Most of this was taken over the years from the Cyanide forums and talking with various experienced coaches. Some of this can be found right here on our Safe Haven forums!
First thing I want you (new coaches reading this) to do is to read the first 17 pages of the rulebook. Play a few games to see what the game is about, but the rulebook is the #1 source of all starting player information. Legendary Edition uses the current Blood Bowl rule book: the Competition Rules Pack (CRP) aka Living Rulebook 6 or the Claw Skill is OP Ruleset depending on who you ask.
Seconldly, add all of us Blood Bowl players to your friends list and bother them daily to play a game. You'll learn by losing! Then go and join the Open League and get a headstart on a new team to enter SHUFL (Safe Haven United Football League), the main or Major League for Safe Haven. After playing a few games come back here.
Now that you have a few games played and you understand some of the rules, what team should you be playing with? Really it depends on what you think would work best for you.
Passing Game vs a Running Game:
Teams can be seperated into either a Running team, a Passing team, or a mix of both.
A Running teams strategy is all about getting the ball to the end zone by stomping down field, taking up every turn of the half if needed. Handing off the ball is used only to quicken the play and almost always should be done with a Team reroll in stock. Passing is done only in extreme cases where you could potentially lose the next turn, as Running teams generally don't have the required skills or stats to throw the ball around whenever you want.
If throwing the ball sounds more like your cup of tea, then you should try a Passing team. These teams quickly move the ball for a quick touchdown either using high agility or specialized positionals like throwers and catchers to either throw the ball long distances or use high movement players with Handoffs.
When you're learning the game I always recommend playing a few games with a Running team, since it's less risky. Then play a few games with a Passing team and see the difference in play style.
Passing Game > High Elves > Pro Elves > Wood Elves > Skaven > Vampires > Humans > Dark Elves > Amazon > Norse > Lizardmen > Orcs > Necromantic > Undead > Chaos > Nurgle > Haflings > Goblins > Ogres > Dwarves > Khemri > Running Game
Armor and Damage Potential
AKA "Bashy". Teams with higher Armor Values are intended to stand next to other players and beat them into the ground, and thus are well equipped to take beatings themselves. However, it should be known that any team can be made to injure other players - even Halflings!
Because higher armor results in less injuries, "Bashy" teams are good teams for starting coaches to start learning how to play the game. Generally the more Bashy a team is, the more of a Running team it is. New coaches: Killing off an opposing coaches' players is a viable strategy to win, but it won't always work: armor breaks and injury rolls are subject to chance (like everything else in Nuffle's Great Game), but your opponent chooses when you can hit his players. A player can be made to dodge away, or run far enough that you can't hit them. Your priority in every Blood Bowl game should be to grab the ball, hold on to it, and score a touchdown using the least amount of dice you can to prevent turn overs.
Just how bashy is your team? Teams listed on the same line are equal in strength and staying power, and the further down you go the weaker the team is damage-causing wise on paper. Any team is capable of brutalizing another team given lucky dice.
Chaos, Nurgle, Orcs, Dwarves,
Lizardmen, Norse, Undead, Necromantic, Ogres,
Vampires, Dark Elves, Amazon, High Elves,
Pro Elves, Humans, Skaven, Wood Elves,
NOTE: Lizardmen and Ogres are comprised of one half high strength meatheads and one part agile stunties, and are difficult to place. On one hand they can move the ball quickly, either by running real far and handing off or getting thrown across the pitch, and on the other they are the most scary line in the game; Lizards have six 4 Strength blockers AND a Big Guy, and Ogres have six Big Guys without Loner.
Teams are also categorized in tiers in terms of overall winning %, (the number is paranthesis). Not all teams in Blood Bowl are created equal - Tier 3 is intended for experienced coaches only. Tier 2 teams are intended for newer coaches who want something different without sacrificing too much.
Tier 2 (50%): Chaos, Humans, Khemri, Dark Elves, High Elves, Nurgle, Necromantic, Pro Elves
Tier 3 (35%): Halflings, Goblins, Vampires, Ogres
If you still don't know what to pick for a team, try out Humans, Orcs, Dwarves, Wood Elves, Chaos, or Skaven. These 6 teams can be considered basic teams and are fairly straight forward to play. Dwarves, Orcs, and Chaos prefer to beat players up and move the ball up the field slowly, while Humans, Skaven, and Wood Elves prefer to move the ball quickly.
See I have to disagree strongly with them. Chaos are NOT a good starting team, as the lack of skills can be extremely frustrating for a new player, and the lack of balance slows down how fast they learn the game.
