Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Skaven and Goblins: A story of teeth and secret weapons

In Warhammer fantasy the bane of Dwarves was the hordes of Skaven and Goblins who took over their holds. (I dunno what’s happening in age of sigmar so don’t quiz me on that!). In Bloodbowl, Skaven and Goblins have united to form possibly the weirdest team and individually they have been fan favourites since the game began.

These teams all are a massive departure on the chaos team I reviewed last week which is certainly suited to violence. These teams are tricksy requires a bit of guile and a bit of cheating to be able to claim victory. (When I say cheating I mean secret weapons!)

They are very fragile (As Alex Randell should know!) but are very fun to use.


Ah Skaven. A very popular team very fast but very fragile. This is the first team I will have mentioned that main armour value is 7. This changes the game a bit. AV 7 significantly increases the number of players that will end up stunned or Injured. This means that unlike Orcs, Humans and the chaos teams I’ve mentioned before you have to defend more loosely and pick your engagements. Engaging all your lineman every turn will see them in the dead and injured box quickly.

Skaven do have Blitzers (Just like their human counterparts in stats), but the players that make the team are the gutter runners. These guys are fast and are able to exploit gaps in the opponent’s line with ease using there mv 9 and ag 4 to get anywhere on the board.

The best thing about gutter runners is that if all you have is 4 of these left, you still have a good chance of scoring. Not many teams can boast that.

Skaven have access to mutations on a double which can create horrors to deal with. A gutter runner with dauntless and horns will get a 2-dice block when he blitzes anything.

Lastly, I suppose I should mention the rat ogre. He adds much needed muscle to the team but because he’s a wild animal he’s not particularly manoeuvrable. Which is a shame for a team that relies on it!

A Skaven team is brilliant at running and passing plays. However, I guess the drawback with Skaven is that AV 7. For a beginner it might be difficult and frustrating having your players constantly taken off the field. You put a lineman in the wrong place an Orc may survive a Skaven would fall to pieces.

They aren’t as forgiving as most teams in terms of defence. Gutter runners however are forgiving in terms of attack.

Choosing a team like Skaven is all about the learning curve. I’d put them at the same level as humans.

Mikes starter team

4 Gutter Runners
2 Blitzers
4 Lineman
3 Rerolls

Tips: Get the rat ogre and a few linemen after this. Concentrate on scoring with your gutters and blitzers. The thrower can get SSP from passing and MVP. With your gutter runners get a mixture of them don’t skill them the same. One with leap for example and one with horns and dauntless. As boring as it sounds block is a very good first skill for them.


I’ve never particularly had great success with Goblins. They have developed over the years from just having goblins and trolls to having well I think the most players in any bloodbowl roster!

Your average goblin is Strength 2 and stunty and has armour 7. As such a team of these guys would be silly. So how do they balance the scales? Firstly, they get 2 trolls. Not the best big guys but cheap and with handlers nearby quite reliable (Ish!).

Secondly, they have secret weapons by the bucket load. If a bucket load is 6….. Firstly, we have a ball and chain. These guys are brilliant Essentially, they move randomly using the throwing in template but they are strength 7 and anything they hit is block and they move 3 times a turn.

Next up we have a chainsaw that’s brutal when blitzing They just hit the opponents armour with a -3 modifier. Next is the bombardier that throws bombs around which funny if not effective.

The issue with these three is that they are secret weapons therefore they’ll only survive one drive before they get set off. This means if you deploy them and your opponent’s scores quickly, you haven’t had them for much of the game.

The Pogoer is your means of scoring with additional movement and the leap ability. The Ooligan adds fame and restricts the opponents scoring throwing and passing with disturbing presence. The Doom Diver is used for throw team mates and is basically a missile.

Wow so these all sound great…. So why are they terrible? Well everything is a gimmick! Ball and chains can and often do nothing. Chainsaws sometimes chainsaw the goblin using them the bombardier can’t move before he throws so he’s often too far away to throw effectively. Caging with these guys is a joke, scoring is difficult defending is a nightmare.

Each goblin is fragile as such no matter how many good plays you can pull off your teams going to quickly melt away, struggle to stop the opponents plays. Ultimately this is a fun unreliable team. Terrible for beginners and a challenge for experienced heads.

Mikes starter team
2 Trolls
1 Ooligan
1 Fanatic
1 Chainsaw
1 Pogoer
7 Goblins
3 Rerolls
1 Apothecary

Tips: Fill your roster up with a goblin and a doom diver. Bombadiers are rubbish and often do nothing whereas a chainsaw and a fanatic are more reliable. Never fill up the 16th slot as you’ll need it for star players. Your TR is going to be way below the other teams most of the time so you can get yourself another troll, more secret weapons etc. Level up the trolls and the pogoer. Potentially also the ooligan. Make sure you use your secret weapons on your drive when you’re going to get the most use out of them. Get bribes as much as possible (You get them on the cheap).

Underworld Denizens

This team is strange and I have to confess this is the one team in bloodbowl I have never used. They are a mix of Skaven and goblins. They don’t get more big guys than usual (Just a troll) there lineman are goblins and their special players include Skaven lineman….

The more I think about this team however the better they get… (although they still won’t ever be a brilliant team!) The entire team has mutations as a general skill. This means like the renegades and chaos players last week they don’t require a double to be special players. Whats even better is that because there are only 6 skaven they are likely to level up much quicker than the goblins. Which means the team should develop quicker than a chaos team.

I imagine this will be a team focusing on the running plays. However, a goblin with 2 heads has a 2+ reroll wherever he goes meaning getting them into position will be very easy. It’ll mean the team is difficult to attack.

What’s more the troll can get claws as its first skill making it a monster on the front line.

This team will struggle against a big opponent so a team full of strength 4 and it’ll be difficult getting in that cage.

Ultimately though the team is all av 7 and each player will require careful development as such for a beginner this will be a difficult team to use. A nightmare to use in reality. For an experienced player this team would be a challenge but it does have potential.

Mikes starter team
2 Skaven Lineman
2 Skaven Blitzers
2 Skaven Throwers
5 Goblins
3 Rerolls
1 Apothecary

Tips: Fill out your roster to 15 people (you may need star player assistance!) That means more goblins. Level up your Skaven Blitzers and throwers. The troll should take care of itself once it has claws. Goblins with 2 heads are useful but don’t aim to skill them. Once you have a lot of them in reserve don’t feel bad about fouling to take the opponents numbers down! You may find your TR lower than the opponents in which case make use of Star players to meat up the team.

That’s all for now! 8 teams explained out of the 23! If anyone has any requests as to who is next please leave a comment. Ta Ta for now!


  1. Do underworld need an apothecary early? Their players are quite cheap, It could be an extra goblin or fan factor. High fan factor helps do well on the kick off table, and that team needs every advantage it can get early on. FF also helps with getting money, which helps replace loses.

    I feel you really should mention animosity...

    I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on all the star players, how they rank, how to best use them etc.

    1. Animosoty will only every come into play if a skaven hands off to a Goblin, which i would avoid for many reasons!

      I'd say they need an apothocary the Skaven are their positionals and are very squishy!!