Initial stats and skill set
Well the Dark Elf lineman is the quintessential ‘standard’ elf player I think. With a 6 3 4 8 profile he’s not particularly fast, strong or tough. He is pretty agile though so there’s plenty of scope for using them to perform tasks you’d never dream of giving to other linemen. I’ve heard people use a team completely full of linemen as a dark elf team, and in some respects that’s a perfectly serviceable option. Personally though, I’d advise limiting your use of linemen to the minimum you can get away with as each of the positional players represents a substantial saving in terms of team value once developed, if not gold pieces!
As with most linemen, they don’t come with much to recommend them defensively, and Dark Elves are largely there in your team to take the hit. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews however, the Dark Elves do have one defensive attribute that recommends them to that style of play that many linemen don’t, and that’s their higher than average agility. Whilst not obviously as high on the list of defensive skills as block or guard, for example, a high agility does allow you to run a stalling tactic much more effectively than most other teams, as you halve the chances of your player falling over when dodging out of an opponent’s tackle zones.
That’s about it really, they have no skills to adapt them to defence, nor are they so speedy that they can recover any positioning mistakes you might make, but they are solid and dependable, and are unlikely to let you down.
Offensively the lineman comes much more into play than do those of most other teams. Except other elves of course. This is where the Dark Elf team does allow you to make a few minor mistakes as you’re playing the game, because if for some reason your ideal ball handling players are out of position or unavailable, the lineman with his agility of 4 makes a perfectly decent retriever/short range passer/receiver. In fact, the only issue they have in regard to any of these matters is their more limited movement.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the ball or pass it with these guys, and they’re not a bad substitute for keeping close to your runners when they have to use their Dump-Off skill either.
I’m not going to set out the development paths for these guys as I have with the specialists – for two very good reasons.
1. Dark Elves are expensive, no two ways about it, so you really don’t want to make that worse by building linemen with 3-4 skills, it’ll inflate your team value and start eating into your winnings.
2. Your specialists are the players who will win you games, so as much as possible you really want to focus star player points on them to get them the skills that will make you unstoppable.
So basically, here are a few skills that will really benefit your linemen. Try to spread them round a bit and mix them up on the line to confuse your opponents.
· Block. Obviously. If you need me to say more then go back and read the rulebook again.
· Kick. Always good to have one player with this skill, it can really make things difficult for the slower, less agile teams
· Dirty Player. You’re playing Dark Elves. Just remember one thing – never foul anyone who costs less than the player making the foul, unless they are key to your opponent’s strategy.
· Fend. Stops opponents following up blocks to get another go next turn, and messes up anyone with Frenzy
· Tackle. Less useful as agile teams will usually avoid the LoS, but could be worth putting a Tackle lineman in as a wide defender.
· Wrestle. Great fun for taking on Dwarf and Norse teams, since they come with universal Block. Block is still better though.
· Jump up. Very handy against bashier teams. You have decent armour but getting knocked over is a problem. Lots of jump up linemen will force your opponent to reconsider following blocks up if they think they’re going to get hit next turn.
· Side step. A bit of an off-the-wall choice I guess, but there are few things more annoying than your opponent choosing which square they’re pushed into, particularly if it means you can get next to the ball carrier.
· Sneaky git. Only really worthwhile on the guy with Dirty Player, but very worthwhile on them all the same.
Of these skills I’d say you want most of your linemen to have either block or wrestle, I’d want a kicker and a dirty player who becomes a sneaky git. The other options are less important and more unusual, but for that very reason could throw your opponent off their game.
The Dark Elf lineman is a very capable player in their own right, and it’s perfectly possible to build a decent team using them alone. Such a team will suffer however on development due to the inherent savings made by the specialists (for example, a blitzer has an extra point of movement over a lineman and comes with the block skill for 100k, a lineman with a movement increase and the block skill will have a value of 120k).