Alright folks, this is the last Big O interview of 2018. I'm not going to smother you in considerations about looking back, taking in the length of the path walked and so on. I did that way too much already. Plus most of you are probably slightly overfilled with celebratory food and are just looking for a nice easy read while you're ... recuperating.
Today we're talking with a self-professed "heel" of the Big O. An unrepentant shit talker, straight from the graveyard shift. Being a night animal, sometimes wearing plaid flannel shirts, he hails from Victoria, B.C., Canada. Member of clan PATH, coach of the Control Chaos team The One True Path, JamesTyphoon!
"James Typhoon" tell us how you came about your nickname.
Super simple really, When I was 15 or so I tried to log JamesTaylor as a Xbox gamer tag. It spat a bunch of stuff at me with numbers and I wasn't, and still am not a fan of nicknames with numbers involved. I heard we were getting a massive wind storm earlier that day and just simply replaced my last name with Typhoon and it's stuck ever since.
The super edgy name SilentRazor that 13 year old me came up with wasn't doing it for me anymore :P
Ahh... the glory of edgy teenager nicknames.
How did JamesTyphoon came in contact with Blood Bowl?
I first ran into when I was in my teenage years at a local card shop I use to go to to get Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Thought it looked interesting though I never pursued it further until I found out about 5 or 6 years ago there was a pc adaptation on steam, picked up BB1 and dabbled a bit with it here and there just goofing off with friends and playing the A.I. Then got BB2 around when it first came out, didn't touch it much until about 2 years ago I wanted to play in an actual league. Was in a separate league with Kejiruze and he mentioned that ReBBL has just finished its 3rd season and he's been playing in it and enjoying it for quite some time, and I signed up.
Did you joined into REL, or straight into Big O? As I think Season 4 was the first Big O season.
I went into Rel because I heard it was the North American league. I played there for a bit. Me and Deez started in the same division over there. We talked a bit about moving to the Big O during one of the one day events that ReBBL runs and both popped over in the same season.
You're also working nights I take then?
I started working graveyard shift when I was 18 because it paid an extra dollar an hour. It's just sort of become habit for me to stay up all night so I tend to look for graveyard shift or evening shit positions. Probably helps that most of my online friends are living in Aus so it's when we can best play games at the same time.
Time to talk about James clan. [Path] is a clan built around a community of friends that met through ReBBL and play Pathfinder together, and now play in Clan league together as well. Path is composed of ArchXL, IsenMike, JamesTyphoon, Mystaes and Saace.
Ok now that we established how you became a member of ReBBL and Big O, tell us more about [Path]. How long have you guys been playing together?
Probably a season and a half, it's been a while since we've managed to get together for a proper session since the tpk, mostly due to time constraints, but we're keeping it together in clan, actually doing pretty well this season.
Most of our party was swallowed by a Giant Bog Turtle after getting chased into a lake by a Swarm of Stirges. Our Gunslinger decided to detonate his gunpowder to try and get it to spit us out, didn't end well for most of us :P
How did you guys end up playing Pathfinder together in the first place?
A massive discussion started about roleplaying games in either TheBeerhall, or Rel chat. a bunch of people sat down and put together a group and that's us. It's been a lot of fun. ReBBL is a pretty solid community as a whole and it ends up with most people being fun to play other games with as well.
To get back to BB, what was your first team in ReBBL back then?
The Goudafellas, A Skaven team with Mobster/Cheese themed players. You can still see one of the monsters created lurking in a Big O team going by the name of Carlo Gorgonzola. He's got a lot of steroids pumping through his veins, you're going to need at least an elephant tranquilizer to put him down :P
It's actually a name and theme I've latched onto for all of my rat teams because I find it quite a lot of fun.
Carlo the Gutter Runner is becoming something of a meme, with his 9446 Blodge Frenzy Leap stat line. He made it through three different Skaven teams. The target of many hits, he's still alive in kicking around Big O div 4 in the hands of Dwarfbane,
What's your favorite race you played competitively so far?
I tend to bounce around on favourite teams, My favourite for a long time was underworld but when I moved to BB2 that wasn't an option anymore, I then picked up Skaven and played around with them for quite some time. Now I think I'm sitting on Brets because they're an interesting hybrid team that has an insane amount of control potential from all their starting skills and skill access.
On the other hand, is there any team you wouldn't touch with a ten feet pole?
There hasn't been a team I've found that I really wouldn't play. I would probably say my least favourite team to play is Khorne because ST 3 frenzy with limited guard options and no starting block is 1 in 9 nightmare fuel. But even them I've played a handful of times and will likely go back to at some point in the future.
After trying all these different teams, you must have a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses. Care to enlighten us?
Honestly my lack of focus tends to be my biggest problem, if I fall into a routine I tend to leave gaps that I just normally wouldn't. That being said I tend to not play as aggressively as I normally should, and I look to fix that. Otherwise I tend to just wait for a big blatant opportunity to slap me in the face like an out of position ball or being up 3 plays. I also tended to end halves with a bunch of unused rerolls which felt like a massive waste of tv. I've tried to fix that with more aggressive play but that usually just leads me to taking greed rerolls. At least I've solved my issue of poor reroll efficiency? :P
As I mentioned that greed rerolls worked for Sage, James then replied it should work for him too. That's the spirit.
Up to this day, what would you say is your proudest BB achievement?
I'm probably happiest with my performance in The One True Path's opening season, making it to playoffs with rookie Chaos was both a pleasure and a chore :P
You have a decent shot at playoffs this season again, what's your long term goal with your actual team then?
