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Deadlings Playbook

by Spiky

Deadlings are the most obvious Bashy team in the game, they weigh in with an impressive 4 monsters - if you like heavy hitters, then this is the team for you!
When deciding to use this team, you sacrifice both speed and ball handling skills, so have a lot less flexibility when compared to the other teams. This means it is difficult to capitalise on your opponent's failures, and your optimum play is geared towards a slow and methodical approach where positioning becomes an incredibly important aspect, especially if you are defending.

Team Strengths
  • 4 High MIGHT Players are difficult for your opponent to deal with
  • High GRIT players are more difficult to take out of the game
  • Most players are TACKLE 4 or more!
  • Player types which are unique to the team

Team Weaknesses
  • Low JOG means that the team is the slowest out there!
  • Only 2 players with SKILL 3 so not great at handling the ball
One attraction of using this team is the sheer flexibility of models available that you can use to represent your players. To help with the playbook, I'll be using the term 'Deadling Specialists' to refer to the Ghoulings, Werelings, Vamplings or Wightlings, the term 'Deadling Midfielders' to refer to the Zomblings or Skelings and I'll just be calling the monsters, well.... 'Monsters'.

external image DSCN3190.jpg
Vigour Mortis - 2nd place at the Mansfield Elfball Tournament 2010
Plays in a similar way to:
Gnomes and Thunder Hammer Dwarves

Getting Started

This section gives some views on how to compose a team

1) Roster Choices
The Deadling lineup is pretty easy to select, and is one of the few teams where I would recommend taking all positional players before deciding what else to spend your points on. So for all team builds, I would advise taking 2 Deadwoods, 2 Monsters and Deadling Specialists.

2) Support Items
Deadlings are SLOOOOW! Having a Deadwood removed from the pitch due to injury is very bad, so in my view support items are essential with this team!
I'd suggest loading up on Kegs to give you the best chance of keeping your players in the game. Potions are also handy to give you chances of bringing a player back into the action - if you're lucky enough to get an attribute increase, then most of the time increasing JOG is the best option, as this improves the teams biggest weakness. Cheerleaders can also be very useful, either for a potential DASH challenge for extra range or for situations where you don't have enough JOG to attempt shoves before tackling. A Bribed Referee can also be an interesting choice, allowing you to roll 6 dice for the face-off if using the advanced rules.

3) Abilities
If your league or tournament allows you to buy abilities, then I would reccomend taking some on your key players. Try to focus on options that would make them better at their jobs, for example Agile would be a good pick on a Specialist and Grapple is a fearsome skill on a Deadwood. We'll have more discussion on good skill picks later.

4) Reserves
The big weakness of the Deadling team is the Midfielder, which in my view is a truly poor player. He's a good tackler, but his slow speed means your opponents will generally be hitting you first. Still, he can sometimes be useful (and expendable) although I would only suggest taking at least 1 but only more than that once you've decided on spending for Support Items and Abilities. The other consideration is if you're playing multiple tests, as you'll need more Midfielders to reduce the chances of you losing a test due to not having a player to man the Face-Off circle.

Player Types

This section is a quick review of the player types available on the team. They are one of the few teams who don't have access to any of the 'standard' player types.

Deadwoods (monster)
external image DSCN3192.jpg
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
3
6
5
1
1
5
Without a doubt one of the most scary players on the Elfball pitch, doubly so as you get to field 2 of them! They're incredibly hard to shove and also difficult to tackle due to their high MIGHT.A couple of shoves followed by a crippling tackle is normally the limit of their playstyle, but they do this very effectively!


Ability picks
  • Buff to help safely generate momentum on shoves
  • Grapple to improve injury chances on a tackle
  • Bonecrusher to improve injury chances on a tackle


Monsters (monster)
external image DSCN3194.jpg
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
4
5
4
2
1
5
The Monsters usually get to do more tackling than the Deadwoods, mainly because they have a higher JOG and more range but also because opponents try and stay the hell away from Deadwoods! They're pint-sized, so it can sometimes be easy for an opponent to forget just how strong they are.

Ability picks
  • Buff to help safely generate momentum on shoves
  • Grapple to improve injury chances on a tackle
  • Bonecrusher to improve injury chances on a tackle

Specialists (undead)
external image DSCN3196.jpg
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
5
3
3
3
3
4
These guys are your dedicated ball handlers and the most flexible player on your teem so need to be protected, as they will be targeted mercilessly by your opposing coach. As your fastest player, they also can be used to function as a safety to intercept any breakaways by your opponent.. They work well on defence when deployed behind the Deadwoods and Monsters, ready to nip in and secure the ball once a hole is available.

Ability picks
  • Agile for improved ball handling
  • Steady and Sprinter could help increase your player's range


Midfielders (undead)
external image DSCN3198.jpg
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
4
3
4
2
2
6
The Midfielders are a bit rubbish! Their TACKLE 4 is great but with their low JOG they're not going anywhere fast! They're your next best ball handlers and useful in emergencies if your Specialists are out of position or off the field. In the full face-off rules, they could be a good choice to save your specialist players from attrition. The other thing to note is that they can be a real annoyance to your opponent if they don't injure them, as even when marked they stand up with no penalties.

Ability picks
  • Fear to help reduce attrition
  • Resilient & Everlasting combine really well to maximise chances of passing injury Challenges

Setting Up


In normal circumstances, 'Monster' player types are not allowed in the Face-off Circle, which limits your options to placing either a Specialist or a Midfielder up front.

