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2015-10-27 18:08:55
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2015-10-27 18:08:55
6 votes, rating 5.2
Kick or receive?
I've been considering the advantages of kicking first when starting a match and - unless playing elves or skaven - I didn't find many, not to say none. Even though I like to believe I'm better at defending than at attacking - too often I find myself without a decent plan after having blocked away the line of scrimmage.

Some of my recent games brutally showed how effective it is to start the game receiving the ball. Let's take a look at the performance of Gilgorod's Tribe in the recent XFL Orcs IX. The first two games, which I won, were interesting match-ups. However, I started receiving both games and starting from turn one I managed to inflict significant damage upon the opposition, slowly but surely grinding them down. Both matches were practically won at half-time with a traditional 1-0 lead and a damaged opposition. The third game however - a match that I should always have won on paper - started with the opposing team receiving. And the same pattern occurred again! Although I had a far superior team (three rookie black orcs on the opposition!), I was grinded down in the first half and lost the game 3-1. Ok, Ripper Bolgrot played an exceptional role, but still...

Let's take a look as well at two other of my recent games, with chaos dwarfs and necromantic this time. Again, the same pattern. The opposing teams won the coin toss and started receiving, and won the match easily. In the first game, it was just bad luck: by turn two I had 3 dorfs in the SI box and by the end of the game I would have suffered no less than 9 casualties. Armor crumbled as if snotlings were concerned. Too bad, let's say it was just "one of those games". The second match however was different. I managed to put up a defense (stand firm helped a lot) and put pressure on the ball at the same time. I even cut the ball loose, but couldn't consolidate and lost it again. Nevertheless, I was outnumbered - again - before I even got to play and would never compensate for the loss of numbers. Was it bad luck again? Perhaps. But I'm starting to think that you have more than a significant advantage to win the game when starting as the receiver. Again, elves/skaven excepted. Better to defend with a full team when you still have one, right? After all, agile fast teams don't need a full team to score when receiving in the second half.

I wonder if any statistics exist on this topic. Because I seriously start to doubt what the advantages are to start a match when kicking (again, elves/skaven excepted). After all, it would be sad that this wonderful game would be decided by a simple toin coss, no?
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Posted by Antithesisoftime on 2015-10-27 18:11:17
If you have a fast team, capable of one-turners, kicking to start a game can be to your advantage

If you're a slow, bash team, then you want to receive, and hope that you kill enough of the opponent that they can't mount an offense in return
Posted by Uedder on 2015-10-27 18:17:34
Generally speaking bash are better off starting in offence, for the obvious reasons that you pointed out.

Agile teams might may want to kick first for this reasons:
1) Easier to defend in 11 and not likely to have 11 for second half
2) Greater chances to steal the ball and score, effectively winning the game
3) Defensive specialists such as kickers, ball poppers, etc.. that you really need in your defensive drive
4) Easier to oneturn in turn 8 than it is in turn 16
5) Might save your oneturner from the defensive drive

Mostly it goes down to personal preference, but i would say the receiving team is usually at advantage.
Posted by roadtoad on 2015-10-27 18:25:04
I like kicking. If I have a fragile team, it ensures that I have 11 on the field for defense. If I have a bashy team, I will play one of two strategies:

a) let the other team score and then go for the 2-1 victory where they never see the ball again
b) play strong defense and prevent or steal a score, then receive the second-half kickoff.

Most importantly, if I score on turn 8 in either situation, the opponent doesn't get the double-KO roll that they would get if I received. Also, I just feel I'm better at defense.
Posted by bghandras on 2015-10-27 18:33:29
If your team is sturdy in comparison to what the opponent can muster, then you may consider it. On the other hand if you can eliminate opposing players, you want to receive. So a harmless delf or orc team may want to receive, but even those depend on the opposition.
Posted by fidius on 2015-10-27 18:34:46
My calculus goes like this:

Kick if:
o likely to get turned over (Vamps, Leaping Strippers like Wood, Slann)
o I am elves with a bench
o I think I can turn them over (eg opposition is slow and I have Kick)
o opposition is a beginner (offense is harder than defense)
o opposition is not heavy bash

Receive if:
o opposition is heavy bash
o opposition has no bench
o I am heavy bash (lol)
o I can easily one-turn when short on players

Otherwise I choose kick because I am more comfortable on defense.
Posted by Wuhan on 2015-10-27 19:27:05
Going first means, you get the First turn.
And you get the Last turn.

