I'd say the update is somewhat overdue, except that we only just got the final Farmer card spoiled this last weekend. As quickly as Steamforged modifies the game, or rather, as sporadic as the updates are, a true figure analysis is going to always be behind. In fact, in compiling the Farmers and Blacksmiths (Coming soon), I didn't even bother to factor in Union stats since A) Blacksmiths won't even use them, B) Farmers only got 2 and C) everyone's losing their Union soon anyways.
If you don't remember the original article, I've done a lengthy infographic on every Guild, plus an overall one (That's about to be updated to include Farmers, Blacksmiths and the Winter's Moon Hunters). That article is located Here, and I'll be referencing it throughout this article.
I'll steal the quick blurb I wrote for each guild on the infographic and place it here:
The Farmers, though a newer team, are a welcome addition to the Guild lineup. They're more of a bashing guild, and while their TAC isn't extremely high, their playbook lengths and ability to crowd out make up for it. They also are one of the more synergy-reliant guilds in the game through the unique use of their Harvest Markers. While their INF stat is very low, they make up for it with key positioning and retrieval of Harvest Markers. This also requires a fine balance in the team building process because a team of all Reapers will struggle to fight or play the ball with no resources while the Planters will struggle because they lack the abilities. A good melding of the two creates a fantastic team with great, support pieces and a few key models that reap the benefits of the plan you have built over the turn.
They are also a very defensive team. Attacking a Farmer team means nearly no ARM to speak of, and not great DEF either. However, expect to find Countercharge, Poised, crowd outs and lots of condition prevention as you try to take them down. A good player will keep his Farmers very well positioned and attempt to build a puzzle for you to unlock every turn in order to take out a single player. A great guild with a high skill cap, the Farmers are a well-designed team and looking good on the fields already.
Let's talk about a few of those points. Well, actually, here's the sheet: Farmer Metrics
Now lets look at some points. For starters, the stat averages are not good with the exception of their Kick (Amount of dice used, not Kick distance) and their DEF is above average. Everything else, even their sprint distance, is below average. The only Guild slower than them is the Brewers, which surprised me.
On the plus side, the key players you want to move quickly do move very quickly. Tater, Bushel and Thresher are all sprint 8. The statistic is highly impacted by characters like Windle and Jackstraw though. Bring Windle and Jackstraw up to average and the team jumps to a 7.58 instead of 7.17. This puts them closer to the faster Guilds, but they're still short of the fastest 5. This is compounded by the fact that there's only 6 dodges in 12 playbooks, and 2 players have four of them (Jackstraw and Bushel). Thresher and Peck both have a single dodge.
Their TAC is lower than their playbook too, believe it or not. 4.42 to 4.50, but that's largely Fallow and Windle's fault, again. Most of the playbooks are one shorter than the TAC, giving them good ability to wrap, similar to the Brewers. Many buffs include a TAC increase as well, such as Honest Labor and Thresher's Legendary.
Kick stat is good. Only a couple of long range kicks, but a lot of 3 dice kicks makes a team of reliable passers at least. This is really good for Bushel's "I'm Open" character play. I'm a Brisket3 fan, and Bushel having it too really makes me like her.
DEF is higher than average but Millstone's literally the only one with ARM, so if you can hit, you don't lose any dice for it.
INF stats are pretty rough, but since there's a Harvest Marker mechanic, that gets countered a lot.
Melee Range is crazy good, unsurprsingly. What did surprise me is that it clocks in at 1.80, which takes the 1st place spot from the Fishermen. Since we're not counting mascots, this means only 3 models don't have 2'' melee in the Guild (Fallow, Bushel and Millstone. Which are all women... All the women... actually... All the guys have long tools, I guess.)
