Second game of the league season against a Dark Elf team. In the last game against Dark Elves I spectacularly failed to master counting and conceded when I thought it was impossible. I paid more attention to the roster this time and the two AG5 players, including an AG5 blitzer definitely caught my attention.
Going into the game I had all 12 players fit a ready to go and had my newly Blodging to cause all kinds of merry ball getting mayhem.
So how did it go?
I won the toss and for the first time this season the Fan Factor roll giving me +1 FAME. I elected to receive and setup opposite the dark elves who spread out along the half way line. The fans though thought that this game wasn’t shaping up to be very violent and elected to throw a rock at both teams. The result was my ball getting thrower being stunned and a dark elf blitzer being KO’d. From the resulting touchback I gave the ball to my unskilled catcher in the centre of the pitch a few squares behind the line. The elves started the game in their normal fashion by trying to get players into the opposition backfield. The early blocks went the elves way and 2 dark elves were stunned, leaving a few gaps that 3 elves were able to exploit, managing to rush upfield without being touched. The ball carrier stayed in position watching the action unfold.
The dark elves had no option but to pull back and cover the players already threatening their end zone. They retreated and blitzed the elves star blodging catcher and surrounding the others. The elves responded by sliding to the right and pushing forward, trying to free the players that had been marked and make a passing lane whilst screening the ball carrier. The AG5 dark elf blitzer thought nothing of the elf screen blitzing his way in and knocking the ball carrier over sending the ball scattering. He couldn’t catch the ball through but it fell into the hands of one of his dark elf teammates on the line in the middle of the field. His teammates weren’t able to get there to support him though the elves blitzed him down knocking the ball free again before picking it up and handing off for the Turn 3 score.
The kick off was high and the AG5 dark elf blitzer placed him self under the ball, caught it and ran up to the line where a cage formed around him. The dark elf line blocked and followed up slowly advancing into the elf half. There was room for two elves to run in from the left wing and put a blitz on the back man of the cage and get the sidestepping blitzer attached to the ball carrier. The remaining elves gained confidence from this and faced up the dark elves breaking armour and Knocking Out another enemy player.
The dark elves responded and tried to push through down the right hand side where there was now a gap in the elf defence. The ball carrier went to move but tripped over spilling the ball, which luckily for the dark elves was caught by the nearby runner. The elves followed up, hoping to pounce on the mistake, and blitzed the runner who managed to dump off the ball to a nearby lineman before taking the hit. The lineman with the ball was swiftly surrounded by elves wanting to steal the ball while the other elves stayed strong in defence. It was the dark elves turn to counter now, dodging out and swinging to the right passing the ball around the elf defence before protecting the ball carrier a few squares inside the elf half to the right with a blitzer threatening further downfield.
The elves knew that their dark cousins could score next turn and attacked the ball carrier, knocking the ball free before one of the nimble elf catchers dodged through to pickup the ball and swiftly move it down the left hand side going for it twice to get some extra space between the ball and the defenders. A three man elf screen protected the ball carrier and they waited for the dark elf response. The response came from the AG5 blitzer, fresh from the embarrassment of his previous trip, who charged back to make amends. Sadly his brain and feet weren’t communicating very well and he fell over leaving the dark elves in a very bad position. The elves flooded forward, adding to the screen and knocking players free where needed. The final action of the turn saw lineman number 8 dodge out to try to join the screen, only to fall over and badly hurt himself, putting in the dugout for the rest of the game.
The dark elves pulled back in one last desperate attempt to prevent the score but they suffered their own dodging mishap, when lineman number 13 fell over and broke his ribs, putting him out of action for the next game. The elves then walked in for their second score of the half on Turn 8. With one turn left of the half the dark elves just wanted to get in and regroup at half time. The vanity pass would help them regain a little bit of that lost confidence but their spirit was broken and the pass was dropped. 2-0 to the elves at half time.
First Half Analysis
I choose to receive again as I like being ahead in the game; I think it frees up my play. The early KO and the two stuns helped to clear a path for me to run through untouched. I was really pleased with how my first touchdown went. I waited the extra turn and didn’t force it. I did forget the AG5 is brilliant though and the bold play to dodge through and blitz through the screen was very effective. It did keep me alert for it for the rest of the game though and I extended the next screens as a result. It’s always nice to get a touchdown when you’re kicking and I was pleased to do it here. An effective screen was protecting the ball carrier and forcing the opposing coach to roll dice and burn rerolls as a result. I felt in control going in 2-0 up at the half.
The second half started with elves kicking off to the dark elves, and their Cheering Fans were hoping the elves could push on and add to the scoreline. The kick bounced right up behind the dark elf line where it was caught, allowing the dark elves to form their cage on the line whilst spreading the remaining players across the pitch trying to stretch the defence, allowing them to find the running gap that they wanted. The elves themselves defended the line and broke through to get a tackle zone onto the ball carrier. Blocks were exchanged, but the elf armour was proving tough and they weren’t down for long. Knowing that they had nothing to lose, the dark elves tried to push through on the left, with the ball carrier blitzing his way into space.
