The 2-1 Grind


Quickly for those who don’t know this, it refers to when a bashing team does a drive in each half of the game scoring in the last possible turn, with the other team scoring first in the half they received the ball in. In the cases where the bashing team start the game kicking off this gives them an effective 15 turns of caging towards the opposing end zone and as such has coined the term “15 turn drive”. This is typically against the weaker more agile teams rather than other bashing teams. It is a key and very common tactic so it pays to understand both sides of it. This article also tied in with the kicking or receiving article I posted recently so I suggest reading that as well.

This works best when they start the game kicking off, you will be starting by kicking the ball to the agility team and it is quite likely that they will score quickly. As mentioned in the comments of the kicking or receiving article they will get an extra chance to get back and KO players. This is somewhat irrelevant though as the bashing team hasn’t had “their drive” yet, which is where these KOs are most likely to occur. The bashing team then scores in their turn 8 which ends the half and there is then only one KO roll to be had. For the bashing team the more opponents that stay KOed the easier their second half 8 turn drive will be when the ball is kicked to them. They then aim to score in the last turn to take a 2-1 lead, leaving the agility team with one turn left to respond, if they have any players left at this point. As such the bashing team doesn’t really mind the agility team scoring quicky in their second turn at the start of the match. Both teams are likely to have the full 11 players on the pitch when the ball is then kicked off again, though the bashing team now gets typically 6 or 7 turns to grind down the agility team. They can then go into half time with the score at 1-1,  leaving only one chance for opposing KOs to come back and they will have the initiative of receiving the ball in the second half as well.

So forcing the agility team to score quickly is optimum for the bashing team, the longer the opposition take to score the less turns they will have to to grind down the opposition. If you are left with 4 turns to equalise they will have a much harder time doing so, especially if the ball gets kicked deep which is usually what will happen. So for both sides of this coin, the agility team and the bashing team would both prefer to kick the ball on the opening kick off. The agility team will get more chances to get any KOs back and have their full team to start their defence against the bashing team. The bashing team would prefer to kick to limit the amount of KOs return for the agility team and and then face a weakened side in the second half when they receive.

If the Agility Team Receives:

So if you do find yourself playing an agility team and either choose to receive, or lose the toss and are receiving anyway you have to be aware that the 2-1 grind is coming. Of course this doesn’t mean you have to just roll over and accept it. The main thing you should be aiming for is to try and get to half time with a 1-0 lead. To achieve this you want to delay scoring as long as you can to give the bashing team as few turns as possible to try and equalise. So either hang back deep with the ball forcing the bashing team to waste turns coming after the ball carrier. You should be careful though not to end up losing the ball and conceding a touchdown, should this happen you are going to have to go all out to get an equaliser before half time. You will still face the standard 2-1 grind second half from the bashing team though, so getting turned over when you receive would be a disaster, likewise should you not score and it is 0-0 at half time.

The other thing to look towards doing it running around the bashing teams defence and holding the ball up near their own endzone. One of the mistakes some coaches make with a slower bashing team is not leaving any defence deep enough enabling you to do this. If you do manage to run around behind them and get the ball caged up nice and safe, then take advantage of this situation and try to waste as many turns as possible before scoring.

When you then kick off again after scoring ideally you want to have someone with the Kick skill so you can put the ball nice and deep and make the bashing team have to move the ball as far as possible in order for them to score. If you have left them in a situation where they need to rush the ball down the pitch there is a good chance they may either drop the ball trying to move it, or you can possibly get at the ball carrier and get the ball off them. The best situation is that you get the turnover and manage to get in a second touchdown taking in a 2-0 lead. If you manage this then the bashing team will need to score twice in the second half which is a tall order for them, especially as they kick the ball to you if they manage to get the first touchdown back.

The fact they will be going for two touchdowns may again make it easier for you to turn the ball over and run the score up even further! What they may try though is scoring in perhaps 5 or 6 turns aiming to do as much damage to your team as possible. Then when they kick off to you again being very  aggressive as you have less players and trying to get the ball off you to grab the equaliser. If they look like they are going to try a slightly slower and safer but violent grinding play against you, then look to protect your players rather than going all out to stop them scoring. You have a two touchdown lead so them scoring one back is far better for you than losing your players.

