When you decide to talk to members of a community, as a census of sort, some profiles are easier to spot out. You have those famous for their skills, and those for their charisma; the fresh arrivals and the pillars of the community, those who come and go and those who mostly play.
As an advocate of giving some exposure to any of those, I still find that the coaches I tend to miss the most are the active ones but not omnipresent. Take this weeks interview for example.
Our guest today is Aussie, born and bred, as he lived "all across the place". Despite a well packed schedule, he still finds the time to play Artifact and co-cast every now and then. As the proud commander of Central Coast's Rebel Outpost, his Discord identity is always changing. Sometimes bullied into co-casting alongside Krusader, he is the true brain behind the Magic the Gathering / Artifact section of the stream. Coach of division 3 mandatory Kislev team, Celebrity Veg 2.0, Darby!
Let's start on the mandatory question. How did you come to the nickname DestructionDarby?
Sort of a mixture of two things, I wanted both a short quick gamer tag and it to be something relatable to me personally. So I use the abbreviated DD in any game that lets me, and the full nickname in other games. With Darby as my surname, playing on a Destruction Derby felt right.
I've had many gamer tags over the years but this one has stuck with me since I thought of it many years ago.
And you said you've been into the game industry for years, how did you get in contact with Blood Bowl then?
BB was one of the first games I played actually, back when I was 12/13. It attracted me immediately as a competitive tactical game, a game style that I still find the most enjoyable. I saw some people playing it in my local games store at the time and was hooked straight away playing in heaps of local and interstate events over the years.
It's been quite the love story then. What was your first team in Blood Bowl, Delves?
Actually Undead was my first team: big mummies, fast ghouls and bashy wights and the classic metal models were great. Once I started competing, I fell in love with the Delves.
Who wouldn't, Delves are such a great team.
I see. And did you start playing online with BB1?
I did but only casually for fun, my online gaming was mostly shooters / mobas and RTS's. It was when Krusader started bugging me about playing in ReBBL in BB2 that I started playing more online.
Ah. So how long have you been playing in ReBBL for then?
Honestly not super long, this is my 5th season I believe.
Ok, so you joined straight into BigO by season, what, 5?
Straight to Big O, it felt wrong to go through rookie / college league when I've played tournaments for so long.
For once, I'll get my guest to talk about another coach, as their
relationship friendship is of renown around the Big O.
Since we're on the topic of Krusader, let's make a quick aside, how long have you known him for and how did you guys met?
I met him at a MTG event many years ago, I think 6/7 years probably longer. We played in a late round of a tournament and struck up a great conversation while playing games and we sort of connected friend groups from there.
I see, and he then harassed you to join his ReBBL crew.
He did yeah and I'd not played Blood Bowl for a few years so I basically was hooked again straight away.
And what did you join ReBBL with ? Dark Elves too?
I joined properly when Legendary dropped so grabbed the Pro Elves as my debut ReBBL team. Which now I think about it was season 6.
I remember Darby's Union team, on its way out as I joined the league. With its Vegetables + Celebrity names. Puns being a strong part of BB identity.
Was it Celebrity Veg?
It was indeed, yes. Potentially, the boys could have continued but I felt like a change I had a few superstar players but couldn't keep more then 5 elves alive. It's why I switched to AV8 that still allowed some agility plays but it doesn't save your stars sometimes.
Keeping the naming scheme, Darby then switched to Kislev, falling victim to relentless propaganda.
Yeah you switched to the Kislev style of AV 8, what's your take after 1.5 season with them?
Well, the Slann team is one I had experience with, they're a really cool and different team because mass Leap is something most players are not confident in defending against. They also suit my personal style of play well, safe math plays with occasional calculated risk vs reward plays.
When one gives me such an opening, I do not have to shoehorn my questions in the discussion.
I often heard there are two styles of BB players: the conservative risk management approach and the aggressive "put your opponent on the back foot" one. Would you consider yourself more part of the former or the latter?
I think it massively depends on the team you're playing, what you're versing, the state of the game etc. The best players will be able to assess all of those options and change their approach on the fly. I personally am always looking for an aggressive option that allows an advantage so more of the latter.
When it comes to duking it out on the pitch, you've clearly been at it for a while. Where would you say your strengths and weaknesses lie?
My strengths are in analysing a game state for advantage, knowing when to pressure / open up a defensive line or force a play. My weakness is I focus on mathematical chance I often overlook low percentage plays and either don't take them myself or give my opponent the chance that I could of otherwise prevented
Is there any coaches around you look at to keep improving yourself?
