Ox & Shank are competitive, interview with Greg Day

 

Last week, the World Team Championship for Guild Ball took place in Belgium. If you’ve never followed the WTC before, it is basically the olympics of Guild Ball, close to 100 different coaches from around the world saved, studied and trained for this tournament and fought to win glory for their respective countries. In the end, Germany took home the gold, but in my eyes, there was another champion who won glory, Greg Day.

Greg Day was team captain for England 2, and while he didn’t win the gold medal for his country he single-handedly destroyed all the perceptions about Butchers by finishing 4-1 with a lineup that featured Ox has his only captain and also starred Shank in every game.

Greg’s WTC performance, you’ll notice his only loss came in the 5th round!

Ox and Shank are not players that many US Guild Ball coaches expected to see being played in an event as high-caliber as the WTC. Hell, US Guild Ball coaches probably didn’t even expect to see a Fillet-captained Butchers line-up do well at the WTC.

Embedded below is an edited sounded clip from from Strictly The Worst’s episode 24, they are a very competitive Chicago-based group (that also represented the USA at the WTC) and I think their less-than-optimistic perception of Butchers is shared by many US coaches.

But Greg Day is not an American, and if there’s one thing I learned after watching the finals of the WTC (Germany vs Germany) it was that there are many competitive metas outside of the US and that these metas have vastly different perceptions than us. For example, look at Hunters; they’re almost unanimously considered a sub-optimal guild in the US. However, in other parts of the world they are not only considered strong, but some metas even consider Hunters to be one of the strongest Guilds in the game! If you don’t believe me take a listen to Double Dodge’s episode 22. They interview Peter Williamson, a Newzealander who won the Australian Nationals with Hunters.

So, whether it was through British collaboration or individual genius, I believe Greg Day’s unique list composition and exceptional performance at the WTC with the Butchers disproves all the negative perceptions that is commonly believed. Ox is not worse than Fillet. Shank does not need a buff. And the Butchers, despite popular opinion, are very competitive.

 

 

Interview with Greg Day

1.) There are people that believe Shank is unplayable right now and needs a buff. Yet, you played Shank in all five rounds. Why do you play Shank?

Shank has a number of things in his favour. He has a good playbook, including the ability to tackle on 2 net hits. He has the biggest potential threat distance of any player in the Butchers team. There are only three Butcher players with two-inch melee zones and he is by far the fastest; this makes him the player of choice for me to put damage on players with unpredictable movement such as Midas or Obulus. Also, you can do a lot of amusing tricks with Shank, for example, he can go between Brick and Marbles and engage them both so neither can counter charge. He is one of the few Butchers who can use counter attack to reliably escape an opponent via ‘Where’d He Go’ rather than just to do damage which is what I often do, especially with Boiler.

 
Perhaps an example of what Shank can do might be useful, In my game at the WTC against Zach in USA 2 I used Shank as the last activation in turn two. Zach had scored a goal so I kicked the ball out to Shank, Shank then moved up the pitch and hit Marbles three times for 6 damage and 3 points of momentum. This gave me a +2 roll to go first and I activated Shank with three influence. He hit Marbles once, taking him out, and moved up the pitch 5 inches to stand just outside of Bricks countercharge (Ox had taken out Brick the turn before and he was lurking near the goal). Shank used ‘Where’d He Go’ to move within 4″ of the goal and avoid any counter charges from Brick before using his third point of influence to take a three dice tap in (due to the two momentum for killing Marbles) and win the game. [He is] not a player I feel who needs a buff and not atypical of how I used him throughout the event.

2.) Similar to Shank, Ox has been labeled as “not competitive”, yet you played a 10-man roster with ONLY Ox as your captain. Why did you choose to bring only Ox to the WTC?

I brought Ox on his own to the WTC because I find him much more of a flexible piece and team player than Fillet. I found once I had taken Fillets activation the rest of the team did very little and most of what she did I could do with Shank for half the influence cost. If Ox is on the pitch the action of the game tends to revolve around him as opponents often try to take him out which brings targets into range for the rest of the team. If Ox is countered and pushed away his basic presence helps the rest of his team like a free tooled up. That’s ignoring the fact he can use his influence to put out Butchery or remove armour, making takeouts easier. All Fillet can do if counter attacked out of the opponents melee zone is throw out pain circle. Both players kicks are reliably the same so both can score though I admit it is easier to do with Fillet. I also feel Fillet works best with a lot of set up, e.g. Swift Stance from Boiler, Tooled Up from Meathook etc. Ox doesnt need this setup. With his legendary up and five influence he can oneshot almost any player on the pitch from full health (disclaimer I havent tried this against Fangtooth). I have taken out Corsair, Tapper, Veteran Rage, Casket, Ballista, Hammer and Avarice with a first activation legendary. Fillet just can’t do this reliably.

3.) What matchups do you think are favorable for Ox? What matchups do you think are problematic for Ox?

For me an Ox team can outfight almost anybody he is especially good against low defence opponents such as Masons and Brewers but I would take him into any team. The hardest team to play against for me is Morticians because of Casket, Ox unlike Fillet is easy to get out of his lines via Lure, Puppet Master or Scapel’s push dodge and then attacked by the rest of the team. And if he does get Casket Timed that is a problem for the team. However, interestingly if Ox has used Tough Skin or been Swift Stanced then the Morts can’t reliably get him in the box and if he does end up standing in the middle of the Morts team, putting out his aura, then that’s just good for your team.

4.) Truffles made your 10-man roster but wasn’t brought out during the WTC. What matchups do you prefer to bring Truffles in over Princess? Also, how do you utilize the pig?

I use Truffles against Alchemists because I prefer to use Veteran Brisket in place of Boiler. Truffles is used to deal with Katalyst by engaging him and shutting down charges. Truffles can also knock him down if he tries to move away. Other than that I tend to want to use Boiler so I normally want Princess for her buff.

5.) Tenderizer, an often overlook Butcher was utilized in all five of your games. Do you always play with a goalie or are there games where he isn’t brought in? If so, who is his replacement?

I like Tenderiser because he doesn’t need influence. With my typical team this means Boar and Shank can be fully loaded each turn and Boiler and Ox have 7 influence between them. Tenderiser is also there to slow my opponents’ clock as they work round counter charge and also to stop snapshots. If I think my opponent wants a fighting game rather than a scoring game than I tend to replace him with Veteran Brisket so I have an extra scoring option on the pitch and can disengage Boar if my opponent tries to lock him down.

6.) What are Butchers strengths/weaknesses in the current Season 3 meta?

The Butchers strengths are they are straightforward to play. This allows you to pressure your opponents’ clock with quick activations. The Butchers can generate momentum very easily which helps keep their players on the pitch and decide if they want to go first or second each turn. Also, the Butchers can pretty much take out or damage a model enough so an opponent constantly feels like they have to do a sub-optimal activation to use their influence before the model is taken off the board. The Butchers are all at least average speed and Boiler and Veteran Brisket can buff their speed further. They all have an OK kick stat and can play a 2-2 game if necessary.
Butchers can struggle against unpredictable movement and their relatively low health leaves them vulnerable to models taking them out in single activations. The Butchers can struggle to kill the ball against Morticans and Fish but to some extent Tenderiser can mitigate for this.

 

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