A common problem with new players in Blood Bowl is choosing a team that’s not beginner friendly. There’s a lot of teams, a lot of unique playstyles, and a lot of great looking models. It can be hard to nail down what team you want to play. I would suggest starting with a team that’s easy to learn with before you jump into a team that requires more finesse and experience.
There’s a few common things that make a team beginner friendly in Blood Bowl and that’s what I’ll go over.
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Designated Team Structure/Positionals
This, I feel, is the biggest element with good Blood Bowl beginner teams. What I mean by a designated structure is that the team has obvious positionals.
In Blood Bowl you have: Linemen (grunts), Positionals (specialists), and Big Guys (smashy, smashy!).
Let’s take a Human team:
The names of the positions make it glaringly obvious what each position is good for. Also, a team like Humans have all the essentials covered with their positionals.
By contrast, let’s look at a Chaos team:
The Chaos Warriors/Blockers are straightforward in their job, but the Beastmen aren’t. Beastmen are a blank slate and they can be built to do countless jobs on the field. The approach on how this team is developed is entirely up to you, and that requires experience with the game.
My advice is to look at a team that has a lot of positionals and the structure of the team is already established. I’ll cover my specific choices further below.
This is related to what I said above about having positionals. Positional players are going to start with skills that help them do their job. A Human Thrower starts with Sure Hands (Pickup re-roll) and Pass (re-roll when Throwing). A Human Catcher starts with Catch (re-roll to Catch) and Dodge (re-roll to Dodge and avoids Defender Stumbles).
You get the idea – they start with skills that help them, which is typically in the form of a re-roll. This allows you to learn the game, make mistakes, but have a fallback/re-roll. Teams like this are far more forgiving than say a Chaos team.
These things aren’t required but will really help you out.
High Armor Value
Blood Bowl teams that have high armor are going to be more forgiving of mistakes. It makes it harder for your opponent to injury your players, and it also helps you from injuring yourself if you fail a Dodge, get Both Down and you don’t have Block, Attacker Down, etc.
An average armor value in Blood Bowl is 8. That means a roll of a 9 is required to Break Armor. The average roll on a 2D6 is a 7. So, you can see it gives you some breathing room and you won’t have to worry so much.
Again, this isn’t required, but good armor along with good positionals will really help you do well and gain experience.
I suggest choosing a team that has an average movement of 6. Slower teams are still great choices, however, you will have a harder time scoring, or stopping your opponent from scoring, while you’re picking up the game.
Any time you are Knocked Down, you have to pay a 3 movement penalty to get up. If you have a player with MV6 then you can get up and move 3 squares. If you’re player is only MV4 then you get up and move 1 square.
As you’re learning Blood Bowl you will get knocked down a lot; I mean a lot. Having movement to help you move forward after being put on your butt will help tremendously.
Good Blood Bowl Beginner Teams
With all that being said, my top 3 choices for Blood Bowl Beginner teams are:
Orcs start with great positionals and have muscle with Black Orcs. The team has a high armor on average (AV9) and OK movement.
The movement is the weaker part of the team, being about MV5 on average. However, Orcs have Black Orcs to throw around some muscle and punch the opponent, something the other suggested teams lack.
Orcs will generally run the ball, though the option to pass is there, and there’s a lot of solid choices in how the team is built. It’s a very forgiving team with mistakes as well, which is why it’s my #1 suggested beginner team.
Humans offer a lot of positionals, which gives you a lot of re-rolls to critical skills. The movement on average is 6-7 depending on how you build, so a lot of speed to move the ball and shut down a slower opponent.
The average armor on the Human team is 8, so not as tough as Orcs but able to take a hit still.
Humans are the jack-of-all-trades, which is useful while learning the game, but it can also prove a bit challenging. Orcs and Dwarves lean towards a more bashy game, while Humans can do a bit of everything.
The good thing is you won’t ever have a bad matchup with Humans. However, you’ll find it tougher to excel in any one area too.
Aside: There’s a reason that the Blood Bowl game comes with the Human team and the Orc team.
#3) Dwarven Team
The Dwarven team is the harder of the suggested teams for a beginner but still very viable as you learn.
Dwarves have an average armor of 9, but an average movement of 4-5 depending on the build – so, very slow.
