Monday, 30 September 2013

OCC Season 20 Division 2D

Here are the teams

  • delf.pngTxlanhualpec - Nocturnals - Dark Elf -
TV 1930 (2200 when everyone's fit)

6-1-2 last season in 2D

Very nasty looking DE team. Two amazing witches - one ST 5 and the other has MB, piling on and tackle. They also have a ST4 lineman and an AG5 leaping (niggled, ha!) pass blocker. There aren't that many of them, and there isn't actually all that much dodge in the team.

I think I'll really struggle against them, but this is such a bashy division I have to question in what state they will be in by the end of the season. So a tough match early on, but once Luiggi and Klauser have taken some lumps out of them they may be an easier prospect. 
  • nurgle.pngKreugen - Rodent Extermination - Nurgle -
 TV 2130 (2170 when everyone's fit)

5-1-3 last season in 2D

Wow, another monster team. These guys have a decent beast and three warriors built for killing rather than control (the other is a rookie), but it's the pestigor lineup that makes this team shine. They have a +2MA +2AG three armed pest with block. He picks up on a 2+ in two tackle zones. They also have a couple of hard hitting blitzer pests to knock the ball loose.

Plenty of tackle too, and this team will be really rough to handle.
  • vamps.pngJimmy C - Mobile Blood Donations! - Vampire  
TV 2280 plus 2 levels

4-2-3 last season in 2D

Hmmm, this one isn't quite so scary-looking. Six very experienced vamps - all of whom are level 5 and above - but they are carrying a couple of niggles. There isn't a dedicated killer as yet, but they do have a couple of tackle-MB pieces. There are a couple of AG5 vamps and an AG5 thrall, so their offence will be very strong, and the coach is very experienced with his team.
  • delf.pngElfic - BirdsOfFreedom - Dark Elf -
TV 1690 (1760 when everyone's fit)

3-1-5 last season in 2D

The remnants of a very good DE team that was in division 1 a couple of seasons ago, the Birds have lost most of their stars with the remaining players looking ready to retire. There are still 3 very good blitzers, but three of those are carrying bad injuries now and I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of them go this season.

The witches are very new and while there are some good linemen and a promising runner, they will be very vulnerable to bash this season. With no cash in the bank either a tough time is in prospect here for them in this very bashy division. 
  • chaos.pngMalfeasor - Malfeasant Murderers - Chaos -
TV 1940 (2080 when everyone's fit)

2-2-5 last season in 2D
A relatively young chaos team, and a work in progress for the coach. The warriors control the pitch with guard and stand firm (but no MB or claw), there's a block mino for some reason, who I anticipate will not survive the season, but the beastman roster is much more impressive.

There's a fairly nasty looking killer, who lacks frenzy but otherwise has the full rack of skills including jump up, but has taken a -1AV. Whether this team can protect their glass cannon will be key this season. There are also a couple of AG4 beasts for ball carrying and a MB-wrackle elf-killer.

A good outline of a team here. Will be interesting to see how they get on against...
  • orc.pngLuiggi - Munch N' Crunch - Orc -
TV 2050 (2100 when everyone's fit)

4-0-5 last season in tier 1

Ah, the General. The last real bastard orc team in the OCC after the retirement of Despized and Grintoof All Stars. Still packing the best black orc line I've ever seen, and a coach who really understands how to play bash.

The team suffered last season after losing it's two best blitzers in the last game of season 18, and killed his best lineman (AG4 pass block chap), so a lot of the dynamism from the team has gone. There's no AG4 at all on the team, for example. That said, here is my pick for winning the division, despite all the claw around.
  • helf.pngEverblue - The Grey Haven Guard - High Elf -
  • orc.pngklauser - Waaagh Dodgers - Orc -
TV 1880

7-1-1 last season in 3D
I don't know much about the coach, but a 66% win ratio across nearly 700 games speaks for itself and I wonder if we are looking at one of the new stars of the OCC here.

