With the start of Season III we see twelve rookie teams joining the league. They will be receiving some incentives to play their matches ranging from a mere 200k against the Hundred Foot Heroes all the way up to 880k against the best, and only, Norse team – The Ulfnaerr Vikings! Unable to pocket the cash and run off and retire budding Champions need to decide what assets will help the team bridge the gap.
Freebooters: Star Players
From Griff Oberwald to Ramtut III there are many Star Players that will come and help out the under dog team. Some coaches do not like using these players as they can hog SPP’s during the match. If your goal is to win the match, rather than focus on skilling up your team, then they can be a valuable asset.
Overall bash stars see more play rather than agility players due to the problem of Loner skill; that is the curse of rolling a one becomes much more of a problem as agility tests are on a single dice where as most blocks, from a star, will be two dice. When looking at agility players I want to make sure they have skill re-rolls such as Sure Hands, Pass or Dodge. When looking for a Bash stars you want to pick a player with above average strength, Block and some other useful combat skills. Most teams have a decent choice in the 200-300k range. Unfortunately the Stunty teams (and Chaos Pact) miss out.
Sample Bash Star such as:
Varag Ghoul-Chewer – 290k for Orcs
Hubris Rakarth – 260k for Dark Elves or Elves
Lord Borak the Despoiler – 300k Chaos or Nurgle
Slibli – 250k for Lizarmen or Slann
Glart Smashrip Jr. – 210k for Skaven or Underworld
Setekh – 220k for Khemri, Necromantic or Undead
Morg ‘n’ Thorg
Playing for 21 different teams the main man himself Morg deserves his own section. Strength 6, Block and Mighty Blow make his a force that can turn an unwinnable match around. The only drawback is his cost! For the same value you could get two stars or a single star and other help. Unless I am getting over 600k I do not usually look to Morg as the solution.
If you do not want a named star you can hire a skilled, or unskilled, Mercenary. The important thing to remember is that if players are missing the game due to injury they do not count towards the number of players on the team; therefore a Mercenary can be used to replace that player. For example if your fourth Orc Blitzer is missing the game you can pay 110k for a replacement or 160k for that replacement player to have a single skill. Starting with Loner makes Big Guys (Ogres/Trolls) very good Freebooters as they do not get any worse than if you had them on the team. For about 400k you can buy 3 Linemen all with Block to just hold off opponents. Alternatively you can look to take a player with a useful support skill to help the team out.
Useful skilled Mercenaries:
Linemen with Kick (to control the ball), Dirty Player (for fouling) or Tackle (to stop dodges)
Thrower with Leader (A Reserve and Re-roll together)
Ogre/Troll or Strength access Lineman with Guard
For 100k-130k most teams have access to a a player with a Chainsaw. They are best employed against teams with low armour or who have a lot of Block/Dodge players such as any Elf team, Skaven or Norse. They all suffer from the potential problem of Kickback which means you want to try and avoid using them at the start of your turn if possible. If you have not got enough money for a Wizard then a chainsaw is a great way to try and inflict some quick damage and give your opponent someone to focus on. Ideally though you want a couple of Bribes to really make this player a threat for the whole game. If all you were planning to use the Chainsaw for was to foul you may be better off hiring a lineman with Dirty Player. Once you factor in kickback they are more likely to get an AV 7 player off the pitch and will not get sent off when someone scores.
With no special play cards in the League then the only choice with less than 100k is a keg of beer or a freeebooting Mercenary lineman. A single barrel is useful but ideally you want to pay 100k for a pair and make the most of those knocked out players get back up and play the next drive. The lower the overall armour value of your team the better these become.
Often the threat of the Wizard has more impact that its execution. Knowing you could blast their ball carrier can force teams to score earlier than then wanting giving you a longer drive to score yourself. When used the Wizard usually cancels one Touchdown your opponent would have scored and can even turn it around allowing you to get the ball and score yourself. Wizards are best used against slower teams that cage up but is still useful against fast teams.
Igor and Wandering Apothecaries
Additional medical staff will not help you win the match but they can help keep the players alive that you need for doing so. If you have a key player such as a skilled Quarterback or your only Blitzer with Tackle then making sure that player sticks around is paramount; otherwise a Freebooter is a guaranteed reserve for the game. If you are facing a team with lots of Mighty Blow, Claw and/or Piling On you may want one of these.
Cheap for Goblins and, with all there secret weapons, much needed by them. Unless you are taking a Chainsaw most other teams will not need more than one bribe. A single bribe means you reduce your chance of being send off from 30% to a much more manageable 5%. While some coaches dislike fouling a boot to the head of your opponents skilled players is often required to turn the game in your favour.
Sadly the 300k price for something that utterly fails 1 in 8 times is a bit much. When it works it can be a game changer though. The Chef is best taken against fast teams like Wood Elves that rely on team re-rolls for avoiding failed leaps, catches or other “Oops I rolled a 1” moments. If you are so out classed that your best chance of success is the opponent failing then give the Chef a go.
Extra Team Training
The simple way to make up for lack of skill re-rolls is extra training giving you some Team Re-rolls. There is nothing fancy or interesting about these but occasionally training is what a team needs.
Where to begin?
Depending on what race you are playing, how experienced the teams are and how much gold you are getting the answers will change. I start with looking at what skills the opponent has and seeing if there is a Star or Merc that will cover a weakness in my team. For example if my opponent has a lot of Dodge then extra Tackle or a Chainsaw is good. If they have Strip Ball gaining Sure Hands with a star such as Lewdgrip Whiparm or hiring a Merc Thrower With Block will help. If I want to win the numbers game then a Bribe and lineman with Dirty Player is a good choice. After that a Wizard, Medic and/or Bloodweiser Babes would round out my selection. The more skills I have on my team the less I need, or use, Freebooters.