Into the Record Books: May 2019

HELLO! I don’t think you were wondering, but I am in fact still haunting the GB scene. Kind of? Well, I’m back today to produce what very well may be the final #Lontent.


I’m going to go ahead and tackle the “see ya later” up front here. More or less I’ve got some life events coming up. I won’t lie though, I’ve also had a general feeling of apathy towards the game lately too. It just feels like time to make a move.

Thank you to the readers who’ve kept up with this silly thing over the last couple years. I hope I’ve improved your Guild Ball experience in some way. The Archive will stay up. Maybe the primers/opinion pieces helped you. Maybe some numbers surprised you. If all else failed I hope I made you laugh once or twice.

I hope I’ve been fair too. We all know this road has been filled with potholes. Despite the business setbacks the developers of this game are top notch dudes. It remains to be seen if SFG can turn over a new leaf, but please continue to support Jamie, Bryce, Steve, and Sherwin (whatever their project). Guild Ball is a wonderful game, and good luck to all of you who continue to pursue it.

Anywho, you’re not here for me. You’re here for that sweet sweet data hit. On to the show you dang junkies.


Played Rates:

You may recall we ended April early due to the Miners’ errata. This is the “May” wrap up but we’re really covering 5 weekends – April 27th to May 30th.

Man oh man did this period have a ton of games. We’re looking at about 440 games of guild ball each weekend. That’s really high! Right around the same as the steamcons. The competitive scene is pretty healthy right now. As long as you’re willing to travel a little there’s really no reason you can’t find a tournament somewhere.

PR High

Ol Boar continues to slay it on the played rate. Butchers bring home 12.2% of the scene this month with Ox and Fillet nearly extinct. Regardless of power level, an extremely heavy played rate like this tends to signal changes are coming. I wouldn’t expect Boar to be acquitted.

Blacksmiths continue their nice little rise up to second place. They finish at 9.2%. Fish come in at 8.1% followed by Brewers and Farmers at 7.7% and 7.3% respectively. Looks like Corbelli boosted Masons to a reasonable degree. He more than doubled the weekly Mason games played and upped their played rate to 7.2%

PR Mid

Not a whole ton of change in the middle of the pack. Morticians and Hunters decline slightly to 6.4% and 6.1% of the field. Miners played rate actually rose very slightly to 6.0% despite the nerf. Order and Alchemists also stay more or less on par at 5.7% and 5.1%. The only real news story here is, like Corbelli, Rivet more than doubled the number of engineer games played. That resulted in a 1.9% increase in their overall representation to 5.5%. It’s still not quite at average, but getting there.

PR Low

The low end is pretty flat as well. Everyone staying reasonably where they were. Cooks and Navs both net 3.4%. Falconers capture 3.3% while rats and union earn 2.2% and 1.1% respectively. While I am glad to see Order and Miners represented, the rest of the Minors are still grossly underplayed. Played rates, like it or not, tend to reflect the perception of power level. I think it’s about time we consider minor guilds to be introductory/expansion teams rather that something you stick with forever. Falconers and Rats just got very reasonable power level increases and they just aren’t cutting it. I wonder if it’s just not worth stressing over their low end balance at this point. Bigger fish to fry.


Win Rates:

WR High

Hey look we get to talk about Boar again. He’s leading the pack sporting a 58.6% win rate. Honestly if you do a little digging on the new “player rating” feature on longshanks it is pretty apparent Boar just smashes low hanging fruit. Measuring the 1st to 3rd quartiles results in Boar winning 69.5% of his games, but if you look at only the top half of players he shrinks to 52.5%. It’s my opinion that Boar isn’t necessarily too powerful. He’s just too easy. I do think changes are coming, but it might be a while. He’s crazy, and you need a plan for him, but the best of us show he’s certainly not as oppressive as we sometimes make him out to be. Just gotta learn the matchup. Don’t forget to pray to Bryce before you go to bed. Maybe, if you eat all your harvest markers, he’ll lower the influence stat to 3/2 by Second Wind.

Maybe he won’t though. Thresher is doing just fine with a positive win rate versus the ol meathead. Farmers carry a 55.4% for the month followed by Masons at 53.4%. For as much as people were bemoaning Corbelli, it seems he’s struck a strong but reasonable balance. Morticians and Miners round out the top 5 with 53.3% and 52.4%.

WR Mid

Blacksmiths and Order are both on an upswing finishing at 51.3% and 51.0%. Rivet, while still being below 500, really ratcheted up the engineer performance. She picked up 7.5% points for the cogs. I’m thinking you’ll start to see Rivet led teams a little more often and perhaps she’ll creep past 50% next month.

