Hey all, I had a rare Saturday to myself so I decided to dust off my trusty Morticians Guild and take myself down to the local Guild Ball event in Stockport, the 2nd EGG Cup. A fair amount of faces I remember turned up, including fan favourite Jamie Giblin with his Brewers, fellow developer Bryce Johnston playing Masons and our Head of Organised Play Ed Ball who was also playing Morticians. I also persuaded my friend Dale to come with me. Dale only picked up Guild Ball a few months back and was keen to try his first tournament with his Brewers. - Jamie Perkins
Round 1 vs Keith Wilkinson - Alchemists
A tough round 1 draw, Keith has been very successful at a number of different miniatures games and has put in a few good showings at Guild Ball events too, including recently at Vengeance. He ran Midas, Naja, Vitriol, Katalyst, Compound, and Harry the Hat. I chose Obulus, Dirge, Ghast, Graves, Cosset and Brainpan & Memory.
I won the roll and much prefer to kick off in most cases. Kicking off with Obulus gives him an advanced position for turn one. Throwing a full stack of  on him puts a huge amount of pressure on your opponent as they know at any time I can try to use Puppet Master to drag a vulnerable player to their doom. This is how turn one played out as I knew Keith would be setting up for a turn one goal which he scored with Midas right at the end. I dragged in Katalyst with a Puppet Master and took him out with a combination of Obulus and Cosset. I generated a tonne of MP along the way and won Initiative for turn two. 4-2 to Keith.
Turn two I needed to deal with Midas, since while he was floating around the middle of the Pitch he would be a constant goal threat. The ball was on Brainpan who was out to the left, but he could be reached by Katalyst who had just come back on. I used Ghast to knock down Midas and put some damage on him. This gave Keith the choice of whether to try to save Midas and let me move the ball, or go after the ball with Katalyst and allow Obulus to almost certainly take Midas out. Keith opted to go for the ball. Katalyst scattered it with a knockdown and Obulus took his chance to take out Midas. Harry and Vitriol came hurtling into the fray to try to generate some MP and get closer to the ball. I had to use all my Momentum to ensure that Midas was taken out, so Keith was able to win the Initiative for turn three. 4-4.
Midas came back on to my left and Keith used Vitriol to score a first activation goal. Luckily though, Vitriol was the only player who could threaten the right side of the Pitch, so I punted the ball that way. I spent the whole turn setting up two take outs on Harry and Vitriol but taking neither of them out. Both ended the turn knocked down and on very low health (1 and 3). I couldn't take either of them out in this turn because they would come back on the righthand side for turn four and threaten the ball again. However, Keith did manage to take down Cosset meaning that any take out except Dirge would win him the game! I used Rigor Mortis to steal Keith's Momentum to win the Initiative for turn four. Dirge scooped up the ball at the end of the turn. 10-4 to Keith.
I activated Graves first, who was engaging both Harry and Vitriol. Graves took both of them out and Pushed Katalyst out of melee with Brainpan. Graves then healed Brainpan, who was at risk of being taken out by Midas and Katalyst. Keith said he was going to try to shove Brainpan off the Pitch with Push-Dodges, oh no, I hadn't spotted that! He needed every one of them to hit so I threw a cheeky counter attack to see what happened. I bonus timed it and got 2 hits which was enough to Dodge one inch back inward meaning Midas couldn't Push him off anymore, phew! I had a sensible activation choice to take down Katalyst who was on low health... but I checked Dirge and he was within [14"] of the goal with  Influence on him... I haven't scored a goal with Dirge for years so I just had to take the chance! Dirge flew over Compound and engaged him to deny the Counter Charge, bonus timed the shot and Dirge scores to win the game 12-10! What a game to start the day!
Round 2 vs James Coleman - Fishermen
The pace of the Fishermen is a blessing and a curse for the Morticians. Fast players are perfect targets for Lure and Puppet Master because you can move them a huge distance but equally they are really tough to stop when they get sight of the ball. James ran Shark, Salt, Sakana, Greyscales, Jac & Avarisse & Greede. I ran the same team as last game.
