Category: Winning Ways for your Guild Ball Plays

Chapter 53: There’s something about Boar-y

Wherein we go over the changes to the Butchers team for guild ball and the author’s thoughts on those changes.

I’m going to start with the easy ones: Brisket loses charmed (male) and gains 1 hp in return. A so-so model gets pretty much a straight nerf… I fully understand removing charmed from the game, but she doesn’t really get anything in return.

The other small change was to Veteran Brisket. Quick Time went down in cost to 1 for the 2″ dodge. I’m not sure this is enough for her to see play since other Brisket and Layne both seem better. Maybe she fits into a Vet Boar list now?

And that brings us to Vet Boar himself. Boar got a pretty big nerf, hitting several areas. There have definitely been worse nerfs in the game’s history, but I think this one is pretty significant even if it doesn’t take him into the ground (like some have in the past). He loses a speed, an influence, her lost 2 hp, and damage on his GB results from his book. He’s going to be a lot harder to use at the highest level of play now. I would say that good players have figured out good ways around Boar after getting games against him, and these changes are going to make it very hard to play Boar into those players. He gets easier to manage for players who haven’t figured out how to get around him so some of those hard feelings should get a little softer. It’s even more important to take both Cinnamon and Boiler now, and in some cases you’re going to have to do something to set Boar up (go in on KD’d models, or if they have no momentum). Learn to pick your targets better, Boar players, and be patient and it won’t be too bad. If you play him on autopilot like I’ve seen some people do it’s going to go worse for you than it has (and I’ve seen it go pretty bad, even in my own games).

Not too bad of an adjustment for Butchers players. Might mean we see some other captains besides Boar in the near future.

Chapter 52: New Cook on Duty

Big changes to the Cooks for this errata. They got some much needed love. Everyone that wasn’t a crossover model with the Butchers got a buff. Today I’m going to go over the changes and give some thoughts. There are quite a few really good changes and I’m excited to play them.


Probably the most important change to Wellington (and to another model) is the change to Chef’s Special. It now has a 4″ aura (HUGE improvement) and affects character plays (this is a big boon for Spice and her intensify). Shank and Tenderiser see some more use out of the character play part and Sugar is a little nutty with it (as we will see when I get to her). This should be a lot easier to use and will allow the Cooks to spread out a little more than they have in the past. I’m really excited for this change.

Wellington gained a health, which makes him a little tougher to take down, I guess. I have a hard time really evaluating a 1 hp change.

Scathing Rebuke not doing damage now is pretty awesome. I found before that the models I most wanted to use it on were ones I couldn’t afford to put damage on. Now I feel like if you don’t use it on each of his activations you are just not using all your tools. Some might see this as too easy of a choice (always use it), but Cooks needed the power buff this brings.

The last change to Wellington is replacing the 2 damage push-dodge with a 4 damage, increasing the damage available on his book. This change doesn’t feel very big and splashy, but is pretty solid. I always felt bad reaching the end of his book and then going, “I guess I’ll just take the three then.” Another option is good. It doesn’t increase his average damage much on a regular attack, but it’s noticeable on a charge or Singled Out attack. Here are his new damage tables:

Regular Attack:

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:1.904.27

Singled Out Attack:

Regular Damage
Chef's Special Damage
Weighted Average:3.174.33


Pepper gains a free attack every turn. This finally gives Cooks players something to do with the “rat.” Not much to say, make your free attacks.


So, Spice was already one of the better players in the Cooks, and now she’s been buffed. That might seem odd, at first, but keep in mind that Spice is a minor guild player that works only for the minor guild (not a crossover). With the inherent weakness of minors (they have less model choice) their exclusive models can be stronger than normal players and still be ok. They have to be strong to make up for not being able to take a silver bullet against some major teams.

I think the biggest change isn’t on her card. The changes to Chef’s Special are very, very good for her. She’s way more likely be benefit from the aura than before, and intensify can now do more damage. It wasn’t too uncommon to get 2-3 models in the intensify aura and wrap to it with each attack. Now that would be 24 damage to each model in the aura. Which is, well, a lot of damage. That kills most models in the game.

Her playbook rework is pretty good even without the changes making intensify great. On the damage side of things, her 2 and 3 have each moved down a column and a 4 was added to the end of the book. Huge improvements all around. Here is her new damage outputs (add 1 to the number if they are singled out and you’ll be pretty close to the real numbers):

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:2.164.49

For non-damage changes, her tackle has gone down a column. I’ve had a lot of game where that would have made a pretty big difference in how things played out, so not insignificant.

Lastly, she gain Assist (Pepper) to up her damage output even more. This probably isn’t even needed, but is pretty crazy. She loses Get Over Here (Pepper) from her card in return. Would be really good to have both, but there is no way they would allow her to have both. It’s way too easy to get assist that way (although, Devana isn’t that far off having that combo).


Sugar did not get the complete rework I was hoping for (I knew it wasn’t likely), but she did get changed a lot. I guess we can get the easy stuff out of the way first: She gained a health and her 3 damage became momentous. Both of these are good, straight up buffs.

Sugar gained 2″ of kick and lost those 2″ off her Icing trait. So she stayed the same for snap shots but got longer distance for regular kicks. I think this will make it more likely that she scores a goal in a game. It was very hard to get the snap shots before because your opponent just had to get in the way to make things tough on you. Now maybe she can score some regular goals and you won’t mind trying a snap shot if it comes up once she’s in position.

