QUICK REVIEW: Mazlocke’s Cantrip of Superior Substitution – Graeme Lyon

Graeme Lyon’s wonderfully titled Blood Bowl short story Mazlocke’s Cantrip of Superior Substitution sees the legendary Jim and Bob commentating on a lower league match with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. Little do they know that the desperate coach of the Black Water Boyz has hired an unlicensed wizard to give his team an edge over their opponents, the Talabheim Titans. When the wizard’s spell takes effect, what seemed sure to be an uninspiring match turns into something rather more spectacular. Of course, an unlicensed wizard might not prove to be the most reliable of options for the Boyz…

Blood Bowl stories are daft by their very nature, but this turns the lunacy up to ten. What begins as a standard tale of the classic orc vs human rivalry quickly extends into both an unexpected commentary on the strange world of sports celebrity, and a bonkers series of deeply entertaining role reversals. Despite the irate cheerleaders, obsessive fans and befuddled star players though, there’s a rare degree of subtlety – it’s thoroughly satisfying, but there’s a sense that Lyon is making a point by not just showing the bravado but also the slightly seedy reality of the game. Wonderful stuff, excellently done.

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