View Full Version : Coaches' Corner

09-08-2012, 09:45 PM
Hey folks, me again. I'm going to give this a god, a sort of central repository of articles, interviews and whatnot with the heroes of RPS bloodbowl, somewhere for people to acquaint themselves with history and read up on tactics/philosophies/whatever. I'm not going to write them, though (well, maybe one on lizards), you are. So if you want to give me your view on a race or a positional or a tactic (Helio could write on fouling, Screwie could write on the joy of goblins, Weasel could write on why the troll is the greatest thing ever, Zoraster could write on about a thousand things that he knows and we don't...), this is for you. I'll also be doing occasional interviews with the heroes of bloodbowl, the pioneers, the winners of the big leagues, the makers of history.

For now, I'm going to go by a submissions process. If you've got something you'd like to put up here, contact me on steam (link in sig) or PM it to me or the idea of it. I do want to read it before it goes up to start with, and I do want to stagger them so we don't have everything coming out at once and then nothing. I'm going to try for an interview every 2/3 weeks, with anything else in between. I'll maintain this first post to have links to everything.

Now sit back and enjoy:

09/08/2012: Pink Patisserie Panthers (a guide to Amazons) (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?5819-Coaches-Corner&p=173850&viewfull=1#post173850)

28/08/2012: Ever's got the Blues (a guide to playing elves against bash) (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?5819-Coaches-Corner&p=182402&viewfull=1#post182402)

09-08-2012, 09:47 PM
Talkin’ with Drawlien

The Pink Patisserie Panthers have played in the RPS Open (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuX1tdfDALOYdEZadGRPdHFlcy0xT0xYX01nZV8tN mc#gid=8) since the Legendary Edition switchover, winning it in the first season. They are coached by Drawlien, one of our beloved and ruthlessly evil league admins. The CC cornered him in an ambush and forced him to answer some questions about being in the ‘zon.



CC: Hi Drawlien, thanks for agreeing to tell us all about the Panthers so we can finally bring you down. I think the first question has to be: Why amazons?

D: Wait, I didn't sign up to this so you could share all my coaching secrets! I've been had!

Oh well, now that you've trapped me I might as well answer your questions - that way I can at least hope for a quick release...

So why Amazons? Well, I wanted to play one of the new teams from the expansion of the league into new parts of the Old World. I was thinking about playing a Necromancer team but when I started a test team in a minor league I couldn't make much headway with them. Nobody else seemed very interested in playing 'Zons so I thought I'd give them a go.

CC: I meant it more in the sense of "Why God amazons? Whyyyy?". Dodge and blodge from the getgo make them possibly the most annoying team in the world to play against at the start, was that a factor?

D: Yeah I totally wanted to be as annoying as possible to all the other coaches in the league. Who doesn't love it when the opposition tries to knock your players down and fails practically all of the time!

CC: Also, Pink Patisserie Panthers? They're not even pink. Or panthers. Your whole team is a mass of contradictions!

D: Well, they were Pink until the match before last when poor Gateaux left for the great astro-turf in the sky... My thought process on the name was this: what do women like? Pink. And cakes. Ok, but that's getting a little girly now so I need a fearsome animal too - they have Panthers in Lustria right? Pink Panther Cakes! Hmm, doesn't sound quite right. All the best team names have alliteration. Pink Patisserie Panthers!

CC: Then again there is this perception that amazons fade after that start. How have you found their longevity?

D: In their first 2 seasons PPP had a win-draw-loss record of 19-1-2 (1st then 2nd in the league, a legacy I am proud of). In the last 2 seasons the record has dipped to 14-7-5. So there does appear to be some dip in form - but I mainly blame this on the fact that after 2 seasons the other coaches had got a real grudge against my girls and were actively gunning for them!

CC: Has French Fancy really played all their games?

D: No, the old-lady of the team, French Fancy, has missed one game through injury, but she's down for 1 more than that due to a magical storm after a draw between the Elves of the Line that caused the game to be counted twice by the league officials! Apple Pie has the next best history having only missed 3 matches (including the one that counted double) through injury.

