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Goblins (or Gobbos) have always been one of the more 'fun' teams to play in Blood Bowl and with the addition of secret weapons to their starting roster, they are now more entertaining then ever! A game featuring Goblins will always be filled with wacky events and will often be total mayhem!
However, as with all Stunty teams, Goblins can be very difficult to win with, and a less experienced Coach should take this into consideration before just diving straight in. They may be chaotic and quite fragile, but in the hands of a particularly cunning Coach, Goblins can at least give the higher tier teams a run for their money!
Skip to the end for a guide to Secret Weapons!
The First Rule of Playing Goblins is to Have Fun!
If you really want to play Gobbos then you have to realize that this team is all about having fun and creating chaos! It takes a different strategy to the norm to play with Goblins and it can be difficult at times. You will probably lose a good number of games, and you will probably lose a fair amount more of your players as well! If you don't think you can get into this mindset, then you may want to reconsider playing Goblins.
Still here? Ok, now that you've accepted Nuffle hates Gobbos and you're ready for the chaos, let's discuss your starting options.
There are 3 build examples on the Goblin Team Rosters page, giving you a few of the possible ways to build your initial Gobbo team. Regardless of what you finally decide upon, most Coaches will agree with the following bare minimum structure to a Goblin team:
Total Cost: 810K
This build fills you to the minimum of 11 players, gets your both Trolls, a reasonable 3 Re-Rolls and an Apothecary (mainly as backup insurance for the Trolls which will be costly and painful to replace if one dies). This also leaves you with 190K to fill out the team. Whether you take a couple of Secret Weapons, the Pogoer, more Goblins, another Re-Roll, etc. is all personal preference.
Whatever you decide, it is also recommended you aim for a roster of at least 14 players, Ideally 15. Goblins break easy, and you will need a deep bench once the injuries start rolling in. If your income after the first game is low, buy one more Goblin. You can expect to receive around 2-4 dead/injured Goblins per match, with even more KO'ed on top! It isn't a bad idea to fill out all the way to 15 or 16 players, and when things start to get rough, you'll be glad you have those extra Gobbos sat in Reserve.
An extra Re-Roll (taking you to 4) is also not a bad idea early on. Later when your Goblins have some skills it won't be as important, but early on (especially against players with Tackle) the extra Re-Roll can be invaluable.
Now for a closer look at the team:
Goblin teams are described in the original rules as a team for experienced players, and this is true. A lot can go wrong for a Goblin player. The team will mess up a lot, you will be at the mercy of your Trolls and Secret Weapons, and sometimes the whole team will self destruct and leave you swinging in the breeze!
The FUMBBL Strategy & Tips section is more relevant then ever where Goblin teams are concerned, and you must always think ahead, doing the non-risky moves first and then your 'main move' for the turn. The different 'main moves' you will most likely be doing are
While formation generally depends on multiple factors, it is recommended that you put three goblins on the Line of Scrum to the furthest to one side of the line. Place the rest of your team at least three squares deep, your two trolls screened by Goblins and any secret weapons (fanatic withstanding) tucked behind them. This way, your trolls are not stuck on the line and can be placed where needed and your Goblins, while squishy, can easily disengage.
Here is an example of a set up vs bash teams. The L is for the Looney and again, ensure that the first row of Goblins are at least 3 squares back from the line of scrum. If you are using the bombardier, you can replace one of the rear most goblins with him, just put him one extra square away from the Looney.
Remember to keep your Looney to the rear and do not commit him unless you can safely block the target away in case he fails to break armour.General rule is not to get the Looney into the thick of things until at least turn 3-4 unless you know where the opponent is going with his players or you have a clear blitz route to the carrier.
Against Dwarfs and Chaos Dwarfs, it is recommended to set up 8-9 squares deep to prevent serious damage.
g g T L g g g T g g g
Here is an example of a decent set up for fighting agility teams or predominantly Str 3 when you're kicking and if the rival team hasn't got a Big Guy:
T g T
Spread Tackle Zones all over the field. You may be tempted to put two Goblins beside one another for protection but don't! The opposing Coach will just move to attack them individually anyway.
