Discussion in 'Team Blogs' started by Dionysian, Apr 6, 2013.
The morning of MD1 arrived and I still haven’t decided whether to keep the troll or not. The main reason for his original hire was to distract Netsmurf’s bloodthirster in the final CTALE match, a task in which he performed fantastically eating the majority of the deadly blitzes, but he wasn’t really supposed to survive that match. My FoL orc team runs a lot smoother without the troll than with it (although I tend to discount extrapolations from MM experience), and I find it very hard to get excited about a big guy that lacks access to tentacles. Besides which 2 games 0 spp isn’t really Crunchers material. So the troll is fired and replaced by rookie lineman Dennis Avoth. The deciding factor is that it also gives Percy Bush some locker room company. Crunchers were originally formed as a throwaway team full of random players for park pick-up games. But then they entered CTALE and did well. Of course now Cardiff’s sporting royalty is keen to join and the original players find their places under threat creating tension between the old guard and those waiting to fill dead men’s boots. Percy (a replacement for the MB blitzer that Smurf killed in that final match) and Dennis are the first of the new wave.
MD1 Caerdydd Crunchers v House of Amber (Barristan)
Crunchers win the toss and it’s immediately decision time. Trying to extend the perfect defensive record from CTALE is tempting but facing 5 elf teams in a row it’s not a question of if someone scores but when, so we may as well get it over with. House of Amber lacked a bench so Crunchers elect to kick aiming to induce a fast score and grind out the 2-1 win, preferably with numbers advantage in the second half.
T1: A perfect defence and the first of many coaching missteps takes place as the sole tackle blitzer gets waved to the wrong spot and is immediately knocked out. He goes on to miss the entire first half.
T2: The Crunchers’ fans start to fear their coach is on House of Amber’s payroll as he gets the back-up thrower surfed. Sadly for his bank balance it’s merely incompetence. This could develop into a real problem if the Amber coach waves his ball carrier back to deep stall as with a numbers and speed advantage they should be able to score at will on T7/8 so Cruncher’s leave a lane open and hope.
T3: Fortunately Amber dive down the side taking four elves with the ball carrier to set up a screen. Crunchers have a MB/Block Black Orc in the area and start making sure that Amber can’t develop the screen. They catch a break when Amber’s Str 4 niggled blitzer, Bleys, chooses to throw a gratuitous 1d block and gets carted off the pitch.
T4: Percy Bush gets a cas close to the ball carrier (apo’d back), and Dennis Avoth, keen not to be eclipsed by Percy blitzes Random the Agi 5 blockless/dodgeless runner. Dennis gets ko’d on the both down but stuns the target which is enough to force the blockless witch elf, Fiona, to score as she can no longer be defended.
Crunchers 0-1 House of Amber
The offensive drive chewed through all 3 of Amber’s rerolls leaving Crunchers with 11 men v 10, 3 rerolls v 0, 4 free blocks to start the drive and 4 turns to equalise before getting the ball back for the 2nd half.
T5: 2 ko’s make it 11v8. Percy grabs the ball and cages just short of the LoS. Both goblins run to the flanks. Crunchers are now heavy favourites and in any other game the coach might call the winning process a matter of technique. Nuffle tends to reserve his right to speak on these occasions though and Crunchers’ fans are well aware their coach often demonstrates sloppy technique anyway.
T6: Cruncher’s move the cage deep into Amber territory at the slight risk of allowing contact on a back cage corner. It’s the opposite side to Amber’s main threat; Benedict, the strip ball blitzer who is screened off by the same orcs providing tackle zone coverage for any ball spill resulting from a blitz from the weak side. If Amber try to break through the weak spot they can’t cover their backfield at the same time so the cage will be able to walk in on T8.
T7: Amber do go for the weak spot knocking down the contact and dodging the Agi 5 runner in on a 3+ for a 1d blitz. Percy stumbles coughing up the ball at the feet of the coverage. Amber’s coach seems a little embarrassed that it worked but with Agi 5 it’s not horrendously unlikely. There’s probably a safer T6 play for the Crunchers.
Fortunately Percy wasn’t hurt when he stumbled and doesn’t fluff the 89% pick-up, caging within normal scoring range and it’s now impossible for Amber to cover all the run-ins. He walks in on T8.
Halftime: Caerdydd Crunchers 1-1 House of Amber
11 men v 9 with a wizard in reserve. Tackle blitzer is back on for the rookie gobbo. No unfortunate kickoff surprises and Percy again grabs the ball, caging near the centre. Unless Nuffle is perched above the pitch with a full bladder, that should be match.
Crunchers are in no real hurry to move up the pitch, happy to take the full 8 turns to score the winner but are tardier than they need to be which leads to the wizard being used slightly earlier than intended to create space and target a group including Benedict. Benedict avoids the fireball but Fiona takes it full in the face being carted off the pitch. 11 v 8. Ungit the catch goblin ignores coach’s orders to sprint off to the corner as an emergency option/distraction and runs instead to the centre to cover some elven dodge zones. This would be a fine place for him to stand if he was the strapping blocker he imagines himself to be but was less optimal for his actual blockless stunty frame. He’s barely positioned before getting a faceful of speeding Corwin and poor Ungit is carted off with a fractured leg. Crunchers’ tackle blitzer is again quickly ko’d but this time gets apo privileges. As soon as he recovers from the stun he repays the coach’s faith in him by cas’-ing Benedict and removing Amber’s main ball-stealing threat. 10 v 7. Percy moves into normal scoring range on T14 and walks home the winner on T16. No riot from the home fans on kickoffs ends Amber hopes.
