So, last Wednesday night I played Blood Bowl for the first time in seven months.
When we last left our humble little league, my "Galadrian Guardians" had just pulled out a nigh-miraculous win against Dean's Norse. Unfortunately, the "Aesgoth Hammers" stormed back in the next game, gleefully stomping a mud-hole in the collective asses of my poor, beleaguered Humans.
After that crippling loss, Andrew's Orcs had to lose in order for me to sneak into the playoffs. Regrettably, that didn't happen and the finals came down to the following four teams: Dean's aforementioned Norse, Andrew's Orcs (the "Regal Beatsticks"), Andrew's Pro Elves (the "Rivendell Ruffians") and finally Dean's Orcs (and my former team) "Kord's Killers".
In the two semi-final bouts, "Kord's Killers" beat the "Rivendell Ruffians" 2 to 1 and the "Regal Beatsticks" shut out the "Aesgoth Hammers" 1 to zip. Then, in the final Championship match, the "Beatsticks" pwned the "Killers" 2 to 1 and captured the very first Berserker League trophy!
Since Andrew and Dean both posses what I can only characterize as a nigh-pathological desire to collect every single Blood Bowl team in existence, their second bash at creating a league was considerably more expansive. This gave me a chance to get behind the wheel of several new teams, including Dwarves, Skaven, Elves and, coolest of all, the Necromantic.
During the Christmas break, Andrew and Dean kicked off this new season. Although their intention was to squeeze one, perhaps two Blood Bowl matches in amongst a veritable orgy of different board game plays, it didn't quite work out that way. They immediately became enamored and obsessed with this new league and managed to get four games in:
Dean's Dark Elves the "Silent Screamers" vs. Andrew's Ogres the "Mourn Behemoths"
Dean's Lizardmen "Here Leezards" vs. his Necromantic "London Brainers" (with Andrew coaching)
Andrew's Skaven the "Hairy Lightning" vs. Dean's Khemri the "Bone Guardians"
Andrew's "Green Machine" Wood Elves vs. his yet-to-be-named High Elf team (coached by Dean)
This set up my inaugural match of the season: my Necromantic Team, the "All-Hallows Horde" versus Dean's Chaos Team, the "Chaos No-Stars".
Here was my roster going into this match:
And here's Dean's:
Okay, so you may have noticed that there's a bit of disparity there...
I tried to prep for this match by picking up Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition and creating a Necro-campaign. Even with the difficulty ramped up to "HARD" I won every single game against the computer with ease. Honesty, this is nothing to brag about since the game's AI is about as wily as a lobotomized beagle.
On a positive note my noob freak show had 410,000 Gold Pieces worth of Inducement money to play around with. Not willing to risk giving away Experience Points to Star Players I immediately ruled out that particular idea. Still laboring under the misconception that I had a chance of winning this game, I toyed with the idea of buying a few temporary Re-Rolls via Training and supplementing this with a Wizard, who might be able to fry Dean's Minotaur or his Block n' Claw Chaos Warrior with a nice, tingly Lightning Bolt. But when Dean pointed out the perks of a bonus MVP roll (which I wasn't even aware of), I was all over that option like snot on a goblin's lip.
So, last Wednesday night, these two Blood Bowl titans met in an epic showdown:
Chaos No-Stars (Dean's Chaos) vs. The All-Hallows Horde (My Necromantic)
Dean rolled a 2: "Sweltering Heat" ("It's so hot and humid that some players collapse from heat exhaustion. Roll a D6 for each player on the pitch at the end of a drive. On a roll of 1 the player collapses and may not be set up for the next kick-off") Fucking wonderful.
Fan Factor Roll
Dean got Fame +1. I scored $4,000 for my Gate Earnings and Dean snagged $11,000.
I won the toss and decided to kick to Dean.
My roll of 2 and 4 put the ball right on the sidelines. Steve the Beastman managed to collect the ball and huck it to Chaos Warrior Max Payne who promptly betrayed his gauntlets of stone by fumbling the ball. It ended up landing right on the Line Of Scrimmage between Beastman Tommy and brick shithouse / Minotaur Hunh. Unfortunately my recovery attempt was equally comedic and this resulted in Flyboy, one of my Zombies, getting Knocked Out for both this game and the next!
Dean then used what I could only characterize as blunt force trauma to batter his way through my defenses. Although one of my Werewolves did manage to bowl over Chaos Warrior Shi Thead and pop the ball loose, most of my supporting manpower had been effectively snared along the Line Of Scrimmage.
Mr. Thead recovered the wayward ball and made a bee line for the end zone. Simultaneously, Dean started plastering every one of my players who didn't already have the good sense to turtle. If not for some mercifully lenient Stun and and Injury rolls, I would have been decimated. As it stood, he quickly and efficiently put three of my Zombies out if commission as well as one of my Flesh Golems.
