Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Looking back

And so we come to the end of the road for The Grey Haven Guard.

The final tally is: W30 D9 L15

They rank 6th in the all-time list of high elf teams in the OCC, just behind Viajero. The seasonal breakdown is

Season 15 – 6A – W4 D4 L1 – 4th
Season 16 – 4D – W7 D1 L1 – 2nd
Season 17 – 3A – W5 D1 L3 – 4th
Season 18 – 2D – W6 D1 L2 – 2nd
Season 19 – 1 – W3 D1 L5 – 7th
Season 20 – 2C – W5 D1 L3 – 3rd

After a slow start I began to get the hang of them, and aside from that catastrophic Tier 1 run I think my results were pretty good. I do find it hard to get past my Tier 1 record though – I picked high elves which are a fairly joyless team simply because they had the best stats and I wanted to win the OCC. I didn’t particularly like the playstyle or the look and feel of the race, but I wanted to be successful. And so I think my time as a high elf coach has been a failure. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m a much better player than I was 18 months (or so) ago, but I picked the team to win the league and fell a long way short.

I had some great moments – the 4-0 win against Antonlunau, for example in season 18, or both my wins against Luiggi (who is a first rate coach), but I keep thinking back to that 2-1 defeat to Muffin – the eventual OCC champion that season and I gave him a really hard game – only a 2+ catch away from a win and it turned into a loss.

The worst thing about playing high elves was that winning became everything. Since I was playing such a soulless team it was imperative to win (otherwise why play high elves in the first place?). That made me very depressed when, as I saw it, I got unlucky and lost – I really hated those games because playing in such a conservative way means that you don’t make many rolls but the ones you do make are absolutely crucial – if you fail those then you tend to struggle badly.

I’ve started to rediscover the joy in BB with my human team in the UKBBL – I don’t win anything like as much, but playing with such an underpowered team (at least compared to the high elves) is much more satisfying to me – a draw is a great result against some nightmare high TV bash side, and it’s even better if I can foul the crap out of one of their stars. I hope that the same will be true of my underworld team in due course.

Now it comes to say goodbye to the high elves, I find I will miss them a bit – particularly the unsung heroes or the players I’ve lost on the way. I don’t feel much love for Gil-Galad, for example, the stat-freak monster, I feel some affection for Alawe, Kevatononel and Tananmyr, who were with the team from the start. Alawe in particular was injured more times than any other player I have ever seen on any time – 12, over his career.

Alawe – High Elf Lineman – 6 3 4 8 – Block, Dodge, Guard 
Kevatononel – High Elf Lineman – 6 3 4 8 – Block, Dodge, Sidestep 

Two rock solid linemen. Alawe is good in a scrum and Kevatononel can protect the edges of my defensive line to make it hard for an opposing coach to switch sides quickly, plus side step is a good passive bash skill.

Tananmyr – High Elf Blitzer – 7 3 4 8 – Block, Dodge, Guard, Sidestep, Fend 

This guy has been the rock around which my team is based since the start. Blodgestep plus fend (“flodgestep”?) is a wonderful combination to have on your “edge” players – you put most of your team in the centre of the pitch, with only two flodgesteppers in the wide zones, and it suddenly becomes very hard for a bash team to score – they need to run round you to do so and blitzing your edge players is incredibly frustrating because even if they knock the guy down you can usually force them to dodge to get past.

More than 50 games played as an elf, including 27 in the meat grinder of high tier OCC, is pretty good going for an elf, and Tananmyr in particular never missed a game.

I was sad to see the back of Vanval, useless pixel-hugger that I am, albeit I have described him elsewhere. My other big regret is that Cheradenine Xakalwe died before he could really achieve anything. My blodge AG5 blitzer was killed by a wizard towards the end of season 15 (apo failed). This was my only AG5 player and I was just learning how to use him for the best when he was killed. I never rolled another +AG and so my team lost much of its unpredictability.

So those guys will be much missed. What I’ll do over the next couple of weeks is put down my thoughts on how to play high elves, and how to build the players.

Friday, 29 November 2013



Sorry for the radio silence - I have fallen out of love with the high elves in a rather major way and I'm finding blogging to be somewhat difficult right now.

I have won one, drawn one and lost one in my last three games, with the defeat being pretty fucking terrible, and the draw seeing me lose yet another ST4 catcher - Anduril this time.

Two games left, and I will be rerolling to underworld for next season. The team is called Happy Hardcore, and the new season starts in early Jan and I will restart the blog there.

See you in 2014.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 2D Game 4

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Waaagh Dodgers (orc, Klauser)

I was expecting this to hurt, and it did.

Klauser is relatively unknown at the OCC since this is his first team, but he is a tier 1 coach over in the UKBBL with chaos dwarves and has a shockingly high win percentage. I was expecting a tough game. What's worse is that his team included two MB-tackle-piling on players, one with juggernaut to cancel out my wrestle. The blitzers were excellent all round. What was even worse than that is that after my mauling from Elfic last week I was down to just 10 fit players.

Surprisingly Klauser put £150k into the pot to buy a wizard, which gave me enough inducements for a apo.

I won the toss and elected to receive. I was hoping for a draw here, and my plan was essentially to play for 8 turns and hope to be winning by then, which would enable me to run away in the second half and get a draw, as Klauser would surely be too scared of my offence to score his TD before turn 16.

I knocked over his LOS of lineorcs without breaking armour and kept a relatively compact line in the centre. Klauser responded by aggressively marking up my players, spacing his black orcs out across the pitch. His centre was wide open though and I punched through with Vanval, knocking out a lineorc and running three players through the centre.

Klauser's juggernaut blitzer rushed back to break the leg of Anduril (ST 4 wrodge catcher), but could not quite close the pocket down. I felt sufficiently threatened to knock a gap for Gil-Galad, and Ecthelion passed him the ball to sprint clear for a turn 3 score. 1-0 to the Guard.

So now the period of time which would decide the game. I had 10 players to Klauser's 11, reduced to 9 v 11 when a wrestle lino was KO'd on the LOS. Klauser caged up tightly around an AG4 blitzer in the centre, and pushed his hard hitting players down both flanks. Since Klauser had again left the centre weak I moved Glorfindel into contact with the cage, since neither player on that side had tackle, and also got a wrestle lino into contact with the ball carrier by knocking down a cage corner. Klauser responded by cutting right and screening off the ball carrier, but badly miscalculated and I was able to make 1 2+ dodge and 2 GFIs to get a 2D block on the ball carrier by simply running Vanval (ST4 blodge, MB, tackle catcher) around the edge of his line.

