Next weekend, on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta, over 400 coaches will gather to contest two of the largest and most prestigious tournaments in the world of Blood Bowl. King_Ghidra is here to give you the lowdown on the competitors and the competition itself.
The Eurobowl is one of the longest-running tournaments in Blood Bowl history, having been a fixture in the Tournament scene for the last twenty years. It has run every year since 2003, aside from those in which the Blood Bowl World Cup has been held, and those recently affected by Covid.
The main event is the titular Eurobowl itself, which is a nation-based team tournament for teams of 8 players. Per the name this has traditionally been a European championship, but this year other national teams are being allowed to enter for the first time (good luck Team USA!). Running alongside this is the Europen, which is a team tournament with no national restrictions for teams of 4 players.
For the past ten years the Eurobowl tournament has been dominated by England (a reminder for our US and non-EU friends that the home nations of the UK typically compete as separate nations in many international sporting events). Before that France, Italy, and Spain were also champions, and these four have been the most consistent title challengers; Denmark have been probably the most notable eternal bridesmaid.
So to this year’s Tournament(s), and both will see each squad playing 6 rounds of Blood Bowl. As this is a Team Tournament, victory in each matchup will be based on the combined results across the squad. This tends to create a slightly different meta than in individual play tournaments, as races that win less but also lose less can find happy homes in the 8-team squad to reliably anchor results. After the first round, pairings of both squads and the individual coaches within them will all be Swiss-based, meaning the strongest coaches will play the strongest coaches of their opponent’s team.
Both competitions are using an identical rulepack, whose main points are:
- 1.15m GC for team building
- A fairly generous 5-tiered rules pack with multiple options within it, all of which allow Star Players at the cost of skills
- Only one instance of each star can be taken across a given Team squad
- Skill stacking is also allowed, with two Primary skills stackable, but paying the cost of a Primary and Secondary skill
- No team or Star rules released in 2022 are in use. But teams that were updated in this period will be allowed using the old rosters
So, all in all, a very interesting rule pack, and once again, we are indebted to the fantastic work of Mike Davies, who has collated all of the submitted rosters and presented them for everyone’s analysis over on his site. That means we can take a look at some of the selections and trends in roster building from our national elites.
In some ways, no surprises, as we see many of our traditional Tier 1 favourites at the top of the racial breakdown. In fact the top 10 Eurobowl races make up about 75% of the total, which speaks to the consensus on the meta and the cut-throat nature of the Tournament.
In what will probably be one of the last hurrahs for the old Amazon roster, they will be going out in all their Blodge-spamming glory. All of the top Eurobowl contenders have an Amazon team in their squad, and 41 of the 48 blitzers on the table will have Guard.
High Elves Here To Stay
The continuing presence of High Elves at the top table is probably one of the more notable observations here, and the slightly lower numbers of Wood Elves a reflection of some coaches jumping ship from what would once have been an almost automatic choice. The fact that High Elves were placed very generously in Tier 4 of the rules pack has undoubtedly been a big factor here.
Taking a closer look at the Eurobowl High Elf rosters, we can see the vast majority are using a non-Star list with 2 Blitzers, 2 or 3 Catchers, and 1 Thrower. A few are leaning harder into those latter positionals.
- For the Blitzers, Dodge is the overwhelming choice, with Tackle a distant second.
- For the Catchers, Dodge is the main selection, with Wrestle and Block not too far behind.
- On linemen, Wrestle is the most popular choice, with Block, Dodge, Guard, Kick, and Sneaky Git all also popular.
- The Throwers are almost exclusively Leader-caddies.
All of this shakes out to a team that packs a lot of Block and Dodge on top of a (mostly) AV9+ and AG2+ roster, and starts to look not unlike undisputed Tier 1 rivals the Dark Elves. In fact, the High Elves were even more popular than their hated cousins in the Europen squads, which is really remarkable.
Another surprise to me was the total lack of any Eurobowl Norse teams. Norse have always been a strong tourney team, but some combination of their matchups into the expected meta threats, and their reputation of being boom/bust on the table seems to have dissuaded coaches from bringing them to a tourney in which more solid teams that can reliably play for draws are often attractive. Nevertheless this still feels like quite an oddity.
A final team who had a popularity drop are Necromantic, who for many years have been the team of choice for those looking for value in lower tiers. In this pack, their place in Tier 2 and the 1.15m build suggests that Eurobowl coaches felt they could not get quite enough out of them. A glance at the rosters of those who did take them sees most of those teams running 11-man(thing) rosters, which can certainly feel a bit risky. Necro were far more popular in the Europen, and it will be interesting to see which matchups work out for them.
Stars in general were not popular choices, with even the Chaos Dwarf teams declining to give up skills to get the likes of Hakflem (one depraved soul committed to it). Only 5 of the most popular 147 Eurobowl teams took a Star. And seemingly coaches did not feel like the pack leant itself to gambling on the Stunty+Star combo, with only a Griff Oberwald-supported Halfling team making the trip.
So, those are our runners and riders, and we’ll have updates on how it all shook out and who took home the trophies here on Goonhammer in the near future!
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