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A trip to the city of the damned – An interview with Coach Kondor

Your correspondent sets off east, to a place in the far east of the Empire. To a place where hopes and dreams, for most, have long since been extinguished. DLE may already have a “cursed” city, but now it has a “damned” city.

The coach we are meeting has a full daytime itinerary so, unusually, a meeting in the late hours of the night is the only time we can schedule.

Sleep has been hard to find for your correspondent on the journey, snatches here and there. Less and less as we get closer to our accursed destination. Nightmares of guards, green fire and smooth taking monsters, make sleep a fearful proposition.

Your sleep deprived correspondent finds himself nodding off frequently on this nightmare of a journey to the city of Mordheim.

Have you ever had a dream, Dear Readers, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world.

Your correspondent must have nodded off again whilst waiting for the guard to return.

The guard gestures to a massive oak door that is cracked open just enough to see a green fire flickering in the fireplace. Two elaborate armchairs face the fire atop a large Yeti skin rug.

Again, the guard points to the door. This time with more stern temperament.

Your humble correspondent has visited many chilling Blood Bowl scenes but this type of thing never gets easier.

You simply don’t know who will be on the other side of the door. Coach Kondor had once been known throughout the old world but over several years he became a recluse.

When he turned up to coach the Legion in Mordheim rumours swirled. Gambling debts this, warpstone addict that! Vampire? …or worse?

Looking around the hellish decoration of the Legion stadium, your correspondent’s bet would be on whatever “worse” is.

Cautiously, I push the door open, and whilst doing so a shockingly warm voice greets me.  “Ah…Welcome young ink slinger. Welcome to the Mordheim Coliseum. You’re early. It can’t be more than half past midnight. Most folks won’t enter the city until daylight, much less the Coliseum. How intrepid of you! Please have a seat by the fire.”

Settling into the opulent seat by what is obviously a warpstone fire, your correspondent does not actually feel any more comfortable. Chills run down the spine.

Coach Kondor continues. “Please, pour yourself a glass of the brandy. I’ve been told it is quite good. To tell you the truth I wouldn’t know. I am really a teetotaler on principle now. Actually, I don’t care much for tea either. I stick to other beverages now.”

Coach Kondor laughs aloud as he detects my obvious fear, and realizes how this has come across. “No. No not a vampire either. I just stick to juice and water now days.”

Your correspondent is not convinced. Coach Kondor, smiling, appears to have had enough of this particular game.

“So Boy’o’. You came quite a distance to chat with me. What’s on your mind?”

[Coach Kondor, finds his way into the other seat and seems to almost fade into it as he reclines. My discomfort must show as Coach Kondor looks at me. “You are a professional” he says, “just ask the questions” and figure things out later”.]

Die Fauschlag Nachricten: Coach, you rescued the Legion in S12 and have made it through to S14! Congratulations! How did you feel your first two seasons have gone?

[Coach Kondor’s demeanour perks at the question. He obviously loves to talk about the game. The “bloody, vicious, beautiful game” as he calls it!]

Coach Kondor:  Its really two different tales and now we embark on a third. The first was glorious in its own way. Legion was never expected to contend. But if a ball bounces differently the lads would have been in the play offs.

Last season was one of distractions. We were unable to make trips to a couple of venues due to massive warp storms over the city. Had to concede a couple of matches. Still, Jones made the season memorable to the fans with his boot. Well over 100 solid boots in less than a regulation season. He should have even more this season if the refs are wise enough to leave him alone. He is off to a solid start already.

DFN: The Legion have been very close to the Playoffs in both seasons, how have you found the learning curve so far in DLE? What went well, and what are you looking to improve upon this coming season?

Coach K: Yeah. I was surprised by the learning curve. I had a bout of hubris thinking I knew everything about this game. Until last season I had never really used a specialist to score quickly. Avonte has stepped in to fill the role but I am not sure I use him correctly. I drew up a play for the last game where he assisted with a foul. I should have known better. Chris [Jones] stomped the poor chap hard enough that he rolled of the pitch and it left Avonte open to a blitz. As we all know one bad hit can end a career, so that may have been an unnecessary risk.

DFN: Do you have any advice for some of the newer coaches making the jump into the DLE?

Coach K: Yes. Do it! Do it today! Jump in with both feet and come make history. Especially if you are really new and you can find your way into the SHC East. The division is tough and Legion could use an easy win once in a while…

Wait… I did not mean to say that out loud. You would be wise not to publish that. I think I have something better to say later and I don’t want to contradict myself…

DFN: Mordeheim (the City) has a reputation of being cursed. Whilst there can only be one cursed city in the DLE, what brought the legion to the “damned” Mordeheim from Drakenhof?

Coach K: Would you rather visit a city with vampires or warpstone? Would you rather have a stadium full of warp stoned maniacs or dull thralls? There is a very real home field advantage here. We don’t get many visiting fans and we like it that way. Leaves more room for our fans.

Except games against Aarnau. We haven’t figured out how to keep them out yet. I swear many of them must really ride in on Manticores!

DFN: Rumours have it, that you used to coach some stuck-up High Elves. How has your DLE experience differed from this?

