Orc Tactical Guide
Orcs are generally considered one of the tier one races in Blood Bowl. They are certainly one of the most popular. And what’s not to like? They have good strength, reasonable speed and agility, access to strength skills and are as tough as 5 day old lamb. As a result Orcs are, unsurprisingly, one of the most-played races. But how do you rise above the mediocrity? Here’s how...
Just kidding. So let’s discuss overall philosophy first before we come down to specifics. Orcs are a bashy team yes, but many coaches make them one-dimensional in this sense. Orcs' biggest weakness is their AG3 and average pace so that should be the focus of improvement. The easiest way to do this is through the Blitzers.
So many times I see Blitzers with MB, PO, Frenzy, etc, which is fine on one of them, but he should be your most expendable. You see, Blitzers have only two useful basic skills: Tackle and Guard. But what about Mighty Blow and Piling On I hear you cry? Here’s why... They are the players where your best chance lies of making up for your lack of Elves. Ignore the fact they are called Blitzers. Take any stat going and on a double take Dodge. Should no doubles come along, then get Guard then Tackle as they will still be needed later should some gifts come along. If nothing still comes, then take MB, PO etc, but it should be as a last resort. Now, obviously your team is not looking particularly bashy at the moment, but we’re okay, here come the BOBs.
Except... You’re not going to spam MB, PO here either, at least not at first. Block is an essential first skill for a BOB. Ignore all doubles and stats at this point except +ST. BOBs take an age to skill up and you don’t want to be desperately trying to get your Sidestep guy up to 31 spp. MB as a first skill is an option to speed things up, but overall I have found Block first helps your short-term results and MB second then gets things moving. After MB, then Guard is next, as all your BOBs need Guard before PO. Orcs are, or at least should be, a finesse team. To be successful against a wide variety of opponents you need to be able to control the pitch and mass-Guard will let you do this. Once you have Block, MB and Guard, then doubles start to become interesting for SS, but basically you then need Tackle and PO. A BOB with five basic skills is an awesome player.
Take any stat going and Guard on a double, unless they already have a stat in which case Dodge is your friend. Linos are dirt cheap and with a good rolls or two can easily become your fifth Blitzer or BOB, however if you don’t take that first skill movement stat which doesn’t look that useful, how will you find out? If they roll a normal, then take DP – every Orc team needs a couple, and they will compensate for your Blitzers being Elven gods. Kick is also well worth taking on a Lino who has ran out of viable alternative skill choices (e.g. has Block, Guard and rolls a normal) or on a DP as a second skill if MVPs take them over 16. Kick can swing games so you should ideally have it somewhere.
Not worth it in my opinion unless your team is already so bloated that a little more can make little difference. Should you have one, Guard, Block on a double, standard big-guy build is as good as he can do. I’d be tempted by Block over +ST on a double six, as a Troll without Block is really limited.
Like Trolls, a bit defunct due to how we are building our Blitzers. One is worth considering should you want a passing option, or access to Leader, but generally I’d say don’t bother.
You want somewhere between three and five – three at lower TV and four at higher. Four is plenty, though if you are at a point where bloat doesn’t matter, five would be worth indulging in.
How many players?
Orcs are fairly tough, but as you go up the ratings so are your opponents. For low to middle TV 12 is plenty (perhaps 13 with one DP) but at higher ratings 14 has proven optimum in my experience. At this rating you will face teams with skills like Claw who mock your armour and you are also likely to lose a DP or two to the ref so cover is needed. For mass DP Linos, or a real bloater team, then why not go to 15 or 16? Let’s see those Claws leave you short-manned now (disclaimer: you probably will still see those Claws leave you short-manned)!
I generally focus on getting BOBs the SPP wherever possible (e.g. handing over when the game is won) but I would not recommend doing this when there is still something at stake, as AG2 is asking for trouble. The main players we want SPPs on are the BOBs and Blitzers. Blitzers will accrue points simply by being on the pitch, as their highest speed and agility for the team makes them natural scorers and Block means they will do their share of hitting early on. BOBs have to grind out SPP so give them any help you can. Sooner or later an MVP will hit a Lino and then a completed pass will get them DP. At this point we don’t want them to get any more skills, as there is nothing really worth having apart from Kick if you are lacking one. Linos with skills, e.g. early AG, are worth skilling to get them good before they die due to lack of Block.
The key part. In theory we have now built a team that can handle anything, so how we play them depends on the race and build of the team we are facing. If we are the bashier, then our BOBs and DPs can grind them down, whilst our Blitzers can support and look for gaps to attack on defence and to defend the ball on attack (sounds odd, but it makes sense). If we are the weaker in terms of bash, then it becomes all about our Guard positioning to slow down and ultimately stop the opposition, while again our Blitzers probe and harry. Obviously this won’t work all the time and if ClawPOMB is on fire, or Elves are ignoring your tacklezones, then you might be out of luck, but in most match ups we stand a decent chance. Good luck!