CC: I mean by all rights she should be dead by now. I'll try and sort that out next season. Any other notable players who have moved on to the great KO box in the sky?

D: Feel free to go after French Fancy... we're always happy if the opposition are focused on one player! Well apart from Gateaux who I've probably gone on about too much already, the most painful loss for the team was Cherry Pie. She was a sweet girl off the pitch, but for a catcher she certainly knew how to dish out the pain on it! She was fast and had great tackling technique, so we quickly saw her potential as a safety. It's taken over a season to train up a replacement Rite Fruitcake II, and she just doesn't have the speed that Cherry Pie did.

CC: How did you feel after winning that first season, was it a romp or was somebody pushing you hard. How did amazons give you the edge?

D: Of course it was amazing to win the league the first season after the expansion! It felt like hard work all season especially against the Agility teams who don't need experience to compete as much as the bash teams. The team actually had better winning margins in the second season, we just couldn't get quite enough wins to beat Elves of the Line.

Amazons are pretty standard stats-wise so I had to coach them to play conservatively (hence not often winning by a great margin), to avoid being out-positioned on the pitch. If they do get into a bit of a scrape then dodge on all the players is very handy, especially when changing field position when the other team is trying to (wo)man mark you. However, it's safer to avoid such situations if at all possible!

CC: How would you describe your coaching philosophy? Aggressive or defensive? Proactive or reactive? Pessimistic or Optimistic?

D: As I mentioned earlier, coaching a 'Zons team means you have to be fairly conservative. They are completely average in speed, strength and agility and you can't always rely on them dodging their way out of trouble.

On defense I will normally get the team to sit back and let the opposition come to them, waiting for them to get desperate to score and make a mistake. However, if there is an early opening to flood to the ball I will take it if the situation is beneficial to the Panthers.

On offense I will cage up and often go to the flanks due to the Panthers not having the strength to break through the heart of the defense. If this causes the opposition to over-pursue and try to swamp the Panthers then great! The 'Zons can use their superior dodging to re-target the attack to the weak side.

I wouldn't like to say whether I was aggressive/defensive etc. because I try to read the way the game is going and act accordingly rather than stick to a particular way of thinking.

CC: I suppose the best coaches always have a plan B, and indeed a plan C through Z. Which races do you not look forward to playing? And which do you think you overperform against?

D: I don't know if there's a particular race that I don't like playing against per se but there are team builds and/or coaches that the Panthers struggle against. They've never beaten the Elves of the Line (in 3 attempts) or Gears of Mork (2 attempts). Mummy's Boys weren't much fun although honours are even against them. The new boys Strenuous Gar Fighters were pretty brutal too, though time will tell if our loss to them was a one-off. Apart from that only the Skinkinators and Insufferable have beaten the Panthers so far (I think).

CC: Now for me, the Elves and the Gears are at opposite extremes, absolute bash and absolute agility. Do you feel like extremes are the weakness? Would you rather face the Elves or the Gears right now?

D: Maybe it is the extremes that are difficult to handle. Although actually, I would rather face Gears than the Elves of the Line. In the last game against the Gears it was looking like a 1-1 draw and only a series of incredibly lucky plays meant the Orcs went 2 up. If not for that our head to head would be 2 draws. I don't mind losing a few players if I don't lose the match! The Elves have beaten the Panthers up and run rings around them in the same match!

CC: One thing that strikes me about your lineup is there doesn't seem to be many specialists. The throwers look to be the glue, the exceptional players who hold everything together but everybody else I could perhaps uncharitably call "solid". Do you split your team into different groups with different tasks or is it more important to you that everybody can do a job everywhere?

D: I think it's just that, apart from the Throwers, those players that had turned into "specialists" have been retired by opposition teams over the last season or two and we haven't been able to train up replacements yet!

However, I do tend to train players to be useful in any situation they might find themselves in, rather than only being useful for certain situations. I think 'Zons need to develop this way because they rarely have a full team left by the end of the match, so it's important that the players on the pitch are able to do the job at hand. I will train players more specifically as they get more experienced (and if they survive long enough) - as you can see with the throwers.

