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 Issue 16 - May 26th 2515
Coaches Couch
by PurpleChest

GLN: So. We are here to discuss the new(ish) Dirty Tricks cards available to FUMBBL coaches. But first up let’s all say hello. Please introduce yourselves in the traditional way. Some sort of statement as to your BB experience and a random fact about you people may not know.

miyuso_: G'day, I'm Miyuso <brad>, I've been on FUMBBL for almost 12 years, and I've played games on 3 different continents and lost many of them.
Kryten: I'm Kryten , FUMBBL security officer and major winner. I'm here on pain killers from a recent knee surgery.
The_Provocateur: Hi, I'm The_Provocateur. I started playing Blood Bowl by proxy with Legos and poster board before I came to FUMBBL. I'm also from Alaska.
mrt1212: Hey Hey, mrt1212 , I'm up in Seattle, was first introduced to BB through Cyanide about 2.5 years ago? Have only ever played online but really want to play some TT. You may not know this about me: My other all consuming hobby is music.
Stimme: I'm Stimme . Newer to FUMBBL than many others, and made my way there through tabletop over Cyanide. I love that I am able to play it on my old crappy laptop in the living room. This significantly improved my relationship.

GLN: Let's go with a nice big bold opener. What's your favourite Dirty Tricks card, and why?
mrt1212: Every time I take a Dirty Trick I am always hoping for Pie. In true FUMBBL fashion I might add.

miyuso_: I love a good Spikey Ball.
The_Provocateur: My favorite Dirty Tricks card has to be Distract because it can turn the other team into Ogres.
Kryten: The Custard Pie, very nasty. Can be used by a prone player to gaze an adjacent opponent with 100 % certainty. Sets up a two die blitz on the very surprised ball carrier quite often.
Stimme: My favourite card is the Pit Trap.

GLN: Any downsides to the Pie? Sounds awesome!

The_Provocateur: It loses some of its lustre if you mostly play Vampires...
mrt1212: That's what makes the Pie so good, there's no potential drawback!
Kryten: The main problem with the Custard Pie is that it requires a player be next to the appropriate victim to launch the Pie. Sometimes this chance never really materializes.
miyuso_: Agree with Kryten, especially with low armour teams

GLN: Spiked Ball is fun for sure, but I’ve seen a bash team choose not to play it. Would you? vs Elves? vs another bash team?

miyuso_: Spiked Ball is great for a second half against bash teams who are down.
The_Provocateur: I don't find Spiked Ball to be very useful at all unless it’s raining and my opponent has bad ball handling.
mrt1212: Spiked Ball I would always play but unfortunately I've rarely seen it do something useful. Most teams at higher TVs have the tools to mitigate the fail.
Stimme: I agree with The_Prov, it is one of the more boring / uninteresting ones, especially since it is only for one drive.
Kryten: I would feel obligated to play the Spiked Ball for my opponent's drive. I paid my money, I'm gonna use it! If the Spiked Ball actually hurts one of my players, that means my opponent's drive is going badly. miyuso_: One drive can make all the difference.

GLN: OK. Im not sure you've sold us there miyuso_, let's move on to Pit Trap then, it's certainly an eye catcher, is it as awesome as it seems?

mrt1212: If only it was at the start of your turn.
Stimme: The big drawback is definitely the fact that you use it at the end of the turn.
miyuso_: It's an end of turn Wizard.
Stimme: But then, you can free up the ball, especially if he hugs the sidelines.
Kryten: Pit Trap is awesome, but your opponent has a chance to react. The best use seems to be knocking over the ball carrier after marking him with multiple defenders, or knocking down a player who can no longer reach the end zone in time.
mrt1212: I scored early in a game, kicked deep, and then Pit Trapped the only player in the vicinity while I moved my Gutter Runners near adjacent. As Elves or Skaven it can be cruical in securing a 2-0 lead at half, If you elect to receive first or the opponent makes that choice for you.
The_Provocateur: Pit Trap is most useful when you're trying to isolate a non-Elf thrower in the backfield.

