Guild Ball is the game of medieval fantasy football from Steamforged Games. The Century War has wracked the land, and all that forges the fractious nations of the new Empire together is the blood-sport of Guild Ball, brought together by the scheming Guilds. Will you play the slippery Fishermen, the arcane Alchemists, or the suspicious Union? Read some articles, listen to some podcasts, watch some videos, and maybe you’ll find out which is best for you!

Sweet Venethrax Tech (not included)

Posted by on 11:17 pm

I feel like Venny occasionally gets a bad rap.  I’ve played him a lot, he’s my main guy in Cryx, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned about him.  He may not be the best caster in Cryx, but, if you use him properly, he’s alright.   Profile:  Venethrax’s stats are fairly main line for a cryxian medium based caster, he shares them with pGaspy.  The only one that’s out of line is his Mat, which is a totally sweet 8. Caustic Presence [Corrosion]:  This rarely comes up. Dismember: This and Dragon slayer allows the notorious fury gobbling that is all folks remember about Venny. Cull Soul:  Uses this to turn souls to focus. Spells: Blood Rain is basically breath of corruption, but much worse  It still kills all single wounds under it, because of his caustic presence, but it isn’t nearly as good for running an arc node within 4″ and killing casters. Dragon Slayer: Signature spell here.  Venethrax should have this upkept unless the enemy just purify/eiryss’d it off. Worth pointing out that it allows harvesting fury from any enemy model that has it, not just beasts.  Go ahead and take fury from the Celestial Fulcrum. Hellfire:  Venethrax gets enough fury to try hellfire assassinations surprisingly often.  This is a very important spell for him. [Note that Dragon Slayer works with this spell.  You can use it to off a beast or forsaken and take their fury load] Lamentation:  This is one of those spells that 90% of the time goes uncast, but every once in a while is a massive deal.  There are a number of casters who have a big deal spell that they desperately want to cast, and also important upkeeps.  If you can catch them in it, and not die, you can totally hose their game. Soul harvester:  Venny’s other signature spell here.  This is key to his game plan.  This spell is his rit sac, his dark guidance.  It pretty much defines the caster. Charnel Flames: This is a fine defensive feat.  Kill enemy models, they can’t kill you back because you are behind clouds that auto-point them.  It’s like being eGaspy for a turn.  The easiest way to screw this up is to block in Venethrax with the models that need to do the killing.  The order of the feat turn is Venny first, feat and move into 14″ of their front line, your models kill their models. His feat is actually a really big deal, between LOS blocking and keeping them from just advancing to engage with infantry…and then the fact that if they do get past then they kill your models and that still makes clouds. The Game Plan:   Ok, so here’s how all the pieces work together.  The theme of Venethrax’s army list is that he collects all the souls from enemy’s that die.  Between upkeeping, a scarlock and Venny himself you can have Soul Harvester in 3 places during a turn.  Everything you kill should be giving Venethrax souls.  If possible, he uses these souls for a hellfire assassination.  If not, he can charge up and kill a bunch of guys and still keep his camp up at safe levels. On the critical turn he pops his feat to stop enemy retaliation.  His camp is...

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Road to War Episode 10

Posted by on 8:08 pm

Road to War This week we talk about Legion! 0:00: Legion and Colossals 7:17: General Discussion 10:56: eLylth 18:30: Saeryn 28:56: Bethayne & Belphagor 38:40: pVayl 45:39: eVayl 51:39: pThagrosh 56:19: eThag 59:09: Abysolonia 1:03:55: Kallus 1:07:28: pLylth 1:09:00: Closing thoughts on Legion 1:11:05 WAR GamesCon Recap   Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:25:59 — 78.7MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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What is a National Player?

Posted by on 3:01 pm

Unlike a lot of the other contributors I’m relatively new and not a big national contender. People like to see what things are like from the big dog’s point of view so that they can glean some insight. That special something they feel like they are missing. Truth be told there is no secret. I’ve been playing for about 3.5 years now I started in early ’09 right around the Legends release. I played pretty regularly about 2 days a week, and say 5-6 games total per week. I started hearing about the national scene at the time; and thought that it just wasn’t for me. Simply that I would never be able to aspire to that level and compete with the best of the best. Then something changed, I started to read the battle reports and the competitiveness wasn’t that far removed from my local group. I resolved to try harder until I could make that national scene and from that point on started playing more and more competitively. When I say that I mean I would spend more time on list construction and lay out my list goals. I cut out extraneous models that weren’t proving worth it over time or really elaborate gimmicks that only worked some, if any of the time. I also started playing timed turns in casual gaming. I wouldn’t force it on my opponent but I would for myself. If I ran out of time my turn was over. This forced me to stop having analysis paralysis. All of this helped shaped me into a better player not even really stepping up the amount of gaming I was playing but analyzing them more and seeing what I did wrong; what I could do better or differently. Then internalizing all of that information and building from there. Lock and Load last year was my first attempt at a national level convention. I ended up in finals against Will Pagini; and lost due to excellent play on his part. While I do not wish to detract from Will’s victory, but I enabled him to win. I’ve gone over that scenario in my head easily over a dozen times on what I could have done differently. They all boil down to me not piecing the puzzle together. The point I’m trying to make is that no plan is fool proof, and that everyone makes mistakes; even at high levels of play. In the end I hope that this article encourages some of you to get out there and try harder; as you don’t have to be a national player to be able to play at a national level....

