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Elves in the Open League

Discussion in 'Team Blogs' started by Gallows Bait, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Congrats on the win!

    I think you may benefit from adjusting your offence. It sounds like you are running some players down one flank and then passing the ball to one of them in the same turn. I would usually advise picking the ball up with a 5 SPP player who then passes to the Thrower, who then moves back out of range of the other team. That will skill up the other player at the end of the game (if you have no one on 5 then use a 0 SPP player and they may get lucky and get the MVP.

    Then you make the pass down to the receivers in your next turn. This is makes it harder for the other team to defend. They can't reach the ball (which they can probably do if you already pass it, even if it is at least to put tackle zones on it) and they have to split their team to put pressure on your Thrower and also try and cover all the receiving options. If you have already passed the ball they can just concentrate on covering it.

    If you don't have a suitable option to pass to in your next turn, then you can just look to eliminate the threats to your Thrower, spread your receivers out and wait another turn before passing. That will also use more time up which is to the detriment of a slower bashing team. They will be quite happy for you to score in two turns, it just leaves them 31 turns of grinding your team. (Perhaps read the 2-1 Grind article again)

    Also you might need to reassess who you are putting on the LOS, don't put 5 SPP Linemen there is you can avoid doing it. As I said one completion and they get a skill. Use Loners first, then 0 SPP Linemen first, they are your most expendable. Sure sometimes you will have to use other players and you will lose some from blitzes etc, but you should look to be getting at least one skill per game early on with an Elf team. It is easy to get to six with the MVP and a completion.
     
  2. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks for the advice, its much appreciated. I'll look into delaying my throws and see if I can open up more receiving options - I have been throwing forward on the first turn and it leaves the ball carrier the sole target then. I guess I was concerned with ensuring I got the ball as far up field as I could, when I don't always have to.

    It should certainly improve now with 2 catchers on the team instead of relying on blitzers and lineman to do the receiving.

    I'll make sure to review my scrimmage line more carefully too - I had the loner up front, but I didn't think to check the star player points.
     
  3. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Back again for more, my sixth game now. My team is upto a ranking of 1200 TV, I'm really not totally sure how, but it mostly seems to be the fact of now having 2 catchers, even though I only have 11 on the team right now (with the 2 linemen dying previously).

    I'm paired up with a Norse team of 1170 value, but his team seems to contain a good number of positional players and a couple of subs, so he only has 2 re-rolls to my 4, something that would later impact a lot. Overall the game was great fun and my french-canadian opponant chatty, civil and very sporting.

    The set up is familiar by now, even spread behind the line of scrimmage with blitzers on the flanks - side step is handy for preventing the frenzy issues last game and I'm remembering the lesson - especially when I see 2 norse werewolves set up - strength 4 and frenzy, with an av of 8, they're my toughest foe on the pitch at first glance.

    The norse team is spread well too, a runner and thrower in the rear, the werewolves on the flanks to blitz. I kick and a pitch invasion loses a turn from the game - no bad thing for me on defence.

    The norse blitz the flank with the werewolf, knocking down my blitzer, a cage forming a couple of squares into the half. The norse 4 line of scrimmage to my 3 allow them to knock down linemen, but no one is seriously hurt. This time I've remembered to place my 3 linemen with 0 star player points on the line, so I'm less phased in any case, though I'm hoping the lower armour of the norse will help reduce the slugfest aspect.

    The norse cage works well enough for a few turns, but I'm having a fair amount of luck holding it back - its nice to play a fellow strength 3 team! Eventually I get the ball free with a blitz, some marking and a block in the front line. The ball bounces around a while before landing on the ground. Another turn for both of us results in my elves clearing enough space to fetch the ball and I send in a catcher and he promptly dashes into the norse half. Two linemen back him up, screening from the closest norse near the centre line. A gang block takes one werewolf out badly hurt - good news for me. The norse fail to dodge clear of the marking elves and are unable to chase down the ball, I send the catcher clear and decide to run the clock before scoring, I want to reduce the risk of going on the defense again from a kick off.

    The norse try to concentrate on hitting my elves, but are generally unsuccessful, and the lack of re-rolls begins to hurt them also. My blocking is better, astoundingly, and knocked out norse linemen become a regular feature of the game before I walk in the touchdown on turn 8.

    1-0 to me and no one seriously hurt, plus one of the 2 strength 4 players on the norse team is out hurt. I'm due to receive and things are looking up.

    I set up slanted right, seeing the flank only covered by one lineman, I know if I can blitz him the gap is wide enough to push receivers through without even a dodge. My line of scrimmage is reinforced on the right side and my left flank is deeper to provide cover. My first catcher is up front on the right flank with my blitzer ready to make a hole, whilst the second is in the rear ready to pick up the ball and hand off to the thrower midfield.

    The kick off goes high and my catcher waits under the ball and catches it cleanly. The blitzer manages a 1 die block on the norse lineman and opens up a hole, rushing foward, the catcher doing likewise towards the centre of the backfield. My line of scrimmage and remaining players form a lose cage to the right side whilst taking down the closest linemen and the thrower moves forward into their protection.

