Welcome to ‘Coach Couch’! Here we drag four random coaches off the street and fire questions at them, in the hope they say something interesting. If not, the questions turn into bricks. Tonight we’ve picked a BIG topic: ‘What does it take to be successful in an open league like [R]?’ and to help us pick it apart we have roped in 4 grizzled veterans of the [R] system:
FischerKing: Fumbbl Cup IV and Warpstone I finalist. 393 [R] games.
RandomOracle: Proud member of several White Lists. 218 R games.
kfoged: FUMBBL Cup IV winner and legendary Nandorins coach. 901 R games
HickoryDuff: Proud to have the lowest CR here and playing for fun. 284 R games.
GLN: Let's start with a gentle warm up question, check the mikes are working. One random fact about yourself as yet unknown to FUMBBL please.
FischerKing: I hate LotR movies - dang they already know. :P
RandomOracle: I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. :)
HickoryDuff: I never watched the LotR movies. :P
kfoged: My favourite thing to do is read books, not playing Blood Bowl.
GLN: So, hardball time. The topic is 'What does it take to be successful in an open league like (R)?'. Best place to start is probably: What does success mean to you? Both as a player and for a team?
RandomOracle: I'd say there are three aspects to being successful in [R]. On-pitch performance, team development and meta-gaming, i.e. picking your games. You don't need the last one, but it's very commonly done. I guess by success I mean creating a team that has a good winning record and that is strong in terms of TR/TS consistently
FischerKing: Well, I would say that your defining your own criteria’s of success. Mine wouldn’t be the same as Wuhan, to me it means making a name of my team and a name for myself as a coach
kfoged: My criterium is winnings. Trying to say that I’m playing for fun, but it is simply not funny to lose every game.
HickoryDuff: Success usually means that you have a team that could beat every other team (at that ranking), and that as a player, you get to have games. You could have the best bashy team, but if no one plays you, well there’s no way to prove you have a great team (apart from on paper)
FischerKing: My criterium is winning too, but not at any cost.
kfoged: I won't do anything to win [Editor: I feel insulted, vaguely], but it is the main goal when playing anything...
GLN: Great stuff. Winning does seem to be a common theme. I'm shocked. Let’s move there. What is the single most important factor in have a winning team in [R]?
RandomOracle: On-pitch tactics. Team development matters, but it's what you do on the pitch that counts.
HickoryDuff: Right now, it's the guts too take out your opponent's best players, no matter what.
FischerKing: Gut feeling on the pitch, knowing your team, building it to suit you.
RandomOracle: Yeah, knowing your team and your race is a big part of it.
kfoged: On-pitch tactics are very important. I have played many who only have ONE way to build up their game and never do anything else.
FischerKing: I would agree with kfoged here
GLN: So is a variety of tactics key?
RandomOracle: If you played varied games, yes. You can of course play only games of a single type, so you don't need to be that varied.
FischerKing: Though you have some way you prefer to play, you need to know a lot of tactics and strats, apart from that one. It’s a dice game, so you can never fully predict what will happen, you just have to make the best of what happens.
RandomOracle: It's also good to know how to play the team your opponent is playing - that way you can better anticipate his moves and needs.
kfoged: Everybody who have seen my games, knows I like to play a simple passing game... ;O) So yeah.
HickoryDuff: You need to know how to break the others' strategy, being flexible, and being able to change strategies on the fly is key.
GLN: Assuming ‘Team X’ plays only one way against mainly one type of opponent and has a winning record. Would you personally define that as a success?
RandomOracle: A limited success. The thing that matters is what the coach who created the team views as success.
FischerKing: Like dwarf teams avoiding Orcs and Chaos, getting a winning record. I don’t think that’s success.
kfoged: Not a success after my head that is. But if he having "fun" and likes what he is doing and think he is great. I don't really care
HickoryDuff: That’s just taking the easy way up.
RandomOracle: If you're asking whether I would respect that team as much others who played more varied games then the answer is no.
FischerKing: Well, my problem with Elf bowlers, with EMU teams, with hardcore killer teams are the same: they focus on one kind of opponent, and the opponent haven’t focused their teambuilding on them, so they gain an unfair advantage that way.
