In our last Blacksmith’s Guild article we introduced you to the molten blade wielding Furnace, and talked through how we chose to represent him wrapping superheated swords around hapless opponents. If you missed the article on the Master Blacksmith Furnace, you can find it HERE. Today it’s time to introduce you all to Furnace’s Apprentice, Cinder.
Can You Smell Burning?
The last time you were introduced to an Apprentice Blacksmith you met Sledge, a man that can hit so hard with his giant hammer that he puts certain Norse gods to shame. Cinder is a very different breed of player altogether. However, like Sledge, Cinder has a number of thematic and visual ties to her Master. Where the Master Blacksmith Furnace chooses to arm himself with unfinished heated steel broadswords, his Apprentice Cinder wields a crossbow that fires bolts tipped with superheated steel heads. Cinder keeps her crossbow bolts heated in an even smaller forge that Furnace’s, strapped to Cinder’s back like an oversized fire spewing quiver.
New Ball Please!
We weren’t joking when we said Cinder was a different breed of player. Indeed, Cinder is the first Blacksmith player to be shown that has a very definite focus on goal scoring. With a [6”/8”] MOV Cinder is the fastest Blacksmith player seen so far and she has an impressive [3/8”] KICK attribute to back up her goal scoring potency. Additionally, Cinder has a much more goal scoring orientated Playbook than Sledge, since she has a number of Momentous and non-Momentous Dodge options. Cinder does, however, also have a useful Momentous  damage Playbook result on her third column which could be used to finish off a wounded enemy player. Cinder isn’t a player that you should throw headlong into a melee and expect to deal enormous amounts of damage, unless the enemy player has had some serious attention from the likes of Anvil with knockdown and Singled Out.
When we turn to look at Cinder’s Character Plays, her identity as a someone much more concerned with scoring goals is solidified. Kill the Ball is a brand-new Character Play designed to help the Blacksmiths recover a loose ball. When Kill the Ball is used, the Blacksmith coach removes the ball from the Pitch and resolves a Goal Kick, just as would if they had conceded a goal. Aside from being tactically useful, we also found the idea of Cinder getting annoyed at the location of the ball, shooting it with her crossbow and calling for a new one, as if that’s a completely fair and normal thing to do, quite amusing. This is a particularly useful Character Play if the opponent has tried to kick the ball to the edges of the Pitch to make it difficult for the Blacksmiths to score, or in a number of other situations where the Blacksmiths may wish to reposition the ball.
Cinder’s second Character Play, Decoy, is one we have seen before on the Fisherman player Greyscales. A very handy Character Play to boost Cinder’s fairly poor DEF of [3+] up to [5+] for the next Attack that comes her way. Fantastically useful for holding the ball on Cinder, absorbing the first Attack with her heightened DEF should allow her to make a Counter Attack to try to Dodge away in a lot of circumstances. Alternatively, if Cinder is engaged and needs to break away from the melee to score a goal she can use Decoy to lessen the effects of a potentially nasty Parting Blow.
There is something a little strange about Cinder though, she has a crossbow and no Character Plays that illustrate her firing it at the opposition. That’s true, and something that will make a lot more sense once we take a look at the reverse of Cinder’s player card.
Like Furnace, Cinder has a number of fire-related Character Traits on the reverse of her player card, and as with Anvil & Sledge, there is a Character Trait that ties Master & Apprentice together somewhat on the Pitch too. Kindled [Furnace] grants Cinder the Burning Strike Character Trait as long as she starts her activation within [6”] of Furnace. With it, Cinder has a little more reason to make the occasional Attack against an enemy player, if nothing else just to set them on fire! However, it’s with Cinder’s next Character Trait that things really start to click into place.
When developing the Blacksmiths, we wanted to play around with the idea that ranged Attacks in Guild Ball have, until now, always been resolved as Character Plays. This representation of ranged Attacks isn’t a fundamental rule of Guild Ball and we decided that it was time to shake things up a little. During the development of the Blacksmiths Guild we thought about a number of different ways that we could also show a player to be striking out at opponents from a distance and eventually settled on Hot Shot. Quite literally, Hot Shot allows Cinder to use a [6”] melee zone for one Attack during her activation. This Attack isn’t free however, and does require Cinder to spend a point of Influence like any other Attack. Also, Hot Shot cannot be used when making a Charge.
There are still a tonne of cool things you can do with a [6”] melee zone even if Hot Shot is only once per turn. Is the ball in possession of an enemy player with excellent Counter Attack options? No problem, just have Cinder Tackle the ball from way outside of the enemy player’s melee zone! If an enemy player is within [6”] of Cinder when she activates, she could Tackle the ball using Hot Shot, and if she is within [16”] of the enemy goal Cinder would then be in range to Sprint [8”] towards the goal and take a Shot with her [8”] KICK.
Finally, Cinder being one of the nimbler Blacksmiths, she has the Unpredictable Movement Character Trait. Another Trait that we have seen before on the likes of Brisket and Obulus, Unpredictable Movement allows Cinder to make a [2”] Dodge the first time an enemy player ends an Advance within her [1”] melee zone each turn. Combined with Decoy, Cinder can be a safe place for the Blacksmiths to keep hold of the ball as well as be an excellent player to use to score a goal with. Perhaps Cinder isn’t in range to score a goal this turn. Instead, the Blacksmith coach could have another player pass the ball to Cinder and have a reasonable chance of Cinder keeping possession of the ball until the next turn, when she can score.
A Symphony of Flame and… Flame
Now that we’ve seen the full player cards for both Furnace and Cinder, it’s worth taking a little time to think about how they combine on the Pitch. With the huge amount of fire-related rules on both players we can safely assume that between them, SOMEONE is getting set on fire, but what else? Well, we’ve talked through how proficient Cinder is at scoring a goal and holding the ball, but Furnace can help with that too. Furnace has a Tackle Playbook result on his first column meaning that he is very reliable at Tackling the ball from enemy players. On top of an easy access to Tackle, Furnace also has a pretty long range on his own kicks of [8”], very useful for punting the ball out towards Cinder after taking it from an enemy player.
Generally, what we expect to see from Furnace and Cinder is Furnace getting stuck into a melee in the centre of the table, dishing out Searing Strike and knockdowns for the damage dealers among the Blacksmiths to come in and bring the pain. When the fighting gets fierce, Furnace activates his Legendary Play, Tempered Steel, to increase to ARM  so that he can keep fighting. All the while, Cinder skirts around the edge of the melee ready to receive the ball for an opportunistic Shot on goal, using Decoy and Unpredictable Movement to stay safe, and Hot Shot to recover the ball from an enemy player or just generate some Momentum from a safe distance.
If you’ve loved hearing about the Blacksmith’s Guild it’s time to get even more excited. The Blacksmith’s Guild will be on pre-release at GenCon 2017. So make sure you’re there if you want to pick up your very own Blacksmiths Guild Ball team before they sell out! Tell us what you think of the Blacksmith’s Guild so far on our Blacksmith subforum, as well as Facebook and Twitter!