Linos: Feast or Fodder?
A wardancer leaping agilely over your line of blockers to attack the ball carrier from behind; the pure speed of a OTS gutter runner blazing past, dodging through tz’s at will; a monster chaos warrior shredding all within reach with his claws and strength. Who can deny the imagery which comes to mind when you hear about the exploits of these stars of the pitch? Everybody dreams of having that unstoppable legend, the one who can single-handedly win the day despite whatever odds are in his way. They’re fun, they’re flashy, and you need them to win and be competitive…right?
What about the lowly lineman? They’re weaker, slower, less agile. They’re given fewer skills to start, with fewer opportunities to learn new skills as they mature. Unappreciated, given all the dirty and dangerous assignments (how many will ask a thrower to stand next to the opposing big guy when there’s a handy lino waiting for an assignment?)…nevertheless, it’s the lineman who makes the team function, who spells the difference between a good team and a great one.
How can I say this? Let’s look at the advantages a lineman will bring to a team:
First and foremost, the lineman is (generally) the cheapest member of the team. This means in times of rebuilding when stars are hurt and/or need to be replaced, the task of playing a game and continuing the team falls on the shoulders of the lineman.
Even the worst player on a team provides TZ’s. LOS duty usually falls to the lineman, freeing up valuable blitzers/catchers to do their thing. Stick a lineman next to enemy bashers, force them to either risk a dodge to attack your catcher or hit the lino instead.
Two words…FOUL TRADE. Every time you foul the opponent, you are offering a trade…I will lose my fouler if you lose your foulee. The dice ultimately decide whether or not this trade will go through, but when you’re offering a 6 spp lineman in exchange for a mega-star positional, then even if you’re ejected the advantage swings to your team.
Even the best positional needs help now and then. Your gutter might be fast, but he’s weak and fragile. Your chaos warrior might be strong, but without support he can be ganged up on. Now, throw in the lineman…he stands between the enemy and the team’s stars. He watches their backs. He lends that crucial assist when needed, or simply a body to fill a gap, whether standing or prone.
Psychology 101. Very few people take the time to skill up their linemen to any extent beyond 1 or 2 skills…fact is, in all of FUMBBL history there have only been 26 legends whom you can classify as a “lineman,” 14 of elven descent. (Note: Chaos, Nurgle and Lizardmen are excluded from this figure, as there is very little separation between their linemen and positionals.) So if your opponent doesn’t have useful linemen, he might not be expecting you to have one, giving you the edge when the stress of the game is upon you, and a quick glance might reveal a lineman, yielding much surprise when that lineman devastates your plans through superior skills.
Throwers direct the offense until a catcher can get free for a score; blitzers do the heavy hitting, opening up holes for the catchers and removing enemy players. Monstrous big guys are the center of much controversy, and you are ALWAYS aware of where the enemy ogre is at all times on pitch! But it’s the lineman, that self-sacrificing player, who comes to the game each day, does his job quietly, and goes home to nurse his injuries and prepare for the next game, who keeps a team playing through all the injuries and player turnover. It’s about time we gave the lineman his due, and remembered who it really is that makes the team go round.