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.