Mobile Blood Donations (vampires, JimmyC) v The Grey Haven Guard (high elf, me)
Remember those games last season where everything went wrong and I got completely nuffled. Well this game was like that.
Just the exact opposite.
With three linemen MNG I bought a new rookie lineman to get to 12 players, giving me enough inducements for a wizard. Jimmy's vamps are very well developed, with two AG5 vamps, one mighty blow tackle bruiser and a crop of sidesteppers and stand firm people.
I won the toss and, mindful of the wizard, elected to kick. The aim was to use the wizard to steal a TD and go in level or ahead at the break.
I got a perfect defence on the kickoff, which was good and saved me some pain from his MB vamp. He managed to KO a lineman with one of his LOS thralls, but, as was to become a theme in the first half, immediately afterwards one of his vampires bit a thrall slightly too hard, badly hurting him.
So 10 vs 10 after the first turn with the ball in a tight cage in the centre of the pitch and I responded by pushing a few players around, making a solid enough defence in the centre and badly hurting one of his thralls with a block from Thingol (rookie lineman). Jimmy then ran a vamp around the right side of my line, and Vanval replied by charging over and punching him and I marked up the cage with my blodgestep-tackle blitzer Glorfindel.
Feeling the pressure, Jimmy pushed another vamp forward through my lines and shifted the cage to my right. Seeing an opportunity I called down the thunder on the ball carrier - zapping him. The ball bounced between a vamp and a thrall, and Vanval again opened the way, hitting the vamp and knocking him over. Gil-Galad sprinted his MV9 way around the edge of what was left of the vamp line, picked up the ball in a TZ, and flipped a quick pass to Glorfindel who dashed for the line.
With no vamps able to get back, Jimmy repositioned to force the score and prevent stalling, but in doing so one of the vamps got peckish again which resulted in an injury to the AG5 thrall. Glorfindel took no chances and jogged home on turn 4 to make it 1-0 to the Guard.
Another perfect defence on the kickoff blunted the vamps ability on the line once again, and again some ill-timed bloodthirsts (this time only resulting in stuns) meant there were gaps in the line. To make matters worse Jimmy rolled a 1 for the pickup, opting not to reroll. I think Jimmy had not expected how fast my players could move and I responded with a champagne play of top draw elvish bs.
First Vanval dashed forward again, pushing a vamp back to make a small gap. Cirdan (MV7 blodge accurage NoS thrower) hurtled forward, vaulting a despairing tackle, made 2 GFIs and picked up the ball from the feet of the vamp, then wound back his arm and, ignoring nearby markers passed the ball 25 yards backward into the waiting hands of Legolas in a pocket in the elvish half!
As if to punish Cirdan for his insolence, the enraged vampire tore into Cirdan in retaliation, killing him! Fortunately the elvish apothecary was on hand to patch up the brave elven thrower.
Legolas dropped back away from the vamps, who sent two vampires deep into my half to chase him down and players to either side. He also pushed his blodge, stand firm, DT blitzer into contact with my front line. I rolled 6 dice at this guy and could not get a pow, and so he stalled my advance on his own as I was forced to retreat into a tight cage.
Jimmy gazed his way into the cage and managed to get a 1D hit on Legolas with his tackle vamp, but couldn't get a knockdown. He pushed him next to the DT vamp too, but again the (tackle-less) vamp only got a push. Vanval was having none of that, and dealt with the situation by killing the DT vamp (he was niggled, so Jimmy elected not to use the apo, regen then failed). Legolas was able to blitz free of the scrum and darted into the vamp half, supported by some rookie linemen. The vamps scrambled back and knocked the ball loose but the bouncing ball was caught by Thingol who made 2 dodges and 2 GFIs to score on turn 8. 2-0 to the Guard at half time.
Receiving in the second half I knew the game would be over if I scored quickly and I was handed another slice of luck as one of the five remaining vamps was hit by a rock from the crowd and KO'd. I ran some players through the gap into the vamp half and tossed the ball back to Ecthelion. Jimmy was able to neutralise 3 of my receivers with gazes and a blitz, but Vanval was left standing and unmarked, so Ecthelion ran forward and passed the ball to Tananmyr, who handed it off to Vanval, who continued his good form with a TD. 3-0 to the Guard on turn 9.
At this point in the game, mindful of the fact that the win was assured but that I had already used my apothecary, I offered Jimmy 3-1, with a few leisurely end turns and the opportunity for him to farm some passes by the end zone. He was having none of it though, and determinedly killed Earendil Brightwing (rookie lineman) on the LOS. Again he caged up on halfway and ran receivers round my line. I ignored them though and concentrated on pressuring the cage. Jimmy gazed his way clear and scored on turn 10. 3-1 to the Guard.
I again received and dropped the ball deep to Ecthelion. I didn't run receivers forward but held a firm line. Jimmy sat back initially and we traded blitzes, Vanval capping an excellent game with another casualty - this time an MNG vamp. After a couple of turns though I realised I was out of rerolls - I'd been farming passes in the backfield and had forgotten to keep track. A stupid mistake but all of a sudden I had to play cautiously. I then needed to cage up as Jimmy had finally begun to put some pressure on Ecthelion. and I didn't cage securely enough and the vamps were able to gaze in and sack the ball carrier.
Again I got lucky though and the ball scattered to Legolas. With no vamps able to stop him Legolas burst clear of the scrum and I scored on turn 16. 4-1 to the Guard at full time!