I Can’t Watch All That!
Welcome to my first foray into the terrifying world of written content production (it’s especially terrifying for those fans of appropriate punctuation and I apologise profusely in advance to the poor bugger that ends up on editing duties!) The snappily named “I Can’t Watch All That!” (Or I C WAT if you like that kind of thing, it’s a provisional title for the first draft, we’ll clean it up in editing) [Editor's Note: Metal is infamous for not editing]
For me, Playoffs are my favourite time of the season, so it feels like the correct decision to focus my inaugural written content on the insanity that has been our first week of season 11 playoff matches. If you have not been paying attention, the opening round of playoffs features 29 games (because regional champions get a free pass in the first round), but this season we also launched the Challenger Cup initiative, which means there has been a WHOPPING 58 games played in the first week alone (for the observant readers fond of mathematics this is ONLY 2 less games than the ENTIRE six week playoff season had in the past). This is a WHOLE LOT of Blood Bowl to watch and you’d be absolutely forgiven for missing some/many/lots of the matches that have been streamed thus far, this article is designed to remedy that issue by highlighting the most explosive/violent/crazy matches of the round so you can peruse them at your viewing leisure.
At this juncture it seems only appropriate to give credit to the rather wonderful Destruction Darby who has dedicated entire evenings to drinking scotch and reviewing matches, with the aim of curating the finest list of content you are likely to find in our crazy corner of the internet. I’ll be quoting him wholesale in the descriptions of the matches, but will highlight his comments separately from my own. I will also include links to the VOD’s/YouTube highlights and credits to the casting teams.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We will attempt to make this list as spoiler free as possible, but I’m only human, so mild spoilers might slip through.
So without further ado on with the list!:
Challenger action first:
Conspiration Entropique (Coach Thessa) Vs Knight Juggler is back (Coach Gerbear)
Gerbear's Bretonians were rocking a fan favourite inducement in Griff, who gave his all against Thessa's classic kill chaos. A turn 1 Bert Blitz switched the entire pace of the game until dice decided to fail Gerbear and the Chaos risked it all on a pickup. Gerbear backed up a solid drive with an impressive 1 turn attempt on turn 8 that you won't see every day! Inducements saved the day for the Berts in the second half in a spectacular way after a very clingy Minotaur did his all to stop Gerbear’s drive.
I’ve joked with Thessa in the past about our very different approaches to Blood Bowl (he’s got a bloody monster mino which we don’t agree on in this very team!) but he’s a damn fine coach and given his opponent is a REBBL staple who survived and thrived through multiple seasons in GMan div 1 this was always going to be a highlight match. Will Brets work better than orcs ever did, or will kill chaos brutalise their way to victory?
Casters: FullMetalCOS, Stouticus, Michaels - VOD link
Hype ratings: DD - 6/10, Metal - 7/10
Bullcanoe! (Coach Mongooseisloose) Vs Dark Angels of Lilith (Coach DonkeyDragon)
Kickoff events and weather strike again in a fantastic matchup of Mongoose's Chaos Dwarves against Donkey Dragons Dark Elves. Some very bold plays and elven shenanigans forced some difficult choices from Mongoose that highlight high level play decisions that help win games. A classic Bash vs Dash matchup gives us a display that makes for a truly back and forth game that left me excited turn after turn.
Chorfs vs Delves doesn’t typically make for super exciting Blood Bowl - the Chorfs murder things and the Delves dodge, run around and play keep-away, right? Well, that’s not quite the game we get…. The last couple of turns of one coaches drive simply need to be seen to be believed.
Casters: FullMetalCOS, Gerbear - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 7/10, Metal - 7.5/10
Silly ASCII Rat Emoji (Coach Missuh) Vs Celebrity Veg 2.0 (Coach Destruction Darb)
My bias is showing here but I want to highlight my own game with the only Kislev in the Challengers Cup Celebrity Veg 2.0 against Missuh's Ascii Skaven. This one is "tense" right from the beginning, with not one but two super gutter runners capable of easily one turning being protected by a truckload of inducements given up by the 2150 Kislev team. This game comes down to the wire, and highlights the risk versus reward playstyle and matchup based choices we all make but might not think about. If you think like I do that Diving Tackle is a fake skill but should be amazing against Skaven, here's your chance to find out!
Nepotism aside, this really is a match to watch. The rats have all the tools necessary to frustrate even the most experienced coach and Missuh is no stranger to using them effectively, whilst the Kislev are well built, but relatively underequipped in comparison, coached by my comrade in arms here, who I am reliably informed is incredibly hungry for the Challenger Cup grand prize. How will he deal with the ludicrous gutters on Missuh’s team? Will he kill any of those bloody emoji named players? Will I stop ending my summaries with questions?