    Crucially, I've learned from the tips here, and I hold off on throwing, feeling my cage will hold and knowing I've put the closest threats on the ground, I decide to wait until the receivers are clear before throwing, though I suspect the catcher would have caught it, he would have been battered before moving off next turn.

    The next turn sees the norse try to take out my receivers and the blitzer holds up with some nifty sidestepping. The catcher is knocked down but not seriously mobbed. The norse at the centre line are trying to break down my cage but fail. The next turn, knowing that the norse will eventually break through to my thrower, my catcher stands and runs into the end zone, the thrower rushes forward as the cage presses forward (just in case) and throws it through. Touchdown 2-0 to me and only turn 11.

    The next kick off sees the norse once more try to open my left flank, a similar blitz puts the remaining werewolf behind my line as the norse thrower collects the ball and moves towards the line. I try to break the line but fail, dodging through does work for my blitzer though, but his action only pushes back the thrower. The thrower escapes and moves to the centre of the norse team, ready to throw forward, but he fumbles the pass. My elves swoop on the mistake, spending a turn breaking up the area around the dropped ball and protecting it, before a lineman rushes in to take it clear. A similar situation to the first half arises as the ball is clear of the norse and I walk it in to score on turn 16. A brief kick off fails to produce anything for the norse and the game ends. 3-0 to me.

    Overall I'm pretty pleased and not just because the dice clearly loved me tonight. Sure my 1 die blocks held up and my re-rolls lasted for the most part, but also because I felt I was progressing, learning more. The thrown touchdown worked better for having the patience to avoid throwing immediately.

    The blitz worked better when I was aware of my surroundings. I had one catcher stunned in the first half to a crowd surf, but it was a risk assisting in order to complete my own crowd surf of the norse blitzer. My cage blocking play was better because I pulled more of the team back quicker and didn't strand wasted players forward of the line or deep in the other half waiting for non-existant passes.

    The dice really didn't work out for my opponant, but he was also hurt by his lack of re-rolls and I could see weakness in his flank defence in the second half as well as his cages being poorly guarded to the rear, so I was pleased to be able to spot and use those things.

    Highlights of the night included.

    - Only taking 1 stunned crowd surf and 1 KO all match
    - Knocking out 5 and badly hurting 1 in return
    - Breaking a cage without ending up too flattened to take advantage
    - Crowd surfing a stranded norse reciever in my own end zone for giggles after I'd moved the ball safe

    The post game saw a lineman and a catcher rise to level 2 - the catcher gaining block and the lineman 1 armour value (I figure over movement since I have 2 catchers and 2 blitzers faster already, but only the blitzers are more armoured and the linemen are there to take the blows more).
     
  4. maxcarrion

    maxcarrion Active Member

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    Nice win, seems your elf strategies are coming together nicely, if you don’t mind a little more input.

    Extra av on a line elf isn’t really worth it, wrestle or dodge would have offered them better protection and a useful skill on your own turn too. Personally, assuming your 10 was a 6+4 I’d have gotten kick as it is golden for all elf teams, if it was a 5+5 then guard is the immediate choice, apart from +Str doubles almost always spell guard for all types of elf. Still, stick him on the LOS and the av will be far from wasted.

    I think your offence strategy is improved but could be improved more, you’re still working with the designated ball carrier idea but just withholding the ball from him. Both catchers should be “going deep” holding one back to pick up the ball is such a waste. Then you can simply target the pass at whichever one is the best positioned to score (or for that matter pitch it to one of the escort players if the catchers get swamped, all elves can catch pretty well).

    On a 2 turn score offence I’d go with something like, LoS (3 elves), Thrower set back deep out of blitz range, 2 line elves further forward and out next to the wide zones, these run interference, scoop the ball and pass it back to the thrower and generally delay the opposition trying to get at the thrower, remaining 5 players (2 blitzers, 2 catchers, 1 line elf I think) break a hole and get ready to receive or reinforce the screen as needed. The scooping lineelf should either do a quick/short pass on turn 1 (for the spp, if it’s missed then the ball should be pretty safe as you should already have set your screen and you’re throwing to the deep thrower) or a handoff on turn 2 (so the thrower can throw). YMMV you can adjust this all over the place but having a catcher scoop the ball is a waste of an amazing receiver

    Oh and not every offence should be looking to score as quick as possible, this setup is for a turn 2, latest turn 3 pass and score.
     
  5. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Some good stuff from max there, I would also try and avoid running a player into the end zone and then passing to them. You want to pass to someone and then run them into the end zone if possible.

    If you run a player into the end zone first if something messes up then your player is looking like a tasty morsel for the crowd!
     
  6. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks for the feedback max, its much appreciated, I think I got myself overly concerned over getting the ball to the thrower as a hand off, whilst I forgot that if I'm planning to throw on the 2nd or 3rd turn, then it doesn't matter if my elves use a quick pass to get the ball across, especially if safely in backfield.

    The armour was a 6-4 roll yes, I wouldn't have wasted the double on it, but I fancied it would help to bring a lineman into a roll more similar to a blitzer, or at leasr offer me someone that can mark better against a cage in the long run - wrestle is easy to roll up, but the 10s don't come up often, was my thinking, but I can see why the skills are more use at this stage.

    Well, tonight brought another game, and what a change it would be, just as I thought I was getting the hang of things and making less mistakes, it seemed to collapse around me tonight, though I can't actually pinpoint too many errors from my point of view, which is frustrating.

    My team now up to 1250 points due to the skills and fan factor from the last match I rolled up match making again. This time it came up with a high elf team of supposedly lower value.

    It turns out this would be my first match against someone that has used a small team size to manage their value. I quickly found myself with 100k in inducements as they fielded two journeymen linemen. What I've learned tonight is that this 100k difference (not to mention the 1 fewer re-roll they had) hid a lot of skills on the remaining 9 players.

    The match set up in the snow, and I was on defense, so I didn't really mind, the snow would limit the high elf passing game I figured. I soon found out these high elves didn't have a passing game - no catchers, just blitzers, linemen and one thrower acting as a ball carrier.

    The kick off went badly, bouncing off the pitch to be handed to the thrower behind the line of scrimmage. The line of scrimmage looked like an even match up, but other linemen moving in and the number of block skills on the team quickly put all three linemen down stunned - frustrating especially as it would leave me short handed the next turn as well as my elves deep in high elf tacklezones. The right flank was blitzed by one of the high elf blitzers with a lineman supporting him - crucially one that had guard. My blitzer was taken out badly hurt immediately and a cage began to form on the right flank just inside my half.

    The next few turns went well enough as far as I could tell by my play, though I wasn't having much luck, the high elfs used numbers on turn 2 to begin to mark or blitz my defense one by one and my fragile armour wasn't having any of it tonight. 2 went off knocked out and 2 more were badly hurt, leaving me with 6 on the pitch.

    I held the cage until turn 5 when it broke through, but the high elfs did not score, instead forming up their cage around the ball carrier one square from the end zone, they were clearly going to deny me any chance to turn the half around with a quick snap throwing play. Eventually I exhausted every dodge or desperate block that I had to try and get to the ball and on turn 8 they walked it in.

    0-1 and six of my team off the pitch, it wasn't going well.

    The second half came and I was back up to 8 as the knocked out players awoke. The snow also stopped, and I felt a throwing play had more chance now. I set up to try and rush a flank, a familiar tactic now, but a risky one since I would have to either score quickly and take the resulting cage play beating, or try to hold off the equally fast high elves to delay the game longer. I didn't feel confident that I could hold a cage against his team, especially low on numbers and skills in comparison.

    The rush broke through well, my one remaining catcher pushed deep. My lineman in the rear failed to scoop the ball however and the turn ended. This was where I made one of my mistakes that I could spot in hindsight. I viewed pushing through my linemen, needing dodges, as a risky maneuver and I tried to pick up the ball first, seeing it as the easier action.

    Not only was I wrong as most of the dodges would have been equal rolls to the pick up roll, it left my advancing receivers exposed when I had room enough in the backfield to fumble and pick up again before the high elfs could have chased down my thrower or hand off lineman.

    The next turn I made the pickup but there wasn't really enough of a team up front to make the catch and I rapidly lost out as the high elves used their numbers advantage to once more take my fragile line apart. They came out on top and quickly scored again, confident I would not have enough turns to catch up.

    I came out fighting at the next kick off, even though I only had 6 players left on the pitch, I set up a tight formation on the left of the line of scrimmage ready to punch a hole in the middle of the line, whilst two linemen lurked in the rear ready to fetch the ball and act as impromptu throwers.

    My line was able to open enough of a hole to push my catcher through and deep into the high elf half. My lineman even managed an astounding long bomb throw (with my last re-roll admittedly) and my catcher caught it brilliantly. The high elves rushed to mob the catcher, two linemen marking him as a blitzer came forward to smash him into the ground. The blitzer however did not fair well. He failed to dodge from my line of scrimmage lineman and burned a re-roll getting away. He was further away than the lineman also, needing a go-for-it to blitz. He failed it and fell, knocking himself out.

    Its one of the few things my opponant did wrong - using the blitzer would have yielded no more dice than the two linemen alone and they had been in range not to need the roll to reach him. I wasn't able to capitalise it, however, as my catcher completely failed to dodge away from the marking linemen and tumbled to the ground, knocking himself out also. The ball bounced off the sideline and was thrown in, almost into the centre of the pitch, right between the battling elves.

    The last few turns revolved around a scamble for the ball, which I ultimately lost, but not before I'd denied the high elves enough time to make a third touchdown, which was some consolation.

    I managed a reasonable 60k in earnings and my thrower levelled up (level 3 now) - I rolled a double and went with Strong Arm. One of my linemen also reached level 2 and I took wrestle, which means I have 2 now with it.

    I'm not overly unhappy how I played, marking the high elf cage could probably have been better, but against the skills advantage they had I'm not too disappointed, and none were more than badly hurt.

    I messed up a little with the blitz play and fumbling the ball before I had a decent group through the line and I probably should have set up deeper against elves, so I think my set up needs work, I can't find a defense yet that works for me.
     
  7. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks coach - I think for me, pushing the receiver into the end zone before the throw has mostly been in order to ensure they dodge away safely without causing a turnover.

    That said, the catchers aren't hindered catching due to Nerves of Steel so the dodge before or after the throw would remain the same problem, now I think of it, whilst avoiding the crowd surf if it goes wrong.
     
  8. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    It will also make the pass shorter as well as your receiver won't be running away before it is thrown to him.

    Sounds like you are improving with every game though, keep it up!
     
  9. maxcarrion

    maxcarrion Active Member

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    Hmm, where to start. Sounds like your Elf game is tightening up nicely but from the sounds of it you came up against a tough match up, with a very capable coach and a bit of bad dice luck, but I’ll throw a few points in the air anyway. Clearly a lot of this is guess work and based only on what you’ve written

    All elf teams have a passing game, they don’t need throwers or catchers. It’s nice and makes it more reliable but even a TV1000 Dark Elf team with no pass or catch will punish anyone that assumes they don’t have a throwing game.

    I’ll point again at the kick skill for a lineman, it might have made the first few turns easier.

    It’s hard to face a team that’s got more guard, block, armour and dodge than you and is every bit as fast and agile. Your casualty rate again seems very high and makes me think you were letting them get more than 1 2 dice hit per turn on you (5 off the pitch by turn 5?), I think more care needs to be taken to keep your screen out of contact.

    Stopping a pro elf throwing play is almost impossible, if you have a catcher standing and in scoring range then at worst (short of special skills like diving tackle and disturbing presence) you’ll be looking at 2+ pickup, 2+ handoff, 3+ (long pass with accurate) with a skill reroll (pass), 2+ catch with a skill reroll (NOS + catch) 3+ dodge, 2+ dodge. And that involves all the worst possible scenarios of not having the ball, not being able to scoop it with the thrower without making the pass worse, not being able to close the range to 2+ and having to run through a tackle zone to score. Even then with a reroll it’s feasible.

    Given all that I can’t understand why the first passing play you didn’t even attempt the toss and in the second passing play you clearly tossed early and let the catcher hold the ball and get marked and blitzed.
     
  10. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks for the feedback again max.

    Yeah, I think I'm probably missing a trick with the cage, when they close to mark me up I've tended to worry about how I'm going to block or break the cage, rather than dodge the elves clear and use tacklezones to keep them hemmed in. I think its a reluctance on my part to hold the cage up passively, rather than actively breaking it.

    With the first throwing play the turnover caused by the failed pickup left the high elves able to blitz the catcher and pin down the rest of the team fairly effectively, leaving me in a scuffle to free up any players. I probably should have kept the thrower pulled back safely in the backfield while I tried to get an elf free of the brawl, but I pushed forward and it went wrong.

    With the second throw the catcher was marked the turn before I threw. With Nerves of Steel the catch wasn't my major concern, only the lineman acting as thrower, so it went well. It was just that I had to use my last re-roll to make the throw, so when the catcher failed the 2+ dodge to freedom with the successfully caught ball, I couldn't do anything about it.

    With only 6 players on the team at that point I had no really chance to get the receiver clear of the marking elves without being remarked by others and blitzed again, I had hoped to capitalise on the failed blitz that had left the catcher standing.
     
  11. maxcarrion

    maxcarrion Active Member

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    I must say, I think you’re going to make a dangerous player Gallows for the simple reason that you seem to analyze every game to improve how you play and the constructive way you take criticism, I’m marking you now as one to watch in crunch cup III. Just reading your reports you can see how your game improves each time.

    From what I’m picking up stalling a cage seems to be your biggest weakness, you’re taking high casualties every time you’re on defence and the games where you’ve then had to go on offence it’s been much harder as you have few players. I’d recommend re-reading Coach’s fantastic article on cage breaking and focus especially on the “wall” tactic which is ideal for low armour, dodgy teams like pro/wood elf and the stunty teams. Marking all 4 cage corners, especially against bashier teams like Dwarf or Norse, is going to leave you making 4 armour rolls, after 4 turns of this even if he makes no progress he can just walk it in against a greatly reduced team. If your opponent starts his turn with an elf in one of his tackle zones something has gone wrong (and this isn’t true, there are exceptions, like marking receivers and ball carriers but you get the idea)

    It wasn’t clear from your match report, it sounded like you passed to the catcher, then he got blitzed, then he tried to dodge away. Most of the time the best way to do it is get blitzed, then pass the ball to the confirmed standing catcher, then dodge away and score (or fail and fall). If that’s what you did (which is what your second post indicates) then I withdraw any criticism and point to cage stalling tactics keeping your thrower from getting injured so that you don’t have to use your last TRR on the throw :p
     
  12. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Agreed, looking back I could have been clearer - he has survived the blitz and all he needed was a simple dodge, but the point about the thrower is very true.

    My thrower was off badly hurt by that point in the game, which meant I lost his useful skills and ended up making my throw need a 5+, hence the re-roll burned up for the turn.

    I'll try again on the cage articles, its nice to confirm that if I'm open to a block, I've messed up, so I can try to focus on that.
     
  13. Smiler6310

    Smiler6310 Member

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    Hey Gallows Bait,

    Just blasted through the thread at I agree 100% with maxcarrion, you seem to be improving each and every game. Wont be long before your the 'Go to Guy' on Pro Elfs. Speaking of which fair play to you as well for using Pro Elfs in the first place.

    If you'll permit me to make a few suggestions;

    1) Kicker - you need one, badly! With your cage issues make the slower teams start deep, make them move that cage the whole length of the pitch!

    2) Pressure the ball carrier early - not always possible but Pro Elf catchers are amoungst the best at punishing turnovers especially failed pick-ups. Try and stop the cage from forming or from forming properly (kick helps again here).

    3) Dodge as 1st skill on lineman - Not everyone's choice as a skill but when I played with Dark Elves I used to take dodge as my 1st skill on all lino's (barring doubles). I found it helped my defense tremendously as I'd slow the cage down to a crawl by dodging away 1 square back from my opponants cage, leaving him only the blitz each turn where possible. Having dodge will increase the chances of your guys dodging away and in most cases will leave your TRR's alone. The longer you can slow his cage the more desperate your opponant will become as turn 8 looms hopefully forcing him to do something stupid and thats where you then capitalise!

    Hope some of that was useful! :D Good Luck with your Elfs fella, will be rooting for them!


    Chris
     
  14. Netzilla

    Netzilla New Member

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    The Coach's cage breaking article covers this pretty thoroughly, but my system on handling a cage basically consists of the following steps:

    First, set up players in front of the cage to make sure it can't advance more than 1 square forward. Preferably have a two lines in front so that a Blitz won't make a dodge-free hole.

    Second, look at doing the same on one or both sides to slow down lateral movement of the cage.

    Finally, if I have a strong player or two available, either blitz the ball carrier (if they're open) or blitz a corner in an effort to mark the ball carrier (better if the blitzer is strong, has block/dodge and stand firm/side step).

    This situation came up in a recent game with my Norse vs an Orc team. In the attached picture, you can see how I've set it up so that the Orcs can't move forward very well and they have to back up before they can move laterally (plus there was stuff going on over on the left side that isn't pictured.

    From that position, I was just in range to blitz the left-hand lineman with my snow troll but I didn't. Even if I pushed the lineman back and then down on the 2nd hit (yay Frenzy), the Black Orc would get a 2D block at the start of his turn. Too much risk for too little payoff. Instead, I moved the ST forward (yay Pro) to put him into possition to blitz around the back of the cage to hit the far back corner where the Orcs would have to commit more resources to get their thrower unmarked.

    Ultimate, I wasn't able to get the ball away from the orcs but I slowed them down enough to keep them from scoring before the end of the half.
     

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  15. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks so much for the comments guys, and for the advice - I'm definitely keen to improve my cage stalling play and avoid trying to break it at any cost, its been hurting me and I can see that in the number of players taken off the pitch.

    I'm also going to look into the skills choices mentioned - I hadn't realised how useful the kick could be in terms of helping the deeper kick as a cage delay, and I am beginning to feel the pain of not having dodge on my linemen.

    Will let you all know how I get on in their next match, I'm also tempted to start a second team at some point to implement some of the lessons picked up earlier in team development and see how they go too.
     
  16. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Well, another game tonight, this time an Undead team of approximately the same value. the kick off went to me and I was lucky enough to roll a blitz. I decided to try and push down the flank to try and either close in on the ball, or at least pressure any receiver from gathering it up.

    Unfortunately the dice did not go my way and the blitz came up skulls, as did the re-roll. The rest of my line was spread for defence though, so although my blitzer was stunned, there weren't any gaping holes in my line.

    The undead turn was mummies use their strength to pound my linemen on the scrimmage line, knocking one out immediately and stunning another. The undead formed a loose cage on the left flank and one ghoul rush through as a potential receiver. At which point I noticed there was an agility 4 ghoul acting as ball carrier, more than capable for a throw.

    My turn came and I tried to pen in the cage, whilst bringing down the outlying ghoul incase of a throwing play. The next few turns saw the cage advance slowly, though the mummies were able to take turns blitzing my team one by one which ended up taking one lineman out badly hurt and another knocked out.

    My cage stalling held until turn 5 when the undead team took advantage of a hole in the defence to move their cage closer to the left flank and significantly forward. Turn 6 saw a wight break through my screen and a ghoul rushed through to score. 0-1 and 1 badly hurt, 2 knocked out, not the best of starts, but I had taken a lot less blocks with my cage screening, even if it had still been broken through. If the opposition hadn't included 2 mummies my casualties wouldn't have been as high.

    I had 3 turns from the kick to try and score in return if I wasn't going to be left on the back foot in the second half. I tried to open a hole towards the right flank, skirting around the mummy on the scrimmage line, but my blitz met with limited success and I was forced to form a cage ready for the ball carrier. I pushed players forward and right whilst my thrower and one lineman held the ball in backfield, keeping out of distance until I could break my catchers through.

    It did happen, eventually, but again the mummy was able to cause havoc with blitz. My catchers suffered from some terrible dice, failing simple 2+ dodges in both of the final turns and dropping the ball. What this showed, more than bad luck on the dice, was that I'd been forced too much to use them to avoid failed dodges with my cage screen and on my failed early blitz, so it was my failings there that were more the issue.

