Saturday, 29 December 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 4D Match 6

The Elf Avengers (pro elf) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

I'm still pretty inexperienced at elf v elf matchups, and wasn't sure how to approach this. On one hand, I had AV8, lots of dodge, and a MB tackle catcher, so the running game appealed to me, but on the other hand my opponent had fourteen players to my twelve, four players with guard to my one, and had his own MB tackle player - a blitzer. So the running game looked tricky.

Nevertheless I still feel so uncomfortable with a stereotypical 4-3 elf shootout, with both teams going for quick passing touchdowns, particularly with the powerhouse pro elf offence. So the passing game looked like a no-go for me either.

I decided therefore to try to win the game on the clock. I would try to draw the half which started with my opponent receiving, and win the half where my opponent kicked to me.

Here was my roster prior to the match


The game began with the pro elf coach winning the toss and electing to receive. One weakness of this elf team was a lack of kicker, and I kicked short and wide, hoping for a blitz. A blitz duly appeared, and here surely was a golden chance to take an unexpected early lead.

Sadly, I muffed it. I'd hoped to blitz a hole with Vanval, but misclicked and moved him instead. I still managed to get Gil-Galad under the ball, with my Tananmyr in close attendence, but the pro elves were able to blitz Gil-Galad down, and the Avengers' star quarterback recovered the ball and hared off towards his own end zone. One advantage of the kickoff was that the elves had had to use their blitz to secure the ball rather than knock a hole in my lines, and so only one receiver had made it into my backfield. I took the risk in blitzing the receiver with Vanval, which required a couple of GFIs. Several 1s later Vanval was on his back, and the elves scored on turn 2.

OK, so my plan had been for the pro elves to score early and for me to grind forward for a turn 8 equaliser, but still I hadn't planned for a turn 7 grind, and with the blitz result from the kickoff I could have done so much better. Never mind.

The kickoff was deep, and Cirdan picked up the ball before firing in a pass to Werelenial. The Guard formed a cage around the catcher, while knocking out one of the linelves. The next few turns saw the Avengers throw their two blitzers at the cage, dodging and sidestepping for all they were worth, while targeting Vanval at every opportunity. In return Vanval managed to end the career of a pro elf lineman, breaking his neck. Finally I managed to not only knock down their MB tackle blitzer (their only tackle player), but also foul him off the pitch! Despite having a man sent off, this was an excellent trade for me, and the foul was the key turning point in the match as the pro elves did not have anything to combat my dodgers and blodgers after that.

Now having a significant numerical advantage, the remainder of the half was a bit of a procession, with the cage now increasingly unstoppable and I handed the ball to Gil-Galad to trot it home in turn 8. Another important moment for me was that the pro elves had one of their guard linemen sent off for a foul late on in the half, which I can only interpret as frustration on my opponent's part.

The second half began with the weather changing to a blizzard. This was the second key moment in the game, as my previous plan (score a 2-turner, pressure my opponent into a 2-turner, grind out a 3-2 win) immediately became impractical. I decided to score as fast as I could, given the weather, and see what happened.

The kick was very deep once again, and I began by hitting the elf line of scrimmage, which didn't do much, and continuing my strategy of blitzing with Vanval whenever possible. Vanval managed to kill the Avengers' reserve thrower, which the apo could only turn into another career-ending injury, this time -1ST. I formed a small pocket hard by the right touchline, and passed the ball to Gil-Galad in the pocket. The Avengers recovered well and shut down my movement down the right hand side. I cut left and formed a cage in the centre, running three receivers deep. One of the consequences of the damage I'd done in the first half was that the Avengers were forced to use their rookie linemen, and Tananmyr managed to badly hurt one of these. 

Clearly thoroughly sick of Vanval by now, my opponent appeared to concede the touchdown and decided to try to force my killer out of the game with a blitz and a 6 man foul. Sadly all he could do was KO him, which resulted in my opponent's star thrower (accurate, AG5, but only armour 6) being sent off. Gil-Galad flipped the ball to Werelenial who scored my second touchdown on turn 11 to take a 2-1 lead.

Lining up with 8 players to my 10, things were looking a bit grim for the Avengers, but a touchdown here for them would give them an excellent chance to draw or even win. The pro elves lined up to overwhelm the right side, so I kicked left and was rewarded with a perfect defence result. The ball ended hard by the left touchline, with Gil-Galad and Werelenial in close attendence. The Avengers recovered, and managed to get the ball to a guard lineman, very close to their own end zone. They had reckoned without the pace and strength of Gil-Galad however, who managed to get in a blitz on the ball carrier. He was only able to roll a both down though, and the pro elves had a chance to recover.With almost none of their team in range however, this looked tricky.

This was a really tricky situation, since I didn't want to overcommit to the ball, since with all the Avengers' catchers having nerves of steel, marking them was unreliable and I was only a few good dice away from my opponent equalising. In the end though Gil-Galad was able to deal with matters on his own, standing up, blitzing the ball free and running it in for a 3-1 lead.

With only a few turns left my key consideration was to ensure that my opponent didn't score a 2 turner, and so I ignored the ball and concentrated on pressuring receivers. A late consolation TD for the elves meant that the game ended 3-2 to me.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Why elves are overpowered

This post may be a bit of a ramble.

I've been thinking quite a lot about the various races recently, and watching a lot of OCC games. I think I've watched all of the tier 1 OCC games this season, all the games in my division, and I've also been watching some of the more interesting tier 2 and 3 matches too.

I've been thinking about what attributes your team needs to have to win a big league like the OCC, and how the various races measure up to that.

It strikes me that the first thing you need is luck. To win games at high level you need to be willing to put your players in harms way from time to time. Yes there are some coaches who roll too many dice, or get the order of their actions wrong, but ultimately you need to be willing to mark the ball carrier with your star side-step skink, or go for one dice blocks against chaos warriors with mighty blow. Sometimes these tactics will work out, and sometimes your players will die.

As a coach who has had the best player on their team killed by a wizard (AG5 blitzer for the Guard) and a thrown rock (berserker in my Norse development side) in the last couple of months, one of the key elements to getting to the top seems to be that all this nuffley shit does not happen to you. So if you are a lucky coach you can get a great team, you can win games and you can win the league.

But that's not good enough for me. How can you win while still being unlucky? The answer, it seems to me, is to play a team with pace. If you have MV9 or MV10 players, especially with AG4, you can score touchdowns when at a numerical disadvantage. AG4 on its own is good, and allows you to plan moves like leaps, dodges through groups of players, but combined with pace this allows you to score from anywhere.

In my last game with only 3 players on the field on turn 16 I still had a shot at a third score, if I'd chosen to try it, and that's what pace and agility give to you.

If you play a bash team against an opposing bash team, and take say 3 early casualties, the match can be a dispiriting experience, as what's left of your team huddles together, unable to get the ball and unable to escape the numerically-superior opponent. A fast team can still threaten the ball, and limit the amount of incoming damage, while retaining the threat of an equalising TD before half time if the opponent scores too quickly. If they have a reasonably reliable one-turner in the bank then they can threaten that TD whatever the opponent does.

If you look at winners of the OCC, the list is dominated by wood elves and lizards. Fast teams. The full list is:

Wood elves - 7 (2 teams)
Lizards - 4 (2 teams)
Orcs - 2 (2 teams)
High elves - 1
Chaos - 1

I am done with playing AV7 teams - the randomness in the armour rolls is too horrible for me. So it's high elves all the way I think. The catchers are amazing once skilled up, and with AV8 and blodge access for every player they are survivable too.

I think that high elves are the team for the player who wants to mitigate the effect of luck on their play as much as possible. Yes, you don't have the firepower of the bash sides, and you don't have the raw scoring threat of skaven or wood elves. What you have is a quick, resilient side which can move fast, and has the skills and armour (once developed) to stay on the pitch against bash.

Hopefully I can show people that with The Grey Haven Guard!

Match Report: OCC Division 4D Match 5

Khorne Beef (chaos) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

After a beating at the hands of the ogres last week, the chaos team were missing two chaos warriors and their ball carrying beastman, but took Borak the Despoiler in exchange, which demonstrated my opponent’s commitment to bash rather than ball play.

I won the toss and decided to kick, which I now like to do against bash teams. Those three LOS blocks are a killer, and if you face those right at the start of the game with your best linemen, you don’t need to face them again until late in the match.

The chaos team grabbed the ball, which was handed off to their blodge chaos warrior, and there was some ineffective blocking on the LOS as my dodge linemen held up well. My opponent left the chaos warrior open behind his defensive line, giving me an immediate chance to win the ball with some 2+ dodges and GFIs followed by a 1D block. It was a bit too risky for me so early on though, and I contented myself with blitzing an AV7 beastman with Vanval and double marking the carrier.

