Saturday, May 5, 2012

Baca's Mailbag: WCPPL #2

The kids at Elusive PB requested a breakdown of the WCPPL layout for event #2 and despite that fact I'ma do it. (Hint: next time more flattery and less tawdry sexual innuendo. It was really kinda creepy.) Btw, this doesn't mean VFTD is back in the business of doing layout evaluations but it does mean you can ask and if something about the layout grabs my attention or the request comes wrapped in a C-note--well, you never know.
[Revised: my copy of the diagram wasn't clear that additional mini-races were in the snake. It doesn't make a huge difference but it does make some. If you read the first version posted take a look for changes.]

Let's begin by castigating Adrenaline Games (some more) for the silly 'technical' snake and the convolutions required in an attempt to make it playable. As with PSP Galveston (& Phoenix) the snake side plays down with mid and low props--even though there is n MT and Can on the snake side, sorta. (More on the Can coming.) The other MT is the d wire corner--which neutralizes to some degree the elevation value. The snake itself is only really playable at S1 (the mini-race) during the early to mid-game phase when teams are contesting for control and numbers (unless you keep the other team out of the snake; then S2 [yellow circles] can be played but remains high risk.) Otherwise the rest of the snake is easily contained and more easily run down so unless it's the end game phase where the last bodies are being swept off the field the majority of the snake is both relatively useless and very high risk without compensatory reward. None of that means it can't be played; only that it isn't a dominating feature and you have to pick your time.
The other dominant characteristic of this layout is that it's almost a throwback to divisional Xball layouts from the days when the NXL was using the tiny "tree" blocking props in that it has some VERY open lanes. (Expect to see more designs with this er, feature as ongoing efforts are made to make a playable snake with the current prop set.) For the ADD crowd playing this field Adderall is your best friend. Sit on those lanes and let no one pass. (This also applies OTB but you'll have to find the lanes as they aren't all available from Home.)
The center of the field (the X & xbox) can be attacked OTB with the "safe" run hedging toward the snake side or with a hesitation in the green MT and then up the middle. From the center it can be played to effect from both sides but is unlikely to earn any quick kills unless your opponent is unaware of the player's presence. It is ideal for containing snake side rotation but the center of the field is seldom a go to or high value prop if you expect to play out an extended point. The principle value of a center attack is the quick kill or the close backside lane in combination with heavy pressure on the other wire
The snake Can. Superficially you might think to use it to contain rotations on the D wire but the edge can be contested immediately by a player in the D corner MT which severely limits its cross-field utility. And it also puts a player focused on the D wire deep in snake side territory which is less than ideal. So while the snake Can is likely to be under backside pressure very early in most points it is also of very limited utility on the snake side as well. It is edge dominated by the TCK feed to the snake and worse, a long stride toward the wire from the TCK, and the Can is blocked from contesting the move into the snake. Nor can it effectively contest activity in the snake. It is most useful if a player can wrap the wireside. Under most circumstances it's just a transitional stop in bumping to the snake or TCK feed.
The props marked in red designate the snake playing options--although Home could have as easily been orange or green. (More on that in a minute.) As noted previously S1 is the play and even then there are no uncontested easy eliminations to be had. That being the case this field is likely to be dominated by D wire heavy attacks leaving two options for snake play; try to work the snake or play it for contain and counter. Contain uses one or more of the green props in conjunction with a red prop. The idea is simply take the snake player out of the game by denying them opportunities. In red this can be done from Home or the TCK. The virtue of using Home is that it maintains the flexible use of that player to transition anywhere on the field. Using the TCK sets up the counter and is the ideal (on this field) launching point for transitioning into an end game closeout. (If you match most any green prop with the TCK you can see via the red lanes the contain control available.) Further options use your own S1 to try and pull your opponents guns to play cross-field, or get a quick kill, or the unexpected bump to the Pin to get a good downward angle on a snake player moving past S1 or launch a highway attack to clear out the snake. (The red Pin is also going to be a safer move than it may at first appear in a lot of game situations on this layout.) And of course S1 kills the opponent's S2 all day every day. (S2 is only, when properly contained, playable at best from the team side of the mini-race which doesn't offer much in the way of improved shots or angles over S1.)
While I expect this snake to be played as the weakside more often than not there will be some teams that are so snake play dominant they will try and force this play anyway. With the limited number of transitional props and no snake corner the play here is an extra laner OTB and patience. Avoid gunfighting edges but keep paint in those enormous gaps.
The rest of the field tomorrow

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