Navigator's Guild: Horizon!

Welcome back sports fans, earlier this week we revealed some of the core concepts and changes going into Guild Ball Season 4. If you missed that blog you can find it HERE. Today we’re going to take another step down the road to Season 4 with a look at our very first Navigator, Horizon, as well as take a good look at how the Season 4 character cards have improved since Season 3.

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You Know, Sometimes I Amaze Even Myself

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So before we dig into the specifics of Horizon himself, there are a few newer elements of the Season 4 style character card to talk about. Firstly, the overall size of the playbooks and each result have been increased by about 20%. This is mainly just to make playbooks super easy to read and it gives us a little more wiggle room for the busier playbook results. Secondly, you’ll notice a brand-new symbol on Horizon’s playbook that looks kind of like a Guild Ball trophy. This symbol replaces the older ‘double Guild Ball’ playbook result. We mainly changed this symbol because with the double GB symbol we used to get questions like ‘can I spend a double GB symbol to use two single GB symbol character plays?’ Having two distinctly different symbols for triggering character plays should help to prevent this type of confusion. With that cleared up let’s talk about what Horizon brings to the table.

Looking at Horizon just based on his raw statistic values, you might be disappointed. At 4”/6” move this smuggler isn’t doing the Kessel Run in any distance substituted as a unit of time. TAC 4, 2/6 KICK, 3+ DEF, 1 ARM and the restrictive 2/3 INF stat can give the impression of a model that isn’t effective. His health is a similar story with a meagre 8 health boxes suggesting if Horizon doesn’t shoot first he’s probably in trouble. Though after getting taken out he comes back with full health because you can’t keep a good scoundrel down.

Let’s look at his playbook. The first thing that is painfully obvious is we have broken one of our long-standing rules of playbook construction. 1 damage on column 1 is dead!  This long-standing rule was great for consistency however it was beginning to restrict us in playbook design. This allows Horizon to have a nice reliable tackle result on 1 and his single point of damage on two, he’s going to have no problems taken the ball off players. His 3rd column features his first momentous result a momentous push dodge and then his final column has a tackle double dodge or his character play, Unexpected Arrival.

Unexpected Arrival is the only character play Horizon has access to and between his low TAC and short movement range it seems to be aptly named. Should he reach the lofty heights of his playbook he will get to push enemy models within 3” of him 4” directly away. You might notice the wording of this ability is different to its Season 3 version, with the ‘3” pulse’ being part of the character play description rather than being part of the ZON column. It’s at this point most of you may realise the ZON column is gone. We did away with the ZON column exactly for that reason, most of the time it’s just another empty column on a Guild Ball card. So why not do away with it?

With the front of his card covered I think it’s finally time to stop being coy. Horizon isn’t underwhelming as first glance might suggest, the back of his card tells the whole story of this model.

Never Tell Me the Odds!

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The first rule to cover on this card is one that you will see duplicated across all six Navigator models, Precise Calculations. Though previously similar rules like harvest markers only appear on their respective Guild card we decided to put this on every Navigator card to avoid coaches forgetting their rerolls. It also made sense since Precise Calculations effectively acts like a normal Character Trait. So yeah, with rerolling kicks and attacks suddenly this model starts to make a bit more sense. This means his lower TAC and lower number of KICK dice are MUCH less of a problem. This access to rerolls means that the impact of extra dice from charging, ganging up, and bonus time is increased. When Horizon charges he can much more reliably wrap given his +4 TAC and his access to rerolls. Remember, a die can never be rerolled more than once!

As important as this trait is there’s still plenty more to see.

His next trait, Don’t Get Cocky, means he is only worth 1VP to the enemy team when taken out instead of the usual 2. Suddenly the mascot amount of health makes sense. But wait, there’s more! When Horizon returns the pitch, he can treat the enemy team’s deployment zone as his own. Yes, you heard that correctly. Horizon gets taken out and can appear in your opponent’s deployment ready to steal the ball and shoot some goals. This means Horizon is constantly a credible scoring threat and just a headache for your opponent. When they finally take him out, the bounty on him is only a single VP. A lot of the time it just seems hardly worth it. But of course if you just leave him back there, he’s a constant threat for grabbing the ball.

Fly Casual

At this point we have seemingly addressed, explained and justified all the more lacklustre elements on the front of his card. His low movement makes loads of sense when he can just appear in your opponent’s deployment after being taken out, right? He’s a bit slow until then but surely that’s a reasonable trade-off for just appearing wherever he likes!? WRONG! He’s got more!

Stellar Navigation is his final trait and really makes that low MOV of 4”/6” a non-issue. Once per turn during his activation this model may make a 5” dodge. It doesn’t cost him anything, it’s just something he gets each time he activates. So realistically we are looking at a 9”/11” MOV model with 5” of that movement being dodges. This makes Horizon very hard to pin down, which can really make your opponent work hard for that 1VP for taking him out. Of course, at DEF 3+/ARM 1 with 8 HP, he’s right in the region where a lot of players can simply take him out in a single activation, which is the trade-off.

Don’t Everyone Thank Me at Once

The observant of you will notice some more Season 4 changes on this card. You will notice Stellar Navigation has a new icon next to its name. This is highlight this trait as an active trait. Previously in Guild Ball we have had to highlight via clarification which traits are active (and by extension an action) and which are passive (abilities that take effect the whole time). In Season 4 all active character traits will have this icon next to their names, and passive character traits will not. This should hopefully reduce rules questions and make traits more intuitive going forward.

The final Season 4 thing on this card you will notice that his card has the squaddie type listed at the bottom of his card. Squaddie was a new term that was brought in with the Game Plan decks. For those who are unaware squaddie refers to any non-captain and non-mascot model. With this change you don’t even need to know the rule, you just need to check for the squaddie keyword which is nice and simple.

While looking at the bottom of his card, you might also notice the Guild symbols attached to this model. Kept that pretty quiet, didn’t we? Yes, Horizon is a Fisherman crossover model, you will see this loveable rogue in Fish line-ups. Shark in particular likes him because it gives him access to another more unusual goal scoring threat that your opponent must deal with. In Fish generally your opponent takes out a player for 2VP after you have scored a 4VP goal, which seems like a good trade. It’s an even better trade when you score a goal and only give up 1VP for Horizon. Previously only those looking for Salt goals experienced such value in a VP trade but now you get this on a standard squaddie. This is a nightmare in a high tempo Shark team where you can’t afford to ignore any model threatening a goal, even a 1VP model.

With that we have navigated ourselves through the first reveal of a Navigators player. We hope those looking to charter the Navigators Guild and those already playing Fisherman are excited for the options he will bring to the table. Let us know what you think of him on our forums and on social media! If you think the Navigator’s Guild look like to be in shipshape form, you can pre-order them here.

Next week on the blog the shifting tides will reveal the next Navigators player, Fathom, the Wave Runner.