Melee range is actually right in line with everyone else, which surprised me. I felt like there was a lot of 2'' melee in the team, and 3'' melee even on Thresher. The difference is probably that most of the 2'' melee models are pretty playable, so it feels like you have more of it on a team. Butchers have the same Melee range stat, but you're looking at Boar and Tenderizer who don't make the team often. Farmers don't have a 1'' melee Captain, you're never leaving home without Tater. Jackstraw and Harrow are both great choices and lesser choices like Windle and Ploughman have it too.
Playbook Results. There's no super surprising thing here. Only 6 dodges in the Guild, but we knew that. Momentously, it's KDs and Damage where you can expect to find it. There's very few pushes, fewer dodges and only a couple of Guildballs. I think the only 2 Momentous Tackles are Jackstraw and Harrow (Harrow?). Damage is largely Momentous, so this means whether or not the team wants to kick the ball, they'll need to be doing some fighting to stay ahead in the Momentum game. They certainly can't run about and farm it from pushes and dodges like the Fishermen can.
Character Plays. This is where Farmers start showing up. It's balanced pretty well between Offensive and Defensive, and only one of them is a Ranged Damaging attack (Jackstraw's Cropdusting) so no gunline game from the Farmers. Most of it is debuffs, though a couple are damage, Tooled up and Don't Fear the.... being the prime examples.
Many of them are defensive though, or defensive aspects, which is going to be typical of the Character Traits too. Speaking of which.
Character Traits. It feels like the back of every Farmer's card is loaded, which is true, but not much truer than any other guild. It's just better quality stuff. This is where the abilities like Plantin and Reaping are, and really, what makes this Guild click. Farmers can't be played against by what's on the front, it's the back that makes them murderers. TAC3 Fallow is a great example. That model is amazing, and very little of it is on the front.
Playing the Farmers
This is coming off of my Lineup article, The Concept behind a Guildball Lineup. Here, I talk about building a list for a tournament and the questions you'll want to ask. It's not an expert level article, it's more for the newer player who's expanding from a 6 man team and wants to play more.
For Guilds previous to the Farmers, this was an important question financially since you had to buy each extra player individually. When I began playing Union, I didn't buy Harry the Hat for a long time (His S1 rules and even early S2 were not good). Now with 6 man boxes being the deal for Farmers and Blacksmiths, it's not a question of who to buy. If you buy both boxes, you have them all.
But who to take to the tournament? As I stated in the Lineup article, personal preference has it's place. Again, I enjoy Brisket3 but she's not considered particularly competitive compared to Blackheart or Rage2. So don't take what I say here and melt your model down.
Thresher and Grange are it right now. Captain number 3 will be Honor2, a year from now and not in a wheelchair as I had hoped. Right now it's these two.
Grange is a kicking team support Captain. He's not a super solo, and he struggles to kill even medium tough models. His Honest Labor play is his most dangerous gimmick in the Take Out territory, but I feel that it's a trap. There are those that disagree. However, coming from Tapper who has Commanding Aura that is far better, I've still seen models escape in between activations. That's a 4'' aura. Grange's is 2'', and it doesn't even work on him. So while I do use it some, I don't build a list around it and it's really only if I feel like I can get Tater there that I use it. I feel that Grange wants a kicking team, and he wants models moderately near him for his "For the Family" aura so he can buff their passing stats. This is what makes Bushel's "I'm Open" really good. Jackstraw's a 3/10, and Tater's a 4/8'' then, but only the first number matters for "I'm Open" which is range 6 (Or 8'' with the correct plotcard. Keep that in mind). Grange wants to receive a ball, pass it around effectively and score with Bushel bottom of 2 maybe. He doesn't want to kick off very much, and if he does, he'll probably use Tater for it. On the Planter note, Grange provides an INF heavy team and lets the Reapers really do what they want, so Fallow, Tater and Bushel all like him. Technically, so does Windle, but we'll talk about that. Speaking of Windle, that was my main problem with Grange when he came out but LE Tater helped with that some. Still, Grange really felt like he wanted Windle to do the heavy lifting but Windle sucks. Fallow fills that role, and fills it really well. I think Fallow brings a Grange list up fairly decent.
