Monday, November 24, 2014

Blood Bowl: Injury Decisions

My awesome Chaos Dwarf team has finally run into injury issues after two and a half seasons without taking much damage. And they all came in one game... It's almost like claw is problematic as my opponent this time was Chaos Pact. I suffered three permanent injuries and the apothecary's only suggestion was that we put poor Miss Peacock down instead of trying to deal with her bad hip. Thanks Doc.

So now I need to decide what to do with the three players who got hurt. There are six games left in the regular season and I currently have a commanding hold on my division. My team has 7 wins and 1 loss while second place in my division (the aforementioned Pact team) has 5 wins and 4 losses. I won both the games against them this season so he has to earn 5 more points over his last 5 games than I earn over my last 6 games. That's certainly possible, but it's not terribly likely. And even if he does, I may still be able to get a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

My goal with this team is to win the Superior Bowl. I like scoring, and I like hurting people, and I like leveling up my players... But all my decisions should ultimately be focused on the end goal. This team is the two time defending champions and going for the three-peat is key. So the question with the injured players has to be if they'll be more helpful in the playoffs in their crippled states, or if I'd be better off buying replacement players now and getting 6 games to level them up. (Scoring with a 4 movement, 2 agility player is not easy but I'm willing to try it. Especially since I can afford to absorb a loss or two along the way given my big lead in the division.)

There's also the fact I have a healing potion from a big site milestone and the league decided it was allowed to use them on players in the league. So I can always use it on one of these players as well if I want.

First up, Didit. He's a hobgoblin with guard and dodge. I like him because he's a mobile way to stick some guard where it's most needed on a critical turn. He was hoping to level again to get block and become a real pain... He was also serving as a bit of a blitz magnet. People really like to send their tackle/mighty blow guy after him even if it wasn't tactically sound at the time so I could use him as bait to get the defense going one way while the ball went another. On the downside with two doubles he costs 100k in team value for a 7AV guy without block. Anyway, he'd lost a movement in a previous game, and now he's lost an armour. The movement loss was annoying but not the end of the world. The armour loss is troubling. Now a guy with mighty blow only needs to roll a 6 on 2d6 to break his armour. He'd still make great bait, but he's even less likely to take a couple hits before he goes out, taking his 100k in TV with him. I'm pretty sure this one is a cut. I'll be sad to not have a 3 agility guy with guard anymore, but it's not really the end of the world.

The other two injuries came to a pair of identical blockers. Miss Peacock and Miss Scarlet have both rolled 4 normal skill rolls thus far and both picked up guard, mighty blow, stand firm, and grab. They're both really close to getting a 5th skill roll as well, with Peacock only needing 9 more SPP and Scarlet only needing 5 more. I'm a little sad to roll so many skills with all of them being normals, but the first three normal skills on a blocker are all awesome. Guard, mighty blow, and stand firm are all fantastic and they're especially potent when all of the blockers have them. I often get into situations where if the opponent has a block or two without a pow in it they lose control of the board and I get to bash them right out of it. Grab is not very good on paper, but it actually has worked out pretty well for me when I play against elves with a lot of sidestep. Having grab, even 2 copies of it, lets me peel off people marking key players without them just sidestepping around. Theoretically it also lets me set up crowd surfs (in theory my ball carrying bull and all my blockers have stand firm, so I can play on the sidelines) but mostly people just let me by to score if I set up that board state. Which is a good thing. And since I expect to face elves in the playoffs I like having access to grab. One of the injuries here was a movement loss, the other was an armour loss.

Losing a movement on someone with 4 base movement is actually pretty annoying. I had one of those last season (he was a salary cap casualty before this season) and he always had to lag behind the play. Having someone willing to just stand around and fight an enemy tough guy while the play moves away isn't such a bad thing, but it does power down the grab if the player can't get into a good position. Against a bashy team where the grab was irrelevant anyway she'll still do exactly what I need her to though, as guard and stand firm still do everything I want them to even with 3 movement. Go down to 2 and you can't stand up without rolling dice which is terrible, but at 3 you can just stand up as your turn if you get knocked down. And with stand firm they can't push you away without following up, so you get to stay in tackle zones. So I think the movement loss gets to stay on the team for now. I am slowly leveling up the blocker to replace the last movement cut and going down to too many unskilled blockers would leave my team in real trouble I think.

Losing an armour on someone who's job is mostly to stand around getting punched is a real problem. Someone with 8 AV is 60-70% more likely to be removed from the pitch on any given block (depending on if the opponent has mighty blow or not) compared to someone with 9 AV. On the other hand against people with claw it doesn't change things at all! My game is all about pushing my players beside the enemy players and daring them to roll dice. This works more often than not because all the stand firm on my team negates the pushes and having all my players be 9 AV with thick skull means they're pretty likely to be able to just stand up the next turn if they get knocked down. Then all the guard and mighty blow get to take over and I can crush the opponent! But having someone with only 8 AV gives my line a bigger potential point of failure. And the plan only really works when my whole team is around... Once I lose a couple of the good players I can no longer really surround the opponent and my whole plan falls apart. And if I can't win a bashing game with this team I can't win anything!

So keeping a player with 8 AV is bad for my plan, but so is bringing on a new player who doesn't have guard, mighty blow, or stand firm. The new guy either gets pushed away or put into multiple tackle zones and ignored. I know this for a fact, because I have that one new guy trying to level up and he's an afterthought in many games. I did score a touchdown with him to give him guard, making him a little more useful, but he's still easy to just push away. He's played 12 games so far and only earned 12 SPP, and he got an MVP which is a tad above expected since I normally run with 14 players. So a new blocker, in 6 games, will probably get one skill, but only one skill. Which is not the 3 skills really needed to fill a role in my team...

Maybe looking at my next 6 games will help? Khemri, Slann, Underworld, Skaven, Nurgle, Dwarf. Three of those are completely undeveloped teams which are new to the league. A 4th has been decimated and is down to 3 players with any skills. The Skaven team has some skills, including a guy with claw and a one turner, but it also has a whopping 4 players with niggling injuries just begging to get popped for SPP. The last team, Khemri, has a bunch of skills but only one tomb guardian with block.

This tells me I'm going to be giving up a lot of inducements in every game. There are plenty of opportunities to scoop up casualties and most of these teams will be unable to really win a punching war even if I drop a skilled blocker or two. And actually, my conference as a whole has one elf team in it total. They're leading their division right now so will probably make the playoffs, and they do have a couple of annoying players with side step... So am I building my team to beat that one team that I might not even face? I feel like maybe I should be. But there's also next season to think about, and both these guys are going to get cut for salary cap reasons then I would think. Getting one of them started leveling now is probably a reasonable thing to do.

Ok, I think I need to fire both of the players who picked up -AV and keep the one with -MV for now. And then try to use the last 6 games of the season to feed touchdowns to the new blocker if at all possible.

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