Season 3 is out and cheers can be heard across every street in the Free Cities! It is our goal at Midwest Wargaming to go over the changes of every guild and since we are a community of volunteer contributors, we hope to provide you with a variety of perspectives.
I happen to play Butchers so here’s my take on the beautiful-bruisers.
Season 3 Butcher Captains
The final play on his playbook upgraded from 1 damage and 2 character-play icons into 2 damage and 2 character play icons. Also, his Character Trait (The Owner) and Legendary Play (Get ‘Em Lads!) changed from affecting friendly models to affecting friendly Guild models. Lastly, his character play of They Ain’t Tough reduced from 2 cost down to 1 cost.
The final play on her playbook upgraded as well. Before, her only only option was 4 momentous damage and a dodge, now she also has the option to choose 2 momentous character play icons, which for her means Blood Rain.
The majority of her stats stayed the same but she is now slightly easier to kill because her total HP reduced from 16 to 14.
Her character trait Hemophilia transformed significantly. It used to prevent models within a 6″ aura from removing the bleed condition but now it is a way to self-heal on each maintenance phase if nearby enemy models suffer bleed damage.
They also cleaned up her rules a bit with timing sequences and now its real simple; Blood Dance doesn’t interact with character plays or her legendary at all.
Season 3 Butcher Mascots
Overall Mascot Changes:
As fellow MWWG contributor, TheGreatSerpent, explained in his latest article, Mascots changed quite a bit. In fact, the changes to Mascots in the core rules is arguably more important than the actual changes on their cards. Mascots may now return to the game after being taken out and are worth only 1 VP when they are taken out. To paraphrase Jamie Perkins from his interview on the Guild Ball Tonight podcast, they wanted a game of 6v6, not 5v5 with mascots watching from the sidelines.
The little bulldog lost two hit points and her Loved Creature ability changed dramatically because now that she can return it would have simply been too good if left unchanged. The old benefit granted [+2″/+2″] MOV, [+2] TAC and  MP to the friendly team and friendly models when she was taken out. The new benefit triggers on the first time she takes damage each turn and it grants other friendly Guild models [+1] TAC for remainder of the turn .
This fat pig is now easier to hit, its defense dropped from 4+ to 3+. Thankfully though, Truffles kept all of his hit points, sturdy and tough hide which makes Truffles still one of the hardest to remove mascots. The other change was that the character trait of Smell Blood–which granted [+0″/+2″] MOV on charges vs enemies suffering Bleed and a little extra damage for the character trait, Vindictive. This pig hangs around Butchers all day and to show this dislike of bacon-eaters, Truffles can charge humans at a discount of  less influence.
Season 3 Big Guys
The shirtless bench-warmer has slimmed down a bit from Season 2 and consequently his health has dropped from 22 HP to 20 HP. While losing a few pounds has made him unable to take as many hits, it has also increased his DEF to 3+ so he will be taking fewer hits. Boar’s playbook has also changed, he no longer has the option to choose a character play icon on three hits but on four hits he gained the option to choose two character play icons (Concussion). Another change to his playbook is that before on six hits there was the option for a non-momentous double push, that has been moved to an additional option for five hits. His playbook lost the character play Hamstring but now he can wrap on eight hits instead of nine hits. Boar kept his beat-stick abilities of Berserk and Furious but his less-essential ability, Regenerate, which used to heal 2 HP on every maintenance phase was replaced with Life Drinker which heals 1 HP whenever he damages one or more enemy models. Hypothetically he can heal up to 5 HP in a turn that he uses a counter-attack but more realistically he’ll heal around 2-3 per turn which will make it a slight improvement over regenerate. It’s nice to have that option to heal 5 in one turn though.
Unlike his fellow big-boy, Tenderiser didn’t transform nearly as much from season 2 to season 3. He retained his 19 HP and his same playbook. He did see some nice character play buffs though: Seismic Kick used to cost 1 INF to use and 1 INF for the kick action, but now the character play states This Model may make a Kick during his activation without spending influence. Also, Ground Pound was reduced from cost 4 Influence to 3 Influence. Other subtle changes to his card is that Rush Keeper now reads that it only triggers once per turn and triggers off a friendly goal token instead of a friendly goal post.
