Last weekend was my 4th Calgary Powtown tournament. It is always a great fun event with friendly coaches and challenging matches. This time despite no one being able to make it across from Vancouver or Regina we had a record turnout of 32 coaches from across Alberta, boosted by newish players who have taken up the game since the latest GW releases. The Alberta BB tournament scene is in good shape with various tournaments each year.
I had success here in 2014 with Humans and I decided to go back to what I know. I dusted off my 1990s models once more – “The Averheim Plebeians”. But this time there was an increased allowance of 1200 TV not including skills. For tier 2 there was 170 tv worth of skill on top. Plus coaches could choose up to 3 of any particular skill instead of the usual 2 limit. Along with the current star player options this looked a very good scenario for humanity. This meant I could go with a similar roster to my previous Human entry but perhaps crucially have a Block Ogre instead of a lino, and also swapped a lino and coach for a (now cheaper) Catcher.
All in all I had:
Griff Oberwald (Oh yeah!)
Block Ogre (bring on the both downs!)
3 Guard Blitzers (blocking control)
Tackle Blitzer (anti-pesky dodgers and stunties)
Leader Thrower (we need rerolls)
Blodge catcher (fast option)
Kick lino (some control on the opposition drive start)
3 rookie linos (12 player total).
1 team reroll.
There were 5 human coaches all together with different setups. I was very happy to get 3 Guards along with the Block Ogre to make my team reasonably solid, along with having the great Griff and an option of the fast Blodge catcher. Kick can be very helpful. Either delay the opponent or go short for increasing early steal chances. Overall my team had reasonable speed and power. But of course no apo, just 1 reserve, only 1 mighty Blow (Ogre), no block on thrower, and only 2 rerolls including the leader were weaknesses. I saw Zug on an at least 1 other team and some coaches favoured more catchers.
Match 1 was a random draw and I was up against Luke’s Nurgle – The Converts. Luke has only been playing a couple of months so of course this was one I would expect to win. But he actually played well and am sure can become a strong player. Immediately I gave the new guy a sucker punch by using kick to kick short and then getting a blitz result! My thrower then advanced and caught the kick. The thrower had no problem to score soon with some cover. There was sweltering heat in the area and both my Ogre and the Beast of Nurgle were sweating too much to come back on. Luke did some blocks before protecting his carrier and after a Nurgle block fail we blitzed the carrier and Griff picked up. There was no mercy as Griff and co then stalled and made it 2-0 at half-time. We did however have some of our players laid up in the cas box. It was 8 v 8 players in the 2nd half. We got a quick snap and switched sides with our drive. We advanced but some players suffered as only 3 of our players were left on the field by the time we reached the endzone after taking hard hits. Griff urged our thrower to get the 3rd quickly. Next kickoff the Nurgle side were determined to concentrate on hitting us and after a Nurgle both down fail Griff was able to run in a 4th TD. Luke had some tough rolls but he set himself on the way to eventually getting the Most Casualties caused prize (22).
After a fine pub lunch break it was the 2nd match. I faced Jack B with his Wood Elves (Damn Treehuggers). I don’t face Wood Elves much but they make me uneasy with their leaping wardancers. Of course they had Wrestle and Stripball players. My thrower doesn’t have block but having his sure hands and then 3 Guards were going to be key.
There was pouring rain though an Elf picked up the ball. But he was left just in Griff sprint range and Griff duly blitzed the carrier to the ground. Still the Elves pickup the ball nicely again and go for a pass. But our Ogre intercepts! Well this didn’t stop those Elves yet as they strip balled the Ogre and again got the ball. They then get near our endzone corner and again Griff blitzes, this time taking out a Wardancer. The ball just stays on the pitch. Time was running out with either 1-0 for the Elves or a successful defence by the Humans possible for the half. We just managed to put enough cover on the ball and this time an Elf cannot pickup that wet ball, so close to the endzone. 0-0 at half-time.
