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Elven Union
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2020-11-19 22:20:21
rating 2.3


2018-09-29 01:35:19
rating 4
2018-09-21 00:08:57
rating 5.7
2018-07-24 15:33:25
rating 4.6
2018-07-08 23:29:13
rating 6
2018-05-04 01:10:01
rating 3.9


2017-08-03 21:10:30
rating 4.3
2017-03-19 12:40:53
rating 5.3
2017-02-27 18:11:12
rating 6


2016-12-25 14:51:57
rating 5.2
2016-12-02 16:08:29
rating 3.8
2016-11-12 17:26:25
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2016-10-16 18:45:32
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2015-11-04 01:06:57
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2014-11-06 15:08:47
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2014-10-24 12:07:29
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2017-02-27 18:11:12
5 votes, rating 6
The Rule of 16
Trying out a new (to me) maximum roster, approach with my most recent (Pro) Elf team E=Mc2


There's 16 on the roster, something I haven't seen before on Elf team. I know established wisdom says this is massive bloat, but they're doing OK, with 13 wins to 5 losses.

Their history, and those of my other teams, will show that I have a lot of shortcomings as a coach, but I am no cherrypicker even though I play mostly ranked - I'm just too impatient to wait for the box scheduler. I'm the opposite of cherrypicker - I'm a cherry that gets picked! - Though BattleLore's Excellence of Execution have punked out of countless challenges from my Elf teams- either they're chicken or we're just beneath them?

(Maybe not interesting for anyone but me, but here is my Elf graph it varies a lot with rollercoaster type rises and falls: https://fumbbl.com/p/coachdevel?c=Rags&r=46&d=0 )

It's not a bad system! I've had the unusual experience of kicking first half, getting busted up and still having a numeric advantage going in to second half against the likes of Chaos and Undead. Just one KO/Cas + a sending off for opposition can put me ahead on manpower against standard teams of 12, even if we've absorbed 5 casualties. Of course this means my cripples come off the bench second half, but with Pro Elves linemen are often completely overshadowed by positionals anyway, so if they are a bit slower or less agile doesn't make much difference. Their main function is having a body on the pitch and they still do that just fine.

Saving on replacing players has allowed me to fulfill a naive Blood Bowl ambition from my earliest days - have a full roster with all positionals maxed out. I gave up on this because it seemed so sub-optimal, but it's actually working out OK. Having a fresh catcher, even a rookie, show up second half can make all the difference.

I realise it probably won't catch on, but here's an alternative to Rule of 5 and/or Min/Max set up - the Max/Max rule of 16! Take everything going, just don't deploy it all first drive. Squishy teams often have plenty of gaps before long so those guys on the bench aren't just dead weight. If you enjoy building big teams and going for a few other options besides the usual optimal build, this has plenty of scope.

Rate this entry
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-27 18:19:03
In the Box you can't afford to play with 16 elves (mostly with AV 7) for a protracted period, there is too much bash.
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-27 18:20:06
The most successful Elf team in the Box doesn't play with 16 players, for the record:
Posted by delusional on 2017-02-27 18:32:00
But MattDakka, that isn't what he is saying. Having 16 players is working for him!
I.e. he can do it and survive. It isn't a rule of 5 or whatever it's having Fun instead of min/maxing on this site.

Onya rags for trying something different and having fun doing it.
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-27 18:37:15
If he has fun good for him, but the fact he talks about it as a Rule is misleading, because while the Rule of 5 is effective, the Rule of 16 is not.
In Ranked you can make work almost any kind of roster, it's not surprising.
Posted by thoralf on 2017-02-27 19:19:52
Added to the Book of Dakka.

I'd rather call it the Rags Conjecture, Rags. I don't think you can haz 16 positionals anyway.
Posted by Rags on 2017-02-27 19:20:08
Thanks Delusional. It's only misleading if you take it 100% seriously. It's no more rule than the 'Rule of 5', just an eye catching title.

