Hello GMAN and specifically GMAN 2 again! I'm back for month 2 of 3 in an insider's look at the teams of GMAN 2 and how the division stacks up today.
#14 (No change)
High Sails (Venachar)
Wood elves, 1-1-6
Wow, I would never have thought that the High Sails’ season could continue to be rock-bottom, and not only that but the lowest TD differential too. The team has been through as much player churn as you might expect, and while there isn’t currently a Treeman on the roster, everything else is looking surprisingly healthy for such a bash-heavy division. Well, apart from the smashed collar bone (-STR) on “backup” Wardancer Kristoffer Turboson who is surely heading for retirement soon. I don’t think I’ve seen a coach ever field a -STR injury on the pitch so I’ll be interested to see if that does happen in this week’s match against Definitely Not A Zoo.
The last four weeks started with a draw followed by a win, so it did look like Venachar’s losing streak was finally about to pull itself out of the downward spiral, but then something of a surprise loss to Âlve and less of a surprise pounding by resident Chaos Dwarf side Unaccompanied Minos have put the team on the back foot again.
There’s little to be happy about coming up on the horizon, except that for this week’s match opponents Definitely Not A Zoo will be missing star blitzer Cat (thanks to Bloodsuckers inc.), so there won’t be quite as much danger without Mighty Blow, Piling On, Horns, Tackle though there’s still some Tackle and Mighty Blow to face down. It might be just enough of a blessing to pull the veterans of High Sails out of the ditch they’re in and up the table for the final 5 weeks. Playoffs are almost certainly out of the question but there’s still a reasonable chance of avoiding demotion, or even possibly promotion back to division if we have another mass exodus of teams from the top flight.
#13 (Down 4)
Pink Power Puftah (Aldar)
It’s been four straight losses since last time for Pink Power Puftah, compounded by the loss of team gaffer Captain Pink. Drafted in replacement Lieutenant Pink has already hit level 2 with a very nice agility increase which bodes very well for the future, as long as the team can avoid further attrition.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, other than slightly anorexic-looking Werewolves, the rest of the team is looking really good, both Flesh Golems are developed enough to be quite useful and the team has a slightly disgusting FOUR dirty players - I’m guessing they haven’t been used to their full effect in the last few matches? At least when I played Aldar I managed to present a united phalanx of Guard to keep out any good gang fouls, though really just winning the toss for the game gave me all the advantage needed.
This week sees a Necromantic mirror against Crowdog’s Drop Dead Gore Juice, so two pretty decent looking necro teams are to take each other on, in what I predict could well come down to whose regeneration works best!
#12 (Down 1)
Philbo’s Phighting Phist (Philbo Baggins)
Similarly it’s not been a happy season for the Phighting Phist, with a lot of key players now dead and buried, including surprisingly semi-decent thrower Viceroy Isembard, leaving Agility 4 Mighty Blow blitzer The Rook IV to take Sure Hands and current ball-fondling duties (personally really not a fan of ending up with Mighty Blow on a ball carrier but an agi4 blitzer is a good choice).
The team is now betraying their age, looking like a much younger orc team due to the lack of (surviving) high level players outside of level 6 blitzer The Pawn. To be fair, they’re sporting some very nice black orcs and now a crazy stat-freak in the form of 5549 block lineman Earl Reaper of Overwatch who will be hunting for yet another stat-up in his most likely final level at 76spp. The rest of the division will be breathing a sigh of relief that a double-strength and agility-up feak is on an orc lineman and not a more useful player!
The next couple of weeks will be something of an AV7-fest for the orcs, facing the amazons of Rockomotive Gitstompers followed by the embattled High Sails which could be an easier time for the orcs than most of the season, but don’t take anything for granted!
#11 (Up 1)
Unaccompanied Minos (DebtMonkey)
Chaos Dwarves, 2-2-4
Two wins and two losses are a good improvement on the team’s month 1 record of two draws and two losses, but it’s shaping up to be a development season for Unaccompanied Minos rather than having any aspirations of playoffs just yet. Like most teams in div 2, there’s been a fair number of losses to the roster *but* bull centaur The Unstoppable Farce has picked up his first level in the form of block and there’s a full three sets of claws between the blockers on the team which any Chaos Dwarf team would literally kill for.
