This past weekend I travelled to Niagara Falls with a couple guys to play in a blood bowl tournament called the Warpstone Cup. I missed out last year, but two years ago it was a bit different with everyone bringing 2 teams. It changed last year to be division/playoff based and continued in that vein this year. There were 4 divisions of 4 coaches and you would play everyone in your division and the top two players from your division would play in the winners bracket. Everyone gets a special magic item that just gives you a skill, which you can move between players every drive.
I recently got my Karak Nhati Bengals dwarf team back from David @ LaughingFerret Studios – so I was itching to use them. The build was either 1M or 1.1M, and we gained random skills along the way, so TV was increased and some inducements were available. I brought a 1M roster with every positional, five blockers, 2 rerolls and an apothecary. When selecting my magic item, I got “Claw” which was great since I was drawn in a division with 2 other dwarf teams and a chaos team. This is the first time I have ever played dwarves, tournament or otherwise.
Game 1 vs. Austin: 1-0 win
For my first game I was matched up with Austin, the son of one of the Niagara locals – at 12 years old he really impressed me with his maturity. He had painted his own team too and it looked really good. The poor kid did get drawn in a not so fun division (his Chaos + 3 dwarf teams) and to make matters worse once he was finally done with his division games, he played the final dwarf coach at the tournament in his 4th game! He had played about 5/6 games of blood bowl but this was his first tournament game ever.He started off by kicking to me, and I tried not to take forever to score so he can at least get a chance on offence to see what he liked. His dad does play dwarves as well so he was familiar with the team. I think I scored on my turn 6, giving him about three turns to attempt something which didn’t quite come off. During the first half he impressed me a couple times with going for a slightly riskier play with better rewards. The best was I had a trollslayer marking a beastman on the sidelines, and instead of dodging away on a 3+, he dodged into the trollslayers tackle zone directly across from the sideline! If his next turn hadn’t of ended abruptly, I’m sure he would have surfed that dwarf.
In the second half I kicked to him and there ended up being a huge scrum right in the middle of the pitch. He would inch forward a bit but it started to get too congested. Some super bad luck hit him over a couple of turns. First he blitzed with his minotaur and went down after failing his loner to reroll a skull/both down – then to rub salt in the wound I the minotaur got casualtied. Next turn he handed off to a beastmen at the front of the scrum and was considering just dodging through, but after some discussion we both felt using his blitz at that point was a better idea due to horns getting him 2 dice. He made the block, knocking down my dwarf and dodged away, but somehow fell over. I could only put a tackle zone on the ball, but while he managed to pick it up – he unfortunately failed a GFI and dropped the ball near my endzone. My runner then spent 3 turns failing to pick up the ball – and there was a period of time where I was really nervous that would give him the tie, but unfortunately for Austin he had been forced to use his rerolls early in second half and he couldn’t string together enough plays to score.
Before game 2 you got 3 skills rolls on random players. I got a double on a blitzer and gave him dodge, I got +ST on a blitzer and a normal on a blocker who got guard.
Game 2 vs. Matt V: 0-1 loss
Second game was against Matt and first of two games versus dwarves. Matt beat me once before playing dwarves vs. my dark elves (also at the previous Warpstone Cup I attended) but that seems to have been the only tournament he played dwarves prior to this one. He is a very strong coach though, having won several tournaments including Chaos Cup 2010 and Zlurpeebowl VI with a large smattering of other trophies. Matts team was similar to mine but I think he ran 1.1M and had a 12th player + some FF/AC/CL
Matt had a magic item that gave him “Side Step” and had 2 guarders and a piece with diving tackle. He won the coin toss and received. I chose a card as inducements and got “kicking boots”, which I put on a longbeard (dirty player, kick, -1MV). He went first and knocked my LOS down, then in my first turn I blitzed with my trollslayer, knocking down his trollslayer then attempted a foul action with the kicker, only to roll double 1’s and get ejected immediately. 10 men for 14 turns – ouch! I did pretty well at keeping his cage from staying solid or getting too close to my end zone. I then pulled off some crazy dodging with my blodger blitzer to throw a 1 dice block against his unskilled runner and knocked him down – popping out the ball. He managed to recover it but in his last turn he tried to blitz with the runner and went down himself. First half ended 0-0
Second half he kicked to me and I held the ball deep in my end for a few turns trying to get a numbers advantage or at least break a hole in his defence. It was pretty 50/50, until maybe around turn 6 when I freed up my blodger blitzer near the LOS and then attempted a hand off, which if it had come off – would have meant I could run the blitzer away and have a very strong chance of winning the game. Unfortunately I failed the catch with a reroll and the ball fell. At this point I could still have pulled off a win with some real luck, but I should have just totally marked his runner who was downfield. Instead I left just one tackle zone on him and went for the ball. This was a mistake and Matt made me pay when he pulled of a 4+ pass, 4+ catch (in a tackle zone) then 3+ dodged away to score on his turn 8 of the game. A tough loss to take but I knew I was risking the tie when I didn’t blitz his runner. So in two games I have never beaten Matt (and funny enough of his 9 games with dwarves, 2 have been against me)
Before game 3 you got 2 skill rolls on random players. I got a normal skill on my blodger blitzer and took guard. I rolled a 10 on a runner and gave him +MV
Game 3 vs. Rob P: 2-0 win
Last game of division play was against Rob, who beat me in the final game at the Challenge of Q’ermitt to sweep all the trophies there. Rob had a very different dwarf roster, ditching a blitzer to bring a deathroller – yikes! He chose to kick to me and had his deathroller on the pitch. He also had a warpstone token which you are allowed to roll for, which can be used in several ways but are fairly unreliable. Nice for Rob though can be used as a bribe which works on a 4+. I took 2 cards as inducements and got “chop block” and “inertia dampner”. Matt was already guaranteed in the winners bracket as he beat both of us, so the outcome of this game would decide who else would join him from our division.
