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.