The warrior handed the ball off to a nearby beastman and built a semi-cage round him in centre field, but I got a guard lineman next to him and Werelenial dodged in for a 2D hit to send the ball bouncing loose. It fell kindly for the chaos team however, and they fed the ball back to the blodge chaos warrior and formed up on the right hand side, with their minotaur guarding the front. They’d neglected to cover the back though, and Werelenial dodged between 2 players and got a 1D hit on the ball carrier and again knocked it clear. This time the ball fell perfectly for the elves, and they were able to smuggle it to safety.

The chaos block dice improved markedly at this point, and they started to cause casualties. A dodge lineman was carried off injured, followed by Werelenial badly hurt. There was also an injury from a foul on my guard lineman Alawe.

Nevertheless, and despite a dropped hand off, Borak (who had been pressuring the thrower) was punched to the ground by a cluster of elves, Cirdan recovered the ball and sent a pass clear to Gil-Galad who sped to the line for a turn 8 touchdown.

Lining up with 9 players versus 11 chaos, I decided to score quickly and give the chaos team 6 or 7 turns to score 2 touchdowns. I intended to then keep my players as safe as I could on defence, and try to give my opponent indecision over whether to take risks to score or to try to beat me up. I managed to even up the numbers a bit, with a KO and an injury to the two AV7 beastmen, and then Gil Galad ran from deep to score a quick TD, his second of the game.

The wheels started to fall off a bit here, with Elrond the lineman being killed on the LOS, and casualties coming thick and fast for the rest of the match. The kick was deep, and the chaos team ran it to the centre of the field quickly. They hadn’t caged up properly however, and I managed to get a block in on the carrier and knock him over on the left hand side of the pitch by the half way line. A beastman grabbed the ball and threw it across field to a waiting chaos warrior, hoping to be able to run the ball in, but the pass was astray and the ball landed in the open.

The game was really opening up now, with Cirdan being carried off with a smashed ankle (the apo was fortunately able to fix this) and Turin badly hurt. There were small fights all over the pitch, but Vanval dodged free and grabbed the loose ball by the half way line, throwing it desperately back towards the chaos end zone into space. Vanval was crowdsurfed for his pains, but this play effectively ensured the win for me. Although I couldn’t get there before the beastman safety, who recovered the ball and ran it back,  it meant that there wasn’t enough time for the chaos team to score twice.

There were only 3 elves on the pitch by turn 16. I had to make a decision. Firstly I could just run away and let him score. Second I could dodge elves into contact and knock over his ball carrier with a 2D block (the carrier STILL wasn’t caged up). Third I could go for a 1D block on the carrier, hope for a lucky bounce, and give myself a longshot of a touchdown with a long bomb to a lineman I had standing clear in the opposing half. I opted for the first, and took a 2-1 win.

Good result in the end – a win, with no permanent damage other than a dead rookie lineman, despite the 7 casualties taken. Gil-Galad finally made it to 16 SPP (in fact he roared to 23 SPP with 1 casualty and 2 TDs in the game) and rolled +1 ST. I now have a catcher with 9-4-4-7 stats, and no useful skills. God knows how long he’ll live, but he could be amazing.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 4D Match 4

FOAD (orc) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

I had a bit of a Big Think before this game about what I wanted to get out of this season. I've looked at some of the divisions above me and they meat grinders, frankly, with highly developed bash teams who excel at killing elves.

I decided that what I would try to do for the rest of this season was to focus on developing my players, even if that means losing the occasional match. Hopefully I'll do enough to stay in the league, and next season I can then make a concerted push for promotion.

A focus on developing players rather than winning matches means taking more risks on offence and fewer risks on defence. On offence I need to pass the ball around a bit more, farming the xp for successful passing. On defence I need to make more of an effort to keep my players out of contact, even if that means the now-unmarked opposing players have more freedom to move around the pitch.

Coming into this match FOAD had been brutalised by the nurgle team I beat in Match 2, losing their troll, three of their four blockers, and with their star quarterback and a blitzer out injured. My opponent took a wizard and two bribes (!) as inducements, and won the toss, electing to receive.

Their best player was an AG5 leaping tackling blitzer called Sriruk, who had a huge part in everything the orcs did in this match.

I immediately forgot what I'd told myself about keeping my players safe and marked up the rookie black orcs at the cage corners, and the orcs immediately responded by killing my kicker who was saved by the apothecary. Aggressively marking the cage had its intended effect, however, and after a couple of turns of this the orcs took a risk to move the cage forward, exposing their ball carrier to a block. Vanval swooped in and battered the ball carrier to the ground, but the ball scattered into his arms. Vanval and a fellow catcher ducked clear of the melee, but were unable to get the ball to safety. Sriruk and his fellow blitzer Maklor set off in hot pursuit, and the four had a fight by the elven end zone for several turns before Sriruk dodged clear to score in turn 8.

This was basically the worst possible outcome for me, since I only had one turn remaining to make something happen, and I stupidly forgot about the possibility of a one turn touchdown attempt (I still can't believe I didn't even think to try!).

So I received in the second half and, with some throwing of the ball back and forth behind my lines, I bashed my way forward down the right side. I managed to crowd surf one of the rookie black orc blockers and give him a fractured skull. After inching forward for three turns my opponent used the wizard to zap Cirdan, which failed, and I passed short to Werelenial who ran in the touchdown.

With about 4 turns left in the match we lined up 1-1, and I rolled a blitz! Deciding to go for the win, I charged forwards, flooding the orc backfield. My players couldn't catch the ball, so Sriruk grabbed it, and the elves surrounded him deep in the orc half. The wily orc dodged clear and prepared to launch a reroll-less long bomb to a lineman who was in my half and miles away from any elves, but Sriruk fumbled the pass!

The match ended with the elves caging up near the end zone and stalling until turn 16, before handing the ball off to my guard lineman, who took the MVP for his performance too. The game finished 2-1 in my favour.

So 9 SPPs for my guard lineman in the game, and he's now only 1 away from a vital second skill. My guard blitzer levelled up (finally! - after 18 matches!) and took dodge, so both my blitzers are blodgers.

I face a mangled chaos team on Sunday, who may be without their two best players after a mauling from the division's ogre team. Since they still have no tackle, I'll be hopeful for a win here.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 4D Match 3

The Queen's Champions (high elf) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

The sides lined up for some elf-on-elf action!

On paper the Champions were by far the stronger side, with some truly excellent attacking players and as a result I had 290,000GP of inducements. I took a wizard and an extra apothecary, but was actually quite confident before the game. My opponent's team was not set up for bash at all – he had no mighty blow and only one tackle, and he only had four linemen to my seven, meaning that he'd soon have to put those expensive and fragile catchers in harm's way.

My plan was to kick first, pressure my opponent into scoring early and take my time equalising via a running game. I would then go for a 2-1 grind and score late in the second half, hopefully having removed some of his players during my drive.

The first part of my plan worked to perfection! I won the toss, kicked to him and he scored on turn 2! If I'd been in his shoes I'd have done the same – trying to go in 2-1 up at half time. His offence was supremely strong, and he moved the ball quickly around the pitch between his throwers.

I then received the ball, and caged up near the half way line, managing to hurt one of his players in the LOS blocks and immediately signalling my intentions by blitzing with Vanval (my MB-tackle catcher). Vanval managed to KO his only tackler, so at this point I'm 2 players up, with the ball safe by the LOS in a cage, and feeling good.

My opponent's strategy on defence becomes clear straight away, as he dances his AG5 blitzer through my cage to get a 1D block on the ball carrier, which spills the ball via a wrestle result. There follows a most un-elf-like drive, as I keep caging the ball up and rolling the ball from side to side, while my opponent keeps putting men into contact and trying to dodge through. I eventually manage to surf his AG5 blitzer, at the cost of losing a catcher to a surf, but as the half draws to a close I have 9 men against 7 and the ball is in the centre of the pitch.

Here I make my first bad mistake of the game.

It is turn 7, and I've made my push forward for the touchdown. I have four men who can score next turn. As my last action of the turn I try to dodge an unskilled catcher into a better defensive position. Of course I roll a 1 and without thinking I use a reroll. My last reroll. My opponent then knocks 1 of the potential scorers down and marks the other three.

If I had used the wizard at this stage I would have needed to make 2 2+ rolls to score (the wizard would have cleared a marker, and I'd have needed a hand off and a GFI. I choose not to use the wizard, which means I need to make an unskilled two dice block to clear the marker. I roll both down – skull, which means I go in trailing at half time 1-0.

OK, time for a rethink. I could stick with the original plan, which would mean playing for the draw, but I decide to try to score quickly and see what I can do with the wizard to force a turnover. I run the ball, but am unable to score a two turner as my block dice fail me. Nevertheless I cage it in my opponent's half and score on turn 11 with a quick pass and Vanval scampering clear.