Make the opposing Coach work for every Block & Blitz against a Goblin. Keep your distance from opposing players whenever possible. As you will generally be out-muscled don't stand next to players when you don't have to. Make the opposing Coach have to Blitz once per turn and give him no chances to Block a Goblin if you can.
Use your Trolls to hinder the opposing players. Make sure they either get two assists for 3d blocks/blitz or its among the last actions you take. Also, always ensure one troll is kept back. The worst thing you can have is both trolls marked out and "stuck". You need to utilize their Str5 presence wisely. Also, just putting a Troll to mark two players is adequate enough without risking a turn over.
If things are going completely down the drain, don't be afraid to keep your Goblins on the ground. Sometimes it is better to damage control than to aimlessly throw your bodies at the opposition for little risk. That said, this is only for crisis situations.
If the opponent is nearing the end zone but lacks re-rolls, take the opposite mindset and mark like crazy, to attempt him to fail and flub up a block or dodge for a turn over. Again, like above, only do this if there is no other option.
Goblin defense is extremely difficult mind, so conceding a touchdown is normally expected. Even if the opponent scores, you can retaliate with a one turn touchdown, assuming you started as kicker. Your objective should be
1. Gradually fall back while picking off stragglers
2. Do as much damage possible while reducing damage to yours.
Against agile, ball-handling teams simply smashing your way through the centre whilst selectively gang fouling anyone of value or otherwise on the ground is a fair strategy!
Get the ball and then use a combination of Caging, Boxing & Screening to make your way down the middle of the pitch and then either wait for an opening or the chance to make an opening and score the Touchdown. Don't attempt a Foul unless you can get the Armour down to 7 or less with your Fouling assists. If getting the boot in be sure to focus on positional players first, but failing that a Linesman will do. Just make a note of how you will be left if your Fouler is caught and sent off- don't make a Foul that would leave a gap in your defences! Roll your screen/cage/box as efficiently as possible, using your Trolls to do the heavy hitting along the edges of your position.
The second strategy which is perhaps the best way of facing down Bashy teams like Orcs is to form a wedge up one side and then blast your way up the wing.
Start this by setting up one Troll in the centre and one on a wing (one spot behind the line in case of a Perfect Defence). From here use the Troll on the wing to Blitz an enemy player and start the wedge, slipping as many more players past and into a screening formation as possible. Against these Bashy teams gang foul positional and other noteworthy players only, never Linesmen. Keep 2 Goblins back with your ball carrier in case things get messy and when you are ready advance with them as a group. Prepare to switch sides if the opponent looks like he is over-committing onto your initial wedge. Maintain some presence in the middle with that center Troll you deployed on the line of scrum, just in case you need to make the switch.
A Goblin Team's actions each turn should be considered in the following order:
1. 2 dice (your choice) Blocks with your Goblins to free up any extra Goblins. If you spend a Re-Roll don't risk any more Blocks unless you have to.
2. Move all your free Goblins, with 2-3 Goblins loosely covering the ball carrier. This is to ensure you don't get into a situation where all of your Goblins are stuck in a Tackle Zone and you have no "safe" move to start the turn.
3. Take actions with the ball i.e pick up/hand off, whichever is necessary.
4. Block/Blitz with your Trolls. Aim for 3 dice Blocks where you can to keep things 'safe'. If you cannot do this move them to provide a protective screen or front for your ball carrying convoy of Gobbos. If you want to move in for an attack do so against either a single positional or two Linesmen. Try to keep a Goblin 'assistant' with them to negate Really Stupid whenever possible. Don't ever Go For It with a Troll unless absolutely necessary!
5. Consider Dodging all remaining Goblins in enemy Tackle Zones and repositioning them. Consider the risks of failure for each individually or in some circumstances if it would not just be better to keep the Goblin marking the opposing player. Remember the less Blocks the better!
As is always the case, assume you will fail all dice rolls and look at how it will leave you if your action would cause a Turn-Over before taking that action!
Do not throw your Goblins unless its a crisis situation or you're going for a one turn Touchdown on Turn 8. For context on why not to throw your goblin ball carrier mid-drive on offense, Just look at the figures- it takes 4+/2+ Really Stupid, 2+ Really Hungry and 3+ Pass Action to even get that Goblin in the air! There's also the chance of a failed landing causing a Turnover if that Goblin has the Ball.
