Have You Heard of Our Lord, Solthecius?

The Supreme Order of Solthecius? Pfft, those lads have some gall floating around a lofty name like that. To watch them strust around the pitch with all their airs, I think they believe it too. What a crock of shit. I’ll call them what they are – damned mercenaries and outcasts to a man, that’s what. No matter how good they play, they’ll never be able to hide that truth from veterans like me. – Corsair

On their new Guild card, Corsair drops a truth bomb about the Season 4 Minor Guild for the Union, The Supreme Order of Solthecius, aka “The Order.” They have a lot of gall . . . calling themselves the Minor Guild. This squad of 8 players doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses, unlike most of the other minor guilds we’ve seen to date.

I do have a secret – I played these guys as a Minor Guild to the Union as soon as they were released in season 3, with my Meta’s blessing, and found them to be powerful, and capable of playing both prolonged games where every momentum counts and any whiffed attack could be the tipping point, and quick games where Brisk3t and Mist overwhelmed all opposition and the game ended quickly.

Nothing about that approach for this Guild has changed, though several of the cards have.

Before we get into the individual cards themselves, or even the tactics of the team, there is an important update to the Harry the Hat, Benediction, Mist, and Grace cards which greatly changes the makeup of a lot of guilds: All four cards are Order cards who happen to also play for the Union – in minor guild parlance, all four play up, rather than the typical two up, two down we’ve seen for the Ratcatchers, Navigators, and Falconers Guild – I think we’ll see why that is when we discuss just what Harry the Hat has become. This also means that none of the four of these models can play with any Guilds beside the Order and the Union – sorry Farmers, no Union options for you!

Captain – Seasoned Brisket

Like all Minor Guilds, the Order has only one Captain, and Season Brisket (or Brisk3t) is a doozy. In my not at all humble opinion, Brisk3t has long been the most fun Captain in Guild Ball, though clearly not the most powerful. Her Spot in a Union 10 was particularly difficult, given the strength of Vet Rage as a Captain since his arrival in Season 2.

Well Brisket’s on her own, now, and received a few small buffs to accompany on her quest for the glory which had evaded her with the Butchers and Union the first three seasons.

Her base statline remains unchanged, and she’s still a fast but not crazily fast striker who can reliably score from distance while also being fairly difficult to take out.

The first place we see buffs to her is in her playbook, where every column now possesses a “something and a dodge” result to increase her slipperiness. Additionally, her first columns two results have been combined into a new result of a 1 damage dodge. Her third column can now trigger (an improved) Route One, or else choose a momentous 2 damage dodge where previously she could only choose a 2 damage dodge. Her “With Aplomb” result now includes a dodge to save you an influence over her old playbook at that result.

If nothing else had improved for her except her playbook, she’s a much better striker captain than she was in Season 3. But Route One is now much stronger of a character play: previously able to only target an enemy model which possessed the ball, Brisket can now choose any enemy model at all to jog directly towards, creating a lot more tactical uses for this aggressive ability to extend goal threats, get into contact with unpredictably moving ball holders, or solving any manner of problems an extra 6″ jog can solve.

Brisk3t did receive a slight nerf in the loss of her Trait “Goal of the Month” but this trait pales in comparison to the usefulness of “Scores for Fun,” which she’s kept, alongside Unpredictable Movement and the fantastic legendary play Worthy Sacrifice also remains unchanged.

These changes have greatly improved Brisk3t’s strength as a Captain, while otherwise leaving her at the same power level that she was previously. She still struggles into pure soccer Fish, but it’s definitely common still for her to throw down crazy goal runs, and even a little easier for her to score goals “With Aplomb” to allow for a 2 goal, 1 take out game to be a big part of the Order’s Plan A.

The Mascot – Pride

Brisk3t is not alone in being an Order model which was perfectly fine in Season 3 which has gotten a slight buff in season 4: This is also the case for their mascot, Pride.