2nd half we did a slow advance with 10 v 7 players. The remaining Wardancer had a couple of leap attempts but he couldn’t do enough with our thrower carrying and Guard blitzers around. The Treehuggers did cause a little panic by taking out one Guard but we had enough players left. In the end a satisfying 1-0 win.
3rd match on top table was against Justin G’s Underworld, the Warp Pit Wailers. Not a race I would expect to be performing so well but they had a good coach and a nasty set of skills in their repertoire, along with the small matter of Morg in their lineup. Immediately our Ogre was taken down and then cas’d by a dirty player gang foul. What a start! But the Underworld didn’t continue their success as their Troll both down’d. Our blitzer in their half was then able to pick up and score an early TD. We kicked and Griff then had a chance to run and blitz their carrier. But he snaked a gfi and was then gang fouled. It didn’t phase the hero as he then got up, dodged out and regained the ball. He was taken down again but the ball scatters to a Human blitzer. Good fortune that then led to the Plebeians stalling out the half with the score 2-0. The Wailers did try a Goblin throw to attack the carrier but the little guy fell flat. Griff had also been surrounded as Justin delighted in trying to kill him, but Griff just kept blitzing and dodging his way out of trouble.
2nd half we were confident and eventually scored after a handoff for 3-0. The Wailers still wanted a TD and they got the ball to Morg. We put bodies in his way but he eventually dodged clear, only to fall in the endzone! Fun match.
So with 3 wins we came up against the only other team with 3 wins from 3. It was astonishingly Dan’s Ogre team (Kayfabeshire Stampede). Of course this seemed a great opportunity to get a crucial 4th win.
They had 6 Ogres including 3 with Block to give them a bit more reliability. I know myself from FUMBBL that using Ogres is usually extremely difficult and they really need some luck as well as good coaching to do well. A few boneheads in a turn can kill the side, especially if snots are taken out too. But it seemed this side and coach were special. It turned out to be a grueling game for me and the Plebeians. Well it was fun but we just couldn’t make the breakthrough. The Ogres received and marched down the field. They had cage and screening Ogres, and kept some snots protected. We took a couple of snots out but not enough and couldn’t hurt their Ogres. Meanwhile our Ogre was confused as he saw some so many of his race facing him. We were losing players to KO hits. That turn of multiple boneheads didn’t arrive and it was left to Griff to do a desperate blitz before half-time. He dodged past an Ogre near our endzone and struck the snotling carrier. But no, just dodge pows (pushes). The snotling got their TD and with no time for me to come back first half. A very well done Ogre drive.
2nd half we were actually down a player or 2. The Ogres were spread across the pitch but we couldn’t get past their wall of tackle zones. I had the catcher with the ball. As we tried to breakthrough a handoff to Griff in a tacklezone failed. Griff then had a chance to dodge and pickup but he just could not grab that ball (4+). The Ogres were protecting the ball and next attempt Griff failed a dodge. He ended up ko’d while a triumphant snotling picked up the ball and went on for a very impressive 2-0 Ogre win. It was special to behold.
So that was a long and successful day of games finished at 8:30pm.
Next morning I was up against another Human team (Altdorf Albatross) coach, Tom, who is also from the UK. I had to win this derby match. Tom had Zug and a block Ogre in his side. Also with 3 Guard Blitzers. The teams were reasonably similar and facing a solid defence I did a couple of 1dbs to keep advancing early on. It was a shaky drive and my team got broken up but we took our opportunity to tackle blitz a catcher in their centre and put some players through the gap. Then we scored with Griff in turn 4.
Then we got a blitz! One blitzer got under the ball but the 2nd one fell over next to him with a snaked gfi. The ball was down but their thrower then fumbled the pickup. Griff blitzes, gets the ball and then stalls out the half in the corner for a successful 2-0 half-time score. We had caused 4 kos but they all came back next half. Otherwise Tom had been unlucky. But the game wasn’t over and despite a perfect defence an angry Mighty Zug blitzed and cas’d one of our linos followed by him then cas’ing a blitzer next turn. They were trying to move fast and a catcher dropped a pass but their lino ends up catching the scattered ball. Our Ogre couldn’t blitz him down and after a Catcher handoff and gfis they get a TD back. There were a few turns left and with some of our players missing it was a worrying time. We ended up having Griff flee with the ball and just managing to cover their attacking players enough so they couldn’t get at it him before the end of the match. So I squeaked a 2-1 win in another fun match.
