Recently I was lucky enough to attend Gert Bowl V, the yearly Bristol based two-day tournament and the big brother to Bubba Bowl. It’s six games against some real tough opposition, and I was well up for it!
I was going to take High Elves (because they’re the Best Elves), but after examining the skill packet and talking to some members of the club, I went with Pro Elves instead. This is because I was thinking of giving my High Elf Blitzers side step, but as pro elf ones come with it already… Also, Av7 isn’t too much of an issue in a short range league, and the money saved on linemen let me buy another tasty reroll, so woop woop. I took two blitzers, one with Dodge and one with Strip Ball, two catchers, one with Dodge, a thrower with Kick and six linelfs, one of which had Guard. I also took Eldril, because he’s AMAZING.
Without further ado, Here’re some quick match reports for each game:
1 – vs Orcs (Rubick)
I’ve never played Rubick, but I know that he’s a very strong coach in the Vanguard scene. He came second with Humans during Bubba Bowl II. I’d also seen him play with a Dark Elf team before and utterly demolish an unfortunate Wood Elf player (Merrick, who we’ll meet later!). With that in mind, I was a bit worried! Still, this is a tournament, so let’s do this.
His orcs were tough, with a lot of Strength 4 on the field. Four Black Orc Blockers (BoBs), with Varag Ghoul Chewer. Four blitzers, and a few line orcs. Lots of block, a couple of Guard. This was a road block team, and with AV9 across the board I was in for some pain.
The game was one of the toughest I’ve ever played. Rubick is one of those players that is a cut above the rest, and you can tell. Every move is planned, not a player is wasted. You have to rely on luck, because in a game of pure skill, you’ll lose!
Saying that, with a bit of luck on my side, I was able to scrape a draw, and I was damn happy with it. From all the thinking I genuinely had a headache that night!
Result: 1-1 DRAW.
Total: 0/1/0. (W/D/L)
2 – vs Dwarves (Dreamscreator)
Hugo was another Bristol player, and the only one that I had had practice for Gert with. We had a game of High Elves vs his formidable Dwarves + Zara the Slayer that saw me steal a 2-0 victory. He had three Guard blockers, two Mighty Blow Blitzers and a Mighty Blow blocker. I remember, after out game, telling him to use Zara to carry the ball. At Agi 3 she’s just as capable as the runners, plus she’s a strength 4 Blodger. Without some sneaky elfiness, it’ll be damn near impossible to get the ball from her, especially as she is surrounded by Guard.
Hugo listened to my advice, much to my dismay!
The game was tenacious! My elves were getting killed left, right and centre, but thankfully Eldril was surviving against the odds. Even when being gang-fouled for three turns running he refused to leave the pitch. This was vital for my survival, as he was a lynchpin to my cage-cracking strategy. With a well place Hypnotic Gaze and a lineman with guard, my Strip Ball Blitzer could do his thing.
The game was 2-1 to the Elves (somehow) as turn 15 started, and an amazing Dwarven passing play (never thought I’d see the day) saw the Dwarves claim a well-deserved draw on turn 16.
Result: 2-2 DRAW.
Total: 0/2/0. (W/D/L)
3 – vs Humans (Buggrit)
The first non-vanguard opponent was Bert Buggrit and his Humans, ‘The Gert Pain Train’. Four blitzers with Guard or Mighty Blow, Ogre with Block, Mighty Zug… This was a team built for, you guessed it, PAIN. I noticed there were no catchers, though. I’m very much a grab-and-dash player, so in my opinion, Mv8 is indispensable.
My favourite part of this game was how Bert would declare his Ogre (name Mr Fibromyalgia (each player was named after a kind of pain)) would do something by first stating his name in a booming voice. “Mr Fibromyalgia is going to block!” “Mr Fibromyalgia is going to move!” “Mr Fibromyalgia is going to no nothing and have a poo on the middle of the pitch!” (there were lots of failed bone-heads).
Buggrit was a very sporting and interesting opponent to talk to, as he is very passionate about the independent miniature creators scene. Sadly, the dice were not with him on that day though, and despite playing solidly Nuffle granted me a 4-0 win(!).
Result: 4-0 WIN.
Total: 1/2/0. (W/D/L)
I was already beating my previous record at Bubba, so I was a happy camper. And somehow managing to not lose a game so far… It was something I never thought would happen! I wonder what day two would bring…
4 – vs Undead (Lunchmoney)
Lunchmoney, or Al, was the brain behind both Exiles and Speedbowl, and all I knew about him was that he could (and did) play fast. You’d barely have put your dice down and Al would have moved half of his pieces. I was prepared for a loss, because someone who runs not just one but TWO tourneys is bound to be a damn fine player.
Al brought an Undead team, bringing Setekh the Strength 4 Block, Break Tackle, Juggernaut, Regeneration, Strip Ball Blitzer with him. Eek.
