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This article was originally submitted to GLN circa March 2007.
Like many coaches who have become established over a long time in any gaming community, I decided to go beyond the standard one-off game treadmill and set additional career goals for myself. Some coaches have lists of famous teams they intend to play (and defeat). Others strive to play an impressive number of games with a certain race or team. Another popular goal is to try to win at least one of every level of SMACK tournament.
Win a SMACK Tournament with Halflings.
Nobody had done this before and at the time of this writing nobody else has done it since***. This Rookie SMACK was won back in the days when fresh teams with zero games still had an effect on Coach Rating, which might have discouraged many coaches from throwing their Flings into the ring. The most surprising part of this story is that it only took two SMACK attempts to succeed. Now that this goal has been achieved, Plorg will impart his knowledge so that others may follow.
1) Treasury Treasury Treasury
The success of a Halfling team comes from its Treasury. Unless you lose a Treeman, each replacement costs only 30000. Do you have otherwise healthy players missing your next game? If you have the cash to spare, retire and replace them. A starting roster of 2 Treemen + 13 Halflings + 9 FF + Apothecary leaves you with 250000 to spend on the first three games. Note that this roster does not mention any team Rerolls. This brings us to the next point...
2) Chefs are better than Rerolls
Now to cover one of the finer points of the Halfling frontloading meta-game. The RookSmack Flings started with zero(0) team Rerolls. Why? At team creation, they could buy one Reroll for 60000 to use in each game thereafter. On the other hand, each click of the Wizard button will rent one single-game Chef for 20000 and they can rent as many Chefs per game as they can afford. Each Chef has a 5/6 chance per half to steal a Reroll from the other team and give it to the Halflings. The cost of each team Reroll is equal to the cost of one Chef for each of the next three(3) games. If a team is expected to play for only three games (such as a three-round SMACK Tournament), it is more cost effective to rent the other team's Rerolls instead of buying their own.
3) Deeproot Strongbranch
For 90000 any Halfling team can rent Deeproot for one game.
* ST 7 with Block and Mighty Blow is very effective against Rookie teams who do not have much Block themselves.
* Three Treemen on the Line of Scrimmage is an intimidating sight. This is especially true against bashy teams who expect to win by casualty attrition. Most of their prime bashing time comes from the three or four hits at the LoS right after the kickoff. When the Line of Scrimmage has three ST 6(7) AV 10 Thick Skull Stand Firm, the basher casualty game can be shut down entirely.
* Lastly, remember that Deeproot can use the team Rerolls that your Chefs have stolen. For important things like throwing the ball-carrier teammate for a TD, using Deeproot lets you reroll those fumbled passes.
4) Be Lucky
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that RookSmack Hills 2nd Brigade would probably not have won their SMACK if their second and third round opponents had not been injured the game before. Beating a team of eleven Dwarves is a lot easier than beating a team of twelve Dwarves. The same goes for Elves. So not only do you have to be lucky enough to win your own games, you also have to be lucky enough to fight opponents who have already taken some player-removing damage.
That should cover the main strategic points. Hopefully more coaches out there will be inspired to Fling their way into SMACK Tournament wins!
*** - Rijssiej has since won an Inaugural Exp SMACK with Halflings. Yay!