The volume of new Blood Bowl material releases has gone from deathly silence to a roar of new information in a torrent of official and unofficial leaks. After being floored by the news of a new box set release, we’ve been bombarded with information faster than our collective fingers can type. Today we are going to look at the two new rosters released in the new box set and what our gut reactions are.
Now that the two box team rosters have been leaked…I find myself pretty excited for the Black Orc team and maybe reconsidering to a purchase. I was considering getting a Lizardmen team in the near future, but I really enjoy painting orcs, and this roster has a lot of similarities to the lizards. Six ST4 players, a big guy, and the rest stunties. Though this team has a bit more possibilities in the early season as these ST4 black orcs start with skills whereas the Saurus (from previous editions) don’t. So, now I’m interested in the rulebook and one of the two teams. However, I’m sure Games Workshop is going to offer these teams independently from the core box. Oh, as we touched on Dreadball comparisons in our Second Season Reaction post, I can’t help but point out how close the make-up of this Black Orc team resembles DB’s Orx team.
My thoughts on the Imperial team are more…why don’t they have the halfings?! I’ve wanted to see halflings on the human team roster ever since the first goblin suited up for an orc team. After all, halflings are members of the human nation Empire in the Old World, and BB is sort of a parallel Old World…with seemingly even closer ties now. Heck, there’s even a halfling Elector count. Halflings make tons of sense on the official team of the Empire, this Imperial team. Instead they’re placed on a team that they’ve never been a part of, and a team that is appearing less and less as a team from the Empire, but a ‘pro’ team of sorts. Also, it’s going to be tough to find halflings that match the look of the BB16 humans. Another reason to place them on the Imperial team, they could have been sculpted to match from the get go.
Black Orc Team
This is the first we’ve seen, so let’s talk about those minis first. Those black orcs look brutal! They have a physicality to them that makes them menacing and threatening. I like the big tusks coming off their face masks. This is a cool look. The goblins are great too! I really like the guy with the bear trap face mask. It’s a little goofy, but it works. I wouldn’t want to get near that guy.
Now the roster. At first glance, this looks a lot like an orky Lizardmen team. And it looks like an orky Lizardmen team at second glance too. You’ve got stunty players and access to up to six ST4 players. The black orcs aren’t as fast as sauruses, but the black orcs are a tad more agile. The black orcs though have got some skills, Brawler and Grab. You don’t see a lot of Grab in the game except on experienced big guys and Brawler is a new skill. If it’s the same as the special rule for the Fire Mountain Gut Busters ogre team, then it’s going to be very good. Per the ogre Spike! Journal Brawler allows the team to reroll a Both Down dice result once per turn. That might be even better than Block. I dunno, I guess you could always reroll and get a Skull result instead. The team can also take a trained troll. I’m not sure what makes him “trained” as it’s the same model that exists already for orc and goblin teams, but this one can projectile vomit. Now that’s what I call training! The goblins are Bruiser Goblins which means they get Thick Skull. Perhaps this will keep them in the game a bit longer than your average gobbo.
To be totally honest, in my years playing Blood Bowl I’ve never actually played as an orc team. Not sure why, I just never fancied it. Other bash teams have appealed to me more. I have enjoyed playing lizardmen in the past, so I could see myself giving the black orcs team a chance, especially because I think the models are pretty good.
Starting Black Orcs roster
Trained troll 115k
Black Orcs x6 540k
Bruiser Goblins x5 225k
Rerolls 2x 120k
Total: 1 million
Again, getting the troll in there from the start to gain SPP and because I thinking throwing goblins down field will be a part of your offensive strategy. You could form a pretty effective cage with the black orcs around a ball-carrying bruiser goblins, but it’s always nice to have that hail mary option to chuck a goblin down the field to score in one turn. This is a 12-player roster so you’ve got a spare goblin on the bench. Your other option would be to drop a black orc for another reroll, which would probably be the smarter thing to do.
The eagle eyed among you have notice that human teams can now take up to three halflings! I’ve had some fun and success running human teams in the past, but for the the fluff of the team has always bored me a little. I like have the ogre on the team, but this rest is just, well, human. Orc teams have been able to hire goblins for a while now, so it’s cool to see humans adding halflings. I don’t think they will make the team imbalanced, but it is fun to chuck a stunty into the air. The odd thing is though, it makes the new Old World Alliance team already feel a bit less special.