So while the record may not be the best this team really is shaping up very nicely - an agility 4 hobgoblin is the perfect base to build a fantastic ball carrier from, a wrestle tackle hobgoblin for sacking duties and the all-important dirty player hobgoblin (I’d like to see another at this point), backed up by the blockers who already have as much claw as they could hope to receive, finished off by bull centaurs with block and blodge - it’s a recipe for an ideal chaos dwarf team that just wants a few more levels here and there to turn them into a real force and they shouldn’t even struggle to get there, they just have to survive the gauntlet that is the rest of division 2 first!
#10 (Down 2)
Drop Dead Gore Juice (Crowdog)
Unfortunately for Crowdog, Drop Dead Gore Juice appear to cursed with great zombies at the cost in lives of all the important positionals. Three(!) block guard zombies, two with fend and one with tackle is amazing for a necro team, disappointingly everyone else seems to keep being retired to make up for it! Out of the werewolves, wights, flesh golems and ghouls, over half of them are on level 1 or 2. These necro just need to get those few good games needed to level up a couple of the positionals and we’ll be looking at a real force.
I’m very surprised after the last recap that we still haven’t seen a mighty blow werewolf emerge anywhere in division 2, though if anywhere I’d still put my money on Derek Zulander being the first one on his next level. And really, if you’re going to get a mighty blow wolf, you’d probably prefer him to get block first and live rather than mighty blow and get knocked over constantly.
With all that said, the next three weeks are going to be a bit of a slog for Drop Dead Gore Juice, with the aforementioned necro mirror against Pink Power Puftah first, followed by the claws of Defnitely Not A Zoo and then my chaotic Seven Circles. I believe this will be the third time Drop Dead Gore Juice and Seven Circles have clashed, after the necro won in season 7 of division 2 and I claimed a (less meaningful) victory in an open invitational matchup before this season, will this be the third and final decider?
#9 (Up 1)
Warpstone Sneaky Servants (Karlosibz)
It’s been a good couple of weeks for Warpstone Sneaky Servants with a couple of recent wins in the division, including possibly spoiling the playoff chances of Hummersepp’s amazons.
Killer blitzer Dirty Claws is pretty much an identikit clone of fellow underworld killer Cat from Definitely Not A Zoo, so it’ll be interesting to see which one comes up on top (or at least alive) by the end of the season. Unfortunately we never got the much-hyped underworld mirror face-off due to a bye week so the two won’t be meeting on the pitch this season. The goblins of the team aren’t looking quite as healthy and agile as they were a month ago but they’re goblins - they’re not supposed to stay healthy. Much more important is that the non-gobbo players are looking pretty good, which is keeping the team value where you probably want it rather than a bunch of over-valued gobs.
The next month, as with most teams, could be quite painful for Warpstone Sneaky Servants with matches against Âlve, Death Then Dishonour and perhaps worst of all, the chaos dwarves of Unaccompanied Minos. The team thankfully gets to still look forward to playing the two elven teams of the division which might be a bit friendlier in the injury department if not the score sheet!
#8 (Down 1)
Somewhat amazingly, Âlve have only lost a single player in the last four weeks, although inevitably it was one of the berserkers. Also surprisingly, Majorbyte decided to pick up a Yhetee for the last game (against my Seven Circles, so perhaps that makes more sense than a rookie berserker), although for most of the match it looked like he was in my employ rather than Majorbyte’s as he spent almost the whole first half roaring on the spot as a wild animal before managing to knock himself over on his first actual block. He did finally redeem himself with a casualty against a sacrificial beastman, setting him on his journey to gaining mighty blow and actually being useful.
Otherwise the team is shaping up about as well as can be hoped, +STR/blodge/break tackle/mighty blow ulf Scald is something of a superstar and managed to come up with some real magic dice in our match although it wasn’t quite enough to avert defeat, but it ended up being much closer than it first appeared! With a couple of niggles on AV7 players the team could still be teetering on the edge of a disaster but they’ve managed to avoid it so far and Âlve are hardened against any and all player losses at this point.
Âlve have been performing a bit above expectations this season and I’ll be very interested to see how they fair against the more agile teams of Bloodsuckers inc. and The Voltrex Vanguard in weeks 11 and 12.
