Welcome back, Sports Fans, to more competitive Blood Bowl content! Last week, Dan wrote his preview on the Atlantic Coast Charity Cup, and this week he’s back to tell us all what happened!
Last Saturday started pretty early for me. I was up at 6 AM to shower and get dressed with the idea that I would hit the road at 6:30. The tournament was scheduled to start at 10:00, and it’s a three-hour drive from the Washington, DC area to Chesapeake, Virginia, so I was keen to hit the road on time.
I figured that leaving that early would mean light-to-no traffic on 95 South, but I didn’t factor in that all the families leaving for the beach had the exact same idea. After a couple re-routes and some…expeditious driving, I arrived at about 9:50 AM, where it was quickly announced that we would be starting late. I should have guessed! No tabletop event has ever begun on time, and the ACCC was no exception. I’m not salty, though. It gave me a chance to socialize a bit and get my team out and set up on my brand new display board without having to rush.
Some fellow Northern Virginia coaches had made the trip down, too, and I was glad to chat with them for a bit while organizer Nate got everything squared away for kickoff. I wish we had coordinated better before the event as it would have made sense to get some carpools going. I’ll have to try and set that up for next year.
After I got done saying hello to a couple of locals, Nate calls everyone up, welcomes us, and sends us off to our first games. Let’s get to the action!
Game 1: Baja Blasters vs. Duff-Drinking Shinobis
My first opponent was a fellow named Kenta Washington, who is well known in the US competitive Blood Bowl scene. Going by his NAF profile, he’s a 23-time Blood Bowl Tournament champion who has won this very event in 2017. Now, I didn’t know any of this beforehand, as I’d just met the guy, but it definitely helps take the sting out of what happened in the game!
Kenta’s brought High Elves. High Elves are one of the top teams in Blood Bowl right now, and Kenta had no problem maxing-out their effectiveness. Here’s his roster:
- 1 Thrower
- 2 Blitzers
- 3 Catchers
- 6 Linemen
- 2 Rerolls
- 1 Assistant Coach
- Bonus Skills
- Leader on the Thrower
- Dodge and Frenzy on one of the Blitzers
- Shadowing, Sidestep, and Stab on the other Blitzer (he used the unique skill pack “Team Ninja”, which is named after him, to get this combo of skills. Refer to the preview article if you’re confused.)
We exchange rosters, and the dice begin rolling. Immediately things start to go sideways with a “Pouring Rain” result on the weather table, meaning that all pick-up, catch, and deflection attempts suffer an additional -1 on the AG test. We both blame each other for rolling too high and move on. I win the coin toss and choose to receive.
The kickoff is uneventful, and my first turn begins. I go about setting up a half cage and short screen, thinking that I can strike quickly and play with a lead.
Kenta responds by screening my players and hanging back. Turn two to me. I move my ball-carrier up and look to unload. I get a successful pass and catch to one of my catchers, but I fail to knock down one of his screening blitzers meaning that I’ll need to make a dodge roll to get my Catcher free to hand off to my other Catcher who’s in scoring range. It’s just a 2+ roll, and I have plenty of re-rolls. What could go wrong?
If you answered, “Dan rolls snake-eyes and his Catcher trips and drops the ball”, then you’re a big, fat, winner! My Catcher beefs it and my turn is done. I did not know it at the time, but this little bit of rolling is going to be indicative of how I perform in this game. Kenta gets the ball and then begins a five-turn march to the end zone. There’s a little bit of back-and-forth with possession and positioning, but the salient point is that he leaves me two turns to try and even things up before halftime. I do manage to tie it up on my 8th turn with a two-turn score. Kenta goes for a 1-turn TD on his Turn 8 but I spread my linemen as far apart as possible and stymie his effort.
It didn’t exactly go to plan, but hey! We’re tied up at the half! He’s getting the ball in the 2nd half, but I’m feeling pretty good about things. At one point, though, my Thrower with Leader suffers a casualty and leaves the game on a stretcher. The apothecary I paid for doesn’t work, and I’m left with only 2 rerolls for the 2nd half. I tell myself to cool it with impulsive reroll spending and save it for only the really important stuff, and we move on to the 2nd half.
