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Defensive Setups

Quick basic tips:

  • On defense there are 2 basic approaches on the Line of Scrimmage (LoS) - either 1) put serious muscle, or 2) put sacrificial garbage. If against Claw / Mighty Blow / Pile On, the latter might be your best move.

    (As a related point, if you have a Journeyman or a -(stat) or niggled (n) player, letting them serve on the LoS until you have their replacement is a very loss-minimizing decision.)
  • For the 3 LoS players, placing them tight (side-by-side) limits how many opponents can Block them and assist those Blocks, but leaves them bunched up in the middle, easily surrounded. Placing them wider (2-3 apart) means more opponents can gang up on them but leaves them more spread out after the initial punch. It also effects where your opponents' offensive LoS players will be standing after their block attempts. Most any of the below variations can be tweaked to suit your preference.
  • For any player not on the LoS, start (at least) three squares back from the midfield line so that if your opponent gets a Quick Snap bonus step on the Kickoff result, the opposing players can't shift that 1 square next to your players and be able to Block them.
  • Keeping (at least) one heavy hitter mid-field and 3-back to stay free and react/move to where needed is often a very good plan.
  • For the Wide Zones, don't start your closest Player within 2 of the sideline - they can too easily be sent crowd-surfing or pinned against the sideline. (That's why most of these setups have the more vulnerable forward Player positioned 3 squares in from the sideline, and the 2-in Player safely behind them.)

    (vs. Frenzy, this becomes even more important, and setups may need to be tweaked to account for that threat. Otoh, Sidestep can allow players to (more) safely crowd the sideline without risk of surf - adjust to your team's and opponent's skills.)
  • If you have lost men and can't defend all lanes, consider going asymmetric and inviting one side or the other. Don't be both outnumbered and split in half! Your opponent will move to that side, and you will try to pin them there. (Works better if you have Kick.)
  • Otoh, if you seriously outnumber/outmuscle your opponent, you may be able to safely crowd the LoS and be aggressive on Defense. Consider your lead, the odds, and the "worst case scenario".

This discussion on Talk Fantasy Football (TFF)(was Talk Blood Bowl) is quite useful to get an idea of the defensive options available to the average BB-coach: http://www.talkfantasyfootball.org/viewtopic.php?t=406

It starts off with several good posts. Just ignore the long discussion of one or two throwers on Skaven teams.

Another one on TFF is found here, this one doesn't begin with the same aim, but to compile and name as many of the setups commonly used by BB coaches the world over: http://talkfantasyfootball.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=29010

However the juicy bit of the thread is a post that looks to compile of all the proposed set ups into one area, using http://www.play-creator.com and can be seen here: http://talkfantasyfootball.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=29010&start=62


Also, be sure to try out the Defensive Play Maker at http://www.francebloodbowl.com/defplaymaker.php It's in French, but it's simple enough to get the idea. - BadMrMojo -

Also, you could use MixX's Play Creator to help work out setting up: http://www.play-creator.com



A) Spread

So-called "spread" defenses rely on one player to hold a key gap with no backup, spreading available players out to hold the entire width of the field. Without high-Strength players, these set-ups can be vulnerable to those lone players being blitzed and opening a hole, and very few (if any) defenders are safe from an opening Blitz.

A1)

 -  -  -  -  -  x  -  x  -  x  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  x  -  S  -  -  x  -  -  S  -  x  -  - 
 -  x  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  x  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  x  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

The above is a good setup for starter teams (TR 100). The players in the widezone should be players with Block (and/or better: Side Step).

(I use this setup with skaven, wood elfs (starter team) and humans. If the large S's are high-Strength, Stand Firm or have Side Step, even better.) H-Hund

A2) The Longbow

 -  -  -  -  -  X  -  X  -  X  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  X  -  S  -  -  -  -  -  S  -  X  -  - 
 -  X  -  -  -  -  X  -  X  -  -  -  -  X  - 

This is a suitable tactic for most reasonably mobile sides, especially against non-Dodgey opposition. The "S" players are best if high-Strength, though they could be any player with Side Step or Stand Firm

(This is a standard defence of my Necromantic team, who have a superb defensive record. The "S" players are Flesh Golems. The Werewolves and Ghouls occupy the rear-most positions, using their pace to cover the backfield.)


B) The Chevron (& variants)

So-called "chevron" defenses are designed to stop easy deep penetration, and better protect more of your rear-most players from the Blitz.

B1)

 -  -  -  -  -  -  X  X  X  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  - 
 -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  -  -  X  -  -  X  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

Another solid generic "starter" defense, this is a nice tactic for any team of average or good movement who wants to press forward and pressure the ball. (Notably used by the Nandorians. Colin)

B2) Aggressive variant

 -  -  -  -  -  -  X  X  X  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  X  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  X  -  - 
 -  X  -  -  -  X  -  -  -  X  -  -  -  X  - 
 -  -  -  -  X  -  -  -  -  -  X  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

The forward wide player is more vulnerable to a group Block/Foul, and risks disaster on a Quick Snap Kick-Off roll, but (especially if you have a numbers advantage) can be quite effective.

