Welcome, folks, to a bonus article here at Crit the Books. I’ve been very excited about Guild Ball recently – the latest season just came out, and with it, a bunch of changes to models. In this article, we’ll be looking at what each of the farmers models has to offer, and then talk about some general list building thoughts at the very end. If you don’t play Guild Ball, I suggest you go onto youtube, where fantastic channels like T&G Productions and Watch it Played! can provide you with some good starting points. You’ll probably also want to head over to the site of the company that makes Guild Ball, Steamforged Games, where you can find a ton of resources on the game, including stat cards for all of the guilds and the core rules. I can’t recommend Guild Ball enough!
Farmers are one of the guilds that I personally find most intriguing in Season 4 of Guild Ball. Outside of Alchemists, I think it’s pretty easy to say that they are one of the most changed guilds, and I think they have a lot of potential this season. Like many of the guilds, their in-guild power levels got smoothed out, losing a lot of auto-drop models and auto-take models. We’ll be discussing models in depth, and not looking at how they’ve changed from their Season 3 incarnations in most cases. We’re focused on their potential in Season 4, and what they can do now.
Grange carries with him a bunch of strong control tools. Momentous knockdown on 1 is nothing to sneeze at, and Help ‘Em Out can pretty quickly bring models trapped in a Scrum down to 2 or 3 dice, shutting down their effectiveness. Constitution makes it difficult to kill models that Grange wants to keep alive, as well. Planting Season gets him the harvest marker that reaper models need, and his Legendary hands out Sturdy for a turn, making his team very hard to deal with on counterattacks. For the Family is definitely an unusual trait to hand, but it makes passing the ball super consistent within his team, allowing for easy repositioning with the ball. His stats aren’t fantastic, and 3/0 defense without any built-in defensive tech means he’ll be eating Knockdowns very often. Grange is probably my pick into more scoring focused teams, surprisingly – those teams often lack easy knockdowns, and Help Em Out will do a lot to shut down their models. He definitely deserves a spot in the team, and I think he’s going to be a strong contender into some matchups.
Almost everything Grange lacks, Thresher brings with him. Consistent momentous damage and access to easy momentous knockdown makes his playbook solid. Scything March makes him immune to counterattacks (except Hearth’s legendary turn!) and They Ain’t Tough gives him solid utility. Don’t Fear The… gives him access to an influenceless Scything Blow that ignores Tough Hide, and Crow Scarer gives him a powerful reaction to models trying to kill him. Against the Grain gives him a ton of survivability, both by giving him access to free Scything March to stop counterattacks, and Life Drinker. His 8” sprint, accessible dodge + tackle, and 8” kick makes him able to present a goal threat, as well. Thresher is able to very consistently turn his 5 influence into 13 damage if he has access to the harvest marker, and while his damage doesn’t scale up especially well, he is incredibly consistent with what he does do. I expect to take Thresher into most matchups where Farmers want to be the scoring team, and I think his ability to ignore Tough Hide on Don’t Fear The… and use They Ain’t Tough makes him very tempting into matchups against most scrum-heavy teams. He has a lot of power, and I’ll definitely be taking him a lot.
Cocksure does wonders against control guilds and any guild with a knockdown, and When the Cock Crows provides you with a pulse of condition removal, letting you spend your momentum more on healing than on condition removal. Pain Response makes it difficult to kill Peck easily, and Fertilizer lets you get some value if your 6 wound model dies. I like Peck as a general Mascot pick, personally.
An 8” kick on a Mascot, along with Carrot and Stick giving you an extra jog, gives Buckwheat a surprising 20” goal threat. Add in a surprisingly solid playbook with options for momentum at every column and knockdown on 1, plus Ass Kicking for a free 4” push, and Buckwheat looks like a powerful threat mascot. He will almost always do something useful with his influence, and he brings one for himself. He’s definitely a mascot consideration when you don’t need the condition removal that Peck can bring.
