The Southern Wastes League
What's all this about the Southern Wastes then?
While the exploits of the heavyweights in the ranked division are well documented, there are many coaches who dislike the open format, with all its talk of cherrypicking and recovery games. There are many leagues running in the unranked division that are setup much more like a conventional sporting league, with a set schedule and a race to the finish line regular season, with the winner being determined either by first past the post ala Premier League Football or via some form of postseason, such as in the NFL.
Many of the largest and most successful tournaments are organised along national or regional lines. The Southern Wastes League (or SWL) is an Oceania region league populated mostly by Australians and New Zealanders, though we also have or have had players from Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
Given the difficulty of overcoming the large time difference between Oceania and the rest of the world to play in tournaments, its no surprise that like minded coaches have banded together to form one of the longest running, largest and toughest leagues on fumbbl. Due to that time difference though, we're probably one of the more insular communities on fumbbl, not overly likely to be noticed. This article aims to give you a bit of an idea of whats going on down in the SWL.
The SWL currently has quite a number of different divisions, much the same as the larger fumbbl community.
The core of the SWL remains the original SWL scheduled leagues, commonly called the divisions. We currently have 58 coaches in our divisional leagues, with Premier, Conference and Regional levels.
Regional is our newbie division and has a TR limit of TR150 applied before each season begins. This gives newbie teams a better chance against the older teams, but the first season is generally about survival and preparing your brand new TR100 team for a challenge for promotion in their second season. This also tends to sort out the less dedicated coaches, so that the completed games rate of the league is very high. There have been a few coaches promote in their first season though, and some of those have even gone straight to Premier in three seasons and done quite well! Being our most varied league, Regionals tend to have a different structure each season to accomodate numbers. There are always at least 6 promotees however.
Conference is the next level up and this is where the meat of SWL competition is. We currently have 3 Conferences and will likely look to expand to 4 in the next few seasons. Coaches in the Conferences duke it out for the right to challenge for all the glory in Premier and to avoid the shame of relegation (and its accompanying TR hit!). Conferences are capped at TR200, and we generally have a solid mixture of TR. Conferences only have 4 promotion spots available unless we have a Premier coach dropout (which is quite rare), so competition for those spots can be quite ruthless.
Last of all we have the pinnacle of SWL - the Premier League. To even make it to Premier league is an accomplishment many coaches in the SWL will never reach. Staying there is even harder, as 4 teams are relegated each season. Premier league has an unlimited TR, but the sheer ruthlessness of the competition and the quality of the coaches tends to mean TR maxes out at around 250 in an environment where recovery games are few and far between (and generally accomplished due to a serious bollocking in your opponents previous game).
Divisional play also has a number of rules to promote a diverse group of teams and playing styles. We have two methods of limiting races. We have a maximum number of any particular race and a maximum grouping of teams into three categories based mostly on how much damage they can put out. This helps ensure that the league remains reasonably balanced, especially in conjunction with the quite ruthless promotion and relegation combined with the preseason TR caps.
We have a draft at the start of each season to allocate races to coaches receiving new teams, either because they've just joined or they've decided to make a fresh start with a new team. We take their list of preferences for teams and cross reference them with the availability of the teams on their list. The actual order of the draft is determined randomly, with more weight given to newbies so that the veterans don't dominate all the good races.
SWL is currently about to start its 16th season, with the draft complete and due to start on September 4.
Our current two-time defending champions are the German Vermin, a Skaven team coached by Symmetrical. They've had a number of clashes with the previous two time champion Vanguard of the Southern Ark, a Dark Elf team coached by Snorri, whose Dark Elves you might remember from the Warpstone Cup. If you're available at the strange hours we normally play at (generally around +10 GMT) and looking for a quality game to spec, you could do worse than to look in on an SWL Premier fixture.
SWL also has it own mini-Ranked division called the Fringe, where SWL coaches can run riot with whatever strange ideas they have for tourneys or just organise matchups quickly in a place where they know lots of people. This group currently has over 400 teams!
The SWL and its associated leagues are maintained by a group of 9 admins, who do all the needed tasks to keep the league running and also debate on and decide what changes to the structure need to be made.
We have our own forum posting for coaches to make fluff posts about their team, all made in character with each coach assuming a favoured reporter persona and other colourful characters.
We have our own wiki at http://swl.kicks-ass.org/swl/Southern_Wastes_League, where you can find extensive records and stats for each season, our hall of fame, award winners, links to our rules and all sorts of useful odds and sods.
The wiki is fairly new and the coaches of the league are still playing around with extensive bios and such for their teams, tactics articles and whatever else we can think of to go in there. Just don't ask about the buckets!
All in all we do our best to provide ways for all dedicated Oceanian Blood Bowl coaches to enjoy themselves, no matter what style of play or focus they prefer.