I’m going to miss the dodge she got from lighting people on fire (one of the things I liked most about her), but her new character plays are pretty great. Having a second source for the new and improved Chef’s Special is great. Two 4″ auras that add +1 damage to everything is awesome. That should help the team put out a lot of damage. Speaking of putting out a lot of damage, Chili Cook Out does 4! damage in an AOE. Despite its limited ranged I think this will be used a lot. I can see giving her 3 influence a turn to put out her character plays.

Sugar went from not being considered in my lineup (after trying to get some use out of her) to being a pretty solid piece that I am going to love giving another go to.

I’m super excited to give these new Cooks a trial by fire (pun absolutely intended). They seem to have got the season 4 minor guild sprucing up they deserve.

Chapter 51: A stroll down the Layne

Let’s get this out of the way: I was not thrilled that Butchers drafted Layne. I think the guild loses some of it’s identity every time they get a good striker. I was actually thrilled to see the tackles become non-momentous and get worse in a lot of cases with season 4. I really dislike that with the right person piloting them the Fishermen, a team built for goals, can out fight the Butchers. For both of those guilds their identity is based on the half of the game they are good at getting VP for and I think it really muddies the waters when they start bleeding (pun intended, only cowards don’t intend their puns) into each other’s piece of the pie. So I’m not thrilled about Layne even being here, even though he does look like a Butchers version of a striker. I will give him a go, though, and if you’ve read my stuff before I am open to changing my mind. Let’s get into it.

I delayed writing about Layne for a little bit so I could get some games in with him to bring some experience into this writing. As of the time of writing I’ve only got 1 game in with him, so I didn’t accomplish my goal… But I’ll still talk about him in the theoretical (as I do) and sprinkle in my experience.

This wouldn’t be a butchers article without looking at the damage output of the model:

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:1.532.65

For a butcher, his damage is pretty low. On the attack it’s almost exactly what Brisket’s is. On a charge its a tiny bit more because he has a 3 on his book. The 1 damage on 1 is momentous, so he’s pretty much guaranteed to get a momentum per attack.

Doing damage is not his cup of tea, it’s scoring. Damage does make him better at that though. I was easily +3-4 kick dice when I played him with Boar and vet Ox before making a goal. It’s really nice that he doesn’t have to waste an attack tackling the ball if he doesn’t already have it. A momentous tackle, dodge, and 1 damage on 1 hit is a pretty amazing result. Which kind of brings me to one of the best things he has going for him as a striker: a double tackle to get around close control. I figured up the odds of him getting the double tackle (on column 3):

Chance on Attack
Chance on Charge
Weighted Average:31.97%82.17%

It’s not something you can really bank on when you’re making regular attacks into models that they would traditionally put the ball on, but is decent chances on a charge on those models.

In the one game I played him he got two pretty easy goals, finished off a player, and generally sped the game up. Winning faster is good, but still felt weird getting a couple goals. I have rarely been opposed to scoring a goal opportunistically or to end a game with butchers, but it does feel like butchers are leaning too far into goal scoring with three decent strikers available to play in the same list (Brisket, Layne, and Cinnamon).

Last thing before I leave you. A regular feature for Butchers models (now) is to see what they want more, Singled Out or Stagger. I ran the numbers, and with Layne’s playbook and TAC he benefits most from Singled Out. In the one case where he technically does more damage with stagger (5/0) its such a small difference (0.07 damage on average per attack) that you won’t really go wrong putting singled out up instead. Worth noting that if the opposing model has 4 defense you can go the other way and put Stagger up with very little damage fall off (around the the same as putting SO on a 5/0).

That wraps up my write up of Layne for today. Not a fan of him being here, but he seems ok with what he can do. I think it’s likely I’ll be back next week to talk about changes to Butchers (Boar) and/or Cooks after the errata comes out. See you.

Chapter 50: Spice is everything nice

Spice is my favorite cook. She’s pretty cool with her berserks that trigger off intensify. She can even put conditions on everyone that would be affected by intensify, but she doesn’t really want to do that. You really want set up from Roast or Sugar before going in with her so she can do more damage. Or she can set herself up under Wellington’s legendary.

A not about intensify on this team: Wellington’s Chef’s Special aura does not add to intensify’s damage, unlike Ox’s Owner aura would. Chef’s Special is adds a damage only to playbook damage results and not to character plays.

Her damage output:

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:1.633.36

The damage in the table is single target damage when they don’t have a condition. So if you get to column 2, you still have to take 1 damage. Chef’s Special adds about 1 damage to her results and Singled out also adds a damage to attack against everyone but the “5” defense models (it adds about 1/2 a damage there). Her single target damage is lower than some of the other players on the team, but she makes up for it by spreading damage to other players. That spread of damage is because of Intensify, so let’s look at our chances to get it on an attack or wrapping into it on a charge (she’s only going to want to charge when they cost 1 or her output is greatly reduced).

Charge Wrap
Weighted Average:86.71%29.54%

As you can see, she’s very likely to get intensify off anyone with an attack, but only wrapping into it on the lowest defensive models. With conditions out there already Spice can stroll up and do 4 intensifies pretty easily, doing 8 damage to everyone withing 3 of her that has a condition. If you do that at the end of turn and again at the beginning of the following turn that might be several take out right there. It’s awesome.