Season 3 Briskets
The good news is that the original Butcher striker is still one of the hardest players to kill, she kept Charmed [Male], Unpredictable Movement and her defensive stats. The bad news is that she is now a dedicated striker because she lost the character trait, Attack Support [Princess] which granted [+2] TAC while within [4″] of the bulldog.
Veteran Brisket changes:
Season 3 Wingers
The only change for Shank was the top end of his INF was reduced from 4 to 3.
Season 3 Meathook
Quite a lot has changed for Meathook and it’s all pretty positive. One small change that has a big impact is that her influence stat changed from 1/4 to 2/3. Her playbook has also improved, on three hits she used to just have 2 momentous damage but now she has the option for 2 momentous damage and or a 2″ non-momentous push. Her character play icon used to require five hits but now only requires four hits and with five hits she can either deal 2 momentous damage and a tackle or 2 momentous damage and a 2″ push. Another nice change is that she gained the character trait, Hooked, which triggers whenever an enemy suffers damage from one of her playbook results and it makes them suffer [-1] DEF for the remainder of the turn. *Important note worth emphasizing is Hooked does not trigger on Scything Blow*
Overall Butcher Thoughts
Unlike the Engineers, which went through a whole-playstyle make-over, the Butchers play pretty much the same beat-face style they did in Season 2 but the team composition will just be different.
Boar is back baby! Boar was always a player who saw lots of play on the casual level because of his beautiful simplicity but was maligned by competitive players for his pathetic 2 DEF and 0 Armor. In most miniature games, he would be considered a tank with his 22 HP, but in Guild Ball he was a liability because enemies could farm momentum off of him. One extra defense is a big deal and also opens him up to be a viable target for Boiler to use Swift Stance on. The healing is cute and the ability to trigger concussion on two different playbook option is nice but Boar is going to see the table again because his defense is no longer a joke and with his new playbook he’s going to constantly impress.
Meathook is also going to make most Butcher starting six. One of the biggest buffs to her, which I didn’t discuss earlier because it wasn’t on her card, is that True Replication is gone! If Midas stole her Scything Blow character player then it was game over. This liability was so bad that even casuals wouldn’t even field her because the play experience was just that negative. With her kryptonite removed casuals will field her again but competitive players will also toss her in because of the gained influence and her new hooked trait are both awesome. Also, she’ll see play with both Ox and Fillet because both love her 2 Inf and hooked trait but she can stack Tooled Up with Ox’s character trait and legendary for +3 damage or she can help spread Bleed for Fillet.
Truffles isn’t going to make as many lineups as Boar and Meathook but the pig is a winner because Brisket is a loser (which means there is less reason to auto-include Princess) and also because his changes and the overall mascot changes will let him be more active. In Season 2, nobody allocated Influence to this model because the payout of one charge wasn’t worth it and regular attacks were a joke with TAC 3. Now, the pig can actually get it’s snout dirty because Vindictive gives you the option to charge humans for only one influence. Also, the fact that killing Mascots only provides your opponent 1 VP means that this hard-to-kill pig will survive even longer because your opponent has less incentive to target him.
It’s too early to tell, but Brisket may have lost her starting spot on rosters. Without the ability to do work in melee she’s been pushed into a very specific goal-scoring role and that narrow focus makes her easier to play around. Experience trumps beauty and Veteran Brisket can do more than her younger self. She plays great defense with Ball’s Gone!, she uses resources efficiently with Support from the Wing and she retains a solid kick stat and solid defense with Unpredictable Movement.
Fillet in Season 3 is a loser only because her Season 2 self was so good. She will still do quite well in Season 3 and honestly, her nerf is a loss most Butcher players saw coming and some may even welcome. Winning is fun, but it’s not always a fun game for your opponent when you can activate her last, apply bleed everywhere, get buckets of momentum to secure first activation, watch them suffer 3 from bleed, smack them all again and pop legendary. She was creating 8 VP activations reliably but now that Hemophilia has changed and her health has reduced she’s going to need to rely on her teammates a bit more.
Starting six lineups
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