Ahoy-hoy everyone. Both of our Fish-Navigator Crossovers have been revealed. As a fish-aficionado I’m here to give you some questionable thoughts and opinions*! Let’s dive right in shall we?
(*As always this comes with the slight disclaimer of #S4WSUA)
Let’s get this out of the way:
Before I get all goo-goo eye’d I do want to add just a pinch of salt here. This wouldn’t be Lon’s blog without it. I believe both of these models are very interesting and powerful, however, they are not what I really was hoping to see in the crossover. I believe one of the reason’s Fish have been strong all season is the combination of Shark and Corsair allows for an unmatched duality of game play. That is to say Corsair cover’s Shark’s weak matches and Vice Versa.
With the Navigator release I really worry about Corsair’s play rate and generally effectiveness. The 1-4 or 2-2 game seems extremely difficult with the loss of union models. Neither of these two crossovers do anything remotely similar to our historic union choices. Gutter/A&G/Fangtooth can no longer cover for the team’s weak damage output. It seems our take outs are going to need to be much more focused on ring-outs or grindy death balls. Neither of these two are styles I particularly enjoy. After all, you’re reading a blog by the guy who literally Unleashed Fangtooth into 4th place at Spring Fling.
I never expected to see a Gutter copy in the Navs, but I did feel Steamforged had a unique opportunity to show us a different type of beater model. It feels like a missed opportunity to explore and challenge their design space. “How can we create a take-out focused model which still feels fishy?” As cool as she is, Fathom is really just a big pile of goal scoring stats. She feels like an easy out to me. As the title states, you’re trying to sell water to a whale. Do I need strikers? Sure, but I’ve already got that covered thanks. I would have preferred to see something which challenges the way I think about playing fish. I feel like previous minor guild cross overs (Skulk, Minerva) accomplished this. Not so much with Navs.
But Alas, A sailor cannot control the wind, but can adjust his sails. COMING ABOUT! HELMS ALEE!
I don’t want to go through every single line of these cards. What I’d rather do is talk about how I see them being played. Horizon, even if he ends up being not that good, is certainly the more exciting of the two models. He really breaks the game in a super interesting way while simultaneously solving against a common anti-fish tactic: Ball killing behind enemy lines.
I believe horizon’s playstyle was best described by Phil Bowen of GBT – He has his own dilemma: “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
He’s fast AF with a baseline 9” of split movement, but let’s be honest, if you’ve done the math you know bro wants to charge. He is looking for those 4th column result with 12” of attack threat. Unexpected Arrival is nice, but I think most of the time he is going to be looking for that Tackle Double Dodge. BY THE WAY Steamforged I’m glad to see you’ve learned about this result for a 1” melee ball player *coughbrisketS4changeplz*. So from the get go he is threatening your ball holders pretty hard, enough so folks are going to try to kill him early since it isn’t a major investment to do so.
So now that Horizon is taken out, let’s see what happens when he comes back on the field:
This is not necessarily drawn to scale, but it is pretty close. Maybe my Vassal readers can help me out there. Horizon threatens 17.1″ from Icy Sponge. Essentially that little purple oval is the “Horizon can’t reach me zone”. Notice how small it is? Yeah. Teeny-Tiny. He can literally impact 95% of the pitch. Hide Yo Balls. Horizon is comin.
So what does this mean? Well if the Fish player has first activation it means a dead ball almost certainly becomes live. If the Fish player does not have initiative it means the opponent must decide between dealing with Horizon *again* or accepting there could very well be a live ball. Now 8HP isn’t a lot, but it is an investment. A player needs to be moved out of position to attack Horizon who is only 4” off the edge. Any out of position beater makes for a happy fish. A live ball makes for a happy fish. Either way you’re fairly stoked. Coincidentally, if a model does attempt to get that sweet 1vp again, Jac has a pretty easy ring out target. The best part? The opponent has to make this choice every single turn they kill him!
The biggest downside to this is he is slightly limited by his 6” Kick. There are going to times where that is going to make you rely on a scatter, but then at least you are dictating your opponent’s next move.
I can see Horizon easily fitting in the new 12 man lists. I think he is a really solid Shark companion. Between the two of them almost no ball is safe. I’d probably run him in a similar spot as Osiren/Greyscales.