Final Score Caerdydd Crunchers 2-1 House of Amber
Percy Bush may not have received the official MVP but he was definitely the Man of the Match in his coach’s eyes. While on the face of it the gameplan worked out successfully, there were still numerous coaching errors that Crunchers need to work on eliminating.
Two skill-ups for the next match vs tys’ Pass and Move. Percy Bush and a rookie Black Orc. Percy was meant to replace the MB blitzer that smurf killed in the final CTALE match but with so many elves in the crunchers immediate future they could really use some extra tackle to combat the blodgey prancers; tackle on a single piece isn’t likely to be in-play for many turns. So tackle for Percy Bush, but a decision to make on the Black Orc. I’m really tempted to just take MB for extra LoS carnage. If he becomes a target as a blockless MB player that’s not such a bad thing as it takes additional pressure off the tackle blitzers. The real downside is that previous financial mismanagement (like the troll signing) means that buying a new BoB could be tricky if he dies. But if it goes well he’ll have block within a couple of games anyway, skilling up from a stack of dirty elf corpses, although this plan does nothing to alleviate Crunchers’ disturbing lack of guard.
MD2: Caerdydd Crunchers v Pass and Move (tys123)
I win the toss and despite the kick plan working well last time I choose to receive, tempted by tys’ niggled AV7 lino and a somewhat bizarre, almost certainly unfounded, fear that he’ll play for the draw if I kick. Pitch invasion knocks down 2 of my players including the sole guard blitzer. While I get a casualty on the first block that ends up being the only one my orcs get all game (tho the wizard causes one). I create a 3d block on the niggle with my MB Blorc but fail to break armor. This lino was clearly a bionicly enhanced tarp only pretending to be vulnerable (he was knocked down 9 times during the game, armor broken 4 times (twice with a +2 injury modifier, twice with +1) for 4 stuns).
I half cage and then, instead of completing the cage, blitz with my spare blorc. Safety before gratuitous casualty hunting seems wiser – especially against elves. That blorc should have run across to form a cage corner. On that note my lino should be screening the cage instead of providing the assist for the 3d on the niggle. Greedy and dumb is probably a suboptimal combo.
These initial poor decisions let tys install a sidestep blodging guarder next to my ball carrier. At this point I’m still not particularly worried, cos hey its elves – how much base contact can they survive? Apparently quite a lot.
Turn 2 sees my guard blitzer stand up from the invasion only to get BH, both eating my apo and screwing up my drive by multiplying the effectiveness of tys’ guard pieces. He uses these to create extreme pressure (when I get time I’ll be studying these turns in detail as I expect there are lessons to be had for me there on guard usage). The next few turns are pure stress as I can’t cage and am caught off guard by the elves playing up in my grill like this. I need an 89% BC dodge and some decent bounces on scatters for a couple of turns just to avert disaster.
T6: Probably my worst played turn of the game. Uegoth is surrounded by 4 elves with nefarious intent and my players are boxed in and getting in each other’s way. The orcs are dazed and confused and somewhat surprised to still have possession. The best plan is probably to 2d blitz with Percy into an unskilled lino (hopefully also pushing the guard lino into a harmless spot where I can kill it). Then I run an agi 3 around the flank as a receiving threat and form a cage around Percy handing the ball off to him 12 squares short of a td with 2 moves to go. It’s not a gimme but looks like a pretty solid chance as a lot of elves will be out of position. Instead I chain push Uegoth free and run him into space. This is clearly awful as I can’t screen him properly and even if he stays upright he can’t stall and has to score on T7 allowing a 2 turner back. I then move the tackle blitzer next to the dodgeless catcher instead of the dodgy blitzer and confound my error by blitzing with Percy only to see pushes and move the enemy closer to Uegoth.
Somehow Uegoth stays upright and runs in the 61% td on T7.
I do what I can to stop the 2 turner and make a reasonable job of it though I suspect there are better solutions and I should probably do some study on this. After a blitz to free up one catcher fails, tys finally has to resort to a 52% equaliser (3+ dodge (no skill reroll due to tackle, no team rerolls left), 3+ dodge (dodge back in play), 2+ dodge, 2+ pass (pass), 2+ catch (catch). As the vast majority of the failure rate is packed into that first dodge when he rolls a natural 6 I start to suspect this match going to be a draw.
Half-time: Caerdydd Crunchers 1-1 Pass and Move
While I have a wizard in reserve I’m doubting that tys will give me much of an opportunity to use it to get possession. I leave the blitz open for a safe 2 turner as at this point I’d rather have 7 turns to secure the draw (maybe going for the win if I can grab 3+ casualties quickly) than risk him delaying. I should probably be at least making an effort to defend more rigorously here as 4 turning with a wizard really shouldn’t be that hard in a pinch and reduced drawing chances in exchange for some win chance has to be a good trade under a 3 pt win system.
Tys succeeds with the quick 94.5% score to go 2-1 up.
Blitz! On the kickoff brings the almost inevitable draw into doubt; an elven catcher gaining possession before I get to act. The wizard performs well both knocking the ball loose and cas’ing the catcher (an especially good performance as he probably had his feet up not expecting to be called on until T15/16) but the ball is in the sidestep blitzers tz. Orcs surround the ball and Dennis Avoth stands up on the sideline offering himself for a surf as if tys takes it he eats 2 elvish actions and frees up the ball for me.
