Welcome to the NRL Supercoach Talk F.A.Q section.
First things first, F.A.Q. means frequently asked questions. Much like any other community or interest-based website, we will have a series of questions that will be asked by newer members so they can understand just what it is that more experienced users are talking about. There's nothing wrong with asking a question, and we firmly believe here that sharing information about the intricacies of Supercoach encourages the growth of the community and makes us all better players. But then again, there are some questions that the more experienced players have seen asked an awful lot. And with the format of this website focused more to time relevant posts etc some of these questions are asked several times in one thread, and often more than once on the same page.
So, we're going to do a F.A.Q where we're addressing all of these questions, and hopefully it'll be written in a way that it will refresh the memories of the long time player as well as those who are new to posting, or even those who lurk only. This will be the starting document, and can be added to in the future if necessary.
Let's start -
What's a break even?
Breakeven is the approximate score that the player has to reach that even for his price not to fall or rise in value. I say approximate because it is not a fixed value, as all players scores in a round have some effect on player prices, and if it's a higher than average or lower than average scoring round then the break even will change retroactively. This means for example, if John Doe had a break even (BE) of 50, and he scores 50, he's likely to maintain his price. However, if on the same week, there are more higher scores than average then that BE which was 50, might be changed to 55 post round, and John Doe might lose a couple of thousand dollars.
How does a break even affect player prices?
A player's price rise or fall depends on whether or not he reaches his break-even each week. While there's always some statistical error due to the nature of the game, generally if a player reaches his break-even that week he will hold steady in price. If he scores more than his break-even then his price will rise, and such price rises can be quite large. Conversely, if he scores less than his break-even then his price will fall, and these falls can be just as steep.
What's the magic number?
The magic number is the value that Vapormedia uses to calculate player prices each week. Like a players break even, the value changes subtly throughout a season depending on player performances, and as such, needs to be recalculated each week. Thankfully, it's a relatively simple formula, and it goes a bit like this -
The Magic Number Calculator
Break Even + Last two scores divided by 3.
Then Price divided by number above = MN
Thanks to SCTalk regular Dragonbill for explaining it so well.
With this number you can predict potential price rises and plan more effectively and further ahead, which is always useful for those sorts who like to obsess over what their trade plans should be in the future.
What is the vice captain loophole?
The vice captain loophole is a tactic that experienced coaches use to give themselves two chances at nailing that crucial captaincy call. There are some caveats, though. Firstly, it's most viable over the bye period, or any week where you don't have at least an 18 man squad available for selection, as the risk of a bad auto-emergency score is removed or greatly reduced during this week. Secondly, statistically it is much more successful over the middle to end of season period, as scores are more consistently larger the longer the season goes on, and it's easier to pull off this trick without a bad auto-emergency lurking in the wings.
Okay, then. How do I do the vice captain loophole?
There are a couple of things to take into account. First, your vice captain option needs to play earlier on in the weekend than your captain option. It sounds simple, but it's a common mistake to try to play them in the wrong order. Ideally there would be at least one day between their games to allow for any scoring corrections, or updates, to be made as well, to allow you to make a better decision with more information available. Now to the actual mechanics of it. First, you select someone who you think could potentially score a much higher than average score, whether it's due to the opposition they're playing, their own form, or other reasons. You choose them to be your vice captain, and then you let the game go on. Most likely they probably won't score one of those outrageously good scores that you're hoping for, and you just go ahead and leave the captaincy option on your regular pick. However, if they do score very well – and this is generally considered to be in excess of 130 to be a viable option, otherwise the points differential is more likely to not be in your favour – then with the vice captain settled, you remove the captaincy from your choice and you put it on someone who definitely isn't playing first grade that weekend. Let me repeat that – they absolutely must not be available, let alone being only extremely unlikely to play, because strange things happen when you try to do the VC loop and you probably will be screwed if you leave it up to chance. Who you take out of your side to allow this to happen is up to you, and is a matter of your own judgement of who is likely to score the least and that you have a player available in that position later in the round that you can swap them with. Just to demonstrate with an example, Shaun Johnson is your vice captain and he scores 155. Paul Gallen was to be your captain, but he's likely to play less minutes with Origin looming, and so you're keen to do the swap. You remove the captaincy from Gallen and, looking at your CTW, see Brett Morris is suspended this week and is not playing, so you replace you're 4th CTW, Sione Mata'utia with Morris and make him captain, leaving Gallen still in the side to gain you points, and Shaun Johnson's score to double at the conclusion of the Bulldogs' game later that weekend.
It all sounds really easy, right? ...right.
What's an auto emergency?
An auto-emergency is the lowest scoring player from your bench who scores above zero, and makes it onto the field during the game. There have been quirks that have necessitated such a description, with odd cases of players scoring zero despite playing 80 minutes not being counted in the past leading to this tweak in the rules. Two things of note – it will not be a player who for some reason provides a negative score (they're sent off after a few minutes, or perhaps miss a lot of tackles and give away a few penalties in a 10 minute stint, for example) and it can be a player from any position, not necessarily the position of a replacement player (a low scoring centre may replace a late withdrawal of a 2RF, for instance). As the season goes on, experienced coaches will look to eliminate their auto-emergency risk with a guns and nuffs strategy.
What's the difference between a LTA and TA?
