by Milo Sharp (www.blood-bowl.net)
In the Old World the dead do not rest easy. Vampires lurk in haunted castles in the sinister forests of Sylvania. Necromancers seek to escape their mortality by searching for forbidden knowledge within the pages of accursed books. In lost pyramids buried beneath the desert sands of the Kingdom of the Dead, the Liche-Lords rule over legions of corpses, their servants in death as they were in life. In the musty crypts of dead noblemen, tomb robbers freeze in terror when they head the clink of silver rings and movement behind them. And on the Blood Bowl field, players who died long go return to the scenes of their former glory and play Blood Bowl once again…
The single biggest advantage of the Undead is regeneration. Where other teams are cleaned of the pitch for the game, the undead keep coming back for more. One can’t say that 50% regeneration is a game-winner(it’s not block), but it is a game-SAVER, and when it does work you’ll be a happy necromancer. Another advantage of the undead is the cheap cost of their line-feebs. Couple this with regen and you have a team that is relatively easy to fund and keep on the pitch. This means you get an advantage in the game you are playing and in “recovering” for your next match.
The third, and final, advantage of the undead is in their position players—namely the ghouls and mummies(I’d mention vampires too, if you allow them). With 5ST on the mummies and the ghouls with good speed and access to AG skills, you have both the bash and scoring angles covered in small amounts. Exploit this versatility whenever possible.
Some believe they are too numerous to list. No access to wizards for starters. No access to an apothecary. Their ghouls, who also happen to be their premiere ball-handlers, cannot regenerate (making them very vulnerable to being knocked out for the match – or longer). The bulk of the team players are slow. They lack agility. They have no rostered passer and possess very little “non-general” skill access.
The drawbacks mount up, but it is overcoming these seeming hurdles that is the challenge for an aspiring Necromancer.
Unlike other teams (e.g. skaven), tackle zones are not the bane of the undead.
In fact, you want to keep your opponents in your tacklezones just to slow them down so you can get your bony claws on them! Work to tie up as many opponents into disadvantaged field positions and blocks as possible. Using your mummies as focal points is an excellent way to start down the path towards destroying your opponent—and destroy him you must. Speed kills, and nothing beats undead more than teams that can outrun them.
Game-flow control is key. Make your opponent play at your pace. Try to stonewall his offense at the LoS and force him to cough up the ball right around there. Cost him players every turn if you can. Remember the cheap cost of your players; getting a zombie ejected for badly hurting an elf on a foul is always a good return.
For line-feebs like zombies and skeletons, skills such as Dirty Player, Block, Pro, and Tackle should be the developement route (and possibly in that order). You’ll want to give one Leader, and another kick as well. If you get doubles consider Mighty Blow (so long as you don’t have DP yet), Guard, and Stand Firm, or (more rarely) Diving Tackle or Jump Up. It should also be noted that although I’ve heard one coach choose skeletons over zombies “because of the move difference”, I’ve always recommended zombies for the better AV. Your feebs are supposed to take hits and give them.
Moving around is secondary to the more important goal of staying on the pitch. I’ll also point out that the coach who chose skeletons has started getting zombies after getting his skeletons crushed repeatedly. One or two skeletons is fine. But let the wights and ghouls do the moving…
Speaking of wights and ghouls… Give wights blitzer-type skills: Tackle, Pro, Strip Ball, Dauntless. On doubles, consider giving them Dodge, Stand Firm, Mighty Blow, or maybe Guard (and if you are feeling crazy, but Multiple Block on one with Dauntless). Hope that one gets +1AG so that he can become an awesome ball-handler. It is often felt that wights are “crappy blitzers” because they only have general access and average stats, but put faith in these blokes because they are your back-up ball-handlers and need to be developed.
Ghouls: your workhorses. These guys will serve as your scorers, blitzers, safeties, you name it. Give them Block right off to make them hard to take down. After that it’s all up to you. Best picks (in no particular order): Side-step, Shadowing, Diving Tackle, Sure Hands. Hope for +1AG. On doubles take either Mighty Blow or Stand Firm. If you do take Mighty Blow, make sure to pick up Tackle and make this guy a catcher-killing safety. Just try and be sure not to out-run your offensive line unless you plan on scoring.
Mummies: Use these guys to beat the life out of your opponents and break up their game. Combos that work: Block/Stand Firm/Break Tackle (yeah, yeah- I hear you talkin’ MA 3, but this combo really does work), Block/Guard/Stand Firm. Piling On is also nice (hope for doubles – Jump Up), as is Frenzy. Going back to doubles, I’d recommend Dodge and Diving Tackle primarily.
Some last(ing) tips: Choose to kick to your opponent if you can. Come second half the game should at least be 1-1, you’ll be receiving and should have your opponent undermanned (or at least short a few position players). I cannot stress enough the importance of tackle zones. Use ‘em to reduce your opponent to a crawl. Foul downed foes (never the stunned guy). Never argue the call unless your league plays that the regen isn’t tied to the Necro.
Oh… and one last thing. Try to nail your opponent’s favorite player, then raise him from the dead. Sucks to be alive. :)