I've removed a few more of my opponent's players at this stage, and it was 11 v 8 as my opponent lined up to receive. He stacked the left hand side and left his star thrower deep, so I kicked short and right, hoping for a blitz. No blitz, but the ball landed on the LOS where it was caught by his AG5 blitzer. My opponent pushed two catchers forward to make a scoring threat and made a cage for his blitzer on the left hand side. Crucially, he'd left his cage corners in contact with my players though, and I sensed the chance to win.

The wizard zapped the ball carrier with lightning, and my players bashed a hole, leaving Gil-Galad to dart in and grab the ball.

I now made my second key mistake. What I should have done was to make a half-cage (full protection was impossible) and invite my opponent to do what he could while marking his players up. What I actually did was try a lateral pass towards the safety of a group of my players. Of course the pass failed and scattered into an empty square, leaving one of his unmarked catchers to run for the end zone, while the other ran the width of the field, scooped up the ball and threw a scoring pass to take the lead 2-1.

Three turns left. I lined up with 11 v 7 (Vanval had 3 KOs in the game!), and I think my opponent assumed I would score a 2 turner, leaving him 2 turns to grab a winner. This time I played it out slowly though, and ran the ball through the centre with Turin (my blodge blitzer), who handed the ball to Gil-Galad to trot home with the equaliser on turn 16. 2-2 the final score.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 4D Match 2

The Grey Haven Guard (me, high elf) vs ItSmellsLikeTeamSpirit (nurgle)

At first glance this was a terrifying nurgle team to face - three of the four warriors have mighty blow and claw, and one of those three (called Ted Nightall) has piling on as well. I could just imagine the carnage at the line of scrimmage.

Looking again, however, I paused. Where was the beast of nurgle? Checking out the replay of their previous match I saw that the poor beast had died to a gang foul in their game against the division's other frightening bash team - the Khemri.

Looking a third time I relaxed a bit. None of the nurgle warriors had block, none had tackle (no tackle on the whole team) and there was no guard on the team at all. This therefore was a dice rolling team - if the dice went their way on the night then it could be a slaughter, but assuming reasonable luck I ought to be able to outmaneuver and overpower them.

And that's what happened.

My opponent won the toss and opted to receive. I put dodge linemen on the line of scrimmage, and set up in a narrow formation in the centre. I then kicked short and wide and hoped for a blitz result which was not forthcoming.

My mistake in setting up on so narrow a front quickly became apparent, as the nurgle team moved to surround my players. Dodge worked wonders on the line of scrimmage as I didn't lose anyone, and I started to knock his players away. Ted Nightall charged forward and hit my guard lineman (I knew he wouldn't last long!), piling onto him to badly hurt him.

A few turns of shadow boxing took place, with him pushing players into contact, and me hitting them clear or dodging away during my turn. I managed to KO one of his killer warriors with my mighty blow catcher, and his dirty player rotter fouled my wrodge catcher out of the match.

My opponent eventually got overconfident however, and used his ball carrier to assist a block on one of my linemen. The elf had dodge and so the block failed, which allowed my to dart in with my guard blitzer to put an assist on the block, and the lineman punched the pestigor, knocking the ball clear. A lineman scooped it up and hared off up the pitch, followed by the rest of my team.

I'm not sure quite what happened next, or rather, *why* it happened. I wasn't all that far away from his players, he certainly could have made it difficult for me or forced me to score earlier than I eventually did, but he basically ignored my breakaway to try to foul my guard blitzer and catch hold of any of my players that he could with his killer warriors. Fouling my blitzer was a complete failure - he could only get a stun, and had two players sent off in the process, and as a result of his lack of pressure on the ball I could delay until turn 8 which meant he didn't get another three free line of scrimmage blocks. As it was, I handed the ball off to my rookie blitzer to run in the touchdown and make it 1-0 at half time.

The second half was a bit of a farce really. He put his entire team on the line of scrimmage for the kick off - I think he'd pretty much given up at this point. Since I had some guard and he did not, it was easy to engineer a few two dice blocks on this players, one of which managed to kill one of his nurgle warriors who then failed to regen! (Not the bastard, but still a claw - mighty blow warrior).

I kept the rest of my team out of contact, and again he didn't bother to even try to get the ball but went for casualties on his killer warrior and fouling every turn. I kept running my team away, but trying to get blocks in where I could. My opponent had a very strong run of block dice this half, smashing the knee of my rookie thrower, giving one of my linemen a serious concussion and KOing three other players, and I was forced to score on turn 14 to make it 2-0.

During that drive his fouling dice were not so good, however, and he had a further three players sent off!

We lined up again, and I put linemen on the line of scrimmage, with all my valuable players quite a long way back. Again he put everyone on the line, except this time his extra arms beastman was back to receive the kick. My opponent's lack of block came back to haunt him here though, as without any rerolls he had an early both down. I dodged two of my linemen off the LOS and towards the ball, and another sending off from a foul allowed one of them to scoop it up and jog nonchalantly home for a third score in turn 16.

Final score: 3-0 to the Guard.

I still consider myself a bash coach rather than an finesse coach, with my favourite team being my chaos team in the RPS Divisions of Death, and looking at this nurgle team today was a salutary lesson in how things can go wrong when building a bash team.

My opponent was extremely unhappy with this dice in the game - his play basically collapsed after conceding a score in the first half, and got worse after the death of his warrior. He could not understand how his team with AV9, mighty blow, regen and claw could be outbashed by my team of elves.

My response to him at the time was that his team was not a scary bash team, lacking as it does the basic components of bash - block and guard. I had those skills and he did not, and as a result I was able to put pressure on him. AV9 is nice, but it will still fail one time out of six, and then regen on a team is not (in my view) as valuable as an apothecary. You only tend to get one really bad injury in a game that you absolutely must save (unless you are getting a nuffling), and regen gives you a 50% chance of saving it whereas an apo gives you a 67% chance of avoiding any consequences at all, and a further chance of an injury that may not be career-threatening (-1 MV or something perhaps).

He set his team up to get casualties, and he did get casualties - four of them in the game, with his killer warrior getting three. Those casualties were not late in the game either - his first came on turn two and the second on turn four or thereabouts - but they were not enough on their own to make a difference. He can't point to the sendings off either - he still had 10 players in the second half (as did I) and an extra rotter on the field would not have made much difference. I would still probably have scored, leaving him having to score twice in a single half to save the game.

He lost the game when he conceded a defensive score to an elf team. He got his player killed when he stuck a vulnerable piece (a warrior without block or dodge) on the line of scrimmage in the second half. The sendings off (six in total!) made the game seem a lot more one sided than it actually was.

Looking at my team, it's in pretty decent shape at the moment. I took a niggle on my new thrower which is a shame, and had to sack my AV7, niggled rookie lineman. Otherwise I'm pretty happy - no-one died!

My rookie blitzer levelled up and took dodge, so at last I have a blodger again. I had touchdowns for Cirdan (my main thrower) and one of my lineman. I also had a casualty for my guard blitzer.

My team is set out below. I have to play the Queen's Champions next match - a much stronger high elf team. Could be quite tricky. They haven't played their game this week, so they may get a few injuries, but otherwise I could be looking at a wizard at least in inducements.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 4D Match 1

Boldly Gone (Necro) v The Grey Haven Guard (me, High Elf)

Oh dear. A difficult start to the season.

The necro team had two flesh golems with block and guard, two guard wights (one with mighty blow), and only a single wolf (blodge, tackle), the other being out injured. On paper, this was a tough team but not a scary team.

My opponent won the toss and decided to kick. The kick came in short and I scooped it up with my thrower and made a pocket on the left hand side. The golems and a ST4 zombie were on the LOS, and I knocked over one of the golems for an immediate KO! My opponent and also, somewhat unwisely, left one of his ghouls in a place where I could blitz him, so Vanval the Vandal charged in with some mighty blow, tackle goodness and KO'd him too!

That was as good as it got for me in the whole game.

My opponent also got in a KO with his first block of the match, and also got two stuns and a badly hurt lineman in the first couple of turns. My cage started to crumble, but there was a way to hit the edge of his line next to the sideline and peel open his defence from there. I could then move most of my team out of contact round the edge of his team and make a new defence by the end zone. All I needed to do to set this up was to dodge my guard blitzer out of contact and put him somewhere useful. Snakeyes. To make matters worse, the blitzer was badly hurt in the dodge, depriving me of my most useful defensive piece for the match.

This left my whole team in contact and my thrower open to a blitz, and my opponent took full advantage. He knocked my thrower down, grabbed the ball, beat the hell out of my linemen (getting another MNG in the process) and scored on turn 5.

With only about 9 players I think at this stage, I lined up heavily on the left hand side, hoping that I would get lucky and equalise before half time. I had forgotten that my had a kicker, and the kick was very short and right - completely in the open.

Nevertheless I bashed a hole on the left, and made a loose screen by the sideline. Cirdan picked up the ball and threw a crossfield long bomb to Gil-Galad, who required a 2+ to dodge into the cage, which of course he failed, breaking ribs in the process.

The Necro team all piled in, but there was a chance to score by blitzing a zombie onto the ball and hoping for a lucky bounce. Said lucky bounce did not materialise. The dice deserted both teams for a while, with my opponent failing on a couple of blocks, and on turn 8 there was a final chance to score if I'd made a 3+ dodge (with a reroll), and been able to make a lucky pickup (5+) without a reroll. I failed the dodge of course.

There's not a lot to be said about the second half.

They received, with the werewolf depitching an elf every turn or so, and I decided not to contest the drive but concentrating on hitting the werewolf whenever it stood up with one of my few remaining players. At this stage Nuffle's sense of humour appeared and I had several turns where everything I tried to do was golden - elves dodged out of the most improbable marking, dice came up POWs, but all on the wrong side of the pitch from the ball. My opponent was sufficiently confident/worried about the wolf to score on about turn 12.

So with five turns left I tried to salvage a consolation something from the game. I made a mistake with my setup and left only two players on the LOS, and apparently in those circumstances the game chooses your lowest numbered player. I did not know this, but in my case that was my thrower, the only player in the backfield. Amused, my opponent kicked deep, next to my end zone. My opponent then rolled a blitz and moved a ghoul deep into my half. Sigh.

Still, I'm an elf coach dammit! I ran a lineman back, who picked up the ball and threw a long bomb to one of my catchers who made the catch in a tackle zone on the half way line. The catcher dodged free and moved next to my rookie blitzer Turin, who was standing near the sideline and who caught the hand off in a tackle zone. Turin blitzed his marker out of the way and hared off down the touchline.

Nuffle looked at the pitch, realising that there was the possibility of me scoring, and moved to slap me down. A ghoul and a wight could get back and make the hit, which they did, but I still needed to stand up, make a dodge into a tackle zone (3+), pick up the ball in a tackle zone (3+), dodge into space (2+) and a single GFI (2+) to score. With a reroll available. Snakeyes.

Now the game just got silly, with my opponent failing to pick the ball up (with a reroll) three turns in a row, and the game fizzled out into a 2-0 defeat.

Ugh. I just can't ever seem to beat necromantic teams. Ever. I don't actually think I ever have beaten a necro team with these high elves. I can remember a draw and two defeats.

That was an appalling nuffling in the first half, with a long series of 1s rolled, which was not helped by the fact that I played badly (had family stuff going on in the background so kept having to leave the keyboard), but still...

My team is younger than everyone else's in the league, and that really shows. The double promotion last season has really hurt, and just keeping them alive and staying in the league is the goal this season. Speaking of while - it's the killer nurgle team next week, with 4 claw-mighty blow nurgle warriors, so they should thin my lineman numbers a bit. I'll be missing 2 players MNG, so only fielding 11 players.

One tiny positive - a rookie lineman got the MVP and levelled up, rolling a double. So I have a second guard player on the team. A good thing, and I think this nurgle team have no guard at all, so I might be able to hurt few of them if I'm forced to stand and fight.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

OCC Season 16, Division 4D

So, the great Orca Cola computer has been fired up, and has produced the answer "4D". The computer was turned upside down and shaken a couple of times, but apparently that is indeed the correct answer.

So. A double promotion. After finishing in mid-table in division 6A. Let's have a look at who the plucky high elves will be facing off against:

1) Boldly Gone - Necromantic
TV - 1590 (1750 when injuries return)

A well developed team, with plenty of dodge and tackle. There are five blodgers on the team - both wolves, both ghouls and a golem.

The team doesn't really have a killer - the only mighty blow is on a wight, whose other skill is guard - but there's enough guard (4) overall on the team. The team is set up for defence - there are no ball handling skills that I can see, but of course with the wolves' pace they'll have a strong running game.

The team won their division quite easily last season (8 wins from 9 games), and they have an experienced coach.

Not a team to be scared of, I think, but a team that will be tough to beat.

2) Khorne Beef  - Chaos
TV - 1510 (1680 when injuries return)

A chaos team that struggled in this tier last season, and one that I'll be looking to beat this time around.

They have two rookie chaos warriors, a minotaur skilled for blitzing (juggernaught), and there are only two beastmen of note - one is a blodger with extra arms and sure hands, while the other is an unfinished killer - block, mighty blow, +1MV.

There is precisely zero tackle in the team.

As long as I get a little lucky when the minotaur charges, I will hope to outmaneuver them.

3) Neverending Rest - Khemri
TV - 1840

Now this team is a bit more scary, in pure bash terms at least.

Four developed Guardians, one of whom is ST6 and has block and the rest who have guard, stand firm and mighty blow. Two killer blitz-ras, with mighty blow and tackle. A ST4 throw-ra with block and tackle. A dirty player skeleton.

But - again - zero ball playing skills. Everyone is AG2. There are lots of ways that this team could come unstuck - particularly with their high TV giving me the possibility of a wizard. One of the blitz-ras is niggled and so will need a lot of protection.

This is a team that with a fair wind and some decent block dice could cause a great deal of pain. On the other hand, they'll struggle to score twice in a game I think.

4) The Elf Avengers - Pro Elf
TV - 1560

From one extreme to the other, we have the makings of an exceptional pro elf team here, if they can survive the start of the season. The team has an excellent thrower, and three good catchers (one in particular being exceptional - block, dodge, +1MV, but niggled). They also have two blitzers who have rolled doubles - one has guard and the other has mighty blow and tackle. They have two (!) level 2 linemen with guard.

The problem is that the team has all the "icing on the cake" type skills, but very little of the basic stuff like dodge. If they come up against a really tough team early on, and the dice go against them, they'll be slaughtered. If, one the other hand, they can survive until they get some core skills then this will be a real force to be reckoned with.

The team won it's division in tier 6 last season, so the coach clearly know what he's doing.

5) The Queen's Champions - High Elf
TV - 1840

Now *this* is what a high elf team should look like.:

Thrower - AG5, Accurate, Strong Arm
Catchers - 3 of them are MV9, they all have dodge, 2 of them have guard
Blitzers - Both blodge, one has guard, the other has AG5

Upsides for me... Um... Well, there isn't a killer - only 1 tackle and no MB on the team. They only have 12 players. But realistically, this team came second in its division last season with 6 wins, so assuming the coach knows what he's doing these guys look unstoppable.

6) Night Horrors - Undead
TV - 1440

A somewhat battered undead team here, redeemed by three star playes. First there is a block, guard, break tackle mummy. Second there is a blodge, mighty blow wight. Third there is a blodge, tackle, side step ghoul.

The rest of the team is fairly low level, and so I think that this team will struggle a little bit this season - particularly when they come up against the bashier teams in the league such as the Khemri. Not too scary at all as yet.

More to come later tonight...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

End of season review

So, the end of my first season in the big league, and I've finished with a 4-3-2 record to come in 4th out of 10.

A bit disappointing really - with not much more oomph from me I could have made it to second. Here's where the team ends up for the next season

Stuff to consider before next season - maybe sacking that niggled lineman and replacing him with a second thrower. I also need to work out the right time to drop down to 3 rerolls - probably when I have a bit more block and dodge in the team.
So what have I learned? I've played quite a lot of games against a hybrid offence - teams with a few bash players and some faster players. I find that sort of defence really tough, but I'm getting the hang of it.
I still have only one elf-v-elf game to date, a 2-2 draw against the all-linemen dark elf side. I really need more experience in playing against finesse teams. It's quite likely there'll be a lot of finesse teams around me next season, as there were high ranking elf or high elf teams in all four tier 6 divisions, as well as some skaven, so maybe I'll get that chance. I struggle to shut down that fast moving cage which can either dodge through you, pass deep, or switch sides with a short pass or hand off.
I've also yet to play a real bash team - the orcs in my division played a passing game!
Next season there have been quite a lot of rerollers in our league, with lots of new underworld and chaos dwarf teams. Thus those of us that haven't rerolled can expect at least one, perhaps two, promotions. So I might be up against quite highly developed sides very quickly. Have to see how that goes I guess.
The divsions should be listed after the weekend.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

OCC Division 6A, Match 9

The Grey Haven Guard v Ulmus Lupus

A game against a somewhat battered necro team, for whom both wolves had died recently. I was giving away 470k of inducements, which they spent on Ramtut (first time I'd played against him) and a bribe.

Firstly - Ramtut is shit. What the hell is wrestle doing on that character. Seriously. "Waste of money" I thought, and so he proved - right up until the end of the game.

