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by Calthor This article has been made possible with the help of assistant coach veteran C. Roak Toadworthy. Taken from GLN issue 10
The Slann are one of the oldest creatures around in the world of Blood Bowl. In forgotten aeons, the Slann came from outer space and landed on the world. They found themselves stranded on this world, with no way to leave the world. In the earliest days they waited for rescue to come, but there never came any. In the many years that followed, the Slann are responsible for the creation of many other races, like the Elves, Dwarves and Humans. Among all these races, the Lizardmen are their close servants.
Toadworthy: All your pitch are belong to us!
The Lizardmen, who have always acted as their servants, have made most Slann go lazy and fat. The stereotypical Slann is a bloated frog that is carried around by Sauri. It is an image that young Slann Blood Bowl players passionately oppose! Slann Blood Bowl players are very trained and fit, and have an amazing ability for insane jumping and incredible mobility.
Toadworthy: Slann coaches fit the image of a fat, bloated frog much better.
o Possibility for Unusual Tactics
o Cheap Rerolls
o Kings of Positioning
o Leap – Don't Dodge
o No Pass access
o Challenging due to Advanced Positioning
o Reroll Drainers
Toadworthy: It is a hard job to lead a Slann team to truly high TV, as they do not hold up against an overly bashing team all too well. Yet a developed Slann team has absolutely insane potential and can do nearly anything well in the hands of a good coach: both scoring as well as a directed attack on the opposing ball carrier.
Let's face it. In a certain way, this team has just one real trick. That trick is leaping. Coaching the Slann team therefore requires you to feel and know when you're not leaping enough, and when you're leaping too much. It is surprisingly easy to recognise a rookie Slann coach. They either do not leap enough, or they leap too much.
When a coach is not leaping enough, he is not realising that using Leap properly is what makes a Slann team run. Every player on the team can leap. If you are hardly using the Leap skill, then you are ignoring the very nature of the Slann player. Remember this: leaping is, on a player without the Dodge skill, as easy and as hard as dodging! That means you should always leap away instead of dodge away. The only exception to this rule is when you want to leap later on in your movement.
Toadworthy: There can be only one! (Leap, that is. Per turn, per player.)
When a coach is leaping too much, he is forgetting that the key to winning a match is roll the least amount of dice throughout the match to do what you need to do. If you are leaping away instead of just going for a one-die block, think whether the repositioning of the player is worth it. Perhaps just doing nothing is better, or gambling for the pow is worth it. The leap is pretty much just like the dodge for other teams: if you do it too much, you are missing the point. If you're not doing it enough, then the other team is going to out-position you.
As the team develops, it can get a little more difficult as you get more and more of the Dodge skill on your players. Sometimes you are going to have to decide whether to leap or dodge away, and the answer might not always be apparent. Dodging might be safer, but if you're prepared to burn a Reroll, the leap might be a better choice as it often gets you to your destination quicker. Then again, you might need that Reroll later in the turn. There are no easy answers here, as you need to get a feeling for these kind of situations, as they are so complex. Just make sure that you do always think about both options, as sometimes the answer is obvious when you start thinking about it.
Toadworthy: To dodge or to leap, that is the question.
MA 6 St 5 Ag 1 AV 9
Loner, Bone-head, Mighty Blow, Prehensile Tail, Thick Skull
S / GAP
The Kroxigor (aka The Pain Magnet) is really the only source of raw power in the Slann team. That makes it a very valuable Big Guy. If properly positioned throughout a match, this burly lizard will make life a lot easier for the rest of your players, who are quite fragile after all. In addition, his movement is pleasantly high, so he can keep up with the rest of the team as long as he isn't suffering from his Bone-head. If only he wasn't 140K, which is a hefty price for a team that already has to spend 110K on its Blitzers!
Development: There is only one proper way to develop a Kroxigor on a Slann team. He is designed to be hit first of all, hit second of all. This is the road to making your Kroxigor a real roadblock.
Normal: Guard, Grab/Stand Firm/Juggernaut/Break Tackle, Multiple Block Doubles: Block, Dodge/Jump Up/Side Step/Frenzy Stat increases: On a no-doubles 10, take the AV increase. MA 6 is already pretty good, and your Kroxigor is there to take the pain. On a doubles-10, just take a skill. Don't bother with the AG increase, but do take the STR increase.
Toadworthy: As long as the opposing team pays attention to the big lizard, it's all good, as it frees up your other players.
MA 7 St 3 Ag 3 AV 8
Diving Tackle, Jump Up, Leap, Very Long Legs
GAS / P
Slann Blitzers are one of the most expensive Blitzer positionals in the game. And for a whopping 110K, what do you get? A player that does not even have Block or AG 4 for a real solid leap. It makes one wonder why the Slann Blitzer is worth the money in the first place.
