by Joe Harkleroad (www.blood-bowl.net)
When I was planning my first league and trying to decide which team to play, I decided on Goblins because they were the weakest, sorriest team type out there. I had accidentally overlooked the Halflings, but Goblins are still 2nd to last.
Think of it like this:
Average movement (MV)
Well below average armour (AV)
Below average strength (ST)
Average agility (AG)
So, they like to get beaten up a lot and killed even more. Why play them? If you want a challenge then go for it (which is the only real reason I can think of). Their strengths are almost as numerous as their weaknesses but they include numerous (very cheap) Star Players, the skills dodge, stunty and right stuff (we’ll get into those later), and the Goblins themselves very cheap.
Now, regarding their first strength, I have read many a strategy FAQ and team tactics everywhere I could get my hands on them and they all say, “Don’t rely on your Star Players”. For Goblins, forget all that. Your Star Players are the only ones that can get casualties. The Star Players that are of any worth are Morg’N’Thorg, Fungus the Loon, Nobbla Blackwart, and Ripper Bolgrot. Since Goblins are so cheap, you can start with three of these Star Players right off.
The Goblin Players (pros and cons)
Goblins: They don’t have many pros but the ones they do have have won me games. I’ve seen Goblins dodge through three tackle zones (TZ) flawlessly with Stunty but then that last dodge away from the fringe guy, fail twice and fall. Don’t let Stunty lure you into a false sense of security. Stick with the old Blood Bowl addage, “The less dice rolls, the better the play”. It might not hurt if say, at the end of your turn, your last useless Goblin on the wrong side of the field trys to dodge somewhere useful. It’s just that I’ve rolled too many double 1’s or a 1 and a 2, to use the skill Stunty that much.
Dodge is useful (we all know that). Just watch out for the Dwarves; the skill Tackle will kill your strategy, make your Goblins even more useless and you rerolls will dissappear faster.
By far, the skill Right Stuff is the most useful skill the Goblins have, as long as you have someone with Throw Teammate that is. That’s why you need to buy Morg’N’Thorg right off. I’ve won more games than not by throwing Goblins into/near the End Zone (EZ) with the ball. It’s a little harder to do (more dice rolls), but if done right you could take the ball (first turn after the kickoff) from your back field and score with it (details below).
Skills: I’ll talk about the skills for Goblins now since they are the only players who can have Star Player Points (SPP) and hence the only players who can get skills. All I can say is, pray you roll doubles early on. The only Skill Category that Goblins can have is Agility. That’s not bad, but by itself is very limiting. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were General and Agility, but God forbid Goblins get useful skills like Block (?), Dirty Player, Dauntless (can you imagine?) or Kick. As it stands, the only truly useful skills for Goblins are Jump Up, Sprint, Leap, Side Step and Sure Feet. Jump Up, Sprint and Sure Feet are the most useful because they increase the movement potential of your Goblins, which will help against quick Skaven and Human teams. Besides, the Sure Feet and Sprint combo is a sure fire success.
My Goblins always seem to get pushed so (even when it’s “three dice, my opponent chooses) Side Step would be useful. Then last but not least, Leap. It sounds good in theory but it encourages players to make more and more dodges to try and do cool things which means more and more dice rolls (see the Blood Bowl addage above). In theory, if you throw a Goblin near the EZ, while he’s holding the ball of course, then you could Leap your front line over to the other side to run interference and get in the way. The last two skills are Catch and Diving Catch. I usually don’t rely on the Goblin passing game since the range is decreased by one but it could be done. In that case, Catch and Diving Catch are essential. I’ld give your reciever Diving Catch first because if you start making those Long Passes with a -2, chances are the pass will fail and the ball will scatter. Diving Catch will let you go for it and still complete the pass. The reason I don’t suggest Diving Tackle is for this reason; can you see a 2 ST Goblin throwing a block on a 3 ST blitzer as he’s running by to clobber your ball carrier? Granted, if you knocked him down, it would end his turn and the ball would be safe but it will be “two dice, defender chooses”. With some luck, you can just push him but you’re opponent will be choosing.
Now we’ll talk about all the skills if you’re lucky enough to roll doubles. First, it’s General Skills. Two words, Dirty Player. There is no doubt. Every team MUST have a Dirty Player. Especially the ones that aren’t that great at blocking. You need a Goblin to run around as your clean up crew mopping up all of your opponents that fail a movement or get knocked over by Morg or if Fungus failed to break armour so on and so forth. Don’t hesitate. If that Goblin lives long enough to get another skill, on doubles give him Pro (the unltimate skill for your DP) or give him Sprint or Sure Feet so he can run around the board to get to every down player. Another good general skill to take is Kick (for obvious reasons). Think about Sure Hands for your reciever. If you like to have fun then choose Dauntless. Think about all the fun you can have when your Goblin throws a block on Headsplitter with an assist and then knocks him on his…well, you get the picture.
