Wednesday night saw Game 2 of the local Blood Bowl league and my elves showed up to face a human team that after one game was playing like a killing, passing elf team. The humans won their first game 3-0 vs skaven and won the casualty battle 2-1. The human thrower had 4 completions under his belt. My elves on the other hand lost 2-1 to chaos dwarves but came out of it unscathed at least.
The humans won the toss and cheered on by the 18000 humans fans that turned up elected to receive. The human team started with 6 linemen, 3 blitzers, 2 catchers and 1 thrower. From turn 1 I could see that this human team wanted to play a bit of elf ball. The catchers running down the wide zones and the caging manual left at home. One lesson that I wanted to take into this game from the first game was that I needed to be more aggressive. I was more comfortable doing that in this game as we were evenly matched for strength, although the humans had 4 Block pieces to my 2. By turn 2 we were spread out, engaged, along the LoS with the humans attacking down my left flank, and me trying to pressure the ball carrier and the players causing a threat. On their turn 3 the human catcher broke free down the right but the support could not get to him and his was left stranded. On my turn 3 I was able to knock the ball free and swiftly move it up the field to one of my catchers for a turn 3 touchdown, 1-0 elves.
The humans next drive saw them change tactics with the thrower picking up the ball and immediately caging up behind the blitzers on the LoS. They then proceeded to try to block their way through my line while my side-steppers tried to break into the cage and hit the ball carrier. Although they were hitting me hard, they weren’t able to break my armour until turn 6. When they did though, they did it properly, killing one of my linemen. I decided not to get my newly purchased apothecary out on to the pitch his magic sponge as he didn’t have any SPPs. That decision proved wise as on turn 7 they broke the armour of a blitzer killing him too! I used the apothecary and he did his work patching the player up so that he can take to the field again. While all of this was going on the elves were defending stoutly and had prevented the humans from equalising. The human turn 8 came and went with no touchdown being scored. I think what happened is that they went for a pass which despite having Pass and Catch ended up on the floor. It’s a bit hazy a few days later. The last turn of the half and there was a chance for me to score though as I had a MV 8 catcher within range although he was on the floor as the turn started. It was elf ball time. Pick up by the blitzer who handed off to the thrower who in turn made his way up to half way. The catcher stood up and dodged his way out and into the endzone. Long Bomb. Was accurate. Catch. Was made! 2-0 elves at half time.
First Half Analysis
The scoreline may have gone my way but I ended the half with 5 in the KO box and 2 in the Seriously Injured/Badly Hurt box. Why 2 you say? Well despite the apothecary being successful on the blitzer, I didn’t actually put him back into Reserves. I blame this on playing too much computer Blood Bowl and not enough tabletop. Another lesson for next week. I was overall happy with my play, the aggressiveness was working but I need to remember skills as a few times I forgot about side-step. Again, not enough tabletop I think.
The second half started with me seriously down on numbers. Only 1 of the 5 KO’d players made it back on the pitch and I started the second half with 5 players against the full strength humans. I received the ball and predictably the humans ganged up on the players that I had left surrounding players and getting multiple blocks on each. The normal 2+ elf dodge roll becoming significantly harder especially when I ran out of rerolls early on. I did have the ball though and retreated back towards my endzone to protect the ball. The human team was eventually able to apply so much pressure that I couldn’t hold out any longer and they scored on turn 4 to take the score to 2-1.
2 more of my KO’d players came out of the KO box but I had suffered 2 more casualties in the meantime, one a smashed ankle -1 MA on a lineman. I received the ball again and drew the humans in while trying to apply a little more threat with the few players that I had left to spread out the human players. The High Kick result allowed me to more my blitzer under the ball and he managed to catch the ball. The humans again surrounded my players but in their focus on bashing my players didn’t put enough into ensuring that they could get the equaliser. In my last turn I was able to knock down the only human player, a catcher, that was in range without having to Go For It. My blitzer had the ball in the side line, with a lineman backing him up and the human catcher on the floor next to him. That meant that the last turn of the game ended with the humans needing to knock over the blitzer, pickup the ball, throw it, catch it and then do 2 GFIs with 1 reroll left. Possible. But more possible for elves 😉 So the blitz was made and block dice were rolled. Double Both Down. Reroll. Both Down and…Skull. Game over. The elves win 2-1.
Second Half Analysis
The second half was just about me running away and trying to keep the ball away from the humans for as long as I could while they surrounded as many of my players as they could. The humans blocked as much as they could while applying tackle zones around my players and slowly advancing reducing the space available for me to play in. Conceding one was inevitable, so the plan was always to try to stop the second score. The second drive was more about safety, by giving it to the blitzer, and trying to form a 2 man cage on the side line. It worked and in the end the dice went my way on the final turn of the game.
The first half went really well, with the elves doing what elves do, but this time with more aggression. The second half was the elves doing what elves do and getting bashed up. I will say that the human injury rolls were running really hot. I held out for 6 turns with no armour breaks but one they came they didn’t stop. I was really pleased with my second half play. Elves are one of the few teams that can still do a lot with only a few players. 2+ dodges and speed and agility across the team mean they can keep the number of blocks down to a minimum and move the ball away from danger.
I’m still not sure if I did the right thing in stalling for 4 turns with only 5 players. In the end, I think I was right as I got the win. I took a call that the human armour and injury dice couldn’t run as hot as they had been. But they did. Every time he broke armour he took someone off the pitch. I paid the price a bit but am pleased with the result, if the humans had one more turn to score then they would have scored for sure.
The extra aggression played a part in the victory and is something to take into the next game. I need to spend more time with the rules and thinking tabletop, rather than computer game. Silly things like forgetting to move the apo’d player and that I had side-step could have been much bigger mistakes than they were.
All in all a good game and hopefully it will set me up for my next game which will be in a couple of week against an equally bashed up dark elf team.