As your players gain experience points, the can also learn new abilities. It is important to note that for team management, you are not required to pick an ability as soon as the player can obtain one. This effectively allows you to have a backup player ready to gain skills if a key player is permanently injured.

All players have access to any of the general basic and advanced abilities.

Basic Abilities

There are 6 fundamental abilities that can be selected by any player and they each allow you to replace one dice when you do a challenge using that characteristic, however note that they are one use per turn so if making multiple shoves for example, you might want to save it for re-rolling a flop instead of using to increase the number of successes needed, especially if you already have some momentum.


All these abilities work in the same way, so can be discussed together. They have 2 positive impacts on challenges using the related attribute.
1) Reducing your flops
Unlike Momentum, you can use your ability to re-roll a single dice on a naturally flopped challenge. This means it is possible to save 50% of the challenges you would have naturally flopped by 1. If you flop the challenge by 2, you have a 1 in 6 chance to save the flop by re-rolling one of the flopped dice and praying for a star. Once you've avoided the flop, you're then able to spend Momentum if available to re-roll other flopped dice and blanks.
2) Use before Momentum re-rolls to try and increase successes
Even if you don't flop the challenge, you can declare your ability re-roll and use it first where possible (unless you have absolutely zero successes at this point, as then you'd have a 1 in 6 chance of flopping the challenge). This is because even if you don't roll any successes with your attribute roll, you can choose to roll the same dice for a 3rd time with any available Momentum.

Basic abilities can make any player who uses the characteristic in challenges regularly a lot more effective in the role, due to the increased opportunity for extra successes and the diminished chances of flopping the challenge. They are worth considering on players who you'd expect to be making a lot of challenges using the specific attribute, some examples of which are below:
  • Steady - Could be useful on any player able to generate momentum to perform Dash challenges, for example, a Dervish could dash to perform an extra shove more reliably
  • Buff - This skill has multiple uses, allowing you a better chance of winning a face-off, performing Impact challenges as well as increasing your effectiveness at shoves. Ideal for high Might players like Defenders.
  • Grapple - Great for players expecting to tackle a lot, like Hunters. Could also be very useful on a Striker when combined with the Steal ability.
  • Nimble - This skill would help high DODGE players generate more momentum from successful Disengage challenges.
  • Agile - Good for Throwers or Strikers or players expecting to handle the ball - also can be used for interceptions!
  • Resilient - Would help keep players like Defenders on the field for longer.

Elfball ability map created by Juergen

Advanced Abilities

There are 7 advanced abilities which can be taken by players only if they've already taken the basic ability in the same category.

Sprinter (JOG)
The player must have taken Steady prior to selecting this ability
This ability enables a player to dash several times at the end of their action, with the chance of failure increasing with each successive attempt. Using a dash to make an extra shove or tackle will still end your action, so this can only really be used to move additional hexes. Things to note when using this skill
  • Although you can theoretically dash up to 11 times, the chances of being successful drastically reduce after the 3rd dash attempt. For a player with JOG 6, the base chances of success (ignoring the re-roll you are allowed from the Steady skill) are as follows:-

1st Dash

2nd Dash

3rd Dash

4th Dash

5th Dash

6th Dash

7th Dash

8th Dash









  • Obviously this player will also have the Steady skill, which complements Sprinter nicely by allowing a single dice in a flopped dash (or even just a failed one) to be re-rolled. If you have dashed twice and have not yet used your Steady ability, it may be the deciding factor on whether you make a third attempt. If you burn your Steady ability on the 1st dash, it may not be worth the risk to continue.
  • This skill is best given to players with JOG 6, as this slightly increases the chances of success due to number of dice thrown. The diminishing returns for players with JOG 4 or less makes it not worth taking.
  • It is possible to attempt a normal Dash challenge (with momentum) before using this ability. However, the normal dash still counts towards your total attempts, so the second Dash will still need 3 successes. Also bear in mind that statistically speaking, a normal Dash challenge with anything less than 4 momentum dice is riskier than a JOG 6 player using Sprinter.
  • One of the main benefits of this ability is that you can dash even when you have no momentum at all.
  • The final Dash of your action can still be made to give you an additional Shove or Tackle.

Examples of use:
  • This ability can be put on a Defender or Hunter and allow you to run up and tackle an opponent, then use Sprint to move back out of range of any reprisals
  • On a Safety or Striker allowing them to to reach the goal circle from near the halfway line
  • You can try to deliberately fail a sprint action so your player is down and safe from Tackles

The Sprinter Dash to score
Any JOG 7 player with the Steady and Sprinter should be considered a scoring threat from the halfway line - the diagram belows show the optimal hex setup for the Sprint-Score, although any hex closer to the centre than those marked will be sufficient.

The benefit of scoring from the half-way line is that you can pass the ball to the player from anywhere in your half of the pitch - if you win the face off, this play can be set up easily in just a few turns, and you can also capitalise very quickly if your opponent drops the ball in your half. Scramble on a thrower also helps get the ball to the waiting Sprinter.

With Imps or Mecats, you can also make use of disengages on 5 dice to build momentum for the dash challenges - the player in the goal circle is the obvious target for this expecially if he's only TACKLE 3. Centaurs and Safeties can also generate momentum with Shoves.

If you can generate momentum first, this tactic seems to be quite reliable especially as you can potentially save one flopped dash with the 'Steady' re-roll.

The One turn Sprinter Dash to Score
A sprinter can theoretically score from the Face-Off. This is unlikey as you'd need to win the Face-off in order to do it, and Imps/Mecats only roll 2 challenge dice in these! A Safety or a Black Rock Centaur could also do it, but would face a difficult pick-up challenge.