GLN: OK, let's flip it. which card makes your heart sink? what's the crappy card?

mrt1212: Stolen Playbook without a doubt. Shadowing isn't applicable to most teams in terms of odds. And Pass Block isn't either.
miyuso_: I'd rather that than Chop Block.
The_Provocateur: Gromskull's Exploding Runes, it looks fun but you lose a player when you do it and it has a tendency to backfire.
Stimme: I had also very sad moments with Exploding Runes on a Halfling team. It is basically only good for kamikaze actions.
mrt1212: I suppose I suffer from playing Elves and Skaven so often where The Exploding Runes are really fun. That and once having and AG5 Accurate Thrower on The Italo Disco Kings BBL.
Kryten: I feel the Illegal Substitution is not very good. Although it can get one of your scrubs onto the pitch, he can only take a move action on that turn.
mrt1212: Illegal Substitution is great in this context: Your superstar Wardancer with all the fancy tools inexplicably gets Badly Hurt or worse and you use your Apothecary to heal. Bam, he's back in the game and maybe your drive isn't looking like it's going down the toilet!

GLN: Chop Block looks hard to love. When would it be useful? I assume we discount having unused players next to the ball?

mrt1212: Chop Block is great if you're being marked by a ST5 player with tents.
miyuso_: Only if you didn't use said player last turn!
The_Provocateur: Chop block is good if you have a low agility guy next to some stronger anchor player.
Kryten: Chop Block looks tricky to be really effective. Perhaps you could chain-push one of your unmoved players next to the proposed victim to make it work?
miyuso_: I don't leave players unused!
The_Provocateur: You don't play enough Vampires. ;-)
mrt1212: Against a Nurgle team, that Chop Block is going to be used.

GLN: Stolen Playbook does look utter toilet, but 2 shouts for the Exploding Runes? What’s not to love in raining death from the sky? Can’t maybe an AG5 Elf make good use second half?

mrt1212: Absolutely. But it's perhaps too team specific like some of the other cards are. The_Provocateur: It’s too situational, everything can be useful in a certain situation.
Kryten: I have left the Runes unused before, because my bench was short and I was afraid to lose a man to a quick touchdown.
Stimme: I find myself using Dirty Tricks most often on stunty teams, which suffer the most from the additional -1 to pass roll.
Kryten: One other interesting consideration from the poor cards: You can leave the card face down and threaten your opponent with an imaginary Custard Pie or Pit Trap.
The_Provocateur: I agree with Kryten; sometimes fear of the card is better than the card itself!

GLN: Does card fear work as well online as RL? you can't pick it up and grin, for example.

The_Provocateur: You can taunt your opponent in chat though, but the lack of visual is a hindrance.

GLN: Admins talking up 'taunting opponents'?! Tch tch. So, mrt1212 spoke of an Illegal Substitution to return players to the drive. That flexibility (add a 12th or return a player to the drive) makes it a good draw yes?

The_Provocateur: I like Illegal Substitution, if you have good armour you can outnumber and possibly out bash your opponent.
mrt1212: A team like Orcs with a dedicated fouler can really benefit from the IS card.
Kryten: The ability to replace a Badly Hurt star in the key drive of the game could be excellent. Again, heavily situational.
Stimme: I have had good experiences with Illegal Substitution against non-agile teams that managed to send out the ball carrier by himself.

GLN: It should be noted the FUMBBL client does not allow heat exhausted players to use Illegal Substitution to get onto the field. On TT it may.

GLN: Some cards haven’t cropped up, maybe we needed Calcium to talk up Blatant Foul. in a world of ClawPOMB, isn’t a Blatant Foul the answer?

mrt1212: I find that a lot of people are afraid to foul. And in general people don't build teams around the premise.
The_Provocateur: Unfortunately Blatant Foul can only be used once per game. I want to foul ClawPOMBers more than once.
Kryten: Blatant Foul could be a wonderful suicide cheap shot. Go ahead and foul in three tackle zones, you know it's going to work anyway. The problem is that you play the card at the beginning of your turn, and could still be sent off for the injury roll.
miyuso_: And can make your situation worse.
mrt1212: The higher the TV the more that value pays off.
Stimme: I agree, it is for sure one of the less interesting cards.
The_Provocateur: While not overly interesting it can be useful for a key stun/injury without devoting too many resources.
Kryten: On the flip side, if your opponent's legendary killer is prone then it is time to seize the moment and roll for injury.
miyuso_: I play a lot of league, So I need to win more than kill ducks.

