Alllllrighty folks. We’re stopping this month just a tiny bit short. Sorry April. We are robbing you of a weekend. Reason being is the new Miner’s only errata is now in effect and I’d rather not have a month with kind of mixed up data. I still get a twinge every time I think about October 2018. Season 3 and season 4 games happening simultaneously…ugh. I think stopping April short will make for a nice clean break.
For any future people visiting this: The data in this article is from 4/1/19 to 4/23/19. The weekend of April 27th and 28th will be included in the May write up.
First up The Guild Ball competitive scene logged 907 games. That’s a pretty big dip from March, but March had vengeance so it isn’t really fair. Also since we’re cutting April short it’s losing Spring Fling which would have added roughly 180 games or so. If we look at things on a per week basis April was looking at 302 games which is reasonably on course versus the rest of the year.
Butchers are still riding high on that Vet Boar wave with a striking 13% of the field. They’re beating the next highest guild (farmers 9.2%) by a whole 3.8%. That’s pretty nutty considering the theoretical average played rate is only 5.9% at this point. Butchers are more than doubly represented… and it’s almost entirely Boar. We’re seeing him played three times as much as Fillet and Ox combined! You have to have a game plan here if you want any odds of winning an event.
Blacksmiths, Brewers, and Fish all make it in to the top bracket as well with a solid 7.4% of the field. Blacksmiths and Brewers are likely preparing for their new captains while fish just always remain a really solid comfortable choice in to all sorts of situations. Yukai is trending behind Shark and Corsair, but still somewhat relevant.
Floating around the average it’s nice to see Hunters hanging in there with 7.3%. Steeljaw breathing some life in there with a nearly equal pick rate between the three captains. On the other hand the Morts, 7.0%, are not really taking to Mourn. Alchemists are at 6.2%, Order at 5.4%, and Navigators at 4.3%. It’s interesting to see Masons a little below average at 4.6% with Corbelli incoming. They actually declined last month. No Corbelli boost yet I suppose.
Finally we see miners take a pretty big hit. A whole 2% down in April. I imagine folks decided to practice other things just in case the nerfs were over harsh. Personally I think Jamie and crew struck the right note, but I imagine miners will stay near this 5.9% mark moving forward. They’ll still be a factor, but no longer a monstrous presence.
On the low end we’ve got ye olde mainstays. Falconers (4.2%), Engineers (3.6%), Ratcatchers (2.1%) and Union (1.1%). Cogs, unlike masons, did get a small boost from the Rivet announcement. I expect it’s gonna take a minute, but soon folks will release how nutty a Rivet lead team is gonna be. We’ve got a new comer down here too. Good ol Cooks debut at 3.9%. I think this might be slightly lower than reality though. I know a lot of stores were slow to get their stock. I don’t expect them to rise a whole lot though mainly because you can play their cooler models in Butchers (see: Braised Cooks with Meme Sauce)
Union is really having a rough time of it, ever decreasing. Kind of sad to see only 20 games during this period, but we’ll get more into that later.
Vboar taking it back from the pre-nerf Miners! 58.7% and 57.9% respectively. As mentioned earlier I don’t think it is a stretch to believe Vboar will continue to be a strong proactive presence in the game. Miners have a degree of the Schlegelcurve here – every single minor guild we’ve seen starts off strong then tends to flat line. But I think Mr. Perkins was right too. Such a different team demands different answers from the opponent. Maybe it finally clicked in for folks, but 57.9% is still incredible. The errata was needed for sure. Post-Nerf I’m thinking Miners will find themselves nestled comfortably somewhere in the middle to lower end of the field next month – If I had to throw a number out there… 48.5% in May.
Fish (55.6%), Morts (54.7%), and Farmers (51.5%) bring it home in the top of the pack. It feels to me what you are seeing here is kind of Vboar warping the meta. Rock-paper-boar if you will. Butchers are good versus the field in general and these are the three teams most equipped to deal with Butchers. Just guessing here really. Not a ton of data to support this.
Masons (50.0%) and Brewers (48.1%) see a nice little uptick this month. Alchemists rise a good little bit as well to 49.6%. Navs and Blacksmiths remain pretty flat at 49.4% and 48.5% respectively. I’m honestly a little unsure about what Corker is going to do. Part of me thinks he is far too slow to handle the Ball v Boar meta, but part of me thinks Brewers will have the tools to force their opponent into a slower game. We’ll see. I do think Corbelli is going to turn Masons into the next Fish. The duality of Corbelli and Hammer should see the Masons reasonably comfortable in most matchups. RIP Honour.
