So, we’re back from SteamCon UK and WOW what a blast! I certainly had an awesome time meeting you all and everyone I met seemed to be having a fantastic experience. So many things to talk about! Fallow, Skulk, the finale of the Union in Chains! Today though, we’re going to talk about the final two Blacksmiths from the Master Crafted Arsenal that were both seen for the first time at SteamCon UK, Master Blacksmith Farris and her Apprentice Bolt.
Let’s Talk About Horsepower
Look at that model, I mean just LOOK at that model, she’s on a horse! Easily one of my favourite Guild Ball miniatures from the whole range, not even just the Blacksmiths Guild. But let’s rein in this unbridled enthusiasm and talk seriously just for a moment. With Farris, we wanted to represent the idea of the farrier. That is, a Blacksmith who largely spends their time making and fitting horseshoes, but who could also have worked on armour made for horses, stirrups, and so on. This gave us a very easy way to get our first mounted player into Guild Ball. Additionally, Farris gave us another opportunity to show some aspects of another real-life ball sport, in this case polo. It is these two concepts together than inform the majority of the way that Farris both looks and plays. For example, she wields an enlarged polo mallet for hitting both enemies and the ball!
When it came to Bolt we were slightly more limited than we normally would be in terms of concepts for how the Apprentice of a farrier could work and make sense. It made a whole lot of sense for Bolt to be themed in some way around speed in order to show an Apprentice that can keep up with a horse! Bolt is an Apprentice who is obsessed with running as fast as he possibly can – if he’s in a race he always wants to win. Bolt is so obsessed in fact, that he has convinced himself that he can use his metalworking skills to craft some horseshoes that will fit to the bottom of his boots and make him run even faster. There is some amount of truth here in the way that real-life football boots and running shoes both have spikes in their soles to give them more grip, but let’s forget that for a moment and embrace Bolt’s madness.
On his ‘quest’ to create his improved running spikes, Bolt often lost his temper and flung his failed horseshoes across the workshop. After a while, Bolt realised that he could hurl these horseshoes with a surprising degree of accuracy. This led Bolt to his second idea of crafting bladed horseshoes to throw at opposing players, which often leads to opponents falling over in sheer surprise as much as from the force of impact. Either way, Bolt’s accuracy with his bladed horseshoes has become legendary, leading newer opponents to laugh right up until the moment a horseshoe buries itself in a nearby teammate.
Farris shows a lot of the classic hallmarks of being a Master Blacksmith. Primarily this is seen in the construction of her Playbook which has only five columns when Farris has a TAC attribute of . Additionally, Farris’ Playbook is punctuated by a variety of Momentous Play Icon, Push, and Knockdown results and has no Momentous damage results. We also see a very tough DEF [2+] and ARM  which is backed up by  Health Points, meaning that taking out Farris is no mean feat. However, Farris also competes with Ferrite for the title of the fastest Master Blacksmith with a MOV attribute of [5”/10”]. The exceptionally high max-move of [10”] but fairly average base-move of [5”] illustrates the difference between the horse’s speed at a canter versus the horse’s speed at a gallop.
Farris’ equestrian identity shows itself a little more when we look at her Character Plays. Firstly, we have a Character Play seen before on the Fishermen Captain Shark, Stagger. Stagger is a very straightforward penalty to an enemy player’s DEF that represents Farris giving someone a hard whack with her polo mallet. Stagger adds to a long list of ways the Blacksmiths can reduce the DEF attributes of opposing players and since reducing enemy DEF and ARM is a primary strategy for the Blacksmiths, Stagger is a very welcome addition. Also for those who find it interesting, the Stagger Character Play was developed for Farris before it was given to Shark in the Guild Ball errata that happened a few months ago.
Farris’ second Character Play is another one that we have seen before on the Butcher Captain Fillet, Quick Foot. Quick Foot is a much rarer breed of ability for the Blacksmiths since it allows them to increase their movement speed. Indeed, with Quick Foot Farris is capable of making a Sprint or Charge move of up to [12”]! A fantastically useful ability to increase the MOV of the slowest players like Hearth and Anvil or to dial the fastest Blacksmiths like Ferrite up to ludicrous speeds!
