Thursday, 29 August 2013

An update on other leagues

I don't play the third and most dangerous of my three consecutive orc opponents until Sunday. In the meantime an update as to where I am in some other leagues.

UK Blood Bowl League ("UKBBL")

I had a dark elf team called Trance Nation in this league for the first two seasons, with an overall record of 16 wins 4 draws and 3 defeats. After getting some skills on them I actually started to enjoy the unusual dark elf playstyle and found them very strong. I had a good team - guard blitzers, a MB witch elf, and an abomination of a lineman (MA6 ST4 AG5 AV8, block, dodge).

That said, they were a bit too similar to my OCC team and I started to wish for something a bit more bashy. So I rerolled to a human team - The Dying Ground - with players named after particularly bloody battles throughout history. Three games so far, and I began with a defeat, moved to a draw, and won my last game. I still can't afford catchers, but I have started to get some skills on the team and I'm certainly causing a lot of damage, which is fun for a change (7 cas in my last game!).

I am also fouling like a git.

Trance Nation have not been deleted, and I have discovered the BBATTL league which specifically runs tournaments for former OCC and UKBBL teams, so hopefully they can continue their run over there sometime.

Rock Paper Shotgun Open

Having played halflings in my first season, which I hated with the fire of a thousand suns, I now have an amazon team. I play pure bash, not worrying too much about results, but I've been lucky and with an 8-4-3 record am near the top with only a few games left and having played all the really nasty teams.

The team is Royal Flash, and the players are all named after love interests of Harry Flashman in the excellent novels by the late, lamented George MacDonald Fraser. I have learned to respect the power of a blodge, mighty blow, stand firm, guard amazonian blitzer, and I enjoy the methodical playstyle.

I have a stat-monster on this team too - a +2MV catcher who functions as my ball carrier. The extra speed gives me a really strong running game.

RPS Divisions of Death

The latest season in this league is about to start, and I have abandoned my chaos team Doomdark's Revenge in favour of a new underworld team - Ketamine Dreams. AV7 without dodge on the positionals could be extremely messy, but I feel attracted to the damage potential from the rat blitzers.

The seasons are so short in the Divisions that you basically need to win all 3 games in the season to get promoted, which is hugely frustrating. I will therefore play to have fun and do some damage. I feel that with underworld any wins are pretty special so I'll see how it pans out.

And the rest

I have a skaven team filling in the bottom tier of the OCC this season. Three games so far, 1-1-1 record. What amazes me though is the fact I have lost 8 (eight!) linerats to career ending injuries or death in those three games. They die like flies. Makes me a bit worried for my underworld team to be honest.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Match 5

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Grintoof All Stars (orc, Matt373) 

So the new regime of me playing for team development rather than winning began with a match against one of the league’s longest-running bash franchises. Veterans of tier 1, this team included two ST5 black orcs, two AG4 blodge-tackle-stand firm blitzers and a frenzy-mb-piling on-tackle legendary blitzer. 

On paper therefore it was a formidable prospect, but I was actually feeling ok going into the match. There was only one player with tackle-mb on the team, and with my new dirty player lino I resolved to foul the bugger at every opportunity. Of more concern were the two AG4 blitzers - with blodge and stand firm they were incredibly annoying throughout the game, offering solid marking and mobility. They did not however have mighty blow, and so there was not a lot of scary hitting power on the team. 

Matt won the toss and elected to kick. I set up relatively conservatively, but perfect defence came up on the kick off, and Matt did what all orc coaches do and stacked the centre line with an unbreakable wall of terrifying green players. This is quite annoying because it robs you of early blocks, but it does commit all of the orc players to the centrefield, and if you can find a way around or through it you generally have a good chance of a rushing score. 

Ecthelion, the new rookie thrower, picked up the ball and tossed it to Legolas who stayed deep. I noted that the right hand side was weaker than the left and tried a couple of blocks over there but only got pushes. 

In response Matt made his first attempt to kill one of my ST4 catchers, a feat he generally attempted every turn, by shifting players over to the right and blitzing Vanval. He could not down the elf however, who was saved by his ST4, and I shifted over the left side and blasted a way through the solid line with Gil-Galad. Legolas ran forward, handed the ball off to Anduril, who ran into the orc half. I ran more players through the gap to form a loose screen. 

Matt replied by blitzing Gil-Galad instead (sigh!), following that blitz with a gang-foul which resulted in (i) a stun and (ii) his dirty player lino being sent off. Going well so far! 