Read Page 2 for when a bashing team receives…

23 thoughts on “The 2-1 Grind”

  1. For interesting.  Definitely something to chew over for when I’m playing my Skaven.  In fact, I find that when I elect to receive that I do usually score in 2-turns.  I then spend the rest of the first half trying to stop them for scoring.  With Skaven, this often results in me having no players left for the second half.
    On that note, I seriously think that Skaven can be the most expensive team to manage.  Maybe it’s my luck, but it usually costs me 50,000 gold after each game……

  2. Good article,

    The one problem I find when playing elves and receiving first is how to manage a slow TD, so to avoid a quick 2 -3 turn one giving the chance to the bashy team to grind in the first half.

    when I try to stall my attack, I typically tend to move back in an orderly fashion protecting the ball with linemen while having WD leap over and catchers dodging around to get to the backyard of my opponent.

    Thisng is, a good bashy opponent will simply move his/her starting formation forward little by little enough so dodgers or leapers wont have a great many number of squares left to move after clearing through, and therefore vulnerable to being surrounded etc. Additionally, a good bashy opponent will move the line up in a way such that tehre are no really easy spots for dodgers to go around, so leaving the only viable option to WD leaping… which is a 3+ hence risky anyways.

    I guess what I am trying to ask for here is, is there any advice or recommendations on how to perform slow TD with agile teams? typically the best chances to punch holes and or clear a significant number of rows behind your opponent is right after reciving the ball in an own drive, and that is why agile teams tend to score in 2-3 turns tops. Beyond that, and if the agile team wants to do a slow TD to avoid the 2-1 grind, then the options get reduced and life is made much more difficult to score safely.

    Any advice?


    • Sounds like the basis for another article, will probably involve diagrams, any suggestions for specific opponents race you want to see me use for a demonstration for the bashing team?

      Regarding the editing of comments, didn’t realise that wasn’t possible for everyone else (obviously I can), I’ll see about setting up a short grace period of perhaps 5~10 mins to let you edit your comment after posting.

  3. Playing as an agile team against bashers, I understand the theory of stalling whne you receive to give the opposition less time, but more often than not I prefer to go for the score anyway.  This probably isn’t the best idea against more developed teams, but at least early on (when many bashy teams lack ball handling skills), there’s a good chance you can bust through on defence, take the ball and score again.  And again.  2 or 3 nil up at half time and the game is over!  and SPPs for all!!

    • I still advocate scoring with the agility team and then trying to turn over the bashing team to go in 2-0. Just not in 2 turns, if you do it in 5 turns (stalling for the whole half is really really hard for agility teams), then the bashing team has to take more risks to equalise before half time. This makes the turning them over and scoring again for a 2-0 lead easier for the agility team and also means less turns of the bashing team grinding them down if you can’t turn them over.

  4. Not sure if it is down to my luck but… I have tried stalling in most of my latest games to see how it goes, but poor results so far.

    Difficult to discipline oneself to stall when your opponent leaves a hole in their initial formation through which I do not even need to blitz… but hey let’s test the idea, I told myself.

    Since the combos required to get to TD after a few turns are more complex I ve experienced negative results in dices, some double 1’s on my part and interception 6’s on my opponents, that prevent me from seeing this as a practical way so far. Need to wait and see if lucks evens out in the medium term to conclude anything.

    On the otehr hand, I think stalling requires a more hardened kind of player, one that can keep its cool under a relentless advance from the bashy opponent closing in into your thrower or carrier little by little.

    In theory that may boode well for the agile player since this means the bashy team is spreading thin across the whole field, but still, nerves of steel are required to keep ones cool and line up the winning combo, most likely than not one that can cover most of the field in 1 turn.

    I think one of the keys is to think through the whole team positioning to get there from your back yard, taking into account that some of the players in the mid field or beyond may be down and teh chain may break. Keeping a viable chain with some alternative paths all the way up are key and seem to be the toughest part of the strategy.

    As such I’d say this stalling way is not for the feint harted or the inexperienced player indeed.