GLN: Greased Shoes or Kicking Boots? which would you want?

mrt1212: Kicking Boots.
The_Provocateur: Kicking Boots if I have deep reserves and Greased Shoes if I don't have many players.
Stimme: Tough call, but Greased Shoes is fantastic for teams that stall until last turn with 1 or 2 GFIs to score. Also, lots of my teams have a Kicker.
mrt1212: Greased Shoes saved me in a recent game. It feels like almost every game as Elves/Humans/Skaven there is one integral GFI your opponent must fail.
Kryten: the Kicking Boots are far more likely to be used, but the amount of impact is lesser. Greased Shoes played on the right turn in the right circumstances can be ruinous to an opponent trying to get into the end zone on time.

GLN: mrt1212 making the case for both sides of a binary choice there.

GLN: On then to the Witches Brew, is it the fail rate that prevents it having fans?

Stimme: I had a fun game once against a Wood Elf team with a mighty Really Stupid Wardancer. I find it not such a bad card to play on for example a dedicated ball carrier.
The_Provocateur: I think Witches Brew is great because most teams now-a-days are focused on a small core of players. If you can disrupt one of those core players every turn for a half you vastly reduce their team's efficiency.
mrt1212: I've been a victim of Witches Brew really badly only once. It’s a card I wouldn't want to have in my hand but it's not one I would want my opponent to have either.
Stimme: The_Provocateur and me still suffer from the aftermath of our year-long brainlink.
The_Provocateur: The Meld has some lingering effects...
Kryten: The Witches Brew is a great card to throw on your opponent's main ball carrier or important player. Forcing all sorts of extra 2+ rolls can really add up on a drive. He'll probably have to play a different strategy to exclude the stupid player from doing important things.
mrt1212: Kryten: An opponent used the Witches Brew against me yesterday. A key failed really stupid roll nearly cost me a touchdown.

GLN: Hopefully everyone has stopped reading by now, so it's safe to talk about Distract. Only Prov picked it as the best card. So, are you all crazy? its AWESOME (my view has nothing to do with seeing all 11 Dorfs go Ogre one game).

Kryten: I have not been blessed with much experience with Distract. Can someone give an example of a good result from it?
GLN: I just did.
mrt1212: Playing Elves and Skaven the Disturbing Presence is more of a pain in the butt than the Bone Head. You can play around it with agility.
Stimme: I had an opponent used it against me once. 4 or 5 players got Bone-Headed, 2 of them rolled a 1. But it was no game-changer.
The_Provocateur: If your opponent and you lock into a scrum it can turn the tide when 3 players miss an important block. : it absolutely works better vs. teams that clump together
Stimme: One big difference is also, that these players won't have Loner (same for the Witches Brew). So you can always RR the Bone Head without penalty.
miyuso_: Never really come up against it.

GLN: Now let’s go wider. What’s the sort of game where i should think 'right, the answer is 2-3 Dirty Tricks cards'? When should I be reaching for them?

The_Provocateur: If you don't think your team is good enough to get a defensive turnover and you don't want to purchase a Wizard for some reason.
mrt1212: I'd also say when you have a numbers advantage so large that you aren't worried about KOs, if we're talking about 100-140 k inducements.
Kryten: My latest Brawl match was my Ogres vs Azure's humans. I took four Dirty Tricks as my inducements for maximum random shots at him. It was not a success, but it was a fun time.
Stimme: Which normally makes it more attractive to teams like Halflings, that can have troubles of getting to the ball against for example high TV Elves.
miyuso_: Games where you are in leagues which don't allow Wizards, and no good stars.
mrt1212: Stimme: , brings up one of the issues with Wizard which is "You used it, now what?" Some teams can, not shrug, but discount the damage a Lightning Strike does against a ball carrier or a key screener.

