Friday, May 24, 2013

Norse Dwarf Blood Bowl: toying with team building

In an ongoing tradition of not leaving well-enough alone, I present the third in a series of new Blood Bowl team rosters.  The first team I made was Hobgoblins. The Hobgoblin team deviates from Chaos Dwarves in that there are no Chaos Dwarves on the team: it represents the Hobgoblin culture that the Chaos Dwarves prey upon, but these are independent. The second team I made was Apes.  When the Apes of Wrath miniatures were being produced I couldn't resist trying my hand at constructing my vision of how the team should be. Now I turn to Norse Dwarves.

As I was finalizing the team I showed in yesterday's post, I started thinking about combining the Norse team list and Dwarf team list to better reflect how Norse Dwarf teams might play Blood Bowl.

For the concepts behind the team I aimed at a Tier 1 team, but one that was lower in power than the Dwarf list and likely a bit below Norse as well, but a solid, middle-of-the-pack Tier 1 team.

Norse Dwarves would have less armor than their standard dwarf cousins, and should be a bit wilder, with some weres and a big guy, similar to the Norse. Freed up from some armor, they'd also move a bit faster than Dwarves, but not as fast as the longer-legged Norse.

Every team should feel unique, or why have it? Such as the (Pro)Elf team: there were already 3 elf teams, so the new one needed something different, and what they got was the sturdy and amazing strength 3 nerves of steel catchers, which define the play style of the team.

This proved a bit difficult when making a team designed to fit in the mid-point between two established teams!

The solution I found was to remove frenzy.
The reason is that Frenzy defines Norse.  They have 5 players who can frenzy and it makes their play style different than any other team. The dwarves have their two frenzy TrollSlayers so they get a touch of this, but if Norse dwarves got the same or a bit more to fit in the middle, then they wouldn't be different enough.

So no Frenzy.  Instead they got the other side of the frenzy coin: an attitude of "you will fight me on my terms and you will not get away and your size and strength mean nothing when we fight on my terms." In Norse mythology dwarves were the master crafters, often of plans and plots as well as artifacts. How to accomplish this?  Grab & Dauntless.  Now, Troll Slayers have Dauntless too, but it is usually a way to send them off solo as they push bigger guys off the side of the pitch, and the Norse runner's dauntless isn't central to play and often an after thought since the team has better access to strength.

So here is the Team list: (click for larger)

Linemen are cheaper than Dwarf linemen, more expensive than Norse.  Movement is between those two teams at 5. Armor is between the two as well.  Compared to a dwarf blocker, Move +1 Armor -1 is neutral cost, lose the Tackle skill for 10k less cost.  Compared to the Norse linemen, with Move -1 and Armor +1 that is neutral, they lose a point of agility but gain thick skull and cost 10k more, so maybe overcosted compared to the Norse, but that point of armor from 7 to 8 is more valuable than other bumps, so I think it is right. This should make for a more mobile team than the dwarves, but still sturdy with decent armor and Block. Keeping Block was mandatory as both Dwarves and Norse have block on their 0-16 players, and nothing indicates a cultural move away from that.

Runners are similar to Dwarf Runners but there is a subtle difference.  Strip Ball.  In the tradition of Norse Runners and Dark Elf 'Catchers' (should be Runners too) I wanted a useful skill that wasn't the typical skill for starting or first choice, which would change their style of play.  Instead of the standard Sure Hands, making them reliable ball carriers, they have strip ball, making them reliable ball thieves! Again the 'you will fight me on my terms' attitude.  This also makes the team less reliable than Dwarves since they lack the Sure Hands re-roll for picking up the ball easily when they receive.

Blitzers on this team are a bit more standard, but Dauntless gives them the flavor of the team.  A bit of a bargain compared to the Human team's blitzer, with the same cost, minus 1 move but with Thick Skull and Dauntless. Still, movement 7 from 6 is one of the major steps and this team can only have 2 Blitzers, not 4. Compared to the Norse Blitzer, at the same cost, this one loses a movement and gains an armor, a slight advantage, but the two skills Thick Skull and Dauntless are a lot more situational than Frenzy and Jump Up which has great synergy and sets the Norse Blitzer up for Pile On. Dauntless on the Blitzers give the team more control, compared to more chaos the Norse team has.

Bjornjaris or the 'bear warriors' continue the sturdy control. With movement and stand firm similar to Flesh Golems, they serve a similar purpose, but more than just a road block, Grab lets them funnel the opposition to where the Norse Dwarves want them. The trade off is less durability: Armor 8 for such a player is vulnerable and without the regeneration a Flesh Golem has.

Lastly, the Ice Bear gives the team a Big Guy, but not one of the better ones.  Armor 8, like the Yeti is very vulnerable for a Big Guy, but unlike the Yeti, he's not the glass cannon the Norse enjoy, since he has the standard Mighty Blow, not Claws. I didn't want to give him Claws, since that steps too much on the conceptual territory of the Norse Yeti/Snow Troll. Wild Animal is the perfect defect trait, considering he is an animal. His second benefit skill is Dauntless. I thought at first for Grab (anyone for a Bear Hug?) but decided that was too powerful for a Big Guy for a starting skill.  Dauntless is questionable at best as there are not many players out there with strength greater than 5, but it seems the right choice for the style of this team: should they face a Treeman or a Star Big Guy, they will be able to equal them- at least when they have the turn, so they must make the most of their momentum.

Re-rolls cost 60k, making them less reliable than the Dwarves. Combined with no Sure Hands to start and players that are more expensive than the Dwarf team, this means a starting team can not have more than one reroll if they wish to start with all the positional choices.  A tough decision, which tells me that overall the cost is probably about right.

The team is going to be a bit slower than most teams out there, requiring them to go for it and push to cover the opposition. Their armor is good, but with no player with armor 9 they are at a disadvantage when facing another armored bash team.  Also, the linemen of this team do not have standard access to Strength skills, so it won't be spamming Guard like a Dwarf team will.

I'm hoping the team has a good mix of advantages and disadvantages.

So if you like Dwarves, but your league gives you grief over the inevitability of your 8 turn deus ex machina grind, or you like the Norse theme but hate Loki's curse that is armor 7 and frenzy, then maybe try out the Norse Dwarves.


Anne said...

I like the idea of the Norse Dwarves being wilder than their cousins.

Guess what I bought? 2 Dreadball teams. Yep, got them dirt cheap and when I bought them I thought "I wonder what the Ferret would think of this."

Laughing Ferret said...

Which two teams did you get?

The Dreadball minis are smaller than I'd expected, but probably fine once visually adjust to them. I like the Orc team (I love orcs, so no surprise there) and I loved the Judwan concept, but pretty disappointed in the miniatures- a lot of the poses are wonky. I'll have to try to fix them by cutting them up & reposing them. I like the robots a lot and looking forward to the teleporting turtles. As much as I love Apes I didn't care for the Zees concept art- not very simian in their proportions or their posture, and too much armor covering them, so I didn't even order the team. So ones I'm most looking forward to painting are the Orcs, Robots & Turtles. Oh and the insects- i got a double set of those since I figured they'd find easy homes in fantasy, sci-fi & pulp skirmish games :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds very well thought out and fun. I look forward to seeing those Norse Dwarves.

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