Granting a Touchdown

If you ever wondered, yes, it is better not to grant a touchdown than to grant one.

But in the end, it is not that easy because to win a game, you need to score more touchdowns than your opponent … by all means possible. Unfortunately for your pride, granting a touchdown is sometimes a play that is worth trying.

But what do we exactly mean by “granting a touchdown”? Does a coach say to the other, “Mr. Englishman, please score first”? Not exactly ! In fact, unless your counterpart is a trigger happy noob, you’ll have to provide him some mighty good reasons for him to score!

In short, to grant a touchdown is to apply pressure to a point where your opponent risks failure if he does not immediately use the cleanest path to score.

The Agiles

If you play an agile team, you will meet a ton of situations where you can consider to grant a touchdown. Instead, if you choose the path of stubbornness, not only you may not get the expected result, but you may also handicap yourself for the second half with a lack of manpower (elfpower) to prevent your opponent from calling all the shots while sweeping the pitch clean.

Traditionally, much of the agile’s defensive game is based not only on destabilizing the offensive line, but also capitalizing on this instability to steal the ball. You must bear in mind, however, that if you fail, having risked your most convincing arguments to delay the opponent’s offensive by a single game turn is rarely a good investment. For example, chances are you now have a quality player off the pitch, one less turn to score back and some vital assets exposed to a blitz or an aggression. Many things can go awry when trying to aggressively challenge an offensive.

The Midways

Midway teams can sometimes garner a profit by granting a touchdown against a fast and agile team, just because they do not have enough big muscles and ultra-strong armors to withstand prolonged trench warfare. Even against the agile teams, vainly and stubbornly delaying the inevitable can cost some bad KOs or casualties which will then be sorely missed by the offensive effort. If a disaster of this type occurs, you have probably lost the game to your Thick Skull.

The Bullies

The bullies have one more reason then the midways to force a more agile opponent to score early. Thanks to their strength skills access, they benefit from three free blocks and a blitz at kickoff which are all opportunities to use the Claws and Mighty Blows of great game nights to eject players off the pitch. The sooner these events occur, the more leverage they can gain from it for the rest of the game. In itself, that’s not a good enough reason to grant a touchdown since casualties are too random to be reliable, but it’s still a nice bonus to consider especially if your opponent doesn’t have many defensive skills like Block, Wrestle and Dodge.

Granting the first touchdown and winning the game 2-1

It may seem counterintuitive at first glance because you’ll be behind with a 0-1 score when granting the first game touchdown. Quickly, for those who do not know (and because I will discuss it in a future article), the idea is to kick the ball and quickly grant a touchdown to then enjoy 14 to 15 ball possession game turns and win with a 2-1 score. This is a very common approach when a bully team faces an agile one. Do not underestimate this strategy’s importance to Blood Bowl.

How to grant a touchdown?

In this regard, we often hear rather average advises. In particular: “To convince your opponent to score, molest his peripheral players relentlessly!” Or: “Serial gang foul his favorite player!” These tips may work against a technically (and emotionally) fragile coach, but that’s about it. First, casualties are not reliable since they are too random. Second, the best coaches have understood that their players are at the team’s service and that it is perfectly correct to sacrifice some when running the clock to ensure victory. Or, if you want, against the best, it’ll flow like water on a duck’s back.

More realistically, it is not as easy as it seems to grant a touchdown because, since you don’t have the ball, you can not decide when it will cross your end zone. Also, when a better coach than you starts the drive with the idea of scoring on the half-time’s turn 8, he will often succeed.

Starting setup

When you are planning to grant a touchdown, it is better to position your players in a reactive starting setup to reduce the chances of getting caught on the wrong foot. This reactivity then makes it possible to apply an important amount of pressure in a limited pitch area. Conversely, when you choose to use a defensive setup that covers a maximum of offensive game plays, each defensive link is more fragile and your team is slower to restore balance after a breakthrough.

Black bullies are kicking using a Boat setup. Up to nine players (including two key “starred” players) are able to reach the pitch’s edge if white chooses to aggressively advance on a flank. It’s a very responsive setup! As a bonus, the open side corridors invite the opponent to come and settle there. If the whites let themselves be tempted, the blacks will be able to apply a lot of weight to force either a mistake or a quick touchdown.
Blacks bullies chose a Ziggurat setup. Up to seven players (including a key “starred” player) may reach the pitch’s edge in case of a white breakthrough on a flank. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s still less responsive than the Boat setup. In addition, this hermetic setup is not exactly likely to invite the opposing team home for a quick touchdown.
What to do next …

Your opponent has bitten the hook! Bravo! He even enthusiastically pushed his offensive too far, weakening the link between his ball carrier and his support players (as often rookies do). Here is the perfect opportunity to apply a lot of pressure and force an advantageous resolution. Ideally, this pressure will either make him lose the ball (hopefully to your profit) or force him to quickly score, giving you the time to comfortably fight back. It’s a good way to position yourself favorably for the rest of the game.

To grant a touchdown when your opponent has compromised himself energetically in your defensive zone, you must work to divide his offensive into two groups to prevent his support players from helping the ball carrier’s group. This way, you will break the offensive’s cohesion and therefore its control over the game timing. When no coach controls the tempo, events tend to happen quickly. After dividing the opponent’s deployment, cut off the ball carrier’s retreat to force him to make his way to your end zone.

The whites, their heads on fire, start game turn 1 of the first half with a convincing run on the black flank.
Faced with agile whites, blacks opt to grant the inevitable touchdown as quickly as possible. They then work to divide the whites into two groups with a blitz on the weakest link and proceed to establish a solid curtain defense.
After the whites have eaten away another game turn, the blacks escort the ball carrier to the end zone. This advantageous resolution will provide them 6 game turns to retaliate and tie the first half’s score before starting the second half with the ball (typical springboard to a 2-1 win). In case of failure to equalize before the first half’s end, the blacks would still play for the draw (1-1).

Is granting a touchdown common?

It depends a lot on the coaching levels in presence. It is rare for rookies to use this tactic because it requires some game control. Experienced coaches are a little more “awake” to this possibility, but rarely have a strong enough positioning to prevent this maneuver from being used against them. Veterans and experienced coaches often use it against rookies since it is a great way to seize game control without risking the team’s health. However, champions or legendary coaches will not easily be deceived into a situation that will force them to score early, unless their team is weakened to the point that it is now or never.

As you can see, granting a touchdown is certainly not optimal and it is mostly better to fiercely defend. But sometimes stubbornly delaying the inevitable is a bad exchange and that’s why knowing when and how to grant a touchdown is an essential play to master. Now it’s up to you to add this tactic to your arsenal!

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