Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blood Bowl: To Minotaur Or Not To Minotaur

I joined Duncan's league on FumBBL in the middle of the last season with a limited selection of possible teams. I ended up trying Amazons, and got smushed real good. 6 deaths in 7 games and I rarely felt like I was able to take useful actions because all of my opponents were so much higher TV than I was. At the end of the season I got to start over and switch teams, but considering where my Amazons were I probably would have been better starting a new Amazon team even if I wanted to play that race. I ended up getting the first pick in the team draft thanks to someone not being able to log in for several days and got my top choice: Chaos Dwarves.

Starting over at the start of the season also brought some added bonuses as opposed to starting in the middle of the season. There was a training camp where I got to play 3 games against other new teams. New teams are very much less dangerous than high level teams so those games rated to be capable of building a team up instead of just watching someone die every game. Then there was a 4 week swiss preseason against the real teams, but they all had to make cuts to get under a salary cap right before the preseason started which was actually a really big deal. The really awesome teams all had to fire key players and buy rookies to replace them, or burn rerolls, or both. This meant the really awesome teams weren't actually awesome anymore. Dropping rerolls and going back to rookie positional players is a recipe for potential disaster. Of course my team didn't have any good players at all to worry about losing, so I was still behind, but it was more of an even footing than the previous go where the teams I was facing had all the rerolls they wanted and had full skilled positionals.

I was expecting to end up down several hundred TV every game like last season, so I built my team in anticipation of getting lots of inducements. In particular I didn't want to induce star players because I didn't want to chance losing my MVPs, so I looked to make bribes really good by having all of my hobgoblins take dirty player as a first skill if they didn't roll doubles. My hobgoblins kept getting the MVPs early, so I have 3 dirty players and a guard among them now. Hobgoblins suck and I don't mind if they get kicked out for fouling but if I have a bribe or two back I'm willing to foul without assists or on a less prime target just to get a numbers advantage.

My team is now 9 games in (3 training camp, 4 preseason, and 2 regular season games) and I have yet to suffer a permanent injury or death. Part of this is going to be how much tougher Chaos Dwarves are compared to Amazons, part of it is going to be how the opposition is weaker based on either being starting teams or freshly capped teams, part of it is how well the fouling plan has been working for taking care of my opponent's damage dealers, and part of it is probably that I'm just getting luckier without paying enough attention to it. I have 4 rerolls, a 14 man roster, and all 8 of my core positional players. After my last game I now have 150k in the bank which is just enough to buy the one remaining player available to me: the minotaur!

But do I even want him? My two regular season games thus far have seen me use 11 of my 14 players, and 13 of my 14 players. Having a deeper bench wouldn't have helped in those game since my opponents didn't eat their way through what I had already. It makes me sad to have 3 guys with dirty player but to have one of them never get to play! (In that game I did have to use 2 bribes though, so without inducements I would have needed to bring her in.) The 9th positional isn't just a deeper bench, it's also fewer spots on the field for hobgoblins period. Right now I'm starting my 8 good dudes, 2 dirty players, and the guard hobgoblin. I can't imagine benching a dwarf or a centaur so if I brought in the minotaur I'd have to drop down to a dirty player and the guard guy, or maybe 2 dirty players. This is a little annoying because I do like to use a hobgoblin for early ball retrieval duty even if I don't like to score with them. (1 dwarf TD, 3 hobgoblin TDs, 8 bull centaur TDs in 9 games.) On the other hand with 9 real dudes it's less of a pain to send a bull centaur back for the ball early.

What would he bring? Another copy of mighty blow, which is nice for my team that only has 2 copies of it so far. A 6 strength blitzer which lets me get 3 die blitzes pretty easily on normal dudes or gives me a chance at knocking down bigger guys without devoting most of my team to giving assists, which will be nice. It also brings a 1 in 6 chance of wasting my blitz action and a 1 in 9 chance of generating a turnover on a 2 die block because he doesn't start with block. He also adds 150k to my TV, which is enough for either side to get a wizard. It also could cost me a bribe if I'm below my opponent, which is rough for my kick them in the junk when they're down plan. Straight up I don't know that I want him, but with a couple of levels under his belt he becomes a lot more useful. I have some experience with a similar big guy from my time playing Khorne Daemons, and I really liked their big guy. Give the minotaur juggernaut and guard and maybe doubles for claw and I'm rolling. He also brings frenzy to the table, which lets me make more plays on the sidelines. And he's the only semi fast guy on the team with access to mutations for claw, so in the long term he's the best killer I could have. Only having 8 armour is a potential weak point especially with how hard he is to position with frenzy. I probably won't be able to cover him with enough guard to keep him nice and safe. Hobgoblins are even squishier, but they're only going to be bringing 40-60k to my TV, not 150k+.

It's hard to tell at this point what I'll be up against in the coming weeks since all opponents have lots of games to play and may well get good levels or brutal deaths to change their TV. But I wouldn't be surprised if my next opponent is +100TV on me, the one after that +300TV, then a team -160TV below me. I finish off against orcs and dwarves who are both currently more than 200TV above me.

I feel like the added strength will probably be a good thing against the orcs and dwarves but that I really don't need it against vampires, dark elves, or slann. The last half of the season, in some order, will be orcs, dark elves, necromantic, undead, elf, khemri, and the other chaos dwarf team. Extra strength, and chances at claw, feel like they'll be important for 5 of those games too. So I think I probably want to have the minotaur by the time I hit the stretch of games starting with the first orc game for sure.

On the other side of the coin I may have been lucky with avoiding injuries thus far, but that won't necessarily keep up. Buying a minotaur to see a bull centaur of a dwarf die and not having the money to replace them would really suck. Couple that with the fact that buying the minotaur probably hurts my chances of winning my next game against vampires (probably gives him a babe instead of me getting a bribe which is truly terrible all around) and I feel like the answer, for now at least, is to hold off on the minotaur. Build up an emergency fund, play through the games against the finessy squishy teams, and then see where I'm at.

Does anyone think this is crazy? Should I get the minotaur right now to get him skilled up?


Sky Roy said...

I tried minotaur (on a chaos team) and I ended up firing him. He picked up Block on his second level on doubles and still it was too frustrating. His cost was too high, his 1/6 of failing was too much of a pain, and he wasn't even that tough.

I feel like if he was 20k less in cost I would run him but long term he just ends up being too expensive and too often a liability.

Nick Page said...

He's probably worse on a Chaos team because you have 4 strength 4 guys while I have 2, and the guy he'd replace on the pitch is a 6/3/3/7 with general skill access instead of a 6/3/3/8 with horns and general, strength, and mutation access. Also he's slower than the entire Chaos team, while he'd be faster than 6 of my guys.

That said, I can certainly see your point. I hate the 1 in 6 of doing nothing. Worse than doing nothing, of eating my blitz action. And since I have a bull centaur with mighty blow already I have a decent blitzer lined up for now. Can't ever get claw though.