Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 2C Match 4

Lesser Horned Ones (chaos, Youleaf) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

The Horned Ones had been badly beaten up in their previous game – a bit of a nuffling against my MD5 opponent, also a chaos team. As a result of that beating they had had a level 4 chaos warrior killed and a level 6 warrior MNG, so I was facing only three chaos warriors in this match, two of them relatively fresh.

The remaining chaos warrior was level 6 and had MB but no claw, tackle or piling on, so was relatively formidable but not too bad.

There was a fair amount of tackle on the team – three tackle beastmen, one of whom was ST4. The second tackle beast was their main ball carrier, with +2MV and extra arms (although carrying a -1MV injury so only MV7). The final tackle beast was the real danger, having wrestle and mighty blow.

The real unknown was the minotaur, with block, claw and tentacles. Clearly the performance of this piece would have a huge impact on the game.

I was missing two skilled linemen for the match (1 dead, 1 MNG), and so hired another rookie. I was giving away a wizard in inducements.

I won the toss and decided to receive, as I really dislike that slow bashy drive followed by a score on turn 8 that sucks in half your team and causes a bunch of casualties. I much prefer against bash to score midway through the first half and then try to hold out for a halftime lead – if successful that generally means I won’t lose the match and my slow opponent is playing for the draw.

The kick was relatively short, and I knocked over the LOS and blitzed the wrackle beast with Vanval, knocking a hole for three players – Vanval, Legolas and Felagund – to run around the left side of the defensive line. My new lineman Estel picked up the ball and threw it to Cirdan deep in the backfield.

The minotaur charged forwards to blitz Legolas on the far left, but couldn’t knock him over, and I added a couple of extra players to the melee in Gil-Galad and Tananmyr. There were three turns of punching in the left hand wide zone, but although I got a MB hit on the minotaur I couldn’t remove him from the pitch, and when Youleaf finally ran some players forward to pressure Cirdan on turn 4 I decided not to stall any longer and scored on turn 5 with Cirdan dashing forward and passing to Felagund in a little pocket I’d managed to hollow out in the centre of the melee. My plan was to give the chaos team a sniff of an equaliser in the hope my opponent would overextend in rushing for the TD giving me the chance for a second TD.

The chaos drive, however, got off to an unbelievable start with a KO and a casualty on the LOS, and then Cirdan being badly hurt in a blitz in the same turn. With only 8 players against 11 things were looking grim, but on turn 6 the chaos team miscalculated and game me a chance to get the ball.

Youleaf had pushed the edges of his cage into contact with my players to put pressure on me, but had forgotten that Telthanthor is as strong as a man who is as strong as a chaos warrior, and he smashed down the level 6 chaos warrior via a block, allowing Tananmyr to nip into the cage with a guard assist before Felagund blitzed the three-armed ball carrier. The ball landed badly for me however, and I failed a dodge which would have been needed to cover the ball, and the ball bounced next to Tananmyr. The chaos coach hit Tananmyr four times trying to put him down and only succeeded on the last attempt, before the three armed beastman leaped to his feet, picked up the ball, made 2 GFIs and put in a quick pass to a nearby rookie beastman. This rookie charged off down the pitch and handed the ball to the rookie chaos warrior very close to the line!

It was all a bit desperate now, but Legolas dodged away from the minotaur, evading his tentacles, to put a tackle zone on the warrior. Telthanthor, still flushed with triumph after battering the level 6 warrior, also dodged away before rushing back to blitz the warrior down. Felagund also dodged through traffic to put a TZ on the ball, and although Telthanthor was knocked over when the rookie warrior stood up, in order to score the chaos team needed a rookie beastman to dodge into a TZ, pick up the ball in a TZ, and then dodge away and make 2 GFIs to score. Youleaf failed the first dodge and the half ended 1-0 to me.

The second half began with another fairly nondescript kick, and the chaos team gathered the ball centrally and formed a cage in the middle of the field just behind the LOS. I lined up my defence in the normal U shape to cover the middle and restrict lateral movement, and Vanval niggled a rookie beastman while Glorfindel KO’d another. The chaos team identified a weakness in my lines on the right and were able to punch through it, forming a cage inside my half with five players. They were cut off from the rest of the team however, and I ran players around to cover and KO'd the MB-wrackler beast. The chaos team blitzed through again however, with the MV7 beastman running in the equaliser on turn 11, which was fine - I was worried about an 8 turn grinding drive, but one of the charming things about chaos teams is how easy the beastmen are to get off the field and, isolated from his minotaur and one of the chaos warriors, Youleaf probably felt that he had to take the TD and try his luck on defence.

And… since I’m writing this almost a week after the game, I can’t for the life of me remember what happened next. I know in broad terms that I scored a 4 turn TD, leaving my opponent 2 turns to equalise. I can't remember exactly how it went, but I don't ever remember feeling unduly threatened. I know that I made the executive (and wrong) decision to stall for one turn by the chaos end zone, and after a series of dodges and a blitz the chaos coach managed to get back with a rookie chaos warrior to mark the catcher, and then used the wizard at the start of MY turn. Fortunately the wizard fizzled out, but even if it had worked then I would have had the chance to blitz the warrior away with one of my ST 4 catchers and get the ball back before the chaos team could take advantage of it.

The chaos coach then miscounted thinking he only had 1 turn left, and then was forced to try an incredibly unlikely play to score on turn 16 by chainpushing with a frenzying minotaur.  This failed, and since I’d run a potential receiver into the chaos half on my turn 15, I was able to nab the ball and score a third with the final play of the game.

Hey ho, must be getting old!

One level up from the game – Felagund hit 31 SPP and took tackle, so I now have 2 tacklers on the team at last. The MVP went, fittingly, to Telthanthor and he has 21 SPPs. With his injury it’s still a fair old way to 31 SPPs and block, but this takes him a third of it.

Next game is against tackle-less chaos.

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