As much as I like her, she’s pretty simple when it comes down to it. 1. Set a bunch of people on fire before she goes. 2. Do intensify a lot. 3. Profit. And don’t forget the Get Over Here for Pepper like I always do.

Chapter 49: Sugar, Sugar, You got me wanting more

Oh, Sugar, Sugar, what do we do with you?

Sugar is at the very least interesting. I was told that DC wanted to make a model that wanted to make snapshots, and that this is the implementation. She certainly looks like she wants to make snapshots. Snapshots are usually not good, however. We will certainly have to take a look at those in this article.

Something we know is good are dodges, and she gets a 4″ dodge just for setting people on fire. With Fire Blast. That’s pretty good. She also have a decent looking playbook, but not very good TAC. Sturdy is good, too.

Let’s start where we always start, with damage.

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:1.723.80

She does ok damage. She should be doing more than Cinnamon, but not as much as Roast or Wellington. Once again, like with the other Cooks, Chef’s Special adds a damage to her results, and so does Singled Out (in most cases).

She probably won’t be the main attacker because of her kit, she seems like she wants to stand back and throw fire blast. However, with season 4 the fire blast is now on the playbook so she can get it by fighting. So let’s look at her chances of accomplishing that.

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:34.89%93.95%

Looks like you are only going to get it regularly against “3” defense or less during an attack or against anyone on a charge. It’s actually easier to get it on the charge against the higher defense models (4 and 5 actual defense, not including armor) than it is to just buy and roll two dice. Even against the 3 defense models it’s pretty easy to charge and get and you could do that instead of rolling the two dice for the character play. It’s always good to get momentum, and if you get it then you can dodge 4″ from it at the end of activation.

Finally, we come to our look at her snap shot potential. For regular shots, TN 4, we get these probabilities for making goals:

Chance for Snap Shot
Chance for a goal

The two dice basically make up for the fact that you have to get two successes on the snap shot. We have almost the same percent for 3 dice on a regular shot as 5 dice on a snap shot. The same is true for a bonus time for each or if there’s a 1 die penalty. Those aren’t as close as the tap in comparison, though.

Chance for Snap Shot
Chance for a goal

If you can get in tap in range (which is a lot easier with 10″ kick for the snap shot) you have the same probability of getting a snap shot with those extra dice as you would with her without the extra dice, and she’s further away from the goal to do it. Now, to look at what it’s like with Tenderiser or any other model increasing the TN to 5:

Chance for Snap Shot
Chance for a goal

This is where things get bad for the snap shot. If you have to hit 5s on the goal then snap shots with 2 extra dice are a noticeably worse option.

I did not think that two extra dice would make up for it being a snap shot, but it does. The hard part of this is getting her in position and keeping her there and alive to do the snap shot. I can see the opponent pushing her out of range or just killing her to make sure you can’t shoot to her. There’s also just stealing the ball from the player that has it or KDing Sugar, though that’s a little harder with Sturdy. Lots of ways to interrupt this plan.

I’m not sure about Sugar. I have a feeling that she might get dropped so I can play Shank with his higher damage and mobility, or Tenderiser with that good KD on 2″ melee and damage (Tenderiser probably actually plays up with the team in Cooks). She does do good set up for Spice with that fire blast. 🙂

Chapter 48: Wellington is more fun than Ramsey

Let’s take a look at the Cook’s Guild captain, Gordon Ramsey, I mean: Wellington. He’s interesting but Ox, or Boar, he’s not.

Singled out is really good for the Cook’s Guild. With their intimidate the extra dice help them a lot more than normal for reaching higher in their books. Chef’s Special is really good, of course, but not nearly as good as the owner aura. It’s not as big, it requires an activation to put up and cost influence to do (except under legendary). It’s a really bad version of owner, but hopefully intimidate and their playbooks make up for this (Spoiler Alert: I don’t think they do). Singled out is pretty easy to access and is momentous, which is awesome. He also has one of the only KDs in the faction (but the worst one that exists).

On the back of his card he has his legendary, which is pretty good in a team with a lot of character plays. Free character plays are good, free ground pounds, thousand cuts, and setting every model around you on fire before doing intensify are really good. Setting up free auras are also nice, of course, and should not be forgotten.

So, damage output is important so let’s look at that:

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:1.853.52

He does 2 damage against a lot of players, just not the 4/1 and 5/0 crew. Against them he’s getting 2 only about half the time. This is just base, though, so let’s look with Chef’s Special since that is probably something he’ll get to use a lot of the time:

Weighted Average:2.835.06

As expected, Chef’s special adds about 1 damage to each result. Might as well just add 1 and forget about the real math.

So, Singled Out. It’s good with Cook’s (you might have noticed that with the Singled Out or Stagger article because both Roast and Cinnamon prefer Singled Out). So I ran the numbers of Wellington getting it on an attack and the chance of him getting it on a wrap while charging.

Chance on Attack
Chance on Charge
Weighted Average:93.87%89.59%

It’s very likely. Even against the “5” defense models it should happen a lot more than it doesn’t, even wrapping into it on a charge. Taking 4 damage, getting up singled out, and 2 momentum is probably worth charging even when it costs 2 influence, and you can make it cost 1 with Roast.

It’s pretty easy to make sure most of his attacks are under singled out, so let’s look at how much that helps.

