Tuesday 22 July 2014

Gert Bowl 2014

I was tempted to take the glorious Strictly Come Wardancing who did so well for me at Cake Bowl a few weeks ago, but equally I’d like to place fairly well in the South-West Tournament Championship so needed to take a different team that I stood a chance with (my attempts with Skaven at ARBBL were, shall we say, pretty poor). I’ve run an Amazon team in league and really enjoyed it (although a blitzer with two stat-ups – strength and movement – probably helps!) so thought I’d give them another go at tournament level (I took them to ARBBL’s Pick’n’Mix event last year but did better the day I took Ogres).

I’d played against Hung’s Amazons at Gert last year using my Dark Elves. He brought along Roxanna Darknail and I completely underestimated her, which was a massive contributing factor to why I lost so horribly to him (he also outplayed me so she couldn’t take all the credit). I was so impressed with her I wanted to field her myself. With the available team value, I could take her, all positionals, 3 line women, 2 re-rolls, a babe and a cheerleader. Pretty shiny.

Skill-wise, Amazons have pretty good access across the board so I opted for 6 basic skills, rather than sacrificing some for doubles or stats: 2 guard, 1 tackle and 1 strip ball on the blitzers, block on a catcher and leader on a thrower. I nearly went for 2 tackle instead of strip ball because, with my tendency to use high agility or stunty teams, I think it’s a powerful skill. It is, however, limited when applied against non-dodging teams so I realised strip ball was probably a better choice.

Teams packed, Puss fed and fussed and we departed to drive to Bristol – actually leaving on time for once!

Game One – vs HungDonkeyman’s Amazons

This year, Hung had brought Zara to keep Roxie company, ditching re-rolls to do so (and I have to say, I’ve become a big fan of the ‘re-rolls are for pussies’ play style and found it weird to have them on my roster for this tournament).

In the first half, I scored on turn 2 and he attempted to stall and pitch clear. His Amazons had packed their kicking shoes (a cheeky bribe being awarded as the first kick-off result), but mainly only achieved stuns on their many foul attempts. Both sides managed to crowd surf a few players – the crowd was amenable, merely knocking out the unfortunates. The first half ended with only 3 of my players on the pitch – both throwers and one catcher. The catcher runs in for a cheeky one die block on the ball carrier and knocks the ball free. My nearer thrower moves in to pick it up and it’s his turn. He knocks over the thrower. The ball bounces loose… my catcher snatches it from mid-air and the half ends.

In the second half, a blitz meant I quickly put the score up to 2-0. He scored after that for 2-1 but I managed to hold onto the ball to make it 3-1 and we set up for a last chance for extra points. His Roxanna got the ball and ran down the pitch, forgetting my Roxanna would be right behind her. Sure enough, his ends up in the crowd and I grab the ball to end the game 4-1.

Final score: 4-1 TD and 1-1 CAS.

Game Two – vs Smurf’s Wood Elves

Wood Elves still being just about my favourite team (even if NAF rankings suggest I’m pretty awful with them), I was concerned by this match: I know how good Wood Elves are at the running game and I don’t know how to defend against them with Amazons. Still, thrashing Hung had boosted my confidence and I was expecting a high-scoring game on both sides.

Accordingly, I chose to receive and scored quickly but then Roxie died and it all fell apart for me. Apart from that, there weren’t many casualties – he struggled to knock my players over and I couldn’t crack his armour.

I may have forgotten to make proper notes.

Final score: 1-4 TD and ?-? CAS

Game Three – vs Charon’s Humans

Considering humans are a good all-round team, I don’t very often notice them represented at tournaments. Is it my lack of observation or do they not show up often? It was interesting to play against them with Amazons – my lower armour countered by his lack of dodge – and it’s a match-up I’d like to play again.

Most of the game was closely fought in a mosh-pit style. Roxanna again died early in the first half. We agreed the match was "the right kind of silly”: despite losing quite badly, the game was a lot of fun (yes, I forgot to take notes again. Does it show?) I had bad luck at the wrong moments but also made some silly mistakes – it happens. REMEMBER TO LEAVE SOMEONE IN RANGE TO SCORE IF YOU WANT A TOUCHDOWN!

Final score: 1-3 TD and 2-4 CAS

Other things of note:
  • All the hugs and smiles and amazingness that comes from having friends in the Blood Bowl Community. You’re all lovely and shiny.
  • I have new pretty dice =D 
  • A wonderful, amazing thunderstorm and apologies to Abbie for making her come outside and stand in it with me, threatening to make her glorious pink hair run.
  • Failing to practice circus skills on the pull-up bars in the outdoor gym by the venue: wearing a fairly tight skirt (by my standards, anyway) meant I couldn’t manage a straddle mount and slippery bars because of the storm meant my grip wasn’t confident enough for a pike mount (also the bars were too high to push myself into it so was relying on the arm/core strength I don’t have yet).
  • A lovely lasagne cooked by MonkeyKungFu’s Missus, a game of Pandemic (we lost – but it was nearly close) and late night chatting. Much better than a B&B. Also yummy egg and sausage roll for breakfast after comfy night’s sleep.