That said, if things are going very bad or you have plenty of goblins left on the field, you can attempt to break a box open by throwing a Goblin at it. Although very high risk, it does not cause a turn over and can potentially open one corner open to get the chainsaw or a troll to blitz the enemy carrier.
For the turn 8 touchdown, place your troll either on the Line of Scrum or one square away with a Goblin behind him. Pick up the ball, hand off to the Goblin behind the troll and throw as far as possible (6 squares) down field. If you are fortunate, your Goblin will land and be able to score!
There is a recent addition to the Goblin team which now allows them to one turn touchdown with considerably less trouble: The Doom Diver.
The Doom Diver comes with an ability, Swoop, which allows it to choose the direction it scatters, meaning it can "scatter" 3 squares forward, gauranteed. The best way to utilize this is as follows:
Once the Doom Diver has the ball (Pick up and hand off completed), move at least 3 squares deep into the opponents half. Next, get a Troll to move 4 squares in and throw the Doom Diver. Combined with 6 squares of being thrown and 3 squares "scattering" forward, the Doom Diver will land perfectly into the end zone, only requiring a landing roll.
With Ripper Bolgrot, this becomes considerably easier, only requiring a single 3+ roll to get into the air. The combination of Ripper and the Doom Diver has become something of an alternative strategy in tournaments but can also work well in leagues.
Guard will instantly help with the survivability of your Goblins and is pretty much a no-brainer for your initial standard Troll skill. Break Tackle will allow your Trolls to become much more mobile, giving them an effective AG5 when Dodging for the reposition/Blitz. Any regular skills after this point are extras. Stand Firm will help the Troll's task as road block, and Grab will help clear the way to allow your Goblins to break through.
Doubles are always excellent on Trolls, and you will most likely be spoilt for choice every time. The best immediate choices are Block and Pro. Block is again a no-brainer, vastly improving the Trolls Bash power/defence. Pro is also a fairly strong choice though, and can be used to help negate bodged Negatrait rolls. Re-rolling Really Stupid or just as a personal Re-Roll not effected by the Loner trait is very handy!
Stat increases are a bit tougher. +1ST is great and if you get that then take Break Tackle next (for potential 4+ cage diving)!
Diving Tackle is an excellent first choice for a Goblin, particularly when taken in bulk. The best use is to keep these guys back (on defense) until they are most needed, then start marking to become a nuisance, such as a ball carrier or loose ball. Although the skill won't come into its own until you have several players with the skill to crowd the carrier and make dodging very high risk, or unless you can manage to get the ball carrier into a position where he has no choice but to dodge from the Diving Tackle player. Its particularly good against AG4 players who would be otherwise difficult to stop. Diving Tackle increases opposition Turn Overs.
Catch can be a decent first skill for a Goblin. Catch can make moving the ball around the field easier by handing off. It can also be useful for your first Goblin skill as to help with Throw-Team Mate for the one turn touchdown. This is complimented by Sure Feet, giving more safety and ability to move further.
Block is the first skill to take for a Goblin player on a double roll. Dirty Player could be potentially powerful (certainly fun) but you are never guaranteed to make the most out of it. Block however always provides you with a safe player to Block with and with Goblins any form of reduced risk is a significant boost!
If you are fortunate enough to get +1AG then keep this Goblin exclusively for offence as he is golden to your Goblin team (seriously, with AG4 the Goblin can Dodge in/out of any number of Tackle Zones on a 2+, with Dodge)! Never try to throw him (Trolls LOVE the taste of AG4 Goblins) and use him as your primary ball carrier (picking up on 2+ never felt so good). Besides the Trolls, this is the only Goblin on the team who should be reserved Apothecary rights! Similarly +1MV and +1ST also make good Goblin ball handlers.
The important thing to remember about skills is this: all Goblins with only normal skills suck. Compared to the basic skills from other categories like Block or Guard, Agility skills (except Dodge which you have anyway) add very very little to the capability of your Goblins. Side Step and Diving Tackle are the best of the bunch but they're still not very good. If you develop a (relatively) high TV Goblin team where most of that TV is invested in normal skills, that team will get generally slaughtered by everything it meets - because their normal skills are far far better than yours! On the other hand, if you can develop a high proportion of stat ups and doubles you may stand a chance.
