Playing a Young Wood Elf Team
When playing a young (usually its 1st five games or so, give or take) Wood Elf
team, your tactics are, of course, going to be markedly different than a team
with more experience (and a full roster, and more position players, etc.). This
is the section where I deal with that.
Also, for the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to assume you're using
the Team I gave in Part 1. If you did something different,
these guidelines will still be the same in some ways, but in others will make
no sense. Consider yourself warned!
One last thing before I start: this section of my Strategy guide will never
truly be done, as I will tinker with it and add material to it as it comes to
me, so even if you've read this before, come back now and then and see what's
Anyway, here are some of the basic strategies to keep in mind when playing your
new wood elf team.
This is an often overlooked aspect of strategy that deserves at least a mention
here. With a young Wood Elf team, I would suggest receiving the opening kick-off
in most cases, if you are allowed the opportunity. However, it's not a particularly
strong recommendation. It depends a lot on how you play, what sorts of strategies
you're most comfortable with, whether you think you are better at offense or
defense, your opponent's preference and play style (if you know), and so on.
Some people prefer to receive the ball in the second half, and if you're one
of those people, then don't let me stop you.
Use your line elves as throwers. Everyone on your team is AG4, so early on
it's OK that they aren't specialized in AG skills (no throwers, no catchers,
etc) Use everybody as both! Put 2 line elves in the backfield when you receive
your kick, use the closest one to go get the ball, and usually he is close enough
to the other elf to make a quick pass (2+) to him, and he can then go up to
the line and hand off to your Wardancer, who is your best ballhandler early
on (he's really tough to knock down, and can leap out of any messes in a jam).
It's a good idea also to rotate different elves in for this passing duty, to
spread out the SPP's on your team. This way, with any luck, it'll be almost
impossible after a few games for your MVP award not to result in a skill for
whoever gets it! Here is a graphic showing a sample offensive
setup for a new Wood Elf team.
I have, on the other hand, recieved feedback from coaches who question this
approach. One in particular is a chap who has made significant contributions
to proofreading and other input on improving the site, who I know as "Strider"
online. Thanks for your help! Anyway, he points out that "while I agree
that proper SPP-spreading shows a good coach, succeding in picking-up the ball,
throwing it and catching it requires 3 2+ rolls, which only works 58% of the
time. Is it wise to try with only 2 team re-rolls and no player re-rolls ? "
I would still say that it is. The key thing is to do the ball handling last
in the turn, and be prepared for failure. Having 2 line elves back to get the
ball means that while one is doing the pick-up and pass, the other can help
him "cover" a fumble. Also, when making a quick pass, there can be
only 2 "areas" the ball could end up during that whole process of
pickup, pass, and catch. Since you can not throw an inaccurate pass on a 2+
roll, it will either be successful or a fumble, meaning that in case of failure,
The ball will always end up either within one square of the thrower or the catcher,
should he fail to catch the ball. A failed pickup has the same end result, the
ball will always end up only one square away, barring something VERY unusual
(it could bounce to the elf who was helping "cover" who then in turn
ALSO fails to get the ball, and it bounces from him, etc).
final result in this exchange is that the ball always ends up in AT LEAST one
of your tackle zones, and in your half of the field. You should be able to recover
from that. And let's be honest, as a rookie team, you have to expect to fail
some things some times. The best you can do is be prepared for it, and minimize
the impact of the failures that will come. Also, note that his 58% total assumes
you choose not to reroll any failed 2+ rolls with a team reroll. That's certainly
a valid option, if you have them. That's exactly the sort of thing those rerolls
Yet another reason I prefer this approach is that while that 58% chance
of success sounds a little risky, you have to remember that human throwers
and catchers face approximatley those same odds AFTER using their skill rerolls,
since they are AG3 instead of AG4. And that's the best they can do. You have
team rerolls if you should decide you need them, and even if you don't, that's
still OK for reasons mentioned above.
Additionally, the only real way to "fix" this problem on a starting team
is to start with throwers and catchers. The problems with that approach are
covered in the Starting Roster section. Plus, you'll also find that if you
DO start with throwers and catchers, they will take all your SPP for those,
and your line elves will struggle to develop. It's rather important to develop
your line elves, since you pay so much for them.
So, in summary, my final answer to the original question is that although
there is a reasonable chance of failure in the actions I suggest, I still
feel it's the way to go. However, you should be prepared as a coach to mitigate
the damage of said failure in any way possible under the circumstances at
Here's a pretty good example of this
kind of SPP distribution. Note that most of the line elves have at least 1
skill, many 2. Also note that the Wardancer doesn't even have the most SPP's.
