Welcome, Sports Fans, to more competitive Blood Bowl content! This week, Dan’s heading down to Norfolk, VA for the 10th anniversary of the Atlantic Coast Charity Cup. He’s going to break down what this competition is, what team he’s bringing, and how he thinks he’ll do. Enough chatter, let’s play ball!
The Atlantic Coast Charity Cup (ACCC from now on) is a long-running event held in Southeastern Virginia that, this year, is set up to benefit the American Cancer Society. I’m not sure if every year the organizers donate to the ACS, but either way, it’s a worthy cause and a guilt-free reason to spend money on playing Blood Bowl! I live near Washington, D.C. so schlepping down to Norfolk is quite the hike for me, but I haven’t played in a Blood Bowl tournament since 2019, so at this point I’m willing to travel!
The ACCC is a 3-round, 1-day event with all sorts of prizes, including a raffle that will also benefit the ACS. Each coach is given 1,100,000 gp to create their roster, along with one of the most unique and inventive skill packs I’ve ever seen.
A Word About Skill Packs
So, each Blood Bowl tournament will have its own, usually unique, skill pack to let each coach further customize their team. These are generally organized into tiers. Lower-tier teams get more skills or SPP to spend than higher-tier teams to better reflect how strong (or weak!) they are. These bonus skills or SPP never increase the value of the players that get them in these cases, meaning that there is no reason not to take full advantage of them.
Choosing how you use the skill pack at a tournament is one of the most important and rewarding parts of competitive Blood Bowl. TOs will create their tier list, or use the one that GW provides, to further balance their event. Coaches get to use the provided number of bonus skills or SPP as they see fit, in an effort to squeeze as much value as possible out of their players.
The ACCC’s Skill Pack
The first thing the organizers did here is to divide the NAF-approved teams into tiers:
- Tier X: 0 skills
- More on this in a moment.
- Tier A: 3 skills, up to 1 of them can be a secondary skill.
- Teams: Amazon, Chaos Dwarf, Dark Elf, Dwarf, Elven Union, High Elf, Human, Imperial Nobility, Lizardmen, Norse, Orc, Shambling Undead, Skaven, Underworld, Wood Elf
- Tier B: 5 skills, up to 2 of them can be secondary skills
- Teams: Black Orc, Chaos Chosen, Chaos Renegades, Khorne, Necromantic Horror, Nurgle, Slann, Old World Alliance, Tomb Kings, Vampire
- Tier C: 7 skills, up to 4 of them can be secondary skills
- Teams: Goblin, Halfling, Ogre, Snotling
So what’s this about Tier X? This is how the ACCC is balancing Star Players. For each Star Player your team takes, your chosen team will move up a tier and get the associated number of bonus skills. For example, a Halfling team whose coach takes Deeproot Strongbranch would move from Tier C to Tier B. If that same coach then also took Morg’n’Thorg, they’d move up to Tier A for taking 2 Star Players. Since Tier X is the highest tier, a Tier A team would only be able to take 1 Star Player since there is no further tier to move into.
Listen, it makes sense. We just talked about the issues around Star Players. They need extra balancing mechanics to stop the truly good ones from running away with every tournament. To round it all out, only two skills can be added to any player, and there is no limit to skill incidence, meaning that a Black Orc team could take Block 5 times if the coach wanted to. And, naturally, a coach cannot give a Star Player any extra skills.
Here’s what makes the ACCC unique: on top of all this, each coach can take one of 8 special, custom packages (which they’ve chosen to call teams) to further enhance their rosters. Each package has one of two bonuses, and the coach has to choose one. They’re all based on previous winners of the ACCC and they’re wacky as hell. Any skills given in these packages cannot be given to a player who has already received bonus skills from the tier list.