TV management also comes into play here- if you lack doubles/stat ups and have an enormous amount of regular skills, consider firing the more bloated Goblins with the aim of staying within the 1300TV or very early 1400TV range. A three-skill Goblin with Side Step, Diving Tackle and Sure Feet is not a prized asset - he's a disposable one. His skills suit him for this task too. Put him next to a bunch of players and Side Step so that they keep on blocking him. Either he ties down lots of players (great) or they kill him (a bloated, useless Goblin off the roster - also great!). Then buy a replacement, and persuade this one to roll something more interesting than normal skills ...
The Goblin Pogo is not a mandatory pick but he is an incredible asset as a ball carrier. With +1 Movement, Leap and Very Long Legs, he can get out of situations even a normal Goblin would struggle with. The Pogo should only be used on offense to ensure that you can use his speed to its fullest.
First skill recommended is Sure feet, to ensure you can safely run further when the situation calls for it. Sprint for extra distance or Side Step to ensure it is harder for him to be surfed or cornered.
Doubles, give him block. From then on its your choice, but normally Block on the Pogo is more than adequate for a doubles roll.
A new positional player built for one turn touchdowns. The Doom Diver has the Swoop ability allowing it to land on a 3+ instead of 4+ AND choose the direction it flies. Unfortunately it lacks dodge and the benefit of Stunty.
Giving it catch allows it to more easily retrieve the ball and score one turn touchdowns. Recommended first skill. Dodge makes it easier to move with him and sure feet contributes to him being able to reach the end zone, sprint complimenting this.
A devastating combo with Ripper Bolgrot
Ah the secret weapons! This was a unique and distinctive quality of the Goblin roster even in the LRB4 rules and right back at the start of 3rd edition. Now with the CRP rules its considered a defining trait and central to the Goblin team. Here I will discuss the fundamentals to the weapons, their match ups and strategies.
In LRB4 the Goblin meta-game (if one could call it that) was to play an unusual hybrid of basher and agility, with an aggressive fouling game to gain a numbers advantage in a brutal battle of attrition. With a bench in their back pocket, it was likely that a Goblin team could endure a reasonable amount of damage, while still being able to risk send-offs and come out on top numerically. If a match up looked unfavourable (or wanted more kill power), you would invest 40k of your own treasury for a weapon appropriate for that match up.
Since LRB5 to CRP this has changed dramatically. Now with new (and old) Goblin coaches having access to all the weapons as part of the roster, it should be compared to the likes of a race. Instead of attempting to gradually grind down the enemy in a battle of attrition, your objective now with a full arsenal of weapons, is to play hyper-aggressively and do as much damage as possible before your weapons are sent off.
This should lead to a numerical advantage and leave your opponent's line up in shambles. That is the idea anyway! In practice however it tends to make the Goblin roster significantly more vulnerable to the whims of Nuffle due to the pendulum performance of the weapons. There is no denying however that it can be a lot of fun!
There are a few different approaches to handling the weapons and your roster.
1. Begin as receiver and throw every weapon onto the field. This will end in one of two ways. You will either destroy your opponent and leave his team staggering or your weapons will all malfunction and end up ruining your offensive drive, leaving your roster considerably drained for the second half. There's rarely a middle ground.
2. Begin as either receiver or kicker and field the weapon most appropriate for the drive while keeping the other two or one on the bench. Looney and Bomber can be used for either situation whilst the Fanatic is generally seen as a LOS nuke best kept for receiving. This is considered the safest, most common approach for Coaches with decent knowledge of the Goblin roster.
The catch, as mentioned earlier, is that a cunning opponent will attempt to grind your normal Goblins down and then score to force your weapons onto the field. Goblins aren't as weak as Halflings or Snotlings, but Av7 is Av7, and casualties are to be expected. This is where the big problem comes in and when the weapons are forced on/off, the Coach can often feel like a fish out of water and cannot field either a defence or offence. This is due to depending on the weapons and not the core of the team. This scenario is awful when it occurs but can happen fairly often to weapon-heavy Goblin teams.
