Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blood Bowl: Deathroller Revisited

Three 'weeks' ago I'd purchased a Deathroller for my dwarven Blood Bowl team. He's a massive dude, but a big cheater. Deathrollers are the strongest units in the game and don't have a standard big guy disability where he loses a sixth of his actions. Instead he gets kicked off of the field at the end of any drive. I'd never used one before, and it sounded awesome, so I gave him a try. Having now played three matches with him, how has he turned out?

My first match was against vampires. I lost the coin toss and my opponent chose to receive. The client then bugged out on me and wouldn't let me take the Deathroller off the field. I could swap my sub in for anyone else, and I could reposition the Deathroller just fine, but I couldn't take him off. This made me very sad. I was going to have to start him, my opponent was going to use his 2 5 agility dudes to score quickly, and I wasn't going to get to use him. My opponent certainly tried that plan, and went for a quick pick up + hand-off + pass + run way out of range. Unfortunately for him he rolled some 1s and ended up dropping the ball near the end of that sequence, before he could run away. So the ball was beside most of my team and not much of his team. I seized the advantage and ended up scoring on turn 8. My opponent stopped standing guys up to hit so the Deathroller fouled a couple of times and then was sent off. I won the game 3-0.

My second match was against wood elves. This time I got to receive and happily lined up my Deathroller. The kick went very deep and my backfield ended up exposed while I punched a bunch of his dudes. The ball ended up on the ground near midfield at the start of my second or third turn. There was an awesome opportunity for my Deathroller to pull off a 3 die blitz near the sidelines. With blood on my mind I charged into it as the first thing I did, and hit my 1 in 216 for triple skulls. I tried the reroll and loner didn't screw me. Hurray! Of course the very next thing I did was throw a 2 die block with a dwarf and hit my 1 in 36. Double skulls, turnover. The elves picked up the ball, passed it downfield, and got it into a position where I couldn't take it away. Next turn they scored, sending off the Deathroller. I did end up winning the game 2-1.

The third match was against khemri. He was receiving but I decided khemri weren't apt to score really quickly so I started the Deathroller to try to deal with some mummies. He ended up trying for a crazy play to get the Deathroller off the field. Crazy in that he passed to a 2 agility dude that I just neglected to cover. It worked, he scored, and I lost the Deathroller. But he did score quickly, and I was going to receive in the second half, and the Deathroller had taken out a mummy, so my way was good. Mediocre positioning coupled with terrible rolls made it so I didn't actually score and lost 1-0.

So, how did the Deathroller fair? He directly lead to a bad turnover, but that was actually me misplaying the position. I could have moved some free dudes to surround the ball first. So him existing may have made me misplay, but that isn't my fault. In the other two games him existing caused my opponents to take risky lines of play. In the game against the khemri there was a 43.75% chance that he fails his desperation pass. If he does then the ball lands in range of most of my team and beside exactly 1 of his dudes. That feels like it would have likely been a dominant position for me. In the other game the risky line of play did backfire on my opponent, I did get the ball on his reception, and I did dominate the game. The Deathroller hasn't really made plays himself, but he has influenced the board position every time.

That said, he is also worth 160k of team value. What would inducements have looked like without him? Against the vampire team he got 100k which he used on 2 bloodwiser babes. Instead I could have had an agility potion. He made 8 KO rolls over the course of the game, and 3 of them succeeded because of the babes. That is actually a pretty significant difference. Against the wood elves he had 650k of inducements and got 2 bloodwiser babes, a wizard, a halfling master chef, and a reroll. He rolled 5 times for KO with 3 of them succeeding thanks to the babes. I believe the wizard is why the ball was loose to set up the early score which took the Deathroller off the field. Probably if I don't have the Deathroller he doesn't get the master chef and instead gets another reroll and an agility potion or something. In the third game my opponent had 40k of inducements, so he got an agility potion which worked, giving him a second guy with 3 agility, sure hands, and pass. Without the Deathroller I get 3 agility potions of my own which is huge. Some of my failed scoring rolls probably work if I have 2 or 3 dudes with 4 agility instead of none at all. I could also have targeted his one guy with 3 agility.

My feeling is the Deathroller is absolutely not worth the inducements swing if the values are close. If I'm way out in front, like against the wood elves, I think he's just fine. If I'm way behind he's also just fine, but then I could induce a freelance Deathroller for 190k. It really feels like I should just fire him and move on with my life. My next game actually has a massive TV difference so I'm going to keep him for that game and see if he doesn't get the MVP and level. If he does, and he gets block, maybe I'll keep him. After that, if I make the play-offs, I'll decide based on my opponent's team value whether I should fire him or not. The match will be against Mike's norse team if I make it. I feel like if the Deathroller doesn't have block he's probably a liability in that match, though I may need to buy a 13th real dude in that case. Maybe I should buy the extra dude before my game against the elves this week to give him a chance of skilling up?

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