Kenta gets the ball on his turn 9 and takes 3 turns to put it in the end zone. During this drive, for reasons I cannot explain, I quickly spend both of my rerolls on defensive positioning. This was, as it will turn out to be, pretty dumb. I didn’t listen to my own advice, and readers believe me when I say that I paid for it. I get the ball back on my turn 11 and set up another forward screen to try and get my skilled players within striking distance. But on turn 12, I make another glaring and huge mistake. I set up a block to free my blitzer from one of Kenta’s linemen…and then I promptly forget to take it before activating my thrower who’s intended target is, you guessed it, the previously mentioned blitzer. A completely boneheaded mistake that ends up being the death knell for this drive and probably the whole game.
Kenta takes the ball away from me and scores quickly. I’m down 2-1, but hey! Maybe I can get back to even with a quick TD. Unfortunately, this is when the wheels come off. Remember when I said I was out of rerolls in the 2nd half? Yeah. They would have been nice to have, because I went on an almost unbelievably bad run of bad luck. I was rolling 1’s like it was going out of style, friends. Against a lesser opponent, maybe I could have salvaged it, but Kenta played a flawless second half and dropped two more TDs on me. The game ends at 4-1 when I beef yet another dodge roll and one of my catchers falls flat on his ass.
Result: 4-1 Loss
Despite the score, I don’t consider this a bad game for me for two reasons:
- I managed to learn quite a bit from playing someone who is truly good at the game. It’s hard to be upset when you know you came away from the game a better player than when you went in.
- Kenta is a gracious and fun opponent, and someone who I would be thrilled to see across the table again. He could have made it a very tough game for me, but he didn’t, so thanks, Kenta!
Kenta eventually goes on to win the whole tournament, so at least I got thumped by the champ! I guess he’s a 24-time tournament champ now. Congrats!
Game 2: Baja Blasters vs. Grand Noodles
Suitably humbled, I get ready for the next game. Getting trounced so hard in round one means I’m down at one of the last tables, where I undoubtedly deserve to be. My opponent this round turns out to be a young lady named Jessica who is playing her “second game of Blood Bowl”. She’s got Dark Elves. 2nd game of elf-on-elf violence. Gotta love that! I didn’t manage to take home a roster from her so here’s me trying to recreate it from memory:
- 2 Witch Elves
- 4 Blitzers
- 2 Runners
- 3 Linemen
- 2 Rerolls
- 1 Assistant Coach
- Bonus Skills
- 1 Blitzer with Dodge
- 1 Blitzer with Tackle
- 1 Blitzer with Guard
I win the toss and elect to receive. Jessica’s very new at the game, but she was a ton of fun as an opponent. It ended up being an extremely bloody game, with multiple casualties on both sides. At the end of the game it was 6-on-6 as both teams limped to the finish.
Result: 3-0 Win
The big takeaway from this game is that Jessica needs to get a Chaos Chosen team. She was delighting in the violence of Blood Bowl while somewhat eschewing the actual points-scoring. Her temperament would definitely fit better on a Chaos team. Especially one with a Minotaur who’s blitzing around getting 6-dice blocks! I had fun playing her, and I think she had fun, too. She would eventually “win” the least-effective defense award, so at least she got to go home with a trophy at her first Blood Bowl tournament ever! I hope to see her at next year’s ACCC where she’ll surely be in the running for Most Violent Team!
Game 3: Baja Blasters vs. Temple Run
As soon as the matchup was announced, I thought, “Oh, no. Lizardmen!” Local player Mike Brandt runs Lizardmen in my current league and they can be a real problem in an experienced coach’s hands. To my delight and surprise, Temple Run turned out to be a Slann team! Denny, my opponent, had brought the NAF-approved, non-official-yet-somehow-legacy frogmen team! I was extremely pleased to see this, as I had never played with or against Slann before. If you’ve never seen or heard of Slann before check out their roster to see what they can do.