B3) Biased/Asymmetric variant

 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  X  X  S  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  S  -  - 
 -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  -  -  X  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

The above one is an early concept idea I came up with (i.e. I haven't tried it much yet). The intention is to invite a team to over-extend their offensive on one flank, leaving the other open to being rushed by defenders. It would definately benefit from a defending Kick player, and Side Steppers or Strength/Big Guys in the positions marked 'S'.

B4)

 -  -  -  -  -  -  x  x  x  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  x  x  -  x  -  -  -  -  -  x  -  x  x  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  x  -  -  -  x  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

Above is the variant I like to use most of the time. Works well with and against elves, but also other teams. I learned it from tautology's famous dark elf team, Axiomatik. They were known for having very few stats increase, but a whole lot of skills. As it turned out, it worked great defensively with that particular setup. If the three guys on the LoS are pushed or Side Step directly one square back, it makes it almost impossible to break through. It doesn't work every time, but when it does it's very frustrating for the opponent. Note that the players against the sidelines should be moved one square back if they don't have Side Step or Stand Firm and are playing against teams with Frenzy to prevent from being pushed into the crowd. uber


C) Asymmetric

"Off balanced" setups can throw an inexperienced opponent off his game, inviting him to over-commit to one side or the other, or just force them to think on the spot to create an offense they are not accustomed to - and that can lead to mistakes, which can prove extremely powerful on a Blitz or Perfect Defense Kick-Off Result.

Especially useful with the Kick skill, and/or if you have a numerical advantage in players. (It should be obvious that these are not always appropriate vs. fast teams.)

Asymmetric setups can and should be tweaked to suit the specifics of your team, what Turn it is, the opponent you are facing, and so on.

C1) Aso but "balanced"

 -  -  -  k   
 -  -  -   
 -  -   
 !  -  -  -  -  -  -  O  O  O  O  -  O  O  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  X  X  X  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  - 
 -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

The offensive line ("O") is invited to line up across from your linemen, while their runners/receivers/cagers are invited to lineup across from the free wide zone.

If you have a Kicker, the kick can be targeted at "k" (3 in from the extreme front corner of the offensive LoS, "!") across from your strength, or similarly but deep to either corner away from their strength if you prefer.

C2) Strongly Asymmetric

 -  -  -  -  X  X  X  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  X  X  X  X  X  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

This example is extremely asymmetric, and designed to be used with Kick, and also with Teams that have high-speed and/or Ag 4. If the Offense lines up right, kick short left (as C1, above); if they line up left to match you, you can kick short right, or deep if you don't just don't like their setup. If the Kickoff Result is Blitz, you often score - if Perfect Defense, you can shift your LoS to the other side to avoid the worst of the Blocks. If other results, you must flow quickly to stop them or pressure them to score quickly - and for this reason, many coaches use it only on Turns 1 or 9, or at least very early in a half.

The details of the backfield are, of course, variable, depending on your team and your opponent. Against faster teams, moving the entire backfield back 1 more square is advised, and possibly more with some players.


D) Very "Defensive" Defenses

D1) Anti-Foul

 -  -  -  -  -  -  X  X  X  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  ?  ?  ?  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  ?  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

The idea here is to protect your 5 most valuable players, keeping them safe from blitzes and thus from fouls. Altho' the wide-zones are abandoned, many of your players are (usually) left unmarked to respond as needed.

The 6 big X's are the "hittable" players, and the last 5 protected players can be arranged in a number of ways in any of the locations marked with "?", which take MA 7(+) to hit (without a Dodge).

This setup may invite the opponent to try to take a quick 2-3 turn touchdown, so is often employed at the start of a half where a quick score still allows you plenty of time to score back. The main point is to avoid/limit taking losses early and keeping those 5 players mobile so you have a better chance at hitting back and pressuring a score or stealing the ball in the coming turns.

(This setup can also be modified to have the backfield moved back 1 square if facing a particularly fast team, and/or be shifted over to one widezone, which can be especially useful combined with the Kick skill.)Overhamsteren

D2) Semi-Anti-Foul (Wide defense with 4 safe spots)

 -  -  -  -  -  -  X  X  X  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  X  -  -  X  -  -  -  X  -  -  X  -  - 
 -  -  -  s  s  -  -  -  -  -  s  s  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

A cross between the Anti-foul and The Chevron(s) described above, this gives up a little more room on the sidelines in exchange for protecting only 4 of your players from a 1st turn blitz (unless the offense has MA 7 or is willing to Dodge).

Often used by Lizardmen because they need to protect 4 skinks on setup, but can also keep any 3-4 players safe from being blitzed/fouled/marked so they can respond to the offense.


E) Race-Specific

E1) The Grid

 -  -  -  -  S  -  -  S  -  -  S  -  -  -  - 
 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
 -  x  -  -  S  -  -  S  -  -  S  -  -  x  - 
 -  x  -  -  -  -  -  K  -  -  -  -  -  x  - 

This is a version of the standard defence of my Lizardman team, The 'S' players are Saurus, though they could be any player with high Strength, Side Step or Stand Firm. The Skinks occupy the wide position (x), using their pace to cover the wings. The central-back position might be a Kicker, or any valued player you are trying to protect from a blitz, or a Krox or any hard hitter that needs mobility to respond on your turn. Colin

Last update: August 18, 2014