On the low side of things we do see hunters clawing their way back to a reasonable degree of relevance (47.7%). Some of that might be Steeljaw surprise factor though. We’ll have to see if they keep it up. Same with Devanna’s Falconers at 46.1%. Order dropped the Ball (of Light) a little this month. Almost feels like that same Schlegelcurve is happening again with Order. Engineers clock in at 41.5% praying following Rivet’s lead will yield better results.
Cooks debut fairly low at 40.8%. But hey, at least it wasn’t a total disaster for Wellington…
Let’s just… let’s not talk about this one.
Histogram & Victory Index:
Just wanted to quickly post this here in comparison to last month’s. While April VBoar is certainly up there amongst the higher win rates of history, he is at least in plenty of company. It’s not terribly unusual to see something of this caliber win rate.
The victory index is not particularly revealing this month. The stronger teams are being played the most which is amplifying the raw wins. Butchers, Farmers, Fish and Morts lead the way with a combined 40% of the pie. These are your key match ups at higher tables. Beyond this you’re going to want to tech into what feels strong locally. For example, I imagine there are still plenty of strong Blacksmith’s players in UK and you know the South loves their hunters.
Miners, seeing heavy decreases in win and played rate, gave back 4% of the pie. Cooks took a healthy first bite at 3%. Everyone else stayed more or less where they were. Poor union’s slice was sub 1% this month, but that brings me to our special feature!
Special Feature: State of the Union
So you’ve decided you want to be the snowyist of flakes? The darkest of horses? Well then welcome! Welcome to the Union.
While I understand Union isn’t the most flashy thing in the world right now, combined with no real fancy S4 or S4.1 updates to speak of – it is still very surprising to me to see their performance this far in the dumpster. Do we really feel like Rage and Blackheart have fallen so far? Union has always had, and continues to possess a deep bench of fantastic squaddies. So what’s the deal here? Why such a low play rate?
Well, in order to answer that question I went to some of the best Union players I know. Pete Kain and Henry Kay. Combined these two have a 19-3 Union record since Season 4 came out. That’s an 86.3% win rate! Sorry Mike, you’re too last year.
While not strictly an interview, I did ask the guys 3 questions.
- Why is no one playing Union?
- Should people be playing them? If so when and why?
- What do you want to see from their 3rd captain which would make them more appealing to play?
We believe there are a few factors keeping the played rate low – first and foremost is Union kind of had a pretty high kick towards the end of Season 3, that combined with a lack of S4 changes, may be leading to a certain degree of burn out factor. New Toys + New Captains = New Hotness. It also seems like Union doesn’t really have a stand out star. They are more so a collection of reasonably good pieces. No Shank or Vdecimate to pour a bunch of buffs into, no Fathom or Spade taking striking to the next level. Henry Identified a list of traits present in the stronger guilds which union, while being overall pretty good, simply don’t have access:
- No good threat projection on turn one
- Inability to score through minor protections unassisted
- Almost no one activation take outs with no set up
- Limited ball killing potential
- Almost no way to recover from positional mistakes or manipulate threat ranges.
What *can* they do though? Is there a reason to still play them? Pete feels the Season 3 VRage is still a very strong drop in the hands of a good player. Essentially, with set up, there is nothing they cannot kill. Pete feels they are even a reasonable choice versus the dreaded VBoar match. Gutter can still put in a lot of work chain grabbing folks off a Def 3 model followed by a ton of red fury enabled scything blows. There are also tools available like Benediction, New Fangtooth, and Harry to rearrange the scrum. The issue seems to be getting to the scrum in the first place. Blackheart is certainly a slippery fellow, and he deserves serious consideration as a 2-2 captain. Orage and Fangtooth buffs make him particularly appealing as a mobile beat down enabler, furthermore Harry’s new singled out can certainly amp that team up a little. If you enjoy a mixed fighting style it’s certainly worth your time testing it out. Overall there is a great diversity in what the captains and squaddies bring to the table.
So what about Vet Greede or Rageheart becoming the next captain drop? Do the guys think there is anything here which would spice things up? Both of them would like a better threat extender than quick time. A lure of gold type effect could prove interesting and thematic. Bribing your back ally thugs into playing a little harder. Pete wants to see the strongbox mount count as your mascot, so essentially, like blacksmiths, you are playing with 5 squaddies. That might bring in an edge which lets union slot in tech choices like snakeskin or even extra damage burst like Minx. Henry is looking at a broader rework of the team which highlights their gang of misfits persona. He’s drawn out a double edged guild rule “Honour amongst Thieves” which I think is pretty interesting.
All in all I do think Union is a more attractive option than the stats would have you believe. They have reasonable tools to get the job done, and as Pete and Henry prove, just need a competent player to help get um there. Are you up to the task? I know I might try unpacking my top hat to see what happens.
Thanks as always for reading everyone. With the new releases and the Miner changes we should be in for an interesting month so get ready for Ball v Boar of Education, part 2: OBJECTION!