Sakana means Fish Snacks.


Well well well… Lookie here! A brand new Fish model for the first time in a year?! Awesome! Veteran Sakana is pretty cool looking and I, like many people, are excited for him. However, he does come with all the baggage of his Veteran status. This means we’ll have to take some time to compare and contrast versus the original. (I’m using the S2 image for original to avoid confusion)

Quick disclaimer here: As you may know I’ve been playing fishermen since season 1. Not too long after I got involved the Original Sakana was released. I’ve been playing with him for over 2 years now and he easily makes 90% of my 6 man teams. I’ve previously considered Original Sakana to be one of the best squaddies available to fish and there is a chance my bar is too high for your personal play style.

I thought about it and I felt like the best way to organize this would be to start with their stat lines and move from there. However, each stat line comes with caveats and we’ll discuss those as we go.

MOV stat –

1 speed

    • Both come with 6”/8” but I think this one is pretty clearly in the favor of Original Sakana. Original can pay 1 to boost himself up to an 8”/10” or get it for free with some well-placed cover. This movement efficiency is a pretty big plus for Original in my opinion. There are even some games where I will kick off with Original Sakana if there is a handy crate nearby.
    • That said, Veteran can even this up in one specific instance. If Vet starts an activation in Melee with a suitable target he can black flag himself. I don’t think it will come up often, but it could happen.

TAC stat and playbook –

2 attack

    • Again a fair amount of similarity when it actually comes to rolling dice here. Both models feature TAC 5 with anatomical precision and 2” reach. This combination allows you to be reasonably reliable in hitting your 1st and 2nd column against the most common defensive stats, and sometimes hit the 3rd. Here are your odds:
      •  ……Column…………..1st…….2nd……3rd
      • Attacking a 5+/0 – 86.8%, 53.9%, 21.0%
      • Attacking a 4+/1 – 96.9%, 81.3%, 50.0%
      • Attacking a 4+/0 – 96.9%, 81.3%, 50.0%
      • Attacking a 3+/2 – 95.5%, 79.0%, 46.1%
      • Attacking a 3+/1 – 99.6%, 95.5%, 79.0%
    • Despite the fair reliability of the 1st and 2nd column, it is worth noting in those rare instances where you hit 1 success; Veteran Sakana is not really accomplishing much whereas Original can always take that momentous 1 inch dodge. That is one of his major selling points. In the worst case scenario his influence is rarely dead. He is always going to convert that influence to momentum. I believe you will find Vet Sakana occasionally frustrating in this regard. The lack of a momentous result on 1 is problematic on many models, and while anatomical helps, I don’t expect it to be much different here.
    • I’m going to save the talk about the 3rd column for later because there is a lot to digest there.
    • The top end of these playbooks is a fairly interesting discussion. In the 4th column the veteran drops a double dodge for a push dodge. These results feel reasonably equivalent and each have their advantages. The 5th column, however, is quite different.
      • I never particularly paid much attention to Original Sakana’s high results because it just didn’t come up that often, and with the lack of momentous results you’d likely pick down anyway (although the double push double dodge is sexy).
      • Vet Sakana’s 3 damage and momentous double push give you a reason to want to hit those high end results. It’s not so difficult in Corsair to engineer a situation where maybe an enemy model is Knocked Down and engaged by two friends. If Sakana is throwing 6 or 7 dice on a KD 4+/1… he is capable of laying down some hurt.
        • I honestly think this might be the secret strength of this model. An early activation sweeper who occasionally gives a buff or goes striking, almost reminiscent of pre-nerf Vet Siren.
        • Fish have already lost A&G and will imminently lose Gutter and my boy Fangers. Should Navigators be unwilling to grant a brawler, vet Sakana might be the best choice for the role.

Kick Stat –

3 Kick

    • Not a lot to say here given the even stats. Neither boosts their kick in any way.
      • However it is worth pointing out Original Sakana is almost certainly the better “Raw” striker. The Momentous dodge on 1 and increased speed helps him out there.
      • Vet Sakana is the better tackler and there are times when fancy footwork is going to straight up win you the game.

Defense stats –

4 Defense

    • Again, both are 4+/1 with 15 boxes (*same recovery level in S3). Even Steven.
      • Original Sakana does have Poised. Which I find will usually save me maybe 2 momentum throughout the course of a game. 2” reach and dodge on 1 means a beater really wants to hit a Knock Down. If they hit a Knock Down they didn’t do damage!

Influence stat –

5 Influence

    • First, I believe most folks understand this, but 1/3 influence with Coffers can in fact spend 4 influence. You can stack yourself with 3, spend 1 for whatever, then coffers back up to 3. This allows you to spend 4. Vet Sakana could be considered a 2/4 influence in a way. We good? Cool.
    • The coffers does come with a touch of flexibility. Correcting a potential misallocation or adapting to an unforeseen situation is valuable.
      • I’ve heard a lot of folks say the 1/3 stat with coffers is strictly better than 2/4. However, I think a lot of folks who don’t have experience with Coin fail to understand the limits of not only the 4” range but also the activation issue with Coffers. At times it can be super awkward to make good use of it with Coin.
        • That said you can always dump the inf on Sakana. An inf on Sakana should be better than an inf on Coin. Furthermore, Vet Sakana wants to activate early and be near his team anyway. There should be plenty of opportunity to make valuable use of the Coffers.
      • There will be times when Vet Sakana is far away from his team during his activation and you are basically forced to hand him 1 inf where you may have preferred him to have zero.
      • There will also be times where he gets dead before tossing out his inf.

