SECTION 8: SUPPORT PIECES (TEAM DEVELOPMENT)

Team Building and Composition

When Building a team, you are limited to the player types listed for your race of choice. Some teams have a very general spread of player types while some are more specialised and have more restricted list of options. When looking at roster options, It's good to ensure you have an adequate balance between high MIGHT and TACKLE players and those with high SKILL. Taking too many of either type could impact the effectiveness of your team as a whole, especially if you have some unlucky injuries on key players. The balance can vary between each race and also the play style of the coach

Support & Sideline Options

Depending on the roster points limit imposed by your League commissioner or Tournament manager, you'll have spare points to spend on Sideline and Support items after your initial purchase of 6 players. League play limits are usually 180 points and Tournaments have been using 150 point rosters.

The Bench

One of the most critical factors is how many reserve players you want to have. Having too shallow a bench will make things very tough, especially if you're playing to more than 1 test. It's wise to have 1-2 players as reserves for most teams in tournament play. 3-4 players on the bench seems about optimum for most starting teams in league play.

Potions

Up to 3 Potions can be purchased for 5 points each. They are high risk & high reward items, as there's a chance that they won't work, or worse, in league play you can kill your player. Note also that they're only used once per match
1) Tournament Play
Use the potion on any player who is missing the test or worse, as long term player health is irrelevant! When you use a potion you have a 58% chance of getting the player back for the same test. That's right! A 58% chance for at most a third of the player's cost!
2) League Play - The success rate for potions goes to 69% if you factor in the results that heal the player but still place him in the recovery area. Due to the risks, it might be better to use the potions on rookie players if you're desperate to have players return during the current game, or save them as a sort of insurance policy for serious injuries only on experienced players.

1) Use on injured players
The safest way of using a potion is to save them for use on any injured players.
a) This doesn't have to be done immediately, so if it's early in the game and you have reserves you can wait until deciding whether to use a potion now or see if a key player gets injured first.
b) If playing in a Tournament, it is wise to use any remaining potions on injured players just before the test ends, as players in the injury area tend to score points for your opponent.
c) Players may still pick up bonus skills & stats which effectively add value to your team for the duration of the match. It's always polite to thank your opponent for injuring your player if you pick up a nice upgrade with a potion! :-)

2) Use for a Ability or Attribute increase
A more risky approach is to use your potions on healthy players as a bit of a boost. The chances of getting at least 1 extra ability for the player is 53%, and getting a attribute increase is 11%.You have a 42% chance of missing at least the test and a 19% chance of being out of the game or worse for league play.
1) If you plan to do this, do it at the start of the game before setup to get maximum mileage from any increase.
2) Bear in mind that once a player has had a potion used on them, they can't have another potion used on them this game.

Abilities
Taking an ability that would make the player more effective in the role you use him for, and depending on the opponent you're against would probably be your best bet, although mostly it will come down to personal preference. Check out the playbooks for some further discussion on abilities and their uses. Note - only General abilities and not Type abilities can be taken, so mainly you're looking at an ability which allows you to re-roll a dice for challenges.

Attribute increases
There is no easy answer for what to select if you're lucky enough to roll an attribute increase as there are just so many good options for most players. Generally speaking a boost to JOG is very useful, as the increased range benefits all player types. As no attribute can be increased above 6, there's a lot of players who can't take a JOG increase so you need to look at the player type in question and the role they perform in your team. As the increase only lasts for the rest of the game, it's also important to also look at the team your facing and think about what attributes may be most effective against them.
As you get significantly more successes when you throw extra dice in a challenge, it's a good idea to look at improving something your player is already good at, rather than trying to reduce a shortcoming with an increase, for example giving a Dwarf player DODGE 2 will not make him much safer at disengaging, and is no help at all in a tackle. You'll get much more mileage out of an increase if it affects challenges that the player will be doing a lot. Increasing any attribute from 4 to 5 is generally awesome, while an increase from 3 to 4 is pretty great too.

Cheerleaders

You can purchase up to 4 Cheerleaders for your team and they should be viewed simply as a source of free momentum. You need to declare their use at the start of the turn though, so you need to plan your turn ahead to get the best use out of them. Cheerleaders also refresh for each test, so can potentially be used several times for a 5 point investment.

1) Key Plays
When you're making a key play, for example a tackle on the ball carrier or a scoring attempt, it may be worth declaring cheerleaders first. This can be useful in situations where you can't easily generate momentum, or more importantly, you don't want to risk rolling more dice than you need to! Be aware the risks of giving the momentum to your opponent if you're declaring them before making 1 or 2 dice challenge attempts!

