Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 NCPA Championship Layout

I expect this weekend's competitors to enjoy playing this layout as it delivers all the virtues of "traditional" xball style play. This time around VFTD will focus on diversifying your breakouts and finding creative ways of responding to your opponents OTB.

Beginning with the (orange) OTB lanes from Home it appears at first glance that lots of potentially effective options exist. On the D-wire they do not and it may be worse depending on the relative position(s) of the 40 Can & the Pin closest to the A given that the best OTB lane for denying the corner or the wire has only a narrow window between the Pin and the Can. The other wide lane controls the bump to the 40 SD. The interior lanes are less useful unless your opponent is consistently trying to camp in one of the (green) zones and contest the Home shooter or a mirror opponent. And focusing on the wide lane OTB concedes the first MD and the upfield MT. Complicating the Home laning decision is the spacing between D1 (wire MD) & the corner Temple. (See blue rectangle.) The upfield distance between the 2 bunkers forces the Home shooter to choose an elevation aimed at shooting either a corner runner or a D1 runner but not both. The result offers enough options on the D-wire breakout to keep the laners guessing; the majority will try to contain movement wide and most of the breakouts on the D-wire will play short early.

The snake side lanes OTB are more numerous than the D-wire but present a similar choice. The best basic lane goes between the MT & the Brick and between the (same) MT & the corner TCK. This lane is also dependent on the placement of midfield bunkers. It is a higher value lane (See blue oval) because the MT & TCK are more closely related allowing a laner to shoot either a corner runner or a Snake or Brick runner with a well placed lane. The (blue) arrow indicates an alternate running lane to the Brick/Snake that will help "widen" the gap and potentially force the lane shooter to make a lane choice. (To enhance the width [distance] of the runners gap have corner runners run deep on the baseline as it forces a more severe elevation change from the laner and will increase the chances for all your snake side runners.)

Note the third shooter stacked at Home. I suspect many teams will fail to consistently try to suppress the Home shooters OTB and if that is the case there is no reason not to periodically keep an extra gun Home. This shooter can create numerical mismatches and/or double up on lanes by standing back behind the Home T in a stacked position. (Teams can make the mistake of getting those "extra" shooters trapped on occasion and the key to keeping them alive and effective is to focus on a specific lane and target. Once an opponent has moved thru the targeted lane it's time to get out of the Home bunker.)

Another opportunity OTB exists for teams (& players) who can execute it effectively and that is the guns up hesitation or delay using 'dead zones' or spots you know are blocked to other angles. OTB your primary concern is the Home shooter. The green & purple rectangles indicate general areas a player will be able to use. The idea is twofold. In one situation a player steps off the board and is looking to edge the Home shooter before making his/her primary move. In the second situation the delay is aimed at finding alternative lanes or gaps or zones through which the player might engage and eliminate and opponent on the move. If you can find a spot protected from the Home shooter that gives you an unobstructed lane on a corner runner for example. (It is also possible to use delay point like the ones diagrammed to shoot crossfield lanes but entails extra risk for the shooter.) The delay or hesitation also allows a player options in determining his/her follow up movement. If for example, the delay allows a player to shoot the opponents wide runner that may leave a different, better position immediately available to take as the follow up primary.

Finally the two colored rectangles up the middle of the field indicate there is potential value in playing the A or the CK (xbox) before it. On the D-wire it's possible to use an interior running lane to attempt an aggressive primary or X-side/xbox primary. Not as effective in terms of open lanes and clear angles most teams will play the D-wire as their weakside (2 players that way and three to the snake side) that an early elimination can be exploited.

17 comments:

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