The first half was fine. I ran the ball. Badly hurt a Golem with my first block of the game. The bugger regenerated, but still. I just kept going left and blitzing with Vanval, until I was able to tiptoe around the left hand edge of the pitch and score on turn 6. I could have scored earlier or later, but I think that leaving the opponent 3 turns is optimum - give him the opportunity to score if (i) he takes risks and (ii) I defend badly. Gives the chance of a defensive score for me.

And so it proved - my opponent passed his 88% chance of not conceding a second score (I got a TZ on his ball carrier, but he dodged away with his AG3-and-a-reroll-ness), but I held firm and went in 1-0 up.

The second half was a bit of a ruck, and it all went wrong at the end. Up until about turn 13 I was trying to decide whether I would win 1-0 or 2-0, but I ended up conceding an equaliser and having to try a 1 turner to win the game. Not *really* sure how it happened - I think I really need to watch the replay and try to work it out, but the fault was mine and mine alone. I should not have conceded that touchdown, but basically half my team were miles away from the ball stunned, when they should have been blocking off blodger wights from scoring (blodger wights? who in their right mind takes dodge on a wight? madness!). It was a positioning mistake, getting too many of my team the wrong side of the ball.

My opponent scored on his turn 16, leaving 2 golems and Ramtut on the LOS. The only non-stand firmer was Ramtut, and I was reduced to blocking and blitzing him to get my catcher in position, but nevertheless it worked, although my attempt failed when I failed to pick up the ball.

The game finished 1-1, which means that I finish at best 3rd in the league, and probably 4th. A win would have meant 2nd. I therefore lose the shiny award, but will almost certainly be promoted at least one tier in any event. When I drafted this post I referred to the match a couple of times as a defeat, which is how I feel about it really. I should not have lost this game, dice rolls apart.

I had intended to reroll to Khorne next season, but I'll stick with these boys at least one more season and see how they get on. Vanval has emerged as the division's most violent player with 6 casualties, and was joint second highest scorer with 5 - not bad for a rookie in MD1!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

OCC Division 6A Matches 6 to 8

Match 6, GHG vs Cruor Imbibo II

This was a tough game against vamps (only my second ever game against vamps). I won the toss and chose to receive, but made a mess of my drive. I passed the ball to my rookie catcher Gil-Galad mid way into the vamp half on the left, but failed to make a strong cage for him and left him badly exposed.

The vamps grabbed the ball with one of their ST4 blodgers, and the first half degenerated into me chasing him around the pitch with my players trying to get 2D hits on him as he made his way closer to my line. On turn 8 I finally got a 2D block on him with my killer (tackler) catcher Vanval - I knocked the ball loose, my new thrower picked up the ball and passed it to Gil-Galad, who caught it in a TZ and dodged away for a late touchdown.

In the second half the vamps attacked down my right, but again exposed their blodging vamp ball carrier to a 2D hit from Vanval, and again I knocked the ball loose. I waited and waited, holding the ball in a little cage near my own end zone, waiting for the vamps to de-pitch their own thralls, before handing off to Gil-Galad to run clear for his second TD of the game.

The game finished 2-0, and Gil-Galad picked up +1MV after the match. My new thrower Cirdan also levelled up straight away, and took accurate.

Match 7, GHG v Erengrad Convicts

The humans bought a bribe before the match, and basically used it to foul every turn of the game. I chose to receive again, and decided to run the ball, making a cage on my left.

The humans formed columns to hold me back, but a substantial portion of the team were engaged in gang-fouling Gil-Galad on the far side of the pitch, so I went "full contact", and pushed onto the humans, inviting blocks. Sure enough, they failed a block and Cirdan darted forward down the touchline and handed the ball off to Werelenial for a touchdown.

The human team went for it in the remainder of the first half, and were unlucky not to score - they ran the ball on my left side via their catcher (who was knocked over by Vanval). The ball was picked up and handed off to their AG4 blitzer, who failed a GFI just short of the line.

The humans received in the second half, and again passed the ball to their catcher who was protected by a cage on my right. Several turns of intense fighting in the elven half ensued before the humans dodged clear, making a strong half-cage in the centre. Xakalwe was having none of it though, and dodged through the cage, brought down the human catcher and dodged clear with the ball.

The crowd roared as the humans fired up the wizard, who killed Xakalwe on the spot with a lightning bolt! The humans were unable to secure the ball however, and it was scooped up and handed off to Gil-Galad who made the final score 2-0.

Match 8, GHG v Krieg Komodo

After two very close games, something a bit easier with a Nuffle-assisted win over the lizards.

Vanval was the star here, killing a skink with his first block, and then sweeping up as the lizards broke forward with the ball. He KO'd the ball carrier, and then picked up the loose ball and passed it to Gil-Galad, who sprinted forward to score an early TD.

The lizards received a second time, but a dropped hand off gave rise to a huge ruck in the centre of the pitch. At the end of the first half Cirdan managed to grab the ball and pass it clear to Werelenial, who scored on the stroke of half time for 2-0.

In the second half more touchdowns followed, an early sack on the ball carrier was recovered and converted into a three turn TD for the rookie blitzer Turin. The lizards then responded by running the ball close to the elven line. Vanval again knocked the ball clear, and again Cirdan tried to pass the ball clear, only this time a lizard interception allowed the skinks to pass the ball themselves to make it 3-1. Finally a typical elven 2 turner made the final score 4-1

Updated roster

With 1 match to go this season, the roster is as follows:

Friday, 21 September 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 6A Match 5

Zombie Economics (undead) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

After their mauling last week at the hands of the Howling Dreadnoughts, the elves were missing their team captain (Xakalwe, AG5 blodging blitzer) injured, and their quarterback (Elethomiel, accurate dodger) dead. In the interim they had recruited another rookie catcher (Finuviel) and a new quarterback (Cirdan).

They faced off against the formidable sight of Zombie Economics, boasting a 100% record of four wins going into the game. The Economists were missing a ghoul this week, but with two skilled mummies, 3 excellent ghouls and a killer wight, they presented a massive challenge for the battered elves.

The game kicked off with the undead receiving. The high elves backed away from the undead in the centre, with Vanval the star catcher (MB, tackle) knocking out the killer wight. Meanwhile Werelenial, a wrestle catcher, circled around the end of the undead line. The undead made an initial foray down the elven left flank, which was shut down by the elves, and the undead switched to the right. In doing so, however an opportunity to hit Jean Barroso, the ball carrying ghoul, opened up. Due to a mistake in positioning, however, the chance was lost, and the elves had to content themselves with smashing aside a zombie and getting a tackle zone on the ghoul.

The undead repositioned, and completed their switch to the right side, but a number of their big hitters were now quite a long way from the ball, and now there was a second chance for the high elves to strike. Nuffle intervened, however, as the elf who would have assisted the block failed a (skilled) dodge roll getting away from his marker. Still, the defence held firm and the undead were forced to try to switch sides yet again. This time it was not to be, and Hadilinas, the teams kicker, assisted by Tananmyr, finally put the ghoul on the deck. Critically however, the ghoul’s armour was not broken, and after some fighting around the ball the ghoul was able to leap to his feet, dodge away from a marker, pick the ball up in a tackle zone and sprint the ball into the end zone on turn 8. 1-0 to Zombie Economics at half time

In the second half the undead set up a strong but shallow line, with two mummies (one with guard) and a guard zombie on the line of scrimmage and supporting players just behind. Unable to dent the line of scrimmage, the elves began by knocking a hole in one end of the line and running the rookie catcher into the undead backfield. Cirdan dropped back deep with the ball, meanwhile.

The undead responded by breaking through the centre with their mummies, supported by the killer wight. The elves covered the gap again, and spotted that there was an opportunity to get a hit on the undead’s star ghoul with Vanval. The ghoul survived the hit however, and the undead attacked in the centre again, blitzing through and threatening Cirdan with their killer wight and mummies. Unable to see a way to escape the wight, who could reach the entire elven half from his central position, the elves were forced to score. Cirdan dashed forward and made a short pass to Werelenial by the half way line, and Werelenial sprinted forward to make a hand off to Finuviel, who scored. 1-1 on turn 11

This left six turns for the undead to equalise, and in slightly anti-climactic fashion they only needed five. The killer wight had put two more elves in the casualty box at this stage, and when a small gap in the undead line appeared, the elves felt compelled to try to attack the ball carrier. The dodge through failed, however, and the undead took up a strong position on the elven right. Although some heroic defence allowed the elves to put tackle zones on the ghoul, not once but twice, they could never get close enough to hit him, and the AG4 ghoul scored his second touchdown on turn 15. 2-1 to Zombie Economics at full time

So a pretty bad result, capping a second bad week in a row for me. I’d said that one win from the two games against the tougher opposition would put me in a good place for promotion, and unfortunately I’m now stuck in mid-table having lost both games.