Tys surprises me by instantly going for the surf. Doing so allows me to gather the ball and cage pretty safely. Looking at it again though the players he has in the vicinity are largely unskilled and I already have significant muscle in the area so there may not be a better option than just taking the player advantage. Regardless, he takes it and I get the ball into the cage. As a bonus Dennis’ courage is rewarded when the crowd fails to hurt him.
T16: Uegoth is on the sideline in GFI range. Tys 1d's the ball carrier with his blitzer. He has no rerolls left and I have one. Skull gives me a 93% walk-in. With both down or push it gets complicated but without doing the math in depth it looks about 70-75% and 65-70% respectively. He gets the pow tho which leaves me with:
An obvious 3+ dodge 3+ pickup (sh) 5+ pass (pass) (6+ int) 3+ catch for 30.5% (18% if no reroll).
I can get that up to 68.5% (41% if no reroll) with a handoff 2 gfi option after a series of 3 safe 2 die blocks, but I need a pow or stumble on both the 2nd block and 3rd blocks. 2nd block is both down/push and after a couple of seconds reflection I suspect it’s better to revert to the obvious 30.5% chance. Dodge succeeds but Uegoth fluffs the pick-up.
Looking back at the 2nd block tho there’s a 31% success chance for the 2 blocks which means that the total chance of getting a td if I reroll this block result is:
(41 *0.31) + (18*.69) = 25%
So abandoning that and going back to the 30.5% was the right play. It’s somewhat of a relief to see that I don’t always make the wrong decision ingame.
Final score: Caerdydd Crunchers 1-2 Pass and Move
Extremely frustrating result and I can bemoan things like the Blitz!, the elvish bodyarmor and the 52% equaliser, but dice happen and I know from poker that the key to success is to ignore the vagaries of chance which you can’t control (and which trend towards evening out over the long term anyway) and focus on improving the decision making you do control. The cold reality is that I caused a lot of my own problems. And tys played better than me. If I want to avoid this happening again the answer is simple: play better.
MD3: Caerdydd Crunchers v The Phobias Second XI (Barninho)
Barninho wins the toss and The Phobias kick off. Despite the opposition lacking any tackle at all I wave the goblins off the pitch and field the rookie lino instead. Perfect Defence reduces the number of opening blocks, but Uegoth picks up and makes it into a cage, while Crunchers screen off the gap between the cage and LoS.
There isn’t that much to say about the 1st half. The first few turns see adequate progress and things look good apart from the lack of casualties. Phobias are out of rerolls by Turn 5 (2 rerolls sucked up by Crunchers’ tackle blitzers doing their marking job). But by turn 6 I realise that, having completely failed to reduce the opposition numbers, I’m not to get a guaranteed TD and am really wishing I had a gobbo on the pitch to minimise failure rates.
T8: All I’m left with is a 50% td attempt. Uegoth makes the first 4+ dodge but fails the 2nd one twice. The ball ends up all the way down by my own endzone, but thankfully Barninho had committed 100% to defence and not placed anyone in my half to capitalise on a good turnover. A goblin would have increased the TD chance to 70% even accounting for the extra handoff.
Looking back at this I don’t see any major blunders on the offence (if they exist I’m not good enough to spot them yet), more an accumulation of slight positioning errors and a good column defence from The Phobias.
I had a chance to gangfoul a rookie lino with my rookie lino on T3 and turned it down because it was so early in the half. But I ended up not fouling at all the entire game and with 13 v 11 not fouling in the first half is a clear (and major) strategic error.
Also on replay of T3 Barninho seems to be making a conscious decision to shepherd the Crunchers down the sideline, which suggests I should invest a turn or two in gaining central space while I have plenty of turns to spare.
Halftime: Caerdydd Crunchers 0-0 The Phobias Second XI
Crunchers finally start crunching on T9 with Percy getting a ko and Uegoth smashing the collarbone of Thanato (the Block/Guard Catcher). This is apo’d to a serious concussion and initial rumours emanating from the Phobias camp suggest he’ll be kept on the payroll despite his increased fragility.
Crunchers shut down the initial flank assault and advance 2 blitzers towards the deep ball carrier.
T10: Phobias take advantage of the orc’s slowness to move the ball to Chirapto, a catcher on the open side, who advances into enemy territory. He would need a gfi to score next turn, but declines to make it this turn perhaps thinking he’s safe. Phobias advance another catcher, Batracho, into the middle of the Crunchers’ half.
Crunchers block away a loner (cas for good measure) to open up the path for the advance blitzers back to the BC. 3 successful GFIs give a 2d block and Chirapto goes down. (A single GFI from Chirapto would have reduced this to a 2 GFI 1d Block, and 2 GFIs from Chirapto puts him out of blitzer range). A final GFI then puts a TZ on the loose ball.
I have a recurring blind spot when it comes to defence, often successfully locking up everyone from being able to pick and run in/ hand off for a td, only to forget about someone who can run to the endzone without the ball and then receive a pass. So it was here with the hard work from the blitzers wasted by a coaching error that saw 3 players waved into the wrong deep position allowing Batracho an easy 2+ dodge away from his marker instead of being properly surrounded. Hopefully writing this down will reduce occurrences of this error.