3rd Column/Character Plays –

6 character plays

    • I could have discussed this above, but I felt like there was enough meat here to deserve its own section. Plus, the character plays are kind of what make Vet Sakana who he is. Let’s go ahead and talk about Weak Point as a baseline then move on.
      • Weak Point – This has historically, for me, been kind of a nice to have. It’s not normally something I’m actively looking to do. Generally I prefer my first couple plays of a turn to be pretty explosive or points on the board. But If I’ve got the luxury of activating Corsair late, Weak Point can certainly make the Captain wrap with great efficiency. I will try to employ it heavily when facing Masons or Blacksmiths.
      • Fancy Footwork – This is a powerful ability and there is no denying it. I do believe it has some redundancy in guild, ie) ranged tackles which get around close control, but it will also serve its own unique function. It’s really not a fun time to roll a Rough Seas or Seduced against a Def 5 model. That’s where Fancy Footwork comes in. Def 5 is no problem when there’s a Def 3 close by (I’m looking specifically at you Friday and Spigot).
      • Even when you don’t have the luxury of hitting a lower Def model it still extends your tackle threat. Maybe you can’t quite engage the ball holder, but you can hit the 4+/1 nearby, it still might be worth a shot. I believe Fancy Footwork is Hands Down going to win you games in certain matchups.
      • Raise the Black Flag – Now this one I feel like is being preliminarily overhyped. Yes the -2”/-2” is valuable, and more mobility is always a plus….
        • But when you lower someone’s MOV as a fish… you want to get away from them to try and kill their INF. You can’t exactly do that when you’re only going to end up like 2 or 4 inches away. Trust me, I’ve thrown lots of nets in my day.
        • But Lon! you say, You get to speed someone up also! Yeah, sure, but who exactly are we trying to speed up?
          • Shark? Shark should be further than 6” away if Sakana is in Melee with someone. Either that, or he’s already activated and the buff won’t matter.
          • Corsair? I’d say yes, and maybe this is just my playstyle, but corsair doesn’t like to really move around that much. He doesn’t drive to the store. He orders delivery with his Harpoon. And again your running into an activation thing where you’ve got to activate Sakana first make it useful.
        • You’ve got to spend an influence/make an attack roll to get that speed. Guess what guild already has a lot of movement buffs which you can do for free, outside of melee, or not need to roll dice? Fish! If you’re your main concern is boosting your mobility… take Hag instead.
    • Finally in this section I do want to talk a little bit about the reliability of the 3rd column result. With TAC 5 and anatomical it is not something that just happens with reliability.
      • Yeah you’re 50/50 vs Def 4+, but can you really risk that? Especially on something like fancy footwork? You can always charge, but then you’re looking at a likely defensive stance.
      • The nice thing is you can bonus time it with coffers to make it a little bit more reliable, I recognize that, but I think folks are taking the third column for granted when it’s really not a guarantee or even likely in a lot of situations.
      • And you know what a lot of low DEF models have? Easy Knock Down. When you are hitting fancy footwork there is nothing stopping them from a counter attack other than your 2” reach. Have fun with that on your various Farmers, Masons, and Blacksmiths. It’s trickier to use than first glance might imply.

Final Thoughts

7 final thoughts

I’m excited about Veteran Sakana. I believe after playing with him for a while we will find there are some very specific matchups in which he will really shine. I also believe every now and then Fancy Footwork is going to win an otherwise unwinnable game. However, I do believe, the generalist Original Sakana will stay just that – always solid. I don’t think there are too many games where you are sad to see the Original. He’s still gonna get stuff done.

There is room in my 10 for both, especially once we have our union rotated out. I believe there is an opportunity for Veteran Sakana to slide into the Gutter slot nicely if we find he’s able to be consistently set up.

I’ll likely stick with the Original in my 6 in maybe 75% of match ups. I find Guild Ball to be the kind of game where your best laid plans must adapt and turn on a dime. It’s useful to have a model who can make those adaptations, or at least make the best out of a bad situation. However from what I gather I might be in the minority here. I certainly respect the folks who see it differently and believe their arguments have merit. I believe I was speaking with Henry Kay who said he’d rather have a model who was a 10/10 in a specific area with average scores elsewhere as opposed to a model who is slightly above average at many things. I really think a lot of it boils down to playstyle. If you are the type of person who is good at set up and good at capitalizing on mistakes, maybe Vet Sakana is for you. If you prefer sewn-in efficiency on a flexible model, maybe you stick with the Original.

We’ll see! Hopefully the rest of the Faithful box is this exciting! I’m enjoying this permanent reveal season thing we’ve got going on. The Hype Train is strong in Guild Ball.

Happy Balling, and as always, thanks for reading!

One thought on “Sakana means Fish Snacks.

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