Hello sports fans, Skip Tasteless here! As a perennial High Elf coach and player (I played alongside Jarranial Jones with the Galadrieth Gladiators), I have seen many miraculous plays and also much bloodshed. Lately, though, I’ve been hearing smack talk about how overpowered Elves are. Elves are not overpowered, and coaching them takes more skill than boring “lay and pray” CPOMBers. In the spirit of competition, however, I’m going to give you coaches a few pointers. Give me a few minutes. Getting bash advice from an elf is bad enough, but when he’s wearing a pink shirt with skinny jeans sipping on a chai tea and ordering tofu…. ha ha ha, I hope your testosterone disappears.
Alright, joking aside, here’s the scoop. The key to beating elves is not claw POMBing, fouling, and its not even time-management (though, all of those help and are important)…. the key is POSITIONING. Whether its pro elves, wood elves, dark elves, or high elves, you’re up against a team with AGI 4 spammed everywhere! Combined with the dodge skill, elves are extremely mobile and have the potential to strike at a moment’s notice. For an elf coach, this mobility is great fun. They can score in 1 turn. They can leap / dodge into cages to cause havoc. They can crowd surf. Many possibilities are open to elves, and as a coach you must be wary of their nasty tricks. If not, you will pay dearly.
As a bash coach your objective will be the typical 2-1 Grind. An agility team versus an agility team opens up possibilities, but typically these match-ups are rare. You can either have a shootout (with either team scoring at will) or you can perform a grind yourself. Shootouts typically become games of time management, but they still use the same strategies addressed below. As an elf coach, I typically bash other agility teams and attempt to capitalize big with a numbers advantage (scoring 2-3 times in the second half). Just remember, the best way to decrease defensive power and mobility is by removing players. For this article, I will make the assumption that you will grind. Let’s begin!
Elf coaches LOVE playing defense. Elves will usually avoid contact and spread out to slow your advancement. To continue progress, you as a coach must then blitz and mark his players. And this is where the fun starts. This is where you see the crowd surfing, chain pushing, great leaps, crazy dodges, the epic plays!!! OR… you will see the elves run away. If the elves dodge away from you the entire first half, you will eventually be faced with a wall between your ball carrier and the end zone. At this moment of truth, you must score. If you have been successful at removing players from the pitch, this is much easier. If not, you will be faced with a headache, especially if an elf catcher is waiting deep in your own territory waiting for a mistake to score.
This is typically what you can expect from 2-1 grinds. It will either be a fist fight with the elves looking to capitalize on your poor ball handling skills or you will be close to the end zone and have to fight your way through the crowd to score. In both cases, it’s important to remove players from the pitch! In the first scenario, this is easier as elves are already in contact with you. The second scenario might be more frustrating which leads us to our next topic.
How To Advance
Even though you most likely have AV9 you SHOULD NOT give elves free blocks on your players. Your objective in the grind is to build a numerical advantage. The best way to eliminate shots on your players is with the Key Skills listed… STR (natural or extra), Guard, Tackle, and Mighty Blow. When you’re attacking a typical 2 x 2 formation, isolate one of the players and overkill with your marking. The more key skills your players have, the better!
Look at the examples of positioning. When advancing you do not want to mark with only 1 player. By doing so, the elf coach can easily counter by adding an assist to get a free block. When you mark an elf with multiple players, however, you give the elf coach a problem. The elf coach must either choose to dodge away or sacrifice formation and safety by committing players to add assists for a block. As you can see STR and guard help tremendously in this positioning. With these key skills, elves will be forced to dodge away. If you have a few players with tackle, the burden on the elves increases. Dodging away will eat away at rerolls, and if you are lucky enough to have an elf fail a dodge (1-1) you are already in position to deal some damage.
