Here at Steamforged it’s been fantastic watching the forum & social media reactions to our articles on the first of the Blacksmiths Guild to be revealed, Anvil & Sledge, as well as our article on Blacksmith Guild team construction. If you missed those articles you can find them HERE. Today though, we think it’s time to start showing you some more of the Blacksmiths Guild Ball team. When we revealed Anvil & Sledge we did so with redacted cards to tease you about what abilities they could have. While it was incredible fun for us watching you try to guess what abilities could be behind those shaded boxes, we decided we wouldn’t be quite so mean this time. Today you get to see the full player card for the Master Blacksmith Furnace.
Is it Hot in Here?
During the development of the Blacksmith’s Guild, Furnace was one of the earlier concepts for a Master that we decided was interesting and visually striking enough to make. Furnace brings a miniature forge with him to the Pitch, strapped to his back. In this miniature forge Furnace has a large number of unfinished swords that he keeps at superheated temperatures; during a Guild Ball match Furnace wields these molten steel weapons to devastating effect. Although, as anyone with an understanding of how heated steel acts will tell you, molten swords don’t make for particularly durable weapons. Superheated steel is quite weak and malleable, exactly why Blacksmiths heat metal before shaping it. When Furnace strikes with one of these heated swords the blade inevitably breaks off and wraps around the unfortunate soul that Furnace hit, causing debilitating agony. At which point, Furnace doesn’t even bat an eyelid. He drops the now useless remains of his sword, only to pull a fresh one from his forge and begin searching for another victim.
The Dark Knight we Deserve
There’s some pretty cool stuff to talk about here, some of it familiar, some of it brand new. Furnace is a little faster than Anvil with a slightly higher MOV attribute of [5”/7”]. He also has a [2”] melee zone, so he is capable of threatening enemies from a longer distance than Anvil can with his [4”/6”] MOV and a [1”] melee zone. Furnace’s [2”] melee zone is also very helpful for adding additional Ganging Up bonuses for friendly players or applying the Crowding Out penalty to enemy players. Furnace has a respectable DEF of [3+] and ARM of , something that you can’t quite see on the player card art is that Furnace is sporting a huge kite shield on his left arm so it makes a lot of sense to represent that in his attributes.
Like Anvil, Furnace has several Momentous Push Playbook results and a Momentous knock-down Playbook result. This type of Playbook is indicative of a Blacksmith Master and is hugely important for a player designed to set up enemy models by Pushing them into the right position for Ganging Up bonuses and knocking them down, generating Momentum Points for the team along the way. However, Furnace has a Momentous  damage Playbook result, which is significant too, but we’ll return to that later on. Something that a number of the Master Blacksmiths have in common, with the exception of Anvil, is that they tend to have Playbooks that have a smaller number of columns than they have TAC. Furnace has a respectable TAC of  and a Playbook that is only five columns in length. These slightly compressed Playbooks were another conscious decision taken during the Blacksmith’s Guild development to illustrate the Master Blacksmith’s skill at their craft. Master Blacksmiths are reasonably efficient at Pushing enemy players around and knocking them down.
Moving onto Furnace’s Character Plays, we start to discover one of Furnace’s subthemes. The Character Play One at a Time Lads! is another effect which interacts with the Ganging Up and Crowding Out rules. Furnace can change the dice-math of a melee quite dramatically with One at a Time Lads! by causing any player (not just friendly players) to ignore both the Ganging Up bonus and the Crowding Out penalty. For example, if Furnace is engaged by  enemy players, Rage, Grace, and Fangtooth, and Furnace needs to knockdown Grace, Furnace will only be rolling  dice when he makes an Attack due to suffering the Crowding Out penalty from  enemy players. Rolling  dice against a DEF [4+] enemy player and looking for  hits in order to achieve a knock-down Playbook result does not have a high chance of success. However, if Furnace places his One at a Time Lads! AOE so that he’s inside it when he makes his Attack, Furnace will be rolling his full TAC of  and therefore have a much higher chance of being successful. This Character Play will have a number of tactical uses when placed on friendly or enemy players and is certainly one worth thinking about how to get the best use out of.
Furnace’s second Character Play is one we have seen many times before, Tooled Up. A great Character Play for any team looking to inflict multiple take-outs and an ability that makes a huge amount of thematic sense for the Blacksmiths Guild. After all, these guys MAKE most of the weapons seen on a Guild Ball Pitch. With Tooled Up, someone like Sledge can inflict  Momentous damage with only a single Playbook result, ouch!
Give a Man a Fire, and He'll be Warm for an Evening. Set a Man on Fire, and He'll be Warm for the Rest of his Life.
It probably won’t take you long to see why the other subtheme of Furnace is fire… I mean… it felt a little silly just writing this sentence. The reverse of Furnace’s player card has three Character Traits, of which two are concerned with the burning condition. Firstly, we have Fire Forged. Fire Forged is a new Character Trait that the Blacksmiths have brought to Guild Ball; it allows Furnace to ignore the burning condition the first time he would suffer it. This is a Character Trait that works very similarly to Sturdy or Close Control which both allow a player to ignore something the first time it happens to them. Character Traits like this are quite common tools for us as developers to use on players that we want to make more resistant to a particular effect or condition. It makes a whole lot of sense to make someone like Furnace more resistant to the burning condition!
Furnace’s other fire-related Character Trait is Searing Strike. Searing Strike represents the moment that Furnace lands a savage blow and wraps a molten steel blade around an opponent. When developing Furnace we felt that the usual representation of fire-related Attacks, Burning Strike, just didn’t quite do what we wanted. Furnace needed something with a little more bang for his buck. To this end, Searing Strike not only inflicts the burning condition, but it also reduces the ARM of an effected enemy by [-1] for the remainder of the turn. This represents the enemy’s armour cracking under the heat and pressure of Furnace’s Attack. It’s time to return to that Momentous  damage Playbook result we mentioned earlier. Since Furnace needs to damage an enemy player to trigger Searing Strike, during the development of Furnace it made sense to allow him to generate Momentum for causing damage to enemy players. In this way, Furnace doesn’t need to choose between generating Momentum and inflicting Searing Strike, he can do both!
Furnace’s last Character Trait is something you may remember seeing on Anvil. Sentinel allows Furnace to shelter nearby Apprentice Blacksmiths from harm by granting them an additional [+1] ARM while they are within [1”] of Furnace. Something that will probably be incredibly useful on Furnace’s own Apprentice too…
Finally, we have Furnace’s Legendary Play, Tempered Steel. Like Anvil, the first paragraph of Furnace’s Legendary Play is a personal effect that will help Furnace out a little for a single turn of the game. Where Anvil’s [+1] TAC will help him ensure that he makes effective use of his melee Attacks, Furnace gains [+1] ARM which takes him to that incredible ARM  for a single turn of a game. Furnace isn’t quite as resilient to damage as Anvil is, (few are!) but Tempered Steel will help Furnace batten down the hatches for the critical turn of a game where it is imperative that Furnace survives an enemy onslaught.
For the second paragraph of the Tempered Steel, remember Searing Strike? Remember why it was so cool? Or rather, so hot! Okay, now imagine giving the Searing Strike Character Trait to your ENTIRE TEAM as Furnace starts passing out his molten swords like candy. Tempered Steel is a fantastically useful Legendary Play against most other Guilds since a huge number of players in Guild Ball have at least ARM . Changing a DEF [3+] or [4+] player from ARM  to ARM  changes the math on how effective melee Attacks are against them quite dramatically. Plus, you get to set the whole enemy team on fire!