Some people say that Hooper takes a lot of set up. I recently heard on one of the podcasts someone go through what they do to set up Hooper, and how awesome he is when he gets to do all that to set him up. This person also mentioned that he never gets to do all that set up before it’s ruined by the opponent. (I honestly don’t remember who this was, but it could have been Pat V from Strictly the Worse.) I believe the set up was something like this: Tapper knocks down players and puts up commanding aura (or Esters knocks down players and puts +1 damage on Hooper), Spigot tools up Hooper, maybe Friday dirty knives the target, and then Hooper goes in and destroys the model. Even without Friday in there (not sure she was mentioned), that’s two models before him, giving the opponent two chances to do something about Hooper before he does anything back. I am going to say this now, and repeat it when I talk about Spigot, but Tooled Up is a trap. In this case the trap is that you spend an entire activation before Hooper goes to tool him up, making it obvious that Hooper would be going in before he even gets a chance. In the example above, it is enough for Hooper to go right after Tapper. He still does plenty of damage without Tooled Up and that gives your opponent less time to do anything about your plan.
Now let’s talk about Hooper’s math. First is damage potential. Without any buffs, except True Grit, you can expect to do 2 damage more often than not on a regular attack, and 3 on a charge. Like most players, it’s better to make two attacks than a charge if you are just looking to do damage. If the target is knocked down, find it’s new defense on the chart and add one (or look further down for an approximation), mostly 3 damage per swing, which is pretty good damage for this game. Here’s the full table of values:
True Grit is vital for Hooper. Without it he just doesn’t do much. I have included True Grit above and will continue to include it in the other tables as I talk about him, because not having True Grit on Hooper makes him kind of bad. Here is the normal damage he produces without True Grit:
If you are playing Tapper, you are going to set up Commanding Aura before your other players go in to beat face. Under commanding aura, Hooper can expect to do 3 damage on average to “5” defense models (not just most of the time, and including True Grit again) on each attack. Like I said before, that’s pretty good damage. This is also approximately what he’ll do to knocked down models, or only Ester’s damage buff.
Now comes the fun part: With only Tapper going first (and why wouldn’t he be going first), this is what Hooper can do to a knocked down model if he can get in the commanding aura range: 5 Damage on average to the models that normally have “5” defense (if you take into account the defense modifier for knocked down). For these models that is a big swing. The higher the defense a model has the smaller the health pool is, in general. A note about this table: I have still included the “5” defense line on this table (doing 4 damage), but that’s not counting the defense modifier. This is the amount of damage Hooper would be doing against something like a +1 Defense (6 total) Fillet, the knockdown would put her on the 5/0 line of this table. Normal Fillet with her 5/0 defense would be knocked down to 4/0 defenses and you would need to look at that line. Or, in other words, you have to take into account the defensive penalty from Knocked Down before looking at the table. That disclaimer out of the way, here is the complete table:
5 damage a swing is a lot (and that’s against the hardest targets to hurt). It’s certainly better than Tapper or Pint Pot in the same situation, by 2 damage. In fact, it’s more than Boiler does per swing with the dog assisting by the same amount, 2 damage (Ox’s owner aura bring Boiler back up to Hooper levels if he has that available), and Boiler is known to put the damage out. And with tough hide helping keep Hooper around, he might live to put the hurt on more than one enemy.
The last thing I will talk about Hooper is his chance of getting a knockdown. This is something Brewers are known for doing, and also something Hooper very much wants out of an enemy, to be knocked down. This is where the importance of Tapper or some other model with a low knock down comes in, because Hooper is that good at it. The models he seems to kill best, the “5” defense models, he only has a 1 in 3 chance of knocking down. That’s not odds I like, so it’s best if someone else does the knocking down. Here is the complete table:
Chance on Attack
Chance on Charge
Hooper would like some set up, but I think people are dong too much. If Tapper can go to knock down and commanding aura, that is plenty for Hooper to do anything he wants. Even just knocking down or commanding aura will be enough for Hooper to do a lot. Quite giving our opponents time to counter you before going in.
Now let’s talk about momentum generation. Hooper generates .17 momentum from momentum results for attacks on average (so he almost never makes momentum on an attack) and he generates .66 momentum on a charge (so he generates a momentum on 2/3 charges). So, his momentum generation is terrible. Here is the full table so you can look at specific defense/arm combonations:
Now onto his total activation. With three influence he can attack a knocked down model three times for 10.5 damage and maybe an influence (about half the time). If he has to charge to get there he’s doing about 7.75 damage and getting 1 momentum most of the time (85% of the time). To compare: Pint pot does 6 less damage and generates 2 more momentum in those same three attacks. Hooper trades momentum generation for extra damage. In an ideal world he would do a lot of damage and make momentum, but Guild Ball, maybe more than the other games I’ve played, is about give and take. As Matt Hart is fond of reminding us, he wants the players to come with interesting choices based on weaknesses as well as strengths. Hooper has two main weaknesses: he’s slow and he doesn’t generate much (if any) momentum while doing the thing he’s good at, doing damage. So for Hooper you get survivability and damage at the cost of momentum and speed (his speed is comparable to other brewers at least).