Having a Goalie mascot for a Goalscoring team is great, particularly since mascots on goal scoring teams often seem to have the job of “Go grab the ball, and then make one influence which I will give away to somebody better. Pride can do that, while also sitting just in front of the goal and threatening to Rush Keeper knockdown any strikers who don’t quite plan their turn correctly (or come blasting in with a key knockdown and crowd out for somebody trying to interrupt your scrum!).

Pride is largely unchanged, with the same playbook stats and a slightly nerfed playbook leading to a less reliable counter attack: his double push result previously on his second column, is now on his third column. If you’re looking for this result during his counter-charge, it’s just about as easy to find, but he won’t be counter-attacking and knocking opponents completely out of the scrum any longer.

Predatory Gaze remains unchanged, but Pride does receive a great new character play with which to spend your earned Goal Influence or your Influence bonus received via a gameplan card in Predatory Instincts: Vet Fangtooth’s weakness is heavily armored models, but NO MORE thanks to his Lion buddy . . . giving him pointers? I never quite got the lore version for how this works. Maybe Fangtooth watches the Lion eat gazelles before the match and learns a thing or two about a thing or two for a key moment.

If you’re stuck with spare momentum you’re not quite sure what to do with and in need of take outs, consider tossing them on Pride, who can still kind of protect the goal even if he’s not in Rush Keeper Range and who possesses a decent enough little playbook to throw some extra damage on in a pinch.

The Team

The Order can then pull in 6 squaddies: Season Spigot, Veteran Fangtooth, Benediction,  Grace, Mist, and Harry “The Hat.”

Seasoned Spigot was one of the very last season 3 models, and understandably he’s one of the models completely unchanged from this season to the next. He still brings the same phenomenal kick stat to go with his average speed and 3+/2 ARM defense and a nice Brewer-style playbook. His Solthecian Sun Knuckle Dusters still leave him with a suboptimal 1″ melee range for a scoring model, but since he’s also able to contribute to the take out game in a pinch with a momentous 2 damage result on 3 successes and the Floored trait, he’s a strong contender for any Order side or matchup.

So, too, is Veteran Fangtooth entirely unchanged in ways that matter. Gone is the specified lack of synergy between Fangtooth and Vet Rage, but so, too, is the two of them’s ability to be on the same team. Vet Fangtooth is still capable of dealing out a big hurting to a single model, though his low TAC makes him vulnerable to high armor models, so be sure he’s necessary to your plans against squads like the Masons, Blacksmiths, or Brewers.

Benediction, a mainstay of Union teams ever since he joined the game alongside Brisk3t and Grace in Season 3, also remains largely unchanged. He still possesses the same slow, steady statline, and the game’s very best counter attack. He has, however, received the slightest change to his playbook: where his 2 damage result on the 3rd column wasn’t momentous before, it is now, at the cost of his momentous knockdown result on the 4th column going non-momentous – this means that only two models in the entire Guild has access to a momentous knockdown, and both of those results are similarly high on the playbook as Benediction’s non-momentous result. EDIT: A reader, Tom Skitt, pointed out that Benediction’s “Impart Wisdom” trait now works exactly how I had understood it to work the entire time time, though the wording was a bit confusing before. It could have been argued that previously, for example, a chained “I’m Open” had to be passed to Benediction. But that was not the case. Either way, this wording is far clearer!

His P-I-C Grace has lost a lot more than she has gained. She has gained an armor, and she retains her 5 influence cap, though it’s worded slightly differently to comply with the Season 4 Rules, meaning she is primarily a Battery model who also is capable of ‘Doing Stuff’ since she makes influence for herself. She retains Healing Light (which now heals an extra hp!) and Quick Foot, either of which she can cast with the free influence she generates at the start of her activation.

Her playbook is both the same and very different – she has had a nonmomentous double dodge added on the second column, and her third column results have swapped momentousness: her tackle dodge is now nonmomentous, and her 2 damage is now momentous. However, with 4 TAC, these results are pretty unlikely to come into play any more often than they did in season 3.

