Hello GMAN! And specifically GMAN 2! I wish I had more time to get involved in the content creation output of REBBL, but for now I'm thinking I can manage a long-form recap of the division every 4 weeks (hopefully!). So here I'll be going through each of the teams, seeing how they've done and what I think the future holds.
#14 High Sails (Venachar)
Wood elves, 0-0-4
The High Sails have had an incredibly rough ride in recent seasons. Once a mainstay of division 1 (as one of the two original surviving REBBL teams all the way since season 1!), they spent season 7 in division 2 (also along with me), managing a fairly solid #5 position for promotion back to the top flight, only to be demoted again after facing the meat grinder that is the recent div 1 meta, losing some key players in the process.
Venachar has had a really poor run of luck to have lost all 4 opening matches. When they faced my Seven Circles it was something of a bloodbath, resulting in the deaths of rookie Wardancer Sir Isaac Nail and nicely-developed treeman Bark Beard. There's some good news though - outside of that they haven't lost any other players at all, suffering no worse than a single MNG in week 1, so instead of getting pulled into a death spiral I think they're on the path to rebuilding.
Kristoffer Turboson now has Strip Ball as his first level up, William Kief is an absolutely ideal MB blitzer, there's two nicely developing catchers in place and the team can even afford a new treeman! Never forgetting of course, the REBBL's best thrower in the legendary form of Long Bong Silver and original surviving team member John Blow'em (a strength FIVE wrodgestep lineman - so thanks to being a wood elf that's a 7547 stat line), and I'd be very surprised to see the High Sails still languishing at the bottom of the division, even after only a few matches.
#13 Warpstone Sneaky Servants (Karlosibz)
The Warpstone Sneaky Servants have also suffered from 4 straight losses so far in season 9, though I know at least in the case of our match that was a close-fought result. Lacking quite as much killing power as their fellow underworld team but hopefully making up for it with a lot of agility in the form of multiple agility increases and many extra heads, it's perhaps only the fact that the team has faced some particularly bashy matchups already that is keeping them down in the rankings.
That said, division 2 is a particularly bash-heavy division when compared to previous seasons, and as the teams are all at least in their 3rd season they're usually developed enough to have Mighty Blow and at least some Tackle to cause a lot of problems for such a low-strength team.
Most of the str3 players on the team are only a vanity pass or touchdown away from levelling though, and another match or two could result in as many as 4 level ups on the all-important str3 players, so perhaps we'll be seeing something of a late start for Karlosibz's team? It'll be an interesting one to watch this week as they face off against the less agile but arguably bashier Definitely Not A Zoo in div 2's underworld mirror face-off!
#12 Unaccompanied Minos (DebtMonkey)
Chaos dwarves, 0-2-2
Still looking for their first win are the division's sole Chaos Dwarf team who despite not yet winning have been a scary proposition for most opponents with a particularly dangerous group of chorf blockers - Just Chorfin' Around is only Jump-up away from being this division's Happy.
Due to the death of star centaur Filet me-gnome, the bulls of the team are currently a bit under-developed compared to the blockers, but plucky newbie The Unstoppable Farce is only a touchdown away from his first level-up, which you'd put good odds on achieving in their next match.
Week 5 sees them face off against Philbo's MB-heavy but lacking in Guard orcs, in a showdown that will most likely come down to a battle of Orc Piling-on versus Chaotic Dwarf Claw. The lack of Block Black Orc Duke Christoph Returns will be a big miss for Philbo, and if DebtMonkey can win the bash war it could be the start of their ascent up the rankings. Only 2 losses doesn't rule them out of playoffs yet!
#11 Philbo's Phighting Phist (Philbo)
Orcs, 1-0-3 (Assuming an admin loss)
Week 1 saw the epic rematch of Philbo's Phighting Phist against Seven Circles (which was also how div 2 in season 7 kicked off) and it went along very similar lines to the last time around, with Claw not working at all, but then working a lot towards the end of the match. Philbo had complete dominance in the first half but then did his best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
In the end it was a week 1 win for the Phighting Phist though they've not managed to capitalise on that early lead, in something of a shock 2-3 loss to Âlve and a classic 1-2 result against Drop Dead Gore Juice despite there only being 1 Werewolf on the roster.
I believe Philbo has been away this week resulting in an admin loss which really hurts the team's chances of a playoff-qualifying finish but its too soon to rule them out yet!
#10 Definitely Not A Zoo (Ambi Tanque)
Underworld, 1-0-3 (Assuming an admin win)
The other Underworld team of Definitely Not A Zoo have also notched up straight defeats so far in Season 9, though (I believe) an admin win for week 4 gives a chance for some safe SPP and cash to make an impact in the rest of the season. The admin win also means the team won't be missing Butterfly the pretty fantastic Troll (Block, Claw, Tentacles) who took a punishing smashed knee (niggling injury) last week against Pink Power Puftah.
Definitely Not A Zoo are Definitely Not members of the "Goblin lives matter" movement, with not even a single Goblin on the team currently surviving past their first level. That approach could well work out for them though as all of the non-goblin players are looking really good, particualarly the dual Mighty Blow/Claw/Tackle skaven blitzers.