It all started to go wrong here though as the ball scattered to another blitzer who caught it outright. Klauser attempted to recover but half of his players were stranded on the wrong side of the pitch. He inexplicably left Vanval alone, leaving Vanval to make a 3+ dodge with a reroll in order to get another 2D hit on the ball carrier. This failed though and Vanval was stunned.

It was looking pretty grim at this stage, but again I was allowed a chance on turn 8 to get the ball to safety, with Gil-Galad needing a 4+ dodge with a reroll to get a 2D hit in, but again this failed. 1-1 at half time.

So I set up with my players on the left, determined to let him score and try the 1 turner to equalise, but it all fell apart. Another positional mistake from Klauser right at the start of the half left me with a chance for a 2D hit on his ball carrier with Vanval, who needed only a 3+ dodge to dance through the orc line. There was no one near the ball carrier at this stage, and success would have allowed me to potentially run clear for a score. The dodge this time succeeded, but I rolled skull push, rerolled to double skulls. Vanval was then killed on the injury roll! The apo came on and offered to save his life at the expense of a niggle, but with a heavy heart I let my team's best player die.

Bayete Vanval. Heart of the team for 50 games. You will not be forgotten.

All hope of a draw had basically gone now, and Klauser closed the game out. I was trying to run my pieces away but he was quite merciless, piling on every turn and even using the wizard to try to get an injury on Gil-Galad (who was nowhere near the ball) on turn 15. Fortunately there was no more permanent damage and he scored on turn 16. I had only 5 players for the one turner so couldn't make it work, although farmed 1 SPP on Gil-Galad to take him to 76 SPPs as a consolation.

2-1 to the orcs.

So, farewell then Nesandton Vanval. My first ever superstar player on any team. My highest SPP player on any team with 124.

You joined the team after three games, rolling a double and taking mighty blow as your first skill. I fondly remember your first ever casualty caused, when you and two mates ganged up on the goblin player from an orc team and you killed him. Even with that sole double roll, you were the best player on the team even before rolling +1ST at 76SPPs.

At the time of your death you were the perfect combination of speed, strength and hitting power. A terrible loss.

But, we move on.

Gil-Galad rolled a double 3 for his superstar skill up, and after thinking hard about MB I took tackle. MB without tackle is weak and I have a lack of tackle on the team. With his speed and strength he's the perfect sweeper and deep sacker, and tackle will enable him to do that. I was advised to take guard by a couple of fellow coaches but I do not like AV7 guard at all and I think it's just a waste of his pace to keep him next to horrible MB players who would want to splatter him.

I am now in a position where my best sacker and best hitter are not the same person, which may be for the good of the team. My best hitter is now Legolas with his frenzy. Frenzy increases the chance of a depitching on an AV8 block player from 6% to 9%, with is significant enough to be worthwhile to blitz with wherever possible. Even against dodge players Legolas will be the best option. I will also need to concentrate on finding crowdsurfing opportunities.

My best sacker is Legolas, and if he survives to 51SPPs then I will have a ST4 wrackler, to make the ideal sweeper.

I have also bought a new catcher - Arwen - in the hope that giving her a girl's name will make people leave her alone until she has some skills.

Former OCC champion Fastshark and his chaos are next. With the death of Vanval a lot of my love for the team has gone. I started a new Norse team last night and am determined to reroll unless I get promoted this season.

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Masters Series

If I can take a moment to promote "The Masters Series", a set of videos showcasing some of the better players from around the major private leagues being compiled by Viajero of BBTactics.

In this second video you can even hear my wise words as I fumble about as co-commentator trying desperately to find something interesting to say before I get hauled away to do the dishes.

Match Report: OCC Division 2D Game 3

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Nocturnals (dark elf, Tx)

I came into the game giving away 600k of inducements for the second time this season, against a dark elf team which had had its best player (ST5 blodge witch) killed by a 1 dice block from a player without tackle on MD1. Gosh. Suffice to say however not all was lost - still two exceptional players on the team in a POMB tackle witch and a +1MV +1ST blodge blitzer who had grabbed his ST boost after the previous game. There was also some guard and a ST4 lineman. So overall in terms of first team ability we were not all that badly matched - much of my TV advantage was in my deeper bench - but still my chances on paper were very good.

But then Nuffle intervened. Let me throw down a couple of numbers here. I took 8 (eight) casualties in the game. From a total of 40 blocks. So my opponent caused a casualty every 5 blocks. It was an absolute slaughter and far beyond anything I've experienced before - even against high TV chaos and orc teams, or even TheMuffinThief's killer necro werewolf in my four games against him in recent seasons.

Most of those casualties went to the killer witch.

On that basis there wasn't much I could do.

I won the toss and chose to kick, the plan being to force him to use the wizard to score and then to grind in 2-1. But, yeah, 6 cas and 2 KOs in the first half says no. I did what I could, and even knocked the ball loose at one stage, with 5 players on the field. Legolas ran forward and fractured the skull of his new ST4 blitzer on a 1D block (apo failed!), and Gil-Galad scooped up the ball. He failed a GFI trying to get some distance from that fucking witch elf ("TFWE") and stunned himself in the process. 1-0 to the Nocturnals on turn 8. I didn't have the manpower to get a 1 turner going and farmed a pass on Felastur, my new rookie lineman.

In the second half my KOs came back and I think I had 8 vs 10, and I kept the ball deep with Ecthelion and relatively compact in the centre, hoping for an overcommitment from Tx. This duly happened as the dark elves flooded forward, but unfortunately for me my players started to drop like flies again, and the wizard zapped Ecthelion, causing another casualty. The ball was picked up by a dark elf blitzer but Glorfindel knocked him over on a 1D block, and Cirdan continued his recent good form by dashing back, picking up the ball and hurling a long pass out to Tananmyr who scampered off towards the dark elf line.

He wasn't able to get completely safe, however, and was hauled down. TFWE ran back to pick up the ball and, with stars in her eyes, decided to try a long pass of her own but fumbled it (ha!). Tananmyr leaped to his feet and dodged into the end zone, leaving Felastur to complete a memorable match for him by picking the ball up at the feet of TFWE, dodging away and making a touchdown pass. 1-1 on turn 13.

