THE NATION – Losing your starting thrower halfway into a MML season is supposed to be a nightmare for any coach, but all it meant for Preach last night was that he got to put the game into hands of a goblin that has yet to fail him.
When a starter leaves the pitch, it’s common to see the coach call on one of his bench players to soak up as many blocks as possible and prevent a bad situation from devolving into a full-blown disaster. The problem with this strategy is that bench players usually have their job because they’re not good enough to be starters, and their presence feels like a bit of a surrender. The conventional wisdom in these scenarios goes something like, “Well, let’s just weather this storm as long as we can and see if we can steal a win.”
Preach has demonstrated that he has no use for conventional wisdom during this season. After the remains of Leeroy Jenkins were shulpped off the pitch, Preach gave the rock to Iggy Max, a minute goblin, with a huge heart, who had not played more than a few back-alley scrums prior to this season. With bowl eligibility on the line, Iggy Max rallied his team to a first half score, and then induced a second half touchdown himself in the second half. The Grunts coming away with a decided victory over the Mummy Factory.
This is what it looks like when a coach understands that his bench is a weapon and not a backup plan. Iggy Max had set foot on the pitch just once before this game, but Preach understood that the game versus the Mummy Factory was exactly the high-leverage situation that calls for a stunty goblin, rather than some junkthrower who’s there to spend the next two or three turns trying not to let the game get out of hand.
As impressive as Preach’s handling of his bench has been, it’s also been downright fun to watch. This team is the answer to every Orc fan who has ever gotten a little bit stoned and asked, “Wait, what if, like, you just had an orc team that doesn’t orc???” Preach has taken what’s long been a dream of orcmetrically* inclined blood bowl fans and made it a reality. He has a team full of destroyers who are not assigned to any particular position and whose only job description is “knock everyone the F’orc out.” This team might just have a bright future, and revolutionize how blood bowl games are coached along the way.
*Orcmetrics is the application of statistical analysis to Orc records, especially in order to evaluate and compare the performance of individual players.