The team itself is comprised of a really excellent blitzer lineup, but very average black orcs and linemen. I think this team will do well against the elves, but may take some casualties against the bash - particularly the nurgle could cause them problems.
  • chaos.pngFastshark - Speedsharks - Chaos -
TV 1890 (1990 when the last CW is bought)

6-1-2 last season in tier 3

Fastshark is a former champion and all-round clever bloke, and so any team he takes into tier 2 is going to be a threat. This chaos team however is fairly new and lacking the pace of his lizards. I wonder if his coaching skills will be enough.

Only three chaos warriors, and none above level 3, clearly shows that this team are going to struggle against guard-heavy bash. There is also 210 TV tied up in the minotaur. The beastman roster is better, and there is the usual cookie-cutter killer, but a niggle on the ST4 ball carrier makes me wonder how aggressively Fastshark will use this piece. We could see another fall in TV before things get better.
  • chaos.pngGing - Branded Beasts - Chaos -
TV 1930 (2200 when everyone's fit)

4-3-2 last season in tier 3

I first saw Ging in tier 5 a couple of seasons ago when he was a fairly new coach and made a few mistakes. His play has certainly improved hugely since then, and this season will be a real test for him.

On paper, his team could do well this season - the chaos warriors are nothing special, but have a few skills on them, there is a pretty good minotaur (although inefficient in TV terms), but some really nice beastmen including a leaper with very long legs (!) and a stand firm-DT marker. There is also of course the usual killer build and elf hitter.

So this team poses all the usual chaos threat but also has an unpredictability about it. I do wonder however whether it has enough pure bash to survive the league intact. The niggle on the best chaos warrior worries me too. Nevertheless, if he gets some dice it could be a good season.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Post-season review

So here's The Grey Haven Guard's roster right now:

I run with 4 rerolls and have about 350k in the bank. Total TV is 2350. And here's the final league table.

It's been a really hard season, all told, but bizarrely I don't actually think I've played all that badly. Certainly two of my defeats would have been victories given reasonable dice, and my only draw would have been a win but for a quick snap on the kickoff on turn 8. I also had a couple of games where I just had nothing from the dice and it was hard to see what I could have done (which was also the consensus on BBTactics).

That said, I've been lucky myself as well at times, so I guess things probably even out to an extent. I beat two of the best orc teams in the league in Grintoof All Stars and Munch N Crunch, and Maniehl whom I beat on MD 9 is one of the best coaches in terms of record. Still, I've learned some things about running offence this time around, and certainly I think I played better last season than during my promotion season.

 I'm going into division 2D next season, which looks like it will have some high TV dark elves, plus some high TV vamps. Looking further down one of the new generation of orc teams is coming up - with an excellent record, a great blitzer lineup and mediocre black orcs. I *think* that I will be joined by Luiggi's Munch N Crunch and former OCC champion Fastshark's new chaos team, and if my understanding of the division composition is right then Luiggi will immediately be favourite to win the division probably with me having to fight it out with the super vamps and a former champion for second place.

It will be a tough season and a very bashy division  (I think 2 good orc teams and 3 or 4 chaos teams in my league all told) but at least the team is in good shape. I lost my ST4 lineman this season but everyone else made it out alive and I now have an excellent catcher lineup - all of them are really good. I'm bound to lose at least one next season. My blitzers both survived and remain useful, and I replaced my ST4 AG3 dodge lineman with a blodge sidestepper which is not a terrible trade. Still no AG5 and nothing to crack a cage, but otherwise I think I have a decent shout for another promotion on paper at least. Certainly my team is one that other coaches will look at and dislike.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Matches 8 and 9

Since these matches were utterly meaningless after my MD7 defeat I have struggled to motivate myself to write them up. Just a short summary therefore.  

Match 8

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Dragonblood Drakes (lizard, Yarat)

Oh God. Another one like this.

A 4-0 defeat to the lizards My worst result in Blood Bowl for I think a year (I *think* had a 5-0 defeat to a chaos team in tier 6 where I got pitch cleared twice and just gave up, but I can't find the result now).

My defence got carved open immediately with a string of injuries and KOs and although Vanval did manage to knock over the ball carrier a couple of times I couldn't stop him scoring on turn 5. That was fine though - 4 turns to score.