Unfortunately, the difference is largely subjective and open to interpretation by the statistic providers and supercoaches themselves. Generally, a TA, or try assist, is awarded to the person who does the most work or action involved in scoring of a try – for instance, a long cut out pass to an unmarked winger who scores will be deemed a try assist. However, clouding the issue, if the ballplayer in this scenario performed a long cut out pass to the centre, who then broke through the line and drew the fullback while passing to the winger to score, this would be a much more subjective area, and either the ballplayer or centre getting the try assist, with the possibility of a last touch assist going to the centre instead of the try assist. As I said, quite subjective. An example of a clear LTA, or last touch assist, would be a short side dash where it goes through a couple of sets of hands two metres out from the line and the winger falls on the try line grounding the ball. Without a clear instigator of the try, LTAs are sometimes given out instead of TAs. It's unfortunate, but that's how it works.
What's a POD?
A POD is shorthand for Point of Difference, and it means someone who has low ownership value, generally less than 10%, and a high upside or average. PODs are useful for climbing up the leaderboards in that they're not in many sides and that their scores are usually, or hopefully, better than the standard option for that position. For instance, Cameron Smith is generally considered the best Hooker in Supercoach, but if instead of Smith you're playing Segeyaro, and while Smith scores 70, Segeyaro scores 110, that point of difference selection has been advantageous to you. Experienced Supercoaches playing the overall format look for PODs to give them that edge, and they're also valuable to Head to Head players when in close contests.
What's a Cow?
A cow is someone you select almost solely for their money making potential, and usually at the cheapest price point. Cows are generally left unselected unless they perform consistently or you're running very skinny in that position. Some cows potentially become keepers in their debut seasons – Matt Gillett or Shaun Fensom in their debut years, Kane Elgey to some extent in 2015 – or viable 19th/20th men, and if you're fortunate enough to be able to save a trade out here then you're lucky indeed. As is sometimes the case, players who have lost significant value, or those who go on massive hot streaks for whatever reason – Cameron Munster, Jack Reed, Bryce Cartwright etc – are referred to as mid-priced cows, in that they weren't available at bottom dollar, but made in excess of $200K during their runs. These sorts of players, who have large negative break evens and/or favourable draws, can also be targeted as cows of sorts.
What's a Nuff?
The word nuff has two meanings in common supercoach terminology. Firstly, it means someone who is not chance of playing for their club side in first grade for the rest of the season, and so a valuable asset when approaching the mid-to-late period of the season when you're trimming down your active squad of players and want those who won't pose an auto-emergency risk even as you're running out of trades.
A more jaded definition of the word nuff is someone who is neither a gun, a cow, a zero or a mid-priced speculator, and so largely irrelevant to supercoach selection. An example of this would be most of the Titans forward pack, for instance, or anyone in the Tigers backline not nicknamed 'Teddy'. Try to avoid these sorts of nuffs as much as you can, even if they are your (or the coach's) favourite player.
What does PPM mean?
PPM is an abbreviation for Points per minute, which is a statistic measuring how many points a player scores on average for every minute of playing time. A PPM of between 0.6-0.8 is generally considered good for a back, who generally play 80mins each week and whose scores fluctuate more often. For a forward it's more useful a statistic when considered in step with their average TOG (Time on Ground, or minutes per game), but anything over 0.9 is considered quite good, while Corey Parker is generally considered the gold standard with a PPM of 1.2 over season 2015.
What are base stats?
Base statistics are the general actions that a player makes when playing rugby league. It's a pretty simple distinction, and it includes tackles, hit-ups, hit-ups over eight metres, as well as negative statistics such as missed tackles, errors, penalties given away including the more series scoring penalties given for sin bins and send offs. Anything else is generally considered an attacking statistic, and is scored higher.
Why are dual position players important?
DPPs are most important when it comes to trading, though they also offer value when it comes to moving players between position if you have multiple players with the same switching capabilities. When trading, for instance, if you're moving out an injured Paul Gallen and have Tohu Harris at centre and Dylan Walker at 5/8, you could, by switching Harris to 2RF and Walker to CTW, trade in a 2RF, CTW or 5/8. If you also have a dual 5/8-FBK there are even more options open. This flexibility allows you to make more unorthodox trades so you can target those players on 'hot' streaks as well as keepers in other positions.
How does the Rolling Lockout Work?
A Rolling Lockout is the countdown timer you see in the upper right hand corner of your screen when you are on the supercoach home page, and it represents when players who will be playing in the upcoming game will not longer be available to either trade, substitute, captain or make a reserve for that week. Once that countdown timer hits zero, the players affected are locked in to where they are, and can't be moved. After this happens, the countdown time will start again in the lead up to the next game and the process begins again.
How does reversing trades work?
Reversing trades is relatively simple, in that all you need to do is click on the reverse trades button any time prior to the first lockout period of the week and your team will revert to the side you finished the previous weekend with as your starters, captain, vice captain, reserves and bench.
Who is ____? And ____? Why do so many players seem to have nicknames anyway?
Why are so many nicknames used? Well, typing is hard and we are lazy, generally. Honestly though it's because some of us are keeping so many names, stats, trends, etc in our heads, that it's easier for us to associate that information with a three letter abbreviation or nickname.
Is there an NRL SuperCoach Beginner's Guide?
Not as such, but here's a link to an informative post by Toolman that should help - https://www.nrlsupercoachtalk.com/trials-week-2-scores-news-chat/comment-page-1/#comment-508024