Casters: Unholy Krusader, Swagtusk - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 10/10 (I think he’s biased - Metal), Metal - 8/10
Murdery Space Elf Troupe (Coach Motleee) Vs We Oink When We Bonk You (Coach BrocCooli)
This one was fun from the beginning and will bring a smile to your face as BrocCooLi's one season Bretonnians take on the aggressively coached Dark Elves from Motleee. Determination was the name of the game, recovering from failure and making the best of it saw a solid oinking from the casters. If you don't get that, you will by the time this one's over!
It’s a Bert team so I’m biased. It’s got a really silly team name, so I’m more biased. XS proves himself utterly incapable of pronouncing french names, so that pushes it over the edge into a must-watch. Motleee plays an incredible high pressure elf team and its a genuine joy to watch as he puts the screws to BrocCooli, true to his name though the Bert coach stays Cool under pressure and turns what feels like an early forgone conclusion into an incredibly tense match. It’s worthy of note that by the end of the match my missus proclaimed that if I’d said “Oink” one more time she was filing for divorce……
Casters: FullMetalCOS, Swagtusk, XS - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 7/10, Metal - Oink/10
Over to playoffs:
Hi Ho Off To Work We Go (Coach Zygmund) Vs Ford Nation (Coach Mystaes)
Any game versus previous Superbowl Champion Mystaes's Orcs is a recipe for maximum hype and Zygmund's Chorfs came to play! A nice mix of bash play positioning, true brawls, 1 dice blocks, pro fails and rerolls. Really good placement by Mystaes kept him in the game and the chorves under pressure. Mystaes backed up his solid positioning throughout the game, until a kick of result had something to say.
One Season old orcs taking on multi-season murder chorfs, thats a no brainer, right? When the orcs are coached by a previous SuperBowl champ there’s always a chance and both coaches need to leave nothing in reserve to secure the win here. Absolute rollercoaster of a game that proves nothing is ever guaranteed in Blood Bowl.
Casters: Steakmittens, Elle - VOD link
Hype ratings: DD - 8/10, Metal 8/10
Pantheon Passers (Coach Tself) Vs Cento Montaditos (Coach Sampittu)
An action packed first half of Tself's Pro Elves constantly pressuring Sampittu's lizards over and over again, and if you want to learn how to be a hyper aggressive elf coach take note this is how it's done! The name of the game was failed dice but impenetrable armour, the birth of a new legend (maybe?), and some stunning plays and failures that you need to see for yourself. The lizards held firm under pressure, but did they do enough to grind over the elf bodies Tself was willing to put in their way?
Tself has an incredibly aggressive style of elf play, rarely seen among elf coaches (usually because of the associated body count) but he’s not afraid of a couple (or an army) of loners! Combined with his leaping sackers, you’d be forgiven for thinking he played some form of mutant kislev/elf crossbreed. Sampittu will have to work hard to protect his ball and advance under constant pressure from the elves. Will Tselfs infamous thrower Sif Muna finally make legend? Will av7 finally break? Or will nature take its course and let the saurus steamroller crush its way to victory over broken elf corpses? Can we take “all of the above” as an answer?
Superfeds match of the round! “the prophecy foretold by fed as many as four seasons ago finally came to pass. Plus lizards vs passing elves is always a good time.”
Casters: FullMetalCOS, Dr Greed - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD: 7/10 (not even having Darbs former player on the pitch can get it to an 8! -Metal), Metal: 8/10
The Scuffling Dead (Coach Serj) Vs New Gender Norse (Coach Ornan)
All the experts picked Ornan heavily as the Cinderella story for playoffs, the World Cup Champion and undefeated coach of REL 5G, conceding only 3 td's for his entire season and scoring an average of 3+ TD's a game as well as being the only Amazon coach in playoffs! A lack of removals from both coaches saw a grindy positioning focused game played well by the Zons with solid positioning forcing Serj's Necromantic team to make some hard choices. The BigO Div1 coach proved up to the task of the questions Ornan asked of him, with a big scrum breaking out in the first half that never really ended until the final turns of the game.
Serj went into this one as the underdog, with people in Discord already hyping up the second round opportunity of a rematch between Ornan and Juvesack from last seasons playoffs. Totally unphased by this, Serj joked that he wasn’t just chopped liver and Ornan had better look to match at hand. On the pitch Serj’s out of game confidence was matched by strong in game positioning and pitch control and seemed to be relishing the chance to prove himself against both a Superbowl Champ AND the reigning World Champion. Ornan once again lived up to the hype, delivering an excellent strategic game that kept everyone guessing on the result till the final turns.