GLN: Staying with teams then, what races are best suited (in your opinions) to open league play. Assuming they plan to at least try and play varied opponents?
RandomOracle: I'd say any team can do it assuming they're willing to rebuild, the thing is, you can rebuild pretty much any team since this is an open environment but if I had to pick one race for varied play it'd be Orcs.
HickoryDuff: The ones that are best able to play both type of games (bashy and elf bowl) surprisingly, I think Skaven are up there for teams that could play anyone and have a good time at it.
kfoged: I'm in love with High Elves. I can't say anything else. ;O)
FischerKing: In open play Wood Elves are a very good team, Chaos too, and Orcs are strong at all TRs.
GLN: Any teams you avoid in [R]?
RandomOracle: Khemri and Ogres.
FischerKing: Fluff teams I won’t play in ranked and (that’s my personal preference) teams that wont do well at high ratings. I don’t like Norse and Amazon, because its such a starter team, and I would need to retire it at one point. Something I don’t do.
HickoryDuff: Khemri. I find Elven, Norse and Amazon teams are a whole lotta fun to play. Orcs and Khemri, less so.
kfoged: I like "picking" Khemri teams.. Just to run in circles around them..
RandomOracle: Fun to do with Dwarves, I'd think. ;)
kfoged: Getting bloody, but you normally win. I have a saying (not so nice but what ever), that the only thing more stupid than the Khemri team, is the most persons playing with it.
FischerKing: Laughs. I don’t know, it’s a hard team to win with I think
GLN: Next, let's go into team design. My first question: What’s a good squad size for Open League play?
FischerKing: With Elf teams, 16
GLN: 16? Really?
FischerKing: Yes. If you want to keep the team running, you need replacements.
kfoged: YES! (And even more important if you play tournaments with them.)
HickoryDuff: Bashy, if you have more than 13 players, some players don't get developed. It might be 16 for Elves, but you never have that many players on your squad anyway!
RandomOracle: I find my Orcs and Chaos needing quite a few players as well. You really don't want to get outnumbered, so having a reserve is useful as you can lose players to a spotted foul or against a bashy team, etc.
FischerKing: With a Dwarf team, I would say you could do with 13 - 14 players.
GLN: What about assistant coaches? And can anyone speak up for cheerleaders?
RandomOracle: Never cheerleaders for me and only coaches when you retire players. However, I always fire assistant coaches if it drops me to a lower income bracket
kfoged: I have ONE coach and that’s only on Nandorins. No money for cheerleaders.
HickoryDuff: Coaches usually 1 or 2, more than that and it’s not worth it. Cheerleaders? I've never seen one.
FischerKing: I never use cheerleaders because I have to buy them and I need my money.
RandomOracle: Halflings could benefit from cheerleaders as part of RR denial strategy.
GLN: HOORAY! Something positive about cheerleaders. Next up, what is the ideal number of rerolls for open league play?
RandomOracle: I think 6 is pretty ideal.
HickoryDuff: I'd say the ideal number would be 5.
RandomOracle: If you get Doom & Gloom, 5 drops to 2 rerolls and I do end up using all six sometimes, meaning 5 wouldn't have been enough. 6 just feels so secure, you can try some crazy dodging with Orcs with 6.
FischerKing: That’s true, but a rr buffs your TR too much.
GLN: Do you expect/rely on winning Kick Off rolls? Is a big FF important?
FischerKing: Big FF is important, yes, in keeping a big team alive. Pitch Invasions, Re-Rolls, Get the Ref, Throw a Rock.
RandomOracle: Big FF is important, but mostly for the cash. Especially on expensive teams, a Get the Ref result could win you the game if you have a DP or two. High FF teams also find games easier.
HickoryDuff: Very important, especially at higher TR for cash.
kfoged: To take it into the pitch, I can really feel that my FF is dropped from about 33 to about 19-20 on Nandorins.
GLN: Talking of DP’s, do you need a DP in [R]? is it essential?
RandomOracle: Considering you can pick your games, no. But I do think I need at least one if I try to play varied games.