CC: So now as you are an old hand let's look to the future. Why are you carrying on with this team? What do you still want to achieve with them?

D: I have been considering moving on to a different team actually, but I decided to hold off until the next race expansion happens. I've had fun coaching the Panthers but I don't think I can stick with them for longer than one more season. I've enjoyed the challenge of having to overcome the limitations of the team, but I'm getting a bit tired of those limitations now. I might try some kind of bash team next.

CC: What would you say to a new coach considering whether to coach Amazons?

D: I wouldn't recommend Amazons to a new coach. I think a more flexible team like some type of Elves are more forgiving of mistakes or a more durable team like Orcs which are more likely to keep a full squad on the pitch would be better. For a more experienced coach who is looking for a bit of a challenge in a long-form league then I would definitely recommend them. You don't get too many runaway victories, instead there's lots of tight 2-1 wins or draws which I think makes the games more exciting! It also teaches you to not get too attached to your players...

CC: Ah, so your journey is coming to an end, then. Let's end with something optimistic then: When you look back, what do you think was their finest hour? What was the match where they reached their peak?

D: Yes, I think I will move on from the Panthers unless something happens this season. I have enjoyed coaching them over the last 4 seasons though. If I had to pick a single match, which is pretty difficult, I'd have to go with beating the Vivisectionists 4 - 0 back in season 5. That's the highest winning margin against a tier 1 team the Panthers have achieved and the Vivisectionists have mysteriously "gone on holiday" every time we're meant to play them since!

CC: Ladies, we salute you. Thanks for taking part Drawlien.

D: Thanks. Am I free to go now? These manacles are a bit heavy and I really need to pee!

CC: Oh no, you’re staying until the dirty player goblin gets here. Also to answer any questions from the audience. Audience?

10-08-2012, 09:25 AM
Quick, ask your questions while I'm still able to reply!

Thanks Jiiiim, I'm looking forward to the rest of the series of interviews.

10-08-2012, 12:44 PM
Do you find that you have problems playing against Dwarf teams (or teams like Orcs who have lots of tackle blitzers)? I would have thought that Amazons would melt in such circumstances - with only agility 3 you can't dodge away.

10-08-2012, 01:00 PM
I'm not sure I've played against Dwarves in the Open so this answer isn't based on the Panthers but 'Zons in general. Dwarves can be a bit annoying but most of the players with tackle are slow so you can out-manoeuvre them. The players that Dwarves like to blitz with most don't often have tackle and so dodge still works well as protection. However, early in a 'zon team career coming up against Dwarves can be difficult as they will probably suffer quite a few armour breaks.

A good tactic 'Zons should be doing against any team is making sure at the end of your turn that you are in contact with as few of the opposition's players as possible. You should give blitzers guard so they can block the opposition away if they have lots of tackle to stop your team dodging away. If the opponent can only carry out a blitz then it doesn't matter how much tackle their team has - it's not going to help very much!

So in summary, going against teams with lots of tackle can make it a tougher game but there are ways to reduce it's impact.

10-08-2012, 02:13 PM
And why did you go for stand firm as the second skill on that blitzer instead of mighty blow? How do you normally skill your blitzers?

10-08-2012, 02:41 PM
If you have 4 Blitzers with Guard and Stand Firm making up a cage then it's pretty difficult to penetrate. Also, they're useful for holding up a flank, preventing crowd-surfs etc. I've only had MB on one Blitzer and I only got it to make people think twice about marking her! It ended up being pretty useless at causing casualties, either because it worked as a deterrent or, more likely, because I don't tend to do too much blocking with 'Zons.

10-08-2012, 03:11 PM
Interesting - thanks!

14-08-2012, 11:44 AM
Lovely stuff Jim and Mr Drawlien. Very interesting sirs.

28-08-2012, 03:06 PM
This week in Coaches' Corner: Everblue seeks your help. Let's give him a hand.

I have a high elf team in an online league. It’s my first experience of playing elves, and I would appreciate some advice.

