by Coach Blacknife and Nigel Buckle (Coach Blacknife's Dugout)
Orcs are a popular team. A really popular team. There are a couple of reasons for this aside from getting the majority of your players free in the box! They’re a good all round team, but you can also specialise them to a degree. They also epitomise Blood Bowl; they are as green as the turf, as tough as the standard issue boots and could even give the crowd a good challenge in a straight up fight!
If you’re playing for the first time then Orcs may well be the team for you as they are forgiving of a bad starting line-up. On the other hand, if you are an experienced Coach playing in a well established league then trying to find plays to surprise your opponents with may be the challenge you are looking for. After all, everyone knows how to play Orcs… don’t they?
Playing Orcs is a matter of taste more than anything else. Coaching style dictates your starting set-up and the Orcs allow for differing styles more than most teams. The following is a fair mix of strength and skills allowing you leeway for a change of pace mid-drive:
4 Linemen 200,000
4 Blitzers 320,000
2 Black Orcs 160,000
3 Rerolls 180,000
7 Fan Factor 70,000
No you don’t need an Apothecary in your starting line-up; just have a look at the Armour Value (AV) of the players! The money saved from the loss of the Apothecary can be funnelled straight into Rerolls (which are always handy). If you prefer more Black Orcs then either a straight swap for Blitzers or a deal involving Linemen, Rerolls and Fan Factor is in order. I prefer the Blitzers because Strength (ST) 3 players with Block beat ST4 without nine times out of ten. (I don’t care for the actual statistics, but I feel safer!)
You can’t really go wrong with this set-up because, at the end of the day, including an Orc with Sure Hands (da Thrower dummy!) is going to earn his keep just picking up the ball! Alternatively you could get cocky and try the throwing game…
Playing an Orc Team
“Dirty Tricks”. That’s all you need to know about the style of Orc play. Once you’re done role-playing your team however you might consider a Magic Item if you draw two cards; definitely get one if you draw three or more!
Flattening your opponent’s Line of Scrimmage (LoS) is always a good plan and this is where your Black Orcs excel; besides they’re never going to move far in any given drive, so they may as well start in the middle of the fray! A Blitzer and Lineman can threaten the flank while your main assault heads down the centre of the board (although slightly off-centre is preferable). In the meantime be sure to keep a Blitzer or Lineman a few squares back from the rolling melee to deal with any outflanking manouvers which the Defence may pull.
At the end of the day you have the ball and once it’s been well protected you can concentrate on pounding your opponents into the turf – if they’re in the Dugout they can’t help the Defence!
A Blitzer in either wide-zone and one in the middle of the LoS—flanked by Black Orcs – is a pretty nasty green wall for any opponent to face. To make it worse (for the Offence that is) you can pad the line with more Linemen and drop another Blitzer into your backfield to act as a Free Safety.
For your opponent the only chance is to get out of your way. For you? Don’t worry about it just make like an Orc and “Stick in da boot levva”.
Try not to throw the ball too much; your main strength lies in the running game, with the added benefits of a head start in games of attrition. Take your time scoring, because then your opponent will either run out of time to equalise or manage a draw at best! When in doubt, beat them senseless and then ask where the ball is later.
Linemen. It’s a Lineman. It’s a slow, thumpy Lineman.
SKILLS: Block and Tackle
DOUBLES: Guard and Mighty Blow
Thrower. Not much to be said here except that you’ve got a slower Thrower than anyone else. As such he may well need some protection from designated ball-retrieval experts on the Defence; fortunately he starts with Sure Hands (which will protect against Strip Ball). Add a mix of Passing and General skills and you have yourself a little powerhouse who can toss the ball and then tidy up the backfield: all you need now is someone who can catch…
SKILLS: Accurate and Block
DOUBLES: Stand Firm or Side Step
Blitzer. Being your star players, your Blitzers get the choice of skills fit for kings; kings of the Blood Bowl pitch at least. As they will be your major ball carriers and retrievers, the Blitzers should be equipped with skills relating to their task.
SKILLS: Stand Firm, Strip Ball and Sure Feet
DOUBLES: Dodge, Sure Feet, or Catch if you get Agility (AG) increases!
Black Orc Blocker. There are few players in the game with such a slow initial skill progression as those relying upon Casualties for Star Player Points. The Black Orc falls into this latter category. Because their roll is to hurt the opposition you can concentrate on skills which emphasise the Blocker’s starting talents.
SKILLS: Block and Mighty Blow
DOUBLES: Diving Tackle (tee hee!)
I was tempted to offer Break Tackle as a Skill, but why would you want to Dodge and Blitz when you can just Block?
#1 Vanilla (Blood Bowl and Death Zone)
You shouldn’t have too many problems here. If your opponents start making the most of Star Big Guys then you can feel justified in hiring Morg for a season or two… Something which should be watched closely is the slow start some teams have; they are poor when new, but once skill shave been gained become a different prospect. Be prepared to make tactical changes mid-season as the Orc game plan does not develop over time.
#2 Jervis Johnson (Blood Bowl, Death Zone, No Stars, Big Guys and Allies)
Less problems are experienced here than in Vanilla (above) as you have one of the best starting line-ups going. Again you have to watch out for the long-term game plans of other teams – especially Skaven and Chaos Dwarfs as they can now hire and develop their own Big Guy players.