FischerKing: I feel I need one, though my playing style is not fouling.
HickoryDuff: After 200 TR, he gets pretty essential. I'm not saying that you need one to win, but almost everyone is playing with one, especially if you play bashy teams.
kfoged: If you can't win with out DP, you're not good enough!
FischerKing: Says the Elf coach. :P
kfoged: Essential? I won the FUMBBL Cup IV without it. ;)
RandomOracle: I'd say having one DP does add value to your team, more than a normal skill is usually worth, you don't necessarily have to use a DP for it to be useful.
HickoryDuff: It just adds the "Lets not start the fouling thing, cause I could do that too" element.
GLN: What about apoth use. How does open play affect that?
FischerKing: Don’t apoth MNG.
RandomOracle: Save the apoth for permanent injuries, unless for some reason you really need to win this one game.
FischerKing: Sometimes, take a permanent injury if it doesn’t hurt him a lot.
RandomOracle: Like BOBs with -AG.
FischerKing: Apoth nigglers if the player is just a little bit important. Niggle equals RIP in most cases.
FischerKing: Apoth mng's in the last 2 turns maybe, if you’re feeling lucky.
GLN: So do you try and carry no nigglers in open league play?
HickoryDuff: Usually, they aren't worth it
FischerKing: I allow myself 1 niggler if he’s really good.
RandomOracle: I might keep some very useful players with niggles. +ST usually required, however, not more than 1 or 2.
kfoged: Yes, 1. If he is really good.
FischerKing: Yea, some +AGs too, a super thrower maybe.
GLN: And what about TR drag? Does it bother you if players get too many SPP? Do you ever consider, or have you ever, fired a player to lower TR?
FischerKing: I actually did. A MV10 AG5 block dodge catch leap sidestep –AV Elf. I sacked that player because he got too many spp's and had -AV so he was a defensive liability.
RandomOracle: If they have injuries then certainly I would.
kfoged: I fired my best player ever on Fumbbl to get down in TR. In fact I have fired two legends without injuries on the Nandorins.
HickoryDuff: I had to once. If your team is rebuilding and you have that one 100+ SPP player, while the rest are at 20 SPP, then its time for him to go.
GLN: Let’s talk metagaming. Is cherry picking essential to open league play success? Ducks.
RandomOracle: Not essential, you don't have to do it but it does increase your winning chances dramatically.
FischerKing: Cherry picking? Depends how you define it. Some would say, that an Elf team that never plays basher build teams are cherry picking. That’s one kind of cherry picking...
kfoged: What is cherry picking? I will never start a game I don't think I had a chance off winning. Is that cherry picking?
RandomOracle: I'd say it's about what's fun for you. Do you like playing even games and don't mind having to rebuild once in a while? Cherry picking is not a big deal.
kfoged: Sometimes I stay out of trouble and playing soft games? I sometimes take on team I know I most likely will beat?
FischerKing: But you could take hard games to win that way too. You could cherry pick down in coach rating…
RandomOracle: If you only care about winning, you probably cherry pick.
FischerKing: Cherry pick down in TS…
HickoryDuff: There’s always another way of doing it.
GLN: OK. Finally name one coach you consider a 'success'. ‘Big someone up’ and ‘show them the love’.
kfoged: If not FischerKing had been here it had been him :P
RandomOracle: Heh, was thinking the same thing.
FischerKing: Laughs. You know I can’t handle information like that I simply fill up with hot air and float away. :P
RandomOracle: I'm going to go with Gitzbang: great teams, a lot of games for each. Wonderful teams, pictures and he doesn't shy away from games. Very funny and chatty opponent who doesn't complaing about the dice.
HickoryDuff: Mully. BadMrMojo. I also have respect for AFK_Eagle and his Weapon Masters.
kfoged: oh well I have a huge respect for Falcone. But the list is kinda long...
FischerKing: Let's see, Wuhan has my respect for his winning personality. Smess, for his coaching. Gitzbang for....well....being Gitzbang
GLN: Thanks very muchly for your time.
FischerKing: Anyone want to keep talking cherry picking?