The final consideration a coach must take into account in determining their optimal setup for a given match is their Overall Strategy. Your play style is a synthesis of your teams capabilities and your own coaching preferences. You will also find that your strategy will often vary by match up. An Overall Strategy for a match will help dictate which roles will need to start on the pitch, as well as where they need to set up in order to best implement your cunning plan.
That said, there are largely three prominent Overall Strategies or play styles to consider. While there are others, many are really some variation of these basic principles. Let’s take a closer look:
Run-N-Gun is ALL about offense. Here, you live and die by the old adage “the best defense is a good offense”. The main hallmark of this strategy is taking a Strike attempt EVERY rush. Positioning of other players on the pitch is largely about setting up for future score attempts and nominally slowing down the opposition. This strategy is particularly effective for the Home team, taking an early lead and often forcing the opposing team to abandon their own strategy to play a more reactive catch up game. The Pelgar Mystics and Skittersneak Stealers are two teams that exemplify this style of play.
While some teams are zipping about the pitch flinging strikes with impunity, there are others that like to sloooooooow things down. No need to be hasty after all. Slow Ball is essentially the exact opposite of Run-N-Gun. Here, a team looks to obtain possession of the ball and work into position for an optimal strike. Often, it is the preferred style for slower moving teams, trying to make what strikes they finally get into position for to count. This means being willing to setup for holding on to the ball at the end of a rush. That doesn’t mean being idle, and for many teams that utilize this style, it usually means bad news for opposing players. Players that pose the most immediate risk are usually viciously slammed into submission while the ball carrier takes shelter in the midst of their teammates.
Slow Ball can be risky as the Away team, if your starting at a big deficit on the scoreboard. However, if the opposing team has strung out there players across the pitch unable to support one another effectively (or missed their opening strike), it can still pay big dividends. The “Sucker Draw” is the hallmark play of a Slow Ball squad, and it’s something we’ll dig into more in the future. Aspiring Slow Ball squads need only look to the Sulentic Shards as a shining example of how to get it done.
Smash and Dash
Smash and Dash is just like it sounds….a little of both! This strategy looks to strike a balance between offense and defense, the team being open to what the match up gives them. If holding on to the ball sets up a better play, they will spend the rush battering a hole in the defense. If a strike opportunity presents itself, they are capable of capitalizing on it. Well rounded teams tend to hang out here because of the diversity of their capabilities, but they can change play styles if the match-up demands it. Oddly enough, the Greenmoon Smackers are a top notch example of a Smash and Dash squad—the Orx bring the smash and the goblins bring the dash!
We will eventually visit these Overall Strategies in greater detail, diving into them individually and looking into other less common styles and variations. Next time, however, it’s time to finally finish off the Pre-game Phase and get into Set-ups!