GLT Winners Interview
GLN: Tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do outside of FUMBBL? When did you start playing Blood Bowl and when did you discover FUMBBL?
Reisender: My name is Daniel, I am 30 years old and I come from Germany, near the city of Cologne. After working in development cooperation for some years I am now preparing my PhD in philosophy - about climate ethics, if that is of any interest.
I started playing Blood Bowl about, let me guess, 15 to 18 years ago, with some house rules of a local league in Cologne. Lots of my friends still play tabletop, mostly Warhammer or Warhammer 40k, but since I lived abroad for a while and I always liked Blood Bowl most I gave it a try when a friend told me about it. That guy does not play here himself, so I actually do not know any other FUMBBL coach in real life.
GLN: You've won your share of Major qualifiers, but never made it so far as the finals before. Tell us about your run to the GLT victory. What was your favourite game and which was the hardest to win?
Reisender: Well, my rats had won some qualifier matches and FUMBBL cup games before, but this was the first time I really had them ready before a major tournament – the only time they were in better shape was at my first major, the FUMBBL Cup 2007, when I had the mot brilliant rat team you can imagine, with lots and lots of stat increases and doubles. Unfortunately, I was a n00b and got kicked out in round 1 then.
This time, I had 210k of gold and a full 15 rat team, so I knew I could get far with a little luck. I took Hakflem and the wizz often, which really helps to get through. The hardest game – this was probably the second qualifier match against Kenty´s awesome Necromantic side Sleeper in Metropolis. Kenty had the Count, awesome Werewolves and the obligatory truckload of dirty zombies. The first half was an awesome fight, finally I broke through and had a 1:0 lead at half-time, with one of the wolves fouled out. In half two my wizard helped to steal the ball quickly, and it was 2:0 with just 5 turns to go – I thought I had won already, but a quick score by Kenty followed by a blitz made it 2:2. Finally Freeenzrat Clawbearer, AG5 Gutter Runner and my teams MVP, 1 turned for the win. I probably would have lost overtime due to lack of players and rerolls.
My favourite game was the semifinal against Manp´s Wood Elves Terrible Dancers. I got bashed in half one, which forced me to a risky early score and to a very risky lightning bolt on defence. It paid off for a 2:1 lead at half-time, and in the second half my rat ogre forced a turnover for the decisive 3:1.
GLN: Rata Blanca is by far the team you have played the most. Could you tell us about the emotional bond you have with this team? Why do you like playing this team so much, and why do you like Skaven this much?
Reisender: Actually at one point, I retired all my FUMBBL teams – my Dark Elf team had been bashed badly, and with a really bad real life time on top of it, I went emo and wanted to quit FUMBBL. I retired all teams, but when the rats were the only team left, I decided to keep them. I just love the little suicide rats. *hugs pixels*. It´s nice to have a veteran team on fumbbl, since I really like the tournament scene and the smacktalk about the better known teams on FUMBBL.
Before I joined FUMBBL, I was a Dark Elf player – since the time when there was still a sprint stat, which made elves the fastest team in bloodbowl. I like fast teams, but wood elves are just too emo, so I ended up chosing rats.
GLN: Could you tell us about your playing style with Rata Blanca? Would you say you coach the team any differently than other Skaven coaches?
Reisender: Defending, I like to play the ball and I take risks to get it when I see a chance. If I have a wizard I tend to use it early - in my gameplan I want to decide the game as long as there are rats left. I love those risky moves, trying to get the ball and run. Of course, as all Skaven coaches will admit, there are situations when you have to play conservatively - the big challenge with rats is to know at what point you need to risk the health of your rats. But when the decision is difficult, I usually go for the risk.
When I have the ball, I like to stall for a half when I can, and when I outnumber my opponent quickly, I go for the blood and the boot. However, this does not always work for rats, although they can do a better job at it than most orc coaches might think!
I think there are several coaches that play a similar style. Others might play more conservatively when defending and score quicker when attacking. During the GLT, lots of nice skills on my gutters (2 dauntless, 1 +ST Tackle and 1 AG5 Leap Strip Ball) allowed me to play the risky game I love and attack the nearly every turn.