  5. I mostly play woodelves, and I’m a big fan of ball control.
    If  I’m receiving, I’ll definitely try to stall and score on turn 8. Leading 1-0 at the start of the second half will put some pressure on a bashy team.
    If you form up on two ranks and keep out of tackle zones, you give only one blitz per turn to your opponent. And since you’re a lot more mobile, you should only concede 1 square per turn.
    Your opponent will have, then, to take risks to score and play the ball. This is where agi team shine, you’ll be ready to exploit any fumble.

  6. I’ve played around with hail mary pass as a method of stalling.
    I know most people have probably thought about it and ditched it but bear with me.
    It only works once per game generally and quite often its tricky to ever land it on an opponent that has ever seen it before however:

    You recieve (Wood elves commonly in my case) and you back your ball carrier back to the rear of your zone (My thrower doesnt have HMP generally, its often a linesman that doubled early in the league) with your Hail Mary player.

    You break your hole in their line and rush all your catchers through their lines, however you hold them four squares or less squares on the opponents side of the line of scrimmage. In my case I prefer to hold them three squares in, though whatever you need to do to keep them as a credible two turn scoring threat (which in wood elf case is 3 squares in, 4-5 for linesmen).

    The opponent then, the first time they see it, will move to cover the recievers and move some down towards your carrier. IF they have not seen the play or are careless, they will not leave anyone within about 8 squares of their touchdown zone. Since there is little percieved point if they could instead be directly marking a reciever.

    As a result you now spend as many turns as you can keeping your thrower clear and simply breaking one square with the recievers. If you can, you keep your opponent believing that he is denying you the pass/score.

    Either way, the gain from this move is effectively one extra turn of stall, at the cost of additional risk (though the risk is VERY low if the opponent is a low movement team)

    The reason you gain a turn is simple. You are not tied into scoring the turn you make the pass as you usually would be with any other stall. Generally if you have stalled as long as you can (and next turn your thrower/carrier is going to be hammered), then you have no choice but to make the pass and score since once the ball is on your reciever its unlikely you’ll get to stall much more without increased risk (depending on your opponent). Additionally your actual scorer options are limited to those within reasonable pass or pass/handoff chains.

    With a properly executed hail mary pass the throw is the last action of your turn and you dont have any recievers in position to catch it. They are all still 3-5 squares from the line of scrimmage, screening any opponent players that are actually close enough to potentially get to the ball after the pass, and still well within range to run, pick up and score.

    Generally it pushes your delay out by one turn at very low risk. As I stated earlier however, it generally only works once before an opponent keeps a player back (though this doesnt stop it necessarily).

    It mostly relies on the fact that very few people use hail mary pass and therefore few people have set ways of dealing with it.

  7. Its still quite risky, particularly as noted if you’re playing someone who’s seen it before.
    I’m interested in the deliberate anti-cage suggested, with the two lines and falling back. 
    I normally find if you’re trying to delay, and they have a couple of nasty tackle/mightyblow/piling on  players…you dont have many recievers on the pitch by turn 4-5. 

    I’m thinking maybe I should be delaying with my entire team in my half for the first four turns and then breaking as if I’d just recieved a kick on about turn 4 and seeing if I can get them to bring almost all of their team forward before I do the break, maybe get to burn an extra turn with my catcher holding the ball up in their end zone. 

    In general I’m finding at high team ratings (2100+) elves are suffering heavily due to the prevalence of tackle online. 

    The open league gives people the oppurtunity to set up teams for one particular type of opponent and then only challenge that opponent type. 

    I ran up against a human team with 9 players with tackle, all four blitzers running mighty blow, guard, tackle, piling on. 
    Thats NOT pretty for a wood elf team, no matter your skill choices. 

  8. On the forums you’ll find a thread on delay tactics if anyones interested.

    I’ve been experimenting with dump-off pass. I think its got a few benefits that HMP doesnt offer (like it earns SPPs for starters!)  and it is FAR more frustrating for the opposing coach to deal with.

    its also very little-used on the online game (and I suspect on board game also, I rarely see it used)  so its got a surprise factor to it.