Once again I won the roll and opted to kick. Obulus sat on his stack of  out in front of my team and I expected James would be looking for a late turn goal. Instead however he activated Shark and scored immediately, taking advantage of the Knee Slider Guild Plot to retreat to safety. I put a Vengeance Token on him with the Who Are Ya Guild Plot. Obulus used Puppet Master to bring Shark back in and I spent the rest of the turn generating MP from him and ensuring that he remained knocked down and on  health point. I won the Initiative for turn two thanks to my stack of Momentum. 4-0 to James.
The ball was fairly safe on Brainpan again so I take out Shark with Ghast and engage Salt who is nearby, knocking him down with another Attack. I waited to take Shark out here so that James would lose him for all of turn two, rather than killing him in turn one and allowing him to rejoin the game instantly. Avarisse & Greede were also quite near to my players and Greede had been wounded by some Counter Attacks so he was my next take down target. I also managed to get Cosset into Avarisse while benefitting from Assist and Singled Out from Dirge (Sic Em is amazing!). I thought the ball was safe on Brainpan as I could defensive stance Salt's Charge and Counter Attack to Tackle the ball back... but James managed to roll four 5s on six dice meaning he could Tackle and Dodge away from Brainpan before he could Counter... Salt then scored James' second goal. I won the Initiative again. 8-6 to James.
I didn't have any good take out targets and I needed one before I could safely score a goal to win... if I scored now I would just be giving the ball back to James to score his third. I had the ball on Obulus. I started surrounding Jac to try to set up for a Cosset Charge. But James moved Greyscales quite close to me, assuming I would focus on Jac. Instead I switch my attention and pulled Greyscales in with a Puppet Master so that he was engaged by Cosset, Dirge and Obulus. Obulus knocked him down so Cosset could drop him down to  health. I won the Initiative again. 8-6 to James.
I took out Greyscales and scored a goal to win the game. Because Obulus was so far up the table and most of James' players were in my half of the Pitch it became very difficult for James to chase the ball down for the third goals. Also, Obulus isn't the easiest player to get the ball off at the best of times!
Round Three vs Martin Edwards - Alchemists
Argh, more Alchemists! I find these guys quite tough to handle, particularly condition heavy Smoke teams since I find it difficult to generate the MP needed to clear them off. Also Martin just took out another Obulus Mortician player in the last round in Jonathan Cannon... eek! Martin ran with Smoke, Naja, Veteran Katalyst, Calculus, Vitriol, and Harry the Hat. I ran with my same team except Silence came in for Brainpan & Memory. I wanted the option to use Tucked and Shut out on this team since Smoke is very activation order dependant to get the most out of her condition game.
I won the roll yet again and opted to kick. Martin kept the ball on the floor to lower my Puppet Master options and he shielded Veteran Katalyst from being Puppet Mastered too. I managed to drag in and annihilate Harry though, earning enough MP to clear conditions from all my players except Ghast who was suffering from burning. 2-0 to me.
I was REALLY worried about Veteran Katalyst. If you let him do what he wants he will come screaming in like a cruise missile, take out a player with Witness Me! and drop everyone else's health with consecutive uses of Intensify. I used the Sic Em Guild Plot to charge Vitriol and engage Veteran Katalyst. I got Singled Out on Vitriol too but she took Dirge out with a Counter Attack... I forgot he was only on  health... oops! Martin used Calculus to drop a Noxious Blast. I charged Vitriol with Silence and used his Momentous Dodge to get closer to Veteran Katalyst. I then used Creation to bring Dirge back on full health and engage Veteran Katalyst and Vitriol again! Harry came running back in to provide some crowd outs on Silence and Dirge. Cosset saw her chance, Martin had no Momentum because Dirge had robbed him of it with Dark Doubts. Cosset charged Vitriol and thanks to Gang Ups from Dirge and Silence as well as Singled Out and Assist, she was able to take Vitriol down before she could activate! Martin replied by using Smoke to take out the pesky Dirge again but once again Dark Doubts left him with no Momentum to show for it. I had to keep Veteran Katalyst pinned in, so Obulus charged in next and got all the way to base to base with him. I managed to prevent Veteran Katalyst from charging and he didn't get to use Intensify because I was clearing as many conditions as I could. I won the Initiative for turn three. 4-2 to me.