Gone, however, is her trait “purity” which previously allowed her to remove an ongoing-effect AOE once per turn. Part of this is undoubtedly just that there are fewer ongoing-effect AOEs going around with the changes to Alchemists, Esters, and ‘One at a Time, Lads!’ but this also feels like a nerf to Grace specifically because of her previous ability to cancel Harrier Circles and slow down Hunters and Falconers in their race to kill Benediction and Fangtooth. Grace has lost a lot of her niche role, which makes her much less useful to the Order and the Union both.

In contrast, Mist has not changed as much as Grace, but since Grace was always a bit of a niche corner pick before, the change to Mist is a lot more significant. No part of his change is larger than the loss of his mercenary status and the blow it levies upon the Morticians and Masons guilds. But he also has now completely lost Shadowlike, as not even his Solthecian friends can spur him into max manueverability, bringing him just slightly back in terms of his ability to threaten the ball, or shake loose of a marker. He is otherwise unchanged, but the loss of Shadowlike on a key piece such as Mist is a big blow to the overall goal threat level of the Order and Union alike.

Which brings us at last to the most changed model in Guild Ball history: Harry ‘The Hat.’ Once unplayable, then a must-hire in the Guilds he was available, then nerfed all the way onto the dustiest parts of the shelf, Harry has returned to us now, at the changing of the tides. He’s gotten better at kicking the ball while practicing with Spigot, Brisket, and Mist, and is returned now to a momentous damage dealing, great counter-attacking midfielder who loves being in a scrum. Gone is Goad, fantastic though unreliable control piece, and in its place is Singled Out, reliably obtained nonmomentously on the second column of his playbook. He also continues to carry his trusty molotovs into battle, with a quite pleasant range on the play allowing him to hit a model 9″ away to throw on some burning.

And of course, he retains his Inspiring Hat and Rising Anger traits, unchanged.  He also is in possession of a 3rd column momentous knockdown which is . . . surprisingly the best knockdown in the team. Woof.

All told, Harry is exactly what this team needs: a 2″ melee, scrum-loving midfielder who helps Brisket, Spigot, and/or Mist fly around the edges with teamwork plays. Goad was nice, but with Veteran Fangtooth available, I’ll take Singled Out over a bit of control in 9 matchups out of 10.

Guild Strategy

It’s not hard to predict that the Order is reliant on scoring at least 2 goals to win games. Ideally, they then also only need one take out, though if they can only get one goal with Aplomb they find themselves capable of also winning by simply adding a mascot take out at one point or another.

What is an unexpected aspect of this Guild is how effective Seasoned Brisket is at making Momentum if your team doesn’t have the ball – 6 influence and good momentous results across her playbook lets her play a bit like Shark if the ball is denied to her, and the team as a whole can transition capably into take downs on wingers, strikers, or the more fragile attacking midfielders if your opponent is a little too good at keeping the ball away.

The quality of counter-attacks across the roster, in particular, lets the team really perform better in the scrum than you’d expect for such an effective footballing roster. A common set up has Brisk3t and Mist (or Spigot) on a flank each, with Benediction, Harry, and Fangtooth holding down a scrum just in front of Pride who keeps opponents from coming around behind the scrum to really put the big fellas in trouble. From this position, The Order really can pressure the ball and take outs both, potentially ending the game.

At the end of the day, the Order can be set up for and take advantage of opportunities to  attempt anywhere from 1-3 goals and 0-4 (or 6 if you’re aggressively killing mascots with Spigot or Brisk3t) takeouts.

They’re a particularly effective Guild if you’re looking either to press an aggressive playstyle on an opponent, or be able to flexibly react to an opponent particularly adept at killing the ball, but you do NOT want to get in a prolonged fight with take out teams or get into a goals-off with elite soccer squads.

Alex Vian

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *