A Brief Moment With ...
The moment as apparently arrived. I was keeping this as an ace-in-the-hole, for a part of the season where I'd be stuck. This has nothing to do with screwing up my schedule. Nor with being lazy and resorting to cheap tricks to cover my ass and pretend I manage to stick to said schedule. So, there you go...
Today's guest is one that some of you may have seen around a bit this season. Around he may be, but does not play Blood Bowl as often as he should. An avid consumer of books and pocasts, start him on the wrong subject (history or global affairs) and he'll talk your ear off. He regularly talks about playing Humans. Which means he wants to play Dark Elves. While secretly dreaming of playing Vamps.
But you obviously know him as the coach of "Sôdai Senlin", the guide scribbler, the pen pushing quota of the Big O: zht !
Since I will basically interview myself, I will inflict upon me the same questions I put everyone else through. Sounds fair enough...
Zht? Isn't it Le Zee, or Lurkin? State your identity!
Ok, so. My nickname is zht. Don't ask where it comes from, it's a long story. Suffice to say that in 20ish years playing games the name changed a bit. And people that knew me at different periods, and when I was playing different games, use different variations of it.
Knowing it could be problematic to read for English speakers, I shortened it to Zee. Hence LurkinZee on Twitch, and Le Zee on Discord (to show my Frenchness). So call me Zee, or Lurkin, or zht if you manage.
When and how did you start playing Blood Bowl? And how comes you keep coming back to it?
I played Blood Bowl for the first time in '99 I think. I was boarder for my first year of high school, and one of the other guys had a TT version with minis he painted himself. He kicked my ass twice with the classic "orc cage through the middle" and flattened my humans. I logically decided it was much cooler to play Counter-Strike. But Blood Bowl lingered on as a sad, sad failure on my part for many, many years.
I came back to BB1 with Chaos Edition. Played vs the AI for a while and read guides. I had a bunch of friends to buy it over Christmas sales and played together. I was playing Helves and my friend Vico made me rage-quit with his Woddies. Otherwise spinned a few games with humans: my team's ogre died on turn 1 of game 1 but my thrower was a 6448 Block. I did not know what power I was wielding.
Same friends preordered BB2, it was offered to me despite previous rage-quitting. Played with them, then played in COL on and off when they got tired of BB. Decided to get kicked in the teeth until I git gud in 2018 so I joined ReBBL for season 8.
That should be it.
Why did decide to try the adventure of writing for the news section?
I like writing. In both French and English. I used to write on personal blogs followed by 10 persons. I have too much time on my hands and I wanted to do something for the community. I just wrote a post about my writing experience for the ReBBL so far.
I pretend to write for the community, while it is just a way for me to practice some stuff and inflict it on an innocent audience. And nobody threatened me until now, so it's a win in my book.
Which competition format do you prefer, among those you tried?
I play the regular season and in 1mn. I like the regular season, because that's the classic experience with the level ups and the team building. I like 1mn competition because I can play like a madman, and nobody will second guess me (much). I briefly considered the Clan league but I don't think I am competitive enough for it.
I might return to 1mn next season or give a shot to Elfly Open. The Cripple Cup is on my list too.
What is your actual team theme, and how did you pick it?
I was, surprisingly, pretty indoorsy as people go. After moving to Asia, I started to hike more often in the forests. And I enjoy it a lot, despite the heat, humidity and hours of stone steps up and down the mountains. So my team players are named after famous forests.
The team name means "Magnificent Forests" in a mix of Japanese and Mandarin. I felt the whole theme was ok for the Amazons. The motto is "Beware of the bush" in Japanese, at least I hope.
What attracted me to the race you're playing? And which one would you consider playing competitively in the future?
Well, I picked Amazons for three reasons: nobody was registered with them for Big O season 8; I could play them for one or two seasons and drop without regret if I didn't like the experience; their blodge access would make a nice fig leaf to cover my coaching limitations.
I often talk about rerolling to Humans or Dark Elves. I like their flexibility, but I am not too good with them to be honest. I dream of playing Vamps, but I can't plan more than two consecutive moves so that might not be for now. Might reroll into something more violent like Chaos or Norse. Who knows...
How was your second season in the ReBBL?
Well I sort of landed a bit higher than my own expectations, at fourth. I was hoping for a slot between fifth and seventh. My start of the season wasn't really promising and slowed me down slightly. I think I got better at playing my team as time went on and had more fun with them. I also had a few timely lucky rolls here and there during the season that helped a bit.
Overall, I'd say I learned a few things both on and off the pitch, played against good coaches in various leagues, got to know the lads better. So I'd call it a positive season all around. The main evolution was linked to the News part I'd say, but we already covered that.
Your proudest achievement as a Blood Bowl coach?
Probably overcoming my own saltiness and sourness. I was so nice to my friends during our DotA2 period they called me Captain Nazi. That's to say from how far I came back.
The surprising welcome to my writings would be the other one. Especially the intros to the Bent-O, that nobody explicitly asked me to stop writing yet.
