Month: December 2016

Chapter 16: Tenderiser? I barely know her!

Oh, Tenderiser. Someone once told me that Tenderiser is amazing. I believe he sited the +1 TN to goal shots as the reason to take him. I think that is a good place to start my article. That +1 TN to goal shots makes goals miss approximately 10% of the time. So 1 in 10 goals made with Tenderiser standing near the goal will miss when it would have otherwise hit. In a tournament it is conceivable that 10 goals are made on your team, and Tenderiser only makes one of those miss. I’m sorry, but that, alone, is not a good enough reason to take Tenderiser.

Let’s see what else he brings. First, it’s Butchers, so his damage output:

Regular Attack
Charge Attack

It’s… not so great. The low end for a Butcher (around what Boiler is without the dog). He also only brings 1 influence, so there are just better options if you want to do damage.

So what about Rush Keeper? There is good news there:

Tackle Chance
KD Chance

When Tenderiser gets off a Rush Keeper Charge he is very likely to knockdown or tackle the player he gets a charge on. That’s good, when he gets a Rush Keeper charge off. It has been my experience as a player that my opponents work to get around Rush Keeper to make sure it never goes off. I have gotten to charge from the ability very few times, and I’ve played him a lot historically. Now, that has its own benefits. If your opponent is playing around Rush Keeper then you are limiting their options and making them solve a puzzle that can sometimes be pretty hard to solve. So, finally, some worthwhile upside for this model! Combine the puzzle Tenderiser presents with the +1 TN and you have a decent goal defender. Together that makes it so people aren’t scoring with players that aren’t dedicated strikers (something a lot of people aren’t doing anyway), and makes it a little harder for the strikers to do what they do.

There are two more things on his card I want to talk about. First is Seismic Kick. Not a bad ability, if he wasn’t kicking with 1 die. It means that 50% of the time the ball scatters and may knock down some of your own models, or miss the models that you wanted to knockdown (25% of the time if you spend a momentum to get 2 dice). It’s a cool ability that he won’t get to use very often. Second is Ground Pounder. Also a cool play. It’s a good area control piece, that he won’t get to use very often. It’s not likely to get on a charge and paying 3 influence is tough. This will require some set up to get off and make use of, but is great if you can give him that set up.

All in all, Tenderiser is a decent player for sitting near the goal to make shooting tougher, and generates an influence he doesn’t need to give the team. I have traditionally taken him against teams like the fish that want to score, but that doesn’t seem to slow them down. It seems like he is better against teams that Butchers can out fight even with a man down, so will want to score, but doesn’t have more than one good striker. Someone like the Morticians. I don’t think there are very many teams that fit that description. He is currently in my 9, but I don’t see him staying there. There are just too many good options for Butchers right now, and he’s a little behind the curve in the areas I want to focus.

Chapter 15: Boiler is the man (well, boy)

This is the article I should have written a long time ago, but kept putting it off since I wrote the one article mostly about Boiler before. And then I talked about him again in the Mat Hart letter. I actually talk about him a lot. I compare the damage output to Boiler for every model. So, here we go, Boiler’s damage output:

Regular Attack
Charge Attack
Assist Attack
Assist Charge
Weighted Average:1.833.113.104.94

He hits pretty hard, as long as Princess is there. Without Princess he doesn’t hit particularly hard. And as long as he’s getting out of the first column he racks up the momentum. Outside of attacking (which is what you want to do with him) he has decent defensive stats and kicking stats, for the Butchers. With Ox he’s one of my main damage dealers. With Fillet it seems like I use his character plays more often than I attack with him. Marked Target can let my flankers come in on someone they don’t normally reach and swift stance if obviously good. He usually only ends up with 1 influence on the Fillet team to either make an attack or mark target in most turns. Ox gives him 4 every turn so he can do work.

He’s a player that you will want to walk into combat instead of charging if possible, and every single buff he gets is great, TAC or Damage or Defense. Any little bit he gets really pushes him over the edge.

Boiler is one of my favorite players in the game. He didn’t start that way, but after using him it was clear that he does a lot.

Aside: How likely is that Goal or Pass?

A while ago I made a chart for the likelihood of making a goal or a pass in various situations. I made it for one of the articles I wrote. But now, with the new edition bringing the TN 3 shot on goal more often I updated it to put here.

So here is the chances of making a goal with 1-5 dice and at TN 3-5. I believe that is every possibility in the game.

Number of Dice
TN 3
TN 4
TN 5

Chapter 14: I hope this one doesn’t Boar you

Another model that is getting a lot of talk on the internet when it comes to Butchers is Boar. He got a better playbook and Rage got less helpful to the team, so he is getting some attention. So let’s talk about Boar.