However, Dwarves start with a lot of players having the Block skill, which is super useful for a new team.
Dwarves are little tanks that slog their way up the field and smash down their opponent. They are not the easiest team to score with, and can honestly be tricky to play well, but they are easily the most forgiving team to start with as well. Seldom will you be outnumbered when using Dwarves.
While those 3 teams are my recommendations for beginner Blood Bowl players, there are some other teams that can still do well in a new players hands. They just require a bit more patience and time to learn.
Any Elf team: High Elves, Wood Elves, Elven Union, or Dark Elves, are all great teams. They offer high movement, high agility, and the ability to score in virtually any situation. They all make good beginner teams.
The downside to Elven teams is the lower armor, AV7 on average. High Elves have higher armor (AV8 on average), but their players cost a lot more too, making it hard to recover from early injuries in a season.
If you prefer a passing style of game then check out Wood Elves or Elven Union. Dark Elves are more of a running style, but still perfectly capable of passing.
Again, a great choice for a beginner team but you can get easily frustrated when your players are constantly being sent off the pitch. There’s more finesse involved with these teams too in order to set up good passing plays and avoid being smashed into the field.
All Amazons start with the Dodge skill and have a movement of 6. The downside with the team is the AV7, so you’ll have a lot of ladies sent off the pitch.
They’re sort of a mix between a Human team and an Elven team and a solid pick if you want something different to start with.
The Undead team is a good beginner team but can be tricky. It’s a combination of slow players (Zombies, Skeletons, and Mummies), with average to fast players (Wights and Ghouls).
It’s also a mix of various armor values, but overall a team that can take a hit.
What makes the team good is cheap players and it’s also a versatile team as well. Undead can face any team and have a chance but it does take a little practice to get there.
Beginner Tips & Advice
Notice I haven’t mentioned the big guys, IE: Human Ogre? If you’re brand new to the game, then I suggest skipping the big guy, for whatever team, when you’re learning.
Big guys are great in that they give you some muscle, however, they all have a downside – a negative trait.
An Ogre has to roll Bonehead to do anything and on a 1 he loses all tackle zones and can’t do anything. The Ogre has Loner as well, meaning to re-roll anything you have to first roll a 4+. If you fail that 4+ you still lose the re-roll.
Furthermore, they don’t start with blocking mitigation skills like Block. This makes them a potential detriment to your team.
Big guys are great to add in a bit later with some games under your belt, but I wouldn’t recommend starting with them.
When you’re building your starter roster, be sure you add around 3 re-rolls. The value of re-rolls is evident, but also once you start playing it costs twice as much to buy a re-roll later.
Starting with too few re-rolls early can be very costly to get, and take a long time too if you aren’t winning games and making a lot of gold.
Setups & Strategy
I highly recommend learning some basic setups and strategies as you learn the game and your team. Far too often I see new players just put everyone on the line of scrimmage, or they don’t set up their offense to stop a potential Blitz on the kickoff.
Those 3 resources are great and what I used when I was learning the game. Get in the habit of using good kickoff setups and you’ll be way ahead of the curve.
Also, be sure to check out the great site of BB Tactics. There’s a wealth of information to be found on that site for teams, players, strategies, and more. That’s another resource I used a lot when I was new, and I still use it to this day.
There’s a bit of management involved with creating a roster and maintaining if if you’re playing in a league. You can do your rosters by hand, or in a spreadsheet, but I’ve come to love using Little Army Designer for my team management.
There you have my humble opinion on my recommended Blood Bowl beginner teams.
This, of course, is just my opinion and you’re always welcomed to play any team you like. However, if you start with one of these teams then you’ll be able to get a grasp on the game easily, get experience, and hopefully avoid frustration. Early frustration with the team/game can really put you off.
Once you’ve got some experience then experiment with other teams by all means – I highly suggest it!
The great part of Blood Bowl is the affordability of it. It’s cheap enough to get a new team and try something completely new, so you aren’t locked into one team forever. Most of us have 4+ teams because it’s cheap and offers us something different when we play.
No matter what team you choose, just have fun! Blood Bowl is a great game and very rewarding, but you can’t take it too seriously because Nuffle will always rain on your parade.
Lastly, if you’re looking at this because you’re interested in playing Blood Bowl, then definitely check out my Blood Bowl 2016 guide.