Regular Damage
Chef's Special Damage
Weighted Average:2.743.90

In most cases singled out adds about one damage to his damage output, so with singled out and Chef’s Special he can regularly do about 4 damage a swing, which is pretty good output. He does normally spend 2 of his 6 possible influence to set this up. It’s worth it to do this, however, because the extra damage on two of the remaining attacks make up for not doing those two attacks.

Momentum generation on him is pretty good. As long as you are picking damage or singled out you make momentum. Usually the only result you might want to take that doesn’t have momentum is the KD. It’s pretty high in the book, but you can get it on a charge or with singled out pretty well. Here’s the probabilities:

Chance on Attack
Chance with SO
Chance on Charge
Weighted Average:26.75%69.79%89.59%

Don’t expect a regular attack to get there, but singled out is enough against anyone that doesn’t have “5” defense, which is only somewhat reliable on a charge.

And that brings us to the end, and saving the best for last. Scathing Rebuke is pretty good. It’s totally worth the 2 damage to clear conditions AND make a 2″ dodge. This will be used any time you have conditions on a model during Wellington’s activation, and sometimes just for the dodge. It’s so nice to see this sort of tech on a captain (or a mascot, like the mole) instead of on a squaddie, especially in the minor guilds.

Cooks are shaping up to what looks like a fun and interesting guild. I’m not sure that they’re any good, however. The auras are going to be hard to use, and maybe not strong enough for the set up they have to do. I’m getting the impression they are going to be like the Falconers were before 4.1, a lot of set up without enough payoff.

Chapter 47: A blast from your spice weasel, BAM!

Pepper is an interesting little weasel. I’m not a fan of his 6 health, even with his 5 defense. Dirge has the same defensive stats and more health. I accidentally kill Dirge all the time, so I’m worried about our little weasel.

He is very mobile with his high speed, Where Did They Go? and Get Over Here on Spice. This is nice, even just to get in the way and give gang ups (every dice helps with Intimidate).

As always, let’s look at his damage output:

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:1.292.84

He does almost as much damage as Cinnamon, just hits the 2 damage on the playbook a little less often than she does. As far as momentum goes, if he’s picking damage then he’s making momentum.

Wellington has singled out, so I went ahead and calculated his damage under that. Also, if you want to figure out his damage with Chef’s Special just add 1 damage to the values in these tables are you are pretty close to correct (close enough for game purposes).

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:2.163.62

Singled out makes hitting the 2 (or wrapping on the really low defense models) a lot more likely.

But, I am not really planning to make attacks with Pepper, except in one case, really: parting blows. With the vicious rule, Pepper’s parting blows are, well, vicious.

Weighted Average:4.84

Easily doing 4+ damage on a parting blow will really make people think about walking away from him. And if you can keep models where they are then you can make sure you apply pressure where you want. Of course, this doesn’t help if they just kill Pepper and then walk away.

Lastly, the Cooks have this weird goal scoring sub-theme, so we should look at Pepper’s tackle. It’s not a bad tackle, it turns out. You don’t really want to try against high defense models (the 5s) but against everyone else it’s pretty likely.

Weighted Average:4.84

Overall a decent mascot I would say, that has the flaw of dying to a stiff breeze, which is how Cooks are supposed to function. He doesn’t really do anything actively, but still contributes something.

Chapter 46: The Cinnamon Challenge

Cinnamon is the other crossover model with the Butchers. She brings several things to the Butchers that are good: 2″ melee, high movement speed, buyable dodge, momentous damage (kind of a given, but still something I want to see), and pretty good kick and tackle. A combination of those things makes her look like a pretty good striker option for Butchers. So I expect to make comparisons to Brisket and probably also Shank as I examine her. I also need to examine her in Cooks, of course.

We will first look at her damage output. Intimidation and Anatomical Precision are both really good rules, but her TAC of 4 is not so good. Her playbook also looks like it would good (except for the face that she, once again, has TAC 4). Here’s the damage:

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:1.513.37

Cinnamon actually does more damage on an attack than either Brisket, but less than Shank (talking averages here). On charges she does even more damage than Shank. I’m a little surprised by the charge results, but with the rules she has on the back of her card additional dice make a big difference.

With two of her captains having Singled Out, we really need to look at her damage under that character play.

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:2.494.26

Singled out ALMOST adds one damage to her attacks on average. Close enough that you can pretty safely call it that for game purposes, except against 5/0 models. It does pretty safely add 1 damage to her charge numbers.

For momentum, if you are planning to take damage, Cinnamon is pretty much guaranteed to make momentum on each attack. Her tackle and dodges aren’t momentous so if she’s going after the ball you should make momentum before hand.

Speaking of that tackle, let’s look at her chances of getting it.

Chance on Attack
Weighted Average:77.36%

Against anyone that has armor her tackle is better than oBrisket, but not as good when the target doesn’t have armor. Her tackle is better than Shank’s, as is expected.

Now, I have not talked about Ready, Set, Bake! yet… I have a problem with it. It costs 2 on a player that can only hold 3. Also, it really only matters on turn 1 (maybe turn 2). There is probably higher level of play that I am currently on that this matters a lot more, but for me it’s not worth the cost (both in influence and opportunity). There are options I like better (as you will see in the next couple paragraphs).

