Explosive Brew: Brewers Free Cities Draft And Why Amber Shouldn’t Be Your First Pick



          Steamforged Games is pulling all the stops for this upcoming Season 4. From redefinition of guild design, more streamlined cards, upcoming Steamcon’s full reveal of Season 4, and now they threw in a new draft campaign for guilds to add another player to their rosters. The hype is real and it’s an exciting time to see where Guildball is headed come Season 4. With all the new stuff being thrown our way it can be daunting sorting through it all and deciding which Rookie do we want to pick for the guild. I’m going to be weighing different options on each rookie and how it corresponds to our guild based on fluff, speculation, competitive mindset, and finally the  “I want the world to burn” mindset. While I will give my picks, there should be enough info given to either sway or cement your pick based on what you want for the guild.

        Before we talk rookies lets talk about the Brewer’s and their current makeup. Excluding mascots there is currently four center midfielders, two attacking midfielders, two defensive midfielders, three strikers, and one Stave. So right away there are a few takeaways; our guild currently lacks any winger and goal keeper positions, our team is designed to be in the middle of the pitch, and a few squaddies are more hybrid then their designation, see Mash, denoted as a striker versus a defensive piece. So lets look at the four center midfielders, Tapper, Esters, Pintpot, and Lucky, they average two damage on two hits, knockdown on three hits, and three damage on four hits. Two have glut mass, one tough hide, and the last can clear a condition on activation. So a clear trend of getting up the center and sticking around, and overall being well balanced. Both of our attacking midfielders, Decimate and Hooper, are 6 tac with 5 long playbooks and offer some form of damage or tac buff to increase the likelihood of wrapping.  While decimate doesn’t per say have a tac buff she does have anatomical precision, stagger and an easy KD. And as we’ve all seen, ignoring 1 armor and knocking 2 defense off a model skyrockets the reliability of her wrapping, hence the popularity of quaff increasing her TAC. The three strikers, Friday, Vet Spigot, and Mash, share either a way to increase their kick stats and/or a movement buff. Spigot and Stoker represent the defensive midfielders and this category is a mixed bag. Looking at the card you would consider spigot 1 either a striker or an attacking midfielder, one idea is his native 3/1 and no defensive tech makes him weak to be a up in the front of your lines and hence his designation. The common theme in both of these players are their utility and flexibility. Now I would say Mash is more a defensive midfielder, Lucky is an offensive striker, and OG Spigot is a true football legend. Finally this brings us to Stave, we saw him in season 3, or lack there of, and recently got his front spoiled for Season 4. He looks to fulfill the same role of trying to disrupt the enemy while praying no one gets in melee with him to generate all the momentum. By taking stock of what we do have, we can get a basic idea of how these rookies would fit or be similar depending on which one gets drafted into the guild. Looking at the rookie pool we are getting two attacking midfielders, one goalkeeper, two wingers, two defensive midfielders, one center midfielder, and finally one striker. While  that doesn’t tell us a lot lets take a deeper look at each and rate them.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room, Amber. This is the clear front runner for Brewers, you could say she is the Chicago Cubs of rookies. Whether or not you actually play Brewers you vote for her because she has the fluff. I consulted with my local fluff master Dan White who gave me the lowdown on Amber. She was kicked out by Esters to show her authority in the Brewer’s guild, or dislike for gingers its a coin flip. Right there I have two trains of thought, the first being bringing Decimate home worked out pretty well, and probably will work for Amber also. The latter being, and thankfully my wife doesn’t read my rambles, that a woman’s intuition is generally spot on so if Ester’s booted Amber it is more then likely the right call. Fluff wise Amber brings the strongest pull to be drafted though, so if you want the rookie with the best fluff related to your guild you can skip the rest of this article and submit all your games #BringHerHomeAmber. She is classified as an attacking midfielder and her blurb talks about having a good kick. This makes me think an 8″ kick, of the thirty six attacking midfielders four have an 8″ kick, two are captains. So this is clearly an above average stat line to have even if her dice pool is two this could skew brewers to play the two goals and two takeout route. If she sticks to that nine to ten inch total threat this could be our second 6/8 move Brewer, with the recently spoiled quick foot could mean another 18″ goal threat.  Ok Mike this is all sounding pretty good why am I not voting for her? There is actually a lot of reasons, the first being attacking midfielders are a desirable position and prior to Decimate our guild was a small representation of players so the likelihood of drafting a desirable rookie is slim. Second Steamforged has already shown they won’t shy from fluff oriented rules like animosity so while being a Brewer she could easily have some kind of disadvantage of say being under an Ester’s lead team. Third, if you are of the “I want to watch the world burn” not voting Amber is going to be right up your alley. Finally, trying to balance an attacking midfielder with an 8″ kick is very tough and these models get constantly reworked, see Hammer and Thresher, so Amber offers the most potential disappointment out of all the rookies.