1) Basic Face-Off Rules
If you win the Face-off, I would advise perfoming the auto-tackle to place your opponent prone before picking up the ball then running back into your half and passing to the Specialist waiting in the Defender's circle. If you lose the Face-off, the Specialist at the back then takes the role of a Safety to intercept any players setting up to score.

This would be my normal set up:
DL_Setup.JPGDL_Key.JPG

Starting with all your positionals on the pitch would be the optimum setup.

2) Advanced Face-Off Rules
This is a lot more challenging, as if you put a Specialist up front, you risk him being removed from play if your opponent places a Defender or even a Hunter against you and wins the face-off. If you set up first, it may be best to play a Midfielder, as bringing a replacement on is much easier early on in the test. The Midfielder can potentially shove the opponent on the face-off, then if successful, attempt a pick up and pass with 2 dice. The problem with using the Midfielder is that you then have to keep one Specialist on the bench, which means you only have the 1 SKILL 3 player on the pitch. I'd avoid deliberately benching a Monster or Deadwood as you need their power on the pitch. Also they take a long time to come back into the game due to their lack of speed.

If you win the face-off, I would suggest a shove would be the safest action, as if successful it takes the opponent's faing off the ball. Your midfielders don't really have the range to get an early tackle on face-off loser, so securing the ball might be the best option as a first action. Failing the pickup and allowing your opponent to get the ball isn't the end of the world at the early stages.

Spending 5 points for a bribe might be a very good idea for Deadlings, as you can then place either a Monster or Deadwood to receive the face-off, but this is balanced against a 1 in 6 chance of losing the player for the test. Your chances of winning the face-off improve a lot, and you then also have a player who should be able to dominate the pitch centre for a while.

Play Style


If I lose the Face-off and my opponent has the ball, I normally would try to set up for a defence in my own half, with my players loosly in the positions below, Moving the Deadwoods first to gain territory towards the centre of the pitch.

DL_Postition.JPGDL_Key.JPG

The main aim with this tactic is to create a wall of high MIGHT players that make it very difficult for your opponents to break through easily. Deadlings lack speed so you want to avoid being drawn out of position at all costs, as you'll be unable to catch up to your opponent. You also need to be close enough to support your players. The Monsters on the wings have enough movement to either tackle or shove out of bounds any players that attempt to flank your formation, and the Deadwoods in the Centre give your opponent something to consider.

There is a balance to this strategy, as the further back you defend, the less space there is and your low JOG is less of an issue, however if you push too far forwards it's easier to find yourself out of position to protect/avenge your players. I don't think the Deadlings team has enough JOG to support each other effectively across the whole centre of the pitch.

If you find yourself in posession, I would also start by adopting the same strategy as above, hopefully encouraging your opponent to come into contact with the Deadwoods and Monsters. Removing a few players from the pitch really helps your goal attempt, and as you don't have the range to attempt a score early, you would need to make use of good positioning to get your players into the opponent's half.

Once you've removed some players and are ready to advance, I'd push up one side of the pitch and get the monsters on the opposite side into a more central position. This needs to be done carefully as if you allow players in behind your lines, you won't have the speed to catch them. Also, be aware that your opponent will be targetting your MIGHT 3 players and trying to avoid coming into range of the Deadwoods.


General Positioning Strategies


1) Beware of Cutblock
Cutblock Hunters can be a real pain to deal with, as they can get a Tackle with ease against your slow Deadwoods and Monsters. They're also placed down so are immune from immediate retribution. The good news is that most of the time the Cutblock player won't have an opportunity to generate momentum before they hit you, and with your high GRIT, there's still a fair chance that your player will remain on the pitch.
To deal with this ability, the best option would be to ensure you have another Monster player close enough to get facing on the downed hunter. He can't use Cutblock until he's travelled a hex so he then needs a disengage or a shove to get away. As the skill is only useful against high MIGHT players, it's uncommon to have to face more than one player using this attribute in a team.

2) High Grit
As well as an increased chance of avoiding injuries, having a GRIT of 5 or more means that most of your players can stand up with no JOG cost. This means their effective range is the same when Down as it would normally be when they are Standing, which is something that opponents can sometimes overlook. If you get a 'Slide Tackle' you can usually just stand up again without a penalty, so it's always worth re-rolling even a single dice on any 'Solid Hit' result if you have the means to do so as the new result usually doesn't make a lot of difference if it's worse!

3) Using the Deadwood - or the Shove, Shove, Tackle!
Once in range, Deadwoods make great player markers as they are very difficult to shove away or disengage from. With their high MIGHT, it's always worth shoving to generate momentum to give you the best chances of injury on a tackle. If you can reach an opponent player, it may be best to mark a victim first (ideally from their rear facing) and then wait until you can move him again before hitting the opponent with shoves and a tackle.

4) Beware of Sprinters
Players with Steady and Sprinter can also cause a big headache for Deadlings, as it's easy for such a player to run right through your defenses. These players need to be taken out of the game when an opportunity presents itself, you also need to ensure your second line of defense is in a good position to take the player down if they do sprint past your monsters.

5) Sprinting with a Skeleton
You might think I'm joking, but I think the Steady/Sprinter combo would be quite a good choice for a Midfielder. You'd only be rolling 4 dice in the Dash challenges, but you can get the Skeleton into a good position and get him to go down so he's safe from being Tackled. Your high GRIT then allows you to move next turn as if you were standing, even if an opponent is next to you!

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