T11: My error leaves Barninho a 76% TD chance (better Crunchers positioning would have reduced this to around 50% with enough orcs in the area that failure is pretty close to game over 11 v 8). He makes what I would consider a slight error, having needed a reroll to pick-up, in going for the 3+ short pass, 2+ catch (with catch) which was a 64.8% TD rather than the 67.5% TD from a 2+ GFI, 2+ quick pass, 2+ catch (with catch). Although this is partially mitigated by avoiding a potential armour roll (dying on GFIs to shorten a pass is hilarious for everyone bar the coach who suffers it). Phobias make the TD anyway to go 1-0 up.
T12: Phobias use their final reroll, so its now 11 v 9 and 2 rerolls to 0 both in Crunchers favour. Moving up the pitch vs 9 men proves to be far far simpler than vs 11.
T15: Kakorrhaphio (Phobias’ wrestle/dodge lino) tries to shoot the gap but fails the 4+ dodge for a 1d. This reminds me of how potentially vulnerable a guardless cage often is and I should probably address this sooner rather than later in team development (although a MB blitzer would also have greatly increased the odds of a successful 1st half offensive drive).
I stall, not wanting to risk a 1 turner from The Phobias, but make an error positioning my tackle blitzer allowing Kak a 4+ (with dodge), 4+ (w/o dodge) -2d blitz on Uegoth. The ball spills 9.4% of the time here, but the correct square for my blitzer reduces this to 4.2%.
T16: Nuffle rightly punishes the error with double pows (how else will I learn not to do it again?), but is benevolent and allows Uegoth to live. I spend a good 90 seconds deciding whether to take the 89% td with Uegoth or risk the gfi to score with the backup thrower instead and level him. I finally accept the 2.5% reduction in TD chance and am relived not to see double 1s pop up.
Final Score: Caerdydd Crunchers 1-1 The Phobias Second XI
Many thanks to Barninho for a highly enjoyable game. I tend to shut down chat as soon as someone stars to complain about luck/dice (which means I spend a lot of games with the dice log almost permanently on, especially in MM), but Barninho’s demeanour was impeccable throughout (even when I crippled the Phobias’ best player). I applaud you, sir.
Nice write-up. I like your thorough analysis of the plays, but somehow it feels to me like your reliance on the percentages to appreciate the validity of a play is a tad too much. Although it has aspects of poker, BB is quite different for me and reducing it to figures is a bit... sad. If you read the thread about Blood Bowl awesomeness in the General forum, people seem to agree that a BoB picking up in two TZ, dodging out and throwing a long bomb to a Troll is a hugely enjoyable part of the game, however low the success rate (when you feel like calculating it).
I'm fairly sure I don't speak for everybody though, and I can see what one would like in this type of calculation. It's just not for me I'm afraid.
Good luck for the rest of the season.
I agree that improbable plays add a lot to the fun of the game and enjoy seeing them, but most of the time they’re attempted they also happen to be a valid option or the outright best play in the situation (1 turn left to score for example). Very, very rarely is one attempted just for giggles unless playing in an unranked match with friends.
So I would vehemently disagree with the notion that bloodbowl is diminished by ‘reducing’ it to figures; math is right there at the very heart of the game. If the result of the game is in anyway important to us, then essentially what we’re doing is trying to score as many or more TDs than our opponent – and in a dice game this comes down to probabilities. Every move is jockeying for position to increase our own chance of scoring a TD (hopefully to 100%) and reduce our opponents (preferably to 0%).
If one ever uses phrases like ‘good coach’, or ‘competitive game’ or pretty much anything that references skill or ability then one has to accept the inherent math. To care about skill, or the result, and disdain the math is, at best, quixotic and highly illogical.
Indeed if one only cares about maximising the likelihood of an unlikely play occurring one would make sure to never shut down an opponent completely but always leave him that possibility of a BOB pick up and throw to score instead of knocking down or blocking the final receiver. One would never complete a screen but instead strive to leave a low chance path to one’s own ball carrier just to see if one’s opponent can roll enough good dice to make it. In practice though how often does this happen? In simple situations people tend towards the play most likely to earn them the win – especially in a match that ‘counts’ for anything.
That said if people want to play with absolute disdain for results then that’s a perfectly valid playstyle and I appreciate the resultant giggles. I’ll be cheering on Desalbert’s upcoming Zombie Horde team for example. As an aside, I can’t think of a coach who better exemplifies the ‘play for fun’ ideal. But at the same time when faced with two plays to score he’s going to take the most likely. I also can’t see Desalbert deliberately leaving someone an unlikely scoring opportunity in OCC if he can shut it down. I would argue that very few coaches enter CC or OCC without any desire at all to win it – indeed you have your current CC results right there in your sig. But at the same time we’re all playing because we enjoy the game and have fun playing it.
For me the math is a large part of that fun. I enjoy the challenge of a complex strategy game that feels a lot like a chess/backgammon hybrid played with fantasy figures. I’ve fallen deeply in love with the game mostly because of the gameplay (although I have to admit the fantasy figures and possibility for outrageous freak occurrences is hearty gravy indeed). The most fun games for me are the ones versus highly skilled coaches who stretch the limits of my ability. I enjoyed the game vs Tys for example because he constantly set me problems (more than I was equipped to handle at the time). Losing the game due to an unlikely series of events after ‘surviving’ the first half onslaught was frustrating, but that doesn’t diminish the fun of the learning experience (especially as Tys overall performance was superior and he was unfortunate not to break my offensive drive).