What a day! If there was ever a time that I regretted growing up and having to stay at work all day instead of browsing the inter-webs for Blood Bowl gems, this week has been rough! Yesterday I was pouring over sportsmen in pantaloons and then today we get hit with brutal, yet cunning, black orcs! The imperial team did not stir much in the way of creativity for me. With the exception of the Griff model which I think is a great addition to the legacy of his models, I wasn’t too thrilled with the feathery aesthetics of the human models. Today is a new day though and I’m very impressed with these new orc models!
Visuals aside, the roster of the team is interesting. It is easy to see how the comparison between the Lizardman team and this new team appear very similar. Six strength four players backed up by a big guy and stunty players to worry about the ball. The fact that the Black Orc players additionally have two starting skills at first glance appears to make for a much better team. I rarely see grab in action due to the popularity/usefulness of other skills being usual picks over this one. Starting with grab though means we have a great front line that can really control the line of scrimmage. Brawler is an unknown factor as its a new skill. Sharp eyed players have quickly pointed out a similar skill for a famous Ogre team.
If this is the same skill these black orcs are using then it does appear that these black orcs are far better than the saurus they compare too. Are the black orcs a better team though? That is one that is going to take time to figure out. The lizardman team is great for the mobility of its players. ST 4 players moving six squares is great and the exceptionally fast skinks really make them a scoring threat at long distance. In the end my gut reaction is that the lizard team will have a better time winning games over the long run by the speed over their players. I think the black orcs will crush some front lines but the slower speed of the goblins will not perform as well True the troll can heft those goblins downfield, but I don’t think that is usually a reliable tactic. At least in my experience.
For tournament players I see the black orc team being a popular choice. As Casey already showed you can easily put seven ST 4+ players on the field for dirt cheap. Assuming that this team has access to goblin star players, I can see this team being a nasty one to contend with. Speed is an issue though. 4 movement is going to make it tough to cage down the field if you are running out of time. A maxed roster of heavy hitters also only puts four fragile goblins on the field. As with lizardmen, once the stunty players are of the field scoring becomes a big issue.
Is the team a must have? No, I can survive without the team as its not filling any missing play style I’m looking for. BUT, this is a visually appealing team that will push my credit card from a ‘probably’ purchase to an almost slam dunk. At the end of the day I am a sucker for cool looking models over play style. So what about the other half of the box set? I’ve already discussed my less than thrilled opinion of this variant human team. The design style is okay at best but what do I think of their actual stats?
The throwers are 5,000 cheaper than a normal human thrower but have traded sure hands to running pass. I’ve been so long with passing ending a turn that I have a hard time imagining the usefulness of being to move after throwing the ball. Perhaps moving the thrower into a blocking position after the pass has some merits, but would I trade that for the security of sure hands? Sure hands not only banks a rerolls for pickup attempts but it also helps (or helped) against the strip ball skill. Much more useful in my mind.
The ‘Lineman Retainer’ also clock in for 5,000 less than the standard humans but also have the fend skill. This is interesting as fend isn’t a normal go-to skill in my circle of friends. Defensively I could see how this could be annoying if a wall of lineman are preventing me from following up after hits.
The ‘Noble Blizters’ are pulling double duty for this team as both the hitting threat and catching. It appears that they start with Block and Catch yet only have normal skill access to general and agility skills. Their movement is only a seven so this team has lost some of that scoring potential of the normal human team. You are also paying a high price for these players with a sticker price of 105,000, limit 2!
Its tough to get thrilled for the design of these chaps with their guts oozing out of their uniforms, but they are pretty decent players. While only ST3 they do start with stand firm and wrestle. That certainly makes up for the lack of block and with a movement of six they are pretty mobile despite the excess baggage. Getting all four on a team would be pretty nasty to deal with and would be great on offence or defense.
So what kind of team could we make? Here is my shot in the dark:
1 x Imperial Thrower 75,000
2 x Noble Blizters 210,000
2 x Bodyguards 180,000
1 x Ogre 140,000
5 x Imperial Retainer Lineman 225,000
2 x Reroll 140,000
This leaves 30,000 left in the bank. Dropping the thrower for another linemen could get you an apothecary in the dugout if you want a bit of insurance for your team. In the end though this team doesn’t excite me enough to want to start another human team. I may hold onto the models for future me problems, but as it stands now I don’t see myself making it a must have. Griff still says though. So what are your thoughts on these new teams? Are they enough to get you to excited for the new set? Let us know!