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 changed.

Anyway, here are some of the basic strategies to keep in mind when playing your new wood elf team.

Kick-off/Receive

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.

Offense/Ball Control

  • 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).

    Nonetheless, the 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 are for!

    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 hand.

    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 Control

  • After 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 case.

    Fouling

  • Don'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.

    Defense

  • 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 variation.

  • 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).

  • 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

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