    The second half saw much of the same, though with the blitzing mummies and their painful scrimmage line having an impact I was once more struggling with less players on the pitch. I wasn't able to push my blitz well enough and it ended up close to the sideline. A chain of blocks culminating in the mummy saw my catcher pushed off field with the ball. The throw in landed it almost in the centre of the pitch and the ghouls promptly surrounded it, and were able to use their own speed to score easily. 0-2 and I admit I was, and still remain, frustrated at the path the game was taking.

    I knew I'd made a couple of mistakes in the first half, but nothing had gone right at all so far in the second - my dodges away from mummies failed, my attempt to open the backfield failed as the numbers advtange and sheer strength of the mummies allowed them to field a deeper formation.

    The next kick off saw a better start, with probing advances on both flanks, including a cage forming ready for the ball on the right flank. My throw scattered, but even managed to land in the hands of another elf. But a blitz saw a mummy close on my ball carrier as the wights and zombies covered the rest of the cage, preventing my players dodging away due to weight of tacklezones. A six player cage and it had crumpled in one turn. The last turns saw the undead beat my catchers down and the ball taken by the agile ghoul. Two turns later and the ghouls were scoring their 3rd touchdown.

    Final score 0-3 and a very frustrated elf team.

    I'm seeing where the lack of dodge is hurting me, and I'm seeing real difficulting in pushing my catches through into the backfield as my blitzes haven't opened up the space I wanted, I was making 1 die blocks when I couldn't find alternatives, just to try and make some space, yet if I'd held back and waited I would eventually have been bashed off the pitch anyway, as my scrimmage line proved.
     
  17. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Well, I decided I couldn't end the night on such a note, so I decided to try and fit in one more game. This time my opponant was a slightly higher value dwarf team.

    Oddly the dwarves had 10 blockers and 1 runner. They had 7 with guard and several with mighty blow, so I didn't think my chances were great, as I was bound to face a lot of two die blocking. But I knew I would have a speed advantage, as well as agility, so I hoped I could make up a little.

    The game started well enough, the dwarves only knocked out one in the scrimmage and I kicked deep enough to push back their cage for a turn or two. My blitzer was able to push along the flank closer to the cage and proved a thorn in their side with side-step.

    I formed up to defend against the cage, taking a little blitzing and blocking - the dwarves spead enough to use guard to best effect and whenever they ended in base contact they had the dice advantage. But on turn 3 they made an error - they pushed the runner towards the centre, out of the cage which I had broken the corner of, trying to flank around to my weaker defence. They relied on my elves not dodging out of the dwarf tackle zones.

    They were wrong, I pulled a lineman from the right flank, dodging into contact with the ball carrier. Then I did the same with a blitzer and blitzed him down, gathering the ball and rushing deep into the dwarf half, leaving only two dwarves in range to catch up. I moved one catcher around to mark one of them, before trying to mark the second, but my dodge failed.

    The dwarves battered at my defence line before using their one blocker in range to blitz, he rolled attacker down on his one die, and again on his re-roll, stunning himself. Turn 4 and I ran my blitzer out of range into the corner, ready to stall - this wasn't even my offensive half and I sure didn't want there to be a dwarf cage pushing at me any longer than possible.

    The dwarves retaliated by marking the rest of my line, so I scored on turn 5 to avoid getting them blocked, but not before my blitzer handed off to a lineman to help him gain some star player points. Lesson learned there - if I'm playing for time I need to pull the rest out of range if I can.

    So, turn 5 and its 1-0 to me and only one knock out to deal with.

    My next kick went very short, landing near the centre behind the main dwarf line, who promptly caged up. I held my ground and gradually tried to open one corner of the cage. On turn 7 I was lucky, one player was down, but next to the ball carrier, a catcher stood at the cage corner. My elf stood up and my catcher blocked, I broke the corner and it pushed the catcher into contact with the ball carrier from the right hand side. The remaining dwarf on the right side of the cage did not have guard, so I was able to risk a 1 die blitz on the ball carrier.

    It worked and the ball bounced out of the left side of the cage. My remaining catcher pulled off 3 dodges to pick up the ball, before taking advantage of his nerves of steel to throw it slightly back down field to my thrower.

    My thrower, along with 2 linemen and 1 blitzer ran down the left flank and formed a 4 man cage, the ball handed off to the blitzer furthest up field.

    The dwarves tried, but failed to break the small group and on the final turn of the half my blitzer ran in a touchdown, using 2 go for it rolls to do so.

    Half time and its 2-0 and I still only had one player out of action, and he woke up.

    This time I'm recieving and I set up with my thrower and a lineman back to gather the ball, while I set up 7 on the scrimmage line, this time I wanted to break through the centre and, if I could, take out some of the awkward guard blockers. I had blitzers guarding the flanks, but I was really hoping my line of scrimmage fight would work.

