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 Issue 8 - September 17 2506
A Lecture on How to Coach Humans - Part Two
by Prof. Robert Elliott (College of Altdorf), aka brownrob

One hour later…

Ahem… Now that we have had an ample break and the wenches are outside… (again… I hope that door is locked now…) we can finally start on the next section. Ignore the wenches for now: we have pressing matters at hand!

Starting Line-ups

If you are playing in a long-term league it is tempting to start with as many positionals as possible, 1 Fan Factor and no re-rolls. But you will get as far as I would into an Orc stronghold! It is much better to start with high Fan Factor as you will receive more money at the end of your games which will help you cope with the loss of players during matches. The crowd will also help rally your team at kick-offs. There are many ways to start a team but I will now write down some of the best that spring to my mind.

This is my personal favorite set-up that I have coached with much success (that takes me back…):

  • 1 Ogre (120K)
  • 2 Blitzers (180K)
  • 2 Catchers (140K)
  • 1 Thrower (70K)
  • 5 Linemen (250K)
  • 3 Team Re-rolls (150K)
  • 9 Fan Factor (90K)
  • Total: 1 000K

This is a good all-round set-up which will cover all areas of the game. Two Catchers provide excellent scoring potential, while two Blitzers and the Ogre will give you some hitting power. The Thrower is required to give you a passing option but he can run with the ball too and throw a Quick Pass when near the End Zone if desired. The Ogre will scare the life out of your opponent if used well, and he will usually sacrifice several players to gang up on him. With a bit of luck your opponent will also throw away re-rolls trying to take him down. This is good for you as those players are no longer a menace to your Catchers! It is also useful to give your Ogre as much match practice as you can, because once he gains a skill or two he can really become useful. After the opening match you should have the funds to hire an Apothecary and then save for another Thrower as you can't afford to lose your passing option on the team. Then aim to get a Blitzer and another re-roll and after that it is a matter of personal preference as to further development of the team.

Another method one can apply is to purchase as many blitzers as you can afford. It is advantageous to have the Blitzers at the beginning so they can develop quickly meaning you can concentrate on their defensive benefits. You have ample re-rolls with this set-up. Furthermore, it is fast, while still possessing decent blocking power. I would suggest that you aim for this set-up if you don't like using Big Guys or if you can't cope with Catchers dropping like flies!

  • 6 Linemen (300K)
  • 3 Blitzers (270K)
  • 1 Thrower (70K)
  • 1 Catcher (70K)
  • 4 TRR (200K)
  • 9 FF (90K)

Offence and Defence

General Tips

You should now be able to make your own roster. (If you can't then see me at the end of the class and my assistant Mr Zug will be happy to help you!) So now it is time for our team to take to the field! What do we do now when the game is about to commence?

If you win the coin toss then elect to kick. If you can learn how to score when you kick and manage to steal the ball from your opponent then there will be less pressure on you when it is your turn to receive, and more pressure on your opponent to steal the ball from you. If your opponent does score in two turns then you have six whole turns to score and wear your opponent down to leave it at 1-1 at half-time.

It is demoralising for your opponent if you score against him when he receives. This will put pressure on him and will help to hinder his judgement. If you can place seeds of doubt in his mind he will start to play negatively - especially if you can hurt his 'pet' players - and you can use this as a platform to play more freely. Fouling is another good method to cause panic in the opposing quarter. A rampaging Dirty Player will often persuade the coach that self-preservation is a better tactic than winning the match! A Dirty Player also gives you a second ‘bite' at that Wardancer once you knock him over.

If you can grind your opponent down so he has fewer players than you then score quickly, as he will have greater difficulty in scoring against you. Humans are also good at scoring in two turns and this flexibility is where their strength lies. You must remember that you can score in two turns if needed but you can also play the clock safe in the knowledge that you can hold your own for six or more turns! How to score in two turns is explained below if you need to score quickly.

Offence

  • The Maul
  • Following this tactic, you should aim to flood down one side of the pitch and advance five or six squares into the opponent's half over the course of one to three turns (depending on his set-up and your confidence).

    First of all on the first turn, if the ball is in a dangerous position you should secure it by guarding it with a free Lineman. Using a Blitzer, blitz one of the defenders on the flanks and move in as many players as you can to exploit the hole. Using an Ogre at this stage to tie up two or more players is very useful. Then you should make any favourable tactical blocks you deem necessary. You can run a Blitzer and Catcher through the defence if there is a hole on the other flank to either act as a decoy or an alternative scoring option.

    After you have finished your important moves you can pick up the ball and advance forward with the retriever. You should not attempt to collect the ball first as you will sometimes fail to pick up and will turnover, leaving you very exposed on one flank. Never leave your ball-carrier in a position where he can be blocked, and try to protect him in your pocket. In the following turns you should be able to advance up the field with the loose pocket (akin to a maul in Rugby). You have the speed to score a quick TD if under pressure.

  • The Flood
  • If you come up against a tough Dwarf or Chaos team you may need to score as quickly as possible so play 'elf ball': make a hole and flood your receivers through and position them so your opponent can't cover them all. This method will not work as often as it does for your Elven counterparts, but it is still a reliable way to score quickly. Just remember that you're not elves and to play safely at all times.

  • Switching Tactics on Offence
  • The beauty of the Human game is their ability to switch tactics in mid-drive. If you feel you can't make a safe pass then you have the option of running the ball and scoring in a slower grinding play. The decision to switch tactics will invariably depend on your opponent and the team he uses and you may feel that a grinding play will work well against elves (using your strength to help remove their players from the pitch while giving them less time to score). On the other hand if playing a killer Chaos team you may feel that you need to score quickly to avoid the unnecessary damage his nasty players may inflict on you.

    Defence

    Okay, so we now know how to score, and it is now our turn to defend! It is often said that it is defence that wins championships. In order for you to win you will need to stop your opponent scoring on his drive, turn him over and score yourself. Forcing your opponent to make errors is the key to this process, and you should achieve this by putting pressure on his players or by playing mind games, forcing him to play your game. You should aim to give a lineman the Kick skill early so you can kick the ball deep and put pressure on his ball-retrievers or make your opponent form his cage deeper in his half than he would like to.

  • Defence against a bashy team
  • If playing a bashy team (such as Orcs, Dwarves or Chaos) you should ideally kick the ball deep and run your Catchers and Blitzers (who should start out set up in the wide zones) down the pitch to try to hassle the ball-carrier while using the strength of the Ogre and the assistance of the Linemen to prevent the LoS from crumbling.

    This will achieve two things. You are making your opponent feel more pressure as there are Catchers and Blitzers breathing down his neck and he will without doubt run some players back to help out. This should leave you with a numerical advantage on the front line, and the chance to play the game where you want to: in his half. Another option is to give your Catchers Shadowing and Side Step and have two of them pester the ball carrier.

  • Defence against an agility team
  • Elves are a team great at scoring and passing the ball. However they aren't so good at fighting. If you have to play an elven team then concentrate on taking down their numbers with your Ogre and Blitzers and try to make as many blocks as possible whilst your defence remains intact. Use every trick in the book to get them off the pitch. Diving Tackle is the bane of all elven teams and if you can stop them dodging you can use your tougher players to soften them up! Forcing your opponent to roll more dice than he wants to will win you matches as sooner or later even elves will roll a one.

    When setting up in defence against elves, you should cover the width of the pitch to force dodges to get deep into your half. Again, Blitzers and Catchers should start wide so that they can rush round the sides and put pressure on the ball should anything go wrong for your opponent.

    We'll take another short break now - but stay away from the wenches!

    The lecture continues on the next page.

     
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