This is my team:


You can see the teams I’m up against here: http://rockpapernuffle.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/occ-division-6a-team-analysis.html

As you can see, I'm up against a really good orc team, two meatgrinder undead teams and a nicely-built necro team, plus some trash (oh, and Helio!). I'm really worried about the undead and orcs in particular, and indeed my first match was against The Bones Brigade, the stronger of the two undead teams. I have the dark elves next Wednesday (should be easy) then the orcs in week 3.

The league table is here (should self-update, as it pulls data from BBManager):

The first game

My first match was against the Bones Brigade, a brutal undead team with 7 guard players and 3 ghouls with wrestle. The match ended 2-2 with offense heavily on top. I scored a one turn touchdown on turn 8, and a 2 turn touchdown on turn 10, but I couldn’t crack his cage (a guard player on each corner) and there were 3 wrodge ghouls who I just couldn’t hit.

With another tough undead team and 2 necro teams to come, I’m going to face more ghouls and so a priority for me is getting more tackle into the side.

Player roles

Of the two blitzers, I intend the AG5 blitzer to be the ball fetcher. I’m going to give him leap, tackle, strip ball in that order. I don’t think I would take any double skills (maybe mighty blow?) or stat up except move or strength.

The guard blitzer is trickier. My plan is dodge, sidestep, then maybe diving tackle. I’ll try to turn him into a marker.

I see catchers as hitters. The idea is to use their MV8 to deliver a hard hitting blow against weak players. Hence mighty blow on my first double. I want 2 blodgers and 2 wrodgers, and then other skills I like are tackle, frenzy and mighty blow if I can get them.

My current thrower has accurate. Any advice about the next lot of skills for him would be good – blodge, do you think? Or KOR/sure hands?

Linemen – block or wrestle? I think wrestle, because the league is so bashy. So dodge-wrestle-fend for linemen?

My main questions are:

1) Do you have any advice for high elf builds in bashy leagues?

2) Do you have any advice for playing relatively undeveloped high elf teams against undead/necros/orcs?

Any other advice you might have would be welcome.

28-08-2012, 04:44 PM
Firstly the blitzer - I wouldn't get leap before tackle. AG5 and dodge will get you to a lot of places already that leap would get you to and dodging comes with a built in reroll. Don't ignore doubles - high elves will struggle later on without any guard as teams will outmuscle you. Also do not underestimate an AG5 guard, getting an assist where you want it is invaluable. I wouldn't give strip ball to a blitzer either, leave it to your wrodging catchers to knock the ball loose.

For linemen you want a mix of block and wrestle - you still need some pieces standing! You've got the basic build for lino's - if one gets a double take guard and give him block.

For an offensive thrower I like to take accurate, dodge, sure hands, nerves of steel in that order picking up strong arm on doubles. Other skills to consider are leader, block, catch (for back field passing/hand offs) I wouldnt take KOR - its more useful for slower teams to get to a ball and get in a cage. High elf throwers tend to loiter in the back field so KOR is wasted on them.

For a defensive thrower you have a much wider set of options. I keep mine by the LOS on offense for a hand off short pass option so block is the first skill. After that leader/dodge/tackle/diving tackle all have their merits.

Against Orcs you want to stall them - retreating columns and picking off a cage corner so you can mark the carrier with a lino is a good tactic. Try and force them to use the blitz freeing the carrier rather than to push forward. Try and pick off stragglers that aren't part of the cage to try and thin their numbers. If you're only giving him 1-2 hits on you a turn you're doing a good job.

With necros and undead feed the golems/mummies a lino and target the ghouls mercilessly. If you can do it without sacrificing the columns getting mummies and to a lesser extent golems on the floor can mean they struggle to catch up with the play. Watch out for necro wolves - they can be utter bastards!!

If you're getting inducements take a wizard. Try to only use it when a) defence has failed and they're going to score or b) when there's a high chance of you retrieving the ball if the carrier goes down. I very rarely use a wizard on offence unless its a certain game clinching chance of scoring.