A more ‘fun’ thing I really enjoy is sacrificing material for a time/space advantage, and leaving ‘gambits’ in bloodbowl gives me a thrill each time. In an unranked friendly game I’ll sometimes offer a gambit even when I strongly suspect it’s unsound simply because it makes the position more interesting.
This is a little longer than I intended my reply to be but anti-math sentiment tends to raise my passions . I reference the calculations in-blog because improving is fun for me and increasing the frequency of mathematically sound decisions made ingame is a major factor in this improvement. I appreciate the reply though and also extend my best wishes to House of Amber for the rest of the season. (5 of us on 1-1-1 !)
I agree with both... there is a difference between reckless play (BOB example) and another is thinking that doing the 2/9 play is wrong versus a 3/9 (small odds difference)... but knowing a bit of the odds is essential to "competitive" playing. Players that deliberately makes bad moves spoils the challenge a bit...
First, thanks a lot for this detailed - and passionate - answer.
It might have come out wrong, but I fully agree with what you exposed and being myself a player of poker (though not a fanatic) and of complex board games where you can make a strategy that can only be ruined by two cards in a deck of 75 (which will happen most of the time), I also like the math (or let's reduce it down to probabilities) aspect of the game. And yes, despite the fact that our recent encounter certainly wasn't my best coaching performance by far, of course I will play to reduce the chances of success of my opponent and push him/her towards this highly improbable play with 10% success rate rather than 50%. But if it succeeds, I won't go further than saying 'well it was a 5+, 4+, 6+, 3* 2+ with no RR and he made it', plus either a disgruntled or amused comment depending on the circumstances. Sometimes you can foresee even this ridiculous play and sometimes it is so unlikely you won't even have seen it coming.
What I'm getting at is maybe I'm less good at math than you or simply less passionate, and if I have the choice between 4+ and 2 * 2+ versus 2 * 3+, I might make the wrong decision because at a glance I don't actually know what play has the best odds of success. But post-match I won't feel the need to calculate it, be it a win or loss in the end.
I might have been a bit hasty in my comment and I maintain it's highly educative to read your write-ups, but maybe - only maybe -, sometimes you would learn more by playing another game rather than spending one hour (?) analysing the last one?
That being said, you're obviously a very good coach and if I had more time to invest in Blood Bowl (wishful thinking) I might be more inclined to do the same as you.
Thanks for the wishes and keep the reports coming, I will enjoy them for sure.
Great writeup mate and thanks for the praise. As you can probably tell from my game against you I'm not the most percentage-focused person, kind of maths-deficient, but that was precisely why I was keen to see your take on the game.
I think a lot of the first half just came down to it being one of those weeks where my guys didn't break. It probably went better than it had any right to. Because you got so deep in my half so early I overcommitted to the stall because I never expected to get the ball back. Will not be making that mistake again. If you'd had more Guard I couldn't have seen that half ending well.
On offence I miscounted and was absolutely gutted when I realized the Catcher could be blitzed so easily, but luckily in a place where it was straightforward to recover. With no rerolls that could just as easily been no ball and a surfed catcher though.
The last drive was pretty desperate and I just figured a desperation play might payoff. Couldn't believe it when he made the dodges and rolled double but given how unlikely that was to happen, can't complain where the ball bounced.
Exciting game though, and you have a mean team there. I can see it being a good season for you.
I have two skill-ups pending before MD4 (double on guard blitzer and normal on Makhag, the back-up thrower) and could use input on the thrower.
I originally planned to have him as a wrackle safety on defence. This build worked well for me in FOL, but it also had +MA and if I somehow fail to roll a future 10 then I have a MV5 safety which I foresee causing some positioning headaches and extra dice rolls.
The main reason I haven’t immediately selected wrestle is that while reading up on BOB progression arguments I stumbled across an interesting idea from Dode where he claimed a KO return/accurate/ strong arm thrower worked well for him. The main idea being to field both on offence and have the KO return one gather and throw the ball to the main carrier who can then cage on the LoS straight away.
I’m certainly intrigued and tempted because FOL experience suggests that once I have more MB and guard in place the hardest part of the offensive drive is the initial cageup – especially on 6-3 turn drives where an advanced initial cage placement is increasingly important to success.
On the other hand I’m struggling to pull the trigger on the skill selection because it seems nucking futz. If anyone has experience with, or an opinion about, this option I’d love to hear your feedback.
An additional problem with this is that I probably need to then assign stripping/hunting duties to a blitzer.
A final option is to just fire the thrower and run one thrower while I have goblins on the roster. At higher TV I anticipate the goblins being let go eventually as they become both increasingly vulnerable to more developed opposition sides, and less needed as an escape outlet on offensive drives once the Crunchers have developed enough to consistently get some player removal. At this point I could hire the thrower back. (I do like having an extra sure hands around in case my main BC is unable to be fielded for any reason though).
i select KO return as a 2nd skill (doubles not included) on orc throwers all the time. Having 1-3 extra movement on that initial grab is great. Plus, even if you can't reach the LOS, you can make a cage-tunnel up to it (basically a double screen, one on each side of the ballcarrier, all the way to the LOS). I also run only one thrower though, so he's it for offense. block, K/O return, accurate on normal rolls, and dodge and then guard for doubles.
MA 5 is a bit slow for a safety but he does have the advantage of wrestle being better than block.
However wrestle is bad for a ball carrier so I think that role is better for a lineorc.
Not convinced orcs need 2 throwers although having 1 who already has block will be useful if the other dies.
