Teams Without Core Starting Skills:
Different races have players who start with various starting skills, or in some cases without any. The skills you start with all have differing uses and there are certain ones that are considered the “core skills”, which help with the most common actions your players perform. The more of these skills your players have the better they will be early on compared to counterparts on other teams. Generally the more skills a player has the more they cost as well, so you can’t usually take them all in a starting team. Teams that don’t have the core starting skills on their players are probably going to want to start with as many rerolls as is practical to fit into the starting roster. Teams with lots of core skills, the most notable of which are Human teams, will find that they tend to rely less on Rerolls than other teams. Typically the teams with more core starting skills have lower Reroll price as well, expensive players sound great, but without core starting skills they can be just as useful as a cheap Lineman.
Players Starting Skills and Opposition Schedule:
Early on for teams Block is quite a key skill to have on the pitch, it gives you someone who can hit with reliability (and reliable players early on is very helpful) and early on in leagues there are going to be a lot of opposing players without Block who you can knock down easier. Dodge is also a powerful skill early on against most teams and if you have players who can start with it, then they can be an attractive player to start with. If however you know that you are facing a Dwarf team in the first game, then unless you are Amazon you may be tempted to take a player without Dodge. This can save you some money as starting skills inflate a players cost and against Dwarfs you would have paid for the skill and probably not get much benefit from it. The saving made on the player can perhaps mean you can now take an extra Reroll or an alternative player with different starting skills.
12 or More Players:
You have to start with eleven players as I already mentioned, though as you haven’t spent 90k on Fan Factor, do you look to take a reserve twelfth player instead? Personally I feel that it is a waste, an extra Reroll would probably come in just as useful most of the time and don’t forget that they will double in cost in the future but the players cost will stay the same. Most other teams will only start with eleven players as well, so if you suffer an injury or a KO, you only will probably need to cause one to their team to even things out again. Some teams cope better with having less than eleven players on the pitch than others though. The more expensive Elven players can still be very effective with less players. The teams with cheaper players will suffer more and are more likely to be able to afford to have someone on the bench. The trade off is that they also typically need Rerolls more often (slower, less agile and often skill less), so you will probably should spend money on Rerolls. If you feel you have enough Rerolls though and would like a twelfth player, then is probably time to consider an Apothecary, while they can’t be guaranteed to work, they can give you back a player you would have missing and may be able to get you back one of your more expensive players, rather than just bringing on a Lineman.
Miniature Consideration for Table Top:
If you are playing one of the digital versions then this won’t really apply. For tabletop players though you may consider which miniatures you have available as well. For some bizarre reason most of the official team boxes don’t have a full 16 players with maximised positional players in them. You can of course use proxy miniatures to represent ones you don’t have enough for. If you decide to not start with a Catcher but have Catcher miniatures and not enough Lineman ones, then this can be annoying, especially further down the line when none of your Lineman you planned on getting killed have got injured.
If we take Dark Elves as an example though, a common starting roster only includes six Lineman. If you do get a full team of 16 players on a Dark Elf team, you typically will have 4 Blitzers 2 Witches 2 Runners 2 Assassins which leave 6 Lineman. This means you don’t need to worry about having proxies in place or extra Lineman miniatures just for the start of the team. Some coaches do like having eight Lineman but if your league insists you have to represent every player properly, you may not be able to do this.
Starting a team can appear to be quite straight forward but make the wrong choices at the start can leave your team struggling early on. In a short league this can rule you out of the running from quite early on, so it pays to put some thought into it. The main things to consider are the amount of Rerolls you can afford and need compared to which of the better players you will have to leave out and if it is worth starting with an Apothecary or not. I’m a big fan of starting with plenty of Rerolls, but if your league is fairly short, then having better players can make all the difference.