The organizers must have had a ton of fun coming up with these, and they bring a lot of silliness to the roster building process and I’m here for it. Let’s see what we got:
- Team Encyclopedia
- Option 1: Give 1 player Pro, On The Ball, and Animosity (All Teammates)
- Option 2: Add 3 Assistant Coaches and a Weather Wizard to your roster
- Team Irredeemable Evil
- Option 1: Give 1 player Dirty Player and Piledriver
- Option 2: Add 1 Bribe to your roster
- Team Bloodbath
- Option 1: Give 1 player Animal Savagery, Regeneration, and Mighty Blow (+1)
- Option 2: Add 2 Bloodweiser Kegs or 2 Heady Brews to your roster
- Team Full Tim
- Option 1: Give 1 player Disturbing Presence, Monstrous Mouth, and Fumblerooski
- Option 2: Add 1 Mascot, 2 Cheerleaders, and 2 Dedicated Fans to your roster
- Team Relative Good
- Option 1: Give 1 player Tackle, Thick Skull, and Arm Bar
- Option 2: You have an extra 30,000 gp in team creation
- Team Ninja
- Option 1: Give 1 player Shadowing, Stab, and Sidestep
- Option 2: At the start of each game’s 1st drive, just before rolling for the kickoff, one randomly selected opposing player is Stunned
- Team Berserk
- Option 1: Give 1 player Dauntless, Frenzy, and AV8+ (for better or for worse)
- Option 2: Add 1 Wandering Apothecary to your roster
- Team Centurion Mk1
- Option 1: Give 1 player Stand Firm and Diving Tackle
- Option 2: Add 1 generic Biased Referee to your roster
Yeah, that’s a lot to think about! This is easily the most creative tournament packet I’ve ever seen. It’s really cool, but it’s going to take a lot of thinking to unspool it all. On to roster building!
Spoiler alert: I already knew what team I’d be taking to this tournament before I even looked at the pack. However, I want to work through some things I’ve noticed with what they’re giving us. First off, the ACCC’s tier list doesn’t exactly match up with GW’s official one. GW is new at this whole tier list thing (and they’re not even using it at their own event at Warhammer World!), so that’s not a big deal. However, it seems the ACCC organizers have lumped all the Tier 1 teams in with the better half (mostly) of the Tier 2 teams into Tier A, leaving the “bad” Tier 2 teams to the ACCC’s Tier B. Tier C is stunties, just like GW’s Tier 3 is.
I have a couple of notes. I don’t hate this tier system, but I don’t think it’s perfect, either. We just did our Q2 2022 competitive meta article, and some of these placements are a little wonky. First, Imperial Nobility have clearly been struggling in competitive play, so they should probably be moved down into Tier B. Second, Slann, Old World Alliance, and Tomb Kings seem to be doing quite well these days, and should have probably ended up in Tier A. If I’m a coach with one of those three teams, I’d be pretty excited as they seem to be clear winners in the bonus skill arbitrage game.
If I was basing my team selection purely on what team I think benefits the most from the ACCC’s tier list, I’d probably go Tomb Kings or Necromantic Horror. I have no experience playing with OWA or Slann, so they’d be out, and I think Necromantic Horror teams are a bit better than what their win rate suggests they are. However, like I said earlier, I already knew what team I’d be bringing to this event: my Elven Union team, the Baja Blasters!
I originally painted this team up for the 2020 Stupor Bowl at Adepticon, but a little global pandemic happened and I haven’t played competitive Blood Bowl in a while. So, I finally get to take the Baja Blasters out for a competitive test drive. I’ve already played with them in a league, and they’re both fun and good, a great combo. As traditionally the weakest elf team, they do suffer from being in Tier A, so that kinda stinks, but I can’t do anything about it, so no use in harping about it.
So, next I’ve got to think about how I’m going to deploy those bonus skills. I have a preliminary roster in mind:
- 2 Throwers
- 2 Blitzers
- 2 Catchers
- 6 Linemen
- 2 Re-rolls
- Total TV: 1090
I’m not taking any Star Players because that’ll leave me without any bonus skills. So, who do I buff? The first, and what really is an auto-take, is giving both Blitzers Dodge. Along with Block and Sidestep, they become, arguably, the best blitzers in the game with that addition, so it’s kind of a no-brainer. So, 2 blitzers, 2 skills down. With just one left, I think I want to buff one of the Throwers instead of one of the Catchers. If I had 2 to throw around, I’d probably give both Catchers Dodge, too, but with only one left I’m gonna put Leader on one of the Throwers to effectively get a third team re-roll for free.