Fish at 47.8% makes me sad. Alchs and Falconers follow behind at 47.1% and 46.6% – reasonable.

WR Low

Brewers ended up taking 45.3% of their games this month. Corker doesn’t seem to have quite had the impact of the others. I think he’s just a little slow to build up steam related to the current pace of the game. Piper and Rage continue their epic rollercoaster ride together bouncing up from their previous depths to 44.8% and 42.6%. Hunters continue to languish in the post-nerf state taking home 44.3%. Cooks stay pretty flat at 40.1% but I am trying to figure out what happened to Navigators? Pretty heavy decline down to 35.4%. That’s 14 whole points. My gut is with Masons and Blacksmiths being relatively popular this month Windfinder is just finding polarized matchups against her? She might also be less equipped to deal with Boar due to a lack of control elements.


Victory Index:

Victory Index

Ever strong and popular, butchers took 14% of the win pie this month, but actually lost 1%. Farmers lost 1% as well and Blacksmiths were happy to pick up the slack from both. Some of this may be due to folks trying out the cannoneer girls. Fish, despite being below 500, are still a popular team taking up 8% of games. Corker failed to pick up any points for the brewers but Rivet and Corbelli both had positive impacts.


Special Feature: Competitive Player Base

Season 4 afterglow fading… I’ve had this really odd feeling. Each month it seems we’ve had a lot of growth in competitive games played, but I just haven’t felt it in the player base. My gut is telling me the game is stagnating a bit. But how does that reconcile with the increase in games played?

Struggling with this idea for a few months I finally decided to put things to the test. Special thanks to Sam for helping compile the raw information here. While everything here is publically available, he was nice enough to get it condensed down to spreadsheet form versus me typing out thousands of lines of data entry. This data went through a lot of iterations and interpretations. I am going to kind of walk through it as I did in real time so bear with me while we arrive at our conclusion.

feature - games vs new players.png

The first thing I wanted to do was address the core question – how do I reconcile a feeling of increased competitive games when I don’t feel like people are coming into the scene. Above are the numbers for just that on a dual/Y-axis. This was pulled at the start of May. Games played increasing, but new player additions to longshanks is going down. This kind of confirmed my theory, but there’s more…

Sam and I then discovered there is a very large number of longshanks profiles which simply don’t have any activity what so ever. A ton of them are duplicates. I just so happened to run across this gem related to everyone’s favorite west coast rules lawyer:


So what we did next was gather the last played competitive game of every longshanks profile. Some initial comparison looks extremely positive:

last game.png

Nearly 40% of profiles have played a tournament game this year. That’s pretty sweet! Even more so a quarter of the player base has been active in the last 60 days. That’s a hardcore competitive fan base. Honestly this might be guild ball’s biggest strength. It’s a great tournament game and people who get into it tend to be fairly dedicated.

While it’s great to have a core group of folks dedicated to your game, we know our new player growth is slowing. Maybe I’m personally biased here, but I kind of feel like we might have a fall out issue as well. Again, I turned to the data. I created a metric which again measured a players last date played, however, if that date was 3 months in the past they “fall out”. For example, if you last played a competitive Guild Ball game in February, you’re active through May, but in June you move to the fall out bucket. I then took this population and created a stacked column chart of all the other profile types. I then threw the games played up there for good measure.

It looks like this:

feature - playerbase vs games played.png

The first thing you’ll notice is at any given time about 30% of the profiles never get used. That’s kind of baseline and doesn’t seem to change much.

Next, new player growth, as we’ve already discussed, is a pretty small portion of the pool.

Finally, the most pronounced visual here is the heavy increase in player fall out. A larger and larger percentage of profiles are going dormant. One could argue using 4 months or 6 months, but the trend is always the same regardless of when you define a player as “no longer competitive”. The fact you can see the pink squeezing the green smaller is pretty stunning. It’s also worth noting fall out has eclipsed new profile growth since the beginning of the year.

feature - added vs fallout.png

Q4 of 2018, hot on the heels of season 4, was the highest amount of active players seen by longshanks. Since then, despite the overall number of registered profiles growing, active profile count is trending in the opposite direction. The competitive player base is shrinking… So in summary, competitive Guild Ball has a smaller group of people playing more games than ever.


Moving Forward:

But Lon… why? Why and what can be done?

