Ok, it’s Darkie time! The Dark Elf team is one of the stranger teams to build. For starters, they are an Elf team, which means AG 4 across the board. It also means low armor across the board. So on it’s surface, this is an agility team. But the lower Movement stat (low for an elf), as well as the starting skill set, suggests a power running team. So what is a coach to do?
Well, the first step is to accept the fact that you can’t throw like an Elf, and you can’t hit like an Orc. So don’t try. Instead, take advantage of the fact that your team is a shenanigans team. You have to be opportunistic, use skills and tricks that don’t normally get used, and let your natural Agility pull you through.
Before we being getting in depth, lets talk about fouling. A lot of people feel that fouling is unethical, immoral, poor sportsmanship, etc. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Fouling is a part of the game, and as far as I am concerned, it is no more unethical than crowd surfing or blitzing. That being said, I do not believe that fouling should be commonplace. Not because it’s poor sportsmanship, but rather it’s not statistically beneficial to most teams. Lets look into this a little further…
Assuming you auto-crack armor on a foul (a best case scenario), there is an 11/36 (30.6%) chance of being ejected. The exact same chance of getting a Pow! result on a 2 die block. If ejected, you’re gone for the game. To get a parallel result, you need to get a casualty result on the injury roll, which is a 1/6 (16.7%) chance. So assuming you auto-crack the armor, you are around twice as likely to be ejected as you are to permanently remove a player. If you are looking for a knockout result, that’s a 15/36 (41.7%) chance, which means you’re looking at slightly better chance, but you’re still gone permanently, and he can come back. Losing a $40k gobbo to remove a Wardancer is a good investment. But if you’re an elf team, losing a $70k+ dude for a less than 50/50 shot to remove an opponent is just a bad idea. And lets keep in mind, an ejection is for the whole game, so if you are fouling, you better be certain you can afford to lose the dude. And this is in a best case scenario! Another reason that fouling is not the smart play is because we play in a continuing league with a handful of coaches. This means that you usually only play a coach once or twice a league. Fouling a guy and decimating his team only weakens him. But keep in mind, you won’t be playing him again until the playoffs, so while you weakened him for you later, you also weakened him for the rest of his opponents, which means you just made all of your opponents lives easier. And what is beneficial about making your opponents have easier schedules. You want them to have a tougher time. Last note on fouling, you don’t get SPP’s for it, so at the end of the game, it’s not worth it unless you’ve got a specific agenda. So to recap, foul only if it benefits you. And consider that wrecking your opponent only makes the rest of the league have an easier game. And that benefits everyone but you. Now if it benefits you, definitely put the boot in! Goblins, Halflings, Snotlings, these guys benefit from fouling. Elves, Orcs, etc, don’t have enough backup players, and they cost too much, to make fouling a viable long term tactic.
With that said, the Dark Elves are expensive to start, but as I’ve discussed previously, SPP’s are critical to team development. So once again, you want to start with as many skill position players as possible. But the Dark Elves don’t want to take EVERY skill player, and they want to avoid the “combos” that people take. So lets discuss a few items that a lot of people think are great, but they aren’t. First off, Diving Tackle on a Witch Elf. This seems like a great idea. You stick the Witch next to a dude, if he dodges away, you fall down and give him a -2 on the dodge. Plus, you’re on the ground, safe from being punched, and you have Jump Up to stand up and boogie away next turn. That’s great! That’s wonderful! That’s the problem! If a player is in a tackle zone, he has two ways of getting out of it. Dodging and punching. If you put Diving Tackle on a Witch Elf, you basically are telling your opponent that they don’t want to dodge out of the tackle zone. So that leaves option b, punching. Given that the Witch is only ST 3 & AV 7 (and without Block), and given that they cost $110k each to start, this is a terrific option for your opponent. Punch the Witch, do some damage and either walk away next turn or punch her again. And if the idea is that the Witch buys you time to get help over, then you are choosing to lose 10% of your roster to buy one turn of time. Or, you’re spending 10% of your team value to buy time for 3.2% of the game. That’s a trade I’ll take any day of the week. Honestly, taking a skill that gives your opponent numerous reasons to punch your fragile, expensive elf instead of dodging away is absolutely ridiculous. Don’t be that guy. We laugh at that guy. A lot.