With bonus skills settled, let’s look at what each special “team” package will do for me. Team Encyclopedia could give me a pretty quick and effective Catcher or a bunch of stuff I don’t need or want. But the super Catcher is interesting. Team Irredeemable Evil is a bad idea for 60k gp linemen as I really don’t want to be fouling ever, unless an opposing Wardancer is involved in the equation. So that’s out. With Team Bloodbath, the 2 Bloodweiser Kegs are actually the most interesting part of the deal, as my elves tend to spend a lot of time in the KO box. Team Full Tim sure is wacky, but it won’t really do anything for me. Since a Catcher is 40k more gp than a Linemen, the extra 30k from Team Relative Good would mean that I could swap out a Lineman for a Catcher, and that is extremely interesting, if one of the more boring choices. Team Ninja is interesting because Stab is really good on an elf Linemen if I run into another low AV team. And having a man advantage for the first turn of every game would be nice, too. Team Berserk doesn’t give me anything I really want, and neither does Team Centurion Mk1.
It’s really between Team Ninja and Team Relative Good, and because I can’t control what teams I’ll play, I think I’ll get the most out of having a 3rd Catcher on the team, so I’ve gone with the extra 30k gp from Team Relative Good. Here’s the final roster:
- 2 Throwers
- 2 Blitzers
- 3 Catchers
- 5 Linemen
- 2 Re-rolls
- Total TV: 1130
- Bonus Skills:
- Leader on one of the Throwers
- Dodge on both Blitzers
King_Ghidra’s take: So my gut feeling after skimming the pack was that it did not look good for Tier 1 teams, with few skills, and the extra team packages not looking particularly beneficial for those teams. But it certainly did look like a tourney that might be good for lower tier teams, and particularly, one you could abuse star players at. None of the stunty teams really care about having lots of skills so the tier penalty for taking them doesn’t hurt. The fact that you then get an additional package means you can either lean into your build or cover up its shortcomings. So, we go to the best team for star shenanigans, Snotlings:
- 2 Trolls
- 12 Snotlings
- Hakflem Skuttlespite
This is 1000TV and 16 players (and 0 RR, but we barely need them). Now the rules pack is not completely clear if the Riotous Rookies inducement is allowed or not. If it is, we take it, because it is amazing. If not, we take two bribes, or possibly 1 RR. For skills we have now moved to Tier A because of our stars, so we can give Block to one troll, Stand Firm to the other, and Sneaky Git to two Snots. For the team package the Biased Referee from Team Centurion is very attractive, and I would go with this or the Dirty Player option from Team Evil.
Our team build has a pretty simple gameplan: blitz with Morg, foul with a snot, rinse and repeat til nothing is left. The Trolls anchor any cage or simply exert control through basing opponents. Hakflem carries on offense, and can easily generate counter-scores on defense if we are able to deplete our opponents.
This build does have one potential drawback of course, this tournament has ruled that if both teams have the same star neither can use it. That could result in either a stunty match still resulting in something much like a mirror, or something terrible like facing Chaos Dwarves with Hakflem, in which both teams’ loss is definitely their gain. Such are the risks of Star Bowl.
Do I think I will win this tournament?
I’ve played in a lot of Blood Bowl tournaments, but I haven’t played a BB20 tournament yet, and on top of that I haven’t played in a tournament since 2019. I’m out of practice, and Elven Union are…ok. I would love to win 2 games at the ACCC, and if I manage to win all 3, I’ll be absolutely thrilled. And if I only win 1 or lose them all, I’m sure I’ll have a great time anyways, because I’ll be playing Blood Bowl, and what’s a better way to wile away a Saturday than that? Either way I’ll be back next week to tell y’all how I did!
Thanks for reading, Sports Fans! Dan’ll be back next week with his after-action report. Until then, feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com if you’ve got any questions or requests for more Blood Bowl content. See you next week!