Friday, July 16, 2010

Playing the A in MAO

Since teams have not, for the most part, had to deal with the A (or the X) anywhere but in the center of the field I thought it might be worthwhile to discuss aspects of how the A will play for MAO, and why. (The first post on playing the MAO field is here.)
There are three keys to observe; the A is inset so it isn't the widest wireside bunker, it visually obstructs most of the wire in both directions, there are very limited means for defending a forward, upfield teammate.

Key 1--the wireside of the A can be contested from all the other wireside bunkers, SD, MD & corner TCK. The A has an elevation advantage over the SD which is negated, in part, by the proximity of the two positions as it allows the SD player to immediately initiate a counter move. Wireside A versus the MD is a wash and the corner TCK has an advantage that is only slightly negated by the placement of the SD. The basic result is that if wireside A is contested along the wire the midfield position offers no immediate advantage unless you take an opponent by surprise.

Key 2--the size of the A blocks a significant portion of the line of sight for all players playing the wire. In one sense it makes it easier to move up. (Although the practical application of key 3 can neutralise much of that opportunity.) It also necessitated pushing most of the D-wire props wireside otherwise it would have been a blind race to the 50 and surprise! Lastly, the enormous "blindspot" it creates also makes it virtually a must stop which will halt every D-wire attack as long as it is unknown (unclear) (uncommunicated) as to where opponents are on the other side of the A. (And for all its size it is not an easy bunker to play.)

Key 3--denying movement up the D-wire cannot come from the wire itself given the placement of the A. It must come from the inside out. In all likelihood that will mean a Home shooter or the midfield MD (or both) will be in play most of the time for at least the early phases of a point. The effect of this is two-fold; if a team commits its "extra" gun to that role the team ends up with a balanced attack of 2 on each side but the A remains a stop at the fifty and in so doing you limit the strength of your snake side push potential. If the containing shooter (Home or midfield MD) is part of your D-side breakout the team becomes dependent on the D-wire lead to both stay alive and stay aggressive and the transition from defense to offense can be (often will be) quite difficult.

The A itself is a poor offensive position. Each leg act almost like independent bunkers which are half BBB (the discontinued square block) and half dorito with the angle upper that only plays to one side. In between is the v-gap that results in players getting shot in the feet and inside lower legs with regularity (refs need to be on the lookout) all the while leaving the A player unable to see possibly huge chunks of the field without wrapping and risking exposure.

None of this means the D-wire for MAO is good, bad or indifferent. It's simply different. Period. Given the overall design the D-wire should play slow and I do have some concerns with the large shooters lanes at play. Teams with good laners and some discipline should be able to make D-side play pretty miserable for players used to making aggressive, quick moves and force those teams to find different ways to play this layout.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love these really helps teams get a better feel for the layout..