Jamie Giblin: Last weekend saw the Athena Autumn Open 2017 take place at Athena Games in Norwich. It was a great tournament day out, there were people practicing for the upcoming Guild Ball World Team Championship, there were coaches trying out new Guilds (notably the Farmer's Guild: The Honest Land) and everyone was in good spirits ready to roll dice and take names.
The Event had 23 players so could go on for five rounds. After a four hour drive from Manchester to reach the venue I was certainly hoping for five rounds to get as many games as possible! Even if it did mean that after the drive back it would likely see me home at the early hours of Sunday morning.
I was unsure what Guild I wanted to take, I have Fishermen and Brewers from the early days of the Kickstarter, Masons and Alchemists who I have a half decent track record with and my Union, though I need to get the Captain's painted for them. I was going to go back to my Season 2 Guild of Brewers but then Jamie Perkins destroyed me in a practise game so I decided maybe I should stick to my strengths and took Smoke led Alchemists.
In every game this weekend I played: Smoke, Flask, Veteran Katalyst, Calculus, Compound, Harry the Hat.
Anyway. enough rambling, onto the games.
Game 1 vs Engineer's Guild
So the first game rolled around after many greetings with old friends and I was drawn against Alex Mason. Almost immediately I made the joke about him playing the Mason's Guild, which he took in good humour and had blatantly heard a thousand times.
Alex played a line up of: Ballista, Mother, Ratchet, Velocity, Hoist and Compound.
This was a bit of an odd game as we both stood off from each other willing to play a ranged Character Play heavy game. Smoke was able to spread the conditions laid out by Harry & Calculus around and by the end of turn two pretty much everyone was on fire & poisoned. I was able to kill of two players when their health dropped low enough and score two goals, one came from Smoke and the other was from Calculus. I think this was my first ever goal with Calculus as she rarely enters the opponent's half of the pitch. Before this Alex cooly slotted a goal away with Hoist and used Ballista to control, and eventually take-out Veteran Katalyst. Victory 12-6.
Game 2 vs Hunter's Guild
A win under my belt, and quite a few cobwebs being blown off. I was both elated and saddened to see me drawn against Stephen Easton. I've played Stephen many times at events and the past three or four times he's gotten the better of me.
Stephen brought to the pitch: Theron, Snow, Egret, Jaecar, Zarola and Hearne.
Another ranged heavy opponent! Stephen is wise to the Smoke game plan and ensured his models were more than 3” apart at any one time so I couldn't stack conditions on them via Smoke's Chemical Breeze. Theron is a tough match up for Veteran Katalyst as Pinned reduced the options for charges, coupled with Theron's Forest and Snared the effects all stack to really ruin his day. Stephen kicked off and was able to retrieve the ball before I could get to it, but luck wasn't on his side as Egret missed a three dice shot on goal at the end of turn one!! From there I was able to use Veteran Katalyst to get two Witness Me take-outs and a goal with Smoke to win the game. Before that though Stephen was able to take out both Flask and Harry the Hat with Hearne. Resulting in a 12-7 win for me.
Game 3 vs Fisherman's Guild
Two wins! This is going better than expected! Maybe I could go on to win it...Oh no. Nevermind. I was drawn against James Long, winner of Vengeance 2017. He's taken to using the Fisherman's Guild now, and knew exactly what my line up was capable off.
James used: Shark, Salt, Hag, Sakana, Greyscales & Angel.
There is little that can stop a determined Fisherman from scoring a goal, and missing your 'Bonus Timed' Blind and Goad will certainly not help stop them! Even Compound's Horrific Odour and Rush Keeper weren't enough to hold back the tide. James played very aggressively and had nearly his entire Guild in my half of the pitch by the end of Turn One. There was nowhere safe for the ball and James was able to take advantage of this, casually scoring three goals and taking minimal damage in response. I'm still one up on James in the head-to-head games but the day was certainly his!
This was a whitewash: 12 – 0 to James.
Game 4 vs Fisherman's Guild
Nooooooo! Not again!! I was paired up against Mark Webster, he took a very similar line up to James with the exclusion of Hag. I was feeling a bit seasick when the line up went down.
Mark took: Shark, Salt, Siren, Angel, Greyscales & Sakana
Smoke was able to do her thing this game and had the majority of the team poisoned and on fire by the end of turn two, using her Legendary Play to push the damage taken into dangerously low levels. Levels low enough that Veteran Katalyst could Intensify and take-out multiple models...
Veteran Katalyst was able to take out Angel & Sakana in a single activation taking my score to 6VPs thanks to Veteran Katalyst's Heroic Play Witness Me!. Salt scored in response, to which Smoke didn't take kindly and a helpful Super Fan gave her the ball and she bounded up the field to score at the start of turn 3. Unfortunately for Mark, Shark had got himself into a bit of a situation...
He'd managed to find himself on fire and poisoned, whilst trapped between Calculus, Flask, Harry & Compound, with a victorious Veteran Katalyst returning to the field looking to score another scalp. He charged in and scored so many hits that he was able to finish off the captain in a single swing. A 12-6 victory for the Alchemists.
Game 5 vs Mortician's Guild
Wow! We got five games in after all! For the final round I was to face off against Charles Nurser. Charles had a beautifully painted Mortician's Guild and is a genuine pleasure to play, we were starting this game at around 7PM in the evening and fatigue was starting to kick in...just what you need when playing the Mortician's.
Charles elected to bring: Obulus, Dirge, Graves, Casket, Mist and Brainpan & Memory.
I won't mince words here. I was very tired and a lot of the game passed me by. I remember Mist scoring a goal at the end of Turn One, and then I hid the ball with Smoke behind a barrier ensuring that Obulus wouldn't be able to us Puppet Master to regain possession. My plan was to get two Witness Me! Take-outs and then break for a goal. However! Charles used Casket to perfection and was able to tar-pit Veteran Katalyst in place with Heavy Burden, Ghostly Visage and Foul Odour eventually Veteran Katalyst and Harry the Hat worked their way through the shambling coffin bearer. Being entirely self critical I became too tunnel visioned on taking him out. After I took him out and forgot to Witness Me! Charles took full advantage and took-out Veteran Katalyst, then Harry the Hat and then a vindictive Casket managed to put Smoke into the box with a bit of help from Gaves and Obulus. 12-2 to Charles.
My 3 wins and 2 losses saw me finish 7th overall out of 23, which I'm happy with considering my last Guild Ball event was early in the year and I've not had a much chance to play as I might normally have. I think I'll be retiring the Alchemist Guild now and looking out to the Union for a new play style.
Congratulations to James Long on winning the event, to Charles Nurser for coming second and Barrie Voice on taking third place. Being beaten by First and Second...I can live with that. Finally a huge thank you to the events team and pundits who ran the Athena Autumn Open 2017 and for staying so late to see it through! I look forward to returning again soon!