Next week is the much-hyped Ultimate Underworld Extravaganza of Definitely Not A Zoo versus Warpstone Sneaky Servants. That's one match I hope our streamers will be covering!
#9 Pink Power Puftah (Aldar)
Assuredly the pinkest necromantic team in the REBBL, Pink Power Puftah are potentially the most dangerous of div 2's three necromantic teams. None of the 6 wolves in the division have Mighty Blow (yet!) so Aldar's zombies are making up for it with FOUR dirty players between them - and the other two both have Guard!
Rookie Werewolf Pinkzilla II is the only real hope for a Mighty Blow wolf with colleague Captain Pink already on 87spp and most likely not levelling up (and hitting legend in the process) this season. The rest of the positionals are looking great though, with at least 2 extra skills on every other player (including always-difficult-to-develop flesh golems).
Despite currently coming in at position 9, a 2 wins to 2 losses scoresheet could easily go either way in the rest of the season, but if anything, I'm actually expecting this team to climb a few places and soon!
#8 Drop Dead Gore Juice (Crowdog)
Matching their fellow necro team above but coming ahead in TD differential, Drop Dead Gore Juice are a team who seem to currently be stuck in a cycle of rebuilding without quite breaking through to greatness - yet. Flesh golem Bartemus the Needy was a big loss to the team but partner Peter Agony lives on as a great level 5 golem with all the skills you could really want. As it is, the stars of the team are arguably the trio of Block Guard zombies acting as a strong vanguard keeping the team from being over-powered by bashy opponents.
It's not all doom and gloom for Crowdog though, Bruce and Derek Zulander are werewolves who both have at least the all-important Block, and are both reasonably (or very) close to their next level. If a Mighty Blow wolf is going to appear soon in division 2, my money is on Drop Dead Gore Juice rolling that magic double.
While it would be a huge help, a MB wolf isn't everything, and as it is, lacking any stat-ups the team is actually very efficient at their 1700 TV. A Mighty Blow wight and a Blodge Guard wight is a great base to build a team around, and as long as they don't suffer any more really crucial losses, I think the team is on the cusp of bouncing up the leaderboard.
#7 Âlve (Majorbyte)
Perennial division-2-dwellers Âlve shocked GMAN when they won the first two matches in season 9 - is this finally going to be the season they leave the division one way or another? If you look at the roster today with 3 developed players niggled and missing the next game, it doesn't look bright. Majorbyte, however, is used to losing players (and playing Norse) and this is all part of a day's work for the embattled norsemen.
It's probably always going to be an uphill battle for an AV7 team without agility in the upper divisions of GMAN, but the team does currently have a solid core of two very well developed Ulfwereners, including what could end up being the first legendary Ulf in REBBL (I think?).
It only takes one or two bad games for a Norse team to crumble (and I think Majorbyte is either crazy or a masochist to keep playing them), but I really hope this is the season that Âlve keep up a string of good results and finally, FINALLY make it out of div 2 and (whisper it) get promoted to div 1.
#6 Da Big Mulligans! (FreddieGibbs)
It might surprise you to learn that the (maybe not so) humble Big Mulligans are currently the bashiest team in div 2, and close to being the bashiest team in all of GMAN and REBBL, having inflicted 19 casualties with their fists (or face) in just 4 matches.
Sporting 6 Guard players plus a Big Guy leaves FreddieGibbs as a coach after my own heart (especially with Diving Tackle as the skill of choice on doubles), and I'm sure rookie Troll Big Ug will be joining the Guard-happy lineup with one of his early skills (but here's hoping for that REBBL-standard big-guy first-skill Block, eh?). They're even managing a decent amount of Mighty Blow / Tackle players which will be a major headache for the goblins and elves of the division (as Karlosibz can attest). There's even a surprisingly good thrower in the form of Barry Punched-Lots thanks to +MV and Accurate AND Strong Arm overcoming the normal rubbishness of an orc thrower.
I really like the look of Da Big Mulligans(!), because it's probably what my team would look like if I coached orcs. Which I don't. Because they're great until you hit a high TV and face a bunch of Claw, which brings me to...
#5 Seven Circles (Zsinj)
Surprisingly the only Chaos team in div 2 (and come to think of it, the only Chaos team in the division for each season I've played in REBBL), the Seven Circles are back after taking a break over season 8 to sharpen their claws and try to figure out how Diving Tackle is supposed to work. Even meme-ified minotaur Unf has rejoined the team after a season's loan to Drace's Fyarstars, whereupon he suffered a broken neck (-AGI) and refused to do well for them anymore. With all the roster togther the team is now clocking in at 2080 TV, so there's no doubt they'd be a far more cost-effective team without the mino, but what can you do, the crowd loves him!