I will say, while I cannot confirm this in any way, I do firmly believe these results extend to casual play. I wouldn’t even be surprised if this mirrors sales. While reasonably well informed, the rest of this is opinion and speculation

Regarding the why – I have a few theories:

  • New player growth has stagnated due to a combination of:
    • SFG shooting themselves in the foot with product releases and customer service issues. I don’t feel like I need to rehash any old issues here. They say they are fixing thing, but they’ve said that before too. Let’s hope it sticks this time.
    • The pundit program. It strikes me the pundit program has not been about new player growth in quite some time. If you’re a pundit reading this – when was the last time you ran a demo? When was the last team Steamforged encouraged/rewarded you running a demo? Was your last tournament the usual suspects? Or did you make an effort to find new blood. (note: pundit does not equal tournament organizer)
    • Structure of the game. While Guild ball is an easy game to learn it has a very steep learning curve. If an individual isn’t willing to get smashed repeatedly for their initial learning period, which to be honest could be lengthy, they are going to quit before their tournament debut.
  • Existing player fall out is increasing because:
    • Again – SFG shooting themselves in the foot. It’s very hard to keep a hype train rolling when logistics do not function. A player base can get stoked for a release… but when your LGS still doesn’t have their order filled for 3 months… that’s a reason people turn to other games.
    • Old idea burn out – Let’s face it, we’ve been playing a more or less similar game since December 2016 (Season 3 release). Sure there’ve been tweaks to make it better, and overall, the game is better, but the structure of the game is largely the same. I’d consider Minor guilds a net-negative due to balance difficulties. 3rd captains, while certainly cool, always struck me as a “break glass in case of emergency” solution. Temporary hype-shot in the arm if you will. Again, super cool, but not particularly revolutionary. Mourn was probably the boldest leap, but falls flat in the face of the actual game tempo. Some folks are just tired of running reps at this point.
    • Speaking of Tempo – While I don’t necessarily buy into this one whole heartedly, I’ve heard this over and over locally and online: The game is actually too fast. It’s funny because that was a stated design goal of Season 4 and people seemed to want it. The ideology essentially boils down to “Early mistakes and/or bad dice snowball so quickly there is no chance to recover and salvage the game”. I probably buy into this one less due to my personal playstyle – I’ve always wanted to win before turn 3 and I’ve always embraced/capitalized on variance. But when I see this discussed so often it is hard to ignore. Maybe a snap back mechanic is needed.

These are just my thoughts and musing. Very speculative. I make no claims on any inside knowledge beyond simply paying attention to the pulse of the community.

So what can be done?

Honestly I could write pages on this topic, and I actually did, but upon re-reading I felt it was far too ranty and I doubt that is helpful. I mean SFG if you want my thoughts reach out, but it basically boil down to “Address the problems above”.

Quick Hit? Fine, you twisted my arm:

  • Fix your production problems. Actually do it this time. For real.
  • Abandon SFG Direct. You weren’t ready. All you did was piss off stores.
  • Stop depending so much on your fan base to do things for you. It’s really unprofessional how often you piggyback on fan content. Control the media narrative. Buy Longshanks. Buy GBManager. Run your own nationals.
  • Make new game plan cards. Rotate them quarterly. That’s something you can do right now, today, and only costs you dev time (which is your greatest strength btw). If you make something broken, pull it out of rotation next quarter. I think this would spice things up far more than any new captain or rookie because it literally freshens every game played.
  • Completely rebuild the pundit program with a focus on tournaments and new player growth. Probably best to just end it and start with something new. Right now pundits are just a caste system of fans with access to a webstore. Set strict expectations with better support and rewards. Individual goals should be clear, measurable, and held accountable. Give them the tools and structure they need to succeed in delivering your brand to more players.


Ok I’m getting ranty again and I was trying to avoid that for the 10th time. Maybe all of this is terrible nonsense, but know it is from an individual with a 4.5 year relationship with the game. It’s just my own personal experiences, discussions, and data collection. I truly believe Guild Ball is, and can continue to be, a fantastic game. Steamforged is at a turning point and has the opportunity to forge its own future. Only time will tell if they, and we along with them, can pull it off.

Give Shark back Gut & String.




Video!! Momentous Inspiration #9

Hi Everyone!

Got another great video for ya today from Bryan! This time it’s round one of the Raleigh Warm Up featuring Red Evans (Masons) versus Cameron Gibson (Blacksmiths). Check it out!

This is the last one from the warm up, but don’t fret, Bryan is going to be recording matches from Howzat this weekend! Surly he’ll deliver that content soon!

Video!! Momentous Inspiration #8

Hey everyone! Got more sweet video content for ya! No no, no-memery this time. Legit content from Bryan’s video series.

This week is Dixon Tiru’s Morticians versus John Stokes’ Butchers! These are two very good players who have had pretty solid tournament runs lately. I won’t spoil it, but all you Vboar fans/haters should enjoy this one.

