It was a mere three months ago that we last took a look at the Blood Bowl Competitive Meta, but since then we’ve had the small matter of the Blood Bowl World Cup, the largest competitive BB event ever. With the new Vampire team about to descend upon the meta, this is also a great time to take a snapshot of the scene. So in this update we’re going to look at what the World Cup has told us about the state of the game, as well as taking a closer look at how the higher level of the game differs from the mass of results.
As always, some important information before we dive in:
- All data here comes from Tournament Blood Bowl games captured from NAF-approved events.
- Large parts of the data here were initially parsed and presented for easy consumption by the tireless Mike Davies at his Tableau site. This article would not be possible without his work.
Blood Bowl 2023 Autumn Snapshot
With the influx of World Cup games, this snapshot now includes just shy of 80,000 games, an incredible number that already nearly exceeds the 2021 and ‘22 numbers combined. And at least one data point remains extremely clear: Underworld are in a league of their own. This set includes nearly 2000 more Underworld games than we had 3 months ago, but that has only moderated them to the tune of a 0.7% lower win rate. In fact as of this cut, Underworld are now in the unprecedented position of having a winning record against every single other team in the game; even the Tackle-heavy Dwarves. Dark Elves, Wood Elves and Amazons remain in the same positions below them, with some slight hits to win rates, and are joined by another old favourite, Undead, who have reached their highest position in the BB20 era.
Dark Elves are the clear second best team here, with the best win rate against Underworld, at 47%, and only one other unfavoured matchup, versus Dwarves, at a very close 48.8%. Wood Elves and Amazons both have multiple unfavoured matchups, but win more against some of the worse teams in the game.
Other interesting movers include Old World Alliance, who remain one of the least popular teams, but again increased their win rate. OWA have established a niche for themselves as one of the best vehicles for Star Players; and at the World Cup, over half of the OWA teams took Stars, with the majority taking Griff Oberwald.
High Elves have continued a decline that accelerates every time we update these numbers, falling from 52.8% to 49.2% with this update, and far removed from the top-3 placings they saw in 2020 and ‘21.
In terms of population, Orcs remain number one, but Dark Elves and Skaven have both increased their share by a considerable 2% from last year to take second and third spots. Unsurprisingly Underworld are also among the big climbers; while Humans, who were in the top 5 most popular teams, have fallen entirely out of the top 10.
Stunties in general have declined as a proportion of the meta, going from 11.8% of all teams to 9.2%. Finally, make a note in your records that Vampires sat at 46.8% win rate and were the least popular team in the whole meta; we’ll certainly be returning to these stats in a future article once we have a few months’ data for the new-look team.
Coach Rating And The High-Level Meta
A problem we’ve touched on before in our meta analysis is the difficulty of understanding certain teams’ performances because of their broad and varied player numbers. For a team like Orcs, for example, it is commonly assumed that their win rate is dragged down because they are such a popular team, especially with newer coaches.
But we do (thanks to Mike Davies) actually have a way to filter results to remove such coaches. NAF runs a Coach Rating (CR) system calculated and updated for all NAF games between registered coaches. This rating is race-specific, so a coach might have a very high rating with Dark Elves, and a poor one with Goblins, for example. CR starts at a base of 150 for every coach when they play a new race for the first time. From there, wins and losses tend to see it rise and fall by 3-4 pts, and as CR reaches higher and lower extremes, so do the potential gains and losses.
All data shown below covers only games played where both coaches had a CR of 160 for their respective race. This means it includes no games where either coach was playing a team for the first time. In fact in most cases we can reasonably say this set only includes good and experienced coaches, who have played a team successfully for at least 5+ games, and who were playing against opponents of similar or higher skill. We could set the CR bar even higher, but then we start to encounter very small sample sizes. As it stands, this cut shines a spotlight on roughly 13,500 of our nearly 80,000 games this year.
You will immediately notice some significant differences. Firstly, the number of teams with a 50%+ win rate falls in number dramatically, to just 7 of our 29 teams. Secondly, the population becomes considerably skewed, with a smaller number of teams seeing far more dominant numbers, and others disappearing. Our 3 most popular teams here make up 25% of the meta, the 10 most popular, two thirds of it.
And continuing a trend, we’ll start our analysis with Underworld, who see a significant drop in their win rate in this more rarified company, and are actually beaten to the top spot by Amazons. Underworld are one of the biggest losers in this cut, alongside Tomb Kings, Elven Union, High Elves, and Slann, who all see 5%+ worse win rates. The instinctive response to this difference is that these are our flat-track bullies, the teams who smash the unwary coaches and weakest teams (especially Stunties), but fall off when pitched against the best. Elven Union are a good example here, with enormous win rates against Goblins, Halflings, and Ogres in the larger data set that cover up dismal win rates against the stronger teams at higher CR. In Underworld’s case, Dwarves finally make it count at this CR, dropping UW to a 42% Win rate in that matchup. UW also find themselves unfavoured against Necromantic and Undead.
Tomb Kings have a remarkable fall here, going from 7th best team in the main stats to 6th worst. In their case, the fall is easily explicable: they have terrible matchups (31-35% win rate) against the top three teams in the high CR meta: UW, Amazons, and Dark Elves.
Winners in this higher skill meta include all of our Stunty teams, perhaps giving more of an insight into their potential when not played by the good-natured drunkards and YOLO’ers of the Blood Bowl world. Snotlings in particular stand out, which will not be news to anyone who has played against them in a star-friendly rules pack.
Two other better performing teams of note are the previously maligned Chaos Chosen and Black Orcs, both of whom we have highlighted for their weak performances in previous Meta Reports. While neither sets the world alight here, their numbers certainly offer some additional perspective as to their ceiling. Both have some interesting matchup data: Chaos Chosen absolutely dominate any non-Dark Elves, with 70%+ win rates against the rest, while Black Orcs have one of the very best records of all teams against Underworld.
We hope you’ve found our latest foray into the competitive meta to be insightful. If you have any comments, feedback, or suggestions for any of our Blood Bowl coverage you can drop a comment below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.