Angry man’s corner.
Section 3: Cool.
Here we on then, on the right side of the Cool Wall. These races are right in the gang, they’re cooler than ice, super-cool, Disco Stu-esq characters who we all wish we could be. Or something.
Norse (Cooler end of cool) : Firstly, Vikings are cool. History is a maze of races and civilisations of varying degrees of coolness, right from the sunburnt Greeks and English to the frozen Aztecs, and the Vikings are right up there with our sacrificial friends. Hardy drinkers, axe wielding pillagers. Lovely. If you ever called a Norseman uncool, he’d slice your legs off and make you watch as he made off with your girlfriend, so I’m not nearly silly enough to do so. Lots of armour seven and an interesting upgrade in the new rules; a rubbish Big Guy that occasionally goes nuts and kills all sorts of AV9 folk, a Thrower that seems to be an LRB4 hangover you’d never actually need (surplus positionals are cool) yes, they are correctly in the cool bracket. There’s also something magical and mystical about snow, isn’t there? Perhaps the biggest thumbs up for Norse is that they’re a low AV team that tries to outbash you; almost guaranteeing blood every game, everywhere. Genius. Not sub-zero because someone decided to gift them AV8. Plonker.
Chaos Dwarves (Uncool ish) : I can see I’m going to have to work hard to win some of you over here, wait a second, I’m Clarkson! Agree or you’re wrong. Here we have the coolest bash team so far. What we like about Chaos Dwarves is that they’re the nearest thing BB has to a team of sections that have to come together to function efficiently. Dwarves first, but plus mutations and hilarious hats. Anyone that is anyone knows that hats work. The more outlandish and silly the better – see the sombrero. You can’t pass a man in a sombrero and not think he’s got plenty going on downstairs. Then, Hobgoblins. AV7 so they’ll die, but the only AG3 on the team hence vital, lovely. Bulls – yeah, this one’s a tough sell. ST4 MA9 more or less, they’re a royal pain, but they do make a glorious BBQ after a swift boot to the groin sees one off, and I love a bit of meat. Finally, out goes the dependable Troll, in comes a useless Minotaur, good move for cool points, that. Wild Animals are cool in that they don’t always work, like the loved car from your youth you occasionally had to jump start and was held together with sticky tape, it’s romantic. If you’re going to run a bash team, here is your cool option.
Khemri (Depending on ruleset, either seriously uncool or uncool) : I hate _the man_. You know who I mean, dude, the gnarly man. He’s capitalist, he’s corporations, he’s celebrity culture, he’s tax, he’s raising retirement ages to 70 or above. He’s everything that Fight Club stood for until they attached Brad Pitt (BRAD PITT) to fight capitalist, celebrity pigs (seriously watch it back, that’s Brad Pitt saying those things). I’m an idealist. I believe in equal rights, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, that Communism was misunder… Well, let’s not go nuts. Khemri have been beaten, slapped down and had the nerf bat inserted so far up their rear ends that they’re a broken shell of a team. Yet they’re still here. +2 DP has gone, but they live on, Fouling because they’ve nothing better to do. The main problem Khemri had was being misunderstood. People thought this terrible team were too good (I say people, I mean idiots), and as such, made a terrible team worse, and I stand against idiots. What’s cool is that they’re still here, and more than that, they’re more of a real Blood Bowler’s challenge than ever before. Seriously, it’s a real man that makes his livelihood as a Khemri coach these days; my hat is off to these risk takers and crazy fools. Vive la resistance.
Vampires (Sub-Zero) : Ooooh, what might have been. What a near miss. Clearly sub-zero in LRB4 and in danger of dropping to -1 degree Kelvin breaking the laws of physics, we have Vampires. A team with Hyptnotic Gaze, people. A skill that can basically give a team more than one Blitz a turn. The fluff is magic too, you’re playing a sport, and then a dude in a cape walks over and says ‘Look into my eyes…’. Brilliant as a mechanic, perhaps the best rule in the game (after the Eye, sob). They can also kill their own team, a brilliant thing. They’ve a Star that breaks the rules for stars and turns up anyway, superb. Just a thing of team rule creation beauty, LRB4 Vampires were sex on a stick.
Fast forward to today, and what do we have? Only BH on OFAB. You can finish what you’re doing on OFAB. TWILIGHT HAS HAPPENED. It’s a sad, sad thing that’s happened to Vampires, but they retain their coolness. For now. As with all things, when they break into popular mainstream culture and are the subject of eight year old girl’s dreams, they are no longer sub-zero cool. We hope, in vigils of silent prayer, that they make a comeback.
Slann (Cool): Slann have so little going for them on the surface. When Perkins brought several ideas to the LRB6 meeting that were all rejected, I can almost taste the mad panic that danced in his eyes when he stumbled over that last idea; “Frogs, erm, from outer space?”. Delicious. I’ll bet he was cringing, expecting a good slap.