Bonus! this one has the sweet southern twang of Steve Knott’s commentary! Enjoy!


US Southern National Championship


Welcome back Sportsfans,

Today we’ve got another update for you on the Guild Ball World Championship Circuit, this time it’s for the USA SOUTHERN Nationals!

Before that, you may have seen our recent announcement about US Eastern National Championship being granted to Chicago. We’ve done this to ensure we can find the most willing possible fan base to do our work for us. If you’ve missed that blog, you can check it out here.

Today’s article is in relation to that Nationals announcement, since it means we need to find a temporary home for all the Southerns who didn’t have the psychic premonition to buy tickets! Enter the enormously successful event run by Jake Smith and the Greenville South Carolina meta – Howzat!


That’s right, The Howzat crew began running Guild Ball events in 2016 and continued several years in a row (which is more than one). In addition to the last year’s Howzat this meta has run upwards of a dozen Guild Ball events including several Brewery events with large player bases. They’ve really hit the ground running with multiple sell out events which is practically unheard of during the oppressive southern summers! 50 attendees made it and had awesome weekend of fantastic games of Guild Ball and winning prizes from a staggeringly huge prize pool.

Given that Second Wind is sold out, and let’s be frank, Chicago has had more than their fair share of guild ball events, it makes perfect sense for the Southern states to hold their own National. Heck, I’m sure we’ll pull more than LVO right? And the event is run by veterans of the Guild Ball *Tournament Organizer* scene, it makes perfect sense for Howzat to become a self-proclaimed a national. The south does tend to have a habit for such things.

Tickets for this event are NOT sold out and Jake has rented out an ENTIRE brewery. He is not in discussions with the venue to open more space because he can already accommodate even more people! This is one to put your name down for in case… wait there is no wait list. Just sign up!

Facebook event:

footer 2

Please note this is 100% a Parody of an… interesting situation. Howzat is not a national event, but you should def go because it is going to be awesome. Also, The CHI boys do a great job and Second Wind 2 will be fantastic. Keep your eyes open to see if they release more tickets. If you’ve taken offense to this post, probably lighten up 🙂 I know I need to!

Video!! Spring Fling Q&A

He came, he saw, he conquered…. But not before he gave an awesome Q&A!

Obviously I couldn’t just release this audio on it’s own, so I packed it full of dumb pictures. I hope you hate it!

Thanks again Bryce 🙂

Oh and thanks to Bill for letting me assist him with his wonderful event.  And Bryan for editing / uploading / putting up with my nonsense.


Into the Record Books: April 2019

Alllllrighty folks. We’re stopping this month just a tiny bit short. Sorry April. We are robbing you of a weekend. Reason being is the new Miner’s only errata is now in effect and I’d rather not have a month with kind of mixed up data. I still get a twinge every time I think about October 2018. Season 3 and season 4 games happening simultaneously…ugh. I think stopping April short will make for a nice clean break.

For any future people visiting this: The data in this article is from 4/1/19 to 4/23/19. The weekend of April 27th and 28th will be included in the May write up.

Let’s go!

Played Rates:

First up The Guild Ball competitive scene logged 907 games. That’s a pretty big dip from March, but March had vengeance so it isn’t really fair. Also since we’re cutting April short it’s losing Spring Fling which would have added roughly 180 games or so. If we look at things on a per week basis April was looking at 302 games which is reasonably on course versus the rest of the year.

PR High

Butchers are still riding high on that Vet Boar wave with a striking 13% of the field. They’re beating the next highest guild (farmers 9.2%) by a whole 3.8%. That’s pretty nutty considering the theoretical average played rate is only 5.9% at this point. Butchers are more than doubly represented… and it’s almost entirely Boar. We’re seeing him played three times as much as Fillet and Ox combined! You have to have a game plan here if you want any odds of winning an event.

Blacksmiths, Brewers, and Fish all make it in to the top bracket as well with a solid 7.4% of the field. Blacksmiths and Brewers are likely preparing for their new captains while fish just always remain a really solid comfortable choice in to all sorts of situations. Yukai is trending behind Shark and Corsair, but still somewhat relevant.

PR Mid

Floating around the average it’s nice to see Hunters hanging in there with 7.3%. Steeljaw breathing some life in there with a nearly equal pick rate between the three captains. On the other hand the Morts, 7.0%, are not really taking to Mourn. Alchemists are at 6.2%, Order at 5.4%, and Navigators at 4.3%. It’s interesting to see Masons a little below average at 4.6% with Corbelli incoming. They actually declined last month. No Corbelli boost yet I suppose.