8” kick, 8” Sprint, and access to Ball’s Gone! and I’m Open! (the latter being potentially free off of Cabbage Punt) make Bushel a solid score threat. Momentous tackle dodge on 1 is very powerful, doubly so with Close Control to avoid the tackle on the counterattack. Bushel opens up a lot of scoring jank for Farmers, and I expect that I’ll be taking her into matchups where I expect to be scoring heavy very often. She does have the distinction of being the only reaper without momentous 2 damage on 1 hit, but she can still very easily turn all of her influence into momentum. Her biggest weakness is going to be 2” melee models, but I don’t think that is enough to make her unplayable; doubly so when a single gang up brings her 2 momentous damage into easily attainable territory. I really enjoy Bushel for many reasons: a powerful scoring threat, a 5/0 defensive statline, and the ability to get loaded up with 4 influence and almost always do something with it.
A 0/4 influence stat means that Fallow needs to provide a lot to the team, and she certainly does. Making Hay lets her turn a Harvest Marker into 2 influence, which is in keeping with most of the Reaper models in terms of efficiency. Between a Rock… and Protective Instinct make her a powerful defensive piece, and With Age Comes Wisdom turns her into a solid beater model. Like every other Reaper, she has momentous 2 damage on 1 hit, and she also brings along a knockdown on 2 and momentous 3 on 3, making her a solid option for momentous damage. Get Stuck In gives her options for going into a scrum. Her hunger for harvest markers means she’ll want to be in a team that can consistently drop 4 to 5 of them. This, in addition to her defensive abilities, leads me to want to bring her into Grange teams as a damage piece.
Harrow has a good spread of tools at his disposal. Like every planter, he has access to nonmomentous 2 damage on 1, and a maximum allocation of 3 influence. Momentous Sow the Seeds on 2 lets him place up to 4 harvest markers in a turn, which is something that no other planter can claim. Marked Target allows him to extend the threat range of Farmers and gives them a soft ranged option, and threat extension is something that Farmers do not have much access to. His more flexible options are higher up in his playbook, which is a shame, and his 3/0 defense makes it easy to hit him. Charmed (Animal) gives him some light defense against most mascots – which you don’t normally worry about – and a bit of help against Hunters. His Rapid Growth aura provides some small teamwide durability but won’t help against dedicated killing teams. I like him as your third planter slot into matchups where the threat range increase will prove relevant – often into scoring teams, maybe against Hunters to lower the ranged threat.
Honour has a few very powerful, but very narrow, tools at her disposal. She has a momentous tackle on 1 and a decent pass stat, and a momentous double push on 2 that makes her a solid repositioning piece. Cocksure allows her some counterplay against conditions, and Fields of Wheat combined with Planting Season lets her be one of the planter models that can place harvest markers 4” away rather than 2”, which is relevant surprisingly often. Not to mention, Fields of Wheat to move around harvest markers adds a lot of flexibility to their placement, especially earlier or later in the turn. Faithful Protector is a small piece of defensive tech – not incredibly useful, but always applies and can be good against models with low Tac. Honour’s legendary play is probably the most powerful trick that she has – in a guild where extra movement is so hard to come by, gaining an extra jog is very powerful. Doubly so, because Farmers have so many positional requirements and auras. I see myself taking Honour as my third planter into crews that have a lot of condition play, or in matchups where setting up Tater’s counter charge in the middle of the board early on to gain more midground board control.
Jackstraw from the very start has a lot of tools that most farmers want. Crop Dusting not only makes him a planter that can place 2 harvest markers without needing to roll dice, but it also gives farmers a powerful tool to present ranged threat and deal some damage before slamming into the full scrum. At Your Post, If I Only Had A Brain, and The Last Straw give Jackstraw a lot of powerful movement options and makes him deceptively fast and safe for a model with 2”/4” movement. Reanimate and 5/0 defenses make it difficult to kill him. His playbook isn’t bad, with momentous tackle on 1 being very powerful for a ball handler. 2” Melee zone lets him hand out crowding out or ganging up easily, and a momentous knockdown on 3 makes his parting blows threatening, if not very consistent. 2 dice on the kick is unfortunate, but he still can provide a solid goal threat with the movement tricks that he has. Overall, the combination of being a 2 marker planter and the range that he can place the markers at makes him a nigh-autotake in my eyes. I’ll be looking at taking Jackstraw into most of my Farmers teams.
