A Beginner’s Guide to Navigators
by Alex Vian ·
“No matter where you go… there you are.”
Greetings all! This is Lance from the (I’m sure, soon to be) highly famous Guild Ball podcast, The Pitch!
What? No one gives a damn? Ok, cool… never mind then.
I have been tasked to walk those interested in playing the newest team in the Empire of the Free Cities through the basics of opening the box and taking the Navigator six out for a spin. My hope is that this guide will help you avoid any confusion in your first attempt at playing this Minor Guild team, as well as help you come to your own conclusions as to how to make them click for you in the first few play-throughs. The following are merely “suggestions” of how to begin thinking of each model and, of course, your mileage may vary. With all of those caveats out of the way, let’s get started…
Quick Model Summary
Like all other minor guilds, roster compositions for the Navigators include all six players in the box, along with two other players from their main guild: namely Angel and oSiren of the Fishermen. Important to remember is that minor guilds gain +1 to their roll to go first (you WANT to go first with this team… trust me . . . but if you don’t, you want to kick off with oSiren) and being able to hold an additional plot card. Additionally, all of the Navigators also have their special Guild Rule, Precise Calculations, which lets them re-roll any dice once on attacks and kicks (if you want to re-roll your misses, you can, but you also can go hunting for Screamers!). This is vital to keep in mind as we look at the stats of the players since, at the outset, they can look weak in comparison to other players in the game. But inversely, anything in the game that removes ARM or increases TAC for your team will be a boon, since you can have a better chance to hit on the re-rolls.
Here is a brief description of each model on the team and what to keep in mind when choosing them:
Windrunner – Well, if you are playing Navigators, you only have one captain option and this is it. Much like their major guild, the Navigators are focused on scoring goals, and Windrunner helps your team do that with aplomb (take that sBrisket). She has an 8 inch kick, which lets her try to score on her own, but much like Corsair, she is also capable of supporting her teammates to do the same with a great combination of character plays and a legendary to move your people around. Eye Spy is a 6 inch range play that gives your team +2 TAC on that model (remember how good that is for re-rolls?) and also knocks the player down, due to her Stormwind trait, making their defense even lower. Full Speed Ahead grants a +2 inch bonus move on a charge or sprint, and that charge or sprint can be done for free. This allows the maximum INF on a person to be spent after the charge to do any further attacks or kicks, giving you even more momentum. The legendary will be situational, allowing your team to disengage with a scrum, move forward or backward as a unit, or simply give a teammate an increased threat on the ball or the goal. She is highly defensive with a DEF 5, and 14 boxes will let her stay around a while. That said, dedicated attacks into her will have her fall as quickly as Skatha.
Wander – Your only mascot choice (of course) is this albatross (Editor’s note: It is not a Seagull. Stop.) or some sort of sea bird. Who do I look like, David Attenborough? Go buy Blue Planet on 4k and let me know. He has bird stats (fast sprint, low TAC, bad kicks, ok DEF) and a short playbook of tackles and momentous dodges, meaning he could get some influence to try to strip the ball off someone, or make a short goal, but that’s about it. His one character play Guide DOES extend the threat range of your people (give him 1 or 2 INF off the deployment line and let your star player dodge up 4 inches) or get them out of a sticky situation in a bad scrum. The traits on the back of the card give you the things you would expect: re-rolls and flying, but also an “anti” loved creature called About Their Necks, that when he takes damage, all of the opponents get -1 TAC for the turn. Not bad for a very defensive team.
Horizon – The first model we saw from this guild, this Winger is more of a “harassment” piece than anything else. He’s slow, but gets a free 5 inch dodge during his activation, so he’s deceptively fast and hard to pin down. He can charge in and push your opponents away to open a goal run, charge in and strip the ball and run away, or get in people’s face and dare them to knock him out. It’s counter intuitive, I know, but this is a model you don’t mind getting killed, since he only grants your opponent 1 VP (like a mascot). Additionally, he can be deployed from the bench in your opponent’s deployment zone. That’s some anti-ball killing tech right there.
Fathom – <insert your own Moana joke here… you all done? Ok, we can move on…> One of the only two models in the box that has 2 inch reach, Fathom is going to be one of those clutch players that you will try to get her to do almost everything for you. Need the ball back from that pesky model? Holding the ball herself and making some janky goal runs with dodges in zig-zag patterns? Fathom will have you covered. She’s high defense, wants to be in cover for her heroic, can cure groups of your teammates of conditions, and… oh, I forgot to mention, she chain activates with Angel from the Fisherman, giving you a chance to steal the ball, pass to Angel, and immediately activate Angel for the score before your opponent can react. I know I’m trying to focus this article on the Navigators purely, but it was important to mention, just in case you want to bring Angel to Navs or Fathom to Fish.