Finally we see miners take a pretty big hit. A whole 2% down in April. I imagine folks decided to practice other things just in case the nerfs were over harsh. Personally I think Jamie and crew struck the right note, but I imagine miners will stay near this 5.9% mark moving forward. They’ll still be a factor, but no longer a monstrous presence.

PR Low

On the low end we’ve got ye olde mainstays. Falconers (4.2%), Engineers (3.6%), Ratcatchers (2.1%) and Union (1.1%). Cogs, unlike masons, did get a small boost from the Rivet announcement. I expect it’s gonna take a minute, but soon folks will release how nutty a Rivet lead team is gonna be. We’ve got a new comer down here too. Good ol Cooks debut at 3.9%. I think this might be slightly lower than reality though. I know a lot of stores were slow to get their stock. I don’t expect them to rise a whole lot though mainly because you can play their cooler models in Butchers (see: Braised Cooks with Meme Sauce)

Union is really having a rough time of it, ever decreasing. Kind of sad to see only 20 games during this period, but we’ll get more into that later.

Win Rates:

WR High

Vboar taking it back from the pre-nerf Miners! 58.7% and 57.9% respectively. As mentioned earlier I don’t think it is a stretch to believe Vboar will continue to be a strong proactive presence in the game. Miners have a degree of the Schlegelcurve here – every single minor guild we’ve seen starts off strong then tends to flat line. But I think Mr. Perkins was right too. Such a different team demands different answers from the opponent. Maybe it finally clicked in for folks, but 57.9% is still incredible. The errata was needed for sure. Post-Nerf I’m thinking Miners will find themselves nestled comfortably somewhere in the middle to lower end of the field next month – If I had to throw a number out there… 48.5% in May.

Fish (55.6%), Morts (54.7%), and Farmers (51.5%) bring it home in the top of the pack. It feels to me what you are seeing here is kind of Vboar warping the meta. Rock-paper-boar if you will. Butchers are good versus the field in general and these are the three teams most equipped to deal with Butchers. Just guessing here really. Not a ton of data to support this.

WR Mid

Masons (50.0%) and Brewers (48.1%) see a nice little uptick this month. Alchemists rise a good little bit as well to 49.6%. Navs and Blacksmiths remain pretty flat at 49.4% and 48.5% respectively. I’m honestly a little unsure about what Corker is going to do. Part of me thinks he is far too slow to handle the Ball v Boar meta, but part of me thinks Brewers will have the tools to force their opponent into a slower game. We’ll see. I do think Corbelli is going to turn Masons into the next Fish. The duality of Corbelli and Hammer should see the Masons reasonably comfortable in most matchups. RIP Honour.

WR Low

On the low side of things we do see hunters clawing their way back to a reasonable degree of relevance (47.7%). Some of that might be Steeljaw surprise factor though. We’ll have to see if they keep it up. Same with Devanna’s Falconers at 46.1%. Order dropped the Ball (of Light) a little this month. Almost feels like that same Schlegelcurve is happening again with Order. Engineers clock in at 41.5% praying following Rivet’s lead will yield better results.

Cooks debut fairly low at 40.8%. But hey, at least it wasn’t a total disaster for Wellington…

WR Dumpster

Let’s just… let’s not talk about this one.


Histogram & Victory Index:


Just wanted to quickly post this here in comparison to last month’s. While April VBoar is certainly up there amongst the higher win rates of history, he is at least in plenty of company. It’s not terribly unusual to see something of this caliber win rate.

Victory Index

The victory index is not particularly revealing this month. The stronger teams are being played the most which is amplifying the raw wins. Butchers, Farmers, Fish and Morts lead the way with a combined 40% of the pie. These are your key match ups at higher tables. Beyond this you’re going to want to tech into what feels strong locally. For example, I imagine there are still plenty of strong Blacksmith’s players in UK and you know the South loves their hunters.

Miners, seeing heavy decreases in win and played rate, gave back 4% of the pie. Cooks took a healthy first bite at 3%. Everyone else stayed more or less where they were. Poor union’s slice was sub 1% this month, but that brings me to our special feature!


Special Feature: State of the Union

So you’ve decided you want to be the snowyist of flakes? The darkest of horses? Well then welcome! Welcome to the Union.

While I understand Union isn’t the most flashy thing in the world right now, combined with no real fancy S4 or S4.1 updates to speak of – it is still very surprising to me to see their performance this far in the dumpster. Do we really feel like Rage and Blackheart have fallen so far? Union has always had, and continues to possess a deep bench of fantastic squaddies. So what’s the deal here? Why such a low play rate?

