Sunday, October 29, 2017

Reversal of fortune

My Blood Bowl game this week was a weird one.  Looking at the final result things seem pretty normal as it was a game of dwarves vs. wood elves and it was a 1-1 tie with the wood elf box full of KO'd and injured players.  The way the game played out though was odd indeed.

In the first half I elected to kick to the elves.  I like doing this so that I can try to force a quick score and then use up the rest of the half injuring as many elves as possible.  The idea is to only allow them a single roll to get their KO'd players back at the half as I score on the last possible turn.  Worst case is that I don't score at all and still keep their team as small as possible for the second half. 

My strategy did not work.

The elves grabbed the ball and on turn 2 their tree knocked himself down and left the ball in a vulnerable position.  I rushed up, bashed the ball carrier, and got 4 dwarves around the ball which is a superb position for me to be in at that point.  Unfortunately for me the elves had a wizard and they used it to knock down 3 of my 4 ball defenders, and then blitzed the last defender away.  They grabbed the ball and then played a good game of keepaway throughout the rest of the half, scoring late, leaving me no chance at a touchdown myself.

This is all pretty normal.  What is abnormal is the state of the dugout when the elves scored.  There was 1 injured elf and 2 KO'd elves, which is fine, but there were also 3 KO'd dwarves, including both of my runners.  Both after the TD and at the half my dwarves failed all of their wake up rolls while the elves made all of theirs so I started the second half down 1-0 in score and outnumbered by the elves.  I also had no ball carriers and only 2 rerolls because I use a runner with leader to get my third reroll.  I was *not* optimistic about my chances.

Elves are not supposed to bash dwarves this well! 

The natural rebuttal to that is of course that in Blood Bowl anything can happen, and does.

The second half saw a reversal of fortunes.  Even though I was outnumbered I pounded the elves brutally and kept the ball safely in my cage.  Early on I managed to knock the treeman down and get the cage away from it so the elves had to pursue my gang and they kept on getting punched, stepped on, and generally brutalized.  I steadily moved the ball up the pitch just the way dwarves are supposed to.  Turn 10 I injured 2 elves.  Turn 11 I KO'd 2 elves.  Turn 12 I KO'd 1 elf and broke another's neck, but the doctor was on call and the elf got better.  On turn 13 I KO'd yet another elf and then I was faced with a tough choice where I had to decide if I was willing to rush in for a TD and try to kick to the elves and score again in 3 turns or just keep on caging up and go for a draw.  This is how the game looked: 

I have a crowd of dwarves, and the elves have a tree in a useless position, one stunned elf, and one elf who is running for his life.  I mean "In position to score".  I can score here and probably be facing a tree and 5 elves, desperately hoping to score again in 3 turns.  Or I can just sit around and punch the snot out of that one elf within reach and guarantee a draw.

If I had had my runners available I might have gone for the score.  My opponent certainly encouraged me to do so!  However, if my runners don't wake up I have only 1 reroll and I think my chances of scoring the second time are pretty terrible.  I have nobody above Movement 5 and nobody with any passing skills, and only 2 dwarves who even have normal Agility.  If I put my 3 Agility dudes anywhere on the line of scrimmage the tree will beat them up so just getting to the ball might be rough.  I decided to just sit tight and draw and I am pretty sure this was right.

It turns out that I don't have an actual guarantee of a draw.  The elves have a play to get a 1 turn TD after I score and they lined up to do it, though it definitely required some luck.  Hilariously both of my runners woke up so I was fielding an almost full team (one man down because he got caught fouling the elf who was on the ground in the picture above.)  Also when I kicked to the elves the kickoff result was Blitz, which if I had known about it would have made my 3 turn TD attempt *vastly* more likely.

In any case the Blitz made it easy for me to crush any hopes of a 1 turn TD my opponent may have had and I locked in a draw.

When I look at the luck on both sides it is interesting.  I got unlucky on the Fireball rolls in the first half, and that was crucial.  I also got unlucky on armour and injury rolls especially in the first half.  However, the Treeman was absolutely garbage at standing up again after falling over and only made 1 stand up roll of 8 attempts, and that success came after he was completely irrelevant to the play.  I also only made 2 of 9 wake up rolls and that was extremely important to keeping the game a draw instead of a win.  Just generally I also had a lack of 6s on my d6 rolls.

I shouldn't complain overmuch though.  I didn't accrue any injuries, I collected a solid 16 SPP, and my team is still very much in contention to advance to the postseason.  My next 3 games are against Chaos Dwarves, Nurgle, and Necromantic so I am ready for a slugathon to finish off the regular season.  1 win and 1 draw locks me in for the postseason I think, though I doubt 3 draws does and that is quite plausible given my schedule.

Against the Chaos Dwarves I have 4 more copies of Guard, 4 more Block, 4 more Mighty Blow, and much superior ball handling.  They have 2 dudes with 4 Strength, but I think I am a significant favourite because I am pretty sure I can dominate the gangpile with the skills listed above.

Nurgle has 5 more Strength than me.  This is bad.  But I have 8! more copies of Guard, 7 more Block, 2 more Mighty Blow.  However, my opponent will get a ton of inducement money to combat my extra stuff.  Maybe he will buy a Halfling Chef and I won't get any rerolls at all.  That would be bad!  Still, I am 390 Team Value up on him in a brutal slugathon, and that seems like it has to be good thing for me.

Necromantic isn't quite as bashy as the other two as it has significantly more speed and Agility but I suspect the game will still hinge on success at murdering rather than fancy plays.  The Necromantic team is 100 TV above mine so they look pretty scary, but I definitely like my chances of winning the brawl.  The main question is whether or not they will murder my dudes with a couple of Claw/Mighty Blow werewolves.  This is the matchup that I think is by far the worst for me, though because I have lower Team Value I can potentially even things up by buying a wizard and Fireballing my way to victory.  The really key bit to this matchup is that the Necromantic team is in 3rd place to my 4th place in the league so if I lose to them I am likely out whereas if I win I have a clear path to the postseason.  I guess I will find out soon enough!

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