Another pointless, yet popular, maneuver is taking an Assassin or two. They are the worst point for point dude in the game. Seriously, there is no worse piece in the game. Lets explore why. First, the Assassin starts with Shadowing and Stab. Shadowing, much like Diving Tackle, does nothing but encourage punching the Assassin. It makes a guy dodging away have a chance of being followed, based on comparing movement values. As such, if you are a fast moving or agile dodger, you’ll just leave and get away because of the Assassins hotshit MV 6. Now against a slow moving dude (which tend to be hitting dudes) Shadowing will work, which means I shouldn’t dodge out, which means that once again, I default to option b… punch the Elf. Sweet. As I said above, a skill that gives your opponent numerous reasons to punch your fragile, expensive elf instead of dodging away is absolutely ridiculous. Speaking of ridiculous, Assassins come with Stab. Stab, just like Shadowing and Diving Tackle, doesn’t help the Assassin, but rather hurts him. Stab is used in lieu of a Block. If the Stab is successful (against AV 7, it’s 41.7% effective in knocking down the player, against AV 9 it’s 16.7% effective), then the opponent falls and injury rolls are taken. If it is unsuccessful, then the Assassin is standing next to a player. At ST 3 & AV 7, standing in a guys tackle zone isn’t where you want to be. Oh yeah, to make it even more useless, Stab doesn’t give you SPP’s for casualties either. So the skills the Assassins have are useless and detrimental, and the cost is high (90k base), at least their stats are good, right? No. They are a 6-3-4-7, which gives them the same stats as a lineman with an Armor break. Excellent plan! Pay extra to get skills you don’t want and stats that are the worst on the team. Now to be fair, if you want to take the time to skill up an Assassin (which isn’t easy, given that you can’t use Stab and you have no defensive or offensive skills to use), you can give them Tackle to at least make Shadowing somewhat viable. But now you’ve got a $110k dude with no defensive skills ST 3, AV 7 who is only useful in enemy tackle zones. Sweet. So to recap, don’t use Assassins. Hell, the name alone includes the word ass twice. They aren’t ass. They are double ass, just in case you missed the first one.
So now that we’ve got those things out of the way, we’ve got to build our starting team. As stated earlier, maxing out positional players is the best way to go, so we’ll take 2 x Witch Elves, 4 x Blitzers, 2 x Runners, and 3 x Lineelves. That clocks in at $990k. In a $1 million league, that’s it. In a $1.1 start, you should take that extra cash and buy 2 x Rerolls. Keep the extra $10k in the bank. Fan Factor is for suckers. Read the previous theses to find out why.
On to the purchase schedule. The first purchase, as soon as you can, buy an apothecary. After that, buy 2 x rerolls (4 total), then 3 x lineelves, then save for rerolls until you max them out. Replace position players if you need to, but otherwise stick to the schedule. The extra lineelves keep your skill guys alive, while the rerolls are always nice to have. It’s a simple schedule, and in theory assuming average rolls, you should be totally stack within 20 games. Truthfully, as your team skills up, the number of rerolls becomes much less important, as inherent rerolls will carry you far.
On to skills! We’ll start with lineelves. They are your meat shields. A lineelfs only job is to get in the way, so use him for that. The first lineelf who gets a skill should take Kick. The first lineelf with a doubles roll should take Leader. After that, and for everyone else, it should go Dodge first, then Wrestle, then Strip Ball. If you get a ST boost or AG boost, take it, and treat that guy as a position player. Don’t take a Mv or Av boost. Don’t take doubles, unless its for Leader. Otherwise keep it simple. They’ll be replaced and cycled through, but don’t worry, that’s what you bought them for. To recap… Dodge => Wrestle => Strip Ball…..Leader on first doubles skill only…..Kick on first single skill only…..No other doubles….. Take ST , AG boosts….Don’t take Mv,AV boosts
Now this is going to get a little confusing, as the player names don’t represent their best function. What do I mean? Witch Elves should be your Blitzers, Blitzers should be your Runners, and Runners should be your Throwers. Follow me so far? Good.
