12 Questions to .... Swagtusk
As I kept rambling around with my pen and pad in hand, a young man stepped up to me, asking when his turn was. Taken off stride but at the same time quite pleased that someone was taking such interest in my quest to the point of volunteering to help, I gladly set an appointment with him for a sunny Wednesday somewhere around lunch time.
Today's volunteer is none other than Swagtusk. An Australian coach, head of the "Sassy Soviets", a Kislev outfit in Division 3 and running a Bretonnian horde in Speed O; Swagtusk can also regularly be found around Krusader's Dumpster™ fire, playing with the stereo, discussing arcane Warhammer 40K lore, trivia about Roman emperors or simply co-hosting the show, when not promoting glasses of water.
I must admit that, slightly surprised by his enthusiasm to participate, and having witnessed him and Krusader argue about some esoteric (to me) points of nerd or popular culture; I came into the interview rather cautious, expecting to be memed any second. So I went for easy, classic questions at first.
Q: How long have you been playing Blood Bowl, and what got you into it ?
A: I am fairly new to Blood Bowl. I joined ReBBL about 3 seasons ago and, before hand, did not have too much Blood Bowl experience. My brother convinced me to play in the league and I probably should have started in the Rookie league but I sorta stumbled my way through the first season. I played a bit out of league beforehand so I understood the basics but I certainly wasn't very good. I watched a lot of streams, especially Krusader and Sage's. Helped me to learn a lot faster.
Things seemed to start fairly well and I kept on track, trying to talk about his Big O outfit this season. The Sassy Soviets had a tough start with a 0-0-3 run (with an admin loss conceded by Swagtusk week 1), but they were bouncing back with a win against some Dorfs. I was curious to know how he came to manage Kislevites.
Q: So what did you play before turning to Soviet Kislev ?
A: In ReBBL, Kislev was my first team. Kind of a bad team to jump straight into ReBBL with but it is sort of working out. Before ReBBL, I always enjoyed Lizards, Bretonnia and Humans. I played a lot of Lizards back in BB 1, was never any good with them but I enjoyed the aesthetics and play style. When BB 2 came out, I played a lot of Brets, again mostly due to their aesthetics and play style. [...] There are a few teams I love (Kislev, Humans Brets Underworld or Lizards), A lot of them I hate (Nurgle, Chaos, Chorfs, all Elves and Skaven) and the rest I have immense apathy for.
Yeah, the Kislev team has fallen on hard times. Suffering a lot of attrition on good players is making it hard to win games. That said, I am not taking anything away from the people who beat me. I am probably rerolling at the end of the season, mostly because I want to play a new team and not that I am frustrated with my current team. I am either leaning towards Humans or Brets. I miss having block on my blitzers.
Q: By the way, Squiggy was my last interviewee, and his question to you was : how do you manage to stay so cheerful ?
A: I was not expecting that question. I was expecting something Nurgle related honestly [smiley face]. Being cheerful about Blood Bowl is something that happens post game. Sure, when a game is going poorly, I have my moments, as I think we all do. But raging or getting depressed about it doesn't really achieve much and often causes you to not learn anything. I watch every replay of mine and try and learn from the mistakes. At points you just realizes that it's Blood Bowl and there is not much you can do about it. If a rock kills my best player and the apo fails, sure it is going to suck, but that's the risk of Blood Bowl which makes it fun. The next game, I could get a lucky scatter and which swings the game completely in my favour.
A short exchange regarding Blood Bowl, Salt and Streams ensues.
Q:Talking about coaches and playstyle, what part of your Blood Bowl skills do you think you still have to work on ? And do you have any coaches you use as "models" or guides to emulate ?
A: I need to keep working on my offensive drives. I much prefer to defend first and then respond to how the defensive drive first. Going on offense first makes me rather indecisive about what I want to do.
I don't try and model my style too much on any particular coach and prefer to just pick stuff up and play my own way.
Q: Well we reached the "Show me your Speed O" part of the interview, congrats for making it that far! Is it the first time you take part in the 1mn showtime ?
A: Yes, trying to play more Blood Bowl this season and this looked fun.
Q: So what decided you over the other leagues : the speedy part of it or the memey gimmicks?
A: Probably just a mix of both. In these gimmick leagues, I enjoy just chilling out and playing a fun team. I played in the elf league last season and as much as I appreciate the effort XS put into it, it only reinforced my loathing of elves. Playing with weird handicaps on teams leads to skills and play styles you would not normally see.
Q: So you're logically bringing "Crappy Crusaders!", some Bretonnians, for your Speed O season, what's your gimmick there ?
A: Well mine is rather complicated. I typed it out in advance just in case anyone asked.
I affectionately call my gimmick the Kings game. My blitzer cannot pick up the ball and he is not allowed to throw blocks. He can only get the ball via catching, either from a handoff, scatter or pass. The blitzer is able to provide assists but is not allowed to handoff/pass to any peasants. If my blitzer is injured, I must immediately apo him. If he is permanently injured or killed, all peasants must attempt to exact revenge on the piece that hurt the blitzer. In the event of needing to replace a blitzer, I will randomly select and delete one of my peasants, and then replace him with a blitzer of the same name.
I am grateful for such a thought out and detailed explanation, especially prepared before hand. We went on talking about his first game and how his gimmick was coming up. Caught in the discussion I didn't realize I was skipping over a question...
Q: What kind of games do you prefer : the controlled 2-1 grind with its CAS, the mad 4-3 shoot out with the fancy runs and passes, or the tight closed one ending with a BS T16 play to steal the victory?
A: I enjoy the BS ending, always a laugh no matter the result. 4-3 shoot outs would be fun but I am not good a them.
I still fondly remember losing to a mummy passing play. At that point, you don't care you lost
Q: Now that you've been playing for a bit, is there any player skills you really enjoy ? And one that you don't give a crap about ?
A: I have developed a fondness for Fend, such a funny skill, especially with wrestle. A skill I don't care for is probably Claw. I understand it is good, but I never really enjoy using it
Q: I am also polling people about kick off results. Any one you like to see popping up ? Any one you really hate ?
A: Pitch Invasion is the worst, that and Sweltering Heat. There is nothing you can do about them outside of stadium enhancements and can have too much influence on the result. For one I enjoy, this will sound masochistic but rocks. The rock is the great equalizer and is often just funny.
An interesting take on those two last questions I must say. I can only agree when it comes to Fend and Sweltering Heat.
Q: And now the question to give you a chance to shine ! Any snacks and drink you recommend for those long Blood Bowl games ?
A: I recommend a nice glass of water, got to make sure you are hydrated during the match. I don't tend to eat while playing so I have nothing for that.
[Drinks a tall glass of water]
Q: The next coach on the list is Changl09, do you have any question for him ? Or a question you think I should ask in general ?
A: Ah, not too sure. This is going to sounds odd as a Bret coach but, ask him: why he likes fouling so much ?
As always, I am grateful for Swagtusk to have spent an hour in my company, answering my questions during his post brunch digestion. I am appareciaitive of his clarity of vision regarding his play style and approach to the game as well as his articulated, short answers.
Stay tuned for the dirty secret of Changl09, coming out this Friday.