Well, in order to answer that question I went to some of the best Union players I know. Pete Kain and Henry Kay. Combined these two have a 19-3 Union record since Season 4 came out. That’s an 86.3% win rate! Sorry Mike, you’re too last year.

While not strictly an interview, I did ask the guys 3 questions.

  1. Why is no one playing Union?
  2. Should people be playing them? If so when and why?
  3. What do you want to see from their 3rd captain which would make them more appealing to play?

We believe there are a few factors keeping the played rate low – first and foremost is Union kind of had a pretty high kick towards the end of Season 3, that combined with a lack of S4 changes, may be leading to a certain degree of burn out factor.  New Toys + New Captains = New Hotness. It also seems like Union doesn’t really have a stand out star. They are more so a collection of reasonably good pieces. No Shank or Vdecimate to pour a bunch of buffs into, no Fathom or Spade taking striking to the next level. Henry Identified a list of traits present in the stronger guilds which union, while being overall pretty good, simply don’t have access:

  • No good threat projection on turn one
  • Inability to score through minor protections unassisted
  • Almost no one activation take outs with no set up
  • Limited ball killing potential
  • Almost no way to recover from positional mistakes or manipulate threat ranges.

What *can* they do though? Is there a reason to still play them? Pete feels the Season 3 VRage is still a very strong drop in the hands of a good player. Essentially, with set up, there is nothing they cannot kill. Pete feels they are even a reasonable choice versus the dreaded VBoar match. Gutter can still put in a lot of work chain grabbing folks off a Def 3 model followed by a ton of red fury enabled scything blows. There are also tools available like Benediction, New Fangtooth, and Harry to rearrange the scrum. The issue seems to be getting to the scrum in the first place. Blackheart is certainly a slippery fellow, and he deserves serious consideration as a 2-2 captain. Orage and Fangtooth buffs make him particularly appealing as a mobile beat down enabler, furthermore Harry’s new singled out can certainly amp that team up a little. If you enjoy a mixed fighting style it’s certainly worth your time testing it out. Overall there is a great diversity in what the captains and squaddies bring to the table.

So what about Vet Greede or Rageheart becoming the next captain drop? Do the guys think there is anything here which would spice things up? Both of them would like a better threat extender than quick time. A lure of gold type effect could prove interesting and thematic. Bribing your back ally thugs into playing a little harder. Pete wants to see the strongbox mount count as your mascot, so essentially, like blacksmiths, you are playing with 5 squaddies. That might bring in an edge which lets union slot in tech choices like snakeskin or even extra damage burst like Minx. Henry is looking at a broader rework of the team which highlights their gang of misfits persona. He’s drawn out a double edged guild rule “Honour amongst Thieves” which I think is pretty interesting.

Guild Rule

All in all I do think Union is a more attractive option than the stats would have you believe. They have reasonable tools to get the job done, and as Pete and Henry prove, just need a competent player to help get um there. Are you up to the task? I know I might try  unpacking my top hat to see what happens.


Thanks as always for reading everyone. With the new releases and the Miner changes we should be in for an interesting month so get ready for Ball v Boar of Education, part 2: OBJECTION!


Braised Cooks with Meme Sauce


So you know when you’re sitting at a restaurant and you realize your food has been under the heat lamp for like 20 minutes? Everyone else’s dish looks nice and fresh but you’re stuck with this dried up steak approaching well done? That’s what this blog post is about to be… and funny enough… that’s kinda how I feel about cooks.

Folks are just cracking their boxes open. There is a little bit of excitement out there. But let’s get real – These cards were written and tested last summer. We’ve seen a season change, an errata, and new major guild captains. Don’t forget Miners. Cooks were even served a pre-release nerf with Tenderizer’s change. It feels like cooks are debuting into a crowd they weren’t prepared to face. Everything’s all fast, goal leaning, and vegan.

But let’s jump into it shall we? Let’s stay positive. If there are any tasty morsels here I’ll find um. And yes, this post is going to be 75% puns and Gordan Ramsay memes. The other 25% is the ramblings of a mad man.

Guild Rule: Intimidation

guild rule

inti chart

That’s probably the only valuable #Lontent in this article. Intimidation is reasonably equivalent to Tac^1.16. Don’t worry. I can’t do that math either. Basically Tac 4 models are about Tac 5. Tac 5 models are kinda like Tac 6.5. Tac 6 models are basically Tac 8.

Intimidation has a neat skewing effect too where the bottoms of the playbooks get super consistent and the tops are a bit harder (if not impossible) to reach. They’re kinda like navigator rerolls in this way except for the fact the cooks actually have momentum at the bottom of their books. You’re basically going to want to assume the first 3 columns of any of these books are perfectly reasonable on most attacks. That’s nothing to laugh at.




