by Coach Blacknife with Mark Roberts (Coach Blacknife's Dugout)
The most basic of all Blood Bowl teams, the Humans get runners, passers and catchers combined with decent speeds and access to the right skill tables at the right times. Reputidly one of the easiest teams to Coach, this team can be very forgiving of early upsets and bounce back remarkably.
While not as specialised as other teams, Humans can provide their own challenge for league play as you will find it difficult to win against experienced Coaches. Oh, and they come free in the box!
There are a couple of ways to start a Human team, specialise in running, or go for a passing game? The advantage to the run is that it can be played as a passing game…
6 Linemen 300,000
2 Throwers 140,000
3 Blitzers 270,000
The Mighty Zug 120,000
7 Fan Factor 70,000
2 Rerolls 100,000
Okay, so above I’ve plumped for the running game. I’m a big fan of this as it suits my playing style down to the ground: grinding, but with the ability for passing – no weak links to start with. Now some might say that Catchers are a great idea and one Thrower could be dropped for him and that would be just fine… for them. Like I say, my style has been laid on the field here and I’d only add Catchers later in the season once I knew I could do two things:
1. Protect them when they’re on-field.
2. Live without them when they’re stretcherd off it!
As you can probably guess, I don’t like putting my only hope of competing onto the field in next to no protection! Try a Catcher if you want, it may suit you better, but as it stands I’d buy an Apothecary for Game 2 and think about Catchers for Games 4 onward.
Playing a Human Team
One card: Magic Item. If you draw more than one the choose either Random Events or Dirty Tricks freely, just base your decision on sense: If you need cash try Random Events; if you’d rather have a lot of fun grab a Dirty Trick. Human teams don’t really have a preference.
Assuming that you took my advive for the starting team above then you are in a position to go toe-to-toe with any team in your league. Try to score with your Blitzers as much as possible as these are your key players. Run two toward the End Zone, or if you prefer send one with Lineman coverage. The others can help secure your line of Scrimmage (with some help from The Mighty Zug!) and make sure that your Thrower of choice has a clear passing lane.
Choices here for scoring are a slow grind or a quick pass, choose wisely depending upon your opponents, the current scoreline and time remaining in the match. Don’t be afraid to give your line support from your Thrower, after all they’re Linemen at heart!
Here’s the reason you have two Throwers! As mentioned above, the Thrower is basically a Lineman and you’ll find that you can keep Linemen in your dugout to replace casualties if the need ever arises. Leave a couple of Blitzers back in your half to react to any breakthroughs which your opponent will try; their high speed and skills make them ideal as linebreakers. This, combined with your two Throwers should mean that wherever your line is broken, if the counter strike produces a loose ball you should have a Thrower somewhere in the vicinity to capitalise.
Linemen are cheap, nasty and expendable. Use them to plug gaps which are likely to fail and hopefully they’ll hold until your Blitzers can get there! Alright it’s a bit extreme and I don’t really think of them this way, but they do make rather good speed-bumps, sorry stop-gaps. Even your Blitzers can look after themselves, what with Block and a fair turn of speed (unless you’re in a league full of Wood Elves!). In other words you’re not pushed into worrying about damage limitation very often as you are coaching a fine all-round team.
Playing an Advanced Human Team
Once your Blitzers are up to speed (and you have four of them), your Throwers should be pretty much on-line too; now you worry about Catchers. This approach to introducing Catchers has many-fold advantages which can be summed up as follows: Your opponents play against a radically different team in the second half of your league.
Sure, you have to adapt your playing style, but it isn’t so hard to slowly remove your Blitzers from scoring (no Catchers on the team) to running defence for the Catchers (new additions to the team) and then finally to defending your line and threatening secondary scoring opportunities (fully on-line Catchers). Ideally you’d like four Blitzers, around two Catchers and perhaps both Throwers on field at any given time, leaving the need for only three or four Linemen; perhaps less if you’re fielding Star Players! (I tend to find however that Star Players are replaced by home-brews after a season or two!)
You are good at everything, but special at nothing, roll with the punches and give as good as you get. Get the idea? That’s right, the Human team is perhaps the Jack-of-all-trades team over even the Orcs (Orcs are better ‘hitters’, but worse ‘scorers’ y’see). Need to learn the game without much of a worry about your team snapping or having a dearth of SPPs? Humans are for you.
Linemen. Let’s face it, a full roster of positional players leaves you with two slots for Linemen so they’d better be worth keeping! Really they’re only good for a couple of skills, one of which is Leader – and that’s only useful at the start of a season!
SKILLS: Block, Tackle, Leader
Throwers. These guys are the most basic Thrower-type in the game and as such are a good, reliable, solid and boring template to build upon. That’s right, there is nothing out of the ordinary here. Well, you can mould them as you want as nothing out of the ordinary really presents itself and you wouldn’t be going against the grain!
SKILLS: Accurate, Strong Arm and Nerves of Steel
DOUBLES: Dodge, Sidestep.
Try building your first Thrower as an Offence player and the second to be used on Defence. Your Offensive player is designed to get the ball accurately to it’s destination, whereas your defence may tend toward tossing balls from the middle of a group of opponent players (Nerves of Steel and Hail Mary Pass?).
Catchers. As these guys break easily, several skills offer themselves up for inclusion into their repetoire. As you have access to up to four Catchers on your team however I would suggest having distinct skills for them: Rough Offence players prefer Block and Sidestep, whereas your scorers go for Sprint, Sure Feet and Sidestep; Defence catchers need to either cause havoc (Block and Dauntless) or Capitalise on your opponents mistakes with Sure Hands and, if you manage an Agility upgrade, Leap!
SKILLS: Block, Sprint and Sidestep
DOUBLES: Stand Firm!
Blitzers. Blitzers are my favourite position on any team as they can be specialised for scoring, cracking your opponents ball free, or left to create merry hell wherever required on the field. Esentially the same mantra applies to Blitzers as Catchers: specialisation is the key. Strip Ball and Mighty Blow make a particularly nasty combination (if you don’t strip the ball, you’ll make sure they stay down!), Doubles allow them access to Dodge, making them all round players! Stand Firm makes them particularly nasty in Defensive situations and a prayer or two may net you Diving Tackle!
Movement upgrades are great for your scorers, as are Strength upgrades. Come to think of it I can’t imagine many situations where a Strength upgrade would be shunned!
SKILLS: Mighty Blow, Strip Ball and Stand Firm
DOUBLES: Dodge, Sidestep and Diving Tackle
#1 Vanilla (Blood Bowl & Death Zone)
You really don’t have much to worry about with this team; in that it will perform consistently for you over the course of the league. You may struggle to win at times, but the point is it’s hard for you to lose… confusing? well, yes. What I’m getting at here is that your Human team shouold pull Draws with ease, but if your league or Tournament insists upon a single winner then the Human team will have some work to do. Starting players will find them a comfortable introduction to the rules, against experienced Coaches expect a tougher time.
#2 Jervis Johnson (Blood Bowl, Death Zone, No Stars, Big Guys and Allies)
Ogre. Front line strength. An Ogre adds the Strength which is lost when withdrawing The Mighty Zug from the game. Block and Mighty Blow are a good start and with a Strength upgrade Multiple Block becomes an option. Don’t worry excessively about removing Bonehead; after all you don’t roll 1’s that often do you? you do? welcome to the club!
SKILLS: Block and Mighty Blow
DOUBLES: Strength upgrade!
ALLIES (Chaos, Undead 6+) [Mail Order rules]