Ciao, bonjour, hello, hallo, bore da, hola!
The Shin Kickers have been on tour again, this time to the third Blood Bowl World Cup in Lucca, Italia. 152 teams of 6 coaches from around the world. 912 players, plus refs, supporters and staff made for an incredible atmosphere - I'm really impressed with the organisers for this, the largest event of its kind.
Team Exiles put in an appearance at the second World Cup in Amsterdam, 4 years ago, where we ended as the lowest placed English team, about 3rd from bottom over all. It was frustrating and disappointing, as we'd taken teams we thought we were quite good with, but a combination of bad luck and other players being better meant I ditched the wood elves and unpacked the flings for this round. Team Exiles in 2011 consisted of Husbit (Lunchmoney), myself (Tempest), Darkson of ARBBL, Hudson of Cake Bowl, and Exiles' brothers Ceetee and Dee Tee. This time, we were missing Hudson, Ceetee and Darkson so replaced them with Blocknroll of ACC, Lemf of Snot Bowl and Radster, formerly of Caterham School. Our goal was to have fun and, ideally, not be lowest placed English team: our hopes were resting on Team Chaos doing worse.
Teamwise, I took the star player Deep Root, 2 trees (giving one block and the other grab from day 1), and 13 halflings (day 1, 3 with side step). I went with halflings over snotlings (I know the team is meant to be ogres, but I always think of them as snotlings) because I wanted the chef, and that left me enough over for one reroll and a point of fame. I felt dirty having a reroll; I'd normally take a Bloodweiser Babe instead.
Halflings are never going to be a tournament winner (although I'd love to be at the tournament that proves me wrong), so I set myself more attainable goals:
1) Score using Throw Team Mate
2) Score by walking in with halflings
3) Draw a game
4) Kill a big guy
Nice to haves:
5) Kill a big guy with a fling on a block
6) Score with a tree
7) Win a game
Halfling players have a great community (check out Hundred Feet Heroes by Pug), so it was really lovely to find a load of fruit at my table that first morning: a halfling second breakfast provided by BrocCooli of Haaka Päälle!
vs Gilles-Cacciari of The Linemen (Spain) using Dandy Alligators (Lizards)
Lizards didn't feel like a great match up to me: skinks may have the same strength as my little guys, but are much faster and just as good at dodging, while the rest of his team is stronger than average and the Kroxigor has prehensile tail, impacting my ability to dodge.
The chef outdid himself, claiming 5 rerolls and meaning the lizards had to rely on a kick off result to have any rerolls for the match. A riot at the start meant the first half was shortened, and I kicked myself when the ball went off the pitch and I gacve it to a fling rather than a tree for the chance to score that way... Deep Root failed his loner roll to reroll a double skull, but was otherwise an asset to the team. Meanwhile, the skinks really struggled to pick the ball up with three failed pick ups even with sure hand rerolls. I managed to crowd a skink, who was fine, so he crowded a fling, who was torn to pieces.
I award myself a moral victory for fouling the krox to death twice! (first objective down) - towards the end of the game, it was clear I wasn't going to be able to score to draw level, so he chased the two flings responsible.
Overall, a great game and he deserved his win.
CAS 1-4 (plus 2 foul CAS for me, and 1 crowd CAS for him)
sent off 0-0
vs Jesu of Ekipo Aevrna Blood Bowl (Spain) using Dark Elves (didn't get team name)
Dark elves are another team I wasn't entirely confident against (with halflings, is there a good match up?..): even 2 elves is enought to score, but dark elves are a little slower and a little less tricksy than wood elves, so I figured I had to hit hard and fast and try to get numbers on him. It seemed my little guys were listening and put on their toughest face: whilst he broke armour, he struggled to send any to the dead and injured box. My chef performed at a more average level this game, taking 3 rerolls.
I achieved the second of my objectives in this game, managing to score using Throw Team Mate. A failed dodge turned my hopes of a 2-2 draw into a 1-3 loss. I managed to KO 2 halflings in attempts to bomb the elves to prevent that final TD - landing neatly on them, but failing to break armour - so with only my trees left on the pitch I chose a sneaky turn 16 foul and got a tree sent off. It was a dirty game all round, with elves fouling halflings!
CAS 3-1 (plus 1 foul CAS for me, and 1 crowd CAS for him.)
sent off 3-0
vs Aleth of Le Lemovise (France) using Go Beserk (Norse)
My chef was obviously running out of ingredients, only claiming one reroll for the entire match. All the same, the yeti seemed sluggish and reluctant to move, which I'm sure helped me out. The halflings, it seemed, had borrowed Orcish armour, as again my opponent struggled to do any real damage to them. The ref was clearly looking the other way, too, because despite many fouling attempts my little guys never got sent off. They also failed to do any serious damage that way.
sent off 0-0
And the end of an exciting day 1: Team Exiles overall not doing brilliantly, but ahead of Team Chaos at least... although we only had one stunty team, and they had two.