High TV Chaos in the Box
Chaos have always been my favorite team in Blood Bowl, throughout the editions. Under the current ruleset they certainly live up to the description of plowing down the middle of the pitch and killing everything in their wake.
I find that team building is a crucial part of Blood Bowl. In the Black Box, Team Value (TV) management determines what opponents you will draw, as well as Inducements. It is often useful for Chaos teams to decline stat increases and doubles to keep TV lean. Often kill-stack can be much more useful than Dodge or Leader, for example.
As a personal preference, I take strength increases, though a true "min-maxer" would likely turn down all stat increases and doubles. I also find one or two AG increases can greatly help with ball handling.
Taking a Minotaur is a personal choice, but one that I find particularly unwise due to the TV increase, unreliability, and the low AV of the Minotaur.
I have discussed the optimal number of kill-stack players with a number of coaches. I think the majority believe four kill-stack players to be the best. Four players can be reasonably protected. On offence, three can be used on the line of scrimmage blocks while the fourth blitzes. As a theme, I try to take as many kill-stack players as possible on the WMD's in the Box. However, that build is far from ideal. A more competitive build would lack doubles or stat increases, barring one AG increase, and probably be limited to four kill-stack players. My goal with WMDs has always been to be able to field ten kill-stack players, and a Dirty Player. A more optimal build would have a number of unskilled Beastmen to use as fodder and meat-shields, to protect the valuable players.
As with most teams, Chaos need Dirty Players. Kill-stack is effective at removing players, but with enough assists, a foul will automatically break armour, and Dirty Player will add one to the injury roll. Dirty players also make opposing coaches think before using Piling On.
Finally, it is my experience that a majority of the teams at high team value in the Black Box are bashers. The AV8 of Beastmen, and the vast number of kill-stack players mean that a bench is a necessity. While I have encountered successful eleven man Chaos teams at high team value, it is my experience that a few lucky hits, and unlucky knockout recovery rolls can unnecessarily skew a game. At 60 k each, a few Beastmen on the bench can make the difference in a heavy hitting game.
The Game Plan
Plan A for kill-stack built, high team value Chaos in the Black Box is generally "Kill them all, and let Nuffle sort them out." Under this approach, if the opposing team is removed from the pitch, it is an easy matter to walk the ball into the end zone on turn eight.
In practice, Nuffle is often not so kind. Dealing with other bashers, Chaos can often be on the receiving end of the bash. Because Chaos players all have average agility, and the Beastmen have good movement, Plan B for Chaos is often "Pretend we're Elves." Setting up a hand-off, and pass play can allow Chaos to score in two turns. Chaos are on par with the other average agility teams. Especially with agility increases and Extra Arms, Chaos can be competitive even when being out-bashed.
Playing Against High Team Value Chaos in the Black Box
When playing other teams versus high team value Chaos, in the Black Box, I try to limit the number of blocks the Chaos team makes. Sometimes keeping all men prone and accepting one Foul is better than taking 4 kill-stack blocks. Also setting up deep can limit the Chaos to hitting only the line of scrimmage. I'm not a fan of this approach though, as it doesn't work well with Blitz! kickoff results, or do much in the way of pressuring the Chaos.
As a bit of generic advice, I suggest playing to the strength of your team, and when possible, gang-foul kill-stack players.
Chaos have been accused of being one of the most feared and hated teams at high TV in the Black Box. The most common complaints that I've heard fall into three categories. The first complaint is that a kill-stack build will destroy the opponents team. The second often heard complaint is the Chaos roster lacks diversity, because many teams field only Beastmen and Chaos Warriors. The third complaint is that there are too many Chaos teams in the Black Box at high team values.
Jurgen Demonfeeder of Chaos All-Stars FC made such an impressive start to his career that he was given three MVP awards in his first two matches! He then racked up more player casualties than any All-Star during the season!
There are a number of strategies used to win a Blood Bowl match. The best strategies allow the winning coach to manage the clock, and make sure he has more touchdowns at the end of the game. With Chaos, I find player removal to be the most effective way to make this happen. Because Chaos have access to kill-stack without requiring doubles, they are easy to build, and efficient for team value management. More player removal results in a greater chance of injuries to the opposing team. While casualties are not the goal of my particular strategy, it certainly does happen frequently. For example, I don't re-roll a knockout, as I'd rather have the player off of the pitch, with the last turn of the game being the exception. Player removal is a strategy used by all truly bashy teams. In the current rule set, kill-stack is the most efficient way to remove players. This is certainly a competitive attitude, and would likely be shunned in a tabletop setting. But for a perpetual online league, like the Black Box, high team value Chaos are one of the more competitive teams, and this attitude is encouraged by the Black Box rule set.
The simplicity of the Chaos roster may be dull to many. Many coaches elect not to use a Minotaur, who is only useful as a Blitzer, and like all Big Guys, he is unreliable. He often can cause game-changing turnovers. The Minotaur's ability to take Claw as a first skill makes him somewhat useful as a player remover at low TV, but his bloat in team value does not match his usefulness to high team value Chaos team. Coaches that like a diverse roster should simply avoid coaching Chaos. Nurgle are arguably better than Chaos at surviving at high team value in the Black Box, due to regeneration. Nurgle have one of the best Big Guys, plus three other positions. Nurgle are a nice substitution if a coach wants to play Chaos, but don't enjoy having only two positions on the team. However; with that said, I have never drawn a team and been bored simply because of the opposing team build. I think the lack of diversity argument is often another way to complain about kill-stack, or Chaos being over-represented at high team value in the Black Box.
Because high team value Chaos are efficient at player removal, it is only natural that they are often coached, due to the competitive environment of the Black Box. Wood Elves have a greater win ratio than Chaos, but it is unlikely that there would be many complaints if a great number of high team value Wood Elves began competing in the Black Box. I think everyone tries to avoid things that bring them discomfort. Losing players that took games to build brings discomfort to most coaches. Also, drawing multiple games against the same team is frustrating to the losing coach, or even annoying for the winning coach, who may find the matches tedious. As one of the more competitive teams at high team value, Chaos will continue to be one of the more highly represented teams in the Black Box.
About the Author
He's a ten foot tall Beastman who showers in vodka and feeds his baby shrimp scampi.