While the front of Farris’ card has a few elements that we have seen before, the reverse of her card has some really exciting unique elements. Firstly, we have the Character Trait Give It a Whack, which is based on the polo aspects of Farris. Quite literally Give It a Whack represents Farris leaning down from her heightened position to punt the ball with her polo mallet. Farris can unsnap the ball and place it within [1”] of her, she can then then use Give It a Whack to make a kick action with the ball. This example this gives Farris just over an [8”] kick range because a kick using Give It a Whack is measured from the ball rather than from Farris herself. Beyond simply increasing range, however, Give a Whack allows Farris unprecedented control over the ball-path of her kicks, allowing her to bypass the intervening model penalty on a regular basis.
Alternatively, if the ball is already free on the Pitch, Farris can Jog or Sprint to get the ball within her melee zone and use Give It a Whack to kick the ball instead of taking possession. There is quite a lot of utility with Give It a Whack that is worth spending the time to think about. It is also worth noting that Farris does need to spend  Influence to make a kick with Give It a Whack just as she would for making a regular kick action.
Farris’ second Character Trait is another brand new one called Impact. Impact represents the sheer weight of Farris’ horse hitting enemy players as they gallop past. The Attack made as a part of Impact does not cost any additional Influence. Farris only needs to spend  Influence as normal in order to make a Sprint and as long as she gets to base contact with an enemy player, she can make her free Attack due to Impact. Remember though, the free Attack from Impact can only target an enemy player that Farris is in base contact with. The other really cool part of Impact is that if Farris makes her Impact Attack before she has finished her Sprint movement, she can continue her Sprint after pausing to use Impact. This means that Farris could declare a Sprint, move [4”] into base contact with an enemy player, make her Impact Attack, and then use the remaining [6”] of her Sprint movement.
Farris’ third and final Character Trait is one that we have seen before on other Master Blacksmiths, Sentinel. A very useful and free ability that provides any nearby friendly Apprentice with an additional point of ARM. This means that with Anvil and Furnace you can now field a team where all three Master Blacksmiths on the Pitch have Sentinel!
Lastly, we have Farris’ Legendary Play, Ride Off. As with all Master Blacksmith Legendary Plays, Ride Off has two parts, one that will always happen and one that will only happen if Farris is chosen as the Captain for the team. The first part, the one that will always happen, grants an additional effect to Farris’ melee Attacks. If Farris uses a Push Playbook result on an enemy player that has possession of the ball, after moving the enemy player they automatically lose possession and the ball scatters. This represents Farris whacking the enemy player so hard that they drop the ball. This may not at first seem that useful, but remember that Farris also has Impact. Farris could activate Ride Off, start a Sprint move and then use Impact to Attack an enemy player to push them and make them drop the ball. Since Farris can keep moving after making an Impact Attack, she would then be free to keep moving and take possession of the loose ball or go and kick it off the ground using Give It a Whack.
The second part of Ride Off only triggers when Farris is the team’s Captain, and it grants every friendly player within its [6”] aura Give It a Whack. While friendly players are affected by Ride Off they can all make kick actions while a free ball is within their melee zones. Sledge could use the Long Bomb Character Play to pass the ball up to [13”] away, since with Long Bomb Sledge has a [10”] kick range, he also has a [2”] melee zone and the ball-marker’s base is just over [1”] wide. Hearth under the effect of her own Legendary Play, Armoury, can use her [3”] melee zone to kick the ball! In general, Ride Off provides the Blacksmiths with some very indirect ways of affecting the ball and it allows them to make longer range kick actions, or kick actions when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Watch Out Mate, Its Coming Back!
Unlike Farris, Bolt’s extremely high movement speed isn’t immediately obvious as he has a relatively low [4”/6”] MOV attribute. Don’t worry about that just yet, that will become clear very soon. For now, let’s look at the other aspects of Bolt. To go along with his incredible speed, Bolt is a very capable goal scoring player for the Blacksmiths. He has a number of Momentous and non-Momentous Dodge results on his Playbook including a very handy Push-Dodge on his second column. With a solid TAC of  he should be able to access these Dodge results quite reliably too. Bolt does have a single Momentous  damage Playbook result, so he is capable of inflicting a low amount of Momentous damage, but this certainly isn’t his main focus. Bolt has one of the more accurate kicks in the Blacksmiths Guild too with an impressive [4/6”] KICK attribute.