  9. With strong teams I almost always choose to kick for this reason. I’ll happily be a bit gung-ho in the hope of either swiftly getting the ball or if the opposition break through be sure to pressure them so they have to score quickly. I then do everything in my power to have the ball (or at least control it and make sure the other team can’t take it far) for the best part of 11 or 12 turns.
    Of course it can backfire if you get stalled too much and end up failing to score on one of your drives but so long as you’re prepared to make a break when you need to or take a gamble when you realise the opponent is doing a better job of holding you up than you’d banked on it can work a treat.

  10. As a high agility team i recommend just scoring as fast as you can and breaking the cage even with -2 dice as long as you have wrestle, its a 25% chance of a ball drop after all. add in strip ball and no sure hands and you’ve just pushed it to 50%.

  11. I understand the strategy behind this but, isn’t it lack of sportsmanship to just grind away for a 2-1?
    Perhaps I’m naive but I usually try my best to score as much as I can even if it means scoring in my second turn with a bashing team. I think the game is more fun that way. (4×0 and 4×3 are not uncommon results in my games)
    I’m fairly new to the game (played a hundred hours perhaps) so, this is a “must” in Player vs Player matches?

  12. Well that is the eternal debate, by not doing it certain teams are going to struggle to win at all. So is it sporting of your opponent to expect you to play in a way that gives them a really big advantage?

    What is sporting is more a subject for the forum rather than here which is about how to execute this tactic.

  13. I have a question.
    While delaying on your side of the pitch, how do you feel about passing the ball around to generate some SPP? Too risky, or no?

    • Depends on the agility and skill of your team, as well as the current situation of the game, (winning, losing, the current turn, and if your opponent is threatening you etc)

  14. This article is genuinely baffling me.

    I understand the logic of trying to stop agile teams stalling, and of using Kick etc.

    But the rest of the article feels like little more than saying it’s ‘good to get the worst bit over and done with’ by letting the agile team receive and perhaps score. I don’t see much advantage in that.

    I prefer to receive as a bashing team because I have a decent chance to down/hurt some of the agile team’s lineman before they get a chance to act. Which is a good advantage to start a drive (and can snowball). Getting to 1-0 from there is great because it pressures the agile to team to get back to 1-1 quickly without stalling (or to die trying), giving you the lion’s share of the second half to grind your cage up the field for 2-1.

  15. I feel like I’m missing something here. What are the actual reasons for it being good to kick first (not receive) in a 2-1 grind?

    I instead see good benefits from receiving first. For example:
    1) If you steadily score in the first half, you automatically pressure your opponent to score quickly in the second half .. which is what you want in order to get the ball quickly back to you as receiver for a hoped-for 2-1 win.
    2) By receiving first, you get a chance to ace first and batter their three players on the front line. Which can snowball into game control if you get KOs etc.

    What am I missing? I feel like the advantages of kicking first amount to little more than getting the bad bit (them scoring) over and done with. Doesn’t seem logical.

    • If you kick first then you are defending with a full team of 11 players. If you turn them over and score in the last turn of the first half, then when you receive in the second half and score you are 2-0 up. With a margin of 2 touchdowns you don’t have the pressure to stall out in the second half when you are likely to have less players.

      Also if you receive and score in turn 8, your opponent will have one turn left in the half. This means they will get two chances to recover from knock outs, once after you score and once at half time. If you kicked and then score in the last turn of the first half, there is just the half time knock out recovery roll. If your team has a lot of knock outs then you’ve the option to score in turn 7 to get two recovery chances yourself.

      The idea is to try and stop them scoring at all, not to get the bad bit over and done with, or if they do score it’s ideally after you are already winning 2-0. Another factor if you receive and then stall out the fist half to go in winning 1-0 you’ve given the other team the decision if they are going to try and score early to leave enough time to go for the win, or if they are going to stall out for a draw. If you kicked and are going into the second half losing 1-0, then it’s your choice if you want to go for the win or draw.

      Against some really hard hitting teams then you may want to receive in order to try and preserve from players from the line of scrimmage on the opening turn. As usual there is typically some ambiguity as to which method works best. In my experience, kicking first gives you more control over the meta decisions than receiving does.


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