by Dan Barnaby (www.blood-bowl.net)
Dark Elves have a great advantage over most other teams. They ALL have an agility of 4!! Now this may seem like a weak advantage, but in Blood Bowl, and advantage is a good one.
Example of a starting Dark Elf Team.
These is two example teams I use on a regular basis for Blood Bowl.
Dark Elf Example 1
7 Line elves 490,000
2 Blitzers 200,000
1 Witch Elf 110,000
1 Minotaur 110,000
1 Reroll 50,000
2 Fan Factor 20,000
Dark Elf Example 2
8 Line elves 560,000
2 Blitzers 200,000
1 Witch Elf 110,000
2 Reroll 100,000
3 Fan Factor 30,000
Get used to playing with less players then you opponent. It is going to happen and the only way to get all your special players out on the field is going to be at the start of a league. The first thing you want to buy for both teams is an Apothecary! If you have any left over then get more fan factor, then start buying Line Elves as quick as you can!!! With your best Armour being a 8 your ARE going to lose players. What you need to have later in the league is going to be replacement players. If you are playing in a league with Rookie Big Guys then by all means trade off one of your Witch Elves for them!!! You might loss a great scoring component in your game, but at least you will have someone left on the pitch at the end of the match!
The Dark Elf Players (pros and cons)
Line Elves: THE best linemen in the game are the Dark Elf linemen!!! They can get the best combo of skills in the game, Block AND Dodge!!! Their low armour value means that they will get smashed once in awhile, so expect that. They have an average movement but they all have an Agility of 4!! This means that if you don’t buy a passer at the start of your league, you can make one if he rolls doubles!! Line Elves are good.
Skills: Block and then dodge, or Dodge and then Block. Either way you begin advanced your Line Elves they should ALWAYS have these two combinations to begin with. What this does is make it very hard for even the largest of creatures to take them down. Their is only ONE clear “pushed back and knocked down” result on the dice. These two skills make these regular Line Elves, really, really, good! After you have these two skills then it’s time to be creative! Dark Elves seem like cheaters, so get a Dirty Player. Guard is great skill, and so is Dauntless, and Pro. Pass Block is great for all those other Elf teams, and Leader is NEVER a bad choice. But if I were to roll doubles, then Mighty Blow is the skill to get. It’s hard enough to put the hurt on other teams if your an Elf, when you have the chance to get it, don’t pass it up!
Blitzers: These fellas are great also. Have you ever wanted a Human Blitzer with an Agility upgrade? Well here he is! He starts off with Block which is nice, but once again, it’s the Block/Dodge combo that makes him dangerous! With those two skills it makes him very hard to take down, and he becomes a great ball carrier.
Skills: Well after the mandatory Block/Dodge combo where do you go? Want a great ball carrier? How about Sure Hands, Pro, Sprint, Sure Feet, Leap? What about a Linebacker? Try Strip Ball (a GREAT skill), Pro, Pass Block, and maybe even Shadowing. You can make a Blitzer into a sick Blood Bowler! After you get Dodge, then just try what works best for you.
Throwers: Well, these guys are just Line Elves with the pass skill. Some people don’t think that Dark Elves should play the passing game, I disagree. If you buy a Thrower then use him. But the greatest thing about a Thrower is that they can get from the Pass skills. I think you should try to have one.
Skills: Well I like to have a thrower on my team, and I usually don’t get the Block/Dodge combo for him. Suprising I know, but if he is getting in on the Blocks then I need to rethink my strategies. But then again, if you are playing Dark Elves, there are going to be games when you need a good hitting Thrower. So if you are planning on a defensive Thrower, go for something like Block, Dodge, Strong Arm, Sure Hands and Pro. Now if you want the traditional “Just go long” Throwers then I would suggest Dodge skill first cause you can ALWAYS use a dodge, and then Sure Hands, Strong Arm, Accurate, and Nerves of Steel. Pro is great to if you think you’ll need it. Remember, ALL Dark Elves have an agility of 4!