Thresher, on the other hand, doesn't care. Kickoff, Receive, doesn't matter, he'll do both himself. The man's a super solo Hammer with less INF and 3'' melee. Thresher is currently the better choice IMO because he can do both though Grange receives better. Thresher can receive and first turn score with only a little setup. He can also kick off and retrieve pretty easily. If they hide the ball, he starts murdering people. He runs a lower INF team, so he needs strong planters like Jackstraw. He also really likes ignoring conditions like KD so Millstone is really good too. Thresher is going for a 2 score, 2 take out game at the most, but probably 1-4 instead. Him and Tater are going to tag team all game and lean on the planters for support. Most of the turn will be decided by the glass cannon that is Thresher. He plays kind of like a murdering Shark.
Because of that all-around ability, I would take Thresher over Grange.
Buckwheat and Peck are the options. I actually like both. I was playing straight Buckwheat, but I've come to like Peck too.
Buckwheat's a murderer with an easy 4'' push. He's got good damage too. I was playing him exclusively, but in all of my Thresher games, I've not had the INF to fuel him, or really the Harvest Markers either so he really does very little all game. In a Grange list though, he's probably a really good option.
Peck brings an INF and hides a ball halfway decent. It's the INF I need in a Thresher team though. So I'll bring Peck, but I'm probably bringing Buckwheat too. If it comes down to needing a Union model, I'll drop Buckwheat but since Union models are going away I'm likely bringing both.
Obvious models I'm taking
Tater. Counter Charge is amazing. It's a problem I've had to solve every game against Masons and it's really nice to have on my side for a change. Tater makes going into Thresher very difficult, and lets Thresher play very aggressive because of it. Tater's also a heck of a damage dealer himself and can either finish what Thresher started or vice-versa.
Jackstraw. Thresher and Tater need Harvest Markers really bad, and Jackstraw brings 2. If nothing else, Thresher needs that. There's no other model the brings more than one Harvest marker, so Jackstraw is required for a Thresher team. He's a good passer in a Grange team if he's close, but he's super required for Thresher. Plus, 3/3 INF is pretty key.
That's 3 models. Let's look at some other ones I'm likely taking.
Millstone. She almost makes the Required models slot, but not quite. I didn't take her into a few teams that lacked conditions, or Knockdowns. Without the KDs to shut Tater and Thresher down, I've left her out and brought Harrow instead. In most cases though, she's a must have. The death triangle that is her, Tater and Thresher is a hard puzzle to solve. You can't KD Tater to prevent the countercharge because Millstone will take it. She's also got her 2'' push and a Harvest Marker, plus the 3/3 INF Thresher wants. So she's in most lists, and will always be in my 10.
Bushel. She's not a favorite, and doesn't make every list, but if I'm going to strike, I like her. She's also really good into teams with strikers that have Close Control because "Ball's Gone" ignores it. I also like "I'm Open" a lot (Have I said that yet?) and will play her as a winger until she needs the ball from someone, at which point she sprints in, "I'm Open", dodges and kicks. She's also one of the few models with dodges in the playbook and what's more is that they're momentous. I think she's required in a Grange team, but optional in a Thresher. Again though, against Close Control models, she's really solid.
Now we're starting to see some variety. Harrow is next, and he's ok. I like Tooled Up as much as the next guy, but Harrow doesn't do much else. He's got a situational Harvest Marker drop compared to Millstone's free one, and that's about it. I like his 2'' melee, but I'm only going to bring him when I really need the damage. I think he makes my 10, but my 6 only when I reaaaally need Tooled Up.
