Saturday, 29 December 2012

Match Report: OCC Division 4D Match 6

The Elf Avengers (pro elf) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

I'm still pretty inexperienced at elf v elf matchups, and wasn't sure how to approach this. On one hand, I had AV8, lots of dodge, and a MB tackle catcher, so the running game appealed to me, but on the other hand my opponent had fourteen players to my twelve, four players with guard to my one, and had his own MB tackle player - a blitzer. So the running game looked tricky.

Nevertheless I still feel so uncomfortable with a stereotypical 4-3 elf shootout, with both teams going for quick passing touchdowns, particularly with the powerhouse pro elf offence. So the passing game looked like a no-go for me either.

I decided therefore to try to win the game on the clock. I would try to draw the half which started with my opponent receiving, and win the half where my opponent kicked to me.

Here was my roster prior to the match


The game began with the pro elf coach winning the toss and electing to receive. One weakness of this elf team was a lack of kicker, and I kicked short and wide, hoping for a blitz. A blitz duly appeared, and here surely was a golden chance to take an unexpected early lead.

Sadly, I muffed it. I'd hoped to blitz a hole with Vanval, but misclicked and moved him instead. I still managed to get Gil-Galad under the ball, with my Tananmyr in close attendence, but the pro elves were able to blitz Gil-Galad down, and the Avengers' star quarterback recovered the ball and hared off towards his own end zone. One advantage of the kickoff was that the elves had had to use their blitz to secure the ball rather than knock a hole in my lines, and so only one receiver had made it into my backfield. I took the risk in blitzing the receiver with Vanval, which required a couple of GFIs. Several 1s later Vanval was on his back, and the elves scored on turn 2.

OK, so my plan had been for the pro elves to score early and for me to grind forward for a turn 8 equaliser, but still I hadn't planned for a turn 7 grind, and with the blitz result from the kickoff I could have done so much better. Never mind.

The kickoff was deep, and Cirdan picked up the ball before firing in a pass to Werelenial. The Guard formed a cage around the catcher, while knocking out one of the linelves. The next few turns saw the Avengers throw their two blitzers at the cage, dodging and sidestepping for all they were worth, while targeting Vanval at every opportunity. In return Vanval managed to end the career of a pro elf lineman, breaking his neck. Finally I managed to not only knock down their MB tackle blitzer (their only tackle player), but also foul him off the pitch! Despite having a man sent off, this was an excellent trade for me, and the foul was the key turning point in the match as the pro elves did not have anything to combat my dodgers and blodgers after that.

Now having a significant numerical advantage, the remainder of the half was a bit of a procession, with the cage now increasingly unstoppable and I handed the ball to Gil-Galad to trot it home in turn 8. Another important moment for me was that the pro elves had one of their guard linemen sent off for a foul late on in the half, which I can only interpret as frustration on my opponent's part.

The second half began with the weather changing to a blizzard. This was the second key moment in the game, as my previous plan (score a 2-turner, pressure my opponent into a 2-turner, grind out a 3-2 win) immediately became impractical. I decided to score as fast as I could, given the weather, and see what happened.

The kick was very deep once again, and I began by hitting the elf line of scrimmage, which didn't do much, and continuing my strategy of blitzing with Vanval whenever possible. Vanval managed to kill the Avengers' reserve thrower, which the apo could only turn into another career-ending injury, this time -1ST. I formed a small pocket hard by the right touchline, and passed the ball to Gil-Galad in the pocket. The Avengers recovered well and shut down my movement down the right hand side. I cut left and formed a cage in the centre, running three receivers deep. One of the consequences of the damage I'd done in the first half was that the Avengers were forced to use their rookie linemen, and Tananmyr managed to badly hurt one of these. 

Clearly thoroughly sick of Vanval by now, my opponent appeared to concede the touchdown and decided to try to force my killer out of the game with a blitz and a 6 man foul. Sadly all he could do was KO him, which resulted in my opponent's star thrower (accurate, AG5, but only armour 6) being sent off. Gil-Galad flipped the ball to Werelenial who scored my second touchdown on turn 11 to take a 2-1 lead.

Lining up with 8 players to my 10, things were looking a bit grim for the Avengers, but a touchdown here for them would give them an excellent chance to draw or even win. The pro elves lined up to overwhelm the right side, so I kicked left and was rewarded with a perfect defence result. The ball ended hard by the left touchline, with Gil-Galad and Werelenial in close attendence. The Avengers recovered, and managed to get the ball to a guard lineman, very close to their own end zone. They had reckoned without the pace and strength of Gil-Galad however, who managed to get in a blitz on the ball carrier. He was only able to roll a both down though, and the pro elves had a chance to recover.With almost none of their team in range however, this looked tricky.

This was a really tricky situation, since I didn't want to overcommit to the ball, since with all the Avengers' catchers having nerves of steel, marking them was unreliable and I was only a few good dice away from my opponent equalising. In the end though Gil-Galad was able to deal with matters on his own, standing up, blitzing the ball free and running it in for a 3-1 lead.

With only a few turns left my key consideration was to ensure that my opponent didn't score a 2 turner, and so I ignored the ball and concentrated on pressuring receivers. A late consolation TD for the elves meant that the game ended 3-2 to me.

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