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Sarcos Playbook

by The Painted Goblin

No other team in Elfball has the ability to select 4 Hunters and 4 Strikers. This provides the Sarcos with lots of flexibility, as this mix of high Tackle and high Skill/Dodge players means the coach is able to tailor a team to suit whatever opponent they face. However, since only the Leviathan has a Might of more than 3, they cannot stand toe to toe with the really heavy hitters in the game and must rely on a more adaptive approach.

Team Strengths
  • Can field up to 4 hunters and up to 4 strikers, giving unmatched flexibility in play style
  • Good solid defence in the shape of Hunters and the Leviathan
  • Access to midfielders plugs the gap between SKILL and TACKLE, rounding off the versatility of this team
  • Gorgeous models!

Team Weaknesses
  • Other than the Leviathan, the team is average in MIGHT.
  • The low JOG attribute of the Leviathan reduces its effectiveness somewhat
  • Can sometimes be difficult to get the right balance between the number of Hunters and Strikers

team1.jpg

Getting Started

This section gives some views on how to compose a team

1) Roster Choices
With great versatility comes greater challenges when picking your team. The ability to field 4 hunters or 4 strikers is all well and good, but a team so heavily loaded on one side is unlikely to win many games.

Knowing your next opponent can give you the best pointers. I would always take the Leviathan due to the sheer impact of his presence on a game. Like most Monsters, He doesn't necessarily ever have to move or roll a dice to help your team. View him as a road-block first, and a pain-giver second. After that, I would never take less than 2 hunters, regardless of your opposition. If you're up against lots of high DODGE, take three. Your Strikers are your only dedicated SKILL players - aim to take at least 2 on your roster. Consider three instead of a 3rd hunter if you're up against bashy opposition. Any spare slots fill with Midfielders or Strikers.

2) Support Items
Potions are always handy, but carry that element of risk with them. If you have a highly skilled player on your roster it is worth taking one to cover each should the worst happen.
Kegs are only really worth taking for the Leviathan due to his high GRIT. They can be used on other players to help with a 6 dice roll after a Punishing Hit, but I'd probably always take potions over kegs
I don't often take Cheerleaders with Sarcos, as the high SKILL and DODGE of the Strikers is usually more than enough to generate plenty of Momentum - I'd consider taking one if I had a game winning movement ability though.
Bribed Ref - as we play more, the benefits of having a bribed ref are becoming more and more apparent. 5 points well spent, but don't cripple your team selection in favour of it.

3) Abilities
Finding the balance between support items, bench depth and abilities can be tricky. A player with lots of abilities is far more reliable, but is just as susceptible to being removed as a rookie player. That said, in tournament play, I would tend to load out on abilities to make your team more competitive. Your Hunters are your key players on this team. If they fail at their job (ie protecting your other players and controlling zones), then your game plan will fall to pieces. The Strikers can feasibly be left without abilities if points are tight. If you only give the Strikers one ability, make it Agile.

4) Reserves
The beauty of this team is that you can chop and change to suit your opponent. This carries through to the reserves bench - you have the same flexibility here. Consider how many removals you expect to suffer, and decide on your bench depth accordingly. If you're up against Deadlings or Dwarves, make sure you have at least 8 players, probably even 9. It's always tempting to fill your bench with Midfielders as they can always step in to replace any player - I don't have a problem with this philosophy.

Player Types

This section is a quick review of the player types available on the team.

0-4 Hunters
hunter1.jpg
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
3
4
3
2
3
Your Hunters will be the main force in taking out the opposition. Used in pairs these players are lethal, particularly if you have a Grapple/Psycho hunter who can shove a couple of times then go for the kill. They're also good for shoving "just-moved" opponents into the waiting maw of the less speedy Leviathan.


Ability picks
  • The ever reliable (and fantastic) Grapple/Psycho combo is great on your hunters. 10 points is a big investment, but it pays off!
  • If you're up against a lot of Monster types, it would be wise to invest in a Cutblock Hunter

0-4 Strikers
striker4.jpg
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
3
2
4
4
2
Your main ball handlers and forward players. A high DODGE skill will help them stay on their feet, but always be wary of exposing your rear facing to an opponent with a high TACKLE attribute. In forward positions, it's wise to cover a Striker with a Midfielder or preferably a Hunter for protection.


Ability picks
  • Steady/Sprinter extends your movement range and makes for a great goal-scorer. It's also been used sneakily in recent tournaments to ensure your player ends his turn down on the floor deep in the opponents half to keep him safe from tackles.
  • Agile is a great pick for the throwing game, and Focused is good on forward players.
  • Consider building a single Striker into a thrower using Bankshot (and Agile) to extend their throwing game.
  • Grapple/Psycho is good for strikers, albeit expensive. They won't be making many tackles, but 5 dice in a shove challenge on a forward player is fearsome to anyone!

0-1 Leviathan
lev.jpg
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
4
5
4
2
1
5
Big. Meaty. Slow.
He's not going to win any 100m sprint, but who cares? Most things he hits never get up again. Unfortunately, most opponents know this and just keep out of his way. Use that to your advantage to close off one half of the pitch. If your opponent tries to take him out, laugh as he stands straight back up again and hits him back.

Be very VERY wary of Cutblock Hunters - even from a front facing, they will only need 1 success to bring your Leviathan down. He has some staying power with 5 GRIT, but of course sometimes the worst can happen - this is the player to use Kegs on if you have them. To defend against such a player? Hit him before he hits you. Keep your Leviathan well back where he his protected by your own hunters - this should be enough to discourage a foray into your half.


