Cage Breaking Overview:
It doesn’t take long before you start to see the potency of a cage during a game of Blood Bowl. A well played drive involving a cage can be very hard for a new coach to defend against. They may struggle to either break down the cage, or if the manage that, to prevent a touchdown anyway. Whilst players try to learn how to use a cage effectively they need to learn the opposite of that, by how best to stop a cage effectively. This typically will involve stalling the cage up so that it can’t progress or to break the cage so that the ball carrier ends up exposed. There are also methods to get the ball loose from a cage which can cause problems for the other team, or end up with your team gaining posession and sometimes even taking the ball off and scoring!
Type of Opposing Cage:
When looking to defend or break a cage the first thing you should be looking at is the type of cage that you are up against. The type of cage will often determine the best method you should attempt to use to counter it. Different methods will work better against different types of cages and also the recovery from your defensive attempts can vary depending on the opposition as well.
Slow Plodding Cages are probably the one that springs to mind when someone mentions a cage. These are ones used by teams that can’t move very fast but have players that are good at blocking, strong and or high armoured. They will often have players of low agility and don’t have much flexibility when it comes to moving the ball around. Typically used by Dwarfs, Orcs, Khemri, Chaos Dwarfs, Nurgle.
Fast Agile Cages are the opposite end of the spectrum where the players will usually have high agility and movement and can move the cage and ball around the pitch with great ease. They will often be medium to low armour and strength and won’t usually be able to just hit their way through. They can however move the ball around a defence or pass the ball past the defence if they get receivers in place. Typcially used by Dark Elves, High Elves, Wood Elves, Elves, Slann, Skaven and to some extent Humans.
Running Cages would be those that fall somewhere in-between the two above, though usually they would prefer to avoid passing the ball at all costs. Whilst agile cages will usually run the ball they can pass the ball at will much easier compared to the run focused teams. These teams will be a bit more flexible in their approach, looking to hit their way through weaker teams and look to outmanoeuvre the slower ones. Typically this will be used by teams that don’t fall into the other categories. Humans probably focus more on this style though they have the skills and speed to execute passing plays better than others of this style. Others would be Undead, Necromantic, Lizardmen, Chaos, Pact, Norse, Amazon.
Ogre, Halfling, Goblin and Vampire teams tend to offer more unusual play styles and while they can cage it is hard to put them into a group as they have other options available to them utilising Throw Team Mate and Hypnotic Gaze. This is extraneous to the article anyway.
Realising the play style that you are facing against and utilising the right defensive tools to counter them is key. If you opt to use one cage breaking strategy against the wrong play type, you can end up making things easier for the other team. This is obviously the total opposite of what you are trying to achieve!
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