    The kickc off gave me a good coaching roll - allowing me to move the end scrimmage players into contact with the end dwarves and give me 2 die block advantage without moving, excellent start. I knocked down two before sending the 3rd off badly hurt and forming a cage in the centre of the pitch. The ball had gone deep, right into my end zone and my thrower retrieved it, loitering at the back of the pitch. One of my catchers ran deep into the dwarf half.

    On their turn the dwarves closed up to assault the cage, whilst one dwarf marked my catcher, and a second blitzed him. The two die block resulted in both players going down, but my catcher was only stunned, the dwarf was knocked out.

    The dwarves spent 2 turns assaulting my cage and trying to rush down field towards my thrower, marking the midfield lineman. The fighting in the centre left me with one knocked out and one badly hurt, but crucially my prone catcher in the backfield was left marked before being fouled.

    Once more the dice hated the dwarves and he was not hurt, whilst the dwarf was sent off - leaving my catcher unmarked, if prone. By now it was turn 11 and I knew I could not let my cage take much more of a beating, and my thrower was beginning to get chased down. I pulled my catcher back to the limit of range without straying close enough to the dwarves to be blitzed.

    In the meantime, my thrower ran forward, using go-for-it rolls ready to try for a long bomb. He stopped next to the marked lineman for protection. Oddly, even though the throw looked to be just inside the range, it refused to throw, so I must have been only a fraction of a square out of range. Instead the thrower handed off to the lineman, ignoring the dwarf marking him. He ran free from the dwarf, hoping to throw it up towards the catcher. Instead I got greedy trying to reduce the throw range, and he fell on a go-for-it roll.

    Two dwarves managed to mark the ball, but could not pick it up. On the next turn I was able to free one lineman from the fight in the centre of the field, dodging free to mark one of the dwarves. My prone former ball carrier got up and blitzed, only a 1 die block due to the other guarding dwarf, but enough to knock him down, leaving only 1 tacklezone on the ball.

    Taking advantage of nerves of steel once more, my catcher ran in for the ball, picking it up easily, and dodging away without problem now that there was only one dwarf to dodge from. Two go-for-it rolls later and it was now 3-0 to me.

    The remaining 5 turns saw the dwarves cage up - although their runner injured himself with a pinched nerve trying to reach the ball before they finally retrieved and began to inch downfield.

    My cage screen was more effective this time, learning a little from the first half, although the dwarves had 7 on the line of scrimmage, so some pain was inevitable. Two lineman were knocked out and a blitz meant that my blitzer will miss the next game with a damaged back, but otherwise I survived. I even managed to break a cage corner twice and blitz the ball carrier from the rear to leave the ball on the ground on the final turn.

    Looking over the game, I was very lucky, my dice rolls held up, my dodges and 1 die blocks worked for the most part. But what became apparant most was that my willingness to risk 2+ or 3+ dodge or try the occasional 1 die block to try and turn things my way had my opponant on the back foot - he kept insisting I shouldn't or couldn't do such things.

    True I had more than my share of success, but with 3 touchdowns coming off the back of an agile, dodging, throwing play, I can't imagine it was all just good fortune.

    My caging was better again, this time using columns and I took less blows as a result. But I did tend to leave the centre field to fend for themselves once they became bogged down, as the number of guard players left me out-diced and dodging became difficult to free them up, so I was very lucky not to take more injuries.

    Post match I was able to skill up my 2nd catcher with block, but otherwise uneventful and only 40,000 in winnings.
     
  18. Coach

    Coach Administrator Head Coach

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    Only had time to skim read them but couple more tips:

    Against the Undead you mention you had trouble getting your Catchers downfield. Unless you are in a rush and only have two turns to score, then this isn't a problem. You can try and wait till next turn no need to take on risky dodges. During their turn they are likely to move to get advantageous blocks which will open up the gaps you need, or make it fairly easy for you to create one. This also wastes more time which is to your benefit.

    Against the Dwarfs it sounds like you were lucky to not be able to do the Long Bomb, it is usually always better to hand off to a player in midfield and run them forward to do the pass. Unless you have a highly developed specialised thrower who can long bomb on a 3+ with the Pass reroll.

    Also Nerves of Steel doesn't help when picking the ball up, only catching and passing.
     
  19. maxcarrion

    maxcarrion Active Member

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    OK, nice win against the dwarves, sounds like you capitalised on your speed and agility, guard teams are very hard to play against but it seems you got away with it. Not so good against the undead but Mummies are one of the hardest players to counter with S5, mighty blow and no negative skills they are a pain for elves. Lets have a go at some analysis.

    Kick, it’s more than just kicking it to the back against slow teams, kicking it near the LOS if they don’t have good ball carriers nearby can really let you threaten the ball early on, disrupt a cage forming and even steal the ball. There’s a plethora of tactics that kick opens up and it’s magnified for fast agile teams that can capitalise on ball placement.

    The first 6 turns against undead actually sounded really good, you kept them stalled and kept your injuries low, when a hole did appear they had to exploit and score immediately giving you the chance to equalise or risk not scoring at all if they hadn’t gone for it. For 6 turns of defence I think that’s your lowest casualty count and that was with Mummies blitzing you. Spotting and shutting down the passing threat was good too, pressuring his running game.