I was able to get clear of the orc defence, and six or seven elves headed for the end zone where they stalled for three turns before Anduril scored on turn 6. 

With three turns to hold out, matters started badly for me with a KO on the LOS and a smashed collar bone for Ecthelion on a blitz. Fortunately the wandering apothecary I had induced before the game was able to patch him up. Nevertheless 2 players down became 3 in short order as Gil-Galad suffered a fractured leg from the piling on blitzer, and the two AG4 blodge blitzers were free in my half and hard to put down. 

By turn 8 I had managed to do so, but I couldn’t cover all the angles and the unheralded rookie orc blitzer rode a blitz from Vanval, and then caught a pass from the orcs’ star thrower (AG4 accurate) before making a lungbursting sprint for the line and equalising on the stroke of half time. 

I lined up again in the second half and kicked deep and to one side. Matt cautiously kept his two AG4 blitzers back to cover the thrower and prevent any shenanigans. 

Meanwhile I started fouling.

A seven man gang foul on a wrackler lino produced only a stun, but on the next turn when Matt used his legendary blitzer to nail Glorfindel in my half it was a simple matter to knock him over with Vanval, stick 4 player round him and foul the bugger with Elladan, smashing his hip in the process! The apo could only confirm the injury, and suddenly the orcs’ most dangerous player had gone. 

The orcs advanced forward with a very loose cage, mindful of the wizard, but I saw an opportunity and called down the thunder, knocking over the orc thrower and spilling the ball. Vanval bashed over an orc who was blocking the way, while Ecthelion leapt to his feet, picked the ball up in two tackle zones (!) dodged away from his markers and passed the ball over the incredulous orcs to Anduril, who legged it away upfield. 

I moved other players to screen him off, and the orcs tried a very ambitious play of dodging through the screen to put a two dice hit on him. This failed, and I was able to stall for several turns by the end zone and score on turn 15. A couple of turns of bad-tempered blocking (from the orcs) and fouling (from the elves) produced nothing but a KO’d orc blitzer, and the game ended with a 2-1 win for the Guard!

Monday, 19 August 2013

In training before matchday 5...

After playing a skaven game in tier 7 tonight, I was thinking about the difference in the way I play skaven and elves. With skaven gutter runners I go for it all the time. I roll dice - and sometimes it works for me.

I'm feeling some real positivity before the next game, and so with apologies to XanderV for ripping off his link, I can give you an insight into my team's training regime prior to the next match...

So yep. We've been practicing dodging, running, hitting and manly hugging in the waves. Matts373 and his orcs next. Bring it on.

Match Rant: OCC Division 1 Match 4

There are sometimes periods in Blood Bowl where you just have to go with it until your dice get better. This season is one of those times. Earlier this year I was on a very long unbeaten streak – I think I lost once in about 20 games in all competitions. Now I can’t buy a win and everything is going wrong.

So this game. 

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v OCC New Orcz Giantz (orc, Scaurus2000)

Roughly equal TV. I won the toss and elected to kick - my goal is to force an early score, hit back before half time, go in 1-1 and then slow-play a rushing drive for a late winner. 

Central kick. He picks it up and cages. I crack the cage on turn 2 with two chainpushes and get a 2D hit on his ball carrier but only roll pushes. He can’t get the ball safe and is forced to try a passing play. He scores on turn 3. All going well so far and assuming my offence holds up I am now well set for a 2-1 grind win.

My offence does not hold up.

There’s a short kick. I roll double skulls on my first block and am forced to reroll, meaning that when I roll a 1 on the pickup the ball is not safe. My positioning was good however and I get Vanval clear on the left touchline and go for another pickup but roll a double 1. He now gets his AG4 blitzer to mark Cirdan and picks the ball up with his AG5 lineman. Gil-Galad knocks it loose and Cirdan finally picks up the ball (needing a reroll again iirc) and passes it to Vanval who is in the perfect position to stall for 1 turn and then equalise. I roll another double 1 for the catch however and the ball bounces out. The crowd throw it back deep into my half at the feet of the AG4 orc blitzer who picks it up and scores. 2-0 down after 6 turns.

Ok, need a score before half time. Deep kick this time and I run receivers into his half. Cirdan fails two more pickups in a row, meaning that the ball is still very deep at the start of turn 8 and (since I have no rerolls left) I have to choose between a GFI and a long pass or a long bomb to score. Some rough mental arithmetic tells me that the odds are slightly better with the long bomb and so I do that. I roll a 2 and then a 3 (so the GFI and long pass would have worked but the long bomb fails) and I go in 2 down at the break.

