Mallet is a player worthy of my love, and so worthy of an article about him. So, why do I love Mallet?
- First off, Mallet is sloooow. His 3″ reach during his activation is a good way of counteracting this, giving him approximately equal threat to the rest of the team. So, when he charges in, his MOV isn’t a real issue. Where I find it is an issue is later in the game, if he needs to reposition himself, especially if that involves having to manoeuvre around other models. Even worse is that if he is taken out, his 6″ sprint can mean he finds it hard to get back in the fray that turn, or potentially for the rest of the game.
- His TAC 5 is average, and so not worthy of much love.
- His KICK isn’t really 2/6″ at all. Due to Football Legend, he has a permanent +1/+1″ to his value. This brings it up to a nice serviceable 3/7″, which means he can pass (and even shoot) with not much trouble, as long as he isn’t crowded out.
- His DEF of 3+ and ARM 2+ is Masons standard issue. It makes him hard to grind out after the turn he has been charged, as long as he isn’t subject to much ganging up his ARM means he is able to soak punishment and remove from the table some of the higher playbook results. However, he does not like being knocked down, not one little bit.
- His INF is 2/4, which is standard for most people.
So, Mallet, your stats are hardly going to set the world on fire. So why do I love you so?
Like most Masons playbooks, I look at the first half of the columns. If anything, with a TAC of 5, he is unlikely to hit a 4th or 5th column result anyway, unless he uses Singled Out, which is mentioned below.
Looking at this, it means that every single result Mallet is likely to use generates momentum, unless you really want to cause a single point of damage. He is a momentum making machine.
He is likely to be able to throw out a Singled Out early in an activation, and then move onto generating damage or knock downs. Mallet is able to cause damage or set a model up for a model later. This flexibility means that if you give him some influence, he will be able to use it. It doesn’t matter when in the turn he goes, or if your plans change, he will find a use for it. A knock down on 3 hits combined with a 2″ reach means he is a decent parting blow threat. His tackle is a little high up compared to the rest of the Masons roster, but combined with his 2″ reach it can make ball collection much more hassle free.
How does he use this playbook with his character plays? What if he charges or just stands still? This is more in depth (I feel) for Mallet than for other players, so I will go more into that below.
Time to go through his character plays. First up is Football Legend.
This doesn’t require much discussion. It adds to his (and other) KICK values. It is worth noting that this does work on the kick-off, so it can give you a handy boost to the kick scatter roll, as well as allowing your kicking model to not venture as far up the field in case you are scared of a cheeky Lure or Chain Grab.
It can also make even average shots pretty accurate. Look here for more kicking maths.
Here we go…time for a good one.
Obvious statement time. Don’t forget it is only 3″ during your activation. It shrinks to 2″ the rest of the time, but that is still top dog.
So, why is it so good?
- It completely ignores Unpredictable Movement. Annoying models with 2″ and this power can’t run away from Mallet. Obulus and Mash cannot flee his hammer.
- If he is knocked down at the beginning of his activation, or he is pushed back / knocked down as a result of a counter attack, he has a much bigger zone he can still strike in.
- He can get to places that are normally hard to reach. If he wants to knock down or tackle models and ignore any crowding out penalties, this reach can go a long way to flat out ignore shielded models unless there is no line of sight to them at all.
This power is counteracted by his slow speed, but once he is in the middle of the pitch and swinging, he can affect a very large area of the field at once.
Finally, Forceful Blow.
Mallet hasn’t got outstanding damage output, but on the charge he can really cause some damage. Again, obvious statement time….you have to cause damage for this to trigger. I will go more into this below, but it means that if Mallet charges in it is not unlikely that he can cause 4-5 damage, and ideally trigger Singled Out at the same time.
Note, this damage ignores Tough Hide, which is nice.
The push can be useful, combined with his 3″ melee, as it can potentially mean a model can be knocked down and out of melee with his regardless of what their reach is. However, remember it has to be directly away. Also remember it is up to 2″ of movement, he hasn’t got to push you at all.
First of all, a character play named after your fourth favourite Guild Ball related blog, Singled Out.
Triggered my a momentous result on one hit, Mallet will be using this a lot. Below I will talk more about this, but I can see two uses for it. Basically, give Mallet 1-2 points of influence and use him to set a model up for future violence. Or, give him 4-6 points (with help here from Honour’s Legendary Play and Superior Strategy) and trigger it on the first hit, giving Mallet a respectable TAC 7.
It also works on future parting blows, meaning he would be effective TAC 9 when making one. As he has a knock down on three hits, he can be very hard to flee from.
Either way it is money, and makes his mediocre TAC much more respectable.
Finally, Smashed Shins.
I’m going to come clean. I don’t think I have ever used it. However, it is a huge debuff to a striker, or anyone else near the ball for that matter. So, if you think knocking someone down isn’t going to stop them later in the turn, and they can escape your melee zone with something like Shadow Like or Where’d They Go?, it could be worth a shot. It triggers very easily, again on a momentous single hit. Just don’t forget you have it.
Attacking with Mallet
I have been referring to this throughout the whole article, so here we are. What are you going to do with Mallet?
So, what is going to happen when he decides to charge or not?
Let’s compare his charging options to his just standing still and swinging.
Here we see his TAC 5 for standing still and his TAC 9 for charging. Standing still, he is looking at a good (over 50%) chance of triggering a momentous two damage twice, netting him 4 damage. If he charges, he can try and go for netting six hits. This is grat if you can get it, as it allows him to deal 6 damage (4 from his playbook + 2 from Forceful Blow) as well as activate Singled Out for further attacks. Against low DEF targets this is relatively easy to do, but you can see that the chances of this happening drop dramatically past DEF 3+.
So, what if he just stands there and attacks, using the first hit to trigger Singled Out?
That’s the stuff. If he wants to deal damage in a turn he wants to hit those fourth or fifth columns. Singled Out really pumps up those numbers, even against good defences. This also applies when helping others out, allowing people like Honour to hit the high damage results at the end of her playbook.
So, in my mind, Mallet wants to do one of two things. Either:
- Be loaded up with as much influence as possible and charge in, hoping to trigger high damage and (ideally) a Singled out from a wrap. This can be helped with Superior Strategy and Topping Out! to form the much talked about Mallet missile.
- Be given only 1-2 points to trigger Singled Out, allowing another model (such as Honour) to cause damage later in the turn.
Momentum with Mallet
- Counter attacks.
- With a push on two hits, and a knock down on three, he can use momentum to counter attack effectively depending on positioning. Just remember, his TAC isn’t that high un-buffed, so depending on the DEF and ARM of the target hitting these results may be difficult.
- Defensive stance.
- Pumping him up to DEF 4+ and ARM 2 is pretty obnoxious, and makes him very hard to hit solidly on a charge. This is definitely something that should be considered.
- With 16 boxes his survivability is not terrible, but he can be a big target when he stands in the middle of the pitch. Make sure you heal him whenever you can, if he is taken out he can find his low MOV a real hindrance to returning back to the fray.
Moving with Mallet
Given his speed, he is best positioned somewhere central, where he can move to areas that need support. Near the mid field he can use his reach to control the movement of opposing models, and throw out damage or support the attacks of his team mates later in the turn.
I try and keep him near his team mates, so he gang-up and offer Singled Out, resulting in attacks having a 2-3 TAC increase. He can drop pretty fast if unsupported, and like all Mason he hates controlling character plays and status effects, so try and ensure if there are any area attacks like Fire Blast and Blasted Earth he is not struck at the same time as many of his comrades.
So there we are. I love Mallet, hopefully you can see why.
See you next week!