I'd paid the price however and was down to five players to stop 11 dark elves for four remaining turns and, predictably, it was not enough. I got close - a 1D block on the ball carrier from my wrestle lineman knocked it loose, but I was hoping for a bounce off the pitch that never happened. Both my blitzers were thereabouts and being annoying, but I couldn't quite stop the cage. On turn 16 the dark elves sealed their win with TFWE performing a spectacular double surf (never seen that before - 2 of my players surfed from 1 blitz, brilliant play from Tx) and needing a 2+ from a hand off reroll, which duly appeared. 2-1 to the Nocturnals.

The one silver lining here was the lack of permanent damage. I took 4 MNG and 4 BH with an unused apo. I'll be missing Cirdan, Anduril (frenzy catcher), Elladan (DP lino) and Kevatononel (blodgestep lino) for my next game. All of those four have now had two MNG injuries or worse in the three games this season. It's been fairly brutal.

My next game is against Klauser - a really good bash coach with a very lean TV orc team. I will broadly match him on ST but he has a guard and armour advantage. He also has 5 tackle in the team and a vicious killer blitzer. I will only have 10 players and HE will have inducements! One of those games where at present I don't see how I can win - it will be very tough.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 2D Game 2

Mobile Blood Donations (vampires, JimmyC) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

Remember those games last season where everything went wrong and I got completely nuffled. Well this game was like that.

Just the exact opposite.

With three linemen MNG I bought a new rookie lineman to get to 12 players, giving me enough inducements for a wizard. Jimmy's vamps are very well developed, with two AG5 vamps, one mighty blow tackle bruiser and a crop of sidesteppers and stand firm people.

I won the toss and, mindful of the wizard, elected to kick. The aim was to use the wizard to steal a TD and go in level or ahead at the break.

I got a perfect defence on the kickoff, which was good and saved me some pain from his MB vamp. He managed to KO a lineman with one of his LOS thralls, but, as was to become a theme in the first half, immediately afterwards one of his vampires bit a thrall slightly too hard, badly hurting him. 

So 10 vs 10 after the first turn with the ball in a tight cage in the centre of the pitch and I responded by pushing a few players around, making a solid enough defence in the centre and badly hurting one of his thralls with a block from Thingol (rookie lineman). Jimmy then ran a vamp around the right side of my line, and Vanval replied by charging over and punching him and I marked up the cage with my blodgestep-tackle blitzer Glorfindel.

Feeling the pressure, Jimmy pushed another vamp forward through my lines and shifted the cage to my right. Seeing an opportunity I called down the thunder on the ball carrier - zapping him. The ball bounced between a vamp and a thrall, and Vanval again opened the way, hitting the vamp and knocking him over. Gil-Galad sprinted his MV9 way around the edge of what was left of the vamp line, picked up the ball in a TZ, and flipped a quick pass to Glorfindel who dashed for the line. 

With no vamps able to get back, Jimmy repositioned to force the score and prevent stalling, but in doing so one of the vamps got peckish again which resulted in an injury to the AG5 thrall. Glorfindel took no chances and jogged home on turn 4 to make it 1-0 to the Guard. 

Another perfect defence on the kickoff blunted the vamps ability on the line once again, and again some ill-timed bloodthirsts (this time only resulting in stuns) meant there were gaps in the line. To make matters worse Jimmy rolled a 1 for the pickup, opting not to reroll. I think Jimmy had not expected how fast my players could move and I responded with a champagne play of top draw elvish bs.

First Vanval dashed forward again, pushing a vamp back to make a small gap. Cirdan (MV7 blodge accurage NoS thrower) hurtled forward, vaulting a despairing tackle, made 2 GFIs and picked up the ball from the feet of the vamp, then wound back his arm and, ignoring nearby markers passed the ball 25 yards backward into the waiting hands of Legolas in a pocket in the elvish half!

As if to punish Cirdan for his insolence, the enraged vampire tore into Cirdan in retaliation, killing him! Fortunately the elvish apothecary was on hand to patch up the brave elven thrower.

Legolas dropped back away from the vamps, who sent two vampires deep into my half to chase him down and players to either side. He also pushed his blodge, stand firm, DT blitzer into contact with my front line. I rolled 6 dice at this guy and could not get a pow, and so he stalled my advance on his own as I was forced to retreat into a tight cage. 

Jimmy gazed his way into the cage and managed to get a 1D hit on Legolas with his tackle vamp, but couldn't get a knockdown. He pushed him next to the DT vamp too, but again the (tackle-less) vamp only got a push. Vanval was having none of that, and dealt with the situation by killing the DT vamp (he was niggled, so Jimmy elected not to use the apo, regen then failed). Legolas was able to blitz free of the scrum and darted into the vamp half, supported by some rookie linemen. The vamps scrambled back and knocked the ball loose but the bouncing ball was caught by Thingol who made 2 dodges and 2 GFIs to score on turn 8. 2-0 to the Guard at half time. 

Receiving in the second half I knew the game would be over if I scored quickly and I was handed another slice of luck as one of the five remaining vamps was hit by a rock from the crowd and KO'd. I ran some players through the gap into the vamp half and tossed the ball back to Ecthelion. Jimmy was able to neutralise 3 of my receivers with gazes and a blitz, but Vanval was left standing and unmarked, so Ecthelion ran forward and passed the ball to Tananmyr, who handed it off to Vanval, who continued his good form with a TD. 3-0 to the Guard on turn 9. 

At this point in the game, mindful of the fact that the win was assured but that I had already used my apothecary, I offered Jimmy 3-1, with a few leisurely end turns and the opportunity for him to farm some passes by the end zone. He was having none of it though, and determinedly killed Earendil Brightwing (rookie lineman) on the LOS. Again he caged up on halfway and ran receivers round my line. I ignored them though and concentrated on pressuring the cage. Jimmy gazed his way clear and scored on turn 10. 3-1 to the Guard. 

I again received and dropped the ball deep to Ecthelion. I didn't run receivers forward but held a firm line. Jimmy sat back initially and we traded blitzes, Vanval capping an excellent game with another casualty - this time an MNG vamp. After a couple of turns though I realised I was out of rerolls - I'd been farming passes in the backfield and had forgotten to keep track. A stupid mistake but all of a sudden I had to play cautiously. I then needed to cage up as Jimmy had finally begun to put some pressure on Ecthelion. and I didn't cage securely enough and the vamps were able to gaze in and sack the ball carrier. 