Now that I had Veteran Katalyst pinned down things got a little easier. I managed to snatch a scrappy goal with Silence while punching Katalyst for Momentous damage. I think it was Cosset who eventually finished Katalyst off. Martin sent the ball down field to Smoke who was making a run on goal but I also managed to take out Calculus which ended the game. A 12-2 win.
Getting into unfamiliar territory now on three wins, I've normally been beaten by now!
Round Four vs Edward Ball - Morticians
*screams in a high pitch voice* yeah... this isn't going to go well. I'm always nervous about mirror matches because I always think someone is better than me at what I like to do. I managed to best Ed in our last game together but that was only really because he made a mistake and let me take down his Obulus in turn one. He ran Obulus, Dirge, Graves, Ghast, Cosset, and Minx. I ran the same team except I had Brainpan & Memory in place of Minx.
Ed won the roll and opted to kick with Ghast because there was some fast ground on the left hand side. He wanted to push my players off the pitch with The Unmasking! I played a very cautious turn one and tried to get all my players back toward the centre of the Pitch. Ed made a very aggressive move with Minx to put Marked Target on my Cosset so that Ghast would have the range to reach her. I pulled Minx in with Lure and then moved Cosset away. Ed tried to rescue Minx with his own Puppet Master but I then used MY Puppet Master to pull her back! Safe to say Minx was pretty dizzy by the end of turn one. I knocked her down and had her engaged by Obulus and Ghast. I had the ball moving away to the right on Memory with Brainpan following behind. I won the Initiative but chose to go second. 0-0
Minx was taken out pretty early on and I also managed to pull in and take out Ed's Cosset later in the turn. Ed's Ghast was chasing down Brainpan and things were getting pretty messy, but I managed to keep all my players alive... just. I won the Initiative again. 4-0 to me.
Cosset and Minx both came back on the right hand side to threaten the ball and my team was a bit more spread out than I normally like. Also my Ghast wasn't close enough to the fight to matter so he couldn't help me much, Ed's team was better positioned than mine. Ed retrieves the ball with Minx and leaves it on Cosset. I managed to pull in and take out his Graves though... but he also takes out mine! My Cosset ends the turn on  health. Ed wins the Initiative. 6-2 to me.
Ed starts the turn by scoring with his Cosset but he doesn't generate enough Momentum to be able to heal her and she is in the middle of my team on  health. My Ghast finally makes himself useful again by running over and clobbering her to death. I kick the ball close to my Obulus. Ed does something really interesting here. He can't get the ball so instead he uses Rigor Mortis to steal all my Momentum and then spends it all on Bonus Timed Attacks specifically choosing non-Momentous results to try to make the next Initiative roll as close as possible. Ed knows that I want to win the Initiative to score a goal with Obulus to win the game in the next turn. Ed also took out my Cosset. Unfortunately for Ed I was able to get the ball with my Obulus and engage Ed's Dirge, Attack him five times and generate four Momentum to win the Initiative. 8-8.
Obulus activates first, Dodges off Dirge with a few Momentous Attacks and sinks a Bonus Timed goal for the win. 12-8 to me... starting to feel a bloody nose come on now... WHAT AM I DOING ALL THE WAY UP HERE!?!
Round Five - Jason Fox - The Union
Jason is the infamous 'Steamforged Staff Assassin' that beat Co-Creator Mat Hart 12-0 on the live stream at the Vengeance event earlier in the year. I was really excited to play this game but really nervous at the same time. As I say, I'm normally somewhere on the middle or lower tables for the final game of a Guild Ball tournament! Jason ran Blackheart, Coin, Mist, Decimate, Harry the Hat, and Benediction. I ran my usual team. My aim was to score points more than Mat! You'll need to bear with me in this one, a lot of small but important things happened really fast and some of the details might have gotten mixed up, but I'll do my best.