Denny is another experienced coach with 3 tournament wins under his belt, and his Slann are painted gorgeously. He would eventually get the well-deserved best painted nod. He was also very complimentary of my elves, and I appreciate that. His roster:
- 1 Kroxigor
- 3 Catchers
- 1 Blitzer
- 7 Linemen
- 3 Rerolls
- 1 Mascot
- Bonus Skills:
- Kroxigor with Guard and Block
- 1 Catcher with Dodge
- 1 Catcher with Guard
- 1 Catcher with Dauntless and Frenzy (the “Team Berserk” unique skill pack)
- Blitzer with Wrestle
I was pumped because I had no idea what to expect. Good weather, though, so at least there’s that. I win the toss (for the third time!) and once again choose to receive. I get the ball, set up my thrower safely in the backfield, and get my screen going away from his Krox and then realize I have no idea how to deal with 2+ leaping catchers with Frenzy and Dauntless. Denny has also chosen his skills masterfully. His Guard Catcher can pretty much reposition anywhere it needs to be, and his Blitzer with Diving Tackle and Jump Up is easily the most annoying player on the field.
I was extremely absorbed in this game from the jump, so I forgot to take a lot of notes. But here’s the gist: my inexperience with Slann allowed him to knock the ball loose and the first half quickly became a chaotic scrum to see who could capitalize. Luckily for me, his Krox Bonehead-ed 4 times in the 1st half, meaning that I actually had some players left for the rest of the game. I had one crucial snake-eyes on a Thrower Rush that could have gotten me a TD in the first half (had I made the subsequent pass and catch), but alas. The 1’s strike again. The good news is that I managed to put both his Guard Catcher and his Dauntless/Frenzy Catcher in the casualty box, freeing me from their annoying crap.
After the dust settled, it’s still 0-0 at the half. Once again, I’m heading into a great game with an experienced opponent tied at the half. But this time, I’m determined not to make stupid mistakes.
The 2nd half starts, Denny gets the ball, and it’s immediately apparent that he’d like to take all 8 turns to go down and score, leaving me with no chance to even it up at the end. At the same time, though, I’m actually starting to make all my dodge rolls and am giving him 1-2 blocks per turn. It’d normally be only 1, but his Kroxigor is such a nuisance that I’ve decided to feed it linemen every turn to stop it from going after actually important targets. Unfortunately, the Krox’s brain fog clears up this half and it is happily feasting on linemen, depleting my team.
Denny makes progress down the field, but somehow I’ve got my team still in front of him. Around turn 14 I slip my Blodge-stepping Blitzers into his backfield to start to try to make a play on the ball. It’s getting late in the game, and he’s clearly weighing getting the TD quickly or trying to draw it out so I don’t get a chance at rebuttal. He opts for drawing it out, so it’s crunch time for me.
I get extremely aggressive with my Blitzers and manage to knock down his ball-carrier and scoot the ball even closer towards the endzone. The ball is loose, but I have both of my Blitzers marking it. It’s his turn 16 , and has a legitimate shot for the end zone with a Catcher in scoring range, and his Krox about to eat one of my Blitzers. He goes for the Krox block and…BONEHEAD! The Krox, who had been on fire all 2nd half, stops to consider if he’d turned off his oven before he left the house this morning and misses the opportunity to murder my Blitzer! I give a big shout and the folks who are done with their games start to take notice of our close-fought affair.
Denny’s still got a Blitz to make, though, and manages to knock down one of my Blitzers leaving me with one player marking the ball. Denny leaps his Catcher onto the ball in a desperate attempt to pick it up. He needs a 2+ leap, a 3+ pick-up, and a 2+ dodge to score what will definitely be the game-winning TD. His catcher easily makes the leap, goes for the ball…
…and Denny rolls a 2! He beefs the pick-up roll! He’s out of rerolls! It’s a turnover!
There’s no way for me to score on my turn 16, so that’s it! It’s over! The game ends in a 0-0 tie! At this point I’m both hooting and hollering, and so are some of the spectators.
