Pitch Protocols: Team Analysis—Ninth Moon Tree Sharks

Pitch Protocols: Team Analysis—Ninth Moon Tree Sharks

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Overview

The Yndij are well suited to playing a fast, high scoring brand of DreadBall. Fast and dodgy, this is a great team for coaches who love offense. 

Strengths

The Tree Sharks have three key strengths that a coach needs to take advantage of to get the most out of them on the pitch. With a Move of 6 across the board, they can keep up with any team, and even outrun most others. This is important as it makes them pretty forgiving with positioning and means there are few actions that will ever be out of reach.

Next, the Yndij possess excellent Agility. This makes them very apt at avoiding the unwanted attentions of opposing slammers. The high Agility also means it can be difficult to pin them down with threats as they Evade past opposing players. Yndij can also avoid slamming directly to retake possession of the ball, as their Strikers are quite competent at Stealing it back.

Speaking of Strikers, this is another “Strength” of the Tree Sharks. With Four Strikers on the suggested starting roster, they will not lack for Offensive specialists. They have all the Move and Agility of the Veermyn, but possess superior Skill to improve their success rate at Strike attempts.

Weaknesses

As is often expected from fast, Striker heavy teams, the team lacks a bit of punch in the Slamming department. Yes, they have access to Jacks, and even an occasional Guard, but their Strength is Average anyway. Now, against many teams, this won’t be too much of an issue. However, against Slam heavy teams, trying to play their game is a recipe for disaster.

Additionally, there are no starting abilities for the Yndij. They are well rounded, but lack a “trick” that some teams have to specialize. This makes them easier to pick up and play, but can make you one dimensional in certain match-ups.

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If you get to use the Captain and cards, try to get Yunker-hai. It’s an amazingly effective complement for a Cheer Factory squad!

Strategy and Tactics

The Yndij are a textbook example of an Alpha Strike team. Coupled with Cheer Factory, this can create a formidable offensive juggernaut. As Visitor, it’s worth considering the Deep Screen as an opening set-up. The Tree Sharks have the Move capability to overcome setting up deep and still be a threat, and if the opposition tries to counter with a Sucker Draw, they have the Strikers to pull off a Steal attempt.

In short, this is a team built for Run-n-Gun. The Jacks are competent, and it’s worth having a Guard for those times when you absolutely got to take a player out. However, do what they do best, SCORE!

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Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—ALPHA STRIKE!

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Going for goal! The Teratons are not in a good position to respond if this goes in….

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 

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Put them under pressure, score early, score often.

Good luck!

Pitch Protocol: Tactics Talk—Put me in Coach!

Pitch Protocol: Tactics Talk—Put me in Coach!

One of the important aspects of managing your team, isn’t just the players, but also your sideline staff. As you can see from some of the articles on BreadDoll, we are rather fond of these assorted hangers on that help boost your teams performance in various ways. This week, let’s take a closer look at Coaching Assistants and how they can help your team perform their best on the pitch.

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A lot of variety…and useful too!

What do they do? 

Well, there are four main abilities that Coaching Assistants have access to, as well as a special fifth one we will get to in a bit. These are Hustle, Playbook, Challenge, and Prepare. Each has its purpose, but will be more or less useful depending on which team you are using and your style of play.

Hustle: This is the ace in the hole. It’s a flat re-roll and that can always be handy to have. Now, it may only be a single dice, but it only takes ONE success to make a Strike. And you never know when just one more success can mean the difference between Doubling your opponent or just winning a roll, or staying on the pitch, or…….or….you get the picture.

Playbook: Folks don’t use this one very often, but it’s designed for a particular style of play. Teams with Linked and Run Interference can get some mileage out of this, as well as coaches who just like to hoard action cards to do a lot of work later in the game….like Rebs perhaps? But by getting to draw an extra card and choosing which to use, you can help improve your chances of getting a card you want or need for your nefarious game plans…don’t want all those Specials getting in the way of those beautiful Blue Action cards now, do we?