Palmed Coin used to be a thing, where the inducement was you get to choose who goes first, as you always win the toss.
Posted by Gurbo on 2015-10-27 19:33:36
It depends on your team and your opponent. I think there's no absolute answer, it's better to have many plans and choosing case by case.
Posted by Scarlak on 2015-10-27 19:55:02
I play Skaven alot and whilst I understand the rationale for kicking first with Agile teams I will always recieve first as:-

- If it seems to be going well I might stall the whole half

- If I sense its going badly score even after three turns as I would back myself to stop or better still strip the ball to go up 2-0

Not saying this always works but makes for some great games where you're I'm finishing with a handful of players v a whole bashy team!
Posted by harvestmouse on 2015-10-27 20:06:41
I've no idea how many games I've played. Certainly over 2000, probably over 3000 and I've never ever ever considered kicking in any situation.
Posted by Roland on 2015-10-27 20:18:14

I use this tactic for most of my bash teams, not just khemri.
Posted by radge on 2015-10-27 22:28:44
With some teams I'm fairly confident of scoring if I want to, but might be on the lighter side of the bash scale. If I choose to kick, that means that I'm

a) 100 % certain my kick player is on the pitch
b) 100 % certain I can field my three rookie linemen on the LOS, and won't have to put anything valuable there.

Then I 'just' have to make sure to put enough pressure on my opponent so that he/she either score's with enough turns left for me to score, or better still, doesn't score at all. I can then equalise in turn 8, and I don't have to kick again because it will be second half and I will be on the receiving end again.

If I'm losing the number game I might need to score quick in the second half. But then my opponent needs to score twice to win, which means more risks and more opportunities for me. If I'm doing fine I can either still score quickly with better chances of winning 3-1, or stall if getting the win is more important than player development.

If I instead chose to receive, I might be both forced to score early and lose a couple of players, need to kick without my kicker and with expensive players on the LOS, having 1-1 at half time and need to kick to my opponent who is very happy to keep bashing my players to pieces and scoring in their last turn.

This is not valid for all match ups. I'm just making a point that there are times that I'll be more than happy to kick. Another scenario is if I'm not playing a very agile team, or the player is not playing a very agile team, and the weather is bad. Khemri will need 5+ just to pick the ball up in rain, whilst I might just need 2+ if I've got a AG4 player and the weather has changed when it's my turn.
Posted by pythrr on 2015-10-28 02:30:52
the best defence is a good offence

and by offence i mean kill all mens

so i receive.
Posted by paradocks on 2015-10-28 05:10:09
The only other racial exception to this rule are ogres I think. For various reasons it can be better to kick than receive - for sometimes different reasons. One example is against a full cpomb team in the Box I may prefer to sacrifice three rookie snots on the line rather than risk having to put ogres on the defensive LoS in the 2nd half if my snots had already gone. Another reason is that a TTM shot for ogres is preferable in turn8 rather than turn16.
Posted by rollup1A4 on 2015-10-28 05:41:23
As a skaven player, I kick or receive at a pretty close to 50:50 ratio. Receiving has obvious benefits, and if I think I can benefit from the extra blocks I'll do it, but kicking has got its fair share of pros too:

-I know my kicker is around, so can put it far back for harder recovery/easier pressure
-I'll have 11 for my first defence, and I definitely need more players for defence than for offence
-Ties into the above point, but a turnover/score in first half basically wins the game for me, so I want to put effort into that first half, while there's less pressure on me as a coach
-If my defence doesn't work out and they score T8, I get my one-turn attempt at the end of the first half instead of at the end of the second; more likely the pieces I need for it exist
Posted by bram on 2015-10-28 14:19:10
Thank you all for the response.

Many among you give examples of advantages of kicking first. I understand them all and agree with most. However, most of the examples given consider fast/agile teams only.

Let's for the sake of argument consider only slow/regular/bash teams for a moment (facing another slow/regular/bash team). Someone pointed out the potential advantages of kicking first, such as:
a) let the other team score and then go for the 2-1 victory where they never see the ball again
b) play strong defense and prevent or steal a score, then receive the second-half kickoff.

But my point is that I feel these strategies are essentially flawed, because:
a) most of the time the opposition won't score quickly (why would you, when you can continue to safely bash your opponent and score in turn 8?), and
b) playing strong defense is easy to say, but difficult to do when there is high risk to be outbashed because you're opponent has the initiative after having won the toin coss.

I also understand the point of kicking with ogres, but ogres are a very particular team, and are not representative for all other teams.

So, are there any good arguments or situations of chosing to kick in the first half, rather than receive when playing a slow/regular/bash team against another slow/regular/bash team?
Posted by mekutata on 2015-10-28 17:03:29
bigguy wrote once a blog to this topic, but with focus on khemri
Posted by Mightypeon on 2015-10-28 17:52:17
I opt to kick pretty often, but will generally receive vs anything with claws.

Reasoning here being that Lizards are exceptionally good at defence.
Posted by Verminardo on 2015-10-29 14:54:03
Against Vampires, Slann and Wood Elves it can often be a good idea to kick, because _they_ want to kick.
Posted by bram on 2015-11-11 10:58:23
A valuable argument Verminardo. But still, aren't that the races that you want to reduce as soon as possible, implying you need to receive?

I suppose it all depends on the exact circumstances of the game...