Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!
There is no denying that there is a lot of power in having the first Rush in a DreadBall match. For many teams, the most effective way to utilize this advantage is to immediately put the opposition under pressure. This can take many forms depending on the teams involved, but it is decidedly the opposite of Sucker Draw. Rather than “wrong-footing” your opponent, you want them on their back feet (or….claws?) and scrambling from behind, constantly forced to react the entire match.
The Alpha Strike is simply an exercise in maximizing your first Rush opportunities and putting points on the board. What these opportunities are, depends on the match up. For a Bashy team, the opportunities are marking high priority targets for slams. Most likely these targets will be the oppositions biggest scoring threat, but sometimes a role player may be the better option (Undulan Guards, for example). Against other Bashy teams, you may look to take out their most punishing slammer, reducing the effectiveness of their retaliation efforts.
For more finesse squads, the Alpha Strike will be all about maximizing their own scoring efforts. This typically means going for the 3/4 zone, but situations may dictate a 2-point strike as more appropriate. For example, a Castle that your team just can’t seem to shift. Tactically, that could call for a change of plans and switching to a Slow Ball approach. However, if you’re confident in your team’s ability to make the strikes and outpace the opposition in scoring over the course of the match, sling away!
Of course, Alpha Striking a defensive set-up is exactly the sort of thing you want to try and pull off. Your opponent has positioned their team to try to defend that very scenario, and will be ill-equipped to immediately respond. There are a couple of tools you will want to remember to enable this.
- Don’t forget to SPRINT! To get the most out of your actions, you will need to cover a lot of the pitch quickly. To get a player in position to Slam open a scoring lane, consider Sprinting them into position….just be sure to stop at least one hex away so you can be sure to get the momentum bonus when you Slam.
- Abilities! Things like Phaser, Feint, Take a Dive, Push, Ram, Shove, Strong Tail, Shock Collar and Brush Aside can greatly assist your efforts on opening lanes, some time with relative ease!
To maximize your scoring opportunities, try and have a DreadBall card in hand when you make the Strike attempt. Either because you have one from your starting hand, have earned one through fan checks (Cheer Factory perhaps?), or just flat out buy one with an action. Having a reroll on hand helps increase your odds!
Lastly, don’t forget to think about the next Rush. It’s all well and good to grab the lead, but you want to be sure to either impede your opponents progress to respond in kind, or simply deny them opportunities to chip away at your roster in a battle of attrition. Odds are, you won’t be able to prevent everything, but you can certainly make their rush less efficient by having to spend more actions to get the job done!
Don’t forget, missing a Strike won’t necessarily be a detriment either. Having the ball deep in their end of the pitch still puts them under a certain amount of pressure, especially if they are a slower moving team that will struggle to advance it down to your end. Sometimes it’s simply the speed and the threat of your scoring potential that will force your opponent into less than ideal plays. Simple panic that shakes them off their game. It happens.
Put them under pressure, score early, score often.