Happy Hardcore (underworld, me) v The Hardwoods (wood elf, mrSox)
The Hardwoods came into the game having had a terrible matchday 1 and a much better second game. The coach went for a high risk “all positionals” build, taking 2 wardancers, a treeman, a thrower and two catchers, but zero rerolls and no apo. He was then rewarded with the death of both wardancers in the first game…!
Matchday 2 had been a 3-0 win over some dwarves, with the treeman proving his worth in the centre and some red hot injury dice. He was still coming into the game with
a TV of 700 though, and three journeymen gave him a babe as inducements.
I was missing a claw blitzer with a fractured leg, but was sure that Rave (MB blitzer) was going to be a key player in thinning the elven numbers down.
I won the toss and elected to receive. What I’m finding on the kick off is that electing to receive is a very defensive play, and tends to produce a draw as a result.
Electing to kick tends to give a better chance of a win but is riskier. Receiving was therefore an error, probably (I need a win or two!), and I knew this straight away but was seduced by the idea of getting early casualties and a numbers advantage.
My (bad) plan seemed to pay off straight away, as Breakbeat killed an elven lineman with the first blitz of the game.
The kick was very short and centre-left and I
had planned to make some positional moves around the ball and pick it up with a thrower, but a pathing error saw Jungle (lineman) pick up the ball and stand in a space which made it impossible to get entirely safe. Gah! I also marked the treeman with a goblin to keep him out of the way.
The wood elves declined to try a 1d sack on the ball carrier, but hit back against the remainder of my team, smashing the ankle of Bonkers (thrower) despite the attentions of the apo, an injury which will probably end the rat’s career.
I’ve had a lot of success in recent matches in taking the play to the sidelines and trusting in my positional play to gain opportunities for crowdsurfs, and so it
proved here, as I was able to grind up the sideline, surfing two elves (1 KO and 1 stun) and KOing 4 more elves. My only mistake as I saw it was a gangfoul on the elven quarterback which produced only a stun and saw a goblin sent off, reducing me to 10 players for the rest of the match. I finally scored on turn 8, leading 1-0 at
The two kickoffs after my touchdown saw the game change wildly however as all the KO’d elves came back and I lost 4 goblins to KOs and injuries on the LOS with no
KO recovery rolls at all. This left me 6 v 10 for most of the game, reduced further to 5 v 10 early in the second half.
The Hardwoods tried to score quickly at the start of the second half, but failed the catch from a hand off deep in my half. My few remaining players clustered around
the ball and indeed managed to get a rat hand on it at one stage, but an elven touchdown was pretty inevitable and having stalled for a turn near my end zone they scored on turn 14.
With three turns to go, but still only 5 players vs 9 elves (one had been sent off for fouling one of my goblins! A great exchange for me!), my prospects were bleak.
They got worse when I failed a (rerolled) catch in trying to pass the ball to safety – after high elves I’m finding the underworld passing game somewhat binary! Two interceptions on MD1, followed by an amazing touchdown pass last week, and now a routine pass failed to stall my drive. That said, I made things worse with a positional mistake to let the elves swarm all over me. The match then changed from trying to win the game to trying to save it, and Rave did his part by killing another elven lineman and rushing back to double mark the ball carrier. The elves chose to take the draw rather than a 1D blitz for the victory (an odd decision I thought), and
the game ended 1-1.