Thanks to Unf hogging a fair share of the team's blitzes, the beastmen are eternally under-developed, with a mix of 3 original players, late-joiner Li'l Unf and 3 beastmen now on their third iteration. The team really can't hang on to a good beast, but I'm happy enough that all 4 original warriors are still relatively unscathed (with just Wind taking an agi bust last match) in place of a more developed beastman lineup. That said, plucky Li'l Unf rolled a double for his third skill after last week, now making him a de-facto ball carrier with Blodge and Agi 4, no doubt the target of all the wizards the team will be giving away (or rather, all the wizards that UNF is giving away!).
It's been a pretty good start to the season with a shock 3-0 win over the High Sails pushing my TD differential high enough to lead the other teams on 2-1-1. It's still early days though and all to play for, I could well end up with a playoff spot or all the way at the bottom of the pile after some bad matches and permanent injuries with the way this division is shaping up!
#4 Rockomotive Gitstompers (Hummersepp)
An early favourite to take one of the division's 3 playoff spots, and even top the division completely thanks to a classic 'zon army of Blodge backed up by some very strong skill choices. Hummersepp's ladies are the first time we've seen an amazon team rise so high in GMAN and it's going to be very interesting to see if they can keep on climbing or else come crashing down in such a bash-heavy meta.
Week 5 might end up being a make or break match for the Gitstompers after the devastating loss of 3 developed linewomen and an AV-bust to OG blitzer Reagan Rocksolid to (no surprise here) the Chaos Dwarves of Unaccompanied Minos. Unfortunately, week 5 sees them face Da Big Mulligans who as mentioned previously have all the skills necessary to make a mess of an amazon team (plenty of Mighty Blow and Tackle on the same player). If they survive that then it's the prospect of slightly-less-tackle-y Seven Circles in week 6 and *yet another* Tackle MB heavy team Death Then Dishonour the week after.
It's quite the gauntlet to run but if they come out relatively healthy then they'll probably have also won those games and be back on top of the leaderboard. Good luck Hummersepp!
#3 The Voltrex Vanguard (RamaSet)
High elves, 2-2-0
It has been said that High Elves are the best elf team at high TV, and The Voltrex Vanguard no doubt match that description on nearing 2000 TV! It's no surprise then to see them currently occupying one of the divisiion's qualification spots and the team's destiny is firmly in their own hands to keep that position through the rest of the season.
Despite only being level 3, thrower Talan Valash is threatening Long Bong Siver's title for the most accurate thrower in the REBBL, and the Vanguard have a full compliment of well-developed str3 catchers to take advantage of that fact. In fact there's almost total Blodge coverage across the entire team, but unlike the rival Rockomotive Gitstompers, the elves have agility 4 to fall back on to get them out of a pinch. A couple of Guard linemen and all this team is really missing is Mighty Blow on one of the Blitzers, who are both relatively close to levelling up soon and hitting that goal.
So in summary the team is looking incredibly healthy, has almost all the skills they could want and have little to fear from other teams being able to out-score them. Out of all the teams in div 2, The Voltrex Vanguard are my top pick to claim one of the the playoff positions by the end of the season and also a favourite to top the division, dependent on the crucial week 5 match versus Bloodsuckers inc. which should be a corker.
#2 Death Then Dishonour (Barmution)
Pulling well ahead of the other Necromantic and more bashy teams of the division, Death Then Dishonour are currently unbeaten! It's not even too much of a surprise when you look over the team's roster.
For this team, good things come in twos - you can see two nicely developed werewolves (perfectly ready for either to roll Mighty Blow soon), two extremely well developed Flesh Golems that nobody will want to face, two Block/Guard zombies backing up the team, two Wrestle zombies to bring down holes in the opposing lines, even two ghouls that are developing quite well themselves. There's a killer Wight who is unfortunately missing the next match, and the other is not far from improving on having just taken Guard so far - a key skill to have more of in this division and the opponents they'll be facing.
So yet another team that has all the right pieces to keep their good run of form going. Much like Drop Dead Gore Juice, the werewolves are close to levelling and Mighty Blow on either would be a game-changer. Even without that, there's a good mix of all the right skills in all the right places, and it just needs Barmution to keep the good coaching he's shown so far to secure a playoff spot and glory in the playoffs.
#1 Bloodsuckers inc. (Randomboy)
With the singular honour of 4 wins out of 4 matches, Randomboy's vamps are surely a favourite to be at or near the top of the division all throughout the season. They've managed to avoid the classic vamp bloodlust implosion despite 5 vampires on the roster and 4 rerolls, but now there's a good amount of Pro across the vamps that's even less likely.
4 of the 5 vampires have Blodge protection, a tricky prospect on strength 4 players, all except killer vamp The Salesman who will most likely have an accelerated development. The vampires are looking great, and there are plenty of expendable rookie thralls on the roster for snacking on or throwing in the way of scary opponents. If anything, the only problem is that the team has bloated up to 1900 TV with only 5 developed players, and losing one or two, either in a match or (less likely) permanently will be a big setback.
Week 5 sees them face off against The Voltrex Vanguard in a sure-to-be exciting match that I think will set the tone of the rest of the season for both teams. That's followed by 4 consequtive weeks against some of the most dangerous teams in the division so the mid-season is shaping up to be the make-it-or-break-it point of the team's entire career. Good luck!