GLN: Rata Blanca has only the finest albino skaven players, according to rumour. Is this true? If so, is this never a problem when the team plays in heavy sun and has to endure major sunburn?
Reisender: The team manager is an obese albino rat ogre living in the deepest tunnels beyond Skavenblight, just known as the White Rat. The White Rat accepts only albino rats on the team - that may sound racist, but the rat ogre just loves the look of the blood on the white fur when they die in action. When Rata Blanca has to play uncivilised races that do not live in coy tunnels, the team trusts WARPBLOX 3000, the rat´s trusted sun blocker. WARPBLOX 3000 is made of the purest Warpstone, mixed with the blood of selected elven maidens, harvested by hand in the deepest forests of the old world. Try also WARPBLOX Green for the goblinoid gentlegob of today, and WARPBLOX CryptKeeper, keeping bones as white as if they just had been dug out.
GLN: Now that you have won the GLT, the team has been joined by a Chaos Dwarf Blocker named Moshbeard the Unwashed. Why a Chaos Dwarf Blocker, and are the other players accepting him in the team?
Reisender: Yes, Moshbeard is a wandering Chaos Dwarf blocker who could not find a Blood Bowl team because he is an albino. He turned away from his people, and since he took an oath not to wash himself until he finds a team and wins the FUMBBL cup, he was mistaken for a rat by the Rata Blanca management and hired. Anyway, he seems to be a fine choice since he draws lots of fouls so far. Alternatives could have been a Dark Elf Lineman or a Beastman. But since the player came with the Pro skill, the choice was a Chaos Dwarf since Pro works fine with the Block and Tackle that is there.
Moshbeard is accepted by the team. Early controversies about apo privileges have been solved with the death or retirement of all the team´s stars shortly after the Grotty Little Tournament. Moshbeard claims that he has nothing to do with it, and there is nobody left who would dare to doubt this.
GLN: What does the future hold in store for Rata Blanca? Is Rata Blanca looking forward to the new client?
Reisender: Rata Blanca loves the new client and will join the Fantasy Football Rumble as soon as the tourneys will take place there. It will probably be more difficult to sneak through the KO rounds there, with the teams trusted wizard not easily available within the new rules and not as powerful as before against low agility teams. There are two other goals for the White Rat - the most important is to try to win the Fumbbl Cup to raise our beloved thrower Raton from the dead - probably it wont happen but we will try. Of course, the rats will also compete in the Lustrian Challenge as a preparation for the FUMBBL Cup. Another project is to try to get a positive record against all races - we need to work on our play stile against High Elves, Dark Elves and Vampires, and get a first match against Halflings.
However, the team will look different. At the moment of this interview, only four GLT winners are still alive and active for the team.
GLN: What is the best way for an opposing coach to beat Rata Blanca?
Reisender: Do not expose the ball. Never. And kill them. Kill them all. Be a Vampire coach. This helps. Don´t be an Orc coach.
GLN: And finally, any advice for coaches who want to win a Major title, from the perspective of someone who just made it to the top?
Reisender: First of all, sacrifice something to Nuffle. You will need Nuffle for the times your brain fails and in those crunch times against equal or superior opponents. You will need luck to avoid all those killer teams or to survive playing them.
Second, manage your team well. Rata Blanca performed much better after I retired some skilled linerats and focused on the Gutter Runners and Stormvermin again. Tackle on two Gutter Runners and a strip ball leaper as a "tactical fear generator" (to quote PeteW) were crucial to beat all the elves on the way.
Third, if you are an agility team, use the wizard. Use it wisely and, yes, in my humble opinion, use it early. You can spectate so many teams getting kicked out of a tourney with the wizard still available in turn 16 - or using the wizard with three rats/elves left on the pitch.
Fourth, get a game plan and be ready to change it.
Fifth, sacrifice something else to Nuffle. You will need the extra luck, too.
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