Welcome back, Sports Fans, to the second of two articles detailing Dan’s experience at the 2022 Chaos Cup! You can catch up on part 1 here. Let’s see how he did with the final 3 games of the event!
At this point on Saturday, I’ve already played 3 games of Blood Bowl and am about to start game number four. Reader, this is a lot of Blood Bowl! It’s also late-afternoon/evening and I am feeling pretty tired. I’m hoping for an easy win, but, once again, I’m matched against a quality opponent with an excellent game plan. Let’s get into it!
Game 4: Baja Blasters vs. the Miasma of Debauchery (Chaos Chosen)
- 1 Minotaur w/ Juggernaut
- 4 Chosen Blockers w/ Guard
- 3 Beastman Linemen w/ Block
- 1 Beastman Lineman w/ Tackle
- 2 Beastman Linemen
- 3 Rerolls
Hoo boy, Chaos Chosen. It’s not hyperbole to say that this team has the reputation for being the most violent team in Blood Bowl. Thankfully, the interaction between Mighty Blow and Claws has been nerfed in BB20, so their reputation these days is mostly historical. Still, they’re one of the most carnage-minded teams around, and I’m rockin’ AV8+ elves. I’ll have to be awfully careful with this one, and a little bit of luck wouldn’t hurt, either.
It’s nice weather and I’m receiving in the first half. Things immediately start to break down, though, as James rolls up a BLITZ! result on the kickoff to open up the game! However, he deployed pretty conservatively, and most of his players are a bit too far back to cause me too much trouble. I manage to secure the ball, and since his players are a bit strung out, I take an extra turn in scoring, turning the usual 2-turn TD into a 3-turn TD. Against teams this bashy I like to try and score early so I don’t run out of players later in the game. Anyways, he gets the kick from me and starts trying to eat clock. I also completely forget about his minotaur’s Frenzy, lining up one of my catchers in surf range, but he rolls a double pow on the block! And he doesn’t even break armor! Saved by the good roll!
I’m playing keep away while screening out the field and serving up sacrificial linemen to the Minotaur. He’s doing his best to advance the ball, but he can’t get past the elves’ column defense. The half ends with me still on top 1-0! For once, my plan seems to be working: score quick and play good D. I’m feeling good going into the 2nd half. All I have to do is hold him scoreless or snag that ball and get a defensive TD and I’m golden. What could go wrong?
Well, dear reader, let me tell you about playing 4 ST4 guys with Guard when your whole team has ST3: it sucks real bad. James’ cages are perfect with multiple Guard players in support exactly where they need to be, and I could not get through to his ball carrier, and please believe me when I say I tried. James executed his half perfectly and scored on his turn 8, leaving me one paltry turn and no hope for a 1-turn TD. So after all that, we tied.
Result: 1-1 Tie
Another fantastic game! James was a top-tier opponent, nice guy, and a credit to the community. He played a tight game with a fun and well-painted team. What more could I ask for? With that, the 4 game marathon on Saturday is over. With one win, one loss, and two ties, I’m somewhere near the middle of the pack. I’m fine with it, though, as it has been a spate of (mostly) great games.
Saturday night, Nancy, the Joes, and I head back to Short Fuse Brewing Company. I really cannot recommend them enough. The beer was great, the food delicious, the staff friendly, and because it was the Oktoberfest celebration, they had a polka band playing! It was exactly the vibe I was looking for after 4 games of Blood Bowl. We had some beers, some food and a damn good hang. Afterwards we got a ride back to the hotel and I hit the sack immediately, as it had been a long, long day.
Sunday morning arrives and I wake up with what I think is enough time to grab a bite at the hotel bar before the games start. Unfortunately, like 50 other hotel guests had the same idea, and there was one extremely harried bartender working. I manage to order what I think will be the fastest thing to eat on the menu: a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Experience has taught me that a breakfast sandwich goes down quick, and I’m running out of time before the next round starts. Confoundingly, however, this sandwich comes with its cheese melted atop the bread. Atop. I know. Ridiculous. So, forced to eat a sandwich with a knife and fork, I am feeling like things are definitely going to fall apart today.
Fortunately for me, this is a Blood Bowl tournament, so everyone was running late. We get what we think are our round 5 pairings, but then the TOs get on the mic and tell everyone that they borked the pairings, and everyone has to wait as they untangle this mess. I was supposed to play an Imperial Nobility team, but when the new pairings are posted, I have a new opponent: Dark Elves. I’m still at the same table, though, so I bid my opponent adieu and wait for my new friend to show up.
10 minutes later, the round has started and I’m still waiting for my opponent. Not ideal! I head over to the TO table to let them know the situation, and fortunately, they have an “odd man out” ringer waiting and ready to be my opponent! Success! I show my new friend to our table, and look to see what team he’s brought. It’s Chaos Dwarves.