This brings us to Mighty Blow. Yes Mighty Blow increases your chances of causing injury, but there is also an indirect affect you might not have been aware of. Elves are extremely wary of Mighty Blow. If your advancing players have it, then the elf is now more likely to dodge away rather than block and potentially stay marked. Mighty Blow in this case acts as a deterrent for an elf to block. If you also mark the elf with a Tackle player, you increase your own chances of having the elves lose a team reroll. Tentacles works wonders as well. By keeping elves stuck to their positions, you can easily build up free blocks. Remember, the Elf strategy is to minimize hits unless he sees a high reward scenario. Therefore, work at maximizing your own hits while safely protecting your ball carrier. This brings us to our next topic.
The Dodge Skill
Dodge in combination with AGI4 (and more so with AGI5!) is AWESOME! Playing as an elf coach is all about gauging risk and saving team rerolls for the “crazy stuff”. Dodge is instrumental in this. With dodge, players are free to move around saving the team reroll for an actual blitz. This is important in shenanigans. Let’s go back to the previous formation and change some player positions…
In the above example, the Humans still look relatively safe, but elves are already chomping at the bit. Here is a possibility of what could happen.
With the Dodge skill, a 4+ dodge is successful 75% of the time. Those are still great odds for some shenanigans. According to Samba, a 4+ dodge and a 2+ dodge with the Dodge skill will succeed 69.444% of the time. With a team reroll it will succeed 72% of the time. Up the AGI of the catcher to 5, and now you are facing a 3+, 2+ dodge chain… which succeeds 83.33% (86.42% with team reroll) of the time! Can you see why positioning is important? If you leave those holes open, an elf will attempt to capitalize. Now granted, in the above scenario, the elves will most likely dodge marked players away and then attempt the hit (if a team reroll was sustained), but the psychological advantage is huge. The elf coach will be thinking, “This guy’s positioning is poor, I can be patient, and he will screw up again.” Imagine if that catcher has 4 STR or if he has wrestle / strip ball. Just one lucky play, and your entire strategy is now out the window. Once the game becomes a scramble for the ball, the elves hold a significant advantage. Here is another classic (and favorite) example showcasing the nastiness of Dodge with AGI4.
Elf coaches dream about these scenarios. With the above cage formation you are giving an elf a 75% chance to get a 1d block (with team reroll). Those are odds an elf can’t pass up! Throw in a couple more elf players (to get the ball), and you’ll start cussing up a storm on how overpowered elves are. How do you negate this? Positioning and of course, your key skills. Move the bottom right cage corner up by 1 and now the elves have to worry about negating two assists plus they have to contend with a 5+ Dodge. That lowers the probability substantially (down to 55%) and the elves have to commit 2 players for marking. If the play fails, you now have free shots on 2 players. With key skills, the chances of success go even lower. With guard on a cage corner, the elf blitzer has to deal with less advantageous block dice (-2D). If one of your corners has tackle, the elf blitzer now only has a 33% chance of success of dodging in without using the team reroll. They most likely have to use a team reroll to even get a hit on the ball carrier. Cage corners have mighty blow…. yikes.. The elf coach will ask, “Do I really want to mark the cage and put my guys at risk?”
As elves back up and run away to form a wall, you might be inclined to push down the sideline. Do not commit your entire team to one side. If you commit entirely to one side, elves will simply close a noose on your formation. By squeezing you into the sideline, they are hoping you will make a mistake in your advancing. Like in the first example, keep a wall screening the entire field. If things blow up in your face, you can always have that player run up as a receiver. The elves will then have to focus 1 or 2 players on him. This takes away from the defensive strength facing your advancing cage. Marking elf players on your advance will then become easier.
With elves, you should have the mentality that they’re going to score. Regardless of what you do, they’re going to score. The question is when and how difficult… these are things you have control over. On defense, your main objective is to make scoring as difficult as possible, while at the same time, killing and maiming. To do this, setup in a formation similar to what is illustrated.
