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.