Challenge: Okay, so this probably won’t be high up on the list for Matsudan, Ada-Lorena, or Judwan Coaches…..but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t used by Zee or Convict teams. Getting an extra dice to get away with playing dirty is nothing to sneeze at!

Prepare: This is a great way to set-up some otherwise impossible plays, or thwart those of your opponents. Watch them spend all those actions trying to “legally” run around your Hulk to hit him from behind…..only for you to be ready and turn to face them! Wanting to hit that deep pass, but you had to Sprint down there and are facing the wrong way? Not anymore! This in many ways is like granting yourself an extra Action in the right situation!

Now, those are the four main abilities that any Coaching Assistant can use. However, I can’t leave out Physio!

Physio: This is a special ability that can ONLY be used by Medi-bots. In fact, it’s the only ability they can use. But hey, there is something really comforting about having a team medic on the sideline. Should a player you are counting on get put out of the game, you can quickly return them to action! There is nothing worse than having your prized team captain or MVP put out early and incapable of contributing on the pitch….this lets you get the most out of your well spent credits! Not to mention, teams with questionable armour can get a lot of use out this too, keeping them in games that would otherwise be a losing battle of attrition.

Anyway, there you have it, a quick summary of Coaching Assistants and a few hints at how they may benefit your squad. Now don’t just sit there! Put ‘me in Coach, they’re ready to play!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—Cheer Factory

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“Gimme a……”

The roar of the crowd….there isn’t anything like it! In fact, some teams live for the adulation of their fans, playing for the approval of the masses. Win or lose, these teams just want to be the most popular!
In the game of DreadBall, this can lend itself to a very interesting and potentially devastating style of play. The Cheer Factory is based on gearing a team around winning the battle of popularity on the sidelines, rather than only on the pitch.

Why?

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Having a lot of cards, can create a BIG advantage! Cheer Factory helps you “make” your own!

Well, some teams seek to create advantage through numbers….by hook or by crook, they will try to outnumber your squad on the pitch by pounding your players into submission, either within the rules or out! A Cheer Factory takes a different approach to creating advantage, by vastly increasing the number of resources at the team’s disposal. The purpose is to create an avalanche of “free” extra coaching dice and DreadBall Cards that both increase the number and efficiency of your team’s actions on the pitch.
This approach largely centers around Cheerleaders. The reason is twofold. One, through their Work the Crowd ability, Cheerleaders can create fan check opportunities where there otherwise might not have been, OR, increase the number created from a successful action. Two, having MORE Cheerleaders than your opponent when making a Fan Check allows you to draw two cards and chose which to keep…increasing the efficiency of “pip” generation.

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Don’t forget DICE! Cards are often superior because of their flexibility, but even just one dice can let you attempt what would otherwise be impossible…..or just throw it in to give yourself more potential successes!

However, another approach is to load up on Fan Favourite and/or Show Off players. This can be done by either ranking up players in league play, or if a tournament allows, purchasing the additional rank for advancement and selecting the ability. Alternatively, you may purchase an MVP that has the abilities your seeking, if allowed.
That said, these approaches aren’t mutually exclusive, a combination of cheer creating players AND cheerleaders can be amazingly productive.
Get Busy!
Once the ball is launched, don’t waste anytime waiting for the “perfect” moment to create cheers. Get the crowd on their feet early and often. The sooner you start collecting pips, the sooner you can cash them in! Get your three pips and trade them in for either a Coaching Dice OR a DreadBall Card. Rinse, repeat. And with those additional resources, you will be able to take more actions, assisted with coaching dice and rerolls, that will in turn create even more fan check potential. Over the course of a match, this can turn into a MASSIVE advantage. It’s a viciously effective cycle…. IF you can get it rolling.
The tricky part is when you are the Visiting team, having to wait through your opponents Rush, hopefully with your playmakers intact. When you do finally get your turn, seek to create cheers out of even the most mundane of actions. And don’t forget about using your Cheerleader advantage for double draws! Make those checks count! Lastly, don’t let the desire to keep that advantage, prevent you from using cheerleaders to create cheers in the first place.
Now get out there, and wow that crowd!