Where does that put her on a Butcher’s team and the Cook’s team. On Cook’s she is the best ball handler and scorer (I will talk about Sugar in her own article…). If you want to score a goal with them, and you probably do, then she’s your best bet. Shank can also fulfill this role if needed, though, and generally has better output when not working with the ball.

In Butchers she has more competition for the ball scoring role. Both Briskets and Shank are pretty good at the role (and probably Layne soon as well). I don’t really play vet Brisket because I like regular Brisket’s kit a lot better in pretty much any case. Shank should be played regardless of his ball handling abilities, so we are really looking for someone in addition to him (the exception is maybe Fillet, where I don’t play him right now). I would totally understand playing her in lists. She is completely reasonable in the roll of striker who can fight, however, I like Brisket more. They have comparable defenses (though Brisket is better against males) and comparable ball getting abilities, but differ in a lot of ways. Dropping Brisket means I lose access to Dirty Knives, and that’s the biggest deal. I use that play A LOT. The extra influence after scoring a goal with Brisket is also nice, but I don’t score goals that often (Brisket has a better shot on goal than Cinnamon, but it’s pretty close to the same if you factor everything in together – Brisket is 1 die more and 1″ more than Cinnamon with the same 3 influence).

A weird lineup that most players wouldn’t see coming might be Fillet, (Princess, probably), Shank, Cinnamon, Brisket (probably original), and Boiler or Meathook for now, but maybe Layne in the future. This team could go 2-2 or even 3-0 if needed to really catch people by surprise.

Chapter 45: Time to Roast

With the release of the Cooks we get a couple more models to add to the Butchers, as well as a new Butchers-like team to play with. I’m a big fan of the Butchers, obviously, and I’m very excited to get these new models on the table.

First up is Roast, one of the players that also plays with Butchers. Roast brings a lot to a Butchers lineup. He is another source of momentous damage (not surprisingly), but the great thing about his momentous damage is that each result comes with a push to help reposition models. Let’s look at his damage output.

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:2.324.17

Even against high defense models Roast does a consistent two damage with an attack. Intimidation makes his playbook really good. It’s even better on a charge, of course. Anything that gives more dice is very helpful to anyone that has Intimidate. Speaking of extra dice: Wellington has Singled Out! For the Cooks and Boar has it for Butchers. I will make sure I include data for singled out (or if they get a couple crowd outs, which still applies to Butchers).

Attack Damage
Charge Damage
Weighted Average:3.245.11

For Roast adding 2 tac will increase his damage by 1 on average. Keep this little tidbit in mind when you are trying to figure out damage during the game.

One of the big draws of Roast is his ability to let models charge for one less. This is going to be pretty big in both Butchers and Cooks. You should definitely look to put it on someone nearby so he can make use of it as well as others. Several of the models love this discount: Fillet, Shank, and Spice all do.

In addition to that, Roast’s knockdown is pretty appealing. There aren’t a lot of of KDs in Cooks and Roast’s is one of the best. And even looking at Butchers he remains one of the best KDs. (Tenderiser is close in competition, but Intimidate once again makes the difference.) It’s very likely to get the KD on anyone in the game. The Charge column is his chance to wrap into the KD when he charges since his normal KD is pretty much always going to happen on a charge.

Chance on Attack
Chance to Wrap to KD on Charge
Weighted Average:93.87%24.84%

On top of all that is the cherry on top: Resilience and Big Belly. This makes him a very good fist activation (not only because of Get It While It’s Hot). Counter attacks won’t do anything to him. He is also hard to attack into without having combined damage and dodge or push results (if the goal is to do damage). However, anyone that can get around his big belly will be able to take him out fairly quickly because of his low defense.

Overall, I am looking forward to Roast in Butchers, and Cooks in general. I think he will be good with Ox and Fillet (if I can figure out who to drop, I really like my lists). And I cannot even think about dropping him from Cooks, he’s a cornerstone.

Chapter 44: Who wore it best? Boar or Ox?

In this article I’m going to examine the output of Ox and Boar teams. I have seen a lot of talk on the social medias about Boar being very powerful, and even ruining the game. Some of that opinion comes from Boar’s own output, and some is from his support of his team. It’s my opinion that while he is more efficient, Fillet (against bleeding targets) does more damage and Ox’s support is more consistent and will do more damage in most situations. Let’s take a look at a couple situations and see how it they two captains stack up.

For this article I’m going to use the team of Princess, Shank, Cinnamon, Roast, and Gutter. This is a team that can be played with both captains (since no veteran Ox) and will do at least ok with both captains. When putting this lineup together I made choices that favored Boar. For example, Cinnamon is better for Boar than Ox because of the free charge. Same for Gutter most of the time. The other two are pretty good with both.

I am going to use the expected damage values for my comparison. These “averages” are calculated with spikes (both high and low) calculated into the numbers and are as close to predicting what a model will do as you can get.

Here are the damage values I’m going to use:


Damage Value
Stagger Damage
Singled Out Damage
Owner Damage
Get 'em Lads Damage
Veteran Boar2.83.93.8


Damage Value
Stagger Damage
Singled Out Damage
Owner Damage
Get 'em Lads Damage
Veteran Boar4.8

Some notes on the values up there: Those are the expected damage values taking into account every model in the game and how often models with each defensive stat shows up. This creates a value based on playing into all models in the game instead of just a certain stat. The other option is assuming the most frequent (often considered the “average”) defensive stats of 4/1 and doing the math that way, but I don’t find that tells as much since all models don’t have 4/1 (3/1, for example, is a VERY popular defensive stat). Also, Gutter’s extra damage for a charge is already factored into the charge values above. Lastly, It’s just not likely that you will get a charge with Boar after he applies Stagger or Singled Out since he is applying them and even if you do the lose of damage from pushes is pretty close to the extra damage you get from that charge, so I’m just going to leave that option off for the purposes of this exercise.