What are your thought on doubles on orc teams. 1 player with dodge tends to get targeted by the opposing tackle players so you are usually better with lots or none. I prefer Jump Up on killers and Diving Tackle on the other blitzers and BOBs. Main thrower still gets dodge.
I'm a big fan of KO return on slower cage teams as well, Limdood. I know it has its haters, and it almost certainly is bloat from an extreme min/max POV. But from a quality of life standpoint easing the most dangerous phase of an offensive drive and sometimes bypassing a pick-up with an 11% failure rate makes it very attractive imo.
If Makhag gets fired or wrackle then Uegoth will take ko return next (I think Fend is competing strongly with Accurate for the third normal tho).
From your replies I assume neither of you have tried, nor are enthused by, Dode's idea of starting the drive with a pass? (I'm not sure if it's his idea originally but his is the only reference I've found for it)
That's pretty much the plan, yeah.
i will certainly start a drive with a pass, but only to an AG4 target. Most of the times i've played orcs, i've gotten an AG4 blitzer rather early in development.
So far, you're talking about small failure rates already....in your match rundown, you went over 2 different scenarios with an effective 3% difference in success chance, and you just mentioned the problems of AG3 SH pickups with an 11% failure rate.
Passing to an orc thrower is a 33% failure rate JUST ON THE CATCH, and 1 in 9 times, it will burn your reroll and still fail, leaving the ball at the mercy of a random bounce to fall out of the cage.
I think the "throw it to the cage" tactic is risky and likely to cause a turnover, which means you should do all that and more in our MD6 game against each other!
I tend to leave skillups in scheduled until the morning of game day so that if buyer’s remorse strikes at least it won’t be during the next game. I ended up going with very different choices than I would have had I selected straight away; taking block instead of wrestle on the thrower and passing up the double on the guard blitzer to take mighty blow. If I don’t roll another double on him in the future, and he survives, then he ends up being slightly less useful than he would have been with diving tackle. I don’t think it’s a massive difference though.
MB helps right now in a must-win game against Joe Staniforth’s dark elves. While Kislev is the team I’ll be rooting for in OCC Div 1, Jorxan Thunder will be fielding two loners and the team just doesn’t look very scary. The plan is pretty simple – get some crunching going and walk in 2-1 or 2-0.
MD4: Caerdydd Crunchers v Jorxan Thunder (Joe Staniforth)
Pre-match: Three-quarters of Ungit’s body is found stuffed into a locker. While some of the team is mourning the loss of their catch gobbo, Dennis Avoth strolls in munching on what looks like a green chicken leg, ‘Brought me brudda, Eddie, and a mate – they can join the team now there’s room, right?’
T1: Crunchers win the toss and elect to kick. BC blitzer runs backwards and a witch elf blitzes a hole on the left flank where a couple more elves stream through into receiving positions. Cruncher’s fielded all 3 linos on the LoS although on reflection keeping one back and using the rookie BOB on the line instead may have been a better plan to make sure someone can stamp on the witch. As is, the linos are all tied up and can’t get a foul in. Crunchers mark up and free a lino to stamp on someone next turn.
T2: Joe surprises me by going straight for the td. 2+ pass (6 int), 3+ catch, 2+ dodge (dodge). From a strategic perspective I’d love to have this spot as orcs every game. 2/3 of the time I have a 6 turn and an 8 turn drive to win. 1/6 of the time the ball is loose with more orcs than elves around it. 1/6 of the time it’s already in a BOB’s hands. I was surprised mainly because elves can usually do quite a bit better than 67.5%, but with no bench and a lot of players lacking protection skills a delay risks him getting crunched off the field. Maybe gambling now and then hoping for one of my drives to blow-up is his best shot at getting something from the game.
The 67.5% td succeeds. Caerdydd Crunchers 0-1 Jorxan Thunder
Crunchers receive. Casualty Bait moves to cover the ball and the LoS take their blocks. All pushes sadly fails to lead to any bone-smashing. Uegoth then fluffs the pick-up – something he seems to do fairly frequently. Elves move closer to the ball with one marking up the thrower and goblin. A witch elf tries to get a tz on the ball but double 1s the gfi and gets ko’d.
T3: Crunchers are under pressure to save the position and double skull, reroll to pushes, double skull on next block, leaves them with only a ¾ cage. Thunder have a 2 gfi 2 die blitz on the BC with the saving grace that the ball is very likely to land in orc tackle zones if it spills. It does and it does.
T4: Uegoth gets up again, picks up the ball to surprised cheers from his coach and a cage forms in the heart of the enemy elves. The back walls is 3 orcs pressed against 3 elves, but on a brighter side the middle orc has guard and there’s a BoB on one corner. All Crunchers need to do is dodge out the gobbo to stop assists being added to the weak corner and they probably hold onto the ball. 89% Dodge fails.
T5: Back walls collapses under the block sequence and Thunder end their turn with three elves marking the ball carrier. Percy Bush moves in front of Uegoth and a cage forms around him. The 89% hand off to keep the drive alive fails. Worse the ball runs along the line of orcs and out the back.
T6-7: Thunder recover the ball and run next to endzone. All Crunchers can do is mark up the BC. But this is easily blitzed away and Thunder score.
Caerdydd Crunchers 0-2 Jorxan Thunder
Percy starts the next drive with a casualty continuing the Cruncher’s dubious recent strategy of waiting to get casualties until after they’ve blown the game. Bait runs into receiving position. Uegoth characteristically fluffs the pick up.