It is best to try to get a good grip with your Goblins and Trolls first, with weapons taking a back seat to your overall strategy. It's an extremely common mistake for new Goblin Coaches to rely heavily on their weapons to do their job successfully! Remember about hand-offs, blitz with your trolls and fouling.
As the weapons are unpredictable at best this attitude will rarely have any success. New Goblin coaches most likely will be playing the team for fun so this advice is less relevant, but for experienced Goblin coaches looking for "optimal" play, it is important to keep this in mind.
Goblins are one of the few teams who, in leagues, Ranked, Tournaments and occasionally Blackbox, will have numerous opportunities to use their Star Players. Fortunately, Goblins have plentiful options in order to compliment their normal roster. Let's have a quick look who there is.
For detailed information on Star Player stats and abilities, go here:
The list and costs are as follows
Cheap and adds a second bomber to your team. Best used on defense. Unreliable but can better throw his bombs than a normal Bombardier. Decent if only for the threat he poses against bash teams but like a regular bomber, extraordinarily dangerous. Use at your own risk!
An extra fast Fanatic with Mighty Blow and extra movement for 80k. Best used on offense. Extraordinarily good value for his price and adds a significant boost to the Goblin offensive line. He can also add a second fanatic to your team, meaning you can have two trolls and two fanatics! With his extra point of movement, Fungus is very capable of causing serious damage to the opposition players. A very worthwhile purchase and very cheap for his value. Recommended.
A Blodge Chainsaw Goblin. Also adds a second chainsaw to your team. Like all Chainsaw Stars, tends to be hit or miss but still a very frightening player for the opposition. Can be used either receiving or kicking. While a very risky player to use, his very presence, like the bombardier, can have a greater effect than him actually chopping up enemy players. Of course if you see an opening for the ball carrier, go for it!
A hit or miss Star, take at your own risk.
An extra fast Pogostick who can be thrown. He is as fast as the legendary Griff Oberwald but normally it is best to leave your ball carrying to your own Goblin or Pogo than to hire this guy. He also comes with Dirty Player but for his price of 150k, you would not be fouling with him. It would be recommended investing in bribes, apothecary or Bloodweiser Kegs instead.
A new star, a Goblin riding a Squig. With Break Tackle, Leap, Very Long Legs (3+ to jump) and claw, Migzz sounds like a spectacular Star. Which in some ways he is, but he suffers from Wild Animal. He can be used as a blitzer or blocker but without block, it can be quite dangerous. With Leap he can be used to sack the ball carrier. Unreliable but decent as he also benefits from not being sent off unlike the other Goblin stars.
A Troll with extra strength, no Really Stupid or Always Hungry. With ST6 and grab he acts as a very strong roadblock and blitzer. Without Really Stupid, Ripper will also ensure you will never waste an action, unlike a normal troll. He can also help other trolls pass their Really Stupid rolls. While he does not come with block (making 2d blocks somewhat risky), with an assist or two, he can reliably block with 3 dice.
He also adds a third troll to the Goblin team (which pushes them past their normal limit of two). With his high Armour and Strength, this will help take out opposing players and it will save your poor gobbos from getting hit, and unlike your secret weapons, he’ll stay for the entire game.
Furthermore, without Really Stupid or Always Hungry, Ripper can throw a Goblin on a single 3+ roll (2+ if quick pass), allowing the team to one turn touchdown considerably easier than with a normal troll. This syncs incredibly well with the Doom Diver, ensuring a one turn touchdown on two 3+ rolls.
At 270K Ripper is almost a steal for what he offers the team. Hire him. Even if it means you can’t afford any bribes.
Coming at 430k, Morg is extremely expensive for what he brings. Ripper is normally fine in his stead, as he plays similar roles (blitzing/roadblocking) for considerably cheaper. A coach can also get other inducements for the same cost.
At much wider inducement gaps however, it may be possible to hire both Ripper and Morg. In this case, he can be an exceptional compliment to the team, creating a formidable frontline. He also allows you to safely and reliably blitz and block, as he comes with the block skill. Morg can also keep up with your ball carrier as a safety or tie up a host of str3 players.
As a player, Morg is very good, his only drawback being his exceptional price. Consider all options when hiring and you are considering him as your only option.
Regardless enjoy the carnage and fun the Goblin roster has to offer and good luck on the pitch! -Wolbum