A perfect defence roll on the kick off table put me under some pressure and I was forced to take some risks, and they failed - I threw a third interception for the season, again safe throw failing (about 6% chance) and went in 2-0 down.

In the second half I got a double 1 on an early dodge in two turns in a row allowing him to pressure the thrower, and then rolled another double 1 on a pass. 3-0 as he just scooped the ball up and ran it in. I then failed another touchdown pass with a fumble, and he scored a 4th on turn 16. Overall I was 1 out of 5 passing, ignoring the interception (which you roll for before you roll the pass). It was absolutely shambolic and I felt awful afterwards.  

Match 9  

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Expired Meat (necro, Maniehl)

A fairly easy 2-0 win to round off the season. Nuffle was good to me this game and most things I tried worked. In the first half I bashed the necro team off the park. Vanval nobbled their key tackle, mighty blow, dodge, guard wight BH (regen failed), and also KO'd both wolves. I got fireballed but was able to recover and score on turn 8.

In the second half the necro just could not get through my line. A failed GFI by the star wolf left the ball carrier exposed and I was able to snaffle it and run it in n turn 16. To take nothing away from Maniehl, who is a great coach, but it just didn't happen for him this game whereas I had all the luck.

 Three level ups from the game, including yet another +1ST for a catcher, leaves me in great shape for next season and with my TV at a preposterous 2350. I'll post my roster here when BBM updates.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Match 7

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v The Sigil Torments (dark elf, Errant Saint)

A rematch against some old foes from tier 3. Last time we played I won 3-1, although that does not really tell the story of the game as my third TD was on turn 16.

The Torments came in at a formidable 2360TV, with their star player being the Lady of Pain (a witch with block, tackle, side step, +1MV and +1AG). Aside from her there is not much special on the team, it is just a really solid side with loads of blodge (10 blodgers in total) with plenty of side step and tackle too. Apart from the Lady their offence is pretty average, but they are just a really solid team with lots of passive bash with the side step and tackle.

I won the toss and elected to kick, with the ball landing centrally and being picked up by the block, pass, accurate runner. Vanval immediately darted out from my defensive line and clattered one of the two assassins, breaking his leg in the process, before retreating to safety.

The dark elves pushed players forward on the flanks, and I let them come but stayed strong in the centre. After a couple of fairly inconclusive turns, Saint (presumably deliberately) allowed me the chance to get a 2D block on his ball carrier. The carrier was sacked but the dump off proved not to be a fumble. The target (the Lady) managed to drop the catch however.

I couldn’t quite recover the ball  and the dark elves stabilised, with the pocket around their ball carrier retreating back towards their own line. In a key moment the dark elves managed a clever chain push which allowed their remaining assassin the chance to get next to Vanval, and the ensuing stab knocked out the elven catcher. On or around turn 5 the dark elves again exposed the ball and this time I elected to use the wizard.

The ball again bounced badly for me however, and after I needed to reroll a 2+ dodge in getting my receiver to the end zone I was reduced to hoping for a 4+ pickup which would have given me an almost certain touchdown (2+ throw with Nerves of Steel and 2+ catch, both with rerolls). I failed the pickup though and the chance was gone, with Cirdan taking a MNG injury in the follow up. The dark elves managed a breakaway and although I got back enough players to force an early score, I couldn’t stop the TD on turn 7.

Two turns to score, and I set up my blitzers and catchers on the left with only two linemen to cover the right wide zone. The dark elves rolled a blitz and crashed into the left side, marking it heavily. Meanwhile their players on the right dodged past the right wide zone cover to menace my backfield. Ecthelion remained calm however and dodged away from his marker, picked up the ball and threw a pass up to a lineman near the right touchline, who all of a sudden had no dark elves anywhere near him. I caged up as far forward as I dared by the sideline, only for Saint to yell “YOLO” and dodge into the cage, surfing the ball carrier on a 2D against block!

With hindsight this was a pretty stupid play by me – the sideline cage I formed was quite likely to get cracked by the dark elf covering (the AV7 blodge kick lino) and even a push would have resulted in a surf (he rolled double pows, as it happened). The ball was thrown centrally by the crowd and was caught by a rookie dark elf lineman. On my turn I was able to knock over said lineman, I got a lucky bounce, and my own unskilled lineman Maedhros was able to score his maiden touchdown. 1-1 at half time.

