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.