I’m going to look at a couple scenarios here. Basically I’m going to look at a regular turn and legendary turn, each of which is either you get to do everything you want vs. the opponent being a pretty good player and shutting down about half your shenanigans. Then I will look at what I feel (and I’ve seen others mention) is the best way to make sure you get as much as you can from Boar’s legendary in a real game: to move into position with with and legendary without him doing any work and what that would look like for Ox to do the same thing (which is a fairly common Ox strategy). Because this scenario is supposed to be one that helps out on the table we are just going to look at the opponent shutting down stuff, a realistic expectation, and not the magical Christmas land version.

I’ve talked on social media a little about how I expect this to turn out, but in case you haven’t seen me on there: I expect Boar in magical Christmas land to come out on top, but that Ox in the real situation where the opponent is shutting down some of the power will come out on top. Same with the “stand back and legendary” scenario: I expect Ox to come out on top. Not having run these exact numbers (just talking about it in more general terms) I expect to learn something from this exercise as I hope others will too.

For spending influence I will be prioritizing who will get the influence based on the most output. For example, the best squaddie to do regular attacks in Roast and the best one to do a charge is Gutter (as the numbers above show). I am also never going to use gang ups or cover or any other modifier to dice since that complicates things and not every using it is at least fair to both captains.

Magical Christmas Land without Legendary:

In Magical Christmas Land your opponent never stops you from doing what you want. If you want a charge then you are free to charge, everyone is always in ranged for everything, and no one ever counters. It’s a nice place to think about.

Starting off with Veteran Captain Boar. Boar gets 2, Roast gets 4, Shank gets 4, Gutter gets 2, and the last goes to Cinnamon since she makes better attacks than Gutter. Cinnamon have to go without. Boar gets to charge and can choose to take the 4 damage GB result and put up Stagger. He then takes 5 additional attacks at the Stagger damage. That’s 23.5 damage. Because it’s Magical Christmas Land, the player has exactly 23 damage and this just barely kills that player. Yay! 23 damage so far. Roast gets to go and gets to buy berserk. He walks into melee range and makes 6 attacks because of berserk. That’s a total of 13.8, let’s call it 14, damage to that player and a total of 37 damage so far. Shank gets to go and make 4 attacks into a player doing 8 damage bringing our overall total to 45 damage. The last model with influence, Gutter, makes a charge (because it’s better than 2 attacks). That’s 5 (rounded up from 5.2) damage on her activation. Then Cinnamon makes an attack for 2 more damage (round up from 1.8). Over the turn the team does 52 damage, that’s quite a lot of damage. It’s also worth noting that this produces 16 momentum over the turn.

Now, Ox’s turn. Gutter gets 2 (charges with Gutter are SO good), Roast gets 4, Shank gets 4, and Cinnamon get 3. Since everyone gets to be in Owner, because of Magical Christmas Land, Ox’s attacks are some of the worst in the team. Gutter gets to charge someone while staying in Owner to do 6.4 damage which we will call 6. Roast makes 4 attacks at 3.3 damage for a total of 13 (rounded down from 13.2). So far the team has done 19 damage. Shank gets to make his 4 attacks for 12 damage and a total of 31 for the team. Finally, Cinnamon gets her 3 attacks and does 8 (rounded down from 8.4). The damage for the team ends up at 39 total. That’s 13 less damage than Boar. The team also makes 12 momentum, a couple less than what Boar made.

Boar is clearly the better captain in Magical Christmas Land. He does a lot more damage and makes 4 more momentum.

Magical Christmas Land with Legendaries

For Boar: Boar gets 2, Roast gets 4, Shank gets 4, and Cinnamon gets 3. We are still in Magical Christmas Land so Boar will get to do all his output and everyone else on the team will still get their free charges, even Gutter and Princess. Boar does the same activation as before, except he also legendaries, so he gets to do 23.5 damage. Once again we will call this taking out a 23 hp model. Roast buys berserk and gets a free charge. The free charge does 4.2 and then he gets to make 7 other attacks at 2.3 damage which totals 20.3 damage for Roast’s turn. We will call that 20 for a total of 43 damage after two activations. Gutter gets a free charge and so does Princess, that’s 8 damage between the two of them for 51 damage so far. Then Shank makes a free charge and 4 attacks, that’s 11 more damage for a total of 62 damage. Then Cinnamon gets to do her free charge and make 3 attacks. That’s about 9 more damage for 71 damage that turn and 24 momentum. That is a lot of damage and momentum.

Ox’s turn. Once again others have better attacks than Ox so he will legendary and then stand there as his team attacks. Roast gets 4, Shank gets 4, Gutter gets 2 and Cinnamon gets 3. Remember, everyone is in legendary range in Magical Christmas Land. Roast makes 4 attack doing 4.7 damage per attack for about 19 damage. Shank attacks his 4 times for 16 damage, bringing the total to 35 damage so far. Gutter gets to charge someone in the legendary range for 7.6 damage, we will call it 8 for 43 damage total. Finally, Cinnamon gets her 3 attacks, adding 11 damage (11.4, really but 11 is close enough) to get a total of 54 damage. That’s almost 20 damage less than Boar. Also, this team produces 12 momentum, the same as before because Ox’s efficiency is in more damage per attack, not more attacks. In case you didn’t notice, this is half as much as Boar.

