Decision: Should You Play Well Guarded?
TL;DR:Yeah, probably. High-model count warbands, especially those with good movement tricks, gain extra utility from Well Guarded, but it's relatively simple for anyone to score.
Jumping off from our last article, we'll continue to look today at positioning objectives - ie. those that simply require some of your models to be in a specific place to score. With Extreme Flank landing on the restricted list, it's almost certainly worth it to examine some other positioning options. Well Guarded presents one good option for folks who are looking to add more positioning objectives to their deck without dipping further into the restricted list.
Of course, the first thing you should consider when deciding whether or not to add Guarded into your deck is how well it works for your warband. Warbands with higher model-counts and higher movement rates will find this objective significantly easier to score than smaller, slower warbands. However, smaller warbands are more inclined to play strategies that work well with Well Guarded. Nonetheless, strategy aside, warbands with more models are less likely to end up in a situation where they can't score Well Guarded, and are therefore better served by it.
Warbands with movement tricks are in an even better position to take advantage of Well Guarded. As usual, Gitz and Thorns vie for first and second place in this assessment, with Guard falling into a distant third; like "going to New York from Atlanta by scooter with a dodgy front wheel, only New York is now on Mars" distant. Man, the Guard sucks out loud when compared to Nightvault big warbands.
How can we best determine the usefulness of a positioning objective? There's no damage to calculate, no dice to roll, no costs to pay. Instead, let us examine what we get in relation to the amount of effort we're required to put in. In the case of Well Guarded, we'll be required to position at least 1 model, and no more than 3, in order to score the objective (it's scoreable with one movement because some boards have 2 starting hexes that are adjacent). Well Guarded is worth 1 glory, so in terms of efficiency, we're looking at between 0.33 and 1 glory per movement (GPM from here on out).
Now let's look at how that compares to some other positioning objectives, beginning with those that don't require you to be standing on any particular hex.
Viewed in comparison to this sampling of other positioning objectives, Well Guarded looks pretty good! However, when we look at positioning objectives that require you to stand models on specific hexes, some of the shine falls off.
As you can see, objective-token based positioning objectives have a higher degree of payoff for the effort required to score them than Well Guarded. This is to be expected, as your opponent can block you out of being able to score them simply by getting to the objective-token first.
A few cards can make scoring Well Guarded quite a bit easier - if you're already playing any of these, Well Guarded is probably worth giving a second look. Most obviously, Centre of Attention and Irresistible Prize both do quite a good job of gathering models around your leader. Since your leader has to be alive to score Well Guarded, Quick Advance is also useful for setting it up to score. Similarly, Commanding Shout provides you with a way to move around models that may have already acquired a move token. Finally, a few warband-specific cards can make Well Guarded easier to score. Of these, Drifting Advance is probably the strongest, with cards that move two models (like Make Some Noise or Rangers, Advance) also making a strong showing.
If your deck is already focused on movement and push cards, you'll probably be able to score Well Guarded quite easily. If it isn't, throwing a couple high-efficiency movement cards in can still make Well Guarded a viable option.
Alternate Path: Skirting Danger
Skirting Danger and Well Guarded have more in common than it may appear at first. They are both positioning objectives, requiring only that your models be in certain places to score. Additionally, they both score a single glory point, and require very little effort to score when used with sufficient planning-ahead. In fact, with good board placement and warband selection, it's possible to score Skirting Danger without moving a single model (thus, why it wasn't included in the tables above - Excel hates dividing by zero). However, it's value drops significantly when utilized by warbands with more models, while Well Guarded's value increases under the same circumstances.
In the end, that should probably guide your decision on which to play; low model-count warbands should probably stick with Skirting Danger while high model-count warbands are better served by Well Guarded.
For high model count armies, particularly those with movement tricks, Well Guarded is a solid option for scoring some easy glory. If you're pursuing a mid-game aggressive strategy (where you score more passive objectives early, then engage with a fully upgraded army), Well Guarded may be even more useful to you.