Second half I need a quick score so run receivers into his half again. This time Cirdan picks up the ball (!). He can’t stop me clearing a space around Vanval for the TD pass but I can’t knock over his thrower and there is not a route for the pass which doesn’t give him an interception chance. Still – it needs a 6 and I have safe throw. What could go wrong? He rolls a 6 for the interception and despite me rerolling the 3+ safe throw it sticks (1.8% chance!).


He can’t quite get the ball safe though and Vanval dashes back to knock it clear. As if to mock me for his earlier failures Cirdan dodges away from his marker, picks up the ball in 2TZs and then nerves of steels it with a quick pass over the defence to Glorfindel, who sprints clear for a score on turn 12. 2-1.

Four turns left to sneak an equaliser, but it doesn’t happen. I get nothing from the kickoff table again (still no blitz this season for me), he passes his pickup roll (still no failed pickup for an opponent this season) and makes a strong cage – his positioning is good this time and he does not give me an easy way to crack it. I flood it in desperation and now he starts to remove players. Cirdan is killed, apo-d to MNG. I take another BH and a couple of KOs. Telthanthor (my ST4 dodge AG3 lineman) takes a niggle which will end his long career. A final desperation dodge into the cage fails, and the game is over – he scores on turn 16 to make it 3-1.

Yeah. Ok. I get it. Not this season.

No more about the dice – I’ve been whining on the forums already. OK, one more thing.


Got that out of my system now. Phew.

Telthanthor’s loss is sad – he’s one of the few players who’s been with me from the start and he’s a key player in the team. Three originals left – Kevatononel and Alawe on the line, plus Tananmyr the blitzer. Still – it knocks a fair bit off my TV and without block and with his injury he was always a bit of a turnover machine. He got injured because I was trying to get a result in the game – that stops now. No more trying to force the win and from now on it’s all about player development. I won’t be risking important players to try to win games this season.

I’m going to buy a new thrower in the hope of getting a double, and Cirdan will take on more of a melee role.

Otherwise I’ve got to feel positive about how I played – and I think I played really well – and keep at it. You need a bit of luck to win the OCC and hopefully next time I get into tier 1 I will have that.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Match 3

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Thorn of the Bloody Rose (wood elf, Hawca)

The wood elves, runners up last season, came into the match at 2,220 TV. They had a rookie tree, two strip ball/tackle wardancers (one of whom also had side step), a strong arm offensive thrower and an AG5 defensive thrower with sure hands. They also had two good lineelves – one with wrodge/guard and the other with dodge and AG5. The real stars however were their catchers – two superstar defensive catchers (one with ST3 and guard, and the other with pass block and diving tackle) plus a legendary offensive catcher and one turn expert.

Their main weaknesses were a lack of mobile strength and a real killer (no MB on the team other than the tree). They were also lacking blodge – only their dancers, 3 catchers plus one lineman were blodgers.

With no tackle on the team I despaired of really hurting them or even reliably putting them on the deck and although I mused on the idea of a tackle blitzer merc to put them on the ground or a DP merc lino to keep them there, I decided to try to win the game on the clock by switching between a shootout offence and a grinding running game.

I took a wizard and eldril plus a babe as inducements. My plan was to use the threat of the wizard to force the woodies to score in 2 turns on their offensive drive. Any attempt to stall would give me the chance for a potentially decisive steal assuming I put fast players into his half on my first defensive turn. My nightmare would be him stalling for several turns by my end zone, and the threat of the wizard would make sure this didn’t happen. Likewise I would use the wizard to support my own rushing plays if needed by zapping players who stole the ball. Eldril was there to help open running lanes using his gaze, and to give me the chance of an interception if Hawca forgot about pass block.

I won the toss and elected to receive. Hawca used a compact central inverted V formation, protecting his key players. He kicked the ball out and I gave it to Cirdan who dropped deep. I knocked over a couple of guys on the LOS but ignored the tree, and ran receivers up the flanks. Hawca blitzed over one receiver and marked up the others but it was a relatively simple matter to clear the marker away from Gil-Galad, hypnotise the only potential interceptor, and Cirdan dashed forwards with a 2+ pass to allow Gil-Galad to open the scoring on turn 2.

Hawca in turn received the ball with his defensive thrower and dropped deep. He then put catchers into my half. I ran three players to form an “interception screen” between the catchers and the ball, but Hawca was able to knock a hole through that and find his rookie catcher and equalise on turn 3.