Ebb – Arguably the most “fighty” model in the guild, this central midfielder bounces between trying to help kill weaker models or support your team with interesting character plays. He’s one of the few on the team with momentous damage and knockdown on his playbook, as well as the team famous result of momentous tackle and double dodge high in the book. Again, these people want to charge all the time. His character plays let you charge or sprint over obstructions, as well as an AOE that does damage and reduces ARM, to increase your re-roll effectiveness. As for traits, he has a constant 6 inch aura of gliding for free, in case you have to deal with rough ground/foul odors, and strangely has the power to only take 2 damage every time he his hit with any damage roll. At 12 hit points, that just means 6 attacks to kill him, which usually means the captain has to do it in one go, or several players over several turns to keep him alive. We know that Navigators struggle into Armor, but Spring a Leak is an essential part of their toolbox against high-armor teams. Keep him safe, or take him out, depending on which end of the pitch you’re on.
Azimuth – Last, but definitely not least, every team needs a big man, and this is it. He’s the other 2 inch reach model, which makes him good at engaging lots of people and trying to throw out conditions. His playbook as good damage, good access to knock downs, and his character plays tend to debuff your opponents, giving them -2 TAC with Disarm and a ranged KD with Netted. His traits tell the story of him being a fantastic ball holder, with poised for the free counter attack, close control to avoid the first tackle, and a new power called Gladiator that gives him +1 DEF when he declares a counter. This means that if he is charged, and you have 1 momentum, he can counter and defensive stance to a 6 DEF, which is insane for a big guy.
Ok, but what about the Fish players?
Fine, fine, you just couldn’t let me have this as a pure team article, could you? As I mentioned at the top of the page, Angel and oSiren can play for this team as well, and both bring a certain advantage if you wanted to add them to your roster. Obviously they both don’t have the special re-rolls, but you most certainly don’t need them for this duo…
Angel – What can I say? She’s the epitome of a non-captain striker in the game and has been since season 1. She’s fast, she has a huge kick range, adds another high DEF model to your team (even moreso with Nimble) and can now chain activate with Fathom (It’s one way, though, since Fathom has to go first). She’s more kicking in a team that wants to win on goals, so why wouldn’t you want to bring her along for the ride?
oSiren – What’s that you say? You want to win on goals but can’t get the ball away from your opponent? They just run and hide and you can’t dislodge it from a scrum of players? That’s adorable. Have you heard the good word about our lord and savior MY SIREN IN YOUR FACE! You thought oSiren was bad at 4 INF? Well, oSiren is back to being Super Siren, able to be supercharged by Windfinder into a 5 INF super-star. So much for nerfing her by making her influence stat 2/3, guys. oSiren is definitely stronger with the Navigators than she is with the Fish, where she was already a crutch-level model.
How Do I Plan To Win?
I’ll answer that in one word… goals. Have you not been paying attention?
Can you take people out? Some, certainly, but only Wingers, Attacking Midfielders, and vulnerable strikers. Azimuth and Ebb fight well enough to target a 2 and 2 game in a pinch, especially with support from Windrunner. Closing out games won’t be much of a problem if your opponent brings some goal scorers, Apprentices, or is a minor guild on their own. However, that influence you are spending would probably be better spent on tackling the ball away, passing/shooting, or knocking people down so they don’t interrupt your footballing. Putting the pressure on your opponent with VP’s is how you win games and you will not out-kill teams better at that than you. You don’t want to be in a scrum, you want to charge in and get back out again. You are already going to be momentum starved, so you need the high playbook results to get more and being crowded out to lower your TAC to miniscule levels isn’t going to help that.
Easiest to explain, is that there are only 3 models for Navigators that have 2 inch reach, so counter attacks or unpredictable movement will require the right application of the right people. Not having a full team of 2 inch reach is unusual for most Fishermen players, so it’s worth keeping in mind. The bulk of their weakness is actually built into their strength and dice math. The power to re-roll is only as good as the number of dice that you can get to score a hit. If your TAC is lower, you are weaker. If your opponent has a lot of ARM, you are going to be in some trouble. If they are in cover, that’s one less chance you have to connect. Also, as mentioned above, this team is going to be fairly momentum starved. Once the lines meet, you will have score a large number of hits or disengage yourself to charge to trigger anything on the playbook that will give you momentum; that or passing a lot, which you can do, but is risky if your opponent can get to you. The longer the game goes, the harder time you will have to win.
Well, there you have it. The Navigators are a highly mobile, scoring team with some interesting combinations and the chance to twist the fates of dice with their team advantage. In a pinch, the most fragile opponents can fall underneath their spears, paddles, and cutlasses. Looking at the 6 in the box, I’m guessing most people will want to substitute in oSiren for sure, maybe Angel as well, depending on play style.
I hope this article was helpful if you are new to the Navigators team and gives you a bit of a “leg up” over where you would have been otherwise, if you just threw them on the table without consideration. They are a well-designed, beautifully modeled, group of players that will give you a ton of great games as you progress in your Guild Ball training!!
A reformed Warhammer Fantasy player based in the Twin Cities, Alex plays Malifaux, Guild Ball, X-Wing, and Armada. He also is the host of the Malifaux Tactics podcast here at Midwest Wargaming: Lecture Notes from the Breach
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