Let’s take a look at his expected damage:

Regular Attack
Charge Attack

That’s pretty good damage output. It’s in between the Meathook and Boiler high/low (First attack vs. additional with Meathook and without vs. with the dog for Boiler), but close to the high end of those players, which is pretty awesome. He is way more influence efficient, too. Getting at least 2 attacks with one influence. Four, including a charge, if he’s not engaged or you can free him. This is an improvement over pre-errata:

Boar Damage
Old Damage
Boar Charge
Old Charge

That’s not much of an improvement. An average of 1/4 extra damage on a regular attack and 1/2 damage on a charge. So why is he getting talked about so much? One reason is the change in Rage and union selection rules. Rage only got one change, but it’s a big one. He used to be able to do something else with his one influence if he couldn’t charge. Now he cannot (outside of a union team). So we have to look at what that one influence gets us for attacks. And in attacking, Boar is better:

Boar Damage
Rage Damage
Boar Charge
Rage Charge

Boar doesn’t do that much more than Rage on a charge, but on a regular hit he is doing an average of at least 1/2 point of damage more per hit. That’s on the models with the highest defenses, where that 1/2 point of damage will add up. Against lower defense models he does more. Plus, he can benefit from buffs the team hands out that Rage cannot. Now that Rage has lost his utility, Boar is an obvious choice over him in the team. The only thing Rage brings that could be beneficial is that he still causes bleed, which Fillet may like. But I don’t even like him there any more.

So all that is a good argument for not taking Rage, but not necessarily for taking Boar. It’s the other changes that bring him out of your bag in addition to his damage buff. He now has 3 defense (raising 1). It makes 1 in 6 additional dice miss him that didn’t before. Also, his healing has been made proactive. You now have better control when he heals. If you give him an influence he still heals 2, and can heal 4 if he gets to charge, when you need him to heal.

All that and I still probably won’t play him that much, for the same reason I stopped using Rage in Season 2: He’s just too easy to tie up and keep out of the game. I would rather have a player that does more in every situation than in just a few. And with players like Meathook, Boiler, Shank, Brisket(s) and Minx, how can I fit him in?


NowYouSeeMe on the forums replied to my posting of this article to wonder why everyone was down on Boar. as he pointed out, Boar has a pretty low Knockdown and can knockdown the player engaging him to free himself up for the charge. This is not something I’ve considered too much in the past. I think it is because not many of the Butchers have accessible knockdowns, so I’ve not been doing that much, and I would usually choose to do damage instead anyway. But! If Boar can make one attack and free himself up and still be able to charge that increases the amount of damage he would be doing overall. NowYouSeeMe said that he would KD on the first hit if they counter attack or choose damage if they didn’t and KD on the second hit if not the first. That is a solid strategy if he can easily knockdown a player. So let’s look at how likely it is:

Chance of a Knockdown

Ti is likely he will knockdown a lot of players. In fact, breaking it down even further I see that 5/0 has a 50% chance of being knocked down, a 4/1 has a 63% chance of being knocked down, a 3/2 has a 75% chance of being knocked down and everyone else has an 85% or better chance. That’s a lot of players that just get knocked down on the regular.

I’ll have to try this out soon. It does seem like a pretty solid plan.

Match Report 1: Engineers vs Masons

For this game I wanted to try out the remainder of my (functionally) new players.  Mother and Vet Velocity haven’t arrived just yet so they were out.  While grabbing minis I completely forgot that normal Velocity existed or she would have been in there somewhere.  Pin Vice was a given for the captain.  Rather than build the heavy footballing team she usually runs, I decided to try something a bit more brawl focused.  Hoist and Ratchet were meant to play a different roll this time.  Rather than raining Blasted Earth, Hoist planned to tool up Ratchet or Pin Vice and then use his natural hardiness to safely add crowd out dice.  The perfect world idea would play out as follows:  Hoist puts tooled up on Pin Vice, Pin Vice uses Mechanical Heart then deletions Ratchet and herself before going in for four attacks, Ratchet puts Tooled Up and Overclocked on himself and charges for four attacks total.  On average dice against a 4/1 opponent this should come out to a little over 30 damage between them followed by whatever Rage manages.  In practice it didn’t quite work out that cleanly but it was a fun experiment.

My List:
Pin Vice

My opponent was playing the Masons from the new Kick Off box.  Despite several players in the area owning Masons I don’t have that much experience against them.  Beyond Flint being a goal master and Mallet hitting like a truck I was largely in the dark.  As a quick side note, these models are great.  If the detail is less than the metal casting its minimal.  I look forward to seeing what they produce in the future.