Hawca then lined up with most of his players on my right, and then kicked left. I had set up to cover the whole front though, and passed the ball to Gil-Galad. With no elves ahead of me I formed a tight cage on the left with almost my entire team and Hawca struggled to get players back to cover. Over the next few turns I advanced the cage forwards but always creeping towards the left touchline. I had a bit of luck when Tananmyr injured the rookie catcher while Anduril injured the key diving tackle pass block catcher on a lucky block. Both players levelled as a result of the casualties. I had a real scare when, as a result of a brilliant chainpush and blitz, the wood elves were able to push Gil-Galad next to the touchline and then crowdsurf him, but the wood elves only had 1 player left to act in that turn having committed everyone to the chainpush, and the veteran lineman combo of Kithmornen and Rissononel were able to clear away the wood elf for Cirdan to dash back and throw the ball back into the cage. Legolas ran in the touchdown on turn 8 to give me a 2-1 lead.

Setting up I had two problems – both the traditional 1 turn TD attempt and the fact that the legendary catcher can move 12 squares and so a quick snap on the kickoff table (11% chance) allows him to simply run the length of the field to score. I elected to set up to mitigate the traditional 1 turner, only for a quick snap to appear on the kickoff and all of a sudden the game was level at half time.

Damn – all my hard work wasted!

I now had to decide whether to go for a win or a draw in the second half. With the wood elf offence largely intact I decided to play for the draw, a decision which was vindicated when the elves immediately scored another 2-turner by chainpushing a wardancer into range on turn 9. This TD involved several GFIs and dodges, and perhaps shows that my opponent was becoming a little desperate. He set up again in an identical right hand side formation, and again I simply caged up with Gil-Galad inside his half on the left and with no players between me and the line. Recognising the danger the wood elves formed columns ahead of me, but since not all his players had side step I targeted those columns without it, blitzing the head of the column and then using Eldril’s gaze on the back player to get players between his columns and prevent them reforming.

Getting a little desperate now Hawca started to try leaping his wardancers in and taking 2D-against blocks against the ST4 ball carrier, which worried me, but he was unable to get the ball loose (Hawca runs with only 2 rerolls, so had none left by this stage – making such plays very risky indeed). Finally a failed leap left his players without block in contact with my blodgers, and they took full advantage, KOing one and with Cirdan (doubtless feeling some sense of envy at being the worst thrower on the field) smashed the hip of the AG5 defensive thrower. Cirdan was still the worst thrower on the field, but was one of only two instead of three!

At this stage Hawca could do nothing to stop the TD, and on turn 16 I handed the ball to Elladan the Exile (rookie lino) and nearly had kittens when I rolled a 1. Fortunately the reroll worked and Elladan ran in the equalising TD, levelling in the process. Final score 3-3.

Finally a game where I think I played a good match and I feel really pleased with the way that things panned out. My overall gameplan worked out as I'd hoped, and if anything other than a quick snap had come up on turn 8 then I would have won. 

I think my chances of staying in the division have gone. Only the top 2 stay up with the remaining 8 dropping back down and realistically even if things get quite a lot better for me I'll be lucky to get to 12 or 13 points. So this season is all about improving (or maintaining!) the team if I can, and getting what glory there is by trying to play well. I'm happy that with no tackle or mighty blow I was able to give myself a 90% chance of the win. 

So, three orcs in a row now. Righto.

Three players levelled in the game. Elladan took dirty player, to give me another bash threat and something to deter the piling on orc blitzers. Tananmyr took fend to add to his dodge/guard/sidestep (with another eye on all the piling on orcs to come), and Anduril took dodge.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Matches 1 and 2

Sorry for the lack of updates - I've been on holiday and for some reason Google wouldn't let me sign in from outside the UK.

First up we have:

Long Gone and Reprospering (necro, TheMuffinThief) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

At the third attempt I lost 2-1 to Muffin in yet another close game.

I won the toss and chose to kick, and Muffin removed two players on the first turn, and one player a turn thereafter while I rolled skulls and ones. Muffin easily broke through and screened the ball deep in my half, but forgot that Gil-Galad is move 9. Gil-Galad sprinted around this screen and knocked over the ball carrier, and then I figured that it was time to roll some dice - my blodge lino dodged through several tackle zones, picked up the ball in 2 tackle zones, dodged clear and then wound back his arm to pass the ball to a waiting catcher (4+) but fumbled the pass.

