With the extra time that half-term brings and n an effort to get caught up, I've managed to fit in two games of Blood Bowl this week. On Thursday I played Trevor's Undead team, Rest In Pieces, and on Friday I went to Andy's to play the Stilton Stealers, his Skaven team. Both of these teams are battling for qualification at the foot of the table, however Trev is a wily veteran of several Blood Bowl leagues whilst Andy is a Blood Bowl rookie who has been catching more experienced coaches off guard. I was taking nothing for granted.
Slann Frogcisco 49ers 4-1 Rest In Pieces (Casualties 1-2)
A game that saw the very best of the Slann and the very worst of the Undead began with a pitch invasion that left five players, including both Mummies, stunned. The first drive began with the 49ers receiving the ball and rolling a cage round to the flank whilst Catchers leapt into the Undead backfield. In an attempt to stop the bouncing Slann, R.I.P. sent half their team to cover the Catchers whilst the others tried to stop the cage. However, they learned that the Slann can’t be held back with conventional tactics and Pascal leapt out of the cage and passed to Antoine (who’d shaken off his marker) for the first touchdown.
The teams lined up again, with the Undead intent on causing some pain. However, the slippery amphibians caught them on the hop with a blitz and once again the Catchers were over the line and threatening the ball. The Wight managed to get hold of the ball and punch his way free, but was left exposed to a blitz from a Line-frog. He went down, the ball bounced away and the Catchers once again did their thing, with Gilles passing to Thierry for the second touchdown.
With time running short, the Undead did what they could to equalise. The Wight gathered the ball again and a Ghoul slipped through the 49ers line to be in with a chance of scoring. However, with only one Ghoul as a scoring threat the Slann were able to put him in a position so tricky that he would have to work miracles to escape and score. The brave Ghoul tried to punch his way out of the hole but tripped and fell. 2-0 at half time.
The second half began with R.I.P. beginning to put good play together. The Wight got the ball and ran up the centre to where a cage was being formed out of crumpled Slann Line-frogs. Meanwhile the Ghouls once again ran through the flimsy frog line. Revealing the rather surprising Undead passing game, the Wight passed to the Ghoul and he was away and free. However, in his excitement, the Ghoul tripped on the line, face-planted, broke his neck and died! The ball bounced into the crowd and was thrown back in. Pascal grabbed the ball, threw a long bomb to Antoine who ran for the corner to score. 3-0.
It’s fair to say that the Undead were having a bad day. Unable to cause serious damage and suffering from misfortune after misfortune, they realised that the game had slipped away. However, there was still pride to play for. Once again, the Wight grabbed the ball, the Mummies bashed a hole, the Ghouls scuttled through and a pass was followed by a touchdown. That was how it was meant to happen.
With only a couple of turns remaining the Slann set up for another assault on the endzone. The Undead set up deep, but the Catchers were able to rune free. A cage rolled round the flank again and Pascal passed the ball to Thierry who hopped into the safety of the cage. Unbale to get to the ball, R.I.P. did what they could to stem the green tide, but Thierry was able to hop over the defence to complete an emphatic win.
To be fair to Trev, in the first half if it could go wrong, it did. He also wasn't helped by a complete inability to harm my players until the last few turns. However, for me it felt like something clicked with the Slann and I was finally playing effectively with them. Not risking too much, but relying on them to foil the opponent's cunning plans with their 3D strategies. Next up were Andy's Skaven...could I keep the improvement in form going?
Slann Frogcisco 49ers 2-2 Stilton Stealers (Casualties 2-0)
A game of two halves.
The game began with the 49ers receiving. They formed a cage in the middle of the field and then rolled to the flank as the Catchers flooded downfield dragging Skaven out to mark them. The Stealers tried vainly to block the inevitable leaps, but Antoine ran in the touchdown. 1-0 and all was going to the Slann plan.
The Skaven received the ball and began their move upfield. Typically moving the ball with grace and ease to a cage in the centre of the field. However, the Slann Blitzer leapt into the cage, stripped the ball away from the Gutter Runner and the Catchers moved in to scoop up the ball, pass it wide and run in a second touchdown. 2-0 at half time and the frogs were in command.
The Stealers began the second half with the same plan: pick up, hand off, pass and the ball was once again in the centre of the field. A fluffed blitz by the 49ers new signing (a Kroxigor) gave them another turn to move the ball, and another handoff saw a Gutter Runner scooting down the edge of the field. Although the side-stepping rat couldn't be pushed into the crowd, the Slann Blitzer once again came in to do his work. However, a fluffed block (with a reroll!) saw the Blitzer down and the Skaven free to skip past the last frog and score. 2-1; the rats were back in it.
The Slann received the ball and began the now familiar process from both teams; pick up, hand off cage. A two-headed Skaven then pulled off a deft move and dodge into the cage and flattened the ball carrier and the ball then bounced around to settle outside the cage. Aware that the Skaven had a wizard lurking in the crowd and that they couldn't form a cage properly, the Slann opted for the risk move to go for a long pass to a Catcher waiting in the end zone, however the sunny conditions played havoc with the pass and the ball scattered. The Skaven then did what they do best, the ball was scooped up by the thrower, passes to a Gutter Runner who scooted down the flank again. Only a single line-frog could get to him but the blitz failed and the Stealers ran in to equalise.
Three turns remaining and the frogs were still aware that a wizard was lurking. Once again; pick up, hand off, cage...but the fireball didn't come. The Skaven vainly assaulted cage, still no magic. The Slann rolled left and formed a wall along the edge of the pitch, still not a sizzle. Las turn, the Skaven ran in to close with the frogs and make moving the ball difficult...suddenly there was an arcing bolt of lightning and the ball carrier was down. The ball scatted into three Skaven tackle zones. Without a reroll the Slann began a series of once dice blocks to clear the ball. Only two tackle zones remained when a Catcher went for the ball...it was enough as he failed to scoop up the ball and the game was drawn.
As I said, it was a game of two halves. In the first half, everything went to plan and had my Blitzer succeeded in stripping the ball away from the Gutter Runner (literally a 99% chance of success with a reroll) then I think I would have been away and clear at 3-0. I'm more irritated that I broke one of the cardinal rules for playing against Skaven by taking a risk and throwing long. This allowed Andy to do a standard Skaven 'steal & score' move to equalise. I panicked at the ease with which he'd got into my cage and was concerned about the wizard. I should have concentrated on protecting the ball again and risked the wizard. As it was, I not only allowed Andy to equalise, but had he remembered the wizard in time, he would have won. I almost threw this one away.
The upside however, was once again the team functioned as I intended and a fluffed block and a mistake from me were the reasons my lead was overturned. I'm cursing the team any more - I think I've got the hang of the Slann.
However, the good news is that these two results have guaranteed my progression into the play offs. I've now got two games to play to secure league position and a favourable draw. My next opponent is JP whose Nurgle team, the Rottenham Tight 'Uns, are currently on the same points as me (although I have a game in hand). Win this one and I think that I'm certain of being in the top half of the draw.