Dwarves are also not a good starting team, because while they are easy to play, they are stuck playing a specific set of strategies. Because of this, again the ability to learn the game is slowed. With the dwarves especially, you learn little about how to play the game, and more how to play dwarves. Most coaches who start with dwarves have extreme struggles against experienced coaches because of this. So while easy, i'd say overall its a bad idea (unless you have multiple teams and a chance to learn the basics of the game too)
Great stuff Oni, but I have to disagree with Goblins not being a bashy team. They are the epitome of "injure/kill as many players as you can, however you can, and as quickly as you can or you will get steam-rolled" I'd also move Lizzies into the running teams as stunty passing is asking for trouble. Orcs can pass better.
Both crazyguy and Bloody make good points but newbie Zons can get smacked around a bit until they get a good 8-10 games under their belt. Another piece I would recommend is to play a good 10-20 single-player matches against the PC until you can consistently beat them. Long enough that you learn some of the basic strategy, then start playing people on-line.
The PC is a good trainer until you learn their tendencies and then constantly exploit them.
Have to agree lizzie are almost exclusively run, and it is easy to have a successful passing game with orcs, dwarves can do it too...but it just seems wrong. I do not like dwarves for new coaches...their skills are a crutch. Good starting teams have a good basis of skills without giving up too much to stat loss. Dwarves at high tvs are easy to beat, they are really only successful as long as they have the TV advantage (I am trying to make them competitive at higher tvs, but we shall see if my experiment plays out). Playing against the PC is a good way to learn the game DO NOT get used to any tactics the computer does, what works on there will 99% of the time not work against a human.
I've seen Vamps play an effective passing play style. Right up until the receiver failed bloodlust and had to stop 2 squares from the score. And DEs are pretty far down that list making them less passy than Humans, I guess the Human Catcher's speed trumps all the AGI 4. And Lizards were ranked just above Orcs for passing ability so I would say that running with them is recommended by the list, despite where he wrote the running teams lable.
Wow a lot of comments! Honestly I wasn't expecting this much feedback this early. I just threw this out here because Ive been bothered multiple times over the past few weeks to get more help to new coaches. Here's some of my thoughts, and I'd love to have more discussion on this.
To Crazy: A low entry point is what gets new coaches into the game, and as a commissioner this is more important to me than making sure they can beat Holy Terror. A new coach will never beat an experienced coach unless he's rolling 1s and skulls all day. Humans, Skaven and Wood Elves all start off as excellent ball handling teams, and Orcs and Dwarves are well equipped to deal with attrition early in the game.
I listed Chaos as an option because when I started playing, I really wanted a "make your own team" approach after playing with predefinied players on the Humans and Orcs. With access to General, Strength, and Mutation skills across the board, it's really easy to define Beastmen into different roles. Sure it takes a bit longer to develop the team - Chaos Warriors need Block and 2 Beastmen need Sure Hands or Extra Arms, but when it happens the team is just so much stronger for it. If a newer coach is willing to learn to play by being careful with his shots and protecting the ball, is that a bad thing?
Yes, you're right, coaching a Dwarf team won't teach you much other than Block and Guard are the best skills in the game and that stomping the other team to the ground might get you a win, but since we're not spending 95$ + paint per team, it doesn't matter - when they get bored or learn that it's not the only aspect of the game, they'll simply pick Create New Team and make a Wood Elf or Skaven and try that out for a few games, or play another type of bashing team. That's what I did!
To Bloody: Amazons are a good team to start with, but they teach new coaches a bad habit: they try to dodge with 3 AG players all the time (more than they usually do), which is something I had to force out of Chok's head when he started playing with his Orcs. Throw in the low armor and average movement and they'd be more furstrating then playing with say, Skaven or Wood Elves. Don't get me wrong, 3 AG is perfectly capable of dodging - but not every single player.
Punk: I had a note that said Goblins are the most destructive team in the game, I'm not sure where it went. I guess the King of Cartoons got upset that the title of most destructive was taken away from him. It's on the low end of the Bash list because they get their ass kicked just as bad as Halflings when they get punched on the nose and can't afford to go toe to tow with other players. I absolutely have to disagree with playing vs the computer except for more than a few games to learn how assissts work; the PC has a hard time figuring out the difference between a Catcher and a Big Guy. Kayrne does too but he's another story.
Holy: On all of my own Lizardmen teams, the Skinks all get Diving Catch and Catch, with hand-off plays. I'm not really sure how other coaches play them; Break Tackle on Saurus and caging up?
Evil: Yeah, that's how your supposed to read the list - I just divided it equally, 10 teams per. The farther down you go the more it becomes a Running team. Maybe i should do something else with the table.