Round 5: Baja Blasters vs. Hellforged Eternals (Chaos Dwarves)
- Bull Centaurs w/ Block
- 4 Chaos Dwarf Blockers w/ Guard
- 2 Chaos Dwarf Blockers
- 1 Hobgoblin Lineman w/ Sure Hands
- 3 Hobgoblin Linemen
- 4 Rerolls
Chaos Dwarves are another team with a staggering reputation for violence. But unlike Chaos Chosen, who are generally pretty slow, Chaos Dwarves have (functionally) MA9 players in the Bull Centaurs. Who are ST4. And these ones have Block. Ay caramba. It’s nice weather and I’m once again receiving in the 1st half. Let’s see what happens.
Jeff kicks the ball into my end zone, so if I’m going to score, then I’m gonna have to go the distance. This turns out to not be a problem! I execute a whole-pitch, 2-turn TD to open the game. Awesome! It’s time to sit back, play some keep away, and see if I can steal a defensive TD. Jeff gets the kick from me (after a Time Out is rolled, shortening the half by 1 turn), and immediately gets extremely aggressive with this ball-carrier’s placement. The only thing guarding him from the front is one Bull Centaur who is basing one of my Blitzers. If I can just get a push result on the nascent block, I have a wide-open avenue for a Blitz with my Wrestle catcher on his ball carrier. But first, I need to get at least one assist for this Bull Centaur block action. And to do that, I’ll need to have a friendly elf lineman make one 2+ rush to get into position. How hard could that be?
As you’ve no doubt guessed, the answer to that question is real dang hard, y’all! It’s the first activation of my turn and I immediately snake eyes the rush and subsequent reroll. This is real bad. Generally, you don’t start out your turn with activations that require rolls, but my whole team was based, or nearabouts, and this was the obvious first move of the turn. And I biffed it. It’s not over yet, though! I’m still playing elves, so I can reposition my team quickly and effective to try and stem the bleeding, which I manage to do. However, I have another chance at sacking the ball carrier on my turn 8, who, I should remind you, is just a hobgoblin, if my blitzer can make a 2+ dodge with a Dodge reroll. Do you want to guess how that went? Snake eyes again. Jeff’s player casually waltzes in for a TD on his turn 8 and we head into the half tied 1-1.
I’m kicking in the 2nd half, and I’m starting to get worried. The rolls are not great, and it’s starting to feel like this is a trend. Sometimes you just know that you’re on a downswing, and all you can do is try to ride it out. Jeff gets the ball and decides that one of his Bull Centaurs is going to be the ball carrier this time! Ok, great! I’m hoping to see a turn or two with the ball still on the ground as the big galoot struggles to pick it up, but no. Jeff’s centaur immediately scoops up the ball and he sets his cage. I manage to surf one of his Chaos Dwarf Blockers on my turn 10, but after that, things go completely off the rails.
Jeff is consistently giving me opportunities to make plays on the ball, but my dice have completely betrayed me. 4 of my next 6 turns end on premature snake eyes. My notes for this game are full of expletives. After a while I start calling my snake eyes rolls, and I get them all right. It’s absolutely pathetic. My idiots can’t do anything without falling flat on their faces first. As it happens, Jeff cruises in for a TD on his turn 16, leaving me no hope of scoring an equalizer.
Result: 1-2 Loss
Big oof, y’all. This one hurts because I had opportunity after opportunity to make a play, and my dice just wouldn’t let me. It’s a real head-shaker. This means that I’m going to be in the bottom third for round 6 and maybe I can luck myself into a good matchup. I decided to skip the $10, cash only, shit-ass hotdog lunch this time and go grab my stuff out of my room so I can check out. They let me put my bags behind the desk, and I return to the gaming hall to play the final game of the weekend.
Round 6: Baja Blasters vs. Minnesota Golden Gogres (Ogres w/ Bomber Dribblesnot)
- 1 Runt Punter w/ Leader
- 1 Ogre Blocker w/ Brawler
- 1 Ogre Blocker w/ Tackle
- 1 Ogre Blocker w/ Guard
- 2 Ogre Blockers w/ Block
- 1 Gnoblar w/ Foul Appearance
- 1 Gnoblar w/ Disturbing Presence
- 6 Gnoblar
- Bomber Dribblesnot
- 1 Bribe
Oh my god I’m playing Ogres. Not only am I playing Ogres, I’m playing the most min-maxed Ogre roster I’ve ever seen. After looking at Fitz’s roster, I am more excited to play this game than I was for any other game this weekend, with the potential exception of round 1. But before I get to the game, I need to tell you about round 6. So, this round, we get two additions to each of our teams. First, each team can add two mutations to any linemen that don’t already have a skill upgrade (Chaos Chosen, Chaos Renegade, and Nurgle teams get to add two mutations to any player who doesn’t already have an upgrade). Fitz chose the above mutations, and I went and added Prehensile Tail to two of my linemen. There’s a lot of Gnoblar around, so I figured making it harder for them to dodge might help (it didn’t!). Second, we all get to add a Slann ringer to our team.
