, especially when Boiler is so good. Tenderiser is also an easy cut who doesn’t really have any major upsides over the competition, and Layne just doesn’t do anything that the Butchers actually want. After that then most of the squaddies have at least one place where they’re somewhat relevant – I think vBrisket is the  model most likely to get cut, but her threat range extension and anti condition tech is justifiably useful sometimes. If so, your next option is probably oBoar who is also somewhat situational, especially if you’re planning on picking vBoar into scrumming teams anyway. As far as captain choice goes, Fillet should probably be in most lineups as the best option kicking, and the option which works best at covering the weaknesses of whichever of Ox and vBoar you take. While Ox is powerful and does lots of very useful things, Boar just applies raw numbers. In general, Ox is better in an actual scrum, where Boar primarily is good at threatening to oneround the enemy captain on turn one and try to use that to push the game in his favour from then on. He’s okay at it, but if your opponents are aware of this possibility then Ox is likely to be more relevant overall.

Butchers are a team which force the opponent to execute their plan correctly without stumbling, and punish the opponent’s mistakes very hard. Generally you can just play a pretty standard game with them and put the onus on the opponent to outplay you, which is a good way to pick up a lot of wins. The main difficulty in actually playing Butchers is avoiding overextending and getting important pieces picked off, but even they they have models which are mobile enough to still be useful when they return, and they don’t have as many critical dependencies on a single model as some other teams. They do however not have that much skill expression of their own compared to some other teams – there aren’t that many ‘cool tricks’ you can do with the team to catch your opponent off guard and once the Butchers are behind in a game they can have trouble recovering, since their primary game plan is simply to overwhelm the opponent with attacks. Fortunately for the Butchers, their raw numbers are really very good, and given the slightest opening they’ll carve through anyone.

Until next time,

-Henry

One thought on “Butchers in Season 4

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