Opponent’s List:

Turn 1:

Engineers won the roll and elected to receive.  Masons deployed across the middle with Brick and Marbles guarding the fast terrain side.  Flint had the ball and I feared that could mean a turn one goal if I wasn’t careful.  Mainspring went far left with hopes of retrieving the initial kick.  Pin Vice and Hoist went right in hopes of settings up a turn 2 legendary goal.

I got extremely lucky and the kick off scattered close enough for Mainspring to snap to.  The turn was mostly positioning from here.  Some rough ground went out from Ratchet and Hoist in an attempt to slow the Masons more than damage them.  Mainspring passed Pin Vice who kicked back and forth with Rage for momentum.  Masons shift to counter my movement in preparation for next turn.


Turn 2:

This was it, I had won the roll and was ready to live the dream.  In hindsight I have no idea why I thought Rage going first was a good idea.  Rage charged Honour and failed to kill her.  Honour then proceeded to tackle the ball from Pin Vice and pass it to Harmony.  My opponent slips between Ratchet and Mainspring to engage Compound to prevent any charges.  Harmony kicks and the score goes to 0-4.  I am able to scatter the ball safely into my back field.  Ratchet moves up to slow down Mallet and Brick.  Flint charges in and is able to put some damage on Mainspring but he survives.  Pin Vice takes out Honour and decides to leave the ball for now.  Mallet, Brick, and Marbles take a more aggressive stance and move forward.


Turn 3: 0 – 4

I’m safely ahead in momentum and everyone is near full health.  Engineers win the roll for first and Rage charges into Flint who luckily goes down.  Mallet retaliates into Rage who survives with only two boxes remaining.  Compound and Brick both reposition to protect their respective teams.  Ratchet Tools Up himself and walks to engage Harmony before dropping Overclock on Hoist.  His dice are good to him and it goes 6-4.  Marbles slides around to aid Brick.  Pin Vice throws Alternator on herself and charges in to Brick.  Through a combination of dodges, she is able to get within kick range of the goal and pops her legendary.  Honour positions herself down field to receive the ball in the event of a goal.  Mainspring walks to within 8” of Pin Vice and turns on Launch Control.  Hoist uses his free run to grab the ball and pass to Mainspring who passes to Pin Vice for a snap shot and goal.  In an effort to stop the return goal, Pin Vice uses the momentum to dodge toward Honour.


Turn 4: 10 – 4

My luck continues and Engineers win initiative.  Pin Vice isn’t in a position to both grab the ball and generate momentum and her health is running low so I figured her for dead.  With Flint and Harmony back on the field I didn’t think the ball would be there to make a second activation attempt.  In a vain attempt to stop the impending goal Compound repositioned himself slightly and activated Horrific Odour.  Harmony grabbed the ball and back passed to Honour for a teamwork dodge down field.  Pin Vice was able to tackle the ball away but didn’t have the influence to do much with it.  Honour rolled well enough on her first attack to guarantee a takeout on Pin Vice if she followed up bringing the score to 10-6.  She was left with not quite enough influence to finish out the goal but the ball was safely in my opponent’s possession.  An uneventful skirmish broke out in the middle of the field between Rage and Brick while everyone else largely shuffled around.


Turn 5: 10 – 6

Masons won the roll to go first.  I loaded up Ratchet and Pin Vice who walked on to try and block the goal.  Honour went first and passed to Harmony.  Harmony was able to bounce off Ratchet for plenty of momentum and score (10-10).  I scattered the ball as close to Pin Vice as possible.  Pin Vice and Ratchet both had a shot of getting to Harmony for a takeout but it felt risky against the counter attack.  Pin Vice grabbed the ball and jogged toward Ratchet.  She made a successful pass before applying Mechanical Heart, Alternator, and Controller to him.  Ratchet used his one remaining momentum to Overclocked himself and charged Flint.  He was able to achieve enough momentous results to kick with bonus time for the final goal.


Post-Game Thoughts:

It was extremely close and I fully believe Rage would have gone down on my opponents next activation.  Only one or two rules errors came up and I feel confident they wouldn’t have had a major impact on the game.  My biggest misplay was probably going for the turn 3 goal.  I was at 6 and knew he had his best strikers coming back on to pick it up.  I could have safely left the ball in my back field until I had the fourth takeout.  I definitely need more practice against Masons and hope to get some in.  The plan for the next one of these is to get pictures of the big moments instead of just allocation.

Chapter 13: Obligatory Season 3 Meathook Article

Last time I talked about Meathook it was at a time when no one would talk about Meathook, now everyone is talking about Meathook. She changed a lot in the newest errata. So much so that a paragraph or two cannot added to the end of my last article just wouldn’t do. So lets dive in.

