Welcome to the round 5 & 6 previews! The half way point of the season has presented twists and turns no one except Nuffle could have predicted. The Hexoatl Heat are knocking on the top 4, The Pantheon are floundering in the draft zone and the top 4 are looking dangerous! With four games to go until finals we're about to see the separation of finals contenders and finals pretenders. Where does your team stack up?
Match 1 - Cemetery Dropouts v The Pantheon
Oh boy, this matchup does look lopsided, but don't let this one fool you. There is history between these two teams and a lot to play for! So far the head to head record between these two teams stands at one draw and a win the Cemetery Dropouts coming in last seasons elimination final. The Dropouts have a significant speed advantage across the pitch with the duo of Percy and Merry running rampant this season and it'll be hard work containing those two for the duration of the match. For Daniel to win (or draw) he'll need to find a way to protect the ball, keep blocks against to a minimum and then contain Percy and Merry and keep them from handling the ball too much. This will be a challenge and I ultimately expect the Cemetery Dropouts to come away with the win, but stranger things have happened.
Final Prediction: Cemetery Dropouts Win 2-1
Match 2 - The Rotting Horrors v The Osseous Tossers
After a disappointing round against Cemetery Dropouts, The Rotting Horrors will be looking to improve on that result against the other Necromantic Horror team. If Jamie can manouvre his Werewolves into scoring positions in Josh's back field it could get very ugly for The Rotting Horrors. If on the other hand he's able to contain the scoring duo his greater strength and flexibility across the rest of the roster should make this a close contest.
Final Prediction: The Osseous Tossers Win 3-0
Match 3 - Gold Diggers v The Hexoatl Heat
The Hexoatl Heat are on a tear at the moment. They've won 3 straight and are currently sitting 3rd thanks to a big win against Oof Right in the Wyrdstones in round 3. The Hexoatl Heat have a speed avantage against Gold Diggers but the Gold Diggers have tackle and Thick-Skull everywhere! I expect The Hexoatl Heat to be victories here, but I also quesiton whether or not Joe will have a team at the end of the match. The key to victory will be keeping the skinks safe, and the Kroxigor alive.
Final Prediction: The Hexoatl Heat Win 2-0
Match 4 - Yhetee Speed Dating (Bye) v Mork's Maniacs
Mork's Maniac's recieve the bye.
Match 5 - Dingley Bypass v Oof Right in the Wyrd Stones
The matchup between Dingley Bypass and Oof Right in the Wyrdstones will be an interesting battle between two lightly armoured, relatively speedy, technical teams. The fouling game plan of Dingley Bypass I don't see as being particuarly effective unless Andy can target Tim's prized positional's. If Andy can land a devestating blow to a Gutter Runner or a Blitzer it'll severely impact how Tim approaches this matchup.
Final Prediction: Dingley Bypass Wins 2-1
Match 6 - Re:Dead v Ageing Action Heroes
So far this season, Seve has done an excellent job mitigating the damage that his team is sustaining. The resulting effect is that his team is healthy, significantly faster than The Shambling Undead and more agile. If Seve can keep out of blitz or block range of Scott's hardest hitters it'll be hard for Scott to keep up on the board, even with 4 Ghouls and 2 Wights. That said, If Scott can land a timely KO or CAS on 2 or more of Seve's players, Seve's team will be stretched very thin to meaningfully defend against a roster that is very likely to be fielding 11 at the start of every drive in this matchup.
Final Prediction: Ageing Action Heroes Win 2-0
Match 1 - Dingley Bypass v Yhetee Speed Dating (Bye)
Dingley Bypass receive the bye
Match 2 - The Pantheon v The Rotting Horrors
The Rotting Horrors and The Pantheon represents an interesting contest. The Rotting Horrors have a strength advantage through the Mummies and versatility through the Ghouls and Wights. The linemen are interesting in that they're cheap, relatively inaffective at wracking up SPP but are very effective at gumming up the board and fouling all day. The strategy of fouling a team out of the game is very doable by a team like The Rotting Horrors, so The Pantheon will have their work cut out for them to mitigate the possible damage this threat poses. That said, The Pantheon have a stat advantage across the board and if they can come away from their clash with Cemetery Dropouts unscathed they stand a good chance of coming away with a win if they can stay healthy for the majority of the match.
Final Prediction: The Pantheon win 2-1
Match 3 - Oof Right in the Wyrdstones v Cemetery Dropouts
This might be the last good chance anyone has of mangling a Werewolf before finals. Oof Right in the Wyrdstones have the roster to do it and whilst I don't think Cemetery Dropouts are in danger of losing, they have to be very careful about not over extending and leaving their key assets exposed to dirty play. The big weakness of the Necromantic Horrors roster is their glass cannon nature across their positionals. There are only 4 real ball handlers and the loss of even one can make that scoring hill that much harder to climb. That said, Jo has been playing so well that I can't see her losing now. It'll take a monumental effort on Tim's part to unseat Jo at this point in the season.
Final Prediction: Cemetery Dropouts win 2-0
Match 4 - Mork's Maniacs v Gold Diggers
This will come down to who can bash the hardest. Golddiggers have a sizable strength advantage across the roster, and tackle everywhere. If Mike can isolate Tom's Black Orcs then it will be very hard for Tom to make up the ground to reset around his ball handling assets. A good troll throw could be the difference however and it'll be up to Mike to dictate the flow of play in this one.
Final Prediction: Gold Diggers win 2-1
Match 5 - The Osseous Tossers v Re:Dead (Bye)
Re:Dead receive the bye.
Match 6 - The Hexoatl Heat v Ageing Action Heroes
The last match of the round brings us to Ageing Action Heroes and The Hexoatl Heat. The Hexoatl Heat have been a Cinderella team this season, going on a first half run that was as impressive as it was improbable. The Heat sit just outside the top 4 and are knocking on the door of a first run Finals appearance. It'll be an uphill battle to get through Ageing Action Heroes though who are being brilliantly coached by Seve Kranz. Seve is sitting comfortably in the top 4 right now. He is so far undefeated and doesn't look like dropping a game at this stage. His matchup against Re:Dead will be an indicator of how he will go going forward. If that goes badly, The Hexoatl Heat could be the final nail in the coffin.
Final Prediction: Ageing Action Heroes win 2-1
As i've said before, the only certainty in Blood Bowl is Death and Uncertainty. There is plenty of time for the season to be flipped on its head and the race to the top is filled with many avenues for a bunch of teams. It will come down to the wire and it'll be glorious!
See you on the other side