Seems useful to me to look at Wellington first here. As is usually the case the captain dictates the overall game plan for the team.

There first thing that struck me about the boss man here is his 1” reach and KD on 4 seems especially vulnerable to counter attacks. His KD is only 13.2% on a normal attack vs a 4+/1. Yuck. A 9” threat is pretty average too. He is going to have to charge anyone with a 2” disengage or even a 1” disengage if he can’t base um. 2 influence for a non-momentous KD is sad days. It’s even sadder than when ox has to do it. So this leads me to believe wellington should be treated as more of an early activation support captain more than a personal damage dealer. Let him get in there and throw up a singled out, maybe a chef’s special. Scathing rebuke someone who is out of position or maybe KD’d from last turn. Essentially we want to set up for our squaddies to do the hurting.


I do believe legendary turn might be a little different though, which is again very ox like. Even if you have to spend 3 inf on charge KD singled out You’re getting 3 pretty juicy attacks at the end of it. Against a 4+/1 you’re looking at 12 damage. Don’t forgo the singled out for the extra attack though, you’d still be looking at 12 damage regardless. 12 damage kills a lot of models. You can also hit a few 3 damage push dodges in there to bring the target back to your team a little. It’s worth noting a single gang up can really skyrocket Wellington. 8 dice puts you in reliable wrap territory which nets you 6 damage swings. 18 damage kills most things in Guild Ball so using scathing rebuke to get a free crowd is pretty tempting on legendary turn.

So I am thinking you kind of play Wellington like a poor man’s Ox. Issue is to get the most out of him he really needs to be up in there for a singled out. I am worried a 4+/1 15hp model with no defensive tech is a lot more vulnerable up front than old Ox hanging back giving out free auras and chucking out 6” character plays.




So there is a reason folks aren’t playing Salt right now. He just doesn’t add a whole lot to the team. Yeah she is fast and can give you some crowd outs, nullify a furious model here and there, but that’s about it. Pepper strikes me as basically the same. Pepper doesn’t have loved creature though. So for him being up in the mix he is much easier to punish than Salt or Princess. Less HP too.

pep meme

But he goes where he needs to go. He kinda makes Spice a pseudo Tac 6 model which is pretty ok. He’ll bite the crap out of you if you walk away from him. He’s wrapping into 5 damage on a 4+/1 57%!




First of all – I don’t exactly understand cinnamon’s role in the kitchen. She’s got the paddle for the wood fired oven but her outfit really looks more like a hostess. Maybe it’s like one of those pizzerias where the dining room can see the oven so she needs to look presentable? Then again those things tend to put out a lot of smoke, I’m not so sure that’s gonna be tasty with sweet treats. Maybe it’s a British thing? IDK.

Cinnamon is obviously amazing. She certainly opens up a lot of models on the butchers. That TAC 4 is suuuuper deceptive as well. Against a 4+/1 she’s actually comparable to a TAC 7 model on base swings. She’ll mess your world up. Honestly it is a little sad they capped her off at max 3 influence. Her mobility and 2” reach could have made her a fantastic beater.

But I guess the point is to assist the team in being faster with BAKE! It’s an extremely valuable trait and helps the cooks attempt to out threaten the opposition. Opponents always need to respect abilities like this, even before they’re active, by just staying back a little further than otherwise.

She’s also a super reasonable goal threat in her own right. 17” with 3 dice is nothing to laugh at in what’s framed as a beater team. If she starts with the free character play she’s up to 19”. Not too shabby

Cinnamon goes to show you can make a really cool card without needing to bleed ink all over the dang thing. She strikes me as pretty good at everything and extremely hard to drop from your list.




Yeah the other cross over has already been making waves in Butchers for a bit. He might actually be one of my favorite new Guild Ball model designs in some time. He really pushes the envelope in a lot of neat ways. His move stat is wacky, his playbook and TAC are fantastic, and he actually has reasonable interesting defensive tech for a 2+/0. Some damaging models simply can’t deal with him.

It feels like he is another one who is perhaps hard to drop. His great offensive capacity makes him a prime target for Wellington and other buffs. And look, it is really important for 1” melee models to have options to stop a counter attack and he’s basically the only one who can do it. I don’t know that Roast brings quite as much to his own team as he does the Butchers. Really it’s just him and Spice who get the output. He can turn her on pretty hard.