Result: 0-0 Tie
Wow, what a game! Denny is a fun and engaging opponent, and I’d be absolutely thrilled to end up across the table from him in the future. This was easily the best game of Blood Bowl I’ve played since before the pandemic. I was totally absorbed in the action the entire time, and the Slann team is a true joy to play against. Emotionally, I’m riding high because I was sure I was looking at another loss, but I somehow managed to squeak out a tie. It really did feel like a win.
With that, I’m 1-1-1 for the day. 3 Excellent games of blood Bowl with 3 quality opponents. Not a whole lot more I could ask for. I suppose I would have liked to play a more experienced coach in the second game, but Jessica’s bloodthirst made the game a lot of fun, so I have zero regrets. I pack up my stuff, and I prepare for awards (I didn’t win anything), and the 3-hour car ride home, which is a lot more relaxed and has a lot less traffic.
The ACCC was a ton of fun and an awesome event. I will definitely be interested in returning next year, though I may stay the night in Norfolk or somewhere the night before to break up the drive. TO Nate and his wife, who’s name escapes me, did a fantastic job bringing everyone together and hosting a great event. I think about 50 people showed up and played and except for a little bit of a late start, which I didn’t mind, the event went off without a hitch. I even managed to have a hot dog lunch, which is a Goonhammer favorite. Kudos to everyone involved!
The Hickory Ruritan Club was a nice venue, even though I still don’t know what a Ruritan is. They had a big wall with a bunch of stuff on it and I checked it out to see if there were any clues, but from what I can tell it’s just a place for old dudes to hang out and do stuff.
I’m happy to report I learned quite a bit about BB20 playing in this tournament. It was my first BB20 tournament, and also my first Tournament since 2019. I’ll break it down:
- My apothecary struck me as underwhelming. I hired one in roster-building, and it worked 1 out of 3 times. “Worked” in this case means that my injured player gets to return to the game through Badly Hurt result on the injury dice. None of the times I tried to use it started out with a Badly Hurt result, and only once, in the last game, did the reroll result in a Badly Hurt. Badly Hurt is a result of 1-6 on the d16 Casualty table. So, according to our resident math expert, Primaris Kevin, the apothecary is only useful 60.9% of the time. That’s not great. Still useful in a league, obviously, but I’m starting to think that money is better spent on extra players and not an apothecary.
- I’ve got to be less impulsive with rerolls. I really screwed myself over in my first game with unnecessary rerolls on defense. In the future I’ve got to remember the article on risk I wrote and really cement where and when to use rerolls. For Elven Union, positioning on defense is less important than for a slower team, since I can reposition so easily. In cases like in my first game, it’s ok to have a linemen out of position, even if my opponent can score off of it, since I can strike back very easily. Especially early in the half.
- Diving Tackle/Jump Up is a hell of a combo. I cannot stress how annoying Denny’s Slann Blitzer was. If I’m playing in a Agility-heavy league in the future, you can bet I’ll shoot to kit out one of my Blitzers with Block, Dodge, Sidestep, Jump Up and Diving Tackle. It’ll take a while, but it will also yield the most annoying player in the history of Blood Bowl, so it might be worth it!
- Aggressive defense is key. Elven Union Blitzers, when upgraded with Dodge, become one of the best defenders in the game. They can mark a cage corner, take a block, and suddenly they’re right up next to the ball-carrier, ready to pounce. If I had held back with my Blitzers in my game against Denny, I wouldn’t have been able to force the tie. I’ve got to learn to trust in Blodge and set my Blitzers up for crucial 1-dice blocks to get the ball on the ground.
All in all, I had a great time at the ACCC and cannot wait for my next foray into competitive BB20. Pro Elf Summer will continue with the Four Diamonds Cup on August 20th in Dillsburg, PA, so you all can expect another brace of articles for that event. This one’s a 7s tournament and I’m very excited to give 7s a shot. However, I haven’t ever played 7s before, so I’ll need to get some practice games in! Thanks for reading, everyone! See you next month!
That’s it for now, Sports Fans! Dan will be back next month with more gonzo tournament reporting, and King Ghidra will be back next week with another team guide. If you have any questions or requests for Blood Bowl coverage, drop us a line at email@example.com. See you next week!