    I’m not sure why your offence keeps failing, you seem to be rolling more dice than I’d expect and also forming a fairly superfluous cage, so I’ll run through how I think a textbook offence should go.
    Setup: Him: A 3:4:4 formation, M Z M on LOS, W S S W 2 squares back, S G G S 7 squares back. This is a very common formation against agility teams.
    You: L L L on LOS, 2 L screening left flank, T centre back, BBCCL on right flank (CC on LOS in widezone, 1 square behind in centre zone right for rest)

    Kick: a few squares off centre, back and left.

    Turn 1: Right Lineman moves to assist on front right W or S (depending on spacing, S in a tie if no block, lets say S for argument sake), B1 blitzes S, sideways so that a push will open the gap wide enough to be dodge free keeping him marked by Right L. B1 continues through his hole (didn’t follow up) and marks back right S, both catchers run as deep as they can get on the right flank and B2 marks back right G. So far we’ve had 1 roll, a 2D block where all we needed was a push and receivers are deep and in place. Thrower picks up the ball and stands 7 squares deep (just out of LOS blitz range) moving back to centre after the pickup. A 2+ roll and the last thing this turn that will burn a reroll if we fail. Left flank L’s can stay where they are as they are screening a flank attack, right most LOS L dodges back (2+) and marks right W to hinder him going backwards. Left and centre LOS L dodge 1 square back and form up to screen LOS from running at the Thrower (or fall over, no rerolls for them). We’ll assume success but it makes little difference.

    Turn 1 Undead: Right 4 are marked, LOS can’t get back quick enough, 3 of Left 4 can’t get across quick enough, left G is only free threat, left G marks C1, left S moves to centre, left W runs around the screen to menace thrower, left S (front) marks the 2 left screen elves, left LOS mummy marks 2 front screening elves, right M assists right S who puts down his marking L with a block, Z runs back and with a GFI gets a tz on B2, right G blitzes B2 down next to Z with the assist and puts a tz on C2. Right W dodges free and puts an assist on B1 which back right S blocks down and that’s everyone.

    So, B1 and B2 are down and marked but all they could reach C1 and C2 with was a G each (and it took a lot of dice rolls to get them there so often 1 could be free)

    Elf Turn 2 – Thrower runs forward, 2+ with a skill reroll pass, 2+ with a skill reroll catch, 2+ dodge (with a TRR as you haven’t had to spend it), walk it home.

    As you can see, it’s all about making a gap, outdistancing the players you can, marking the players you can’t and spreading the recivers out so the opposition just can’t knock them all down or surround a tight cluster and getting more than 1 mark on each catcher is hard (using opposite marking the opposition could force a 3+ dodge and a 2+ dodge so avoid that where possible. Minimize your dice rolls and maximize theirs. Perfect Defence and Blitz on kick off tables mess with this terribly but short of those I can’t think of a single formation that doesn’t allow a single push block in the right place open up a bit of space to run into without a dodge. There is no need to form a cage for a receiver, spread them out and then give the ball to whoever your opponent left with the easiest catch and score (even if it’s not one of the catchers). There’s lots of variations on this but that’s one way to do it.

    Gone on a bit on that point so just a couple of quick points

    Hero moves (lots of dodging, GFI, 1 die blocks etc) are risky but once the important/safe moves are done, if they’ll greatly improve your position, do it. I’ve had plenty of games turn around at the last minute cause I’ve risked the rolls and the catcher scoop in turn 7 is a great example of when it works out. Just make sure you’re ready for when it fails, it’s easy to get reckless.

    Work out when you expect to score and always save a reroll for those plays (unless it’s a game breaker). One of the hardest things to do and something I still struggle with is not rerolling a turnover. The blitz on turn 1 would not have been a disaster if not rerolled as you were still set to defend
     
  20. Gallows Bait

    Gallows Bait Super Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks for the feedback, its really helpful to get advice between games that I can build on and try to improve with.

    Regarding Nerves of Steel, you are, of course, correct Coach - I had it on my head it would help with the pick up, but it doesn't, I'm just lucky I got away with it and have learned now.

    The throw, I think, would have been a 3+, due to my thrower having accurate and strong arm to cancel out the minus modifier of long bomb, but definitely without having that crucial lucky skill up to strong arm I would be easier to hand off and throw.

    I really appreciate the offence advice max, its does seem to be the weakest aspect of my play right now, and I think I can see what you mean, if I choose my blitz correctly I can push or knock down to create a gap. What I think I'll need to look at is how to do it against lines that don't follow as deep a set up, it seemed more crowded on the line when I was playing, so I'll have a look at the replay, but I would hope the same principles apply.

    I guess I'd just assumed I'd need to break the hole in the line for a cage, rather than a spread of potential ball carriers that would need to be marked, blocked or blitzed. Again its something that has been improving game by game, my throwing is more patient now, which reduces the blitzing of an active ball carrier.

    Other than that, it both of the last two games, due to guard or naturally higher strength, I've been making a lot of 1 die blocks, and probability can't be beaten indefinitely, so its either burning re-rolls or causing turnovers. I guess it will just take some more thought to ensure I can get either the numbers advantage or weigh up the risk of dodging from some of the contacts with the opposition.