Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Looking back

And so we come to the end of the road for The Grey Haven Guard.

The final tally is: W30 D9 L15

They rank 6th in the all-time list of high elf teams in the OCC, just behind Viajero. The seasonal breakdown is

Season 15 – 6A – W4 D4 L1 – 4th
Season 16 – 4D – W7 D1 L1 – 2nd
Season 17 – 3A – W5 D1 L3 – 4th
Season 18 – 2D – W6 D1 L2 – 2nd
Season 19 – 1 – W3 D1 L5 – 7th
Season 20 – 2C – W5 D1 L3 – 3rd

After a slow start I began to get the hang of them, and aside from that catastrophic Tier 1 run I think my results were pretty good. I do find it hard to get past my Tier 1 record though – I picked high elves which are a fairly joyless team simply because they had the best stats and I wanted to win the OCC. I didn’t particularly like the playstyle or the look and feel of the race, but I wanted to be successful. And so I think my time as a high elf coach has been a failure. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m a much better player than I was 18 months (or so) ago, but I picked the team to win the league and fell a long way short.

I had some great moments – the 4-0 win against Antonlunau, for example in season 18, or both my wins against Luiggi (who is a first rate coach), but I keep thinking back to that 2-1 defeat to Muffin – the eventual OCC champion that season and I gave him a really hard game – only a 2+ catch away from a win and it turned into a loss.

The worst thing about playing high elves was that winning became everything. Since I was playing such a soulless team it was imperative to win (otherwise why play high elves in the first place?). That made me very depressed when, as I saw it, I got unlucky and lost – I really hated those games because playing in such a conservative way means that you don’t make many rolls but the ones you do make are absolutely crucial – if you fail those then you tend to struggle badly.

I’ve started to rediscover the joy in BB with my human team in the UKBBL – I don’t win anything like as much, but playing with such an underpowered team (at least compared to the high elves) is much more satisfying to me – a draw is a great result against some nightmare high TV bash side, and it’s even better if I can foul the crap out of one of their stars. I hope that the same will be true of my underworld team in due course.

Now it comes to say goodbye to the high elves, I find I will miss them a bit – particularly the unsung heroes or the players I’ve lost on the way. I don’t feel much love for Gil-Galad, for example, the stat-freak monster, I feel some affection for Alawe, Kevatononel and Tananmyr, who were with the team from the start. Alawe in particular was injured more times than any other player I have ever seen on any time – 12, over his career.

Alawe – High Elf Lineman – 6 3 4 8 – Block, Dodge, Guard 
Kevatononel – High Elf Lineman – 6 3 4 8 – Block, Dodge, Sidestep 

Two rock solid linemen. Alawe is good in a scrum and Kevatononel can protect the edges of my defensive line to make it hard for an opposing coach to switch sides quickly, plus side step is a good passive bash skill.

Tananmyr – High Elf Blitzer – 7 3 4 8 – Block, Dodge, Guard, Sidestep, Fend 

This guy has been the rock around which my team is based since the start. Blodgestep plus fend (“flodgestep”?) is a wonderful combination to have on your “edge” players – you put most of your team in the centre of the pitch, with only two flodgesteppers in the wide zones, and it suddenly becomes very hard for a bash team to score – they need to run round you to do so and blitzing your edge players is incredibly frustrating because even if they knock the guy down you can usually force them to dodge to get past.

More than 50 games played as an elf, including 27 in the meat grinder of high tier OCC, is pretty good going for an elf, and Tananmyr in particular never missed a game.

I was sad to see the back of Vanval, useless pixel-hugger that I am, albeit I have described him elsewhere. My other big regret is that Cheradenine Xakalwe died before he could really achieve anything. My blodge AG5 blitzer was killed by a wizard towards the end of season 15 (apo failed). This was my only AG5 player and I was just learning how to use him for the best when he was killed. I never rolled another +AG and so my team lost much of its unpredictability.

So those guys will be much missed. What I’ll do over the next couple of weeks is put down my thoughts on how to play high elves, and how to build the players.