He had maybe found too much space for himself though and the elves were able to knock him down, steeling the ball and running away with it midway into the dark elf half. The ball carrier and two supporting players hoping to force a third touchdown. The dark elves again found themselves having to return to defence and ran back applying tackle zones on the ball carrier before again falling over when dodging out to apply more support. The ball carrier was still on his feet but needed a lot of help to be able to get out to safety. The elf blitzers combined to assist with key blocks to allowing the elves to get a blitz in on one of the dark elves who was pressuring the ball carrier. It wasn’t enough though and he was pushed back but remained stuck to the ball. The elf catcher had seen enough and dodged his way out 3+, 2+ for the touchdown on Turn 3.
3-0 and the elves to kick off again. A long kick took the ball into the endzone and the elf coach was matching his players for impact with his Perfect Defence call pushing all of the elf players up on the line engaging the dark elves before they had a chance to get the ball. The dark elves responded with a sense of calm, knowing the game was now beyond them. They were playing for pride! The ball was picked up and quickly moved forward, whilst the line managed to punch a hole in the centre of the elf defence. The elf line held in place while the wide players moved forward to try to position to interrupt the pass. It wasn’t enough though and the dark elves pushed through and moved the ball right down the middle of the pitch, with a clear run to the elf endzone.
It was now the elves turn to have to defend. There were three players in range and between them they teamed up knock over the ball carrier, scattering the ball in between 3 elves and 3 dark elves. While attention was focussed on the ball, an elf blitzer and the thrower teamed up to throw a couple of blocks and forcing a dark elf lineman into the crowed who took pity on him, stunning him before turning their attention to the action near the elf endzone.
The dark elves looked to position themselves to recover the ball but were well aware that the elves were in place to move the ball swiftly upfield should things not go to plan. Go to plan they didn’t, with another player tripping up while attempting to run into position. So, elf Turn 6 and the chance to get the ball and move it upfield, out of danger, and a possible fourth score. The dark elf players were pushed away from the ball and the covering blodge catcher moved into pickup the ball and hand it off to the thrower at the halfway line. Despite his crowd surfing heroics he stayed focused and took the hand off before moving it up the left with the screen already forming to protect him. The dark elves, shocked by the way the elves moved the ball from defence to attack, ran back to try to interfere with the screen and the AG5 blitzer again tried for redemption. It was hard, but not impossible 2+, 2+, 2+, 2+ followed by a 1DB. The dark elf supporters held their collective breath..and he fell over; unable to escape the grabbing arms of the defender standing next to him. The elf thrower walked in for the Turn 7 touchdown and the team’s fourth of the game.
The dark elf coach knew that his owners and the press would have harsh words for him in the morning and called for the vanity pass before hitting commenced. The dark elf morale was low and the pass was fumbled. The elf coached called it time and after one blitz called out to the ref and that was it.
Game over 4-0 to the elves.
Second Half Analysis
The second half was more of the same really. My armour was holding steady and being able to start the second half with 11 players on the pitch makes a real differences with the elves on defence. On attack you can cope with missing players, but defending, especially against agility teams is more difficult as you can’t cover all of the gaps. The final drive that the dark elves had been what they’d been trying to do all game. Pushing through my line and moving the ball upfield quickly and taking advantage of the extra point of armour. I was well positioned but maybe overcommitted by one player and was a little lucky that the bounce fell kindly. The speed of the catcher was essential in getting around to be able to bake the 2DB.
With the earlier opportunity I was pleased to be able to get in behind the dark elf line and attack the ball, dump off is a useful skill but in this case it just put the ball in a position where it became harder to control. When the dark elf coach moved the ball back across to the right with a short pass there was the opportunity to keep going right and hand off to another blitzer. It was either staying still with support and me getting a 1DB on the ball, or handing off and allowing me to get a 2DB on the ball. I think staying in place was the right call put I was still able to clear the assists away to allow me to get a 2DB on the ball.
I didn’t use a reroll in the second half and that was just the way it was going really; I was deliberately trying not to roll dice and playing a more considered game.
It was a really fun game. We both said that. It was just one of those games where the dice were slightly in my favour and against my opponent. But I’m not one to blame the dice. If you make the opponent roll dice and position your players well then the dice will seem to be in your favour. I think this was the most effective game that I have had playing the elves. The team’s skill levels are getting to a point where they are harder to knock down and they are better equipped to do what I want them to do. My linemen did their job of screening and holding up the opposition players, whilst my positional player were able to attack the ball and move it very effectively.
This game really highlighted the importance of skills that give you built-in rerolls. I’d love an AG5 player, but without Dodge there’s always that risk of rolling a 1 and falling over; that happened a lot in this game. It also gave me some reading to do about tactics and protecting the ball with a limited number of players. When the dark elves broke through at the end of the game, there were two supporting players in a half cage. But because I could get around the back they weren’t doing anything to protect the ball carrier. Different positioning there would have meant I either had a longer route round to make the blitz or I would only get a 1DB. I think I’m playing enough now to learn these intermediate positioning tricks.
So that’s that. A good game of Blood Bowl. I must say that my opponent was brilliant. He’s new to the game but has quickly got up to speed with the dark elves. Despite everything that was going against him, he never once complained or moaned. It was a good game played in good spirits.
Next up for me are some orcs and then a chaos team to finish off the season. I’ll be giving up quite a bit in team value so expect to be facing a chainsaw and a wizard…gulp!
It also looks like I’m not going to make the playoffs so after these games, plans for next year’s league assault can begin 🙂
So far I am P7 W3 D1 L3 and there’s a story to them all 🙂