Again I got lucky though and the ball scattered to Legolas. With no vamps able to stop him Legolas burst clear of the scrum and I scored on turn 16. 4-1 to the Guard at full time!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

New league – Old World Football League

I have joined another scheduled league – the Old World Football League, or the OFL. 

This is different to all the others in that it is a “direct IP” league – it does not run via the Cyanide servers but via direct communication between the players. The owners have developed software to allow all the participants and teams to be stored on their own servers. This allows full control of rosters (and also means that it is not necessary for Cyanide’s servers to even be running – if Cyanide cease to support the game the OFL can continue). 

It all seems fearsomely complex to a Luddite like me, but they were able to talk me through the setup via steamchat and I connected to a practice game. 

The league is primarily US-based, with a structure very much like the NFL (two conferences, multiple divisions, an end of season superbowl between the two conference winners) and access is on a one-in-one-out basis. Like the real NFL they are expanding into Europe though and I have just joined the new “Lothian Football Conference” which is made up of European coaches. 

One of the real draws of the league is that with full roster access they are able to implement the full star player list – so you can induce players like The Mighty Zug and Nobbla Blackwort who I remember from the tabletop game as a kid. In addition they have added two new races – Slann (who are rebranded as Goblin Circus and use goblin and hobgoblin models from the Cyanide game) and Chaos Pact. I had to try this out and will be running as Chaos Pact in the OFL. 

With 1150 TV to spend initially I went for the standard (!) build: 

1 Minotaur 
1 Chaos Ogre (uses the Rat Ogre model so that mutations show) 
1 Troll (uses the Warpstone Troll model so that mutations show) 
1 Dark Elf
1 Goblin 
1 Skaven 
6 Marauders (use the Rotter model so that mutations show) 
3 rerolls 
1 apo 

It looks absolutely insane and I’m really looking forward to trying it out – with 3 big guys I am basically expecting chaos and carnage in equal measure. Not expecting to win many games, at least initially. 

 The division draft is 

LFC North 
Bantha - Chaos Dwarf 
Everblue - Chaos Pact 
Netsmurf - Skaven 
Fastshark - High Elf 

LFC East 
Crimsonsun - Nurgle 
Zulu591 - Khemri 
20Phoenix - Amazon 
Dreamy - Wood Elf 

LFC West 
Barmution - Nurgle 
Matts373 - Dark Elf 
Dode74 - Pro Elf 
RTSD - Lizardmen 

LFC South 
ScottishDunc - Chaos 
Gusya - Chaos Pact 
CharlieBanks - Goblin Circus 
Gingerella - Goblin 

So it's rammed with some of the best European coaches including past league champions in Fastshark and Matts373, plus some of the OCC coaches with the highest ELO rankings around. It's going to be a great league, and I'll report here on how I get on.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 2D Game 1

Birds of Freedom (dark elves, Elfic) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elves, me)

I was giving away 590k of inducements which translated into a wizard, a bribe, Eldril and two babes. Facing an elf team with a wizard my plan was to kick first and hope to pressure them into scoring early, ideally using the wizard. I would then hope to go in 1-1 and grind out a 2-1 win.

I lost the toss but my opponent elected to receive anyway, and presumably he had his reasons for that but I can’t really see what they might have been.

He immediately removed two players on the first turn - my dirty player lineman having his leg broken on the second block, and then a blitz with his tackle-MB blitzer KOing my blodgestep lineman. I formed columns centrally and tried to hit his unskilled witch with my own tackle-MB player but only got a push. He responded by pushing players down my right flank and blitzing Cirdan over with his killer and sticking the boot in (only a stun though).

Having had enough of being pushed around I pushed most of my players into contact with the pocket, trusting in my guard superiority and ST4 players to make it hard for Elfic to extricate himself. I had deliberately left a dark elf blitzer unmarked downfield to give him the option of a T3 score, with a catcher kept back to prevent him from stalling by the end zone, and he took the chance to score. Eldril gazed a gap through my defence to allow his runner to dart through and make a pass to the rookie, who scored.

So not too bad a start - I had six turns to score myself, but had not forced the wizard.

I set up to protect myself against the blitz, and a blitz duly appeared with the ball landing in the wide zone only one square back from the sideline - basically in the worst possible place. Fortunately Glorfindel (blodgestep tackle blitzer) was on hand and his sidestep made sure that it was hard for the dark elves to swarm round the ball. Despite the two tackle zones the dark elves did manage to catch the ball (on a 5+), but Anduril (ST4 wrodge catcher) knocked it loose and Ecthelion darted in, grabbed the ball in a tackle zone and hurled it to Cirdan in the backfield. Glorfindel then tried to dodge away from his marker to put in a blitz to protect Anduril from being surfed, but was tackled down and stunned. Anduril was duly surfed and the dark elves swarmed around my right side.

I set up a loose screen in the centre left and Cirdan threw the ball to Gil-Galad, one of my ST4 catchers (I was expecting to take hits on the ball carrier from his AG5 leaping strip baller, and with no sure hands on the team I figured it would be better to try to ensure that he only got 1 dice at best), before yet another of my players was injured on an unskilled block - this was the blodgestep lineman who had recovered from his KO only to have his arm broken. At this point I had a good whine about my luck in the chat, and of course my luck changed immediately for the better. Firstly his AG5 leaper rolled a double 1 when leaping into the cage, stunning himself, and then Legolas killed a rookie lineman with his first ever block with frenzy.

I felt here that Elfic had overcommitted to my backfield and so I punched a hole in the centre of his defensive line and ran Gil-Galad blitzed forward, KOing Eldril, screening him off in the centre. It proved to be a somewhat overly optimistic position however as the wizard flashed out a lightning bolt and the ball flew loose. It was scooped up and thrown to a blodgestepping dark elf blitzer deep in their half.

The ball was not safe however and Vanval charged forward to bash the ball clear again. There was some back and forth fighting but the dark elves could not get it free and the half ended with the ball being handed off to Ecthelion (+1MV reserve thrower) to score on turn 8.  1-1 at half time.