Witch Elves serve a purpose as your aggressors and ball hawks. They should take Wrestle first, then Tackle, then Leap. This makes them cage breakers, and pressure players. With Frenzy, you get two bites ate the apple to pop the ball out, and with Wrestle/Tackle you get the ball out on 3 pips of the die. Plus, Wrestle + Jump Up gives you some flexibility. Leap is just to add extra mobility, although instead you could take Strip Ball and be just as happy. That skill should be based on the league you are in. If you have lots of Sure Hands, take Leap. Not a lot of Sure Hands, go Strip Ball. It’s like asking if you should take the Prime Rib or the Lobster, you can’t go wrong, and you know you’ll be happy. If you get a ST or AG boost, take it. Otherwise, take the skill. Don’t take doubles, they aren’t worth the value. To recap…Wrestle => Tackle => Leap/Strip Ball…No doubles… Take ST or AG boosts…..Don’t take MV or AV boosts.
Blitzers serve as your Runners. They are mobile, decently armored, and start with Block. The first skill is Dodge, then Catch, then Sure Hands. The fact is, your Runners will retrieve the ball and get it to your Blitzers, who then get it into the endzone. Dodge increases survivability, Catch increases reliability, and Sure Hands increases flexibility. All are inherent skill rerolls, so you can let your Blitzers do their job without worrying about the rest of the team. These are your stars, so treat them right. . If you get a ST or AG boost, take it. Otherwise, take the skill. Don’t take doubles, they aren’t worth the value. To recap…Dodge => Catch => Sure Hands…No doubles… Take ST or AG boosts…..Don’t take MV or AV boosts.
Runners are your retrievers and your Throwers. Their job is to get the ball into the Blitzers hands. That’s it. Don’t ask them to do anything else, as expecting more is just foolish. They start with Dump Off, which means you need to be aware of your backfield spacing. When an opponent gets a blitz on your dude, just Dump it off to the other runner (or an open Blitzer). This little move will force your opponent to mark everyone before blitzing the ball carrier. This mean he’s spread out, so now you can poke a hole and pour through. The first skill a Runner needs to take is Sure Hands. This makes retrieving the ball much easier. After that, he needs Pass. Pass allows him to reroll the Dump Off (you can’t use a team reroll, as its not your turn). Then Nerves of Steel. This means your Dump Offs are always on a rerollable 2+ (pass + nerves of steel). And if he’s receiving the pass, it’s a regular 2+. Cool. If you get a ST or AG boost, take it. Otherwise, take the skill. Don’t take doubles, they aren’t worth the value. Please note, that normally I recommend taking Strong Arm or Accurate on a Thrower, but since you only are doing quick passes, those skills aren’t worth the skill slot. To recap…Sure Hands => Pass => Nerves of Steel…No doubles… Take ST or AG boosts…..Don’t take MV or AV boosts.
Now your general strategy is a simple one. When receiving, move the runners to the ball. Keep to Blitzers back near midfield, use the Witch Elves to poke a small hole in the line, and send the remaining Blitzers through. Use your lineelves as bait and sacrificial lambs to lend assists and buy time for the Runners and Blitzers. Once through the line, use the Runners to advance up the pitch. Any blitzes on the ball carrier result in the ball being moved down the line. As a result, your opponent can never get a solid hit on the ball carrier, as the ball never stays put. Plus, it gives you a cheap way to pick up SPP’s, and if it fails, the ball is at least in the thrower or catchers tackle zone. It’s not preferable, but it beats the hell out of the alternative.
On defense, you have to attack, attack, attack. Push through and attack the ball, because if they cage up, it’s going to be a long day. The key is to use the Witch Elves to get the ball carrier away from the pack and pop the ball loose. Then in the ensuing chaos, let your 4 AG carry you. While you do things on 2’s and 3’s, everyone else is doing it on 4’s and 5’s. Take it as a win.
Dark Elves can be very formidable, but they are very fragile. Keep in mind the goal is to let the lineelves die, and the Blitzers/Runners/Witches alive. SPP’s will come, as all dudes are capable scorers, and you’ll pick up cheap Completions and Casualties as your opponent tries to hurt you. Remember, it’s better to dodge away and fall down then it is to have a Mighty Blow dude knock you down.
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