Earlier this week on the blog we revealed the second of our updated Season 4 model cards, Salvo the Marksman of the Engineer’s Guild. Today we’ll be continuing with our model card reveals with the Mason’s Guild and the Stern Enforcer, Granite.
Taken for Granite
As we mentioned in our earlier blogs, one of the first things we did when we started the development of Season 4 was take a look at the intended playstyle for every Guild as a whole, and then each model individually. This process helped us to identify not only which models needed to change, but also by how much and with what purpose in mind. These objectives were in addition to overall aims such as reducing complexity and tweaking game balance.
For our Season 4 changes, the Mason’s Guild stands out for two particular reasons. Firstly, they’re one of the most balanced Guilds in the game both from an overall and an internal perspective. This means that we are pretty happy with the power level of the Guild, and for the most part their player selection rate is quite well spread. For this reason, the Masons have the highest number of unchanged models of any Guild. The other outstanding thing about the Mason’s Guild is that they are probably the most affected by the ‘global’ changes that we made to the game, such as the removal of cost 0 character plays and ‘gaining’ influence from the game.
The Mason’s Guild as a whole represents a tactically diverse set of models that can adapt their playstyle mid-game to suit the needs of the situation better than almost anyone else. Because of this we haven’t made any changes to the intended playstyle of the Masons. However, we have targeted a small number of models that generally aren’t played with as much as some of their counterparts. This is where Granite comes in.
Little by Little
Granite was intended to serve as a midfield enforcer, tough to take out and disengage from. We still think this is a valid playstyle that gives her a strong identity within the Mason’s Guild, the problem previously was that Granite didn’t perform this job well enough to be selected over other models such as Brick. Additionally, the changes to Granite are quite different to those we’ve shown on both Snakeskin and Salvo. While neither of them had any statistical changes in favour of changes to their abilities, Granite does have a few changes to her stat line.
Firstly, Granite’s MOV stat has increased from 3”/5” to 4”/6”, which doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re quite reliant on multiple small movements to get across the pitch, even a small change like this provides quite a big impact. Similarly, Granite’s melee zone has increased from 1” to 2”. Increasing a model’s melee zone is another change which may not seem like much, but on the pitch it can have a huge impact, particularly for a model like Granite that wants to be involved in a melee as early as possible.
Previously, Granite was reliant upon the Determination character trait which gave her an additional point of DEF while engaged by two or more enemy models. We decided to cut Determination out completely and just give Granite a DEF of 3+. This helps to cut down the complexity of using Granite because players using her have one less thing they need to remember. Additionally, this change simply helps make Granite a more consistently tough model.
Due to Granite’s more consistent defensive stats, we took another look at her health bar and decided to reduce it from 24 to 20 health points. At DEF 3+ and ARM 2 with 20 health points, Granite is not an easy model to take out, particularly because she has a greater capacity for her counter attacks to be effective due to her new 2” melee zone. It is also worth noting that Granite has retained the Sturdy character trait which further adds to her defensibility, since knocking a model down is one of the most common methods of making them easier to take out.
Moving onto Granite’s character plays, there aren’t a lot of changes here. Gut & String’s MOV penalty has been reduced from -4”/-4” to -2”/-2”, since this character play also lowers the target’s DEF by 1. These two effects together are incredibly powerful in that they make an enemy model easier to hit AND make it more difficult for the enemy model to escape further attacks. So reducing the MOV penalty to a more reasonable level is only fair. This change wasn’t made because of Granite specifically, but when you consider that she also has very easy access to knockdown on the second column of her playbook, it’s easy to see why this change makes sense.
Finally, the character play Tar Pit has a new name, Broken Earth. We changed the character play’s name so that we could use it on more models and have the name make sense in more places. Additionally, we increased the size of the rough terrain aura from 3” to 4” to make it a little stronger since it wasn’t often used in Season 3.
And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII… Will Always Love Youuuuuuuu
Moving onto the back of Granite’s card there are a few changes here that have been partially explained already, such as the removal of Determination, and that she has retained Sturdy.
Perhaps the main thing that we haven’t addressed yet is how we have improved Granite’s capacity as a midfield enforcer. We’ve mainly done that through two things, Between a Rock… has remained and we have combined this ability with Close Ranks. Close Ranks is the new name for Lend A Hand, an ability that was previously on the Farmer’s Guild captain Grange in Season 3. Close Ranks effectively doubles the crowding out penalty that Granite inflicts when she is engaging enemy models. So if an enemy model is engaged by Granite, but wants to attack someone else, the enemy model will lose two dice from its dice pool during each attack that it makes. This is fantastic when combined with Between a Rock… because Granite can move into position to protect friendly models when they suffer damage, so she can very often find the perfect spot to stand in order to apply her Close Ranks penalty.
Finally, we decided to remove Foundation. In Season 3 Foundation gave Granite a one-off jog at the start of the game to help offset her low MOV. With Granite having a more reasonable MOV of 4”/6” Foundation isn’t really necessary anymore and was just another thing that players needed to remember to use when playing with Granite. Removing this has further reduced Granite’s complexity.
That’s it for today folks. Granite is a slightly different example of a model that did not need a complete rewrite, but has had a few specific elements sharpened up to make her a better choice. Join us next time to see the reveal of the new and improved player cards for Anvil & Sledge, the Noble Patriarch & Tempered Steel of the Blacksmith’s Guild.