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Elf Strategy

Summary

Of the four elven races in FUMBBL, the Elf roster has the greatest discrepancy between the positional players and the linemen. As a rule of thumb, they are best at a fast passing game and defense is best played aggressively, trying to cause and capture turnovers wherever possible.

Strengths

Cheap lineelves are a very nice addition to the Elf lineup. They allow a coach to keep a full roster slightly more easily than most similar teams. (Or do they? HE and DE Linemen are 10K more expensive, but that 10K buys them AV 8. WE Linemen get no AV for their increased price, but the team does get access to a Treeman who can reduce attrition on the Linemen. In each case, this offsets the problem of higher initial cost. In practice, despite slightly cheaper Linemen, Elves often find it even harder to maintain a full roster than similar teams.)

The Throwers are a steal at 70k and the Blitzers and Catchers are outstanding - almost as good as Wardancers, given the slight difference in cost. Catchers with Dump Off and/or Leap are incredibly difficult to stop on offense. Blitzers are essentially Dragon Warriors with an additional, highly-effective skill for 10k extra.

Weaknesses

Those cheap linemen die fast! AV 7 is less than a DE or HE lineman and MA 6 is less than a WE lineman. That puts them on the bottom of the heap - until you consider their price. WIth relatively flimsy linemen, the bulk of the SPPs ends up on the positional players unless the coach is careful in distributing his skills, which then unbalances the team.

In-game Tactics

(Largely copied from the HE strategy, as the basic notes are similar to start with.) As with all Elves, the focus must be on the ball. You will often find that a team you force to worry about possession will be less concerned with mincing your team!

I find that using Catchers, especially those developed as safeties, to pressure the ball retriever on defense is effective this way. Safeties often start out wide, to avoid getting caught up in mid-pitch brawls, but close enough to the LoS so that they can advance into the opposition half to apply pressure. Don't waste team rerolls on GFIs unless your players can apply a tackle zone on the ball carrier or, better yet, blitz them. Catchers that have run into the oppositions field will be blitzed at times, since they have no protection around them. Still, this means that the other team is blitzing backwards, and that must be good. Catchers also make good sweepers; I like to keep one deep in my own half on defense, should the opposition make a break for the endzone.

With Av 7, unlike HEs or DEs, your team will have a hard time trying to employ man-marking in defense. Attrition simply makes things harder. Against cages, if your players are knocked down, try to go prone next to the ball carrier if possible, using the Blitzer's Side Step. This will force the other player to take some kind of action, even if it only to move the cage. If you choose to do this, keep an eye out for enemy Dirty Players, and even if they don't have one of those, expect to be fouled.

Always try to keep one player in scoring range when defending; if the ball pops free, you can get the ball to him and score before the other team can recover. The exception would be in last-ditch defending late in the second half, especially if you have a 1 TD lead, in which case scoring again is not as important as preventing the equaliser. If you are playing vs a very good coach you might not want to do this, as they will be less likely to drop the ball, and you will need every single player to stop their offense.

Development

Linemen: Block is a useful skill on every lineman, as it helps them to stay alive a little longer. Some elf coaches like to take dodge first, for an easier way to avoid getting stuck in a fight. Kick is enormously valuable on one player, and after that it is very much up to personal preference. Most go for the Dodge/Side Step/Tackle/Diving Tackle route, others will select whatever skills are most required by the team at the time. Any double on a regular lineman should be used for Guard or Dauntless, to help out against stronger teams.

Blitzers: You only have two, so consider carefully what role they should play; typically, they are the spearheads of the team. Dodge and Tackle should most often be the first skills. Shadowing or Diving Tackle is an irritating combination with Side Step, and Leap/Strip ball works for cage-busting. For Doubles Guard, Dauntless and Jump Up are the most effective (or mighty blow if you're that kind of person). Jump Up works well with that higher AV, but do expect to get fouled even more with JU. With Block/Dodge and Side Step, they can mark a receiver or a corner of a cage quite well, hopefully providing an opening for a turnover or for a blitz at the ball.

Catchers: Pro Elf has the best catchers of all, and don't you forget it! Catchers can fill a number of different roles in the team, and with a maximum of 4, you have some leeway in moulding them in diverse ways. Block, Dodge and perhaps Side Step are useful to all of them, other than that you can develop them accordingly; as dedicated scorers with Sure Feet, Leap and Jump Up/Dump Off on doubles; as auxiliary blitzers, with Tackle or Strip Ball and Dauntless on doubles. Nerves of Steel already helps out with interceptions while in tackle zones, and thus is very good in combination with Pass Block, providing a nasty surprise on defence. Always 5+ intercept rerolled! Try giving your catcher Dump Off on doubles. If he gets blitzed, he can throw (generally accurate, as he's ignoring TZs) to another catcher (who also ignores any TZs your opponent might throw on him, as well) and watch your opponent sputter, as he's already used up his only blitz for the turn. Stat bonuses are priceless on Catchers; +Strength Catchers typically become frightening blitzers.

Throwers: Costs only 10k more than a lineman, so there is no real reason to not include them in your team. The usual combination of Accurate and Safe Throw applies; also Sure Hands or Catch, depending on where he is positioned at the start of a drive. Alternatively, you can run with the Throwers, using Block/Dodge along with Accurate/Dump Off/Safe Throw. Sure Feet is always good for a thrower, as those extra squares often reduces the passing length. On doubles go Strong Arm for those who want to throw long passes. Otherwise another NoS might come in handy (with Dump Off). Some coaches develop an offensive thrower (lines up only when receiving the kick-off) and a defensive one (used either when kicking only, or both receiving and kicking), with different skill combinations.

General: Players with Strength bonuses are prized - Block/Dodge/Tackle are good choices on normal rolls for these players, Mighty Blow or Guard on a double. Players with Agility bonuses are also good - Block/Dodge are good as always, but Leap gets you anywhere you want to go. Combined with strip ball it gives any opponent a headache (unless they have Sure Hands :), combined with Guard(dbl) it gives you a an assist anywhere you need it. Catchers with +AG should definetly consider Pass Block, as they now have a 75% chance of intercepting any pass.


Celtic-Joker's take on Elf offence and defence: I give my Thrower Safe Throw as his first skill, since with the Catchers' Nerves of Steel you can then pass pretty much anywhere virtually without fear of interception or a fumbled catch. If you run 2, or better 3, Catchers into the opponent's half in turn 1, you pretty much have the touchdown guaranteed. Leap, in addition to Dodge, on the Catchers helps immensly with this. Barring a crowd of tentacled-up Rotters marking your Catchers, this offence is unstoppable. True, you also want to learn how to score later than in turn 2 so that the opponent has less time to score in the remaining half, but it's good to be able to do the 2-turn offence "without looking".
On defence, Leap and Strip Ball on a Catcher makes for a threatening sweeper. Block, of course, always helps to at least avoid a turnover if you are unable to strip the ball.


Additional Resources

The Elf Playbook at the Specialist Games website


See also Elf team lineups

Last update: March 1, 2009