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.

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