I find there's always room to learn and improve so I actually watch a lot of games and coaches and find I usually pick up something here and there. Especially when a play style is so contrary to my own, it's nice to see a different perspective like Morka's always on offense, or Andy Davo's assessment of game state and lines.
I think if you find yourself not learning you're probably wasting the chance to improve yourself
True, I think that is a statement worth for life in general and not only BB
Definitely, there's always going to be someone better then you, the second you start thinking you're at the top you've already been overtaken again.
So, what is your goal in playing among the ReBBL, the title?
I play to compete, so the title is definitely on my radar. I stay for the community though, such a fun bunch of guys it's hard to not enjoy yourself. The players make the ReBBL what it is, and content creators like yourself really help highlight that mate so thanks for everything you do
As I always say: flattery will get you everywhere.
What about you, you clearly know what you're talking about and you co-cast with Krusader. Ever thought of contributing with something?
Sadly with my business, I really don't have enough time. I'd love to do more and be more active, but the time I have, Clan was almost too much for me.
To finish with your actual team, what is your take on their season 10?
Pure and utter disappointment lol. I have a really cool and interesting division, double Halflings alone is enough reason for it to be a fun time. However, I've failed a lot of very basic 2+ actions and its really shown this season, with a string of losses and draws. This was the season I wanted to push hard for playoffs, and its probably going to end with the team being rerolled.
What would you reroll into if you end up doing it?
It's almost time for try hard mode, so I'm looking at Necro / Dark Elves or potentially even Chaos.
I know, I know.... All very boring choices but they're title winning and if the guys in Div 1 can't claim a Superb Owl, I'll have to show the other conferences that we're more then capable.
Dark Elves > Necro. Please.
Try harding is one thing, but when it comes to fun, which skill gives you the most fun on the pitch?
Frenzy, nothing is more fun then telling your opponent I will push your players, everywhere, haha.
Norse are my mindless fun team, Frenzy is so amusing. And the Khorne team would be right up my alley if it was released, haha.
Did you play them in BB1?
I have indeed, and on TT as well. They're a rather fun mixture and "khorne red" is easy.
Do you have a favourite Star Player then?
Oooh, well Chaney is a personal favourite of mine, but I love Bomber Dribblesnot!
[Regarding Chaney] Potentially, that higher strength and Frenzy open a lot of options, Claw is just a bonus.
Love is one thing but we know Blood Bowl is also powered by hate and tear salt.
What's the Kick-Off event you hate with your guts?
Honestly, the kick off event that ruins more of my plans then any other is Perfect Defense, I know all the others are actually way worse but it just ruins my aggressive setups more then any other event can. Others can be more impactful or annoying, but I have definitely been put on the back foot by a lot of Perfect Defenses.
Perfect Defenses can be incredibly frustrating, while looking more benign than other events.
What's your stadium enhancement of choice then, since I don't think any can stop Perfect Defenses?
You can't, I tend to favour the Squig Stand, no Rocks killing a star for free, or free bribes for my opponents. Sometimes you need other enhancements, but I like the stand.
If there was one thing only you could change in Blood Bowl 2, which would you go for?
That's a really tough question. I would like to see balancing of clawPOMB personally, but I'm not 100% on the BB2016 rule changes either so its hard to say. There's lots of discussed fixes, I don't really know which is best for overall game balance just know its something I'd like to see changed. Removing the Claw and mighty Blow interaction is honestly the one I'd prefer to see, but have not done the math on it.
Any food and drink to recommend for those long BB games?
Snack food is my favourite thing, so wings and dumplings always go down a treat with me. Drink: a fine scotch or a spiced rum carry me through a long series.
A man after my own heart.
Ok to finish, there is the traditional player submitted question.
This one from JamesT, Victoria, B.C: "If you could add any stadium enhancement to the game what would it be and why?"
Ooh, that's a tough one!
Hmm... I'd love to see some sort of pillar enhancement where multiple grids on the pitch are turned into impassible pillars that you can't throw the ball through or move through. That or some sort of trap enhancement where grids will randomly be lava / pits etc. haha. Something fun and a bit silly.
Many thanks to Darby for taking the time to answer my rarely changing questions. It was a pleasure as always to chat with another Big O coach about Blood Bowl and a few other things.
Tune in next week to find out what his question was and the answer to it from our next guest!