You can also stack your defense in pillars. The main thing to remember is to force the elves to score quickly through high stress plays. This happens when an elf coach cannot effectively cage up his ball carrier on your side of the field. As play progresses, send one or two players down to harass the thrower. Keep the rest of your defenders back and mark as many elves as safely possible using your key skills to make blocking difficult for the elves. If you have skill-less players, you don’ t necessarily have to mark, play a little elf D yourself and screen the back field up. The main point is not to give away free shots. Getting sloppy with your marking is what leads to dumb (“lucky” if you’re the elf coach) injuries to your team.
On the topic of that, Elf coaches do not like putting high value players isolated into harm’s way. Any isolated high level player is just begging for a CPOMB blitz and 3-4 man fouling. If you see an elf coach isolate a player, teach him this lesson. The great thing about the above formation is that there is a higher probability that you can do this. With the above formation, an elf cannot effectively cage away catchers running down the field. So let’s say the elves send 3 catchers down the field. Great! Cover 2 and bash and foul the other one. One down, two to worry about. With luck you will cause injuries and force the elf coach to play riskier.
This is another popular defensive formation (you might do this out of habit):
Don’t run this formation. By leaving your flanks exposed, the elves will simply cage up deep into your own territory with lineman cage corners. These cage corners will protect high value players. If you’ve put enough fear into the heart of the elf coach through excellent POSITIONAL PLAY as well as injuries, the elf coach might be inclined to stall the game out. It is much easier to do this if a cage is already formed on your side of the field. (If you have not impressed him, the elves will score quickly and attempt to win the game on defense. ) You do not want to give the elves an option for stalling. Make them score quickly through risky play. Occasionally the elves will fail, and you can capitalize. To repeat, the center formation discussed does not really help you in this way, so don’t run it! Well, if you’re playing against me, then please, please run it 🙂
Playing Against Stalls
There is nothing as agonizing as an elf stall. If you find that a catcher has the ball deep within your own back field and is not in reach of any of your players or if the ball carrier is behind a screen, just remember to STAY CALM. Stand up everybody and move them closer to the ball carrier. If you have an easier blitz on a supporting piece rather than the ball carrier, take the safer blitz. The objective is to position your players closer so you can further harass on the next turn. By doing this you might be able to force a score on the subsequent turns. Try not to do any action where failure will cause the ball carrier another free stay on your side. Also, remember not to overload one side of the field (for example, left side of field), keep at least 1 or 2 players on the other side so that the fast elves can’t outrun you to the other sideline. By doing this you might be able to give yourself the extra turn needed to score the winning TD. Remember to advance on their cage similarly to how you advance on offense. Gratuitous marking on certain players forcing them to dodge away. Squeeze them into the corner, force them to score.
Preventing 1 turn TDs
If you are fortunate enough to have 3 Stand Firm / Sidestep players, put them on the line. Barring an elf having juggernaut, the elves will simply not be able to chain push their way up the field. Other than that, the best way to stop 1 turn TDs is by placing STR 4+ behemoths on the line. I will leave it to you to come up with your own formations. (Hey! An elf can’t give away all of his secrets!) There is high value in learning how to one turn TD, though. It gives you an eye for chain-pushing, which you can use to your advantage when facing teams. Basically, if you know how to one turn TD with elves, you will know how to stop it.
Anything to remove players from the pitch will help. Depending on your team, you would either like to get chainsaw players, bribes, as well as any star players who packs a wallop (Mighty Blow). As you advance, trample fallen elves with gang-fouls.
Elves are not OP (overpowered) if you know how to play against them. With solid positional play you can steadily march towards the end-zone in a wake of elf blood. Through this positional play (and skill selection) you can dictate whether or not the elves attack or run away. As turns progress and blitzes build up, you will eventually start clearing the pitch in typical 2-1 grind fashion. With your positional play you will also dictate if / when the elves score. With this time management, you will have ample time to score on the subsequent drive. This is just a tip of the iceberg. If you have any extra tips or advice for beating Elf teams then please comment below.