And yet here Slann are. Frogs from outer space is an idea that’s been presented as if we should go with it, knackers to how ridiculous it is. They have a positional player, a ‘Blitzer’ that is for all intents and purposes entirely useless until he gets at least three skills and is worth a minimum of 170k, or three rookie Linos give or take. So you never take him until you’re rich. That’s madness. They have borrowed a Big Guy from elsewhere, and everyone has the bonkers VLL / Leap thing going on.
But then you actually play with them, and they’re interesting. That’s what cuts through all of the stuff that just reads horribly about them, if nothing else, they’re riotous good fun and great to be around. The chubby girl who doesn’t care that she’s chubby and has a great time and a pie is cool, there’s no getting away from it. Kermit these guys ain’t, always interesting they are. In a World of Orcs and Dwarves, Perkins actually struck gold. I’m yet to see a Slann game that wasn’t mad. Cool.
Humans (Various, mainly on the cooler end) : “How do you like your average, Sir?” “Medium-average, please”. Hoomans. There’s something splendid about Humans, in a World where we have fantasy races (and Frogs from space, I know, still freaks me out too), it’s grounding and comforting to know that Humans are still in there, giving it all they’ve got. And what do they have? A mountain of 3s, that’s what. So what if the Blitzers are probably too expensive, Humans are the beige of Blood Bowl in stats and results only; they’re a tricky Jack of all Trades, and the game is enriched because of that. As Independence day taught us, even Will Smith can save the World without the help of Jazzy Jeff; that’s the beauty of Humans, we believe so much of ourselves, and we are capable of the sublime and the ridiculous. Your compatriots, your compadres, your buddies… Go Humans.
Necromantic (Cool) : Or as Darth Vader at the end of Star Wars III says, NECROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Ahem. Werewolves have got off pretty lightly in the Twiglet farce, they’re sort of still underground, dirty, hairy and cool. Thankfully. Necromantic are possibly the coolest of the dead races, fast, not all that great, especially at high TV, but fun. Whilst a Necro team was off being clever and developing Facebook, Undead are the idiots that plan their lives by it, feeding the machine. Flesh Golems are pretty cool, a positional +ST guy, not a hitty one, that’s novel, and only 0-2 Ghouls enforces a strong Zombie presence. That’s cool. Perhaps the best thing Necro have going for them is that they feel underground and underused. That’s always cool. You heard of this new band? They’re called Necro. They released their first EP on 100 limited edition disks. Cool, eh?
Lizardmen (Cool) : Lizards are a cold blooded cool bunch. Coach Gritter once had two Lizardmen teams, one called Smashy Dodgers, the other Dodgy Smashers. And that’s a pretty good summary. The very embodiment of little and large, these slippery characters are a really enjoyable mix of swift getaways and low agility strength. Perhaps the coolest Big Guy but one (so cool Slann nicked him, and more of the coolest Big Guy later), the Kroxigor is an intriguing mix of hit and tail. Lizards play so differently to other races, this individuality and unique style makes them cool. Plus, have you ever seen a lizard trying too hard? I mean their cool is effortless, they’ll play anything anyway, they’ll just get on with it. They’re French chique without the issue of being French. Skinks are essentially turbo Goblins, what’s not to like?
I’ll leave this section with one of my favourite Arnie lines. Arnie shoots alligator. ‘You’re luggage’. Classic.
Ogres (Mainly Uncool) : Here we have a newly cool team! What do you get when you introduce ST1 players with AV5 to Blood Bowl? Anyone? Hilarity! Add in six guys with the Bonehead skill? I’m reminded of all of those black rimmed pictures you get posted in forum threads with ‘Epic Fail’ as the tagline. You know the ones I mean, man walks into door, woman doesn’t realise she’s naked, silliness. Except, unlike those pictures, they don’t get dull after a while. They are the comedy getaway driver that needs Sat. Nav. The dancer with two left feet. The nerd game equivalent of a man falling over. And it doesn’t matter how many times you see ‘man falls over’ or ‘man is hit in face / groin’ in comedy, you know what, it still works. A terrible race harshly treated by the rules review (they fight the power with our Khemri friends), but they shine on perhaps the most important front. They’re now pretty damned cool.
Section 4: Sub-Zero
This is where it’s at. Men want to be them, women want to be with them, this is the pinnacle of cool. If you don’t have these races on your books already, you better had soon. Either that, or just admit you aren’t in with the cool guys. No-one wants that!