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The Modern Major-Mercenary – Durgen

Posted by on 1:51 am

“As the size of the explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero.” – Vaarsuvius. Some of you may remember me doing a couple of these articles a while back, talking about mercenary warcasters (and how they handled in a post-Wrath meta). Time and work pressures kept me from contributing much more than that, but as it happens, I’ve got some spare time today and an itch to talk about one of the Mercenaries’ most unique (and arguably, most powerful) warcasters: Durgen Madhammer. Unlike my previous articles, I’m not going to direct you to Battle College for this one. This is going to be a full-blown tactica, running through an analysis of Durgen’s stats and abilities, and talking about a specific playstyle I find most effective with Durgen. So without further ado, I present: Durgen, and why he is awesome.   Durgen’s Stats & Special Rules: All the Least Interesting Stuff Crammed into Four Paragraphs Stat-wise, Durgen is pretty much average across the board – just about every one of his attributes can be described as ‘good enough’. SPD5, RAT6, DEF14, ARM17, FOC6, nothing outstanding, but no deal-breakers either. It all gets the job done. In terms of survivability, Durgen does reasonably well. DEF14 ARM17 isn’t stellar, and on any other midfield ‘caster I’d be very wary of trusting in it, but Durgen is on a small base and his spell list and weaponry means that he virtually never needs to be in line of sight to the enemy to be operating at full effectiveness – so even if he’s playing aggressively, he doesn’t have to come out from behind his ambulatory bullet sponges. Blast Armour is a nifty ability that you can wrangle some mileage out of every now and then. Sometimes you really, really need that extra 1 FOC and it’s worth having Dougal throw a grenade at a model in B2B with Durgen, and sometimes a Basher will be able to durdle around using Flak Field to act like an oversized Squire for the first couple of turns, but unless we get a very cheap way of producing lots of accurate blast damage (hint: Ogrun Assault corps do not count), this ability is going to stay mostly just a fun thematic one that doesn’t see too much actual play. Finally, Durgen is a Rhulic warcaster, which means he can only take Rhulic warjacks. This is more an advantage than anything else, because Rhulic warjacks are some of the best that mercenaries have access to. Except the Avalancher, who is far less awesome with Durgen than you may have been led to believe. But more on that particular issue later. Nothing much else to see here, so let’s move along.   The Gun, ‘Buster’; an Explosion of Flavour! (But Also the Regular Kind) Ok, so I’m not going to beat around the bush here: this is probably the best gun on any warcaster or warlock in the game. It’s better than Brisbane’s rocket launcher, it’s better than Caine’s spellstorm pistols on four turns out of five, it’s usually going to be better than any of Nemo’s various lightning sticks, and it’s probably better than Kara Sloan’s rifle (although that’s up for debate, and really they’re two sides of the same coin;...