Otherwise nothing much on the pitch to be proud of. The dicings I dished out this season are bittersweet memories, but not particularly telling regarding any skill improvement.
What would you consider your forces and weaknesses as a Blood Bowl coach?
Strong Points? I'd say maybe my viciousness. I like to toy a bit with the guy across the pitch. Most of the time I end up shoot myself in the foot, but it forces me to pay more attention to the game; and actually try to have a game plan. I guess years of playing CS and DotA paid somehow.
seem to generally have rather good dice too. Clearly not a skill but a good help.
Weak Points? I can "switch off" some games for different reasons. I worked on that this season. I used to panic more, again; a bit less at the end of the season. Otherwise all my game compartments could use some work: knowledge (rolls, races), planning, execution (positioning, turn order). Bref, quite a few as you can see.
Is there any coach you look at, for ways to improve yourself?
Many. Not considering myself good, and with a poor knowledge of the game overall, I tend to respect the people playing races I do not play.
A bunch of Big O elf coaches come to mind. With people like Sandune, Jape, Morka and Tommo coming to mind. I like to watch PapaNasty's games when he casts, because I like his analytical and deliberate choices approach.Cynergy for his patience against series of bad dice, or at least low volume levels of tilting in such cases. The list could go on and on.
I try to check more into other conferences as well. It's been a while I've seen Sage playing but I'm a fan of how easy he makes the game look. I like Andy, find him a good guy, often trying to explain what he does and why.
I particularly want to give a shout-out to Lumi, as he combines a lot of things I'm looking for in a streamer/player: skills, attitude, choice of teams, casting style, streaming hours.
Any advice you would give to other players trying to develop?
Do not listen to me. I don't know much when it comes to playing Blood Bowl. Read guides, check the famous websites, follow people like those I mentioned above.
Otherwise I tend to think that when I have bad dice, it is because of bad choices, so I can't blame them. And I tend to dice people when I win, so I can't jerk off with my uberskillz. That helps me stay humble.
The player skill you have the most fun with?
Being an Dash/ Hybrid coach at heart, probably something along the lines of Leap or Sidestep if you want to talk about proper skills.
Otherwise Shadowing always gives me a good laugh and can be a real annoyance, because people do not see it often. Mystaes used it in one of his playoff games recently in a way that blew my mind too.
Your favorite Star Player?
Playing Zons I have some strong choices with Zara and Roxanna. Both of them being top Star Players, so my heart is torn and I love them both equally.
In a more general way I'm always impressed with the stat line of Luthor Von Drakenborg. With 6548 Block and Hypnogaze but no Bloodlust, he's a sexy beast. Did I mention I dream of playing Vamps properly one day?
Your favorite Stadium Improvement?
Hm. As it was said many times before, some are key for certain teams, and some as just top tier. Personally I really enjoy Astrogranite. I know. It makes such a nice sound when you stomp around on it though... Bought it in 1mn, paid off by taking out a Dorf on a starchy mission. I must confess: I smiled. Sorry Sharpy! (notsorry)
The kick-off event you hate with your guts?
Again I noticed that regarding playstyles and teams, people tended to dislike certain events over others. Thrown Rock globally still gets most of the hate. Saw it with my own eyes kill a Bull on T1 in CCL the other day, made my day.
In my case, it's mostly Pitch Invasions that do me in. It probably states something about my skills or play style, but I don't know what yet.
But I like the Blizzard; my favorite combo was a Delves vs Helves, on Astrogranite, in the Blizzard.
Any favorite snack and drink for the games?
I usually tend to not eat, and drink water or tea during my games. This is because I try to reserve the substance abuse for after the games (when I write for ReBBL News.)
On the other hand, living where I live, I have easy access to cheap and good Chinese take out, so I enjoy watching games at home over some dumplings, fried rice, knife-cut noodles or soup.
Music to listen to when playing?
My aging laptop does not like when I play some music while playing Blood Bowl. So I do not listen to anything while playing myself. Otherwise, I listen to a lot of trip hop when watching broadcasts if they do not have any music, Ninja Tunes stuff for example.
I also spend a lot of time listening to history or current affairs podcast on my free time. I like Hardcore History and Revolutions these days, if you guys want to check.
Anything to expect for season 9?
Well, the interviews will continue, probably one per week. I'm still trying to work on what to do with the Bent-O. And I'd like to do something for the whole league. Not sure what yet. I think I would like to help people co-cast at some point too, despite my lack of analysis capabilities.
Pitch side, I'll play my Amazons into what should be the most challenging of my 3 seasons. Will probably join another side league, maybe more 1mn action or something else.
Well I guess that covers it. People asked me jokingly if I wanted to interview myself earlier this season, I guess I finally did. I tried not to give myself too much slack and stick to the topic at hand despite writing under the influence. It kinda felt like the "self-reviews" teachers asked us to do in middle school. The interview, not the drunk writing.
Thanks for enduring, if you made it this far, and to all the readers that silently did, all along the season. My very special thanks to all of you that expressed their appreciation in a more direct manner, it really helped.