It was time for the final round of matches. I was 2nd in the standings behind Dan’s Ogres, who had just tied with Lair’s (Inner_demon) humans. Now I faced Lair for another human matchup. Lair is a strong player who I had a couple of wins over before, so he was out for vengeance. I was of course hoping for a win and the Ogres not to win their match.
Lair had Griff in his lineup too. I’m not used to that! He had 2 Guard Blitzers, a tackler, and a frenzy but also 4 catchers. He had more speed but I had more hitting power which I was thinking would slightly favour me as the catchers are still just ag3. There was pouring rain so for a change I chose to kick. Their evil Griff picked up the ball though and their side were moving side to side in their drive. They did well and scored quite quickly. We then had a tricky drive but our Griff pulled 1 back. I really wanted to stall 1 turn to reach turn 7 but just couldn’t see how quite to protect him from a blitz as my players were too spread. So there was 2 turns for Lair to come back. A perfect defence made that look tough. But they took on a 1db blitz against one of my blitzers on the flank and crucially pow’d. That opened the gap and through a series of dodges and gfis 3 catchers had surged down my flank. Evil Griff had also picked up. My Griff blitzed down one of the catchers. Then we had 3 players on each of the other 2. But the lead catcher was able to get through just 1 tacklezone one way and he made it to the endzone! Then Griff sprinted forwards, passed and the catcher caught the wet ball for the TD! What a play.
Second half I was receiving but knew even a draw would be a challenge. Maybe I could ground out a 2nd TD steadily. My Ogre had two boneheads in quick success which didn’t help. But then another even more amazing play occurred. Their tackle blitzer came into our cage and -2db blitzed Griff. He got 2 dodge pows! The ball bounces around to stop in the space where Griff had been. A thrower then gets there and makes the 6+ needed in tackle zones for the pickup, before dodging out! That was a game winning move and possibly the best play I have seen on a TT game. Amazing to see but I was stunned. I was soon 3-1 down. I desperately needed two quick TDs and sent most of my team through the middle. I recklessly left my thrower in sprint range of evil Griff after pickup so I then needed a dodge to get away before making a big pass attempt. The dodge failed and it was soon 4-1. The rout was complete when the ball got stolen again, my Griff recovered it but fell on a gfi and then we ended up a massive 5-1 down. Emphatic defeat. Griff and co tried to kill evil Griff in the end but to no avail. Although there were a couple of amazing plays Lair played very well and took the risks that paid off. Better to see great plays than lose with lots of skulls.
Meanwhile Dan had beaten Jack P’s Undead 1-0. The Undead couldn’t pull off the 1db they needed last turn to equalize. So the Ogres had a 5 wins and 1 draw record to win the tournament!
So I ended in 7th. A little disappointing as I was 2nd after 5 matches but I can’t complain about losing to the winner and the runner up. All my matches were enjoyable. This is the third TT tournament I have used Humans in. Previously I was ranked 3rd for Human coaches in Canada and now despite that last loss I had a little gain overall that put me to number 1 with almost 179 rating. Success! I had been hoping to take that spot. Lair goes straight in at number 4 for Humans in Canada. Dan unsurprisingly goes to number 1 in Canada for Ogres (and 7 in the world).
All in all a fantastic tournament. A lot of great folks and the Sentry Box is a quality venue. Thanks to Lair and all the other organisers. The swag was impressive too and the wooden spoon Goblin player got a great painted team. Jack P makes great pitches. Hopefully we get people from further afield again next year to boost coach numbers even further, along with the new blood. If you can free up a weekend for gaming then Tabletop tournaments are highly recommended. More Blood Bowl!
Here is a cool video from a professional photographer at the event.