Ability picks
  • Grapple should be enough for this player. He only has one job, so make him better at it.
  • Although situational, Pummel/Plough is an interesting pick - Plough will only ever gain you 2 extra spaces of movement (or 3 on a successful dash), but that can be quite significant, and a massive shock to the unwary opponent. Plus the fact that you will never need to Disengage to use this skill.

0-3 Midfielders
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
3
3
3
3
3
Lost your last Striker? This is where the Midfielders come in. 3 dice on any challenge isn't to be sniffed at. They are also (in my opinion) the best candidate for the face-off challenge. Not much else to be said here, except that Midfielders are often overlooked - mistakenly.


Ability picks
  • Buff for the face-off midfielder.
  • Grapple/Psycho can cause a nasty surprise for your opponents
  • Agile is a good safe pick for a secondary ball handler/thrower



Setting Up


1) Basic Face-Off Rules

Face-Off Circle
Since every player rolls 6 challenge dice regardless of MIGHT, the only consideration for the Face-Off player is:- would you prefer to knock your opponent over, or get control of the ball?

A Hunter winning the face-off will always put the opponent down.
A Striker winning the face-off will always get control of the ball.
A Midfielder gets to choose due to having the same MIGHT and SKILL.

A Midfielder would always be my pick as you can leave the decision until you know exactly who you are facing, plus the fact that they can choose to down the opponent and still have a good chance of picking the ball up on 3 dice in the first turn.

Guardian Circle
This player might not move once during a game – however, if they are needed, you need them to be reliable at bringing down an opposing player bound for goal. Between the Leviathan, a Hunter or a Midfielder I would recommend a Hunter – the Leviathan is too slow and could easily be pulled out of position, and a Midfielder doesn’t have the sheer stopping power of a Hunter.

Rover Circles
Place your Leviathan in one of the rover circles with a view to using him for “zone prevention”. Hopefully this will drive the opposition down the other side of the pitch. This will leave one side of the pitch open for your Strikers to work, so put a Striker in with the Leviathan to take advantage of this.

Put a Hunter, and your other player (depending on your team choice) in the other Rover Circle.


2) Advanced Face-Off Rules

Face-Off Circle
In truth, for the Sarcos there’s not much difference in which player you choose to man the face-off with the advanced rules - you will always be throwing 3 challenge dice unless you have a Bribed Ref and decide to put the Leviathan in the face-off circle (something that I do not highly recommend!), and no player has any better chance of withstanding a shove from the opponent.

If you’re hell bent on making the first tackle of the game, place a Hunter here. Otherwise I’d recommend a Striker due to their SKILL, and their ability to withstand a tackle should you lose the face-off. If you’re just not sure, or can’t stand the risk of losing a Striker, use a Midfielder. If you have a player with the Buff ability, this would be a great pick too.

The guardian circle and rover circles should be manned in the same way as for the Basic Face-Off Rules (above).


Play Style

Going back to the flexibility I mentioned earlier, you can either play the bashing game or the skill game with this team. What they lack in MIGHT, they make up for in speed. 4 Hunters with JOG 6 can outpace most other bashy teams, and used carefully, you should be able to reduce the opponents numbers quite effectively.

Equally, you are easily able to play the short passing game with a high number of Strikers, ably backed up by Midfielders. If you look to select a team of 8 players, it is quite possible to have a supremely versatile team able to cope with any opposition. The main thing to remember is that this versatility comes at a cost; there are teams out there better at the attrition game, and there are teams out there better at the skill game. You won’t be able to match anyone like-for-like when up against the more specialised teams.

In general, it is best to tailor your play to directly oppose the strength of your opposition. You can’t stand toe to toe with the likes of Dwarves or Deadwoods, so play the skill game and outpace and outmanoeuvre them. Conversely, when you’re up against skill teams such as Pharaohs or Black Widows, go for blood!


General Positioning Strategies

There are no real strategies specific to the Sarcos for positioning – what applies to most teams applies here also.

Positioning in Elfball is not entirely unlike Chess, in that you need to make sure all your pieces are protected by another piece. If your opponent wants to take out one of your players, you need them to know that they WILL be hit back and so need to consider if it is an acceptable risk!

The key points are this:-
  • Your Leviathan must always be positioned with utmost care – his JOG of 4 seriously reduces his threat range. Don’t be tempted into charging him into a dangerous area just to make a Tackle as he is always prone to being tackled from his rear facing, or even worse – tackled by a Cutblock Hunter. He is far better employed in the role of pitch prevention. Get him positioned over to one side of the pitch within 4 hexes of the sideline, and make sure his rear hexes are protected. Be happy in the knowledge that any opposing players trying to squeeze through that gap will be shoved out of bounds.
  • Your Strikers will usually be first into the opponents half, relying on their high DODGE to keep them safe from harm. Before you do this, make sure your Hunters (or Midfielders) are already in a position to be able to protect them. The best place for this is on your half of the pitch, just inside the centreline and within 4-5 hexes of where you intend your Striker to be.
  • If you grab the ball early, bring it back to your backfield and pass to a Midfielder or Striker – this player can be left there for much of the game while you position your forward players, ready for a string of short passes before your last player runs in for the score.
  • Look to form a loose screen of players where each is covering the other. If you can get Striker and a Midfielder adjacent eachother on your opponents side of the pitch, where their rear hexes are covered by a hunter, you are in a good position.



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