I was receiving in the second half and Elfic again put his AG5 leaping stripballer on the line – presumably because he already has -1MV and a niggle and Elfic didn’t care what happened to him. I knocked out a lineman and then knocked over and fouled the stripballer (-1MV and sent off), giving me a significant man advantage.

At this stage Elfic seemed to give up, as half his team ran over to my left to knock over and foul Glorfindel. The fouls kept coming but I marched my cage virtually unopposed to the dark elf end zone by turn 12. There was a very unpleasant fight between what was left of Elfic’s team and my players who were not in the cage, and I took an MNG from a foul on Legolas. By turn 16 though I was able to smash the collar bone of his level 2 witch with a block from Vanval, and hand the ball to Ecthelion to run the ball in for the winner. 2-1 at full time.

In the post game sequence Ecthelion levelled and finally I rolled a double for a thrower. Ecthelion is therefore +1MV, strong arm at present, and has the potential to be a really excellent player if he stays alive. I think the progression has to be dodge, accurate, sure hands (if he lives that long) and Cirdan has now been firmly relegated to a defensive thrower role.

Monday, 30 September 2013

OCC Season 20 Division 2D

Here are the teams

  • delf.pngTxlanhualpec - Nocturnals - Dark Elf -
TV 1930 (2200 when everyone's fit)

6-1-2 last season in 2D

Very nasty looking DE team. Two amazing witches - one ST 5 and the other has MB, piling on and tackle. They also have a ST4 lineman and an AG5 leaping (niggled, ha!) pass blocker. There aren't that many of them, and there isn't actually all that much dodge in the team.

I think I'll really struggle against them, but this is such a bashy division I have to question in what state they will be in by the end of the season. So a tough match early on, but once Luiggi and Klauser have taken some lumps out of them they may be an easier prospect. 
  • nurgle.pngKreugen - Rodent Extermination - Nurgle -
 TV 2130 (2170 when everyone's fit)

5-1-3 last season in 2D

Wow, another monster team. These guys have a decent beast and three warriors built for killing rather than control (the other is a rookie), but it's the pestigor lineup that makes this team shine. They have a +2MA +2AG three armed pest with block. He picks up on a 2+ in two tackle zones. They also have a couple of hard hitting blitzer pests to knock the ball loose.

Plenty of tackle too, and this team will be really rough to handle.
  • vamps.pngJimmy C - Mobile Blood Donations! - Vampire  
TV 2280 plus 2 levels

4-2-3 last season in 2D

Hmmm, this one isn't quite so scary-looking. Six very experienced vamps - all of whom are level 5 and above - but they are carrying a couple of niggles. There isn't a dedicated killer as yet, but they do have a couple of tackle-MB pieces. There are a couple of AG5 vamps and an AG5 thrall, so their offence will be very strong, and the coach is very experienced with his team.
  • delf.pngElfic - BirdsOfFreedom - Dark Elf -
TV 1690 (1760 when everyone's fit)

3-1-5 last season in 2D

The remnants of a very good DE team that was in division 1 a couple of seasons ago, the Birds have lost most of their stars with the remaining players looking ready to retire. There are still 3 very good blitzers, but three of those are carrying bad injuries now and I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of them go this season.

The witches are very new and while there are some good linemen and a promising runner, they will be very vulnerable to bash this season. With no cash in the bank either a tough time is in prospect here for them in this very bashy division. 
  • chaos.pngMalfeasor - Malfeasant Murderers - Chaos -
TV 1940 (2080 when everyone's fit)

2-2-5 last season in 2D
A relatively young chaos team, and a work in progress for the coach. The warriors control the pitch with guard and stand firm (but no MB or claw), there's a block mino for some reason, who I anticipate will not survive the season, but the beastman roster is much more impressive.

There's a fairly nasty looking killer, who lacks frenzy but otherwise has the full rack of skills including jump up, but has taken a -1AV. Whether this team can protect their glass cannon will be key this season. There are also a couple of AG4 beasts for ball carrying and a MB-wrackle elf-killer.

A good outline of a team here. Will be interesting to see how they get on against...
  • orc.pngLuiggi - Munch N' Crunch - Orc -
TV 2050 (2100 when everyone's fit)

4-0-5 last season in tier 1

Ah, the General. The last real bastard orc team in the OCC after the retirement of Despized and Grintoof All Stars. Still packing the best black orc line I've ever seen, and a coach who really understands how to play bash.

The team suffered last season after losing it's two best blitzers in the last game of season 18, and killed his best lineman (AG4 pass block chap), so a lot of the dynamism from the team has gone. There's no AG4 at all on the team, for example. That said, here is my pick for winning the division, despite all the claw around.
  • helf.pngEverblue - The Grey Haven Guard - High Elf -
  • orc.pngklauser - Waaagh Dodgers - Orc -
TV 1880

7-1-1 last season in 3D
I don't know much about the coach, but a 66% win ratio across nearly 700 games speaks for itself and I wonder if we are looking at one of the new stars of the OCC here.

The team itself is comprised of a really excellent blitzer lineup, but very average black orcs and linemen. I think this team will do well against the elves, but may take some casualties against the bash - particularly the nurgle could cause them problems.
  • chaos.pngFastshark - Speedsharks - Chaos -
TV 1890 (1990 when the last CW is bought)

6-1-2 last season in tier 3

Fastshark is a former champion and all-round clever bloke, and so any team he takes into tier 2 is going to be a threat. This chaos team however is fairly new and lacking the pace of his lizards. I wonder if his coaching skills will be enough.

Only three chaos warriors, and none above level 3, clearly shows that this team are going to struggle against guard-heavy bash. There is also 210 TV tied up in the minotaur. The beastman roster is better, and there is the usual cookie-cutter killer, but a niggle on the ST4 ball carrier makes me wonder how aggressively Fastshark will use this piece. We could see another fall in TV before things get better.
  • chaos.pngGing - Branded Beasts - Chaos -
TV 1930 (2200 when everyone's fit)

4-3-2 last season in tier 3

I first saw Ging in tier 5 a couple of seasons ago when he was a fairly new coach and made a few mistakes. His play has certainly improved hugely since then, and this season will be a real test for him.

On paper, his team could do well this season - the chaos warriors are nothing special, but have a few skills on them, there is a pretty good minotaur (although inefficient in TV terms), but some really nice beastmen including a leaper with very long legs (!) and a stand firm-DT marker. There is also of course the usual killer build and elf hitter.