T8: Thunder blitz down the gobbo but his enhanced movement means he can still get to the endzone. All Crunchers need is 3+ dodge from a tackle player, 2x 3+ dodge (dodge), 2x GFI, sure hands pick-up, hand-off, 5+ pass (pass) and a 3+ catch. While technically 18% with the reroll this doesn’t account for Uegoth channelling Mark Sanchez’s ball handling skills. Regardless Casualty Bait double 1s the GFI and gets BH. I time-out on the apo feeling a little dazed. Pretty major error as I really need that gobbo to pull off a 2nd half miracle.
Half-time: Caerdydd Crunchers 0-2 Jorxan Thunder
T9-12: Touchback so I give the ball to a 4 spp blitzer. At least that solves my guard problem. The season may be ashes but I’ll have 2x tackle, 2x MB and 2x guard at last. Cage in centre and foul out a lino. Crunchers move up the centre finally starting to look competent. They break armor a few times but only manage an extra couple of kos. T11 a wrestle witch tries to take advantage of the Cruncher’s lack of guard to dart into the cage for a 1d on BC but fails the 5+ twice. Bothar strolls across for a td and impending guard skill-up.
Caerdydd Crunchers 1-2 Jorxan Thunder
Thunder succeeds on 2 out of 3 lino ko rolls to get back to 9 v 11. Crunchers have 4 turns to recover the ball and score.
T12: Double 1 on witch dodges leads to a BH result and gives Crunchers hope.
T13: I screw up marking positioning which lets a tackle blitzer get surfed. A Thunder blitzer gets ko’d trying to escape double coverage.
T14-16: Crunchers ko another lino. Only 6 elves left but the surfing screw-up has let him half-cage against the sideline with an extra blitzer in front so I need a 6+ dodge to get 1d on the BC. This 30% dodge is probably the Cruncher’s best chance however as they have excellent scoring chances after any throw-in. The idea of rolling a 6 doesn’t appeal however and instead the orcs just put a tackle tz on the BC. This insipid effort is easily pushed away and the BC runs and hides in the corner. T16 Crunchers need a 5+ dodge to get 1 die on the BC jammed into the corner of the endzone. They fail it twice. Thunder go endzone to endzone on a 3+, 2+, 2+ for a 77% rubdown third td.
Final Score: Caerdydd Crunchers 1-3 Jorxan Thunder
No need to bother waiting for Bothar’s skill-up. I know I’m taking guard and that won’t change. Only I roll an 11. I flip nuffle the bird and take the agility. While Joe’s probably stuck a fork in the Crunchers’ current season this could be promising for the future.
Next up the irked Orcs face Kanil’s 4-0-0 pro elves.
Nice write-up again, Ser. Joe is a very good coach (as is his brother I feel compelled to say) and when the dice is with the Elves, not much you can do.
Funny, Joe told me exactly the same thing when he lost to me last week, and at the end of MD4 he is ranked 3rd in front of me. Truth is our division is really a tough one so far and this +AG blitzer might be all you need to make a nice finish (especially as your thrower seems unable to pick-up more than 1/4th).
Let's see what happens for this MD5
I’d been up in the air over the second thrower for a while, slowly coming around to the popular opinion that it was unnecessary and there isn’t really room for it on the orc roster anyway. Makhag is fired and the Crunchers trim to a more sensible 13 man roster.
MD5: Caerdydd Crunchers v Sheer Badassery
I made a scheduling snafu and was still working when the game was due to start. I should have asked for a delay as the final table had only just started but I was short-stacked and didn’t expect to last long. Badassery win toss and kick. Orcs have a wizard.
Crunchers set up a cage in the middle of their half and Uegoth rolls a 1 on the pick-up (as is his wont) but miraculously makes the sure hands reroll. Badassery have a sidestep diving tackle blitzer, Yalayondan, that I have to be careful not to block into my own cage, but they have no guard in sight so I’m anticipating the sidesteppers being easier to control than Tys’ guard blitzer was.
T3: Yalayondan takes Casualty Bait out of the game with a BH. Benched linos eyeroll that he took a starting spot from them.
T4: Crunchers KO a rookie lino but are still 3 squares short of the line of scrimmage and there’s some cage contact. I have very little idea of what is going on in either the match or the final table but it’s beginning to look like I won’t finish work until at least half-time. I’m also becoming acutely aware that I’m not as young as I once was and attempting to multitask this at the end of a 15 hour work day was one of the worst ideas I’d had in a while. Apparently cage contact is bad and Kanil soon gets 2d on Uegoth and the ball scatters all the way up into the elven half – 2 elf and 1 orc TZs. Badassery fail a dodge and KO their own kick lino.
T5: Yalayondan is annoying and his presence stops me trying to grab the ball with Bothar, the agi 4 blitzer. The best option I can find is to surround the elves and exploit the lack of guard. Badassery think for a while then double 1 the first dodge.
T6: Tackle blitzer takes down the DT irritation and Kanil chooses to scatter the ball. It’s caught by a marked rookie Black Orc – a result I’m ambivalent about. Crunchers part cage around him but can’t move away from Yalayondan. Foul with a rookie lino stuns him and takes care of that problem. Kanil ends his turn with a sidestepper in contact with the BC.
T7: Hand off to Percy Bush who runs into space; 2 GFIs take him beyond the reach of most elves and mean he can still reach the endzone on T8 even if knocked down and pushed back (I reach heads up in the poker tournament at this point and now have to make a decision there every couple of seconds). Badassery only have a lino and a wrestle catcher, Verphendon, in range but I can’t find a way to block them, trying a desperation blitz with Bothar that only sees him wrestled down. This was particularly bad as had he just stayed standing he would have been in scoring position himself.