Casters: AussieVikingr, Shaoz, Holes - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD: 10/10, Metal 9/10
My BloodBowl Sins (Coach Chabxxu) Vs Da Big Mulligans (Coach Freddie Gibbs)
Chabxxu was the only Kislev coach to make playoffs and at only one season old found himself up against an orc staple of GMAN in FreddieGibbs. There is no defense against Kislev who want to sack the ball and Chab highlighted that fact right from the beginning of the game despite a failed wizard bolt on turn 1! Rerolls were burned hard in proper communist fashion. Some loose plays by Chabxxu kept the game exciting in the second half, with Diving Tackle proving fake for both coaches. A really solid and fun cast that make a good watch.
Despite my reputation for hating Kislev (its grossly overblown, I swear!) I ALWAYS enjoy watching them on the pitch as Kislev coaches tend to be both unpredictable and capable of explosive plays that change the face of the game. Meanwhile the other side of the pitch was a good ol fashioned Orc team captained by a guy who we genuinely believe has green skin in real life. Will traditional Russian dispassion towards its peoples lives overcome raw Orc fury?
Hype Ratings: DD: 10/10 (It’s a Kislev game, of course he’s hyped…. - Metal), Metal: 7/10
Damage Incorporated (Coach Jamus McGamus) Vs RAGE DORF (Coach UnseenWalker)
Jamus's single season but decently developed Nurgle saw themselves up against a scarily strong mass guard dwarf team in UnseenWalker. This game was a slog fest from the beginning los blocks taking a toll before the dwarven strength and guard advantage really started to hammer home. Despite the setbacks and ball sacking attempts, Jamus struck blow for blow with the Dwarves all the way. The slow dwarven drive marred by frustrating results forced the use of a skill I doubt many people have seen used. Hail. Mary. Pass. The finale of this game is well worth a watch!
Its RAGE DORF. They have a player called GANON DORF. We are trying to persuade UnseenWalker to hire Safety Chorfs opposite number: OSHA DORF. If this isn’t a good enough reason to watch the match already - players die, operation Hail Mary Pass is enacted and we get to find out if one season Nurgle are DOA in REBBL Playoffs. It’s an unusual old game.
Casters: Mr Christie, Michaels, Stouticus - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 7/10, Metal - 6/10
The Bad Apples (Coach Agrain) Vs Never Swapping (Coach Djoolyurn)
AGrain's single season Dark Elves gave us multiple tense moments against Djoolyurn's Necromantic team. Exciting right from the beginning, a loose ball generated a gambit that if it had worked might have sealed the game. Meanwhile, the weather decided to get stuck on Sweltering Heat and if you've never considered a weather dome, you just might after seeing this game!
Agrain is damn fine coach and I STILL feel guilty that I murdered half his Nurgle team and kinda forced him to reroll so you’ll always see me cheering for him! Djoolyurn meanwhile is Neverrrr Gonnna Give You Up, N3verr GonnnA Lettt YoU Downn, N3ver Schwarzwald Runnnn Arounddd And. (And now both my editor AND my spell checker HATE ME). It’s tough to say much without spoiling the game or repeating DD, so I’ll leave it with - Blood Bowl is a silly game.
Casters: IronMaster, Tommo, Trueblu - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 7/10, Metal - 7/10
Interdeadmensional BS (Coach Toastguy7) Vs Bogue Bombers (Coach BDawg)
A rainy game of Toastguy's Undead vs the only Human team in playoffs or challengers coached by BDawg has the ingredients of a classic. Kick off events immediately resulted in some exciting and tense turns as well as a fantastic Human one turn attempt that was exciting but a slight misplay on pathing might have cost him dearly. Tense right through to the last block though.
Toastguy is an incredible coach and I’ve had the genuine pleasure of playing him multiple times, so BDawg was always up against the wall in this matchup and that's before we compare the nicely developed all-rounders of his Human team vs the utter monstrosity that is Toastguys Undead. Rain always makes agi 3 matchups “interesting” and this game was no different. This game is a whole lot less predictable than you might think during the team review.
Casters: FullMetalCOS, Gerbear - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 6/10, Metal - 7.5/10
DRADIS Contact (Coach Kharnete) Vs Chaos from Laos (Coach rsVordoca)
The "Admiral" a player of some fame you might have heard about on rsVordoca's Chaos team found himself setting sail for his first playoffs and left devastation in his wake against Kharnete's Dark Elves. There were many pivotal turns and choices made throughout the game but despite some very clever plays by the elves and constant blodgestep annoyance the chaos managed to stay afloat in the maelstrom caused by Kharnete. If you want to see a classic meme in the making, you can't miss this.
