The team mascots are something of a unique proposition in the game. These animal companions follow their team captains and all bring something different to the team they play for. Luckily for the Masons, Marbles is one of the best little mascots out there.
As I mentioned with Honour, it’s the flexibility of the team that is their key to victory, and Marbles may show this more than any other player on the team. Marbles is firmly in the middle of the pack when it comes to mascot statistics, with nothing special in any section, but that doesn’t make him weak by any means.
MOV – Marbles’ decent move of 6”/8” will keep him out of trouble vs most of the game’s heavy hitters, but he can get bogged down by the quicker teams. Keep him out of trouble until you need him and use his half decent speed to get him where you need, when you need. With 1 INF he can engage from 9” away, which will give you far more than any other mascot for a single INF due to him providing both +1Tac (+2Tac with Ganging Up) and +1 Damage to Honour with his assist ability.
TAC – His TAC of 3 isn’t brilliant, but in tandem with his playbook it is all you need at times. On the charge Marbles picks up a pretty decent 7 TAC attack, enough to tackle Hemlock under Defensive Stance on average rolls.
KICK – This is little Marbles’ weakest statistic. 1/4” isn’t much to write home about, but it’s workable with abilities such as Bonus Time or Mallet’s Football Legend to bolster it.
DEF – Marbles isn’t as nimble as the Cat; while not fantastic, a solid DEF of 4+ is still one of the better numbers in the standard Masons lineup. It means that some of the dangerous single dice plays only have a 50% chance to hit, while even some of the two dice plays only hit 75% of the time. This’ll get you out of more than one sticky situation.
ARM – While the Cat is more nimble, Marbles is definitely more protected once he gets hit. 1 ARM isn’t the best value on a mascot, however it’s by no means the worst. 1 ARM won’t protect him against someone like Boar or Ox, but against those nifty little strikers looking to get a quick bounce after a normal advance into melee, it might just tip the odds in your favor.
INF – Pretty average for a mascot here. Marbles adds one to your pool, which is always good, and in most turns you’ll feed it back to him to keep up with your team, run into assist range, or use one of his Character Plays. There are occasions when you’ll want to give him two though; I’ll let you work out the best time for that on your own.
Loved Creature – This little trick will either win you games or never come up. When Marbles suffers the Taken Out condition you get a small bonus of +2 TAC and +2”/2” on your MOV for the rest of the turn, as well as 2 MP. There are times when you’ll want to sacrifice Marbles for the good of the team; a good opponent will know this, however, so feel free to use it. Give them Marbles early on in a turn and if they don’t kill him you have a player in their back lines. If they kill him you have the stat bonus. It’s a win either way. Remember, sometimes the most important abilities on the cards don’t have to be triggered to be useful.
Marbles Playbook isn’t that long, only 3. However, each pip has a Momentous result, which is always useful. Having Tackle on the first result can be goal-saving as well. Being able to quickly tackle then move away is always good, but having the tools to get the enemy model with the ball to move towards your little tackle monkey is also useful.
Tooled Up – Being able to grant a nice +1 damage to any playbook result is always useful. Being able to add +2 from this by Marbles assisting Honour is just fantastic. This will be the main use of the skill, being able to turn a small damage bonus into a bigger one.
Goad – This is one of the most useful skills out there. Want to trigger Loved Creature? Give them a reason to. Want Friday to move away from the goal? Get her attention. Want Boar to advance into that building? Yeah, it does that too. That last one’s something that you’ll need to get used to before being able to use it to its maximum potential. It requires you to start your activation within 6” of the target and then be able to move behind cover without any intervening friendly models either engaging your target or along his travel path. If you do this right you can tie up an opponent like Boar for a couple of turns. Not bad for 1 INF from your mascot. However, this isn’t something you’ll be able to use every game and you won’t be able to pull it off every time you try, but when you do it’s really, really satisfying.
So: Marbles, one of the best mascots out there? Just maybe. While he has a fair few uses, the key to using him is knowing when to use each skill. Sure, you can try to pull off something using 2 INF. However, you’ll reduce the pool for the rest of your team by doing that. It’s that level of knowing when to do what that’ll make all the difference in advancing your game.
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