#7 (Down 3)
Rockomotive Gitstompers (Hummersepp)
I’m actually quite surprised to see the Gitstompers in position #7 after such a strong start and pushing for a qualification spot. Amazons do tend to tail off against other teams at high team value but Hummersepp has mostly appeared to avoid that fate so far. Really it shows just how competitive the division is outside of silly vamp records, with almost all of the division still being in a position to qualify for playoffs even at this late stage!
The team is still looking great and a pain to deal with for basically every remaining opponent - the chaos dwarves were unsurprisingly deadly for the amazons but with no other dirty kinds of dwarves in the division and a general amount of attrition everywhere,
Next week is a match against Philbo’s Phighting Phist who are down to a single tackle player, in much the same way as Bloodsuckers inc. the week after who are also on a single tackle (on vampire killer The Salesman) who have lost any thralls with tackle they may have once had. I think the Rockomotive Gitstompers may be the best remaining team to stop the vampire rule at the top of the division and if they do pull it off, will be back in with a chance of playoffs afterall.
#6 (No change)
Da Big Mulligans! (Freddie Gibbs)
Following a good win over the Rockomotive Gitstompers in week 5, it’s been two losses and a draw for Da Big Mulligans which has set back their qualification hopes only a little.
Ideally the team want to see a level on the latest iteration of Big Ug the troll for perhaps more guard which would really be difficult to face for most opponents. As before I love that the orcs have gone so guard-heavy and then taken diving tackle on doubles, I really think they can do great with some good positioning and just a bit of luck. They’ve taken a couple of losses but the team isn’t really lacking for anything, and I still think the thrower is good thanks to being increased to move 6 and great throwing ability.
Facing the claw of Seven Circles in week 7 which actually triggered (in favour of the Chaos team) for a change, so the orcs won’t be looking forward to facing even more in weeks 10 and 11 against the killy teams of Unaccompanied Minos and Definitely Not A Zoo. Perhaps the plucky orcs will be filled with a waaagh of vengeance to overcome claw and find a couple of wins? If so I really like the chances of this high-guard orc team going into the playoffs.
#5 (Up 5!)
Definitely Not A Zoo (Ambi Tanque)
It’s been a corker of a month for the Underworld with the biggest ranking change from any team in the division, shooting up from #10 to #5! Definitely Not A Zoo are a serious contender for playoffs now which you wouldn’t really have expected in such a close division after their 4-week record.
Star killer Cat might be missing the next game but they’re otherwise fine, and anyone facing the team from week 10 has a bit of a terrifying proposition. Great block/claw/tents troll Butterfly did pick up a niggling injury so their career might not be quite as illustrious as first hoped but strength 5 with block, AV9 and regeneration is about as hard to take down as players can be.
The underworld still have both elf teams to face but outside of that it’s the gauntlet of Drop Dead Gore Juice, Da Big Mulligans and Seven Circles before the end of the season which should all be tense matches that could be decided by some key injuries (or not). If they can bag some key wins in those matches though, they’ll almost surely be in with a shot at playoffs at the end of the season.
#4 (Down 1)
The Voltrex Vanguard (Ramaset)
High elves, 4-3-1
The Voltrex Vanguard looked like a certain shoe-in for a playoff spot last month and despite a loss and a draw since then, they’re still pretty much in control of their own destiny from here on out. As positions #3 and #2 Seven Circles and Death Then Dishonour are still due to play and are both only one point ahead, Ramaset can actually guarantee playoff qualification if he wins all 5 remaining matches, no matter how well those other teams do. 5 more wins is a big ask, but it’s probably a bigger ask of Death Then Dishonour and Seven Circles than it is the high elves so I’m going to be very surprised if they drop down the leaderboard by this time next month.
Unfortunately, superstar catcher Zakariem picked up a niggle against Drop Dead Gore Juice last week and will be missing (if not already retired) against Da Big Mulligans next week. The team still looks fantastic though - thrower Talan Valash is as good at passing as legendary Long Bong Silver and an agility 5 blodge lineelf is really good on a high elf team.
After Da Big Mulligans it’s an exciting match against my Seven Circles to see if I can deal with high elves successfully (which would be a first), followed by Âlve and both underworld teams through the rest of the season, so the path to the playoffs is by no means assured for the Voltrex Vanguard.