Game Four – vs Carter Caine’s High Elves

This is one of those games that you almost feel guilty for enjoying – Carter’s first ever tournament and only his fourth game with High Elves* compared to my, umm…, manyth tournament and with a team I may have only used at one previous day of a tournament before but have run in a league season (The Amaze-Zings, sponsored by Haribogre), and one that suits my play-style.

The game kicked off with a riot, but a riot at the end of the half meant we didn’t lose any turns. The fans were clearly more interested in fighting each other than watching the match. It was 2-0 at half time, and only not 3-0 because of a double skull.

Going into the second half, he’d used all four of his re-rolls by turn 4 – at least 2 on double skulls. Going into turn 5, he won another on the kick off… and promptly used it. Lady Luck was just not with him.

I think the game would have gone better for him, except the ‘Zons had packed their adamantine armour and would not leave the pitch. Roxie may have forgotten hers – dying on turn 4 – but the rest of the team decided they didn’t need the show-off witch elf and spent a lot of time out-elfing the elves. Turn 15 and 16 (or, due to a third riot, more accurately 16 and 17) did see two ‘Zons fall apart in a squishy manner, but by then the damage had been done.

Final score: 4-1 TD, 3-3 CAS

Game Five – vs Hobnail’s Amazons

I chose to receive, but Hobnail quickly got the ball off me and knocked out my Roxie – so chose to stall out to the end of the half to keep her off the pitch. She did at least return for the second half (hurray for Bloodweiser Babes!)

Going into the second half 0-1 with him receiving was not a pleasant place to be, especially with a riot stealing turns before we’d even begun.

I didn’t write it in my notes, but I think this was the game where I made my most frustrating mistake: the ball held by a blodger, I knew I could break into the cage and get a hit on it. Carefully moved guard assist in so Roxie would still have two dice on her second hit, I then realised my strip ball blitzer was also in range – so which would be better odds to get the ball free: two dice with strip ball or 4 dice without? I figured go with strip ball and the AG5 elf could recover the ball after. Got in there. Threw the block. Pushes – good enough. Except, he reminds me, his blitzer has sure hands! DAMMIT!

Getting towards the end of the half without achieving much (except keeping him from a second TD), it was time for some seriously crazy play. Up jumped Roxanna, and with a dodge, dodge, dodge through tackle zones, she leapt next to the ball carrier to ½ die block it into the crowd. The ball came sailing back to land right next to a blitzer in range to score… who promptly failed to pick the ball up to end the match. Bah!

Final score: 0-1 TD, 0-1 CAS

Game Six – vs Ol’ Dirty’s Chaos Pact

Like Carter, I believe this was (one of) Ol’ Dirty’s first tournaments. It’s always nice to see new faces!

Three big guys was intimidating on paper, but in the first few turns, his ogre managed to both down and KO itself, and his mino both downed to be kicked into the KO box. As the game progressed, he had several turns where either his troll or his ogre (or often both) no zoned – in fact, we both found our luck was either brilliant or terrible, nothing in between.

Towards the end of the second half, I was finally looking to be in a position to score when his minotaur blitzed me. The ball came loose and the damn cow caught it! Which surprised us both! So I snuck in the assists so that my strip ball blitzer could hit him back, and sure enough the ball came loose again, to bounce around and be caught by the troll… Who handed off to the skaven, who ran to the side line with the ogre in the way to stop a surf.

Roxie quickly outlined her plan to the other players: one line woman to dodge round behind the skaven to cancel the ogre’s assist and be in the way to mean the skaven would go into the crowd when Roxie then ran in. With the spread of ‘Zons across the pitch, someone should be in range to collect the ball on throw in and get it to someone who could score. Except the line woman moving first decided to fail her dodge instead.

Final score: 0-0 TD and 3-4 CAS

The weather was a lot hotter on the second day – almost unbearably so. But we did make time for a bit of live action Blood Bowl, where a few of the guys were throwing a kicking a ball around until enough people joined that it was worth pretending to play properly – except it was never announced who was on which team so it was mostly an almost Calvinball-esque free-for-all, in which I mostly just tried to tackle whoever was holding the ball at the time. I’m seriously unfit and now my back, neck and shoulders ache like demons. Worth it, though.

And the results are in…

Except I don’t have a copy. Sorry! HungDonkeyman managed to get most TD though, and I believe Hawk had biggest-fall-from-grace (his Halflings did very well the first day and about as you’d expect the second).

I placed ahead of Husbit (18th to his 24th out of 34), which is all that really matters ;)

UPDATE: Oh wait, I've found results!

Wooden Spoon:  Dreamscreator with Goblins

Most TD's: HungDonkeyman with Amazons

Most Casualties: Ol Dirty with Chaos Pact

Stunty Cup: Loki with ratless Underworld

International Glowworm Award: Charon with Humans

Runner Up: Hawca with Orcs

Winner: Dionysian with Skaven

*I like to do that too, take a team I’ve never used before and have no practice games: if I lose, no big deal and if I win I’m obviously amazing ;-p. More seriously, it gives me an idea whether I’ll enjoy a team for a league season without risking having a season I hate.

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