Development: There are several different roles the Slann Blitzer can perform and that is also why there is a different development route for each of these archetypes.
The Cage Croaker: The Cage Croaker is meant to play a vital role in breaking down cages. They leap in a cage or position around the cage to lend a hand with Guard, allowing other players to leap in and take down the ball carrier. Besides Guard, there are skills for optimal positioning in these scrums (Stand Firm, Grab, Side Step) and maintaining it (Block, Stand Firm). Mighty Blow can be vital in winning the numbers game in a tight scrum.
Normal/Doubles: Block/Guard, Stand Firm or Side Step, Grab/Mighty Blow Stat increases: AV and STR increases are wonderful for The Cage Croaker as to remain on the pitch and hit as hard as possible. AG increases are ideal for leaping in for a vital Guard assist. In short, all stat increases should be taken, with MA stepping aside for AV.
Toadworthy: Ribbit! Who's getting croaked now?
The Amphibious Ninja: Catchers might be great and fabulous at ball handling, yet they are also often taken out of play because they have a big target on their back. On other moments a Catcher just does not have what it takes with a mere STR 2, since it is then very easy to be hit with a 3D block. In short, it can be very useful to have a back-up in the form of a ball-handling blitzer. This is what the Amphibious Ninja is for. Dodge and Block are there to remain standing at all times, Catch and Sure Hands to take proper care of the ball – and not lose it through a Strip Ball player, and Side Step and Fend are there to avoid surfs, Frenzy and nasty positions that the Blitzer might not get out of anymore. The Amphibious Ninja is your frog to rely on carrying the ball around a little more solidly than the Catcher would.
Normal/Doubles: Dodge, Block, Catch, Side Step/Fend/Sure Hands Stat increases: All stat increases are worth taking. MA should be taken before AV, as it is great to avoid getting hit in the first place or running for the ball. AG allows for leaping and STR for taking a hit without going down.
Toadworthy: Yes, ninjas are better than pirates. Although we Slann would make good pirates too.
The Sticky Shadow: The Cage Croaker might be great against cracking cages, and thus is best against bashy opponents, he is not very optimal against dodgy elves and other evasive players, like Gutter Runners. For that, you will need a Sticky Shadow. This little bugger is well adepted to actually steal the ball, no matter how fast and dodgy the player. The Sticky Shadow is also often the Blitzer that actually makes the leap in the cage and knocks down the ball carrier. Wrestle, Tackle and Strip Ball are there for ideal ball stealing, and Tackle and Shadowing in combination with Diving Tackle the player already has, makes for a sticky shadow that can be a real menace. That makes the player ideal for defence. Mighty Blow is there to stun those players instead of just leave them prone, which can be vital to buy some time to get a counter-offence going.
Normal/Doubles: Wrestle, Tackle/Shadowing/Strip Ball, Mighty Blow Stat increases: To benefit the most from Shadowing, it is well worth taking a MA increase above the AV increase, as well as to keep up with the fastest of players. Naturally, AG and STR increases are priceless as always for Slann.
Toadworthy: Just make sure he doesn't keep sticking around when he is not wanted. They make for awkward guests for dinner, I can tell you.
The Hybrid Toad: The Slann team is a fragile one. It will often endure through harsh times where the most vital of players, Catchers and Blitzers, will need to be retired because of injuries or are killed. When you don't have a lot of Blitzers around, you don't want to have two new Blitzers and one Sticky Shadow against a Dwarf team with heavy Guard. Similarly, you don't want to have that one Cage Croaker when you are facing Skaven. That is one reason to depend on the Hybrid Toad. The other is the fact the Hybrid Toad is what the Slann Blitzer should be: very flexible and efficient all over in many circumstances. Wrestle and Guard allows this player to feel at home in a quick feat of cage destruction as well as in taking down a Gutter Runner. Thereafter the Hybrid Toad picks a little from everything available. A proper Hybrid Toad is always useful.
Normal/Doubles: Wrestle, Guard, Dodge/Stand Firm, Mighty Blow/Strip Ball/Tackle/Catch Stat increases: MA should be taken over AV, for optimal positioning. As always, AG and STR are true blessings for this multi-tasking beauty.
Toadworthy: Practically a chameleon. Except that he doesn't change colours. Well, at least most don't.
