Happy New Year Guild Ballers! 2019 is sure to bring great things, well, it can’t get much worse than the cluster that was 2018 right? At least Guild ball had a solid year. I really feel like our game coalesced into a bit more of a tangible force. We might not be the biggest kid on the block, but we’re scrappy and easy to get along with! Well…
Anyway, Cheers to a brighter tomorrow and a great competitive scene in 2019!
It appears the new hotness factor is still in effect. The Guilds which received the largest and most exciting season 4 changes still take up most of the oxygen in the room.
Everyone loves to punch things. Butchers are still leading the way in played rate at a solid 11.2% of the global Meta. They are being patiently stalked with the strong (?) hunters right behind them at 10.8%. From here we see a bit of a drop with Fish, Morticians, and Alchemists being in the mid to high 8s. As always, these high played rate guilds are the teams you really want to look out for if you’re planning on going to a sizable event in the near future. Always good to have reps in against the popular teams.
It’s worth noting, with the inclusion of navigators in the data, the expected played rate has dropped to 6.6%. Blacksmiths lead the way in the midfield with 8.2% of the meta, followed by Farmers and Masons at 7.9% and 7.7% respectively. Brewers also have a respectable showing in December at 6.9%. Here you’ll want to have a game plan, but don’t expect to see them so frequently you need a ton of reps.
From here we start to see the dregs. Blackheart and Rage long for s3 as they start to collect dust on the shelves at a 4.4% played rate. As tends to be the case we see the poor minor Guilds, Rats, Order, and Falconers all down here as well.
Now Navigators are a bit of a special case. For whatever reason it seems the UK received their models nearly a month sooner than the US market. I know most of the east coast was disappointed to have a navigator sized hole under our collective Christmas tree. And I know most stores still don’t have product in stock. However, despite more than half the world not having access, Navs still beat out engineers in played rate 4.2% to 3.9%! What’s holding engineers back so much they get beat by a largely unreleased team? You have to laugh and scratch your head a little.
Avast! Navigators found their way out of the storm and skyrocketed to an opening win rate of 58.4%! Do we have another Spooky Lady on our hands?! And it’s not exactly a small amount of games either. We do have to wait and see what non-UK has to say when our boxes start to drop. Minor Guilds have historically come out of the gate with a little bit of a higher win rate at first, then they settle down. If I had to guess I’d go with the “power of the unknown” makes them a little harder to beat. Most people who play the new team have a better understanding of their proactive strategy than the opponent who hasn’t had time to develop the skills necessary to counter. I expect in the next month or so Navigators will drop to around 50%. There is also a chance they lose a solid 5% or so into the 40% based on unlucky pairings into hyper-polarized matchups. This happens in theory to every team, but I feel like it is particularly extreme for Windfinder. For instance, if blacksmiths, morticians, and maybe masons make up 20% of the meta, and Navs only beat those teams 30% of the time, that’s a 6% reduction right out of the gate.
Next we start to see the standard big dogs solidifying their stance on the top. Butchers come in at 57.6% and morticians at 56.9%. Although still near the top, Hunters did drop a pretty hard 5.4% from November to December to land at 54.7%… Wait… Brewers are at 56.5%?!? Flabbergasted. Maybe the old Brewer players finally got tired of new stuff and figured out how to play with the new cards they were so down on? Maybe they’re getting a little bit of that new-car boost as mentioned above? Honestly just guessing here. I really have no idea what explains this.
Midfield we see Fishermen, Farmers, and Masons with respectable low 50%s finishes. After that there is a bit of a drop to Alchemists at 44.6%. Maybe folks are finally figuring out how to deal with Smoke. Maybe Smoke players are accidentally crossing the center line? Engineers continue to struggle in the low 40s. It’s weird they continue to struggle. I have the feeling some of the stronger engineers players haven’t been running them in events. I suppose I could go look at that. Maybe cogs just can’t keep up with the razzle dazzle some of the stronger teams are throwing out.
Down here in the slums we see union basically unchanged from November. Blacksmiths however do take a bit of a hit. They’re down 6.2% to 40.6%. What’s wrong smiths? Those momentous 8s aren’t good enough for you? After that is what can only be described as “minor tier” with Order plummeting down to where they likely belong, 38.8%. Rats are at 38.5%.
Last month I wrote about how Falconers had the lowest win rate of all time. Well… turns out Devanna said “hold my beer” and dropped another 3 points to a staggering 29.2%. How low can she go? I am fully anticipating these teams are going to get some kind of sort of shot in the arm come errata time, particularly the falconers. After all these are some of the newest products in the line and it is a bit sad to see them a) barely played and b) performing badly when they are.
I liked the victory index last month so I am bringing it back. As a reminder I take the number of games played in the month and multiply it by the win rate. This is essentially a picture of raw wins. This month I’ve also noted the change in percentile from November. For example, blacksmiths are at -2% because they carried 9% of the wins in November.
Last month we saw 4 guilds gobbling up literally half of the wins in the game. In December it seems things are a bit more equitable. 3 of the 4 November big dogs, Hunters, Morticians, and Alchemists all gave up space at the table. Navigators commanded a fair chomp of the pie with their first bite. Masons also capitalized followed by Brewers. Butchers picked up a point.
I think the best use of the victory index is to be used as kind of an approximation of top tables. You might want to consider this when hitting your event prep. It seems reasonable to me to expect most final round tables will see a Butcher, Hunter or Mortician. Perhaps sometimes 2 of the three. As always nothing can really replace knowing your local field, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to consider extra prep into these teams.
It looks like things might be starting to settle in Season 4. It appears the talking heads may be mostly right, but there are certainly some surprises in this month’s data.
I know I for one and looking forward to 2 things specifically in early 2019:
First, I’m eager to see which way cooks will fall. While I am hopeful they’ll come out screaming like the Navigator’s, I’m a bit worried they’ll be too synergy dependent and fall on the Rat/Bird side of things.
Second, I’m thinking we’ll see some sort of errata in early Q2 focused on the suffering minors. I am hoping the dev team gets a little crazy and starts throwing stuff out into the wider community and seeing what sticks. At some point you have to realize no amount of playtesting will ever come close to the number of games of Guild Ball that are played in even a month. Hey, we didn’t switch to apps and print on demand for nothing right? If they break something they can always hot fix it back. Frequent changes are good for everyone and prevent staleness. Even when your Guild doesn’t get the changes, there’s always a ripple effect in the Meta when folks need to figure out how to deal with the new hotness. And unless someone acts quick it seems like Falconers are going to have some company in the dust bin.