Counter Sprinter Strategies
  1. Mecats/Imps with Sprinter are frustratingly difficult to take down - if he's open and doesn't have the ball it's very, very hard. Tackling him is an option but might not be the most reliable solution. If you're facing a Safety or a Centaur with Sprint, then Tackling is more viable. If you commit to a Tackle, try and do it from behind while the opponent has the ball, or even get an assist in place if you can.
  2. Shoving the Sprinter a couple of hexes back into his own half can delay your opponent's score. Be aware that if there's an area in your half out of reach of your players that he can still skip through and then score from the new position in a couple of turns.
  3. If you pre-empt this strategy, Positioning a Dryad/Dervish or other high JOG shover near centre line just inside this 'optimum' positition as an early move may enable you to shove the sprinter out of play if he then sets up there.
  4. Place a defending player in a direct line between the sprinter and the goal circle (this can be done after he sets the play up) - this will hopefully force him to roll 2 extra dash challenges to get around your player and disengage or shove them. Dash challenges get a lot more difficult the more you have to roll (see table above)
  5. Try to avoid marking the player with Tackle 3 players or less as this helps build easy momentum to re-roll dash dice.

Bonecrusher (MIGHT)
The Player must have taken Buff prior to selecting this ability
This skill will drastically increase the chances of removing an opposing player after a successful tackle - it even works if you roll the Punishing Hit result on the Tackle challenge, reducing the injury roll to 5 dice instead of 6. Whilst this doesn't sound like a lot, in a game that is played to a single test, any injury challenge needs to score 4 successes or more for the player to stay in play! This skill will therefore increase chances of a removal from 58% to 68% on a Punishing Hit. The increased chance to remove a player on making a Crippling Hit will vary depending on the GRIT of the opponent, as below:-







Without Bonecrusher







With Bonecrusher







Psycho (TACKLE)
The Player must have taken Grapple prior to selecting this ability
This is a good solid skill for any player in Elfball. Not only does it give you a good fighting chance in a tackle regardless of your opponents Might, the most useful feature is the fact that you can choose to roll up to 2 extra dice in any shove challenge! Give this skill to any player with Jog 7, and you have a lethal shoving machine, able to shove 4 times per action (5 with a Dash challenge). The downside of this is that it doesn't protect them from being shoved, so they can be vulnerable if left too close to the sidelines. However, seeing MIGHT 2 imps push defenders off the pitch is funny.
Examples of use:
  • Use on a Hunter instead as an alternative to Cutblock - this still gives you the ability to take Monsters down, but improves your chances of gaining momentum from shoves against other Might 3 or less players.
  • Use on a Hobimp - combined with TACKLE 4 this makes them very scary and difficult to deal with
  • Use on a Striker - On your way to a score, it can sometimes be easier to Shove someone out of the way rather than risk a Disengage challenge - Shoving an opposing player into their own goal circle to get them ejected is even better!. A failed Disengage challenge puts your player down on the floor - a failed Shove just costs a point of JOG.

Slippery (DODGE)
The Player must have taken Nimble prior to selecting this ability
This gives the ability for any player to auto-disengage from opponents with TACKLE 2 or less - that is to say opposing Strikers, Dervishes, Dryads, Imps, Couriers, Swinetaurs and Mecats. For the most part, those type of players are amongst the least likely to be marking your high DODGE player (with perhaps the exception of the Shove specialists) so this ability may not sound like the best. With support from a single teammate, however, you can suddenly auto-disengage from TACKLE 3 opponents and this is where it really starts to shine - especially since it also lets you ignore one opposing support player. Against TACKLE 4 opponents, it is unlikely to benefit you, as the amount of support needed to turn it into an automatic success will prove impractical to your overall field position.

Bankshot (SKILL)
The Player must have taken Agile prior to selecting this ability
This ability allows you to choose the direction of the ball after it rebounds off a white line on a throw, plus you can adjust the length of the bounce by plus or minus one hex. The benefits of this are not immediately apparent, but consider this:-
  • It can be used to extend a short pass. If you move, or perform another challenge before a throw you are restricted to a short pass of maximum 6 hexes. If you are within 6 hexes of a white line, this ability will allow you to throw there, then choose the direction of the bounce. A good D6 roll can increase the range of your throw by 7 spaces! You still cannot make the ball pass through a white line, but thrown off a side-line, you could quite easily direct it into the hands of a player who would normally be out of reach. If that player is a Safety with the Reach skill, you have an above average chance to snag the throw out of the air!
  • You can throw the ball in such a way that it zig-zags off the side-line and/or the centre-line around an opposing player to avoid it being intercepted.

Focused (Skill)
The Player must have taken Agile prior to selecting this ability
For the passing teams, this ability is fantastic and can cause much frustration to their opponents, especially as the SKILL attribute applies to more challenges than any other - Pick Up Challenges, Throw Challenges, Catch Challenges and Intercept Challenges - four for the price of one! An absolute must for any player serious about the throwing game. Add into this the fact that the Focused player will also have Agile, meaning they get to re-roll a dice on flopping or failing any of those challenges. Need I say any more?

Rugged (GRIT)
The Player must have taken Resilient prior to selecting this ability
This ability gives your player a huge boost when it comes to staying in play, effectively reducing the number of successes needed to stay on the pitch from 4 to 3, and any success results in your player just being down (normally 4 successes would let you stay on the pitch, but in a dazed state.) Also, the single point reduction in JOG to stand up again is a great add!
Suddenly, GRIT 4 players have a 40% chance to stay on the pitch no matter how hard the tackle, and can then stand up for free on their next action - that means Dwarves, Defenders, Deadlings, Monsters, Dryads etc.
GRIT 5 players will have a 50% chance to shrug off any injury
GRIT 6 players will have a 58% to escape any injury unscathed.

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