Jason won the roll and chose to receive the ball. I did what I normally do, looking for a player to drag in with Obulus after the kick off and mostly ignoring that Jason was going to score during turn one. However, I made something of a greedy mistake. I chose to drag in Harry the Hat with Puppet Master but I could have done it as a later activation and used it to guarantee the Initiative for turn two. But, because I had gone so early, Jason still had Blackheart to activate and instead of saving Harry, Jason used Strike from the Shadows to Dodge forward and get into melee with Graves, generating 5 extra Momentum along the way. This is a serious problem and an excellent move from Jason. If Jason scores a goal AND wins the Initiative he will have an excellent chance of scoring again at the top of turn two and putting me under severe pressure to protect the ball at 8 Victory Points down. I tried to get Dirge into melee with Harry to give Cosset Assist but I had badly positioned Obulus near Harry and couldn't fit both Dirge and Cosset in the gap. Jason scores with Mist. Cosset went in and left Harry on  health and we ended the turn tied for Momentum... this roll was massive. Jason wins the Initiative. 4-0 to Jason.
This game got really intense, really quickly! The ball was on Obulus but Blackheart and Mist are both players capable of retrieving the ball from the Ferryman. However, Jason opts to start with Blackheart and he moves to Attack Cosset but rolls very poorly overall, leaving her on  health and knocked down. Graves take out Harry, heals Cosset and moves up to engage Decimate. I need to deal with Benediction who has just knocked down Ghast. Ghast spikes very high on a roll to knockdown the Braced Benediction. I move Obulus up to Attack Benediction and I use Rigor Mortis so that I can Bonus Time all my Attacks. Benediction is taken out and, in an attempt to keep the ball safe and threaten a goal of my own, I move Obulus up to engage Decimate. Decimate Attacks Graves in an attempt to bounce into Obulus with a Dodge. I Counter Attack in the hope of pushing her away. I needed three hits to get a Push that would leave Decimate stranded, I mistakenly chose not to Bonus Time the Attack and only rolled two hits. Decimate Tackles Obulus with a high enough roll to also double Dodge away... this is a disaster! She passes the ball into space, leaving it near to Blackheart. I use Dirge, Brainpan & Memory to surround Mist and leave him unable to move at all. I was one Momentum up for the Initiative roll but manage to lose it again. 4-4.
Jason uses Blackheart to scoop the ball up, take out Cosset and score... now I'm in serious trouble. I gave 4 to Brainpan to try to take out Mist who is on only  health and stuck between Brainpan, Dirge and Memory. Memory rolls four bonus timed Attacks. I was looking for a roll to spike high to take Mist out, which is rarely a good plan. It doesn't happen and I leave Mist on  health. Obulus and Graves combine to try to take Decimate out but leave her on  health. Jason is excellent at generating Momentum and keeping his players alive in this turn. I finally win the Initiative. 10-4 to Jason.
I meant to heal Graves who was on quite low health of around , but in the time it took to allocate my influence I completely forgot about that, got side tracked and activated Brainpan to have another go at Mist who had healed back to  health. I didn't learn my lesson from last turn and four bonus timed Attacks again generated only  damage. But, it didn't matter because Decimate walked over to Graves for the coup de grace and it was all over. 12-4 to Jason.
Jason played brilliantly, starting with the Blackheart Legendary on turn one which put me under huge amounts of pressure. I tried to get back into the game by securing the ball on Obulus, but made a massive error in allowing Decimate to take it from him. I was most certainly out-played by Jason and he earned a well deserved win.
Still, four wins and one loss for the days record leaving me 2nd overall and I'm super happy with that! I had five fantastic games with my Morticians that offered a tonne of nail biting moments throughout and a variety of tactical challenges to figure out. We are blessed with an awesome community for Guild Ball that show incredible sportsmanship time and again. As a game designer, or even just a fan of the game, it's absolutely wonderful to see and experience. The EGG Cup was ideal practice for the World Team Championship in September where I hope to not embarrass myself too much! Looking forward to my next chance to play!