Golden Tentacle 2023

After planning on taking Nurgle to the Golden Tentacle, I saw a chance to compete for the Stunty Cup instead, and dug my halflings out of storage and sent the little guys in to compete for glory.

The GT was over two days for the first time this year, with three matches on the Saturday and two more on the Sunday. This gets it close to the Chaos Cup, which does an exhausting 4 matches on the first day and 2 on the second; but then the Chaos Cup is in a hotel taken over by Blood Bowlers, whereas playing in the confines of the Evergreen Lanes and staying there until 7 or later for the final match would be a struggle logistically for most…

I went up against Underworld first, and when in the first turn he injured one of my halflings I had a sinking feeling that the rest of the match would be a disaster. But in the second turn his Rat Ogre injured itself, and then the dice turned into an avalanche of violence, as my Hobbits thumped and fouled him off the pitch. He ran the ball deep, out of range of most of my players, planning to stall out, but a thrown halfling crossed the pitch and pushed his ball carrier into the end zone to force an early score. That cost me a TD but it gave me the chance to equalize, and thump him some more.

The Little Laundrymen did just that, scoring in four turns and demolishing the rest of his team. The referee wasn’t looking as we whittled him down to four players, which made it easy to score a second TD, after pitch clearing him on turn 6. 2-1, 3 turns to go… and then with few players left on the pitch, we swarmed him and got a third TD to cement the rout, along with a record breaking 10 casualties.

Second match was against Skaven, previously my Halfling nemesis, and we opted to receive, figuring we might get beaten up too badly otherwise. I still had to take a desperate fifth-turn score to avoid getting sacked, leaving him plenty of time to equalize, and at 1-1 at half time I was in trouble. That was when my halfling chef came into play, robbing him of all his rerolls, and slightly more luck could have fluked me a second victory, but a few flubbed 2+ failures by the rats were enough to gift me the draw. So happy enough with that.

Third match was Old World Alliance, also my halflings’ nemesis in previous games, and this was where the wheels fell off: we didn’t injure anyone in the whole game, and got thoroughly beaten, the chef not even bothering to steal a reroll in the second half. Gloomy and depressed with the short guys, I went home with my tail between my legs.

The first match on the second day was against my nemesis: dwarfs. We tried for an early score, stuffed it up with a badly thrown halfling, and went down 3-0, although there were a few high points, managing to dodge three halflings through a wall of tackle to sack the ball carrier once, and blitzing with a treeman to do it again. But not enough…

Finally, Nurgle. We robbed him of all his rerolls on the first drive but it didn’t matter: he didn’t have a single failed block or dice roll in eight turns, and so we conceded a TD on our drive. But we injured a rotter and KO’d his Beast, and that meant when we rolled a Blitz in the second half and sneaked the ball away, we could swamp him with little men, and by running back and forth across the pitch, sneaked an equalizer in turn 4. 4 turns left for him to win, and we pressed the numbers advantage, gumming up his ball carrier deep in his half so he couldn’t get out to score, another exhilarating 1-1 draw, which somehow got me the Stunty Cup: always nice to go home with some silverware.

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

I chose some suboptimal skills for the team. A single Diving Tackle Hefty was never used, and neither was Diving Catch on the Catchers. Sneaky Git was a godsend on one halfling, but I came back realizing I should have taken Defensive to stuff up all the Guard I encountered, and some traditionally annoying skills like Sidestep.

Having no Block on the treemen felt like a big disadvantage, as every big guy I encountered had Block, and a Blockless treeman is easy for a Dwarf to uphill block. Of the 18 teams bringing a Big Guy, 9 took Block, so perhaps I was just unlucky that 100% of the time, I encountered Block Big Guys, but I still feel like when it’s that common, maybe a tweak to the meta should be used to adjust the cost up a bit higher.

I also forgot that Hefties are better at throwing than regular halflings (at PA 3+, they’re the best the team has…) and access to Passing skills was maybe something I should have exploited. Or I could have found a way to bring Deeproot Strongbranch and given my opponents three treemen to deal with, which would have provided more headaches than two trees and a weedy guy on the line. Or more Guard. Just more Guard…

So, lick my wounds, eat some more pies, and back to the drawing board. Next tournament is the World Carp down in Vancouver, WA, which I need to start printing trophies for…

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