Friday, 28 June 2013

Match Report: OOC Division 2C Matches 7 and 8

Match 7

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Neverending Rest (khemri, Aguelo)

Some old friends from tier 4, but thankfully for me they were without their star players - both their killer blitz-ras and their ST4 throw-ra have been culled from the team, and even better for me their MB stand firm tomb guardian was missing due to injury.

I was short my wrodge catcher Felagund (whom I eventually cut from the team due to his niggling injury), but even so Aguelo was able to take Ramtut (?) and a babe as inducements.

It was a pretty routine victory to be honest, something I think Aguelo had accepted prior to the game as he was much more interested in killing my players than blocking me off from scoring.

I received and ran my two ST4 catchers up the right side, and pretty much the whole khemri team charged off after them. I then moved the ball left and Cirdan ran the ball home for a score on turn 3.

Aguelo received this time and the kickoff table came up with a blitz. I was able to get players under the kick and catch it, and was able to screen off the opposition and stall by the end zone for a few turns, before handing the ball to Glorfindel to score on turn 8 for a 2-0 lead.

In the second half I didn’t bother too much to stop the khemri drive, choosing instead to hit things. There were some fisticuffs but the khemri were able to regen their injuries and the skellies scored on turn 15. I then scored a 2 turner with Gil-Galad to win the game 3-1.

Two level ups from the game - Glorfindel hit 31 SPPs and took tackle, to make him blodge, sidestep, tackle.

Cirdan, excitingly, hit 76 SPPs, but disappointingly still failed to roll a double or AG increase. I thought long and hard about fend, catch, side step etc, but eventually went with nerves of steel. I’ve had several problems over the years with my screen getting out-maneuvered and tackle zones getting placed on the thrower. It cost me the game against the lizards last season, and nearly cost me against Hobnail this time around. Cirdan’s skill set is now - blodge, +1MV, accurate, NoS. He’s a scrambling quarterback for the running game in the mould of Steve Young rather than the Joe Montana-type long bomb specialists that most of the other HE teams at my level.

Match 8

Ectothermic Scutes (lizards, Crunky Chops) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elves, me)

This team was one of three to beat me last season in an extremely hard-fought 2-1 defeat, and so it was a bit of a grudge match. I knew that a draw would be sufficient to ensure that I finished in the top 2 and would secure promotion to tier 1 for a title shot in season 19.

Crunky was missing a couple of key players for the game - his wrestle-frenzy saurus and one of his AG4 skinks - and so took Slibi and a wizard as inducements.

I won the toss and chose to kick, with Crunky receiving the ball in the middle of the pitch and forming a tight cage of sauri. I felt straight away though that he was making the same mistake that I’d made in our last game - giving up field control - and so I did what he’d done in that game and I immediately swamped the cage. Gil-Galad blitzed a corner down and Glorfindel marked the ball carrier. My other blodge players pushed into contact with the other corners.

There followed about 4 turns of a massive ruck in the centre. Crunky’s block, tackle, break tackle, mighty blow saurus was a key figure, rushing here and there to repel the elves, but I kept bashing back, with Vanval hospitalising the AG4 skink and Telthanthor (ST4 dodge lineman) being a roadblock in the centre. Eventually and with time running out Crunky cut to the sidelines on my right, making a tight cage by the edge of the field. I marked up this new cage and screened the rest of his team off, before a badly-timed double skulls for Crunky gave me the chance for Glorfindel to tackle down his ball carrier. The ball bounced into the crowd and was thrown back into the centre, whereupon Gil-Galad picked it up and handed it to Vanval who sprinted for the line with Telthanthor in support.

The krox managed to get close to Vanval but Telthanthor pushed him away and Vanval ran home the score on turn 7 for a 1-0 lead.

The lizards went for a one turner but failed, and I went in leading at half time.

As we lined up for the second half I knew that I had one foot in tier 1, and that so long as I didn’t muck things up I ought to be able to win this game. But these things never run smoothly…

I received the ball deep with Cirdan and pushed the right side slightly. Crunky repositioned to cover the right, and so I switched left and moved Cirdan up to the left side of the LOS, screened off by a few players. A highlight here was Telthanthor hospitalising Slibi with a block.

