Half Time CH4: Pastrami of One

By Rutskarn Posted Tuesday Oct 20, 2015

Filed under: Lets Play 44 comments

The following anti-elf epithets are authored by myself and available for free and unlicensed personal and commercial use.

#1: Dandelion botherer

The locker room smells like inspiration and perspiration; an improvement from only yesterday, where it smelled like putrefaction and losing factions, gauche malaise and roach buffets, halfling reek and unpaddled creek. Air fresheners work wonders. So does enough dwarf scrumpy to trick the nose into thinking I’d died and gone to purgatory.

“You may be wondering why I called you here today,” I say. My two assistant coaches nod slowly. “That’s handy, because I was wondering in a more general sense why you were here.

This arouses further confusion. Or something. It’s hard to tell with their baseline expression.

“Yes, you’re taking my money. Or, the team’s money–which I like to think of as my money, because it helps with the self-loathing and teetering on the brink of complete mental collapse. You’re following me so far.”

They are.

“So that’s what I’m offering you, is it? Is that the only thing that attracted you to my team? Money?” I smack a sack of gold coins onto the table. “Because if that’s the case, I could walk out and buy another assistant coach just like either of you in a heartbeat. If you’re just here to point out technical errors and collect your sack of gold, then that’s that. But maybe that’s not why you’re working for me. Maybe you’ve got something special–in here. Maybe you saw all the other teams out there–the elves, the chaos beasts, the undead, the fanservice–and maybe you walked past those teams and you came to this little rinky-dink gym that doesn’t have much, except my team. The little guys. The fatsoes. The team everyone said would lose–the team that maybe, just maybe, you knew stood a chance. Maybe you’re here because deep down and against all hope you think we’re going to win this season.” I put my hands on the table. “So tell me right now, friends. Which–“


“Definitely the money.”

“I begged the elf guy to take me but he said he was full up already.”

“I was five minutes late to work for a team of Skaven.”

“I lied and told my mom I was working as an orc cheerleader.”

“My parents are Surfrider fans and they said I wasn’t invited to dinner Sunday.”

“I cried for the whole weekend after our first game.”

“My girlfriend left me because I smelled like halfling socks and now I live in a locker.”

I drum my knuckles on the table. “Okay,” I said. “So…I’m hiring a third assistant coach today.”


“Yeah,” I say. “And I was hoping to get somebody who didn’t just want the money.”

“I guess you could find someone who liked losing?”

“We’re done for the day,” I say.

#2 Tree uncle

#3 Saphead

#4 Pointy Percy

A half-eaten Big Moot sandwich on the table, unfurling onions throwing out grease rainbows, sauce settling in orange gobs. A worrisomely-dedicated Blood Bowl spectator’s charcoal sketches of our last few plays on the table. Perhaps it’s the scrumpy and high-morbidity fast food talking, but I was starting to see a pattern. It ran as follows:

  • Halflings are scattered up and down the pitch with elves confronting them
  • A thrill goes down the spine of all right-thinking halfling-hating people for miles around as my team is kicked absolutely stupid

There was another pattern that ran, concisely put:

  • Halflings surround one important halfling like a wall of cholesterol and unruly hair
  • Zero important halfling fatalities for a brief period

And a third:

  • My treemen keep the front lines from surrounding my mob and I advance the center up slowly with protection
  • I scored that one time

“Hm,” I say, and I manually digest an onion.

The trick was that a Blood Bowl opponent can’t have his whole team running around blitzing my players the whole time, as heartbreakingly tempting as it was. No coach can plan for that kind of headache–no, only one player at a time can charge to attack. Everyone else has to settle for hitting somebody they’re already pushed up against or moving up to hurt someone later. So therefore–as long as I made sure that my VIHs were protected whenever he makes a press, and had my treemen keep him from getting too cozy pressed up against us, I could minimize the damage to my halflings and keep hurting him back every time he got close. The trick was, whenever he came up flush with me, I’d push him back and not follow him forward–that way he’d be forced to carefully close with me again and I could hit him again. Simple. Easy. I’m probably not missing anything, I think, thoughtfully keeping my gorge tucked down as my stomach realizes I’ve only just eaten more of that Big Moot shit.

Let’s call it the Magic Box maneuver. Or the Fat Luggage. Or the Lunchbox. Fuck it, we’re calling it Lunchbox. One halfling carrying the ball surrounded by a halfling on each side with treemen fronting to knock aside any blitzers and the rest keeping anyone pushing forward at bay until I’m ready to try to break forward. That ought to give him some pause.

Of course, I was saying “him” when in reality I’d finally broken through to the second day of matches. I could be going up against anyone tomorrow, anyone at all; about all I can say for certain was that it probably wouldn’t be…

“Boss. Tomorrow’s matchup.”

I look down at the logo of the team we’re facing. The very familiar logo.

“Shit,” I say.

#5 Salad champs

#6 Smuglets

#7 God damn stupid idiots

#8 I hate elves

#9 Hate

#10 Hate

#11 HATE



From The Archives:

44 thoughts on “Half Time CH4: Pastrami of One

  1. Chefsbrian says:

    This has just turned into a very, very strong “I fucking hate elves” time, hasn’t it?