If you want to further your Passing game, or fill in the lack thereof, then go for (say it with me) Passing skills. You can give a Goblin Accurate or Strong Arm to counteract the weak Goblin throwing game, namely the shortened throwing range, or Pass so you can save those rerolls for Fungus. Dump-Off is useless since Goblins (unless they have Strong Arm) can’t throw Quick Passes. In three seasons of Blood Bowl, I’ve never seen a successful interception so until then, I won’t ever think about taking Safe Throw. The last one is Hail Mary Pass. I have to say that Hail Mary Pass coupled with Diving Catch is too insane to pass up. With Hail Mary Pass, you can ignore the fact that Goblins can’t pass that well and with Diving Catch, chances are the ball will stay within one square of you. The second skill you need for your Hail Mary Pass reciever is Catch of course.
I don’t even need to talk about Strength Skills because if your crazy enough to throw more than five blocks with normal Goblins during the whole game, then you must either outnumber your brand-new opponent 3-1 or you must be playing against the Halflings. Either way, the only way that you’ld want to take a Strength skill is if you roll a second set of doubles for your Dauntless Goblin (see General Skills above) or if you happen to increase a Goblin’s ST. Then give him Mighty Blow. If you’re hell-bent on a Strength skill, whether it be because your a little messed up in the head or just want to have fun, then go with Guard or Stand Firm. If you’re really crazy or if you can garuntee that you’ll be able to throw the “two dice I choose” blocks, however few they may be, with the same Goblin, then give him Mighty Blow. Piling On would be a waste of a skill and Break Tackle would be stupid (for obvious reasons).
Morg n’ Thorg: I shouldn’t have to say too much in praise of him. My all-time favorite Star Player has thrown more Goblins than Mike Tyson’s opponents have thrown matches. Block and Mighty Blow are very effective in thinning out your opponent’s numbers and Thick Skull will keep him on the field. A 6 MV is average, with a 6 ST, he can pound down 98% of the players in the game, his 3 AG makes it easy for him to pickup and throw Goblins as well as the occasional dodge, and the 10 AV is hard to crack. Watch out for those Dirty Players and Special Play cards. There are only two strategies your opponent can bring against someone that strong. First, they could try to get him out of the game by obligating 25% or more of their team to taking him down. The normal team would need a 3 ST player with four assists. That’s seven people against one. I call big players like that “whoopass magnets” because opposing teams ALWAYS try to get them out by surrounding him with five or more players for the block and then the foul. With the Goblins, not only is that essential to survival, it also helps to win. Then the Goblins only have six or seven other players to deal with on their own. That means a couple of them actually get to throw some “2 dice I choose” blocks by surrounding opponents with Goblins. Second, they could just leave 1 or 2 players in his general vicinity to annoy him and try to slow him down. That’s also good because he can pound his way through them easily. What I’m getting at is, if your opponent doesn’t take him out early on then it’s all over. It’s a no win situation for them.
Fungus The Loon: I know that he has to move first and if he is “knackered” that he’ll end your turn. That’s what your rerolls are for. They’re to reroll those failed “Knackered” rolls. The rest of your team gets to reroll most of their actions for free because of skills like Dodge and Sure Feet. You’ll be surprised how many turnovers you experience from dodging with Stunty. Save those rerolls for Fungus. I also know that he has no TZ and that he usually gets kicked out for his Secret Weapon on the 1rst or 2nd kickoff but by the time he gets kicked out he’s taken out two or three of the opposing players. I also know that there is the potential that he can throw a block on one of your own players. If he throws a block on a Goblin, he’ll get three dice. How many times have you ever seen three dice thrown and not a single “Push Back” or explosion with exclamation point rolled? Hardly ever! Your Goblins are safe. Just watch out for the big guys on your own team. Keep Fungus away from them.