I played ok in the first half, and was pretty unlucky not to keep him out (snake-eyes on a dodge to get a 2D hit on turn 6 with my wrestle catcher while he was out of position could have changed everything). I was a bit reckless with my rerolls early on, which cost me at the end. I think my drive was fine. I could maybe have stalled another turn, but it would have been a big risk, so I probably did the right thing.

I was far too overeager at the end though and made it tough for myself on defence. Still, he had a pretty big numbers advantage though. Definitely the two undead coaches have been excellent players this season. Neither of them gave me much for free at all.

I’ve now got two “easier” games against the vamps and the humans. Neither team is very bashy, so my offence should be really good, and I can stand toe-to-toe with them on the line. I really need two wins in the next two games to have any chance of a decent finish this season.

No level ups from the game, although I got SPPs on my rookie thrower and catcher which is pretty cool.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Thoughts on OCC Match 4

That's right - no report this week. Too depressing.

A 2-1 defeat against the Howling Dreadnoughts. I played the first part of the game quite nicely, KOing a couple of zombies, and running the ball this time before finally scoring on turn 5. I could possibly have scored later, but I figured 4 turns would be enough to hold him off.

Nope! I then did the same fucking thing I do every fucking time. He did some risky handing off play to get the ball quickly to the half way line. He moved some guys to the wing. I overcommitted to stopping him, he turns and cuts into the centre, I can't get near him. On turn 8 he scores via two blocks to clear the way, an unskilled dodge, an unskilled hand off and a GFI (66% chance of success with a rr, which he had).

I just can't seem to defend with this team! To make it worse, my best player (AG5 blitzer) got a MNG injury, apo'd from a -1MV, so I won't have him available against Zombie Economics next week. Grrr.

So we line up second half. I take a KO and a badly hurt on the LOS, so with 9 against 11 I am already really struggling. I then do the same fucking thing I fucking do every fucking time. He moved some guys to the wing. I overcommitted to stopping him, he turns and cuts into the centre, I can't get near him. 2-1 turn 13.

I've got 4 turns to score an equaliser. No problem. I don't rush - on turn 13 I knock over his LOS guys and set up another mighty blow hit. I get a couple of KO'd zombies, which is fine. I also set up some pressure in the channels so that unless he defends those I will be able to get runners near his line next turn. He takes a risk on his turn 14, and tries to 1D blitz my star catcher with his killer wolf - this is the first really loose play he's made in the game. Doesn't work, wolf falls over and KOs himself.

So I'm feeling ok now - I've buggered up the first half by scoring too early and giving away a TD. OK, lesson learned, I can still get a draw. I run two catchers into his half, one on each side, and put up a screen around each of them. I use my last reroll at this point. He puts two guys near my thrower, meaning that if I want to get anything other than a long bomb I need to dodge through a tackle zone, but he messes up the positioning and I don't need anything other than s 2+ with a rr to get past. So to score on turn 15 I need to make 3 2+ rolls with a rr for each (91% chance). I get snakeyes on the pass.



Still - my thrower has dodge and is next to the ball. My opponent can only get a 2D block on me. If I stay upright then I can blitz the markers away. Oh, he killed my thrower with his block, picked up the ball and ran off. (At this point my opponent, who I'm sure is a nice guy really, starts gloating about having killed my level 3 thrower. I *really* didn't need that at this stage and I don't feel quite so bad about the -1AV I put on his star wight now)

So in turn 16 my only hope is to dodge my remaining blitzer away from his marker, make 2 GFIs, 1D blitz the blodge ghoul and knock the ball free, then dodge a nearby lineman away from his marker, pick the ball up (possibly in a TZ) and make a long bomb to a waiting catcher. All without a rr. Christ knows what the odds of that are, but I bet they ain't good.

To quote John Cleese in the film "Clockwise" - "It's not the despair I can't stand, it's the hope." Fortunately I am put out of my misery early as I fail the first dodge.

The MVP then goes to my dead thrower. Which is just fucking typical. Bastards all of them.

Right, so, what to learn? Oh yes - STOP DEFENDING LIKE A FUCKING TOSSER. Seriously - how hard is it? Keep strong in the centre - if your opponent commits to a wing then that's fine, use fast positionals to block the way, and crush him against the edge. Gah! I really need to learn how to beat this crap.

Offence was fine as usual. I made 2 mistakes on offence and each one reduced my result by one notch (ie from win to draw to loss). Scoring too early in the first half meant that my opponent had 4 turns to score. He needed all of them in the end. That meant that the best I could do was a draw. I then got snakeyes on the second drive to turn a draw into a defeat.

God knows what I'll do against Zombie Economics next week. I've got the cash to buy a new thrower, which I'll have to do, but with only one blitzer... I think I need more than 11 players, so I'm tempted to buy another lineman. I'll have to see what that does to my inducements though - with my blitzer out I could well have a wizard available.

At least I have the possibility of getting after the ghouls - the mighty blow catcher did great once again - getting an easy TD and a nice casualty too.

So it turns out I did a report. Bah. I need a drink.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Match Report: Divisions of Death, Division K, Match 3

Boatmurdered Athletics FC (Dwarf, Joose) v Doomdark's Revenge (Chaos, me)

The mighty-yet-crap-at-Blood-Bowl-so-far chaos team lumbered onto the field led by their captain and most useless chaos warrior, Lord Doomdark, backed up by the mighty st5 Utarg of Utarg, and the minotaur Doomdark's Daughter. The dwarves were understandably unwilling to go up against the fearsome chaotic horde, and insisted on extra training and a mercenary deathroller being added to their roster (question - why not a bribe?).

The dwarves received the ball in the pouring rain, with the deathroller immediately knocking out a beastman and the irritating stunties stunning another. The chaos team stood off the dwarves, with the chaos warriors forming a formidable line and the mighty blow beastman Abandoning Hope being used in a hit and run capacity to blitz . A strong cage was formed by the dwarves, who moved forward to engage the chaos team directly. A massive fight ensued, with another beastman being carried off and the numerical superiority of the dwarves looking more and more important, but in their eagerness to more the cage forward the dwarf runner strayed too close to a downed chaos warrior, the Lord of Thrall, who promptly stood up and biffed him one.

The wet ball bounced around, until it was grabbed by the Utarg of Utarg, with the powerful warrior proving a huge obstacle to the dwarves’ chances of recovering the ball. The chaos team gradually shifted the fight from the centre circle to the right hand side of the pitch, away from the all-devouring maw of the deathroller, and despite a plucky dwarven blitzer who manage to knock over the Utarg with a two-dice-against block, the ball was eventually recovered and handed off to Xajorkith Taken, the three-armed beastman, who sprinted clear up the right touchline.

The dwarves were unable to reposition in time, and the score was run in on turn 8 0-1 to Doomdark’s Revenge at half time

Glad to see the back of the deathroller, ten chaos players lined up against eleven dwarves at the start of the second half. The dwarves confidently put five blockers on the line of scrimmage, but these were made short work of by the chaos warriors and minotaur, with the minotaur getting yet another KO in the process (still no casualties for Doomdark’s Daughter…). In response the dwarves crowded around to batter a poor exposed beastman on the right hand side of the chaos offensive line, but this overcommitment  to violence proved to be the dwarves’ undoing, as the more mobile chaos team simply charged up the left hand side of the pitch, with hardly any of the dwarf team able to get back and defend.

With only a runner between the chaos team and the line, and with the minotaur and a strength 5 chaos warrior holding the centre of the field to block the dwarves from recovering, a touchdown was all-but-inevitable. Some heroics from a blitzer and a troll slayer managed to delay the score, but a desperate attempt to shove the ball carrier into the crowd ultimately failed, and Xajorkith Taken scored a second touchdown. 0-2 to Doomdark’s Revenge on turn 14 and at full time

So we round off another disappointing season with a win, to make 5 points from the 3 games, finishing second behind the lizards of Death Vengeance of Doom. I should have won my first game against the Amazons but for ridiculous overextension, and was very very close to a win in the second game against the lizards (I was stopped about 4 squares from the line in turn 16). One of the advantages of the short season structure of the Divisions is that every game matters, and draws are not really good enough most of the time.

Doomdark's Revenge are going to go on a short hiatus, because I've been mouthing off on the forums about how goblins are a viable team and I'm going to try to back that up by playing as them for a bit. So my new goblin team The Daedal Earth will replace them for a couple of seasons at least. I've also started contributing to the OCC's magazine so won't be writing full game reports of my gobbos, but I'll post from time to time so that you can see how they're getting on. I'll still be writing about the high elven team as normal.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Thoughts on OCC 6A Match 3

A really satisfying win, albeit against a team much battered prior to the game.