Surprisingly, the wizard called down lightning on turn 10, stunning Cirdan, but Crunky made no effort to get the ball (he said that he’d misclicked, and I’m not clear as to what the misclick actually was!). He then failed a dodge with a break tackle saurus, leaving a big gap on the left. I then made my big overextension for the match (usually there’s one). What I should have done was calmly recover the ball and move the cage closer to the line. What I actually did was pick up the ball with Kevatononel (block lineman) and pass it to Gil-Galad (which got Kevatononel to 16 SPPs).

Gil-Galad then ran off towards the line, but since I’d had to burn a reroll to make the pass I didn’t want to risk 2 GFIs to score. I knew I was just within range for Crunky to get back so I screened him off as best as I could, but it wasn’t enough and the MB-tackle saurus stunned him, allowing one of the remaining skinks to recover the ball.

I made Crunky work for it, and he had to roll a few dice, but my players were too far out of position to get back and cover and the skink eventually ran the length of the pitch to equalise on turn 14.

Things were not yet desperate, but I could not afford another mistake. I had to survive for 2 turns without conceding and the sensible route would have been to shield the ball somewhere and take the draw. I wanted to win though, and decided to go for a 2-turner on the right side. The kick was short and left though,  and I recovered it with Gil-Galad and handed it off to Legolas who was screened off near the half way line. I then ran Vanval, Tananmyr and Anduril (rookie catcher) up the right side. Crunky ran two receivers into my backfield to threaten the win, and punched through the screen to put a TZ and a tackler on Legolas. I responded with a somewhat elaborate play whereby the ball was handed off to Cirdan in a tackle zone (he has nerves of steel!). Ignoring the DT skink next to him Cirdan put in a long pass to Vanval who ran home the score to take a turn 16 lead!

It wasn’t enough though, as the lizards pulled off a 1 turner to tie the game on turn 16 and the game ended 2-2, with the Guard gaining promotion to tier 1!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 2C Match 6

Black Widows (amazon, Hobnail) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

One of the trickier games I've had this season, and as it's late I only have time for a short report.

Hobnail's team is built on bash, and although he doesn't have a piling on player he is a vicious fouler and generally prefers to kill elves than to outscore them.

He won the toss and elected to receive, and at the kickoff the weather turned wet. My kick was right in the corner of the end zone. The 'zons pushed back the LOS but couldn't do any damage, and one of the ST blitzers charged my line to try to bring down Telthanthor. Meanwhile he dropped a thrower and a catcher back to get the ball, but they couldn't pick it up.

My turn was pretty uneventful, although I started the process which was to continue throughout the match of blitzing with my ST4 mighty blow tackle catcher and failing to remove any 'zons from the field. Those fur bikinis clearly offer a great deal of protection!

The key moment in the match happened in Hobnail's second turn, when with most of his team engaged on the LOS, and not having marked my catchers who I'd sent round the side, Hobnail's thrower failed to pick up the wet ball and it scattered out of play. The crowd threw the ball back into the middle of the field, whereupon Gil-Galad was able to jog forward, pick it up and run home a score on turn 2. I could have stalled, but frankly I just wanted to get a TD on the board and give Hobnail another chance of failing to pick it up.

This chance came quite quickly, since although this time the kick was more central, Hobnail again put all his attention into the LOS. He recovered the ball with his thrower, but didn't have the range to get it into the pocket he'd built in the middle and so attempted to throw it in. Of course the pass failed and yet again the ball fell kindly for me and I had the chance to grab the ball with nothing ahead of me. This time however I somehow contrived to stuff things up.

What I should have done, I think, was to use my pace on the catchers to get the ball and outrun the covering defenders, but instead I made a pocket for Cirdan midway inside the amazon half on the right hand side, allowing Hobnail to get players ahead of me. I had the chance to pull back and change the angle of attack but chose not to, trying to thrust forward through the defence, which turned out to be an error as the brutal amazonian blitzers managed to injure Legolas, forcing the use of my apothecary. My catchers and thrower were isolated in the pocket from the rest of my team, and although I was able to make a space for Cirdan to escape into the centre and screen him off, a good blitz and some GFIs allowed the 'zons to surround him and, crucially, get their DT catcher into contact.

