The first of Blood Bowl’s regular errata and FAQ updates has just dropped for 2023, and as per usual it contains a mix of balance changes, corrections, and answers to questions that nobody in their right mind would have asked. But with some particularly interesting ones to comment on in this round, here are our hot takes.
We’ve spoken several times on Goonhammer in the past year or so about the impact that Bombardiers, particularly the Star Bombers, have had on the Blood Bowl meta. No doubt that same noise from the wider community has made it to through to GW, as they have made two changes to nerf their powers:
- Firstly, Bombardier has lost “Mighty Blow” from explosions, so you may no longer add 1 to either the armour or injury roll for anyone affected.
- Secondly, GW has once again decided that bombers knocked down by their own bombs do cause a Turnover.
Unquestionably these changes are a recognition of the potency of Bombs as a force on the BB field, and are a considerable nerf. But my gut feeling is that this change has come because of the Stars rather than the rostered Bombardiers, and I think stunty players can feel a little aggrieved at catching a stray.
Fundamentally, the on-demand knock-down is the real value of the Bomber, and this has not changed, so they do retain much of their power, and the accuracy of the Star Bombers is what really makes this effective. So, with Cindy and Bomber retaining their absurdly cheap price point, I don’t see much change in their being the go-to cheap inducement of choice for any of the multitude of teams that can take them (I’ll just point out there that Cindy has not been added to the Mega-Star list, while Bomber Dribblesnot remains there, so at the risk of getting this article off to a bad start, I have to say I have no fucking idea what GW are doing).
Finally, let me say, if I were a cynical man, I might find the timing of releasing a hotly anticipated and highly-competitive Bombardier Star miniature a few weeks before a FAQ that nerfed it, to be a little bit dubious. Thankfully I’m not a cynical man.
Much like the Bombs, Chainsaws have once again been changed so that if they chainsaw themselves and break armour, the knockdown is considered a turnover. Or at least, that’s what we think the FAQ means. At time of publication, the update ruled as written would mean that any armour break on the Chainsaw itself or an opponent would cause a turnover. We are sure GW does not mean this and the FAQ will get updated, but frankly who really knows at this point.
Now for what it’s worth, I do think intuitively both Bomb and Chainsaw self-damage should be turnovers, and for many years prior to BB20 they were. But I find it really annoying that GW keeps flip-flopping on secret weapon turnover triggers, partly because I don’t think rule process (as opposed to rule effectiveness) should be used as a balance mechanism, and partly because it is bloody confusing for the community. More and more BB games are requiring checking of the FAQ rather than the main rules, and the secret weapons and stunty matchups in general are already bad for this. Turnovers in particular in all areas of the game are shrouded in inconsistency in this edition, and this is an extremely important principle of the game that affects the decision-making process when playing it.
Sneaky Git is another skill that has featured heavily in meta discussions of late, as it has risen in popularity and recognition of its effectiveness. You can call me Nostradamus on this one, because I suggested a good nerf would be to remove the ‘move after foul’ portion of the skill, and that is exactly what GW has done. I think this is a good step to keep the skill strong while requiring coaches put a little more thought into positioning and protecting their foulers.
Other Notable Changes and Clarifications
Use Of Team Re-Rolls
There are a couple of updates relating to allowable uses of Team Re-Rolls. Firstly, you cannot use a TRR on a Regeneration roll. Secondly you cannot use a TRR to force your opponent to re-roll a dice. This kind of thing is the consequence of being half way between generic and specific in the original description of what Team Re-Rolls are for (i.e. by giving a list of what they can’t be used for, everything not listed seems fair game). There are a still a number of related situations that I don’t think have yet been addressed in the errata (e.g. can I re-roll a successful catch to try and get a failure if I don’t want that player to catch the ball) that we might see in the future.
Cannoneer And Hail Mary Pass
This is a great example of the errata just making shit up and breaking any semblance of the logic it has tried to establish. For no reason whatsoever, we are told you can use Cannoneer on a Hail Mary Pass, despite Cannoneer having very specific wording on when it can be applied, and HMP not using any such wording. I just don’t understand making an errata on this; it is adding complexity and conditions with no reference to the rules that have been written.
It gives me no pleasure to have to write negative things about the FAQ. I’m glad GW continue to engage with their product, but it is maddeningly frustrating that instead of a simple clarification of problematic and confusing issues with a side of balance changes, we get instead more bloat, more inconsistency, more complexity, and sadly examples where the quality control appears poor. This should be a useful, lean document, but it is provoking increasing weariness and dread.
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