I don't really have a long term goal for the team outside of more guard. I'm just waiting for the season when I finally decide to reroll the team because I've gotten that bored with it. But for now the "Control Chaos" memes have brought me great pleasure.
For the anecdote: James always boasted of not playing a low-brow Chaos team built on CPOMB only, he was the smart guy building Guard pieces and so on. The number of ClawMightyBlow pieces on his roster generated a few raised eyebrows. hence the"Control" meme.
He also claimed to come back to Big O after a one season hiatus to clear "the Orc problem" and proceeded to concede his only loss this season to the Orc team in his div, so... :P
Is there any other ReBBL comp format outside of the regular season and Clan you'd like to jump in then?
I wouldn't mind taking a crack at the Immortal league, I would love to have another go with my rat team when it was at it's peak. Of course I'll also be playing in any of the one day events that pop up at a friendly time for me, especially Chaos Cup. A lot of fun players can come out of a format like that. Where else are you going to find a PoMB Pass Minotaur? :P
I noticed you're also a Trade Commissioner since last season. Is that borne out of a desire to get more involved in the league beyond playing?
I mean I've always been willing to help out where I could. I saw Metal posted the rules last time with a "not so subtle" cry for help and asked if he wanted a hand with it. I wasn't expecting to get a fancy yellow name out of it. I do feel kind of bad though as I haven't been able to help out as much as I normally would have simply do to real life issues cropping up. But I should be able to dive back into it fully sometime after the new year.
You ever thought of maybe writing for the news, or admin-ing, or streaming?
I've said I don't want to be made an admin, it seems like a lot of hassle and drama. Though if asked I would probably relent and accept. I've had a few ideas for written content that I want to do. But my window for doing it has closed during a very hectic period of time. I have also thought about streaming, I have the rig and internet capable of managing it. I just haven't taken the step to actually setting it up, procrastination is a terrible disease :P
I will probably get to streaming at some point, I've been wanting to do a bit of content of my criticizing my own play. I tend to do it on my own quite often but I think it could be valuable for some of the newer coaches that tend to hang around.
Talking about criticizing your own plays, are there any coach around you look up to?
Depending on what team it is there are a lot of coaches I look towards because they are genuinely masters of that particular team/playstyle. You have Coaches like Lumi and IsenMike that have insanely good positioning you also have other coaches that are pretty stellar at spotting and executing on small opportunities like Morka. Then there are loads of coaches around I have a lot of respect for simply because they can shrug off the bad stuff and get into a bit of playful banter. Which not tilting is probably the single most important skill to have in this game.
"Do not tilt" is probably as common an advice around the Blood Bowl community as "Roll 6s" and its counterpart "Do not roll 1s". All sensible advices. Simple enough on paper, hard to master on the pitch.
What's the player skill that procures you the most fun on the pitch?
It's between Foul Appearance and Fend for the way they can just completely disrupt another players plan in unexpected and annoying ways.
First time I see FA in there, no doubt it will rejoice the Nurgle lovers.
It makes a fart noise, who can hate on the fart noise? :P
Who's your favorite Star Player?
Currently Dolfar has gotten me the most excited. It's a way to get Kick when you're down on tv, as well if you're playing Brets it's an agi 4 body that comes with a whole pile of utility skills that are just nice to have around. He's won me a handful of games with Kick and Hail Mary Pass alone which is not something you expect.
I like how people still give me varied choices so I can find new illustrations of Star Players every week; It's bound to stop at some point though.
The kick-of event you hate with a vengeance?
Right now it's Perfect defense. I've gotten it against me more times than I ever want to recently and it's brought me no end of frustration, but the one I probably dislike the most is Pitch Invasion as it has a way of not only ruining a drive, but also killing your best players as the other team has the perfect opportunity to place a boot in where ever they want.
Your stadium enhancement of choice then?
Security gate, The one that prevents Pitch Invasions. Either that or Dome to stop some of the worst weather results.
With the benefit of these years of playing BB2, if you could change one thing only, which would it be?
If we're talking game wise, I would love to either ditch the 150k bank rule, or spiraling expenses. They tend to create a lot of problems for some teams, I tend to find them the most limiting on elf teams since you have expensive players and tend to enter deathspiral more often then some of the other teams. Makes it so you can't effectively bank up cash during the games you're not losing players and makes replacing players more difficult.
Though currently the back end is what I would want to fix up the most. There is a lot of jank that goes on for a league admin that puts in a lot of time and energy that could really be fixed up to reduce time wasted as well as giving more options to make doing some things easier, like manual bye weeks or just removing needing to ping the server for every new page/tab.
It's the first time I see someone pleading for the fate of our poor admins. Hear, hear!
Do you have any drink and snack to recommend during those long BB games?
I tend to go for an iced tea or sports drink during my matches, Occasionally I'll be playing while eating dinner. Which can be any number of things I've decided to eat for a meal that day :P
Last interviewee was Tommo, head sports reporter for the Big O, and he offrered:
"What are the things you like and dislike about the Big Os recap and caster teams. Is there anything we are not doing that you would like to see us do?"
I haven't really run into anything I'd like to see changed on the recaps. Apart from maybe uploading them to a permanent video hosting service so people can go back and watch in case they couldn't catch them live or missed their window of opportunity in catching the vod on twitch.
Many thanks to James for taking time to answer my questions after coming back from work. Double points for not shit talking his way through the interview and putting an extra effort into his typing.
Many thanks to you folks for reading these interviews though 2018, hope you'll keep following in 2019!