Pitch Protocols—Tactics Talk: The Dao of Dirty DreadBall

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“I didn’t do nuffin’!”

“If ya ain’t cheatin’, ya ain’t tryin’!”

DreadBall is a game of strength, skill, and finesse…..at least, for some teams. For others, it’s an exercise in pushing the envelope of rules interpretations. And when simply “bending” the rules doesn’t get it done, well, they will undertake flat out BREAKING them with equal gusto. If this sounds like your preferred path to victory on the pitch, take head of the Fouling Foursome:

“Whadda ya mean that’s a Foul?!?”

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The Fouling Foursome

  1. Cheat early, Cheat often. For teams that make fouling a central pillar of their formula for success, there is no point in waiting till later in the game to do it. While dirty play can take many forms, often it helps to create numerical superiority on the pitch: whether that is from removing opposing players, sneaking your own on, or creating situations to maximize modifiers as if you had more players than you really do (Restrain). Additionally, Fouls can create fan checks. Fan checks, in turn, create resources in the form of coaching dice and DreadBall cards. By getting busy early, you create more opportunities to cash in for extra resources, giving you more to work with over the course of the match. Lastly, when you are the home team, there is no greater time to know exactly where the ref is going to be all the way until the end of the second rush: giving you a distinct advantage in planning your rules infractions in advance and to maximum effect.
  2. Manage the Killjoy. You know the one, that mechanical thing that chirps an annoying alarm every time your squad seems to do anything. Putting a little extra mustard on that Slam? BEEP! Running over to “check” on that opposing player flailing hopelessly on the ground? BEEP! BEEP! Geesh, it’s like some people (aliens, robots, whatever) think DreadBall is a Mu’shen’wan demonstration! Anyway, you know the ref isn’t gonna see your interpretation of the rules, so you will have to manage them accordingly. Have in the for front of your mind where you are most likely to attack with questionable tactics, and seek to move the ref as far away from that area as possible. Secondly, you still want to make sure that you have plenty of players available to quote the rulebook to the ref should a dispute arise, so plan accordingly. It is better to have plenty of your players in range to Distract the ref, yet within 7 of the foul taking place, than it is to have the ref on the other end of the pitch with no one to consult the manual.
  3. Make it count! Don’t get all willy nilly breaking rules just for the heck of it. Have a method to your madness. It doesn’t make sense to stomp on an Agility 3+ Striker without some assists. If your gonna take the risk of a foul, make sure that you make it with your while and put the player out! Maximize the impact of the action. The cost can be steep and cost you a player, make sure it will cost your opponent one first!
  4. DISTRACT! Aside from the obvious, “don’t draw attention to your foul”, you can’t forget to scrounge up every distract bonus you can manage. Firstly, your own players. As already mentioned, they should be managing that robotic killjoy with impunity. Try to make sure at least one of them is a Guard if you can, to cash in on the bonus dice from that. Next, don’t hesitate to use as many players as possible, particularly if it is your own Rush. The worse that happens to a distracting player is sitting on the subs bench. If you have actions left, you can immediately replace them….with them! Don’t forget that coach assistants can also be used to distract. Further, if you have a captain on the pitch, they can spend an action token to use the same ability. Costly, but potentially worth it if you really need the dice and the foul. Lastly, keep an eye out for cards that can benefit you as well. Inattentive Ref being a particular favorite, but even Vigilant Ref serves a purpose….either simply denying it to your opponent, or sabotaging any retaliation fouls they may have planned. Works great for a a reroll too. These cards can’t be counted on, but if you are following step one and generating some bonus cards, you improve your chances of drawing it.
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Some folks prefer a rougher style of play….and that’s ok too….I think….

There ya have it, The Fouling Foursome. Now go get down with some dirty DreadBall!

