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What's that?! Rules?! For a guild?!!! Rules for a new guild from the Guild Ball Community Project? Yes, yes! A thousand times yes! Lamplighters are here! Before we launch into the guild specifics, a few general points and thank yous.
Firstly, we thought doing an errata was hard... Doing a whole new guild is hard squared. Also, doing a minor guild for one of the more complicated guilds in the game probably makes it hard cubed. Lamplighters have been a labour of love for people who just love the game of Guild Ball. It's a genuine group project and we could never have got to this point without the amazing, amazing work of the Rules and Playtesting committees. If we named all the names this would be more of a Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars speech than a Lamplighters blog. We reckon more than 30 people have been involved in some way, shape or form; producing art, designing cards, testing rules, coming up with song based pun names for character plays. You get the picture.
So, what do Lamps do? Well, they're the Alchemist minor guild, so they are a bit like them. Alchemists dialled up to 11, if you will. They put out a lot of conditions, they can use conditions as a resource, they're mainly ball focused but can switch up their game in a pinch.
At the heart of the guild is an interaction with whether a model is burning, or not burning. An 'on/off' mechanic. Who knows which wise philosopher we got that idea from?
Originally, our Lamplighters had a Guild Rule (think like Intimidation for the Cooks or Precise Calculations for the Navigators), but it felt far more natural for each member of the team to have their own on/off trick. In a way, what we ended up with felt far more like a Guild Mechanic, like the Shepherds Punishments or the Ratcatchers Dilemmas - all different, all unique to the model, but united under a common theme.
In a nutshell, Lamplighters gain different benefits if they are on fire, i.e. their lamps are lit, or if they are not on fire, as they're experts at moving in the dark. As a broad rule, the Lamps output becomes more efficient and effective if they're on fire. Unlike the Alchemists, who mostly pull conditions from other models, the Lamps gain benefits from both being on fire and from removing conditions from themselves. Unlike Katalyst, the Lamplighters do suffer the loss of movement from burning - carrying a lit lamp means you have to tread carefully. So Lamplighter players have to think carefully about where and when to apply and remove those conditions.
Lamps as a team are quite squishy and don't put out a lot of linear damage, but they do have a number of tricks which help them reduce the amount of damage their opponent can put out and that increase their own output. A big focus for them can be on denying their opponent the ability to build tempo while the lamps themselves do the setup work they need for goals and kills.
So without further ado, let's look at the players!
Nightlight is a very versatile captain. Her playbook has a lot of momentous results meaning she can flex into goals, cover a decent distance via momentous dodges and even take out weaker models with a bit of set up. However, her main function is to support her team and to control the opposition.
To control the opposition she brings Lens Flare: an incredibly powerful character play, which means enemy models cannot use more than their base TAC or KICK value. No bonus for charging, or crowd outs, or Singled Out, or Super Shot, and even using Bonus Time! can't increase TAC over their base value. This helps the squishy Lamplighters survive a bit longer and also creates a big headache for the opposition in terms of activation order. It's really risky to keep piling buffs on one model and aiming to go for a big last activation against Nightlight.
She also brings Flare Out which grants her whole team Overheat while being on fire. That's right. THE WHOLE TEAM HAS OVERHEAT! So while Lamps don't do a lot of damage in their own right, if the opponent starts crowding them out and killing them, they're going to take some serious damage.
To support her team, she brings Relight the Fire to get that all important burning condition out, and Back to Black to provide a bit of extra mobility. Her legendary play makes burning an eternal flame, which certainly won't ease the pain for your opponent.
Soot is a pretty archetypal bird mascot. Birds are fast and they fly, but Soot can be really, really fast. The Intercept trait means it's fantastic at recovering unsnapped balls and messing with your opponent's KICK stats when they make that crucial pass or shot on goal. It has one character play, Eye Spy, which means the guild has access to a TAC buff to help it push up those numbers.
Note: This card has been updated due to feedback after it was first revealed two days ago. Beta test in action!
Beacon is the team's enforcer. He brings pushes, loads of KD potential, and damage. He's not the most durable of beaters, though. Sure, he has a lot of boxes, but he's only 3+/1 without Tough Hide. He has a good momentous playbook, and like Scourge he's a bit of a Katalyst fanboy. His TAC 6 means he struggles to hit some of his more interesting results (KD/Mow Down anyone?) unless... Unless he's on fire. If Beacon is on fire he can mow down a gang of players, strip armour, do some condition damage, and then extinguish his lamp and dodge away again. Pretty neat, right? And Stay Down means he can threaten Tough Hide models, something the rest of the guild struggle to do, but it also makes him target numero uno for the likes of Tapper.
Like Nightlight, he brings Relight the Fire, so when his opponents take that hit he can start handing out that burning condition he and his team-mates love. Lastly, by combining Searing Strike with Eye Spy, Beacon and Soot can tag team an enemy model to start pushing Phosphor and Mercury's ranged damage into pretty scary places.
A team that is mainly focused on scoring goals should obviously have access to a dedicated striker model, which for the Lamplighters is Wick.
Wick has all the things that a good striker needs: speed, range, a good KICK stat, early tackle results and decent dodges on the playbook, you name it. Add in a high defensive value with a decent amount of boxes, and one might say that Wick is quite a good model.
Like Vitriol, Wick has multiple ways of setting the opposition on fire. Wick can become a real disco inferno with Burn Baby Burn and aftering scoring a goal, it just burns, burns, burns...