Knowing full well that I had no one left to run back and put pressure on Shi Thead, Dean parked him right on my Goal Line and then continued his reign of terror. Before he finally decided to end the misery by side-stepping Monsieur Thead into the end zone, Dean also managed to knock David Kessler, one of my Werewolves, out of this game and the next! Gadzooks!
Dean did an excellent job running out the clock and grinding my team down to virtually nothing. Those who hadn't been felled under a rain of metal-gauntleted fists succumbed to the "Sweltering Heat". If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that Dean rolled one heat prostration result for every ten of his players versus my record of rolling a "1" about 25 to 30% of the time.
Mercifully, a few of my "Knocked Out" players came back in. But by the time we got set up for Dean's kick-off, all I could field was four Zombies, one Wight, my two flesh Golems and one Werewolf. Knowing that I only had enough time to try and inflict injuries, Dean wisely decided to put only three obligatory Beastmen along the Line Of Scrimmage with the balance of his team serving as a wall along his End Zone.
Unfortunately all I really ended up doing before the end of the Half was shove his guys around a little bit.
Chaos No-Stars (Dean's Chaos) vs. The All-Hallows Horde (My Necromantic)
Dean rolled a "5" for a "High Kick". My Werewolf Lawrence Talbot got under the ball and successfully reeled it it. A-a-a-a-a-a-a-n-d that's pretty much where my good luck ended.
The second "Sweltering Heat" roll at the end of my last "Drive" really killed me. In addition to Zombie Flyboy and Werewolf Lawrence Talbot being knocked out of the game, I lost my second Werewolf, a Wight and another Zombie to heat prostration while Dean was entirely unfazed.
So, even before the ball hit the field, the potential of my drive had been gutted. Battling against a highly skilled, well-played, bashy Chaos team is challenging enough under optimal conditions, but when a huge chunk of your team gets sidelined by a crazy weather condition, it's particularly frustrating.
Since I couldn't properly defend Lawrence during his rush, he was immediately swarmed by a pack of rabid Beastmen and subsequently Knocked Out. The ball was recovered by Beastman Norm who turned around and then slowly and methodically began marching up the field. Even though I managed to render Justin (Beastman # 7) unconscious and Adam, my Flesh Golem, knocked Beastman # 4 Lem Onjello out of this game (and the next), I still didn't have the mobility nor the manpower to halt Dean's charge.
After a successful hand-off, Chaos Warrior Grick n' Rack casually meandered down towards my end of the pitch while his team-mates took turns running train on what remained of my team. Once again, Dean parked his rusher a hair away from the Goal Line and then gleefully attempted to pound the fertilizer out of my lingering defenders. Fortunately, he rolled a myriad of Push results and failed to injure both my downed Flesh Golem and an already-tenderized Zombie named *gurgle*.
Eventually he took pity on me and Grick n' Rack hopped over the goal line to score Dean's second Touch Down!
Given the populous state of my Injured, Knocked Out and Reserve boxes I quickly jumped at Dean's offer to call my last turn of the game.
Chaos No-Stars 2 ~ All-Hallow's Horde 0
MVP Award / Level Ups
David Kessler, my "Miss Next Game" Werewolf, somehow managed to win my first MVP award, despite being in traction for most of the game. One of my Zombies, ArrGhhh reeled in my second, Inducement-fueled MVP nod.
Dean rolled a "12" for himself, which gave Huhn the Minotaur the MVP. Combined with his two in-game casualties, the murderous Minotaur had enough Star Player Points to Level Up with a shiny new set of Claws! In the coach's own words: "I thought about 'Tentacle' and 'Guard', but Casualties is how he’s going to level so, 'Claws' it is."
I rolled a "3" for a total of 30,000 gold pieces and Dean rolled a "4" for 40,000!
Dean rolled under his Fan Factor so it increased from 5 to 6!
Honestly I didn't expect to win this game, but there's an "Earth X" alternate reality out there in which Dean had rolled "Perfect Blood Bowl Weather" instead of "Sweltering Goddamned Heat". I can't help but wonder how the game might have played out if I hadn't been done up a real treat by this exceptionally heinous game condition.
Even so, my biggest detriment continues to be my lagging development as a player. In chess parlance, Andrew and Dean are Class "C" 1500 point players who get better by virtue of practicing against one another. Unfortunately, I'm still trying to get into fighting shape by sparring against a 700-point electronic patzer.
But at least with this new schedule I've got more teams to control and more opportunities to play against real, live, human opponents.
Hopefully Andrew and Dean aren't so far ahead of me that I'll never catch up.
***Looking to make yourself feel superior by beating up on the equivalent of a retarded digital turkey? Snag a copy of the Blood Bowl Chaos Edition via Amazon and help support this blog!
"Sweltering Heat" token photo credit: http://gwpertinent.blogspot.ca/2012/04/blood-bowl-events-coming-up.html