But anyway Matt, did you look at their matches? Out of 26 games, 3 elf opponents in total out of all flavours, as against 5 chaos and lots of other bash Orcs, Khemri, Undead etc and Diddyboy's lethal Boys in the Hoods, who ll but wiped us of the pitch. We're not avoiding tough teams or coaches!

If you doubt me, let's put our money where are mouths are. We'll play any of your teams, loser donates $5 to Deeproot. (Of course will donate more than that this is just beginning) I'm around most evenings and all weekend let's have you
Posted by Rags on 2017-02-27 19:23:21
Thoralf Didn't say 16 positionals! It's just max everything 2 Blitzer, 2 Thrower, 4 Catcher, the rest linemen.

And yes it is conjecture - why don't you show us your conjecture out on the pitch? We can see who comes out on top and make a donation accordingly
Posted by Rabe on 2017-02-27 19:34:01
Love it!

I've started trying teams with a deep bench and find it working really well. I think right now it would be my preferred approach, if I played enough (or it still is, you just can't see it looking at my teams ;-) ).

I've had some fun with a Norse linemen team in the XFL for example. The plan to have more men than my opponent (who's players are just as squishy) and some nice inducement worked like a charm, at least for one game.
I'm also playing an all-thrall team in an RRR, relying on numbers, too. Worked even better (but with very good dice, I admit). In both cases, being able to field 11 players in the second have despite casualties and KOs was crucial.

Of course these are extreme examples that were designed for their particular environment, but I can also see a team further developed - and with positionals, of course! - loading the bench and getting a lot out of it.
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-27 20:03:55
"If you doubt me, let's put our money where are mouths are. We'll play any of your teams, loser donates $5 to Deeproot. (Of course will donate more than that this is just beginning) I'm around most evenings and all weekend let's have you"

If you want to play vs me, activate in the Box, or alternatively, we can make two brand new teams in League and play there, you can choose the race.
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-27 20:09:00
About showing my conjecture, I already linked this team as proof:


I doubt that you can do better with your Rule of 16.
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-27 20:11:35
As an aside, I noticed that your win rate is lower in Black Box, not surprisingly.
Posted by Jim_Fear on 2017-02-27 21:05:39
Ladies and gentlemen, MattDakka: Raining on other people's parades since 1980.
Posted by thoralf on 2017-02-27 22:14:46
I know you didn't say 16 positionals, Rags. It's just that the "Rule of 5" refers to the number of positionals. We could reduce the strength of your Conjecture to this Thesis:

[The Full Roster Thesis] It is possible to build a very good Elf team with a full roster of 16 menz.

This Thesis doesn't contradict the Rule of 5:

[Rule of 5] The optimal Elf build haz five positionals.

Proof of consistency. Take a Roster R. Fill R with 16 Menz M. The number of Positionals P could be 5 or lower. This satisfies the Rule of 5. End of proof.

The effectiveness part "a very good team" is en empirical claim, which is why it's a thesis.


Now, let's take the stronger thesis:

[Rags Conjecture] It is possible to build a very good Elf team with 16 menz and the max number of positionals.

This Conjecture is incompatible with the Rule of 5. But it doesn't contradict it, unless we can show that only optimal builds are "very good." This would rest on a very strict interpretation of the Book of Dakka, an interpretation I'm not even sure Matt himself holds.


Your E=MC2 provides a test of that Conjecture. It would indeed be interesting to test it in Box. It would also need to be tested in League. Don't laugh - Elves are *hard* in L, at least in NA.

Nevertheless, that CPOMB refuses your challenges is enough proof for me.
Posted by Rags on 2017-02-27 23:54:17
Thanks Jim & Thoralf and for the elaboration.

Sorry Matt didn't know you were a Box purist, no Ranked teams. Not in a position to test the 16 theory in Box right now but maybe we'll get around to it one day.

We can still have a man off though. I'll try to keep an eye out for when you're online I'll use Waifs even though they're not great - that's OK their coach isn't either ;)

Thanks for link to bghandras. He's on a different level. Doubt I will ever come close to 18 undefeated or that kind of win ratio. I already watched one to see how it's done!

Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-28 00:41:21
No worries.
Yes, I don't play in Ranked on principle.
I'm generally online in the afternoon and evening server time and I play Slann, Elves and Vampires.

You're welcome, I just provided the link, credit to bghandras for the gameplay.
Posted by ArrestedDevelopment on 2017-02-28 01:04:12
"MenMax" is used in box quite a lot by human teams - Dunenzed, Balle2000, Timetis and others have always strived for a full roster when possible. The idea being that once you're into the cpomb zone your only options are to leave it or get bigger if you want to stay there.

https://fumbbl.com/p/team?team_id=648392 Tarabaralla wasn't bad either...
Posted by garyt1 on 2017-02-28 04:23:35
Enjoy it Rags! Maybe 15 is optimal though to give you more inducement options if you play a bigger team. 4 is still a substantial bench.
Posted by thoralf on 2017-02-28 05:13:08
fidius (pers. comm.) suggests that I add this precision:

[Rule of 5] The optimal Elf build haz **no more than** five positionals.

If we add "on the field at the same time in defense," this rule becomes compatible with Rags conjecture - 2 Blitzers, 3 catchers and 6 linemen does the trick.

The interesting is when one gets linemen out. Is it better to have 11 menz and 6 positionals, or 10 menz and 5 positionals?
Posted by Harad on 2017-02-28 10:44:41
Matt I think having a small number of excellent players with elves is the answer to:
how do I maximise my win percentage in the box environment knowing that I will restrict my TV to make the most of the TV matching to reduce my exposure to teams of a certain type.
I am less convinced it is the answer to a more general problem. I think as one plays higher TV in the box (or in many other environments) it can actually be more effective to spread the skills among more elves and have a deeper squad. However good you are, you will often find yourself unable to protect your best players in ways which are just less common than at low tv. As such your best players will be taken out and it matters more to have a lot of very good players rather than a few stars. Don't get me wrong, it still helps to have a few freaks etc. but my experience is that this can actually be quite an effective strategy for the more general case.
Could people please just say 5 is the maximum number of players one can keep safe from a first turn blitz whilst setting up in range. As your example shows, bghandras was not operating a '5 elf system', he had a pomber and blodge on a few other elves, a bench and made sure he kept his TV low. I am sure he set up sensibly at kick off but I think this 5 stuff is invoked incorrectly so often. Who has the option of having 6 elf legends in the box? That's right, nobody. So all successful teams will appear to be in some way built around this concept when actually it's natural forces shaping the team. What people do around managing TV, is different.
For the avoidance of doubt, we all manage TV and I think bghandras plays the team great too (lest anyone thinks I'm criticising a great achievement).
Posted by DrDeath on 2017-02-28 13:42:17
Interesting post, yes I think many coaches are so keen on trimming their TV they forget the value of subs, especially on Av7 sides. Pro elfs can take advantage of that with fairly cheap linemen (well for elfs). I suspect this tactic is even better in the Box - - you're effectively saying to the bash teams 'Ok - try to take out loads of players to get a big numerical advantage (by which time the game will be nearly over and quite possibly decided)'. I suspect the sweet spot is still a couple lower than 16, but the general approach is sound. Of course it would be very difficult to save enough cash for 16 elfs in the Box anyway!
Posted by MattDakka on 2017-02-28 14:14:21
In order to avoid misunderstandings: bghandras's team was showed to prove that the most successful Elf team in the Box doesn't have a 16-elves roster, not that it's an example of Rule of 5.
It's pretty much impossible to maintain a 16-elves roster in the Box at high TV, so many coaches just play them without bench or a very short one.

Posted by thoralf on 2017-02-28 14:29:46
I think we can generalize, Matt - it's impossible to maintain Elves in Box. I surmise it is because of the Elf Law:

[Elf Law] Elves die. Or at least they should.