Next up is Cutlass, she is another strong contender fluff wise. Who doesn’t want a drunk pirate on their team. She also represents our first goalie model in the guild, which could be very big as we struggle against heavy goal kicking teams. Currently there are five designated goalies in guild ball, three out of the five have Rush Keeper, three out of five increase the influence required to kick, and two out of five increase the TN required on successfully making a goal. You can also generally count on goalies being in the way of the goal kick to decrease the dice pool by one but the way bonus time and math works a two dice kick needing a four is still good 75% of the time. Rush Keeper and TN increase are the best of the bunch as they make goalies influence batteries and can give easy activations to put clock pressure back on your opponent. To me that makes no surprise that Tenderiser is the best goalie out of the bunch. Both abilities are passive, and a rush keeper trigger can be devastating for the opposing team. Now that said goalies are like Taco Bell, they sound great and you can’t wait to get it but it brings instant regret once you do. The differences goalies make is pretty slim against seasoned competition and generally they are the easiest forms of momentum generators for strikers on their goal runs. The TN difference is negligible on native three to four dice pool kicks, so the teams you really want a goalie you are only taking the odds of success from 90% to 80%.  That said influence batteries in Brewers can be strong, as we tend to load up three players. So any squaddies that can make an impact without influence allocated is strong, I’m looking at you Pelage. Competitively I think Cutlass brings the least to the guild, but if you want something new in the guild she is a strong choice.

Edge and Nomad represent the winger positions, which is another position absent in the guild. This is one of the more diversified positions in Guild Ball. The models tend to be focused on retrieving the ball but their quality ranges from season 3 Salvo to Jaecar, so definitely big possibilities for wingers. On the fluff Edge is construed more mysterious and the only insight I can take is her playbook having dodges and the slim chance of some kind of defense support, which seems unlikely but you never know. On the other hand Nomad’s fluff blurb offers a lot of  speculation and if you wanted to gamble on a winger he would be my pick.  The fluff mentions having tricks with the ball, comparing wingers with character plays that affect the ball you have balls gone, tether ball, kill the ball, and seduced. We are no stranger to balls gone, and the rest seem out of place so more then likely we could see another balls gone squaddie. They reference he’s no football legend, which is of course a nice passive kick stat bonus, I feel this is two things either an instant aura buff to soccer focused teams who don’t have the aura or opening up later for nomad to get the aura. That being said with spigot already having football legend I don’t see much value there. The next blurb talks about him being a “charmer” so a potential 3/1 or 4/0 stat line with charmed Male/Female could be possible here. Finally they mention his gambling tendencies, we already have Lucky who has those types of plays and traits so another model could offer some big risk for big rewards playstyle. Competitively speaking it is hard to gauge where Nomad would land there is a lot of potential for this model, but if we compare him to Lucky and assume he will be comparable minus knockdowns for balls gone that might not be enough to shake up the guild to go after.

Layne represents the lone striker in the pool.  I find his fluff to be the most interesting of the bunch, not for the clear pot head reference, but he is the lone rookie that they don’t recommend drafting. I can’t decide if that is a spoiler to his intended ruleset or Steamforged putting models that are comparatively worse then the rest of the pool, as to encourage participation or you risk getting a bench warmer. That said our guild has one of the best strikers in Friday and the addition of Layne could tilt us to a two goal and two takeout style team. Speculating from his fluff we could see a model that starts the game suffering a condition or a similar limited resource like PintPot. I’m leaning on a model with limited type resource for more efficiency, you’ve got plenty of good puns like puff puff pass. My other inclination would be a model with a heroic/legendary to refer to those moments of brilliance. The aspect of having a strong heroic combined with Esters free heroic is definitely appealing. Competitively another dedicated striker could make an excellent addition to the guild and add more dynamic playstyle for Brewers.

The next rookie is easily the least fluffy of the bunch. Champ’s story is basically I work hard and I do good, so not a whole lot to sink your teeth into. That said on the competitive mindset and comparing how our central midfielders stack she will most likely offer the biggest power increase to Brewer’s.  It is no coincidence that her name is Champ. If you want to be the Champ then you need to vote for Champ.