GLN: Now, I've been assuming that Magic Items, which no one ever seems to use, are the Canada to Dirty Tricks' America. Am i right?

miyuso_: More like the Danes to the Finns.
Stimme: They certainly lost a lot of appeal when the Dirty Tricks came out.
The_Provocateur: I think Magic items are comparably worse because there are more "dud" cards in the pool and the Dirty Tricks are newer.
mrt1212: Also, it should be noted that two of the most interesting cards in both decks aren't implemented in the FUMBBL client.
Kryten: The Magic Items don't contain enough surprises to actually swing a game. Only the Beguiling Bracers offer the kind of big result, the rest of them are fairly mild but reliable boosts to players. Not good enough for a random draw from a pile of cards.
Stimme: I sometimes take Magic Items. Mainly when I am typing in the chat window while the option pops up. And I accidentally buy one.

GLN: Some have said drawing the cards before other inducements is HUGE, allowing you to keep drawing or stop. Is it really a factor? Or as much a hindrance?

miyuso_: I must say, I plan my inducements, so I know how much I'm able to use on cards.
Kryten: I nearly always have decided before drawing a single card how many I will be purchasing, and the other inducements as well. The only exception would be a situation where I plan to draw four cards, and get the best two right off the bat.
mrt1212: If I get Pie or Spike Trap with 100 k I would consider a Babe but only against bash teams.
The_Provocateur: I think its a benefit for the people who plan ahead on how much they want to spend on inducements. You can see what cards you draw and what team functions you're lacking before you pick up Stars/Babes/Wizards.
Stimme: I find that inducements do (and were designed to) only make up a part of the TV difference. So it might improve them a bit, but I don't think it is a game changer.

GLN: OK, we're nearly done. Now there are probably anywhere up to 5 FUMBBLers still reading, what final thing would you like to say a) about Dirty Tricks cards and b) as a shout out to someone/thing on FUMBBL. Here is your chance to 'big up' and 'large it' or even pay 'due respec'.

miyuso_: Ncbb is where it's at!
Stimme: I just want to thank everyone who is participating in making this a fun and vivid place. I very much enjoy the community here.
The_Provocateur: I love the various inducement card functions in the game. They add much needed variety to a stale meta-game. Thank you Christer and Kalimar, I look foward to more decks being implemented!
Kryten: When Dirty Tricks were first introduced, I was worried they would be game changing and add a large random factor to the game. After many games with them, I would say they are priced well and provide some added fun to Blood Bowl.
mrt1212: Take a Dirty Trick and have fun with it. This game isn't always about playing perfectly. And a shout out to DA GREAT GOBBO for being there in our hearts and minds.

GLN: Who has made the most sense tonight?

mrt1212: Stimme: but he's on borrowed brain, or so I hear.
Stimme: Given the last sentence, definitely mrt1212.
The_Provocateur: The GLN reporter, he seemed to have most things planned out.
Kryten: Prov.

GLN: Finally then, is there anything I haven’t asked that really I should have?

Stimme: The greatest success and biggest fail someone ever had with a card?
Kryten: Most humorous play of a Dirty Trick card.
mrt1212: The most fun I've ever had with a card, at least in terms of pure "This is gonna rock" was when Kano on Italo Disco Kings BBL got Grom's Exploding Runes .
The_Provocateur: I think they pretty much covered it.

GLN: Thanks, they all sound like fun forum threads. Feel free to start them.

GLN: ...and good night!

During the Couch session the coaches were polled on three questions:

Q1: Not knowing any other factors and with 50 k to spend, Babe or Card?
Card 3
Babe 2

Q2: Same question but your team is Dwarves:
Card 4 ½
Babe ½

Q3: Would you ever have 3 cards instead of a Wizard?
Yes 2
No 3
But it should be noted one of the yes votes was ‘for fun’. :)

 
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