by Andy Meechan, with Harald Hedlund (Blood Bowl Home of @rnholm)
Ask anyone to name the worst team in Blood Bowl and Chaos Dwarf isn’t far from their lips. This doesn’t sound unreasonable for a team where it’s best players on par with the Dwarf Longbeards and it’s Linemen are notoriously stupid. Welcome then to the tactics you need to make your opponents shut up and take notice of you Big Hats and learn that the Hobgoblins are hardly notoriously stupid. Dangerously stupid perhaps…
Prepare to be enlightened.
Assuming that you don’t want to field Star Players (the teams were designed without them after all), you can go two ways with your team: grab as many skilled players as possible, tool up on rerolls and then throw in some Hobgoblins as make-weights; or go Hobgoblin crazy and max. out with these guys, giving you silly amounts of rerolls and a Fan Factor which will allow you to draft the Big Hats if you begin to hurt for them.
6 Hobgoblins 240,000
6 Chaos Dwarfs 420,000
4 Team re-roll 200,000
9 Fan Factor 90,000
12 Hobgoblins 480,000
6 Team re-roll 300,000
9 Fan Factor 90,000
5 Assistant Coaches 50,000
5 Cheerleaders 50,000
In the top team a Bull Centaur could be added by chopping a reroll and a Chaos Dwarf and fiddling with the Fan Factor for the remainder, but you really don’t need one… yet. The second team is unusual as it contains Linemen only; would you consider a team of Human Linemen? I didn’t think so, but Hobgoblins have their own charms. So why isn’t there a Wizard on the all-Hobgoblin team, after all you can afford one from the off? By the sound of it you don’t realise that you’ll need your six rerolls more than any number of Wizards! Trust me on this; it’s not for the faint hearted (or die hard win-only players), but it is a lot of fun.
For the rest of this article we’ll assume that you chose the former.
Playing A Chaos Dwarf Team
Let’s face it; with players as cheap as these and a Fan Factor that’s as high as possible, what use do you have with the money (Random Event) deck? A Magic Item is great if you have two cards, a necessity if you draw three, but for one card draws I’d go for a Dirty Trick every time – being a vicious, vindictive team it’s the only way you can go really!
You’re joking aren’t you? No? Oh very well then: Chaos Dwarfs play a strange, risky offence which involves the Chaos Dwarfs creating the initial play (the pocket) and the Hobgoblins creating scoring opportunities. This is where all those rerolls come in.
Chaos Dwarfs on the Line of Scrimmage (LoS) is a start as, from here, they can force a couple of enemy Tackle Zones (TZs) out of the way and create a staging area of Block/Tackle players for the eligible Hobgoblin receivers before they break into your opponents half. Meanwhile three of your players have one after the ball – if one fails to pick it up then either one of them will catch the bouncing ball or it’ll be covered in TZs.
The rest of the play involves a mixture of your Chaos Dwarfs kicking seven shades from opposing players while trying to get the Hobgoblins to run in the right direction (and remembre the ball). You won’t score often, but you will feel good when you do.
A lot of Coaches with access to players with similar skills to Chaos Dwarfs would have no qualms about sticking at least three on their LoS and I would tend to agree with them in the main. However there are a couple of changes you can make to keep your regular opponents on their toes:
If playing against Agility (speed-based) teams then you should have a net of TZs all over your half with no gaps. The majority of your Chaos Dwarfs will be the last thing between your opponent and the End Zone. Why not on the LoS? Well, we have to assume that the Agility team can get around your cunningly crafted front-line and make it at least half way into your half of the pitch; what was the Movement (MA) of a Chaos Dwarf last time you looked. They’d never do anything except exert TZs on Turn 1 of the drive. Being midway to your End Zone allows the doughty Dwarfs to muster at least two players for a Block/Blitz. Meanwhile the Hobgoblins either assist, run around daft laying TZs where your opponent doesn’t want them, or squint into the sun and wonder why their brains are getting warmer!
Strength teams will beat you to a pulp if you give them half a chance, but with a LoS full of Chaos Dwarfs and a bucket-full of Hobgoblins ready to take advantage of those on the ground, you can play them with your version of their game. (remember that I mentioned that your team is both vicious and vindictive.)
With an armour (AV) of only 7, hobgoblins have as much of a hard time as wood elves do – and they’re going to get all the attention as there aren’t any wood elves on the pitch to pick on! (unless you’re playing them, in which case: “Do unto them before the do it unto you.” because you outnumber them and don’t care if your hobgoblins get sent off!)
Chaos Dwarfs can look after themselves (just don’t leave them on their own).
You have very slow blockers and medium fast, average ag linemen. this team is not easy; even with Hthark the Unstoppable (or the rookie bull centaur depaending on the rules variants you play). if you’re new to the game then be wary about choosing this team. if you’re an experienced coach then you stop playing orcs and challenge yourself for once!
Advancing Chaos Dwarfs
Hobgoblin. If you’re playing with the team in death zone (dz) only then you’ll likely have ten of these guys on your team. Out of these only five or so will be on the pitch at any one time, so these five had better be good. what you can try is to create pairs of skilled players who you can choose from whether you are kicking, receiving or on a crucial drive.
pair #1 are your ball handlers with such skills as block, sure hands and pass or dump off.
pair #2 turn up on the pitch with one purpose: to remove the other team from the pitch. these guys are your dirty player, pro and block skills.
pair #3 are defensive safeties aiding your blockers with tackle and pass block, tackle and shadowing (you never know!), frenzy and strip ball, and so forth.
pair #4 compliment pair #1 being your catchers with such skills as catch or ag4. You’re going to see many of these guys on your team any time soon!
pair #5 fill in the rest of the holes with kick, leader, block, pro, mighty blow, or dauntless!
Normal: pro and block
Doubles: catch, mighty blow or dauntless.
Remember: one successful completion (quick pass preferably!) and a random MVP means your first skill.
Chaos Dwarf. Upgrades are going to be slow on these guys as they will be relying on casualties and mvp awards in the main. So max out on strength skills. After all, the hobgoblins need all the muscle that the big hats supply.
Normal: dauntless, guard and mighty blow.
Doubles: diving tackle, sprint and sure feet! (Just sob quietly if you get +1AG.)