FOAD were one of the teams I was very concerned about prior to the game, but the death of their tackle/mighty blow blitzer and three other MNGs meant that it was not as bad as I had thought. I am starting to think that maybe I obsess over the skills the other guy has, rather than being confident in the players I have.

The first half saw yet *another* example of my overeagerness at the kick off, but this time the power of AG5 meant that even in a rock solid cage I had a 50% chance of dodging in and surfing the opponent.

The second half was almost routine, and I think I played really well - much more defensively than I have been doing, and it paid off with a second defensive TD (this time well deserved).

This is where the team is at going into two games which will decide my season:

I play Howling Dreadnoughts this week - a very strong necro team with a killer wolf - and the league leaders Zombie Economics next week. After that I have some easier games, and so I think that three points from the next two matches will see me with a good chance of promotion.

You'll see that I have my anti-ghoul device - a catcher with mighty blow and tackle. This player should deter my opponent from putting the fragile ghouls in danger, but I guess you can never tell how these things will pan out.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 6A Game 3

The Grey Haven Guard (High Elves, me) vs F.O.A.D. (orc)

The orc team had been one of the favourites to stomp through the division with their big spiky feet, but an appalling Nuffling at the hands of some vampires (ably assisted by Morg N Thorg) in match day 2 had left them with a star blitzer dead and three players missing this game.

So with a rookie blitzer, two journeyman lineorcs and a wizard to raise their spirits, the orcs took the field. Led by their super-agile thrower Roksh, the orcs boasted an unusually strong passing game, which would come very close to engineering a result for them in this match.

The orcs won the toss and elected to receive, with Roksh dropping back and to the right to retrieve the deep kick. There was some blocking on the line of scrimmage, with the orcs making a pocket of blitzers on the left. The high elves saw that Roksh was isolated from the rest of his team, and knocked over a black orc in the centre and making a screen between the orc thrower and his team mates.

Undeterred, the orc captain motioned his pocket of black orc, troll and two blitzers to run deeper, wound back his arm and launched an astonishing long bomb over the elven screen and into the safe hands of the blitzer.

The action then switched to the pocket which was midway in the elven half, hear the left touchline. The agile elves, making use of their localised guard advantage, got two assisted blocks in on the ball carrier but failed to knock him over, and the orcs formed a strong cage next to the left touchline by the end zone, with the ball carrier hard up against the touchline, a troll diagonally in front of him and a black orc just behind, with other orcs nearby too.

There then followed one of those plays which make elven coaches smile, and all others grind their teeth in frustration. The positions of the key players can be seen here:

The AG5 Xakalwe picked himself up, dodged away from a marker and into two tackle zones to stand in front of the ball carrier, on the sideline. Meanwhile Nesanton Vanval, the mighty blow catcher also stood up, dodged into two tackle zones and put in a one dice block which surfed the ball carrier. The crowd immediately swarmed all over the stricken orc blitzer, attacking his groin until it was well and truly strained.

The ball was thrown back in near the elf end zone, and from there it was a simple task for an elven lineman to dodge away from his marker, pick up the ball, and launch a soaring long pass into the hands of one of three linemen in a little group by the half way line. (Aside - the odds of surfing the ball carrier were a healthy 48%, while the adds of completing the whole play were a little more than 18% .)

For a few seconds the only sound was that of the orc coach hitting his head against the keyboard, before the orcs crowdsurfed the elven blitzer and catcher in a perfunctory sort of way (both only stunned), and knocked over the elven ball carrier with a nearby black orc. All to no avail, as the elves recovered the ball and simply ran away from the orcs up the right hand side, with the ball handed off to a rookie catcher in the end zone on turn 8. 1-0 to the Grey Haven Guard at half time

The Guard lined up in the second half a player and a touchdown ahead, and planned on a quick score. Their thrower Elethomiel gathered the ball and stayed deep in the elven half, with Xakalwe remaining close by in case of the wizard interfering. The high elves ran receivers deep into the orc half. While the orcs were able to mark all the receivers and knock one over, the marker closest to Vanval was clattered into the turf, the ball was passed from deep, and the touchdown was scored by Vanval. 2-0 to the Grey Haven Guard on turn 10

The orcs were looking for two quick scores, and from the kickoff Roksh picked up the ball and stayed deep, while two receivers (a goblin and a blitzer) ran into the elven half. Vanval was having none of this however, and the catcher lived up to his billing as the danger man on the elven team by killing the goblin outright. Meanwhile the blitzer was heavily marked. The orcs switched to a running game, but again were undone by the mobility of the elves - Roksh was protected by a half cage near the halfway line on the elven right, but this was picked apart and an elf recovered the ball. A furious black orc blocker responded by charging forward and pounding the terrified elf into the ground, and yet again Roksh demonstrated his star quality by leaping to his feet and launching another long pass diagonally across the field to the lurking blitzer. The blitzer dropped the ball this time however, and the ball was left close to the elven line.

Two elves scrambled back, recovering the ball and setting up a pass/handoff chain for the last turn. At this stage however the wizard finally unleashed his fireball, which smashed the ball carrier. The remaining elf linemen, ignoring his toasted teammate, picked up the ball, which was swiftly ferried into the orc half. Roksh tried the hero play for a third time, but this time it proved to be too much to ask, and he slipped while sprinting for the ball. The elves were then able to run the ball in at the end of the game. 3-0 to the Grey Haven Guard at full time

Monday, 3 September 2012

Thoughts on OCC 6A Match 2

Aaargh! Yet another draw in a game I should have won! This time I was left scrambling for a late draw to prevent a somewhat humiliating loss.
There was so much wrong with my play in this game, I’ll stick to the basics.
1)      My offence is incredibly potent with this team. Both passing and rushing are very powerful given the pace and agility I can call on.
2)      I can’t defend! I was pretty much brushed aside in the first half, whereas the second half I was panicking about “only” getting a draw, and tried to force a turnover when I should have focussed on beating up receivers.
3)      I spent far too much time trying to hit the star player.
So what could I have done differently to win? I should have delayed longer before scoring in the first half. I was very comfortable, and could have waited another turn at least. I should then not have gone for the ball from the blitz – I had no chance of getting it, and should have focussed on keeping my shape and getting a free hit in on his pieces. I also have learned how dangerous it can be to keep an elf upright in the backfield. I need to cover the lines better and use my blitzes on those receivers. There is no way I should have conceded a TD in three turns against dark elves, and that's really bad play.
In my defence it was my first game against elves outside of random online matchmaking (and only 2 games there), and I was not prepared for how easy they would find ball handling. I could also have asked for some slightly better dice for my mighty blow catcher, who didn’t do much all game.
Yet again however, over-eagerness and over-optimism has led me to over extend and ultimately fail to win. Position, defence, restraint. Keep repeating those words…
My brilliant lovely thrower has levelled. It will be dodge I think unless he gets a double (strong arm) or a stat up.