Look, it’s a Big O thing, I don’t get it either. That being said, The Admiral is a crazy enough piece that it makes the game interesting just by his inclusion, before you see the impressive Mino or the Dark Elves that JUST. DON’T. GIVE. UP. The game is far more interesting than it looks on paper, even if we never find out if its pronounced “Kayos from Layos”, “Kouse from Louse” or the boring non-rhyming “Kayos from Louse”. (and my editor and spell checker are shouting at me again).
Casters: Harringzord, IronMaster, Randomboy - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 8/10 (remember “Big O Thing” - Metal), Metal - 6.5/10 (it’d get bonus points if someone can explain the pronunciation!)
Foul Targets (Coach Jeoff7733) Vs [REBBL] Brutalia (Coach DocMarc)
The opening few turns are a blast (literally) as a 1 season hopeful Jeoff takes on a GMAN Div1 Powerhouse in Docmarc. Right from the start is why we say "anyone has a chance at playoffs glory", and this is a game to be seen for all future season 1 coaches!
Two words: Ekrund RunaNera. If you caught DocMarcs playoff run last season you will already know and love this guy, if you haven’t, it’s time to get familiar with this monster. Can Jeoff and his Woodies possibly withstand the sheer awesomeness of a Dwarf Runner WHO PUNCHES YOU WITH THE BALL?
Casters: Rexlongbone, Dr Greed - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 7/10, Metal - 10/10 (EKRUND RUNANERA BABY!)
The Big Cups (Coach Juvesack) Vs Boss Hawg Outlaws (Coach VulpesInculta)
Race sibling rivalry at it's finest as Juvesak's Dwarves punched on with their twisted cousins in VulpesInculta's Chaos Dwarves. I hear you, dwarf on dwarf violence what a snooze fest! However, we saw anything but on display as both coaches jockeyed for position and use of their star players. If you can take the heat of an av9 slogfest, this is one to watch!
Yeah, Yeah “Chorfs vs Dorfs is dull!” I hear you say. Normally I’d agree, but this game was WAY beyond expectations in terms of action and positional play, leaving it a nailbiter to the last. The casters were intensely professional and unbiased and we were even treated to a surprise visit from a Playoff season 10 favourite! This game was far more entertaining than it had any rights to be on paper.
Casters: Aromasin, Xtrem - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 6/10, Metal - 7/10
Highgate Wardens (Coach Burner) Vs Cheesetactics MK.II (Coach Cheesex)
This is one worthy of rebbl memes for an age to come when you have Cheesex's Orcs matched up against Burners High Elves. The bash match was brought by both coaches leaving little in the tank as the game dragged on. Exciting until the last turn, and one worth remembering.
The man, the meme, the REBBL Legend Cheesex takes to the playoff pitch for the first time ever, Discord was flooding with memes as the game rolled onwards with an incredibly spirited and non-textbook elf play from Burner pushing Cheese to his limits. T9 will live on in REBBL memory (and memery) forever more.
Harringzords Match of the round! - “as Cheese’s first foray into playoffs, it was always going to be a match surrounded by interest and memes, this was an evenly matched game in which the High Elves went off-piste with their inducement choices”
Casters: Harringzord, Tself - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 8/10, Metal - Turn9/10, Harringzord’s Game of the Round.
RUST Exposed (Coach Stoobings) Vs Nomentano Athletics (Coach Nablavector)
Bold choices and big breaks gives us quite the game from Stoobing’s Norse pairing up into Nablavector's High Elves. Frenzy is a cool skill, sometimes, and pressure was the name of the game for both coaches. A well played game that was satisfying until the end.
Stoobings is a much better coach than I’d ever admit to him (errr, yeah, he won’t read this….) with a tendency to get inside his own head in important matches. Can his Norse overcome his asphyxiation issues and some HEAVILY weighted High Elf gloves in this brutal Bloodbath of a game?
Casters: Chubstep, TheTrueBlu - VOD link
Hype Ratings: DD - 7/10, Metal - 7/10
Well there we go, we got to the end of the article! That was a lot longer than expected, but STILL shorter than watching every game of the round (trust me, I did it, Darb watched some of em TWICE!) I am fully aware that this might not be everyone's idea of the best matches of the round, but it’s an attempt to help you identify the games that we felt you should take a look at if you missed them. If you think a game was worthy of this list, please, reach out to me and I’ll maybe put an “honourable mentions” article together in the final week. I’ll be back next week with another article, if this proves popular, so please do let me know if you enjoyed it, found it helpful or just think I’m plain wrong, oh and if you cast one of these matches and I missed crediting you, it’s because I hate you, or I forgot you, or some such appropriate reason, SORRY!
I’ll leave it here with a very special thanks to Destruction Darb and my customary - Stay Classy Folks!