He’s a fantastic model just feels odd to me SFG chose the stronger of the bunch to cross over into butchers. Can you imagine if Azimuth crossed over into a Corsair team? Heck even Ebb would probably be pretty insane. Maybe that’s why cooks fall flat for me personally? You can roll the cool stuff in an even stronger guild.




You can’t play Spice in butchers so let’s muse on her for a sec. She’s supposed to be the big pay out model so let’s see if that’s worth it.

Again 2” reach and reasonably mobile. 10” threat is above average. She’s very influence efficient and even brings her own crowd out. 6 dice with intimidation is easily hitting the intensify if she wants it and it is super nice that she can even start her own fire. Unfortunately the fire does not proc Berserk. So if she is setting herself up she’s losing out on some of her efficiency. She also really does not want to charge if she can help it, at least without a roast buff. Thankfully, in addition to her own natural 8” threat, she has a lot of options to extend her distance even further.

Spice is basically the OGutter of this team. You should be actively looking to set her up to maximize as much intensify damage as possible. Sadly Chef’s special is damage results only. If it had been damage results and character plays that would have been pretty dope.

On the other side of that coin she’s one of the easier models to kill as well. If the opponent can get a key take out on Spice they’ll probably turn the tide in their favor. So just make sure you protect her and let her scream on in late in the turn. Maybe even try to keep her unexposed all together until a scrum forms. If you win it’s going to be because Spice did something insane.




Most people are either Bakers or Cooks. The reason for this is because Cooking is… usually more freeform. If you understand some basics when it comes to flavor profiles you can usually improvise and make some very tasty stuff. Short an ingredient? No problem. Substitute something or just don’t worry about it. Baking on the other hand, you can’t really do that when you bake. Baking is… essentially chemistry.

So hear me out here. Sugar failed out of school. She should have been an alchemist.


Don’t get me wrong. I like Sugar a lot. I just don’t know that she makes the list. Icing is super cute but is that what we really want to be aiming for as a Cook player? Wouldn’t we rather be stabbing stuff? 10” is 2” in front of the center line btw. I don’t think a fragile punching guild wants to be across that line early. If you aren’t in it for the snapshot potential you leave her at home, and I don’t even think a 5/10” snap shot turret is even something you aim for in a team like this.

Maybe I miss the point though. Maybe that truly is the Icing. Take Sugar for beat um up reasons? She’s got good momentous results and max 4 influence. Tac 4 hurts a little bit there when Roast and Spice are around, but sturdy is certainly a thing. Sadly she’s got the weakness of not being able to deal with counter attacks literally at all. Even worse than Wellington. Just seems to me like Roast, Spice, Shank, Heck even Cinnamon punch things better than Sugar. Like dang, she has a big ass cast iron pan, can she not get a low KD? Like if she had a KD on 2 I think I’d bite.

Sorry Shug. Maybe you worked for Smoke/Midas I’d be interested.


What dat hat do?

hat bois

So what do these hat bois have to bring to the cooks?

First I think Shank is just a great squaddie. You’d be happy to have him wherever. 2” reach, highly mobile, very consistent damage. Wellington gives him a free 3 cost character play which is pretty nuts as well. You could also load him up with the various buffs like speed, damage, and discounted charge. You’ve got yourself a nice little missile going. Shank, Spice, and Roast make a pretty solid output trio.

As far as Tenderizer is concerned his Nerf might have seen him ousted from Butcher line ups but I still think he has a pretty solid home with the Cooks. I feel like he covers a lot of their weaknesses with his solid KD and double push. 2” reach Tac 6 is pretty reasonable and hey, who doesn’t want a free ground pound? It’s a lot harder to counter attack when they’re on their butt.


Final thoughts:

They are cool and have a very interesting play style. Maybe they’re your casual night for fun guild. The aesthetic is **chef’s kiss** as well. MVP Goal Token. If I pick um up I am going to mod it slightly to be a Kamado grill.

I hope we found a few chicken nuggets of wisdom in here. As far as the Cook’s competitive hopes – I just really don’t see a compelling reason to take them over Butchers right now. Maybe they’re a little better versus fast, high def, scoring teams? That’s about all I got. But even then Fillet can cover those matches pretty well. Seems the most fun toys cross over. So unless you really wanna blow stuff up with big spice activations stick with Boar and crew? It’s like Cooks is the new joint in town. They’ve got hipster toppings on their burgers and wacky crap on the walls. You’ll try it, but at the end of the day you’re really just going to wish you had hit up your local mainstay.

As stated in the beginning it really feels like Cooks would have been very viable in a Season 3.4 world. But in Season 4.1 when you’ve got your Shafts, Corbellis, and Rivets to think about? Feels like we’re short staffed during a Saturday night dinner rush.

Too Late