In the second half I grabbed the ball with Ecthelion and formed a loose cage in the centre. With Vanval waking up I was taking every opportunity to blitz the AV7 pieces although to little effect, and Elladan (DP lineman) fouled off one of his blodge linemen with a badly hurt result. Finally however Saint committed his less-impressive-but-still-good wrodge, tackle, side step, fend witch into my half by the left wide zone. With her being relatively unprotected I knocked her over with Vanval and pulled most of my team back and left to gangfoul her with Elladan. I only got a stun, but was gearing up to surf the prone elf with a chainpush next turn when in a surprise move the Lady dodged through the cage to mark Ecthelion. Vanval again knocked her over, again only stunning her, and again I pulled the team back to gangfoul her but Elladan failed to dodge away from his marker and the chance was gone.

The dark elves swarmed into my half, marking up my players, but the left wide zone was relatively lightly defended. Vanval blasted the door open with a blitz, before most of my team dodged away from their markers and poured through the gap, with Ecthelion passing the ball to Glorfindel in another sideline cage (this time of course with side step I could not be surfed). The dark elves struggled to get back and on my turn 13 I had a choice to make. I could have handed the ball off to Legolas who could have scored with no further rolls necessary, or I could have stalled for one turn.

I chose the latter option and Glorfindel ran to within 2 squares of the line with three of my catchers including both ST4s around him and only 3 dark elves in their own half. One of those dark elves was the kicker, who Vanval killed with a blitz to teach him not to dodge into cages. I then screened off the dark elf side of the field, meaning that any other dark elves trying to get through would need to dodge through tackle zones.

Sadly it was all for naught. Again Saint typed “YOLO!” and this time the Lady dodged away from her marker, dodged into the cage and got a 1D block on Glorfindel, rolling a pow. She then, critically, got a lucky bounce (only 3 of the 8 squares were within her reach) and made a dodge and a GFI to pick up the ball in a TZ. She then rode a rerolled block from Vanval (19% chance of that on its own) and a 2D block from Glorfindel (70% chance) before just fucking running off and handing off to a blitzer who scored on turn 15.

I have just done some maths, and the chances of Saint getting the knockdown, and then being able to pick up the ball were about 38%, including team rerolls. The odds of the bounce putting the ball anywhere she could get were about 38%. The odds of surviving the his next turn with the Lady upright were 13%. So the odds of me losing from there were, what 1.9%? Jesus.

So anyway he put 3 sidesteppers on the LOS meaning that I had to try some bizarre frenzy shit to try to get a player from the backfield to pull my 1 turner but I knocked the guy over first go, then BH him with a bad tempered foul. I lost 2-1.


BAH! Another one that I really shouldn't have lost.

So two meaningless games left. I play two of the top four teams in an attempt to salvage a little pride. Yarat's lizards first, with Cirdan missing. I hired a new lineman to give him I think 40k of inducements and Ecthelion levelled and took +1MV.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Match Report: OCC Division 1 Match 6

The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me) v Munch 'N' Crunch (orc, Luiggi)

The last orc team I have to face this season, thank heaven, but Luiggi has one of the highest coach ELO ratings in the OCC, and this team are certainly the best orc team in the league in terms of results. Luiggi is a really excellent coach who does not make many mistakes and this was
going to be a tough game. 

On the other hand, with the death of two experienced blitzers at the end of last season the team was not as good on paper as the Grintooth All Stars, who I beat on MD5.

I had been expecting to get a wizard in inducements since Gil-Galad was out injured, but Luiggi wrong-footed me by sacking his -MV dirty player lineman. With 90k of inducements I didn't fancy dropping a player for a wizard, and losing a reroll would not have been enough, and so I took a

Luiggi won the toss and elected to kick. He set up his black orcs across the field a couple of squares back - all of them have block, mighty blow, guard and stand firm - a really imposing blocker roster. There was also a tackle black orc too, who was extremely annoying all game. 