The Slann Ringer is insane. With Sidestep, Stand Firm, and Fend, that Guard skill can be employed wherever you want it. And Pogo Stick means some truly silly stuff can happen. The Chaos Cup even gave everyone a little Slann guy to use for the game and then keep for home use, I guess. It’s a really cool thing. And let me tell you, The mobility of elves combined with super-mobile Guard? Yeah, it’s cool.
Anyways, this game is going to be a blast. The weather’s nice and I’m receiving in the 1st half. Because I’m extremely worried about losing players, I rip off a picture-perfect 2-turn TD to start the game. I’m feeling pretty good until my Leader thrower gets killed on turn 3. Whoops! There goes one third of my rerolls! On turn 6, I snake eyes a Foul Appearance blitz check with a Blitzer who is on the ground, meaning he’s too disgusted to even get up. Hilarious! What wasn’t hilarious is when one of my Blitzers gets killed right after that. I play good D though, and on turn 8, Fitz is forced to attempt a dodge and 2 rushes with an Ogre to score the equalizer. Naturally, he nails it, and this guy didn’t even bring rerolls. What incredible confidence. We go into the half 1-1.
After the half, I kick to Fitz and the really silly stuff starts happening. As punishment for attempting an Ogre dodge, I decide to uphill one of his ogres with one of my linemen and I casually roll a double pow. After that, my Catcher sneaks in and snags the ball and I score a defensive TD on turn 11. It’s 2-1. Fitz receives the kickoff again, but my remaining Blitzer decides to go beast mode. He knocks out the ball-carrying Gnoblar, and a scrum around the ball forms. The next turn, my Blitzer executes a stunning sequence of dodges and manages to pick up the ball in traffic and then dash to safety. I stall for three more turns and score my 3rd and final TD on the final turn of the game.
Result: 3-1 Win
What a game to close out the 2022 Chaos Cup. Fitz is an engaging and incredibly fun opponent, and I’d happily play him again and again. After the dust settles, I’m 2-2-2 on the weekend, and 89th out of 160. Perfectly mediocre. Truly, though, I couldn’t be happier. I got diced a couple of times in there, but my opponents were great and the games were a ton of fun. I decompress by going off on my own to get another Italian beef sandwich, and after a beer at the hotel bar, I take the shuttle to O’Hare and get my tired ass home.
Blood Bowl Takeaways
So, what did I learn from this experience? Quite a bit, actually! I think this event, more than any other, has made me a better Blood Bowl player. Let’s run down what I’ve learned:
- The Block/Dodge combo is fake. I simply cannot rely on my opponent to not roll pow (defender down) results to keep my Blitzers on their feet. It seems like every time any of my opponents needed to knock down my supposed-to-be invulnerable Blitzers, they did. Easily! I’ll have to investigate different skill choices or ways to use my Blitzers in the future.
- Bomber Dribblesnot is crazy good. He’s a reliable Bombardier for 50k. It’s wild. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he went up a fair few gp in the next Blood Bowl FAQ.
- ST4 with Guard is my new favorite combo. My round 4 game showed just how incredibly annoying multiple ST4 Guards can be, and I am a convert.
- I need to work on my timing and screening with my elves. Getting quick TDs is cool and all, but if I’m ever going to level up my play with Elven Union, I need to be able to hold off on scoring in two turns every time. I need to start holding on to the ball for 3 or 4 turns to give my opponents fewer turns to score an equalizer. With slow teams, I might be able to run out the clock on them, and with fast teams, I might be able to either run out the clock or put that crooked number on the board for the half with a quick secondary score.
With the end of the 2022 Chaos Cup, Pro Elf Summer is officially over. The Chaos Cup was a ton of fun. The games were great, I got to cement some friendships, meet some new people, and really get challenged as a Blood Bowl coach. I would love to return to the event in the future. However, the venue was suboptimal. The gaming area was truly too small for 160 players. The location of the hotel is definitely convenient in that it’s right next to the airport, but it’s not near anything cool, unless you’re really into parking lots and highways. On top of that, they were desperately understaffed at the hotel bar the entire weekend. Did no one tell them that Blood Bowl players like a beer every now and then? Sheesh!
The good news is that I’ve heard that the Chaos Cup will be moving next year, and that makes it a lot more attractive to me as far as returning to compete. I want to thank the TOs, especially Jeffro, for doing a cracking job the entire weekend and allowing us all to have so much fun. Despite the venue’s failings, I did have a great time and got to play 6 great games of Blood Bowl! And with that, I’m taking a couple of months off from competitive Blood Bowl. I’ll be back in December with a report from Back Broke Mountain Bowl in Sterling, Virginia. So until then, remember, everyone: the low man always wins!
Thanks for reading, Sports Fans! If you have any questions or suggestions for us, feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org! See you next time!