If I could have dodged clear I would have been able to pass the ball to Alawe waiting in the end zone, but it was not to be and Cirdan came crashing down. Hobnail snaffled the ball and sprinted off towards the end zone but Telthanthor and a couple of rookie linemen were able to delay him long enough to ensure the half ended 1-0 to me.

In the second half I received and a pitch invasion clobbered half of the amazons, and I quickly moved the ball to one side. Again, however I managed to stuff things up, firstly allowing Hobnail to get players back, secondly by rolling a series of bad dice to ensure I couldn't block the marking amazons away, and thirdly by failing a pass into the cage.

To make things worse, Hobnail began removing players and I could just not hurt those 'zons however often I hit them. I was forced to grab the ball with Gil-Galad and scurry off with it towards my end zone, and meanwhile Hobnail systematically began removing my players from the pitch. On turn 13 however I saw an opportunity - Maedhros blitzed a marker away from Cirdan by the centre circle, and Gil-Galad sprinted forward to hand him the ball. Meanwhile Glorfindel dodged away from his 2 markers and ran for the corner of the pitch near the end zone, enabling Cirdan to pass the ball to him.

Only two amazons were in range, and neither had tackle or wrestle, and so with side step and blodge I felt I had a good chance. Unfortunately the 'zons' dice held up and they KO'd Glorfindel to boot! There was only one chance to cement the win, and Cirdan took it, dodging and weaving through traffic, picking up the ball in a TZ and dodging through players yet again to score on turn 15!

Two amazon turns left, and I just let them score, not bothering to defend. The girls did manage to corner Cirdan with a late blitz and gang foul, but he survived unscathed and the game ended with a 2-1 win.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 2C Match 5

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Khorne Flakes Browl (chaos, Frubeng)

I described this team as being “somewhat battered” when I originally reviewed the teams in my division, and I stand by that – frankly it was hard to see how this team had a TV of 2100.

The warriors were all pretty much rookies – none had mighty blow or claw, and there was only one guard (who was niggled). The beastmen had a fair amount of block and guard, together with stat ups, but there was no tackle at all and only one mighty blow (the other was out injured). Basically, on paper I had a huge advantage.

The mino was the best player – an eldritch mutated horror with claws and tentacles, but also a bit of a player with block and guard. Thank God he didn’t have stand firm.

Due to scheduling issues we were actually playing at 5am my time, so I wasn’t really awake and I made a couple of quite bad errors.

I won the toss and decided to kick, I normally receive against bashy teams but with the exception of the minotaur this lot weren’t too scary. I set up in my usual chevron formation, defending the wide zones.

First block on the LOS – KO. Second block – push. Third block – stun. Blitz! – KO on Gil-Galad. Down three players in the first turn!

And for the next few turns that was just the way it went – Frubeng continually rolled pows against blodgers, getting three more KOs (one from Glorfindel  getting snake eyes on a dodge) and a BH on my ST4 lineman Telthanthor. I kept blitzing his niggled beastman and kept getting pushes. On turn 4 he commented that he didn’t see how things could be going any better, and with only 5 elves on the pitch at that point I was forced to agree.

Finally he made a move down my left hand side – abandoning the tight cage and screening off his ball carrier (a +1AG dodge chaos warrior). I’d had enough by now and decided to roll some dice. Felagund revved his engines and dodged into the cage (into 2TZs), blitzing down the ball carrier in a half dice block. The ball scattered to a block chaos warrior who grabbed the ball on the roll of a 5, despite Tananmyr being in close attendance.

The chaos team were infuriated by this impudence and pulled off a really nice crowdsurf on Felagund next turn – this was the same pitch that Felagund had killed a ST6 chaos warrior with a crowdsurf on MD9 last season, and clearly there was some karma at work as the crowd left him with a damaged back. I called over the apo, who stroked his beard a couple of times and then offered to kill Felagund instead. I declined the proffered quietus, and after the game I’ll have to decide whether to drop the niggled catcher (wrestle, dodge, tackle).

