My first season of league Blood Bowl is finished and I thought it would be a good time to sit down and think about what I liked about the Elves, what I didn’t like about them and what I would do differently next time.
To recap my results were as follows:
|Match 1||Chaos Dwarfs||L||1-2|
|Match 3||Dark Elves||D||1-1|
|Match 7||Dark Elves||W||4-0|
The four teams that I lost to are all in the playoff hunt (along with the humans); the final games are this week and it’s between the skaven, chaos and humans for the last two places. There’s no shame in that then.
I made some silly mistakes along the way, the worst of which was probably miscounting the number of squares from the endzone in the first dark elf game and conceding a touchdown as a result. that really should have been a win. All in all though I am very pleased with my showing in the league and ended up taking the plate for top placed rookie coach.
What about the elves then, how did they do? Well I loved them 🙂 I’ve never been a bash coach and love the agility even though it comes with a major weakness in the AV7/8. Early on in the league they were very fragile. I think that during most of the first five games I had periods with up at least four players off the pitch and although I don’t mind attacking with reduced numbers, defending becomes a challenge, especially when you don’t have any starting dodge and only two starting dodge. The player numbers were much less of a factor in the second half of the season and this has a lot to do with me getting dodge on the two blitzers and two of the three catchers.
It was only in the first game that I did the classic ‘elf defence’ (two rows of players two squares apart). In the other games I tried to be more aggressive and attack the ball more. This probably increased the number of players sitting in the dugout and it took me a little while to work out when to apply pressure and how much pressure to apply. Too little and I’m susceptible to the grind and too much and I’m leaving my players exposed. It’s a very fine line.
In the early games, nerves of steel was a really fantastic skill but as the season went on I was throwing the ball less and managing to score by moving the ball by handing off. I love the elf catchers and as soon as they get dodge and then block they become useful in attack and defence. In a longer season I’d try to build a catcher into a defending sacker player with dodge, wrestle and strip ball. Strength 3 on these players gives them a good chance against a lot of ball carriers and they can cover a lot of ground.
The blitzers are another fantastic positional piece. Starting with block and side step means they are great as disrupting cages, dodge as a first skill makes them harder to knock down and can result in them pinging all over the pitch as the opposing coach tries to knock them down, wasting blocks in the process. I probably took too long in skilling mine up. It was only in Match 5 that they managed to get enough SPPs to level up. The extra dodge made a difference in the next few matches.
I made a silly first skill choice on the thrower. He levelled up during the lizardman game and I took leader instead of accurate. It was a direct result of the T16 plays that against the chaos dwarfs, dark elves and then lizards when on each game I had a chance to score a touchdown that failed on a pickup or a GFI and an extra reroll (above the 3 on the roster) would have been useful. I did use the leader reroll in the games after that so it wasn’t a wasted skill, I just feel that accurate with +1 to throwing rolls would have meant my play style would change slightly and it would be easier to move the ball longer distances. When receiving I didn’t run backwards and then look upfield for the play to develop, I had to keep the thrower further forward so that he could make an easier pass. Accurate would have given me a little more protection.
Typically 5 of my MVP rolls were shared between 2 players. It hampered the development of the team early on but couldn’t be helped. The line elves remained unskilled except for one that was a useful wrestler. I would have loved a kick player, and maybe another wrestler. Kick made a big difference in the game vs the skaven and allowed the gutter runners to dominate the backfield. The line elves also spent the first few games suffering from MNGs. The first four or five games saw me having to take journeymen to get up to 11 players and it was a real struggle. I suffered a lot of casualties and was playing catch up for a long time. When I got up to a 12 player roster it gave me that extra player to help defend with and it made a difference at my skill level. I also didn’t throw many blocks which is why I didn’t cause many casualties myself; I saved my dice rolls for key blitzes and actions that moved the ball around.
I would definitely recommend elves to any coach. They are a super team to play with and when they’ve developed a little bit (1250TV) you see a significant jump in their capabilities. Early on they are a challenge but if you can get through the early stages then you’ll have a fun time.
What about me as a coach, what did I learn? I think that as the season went on I got more and more used to calculating odds and knowing the risks involved. It doesn’t mean that I took any notice of them though 😉 I feel much more confident playing the game now and am looking forward to playing more. I did become more aware of the intricacies of player positioning. I have to put in some work learning some more base formations and some specific situational player positioning. I’m generally quite good but tend to play by feel and touch rather than applying that bit more consideration that I think the better coaches do. The lizardmen and chaos games game were good examples of the opposing coaches imposing their style on me (forgetting the dice rolls and intercepting saurus sillyness). I need to learn how to play around this more. The only answer to this though is to play more games and gain experience. I did learn that I love the game and especially the tabletop version. There’s something about sitting opposite a coach in person, shaking hands and rolling some dice. I don’t get this online and I need that to get the most enjoyment out of it.
I’m already thinking about next year. I may go for dark elves but play them more like elves. The extra point of AV will make a difference in our league especially because the match points system includes TD difference + CAS. I need to be able to hurt more and get hurt less to get those extra few points per game going my way. There are several months between now and the next season though so plenty of time to think about it.
Thanks for reading my match reports. I will continue this series into the next season and any games I play between now and then. I have found them extremely useful as a tool for learning and will reread them myself to keep me focussed on getting better at this wonderfully simple and yet complex game.