T8: Verphendon stands up and blitzes Percy after the lino moves in for an assist. Defender down is bad but the ball spills kindly right in front of Percy rather than going off the side, which could lead to an elf score, or behind him which would mean I’d need a passing play to score.
2+ gfi, pow or both down on 2d, 3+ pick up, 2x 2+ gfi and Percy scores because that’s what Percy does. Crunchers have been on the wrong side of coinflip touchdowns a few times so far so having a 50/50 go in our favour was nice.
I set up to stop the 1ttd but get distracted by a shiny blitz kickoff result. The black orc I move under the ball spills it back into his own half and the touchback goes to an elf catcher. An early 1d eats Kanil's reroll but the rest works well until the final 2d where a skull/both down kills the equaliser chance.
(At about this time I get 44 in against TT preflop and suck out to win the tournament)
Halftime: Caerdydd Crunchers 1-0 Sheer Badassery
Kanil doesn’t mess about with any delay immediately dodging elves into the orcish half and then risking a 3+ pass 2+ catch to his Str 4 catcher Castien. I surf his niggled thrower (sadly just a stun) then get 2d on Castien with a 5+ dodge and knock the ball loose. Putting a second TZ on it burns a cruncher reroll.
Castien blitzes off one TZ and Yalayondan laughs at the idea of a single TZ protecting the ball, grabs it from the orc’s feet and strolls into the endzone.
1-1. I have 7 turns to win 11 v 11, wizard in reserve, tiredness wiped out by a good end to a long work day and finally able to focus on the game. Crunchers receive a motivational speech where it’s made clear to them that they’re being turned into glue if they fail this.
T9: It’s an awkward short kick on the left flank centre line. Not trusting Uegoth’s ball handling skills - and not particularly wanting to have their connective tissues boiled - the Crunchers surround the ball. Bothar waits next to it in a cage. A black orc KO’s a lino. All Uegoth has to do is pick the ball up and hand off. That isn’t how this cack-handed bar steward rolls though. Ball scatters backward so is safe at least in 3 orc TZs and screened off.
T10: Castien blitzes through the front line of orcs and finishes in contact with Uegoth. A lino puts a TZ on the ball. He’s blitzed off for a KO. Castien isn’t a problem either as there is no way Uegoth is being allowed anywhere near the ball now. Bothar picks up and cages near centre.
T12-13. An elf is KO’d then Castien strikes back by KO’ing Bokak, a tackle blitzer. This is apo’d to a stun. Percy KO’s Castien and Graduk breaks a lino’s leg. 11 v 6.
T14-16: Bokak earns his apo privileges with another KO and Badassery try a 5+ dodge -2d blitz into the cage. Natural 6 on the dodge but rerolling a push lets Crunchers choose a skull. Stunned elf. Orc victory assured. I foul the downed elf because it would be rude not to, but don’t bother adding assists or trying to get a wizard kill. Elf is KO’d and Bothar walks across the line on T16.
Final Score: Caerdydd Crunchers 2-1 Sheer Badassery
Thanks to Kanil for the game, who was fairly unfortunate to go into half-time 1-0 down, but didn’t complain.
Congrats on halting Kanil's winning streak man. When he sacked your BC first half and then you were barely on the LoS T6 I thought you would not make it, especially as they refused to be depitched. That took some doing. I also really liked the way you took down his carrier T10, I would have done it quite differently and it was very interesting to see, even though he recovered easily.
So you're a poker pro? No wonder you like the percentages so much. In fairness I read this at 3 in the morning while feeding my daughter and I thought you were talking about a restaurant table to start with... need to stop MasterChef before bed
Your way would almost certainly be better. I saw the obvious 3+, 2+, 2+ straight away then promptly blocked the route with a black orc, so had to settle on 33/55 to get the 2d rather than 46/77.
I probably made more unforced errors in this game than the rest of the season combined, but was saved by kanil failing two dodges in a row just after he popped the ball. Blood Bowl is funny.
Hopefully this sudden turn of good fortune holds for the next match vs limdood; if Nuffle favours one of us the other is going home with half a team.
The lack of match reports isn't so much because I lost the last two CC matches to Limdood and Mikko to finish in a disappointing 7th with 2-1-4 (made somewhat bizarre by the two wins being over 1st and 2nd place), but because I went through a busy period with work and had decided to retire this team anyway so I could play zons in future CCs.
However, after beating Tjorne in the 1st round of the Crunched Cup I had a black orc roll +STR. Posting now because I have a question (well two actually).
I had decided against having a troll, however with a 5 STR BOB I'm now intrigued by the pitch control possibilities offered by 2x 5 STR. I can't work out if I should be more, or less, inclined to take a troll now that I have a 5 STR BOB. Thoughts appreciated.
Additional question is regarding team eligibility for CC. From reading the rules it appears Crunchers could sit in CTA while I play other teams (with nicer chests) in future CCs and as long as Crunchers play no more than 2 CTA games in that time they can return to CC in a future season. However, before doing this I'd like to confirm that I'm interpreting the rules correctly and it's not like OCC where once a new team is played all previous teams are automatically excluded from future competition. If anyone knows for sure please let me know, else I'll just ask whoever the new commissioner is when the next CC launches.
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