Millstone doesn’t shine especially strongly in any specific circumstance, but she has a solid set of tech tools to bring into a number of situations. Battering Ram gives the farmers much needed threat extension, and Take One for the Team lets her give some safety to other models in her crew. Get in the Goal! makes her a way to solidify the farmer game against opposing goal scoring teams. Like every planter, Millstone has Planting Season. The biggest weakness of Millstone is her playbook. Her only momentous results are on 2 and 4, and her only momentous damage is on 4. Knockdown on 3 makes her parting blows threatening, but not having very impactful results until column 3 in her playbook on a Tac 4 model makes her not have much of a threat without other bonuses. Her kick is weaker than most other planters, and her defenses are not very strong either. Overall, Millstone is a piece that I wish I could take more often, but her unimpressive playbook and the fact that most other planters outshine her for one reason or another means that Millstone will often be the drop from my 13 to bring me to a roster of 12.
Ploughman is the second planter that has the ability to drop 2 harvest markers in one activation without needing to interact with an enemy model, and he also has the ability to place harvest markers 4” away rather than 2”. This would be enough to make Ploughman a considerable pick, but he has more than that. Momentous pushes early on in his playbook and a momentous knockdown on 2 make it very easy to have relevant results with him and the ability to almost always turn influence into momentum makes influence on him very rarely go to waste. True Path gives his friendly models the ability to ignore rough ground, letting them ignore some movement penalties from enemy abilities like Foul Odour, Broken Earth, and Theron’s Forest terrain. His own Broken Earth gives him options to reduce enemy movement and being able to buy it as well as hit it on the playbook is nice. Ploughman’s only real weaknesses are his low jog of 4 and his subpar kick stat of 2/6”. Overall, Ploughman is a planter that I will likely be taking into most matchups as my primary planter, largely because he provides 2 harvest markers at 4” range.
Tater’s defensive tools are very powerful into some teams, and the counter charge potential that he presents can certainly be a problem for many teams. His damage potential on his own charge is powerful thanks to Sweeping Charge, and his playbook has the potential to spike momentous damage results stronger than most other reapers. While Tater does not have a knockdown result on his playbook, his third column gives him access to Mow Down, a knockdown effect for everyone within his melee zone. Make it Rain allows him to take this play on a parting blow, making his parting blows threatening as well. A tackle on column 2 rounds out his straightforward but powerful playbook. 6”/8” move gives him a threat range larger than most farmers, and 4/0 defenses that jump up to 5/0 against females make him difficult to kill in some matchups. His kick stats are nothing to sneeze at, with a solid baseline 3/6”. Overall, Tater is a solid and flexible reaper, and I think that he will be put into more of my lists than not.
Windle is definitely the biggest damage potential of the reapers. He has access to a playbook that scales up in momentous damage, and the addition of Berserk makes him incredibly efficient at turning influence into momentum. His reaper ability, Big Breakfast, bumps his move up to a very respective 6”/8” – excellent for a damaging model. His defensive stats leave quite a bit to be desired – 2/0 – but his Empathy ability stops him from being a momentum battery for his opponent, and his Snack Break ability keeps him healthy. He has a Knock Down on 2, so he isn’t super worried about counterattacks and presents a powerful counterattack of his own. Windle doesn’t often want to charge, and that is probably his biggest downside. I can likely see myself taking Windle into matchups where his lack of defenses will not be a huge liability, which is likely to be matchups against scoring guilds.
Overall, I think farmers are a very flexible team with decent tech for different matchups. I think in general, I’ll be looking at almost always taking Ploughman and Jackstraw as 2 of my planters, then deciding the rest of my squaddies based on the matchup. I think Millstone is probably my drop from the 12. Tater will likely see play alongside Honour when possible to accentuate the power of counter charge turn 1 with her legendary, but I think he is solid into many matchups. A 3 8” kick striker team is definitely possible with Thresher, Bushel, and Jackstraw, and I really like the idea of that team with Ploughman and a flex squaddie pick. I don’t think there is much of a downside to taking 3 different planters, since any model in the team can pretty consistently get meaningful results out of their influence. Grange is a bit of a puzzle, but I think there is definitely something that you can make happen with him, Harrow, and Fallow. Overall, I think Farmers have a lot of flexible picks and while they have their weaknesses, they can likely make up for many of them just through pure influence advantage and influence efficiency. I’m very excited to play Farmers in season 4!