Tactics 101: Skilling Players

A rookie team starts with a few players with Block, Dodge, maybe a Thrower with Pass and Sure Hands and that is about it. Some teams like Chaos start with even fewer skills. After having played a couple of seasons you will have developed some Veteran players a Star and maybe a Super Star all powered up with a bunch of extra skills. The question is what skills will make those players better at their jobs?

To help distinguish between in-game position names such as Blocker and Blitzer I have, where possible, used the name of American football positions to denote what that player is going to do in a game of Blood Bowl as opposed to what they are called.

Killers and Hunters
Primary Skills: Block, Mighty Blow, Claw and Piling On
Useful Skills: Tackle, Juggernaut, Jump Up
Mighty Blow, Claw and Piling On are known as the kill-stack collectively called CPOMB. You will see a lot of people on forums complaining about these players being overpowered. Hunters take Tackle early as they want to increase the chance to knock down an opponent whereas Killers focus on the damage increasing skills to generate more casualties and take Block as a third or fourth skill pick if they do not start with it. By the time of reaching Super Star both these players often end up with the same skill set.

Ball Hawk
Primary Skills: Wrestle, Tackle, Strip Ball
Useful Skills: Frenzy, Dodge, Two Heads, Leap, Shadowing, Diving Tackle, Prehensile Tail
Horns or Dauntless are useful for a strength 2 player

These are the cage breakers leaping or dodging into base contact with the ball carrier and trying to knock the ball free. Wrestle is preferred to Block which is why you often see War-dancers with both skills. Strip Ball helps free the ball from any player without Sure Hands and after that players take skills to either help getting into the cage or prevent the ball carrier moving away.

Safety
Primary Skills: Tackle, Wrestle/Block
Useful Skills: Guard, Diving Tackle, Prehensile Tail
A safeties job is to protect the back field form any players that managed to sneak through. Tackle is a high priority skill to increase the chance of knocking down mobile opponents. Development beyond that will vary on skill access as these players fall somewhere between a Hunter and Ball Hawk wanting a mix of skills to both increase damage and restrict movement.

Quarterback and Running back
Primary Skills: Sure Hands, Block, Dodge
Useful Skills (Quarterback): Pass, Accurate, Safe Throw, Kick-off Return
Useful Skills (Runner): Fend, Side Step
Every team needs someone to handle the ball; ideally they will have Block, Dodge and Sure Hands. Players with high movement and agility are best suited to this role and a stat increase in either can move a rookie player into the role of Quarterback. Teams that start with a Thrower have a natural choice for this job. You will often see them take the Leader skill; not because it is good for the Quarterbacks job but because there is no other candidate on the team and it is a very good utility skill to have.

Kickers
Primary Skills: Kick and/or Dirty Player
Useful Skills: –
In Blood Bowl there are two types of kickers; those with the Kick skill that kick the ball and those with Dirty Player that kick others in the head. Many bash teams with cheap linemen will put both skills on the same player. If the game goes well you will only use the kick skill once per game and after that the player is free to kick other players off the pitch until the referee notices. Dash teams will want to get a player with Kick to give them more control over the ball.

Line-backer or Blockers
Primary Skills: Block, Guard, Stand Firm/Fend
Useful Skills: Tackle, Diving Tackle, Tentacles, Prehensile Tail
Players with above average strength make great blockers to slow down the advance and block off a section of the pitch making it difficult for opponents to move past them.

Scrub Linemen
Primary Skills: Block/Wrestle, Fend, Tackle
These are the players on most teams with just General skill access. They get stuck on the line of scrimmage and soak up damage from the opponent making Block the usual first pick skill choice for them as it reduces the amount of damage they take. Wrestle is also an option as you can use them to take down guard pieces that are otherwise difficult to move. For a second skill Fend is a defensive choice as it stops the opponent following up and making use of Frenzy or Piling On. Tackle is the offensive choice as it helps stop opponents getting away.