On The Road to the Playoffs
With regular season play coming to an end, it’s time to have a closer look at the contenders in the playoff for the LBBL cup. Season IV brings us quite a diverse range of teams in terms of race, ability and style. Let’s see how they shape up on paper.
The Amazon team are the most likely favourites to hold up the cup, having achieved a 100% winning streak over all 7 league games. They have a solid passing game, and are as brutal as they are agile.
North Salem Cougars
Another serious cup contender, the Dark Elves won 66% of the round matches in Season IV. Coach Danny The Impaired has been at the helm of arguably the greatest teams in LBBL history, the Ulfnaerr Vikings. At their helm, he managed to bring his team to the semis in Season I, and the cup final in Season II, and the Season III playoffs. As the fates would have it, that elusive cup has always been just out of reach. Will the Cougars break their coaches trend this time round? Who knows.
Sexy Blood Bowl
Putting the Sexy back into Blood Bowl, the Dark Elf Team came first on top of the table, with a dominating 66% win rate in their round matches, rising to 83% if you factor in pre-season foreplay. This virile team are good all rounders. They have a turgid ELO, with capable ability to give and receive balls, a tight end in defence, leaving most teams in sloppy second place. They are likely to come quite far in the playoffs, perhaps even to the final climax. No doubt SBB would be disappointed if they ended up tossed off with only a semi to their name.
The Dwarves are the 2nd most experienced team in the playoffs next to the Ugly Gits. Last time they played back in Season I, they made the cup final but eventually lost out to Coach Slackbladder’s Sabretooths. Rumour has it that the Anvils returned specifically to meet the Ratae Sabretooths in this season’s playoffs, but with that team not making the cut then maybe they can equal, or improve upon their Season I success. They’ve not had the best of seasons so far, with just 50% of their round matches won but they are second only to the Armadildos for ELO. No passing game to speak of, but one of the toughest teams in the league. And of course, they have a Deathroller!
A very nimble, up and coming Human team. They have suffered heavy casualties over the season, but seem to have managed somehow to get to the playoffs with a relatively uninjured team. Won 66% of Round matches, but lost against Ugly Gits despite finishing higher in the table overall.
The orks are fan favourites and with three seasons under their belt, the most experienced team in the playoffs. They’ve not got to this stage before so everything is to play for. To date, they have won 50% of their round matches, and are carrying a few battle scars to show for the effort. What they will do is bring a spectacular passing game, thanks to Tarquin The Tough with his 33 career completions.
Kaldr City Cleavers
The Norse of Kaldr City are very much a hit and run team. So far, a respectable 50% win rate in their round matches, but have suffered numerous casualties over the Season that offsets their own casualty rate. If they want a taste of their cup, the Cleavers are going to have to start carving up their opponents.
Wight Lives Matter
The Undead team finished top of the table with 80% of their round matches ending in victory. Solid bash team with excellent casualty rate, though have taken a fair amount of punishment themselves in league play. As yet no runaway victories (the dead aren’t known for their speed), but plenty of money in the kitty for pulling a surprise out of the bag.
Ugly Gits Vs. Armoured Armadildos
Despite the experience of the Ugly Gits, the Armoured Armadildos are on a serious wave and it’s unlikely that anyone is going to stop them from getting to the cup final. Based on their form during the season, I expect the Armadildos to win their quarter-final match 2-0.
North Salem Cougars Vs. Ostland Stampede
Should be a close game, both teams have a win rate of 66% but I think that in this quarter final, experience will win out and the Cougars will go through. Dark Elves usually have an edge in bringing home the touchdowns, and the human team are going to have a tough time taking their opponents down. Predicted score, 3-2 to the Cougars.
Kaldr City Cleavers Vs. SBB
With SBB having a near perfect season, I would have thought that they would make it through, probably with a 2-0 finish against the Cleavers. However, The Cleavers faired best in league play against Elves so I think these two teams may be quite evenly matched. I have a feeling this game will go on right to the final bell toll.
Ekrund Anvils Vs. Wight Lives Matter
Tough draw for a quarter-final. Based on their success in league play, I would hand this to the Undead team. But if there’s one thing the Anvils have going for them, it’s luck. Nuffle blesses us all, but somehow the Dwarves avoid Nuffle’s “blessing” at crucial moments whereas they have a trend of frustrating rival coaches. Clearly, somebody somewhere is making the appropriate sacrifices to Nuffle on behalf of the superstitious Dwarves. Coupled with some tight positional play, the Anvils might just have the chance to shut down the Undead offence. 1-0 either way.
So what does that mean for the semi-finals? Realistically, whoever wins between the Cleavers and SBB will eventually come up against the Armadildos, so barring some major upset or assassination attempt, I think that part of the championship is wrapped up.
If the Cougars go through to the semi-finals, they’ll either meet the Anvils or Wight Lives Matter. I think that if the Undead prevail in the quarter-finals, that will be the best opportunity for the Cougars to make the final. It would likely be too much to bear for the Cougars Coach to face Dwarves in the semi-final again. 2-1 either win or lose for either team, which I think will be the closest of all playoff matches.
In the finals, the Ekrund Anvils are perhaps the team most likely to be able to throw a damp squib on the Amazons perfect season. Since Dwarves are excellent at shutting down even the dodgiest of teams, they have an edge that most teams lack, ie solid tackling right across the line. However, they have a real fight on their hands to even equal their Season I success. In addition, with the massive inducements the Armadildos will have available against the more experienced team, the odds are very much in their Amazon’s favour.
For the Cougars to win, they’re either going to have to make all the casualties count to open up the field for a running game, or focus on the edge they have over the Amazons in their passing game. The Undead of Wight Lives Matter probably have the hardest job, as their side lacks the overall skill that the Armadildo players have. Odds on favourite, Armadildos 2:1, followed by 3:1 Anvils, 4:1 Cougars and 5:1 Wight Lives Matter.