MA 7 St 2 Ag 4 AV 7
Diving Catch, Leap, Very Long Legs
GA / SP
Once you play with Slann Catchers, you'll soon learn to appreciate how these guys play. Leaping on a 2+ is insane and allows positioning possibilities and ball grabbing that you have never dreamed of before. Slann Catchers are in many ways the bread and butter of your game. Without them, you're going to have a hard time scoring, as these guys are the motor of the team. On a good day, you'll be 2-0 ahead by half-time and if you still got one or two around, you should have won the game already.
The goal? Catchers are already great for scoring, so instead, this frog is developed to be kept alive as long as possible. Block, Dodge, Fend and Side Step keep him clean from hits and safe from surfs. Jump Up is there to get out of nasty situations faster.
Normal/Doubles: Block/Dodge, Fend, Jump Up/Side Step Stat increases: Everything is useful. Take +MA before +AV: increased mobility is more important than the occasional hit.
This guy is meant to be the reliable Catcher, who uses up the least amount of Re-Rolls, and can be set into any other needed role. He can do anything, anywhere.
Normal: Dodge, Catch/Side Step, Block, Sure Hands/Sure Feet Doubles: Nerves Of Steel, Pass Stat increases: Everything is useful. Take +MA before +AV: increased mobility is more important than the occasional hit.
Blitzers are good and all for a bit of punch, but they are not as mobile and useful for the strategic blitz. The Leapus Aggressivus is the suicidal Catcher, who tries to steal the ball and take it out.
Normal/Doubles: Wrestle, Dauntless, Strip Ball, Dodge, Side Step/Jump Up Stat increases: Everything is useful. Take +AV before +MA. Often enough, this guy will get punched when it goes wrong, and you want him to get prone instead of KO or worse.
Toadworthy: An aggressive Catcher is good and all, but make sure he still realises he is just a squishy amphibian.
MA 6 St 3 Ag 3 AV 8
Leap, Very Long Legs
G / ASP
Some races have very useful Linemen. In a Chaos Pact or Chaos team, for example, the Linemen quickly become important players on their own as they advance. For the Slann team, the same cannot be said. While Slann Linemen are not the equivalent of zombies, for example, they are still definitely fodder as long as they do not roll stat increases or at least two doubles. For most Slann Linemen, skills like Block/Wrestle followed by Fend will do. The rare Lineman that survives much longer can go for skills like Dauntless, Frenzy, Strip Ball, Tackle and Pro. In truth though, beyond two skills the Slann Lineman is better off without advancing more, as you want your skills on the positionals.Possibly you can get a Dirty Player on one or two. On doubles, Guard and Dodge are invaluable.
Toadworthy: Who? Oh, those guys. They're there to get croaked. It's not like they aren't getting paid enough for it...
Let's face it: Catchers are what makes you win games at low TV and Blitzers are awfully pricey, especially since you need at least four Re-Rolls to make a Slann team properly reliable. So, why not invest in four Catchers, the Re-Rolls to back them up and finally add in a 12th frog since Slann are so fragile?
4 x Catcher = 320K
8 x Lineman = 480K
4 x RR = 200K
Toadworthy: Quick to score, quick to crash. You've got four wandering targets and little to back them up with.
Blitzers might be expensive, they are also insanely good at times, especially after some development. You can't afford not to start with them. Besides, you don't really need four Catchers yet, as long as you make sure your Catchers don't get hit. And that's what those Blitzers are for!
2 x Blitzer = 220K
2 x Catcher = 160K
7 x Lineman = 420K
4 x RR = 200K
Slann Linemen aren't really that useful. The team really needs its positionals to work its magic. So you can't really afford to go without a lot of Catchers and some Blitzers alongside. There's really only one thing that can be cut though: Re-Rolls. You might need a bit of luck at first, 'till you get the money to add on those missing Re-Rolls, but you'll compensate in skill.
4 x Catcher = 320K
3 x Blitzer = 330K
4 x Lineman 240K
2 x RR = 100K
1 x FF or 10K in treasury
Toadworthy: Please tell me that he landed on his legs...
The Kroxigor is such a good Big Guy and such a magnet to draw the punches of the opposing team, that it would be a shame not to have him around. Ideally, the Kroxigor attracts the attention of the main crowd with the help of some Linemen and the Catchers take care of the rest.
There are several ways to go with the Krox, depending which of the above philosophies you prefer to lean toward, but they all start with...
1 x Kroxigor = 140K
3 x Catcher = 240K
5 x Lineman = 300K
3 x RR = 150K
...then add ONE of...
+1 Lineman & 1 Catcher #4, plus 30k (into Fan Factor, Babes/Coaches, and/or Apothecary after Game 1)
+2 Linemen & RR #4
+1 Lineman & 1 Blitzer