Coach K: You know, if they ever figure out how to legally move that team from the defunct Ranked league to the new Competitive league I may have some trouble. I am still under contract to the Archers of Avelorn and I’ll have to split time between the two cities. I don’t do much coachin’ with that team, but I am contractually obligated to be on the sideline or I’ll take heavy fines.

I hear ol’ Ben [Gunners Coach ben_awesome] is in a similar state with his Ogre bunch.

DLE is different. In DLE, the coaches are an honourable lot. Well, all except Ben but you know there must be one of his type in the lot. He is amicable enough, but I haven’t heard a goblin or dwarf that can curse as colourfully as he can! Seriously there should be a warning for children and halflings to stay away.

DFN: You now have two DLE drafts under your belt, how do you find this aspect of the league? Do you think there is anything you will look to do differently next draft?

Coach K: Ah the draft. Now those are good fun. Obviously we will have to make adjustments depending on who is alive and not crippled at the end of the season. Still, I think I’ve decided that Legion is deficient in players that can stop that quick score at the end of the half. You know, guys like Avonte that score even when you think they can’t. I figure a half dozen guys that you either can’t move, or move where you don’t want em’. We’ll see how many I can get trained up during the season but that may be the way we go in the next draft.

DFN: The Legion seem to be setting a league trend with a certain type of player. Do you feel imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Coach K: [Chuckling as he speaks] “Flattery….Nah, folks just figured out it is part of a well rounded team. You get a sneaky fella with sharp boots. While they are not as important as having a quick scorer, they are as important as having a 4th or 5th solid blocker.

Having said that, I welcome more boots in the league. Sometimes the ref has a sharp eye and the guy will get tossed. I’ve seen two types of coaches copying me. Some field the boot as a deterrent which I laugh at. If you are not going to use him don’t bother putting him on the field. Field someone that will contribute. Those coaches either don’t have the stomach for a blood bath or they don’t want to risk a red card and voluntarily playing a man down.

There is another common type. The coach that is happy to foul but has difficulty getting the most out of his guys when a couple players leave the field.

As for me, I would rather play with 11 but I am happy with 10. I give “Knuckle” [Chris Jones] the green light to stomp on anyone he likes. Legend, rookie, or merc. No one is safe. He is a freak looking for the DLE all time foul record and I would not bet against him getting it.

DFN: The Legion appear to have a really nice and well-rounded team, Is the team setup fully to your liking or are there changes you still want to implement?

Coach K: No. Not really. We have the key elements, but you never have enough players that are heavy hitters or guard well, or are immovable. I think our lack of players who can guard could get us guard locked and put us in some unenviable situations

DFN: Granted it is early days, but you have the legion in the play offs so far. Have ownership set you any targets for S14?

Coach K: Have Avonte score more than the other guys. Have “Knuckles” foul more than the other guys. And Coach Kondor has to be less boneheaded than the ogre. If those three things happen Legion should make the playoffs.

DFN: What do you make of your rivals start in the SHC?

[This was a question Coach Kondor seemed to have anticipated, so he leaned in close, a little to close for my liking. He sensed a chance to drive up ratings. He knew he had a chance to build a rivalry. In a few words he was planning to set the DLE world on fire]

Coach K:  I would like you to quote me on this one. [said with a sneer that would never transfer to the paper] I want you to write that they all SUCK!. They suck harder than a Sylvanian Lahmia strumpet. Tell Grezenburg that you saw Greenskin trophies decorating these halls! Tell Fools Point that their Rangers couldn’t find an endzone unless a Legionnaire carried them to it. And tell Aarnau, that their supposed dynasty is over! The road to the SHC championship goes through Mordheim. If you do dare to come, there is little chance you will all make it home.

DFN: The Legion have a solid history to their backstory, including a Superb Owl visit. How do you see yourself adding to this?

Coach K: Sure. That was a quaint little history. But this is a NEW Legion. Glory awaits. Tell all of the DLE that Mordheim is not for the faint of heart. When we take the field, I guarantee we will be ready. How about the rest of the league? Will you be ready? Will you? [Coach K laughs long and maniacally and as he does, reality seems to twist around him, warping him, and making my nightmares come to pass as I fade to black]

Your correspondent startles awake again as the wheel of the carriage hits another interminable pothole on the road to Mordheim. Enough is enough, tired and frankly scared of going to that damned city, your correspondent is turning down this assignment and will return to Middenheim empty handed for the first time in Blitz!’s history.

Banging on the carriage, “Driver, turn us around, back to where we came from!” I shout.

The driver stops the carriage and then opens the door. ” ‘E said this would happen ‘e did Sir”. I look at the driver quizzically. “Who? What?”.

“When it did, ‘e said to give you these” The driver hands me a notebook (my own notebook) and bottle of  brandy. “It’ll be double if you want to go back to damned place Sir”.

My head swims, the brandy is partially drunk and my notebook is full with an interview I only dreamt of in my nightmares… A broken man, your correspondent just wants to go home.

“Back to Middenheim Sir, post haste” wearily I tell the driver.

Your correspondent leans back in the carriage as we resume our journey home, drifting off to a warm voice reminding him “You are a professional, figure things out later…”