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.