Pitch Protocols: Tactics Talk—Playing for Keeps!

Playing for Keeps

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Keepers: Strike-stuffing, Super-slammin’, tough as nails, and swagger for daaaaays. Yeah, they are pretty cool!

I have always been fascinated by the concept of the Keeper position in DreadBall. Honestly, when trying out the game waaaaaay back during the first Kickstarter, it was probably one of my most looked forward to aspects of the game. Even one of the pledge levels was called Keeper. The concept art for them looked ridiculously cool. Big, Heavy armour. Presumably some great goal tending skills too.

Alas, it is an understatement to say that Keepers were….underwhelming in first edition. Sure, they lived up to their heavy armour reputation, but that was about it. They contributed nothing to goal tending, at least no more than any other player, and their ball handling ability was more liability than asset. 

Enter: Second Edition.

Now, Keepers play like they should! Placing a Keeper in a Strike zone allows them to threaten any Throw in it, even if they are not adjacent. This makes scoring a little more challenging if the Keeper is not dealt with. Additionally, Punt is now an action worth taking and can be an extremely useful ability, particularly for slower teams that can’t afford to be running back and forth across the pitch. It only scatters ONCE now, and doesn’t end your Rush. Meaning you can clear out your end of the pitch and continue playing. Don’t worry though, Keepers still have their heavy armour, but it does cost them a little movement now in exchange.

Here are a few tips for playing with Keepers:

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Make sure Keepers get put into position to do what they do best!

1: Setup DEEP and CENTER. Place the Keeper right in front of the Strike hex. This does two important things: a) it keeps the entire strike zone in their front arc, allowing them to threaten throw attempts. b) it blocks bonus point strikes completely. While this is far from fool proof, it often has the benefit of forcing your opponent to spend actions on dealing with the Keeper, meaning they have less left to mark your other players and still score.

2: Slow teams should consider TWO Keepers. One to guard the 3/4 zone, and one to roam the middle of the pitch to punt the ball down to their ball handlers in the opposition end of the pitch. Teams like Matsudan, Forge Fathers, and Crystallans have such slow Movement, that they can’t afford to spend actions running back for the ball and still setup good scoring opportunities in the same rush. Keepers let them play on the other end of the pitch with a little more freedom.

3: COUNT your scatter potential before you Punt. When you go to Punt, be sure to look at the possible directions and distances of scatter from your ball placement. If the pitch is fairly open, you can be fairly confident on the general area the ball will end up. If you try to Punt into a more congested area, subsequent scatters may ensue and make the ball’s final resting place a little more….dicey. This is also a great time to play those cards that let you choose direction or distance of scatter for pinpoint punting precision.

4: Don’t forget the Double! If you double a Punt, the Keeper can make either a free Run to reposition for goal tending duties, or take a free Slam-punishing would be Strike scorers no doubt!

Lastly, paint one! Treat yourself. Because, honestly, some of the coolest models in the DB range are the Keepers. And seeing as how it’s a thing in real sports, being a Keeper let’s you kind of alter your team color scheme for some extra pizzaz. 

Happy Punting!

Top Tips: The “Secret” to Success

Shhhhhhh….it’s a “secret”!

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Well, it’s no secret that I love DreadBall. Really, I enjoy not just the “game”, but also the future sport it’s meant to depict. However, one of the things I really enjoy about the DreadBall hobby, is continually learning something new. It helps keeps the hobby fresh and exciting.

One of the best ways to create opportunities for learning something new is playing in tournaments. I really appreciate the way it creates match-ups against coaches I’m not familiar with, and that see and play the game differently than I do. Sometimes it’s simply different set-ups. Other times, it’s different tactics. Or even just a more varied team composition, or compositional preference. Regardless, it usually gives a jolt of inspiration to develop something I can adapt and incorporate into my own style of play.