#3 (Up 2)
Seven Circles (Zsinj)
Some particularly fortuitous (for me) draws have let me sneak into and hold on to a playoff qualification position, which I really didn’t expect to be in by this point in the season! Some hot blocking dice against Âlve, Da Big Mulligans and Pink Power Puftah have contributed 3 wins to my overall score, only spoilt somewhat with the match against Rockomotive Gitstompers where AV7 just would. not. break. Despite a record number of 84 blocks from my team and a decent number of pows (plenty of double skulls too as you might expect in that number) I couldn’t even break armour (on my offense) for several turns, including with a good gang foul that saw my dirty player get instantly a sent off (a running theme in these 4 matches).
To add injury to insult, both casualties inflicted by the ‘zons were deaths! First on the crowd-favourite Diving Tackle, Block, Tackle beastman apothecaried into -MV (which is a pretty terrible stat bust for a safety, and the one I’m more bothered about), followed a little later by the death of Earth, the highest level (6!) Chaos Warrior on the team which I’m sure the remaining half of the division are very happy about! Still, the team has doled out way more injuries than they’ve suffered (hooray for bash teams who have taken anti-bash team skills) so it’s about time on that one. I wasn’t able to afford a replacement immediately either, but Earth II came along for my most recent match against Âlve and while I could have risked both touchdowns on him for that all-important first skill, I chickened out to value the safer route to victory over the risk of the 1 in 9 to drop the ball and lose. Nuffle still seems to be smiling upon me though, as he was awarded the MVP at the end of the match!
The next 4 weeks see me facing off against Bloodsuckers Inc., The Voltrex Vanguard, Drop Dead Gore Juice and Definitely Not a Zoo, all very different teams and very interesting matchups, though the highlight has to be this coming week’s match against Randomboy’s Bloodsuckers inc. who are still undefeated, though suffering the shame of a draw(!) against Definitely Not A Zoo last week. Based on nothing but performance so far I’m very unlikely to win this one but I’d really like to as this is probably my best shot at making playoffs the team will ever have, I don’t think they’ll be so healthy after the meat grinder of div 1 (most likely) next season!
#2 (No change)
Death Then Dishonour (Barmution)
Barmution’s necro have quietly and confidently been progressing completely undefeated through the season so far, and that really is quite the achievement. The death of Screwloose the level 5 Golem (technically 6 as he levelled in his final match) must have been quite the setback but the team has pressed on and still looking like they can win pretty much anything.
Barky Highpitch the werewolf (obviously) is missing the next match which might be enough to avoid the last 6spp to level 5 which is yet another chance at a mighty blow werewolf. His partner Fleafur is a blodgestep werewolf who is 10spp away from level 5 also, which unfortunately for me means at least one of them should level up and might get mighty blow before we meet in the final week (maybe it's time for a late addition to the bounty board). This is probably the most well-developed necro team in the division including two ghouls with good skills between them. If it wasn’t for the death of Screwloose earlier in the season, Death Then Dishonour would be needing an appointment with the necromantic taxman.
The next four weeks see matches against Unaccompanied Minos, Warpstone Sneaky Servants, Philbo’s Phighting Phist and Bloodsuckers inc., any of those could be quite exciting and interesting matches so will Barmution be able to coach his way to an undefeated season? If so they’ll probably qualify for playoffs, but losing a couple in such a tight division will most likely see someone else sneaking into the top spots before the end.
#1 (No change)
Bloodsuckers inc. (Randomboy)
Unless something absolutely catastrophic happens, the vampires of Bloodsuckers inc. have likely already sealed their place in the superbowl for season 9 and will be looking to skill up to take on the trophy after such a good playoff run previously. You know the team is doing incredibly well when a draw is disappointing for the coach in the last match.
Your Boss jr. picked up a -mv and while Randomboy has indicated he wants to replace him, he’s still on the team for now (I’d probably keep a mv5 blodge vampire around). Other than that the vampires themselves are unscathed (surprisingly after some of the opponents they’ve faced), but all the fat has been trimmed off the thralls with only a block thrall and a wrestle thrall available for the next match, and sometimes-dangerous dirty player Justin Bieber missing this week (against me so yay!).
As mentioned this week sees Bloodsuckers inc. versus Seven Circles which I’m really looking forward to, though based on past form I don’t expect to win. Following that are Rockomotive Gitstompers where mass dodge might prove too much for a team with a single tackle player. If they get through both of those unscathed it’s a trip to see Âlve who might have a claw mighty blow yhetee at that point, followed by a pretty exciting #1 vs #2 match against Death Then Dishonour (now there’s one to watch).