    Curious to see if you manage to pull off the halfling box approach. If you manage to keep the treeman going forward, you’ve got a good fallback option when the line crumbles. Which is to just go nuclear, chuck the carrier, and hope for the best.

    1. Grudgeal says:

      Well the cage *is* the elementary defence. And halflings are deceptively difficult to knock down thanks to their dodge, even if the treemen mean the cage will move like molasses going uphill in January on crutches. Key against pro elves is to keep the blitzers busy, as they’re the one piece that will completely wreck a halfling cage in low-level play.

      1. MichaelGC says:


        Hey! Knock it off with the ‘short’ jokes!


      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        And halflings are deceptively difficult to knock down thanks to their dodge

        Wait,what?Since when are chubbies good at dodging?

        1. MichaelGC says:

          Maybe they, like, rolllll away really fast?

          Actually, don’t halflings tend to get DEX bonuses? <–Based on the haziest memory of playing a totally different game with a separate ruleset approx. 30 years ago, so if that's nonsense, please go easy! :D

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats in d&d,this is wh.

            1. Rutskarn says:

              Right. D&D halflings are presumed to be catlike and nimble-fingered, fitting the D&D conception of Dexterity best. Blood Bowl halflings are pudgy and short-limbed, meaning that by Blood Bowl standards they have very subpar dexterities. However, the Stunty ability (while conveying negatives) does also convey a few MUCH NEEDED positives as far as not getting tackled goes.

              I certainly wouldn’t say they’re GOOD at dodging compared to even elves, but they’re not as bad as they could be. As in EVERY OTHER DEPARTMENT.

              1. Spammy says:

                Yeah, Stunty is actually very handy, it’s something that keeps the joke teams from being unredeemable. And then if you give Stunty to players with good stat lines (Skinks) or who can actually develop (Underworld Goblins) it becomes incredible.

                Satisfaction is watching three Underworld Gobbos rolling forward through their screens until they touch down.

              2. Grudgeal says:

                Halflings, like all Stunty pieces, also start with the Dodge skill, making them immune to Defender Stumbles. Until the point you start playing against teams consisting of all block/tackle pieces *cough*dorfs*cough*, that means your players are generally safe on everything but a Defender Down.

                1. guy says:

                  Not immune, they treat it as a pushed result. That distinction can be very, very important.

                  Especially when you’re being blitzed by a frenzy player near the sideline. Then you might actually want to not use dodge.

      3. Shinan says:

        Halflings are also fairly good at the “open cage” approach. (and by fairly good I mean below average) It’s a technique that works against any team that is not elves. The idea being that you have a ballcarrier in the middle surrounded (fairly openly) by a bunch of halflings spaced apart so that only one can be based at any one time and there are tackle zones covering the whole approach to the ballcarrier. In an ideal world you want the cage to be in two layers so that even when a player is blitzed they still can’t base your ballcarrier without dodging at least once. (this is why this is best against non-elves because non-elves rarely risk dodging)

        The trees are also great centerpieces to this, great (mostly) immovable objects that most opponents just try to avoid. Moving one square forward each turn until finally you are within reach of the endzone (by using Stunty and Dodge and a lot of luck)

  2. Ravens Cry says:

    “Hate. Let me tell you how much I’ve come to hate elves since I began to live. There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels that fill my body. If the word ‘hate’ was engraved on each nanoangstrom of those thousands of miles it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for elves at this micro-instant. For them. Hate. Hate.” – Coach Rutskarn (attributed)

    1. Tse says:

      I wonder how much will Rutskarn hate bashy teams hospitalizing and/or killing all of his players…

      1. Grudgeal says:

        Rutskarn vs dorfs will probably make him run out of synonyms for ‘hate’.

        1. James says:

          what about running into Black Orks or an upgraded Chaos team.

          1. Grudgeal says:

            Borks aren’t any worse for halflings than any other lineman; they get 2 dice against either way. As for chaos, tackle is usually a low priority for them and claw doesn’t actually do anything against your mighty AV 6 halflings, so they can at most blitz-pile-on one piece a turn (your treemen, of course, are another story). No, what halfling coaches usually fear are fast pieces and teams who have block access and take tackle a lot, thus hunting down your chubbos and making sure they can’t run away. These are pieces like blitzers/wardancers/witch elves, shadowing or ball hunting gunners and, of course, every dorf in existence because the bearded buggers start with it.

            1. James says:

              im now mentally picturing a deathroller vs a line of chubbos. its glorious i tell you

  3. Abnaxis says:

    Now every time I see someone forming Da Cage, I’m going to call it “Da Lunchbox”

    Especially if it’s dwarves or halflings

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Dwarven one is called the tankard.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I thought it was da keg.

      2. Grudgeal says:

        No, the dwarven one is called “the square of HATE KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT F*** YOU DORFS”.

    2. Rutskarn says:

      I’m fascinated, but not especially surprised, to discover that this is an established enough strategy to have a street name. I’m sure it’s pretty elementary, but I’ve played this game exclusively single player/in short bursts against even more inexperiened players and believe me when I say I have devised this tactic in realtime and at the expense of a LOT of halfling molars and tears.

