Ballista, Lord Artificer, Engineers Guild Team Captain
Ballista is essentially a tool box, team support captain. Slow, but dependable, with the tricks to get around most situations (even the being slow). Ballista is a tough nut to crack, a capable goal scorer if he can get the range, but perhaps most significantly among his abilities is the possibility of generating momentum without attacking your opponent (in melee that is).
Ballistas movement is essentially average, his ‘slowness’ has more to do with the needs of his aura than movement stats (more on that aura later). He has a decent TAC, supported by a play book that centres around pushing. His kick stats, like most of the engineers line up are above average for accuracy and average for range. DEF is on the low side, ARM is average, INF is reasonably good and he has a 1″ melee range. Ballista has 18 hit points which, coupled with tough hide, makes him one of the toughest players to take out.
Traits and Plays
So what is it that Ballista does? In a nutshell, board control and momentum generation.
Momentous inspiration, Ballistas aura is possibly the most memorable thing about him (Deadbolt and Mine field are pretty tricky to forget too). This 4″ aura means that when a friendly model uses a character play that hits and damages an enemy model they generate a point of momentum too. This tends to cause Ratchett and/or Salvo to hang around Ballista, but the upside is that engineers can often get the first activation on turn two and if the opponent doesn’t commit to generating momentum themselves then you can keep this advantage. Once you opponent does commit however, you will find that you need to do some work in melee yourself if you want to stay on top of momentum generation. It’s also worth remembering Gutters Chain Grab would benefit from Ballistas aura.
It doesn’t need much coverage, but Ballista has tough hide, so aside from poison slowly ticking his hit points down, he is a tough nut to crack.
Ballistas play book, character plays and legendary play offer a series of threats and tools to allow the engineers to control the positions of players, both friendly and enemy. His play book features plenty of momentous pushes, a reasonably accessible knock down and a very accessible momentous tackle at the first column. There are some damage options and a momentous knock down, but these are less regularly used, unless you just need to finish a model off or hit exceptionally well.
Perhaps the most commonly used character play, Deadbolt, is essential to making the most of Ballista. This character play has a range 8″ (13″/15″ threat if you jog/sprint first), at a cost of 2 influence you get a reliable and cost effective play that not only knocks down the target and pushes them up to 2″, but also does 3 damage (+1 more if the legendary play is up). So long as it hits Deadbolt will also generate a point of momentum thanks to Ballistas aura. Dead bolt is a once per turn play, as are both of Ballistas other character plays.
Ballistas second character play that deals damage is more situational, but very useful none the less. Flurry with the same range and cost as Deadbolt, offers 2 points of damage to the target and all other models within 2″ of that target, and of course a point of momentum for that aura. In a game full of reasons that encourage players to be close to one another, from auras to crowding out/ganging up, Flurry forces your opponent to keep his/her players apart. If they make the mistake of standing too close together Flurry is there to punish them. Don’t forget everything can be pre measured in Guild Ball, so get a 2″ widget and check those gaps before you activate Ballista. Flurry also offers you a way to damage your own players, to any other guild this sounds like madness, but then they don’t have Mainspring. Again situational, but if your opponent ‘softens’ Mainspring up leaving him on 1 or 2 hit points, get the mascot in position, Flurry an enemy within 2″ and chuckle when Mainspring blows getting you a total of 5 damage and fire on the target (not to mention possible damage on everyone else nearby).
Last among Ballistas character plays is Second Wind. Again a situational play, with a cost of 2 influence and a range of 4″. Second wind speeds up the engineers by giving a player a second advance (jog only), there is a down side in that it triggers at the end of a models activation, so you can’t go for goal at the end. However, this can be used in a variety of ways, from getting a player in to position to receive the ball and go for a snap shot, to allowing those with a shorter ranged method of attacking their opponents to retreat to safety, hit and run tactics.
Mine Field, Ballistas legendary play, is arguably one of the best legendary plays in the game. This is an 8″ aura of extra damage and/or denial. If an enemy player wishes to start an advance or enter this aura they will take 4 damage, tough hide will reduce this to 3 if they have it, but to most players it is a lot of damage to risk. Other players have dodge options of course, but minefield still has a sting in the tail, causing 1 damage for each reposition movement and that is where minefield gets more exciting. In a guild full of push tech Mine Field gives a little extra damage to each push, turning Salvos Kick Bolts from 2 damage to 3, Ballistas own Deadbolt from 3 to 4 and so on. It should be noted that this is a separate 1 damage and is of course from a play, so watch out for tough hide enemies.
To wrap up I will summarise my experience with Ballista. I have found him to be strong in the first two turns, he is willing to give Influence to the team when needed, often just Deadbolt-ing for a turn, then he is a patient tiger waiting for the right moment. He keeps the pressure up on the opponent from start to finish, with Deadbolt and the threat of Flurry, then Mine Field gives that great paralysing turn. His aura nearly always gives me momentum dominance for the first two turns and he even reliably scores goals in the late game, once he has had chance to wander that far up the pitch.
Thanks to http://solidgroundstudios.co.uk for the cobble street bases and terrain pieces, and thanks to you for reading.