I received and began to push up the side of the pitch away from his deathroller after he blitzed to the other flank with it in his first turn. Then at the end of my second turn I used the chop block card to put his deathroller stunned at the cost of a prone longbeard. First few turns my blocking wasn’t great but then around the middle of the half my block dice heated up and wouldn’t stop throwing POWs for the rest of the game. I KO’d a longbeard and casualtied a trollslayer. Kept pushing forwards slowly and after a couple turns once his deathroller stood up, I threw 2 dice uphill against it with a longbeard with my claw magic item and after rerolling got a both down/pow result, broke it’s armour and stunned it again. Near the end of the half he made some nice moves to make scoring difficult even with MV7 on a runner, including blitzing with the deathroller to put it’s tackle zones in the easier path, but I got enough assists against it I got 2 dice with a trollslayer and knocked it down to score. Then I got even more luck when his bribe worked, but he failed the 4+ roll to bring back his KO piece, meaning he had to waste the deathroller in his one turn drive for turn 8. He tried to use dirty player but all he got was a stun.
Second half my block dice stayed hot and I would knock down 5-6 of his dwarves a turn. Eventually I turned the ball over, picked it up and managed to score a second TD late in the half. There wasn’t much Rob could do my dice were just too fortunate for him to cope. He took it with good grace as usual and wished me luck. So we are now 50/50 each with 1W/1L in our head to head matchup. I am discounting deathbowl games from this.
Before game 4 you got 1 skill roll on a chosen piece. I picked a trollslayer and rolled a normal skill – taking mighty blow.
Game 4 vs. Tom R: 2-0 win
The quarter-final match – I played against Angry Tom with his Orc team. This was the first time someone had inducements against me – he took a miscellaneous mayhem card which meant any crowd surfs against him were automatically just stuns. He won the coin toss and elected to receive. Stupidly, I completely forgot to give my claw magic item to someone in the first half!! I have played Tom three times previously. A draw at my first ever tournament, a win at the same Warpstone Cup I played Matt and a loss at Zlurpeebowl 8 this year. Now am back in the lead considering our head to head.
I kicked to him and I immediately thought he was playing a bit too aggressive. He tried to pull me towards 1 flank and then reverse, but in doing the pull I pushed a trollslayer up behind his lines to threaten and when he went back in that direction I think he was so focused on that trollslayer he didn’t realize he left his thrower open to a blitz from my other trollslayer. Even though it didn’t get the ball loose right away I think it rattled him and he rushed even more trying to get deeper into my half. I KO’d his only Guard piece (which refused to come back the entire game) and this definitely made his cage more vulnerable. I blocked open a whole and blitzed his thrower, knocking out the ball and picking it up. I pushed forward up the flank, and having over committed his black orcs, he struggled to slow me down enough and I was able to score a touchdown on my turn 8 giving him only 1 chance to attempt to get his KO guard piece back.
I remembered to bring my claw item for this half, and after receiving the kick – kept my runners deep to force his hand at over extending again. He was much more patient this half and tried to get me to rush it, but I managed to stay patient myself while I built up a solid position to attempt a long push. Once ready, I blitzed a play of his off my runner without the ball – ran up and handed off to him (using my reroll) – then I ran him up as far as he could go and thought long and hard about either continuing my intended play. It was near the LOS but I also didn’t have many pieces on that side of the board so I decided to keep going with the play even though it meant a pass and a catch with no reroll available. Fortunately for me my dice were still working with me and I made both rolls (each barely) – which meant I could run my blitzer way up and nearly out of reach. Tom made it difficult with a tackle zone (he didn’t have enough move for a blitz) so in the end I had to attempt a blitz with my blodger blitzer. I rolled a both down, and instead of rerolling that – went for the dodge away instead, which worked (can’t remember if I used skill reroll) and gave me a 2-0 scoreline. I kicked once more to Tom but held him up for the win.
Game 5 vs. Colin K: 2-1 win
The semi-final against Colin’s Commie Rats (who won best team!). This was the toughest game of the entire tournament – his upgrade rolls had been as good if not better than mine (ST3 gutter runner!) and his magic item gave him frenzy so he had two frenzy pieces as well. I have beaten Colin when he played skaven once – I think it was the first game he played with them at the Power of One tournament in Montreal. In that game I got 7 casualties against him so that definitely tilted the odds in my favour. Since then I have played him once and he has massively improved with his skaven. This year he has won/placed in many many tournaments so I knew I was in for a tough game. I got a couple inducement cards and got the “rabbits foot” magic item (Pro to one player for rest of game) and “greased shoes” (for one turn, his GFI would need a 5+ to succeed). I won the toss but elected to kick to him to go for a classic 2-1 grind. With this win I have taken over our head to head with 3 wins/2 losses.
