So game three for the Eshin Academy was against those side-stepping, catchy elves. I took my usual lineup of 4 gutter runners, 2 blitzers, 1 thrower, 5 linerats and 3 rerolls. The elf coach went for 2 catchers, 2 throwers(I think, could have been a lineman), 2 blitzers, 5 linemen, 2 rerolls and an apothecary.
Now before we start some of this is a little sketchy. It was such an action packed game compared to the last two that the details escaped me when I came to write this down (thus a coach’s report and not a match report per say).
I won the toss and elected to kick. Things didn’t start off so well and the elves got the ball and moved it up their right side, having blitzed a hole to run into. Uh oh. The screen was setup to protect the ball carrier and a quick score looked inevitable. I’m not sure how, but in a couple of turns I managed to pop the ball out down in the corner and retrieve it with one of the runners. The elves had committed to the attack but not overly; there were still some skirmishes on the half way line. The more I play with skaven though, the more that I learn to see the gaps and not to be afraid. On my turn 4 I got the ball up using a runner to runner exchange and that was that…touchdown 1-0 to the Eshin Academy.
So I kicked off again and the elves were a little more cautious with the ball but were still menacing. I was doing my best to take on the blocks that I had and to put pressure on the ball carrier whenever I could. Again, I managed to get the ball out and I think it was on the floor. Turn 8, last turn of the half. Could I do it? It needed a dodge, pickup, throw into tackle zones and a dodge to score…but I had 2 gutter runners and a reroll to execute the play. The reroll was needed on the throw, but it worked. 2-0 at the end of the first half and I was still to receive the ball in the second half. The second touchdown was a risky play – how many times do you KO yourself making a dodge? – but it was the kind of play that I’m becoming less afraid of making with the skaven. They are made for the dramatic play and you just have to go with it.
Second half began and I got a two turn score with a classic move, handoff, move, pass, move, score. A hole was created in the middle on the left of the line of scrimmage. It was an opportunity that the skaven are uniquely positioned to exploit and I’m more likely to just go for it now. So that was 3-0. By now we were both starting with 9 players for most drives. I had knocked an elf catcher into the crowd and seriously injured him fairly early on. An elf blitzer was also KOd. For my part I finished with 3 in the seriously injured box, maybe league play would temper my riskiness? We’ll have to see.
It was then the elves turn to score. Quickly moving the ball down towards my endzone in the corner; a position that I have found myself in on several occasions. Again I managed to get back and make a play but once again it wasn’t enough to prevent the eventual touchdown. There were too few players that I could get to make a truly effective play. 3-1.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring though with the Eshin thrower and gutters runners combining for another score. Final score 4-1 to the Eshin Academy.
I’m really pleased to get my first win and to do it in such a skaven-like way too. I’m happy too that I am progressing. I am learning things from every game that I play and am learning so much from every coach that I play. I’m finding that using the gutter runners to make risky plays and to also use them to pressure the ball carrier really pays off. At one point I managed to get three of them on the ball carrier. Which leads me to my next point, blitzing with the ball carrier. It’s easier with higher strength players of course but it’s a good way of getting out of trouble. With a gutter runner, I’d always dodge out, but with a blitzer for example this is a better choice. Three times now I’ve also been caught out and conceded when the ball has ended up deep in one corner by my endzone. I think I need to look at how I commit defensive players positionally. I did learn from last week, in that I thought to move a covering runner as a catcher upfield so I could at least get rid of the ball. But didn’t get the chance to throw it away. I did over commit a couple of times when blocking the ball carrier. I had the assist for a two dice block already but added the third man. My thinking at the time was to be around the ball when it bounced out. Problem was that I then had nobody to pick up the ball after it came out! It didn’t matter on this occasion but that’s not to say it won’t next time.
I also learned that side-step is a brilliantly annoying skill. I didn’t understand the rule properly to start with and thought that the opposing coach could only choose which of the three squares the player could be pushed to and not any square as per the skill definition. At least twice I blocked thinking a push would be enough to clear the space and or covering defender, only to make it worse! It’s a skill that will be added to a couple of gutter runners when we get the league up and running 🙂
After three games, I must say that I’m loving playing skaven. I’ve not come up against a bash team yet, so I’ll reserve judgement as to their full effectiveness. Being confident enough to score in two turns makes a real difference to the flow of the game and it can quickly give the coach an upper hand just by changing the approach that the opposing coach has to take.
Not sure if I’m playing Blood Bowl next week as I could be having a taster game of Necromunda.
Eshin Academy P3 W1 D1 L1 F6 A6