Last Thursday saw my quarter final match in the club Blood Bowl match. I'd finished fourth in the league and so was drawn against the fifth place team, JP's Nurgle team, the Rottenham Tight 'Uns. To say that I was wary of this match would be an understatement. The Nurgle team seem to have everything that is required to really make a mess of the Slann. Not only can they pummel to frogs into the ground (like most teams) but the disturbing presence of the Nurgle Warriors prevents the Slann from moving the ball effectively, and as annoying as Leap is, it doesn't help put distance between squishy Slann Catchers and slow-moving crumpers. Being unable to move the ball, as I found out in our league game, means that the Slann have to get up close and personal much more than I'd like to.
Despite this, I was determined to try to play fast with the ball and aim to score quickly and avoid the worst of the pummelling. We'll see how that went...
The 49ers recieved the ball and began to head down the left flank. The Nurgle team moved to block and so the 49ers switched to the right and caged up only to be fireballed. A beastman came pummelling through to grab the ball, but his following cage trip on a go for it leaving him exposed. The subsequent block sent him flying and the Slann had the ball again and switched over to the left flank once more. The putrescent tide swept across the pitch again and the Slann were forced to go for a pass into the end zone. The pass was successful (despite the disturbing presence of two Nurgle Warriors) but the catch was dropped. The Nurgle players again surged towards the ball and managed to get two tackle zones on the ball, the the third player tripped, fell and injured himself. With the ball still sitting in the endzone, the Slann Can't-Catcher leapt over the intervening Nurgle players and scooped up the ball from beneath their noses. 1-0 to the 49ers, two turns left in the half and ominously, three Slann were already in the injured box...
The teams set up again and the Nurgle team realised that they'd have to go for something ostentatious to equalise. Beastmean rushed through the line, Rotters scurried back for the ball and Warriors smashed faces. The Slann were able to hop their blitzers through the lines to strip the ball away and spoil any chance of the Tight 'Uns equalising this half.
Once again the teams set up and the Slann were bracing themselves for a beating. However, their fans stormed the pitch, stunning all three Nurgle Warriors on the line. The 49ers had a window of opportunity. Realising that they were vulnerable, for the only time in the match, the Tight 'Uns elected not to hit frogs and moved to protect the ball.
This was the chance. Slann hopped in to removed assists an the Blitzer leapt into the cage to flatten the ball carrying Beastman. The ball went flying...straight into the arms of a rotter. The half then became predictable. The Nurgle Team moved slowly down the pitch, breaking things as they went, whilst the Slann threw increasingly desperate leaps into cages to go for one dice blocks and began to run out of players. By the time the Tight 'Uns ambled into the endzone there were only five Slann on the pitch, and another two in the injured box. 1-1 with two turns remaining.
It would be tricky, but it was possible. The Slann recieved deep in their own half and rushed two players into positions where they could score (the Tight 'Uns could only hit one). The Catcher was flattened which meant that victory required a Blitzer to run to the end zone and then a long bomb to be thrown. The Blitzer tripped on his first square of movement, was injured and the game was going to over time.
The ball was once again kicked to the Nurgle team. Vainly throwing leaping blocks at cages, the Slann were powerless to stop their opponents taking the lead. When they set up with four turns of over time to go, there were only five Slann remaining. There just weren't enough of them, and even though one lone lineman made a death or glory rush towards the end zone, he was flattened and injured and the Tight 'Uns trotted in another touchdown.
With most of their team injured, the 49ers go out of the tournament and into retirement. The Tight 'Uns go on to the semi-finals and potential glory.
Rottenham Tight 'Uns 3 - 1 Slann Frogcisco 49ers (Casualties: 7-1)
I took a beating and there's no denying it. I could complain about dice, but that would ignore the fact that JP took exactly the right approach to cause me as much trouble as he could. I also had a (slim) chance to win but couldn't bring it home. In the end, the mounting casualties meant that I just couldn't compete in overtime.
This is the second time I've used the Slann in a league and I have to admit that they are hard work. To get the most out of them, you have to take risks and risk-taking is always punished in Blood Bowl. Unless someone drops out of the inter-club Chumpions' League then the Slann Frogcisco 49ers will be put away for a long time. However, they will keep the honour of having the best team name I've ever thought of...
Next year, I'm going for a team that can hit folks. There's some payback to be had!!!