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The Dreadbound

Posted by on 11:06 pm

So here I am again answering another request, this time from a good friend of mine, and great player who has greatly earned my respect in the game, Ohio Bob.  Well with that mouthful out of the way I guess you have all figured out what the next piece of the puzzle is going to be now on this episode of “The Dark Horse Chronicles.”  This week I will be focusing up Maelok, The Dreadbound.  Though you will have to keep on thing in mind when looking over this list, other than the fact that I always build lists based on what I own and am able to play with, is that one key model is not out yet for this warlock so the list is built as you can currently play it as.  I will however at the end of the article tell what changes I would make as to allow for the ever important model be fielded.  I am doing this as I know it has already been mentioned that the list should show the important model included.  Well lets take a look at the list:   Blindwater Congregation Pack:  Place 2, 3″ AOE water terrain pieces before deployment Maelok +6 Swamp Horror 8 Ironback Spitter 8 Bull Snapper 3 10 Bog Trog Ambushers 8 Croak Hunter 2 Croak Hunter 2 Croak Hunter 2 5 Gatorman Posse 9 Totem Hunter 3 Viktor Pendrake 2 Wrong Eye and Snapjaw 9 Total:  50/56pts   So lets first take a look at our warlock.  His basic stats are what you would expect out of a gator warlock.  His SPD is the same as all gators, his MAT is average, his DEF is tied for the highest in gators, his ARM just 1 above basic gators, and lastly his damage is the highest of all the gators.  Though is fury stat is average one might say that this is to be expected, however with his spell list we will look at later one will see that you will be at times starved for fury.  He is undead and causes terror, more so because he probably smells bad and has skin falling off of him, which goes to say why he has a poor CMD as troops don’t usually find themselves close enough to him to listen.  He does have 3 magical melee attacks, one bite and 2 claws.  Though the bite is the only one with a special ability that allows you to reave fury from a warbeast destroyed by the bite.  Lastly he has the ever famous Cryx ability to claim souls from enemy models destroyed close to him and turn them into fury the next turn. Now for his spell list and feat.  His first upkeep spell that is great is Death Pact, this affects a friendly faction model/unit and gives them a bonus to ARM and makes them undead, very important for his feat by the way.  He as a deadly upkeep spell for himself called Malediction, this spell gives a penalty to DEF and ARM for enemy models within reach range of Maelok.  He also has revive, this is a spell that costs about have his fury that returns to play one destroyed friendly faction grunt with one wound and it has to be placed in Maelok’s...

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Non-Dojo Game Theory 1

Posted by on 7:37 pm

    There’s a branch of quantitative analysis (nerd math) called Game Theory.  While the word “theory” is in there, I’m not going to pontificate about Hunters under Ossyan’s feat or anything like that.  What I am going to show you is a pretty deep frame work for looking at interactions between two intelligent players.  Oh… and I’ll tie it into Warmachine and Hordes for good measure. Math needs pictures so let’s get into the examples right away.  One of the most popular Game Theory interactions is called “The Prisoner’s Dilemma”.  You’ve got two guys (A and B) involved in a crime together.  Criminal A is sitting there talking to the cops.  He’s got two choices (snitch, hold out).  Criminal B is facing the mirror scenario.  If they both hold out, they each face minor time in jail (1 year) and beat the system.  If one snitches while the other holds out, the cops we’ll give him a break (zero time for snitch, 10 years to the hold out).  If both snitch on one another they each get five years.  On the surface it seems like the two would hold out, beat the system and get off. At right is a diagram and the numbers are “years”. As an example, negative ten means ten years in jail. Criminal A can choose to snitch or hold out on the left side.  B can choose to snitch or hold out on the top.  Let’s look at A’s choices.  No matter what B does, A is better off snitching.  That’s called a dominant strategy.  If you can do one thing that’s ALWAYS better no matter what your opponent does, then you have a pretty easy choice on your hands.  Do that better thing!  It’s rational for A to snitch.  But wait, let’s not ignore B.  B can hope against hope that A’s dumb or hasn’t read this article.  Looking at A’s actions, B will also deduces that he’s better off snitching.  B has the same dominant strategy; snitch. These poor saps will always snitch on one another. That’s the rub.  You can play this game in isolated rooms.  You can play it face to face.  It doesn’t matter.  Rational players will always rat one another out.  I probably should have said [Spoiler Alert] for the Law and Order fans out there.  My bad. If you’re still with me you’ve just digested some heavy stuff.  So how does this relate to Warmachine?  There are three ways to find yourself in a Prisoner’s Dilemma in Warmachine. 1.      List Selection in a Steam Roller Tournament I reached out to a few high level tourney studs for help on this one.  List Selection and interaction holds a lot of subtly.  So here are two examples of Prisoner’s Dilemma in the Steam Roller environment. Courtesy of Keith Christianson; Player A:  Ashphyxious2 (hold out) and Terminus (snitch) Player B:  Caine2 (hold out) and Haley1 Lich2 doesn’t like Haley1 because Temporal Barrier negates his feat.  Caine2 can’t play against Terminus well because Sacrificial Pawn is a ball buster.  The two players end up playing the miserable grind fest of Terminus vs. Haley1 despite likely preferring the Lich2 vs. Caine2 game. Courtesy of Michael Chilly Winters (adding a familiar opponent layer); Winters:  Skarre1 (hold out) and Terminus (snitch) Pagani:  Kromac (hold out) and...

