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2014-09-23 21:44:57
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Spike Major TT Tournament Review
Last weekend I had the chance to go to the Spike Tournament in White Rock (a "city" near Vancouver). It was great fun. Here is a review from my viewpoint. I hope you enjoy!

Earlier in the summer I had played my first NAF TT tournament in Calgary and had somehow managed to win it despite my low expectations. I had no illusions that I would repeat the feat at Spike as there would be some top coaches there, including some who had done great in the Chaos Cup the week before, but I just had to take my Averheim Plebeians (Humans) on the road to see if they could continue their success.

I arrived at Vancouver airport on Friday afternoon. Promptly I took public transport out of the city, taken steadily along highways further from a hub of civilization towards suburbia. After getting off the bus I walked on towards the weekend's mecca of Bloodbowl. Tumbleweed blew across the road while small children gaped dumbfounded at the foreigner stumbling through their peaceful streets. Eventually I found my way through the maze of parks and cul-de-sacs to a highway and faced my destination. Yes I had arrived at the monstrous Pink Palace (The Pacific Inn)! A weird place which looked like a biodome gone wrong inside, with tropical keyboard music and staff that were expert in disorganized service. Only fools and heroes venture here.

After some evening drinks it was time to enter the tourney arena early on Saturday morning. A good sized hall full of gaming tables was occupied by all manner of thralls to Bloodbowl. Professors, tax collectors, scientists and other deviants were all ready to go. An amusing and friendly collection of fellows all in all. It was great to meet the likes of Pythrr, Keggiemckill and Purplegoo in person.

I was using my Griff Oberwald inspired Human team again. First up I was on table 1 against Sean from Edmonton's Chaos Dwarf's (2014 Spikers). By coincidence he was also my first opponent in Calgary and I was thirsty for revenge as I narrowly lost against him the first time. Here his side had the fans with them for +2 Fame. The Cwarfs did a great long kick. I started my play rustily. The thrower scooped up the ball and handed off to Griff but after I forgot to continue move him after my hit in a blitz and didn't really position well my humans had a very ropey first few turns. But we got settled and repeatedly switched flanks, still on our side of the pitch. The Cwarf's Minotaur remained silent and unmoving on their side of the pitch, awaiting it's chance to sweep attack. We weren't making much gain so eventually Griff switched flanks again and got over to the other side, but only just in scoring range. I needed a GFI to give him adequate cover with a blitzer. Alas it was failed and snaked with the rr! All the maneuvering seemed for naught. A Bull Centaur got through to Griff, pushed him aside and that meant Griff was a pace too far off to score. The half was a failure.
But second half we got at the Cwarfs early. After a couple of equal strength hits there was space for Griff to blitz the ball carrier, and he expertly took the Hobbo down. He picked up and retreated. Things were looking up. But he wasn't well covered and a tackler managed to trip him up just as we were about to go on the attack. We were in danger again but Griff recovered the ball once more down our end of the pitch. There was still time for him to try a passing move to get to the other end but he couldn't pull it off and the game ended 0-0. Although disappointing not to win it had been a great, tactical battle. The Plebeians had been a bit weak as we only broke armour for the first time late in the match on a Hobbo though the Cwarfs didn't do more than a KO either.

Next up we faced Jimjimany's Wood Elves. Jim was over from England with Purplegoo, Joemanji and Geggster(I think), is a regular tournament player and legend rated on FUMBBL. I had once played him nearly 3 years ago on FUMBBL in a 3-2 defeat. My hopes of putting up a good performance against a fellow (and somewhat hungover) Englishman were quickly shattered. The Wood Elves blitz forward and put some pressure on. I decided to carry with Griff when arguably the thrower would have been a better option this time. Quickly a Wardancer came leaping in to our cage and stripped the ball from Griff's hands, and then took it into his own. Recklessly I had also left my tackle blitzer next to the treeman after our first hits and though the thing rooted it caused a crucial casualty to him. Griff went in to be a hero, he blitzed down the carrier and tried a dodge in 3 tackle zones rather than risk waiting for the Elves to pick up again. He was brought down in a heap and we were in disarray. Our mighty blow blitzer caused a casualty but it wasn't enough as the wood Elves were dodging about reliably and we were 1-0 down in turn 7 after a stall. Second half our kicker did a bad kick and we quickly became 2-0 down. Our next drive was also messy as the Plebeians looked round at each other confused. The icing on the cake before the Elves scored their third was a Treeman stomping over to a prone Griff and fouling him with his branches which ko'd the human star! A legendary action!

Next up I was facing Geoff's Underworld (Smallfellows). Straight up after the Smallfellows received we put pressure on the skaven ball carrier with both Griff and a blitzer putting a tackle zone on him. But it didn't work out as the thrower dodged away, did a pass forward and their side surged past us into our half. We had committed and were soon 1-0 down. We then received and moved up the flank, determined to be 1-1 at half time. I went for a risky stall with Griff with little cover, confident in his blodging ways. But some rats got at him after a dodge or two and the rat blitzer pow'd him down. Griff could still get us back with a good chance of recovery with a surf but he double skulled and then had a cursed loner fail which meant the skaven ko'd him! We were in a real pickle now but still a human thrower got in and took the ball, dodged and raced to the end zone. Then the second gfi failed and down he went! The old curse of gfi fails at crucial times struck us for the 2nd match. At half time Griff could not recover his sense so we rocked up for the 2nd half without our talisman. Still we managed to break through to the the other end and the thrower scored quite quickly. Meanwhile a gobbo was sent off for a gang foul. Griff then returned for the defence. For the 2nd time we surged at their ball carrier in their half and for the second they pulled off a passing move which led to their 2nd TD, and also their brutal claw troll killed our mighty blow blitzer. After that there was a riot taking up time leaving us with only two turns to score. We just manage the equalizer with Griff having to blitz his way through the Underworld line at the end.

