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 Issue 5 - January 20, 2505
Death Bowl



Gavvering 'da 'Boyz

With such an extensive choice of hard hitting creatures to pick from, it's easy to create an Orc league team capable beating the hell out of every other race. Although a team consisting of 4 Black Orcs, 4 Blitzers, 2 Throwers, a Lineman, 2 Team Re-rolls and a FFof 5 might sound appealing for single games, creating a survivable league team will require a bit more finesse. Despite the Orcs' high armour value, a team with 11 players, low fan factor and no apothecary is usually the recipe for disaster. As the team progresses and begins to suffer casualties, you'll find your precious 'boyz' lining up with less than a full team. This makes it harder to win future games and having fewer players than your opponent means you're far more likely to take a beating and suffer further injuries.

For a long term squad, designed to hold its own in an old fashioned dust up and also be able to deal with the odd burial early in its claim to fame I'd recommend the following squad. The Bloodrock Clan started with:-




This team by no means suits every coach. However, given the strength of the starting line-up you should be able to build your FF by winning the majority of your first 10 matches. An apothecary is the first thing on the shopping list, as it should be with every team lacking one. These guys went unbeaten for their first 22 matches, so I'd say this is as good a line-up as you're ever likely to see.

Tactiks and da Plan

The Orcish game plan against fast and agile teams such as Skaven and all forms of Elves is very simple. Your main effort during the first half should be geared towards maiming and injuring as many of the opposing players as possible by any means possible. Blitz, block, foul and even crowd push your team into a stronger second half position. The less players opposing your boyz late in the match the better! If you're recieving the kick, try not to score until the last possible moment. Turn 7 or 8 is the best. Hopefully by then the opponents dug out should be awash with the dead and dying remains of his once proud players.

If you lose the toss you have variations of the following two options:
a) Defend lightly, allowing your opponent to score in turn 2 or 3. With this in mind, your intention should be to pulverise opposing players that aren't directly linked to the play but allow the ball carrier to reach the endzone as early as possible, giving you the rest of the half (usually 5 or 6 turns) to score for a 1-1 half time scoreline. If all goes according to plan, you'll be left with the whole of the second half to grind down the pitch for an eighth turn touchdown and a 2-1 winning score. Remember to keep a Blitzer way back in the field as a crafty coach will see through your ploy and attempt to stall and run out the clock.
b) Defend like crazy and hopefully win back the ball. At first glance, this might seem like the proper thing to do - however, should things go awry in the final two turns and you're unable to prevent a touchdown, you're faced with going in at the interval 1-0 down without time to secure the equalising touchdown.

Against harder hitting teams such as Dwarfs, Chaos and to an extent Undead you better hope your blocking skills are up to date "coz dis wun gonna be a slug-fest!". If you recieve the ball, it's a case of killing them first. Usually a novice coach will set players up near the crowd. Although they aren't directly next to the sidelines, a few simple blitz and block combinations can see them getting jiggy with the fans in no time. Check out the GLN issue 4's report Let's go Crowdsurfing for details.

Adopt a strong cage and trundle casually down the weaker side of the pitch - its usually to difficult to break through the centre - for a late touchdown.

Kicking against Blood Bowl powerhouse races is a far more daunting prospect. I find lining up your entire team on the LoS and watching every player go down on turn one is a sure fire way of losing position and a touchdown. Minimise the players you place up front, remembering to deploy the rest of your team 2 squares back to counteract the quick snap kick off roll. Minimising the players that get knocked over in turn one means you're in a far stronger position to dictate the flow of the half and efficiently reorganise your defence for the crucial sacking of the ball carrier. When an opening presents itself, run a player in the opposing team's backfield. Even if you have no intention or no possibity of knocking over the ball carrier, this can sometimes frighten your opponent into weakening his defence by sending 2 players from his loose cage to deal with the new threat.

Skills Choices

Blitzer
The Blitzer is the star player of the Orc lineup and will almost certainly be at the heart of most of your devious plays. I try to split my Blitzers into two categories: offensive and defensive. Defensively he will probably be your best box breaker and offensively he's without a doubt your most valuable asset. Guard is the sensible choice for his first skill but Mighty Blow will decrease the time it takes to get a second skill roll. Orc Blitzers also make exceptionally good "Strippers". Orc teams lacking Strip Ball and Tackle can and often do suffer humiliating defeats at the hands of "dem pansies in tights". I always try to train one or two of my Blitzers for the purpose of despatching annoying Wardancers and Witch Elves.
SKILLS: Guard, Mighty Blow and Strip Ball
DOUBLES: Stand Firm, Dodge

Thrower.
The Orc Thrower is the slowest ball handler in the game, therefore it's wise to protect him against opposing blitzers with either another Thrower or Blitzer in the back field. I always try to give my Throwers Block as a second or third skill. That way, once the throw has been made he can hang back as a last line of defence should you lose the ball.
SKILLS: Accurate and Block
DOUBLES: Strong Arm

Black Orc Blocker.
Having to rely on casualties for SPPs coupled with their low agility makes Black Orcs one of the game's slowest skill progressers. Block is the wise choice, but picking Mighty Blow as the first skill dramatically increases the speed the player gains SPPs.
SKILLS: Block and Mighty Blow
DOUBLES: Stand Firm and Frenzy

Linemen.
Linemen are the fodder of the Orc line-up. However, a few rudimentary skills and good field positioning can help tip the game in your favour! Give one of your Linemen Dirty Player as soon as possible and don't be afraid to use it. Kick is also a wise choice, becoming even more effective in the second half when your "ard as nails boyz" out-number the enemy.
SKILLS: Block and Tackle
DOUBLES: Guard and Mighty Blow

Remember - Always give attribute increases to your players!

Conclusion

Obviously the Orc teams main strength lies in holding onto the ball and beating the opposition into the turf. Despite this, they have a very competent if somewhat slow Thrower enabling them to copy "dem pansies in tights" should the need arise. The Blitzers are very good at what they do. The quartet of mean-looking Black Orcs, given time and the right selection of skills have the potential to rise to the top of their field. It's been said before that Orcs are a beginner's choice, which to an extent is true. They are probably the most error -forgiving race in the game. Don't be fooled though - when placed in the hands of a competant coach and given the right choice of core skills, they have the capacity and the ability to beat every other Blood Bowl race.

 
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