So this team poses all the usual chaos threat but also has an unpredictability about it. I do wonder however whether it has enough pure bash to survive the league intact. The niggle on the best chaos warrior worries me too. Nevertheless, if he gets some dice it could be a good season.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Post-season review

So here's The Grey Haven Guard's roster right now:

I run with 4 rerolls and have about 350k in the bank. Total TV is 2350. And here's the final league table.

It's been a really hard season, all told, but bizarrely I don't actually think I've played all that badly. Certainly two of my defeats would have been victories given reasonable dice, and my only draw would have been a win but for a quick snap on the kickoff on turn 8. I also had a couple of games where I just had nothing from the dice and it was hard to see what I could have done (which was also the consensus on BBTactics).

That said, I've been lucky myself as well at times, so I guess things probably even out to an extent. I beat two of the best orc teams in the league in Grintoof All Stars and Munch N Crunch, and Maniehl whom I beat on MD 9 is one of the best coaches in terms of record. Still, I've learned some things about running offence this time around, and certainly I think I played better last season than during my promotion season.

 I'm going into division 2D next season, which looks like it will have some high TV dark elves, plus some high TV vamps. Looking further down one of the new generation of orc teams is coming up - with an excellent record, a great blitzer lineup and mediocre black orcs. I *think* that I will be joined by Luiggi's Munch N Crunch and former OCC champion Fastshark's new chaos team, and if my understanding of the division composition is right then Luiggi will immediately be favourite to win the division probably with me having to fight it out with the super vamps and a former champion for second place.

It will be a tough season and a very bashy division  (I think 2 good orc teams and 3 or 4 chaos teams in my league all told) but at least the team is in good shape. I lost my ST4 lineman this season but everyone else made it out alive and I now have an excellent catcher lineup - all of them are really good. I'm bound to lose at least one next season. My blitzers both survived and remain useful, and I replaced my ST4 AG3 dodge lineman with a blodge sidestepper which is not a terrible trade. Still no AG5 and nothing to crack a cage, but otherwise I think I have a decent shout for another promotion on paper at least. Certainly my team is one that other coaches will look at and dislike.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Matches 8 and 9

Since these matches were utterly meaningless after my MD7 defeat I have struggled to motivate myself to write them up. Just a short summary therefore.  

Match 8

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Dragonblood Drakes (lizard, Yarat)

Oh God. Another one like this.

A 4-0 defeat to the lizards My worst result in Blood Bowl for I think a year (I *think* had a 5-0 defeat to a chaos team in tier 6 where I got pitch cleared twice and just gave up, but I can't find the result now).

My defence got carved open immediately with a string of injuries and KOs and although Vanval did manage to knock over the ball carrier a couple of times I couldn't stop him scoring on turn 5. That was fine though - 4 turns to score.

A perfect defence roll on the kick off table put me under some pressure and I was forced to take some risks, and they failed - I threw a third interception for the season, again safe throw failing (about 6% chance) and went in 2-0 down.

In the second half I got a double 1 on an early dodge in two turns in a row allowing him to pressure the thrower, and then rolled another double 1 on a pass. 3-0 as he just scooped the ball up and ran it in. I then failed another touchdown pass with a fumble, and he scored a 4th on turn 16. Overall I was 1 out of 5 passing, ignoring the interception (which you roll for before you roll the pass). It was absolutely shambolic and I felt awful afterwards.  

Match 9  

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Expired Meat (necro, Maniehl)

A fairly easy 2-0 win to round off the season. Nuffle was good to me this game and most things I tried worked. In the first half I bashed the necro team off the park. Vanval nobbled their key tackle, mighty blow, dodge, guard wight BH (regen failed), and also KO'd both wolves. I got fireballed but was able to recover and score on turn 8.

In the second half the necro just could not get through my line. A failed GFI by the star wolf left the ball carrier exposed and I was able to snaffle it and run it in n turn 16. To take nothing away from Maniehl, who is a great coach, but it just didn't happen for him this game whereas I had all the luck.

 Three level ups from the game, including yet another +1ST for a catcher, leaves me in great shape for next season and with my TV at a preposterous 2350. I'll post my roster here when BBM updates.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Match 7

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v The Sigil Torments (dark elf, Errant Saint)

A rematch against some old foes from tier 3. Last time we played I won 3-1, although that does not really tell the story of the game as my third TD was on turn 16.

The Torments came in at a formidable 2360TV, with their star player being the Lady of Pain (a witch with block, tackle, side step, +1MV and +1AG). Aside from her there is not much special on the team, it is just a really solid side with loads of blodge (10 blodgers in total) with plenty of side step and tackle too. Apart from the Lady their offence is pretty average, but they are just a really solid team with lots of passive bash with the side step and tackle.

I won the toss and elected to kick, with the ball landing centrally and being picked up by the block, pass, accurate runner. Vanval immediately darted out from my defensive line and clattered one of the two assassins, breaking his leg in the process, before retreating to safety.

The dark elves pushed players forward on the flanks, and I let them come but stayed strong in the centre. After a couple of fairly inconclusive turns, Saint (presumably deliberately) allowed me the chance to get a 2D block on his ball carrier. The carrier was sacked but the dump off proved not to be a fumble. The target (the Lady) managed to drop the catch however.

I couldn’t quite recover the ball  and the dark elves stabilised, with the pocket around their ball carrier retreating back towards their own line. In a key moment the dark elves managed a clever chain push which allowed their remaining assassin the chance to get next to Vanval, and the ensuing stab knocked out the elven catcher. On or around turn 5 the dark elves again exposed the ball and this time I elected to use the wizard.

The ball again bounced badly for me however, and after I needed to reroll a 2+ dodge in getting my receiver to the end zone I was reduced to hoping for a 4+ pickup which would have given me an almost certain touchdown (2+ throw with Nerves of Steel and 2+ catch, both with rerolls). I failed the pickup though and the chance was gone, with Cirdan taking a MNG injury in the follow up. The dark elves managed a breakaway and although I got back enough players to force an early score, I couldn’t stop the TD on turn 7.