Witch Elves: What can ya say about this ladies? I love them. They start off with three skills, putting them in the same class as the Wardancer, or Troll Slayer, but they are not that deadly at all. They have a VERY low armour value, but they have great speed and Jump-up is a nice skill. An Agility of four (like the rest of your team) makes their dodges almost a sure thing, All-in-all, they make great catchers, and in a pinch can move to assist a block where most Blood Bowl players could never make it!!!
Skills: Well these ladies make the best Receivers in the great game of Blood Bowl! They already start with a 7 movement, but then they have a Dodge, Jump-up, and Frenzy. The first skill I like to give these ladies is Block! I know it seems like it is redundant but ANYTHING that will keep your players off the ground is a good thing! Especially these ladies cause they are marked targets from the moment they take the pitch! Now after Block, you can make the Witch Elf a very versatile tool in your team. They make great catchers with Catch, Leap, Sure Feet, Sprint. But they also make a good Blitzer type with skills like, Leap, Pro, Strip Ball, Pass Block. If you roll doubles, then get Mighty Blow. It is a great skill that we’ve already talked about but I warn you now. If you give a Witch Elf Mighty Blow then you are going to get a lot of laughs from the opponent. “All right…my Witch Elf knocks you down, now I am going use my Mighty Blow skill….”. See how that sounds? You’ve got to be tough to play Dark Elves friends!!
Minotaurs: If you are playing in a league with Rookie Big guys then at all costs buy a Minatour for your team!!!! In some games I have played, this is the only member of my team still standing!! He’s big, he’s got horns, and so what if he goes crazy and has to move first? Just make sure that he is closest to the enemy and let him do his thing! The only bad thing about the Minatour is that he does have to move first on your team. One of the last things you should do on your turns is to make sure that he has some support, but never put an Elf in harms way for the Minatour, even if they knock him down, chances are they won’t kill him.
Skills: First thing…BLOCK!!!! A big guy with out Block is just silly. Now, if you roll doubles….I still say get Block!!! Going first will get this guy in trouble at times, if he has block then he has a better chance of surviving. After that, if you roll doubles take away the negative skill, and then after that, you can think about how to make him a creature of mass destruction!
How the troops are placed
Defense: The key to playing Dark Elves is in your ability to move! First thing is to remember that you need only place three players up on the line! If you are playing with Rookie Big Guys, then one of them is the Minatour!! The rest are sacrificial lambs that we, as Dark Elf Coaches HOPE will survive! Now, if they have the Block/Dodge combo, I always feel a little better about these two poor fools. But I try to leave at least two people in my own backfield. These guys are going to slow down any ball carriers that come barreling through your line. Push a Witch Elf or something into HIS backfield! This will make him very nervous, and they’ll get rid of the ball faster, throwing it either away from his intended target, or into traffic! Either way it’s good for you. But also this helps if you mange to get the ball, all of a sudden, you have a man/woman open deep! The slow down tactic is a wonderful thing. By never giving an opposing coach more than one shot a turn at your people you make it take for ever for him to score. Remember, you only get one Blitz a turn, if you keep dodging back ONE square at a time, he’ll never make it down field, and he’ll have to try something more challenging, and you will dodge into a empty square (out of his tackle zone) on anything but a 1. So try it, it works!
Offense: This will vary depending on your playing style. If you like to try and get a Witch Elf open down field then go for it! If you get her 5 hexes into your opponent side of the pitch, then she can score on the very next turn!!! If you think you can hold the opposing team off for a bit, then run your Thrower around in the back field for awhile, hopefully they will go after the ball, and not the Witch Elf streaking down the side line (not bloody likely!). Here’s the key in a good Dark Elf play book. ALL Dark Elves have an Agility of 4! That makes them ALL good Throwers, Catchers, and Runners! If your Witch elf can’t break free then send a Line elf out into the open. If the Thrower gets nailed, and you get the ball back, then have him toss it! The Run/Hand-off/Run/Pass play or the Hand-off/Run/Pass/Run play are both ways of making your opponent say “Geez! I never knew they could move the ball so fast!” Master those movement combinations and you will be amazed at how fast you can score!