Now that I’ve justified all of his bad points, let’s look at his good points. I always put him on my line no matter what. Your opponent can’t throw blocks against him so it is one less block that your opponent can throw against you. With Fungus and two Goblins on the line, that’s only three Goblins that will die on that first turn! You’re already winning the game if you have less than four Goblins out of the game at the end of the first half! I know you think I’m joking but you’ll see. Since he’s on the line, and your opponent has to put at least three people on the line, it’s obvious where he’s going to wander. He is another 6 ST player. That makes two so far! He is cheap. In fact, he’s the cheapest (tied with Scrappa Sorehead) Star Player out there. All of his good points outweight his not so bad points to make him a hearty addition to the Goblin’s Four Horsemen of “Dish-it-out”
Nobbla Blackwart: It depends on what day of the week it is what my answer to “Who is your favorite Blood Bowl Star Player?” will be. Today it’s Morg’N’Thorg but Nobbla shows up in a close second. Here are his cons. He has to spend a turn starting his chainsaw and can’t do anything else. Not only that but it’s a “straight-up” Agility roll to start it. But, once again, that’s what rerolls are for. If someone has to break his armour for some reason, they get a +1 ‘cuz he’s a Goblin and a +3 for the Chainsaw. They were gonna break it anyway, him having a 6 armour and all. Everytime he comes back onto the field, he has to start the Chainsaw again. At least it’s not considered a turnover if he doesn’t. The last point is that he usually gets kicked out along with Fungus on the 1rst or 2nd kickoff.
Pros: How can you turn your head away from him as a member of your team when he forgoes block dice and goes straight to an armour roll…and breaks it at a +3? He is your big guy killer. Suddenly a Morg’N’Thorg becomes armour 7 and everyone else (at least normal players) becomes armour 5. How can you turn that up? If you don’t have any Dirty Players, then you can foul with him at a +3 to break armour as well and also with assists. I wouldn’t recommend fouling with him though because the Referee usually doesn’t have a problem tracking down the loud engine, screaming players and trail of blood/parts. The only problem is that you can’t leave him in the thick of things because he’s only at a 2 ST. When he recieves a block they injure him at a +3. That means that he’ll be your “surgical strike” guy (not that there’s anything surgical about a Chainsaw). You’ll have to blitz in, saw up those 6 ST guys, and then move back away. If you can’t blitz with him, don’t leave him near crowds of the opponent. Move him somewhere advantageous for the next turn. When you setup, leave him in the backfield with your reciever/interference runner.
Scrappa Sorehead: I’ll never buy this Star Player. All the Pogo Stick gives him is two extra squares that he can move when he “goes for it” and he has the leap skill. With a potential 10 MV and leap, it’s obvious that he was made to be a scorer. I don’t like scoring with Star Players since they don’t get SPP’s. Besides if you “go for it” all the way, that’s four chances to roll a 1. If he had Sure Feet, I’ld think about him, maybe. Otherwise, NO. Besides, just for the opportunity to roll four 1’s and the leap skill, he has a penalty roll AND you’re paying an extra 20k for two skills (Leap and an improved version of Sprint) with no chance for advancement. If you don’t mind making touchdowns with Star Player’s though, he has Right Stuff and he could make your Teammate Throw easier for Morg by lessening the distance.
Boomer Dribblesnot: He is a potential waste and I run an efficient (at least as efficient as I can get) Goblin team. It’s up to chance whether or not the bomb will scatter somewhere useful. If it doesn’t land on a square with someone in it, then it only knocks down people in adjacent squares on a 4+. Not only that, but players can catch the bomb and throw it back (no thank you). There aren’t many times that your opponent will actually have five or more players clustered together. You may get one or two chances like that but I find that my opponents learn quickly regarding Nobbla and Fungus and they’ll pick up on Bommer too. He’s not as bad as Scrappa and has the potential for good BUT you can only have four Star Players. Morg, Nobbla and Fungus are essential, and your 4rth player should be ‘Ripper’ Bolgrot. Those are the Four Horsemen of “Dish-it-out” for any Goblin team.
Ripper Bolgrot: Don’t start with him but save up for him to be your 4rth Star Player. He’s a watered down Morg’N’Thorg with -2 movement, -2 Agility and no block. Dwarves would eat this guy for breakfast (or is that Halflings?). Ripper Bolgrot has Throw Teammate but also has that dreaded 1 AG. The odds are against him and he can only throw a Quick Pass. If he’s in any Tackle Zones then forget about it. Do the math. Da Rulz Boyz had this to say about it:
“You know you don’t have to throw your Team Mate with him….”
Then why did they give him the skill? I don’t know. All I can say is, don’t throw anyone with him unless it will be a game winner or he’s your only chance. Otherwise, he’s yet another powerful addition to your front line. ‘Ripper’, Fungus and Morg. Can’t go wrong with that, just keep Fungus away from either of them ‘cuz it will be a straight up block and we don’t want either of them going down during your first action of the game, ok? Maybe put a few goblins in there to for assists or to add TZs so your opponent doesn’t knock them both down on his first turn. I know that leaves a lot of your opponent’s players alone with the two of them but if you kick off, Fungus will spread a few of them out for you. Like I said, leave a few Goblins on the ends to take up a few TZs and you’re golden.