Started as assumed, he managed to get behind my lines with gutter runners however I had him scared enough that he scored on turn 3, so I had 6 turns to score. After receiving the ball I gave my MV7 runner the “rabbits foot” and pushed up the right flank after his rat ogre got pulled to the left. There were several scares as I caged up and he would pop the ball out, only for me to knock out the ball again. Patience again was rewarded as I got the ball again and built a strong position within easy scoring distance on my turn 7. He put two gutters one square from sideline one behind the other to make that dodge difficult and then two blitzers three squares away from them to make going around them extra difficult. I got several assists against his blitzer including the runner originally carrying the ball (handing off to my MV7 runner) then used my ST4 blitzer to push his forward most blitzer out of the way to reduce the number of GFI my runner had to do to one. Fortunately for me he made it without needing to use pro and that evened the score at 1-1.
Second half I received but he rolled a BLITZ kickoff result… AARRRGH. I thought it was all over at this point, but I just about did enough when I lucked out that after my runner failed to catch a bouncing ball after I popped it out that my blodger blitzer failed the pickup but it bounced to my runner again who caught it the second time. (I completely forgot I could have used pro to try rerolling the first catch). Then my luck really came good as I KO’d or CAS’d about 4/5 of his players including rat ogre in two turns. I pushed up the left with a very strong cage right on the sideline – and this is when Colin almost changed the entire game. I thought I’d made the cage so that he couldn’t touch my ball carrier – which he couldn’t but he used a piece to fill up the space so he could chain push my ball carrier into the crowd!! Unfortunately for him the bounce was still favourable to me, and even though he could pick it up, he couldn’t move away and I was able to pop it free and score on my turn 8. I then kicked off to him for 1 turn (he hoped for a riot, I played my greased shoes card) and there was no riot so he just beat on my players for a turn and I was into the finals!
** Little note, Joe is a new buddy who moved here from Britain – he got a ride up with me and being in the finals meant our car definitely had 1st and 2nd place locked down. The third guy in my car was Alex who was in the bronze medal match, so if he won – all three podium finishes would be in the same car!! **
Game 6 vs. Joe P: 2-1 win in OT
The final match – I made it! Guaranteed 2nd place by this time so was quite happy but being only the second time I’ve been close to winning a tourney, I was really focused. I got a single card and picked a magic item which was a teleporting ring. I have some experience with it so I knew not to save it for something like scoring but to try and bust a cage with it. Joe was playing lizardmen but had taken tackle on 2 pieces since he had to play Alex’s dark elves to get to the finals, so that definitely helped me a lot there.
He won the toss and chose to receive. My block dice were still hot and I started to smack him around, then I used the ring to put a second tackle zone on his skink ball carrier. He managed to move his cage away, but I started to injure his players – he used his apothecary on his Kroxigor that I casualtied. Then I killed a skink outright. He scored pretty early because he shifted over to an open skink who was in the clear – but I closed him down enough with a runner to scare him into scoring. I then set about trying to destroy his team which worked quite well as I pushed forward. I made a small mistake which gave him a blitz opportunity – and unfortunately was unable to get even a single chain push to get someone in scoring range – so I went in at half time down 1-0.
He got about 1/2 of his KOs back and kicked to me. I just kept smashing him around as the block dice stayed hot and did some more KO’s and CAS. Eventually he just left his pieces on the ground so I couldn’t injure him anymore – holding on to go to OT. I scored on turn 8, he got a riot on the next kick off but couldn’t make it count when he double skulled. We went to overtime and he had about 6 or 7 pieces for OT, while I had lost a longbeard to getting ejected trying to foul out his skinks. Here’s where he made his biggest mistake in my opinion. For OT to be fair – one person receives and the other automatically gets a blitz result. He chose to receive thinking I would be too slow, but he didn’t tie up enough of my pieces so I got into his backfield and then his mistak got compounded by bad luck. He failed dodges and pickups a couple times, allowing my runner 2 chances to pickup the ball and score (first time I failed the 1st GFI, giving him a second chance where he failed to get the ball – second time I scored) so I won 2-1 on turn 2 of overtime and won the whole tournament!
** Joe got 2nd place and Alex ended up beating Colin 2-1 on the last turn of their game to take 3rd place – so all the podium finishers were in my car on the way home. An upbeat drive for sure!! **
As mentioned this was my first tournament with my new dwarf team so am obviously quite chuffed at how it all went down. They are definitely a strong team for low # of skills. I am going to have to be careful about which tournaments I bring them to now – since I beat a lot of very skilled coaches with strong coach ratings, my dwarf rating is likely to skyrocket! Am pretty sure I am going to land in the top 10 of all dwarf coaches in Canada.