Being on fire is something that you'd say that Wick doesn't want to be, as it'll reduce Wick's goal threat range by 2", but this is just untrue. Setting a fire puts Wick in the Spotlight, giving a +1/+2" KICK buff and ignoring any dice penalties from engaging or intervening models, which means that Wick's goal threat range is basically unchanged.
Lastly, just like Veteran Calculus, conditions on enemy models can increase Wick's own threat range using Extraction, granting a possible 23" goal threat range before dodges.
If you can't score with Wick, you're doing something wrong...
Kicking is very powerful in Guild Ball at the moment but Heat is a model that loves to receive. As you might have already noticed, we've introduced a new position for Heat - she's a regista. For those unknown to the term, just Google Italy's great footballer Andrea Pirlo, the heart of the squad.
She can use I'm Open to keep the ball moving, providing the team with some out-of-activation repositioning, or she can use Flame Jet to assist with Phosphor and Mercury's barrage of ranged damage plays. Her 2/3 INF value is offset somewhat by having access to Reactive Solution, virtually granting her a free character play.
The Lamplighters really want to keep that burning condition on themselves to power up their abilities, but the damage part of the condition might come back to bite them. Heat helps manage that continuous burn through Afterglow, making it possible for her team to heal themselves while using momentum. This means that they can heal for 2 boxes while buying a Bonus Time! or counter attack, or just heal for 6 boxes with Rest. But there is a catch...
Heat's lamp needs to be glowing for the Afterglow effect to work, meaning that her Now You See Me... trait is offline, basically giving her Shank's defensive values of 4+/0 with only 14 boxes, and she's only a 1" melee model. If she's not burning, she gains Unpredictable Movement to at least protect herself against strong 1" melee threats.
You would say that she'll be quite strong within the Alchemists, but remember that it's near impossible for Heat to put herself on fire within that team, meaning she'll almost never have access to her healing aura, unless she walks into one of Mercury's AOEs.
Last, but certainly not least, Mercury's little brother has many similarities with his sibling. They're both mainly focused on assisting their team through a literal barrage of ranged damage abilities. However, Phosphor's focus is a little less on the damage side and more on the utility side.
First off, Phosphor can chuck some Alchemical Bombs around, making it hard for the opponent to get into the Lamplighter lines. Pretty standard stuff, but Phosphor can use the effects from Alchemical Bomb to activate his Flash Point trait, which will debuff the opponent's TAC and MOV for the turn. It is a very powerful trait but it does involve getting up close and personal with the opposition which Lamplighters don't love.
The reason for Phosphor's placement in the minor guild instead of the Alchemists is mainly due to his clumsiness. He keeps dropping his flasks and vials everywhere, meaning that there's a constant aura of chemical substances around him. Oops, he dropped it again...
Lastly, defining Phosphor as a defensive utility pick is having access to Fulcrum, giving the Lamplighters and Alchemists both a bit of momentum efficiency by having free counter-attacks. Important to note is that Poised means that the model doesn't spend MP, meaning that it won't trigger Heat's Afterglow trait.
The debate on which models will be able to play together with their major guild, and which Alchemists are able to play with the Lamplighters, has been a very extensive one. The idea should be that the Lamp squaddies that will not play-up contain the brunt of the power budget for the squaddies - the play-ups should not be roster-defining for the major guild, as is the problem for certain other major-minor guild pairings at the moment. At the same time, the play-downs should not be able to give unintended playstyles to the Lamplighters, or be so strong to be auto-picks.
The Alchemists models who play for the Lamplighters are Mercury and Crucible.
The first decision point was that we didn't want to give Lamplighters substantial access to poison, and both Katalysts were off the table. This ruled out a number of Alchemist models. Mercury was an obvious choice - he brings burning, he is Phosphor's big brother, and he gives an option for the guild to flex a bit more towards damage. Not having access to Flask makes Mercury less efficient in Lamps but his top-end output is higher due to access to Eye Spy and Searing Strike. Crucible was a more complex choice which essentially came down to Lamplighters in playtesting having some big problems with ball retrieval against Close Control heavy guilds or guilds with good counter attacks. She is slightly less effective at retrieving the ball in Lamps than in Alchemists - again due to the lack of Flask - but she can get more out of her playbook and Flare Out makes her a less tempting take out target. Vitriol would have been the other idea as the play-down besides Mercury, but Lamplighters already have a dedicated 2" melee striker in Wick.
The Lamplighters models who play for the Alchemists are Phosphor and Heat.
Phosphor being Mercury's little brother means he has always wanted to play with his older sibling. And Heat being the weathered veteran, that might be able to tone down the explosive arrogance within the major guild and thereby get all noses pointed in the same direction. In practical terms for those who remember Season 3, when the Alchemists had access to Harry the Hat, will understand why Beacon was never going to play for Alchemists - just imagine him with veteran Katalyst and Soma... We felt Wick would crowd out Vitriol and veteran Calculus too much. Neither of the play ups for Alchemists have an easy way of applying burning to themselves which somewhat limits their power budget in the major guild. A lot of work and thought has gone into attempting to balance the play-ups in Alchemists while bringing some interesting new angles to the guild.
So there we go, that's Lamplighters. We hope you enjoy playing them as much as we enjoyed creating them. Please let us know your thoughts as part of the beta test.
Lastly, models... where can you get models? Well, keep an eye out for that this Friday.
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