Boar definitely wins Magical Christmas Time. Get does bonkers damage if your opponent doesn’t do anything to stop him from doing everything he wants. I think everyone already knew this. I was certainly ready to cede this point to anyone, I just don’t think it’s very useful info. These should only happen against pretty new players and if you do this to a new player I think it would be completely justifiable for that player to quit the game. It’s not fun to be on the receiving end of this.

Realistic Turn without Legendaries

For this lets at least say that you get to make attacks with your influence. That is not always the case because of placements and other effects, but it’s the case at least a lot of the time. Assuming a good player you probably don’t get to make your free charge with Boar, at least a lot of the time. It’s not that hard to engage him with one or more models. With one model engaging he could maybe get himself free and charge, but that doesn’t overly help Boar’s damage output (it does help some). If your opponent gets two models on Boar it’s really not worth making two pushes to then get a free charge. Plus, the chances of getting two pushes isn’t super likely and you should just take the regular damage. On the Ox team a good player is going to minimize the attacks you can do while within the Owner aura. So lets just say that half the models with influence will get to make their attacks within the aura. Since Shank can get pretty far we’ll take him out of the aura, and Gutter wants to charge, so let’s charger her out of the aura. We’ll let Cinnamon and Roast stay inside to make their attacks. That’s about half the influence in and half out and is a good mix of models that have good attacks and the ones that don’t get as good of attacks in each category.

Boar’s team: Boar gets 2, Roast 4, Shank 4, 2 to Gutter, and the last one to Cinnamon. Same layout as before. Boar gets to make 4 attacks. Our opponent, that is good at the game, decides to counter attack. He or She is probably doing that because they have a KD because respositions will allow a free charge (unless there’s another model tying Boar up, then it might be an option). To get back up from that counter you will need to take a momentous result, so let’s call that they base 2.8 damage. Then you can take the 1 damage GB result to put on Singled Out (because there’s not much difference for our numbers in this problem and singled out helps the other models more. The rest of the attacks make up for the lack of damage on that since they now do 3.8 damage each. Add up his turn and he does 11.4 damage and makes 2-3 momentum (depending of if he has to spend to stand up). That’s probably not enough to finish the model off, so let’s just use Gutter to finish that model with a charge. Gutter does 6.7 damage on a charge under stagger. That brings us up to 18 damage and 4 momentum(ish). Roast gets to buy berserk (if he’s in range, but let’s say he is). Roast gets to do 6 attacks at 2.3 damage for about 14 damage. Now we are up to 32 damage and 10 momentum. Shank makes his 4 attacks adding 8 damage and 4 momentum while Cinnamon gets 1 attack and for 2 damage (about) and a momentum. Our grand total at this point is 42 damage and 15 momentum.

Ox’s Team: Roast gets 4, Shank 4, Gutter 2, and Cinnamon 3. Roast and Cinnamon get to make attacks in the Owner aura so let’s go ahead and figure that out. 4 attacks at 3.3 damage is 13 damage and 4 momentum and Cinnamon makes 3 attacks to make 8 damage and 3 momentum. That’s 21 damage and 7 momentum. Gutter charges someone for 5.2 damage and 1 momentum (probably). Now we have 26 damage and 8 momentum. Shank attacks and gets 8 damage and 4 more momentum. That put us at 34 damage and 12 momentum.

Honestly, I expected this to be closer in damage based on some rough numbers I’ve been running through when I’ve talked to people about this, Boar has a bit of a lead in this scenario. Before I’ve always used Shank for the Berserk attacks (because he seemed like the best model to do so, but turns out that’s Roast). It’s a lot harder to stop Shank from making all his attacks than Roast (if you pop Resilience before Roast goes he’s pretty easy to turn off with a counter because of the 1″ melee, you just need 2″ disengage). So sometimes it will just be better to take it on him for that reason. That does cut a damage from that, but that isn’t enough. It’s because of Boar’s personal output that puts the damage up so far over an Ox team. The more you can reduce Boar’s output the closer those will be because Ox’s owner aura makes up for the damage the berserk attacks do most of the time (but does produce less momentum). The whole Boar plan and how good it will be will come down to how good your opponent is at stopping Boar and how good you are at making sure Boar gets to do things.

Even with this I’m not yet convinced that Boar is the better overall captain. I’m closer to that, but its just so hard to keep an Ox team from doing a bunch of damage and it’s easier to shut Boar down. If you use concussion to strip 2 influence from Boar then you lose most of the damage output for the team. Taking 2 influence from an Ox team isn’t a big difference. If you can push Boar out of 6″ of his team then he loses a lot of other things. If you stay away from a Boar team so that they can’t get to you, especially Boar himself, they don’t do as much. In an Ox list, especially with the players I normally play, even when I can’t get to the enemy with a charge I can throw character plays with conditions that still do a lot of damage. Ox can always do some work no matter what’s going on in the game or how much the team is controlled.