Bolt’s status as a goal scorer is further shown in the first of his two Character Plays, I’m Open!. I’m Open! is a Character Play we have seen before on the likes of the Farmers player Bushel and the Union Captain Seasoned Brisket. I’m Open! is a very handy tool for moving the ball off players in your team without having to activate them. For example, if Bolt is in range to score, but Anvil currently has possession of the ball, Bolt can use I’m Open! to make Anvil Pass the ball to Bolt. Additionally, a Pass made as a result of I’m Open! can cause Momentous Teamwork actions to trigger such as Give’n’Go and Pass’n’Move.
Bolt’s second Character Play represents his ability to hurl specially made horseshoes at enemy players, Shoemerang! Shoemerang actually has two parts to it, the first one being that Bolt targets a player (friendly OR enemy) within [4”] of him and spends his  Influence to use the Character Play. If Shoemerang successfully hits it causes  damage to the affected player. Then, if Shoemerang is successful, the second part triggers. Bolt chooses an enemy player that is within [4”] of the player that took  damage, this enemy player then suffers the knocked-down condition. This represents the horseshoe arcing around and striking multiple players before making its way back to Bolt. Alternatively, if Bolt targets an enemy player with Shoemerang, he could choose to have the same player suffer both parts of Shoemerang, assuming that the Character Play is successful. This would mean that an enemy player would suffer both  damage and the knocked-down condition as a result of Shoemerang. Pretty neat!
Run, Forrest, RUN!
We mentioned earlier that Bolt’s incredible speed would become clearer a little later on, well, now is that time. On the reverse of Bolt’s card we find two Character Traits, both of which can go some way to dramatically increasing Bolt’s movement speed.
The first Character Trait is a brand new one called Stamina. Stamina is in many ways like a reverse version of the Second Wind Character Play. Instead of making an additional Jog at the end of his activation like Second Wind, Stamina grants an additional Jog at the beginning of an activation. This means that even though Bolt has a low MOV attribute of [4”/6”], he can make two Jog movements or a Jog and a Sprint movement in the same activation! Additionally, because Stamina grants an additional Jog, any modifiers to Bolt’s MOV attribute will apply to both his Stamina Jog and his Standard Advance. If Farris uses Quick Foot on Bolt for instance, Bolt will be able to Jog up to [6”] at the start of his activation due to Stamina, and then Jog again up to [6”] or Sprint or Charge up to [8”] for his Standard Advance!
Bolt’s second Character Trait is one we have seen before on another Apprentice Blacksmith, Sledge, and is called Tutelage. Tutelage grants Bolt a single free use of one of his Character Plays as long as he starts his activation within [6”] of his Master, Farris. The super interesting thing about Tutelage on Bolt though, is that it has a wildly different impact on how he plays than it does for Sledge. For Sledge, triggering Tutelage most of the time means that he will get to use Piledriver for free and make at least one truly devastating Attack as a result. Bolt’s Character Plays are completely different and thus getting to use one for free will have a completely different effect. A lot of the time Tutelage will help Bolt to score a goal, but at an absolute minimum he will get to use Shoemerang for free which is also very useful.
Let’s take a look at how Bolt might use Tutelage to help him score a goal. In this example, Bolt has  Influence on him and a friendly Sledge is nearby with the ball, Bolt is also within [6”] of a friendly Farris. Bolt activates and checks to see whether he is within [6”] of Farris to trigger Tutelage, Bolt then gets to use his Stamina Jog of [4”]. Bolt decides to use Tutelage to get a free use of I’m Open! which causes Sledge to Pass the ball to Bolt, Bolt decides to use Pass’n’Move to dodge himself [4”] forwards. Bolt then charges [6”] into an enemy player looking to achieve either the Momentous single dodge on his first column, or the Momentous double dodge on his fourth column, dependent upon how well he rolls. Let’s assume Bolt rolls poorly and only gets his Momentous single dodge. This means that Bolt has moved a total of [15”] and he still has a [6”] kick range with which to score a goal. If Bolt starts his activation with the ball or has any effects on him that increase his MOV, then his goal threat range can start getting a little bit crazy!
Forge The Path
That’s it! This concludes the reveal of the initial twelve Blacksmith’s Guild players. We are incredibly excited to see what you all make of them and we look forward to reading your match reports and seeing an enormous variety of different Blacksmithing painting schemes. We’ll be back to talk about the Blacksmiths again in the future, where we will be discussing popular Blacksmith Guild Ball tactics. Until then, let us know what you think of the Blacksmiths Guild on our forums, Facebook, and Twitter!