First, a comparison to previous Meathook. I’m going to look at pure damage potential for the comaparison. I’m doing that because every other comparison you can make, Meathook is strictly better now. She either didn’t change or just got better (Hooked, pushes).

Here is Meathook’s old damage:

Regular Attack
Extra Attack
Charge Attack
Defense/ArmorRegular AttackExtra AttackCharge Attack

And here is Meathook after the changes:

Regular Attack
Extra Attack
Charge Attack
Defense/ArmorRegular AttackExtra AttackCharge Attack

Her regular attack damage (the damage she does on the first attack on a non-bleeding target) got an increase of .1 to .25 damage per hit. That’s a pretty minor buff if you ignore that a significant amount of time that comes with a push. Her damage after her first hit has increased by .2 to .8 damage a hit. This is what she will be doing more often (2/3 of her attacks if she is loaded up). This buff has more to do with the -1 defense from Hooked that her straight up playbook changes (although she gets to 2 damage and 3 damage earlier now than before). Her charge damage didn’t change much, but that’s not important for reasons I will discuss in a second. The important thing here is she now does more damage on each hit than before, but she can now only make 3 attacks instead of 4. That is a net negative amount of damage from her activation, but the defense debuff she puts out and the fact that she brings an extra influence now makes up for it on the table. Not to mention all those great pushes.

So let’s talk about how to use her.

First there is pure utility: With one influence on her she can do one of two things: Make an attack that puts a -1 def modifier on who she attacks, maybe push them into a better spot, and put bleed on them. The first two things go a long way towards helping anyone attacking that same model, but the last is especially good for Fillet. The other thing she could do is put Tooled Up on someone. This is great when she can’t get to someone to make an attack. There are too many numbers going into whether it is better to attack or tooled up if you have the choice (who’s doing the attacking, who they are attacking, and everything that goes into those two thing, like defense, tac, playbook), but I plan on doing an attack if those are my choices. There is just so much you get out of an attack with her that tooling someone up seems like it’s not as much of a positive. With two influence she can make an attack and tool up. That’s helping out another player kill that model like crazy. That is a better thing to do with two influence for damage output than charging as long as the model you tool up makes at least 2 attacks, and that doesn’t even count in the defensive penalty the target suffers (which probably makes it closer to 1 attack).

So if making an attack and tooling someone up is better than charging, when do we want charge with her? I started looking at the numbers comparing Meathook making a charge vs. just attacking at different influence amounts (for her it’s just 2 or 3 influence). I made a table (of course):

Regular Attack
Extra Attack
Charge Attack
2 Inf (Attacks)
3 Inf (Charge)
3 Inf (Attacks)
Defense/ArmorRegular AttackExtra AttackCharge Attack2 Inf (Attacks)3 Inf (Charge)3 Inf (Attacks)

The table shows that whether she has 2 or 3 influence she is expected to do more damage from attacking with those influence than charging and making attacks with any leftover. This is at least 1 extra expected damage in the worst case. This all assumes that the target does not start with bleed. It actually helps the case that she should spend influence on attacks if the target does start with bleed. This is because she gets such a boost to every attack after the first. The more attacks she makes after she initially does damage, the better. Bottom line her is that she should make attacks with her influence and not charge if she wants to damage someone.

Does she ever want to charge then? I see a couple cases where she would charge even though damage to the model being charged is less. First, if she’s charging into a group of models and is trying to trigger Scything Blow to put damage on multiple opponents. There are a couple problems with doing this: Scything blow does not trigger Hooked and it’s not super likely to even go off because she will be crowded out for that attack in order to get other models. Second, if she needs the distance to get to her target. This, I feel, is the most likely reason to charge. Even then I would at least consider putting Tooled Up on someone else instead of charging unless they are already bleeding. She just doesn’t do as much on a charge (she does as much damage as when she makes an attack against a Hooked, Bleeding target). Lastly, if you can get a charge off for 1 influence, that is better than spending that influence on an attack. I wouldn’t even bring that up, but now it’s possible with a new plot card.

It is also worth noting that she should not tool herself up and then attack. You lose out on damage doing that (about 2 on average). This is also because of all the buffs she gets after the first time she damages. She wants to make a many attacks as she can after she applies Hooked and Bleed to get the most out of those things.

The way I see Meathook is that she can do a lot for your team with only 1 influence, and it’s ok to just give her that one, but she can do a lot with 2 or 3 as well. I plan on putting her up with the brunt of my force to hand out the Hooked debuff at least, but she’s a good damage dealer as well. She actually does more damage per hit than Fillet and Boiler once the target is bleeding and hooked. That’s pretty good and it makes sense that she cannot hold 4 influence any more.