2) 2-Minute Warning decks
If these are in use, be aware of the good chances that you'll pick up a Cheerleader refresh card (there are 2 cards, giving you a 75% chance of having one if you go right through the deck). Taking 2 cheerleaders on your the roster allows you to refresh 1 when you get the card, so don't be afraid to use a cheerleader early on as you've a good chance of getting 1 more for free during the match. Taking all 4 cheerleaders allows you to get 2 back when you get the card!
If using cheerleaders and the cards, I'd always reccommend taking either 2 or 4 to get the maximum use out of the cards.

3) 'Free' Dash Attempt
A cheerleader or 2 can allow for a dash challenge to win the test if you are close enough to score. A dash challenge even on 1 dice gives you a 50% chance of scoring in this situation so could be well worth the risk!

4) Ability use
Cheerleaders also combine really well with some abilities like Burst or Plough, which allow you to use the momentum from cheerleaders to move extra hexes (provided you declare them first of course!)

Kegs

Unlike Potions, Kegs do not need a dice roll to work, so can be a bit more reliable. You're able to take up to 2 Kegs for 5 points each. Having both is more effective than just one, as it increases the chances you get of having an injury roll that can be affected by them. The keg should only be used after your oppenent has chosen to use any momentum to replace dice rolls. Kegs unfortunately have no effect on severe injuries but can be used each test if you're playing to more than 1 goal.
There are 3 main ways of using them:

1) Use to keep players on the pitch
I would reccomend in tournaments to use them at the first opportunity anytime a player is going to be removed from the pitch due to injury. A player is worth 15 points even if he's unskilled, so keeping him in the test for an investment of 5 or 10 points is fantastic, especially in tounament pay where any removal is out for the game.
Using a keg to convert a removal into a dazed result is also fine, so long as the player is able to stand unaided or you have enough players around to help them up.

2) Use to save players for the next test
In league play, a Keg can also be used to stop a player from missing the rest of the game and participate in future tests. This effect is better used early on in the match if the situation occurrs.

3) Use to save low grit players from being dazed
Some player types (for example Gnomish Contraptions) are unable to stand unaided once dazed and can be effectively stranded. A keg could be used to convert a 'dazed' result to a 'down' result on the injury challenge. This could be particularly useful to other player types late in a test, especially if opponent players have facing on the dazed player.

Bribed Referee

You may purchase 1 Bribe for 5 points. Unlike the other support items, the effect of puchasing a Bribed referee can potentially last for the whole game. When a transgression is made, you have a 1 in 6 chance that the Referree will still penalise your player, and also prevent you making further rule breaks, so the risk of this needs to be considered before deliberately placing a player in the goal circle or a Monster in the Face-off circle. Basically, the longer you avoid breaking the rules, the more the protection of the bribed referee lasts.

1) Face-Off Pain
Setting up a Monster in the face-off circle can be beneficial even if you don't win the face-off, as your opponent then has a high MIGHT player with facing on the ball who can't easily be shoved away. If you're using the full face-off rules, your chances of successfully winning the face-off are a higher, as you'll be rolling more challenge dice than your opponent!.
2) Minimise Shove Attrition
Your opponent is now unable to effectively remove players by shoving them into either goal circles. This is the best benefit of the bribe as it means would-be victims are not be automatically be sent off and would remain in the goal circle until either shoved again or you move the player. On your next turns, they're safe from eviction unless you roll a flop, so it's worth getting the player out of the infringement as soon as possible.
3) Deliberately camp in Goal Circle
If desperate, you can voluntarily place a player in your own goal circle to prevent your opponent from scoring. A high might player that can't easily be shoved away would be the best for this tactic, but it's very risky! If the opportunity ever arises, any player being down or dazed in the goal circle would also make it impossible for your opponent to score until the player was evicted by the referee.
4) Run through Goal Circle
Since the referee roll is made at the start of your turn (if you have a player in the goal circle), the bribe allows you to run straight through the goal circle with impunity at any point during your turn, so long as you don't stay there!. This can be useful when last ditch defending as it can save you the JOG needed to move from one side of the circle to the other, and also potentially allow you access to the rear of the opponent for a tackle. or help to get into a position to shove him off the pitch

Ability Selection

Some tournaments allow you to purchase additional abilities for players at 5 points each. In league games you also have the options of improving players as they gain experience. As every 3 abilities on the team will cost the same as a rookie player, you need to ensure you have a good balance between bench depth, support staff and abilities.
It's important to think carefully about what abilities you'd like on your team - some give you game changing options, like Sprinter, Cutblock and Cheapshot whilst others make your player much better in a key area. Think about your player type and the role you use him for before adding any abilities, as there's no point giving him an ability he rarely uses, or you can't get benefit out of.
It's also worth noting that only a few abilities help your player out defensively i.e. either help them avoid or survive attrition, so putting all your abilities onto one player may not be a good idea

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