Monday, 17 December 2012

Why elves are overpowered

This post may be a bit of a ramble.

I've been thinking quite a lot about the various races recently, and watching a lot of OCC games. I think I've watched all of the tier 1 OCC games this season, all the games in my division, and I've also been watching some of the more interesting tier 2 and 3 matches too.

I've been thinking about what attributes your team needs to have to win a big league like the OCC, and how the various races measure up to that.

It strikes me that the first thing you need is luck. To win games at high level you need to be willing to put your players in harms way from time to time. Yes there are some coaches who roll too many dice, or get the order of their actions wrong, but ultimately you need to be willing to mark the ball carrier with your star side-step skink, or go for one dice blocks against chaos warriors with mighty blow. Sometimes these tactics will work out, and sometimes your players will die.

As a coach who has had the best player on their team killed by a wizard (AG5 blitzer for the Guard) and a thrown rock (berserker in my Norse development side) in the last couple of months, one of the key elements to getting to the top seems to be that all this nuffley shit does not happen to you. So if you are a lucky coach you can get a great team, you can win games and you can win the league.

But that's not good enough for me. How can you win while still being unlucky? The answer, it seems to me, is to play a team with pace. If you have MV9 or MV10 players, especially with AG4, you can score touchdowns when at a numerical disadvantage. AG4 on its own is good, and allows you to plan moves like leaps, dodges through groups of players, but combined with pace this allows you to score from anywhere.

In my last game with only 3 players on the field on turn 16 I still had a shot at a third score, if I'd chosen to try it, and that's what pace and agility give to you.

If you play a bash team against an opposing bash team, and take say 3 early casualties, the match can be a dispiriting experience, as what's left of your team huddles together, unable to get the ball and unable to escape the numerically-superior opponent. A fast team can still threaten the ball, and limit the amount of incoming damage, while retaining the threat of an equalising TD before half time if the opponent scores too quickly. If they have a reasonably reliable one-turner in the bank then they can threaten that TD whatever the opponent does.

If you look at winners of the OCC, the list is dominated by wood elves and lizards. Fast teams. The full list is:

Wood elves - 7 (2 teams)
Lizards - 4 (2 teams)
Orcs - 2 (2 teams)
High elves - 1
Chaos - 1

I am done with playing AV7 teams - the randomness in the armour rolls is too horrible for me. So it's high elves all the way I think. The catchers are amazing once skilled up, and with AV8 and blodge access for every player they are survivable too.

I think that high elves are the team for the player who wants to mitigate the effect of luck on their play as much as possible. Yes, you don't have the firepower of the bash sides, and you don't have the raw scoring threat of skaven or wood elves. What you have is a quick, resilient side which can move fast, and has the skills and armour (once developed) to stay on the pitch against bash.

Hopefully I can show people that with The Grey Haven Guard!


  1. It's worth noting that 5 of the 7 WE titles were won by Flix, a player who currently ranks 8th in the world on the NAF leaderboard. He's quite good.

    I have to say that, from the parsing of several tens of thousands of games worth of data (both league and MM) that the game is actually quite well balanced overall.

  2. Fair point. That said, and despite the overtly provocative title, this post is about teams which allow one to survive being unlucky. To win games where you don't rely on depitching half the opposition during the first drive.

    And despite the OCC being renowned as a bashy league, it's elves again this season I note...


    Win percentage of races in OCC including margins of error for games played. Table of the above data (not including the new teams):