Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Blood Bowl: TV1000 Again

My team in Duncan's FumBBL league has come to the end of the season. 7 games in I've gotten 1 win, 2 ties, and 4 losses. Very few games were close, and my team was repeatedly slaughtered. I finished the season with 4 deaths and 4 skills gained. I have enough money to rebuy my most recent losses so I can barely get back up to 11 players and a TV of 1080. This league has a salary cap after the season so teams need to pare down to 1750TW before next season. Obviously I have no paring down to do. On top of forcing the top teams to come a little closer to the pack there's also a small mechanism to allow bottom teams to catch up. They run little 3 game mini tournaments to give you a chance to boost up. I think you probably have to pare down to 1750 again after those. But how big a deal is 3 games?

I actually have a bit of a sample to pull from for this given that we've now run 5 8 person turbo leagues on the Cyanide client. Across the 26 teams that I could find stats for (some teams played in multiple turbos, one team played a pickup game outside of a turbo afterwards) the lowest TW was 1150 after 7 games. The highest was 2320 after 15 games. Most of the teams gained in the neighbourhood of 40-50 TW per game played. I didn't make a note of it at the time so it isn't in my sheet but there were also several teams that I would call decimated despite gaining TW. These teams are carrying multiple loners which is fine for the short term TV calculations but is bad in terms of building a team up to 1750. Most of the teams were in a position where money earned could still be used to improve the team; the decimated teams were looking at spending money earned to just reduce the number of loners on the team. The decimated teams were entirely Elves (wood and dark) and Skaven.

On the other hand a couple of the teams with big TW gains got a good chunk of their boost from money they can't use. It's certainly better to have extra money than to not have extra money, but it doesn't make a big deal once you've bought your positionals and rerolls. Some of these teams got the extra money from the cash bonuses for winning leagues. My Skaven team (which is the 2320 after 15 games team) earned 160k in cash from winning leagues which is more than 10TW of the 88TW per game they've earned.

I feel like it's probably reasonable to assert that a new or mostly new team getting in 3 games against similar competition will probably end up gaining 150TW or so. So sending my Amazons in to a 3 game camp will probably get me to 1230TW, which is still a far, far cry from the 1750TW the big teams will be running.

I've also decided picking Amazons to join an established league was a big, big mistake. I let myself be tricked by the stats which say Amazons are the best low TV team in the box. The problem is that box games are guaranteed to be even TV matches, and Amazons can be queens there. A fresh Amazon team pretty much packs up to a couple people with tackle, but those aren't going to exist on a fresh team of any non-Dwarf race. Most teams can't even take tackle until they've taken block first, and even then they might be looking for mighty blow or such before tackle anyway. This means by the time a normal fresh Amazon team sees even a single tackler they rate to have a bench of extra players, and most of the team with block, and several people with guard. They'll have the tools to fight back. In my case my opponent would move a couple guys with guard and tackle beside my players and I had no options. Dodge away with 3 agility and no reroll thanks to the tackle? That's bad. Throw a -2 die block because of all the guard? That's bad. Stand still and get punched by someone with block and tackle while I have 7 armour? That's really bad. Amazons need to be able to punish people who just line up in contact in order to survive and they can't do that without a few players with guard. But I could never get any players with guard as my team couldn't earn any experience.

I wish I'd taken Halflings. I may not have won any more games, but I could have at least had fun. Halflings also really like being down a ton of inducement money because they have access to probably the 2 most powerful inducements in the game: cheap master chef and the star treeman. And when a bunch of Halflings die I don't care! I can laugh and cheer and buy some more. I'd also get to inflict some damage back since a team with 3 6+ strength dudes with mighty blow will actually get to throw blocks and knock people down.

Will 3 training games get my Amazon team to the point they can compete against a 1750TW team with guard and tackle? No. Not a chance. On the plus side there is another option. I'm allowed to throw my team away and start a new one at 1000TV which then gets to play the 3 training games. This still feels pretty bad, in all honesty. I still rate to be down 600TW, which is a really big deal. But at least with a new team I can have a race that can maybe fight back at that sort of TW disadvantage. One that doesn't just explode in a shower of blood when a couple good players look at me funny.

But maybe that big a gap isn't actually that big a deal? Our Cyanide league has the new teams beating the old teams. The gap there was more like 1500 compared to 1900 instead of 1150 to 1750, but it was still a reasonably sized gap. Duncan says that 5 of the 12 teams making the playoffs in the league this season were new. I don't know how many of the 32 teams as a whole were new coming in, but that still sounds like a pretty good mix. How were those teams looking after the training games?

Cleveland Men - Humans - 1030TV after 3 games - 1630TV/1880TW and a 10-1-3 record after 17 games
2 teams with 21 games played
Lonely Mountain Miners - Dwarves - 1200TV after 3 games - 1580TV/2140TW and a 6-6-2 record after 18 games
Mackville, Wi Pro Bowlers - Elves - midseason sub like I was - 1340TV/1390TW and a 6-0-2 record after 8 games

I probably don't understand the structure well enough, but two of the five listed teams played more games than seem possible? Certainly they've played more games than the other two new teams? Actually, I think maybe there's a preseason between the training games and the regular season which may be the difference? Those two teams were Chaos Dwarves and Elves.

I don't know. Clearly these guys were winning games with bad teams. 1030TV Humans feel like they shouldn't be any better than Amazons at the very least. Though maybe an Ogre is enough to open up some hits so they don't devolve into being able to do nothing at all? And I guess having 8AV instead of dodge is a really good trade when many players have tackle anyway.

Looking at it now I feel like maybe I can make something happen with a tougher team. Halflings are actually still tempting so I can just go out and have fun and kill some things. But what are my other options likely to be? Well, they're going to draft the teams and I get 2nd pick as the second worst team from this season that chose to start a new team. Options include Chaos Dwarves, Chaos Pact, Khemri, and Nurgle among tough teams. There's also Humans, Norse, and Lizardmen which might be taken by the 1st pick guy. And 2 types of Elves (Wood and High) which really could be options.

Three different races that can easily build the super killer player. Unfortunately two of them start with no useful skills at all, and that feels like a recipe for certain doom in this format. If I could play Nurgle enough to come in close to 1600 or so, sure. But with 3 games under their belt they probably won't even have 2 guys with block. I'll be a turnover machine, and I won't really have a chance to win games. Chaos Pact I could run with 3 big guys, but that actually feels like it'd be worse than just running Halflings with their 3 big guys instead.

Big guys? How about Khemri? They can have 4 of them, and they don't have loner or a negatrait. They even have two guys that start with block. How can I lose? Well, having no players with 3 agility is a start.

Norse are also interesting. At least the skill they start with, block, always works on defense. It's not like the Amazons who had their dodge negated by tackle.

I do also like Lizardmen, especially if the optional rule where tackle doesn't work on stunty dudes is finally working. The league says it uses the rule, but I tried joining a different league with that rule and it definitely didn't work. Heck, if that rule actually works maybe Halflings aren't a terrible idea after all!

I feel like if Chaos Dwarves are still open I should probably go with them. Beyond that... Leaning towards Halflings now. Maybe Norse. It may depend on which team has the better theme for me that fits this league...

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