That’s all I have to say about Meathook for today. I haven’t decided who I’m going to talk about next, so stay tuned for a surprise.

First Impressions of the New Engineers

After two seasons of listening to other teams complain about having their models knocked down and denied momentum, we have a rebuild!  The Engineers have been in need of some help since release and I believe Steamforged may have nailed it.  I’ve only gotten one game in so these are certainly early thoughts.  That said, everything feels better.  Every player felt like they had something to do every turn.  This is my take away from my first S3 game against Butchers.  I very much enjoyed the old Ballista firing squad setup and so chose the following to open up S3: Ballista, Mainspring, Ratchet, Salvo, Colossus, and Hoist.  I’m going to start with my last pick, Hoist.

In past seasons I have had trouble making use of him.  He felt somewhere between Colossus and Velocity but not as useful as either.  If I wanted to play the ball hard under Ballista, he might come in for Salvo and under Pin Vice he might replace Rage but odds were low.  In most of those cases his job would come down to not dying and hoping for a good True Replication target to come in range.  Thankfully that has all changed.  With the change to true replication he has become an amazing force multiplier.  Need more rough ground? Hoist.  Need some to making kicking more difficult? Hoist.  Want to rain flurry into the enemy team? Hoist can help.  On the first turn I was able to get rough ground in front of every member of the team except one.  He continued this move for most of the game receiving four influence each round.  He did lose a bit of speed but the improved playbook and True Replication more than make up for it.  It may be too early to say but Hoist feels like an auto include for most lists.

The second auto include (and Hoists new BFF) is Ratchet.   He traded 1 TAC for a better playbook, better character plays, better character traits, and better heroic plays.  I have no complaints.  My new favorite play with him is to let Mainspring die (heroically), choose not to bring him back on with an icy sponge, then use him as an extension arm for Ratchet when you need ball retrieval.  For the cost of one net momentum he can walk toward a loose ball, spawn Mainspring, let him run for free, pick up a ball up to 9″ away, and then have it passed back to him.  Beyond the above shift in how Mainspring tricks work, he plays largely as he did before with a slightly better ball game.  Mainspring’s improvements are so tied to Ratchet’s that I feel like that need to be dealt with together.  Long Bomb is a huge upgrade from super shot even before the +2 /0” kick change.  Thanks to Launch Control and Overclocked he becomes an amazing ball retriever that you don’t have to be too worried about losing.  Even though Mainspring is now worth points after a respawn, I believe Overheat is as strong as ever.  It just needs to be used a bit more carefully.  I’m still not sure he is stronger than Mother but at least there will be some thought in to who is on the team.

Colossus got some minor changes but they reinforce his play style significantly.  He is problematic to remove and his playbook makes him a threat if he needs to be.  Ramming speed will be missed but I can admit that unexpected arrival will be more useful.  Trading Smashed Shins for singled out seems like a buff with his easy access to knockdown.  Long Legs and Stoic both feel like they were missing from the original version.  His biggest upgrade feels like it comes from the changes made to Ratchet.

Salvo feels very much improved from his previous version.  An increase in kick range makes him feel like the ball handler he was meant to be.  The extra point of TAC combined with the new playbook results makes him feel much safer if he needs to moved up the field.  Kick Bolt and Floored Bolt will be missed but they needed to go.  They were extremely powerful in the correct situation but too unreliable to really lean on.  Flurry seems a perfect fit and arrow to the knee will give him some utility.  My initial feelings on Tether Ball were that it would see little to no use and I can happily report that is not the case.  My Butchers opponent was able to leave the ball outside of any reasonable reach and force me into melee.  Tether Ball allowed a safe retrieval and a (failed) snapshot with what should have been a dead ball.  His new heroic seems nice and is probably a fair trade for pumped up since you will have the same number of dice anyway.

Lastly, our original captain got the love he needed.  As with several of our players he got an amazing playbook upgrade.  Flurry feels much more natural on Salvo and opens up more options so it’s not a big loss.  Minefield seems stronger somehow even with the range decrease.  Activating it through the momentous play seems like the way to go whenever possible.  His new legendary seems to play well with the easy access to Long Bomb by encouraging us to keep strikers near the goal for ready snapshots.

This went a bit longer and more in depth than planned but hopefully gives some insight into the changes.  For the next game I’ll be breaking out Pin Vice, hopefully with an actual battle report.  Season 3 has given the Engineers some new life and given me a passion for the game that I have been missing for quite a while.  The new rules are fresh but the future is looking bright.