Match Report: OCC Division 6A Game 2

Swarm Blast (Dark Elf) vs The Grey Haven Guard (High Elf, me)
The “lineman only” dark elf team, supported by star assassin Horkan Heartripper, took the field as underdogs against their high elven cousins. Nevertheless, fortified by gallons of Bloodweiser ale which were supplied by a couple of beautiful Bloodweiser Babes, they were confident of getting a result out of the game.
The high elves won the toss and elected to receive. The kick was short and central, and the high elves knocked a hole in the dark elven line and ran two catchers deep into the left hand side of the backfield while their star thrower Eledhwen Elethomiel picked up the ball in a loose cage. Two dark elves where knocked out by the high elven blitzers in the initial scrimmaging blocks. The dark elves reacted quickly to close the passing threat down, and Heartripper stabbed one catcher into the KO box, while the other was marked.
With a numerical advantage, the high elves switched to a running game and cut right, leaving the dark elven safety cordon on the wrong side of the field. Moving quickly the high elves pressed forward and scored before the Swarm defence could recover. 0-1 to The Grey Haven Guard on turn 4
It was here that things started to go wrong from the Guard. Large helpings of ale ensured that both dark elves recovered from their KOs, but the high elven catcher remained off the field, giving the dark elves a numbers advantage in the remainder of the half. Immediately on the kick off the high elves decided to blitz, giving their coach a conundrum – the kick was so deep that the Guard would not be able to get under the ball, but nevertheless the high elves decided to use their blitz to knock over the end of the dark elven line and threaten the ball.
Four dark elven linemen formed a screen around the ball, however, and the high elves were now in a position where they were unable to hit the dark elven ball carrier. Meanwhile Heartripper was stabbing left and right on the line of scrimmage and the dark elves ran a potential receiver deep into the high elven half. The high elven coach decided to abandon the blitz and try to form a screen, but made the mistake of simply marking the receiver and hitting on the line of scrimmage. The Swarm blitzed the marker away and made a short pass to score. 1-1 on turn 6
With 2 turns to score, the high elves needed to crack the dark elven line. Double push rerolled to double push meant that they couldn’t break through however, and the half ended with Elethomiel having to throw the ball to safety of team captain Xakalwe in order to prevent a dark elf sack and keep the score 1-1 at half time.
The Guard kicked off the second half, risking a short kick to the left in the hope of another blitz. No such luck this time, however, and the dark elves formed a tight cage on the half way line. After some hitting on the line of scrimmage that included a stabbed elf being carried off badly hurt and another knocked out Guardsman, the dark elves dashed right, with Heartripper spearheading a run down the right sideline. The high elves recovered and stopped the dark elves just inside their half, and the Swarm responded by sending receivers left into the backfield and dropping their ball carrier back deep.
Cheradenine Xakalwe and a fellow catcher blitzed through to get alongside the dark elven ball carrier, but the high elves had not marked the receivers tightly enough. The marker was blitzed away, and dodge, pass, catch, sprint, hand-off, sprint touchdown (typical elf-ball) 2-1 to Swarm Blast on turn 14
With just three turns left in the match, the high elves again knocked a hole in the dark elven line and ran catchers forward, and as in the first half these were marked tightly by the Swarm. Heartripper dodged through the melee on the line of scrimmage and put a tackle zone on Elethomiel.
The nerveless high elf thrower capped a flawless afternoon however by dodging away from the shadowing assassin, and placing another slide rule pass – this time to Xakalwe on the line of scrimmage. Pausing only to batter a dark elf linemen to the ground, the hero blitzer ran close to the right touchline halfway inside the dark elf half.  The remaining high elves threw a screen around the blitzer, except for the remaining catcher, who hovered near his markers close to the end zone, and a single lineman who ran up the left hand side of the pitch into space – seemingly unnoticed by the bloodthirsty dark elves.
With the full time whistle about to sound, the dark elves put a strong screen ahead of Xakalwe and managed to knock him over. Undeterred the blitzer dusted himself off, picked up the ball and launched a long pass laterally from the right touchdown to the left, which was caught by the high elven lineman to run in for the equalising score. 2-2 at full time

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How to use BBDigital to produce a team roster

I've been asked how I produce the team roster graphics. The method is below (no credit to me - taken from Dode74's page in the OCC).

1. Log in to BB and go to the team management page (the roster).

2. Alt-tab out and open your internet explorer.

3. Sign in on the BBDigital homepage: - you will need to create an account if you don't have one.

4. Press "Leagues" (far right on top horizontal menu).

5. At this point you can either create your own league, or post a team to mine (which is called "EB's teams").

6. Filter to "E", scroll down to EB's teams and click the league name.

7. For the first upload of a team click the top "Choose file" button. For further uploads you can press the second one to update an existing team.

8. This should open up C:\Users\Name\Documents\BloodBowlLegendary\Saves\Net where you will find tmp.db. Select and upload that file. You may need to enter the password before pressing Upload Team.

9. You should be taken to a team screen like this  one. Screenshot it using Prt Scrn.

10. Open up a graphics editor (I use microsoft paint) and paste with ctrl+v. Crop to size as required and you are done.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Match Report - Divisions of Death, Division K, Match 2

Doomdark's Revenge (Chaos, me) v Death Vengeance of Doom (Lizardmen)

The chaos team and the lizards were fairly evenly matched in team value terms, so no inducements were required. The lizards had won their first game and a draw between the other two teams in this division earlier in the day meant that a win here would guarantee promotion for them. Doomdark's Revenge, on the other hand, needed a win to ensure their promotion prospects remained in their own hands.

 The lizards elected to receive, getting a skink under the high kick who caught the ball. From the ensuing LOS blocks the beastman The Fey Slain was injured and had to be carried off. The sauri and kroxigor formed a meatshield, and the skinks ran from side to side behind that line, looking for an opening. Meanwhile the lizard's star saurus (block, mighty blow) was kept in reserve and kept dashing forwards to blitz exposed players.

The chaos team, for their part, tried to keep their chaos warriors in the centre and use their beastmen as a mobile reserve. There was a small opportunity for the chaos team to get to the ball carrier, as Abandoning Hope (mighty blow beastmen) nipped through a hole in the lizards' line and blitzed one of the skinks escorting the ball carrier. He failed to break armour however and the skinks dodged away. Eventually however the skinks' mobility proved too much for the chaos team, and the skinks, supported by a saurus, took advantage of an early chaos double skulls on a block to run close to the line. The chaos team couldn't get back in time other than to put a TZ on the ball carrier. The skink passed his dodge roll and scored. 0-1 to Death Vengeance of Doom on turn 6

The chaos team had three turns to score, and immediately were subjected to a lizard blitz. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise however, as the skinks ran around the left hand side of the pitch to pressure the ball, but after a little scuffling the beastman Xajorkith Taken scooped up the ball with one of his three arms and handed the ball off to Abandoning Hope, who ran deep into the lizard half. Three skinks got back to make a screen, but Abandoning Hope simply blitzed through the screen to equalise on the stroke of half time. 1-1 at half time

The chaos team received the ball in the second half, and began a long, slow grind to eat up time. Instead of moving the cage forwards, they kept the ball protected and concentrated on hitting the lizards, although they had little luck in getting through the lizards' armour. After about three turns of fighting, the cage started drifting forwards and to the left, with the Utarg of Utarg (ST5 warrior with block) at the front of the cage, driving the sauri back.

As the half drew to a close, the lizards were more and more out of position, as the cage simply rolled past most of the sauri and the krox, leaving them behind the ball. The chaos coach was unwilling to score too early, but the increasingly desperate lizard defence, with its screen of blodging skinks was difficult to penetrate. The chaos team had a fair chance to score on the last turn, but some brave skinks, coupled with double skulls on a block, meant that the game ended 1-1 at full time.

Thoughts on the game

My first half touchdown gave me a good chance to win the game, but the lizard defence was too good in the second half. Without claw I just wasn't able to break the saurus armour, and as expected I couldn't lay a finger on the skinks. When I did manage to catch them, I only got 1 KO from 4 mighty blow hits.

I need more block, plus claw and tackle in the team to really make it competitive.

On the plus side - well, no-one died. The Utarg of Utarg is an absolute monster. With ST5 and block he utterly dominated the centre of the pitch and against bashier teams I can really build my drive around this guy. The minotaur had a decent game, there was only one bad failure, but that was my own fault for making a greedy block that I didn't need to make, and in the end it didn't cost me.

One of my two remaining rookie warriors, The Lord of Whispers, hit level 2, which was nice. The game hasn't been validated yet so I'm not sure what I'll get. My next opponents are dwarves, and I'm tempted to go for claw, to give them something to think about.

The league table is:

Death Vengeance of Doom (Liz) W1 D1 4pts
Doomdark's Revenge (Cha) D2 2pts
The Bulging Vixens (Ama) D2 2pts
Boatmurdered Athletics FC (Dwa) D1 L1 1pt

I need to beat the dwarves and hope for a draw in the last match of the season to get promotion. A loss, combined with an amazon win will relegate me. All to play for in the last game of the season!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Thoughts on OCC 6A Match 1

A mixed bag of a game really. Firstly, I am absolutely delighted with the result. The Bones Brigade are a really good team with double my SPP, and I was expected to lose and get the crap beaten out of me. That's one of the four really nasty teams in my division out of the way.

The one turn touchdown was lucky (about 20% chance including a team reroll), and that should have been enough to win me the game right there. My big mistake was scoring too quickly in the second half. I decided to trust my defence to keep him out in 7 turns, and it was close but no cigar. If I'd delayed just a couple more turns then I could have ground out a win.

One thing which stood out in the game was that I had absolutely no way of dealing with my opponent's ghouls. They all seemed to have wrestle and dodge, and I just never rolled pows when I hit them. In the second half my opponent started to run them solo behind my lines, realising that I just couldn't hurt them. I desperately need some tackle in the team.

Moving to the permanent consequences of the game, I lost a rookie lino killed, which is no bad thing really since I had too many linemen. I have another one MNG. Since my next game is against an all-linemen dark elf side I should be to compete with just 11 players so I don't think I need anyone in as yet.

I had two level ups, a catcher and a dodge linemen. I was in a quandry with the catcher. Catchers really need block/wrestle/dodge as a first skill to keep them alive, but I'm going to need tackle in two games' time against another undead team. I want my catchers to have an aggressive role - being hit and run sackers or sweepers. I rolled a double in the end, so went for mighty blow. I think I need that injury threat in the team, it fits with what I want to do with my catchers, and it might make an opposing coach think twice about putting his ghouls in harm's way.

I took kick on my dodge linemen, as I've been meaning to get it anyway, and now I have two catchers I can really take advantage of a good kick.