The chaos team couldn’t get the ball loose however, and I had the chance to crowdsurf the ball carrier next turn on a 1D block, but rolled a both down.  Finally Vanval dodged through a tackle zone right along the very left hand side of the pitch and smashed down the ball carrier, the ball bouncing clear.

And all of a sudden, with I think 3 elves on the pitch at this stage vs 9 chaos, I had the chance to get the ball to safety. Only Tananmyr, Vanval and a block lineman were left standing and all the chaos team were in my half of the field. As a result of Vanval’s blitz however the ball had bounced to the half way line, and my lineman dodged away from his marker, picked up the ball and hurled it down the pitch towards the chaos line…

…or rather, that’s what he *meant* to do. What actually happened was that the bright sunlight distracted him and he fumbled it. This left the chaos coach one chance to score on turn 8 – he could stand up his AG4 chaos warrior, pick the ball up and pass it to his 3 armed beastman with a medium sized pass to score. The sunlight was the bane of this play too, however, and the pass was inaccurate.

Now, bizarrely (did I mention that I had 3 elves left on the pitch?) I had the chance to score myself. I needed to (i) make a series of dodges with Tananmyr, which I did. Then (ii) pick the ball up in a TZ. Check. Now (iii) dodge away. Yep. Now I needed to make a short pass to Vanval, who needed to catch the ball in a TZ, make a 2+ dodge with a reroll and then 2GFIs to score (I had a team RR left). Sadly however the chaos coach was able to make an astonishing interception of Tananmyr’s pass, meaning that the first half ended scoreless!

I lined up with 9 guys vs 11 in the second half, and here I made my first stupid mistake of the game. For the second time in about 6 games I didn’t put 3 people on the LOS, and since Cyanide then puts the lowest numbered player there instead, and Cirdan is number 1 on my roster, this meant that I had everyone on the halfway line and no-one to get the ball. Pro tip – never put your positionals as low numbered players!

Still, it was fine. Vanval knocked a hole in the centre-left of the chaos line, and I ran Glorfindel, Vanval and Legolas through there to make a little pocket midway into the chaos half, just left of centre. Cirdan has MV7 so legged it back to get the ball. The chaos team sent too many players through my lines chasing Cirdan (3 I think – 2 would have been enough), and charged his minotaur into the pocket of receivers.

Vanval dealt with the minotaur in short order, stunning it, and I made a semi cage around him for protection before Cirdan dashed forwards and made a short pass to him.

It wasn’t completely safe, but I was taking a risk that Vanval’s blodge ST4 and my surrounding guard players would keep him upright – if it worked then half the chaos team would be out of position. And it did work! In order to get a 2D block with a rookie beastman the chaos team had to roll some dice, one of which was a GFI which they duly failed.

There then followed recreation of the Alamo, in which a few plucky high elves stalled with the ball in the corner for three turns, repelling everything the chaos team could throw at them. Every so often Vanval would dart out and punch someone before retreating back into the cage – I was so vulnerable to a snakeyes here (and I made my second bad error on a follow up at one point, which meant that I had to dodge through a tackle zone) but the dice held up for me very well. Finally the minotaur broke through and I was forced to score with a hand off to a lineman on turn 14.

There were three turns to hold out in order to secure the win, and the chaos team determined to score using their MV8 beast. I held up the initial thrust down the right and even got a 2D blitz going on the ball carrier with Vanval, but couldn’t down him. In the end Frubeng cut to my left and rushed down the wing, but he had reckoned without Gil-Galad’s MV9 and ST4. Gil-Galad put the annoying beast on the deck, handing me a 1-0 win!

So, a really really tough game. You could tell Frubeng was a T1 coach last season – he gave me absolutely nothing for free throughout the game, except for the last couple of turns where he was rolling dice to try to get the draw. A draw would probably have been a fair result after the appalling first four turns, but some real heroics from Felagund saved the day.

Speaking of Felagund, I’m not sure what to do. With AV7 and a niggle he’ll spend a lot of time in the injury box, but wrodge and his movement will give him some safety. Since he’s got an important role in the team I think I have to keep him, at least until I have another tackler.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


Week 5 was delayed by server problems and issues with the OCC website. Should take place very early tomorrow morning.