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MoM’s Podcast #15

Posted by on 8:09 pm

MoM’s Podcast #15 Topics: 0:01:20 = Newb Section (Ability Liability and Situational Awareness) 0:21:35 = News & Announcements 0;32:30 = Gargantuan Spoilers 0:43:10 = Diecon Coverage 3:12:20 – Muse on Mail 3:29:35 = Crutch Free Update 3:38:20 = In the Dojo Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 4:02:04 — 221.6MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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Player Habits – Don’t be an Excuse Player

Posted by on 11:00 am

All players have different habits or personality traits that define what kind of player they will are.  One type of player I see too often is the “excuse player”. The moment the game is over, and they have lost, they have the excuse ready as to why they lost. (“I only lost because you rolled a 9 on that attack” or “I only lost because I didn’t know that model had Beat Back”.) Their first instinct is not to congratulate their opponent or think about mistakes they made and how to improve in the future, or even think about how the entire 70 minutes of the game played out and how every move/placement/dice roll by each player all factored into the game results, it is to make an excuse.  I believe many of us all have that moment after a loss, where we think “I can’t believe I forgot ability X on my opponent’s model”.  With 115+ casters and model combinations, this happens to everyone.  I believe there is a big difference from a player realizing they made a mistake and a player that needs to justify that loss with an excuse.  It is ok to lose a game. You don’t need to justify it immediately with an excuse.  Vast majority of game losses occur due to one player making more mistakes then their opponent or one large bad timed mistake.  (The various types of mistakes could be an entire topic of many articles.)         I find players that accept that a loss that was made by a mistake (in combination, with their opponent being good enough to take advantage of the mistake to win the game) tend to learn more from the games, where the player that loses and cares more about making an excuse often manages to lose more games and cling to their excuses and improve slower.  I believe most of us have played those games where we had complete control of the game but your opponent goes for a bad odds assassination attempt because they had no other hope and they successfully kill your caster. They needed some crazy roll, like an 11 to hit on 2 dice followed by a 15+ on 3 dice to succeed, and they somehow manage it.  Both of you realize they just pulled that win out of thin air.   Two thoughts on this; first, if you let your opponent roll dice to win the game, and they succeed, realize that is going to happen now and then.  Bad odds don’t mean impossible to succeed.  Think about where your caster was on the field. Did he need to be where he was? Did you move him forward because you were overconfident in your win?   Maybe you could have protected him even better.  Second, congratulate your opponent on realizing their only chance was to go for that long odds caster kill attempt, and not just sit back and die horribly. They were smart enough to realize how screwed they were and took appropriate action. Your mission should you choose to accept it – When you lose your next game, think about what your first thought after the game is.  Try to keep too many negative thought at bay. Think about the entire game overall, and how you can improve u/pon your...

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The Oathkeeper

Posted by on 9:42 pm

Well welcome to another exciting article of the Dark Horse nature.  This time taking a look at the one our own Muse team member, the mighty Mr. Crump, has used to beat the great Legion of Jake.  Though this article will focus more upon what I have played with in the past and have had some success with.  Well lets first take a look the list shall we:   Cassius and the Wurmwood +6 Megalith 11 Woldwarden 9 Gallows Grove 1 Gallows Grove 1 Shifting Stones 2 Tharn Ravager White Mane 3 Tharn Ravager White Mane 3 6 Tharn Ravagers with Chieftain and Shaman 13 Wolf Lord Morraig 5 10 Wolves of Orboros with Officer and Standard 8 Total:  50/56   Now lets take a look at our warlock shall we.  There are a couple of things about this warlock that are kind of contradictory to what he is trying to do/get out of his abilities, though I will cross this bridge when I look at the Wurmwood.  For a Circle warlock he of course comes with the oh so ability of pathfinder that is always common amongst their kind.  His Fury stat is a little low for a spellcasting type of warlock, though this is due to one of his abilities with the Wurmwood, again will be covered when we look at the Wurmwood.  His DEF is a little below the average though his ARM is above average for a spellcasting warlock, thankfully you get to combine this with his awesome life span that matches power houses like the Butcher and Terminus.  His MAT is average as well as the POW of his only melee weapon with reach when comparing him to other heavy spellcasting warlocks, though that same ability that holds him back due to Wurmwood helps to off set these things.  On top of that when he boxes a living or undead model he turns that model into a small AOE forest and then removes the model from play.  This is great for keeping models from returning to play and helps him get use out of his Treewalker ability.  He does get to ignore the firing into melee penalty when making magic attacks against models in Wurmwood’s command range, which is way above average.  He does have the ability that the Tharn Ravagers where he gets a bonus to DEF against melee attacks, as well as ignoring forests for LOS and able to move through other models and obstructions, though remember this moving through models does not allow you to ignore them for LOS or ignore free strikes.   His spell list is a little limited as he has 3 attack spells and 1 movement spell for him and his tree.  His first spell is an offensive upkeep spell called Curse of Shadows, this moderate cost spell with below average range targets a model/unit and puts a penalty to the ARM stat, as well as makes it so that they can not make free strikes and allows models to advance through affected models as long as they can move completely past them.  His next spell is a high cost spell with below average range is called Hellmouth, this average POW spell does nothing if you miss but if you hit, whether it is an enemy model...

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