The two defensive mid fielders catch my eye the most though. Knuckles and Flea have quite a story, and names to boot. Reading the former’s story my mind instantly goes this dudes a Brewer. Looks like a 40mm, 2/6 kick 4/6 move 3/1 tough hide model, I’d say that’s pretty carbon copy Brewer. If we expect him follow suit with the other defensive midfielders you can expect a 5 tac model with some early results on double pushes and or knockdowns. Now the downside is the continued reference to big dude more alluding to a 3/0 or 2/1 model, and as much as I love Stave we definitely don’t need another momentum vending machine in the guild. While Knuckles jumps out as an obvious addition, I am the most reserved about spending any of my games trying to acquire him. Flea has an interesting story and fluff wise I think he would make an excellent Brewer. Who hasn’t needed some liquid courage to work up their nerve now and then, and what better guild to supply this liquid courage then the Brewers. On speculation this model could offer some unique rulesets for Brewers. Nimble steps could reference either acrobatics or the plus 1 defense play. I would like to think it is actually Nimble as a Defensive midfielder who could nimble himself and get tough hide could be quite a roadblock to get through. The addition of his dog most likely will represent Vet Honors rule of faithful companion, which I think is a nice rule combined with cover or tough skin. Finally his animal affinity, for me is the make or break for the character. This could be really good like assist Scum, something totally new like a lure mascot trait, or uneventful like Harrow’s charmed animal. Competitively a brewer with nimble, and tough skin from Hooper, could represent a real challenge to get the ball from. His other unique traits could be a crapshoot and make him rather lackluster. His fluff is very fitting because he could have a lot of potential but you have to be willing to put your votes into Flea and risk losing out on the other more promising rookies to draft.

Gaffer is the final spot that would be a new role to the team, a coach. The only other model that is a coach is Vet Honour, and reading his fluff I think we can expect something similar. I think he brings 4 to 5 TAC with his playbook the same length a momentous 2 on 2 result and the rest of the results not the greatest. His passive rules are where his bread and butter will be, and most likely packing a legendary play. Fluff wise doesn’t feel like a good fit with Brewers as you can’t coach drunks, trying to tell a drunk what they should be doing is just asking for disaster. Competitively speaking I don’t like the idea of a same TAC and length playbook model, but with Esters losing her Legendary and assuming Tapper doesn’t gain one this could be a way to get a legendary play back into the guild.

The final rookie is the other attacking midfielder pistol wielding possible princess, Kami. She may not feel like the best fit fluff wise you could make some arguments we already have the exiled noble in Decimate, so not a total unthinkable thing. Being classified as an attacking midfielder I think she would have anatomical precision, which if we learned from Vet Decimate is amazing in Brewers. Potentially she could also shore up one of the Brewers biggest weakness in ranged ball retrieval. With Esters losing her ranged plays, Kami could be a good filler to get some of that range aspect back. Competitively she offers the biggest upside having a model that can range tackle the ball would be a giant boon for the guild and be pretty close to changing the dynamics of Brewers. That said there is a big risk in voting on Kami, when Steamforged has been open about not wanting Brewers to have strong range plays. So even if we drafted Kami she could have something vastly different then expectations. Also Kami is a popular rookie amongst other guilds, so we would have to have a strong push of players voting for her.

I have never been drawn to the fluff of the miniature games I’ve played. Generally speaking the quality of the model, rules of the games, and challenge of the game appeal more to me. My votes for this campaign will favor more the models I feel will have the biggest impact on the guild or offer enough reward to risk to shake up how we play Brewers as a whole. My games will be spent voting on three different players 50% for Kami, 30% for Layne, and 20% on Flea. I think each of these players offer the biggest changes to the guild, while Kami offering the most potential. Champ is hard to not vote on but the gambler in me would love to see Flea with assist Scum on the pitch, and another solid striker in the guild would help balance us to a two goal and two takeout team. If you wanted to vote by fluff then  Amber, Cutlass, and Knuckles/Flea would be your best bets. If you hated how Vet Decimate was introduced and want to see the world burn then Cutlass, Gaffer, and Edge would be your bets. Nomad is an interesting option and a good one if you like to take a lot of risk. Amber feels like picking Johnny Manziel or any of the plethora of wasted first picks the Browns have made. Finally if you want to play it safe and conservative then Knuckles is your guy he isn’t flashy, but what Brewer really is.


Mike White

Hello, I'm currently the other half of Counter Charge where I primarily play Cryx. I've recently been diving more into Guildball with Brewers and been writing about them on Explosive Brew. I've also just dipped my toes into 40k with Astra Militarium.

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