Hi everyone. For one reason and another I have not managed to play many games this week, so I have decided to talk about my favorite monkey and mascot, that magnificent and multi talented Marbles.
He is fast enough to keep up with the rest of the team. His TAC and KICK values are typical mascot fare. He is surprisingly survivable if he doesn’t get hit by a solid charge and a few swings after that, but (unsurprisingly) his low health of eight boxes with see him crumble pretty fast. Finally, you can give him a couple of points of influence, and he gives the team one in return.
Hmmm, nothing much here so far…..so marbles, why do I love you so?
So, a momentous tackle, followed by a momentous push, then a momentous two damage. Lots of momentum, which is nice. He can, at a pinch, run and grab the ball of someone within 9″ of him, if he is fully loaded. I rarely, however, give him more than a point of influence. Also, if all he is doing is running forward to do a momentous push, he is very close to the front lines, and probably close to surrendering 2 VP to your opponent.
So why DO I love my monkey?
Ah, here we go. I would honestly find them hard to put in order of which one I prefer the most, if forced to it would be this one.
I love Goad. Probably a bit too much. With proper application, it can totally ruin the day of some of your opponent’s pieces. Simply put, your opponent cannot advance in any direction other than directly towards where Marbles ends up (though they can, of course, stay still). Note, this does not work against any repositions, so if they have some dodge shenanigans, like Where Did They Go? or any dodge results on a playbook, this will not work.
Like many Masons character plays I like, this has many applications, so I will share a few with you that I have seen, or used myself.
Here we go, living the dream. Marbles starts within 6″ of Rage, and uses Goad on the future Union captain. Note – I always (like with all 1 dice character plays) try and use a Bonus Time with it, as a single dice feels too unreliable.
The Goad hits Rage square in the top hat, and Marbles scampers off behind a tree. Rage cannot see Marbles through the forest, and so his activation is pretty much wasted. This works with other terrain too, such as with barriers, as you are forced to move directly towards Marbles, so if you can’t make it towards the monkey it is tough bananas.
Of course, this requires handy terrain, and your mileage may vary depending on how much you use. So, let’s try an example that happened to me a while back.
Now, this was a while ago, so apologies to my opponent if this is slightly inaccurate. Ghast activated slightly earlier in the turn, and a scrum was forming in the middle. Rage had some influence and was ready to activate. I had no forest or barrier, but I had something very similar to a barrier, Brick. Marbles used a Goad, and hid behind Brick. As you have to move directly towards, there was no way that Rage could hurt the monkey, as there was a Brick in the way. This was a good thing for me, as otherwise he could go after softer (and more important) targets like Mallet. Brick was unable to Counter Charge as was already engaged by Ghast.
So, does it just help against violence? Of course not!
Here is an example against a recent Fishermen team, against everyone’s favorite striker, Shark. The ball had just landed near the captain, and that is never a happy thing to see.
One Goad later, and Shark would be able to gain nowhere as much ground as he would like. Of course, due to Tidal Surge, and his playbook he is still able to dodge around like a lunatic, but as it happened he wasn’t able to get distance to the goal with only these repositions. Thanks, Marbles!
Oh, and if you do use a Goad, remember that if you have to move before you use it you are very close to the front line. It might save you this turn, but how about the next?
Oh, he has more? Of course….
This one is much simpler. Throw out to your favorite beat-stick (Mallet, Chisel, or, for bonus points, a nearby Honour), and watch the bloodshed. Note that this also works on character plays, but the Masons at the time of writing have not got any yet.
A few words of warning, if you want to get a take out early in the turn you might not want to sacrifice an early activation to tool someone up for later on. Also, if the pile of influence on your beat-stick isn’t enough of a clue, this can be a big red flag as to your intentions. Then again, if a big ruck has formed in the centre of the table, it might not be important.
Repeat after me: Loved Creature is a trap. Loved Creature is a trap. Loved Creature is a trap.
If it is triggered, the bonuses can be nice. However, don’t try and trigger it on purpose (say, for example, by running marbles directly at your enemy) as an experienced opponent will just wait until near the end of the turn, when the bonuses are much less important. Plus, giving up 2VP to an easy take out may not seem like much, but you are giving up an activation per turn AND simply making it easier for you to lose.
Only trigger it on purpose if you really have a plan for that momentum or bonus movement or whatever, because, remember, that Loved Creature is a trap.
Plan of action
Nowadays I try and keep Marbles 6-8″ away from the front line, ideally behind a wall of Honour, Brick and Flint. I give him a single point of influence. This means that he can throw out any one of his character plays or run, either for next turn or to give Honour an Assist. If he does so remember that he is fairly squishy, and many people like mascot hunting.
Against teams who have more of a ranged threat (such as Engineers) I keep him further back. That said, if they are throwing Kick Bolts and Blasted Earths at your mascot, at least they aren’t firing them at your team. At least for a turn or so anyway.
So, Marbles has a couple of top character plays. He can be squished with a few decent attacks. Make sure he is positioned out of threat where he can be, and make your opponents fear your monkey. Who needs an armadillo, anyway?