The game was a fast paced stream of insanity, and Al was every bit as quick as I had heard. Somehow, Nuffle had blessed me again, and the Pro Elves managed a 2-1 victory. We finished way before anyone else, and it was good to have walk around to clear my head after that! Phew!
Result: 2-1 WIN.
Total: 2/2/0. (W/D/L)
5 – vs Khemri (Merrick)
Another Vanguarder (third in this tourney, we’re like magnets) Merrick is a mate of mine. He runs the Fumbbl league I’m currently in, and is a strong player. Not just strong in skill, but hugely strong in will, as I’ve seen him bring Ogres more often then not. It takes a special kind of strength to play Ogres seriously, and I admire him for that!
Mike brought his Khemri, without any star players though. Lots of Tomb Guardians with Guard, one with Mighty Blow, and two Mighty Blow Blitz-ras. How many more kill-them-all teams was I going to play against, I wonder?
Nuffle decided he hated Merrick before the first piece had been moved. I was given a Blitz on the Kick Off table right away, zoomed my catchers up and scored on my turn 1. Talk about unfair…
And throughout the entire game, not a single Elf was injured. An Av7 team! Merrick was utterly nuffled that game, which is sad, because he played Khemri very well. The very last thing Mike did was an amazing pitch-length khemri passing play, only to have n a Throw-Ra who had the ball fail his GFI literally on the touchdown line. What can you say to that?
There was a mini-prize for the best Khemri player (running joke at Gert), and I learned later that Mike won that by a single point, so despite Nuffle deciding to hate him, he still took home the illustrious trophy of ‘Best Khemri Player’. Congrats Merrick!
Result: 2-0 WIN.
Total: 3/2/0. (W/D/L)
With three wins and no losses, I was psyched for my last game. We were told by the Tourney Organiser that the top three tables (which included myself) all had a chance of winning. Talk about tension!!
6 – vs Orc (nazgob)
Another Orc coach, another very talented Blood Bowl player. This was an insane game. Put it this way. By half time, three of nazgob’s blitzers were injured. So was Eldril and my Blodge Blitzer. It was 1-1. What followed next was probably the clutchiest few turns of any game I’ve ever played. There were dub skulls, chainsaws backfiring. I remember failing a 2+ reroll dodge that would have let me blitz the ball carrier and possibly win in the second half.
Ok, lets fast forward to end of Orc turn 15. I had about 3 elves left on the pitch. 1-1 still. The TO had reminded us that we could win the whole thing.
Here’s the set up.
I have two elves that are remotely near the ball. The rest are too far away as to be irrelevant. Also, they’re stunned. So, I have a lineman being marked by two Black Orcs on the side, who is prone. I have a strip ball blitzer being marked by a Troll and a Black Orc. No succour there. The Blitzer orc with the ball had failed a GFI on the last turn to get where he was and nazgob had used his last re-roll to keep him standing. TENSE.
Now this is my Turn 16. There’s no way I can score, and it’s 1-1. This is the final match of the Tournament. The TO has told us the outcome of this game could affect the winner. I look at this picture for a long time, and eventually there’s only one option. It’s a ridiculous one. Here it is below:
I have no rerolls. No dodge. No nothing. To do a 4+ dodge, 4+ dodge, 3+ dodge, 2+ dodge, GFI, GFI, pushback-or-better. If you plug this into the Samba Blood Bowl Calculator it offers you a staggering 6.43% chance of success. Pff. Easy.
I declare the blitz. My opponent doesn’t seem too worried. I wouldn’t in his shoes. The blitzer gets up and makes the first dodge. Makes the second. Makes the other two. Already that’s two 4+s, a 3+ and a 2+. Makes the two GFIs, and throws the block. I’m not even thinking about how unlikely all that was. The result is a pushback, so the ball drops and scatters next to the orc on the touchline on square q6.
In for a penny though, in for a pound. I declare a pass action with my lineman.
The lineman gets up, dodges, dodges, GFIs and picks up the ball in a TZ like it wasn’t even a big deal. He fumbles the pass though, but it fumbles to the crowd who throw it towards the orcs…
It lands on a Blorc who fails the catch, but bounces towards a lineorc. Turnover Elves.
And in case you were wondering, that’s a 0.689% chance of success.
Nazgob just needs a pickup and a pass to score and take the victory. Three 3+s. The lineorc picks up, throws a perfect pass…
But the lineorc receiver fumbles the catch on a 1!
Turnover, game over, Tournament over! What a scorcher!!
Result: 1-1 DRAW.
Total: 3/3/0. (W/D/L)
I left the tournie with 3-3-0, which I was immensely proud of. This was my second tournament ever, my first being Gert Bowl. I walked away from that with a 1-1-2 record, so this was a vast improvement. I came 7th overall, and Rubick, my first opponent, took a well deserved victory. I later found out that if I’d won that last game, I would have won the whole tournament. Talk about close!!!
All in all, a HUGE amount of fun. I can’t wait for next year, where I still can’t decide whether to bring the Elves again or maybe go for something a little less… Elfy.
Bring on Gert VI!!