Muffin knocked over the lino and tried to resecure the ball but failed the pickup, and so it was the turn of Alawe to dodge through traffic (fewer dodges this time!) and pick up the ball. This time I had a reroll left to use on the 4+ pass but again I fumbled it and this time there was no way back. I had a glimpse of a chance when on the following turn I was able to knock a zombie onto the ball, but it scattered to another zombie who caught it and ran in a TD on turn 8 for a 1-0 lead.

I lined up with 9 men for the 1 turner, but a riot unexpectedly gave me 2 turns to score. With no thrower (mine was MNG) I used a catcher to retreive the ball, but my last reroll had been used on the 4+ glory play, and so when I rolled a 1 on the 2+ pass to score the half ended 1-0.

In the second half I scored with Gil-Galad in a fairly routine rushing play, leaving Muffin 6 turns to win. He took his wolves and his ST5 golem and went off elf-killing in the right wide zone, and caged up in the centre with zombies only. Seeing that he'd separated his key players from the ball I flooded the cage and marked up his zombies and the ball carrier ghoul. Although he was able to clear away my players, Muffin was unable to get the ball entirely safe, and Vanval dodged into two tackle zones to surf the ghoul on the right touchline and free up the ball.

The crowd threw it back into the centre, and Gil-Galad scooped it up and sprinted off to the left. Muffin tried to get players back and here I had the decision as to whether to take two turns to score (which would probably have involved allowing the killer wolf to get some sort of blitz in on Gil-Galad although 1D at the absolute best) or to run a player into the end zone and try a 2+ pass 2+ catch to score. I chose the latter option and again the pass failed - this time the catch was dropped.

Again the ball bounced out and it was a simple matter for the wolf to recover it and walk in a turn 16 touchdown.

Bear Hunters (Telorast, chaos) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)

So, my first ever game against the Boss. I took a wizard, Eldril and a babe as inducements against the 2700TV chaos team.

I won the toss and elected to kick, whereupon the chaos team removed four elves from the pitch in their first turn. Matters progressed in this fashion throughout the half, and in truth I was never in with a sniff of preventing a turn 8 score. By the end of the half my two remaining players were staying on the ground.

The big mistake I made in the first half (the only one) was that I used the wizard. True, I rolled a 1 and so the lightning bolt failed anyway, but still even if it had been successful I had little chance of stealing the ball. It was really poor play from me.

I had no chance of a one turner given the fact that Telorast can field three stand firm players on the LOS, although I did manage to foul off one of the chaos warriors who sat out the next drive.

In the second half I ran the ball through the centre with Anduril - there were a couple of minor positioning errors in the drive, but otherwise it was a decent rushing play and I scored on turn 12. My only criticism of the drive was that I could perhaps have scored on turn 13 if I'd been braver and stalled another turn. It would have needed a pass though, which given my recent luck with passes I wasn't really willing to chance.

On the final drive of the game Telorast this time removed three players on his opening blocks, including Vanval with a MNG, leaving me in desperate trouble. This time howerver Eldril (who had a fine game, never missed a gaze and was a real asset) opened the way by hypnotising a cage corner and Gil-Galad sacked the ball carrier with a 1D block. The ball bounced loose and Cirdan scooped it up and threw it back to the Bear Hunters' end zone.

Both Cirdan and Gil-Galad were smashed off the pitch in retaliation, leaving me with I think 4 players at this point. The Bear Hunters recovered the ball with a rookie beast but were forced to try a pass to move it quickly enough to score a TD. The pass failed, and Eldril dodged through 2 TZs, scooped up the ball and sprinted off to the end zone!

There was one chance for Telorast to recover the ball, and failing to do so would lead to an elven win! It was not to be however and Eldril was hauled down using a reroll by the legendary beastman Pa'Nogors (who died in the next game to a wizard - ha!) and there was just time for the ball to be handed off to a legendary AG2 beastman who ran in a T16 winner.


Two defeats then in the first two games, and both could have been wins with better decisions from me and without the catastrophic dice that were rolled in both. If my passing dice had been less appalling in game 1, or Telorast's armour and inury dice had been more reasonable in game 2, I could have been sitting here with at least 4 points. Now I have zero, and have to play a high TV wood elf team in MD3 with no tackle (both are MNG). Vanval being missing is a huge blow and I'll have 400k of inducements again to spend. Decisions decisions...

Update - I now have actually played the game and finally I think I showed what I can do and played a really good game of Blood Bowl. It was very tight indeed, and I'll write it up when I can.