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High Elf Strategy

Summary

High Elves are arguably the best rounded elven team. With AV 8 on everyone except the Lion Warriors, and ST 3 catchers (4 players with Wardancer's stats!) they can take more of a beating than Wood Elves while the 4 MA 8 players gives them an edge in speed and the long passing game over Dark Elves. In the early games, with few Catchers in the team, they will employ a mobile running game similar to the Dark Elves. As they develop, they become more and more a fast-scoring team, typically scoring in two turns, though they can delay against teams that aren't likely to cause a rash of casualties.

Strengths

One could argue that HEs have some of the best average starting stats in the game. With some experience under their belt, Lion Warriors can specialize into excellent blitzers or incredibly frustrating defenders. The remainder of the team can rack up SPPs with relative ease thanks to AG 4 and they tend to survive longer than your average Woodie or Gutter Runner thanks to AV 8.

Weaknesses

High Elves start off with a relatively small number of skills and suffer a bit at low levels, especially when defending. Only 2 players with Block on the entire team and no Dodge to start with means that RRs will be in short supply most early matches. A lack of Big Guys, no above-average strength or easy access to Guard can make mid- to high-level games incredibly difficult as you try to pick your way through a screen of Chaos Warriors, Sauri, Black Orcs or guarding Longbeards.

In-game Tactics

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 to pressure the ball retriever on defense is effective, especially those developed as safeties. 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 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. Sometimes this player will have to advance towards the play, in which case I try to drop back another player.

With Av 8, your team can sometimes afford to employ man-marking in defense, rather than dodging away all the time. Against cages, if your players are knocked down, try to go prone next to the ball carrier if possible, using Side Step if you have it - if that player doesn't move, you can stand up and blitz him next turn (or block with a Jump Up player), even if it is a 2 dice against block (keep a reroll handy for those).

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.

Even though High Elves can score in two turns with ease it is often not prudent to do so. Especially against strength teams in it is not a good idea to give them too many turns to score in a half. They will use the time to roll down with their cage and maul as many Elves as they can. Consider the "Elven Thrower Stall:" This tactic is having a highly developed offensive thrower, preferably with Accurate and Safe Throw, who falls back into your own backfield, while the majority of your own player rushes forward set themselves up in scoring positions. Keep enough players between your opponent and your Thrower to prevent them from applying pressure and you will stretch out his defense, hopefully allowing you to stall a few turns and score with ease. It is essential that you do not let him score in the first half if he receives in the start of the second as that could lead to a classic 2-1 Basher victory.

Development

Linemen: Block is a useful skill on every lineman. Kick is valuable on at least one, too, and after that, it is very much up to personal preference. Some go for the Dodge/Side Step/ Tackle route, others will select whatever skills are most required by the team at the time, like Strip Ball, Tackle/Diving Tackle or whatever. 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. They will probably be the first players on the team to get Tackle. Dodge/Side Step/Tackle/Shadowing/Pass Block is an irritating combination, and Leap/Strip ball for cage-busting; these are just two of the many ways to take a High Elf Blitzer. Dauntless is a better choice on doubles than Guard, as Guards tend to take a lot of punishment - not what you want happening to the stars of your team! Jump Up is particularly effective with Side Step and Strip Ball, as they can threaten a ball carrier in a cage even if they are knocked down. Finally, one should not forget Mighty Blow. Combined with tackle this double racks up the casualties fast and takes those pesky Gutter Runners of the field.

Catchers: 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, after that, you can develop them accordingly; as dedicated scorers with Sure Feet, Sprint, Leap and NoS or Jump Up on doubles; as auxiliary blitzers, with Tackle, Strip Ball, Leap and Dauntless or Mighty Blow on doubles; or as safeties, for harassing ball-carriers, throwers and catchers, with Side Step, Pass Block, Tackle, Shadowing and NoS on doubles, for the interceptions while in tackle zones. Stat bonuses are priceless on Catchers; +Strength Catchers typically become frightening blitzers. As High Elf Catchers have ST3 they don't get as much benefit from Dauntless as e.g. a Wood Elf Catcher would. Consider Mighty Blow on doubles to lay down the hurting.

Throwers: 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/Nerves of Steel(dbl). Strong Arm is an alternative to NoS. 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. An agility bonus is nice, and usually negates the need for Accurate too.

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 and Block/Strip Ball/Leap are good, Sure Hands has potential for gathering the ball in multiple tackle zones, probably best if you already have Strip Ball players in the team, and Leap/Guard(dbl) gives you a an assist anywhere you need it.

See also High Elf team lineups

Last update: November 15, 2007