Tales from the Pitch

Guild Spotlight: Blacksmiths

Welcome back, Longshanks readers, to the Guild Spotlights! This week, we'll be looking at the Blacksmiths Guild. The Blacksmiths Guild has a very unusual team composition – they have seven models who can be their captain! In today's Spotlight, we'll only be looking at the three most common picks as Captain, and the rest will get their moment in the Scouting Report, available next week. In that article, we'll also touch on how the captains we mention today function as squaddies. Sound confusing to you? Don't worry, we'll explain in a bit. For now, let's get it started!

The Blacksmiths Guild is a shockingly flexible team to play. They turn the Guild Ball pitch into a forge, setting their opponents alight with fire, placing them on the anvil, then hammering the opposing team down flat. Their Masters lead the charge, setting up enemy models for the Apprentices, who come in and prove themselves to their masters with powerful blows. The Blacksmiths have a tool for nearly every situation, and once you master the back and forth of their Masters and Apprentices, your opponents will hear ringing in their ears for days.

You should play Blacksmiths if:

  • You like to deal huge amounts of damage in a single blow.
  • You enjoy making your opponent's attacks worthless.
  • You like having an answer to every situation.

Blacksmiths shouldn't be your first choice if:

  • You dislike being hit by Character plays.
  • You like 6 influence activations.
  • You like to run all over the pitch.

Blacksmiths, as a guild, find themselves split along a dichotomy. Blacksmiths in general have two styles of players: Masters and Apprentices. The Masters are very often tanky pieces that have powerful setup tools for the rest of the team. Each of them also has a legendary play, which typically gives them a boost to a single stat for the turn. Masters can also serve as a Captain for the team, giving them a higher influence allocation limit and making their legendary play affect their team. The other kind of players that the Blacksmiths have are Apprentices. These players are significantly less sturdy than their Master counterparts but make up for it by having extremely powerful plays and attacks. They also tend to be more mobile than their Master counterparts.

Blacksmiths, as a team, tend to lean towards 4 takeouts and 1 goal, although they can flex reasonably easily to a 2-2 or 6-0 plan if they game finds itself leaning in that direction. They play a grindy game style, largely because the majority of their team will often be sitting at 2 or more armor. The choice of Captain is overall less impactful in Blacksmiths than it is in other guilds; unlike most other guilds, your Captain likely won't be a huge output model because the Masters generally don't do much other than set up your other pieces. Let's look at some of those potential Captains now.

Anvil is one of the most common captains you'll see. His legendary play is one of the most powerful ones in the guild, making your normally squishy Apprentices much harder to kill. In addition, he has some of the best setup tools in Blacksmiths. Being able to spend three influence for a momentous knockdown followed by a momentous Singled Out and a momentous While the Iron is Hot is one of the best ways to prepare a setup.

Farris is a common secondary captain pick, largely because of her legendary play. Giving your entire team free kicks can be very powerful on receiving, and it makes it very easy for Farris to spend the last activation of turn 1 using Quick Foot on herself then sprinting and shooting for a ludicrous 20" goal threat, which goes up even farther if you can drop the ball to Give It A Whack. She also makes good use of the higher influence cap since she has repeatable momentous results on every column of her playbook. You'll often see her if the team plans to flex into the 2-2 strategy.

Finally, there is Burnish. Burnish will often see play as the captain in a more ranged-oriented Blacksmiths list. Flame Belch is not once per turn, which means that Burnish can use it three times on his legendary play turn, and 2 times every other turn. That amount of damage at range, especially with Furnace giving him Tooled Up, means that Blacksmiths can play a strong standoff game. Add in the extra utility of Reinforced Plating and Reduction, and Burnish is a threat to contend with!

Interested in trying your mettle with the Blacksmiths Guild? Fantastic! For your first game, I'd recommend Anvil as your captain with Furnace and Farris as your other Masters, then Sledge, Veteran Cinder, and Bolt as your Apprentices. This will give you a flexible team that can be surprisingly slippery. You'll want to start with a 4-1 gameplan, then decide later on if you want to score the second goal or kill the ball and get two more kills. As usual, here are some tips for your first game:

  • Keep the distance between your models in mind! All three of your masters have Sentinel, and your apprentices will be a lot more durable if they have that. Also keep your Tutelage ranges in mind – Sledge and Bolt both gain a lot from a free character play!
  • If you're receiving, you can use Bolt's I'm Open! play to get more momentum than your opponent might expect. If you play it smart, you should be able to guarantee a momentum advantage going into turn 2.
  • Don't be afraid to activate one of your apprentices early if they are in danger. A subpar use of influence is better than losing it!

The Blacksmiths are a guild that takes some of the traditional Guildball Strategies and turns them on their head. If you can master the forge, though, beating you will be like steel – very hard!

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