This is after 5 games.
Don't let your Wardancer do all the work. Your line elves
are excellent scorers in their own right, and should be allowed to do so whenever
possible. Otherwise, you'll soon find yourself with 1 guy with 30 SPP's and
the rest of the team with just an odd MVP or completion here and there. Often
it only takes a hand-off to score with a line elf instead of the Wardancer,
don't be afraid to do so unless your opponent is really good, or happens to
be in a position to really capitalize on your possible error. Other times to
"just go" include when the game is on the line, when it's raining, and/or when
you have no re-rolls. You'll reap the rewards for taking this small extra risk
in the long run by having a better, more developed team.
Damage ControlAfter you've finished all of your other more important stuff (blocks, blitz,
ball handling, etc.), dodge all of your remaining elves away from the line,
especially when playing a mean hitting-type team like orcs or dwarves. This
keeps the other team from taking advantage of your low AV by beating up all
your players. On the other hand, though, don't use a reroll on them unless it's
real late in the half and you have one to spare.
If dodging away is not possible, don't be afraid to take a few even-strength
(1 die) blocks, especially if the player you're hitting doesn't have Block.
You have better odds when hitting than when being hit with a skill-less (no
Block or Dodge) player (1 in 3 vs. 1 in 2). If you can get an elf or two with
Block quickly, this strategy becomes ever more valid. In that case, you have
an equal chance of failure as the 2+ dodge, and the potential upside is much
greater (downed and possibly injured opponent). Remeber, however, that if both
players are knocked down, AV7 gets hurt 1.5 times as often as AV8, and 2.5 times
as often as AV9. The tactics of the moment will decide the best option in this
FoulingDon't think that just because you're elves means you shouldn't foul now and
then; just don't do it so much that you start a foul war. Your players aren't
tough enough to take that kind of beating, and they probably cost more than
your opponent's players, too! You have more agility and speed on your team than
anyone else... so when somebody goes down, you can surround them and foul with
good success. Use this approach to take out the opposition's biggest threats
to your well-being.
The "I've Got My Eye On You" (IGMEOY) rule opens up strategic possibilities
to the aspiring wood elf coach. It's not always a good idea to retaliate on
the foul. For instance, if your opponent has the referee watching him already,
and one of your better players in on the ground, particularly a Wardancer, you
should generally refrain from fouling. This in turn will increase the chances
of your opponent getting caught if he fouls you, meaning he may be less likely
to do so.
You can play good defense with this team!! Don't listen to people who suggest
you just allow your opponent to score quickly and just play offense. You're
selling your team short by giving up on half the game! I play a 3-7-1 Defensive
setup, with the 3 required line elves on the Line, then 7 more line elves 2
rows back. I use the extra row to prevent a quick snap from decimating my defense,
as has happened before. They are spread such that 2 are in each wide zone, then
3 spread through the middle of the field. Then the Wardancer plays in the middle
of the field, 2 rows further back (4 rows off the line). This allows him to
blitz almost any forward player on the field. Here is a graphic showing a sample
defensive setup for a new Wood Elf team.
If your opponent has one or more players with Frenzy, you should consider
the 2 elves on the far edges of your defense one square further back. This makes
it significantly more difficult for the Frenzying player to get the assists
lined up for an attempt to push the elf out of bounds. This is a very flexible
defense, and allows you to quickly react to any strategy your opponent uses.
Also being 2 squares off the line (instead of just 1) prevents your team from
feeling major ill effects of a "quick snap", which is one of the most common
kickoff events you can roll. Here is a graphic showing a this
Don't allow yourself to get into a situation where a lot of your players are
getting hit every turn. Basically what you want to do is slowly give ground
by dodging away a square or two, and throwing the occasional block and blitz
here and there to further hamper the advance. Other than that, wait for your
opponent to make a mistake. When they do, you're ready. If they don't you can
force the issue by blitzing with your Wardancer, who leaps in to force the ball
loose. Then another available player can come by and pick it up, and hand it
off to someone who takes off down the field (preferably a catcher, if you have
One final note on playing defense: whenever possible, send one of your elves
about halfway down the opponent's half of the field. That way in the event that
you do manage to get the ball loose, you have someone who is in position to
score immediately. All you have to do is get the ball to them! The only time
you shouldn't really do this is if you are short several elves on the field
(usually at least 3 fewer players than your opponent has on the field) and don't
have any to spare.
Last Modified: 4/14/06
Wood Elf Strategy Pages