When it comes to tournaments, though, there is one learning tool that I prize above all the rest. The “secret mission”. Every tournament for the last couple years, I have set myself some additional objective that I try to achieve. This has the added dimension of having to look at the game differently than I normally do, and doing away with some of my own “best practices”. In so doing, I sometimes develop very effective new ideas. And sometimes, it simply helps reinforce why best practices are best! 

These “secret” missions have ranged from not using a particular formation, to seeing how many Punts I could pull off in a tournament, or even just challenging myself with a team I don’t usually use. The mission didn’t matter so much as it provided new “discovery” opportunities in playing the game—the ones that give a rush of excitement when you “discover” a new combo, team makeup, or tactic that you can’t wait to try. It’s simply my opinion, but I feel it also helps add variety, and therefore longevity, to the game. And in the process, I think it’s helped me become a better player too.

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“Check out THIS combo….”

If you get a chance, you really owe it to yourself to participate in a DreadBall tournament. If you feel that’s old hat, maybe freshen things up and take a “secret mission” for a spin? 

Anyway, keep it secret, keep it safe, and Good Luck when you hit the pitch!

 

Top Tips: How to Get Lucky

How to “Get Lucky”

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Final Rush. Down by three. One action left. Your Striker has the ball, makes an evade, a dash and launches the throw from the 4-point bonus hex…..IT’S GOOD!

“You got lucky!” Your opponent harrumphes. 

Well, did ya….punk?

Here are some tips to try and ensure you “get lucky” as often as you please.

  1. KNOW WHAT NEEDS DONE! If you need to score, for example, make sure you save at least one action token for that (or not, if you have a card, but more on that later). Some vets will count out what action tokens they NEED to do and set them aside, leaving the rest for any extraneous actions to play with first. This may seem frivolous, but keep in mind, success in small actions can have knock on effects, like removing opposing players, or generating fan checks that result in bonus dice or cards. It also helps to make your Rush more efficient. With only 5 tokens, there will be times you will need to prioritise
  2. POSITION PLAYERS TO SUCCEED. If you want your Striker to have the ball with a chance to score at the end of the match, they can’t be on the bench. Likewise, if you want to make a successful Slam, use a Guard if you can. Trying to decide if you want to Steal or Slam to get the ball? Which is your player best at, and can you get behind the opposition first? You know the saying, it’s “How you use it” that matters!
  3. PICK A CARD, ANY CARD. Get some DB cards. Somehow. Whether you have them on your roster, generate them from fan checks (I almost never take the dice), or simply spend some action tokens to acquire them throughout the game. The cards are HUGE! They serve two primary purposes. One, they can give you extra actions later in a Rush when you need to do more than 5 tokens will allow. Two, they can provide some additional “insurance” on those critical rolls when you NEED it most. Don’t underestimate the cards.
  4. PLAY SMART! This goes back to the “know your team” advice from The Playbook. If your team isn’t built to smash, don’t waste actions on it! If your team is full of brutes, lay the hurt down early and often. Play smart by matching your team capabilities to a strategy that utilizes them effectively.

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So, there you go. Four tips to help you get lucky. Go get ‘em tiger!

Pitch Protocols: Famous Formations—3 Pillars

Famous Formations: 3 Pillars

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The Sphyr have opted for a 3 Pillars formation. As the Visitors, they have opted for a more defensive arrangement, committing two players to a short-screen in the middle of their end of the pitch. Additionally, a second player has been tasked with guarding the 3/4 zone by taking up position on the bonus hex.

The 3 Pillars is a flexible formation that can be utilized by both offensive and defensive minded coaches. The Pillars refer to the players who take up position in the middle of each Strike Zone. Their purpose is to deny bonus point Strike opportunities, and in the hands of some teams, can even serve to frustrate regular Strikes as well. This allows some passive defense in each Strike Zone, and still leaves players free to take the match to the opposition. Like always, there are many variations, and you will usually see Pillars added to other formations to make full use of a teams roster and set-up.