28-08-2012, 05:01 PM
With elves, an easy trap to fall into is to go for the ball, purely because it's possible. Elves have great agility, great movement, and so they are capable of a hit on the ball carrier on almost every turn, but I constantly found myself running out of rerolls or getting outmaneuvered because I was hitting those marginal chances rather than waiting for a more certain one. I've recently put a much higher premium on my rerolls, I'm trying to get to turn 8 with one left every game and so it's toned down my risky plays and put me in a much stronger position to capitalise on bad strokes of luck.

Against heavy bash I try (try) to have no tackle zones at the end of a turn, and anything else is a bonus. Use the blitz to free people up or knock down someone at the front of the cage. Stand in front of the cage and it won't move far, eventually they'll have to go for it.

Alistair Hutton
28-08-2012, 05:03 PM
Eledwhen needs Sure Hands like the flower needs the sun.

Sure, you're thinking, he's only got a 1/6 chance of failing to pick up the ball but I say he's only got a 1 in six chance of failing to pick up the ball normally. Add in a bit of weather or a blitz that has got a couple of opposition players next to the ball and suddenly that natural but naked AG4 isn't looking so clever. It's a real shame to burn team re-rolls on such a mundane action but a failed pickup in the backfield can be enemy touchdown city.

Also with Sure Hands he becomes a second ball retriever, 3+ with re-roll to pick the ball out of a tackle zone along with the ability to fling a decent pass out of that very same tackle zone he then finds himself in is a very decent situation to be in indeed.

28-08-2012, 05:08 PM
A lack of sure hands on my opponent's side and having a Wardancer with strip ball was what allowed me to win against a HElf team with double my TV. To be fair I also had Morg (utterly useless) and that hypnotoad elf (much more useful).

28-08-2012, 05:28 PM
With elves, an easy trap to fall into is to go for the ball, purely because it's possible.


Something it took me ages to teach myself was waiting for the right moment to go for the ball. Even with leaping AG5 pieces you dont want to be slinging them in every turn as there's not much benefit digging the ball out if you can't secure it. The single most important part of elven defence is knowing when to put the pressure on. Get it wrong and you're a score down with half the team in the injury box.

I also try to keep a reroll back but thats more for one turn attempts!

President Weasel
28-08-2012, 06:26 PM
How did you get that fancy roster printout thinger?

28-08-2012, 06:33 PM
@Everyone except Weasel
Thank you so much for the replies! I'll have a think about them at length this evening and post some thoughts later.

I uploaded my team to BBDigital.com (it reads the in-game file to create the picture) and took a screenshot, which I copy-pasted into Paint. I have a set of instructions somewhere that I'll post when I can find them.

28-08-2012, 06:37 PM
Ooh, if you get those instructions, stick them in the FAQ thread

28-08-2012, 08:57 PM
Elves have the best offense in the game, so my advice is don't spend any skills on scoring (other than accurate/strong arm/sure hands on a thrower).

On defense your blitzers are made to mark. They start 1 skill away from blodgestep and after that give them DT, tackle, shadowing, etc. With an agi5 guy you might consider giving him pass-block, but you very rarely get a chance to use it.

Your catchers should be your blitzers. They have awesome range and can be built into pretty much any role. Your blitzers are already better at doing something else so making some wrestle/tackle/strip ball/leap catchers is nice.

For doubles you ALWAYS want guard. Don't worry about MB, you're not going to out bash heavier teams. You want to be able to make surgical hits, which guard helps with.

And I agree with the others that you should know when to hit the ball and when to leave it. If you don't have a decent chance of securing the ball leaping into a cage will get get your face stamped on.

edit: for your 2nd thrower you can make him a utility piece with leader and kick. You already have a kicker, but when he dies you might consider putting it on your extra thrower. This can help save some TV.

28-08-2012, 10:59 PM
My elfs go for the ball every turn: a defensive turn when I've not leaped into a cage seems like such a waste.

Alistair Hutton
29-08-2012, 08:23 AM
My elfs go for the ball every turn: a defensive turn when I've not leaped into a cage seems like such a waste.

Yes, but your Elves are total freaks.

29-08-2012, 10:10 AM
Still thinking about the comments, but the instructions as to how to make the team sheets are here