Remember: I built the team above to favor Boar, and we see a Boar advantage. If I built the team to advantage Ox it would either be much closer or give an advantage to Ox.

Realistic Turn with Legendaries

Like in the last one we are playing against a pretty good opponent. In this case for Ox we will have the same models attacking within and without the aura. For Boar we will have Shank get a free charge because it’s very hard to stop him from doing so, and we will give Princess a free charge because that can probably be easily arranged since she won’t be a priority. I want to give one model a free charge here and I think out of the options an opposing player would try to tie everyone else up over Cinnamon, so she gets the free charge. Gutter, Boar, and Roast are all too dangerous to get free charges and so the opponent will do their best to stop these and could very well succeed, so they won’t get free charges. Also, Shank will take Berserk since he’s the best model making a free charge to take it.

BOAR: Boar gets 2, Shank gets 4, Roast gets 4, Cinnamon gets 3. During planning we probably hope to get a free charge with Gutter, but of course we won’t. If Gutter doesn’t get that charge her attacks aren’t very good so that influence is better in Cinnamon. Boar gets his 4 attacks. He takes 2.8 damage to have momentum to make counters, then 1 GB to put up singled out, then 3.8 times 2 for a total of 3 momentum and 11 damage. Shank goes, buys Berserk and makes attacks, somewhere in there he dodges so he can make a free charge and berserk off that. So in his activation he makes 1 charge attack and 7 regular attacks. That’s 8 more momentum and 17 damage. We now have made 11 momentum and 28 damage. Cinnamon gets a free charge and 3 attacks for 4 momentum and 9 damage. We now have 20 momentum and 37 damage. Roast makes his 4 regular attacks to add 4 momentum and 9 more damage. Bringing us up to 24 momentum and 46 damage. Compared to Boar without legendary we made quite a bit more momentum, but didn’t do very much more damage.

OX: Shank gets 4, Gutter gets 2, Roast gets 4, and Cinnamon gets 3. Roast makes 4 attacks for 19 damage and 4 momentum. Yes, 19 damage. Cinnamon makes her 3 attacks for 11 more damage and 3 momentum. After the models who get to attack in the aura are done we have 30 damage and 7 momentum. Shank makes his 4 attacks doing 8 damage and 4 momentum while Gutter charges for an extra momentum and 5 damage. This brings our totals up to 43 damage and 12 momentum. This was much closer than the last comparison.

I still think it’s easier to get the Ox bonus than the Boar bonuses. In this example I had some in and some out on both, but I think it’s way more likely that you can make attacks while in the legendary bubble than get to make most of your free charges because you can more easily shut down charges than get people out of the Legendary bubble on Ox.

However, the math isn’t really going my way and is doing a pretty good job of disproving me. I’m not a fan of my own math arguing against me, to tell you the truth. Mostly what I have at this point is my experience as a Butchers player for the entirety of the game and my own feelings on how things will play out in my corner. I have to admit though, my resolve on this issue is dissolving. I do have one more scenario to run through, though.

Stand Back and Use Legendary

When I saw Boar’s legendary play the second thing I thought was: “That’s going to be hard to use.” (The first thought was “Wow.”) Boar is definitely a model that wants to get involved in the fight. As we saw above, a lot of the damage Boar does over Ox’s team is tied to Boar himself. If he charges up into the fight he might outpace his team and then others might not get free charges from the feat, especially if the other team has some pushes to move him so no one is in the furious bubble. To counteract this you can legendary and then stay in a place where your models will stay in the legendary play bubble. This has the best chance of making sure you get use of the the legendary. So we will do this with Boar and the same with Ox. Like before we will have the same models get free charges vs not getting free charges and attack in the legendary vs not attack in the legendary.

Boar legendaries and stands there so he gets nothing. Shank 4, Roast 4, Cinnamon 3, and Gutter 2. Gutter and Roast don’t get to charge so the just attack for a total of 12 damage and 6 momentum. Shank buys berserk and manages a free charge in his activation for 1 charge and 7 normal attacks. That makes 17 damage and 8 momentum bringing our total up to 29 damage and 14 momentum. Princess makes a free charge bringing our totals up to 32 damage and 15 momentum. Cinnamon gets a free charge and makes 3 attacks adding 4 momentum and 9 damage. We have 41 damage and 19 momentum over the turn.

Ox will also legendary and stand there. Shank gets 4, Roast 4, Cinnamon 3 and Gutter 2. Roast makes 4 attack in Legendary range and Cinnamon makes 3 inside the bubble. That’s 30 damage and 7 momentum. Shank gets 4 attacks outside and Gutter makes a charge outside. This is the same turn of events as the last set so we already know it totals 43 damage and 12 momentum. That’s barely better than Boar…

Huh. I… I could be wrong… before I shortcut the math a bit and compared what I thought things were adding to the damage and got very close numbers. With how much easier it was to shut down Boar’s extras than Ox’s I figured that the numbers were close enough that any kind of control puts the math in favor of Ox. However, it’s starting to look like if you can’t completely shut down Boar’s shenanigans then he can keep up with Ox and even surpass him on damage output. There are still things that this doesn’t show, like relative versatility of their actual chosen line ups and things like skewing for higher defense (which probably favors Ox more when fighting against) that need to be put on the table and tried, but this is enough that I will no longer be arguing against people on the social medias that Ox will be better than Boar without getting a lot of playtime with him.