Here at Steamforged it’s been amazing watching the forum & social media reactions to our articles on the the Blacksmith’s Guild. If you missed those articles you can find them here (Anvil - Sledge) Today is another big one, it’s time to talk about some of the unique rules that govern how you construct a Blacksmith team, AND you get to find out who the Captains are! We will also be looking at the blacked-out sections of the Anvil’s card. So much to see!
Always Two There Are
The first thing that anyone should know about Blacksmith’s Guild team construction is that it is quite different to that of any other Guild. Think back to our first article on the Blacksmiths. We said that when developing the Blacksmith’s Guild we wanted to fully represent how centrally important the relationship between Master and Apprentice is, even when the Blacksmiths are on the Pitch. Therefore, we decided quite early in the development of the Blacksmiths that they would have the Apprenticeship Guild rule. Apprenticeship supersedes the standard rules for Guild Ball team construction, which normally requires a team to have  Captain,  Mascot, and  team members. The Blacksmiths however, simply construct their team by selecting any  players with the [Master] model type and any  players with the [Apprentice] model type. Yes, this means that the Blacksmiths do not have any pre-defined Captains and they also do not have any Mascots!
But I know you’re thinking “…wait… EVERY team needs to have a Captain!” Well that’s true! But don’t worry about it, we’ve got that covered!
Master of the Forge
In our Blacksmith’s Guild announcement article, we said this:
“The other early concept that we developed to demonstrate on the Pitch was the idea that the Blacksmiths Guild are not quite as unified in structure as our more traditional Guilds. In the Empire of the Free Cities Blacksmithing styles, skills, and etiquette differ enormously from city to city. The Masters of the Blacksmith Guild are incredibly proud of the traditions that have been passed down to them through the generations, each of them believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are the very best at their craft. As a result, Master and Apprentice Blacksmith pairs can vary quite dramatically from one to the next in how they appear and how they play.”
What is related to this point that we didn’t tell you is that the Master Blacksmiths are also responsible for organising the Blacksmith Guild Ball team, each one vying for control through the creation of ever more potent weapons and armour.
Before each match, the most prominent Master Blacksmith at the time is given the honour of leading the Guild Ball team as its Captain. This could mean that the Blacksmiths have a different Captain every time they take to the Pitch. When developing the Blacksmith’s Guild, we decided to represent this through the Forge Master Guild rule. Due to Forge Master, after selecting a team, but before setting up your match, the Blacksmith coach chooses  of their players that has the [Master] model type. The chosen player gains the [Captain] model type for the rest of the match. In addition, to show their temporary increase in stature, the chosen player gains [+0/+2] to their INF attribute for the rest of the match too. This means that where most Guilds only have two or three choices for their Captain, the Blacksmiths have as many choices as they have Master Blacksmiths!
At this point I bet you’re thinking about the different implications that Apprenticeship & Forge Master could have, does being a Captain mean anything else to a Master Blacksmith? What about when I need to select a Captain in a tournament!? We will be making a small update to our Organised Play documents in order to account for Blacksmith’s Guild team selection. In tournament play, when coaches reveal their Captain & Mascot, a Blacksmiths Guild coach will instead reveal a Master Blacksmith and an Apprentice Blacksmith, the revealed Master Blacksmith becomes the team’s Captain for that match. And yes, being a Captain does make another difference for a Master Blacksmith...
It’s time to reveal the completed Anvil card:
Time to go and rethink everything you’d previously considered about Anvil! Indeed, each Master Blacksmith has a Legendary Play, and each Legendary Play has two paragraphs. The first paragraph of a Master Blacksmith’s Legendary Play only effects the Master themselves. A Master Blacksmith will always get this first benefit regardless of whether they are the Captain or not. When a Master Blacksmith has been selected as the Captain, the second paragraph will come into effect when they use their Legendary Play. Now that we know this, let’s take another look at the Anvil Legendary Play.
We already know from our in-depth article on Anvil that this Master Blacksmith is one of the most resilient players in Guild Ball. Well, if you select Anvil as your Captain, he can make his entire team incredibly difficult to inflict any take-outs on for the duration of Tested Mettle by granting all friendly players within [6”] of Anvil the Tough Hide Character Trait. Remember, Tough Hide reduces almost all incoming damage by [-1]. Under Tested Mettle even the squishiest Apprentices become truly formidable targets. Imagine your opponent trying to take out Sledge, normally not the toughest player with only  Health Points, DEF [4+] and ARM . If Sledge is within [1”] of Anvil he becomes ARM  due to Sentinel, and under Tested Mettle almost all incoming damage is reduced by [-1] as well. That’s enough to make a Butcher think twice!
As you can see, Forge Master brings a whole new dynamic to Guild Ball team selection. With most Guilds, selecting a Captain is an enormously important choice. Since you can only bring  Captain to the Pitch, you are choosing which Captain to play as well as which Captain you won’t play. The Blacksmiths Guild can always bring  Masters, so you aren’t missing out on the abilities of one player because you have chosen another instead. In this way, choosing a Captain for the Blacksmiths Guild is simpler, because you are only choosing which Captain-level Legendary Play that you want for a particular match (as well as who gets to have [+0/+2] INF). In some instances, you might even play the same set of players but choose a different Captain for each match, pretty sweet, right?
Join us again in our next article as we reveal the second Master Blacksmith! Tell us what you think of the Blacksmiths Guild so far in the comments below, on our forums, as well as Facebook and Twitter!