Two turns to score, and I set up my blitzers and catchers on the left with only two linemen to cover the right wide zone. The dark elves rolled a blitz and crashed into the left side, marking it heavily. Meanwhile their players on the right dodged past the right wide zone cover to menace my backfield. Ecthelion remained calm however and dodged away from his marker, picked up the ball and threw a pass up to a lineman near the right touchline, who all of a sudden had no dark elves anywhere near him. I caged up as far forward as I dared by the sideline, only for Saint to yell “YOLO” and dodge into the cage, surfing the ball carrier on a 2D against block!

With hindsight this was a pretty stupid play by me – the sideline cage I formed was quite likely to get cracked by the dark elf covering (the AV7 blodge kick lino) and even a push would have resulted in a surf (he rolled double pows, as it happened). The ball was thrown centrally by the crowd and was caught by a rookie dark elf lineman. On my turn I was able to knock over said lineman, I got a lucky bounce, and my own unskilled lineman Maedhros was able to score his maiden touchdown. 1-1 at half time.

In the second half I grabbed the ball with Ecthelion and formed a loose cage in the centre. With Vanval waking up I was taking every opportunity to blitz the AV7 pieces although to little effect, and Elladan (DP lineman) fouled off one of his blodge linemen with a badly hurt result. Finally however Saint committed his less-impressive-but-still-good wrodge, tackle, side step, fend witch into my half by the left wide zone. With her being relatively unprotected I knocked her over with Vanval and pulled most of my team back and left to gangfoul her with Elladan. I only got a stun, but was gearing up to surf the prone elf with a chainpush next turn when in a surprise move the Lady dodged through the cage to mark Ecthelion. Vanval again knocked her over, again only stunning her, and again I pulled the team back to gangfoul her but Elladan failed to dodge away from his marker and the chance was gone.

The dark elves swarmed into my half, marking up my players, but the left wide zone was relatively lightly defended. Vanval blasted the door open with a blitz, before most of my team dodged away from their markers and poured through the gap, with Ecthelion passing the ball to Glorfindel in another sideline cage (this time of course with side step I could not be surfed). The dark elves struggled to get back and on my turn 13 I had a choice to make. I could have handed the ball off to Legolas who could have scored with no further rolls necessary, or I could have stalled for one turn.

I chose the latter option and Glorfindel ran to within 2 squares of the line with three of my catchers including both ST4s around him and only 3 dark elves in their own half. One of those dark elves was the kicker, who Vanval killed with a blitz to teach him not to dodge into cages. I then screened off the dark elf side of the field, meaning that any other dark elves trying to get through would need to dodge through tackle zones.

Sadly it was all for naught. Again Saint typed “YOLO!” and this time the Lady dodged away from her marker, dodged into the cage and got a 1D block on Glorfindel, rolling a pow. She then, critically, got a lucky bounce (only 3 of the 8 squares were within her reach) and made a dodge and a GFI to pick up the ball in a TZ. She then rode a rerolled block from Vanval (19% chance of that on its own) and a 2D block from Glorfindel (70% chance) before just fucking running off and handing off to a blitzer who scored on turn 15.

I have just done some maths, and the chances of Saint getting the knockdown, and then being able to pick up the ball were about 38%, including team rerolls. The odds of the bounce putting the ball anywhere she could get were about 38%. The odds of surviving the his next turn with the Lady upright were 13%. So the odds of me losing from there were, what 1.9%? Jesus.

So anyway he put 3 sidesteppers on the LOS meaning that I had to try some bizarre frenzy shit to try to get a player from the backfield to pull my 1 turner but I knocked the guy over first go, then BH him with a bad tempered foul. I lost 2-1.


BAH! Another one that I really shouldn't have lost.

So two meaningless games left. I play two of the top four teams in an attempt to salvage a little pride. Yarat's lizards first, with Cirdan missing. I hired a new lineman to give him I think 40k of inducements and Ecthelion levelled and took +1MV.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Match 6

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Munch 'N' Crunch (orc, Luiggi)

The last orc team I have to face this season, thank heaven, but Luiggi has one of the highest coach ELO ratings in the OCC, and this team are certainly the best orc team in the league in terms of results. Luiggi is a really excellent coach who does not make many mistakes and this was
going to be a tough game. 

On the other hand, with the death of two experienced blitzers at the end of last season the team was not as good on paper as the Grintooth All Stars, who I beat on MD5.

I had been expecting to get a wizard in inducements since Gil-Galad was out injured, but Luiggi wrong-footed me by sacking his -MV dirty player lineman. With 90k of inducements I didn't fancy dropping a player for a wizard, and losing a reroll would not have been enough, and so I took a

Luiggi won the toss and elected to kick. He set up his black orcs across the field a couple of squares back - all of them have block, mighty blow, guard and stand firm - a really imposing blocker roster. There was also a tackle black orc too, who was extremely annoying all game. 

He left rookie linemen and blitzers on the LOS, who I bashed over, and Vanval darted through the centre to stun Luiggi's MB, tackle blitzer and retreat to safety behind the front line. Ecthelion picked up the ball and threw it back to Cirdan, who stayed deep. In response, Luiggi marked up my front line with his black orcs, and his tackle black orc loped forward to blitz Glorfindel, badly hurting him. With Luiggi having committed so strongly to the front line, including two black orcs who were somewhat out of position on my right side, the correct tactic would be to try to break through on the left and cage up. I decided to delay another turn however and set up some 2D blocks on his players left in contact. This worked very well for me as Kevatononel was able to kill the AG4 pass block lineorc, removing the greatest threat to my passing play. The apothecary was only able to confirm the kill.

Luiggi made some more hits in retaliation, to little effect, and committed his rookie blitzers to my backfield to try to hunt down Cirdan. Feeling that the time to sit back was over, I switched my central
players into the left wide zone, with Vanval and Elladan forming a wide zone cage around Legolas. Cirdan sprinted forwards, making a short pass into the cage. The orc team was able to recover better than I had expected however, with the black orcs KOing a couple of linemen and the MV7 ST4 tackle blitzer, supported by a thrower, blocking the way to the line. I wanted to stall but was only able to roll pushes against the thrower, and Legolas ran forward to score (which required a reroll-less GFI with my heart in my mouth). 1-0 on turn 4.

The orcs therefore had five turns to equalise before half time, and I set up protecting the wide zones to prevent them running players down the flanks too easily. Luiggi started exceptionally well with his KOR thrower catching the kick and then getting two casualties on his first four blocks. First Estel (dodge lineman) suffered a fractured skull on the LOS. I mulled this one over before telling the apothecary to sit down - Estel has had a fair run on the LOS and I guess he will now have to retire. My decision was immediately vindicated when a black orc (not the one with tackle) charged forward and killed Alawe (blodge guard lineman) with a blitz. The elvish apothecary did his job however and
made the save - phew! I struggled to readjust and form columns but lacking two players I couldn't cover the whole pitch, and matters got worse next turn when the same black orc blitzed Anduril (wrodge catcher) off the pitch too. 

I managed to KO a couple of orcs in response to level matters up, and the orcs inched their cage down the left side to within striking distance of the line, but with me having columns ahead of it. Stupidly I used my penultimate reroll on a pointless block, meaning that when turn 8 came around and I needed to dodge Vanval away from a tackle player and blitz the only likely orc scorer, I failed the dodge. This left the orcs needing to blitz away a lineman to open a path for a blitzer to score,
and then the ball needed to be handed off to the blitzer without a reroll available. The blitz worked, but rather than hand off the ball Luiggi chose to go for a 2+ pass and farm an SPP, and the pass was
fumbled on a snake eyes. 1-0 to the Guard at half time. 

No orcs or elves recovered from KOs, meaning that it was 10 orcs v 9 elves at the start of the second half. This quickly became 10 v 8 when a lineman was KO'd on the LOS. The kick was deep and was recovered by the orc throwers, while the black orcs and blitzers pushed me back. My strategy at this stage was that a draw was ok, and I wanted to put pressure on the orcs to roll dice and give me the chance of a win, but otherwise to delay the TD as long as I could. Seeing my centre disintegrate as the black orcs and blitzers marked me up, I decided to pressure the orc ball carrier at the expense of field position and see what happened. I ran two players through the orc lines and marked the ball carrier with Legolas (he was just too far back to blitz), and otherwise dropped back to cover space. 

The orcs sent a rookie blitzer back to blitz Legolas, but only got a both down, meaning that the orc
thrower needed to dodge to safety. Luiggi failed the first 3+ roll but passed the reroll, and caged up in his own half and just to the right. I saw that three of Luiggi's players (including two black orcs) were out of position on my left and too far away to help, and so judged it was a good time to flood the cage. Vanval knocked over the MB tackle blitzer, and Tananmyr (guard, side step, fend, blodge blitzer) marked the ball carrier. 

It took several moves to get Tananmyr away from the ball  carrier, meaning that it was going to be difficult to keep the ball safe. Luiggi then decided, whether because his caging on the right had become too hard to protect, or because he was going for the win, decided to switch to a passing game and the orc thrower cut back into the centre and passed the ball to a rookie blitzer who had been lurking in my half and made two GFIs to score 1-1 on turn 12.

I had mixed feelings about this - on one hand this gave me a great chance to win myself, but on the other hand if I messed up my offensive drive the game would probably end in defeat. As it was I decided to try a 2-turner, blasting a hole through the wall of black orcs with Vanval and running him and Legolas into the left side of the orc half. I marked up the nearby black orcs. The orcs recovered by knocking over Vanval and stunning him (nothing more serious thank heaven), but only single-marked Legolas. 

Not really sure what Luiggi was thinking here - a single marker still gave me a good chance for the TD, but given his initial setup there wasn't much else he could have done. I guess that means that his
defensive setup was too light on the wide zones but I would need to study the replay again to be certain - maybe there was nothing at all he could have done, in which case he should probably have played for the 1-1 with a slow grinding offence. 

As it was Legolas caught a short pass from Cirdan in a tackle zone, dodged away and scored for a 2-1 lead on turn 13. 

Three turns to survive then, and with KOs returning it was 11 orcs v 10 elves. The orcs set up heavily on the left side, but a lucky perfect defence roll enabled me to cover that side. Two orc blitzers ran around the right wide zone and the orcs again did damage on the LOS with a KO. Finally however I caught a potentially decisive break on a restart, with the orc thrower fumbling the pickup - my first fumble this season. I could only get two players back, who combined to push the thrower away, and Vanval made a lungbursting run with two dodges past tackle players and two GFIs to pick up the ball. I was deep in the orc half though, and although there were three elves in place, I could easily see Luiggi getting the ball loose with a 2D block, so Vanval went for a pass into the open by the right hand end zone - if it succeeded it would mean that it would take at least 2 turns for even the quickest orc to get back there and would mean that Luiggi would need to move the ball the length of the pitch in 1 turn. Essentially I would probably have won. As it was, with a breathtaking leap an orc thrower reached out and intercepted the ball!

I was badly out of position now, as the orcs began their turn 15 by punching every elf within range. Having done this the orcs made a cage near the half way line, but its position required a GFI from the ball carrier and a snake eyes duly appeared. This was again hugely unfortunate (although the GFI was needless as it would have been a simple matter to make a looser cage where no GFI was needed from the thrower and the scoring pass could have been made on turn 16 leaving me only the chance of a 1-turner to win), but it was the break I needed. I knocked over one potential receiver and marked up another. Luiggi's only chance to tie involved several dodges through tackle zones plus a long pass from an unskilled AG3 blitzer, and this failed, sealing the win for me.

All that was left on my own turn 16 was for Cirdan to pick up the ball in three tackle zones (using a reroll), pass it to Vanval, and for Vanval to run in the third score to make it a 3-1 win for the Guard!

Glad to get that game out of the way to be honest. Although I was pretty lucky in the second half, the game was essentially decided by two factors - firstly the orcs' inability to equalise before half time, and secondly Luiggi's inability to make good on his second half tactics (score early and then turn over my offence). I think in his place I would have played for the draw pretty much as I did against Hawca when the first half ended 2-2, but he was in with a good shout in the league if he won and no doubt felt pressured to roll some dice and try to make things happen. 

There was also a bit of needle in the game. Luiggi was understandably unhappy about his dice, but there were one or two small disparaging comments about my play too. I couldn't tell whether he was joking or not, and even if not I guess that's fair enough as he is a better player and I was making mistakes, but it made me glad just to close out the win and move on.

So three games left and a full squad to face a high TV dark elf team. They have lots of blodge (10 on the team vs my 8) and a superstar MV8 AG5 witch, but no ST4 and MB and I have a guard advantage too. So it will be a tough battle, probably more physical than your typical elf vs elf game.  I may have enough inducements for a wizard - it depends on level ups and whether or not I drop a reroll.