So after a tough defeat and two disappointing draws I was heading further down to the lower tables. I now faced a skaven side (Kevin's Vernon Vermin). We kicked and a Rat Ogre injured a lineman. We pressure the receiver but he got the ball to a GR. The speedy, blodged up rat arrogantly raced forward on it's own. Griff with assist had a free 3 dice shot on it but couldn't smash it down and it scampered away for the score. After that things improved for the Plebeians with Griff scoring in turn 8 and us getting 2 casualties under our belts. Second half our side remained the stronger, racking up more casualties. As we got Griff to the end zone and whittled their remaining skaven players down in the middle of the pitch the Vermin coach threw in the towel and conceded. So we finished off a long and hard fought day with a win, before going off to consume numerous beverages.

2nd day I started with a Human grudge match against Tom from Ohio's Brutal Force. The amusing cursing from the opposite side of the table started as The Mighty Zug was stunned by a rock. We then started strongly with Griff sprinting forward and blitzing down their ball carrier. A great tussle went on through the first half but things didn't come off for us as an opposing catcher brilliantly took the ball back and dodged away. Though we momentarily recovered the ball we had another gfi fail and a double skulls so we couldn't keep it and our opponents got their TD in turn 5. One of our guard blitzers was also ko'd for a couple of drives. We scored back in turn 6 with Griff blitzing through a catcher and with the aid of a perfect defence (double layered on their player heavy flank with Griff sweeping on the other) we kept it down to 1-1 at half time. 2nd half we got the ball through their side and then stalled it out right to the end. Much taunting and banter was exchanged about what would happen if the stall was failed but we toughed it out with Griff eventually scoring for the win from an enjoyable match. Though there were a couple of close calls (the need for sure feet when changing sides and a 3dblock which included two skulls).

So then it was the final match and my Plebeians faced Dan from Edmonton's Halflings (Darkshire Raiders) on table 8. These Halflings were leading the stunty cup at that point with some wins under their belt and had Zara the slayer in their lineup so were not to be dismissed as easy pickings. Dan had a great surprise with free chocolates after taking away RRs with his Halfling Chef! The match started off brilliantly for my side with 3 Halflings taken out by blitzers in the first 3 blocks. I considered scoring early but decided to stall out to turn 8. We hadn't made more casualties but there had been a Halfling sending off and some were in the ko box while our guys were taking their falls well. Next half there were 10 players against us but Zara supported by Treemen was actually tough to stop. An early gfi fail when a blitzer ran at their first ball carrier spoiled our defence and Zara scored turn 5. But we had a couple more casualties against poor Halflings and set up with a player advantage for the last 3 turns which was quickly extended. With a last turn score we were 2-1 winners. The halflings suffered 6 block casualties plus two casualties from dodge fails this match. The defeat for Dan and a win for Damian meant Damian won the stunty cup. An experimental skink team were last placed and an exceptionally painted and converted Necro team were awarded best painted.

I'm not sure what position I ended up in yet but I think I sneaked in to the top 10 with 3 wins/2 draws/1 loss (edit - 12th after separated from 7th down by TD difference, though I did have a good cas difference). I'm reasonably happy with that record though I made some shaky choices, especially early on. I ended as the better ranked of the Calgary based coaches (Yeehaa!) but alas I believe 5th of the 5 Englishmen present. My only defeat was to Jim who ended up as the Spike Champion with an excellent record, so the Averheim Plebieans retain some pride. The top 3 places were all taken by Englishmen using Wood Elves.

This was a really well organized tournament. Again I thoroughly recommend anyone who enjoys FUMBBL but hasn't played a tabletop tournament to try it out. Great Fun!

Rate this entry
Posted by keggiemckill on 2014-09-24 03:50:53
+1. It was great meeting you in person Gary! I hope to see you in Calgary this year. :)
Posted by Balle2000 on 2014-09-24 06:11:56
Great write up. It's nice to read about the table top scene for someone caught out in the Blood Bowl desert that is Japan (have seen naught of neither Nippon teams nor the elusive Clan Eshin). Is Pythrr trolling everything you say in real life as well, or is he a decent bloke after all (I suspect so)? ;)
Posted by keggiemckill on 2014-09-24 09:05:58
Pythrr is a great guy. Loads of fun to hang with and better to drink with. Polish can pack down the booze.
Posted by Cavetroll on 2014-09-24 16:36:31
Sounds fun, thanks for the great write-up.

@keggie - pythrr is polish?
Posted by pythrr on 2014-09-24 17:27:27
PFFT. Bollocks.

Posted by garyt1 on 2014-09-24 17:59:07
Yes Pythrr was a great guy and didn't seem to be insane at all. Keggie too.