He left rookie linemen and blitzers on the LOS, who I bashed over, and Vanval darted through the centre to stun Luiggi's MB, tackle blitzer and retreat to safety behind the front line. Ecthelion picked up the ball and threw it back to Cirdan, who stayed deep. In response, Luiggi marked up my front line with his black orcs, and his tackle black orc loped forward to blitz Glorfindel, badly hurting him. With Luiggi having committed so strongly to the front line, including two black orcs who were somewhat out of position on my right side, the correct tactic would be to try to break through on the left and cage up. I decided to delay another turn however and set up some 2D blocks on his players left in contact. This worked very well for me as Kevatononel was able to kill the AG4 pass block lineorc, removing the greatest threat to my passing play. The apothecary was only able to confirm the kill.

Luiggi made some more hits in retaliation, to little effect, and committed his rookie blitzers to my backfield to try to hunt down Cirdan. Feeling that the time to sit back was over, I switched my central
players into the left wide zone, with Vanval and Elladan forming a wide zone cage around Legolas. Cirdan sprinted forwards, making a short pass into the cage. The orc team was able to recover better than I had expected however, with the black orcs KOing a couple of linemen and the MV7 ST4 tackle blitzer, supported by a thrower, blocking the way to the line. I wanted to stall but was only able to roll pushes against the thrower, and Legolas ran forward to score (which required a reroll-less GFI with my heart in my mouth). 1-0 on turn 4.

The orcs therefore had five turns to equalise before half time, and I set up protecting the wide zones to prevent them running players down the flanks too easily. Luiggi started exceptionally well with his KOR thrower catching the kick and then getting two casualties on his first four blocks. First Estel (dodge lineman) suffered a fractured skull on the LOS. I mulled this one over before telling the apothecary to sit down - Estel has had a fair run on the LOS and I guess he will now have to retire. My decision was immediately vindicated when a black orc (not the one with tackle) charged forward and killed Alawe (blodge guard lineman) with a blitz. The elvish apothecary did his job however and
made the save - phew! I struggled to readjust and form columns but lacking two players I couldn't cover the whole pitch, and matters got worse next turn when the same black orc blitzed Anduril (wrodge catcher) off the pitch too. 

I managed to KO a couple of orcs in response to level matters up, and the orcs inched their cage down the left side to within striking distance of the line, but with me having columns ahead of it. Stupidly I used my penultimate reroll on a pointless block, meaning that when turn 8 came around and I needed to dodge Vanval away from a tackle player and blitz the only likely orc scorer, I failed the dodge. This left the orcs needing to blitz away a lineman to open a path for a blitzer to score,
and then the ball needed to be handed off to the blitzer without a reroll available. The blitz worked, but rather than hand off the ball Luiggi chose to go for a 2+ pass and farm an SPP, and the pass was
fumbled on a snake eyes. 1-0 to the Guard at half time. 

No orcs or elves recovered from KOs, meaning that it was 10 orcs v 9 elves at the start of the second half. This quickly became 10 v 8 when a lineman was KO'd on the LOS. The kick was deep and was recovered by the orc throwers, while the black orcs and blitzers pushed me back. My strategy at this stage was that a draw was ok, and I wanted to put pressure on the orcs to roll dice and give me the chance of a win, but otherwise to delay the TD as long as I could. Seeing my centre disintegrate as the black orcs and blitzers marked me up, I decided to pressure the orc ball carrier at the expense of field position and see what happened. I ran two players through the orc lines and marked the ball carrier with Legolas (he was just too far back to blitz), and otherwise dropped back to cover space. 

The orcs sent a rookie blitzer back to blitz Legolas, but only got a both down, meaning that the orc
thrower needed to dodge to safety. Luiggi failed the first 3+ roll but passed the reroll, and caged up in his own half and just to the right. I saw that three of Luiggi's players (including two black orcs) were out of position on my left and too far away to help, and so judged it was a good time to flood the cage. Vanval knocked over the MB tackle blitzer, and Tananmyr (guard, side step, fend, blodge blitzer) marked the ball carrier. 