High Elves (Cool): In the absence of a Ninja or a Pirate Elf team, look no further than the coolest pointy eared guys going. When your girlfriend looks over your shoulder at what you’re doing (drawn in by you swearing at double skulls) and asks; “What on Earth are you doing”, you get to say with confidence, a puffed out chest and a song in your heart “I’m Blitzing with my Dragon Warrior”. Phwoar, you sex machine. Even though GW saw fit to rob us of the sexy names, High Elves still have so many cool things going for them over their pointy eared cousins. They’re a hidden treasure; whilst everyone has a German Dark Elf team, High Elves are much less seen. They’re mysterious and rare like a funny American sitcom. They have a hard start in life too, with so few skills, they’re tricky at low TV. What High Elves are is the race for the dreamer, the perfectionist. They’re never ever ‘finished’; HE always need one more skill. There’s always one Lion Warrior that needs a couple of TDs, one Lino that’s a bit gammy. Even though their snobbish aloofness indicates they might be, perfection is never achieved, but the pursuit of perfection (and what could be more perfect than the perfect High Elf team) is devilishly cool. Elvis Presley wishes he was a High Elf, and so should all of us. Never fear your foes with a High Elf team; play hard, play fast, and if all else fails, remember you’re the dude.
Skaven (Sub-Zero, voted the coolest team in 2008) : Crawling, scuttling deep beneath your feet, the mutated Rats of the Blood Bowling World. It’s hard to find a single roster member on the Skaven team with anything wrong with it. Gutter Runners, fastest player in the game bar none, can score any time even in one turn (just so we’re clear, chainpushes = cool. OTS things, seriously uncool, but you wouldn’t do that, would you?), but equally is super dead the moment something catches up. Line Rats, armour seven that can’t get away, glorious. Storm Vermin, quality name, bit of Claw / MB, but not too much. Rat Ogres, RAWR! Entirely overpriced, and the most easy to hunt down and kill Big Guy around. He’s also unique to the team, which is super cool. Throwers, well, meh, bit of Sure Hands, but at Linos! Skaven are a constant production line of squishable goodness, and they’re cool because of it. They can make something out of nothing, die, and then get replaced by cheap, willing fodder the next game, to pull the same stunt. Lovely.
Live fast, die young has always been cool in our western World. James Dean. Kurt Cobain. Jimi Hendrix. Sid Vicious. Buddy Holly. Bruce Lee. Countless, countless names have promised so much, given us a glimpse of sheer wonder and passed on, leaving us to only wonder how great it could have been. Add thousands of Skaven to that list.
Nurgle (Cool to sub-zero) : We begin with the concept of disease, and whether this is cool. I spent hours in school sex education lessons learning that disease was bad (m’kay), but at no stage did Nurgle’s Rot come on any of the videos, much as it sounds painful and worth warning the youth of today about. So I guess that means we can make our own minds up! Nurgle have always been effortlessly sub-zero cool. They have the coolest Big Guy in the game (again, unique to the team), his mission, to stick to you like glue and then reproduce for the team. What’s not to love about that? It’s the good end of one of those women from Jerry Springer. Nurgle are massively expensive and have the Dist. Pres. / F. App combo in spades, conjuring images of squeaky clean Wood Elves really hating their day’s play, it’s glorious. The team is so massively unique with the addition of Rotters, Warriors and Pestigors that you want to see one on the games page every time you load it up so you can tune in and be entertained. Ugly but cool, a trick few pull off. Infact, I can only think of Nurgle and Mick Jagger. Superb stuff, and it shows the rules guys can do it when they put their minds to it. Chaos from space?
Goblins (Cool) : Let’s go through the cool checklist from all that we have learned so far. Underpowered seems cool. Low AV seems cool to an extent. Teams that could do great things or implode with equal chance seem good. Weaponry – always good without exception. Roll that all together, and what do you have? Goblins. They are the antidote to the ruthless eight turn grind, to playing the game with a matrix of numbers floating past your eyes, to boredom. A race with rostered Ball and Chains, Chainsaws, Bombs and Pogo sticks can never be anything short of sub zero whilst no other heavy weapon teams exist. Goblins will bring madness, lunacy and blood on all sides to the mixer. If you lick a Goblin, your tongue will stick, freeze and shatter as if you were in a Wile. E. Cyotee cartoon. If you ever play in or spectate a Goblin game and you don’t smile through 16 turns, you want to check you’re playing the right game.
So, friends, we come to the end of the cool wall. Here is a summary;
Seriously Uncool: Amazon, Chaos, Dark Elf.
Uncool: Orcs, Dwarves, Undead, Woodies, Pro Elves, Chaos Pact, Underworld, Halflings.
Cool: Slann, Lizardmen, Chaos Dwarves, Necromantic, Khemri, Ogre, Humans, Vampires, Norse.
Sub-Zero: High Elves, Skaven, Nurgle, Goblins.
I must leave you now, I’ve more cars to drive and more people to insult. Get playing BB with a sub-zero race, and we’ll all salute you. Remember: cool is everything!