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