      1. Grudgeal says:

        The Cage is pretty much Blood Bowl 101. Or at least 102. Still, discovering it as you go along makes for a much better story, so please don’t read the entire site and get competent.

        Well, I mean, unless you really want to.

      2. Mersadeon says:

        The Cage really comes from the way the rules work. essentially, a traditional cage means that with just four people, you have made it impossible to attack the ball carrier at all that turn. The best the enemy can hope for is Blitz into one of the sides and get close enough to the ball carrier to get him into a tackle zone. Against elves, this is a good tactic.

        But beware if you ever play against bashy teams – you don’t want to try a slow cage grind against dwarfs, the absolute masters of that tactic.

        1. guy says:

          The Cage is actually of somewhat limited utility against elves, because of their high agility and skill access. Do not count on it against Wardancers.

          1. Grudgeal says:

            Or against Underworld with a goblin with Two Heads and Horns.

            Yes, I’ve seen that happen. It rarely ever worked, but oooh how hilarious when it did.

            1. guy says:

              I once saw someone play against a Lizardman team with the Omega Skink, S4A4MA10. That was memorable.

      3. guy says:

        The standard use has the ball carrier in the center and four players diagonally adjacent. That means no one can get to the ball carrier without having to dodge into tackle zones absent shenanigans.

        1. Nelly says:

          But there are always shenanigans. Always.

          1. guy says:

            The requisite shenanigans to go from not having anyone next to the cage to blitzing the ball carrier in a single turn without dodging into a tackle zone are actually fairly rare. Much more often it just turns out to be impossible to move the cage 13+ squares to the endzone in eight turns without taking risks.

  4. shiroax says:

    Did the game eat another save or are you supposed to be playing the surf whatevers again?

    1. Neil W says:

      Depends on the tournament but the teams on the list come in the same order and (from memory) if you just click next you’ll get the same team each time in the regular season.

      Until the playoff stage.

      Or I might be wrong and Rutskarn is playing the same team multiple times for hilarious comedy effect.

  5. Incunabulum says:

    I hate forests. they remind me of girly elves.

    I *hate* elves.

  6. Zak McKracken says:

    “I manually digest an onion” — this is poetry!

    Also, the bit about only one player being able to charge to attack at the same time really nicely shows how weird rules in a game can break immersion — this goes very much against the spirit of the game world (as related by Rutskarn).

    Fun fact: For the first two entries I had only a vague idea that a game of the name “Blood Bowl” probably existed somewhere, no idea what kind of game it was. I’m certain that it’s not half as interesting as Ruts’ story makes it look, or at least in a totally different way.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Aye right! ‘Gauche malaise and roach buffets’? I had to put my ‘phone down for a mo after that first paragraph.

    2. keldoclock says:

      No, it’s basically awesome. It’s like, Warhammer Fantasy Rugby. Go play it, or watch a match between famous youtubers.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Id stick to watching for now.Here,enjoy some wood elf bullshit:


        (also puns,terrible puns)

    3. Spammy says:

      Blood Bowl is an incredibly dense but incredibly fun strategy wargame. It is Warhammer Fantasy Football, but unlike every other part of the Warhammer franchise it’s played for laughs here. Rutskarn has not really made any references or jokes that the game doesn’t already make.

      The true experience in my opinion is playing in an online league and having to work your team’s strengths while figuring out where your opponents are weak, constantly looking ahead to future games as you try to develop your team and get specific players leveled up. Am I going to cage up and muscle through? Am I going to be the elf team in this matchup and go for the passing game? Am I going to skip investing into my defense and just try to murder their team?

  7. Akuma says:

    Lunchbox. Yes. It makes too much sense.

    I’m sure a future Orc team will appreciate the name.

  8. Mersadeon says:

    Reading these made me start Bloodbowl again. I made a Nurgle-team – rotting corpses, tentacle-beasts and diseased goat-people. I called them the “Harlem Globe-Rotters”, a joke I am absurdly proud of, despite its badness.

  9. RCN says:

    There’s a reason anyone with even passingly familiarity with this game is also familiar with the term “elf bullshit”. Which is how you describe nearly every thing that the elves do.

    As the saying goes, if an elf team has at least 2 players standing… it can score. Easily. That’s why even just bashing them down and killing them all isn’t nearly as effective as you’d have hoped. Once they get the ball, they’re scoring, and there’s preciously little you can do to avoid this outcome. The best defense is to just try as hard as you can to never let them get the ball. Also the reason the Dwarves are great against elves. Once a dwarf finally manages to pick that ball up the elves can pretty much give up any chance of ever touching that ball until they score… and the dwarves, being dwarves, will of course only score once at least half the enemy team is in the ground whimpering.

  10. Joe says:

    An elf slur I once thought of, but have no place for: fairy fondlers. Feel free to use it yourself.

  11. Grudgeal says:

    For those of you wanting to see pro (read: incredibly lucky) halfling play against one of their worst beginning matchups, this match may interest you.


    Warning: Salty language and a lot of jargon.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *