The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Night Horrors (undead)
Not very much about this game went to plan. Firstly I should have been playing a beaten up shell of a side, freshly mauled by a killer nurgle team. As it was the nurgle team failed to make the match, handing the Horrors an admin win in week 8, and so I was facing a full strength side.
And secondly since my opponent lives in Cambodia it had been very difficult to schedule the match. In the end I got up for a 5am start on a Monday morning – the early start and the fact that my children started creating havoc in the second half meant that my mind was not really on the game and I made a number of mistakes.
The undead team had a couple of relatively fresh mummies. Its wights were both pretty good – one with mighty blow, dodge and tackle, and the other with guard and tackle. They also had a star ghoul – block, diving tackle, tackle and side step. This ghoul was an incredibly annoying player and most of their key moves on offence and defence went through him.
My opponent took the vampire star player Count Luthor von Somethingorother and a wizard as inducements, won the toss and elected to kick. I (thinking I should try to get some SPP on my reserve thrower) Hurin at some point, decided to use him this drive, keeping Cirdan back in case of a lightning bolt. I knocked over a zombie-and-skeleton LOS and started to push down the left hand side of the pitch. Hurin stayed deep with the ball.
The Horrors sent Count Luthor into my half after the ball, and after marking him I spent my second turn hitting undeads, managing to KO superghoul in the process. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that Count Luthor wouldn’t just dodge away from his marker and blitz the thrower, but this is what he did (making 2 GFIs in the process, so overall the chances of getting to Hurin were a bit more than 50%), and he battered the elf into the pitch.
Still, all was not lost, and Hurin jumped to his feet, dodged away, grabbed the ball and launched a long pass… onto the ground beside the waiting receiver. Useless bugger. I rolled a 3 for the pass, which would have been enough for Cirdan but since Hurin is still a rookie the pass failed and caused a turnover. This was bad – I’d taken this action first because it was critical, but the fact it failed left my team in contact. The Horrors took advantage of this via one of their mummies, who smashed Gil-Galad’s ankle. On came the doctor to fix it, but using my apo on turn 3 had not been in the plan.
Still, undead are rubbish, and this was typified by the wight failing to pick up the ball, fumbling it into the crowd in the process. The ball was thrown in next to a mummy, and it was the work of a moment for my block lineman to grab the ball and throw it to Tananmyr who ran in a touchdown on turn 4. 1-0 to the Guard.
So, pretty good so far. I’d mucked up and relied on the dice for my TD, but no casualties (superghoul annoyingly recovered from his KO) and I had “stalled” until turn 4.
I’d watched a few games of the Horrors vs elves, and noticed that, like the khemri in MD8, they tended to overload the LOS when attacking and are vulnerable to a blitz. Sure enough they overloaded the LOS and a blitz came up. I blasted through the end of my opponent’s line with Tananmyr, and ran Gil-Galad around there too to support him. The Horrors made the odd decision of blitzing Tananmyr (a blodger) with a mummy rather than one of their wights, but were rewarded with a KO, and superghoul came up to assist. I wasn’t expecting this, to be honest, but it was quite a cunning plan – Gil-Galad has no defensive skills and so is easy meat for any mummy who can get hold of him, and superghoul’s diving tackle skill stopped him from running away. Meanwhile the undead’s specialist fouler put the boot in to one of my LOS lineman and fouled him into the hospital.
Forgetting that the superghoul has blodge and sidestep I decided to blitz him away with Gil-Galad and run off to pressure the ball handler who was standing on his own in the undead half. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, the only dice which would have been sufficient was a pow, and a pow was what came up (phew!). Gil-Galad then continued his solo run, putting a tackle zone on the ball handler. He was blitzed away though, and the ghoul ran forward to hand off to a wight by the LOS. Fortunately undead are rubbish and it was dropped, and I had a chance for a second score.
Gil-Galad dodged away from the mummy and stood in the corner of the end zone, while Vanval and Alawe combined to free up the ball. Cirdan sprinted forwards, scooped up the ball and fired in a long bomb, but again the pass was inaccurate and the ball landed next to Gil-Galad by the undead end zone.
The only two players who could get the ball were the mummy (who had been chasing Gil-Galad all over the backfield) and superghoul. The mummy blitzed Gil-Galad but undead are rubbish so he could only get a push. Superghoul then ran forward to pick up the ball but only managed to fall over his own feet and KO himself. Amusing. On turn 8 Gil-Galad dodged clear, grabbed the ball and scored. 2-0 to the Guard.
So. This is going nicely. Only 1 casualty so far (a lineman) and I have a seemingly unassailable 2 goal lead at half time. Superghoul managed to un-KO himself though, and we were both at pretty much full strength for the second half.
I tried another deep kick, but this one scattered back into the centre of the field. The undead formed a cage in the middle, and ran Count Luthor around the left side – presumably to offer a hand off threat. The Count was in contact with Tananmyr, and the opportunity to hurt him was too good to pass up, although it meant moving three assists over to the left, so I marked up a couple of zombies on the right, formed a thin screen in the centre and went over to bash the vamp. Sadly I could only get a push, and here the undead offence clicked into gear. The mummies and wights pushed down the right into my screen, a somewhat-ineffective fireball fell from the sky into my defensive line and suddenly their blocks started to do damage. Turin (15SPP blitzer) and Feanor (rookie lineman) were killed in quick succession – the former by an unskilled zombie, which was annoying – and two more linemen were carried off injured. To make matters worse, I started to roll 1s. A snake-eyes on a dodge later and I had conceded a quick touchdown. 2-1
With only 9 players against 11 I decided to go for a fast score myself. I punched a hole with Gil-Galad and made a loose cage of three catchers by the right touchline, halfway inside the undead half, and Cirdan passed the ball to Vanval in the pocket. Count Luthor used his hypnotic gaze to open up the cage however, but fortunately as the undead attempted to exploit the gap the covering zombie fell over and caused a turnover. I hurtled up the pitch, but was unwilling to take another three hits on the LOS if I scored early – all my LOS-fodder linemen were either dead or injured - so tried to stall for a couple of turns by the end zone. Count Luthor laughed at my stalling efforts and again gazed open the cage, and this time superghoul was in position to dodge into the gap and knock out Vanval with a 1 dice block. The ball scattered through the end zone and into touch and was thrown back near to the LOS where a waiting wight gathered it up.
Although I tried to get players back I again rolled double 1s on a first-action dodge and conceded a turnover. The undead had miscounted however, and their ball carrying wight was 9 squares away from the end zone on turn 16 with no closer player able to score either. Some very clever chain pushing of Alawe (I think 3 pushes) was sufficient to nudge the wight a little closer and he ran in the equaliser. 2-2
The game still wasn’t over, however, and the high kickoff on turn 16 was caught by Hurin, who passed the ball to Gil-Galad for his first ever SPP (after I think 6 games). A blitz and a couple of chain pushes later Gil-Galad hurtled up the pitch and dodged past the undead cover for a 1-turn-touchdown, and Gil-Galad's second goal of the game. 3-2 and a win for the Guard!