Fallow. This model is amazing, and I think pretty much kills Windle's chances of making the list ever. I like the idea of her in a Thresher list except that I already struggle to fuel 2-3 Reapers, and I don't think I can afford another one or replacing one of the others. Maybe if both Bushel and Buckwheat are gone, I can get away with it, but only just. However, she's really solid in a Grange list too. She's got great defensive tech (second only to countercharge) with her ability to walk into the fight like Granite does but better. She's a murdering machine and while the dream is to have her go last, she can go third or fourth and still do really good work. I think a Grange team is her real home though. He's got the Harvest Markers to fuel her, her kick stat works well in his team, and she brings the damage that he needed from Windle, without bringing Windle. She's a really, really solid model.
Benediction and Grace. For now. Til they're gone, per UK Steamcon 2017 Keynote.
Benediction is a tank and a ball holder. He hangs out really well with 2'' melee in a Farmers team and brings some ARM to a fight where there is none. I like to sit him in the middle of the group on high ARM with the ball and dare someone to come into he forest of 2'' melee and get it. I really like him, but as the rest of the Farmer models come out, I'm playing him less. I have taken him instead of Grange before but Fallow probably changes that for me. The real reason I bring Benediction though, is for "I'm Open". Getting "Impart Wisdome" and having a 12'' range on "I'm Open" makes Bushel able to play pretty far from the pack and still get the ball. No one has a 12'' kick range, but Grange and Jackstraw both have 4/8 under Grange's aura. That's hella better than 6''. Benediction also brings some pushes (momentous at that) that Farmers don't have without Ploughman.
Grace is the other option and she's ok. It's the Quick Foot you bring her for but I'm not playing Windle so I don't reaaaallly need it. Healing light is neat, but the Farmers are the last guild that needs healing. So Benediction probably wins this fight.
Models I'm not taking.
Windle. 2/0 sucks. I hate it. He's also a complicated monster to run and yeah, if he works, he gets like 2 takeouts every activation. It's nice. If it works. However, he's extremely easy to control. Goad wrecks him and so does any other ranged control play whatsoever. Grange removes conditions pretty well and gets him sturdy, (which I've been begging for on Stave for a long time) but he still doesn't bring enough to justify 2/0, in my opinion. Especially since Fallow is here now. Every time I play against Windle, I bounce off of him for whatever I actually want.
Ploughman. He's cute but either he's overkill or not enough. Under Grange, it's too many harvest markers and under Thresher it's not enough since it's only one extra marker, not just double. His rough ground stuff is neat but Farmers don't really struggle for momentum so it's not often I can't afford to glide. The main things I would bring Ploughman for would be his pushes. They're the most pushes the Farmers have access too and they're momentous as well. It's a playbook like Harry or Benediction, but that's really all I'd bring him for. Once we lose Union, I might consider it but I doubt he'll make it.
Thresher, Peck, Buckwheat, Tater, Jackstraw, Millstone, Bushel, Benediction, I guess Grange, Fallow.
I'll go ahead an let Grange come, otherwise I just have wasted slots in my 10. I don't know what I'd take him into. Butchers maybe.
Thresher's team is Peck, Tater, Jackstraw for sure. Probably Bushel for ball retrieval early on and then just winging from there on out. Millstone in most cases unless they have almost no easy access KD. I didn't take her into Morticians. If I don't need Bushel, I might take Fallow and try it but it's a lot of Reapers. However, I was playing Buckwheat and not Peck, so that's one more INF than what I had.
Grange would be Buckwheat, Tater, Jackstraw, Bushel and Fallow or Benediction. Jackstraw is the most efficient Harvest Marker guy, and Grange can support while Bushel scores goals and Fallow and Tater murder things. Benediction is there for Bushel's "I'm Open".
That's my off-the hip analysis of the Farmers, plus the Statistical comparison of their stats and plays compared to other guilds. I hope this information has been of some use to you. The Blacksmiths are on their way, but Midwest Wargaming has another guy doing a better overview of the Blacksmiths than I could do, so I'll skip the lineup talk with them and focus mainly on the Statistical analysis. Enjoy the holidays folks!