Black Orcs are the biggest and strongest of all Orcs. Many believe they draw their name from their dark green skin, although the title is more likely derived from their dour demeanour and bleak sense of humour! Grim and singularly focused on violence, it’s no wonder so many flock to the Blood Bowl pitch!
Black Orc Team Overview
Black Orc teams are making their first appearance in the game of Blood Bowl after being announced by Games Workshop in the upcoming Second Season edition due out later this year. https://www.warhammer-community.com/2020/08/06/waaagh-ere-come-da-black-orcs/ Previously only seen as part of a standard Orc team, they have now branched out on their own grabbing a handful of extra tough Goblins and a Troll to throw them about. A lot of coaches initial reaction to them has been that they are just a rubbish version of Lizardmen teams, but I’m excited to give them a go. Read on to find out why!
So the team can be made up of up to six Black Orcs who now will come with some starting skills for the first time. With six ST4 players on the starting roster who come with Brawler and Grab, they are going to pack some punch in the middle of the pitch. A Troll will add a bit more muscle, although somewhat unreliable, and the ability for one turn touchdowns via throwing Goblins. The rest of the team will be made up of toughened up Goblin Bruisers who are going to have to do most of the ball moving duty.
Whilst the team make up does seem very similar to Lizardmen but a lot slower, the main advantages are those two starting skills on the Black Orcs, the Throw Team Mate option and the Goblins are a bit tougher than Skinks.
Black Orc Team Strengths:
- Strong, high armoured with useful but unusual starting skills
- Cheap and expendable players
- Cheap bribes and Throw Team Mate option
Black Orc Team Weaknesses:
- Fairly slow and not very agile
- No good passing game
Black Orc Team Tactics
Starting with Brawler will make Black Orcs a lot more reliable, get them more knock downs and hopefully gain skills quicker. Grab lets you manoeuvre opponents a lot easier, to open up gaps in their defence, get more blocks and really make the sidelines dangerous. The slower nature of the team just plays into the 2-1 Grind strategy so isn’t really missed. Black Orcs also have a better agility than a Saurus so there is the slightly risky option of doing some ball handling and dodging with them if either needed or wanted. As Brawler only works when you’re doing the hitting rather than getting hit, it does encourage a slightly more aggressive style of play.
Back all these strong high armoured players up with some sneaky Goblins to go and get the ball then you can hide them in a cage and march down the pitch. Goblins are also a lot cheaper than a Skink so a handy foul here and there wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially as the team has access to cheap bribes as an inducement. You are also risking less value when your Troll uses them as ammunition to Throw at opposing players too!
When defending the strength of the Black Orcs combined with Grab should make you hard to move a cage through. Against weaker teams you’ll want to try and get a numbers advantage so they can’t just run though you. Again Grab can help if you use it to trap some of their players for either very easy blocks or a likely effective gang foul.
Black Orc Team Development
There are two main ways that immediately spring to mind when it comes to development of a Black Orc team. First is the more traditional way of selecting your skill increases as they become available. As I mentioned above starting with the Brawler skill should hopefully mean they gain Star Player Points quicker than before.
The other option is going down the random skill route, having Brawler means you don’t need either Block (or less likely Wrestle) as the first skill. If you look at the list of strength skills, they already start with two of them, they can’t get Strong Arm which leaves 9 skills to randomise from. Quite a few are worth having and the weaker ones, Pile Driver and Multiple Block still have some merit. Pile Driver now being a foul will get more use when you’ve got a Bribe in hand and also opens up taking Dirty Player as the next (chosen) skill if you wanted. Multiple Block has some downsides but with a decent starting strength, lots of Grab and potentially quite a bit of Guard, a Black Orc may get some decent use out of it.
The Goblins can either save up to get Block / Wrestle (or any other secondary skills) without having to rely on rolling a double any more. Alternatively you can look to keep them cheap and roll a random Agility skill. Leap is the obvious poor result (since you have Stunty) and I’m not that convinced by Safe Pair of Hand (especially on this player) but you can make use of all the others. Going random will get your players skilled up quicker and also keep the team value lower in the hope to get those bribes!
Black Orc Teams Summary
Hopefully that brief quick and dirty run down of my initial thought on the upcoming Black Orc team (combined with some of the new rule changes) will inspire you to give them a go as well. Writing them off as a slow Lizardman team ignores the differences that I feel will make them fun to play.
Expect to see individual player development articles in the future after the Blood Bowl Second Season box set is released later this year. It looks like this team will be one of two included in that box, along with the new Imperial Nobility team.