It took several moves to get Tananmyr away from the ball  carrier, meaning that it was going to be difficult to keep the ball safe. Luiggi then decided, whether because his caging on the right had become too hard to protect, or because he was going for the win, decided to switch to a passing game and the orc thrower cut back into the centre and passed the ball to a rookie blitzer who had been lurking in my half and made two GFIs to score 1-1 on turn 12.

I had mixed feelings about this - on one hand this gave me a great chance to win myself, but on the other hand if I messed up my offensive drive the game would probably end in defeat. As it was I decided to try a 2-turner, blasting a hole through the wall of black orcs with Vanval and running him and Legolas into the left side of the orc half. I marked up the nearby black orcs. The orcs recovered by knocking over Vanval and stunning him (nothing more serious thank heaven), but only single-marked Legolas. 

Not really sure what Luiggi was thinking here - a single marker still gave me a good chance for the TD, but given his initial setup there wasn't much else he could have done. I guess that means that his
defensive setup was too light on the wide zones but I would need to study the replay again to be certain - maybe there was nothing at all he could have done, in which case he should probably have played for the 1-1 with a slow grinding offence. 

As it was Legolas caught a short pass from Cirdan in a tackle zone, dodged away and scored for a 2-1 lead on turn 13. 

Three turns to survive then, and with KOs returning it was 11 orcs v 10 elves. The orcs set up heavily on the left side, but a lucky perfect defence roll enabled me to cover that side. Two orc blitzers ran around the right wide zone and the orcs again did damage on the LOS with a KO. Finally however I caught a potentially decisive break on a restart, with the orc thrower fumbling the pickup - my first fumble this season. I could only get two players back, who combined to push the thrower away, and Vanval made a lungbursting run with two dodges past tackle players and two GFIs to pick up the ball. I was deep in the orc half though, and although there were three elves in place, I could easily see Luiggi getting the ball loose with a 2D block, so Vanval went for a pass into the open by the right hand end zone - if it succeeded it would mean that it would take at least 2 turns for even the quickest orc to get back there and would mean that Luiggi would need to move the ball the length of the pitch in 1 turn. Essentially I would probably have won. As it was, with a breathtaking leap an orc thrower reached out and intercepted the ball!

I was badly out of position now, as the orcs began their turn 15 by punching every elf within range. Having done this the orcs made a cage near the half way line, but its position required a GFI from the ball carrier and a snake eyes duly appeared. This was again hugely unfortunate (although the GFI was needless as it would have been a simple matter to make a looser cage where no GFI was needed from the thrower and the scoring pass could have been made on turn 16 leaving me only the chance of a 1-turner to win), but it was the break I needed. I knocked over one potential receiver and marked up another. Luiggi's only chance to tie involved several dodges through tackle zones plus a long pass from an unskilled AG3 blitzer, and this failed, sealing the win for me.

All that was left on my own turn 16 was for Cirdan to pick up the ball in three tackle zones (using a reroll), pass it to Vanval, and for Vanval to run in the third score to make it a 3-1 win for the Guard!

Glad to get that game out of the way to be honest. Although I was pretty lucky in the second half, the game was essentially decided by two factors - firstly the orcs' inability to equalise before half time, and secondly Luiggi's inability to make good on his second half tactics (score early and then turn over my offence). I think in his place I would have played for the draw pretty much as I did against Hawca when the first half ended 2-2, but he was in with a good shout in the league if he won and no doubt felt pressured to roll some dice and try to make things happen. 

There was also a bit of needle in the game. Luiggi was understandably unhappy about his dice, but there were one or two small disparaging comments about my play too. I couldn't tell whether he was joking or not, and even if not I guess that's fair enough as he is a better player and I was making mistakes, but it made me glad just to close out the win and move on.

So three games left and a full squad to face a high TV dark elf team. They have lots of blodge (10 on the team vs my 8) and a superstar MV8 AG5 witch, but no ST4 and MB and I have a guard advantage too. So it will be a tough battle, probably more physical than your typical elf vs elf game.  I may have enough inducements for a wizard - it depends on level ups and whether or not I drop a reroll.