Quite the Oar-Deal:
Fathom… jeeze… Are we sure like SCUS didn’t design this model? It really feels like they took a bunch of leftover striker bits and mashed them together into some sort of crazy goal scoring Frankenstein. If you are looking for someone to put a ball in a net… this is your model. She’s checking more striker wish list boxes than anything we’ve got in fish, and maybe, in the game. Fast? Check. 2” Reach? Check. Tackle with dodging in a single result? Check. Nice kick stat? Check. Split movement? Fking DOUBLE CHECK. It kind of feels like Fathom is Mist on crack.
But is it actually enough? Other than making goal runs she doesn’t add a whole lot. Sakana and Greyscales both have their own advantages for when the ball is missing or you aren’t exactly in the spot you want to be. They’ve both got a plan B. I don’t really see fathom’s plan B. This is part of the reason Angel is under played as well. Even if she’s a better pure striker than the boys, she’s a one trick pony. Yeah the smelling salts is there, but remember Hemlocke has been in fish since day 1. I don’t ever really recall a moment where I was cursing myself for not having smelling salts. It’s a nice little bonus and I am sure it can do amazing stuff. I suppose what I mean to say is you are never going into your turn super excited about it. Personally I like my models to be able to fill multiple roles.
Maybe she is enough though. Her Heroic makes her absolutely insane. Years of playing Sakana and Mist have taught me it’s not a huge struggle to get into cover. Also note terrain rules change in S4 so if I understand correctly, this triggers off fast/rough ground/forests. She’s basically got Where’d they go for a momentum which really changes up her influence math over say Greyscales. Greyscales tends to be some combination of WDTG, Attack for a tackle, attack for a dodge, kick. Fathom will have an extra, or do it more efficiently with 3. There’s another S4 note for you. Season 4 grants the kicking team a momentum on turn one. That’s a lot of kickoff pressure…
I’m not convinced Linked all the sudden makes Angel good. Yeah I understand there are some nutty situations which can arise from this, but at the end of the day S3 Angel is still a weak model. You’re playing with a weak model in the hope something corner case will arise. Maybe her stock goes up slightly because of the tap-in changes, but honestly, unless Angel sees some kind of adjustment I’m still sitting her on the bench. She just doesn’t do enough that other players can’t do 95% as well or better.
Fathom is s a little on the weak side defensively, but 5+/0 with 12 boxes isn’t exactly easy to take out. She still requires a solid investment from a captain or multiple activations of set up.
For as amazing as this model is, she does have a huge hidden weakness: Variance. Her playbook is garbage and her only meaningful result, T<<, is on the 4th column. Even with the Navs reroll gimmick she really wants to be charging her attacks. Regular swings accomplish next to nothing. Here’s some quick math for you: Charging into a 4+/1 gets you the 4th column 88.6% of the time. If they opt to defensive stance this drops down to 49.0%. If you then bonus time you put yourself back up to 63.4%. What does this mean? Well, I know for me it means Fathom is going to be a super tilting model. She can’t really do these things on regular attacks so you’ve got one chance to not screw up. She’s gonna screw up about a 3rd of the time and lose you a very heavy influence/momentum investment. Her kind of signature play is something like dodge off an obstruction, charge, tackle double dodge, shoot at goal with bonus time. 2 momentum and 2 influence just to try to hit the result. Plus you’ll need a 3rd momentum if you plan to bonus time the shot. I love to take wacky risks, but that might even be a bit past me.
Both of these models are very good for fish. If you lean towards Shark, which it seems like you have to in season 4, you should certainly pick up the Navigator’s box. Experiment with Horizon and Fathom. I’m sure at least one of them is going to fit your playstyle.
Me Personally? I know one of the first things I want to try out is a balls-to-the-walls striker list with Shark, Tentacles, Sakana (o/v), Greyscales, Fathom, and Horizon. Honestly I think this list could be backbreaking for anyone without a water-tight plan to protect the ball.
Another thing I want to try is a Shove focused list with Corsair, Jac, Siren, and Horizon. I think Corsair still has it in him to nail a take out by himself and I think Jac/Horizon can pick up the 2nd. That last model might be a pretty hard pick though. You really want a dedicated striker, but then again, Hag MVP.
All in all Even if these cross overs didn’t quite live up to my personal wishes (I wanted Azimuth or No Shirt guy) I still think they open up a lot of interesting decisions for fish. I’ll be stoked to jump back in. After all –
As always thanks for reading.