Advantages

Having players in each scoring zone make its easier to respond to opposition threats on your end of the pitch. The Pillar players are able to be a little more active and responsive in your Rush due to this positioning. And, in a similar fashion to the Castle, if the opponent wishes for bonus points, they are going to have to expend actions to shift players. Depending on the match-up, this can be beneficial in and of itself.

Additionally, certain abilities make the formation even more potent. Extended Interference and Alert, for example, can give you the opportunity to not only deny bonus strikes, but threaten or disrupt regular ones as well. Other abilities like Keeper and Stench, can be used for similar effect.

Disadvantage

A formation like this again necessitates committing half of your team to your own side of the pitch. For some teams, this is not much of a draw back. However, if you depend on numbers or raw aggression for your plays to succeed, this can be a bit of a detriment. Additionally, it doesn’t really take that much to shift a single player. This is where careful consideration of the match-up at hand is required, to ensure placement of the right players for the job, or even changing formations all together.

Pitch Protocols: The Playbook pt. 4–The Set-up!

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The calm before the storm! Your set-up makes a major impact on the rest of the match…choose wisely!

Okay, so, you understand your team. You’ve considered the match-up at hand and have determined your Overall Strategy for the match. Now, it’s time to set-up! The set-up is the crowning piece of the pre-game phase, it’s what all the other facets built upon. The set-up also dramatically impacts the in-game phase as well. Therefore, it is vital to do your team justice and set-up with purpose!

However, there are a few other considerations to take into account. Primarily, are you the Home team? Or are you the Visitors? This distinction is important. You may have it in your mind to play some Run-N-Gun, and unleash an offensive blitz on your opponent. To that end, you set-up your Strikers aggressively across the Launch line. Problem number 1: You are the Visitor. Problem number 2: Your opponent has also set-up aggressively, with a very bashy squad….

The Home team has to set-up first. As the Home team, it’s best to consider your set-up in terms of what you want to accomplish. After all, while the Visiting team may get a chance to react to your set-up, YOU get the first rush. Do not put yourself in positions that prevent you from implementing your game plan from the start. Many times I have seen, for example, a coach set up a Guard deep in their own half, then waste two actions just getting that Guard into the opponent’s end of the pitch. If you want your Guard to be be able to mix it up early and often, set them up appropriately! Likewise, if you have a particular player you want to field the ball for you, make sure they are positioned within reach of it!

The Visiting team has a little trickier time of it. While there is the advantage of seeing how the Home team will set-up, you have to be a little more reactive in anticipating what the Home team will do. They will be going first, so it’s important to account for how their strategy may interact with yours. Their set-up may tip you off as to what they intend to do, but also be mindful of what they are capable of doing (their strengths, abilities, etc.) as well.

Again, in our example above, setting Strikers across the launch line may be less than ideal against the bashy team. It gives them plenty of easily accessible targets to tee-off on, meaning they will be able to optimize their action token expenditures on implementing their game plan. There may be times you would want to do this, but most likely, you will want to set up in such a way that they have to “waste” some actions merely getting into position to Slam, minimizing the damage they are able to inflict on your roster. Against high-scoring, but weak slamming teams, you might see Visiting teams clog Strike Zones with players to try and minimize scoring opportunities for their opponents. This is the concept of “action denial”. While the Home team my go first, there is no sense in letting them optimize their rush. Force them to spend actions on moving and repositioning as opposed to scoring or slamming, as this reduces just how much they are able to effectively accomplish in a rush.

This is why you see set-ups like deep screens or castles, as the Visiting team looks to survive the first rush onslaught. However, be warned. Too extreme of a deep set-up will leave you either susceptible to a sucker-draw, or in danger of being unable to effectively utilize your own rush when control of play comes back to you.

This concludes the Pre-game Phase. Next, we will move the Playbook into the In-game Phase. However, we will still be talking about the Pre-game in analyzing specific set-ups for both their Strengths and Weaknesses. This will be a new article section devoted to specific tactics. First up: The Castle!