Black Orc Blockers

0-6444+5+10+Brawler, GrabGSAP90k

Black Orc Blockers Development Overview

In previous editions of the game Black Orcs were part of the common Orc team roster. However these days they’ve decided to grab some of the tougher Grots and branch out to making their own teams.

This decision to spend more time with other Black Orcs sees them gain a couple of starting skills in the guise of Brawler and Grab. This intriguing combination of starting skills asks some interesting questions when it comes to their skill development. The biggest of these questions is whether you take the common Block skill, or if you want to delve into alternative options. In the interest of science I’ve been experimenting with them for a few seasons in my local tabletop league. Two seasons without taking Block on them at all has certainly been interesting!

Block Black Orc

As Black Orcs start with Brawler, the need for Block is diminished a little bit. Brawler gives you some cover when performing blocks, especially as you usually are rolling two block dice with your high strength. The downside to Brawler instead of Block is that it leaves you more susceptible when the other team is hitting you. My players have been knocked over a few times when opponents have tried an uphill block against my Black Orcs due to the lack of a better option.

Brawler also doesn’t prevent turnovers completely, so having Block does make them more reliable. It will also get you more knock downs when facing up against opponents that don’t have Block (or Wrestle). This in turn can help them with development, which with their low movement and agility can be a bit slow.

The downside to taking Block is that it delays getting other useful skills such as Guard, Mighty Blow, or Stand Firm. Guard will help you maintain your strength advantage and also help out the Goblin Bruisers on the team. You might want to just leave that for the Black Orcs you don’t take Block on first and instead concentrate on using this build to hurt the opponent. With that in mind Might Blow can help whittle down the opposition. Whilst this is helpful on both defence and offence, it really helps you score if there are less opponents to try and cage though. Offence was something that I found the team really struggles with if you get into any adversity.

Another issue that I found with the team was dealing with opponents who have both Block and Dodge. I quickly found that you need to take some Tackle on the team as you don’t have a natural and easy way to get Wrestle instead. Combining it with Block makes them even more threatening to players who have started with, or have only taken Dodge, such as a lot of the Amazon team and Stunty players. Rookie Gutter Runners would also be a target (though they tend to get Block of Wrestle very quickly) and it’s not uncommon for most Elves to take Dodge as their first skill.

Stand Firm comes in useful to stop opponents pushing you away, either forcing dodges or leaving you in base contact to hit them next turn. It combines especially well with Guard if you’ve taken that. It also stops teams pushing you aside to open gaps. Alternatively if you’re using you Block Black Orc to do most of your blitzing then Juggernaut is a skill I’ve found useful (though I also didn’t have Block on my team). Negating Stand Firm, Fend and Wrestle are all useful options and being able to force a pushback can help open space or funnel opponents to the sideline in combination with all your Grab players.

For secondary skill choices I don’t think there are really any that are worth the time or additional team value to sign up for. Black Orcs are slow to get Star Player Points on most of the time and there are so many useful general and strength skills to take. If you really wanted to then both Dodge and Side Step can be useful, though Dodge is negated by Tackle and you can take Stand Firm sooner and for less team value than Side Step.

I think the same thing applies when it comes to getting stat increases. All of them could be useful but it takes ages to get enough Star Player Points and the extra team value isn’t really worth it. The lower your team value the more times you can afford Bribes or other inducements.

Random skills was something that I’ve been experimenting with, most of the Strength and General skills are fairly useful, however for this build I think you want to concentrate on getting specific skills. With that in mind I wouldn’t take any random skills, unless perhaps it’s giving you a chance for an extra skill before end of season playoff / final, when you’re either moving onto another team afterwards, or redrafting and unlikely to be bringing that certain player back.

Non Block Black Orc

If you aren’t going to take Block then Guard is the way I would go here most of the time. It’s useful pretty much all of the time and causes headaches for opponents in their turn as well as being useful in yours. The fact it also now works for fouling plays into the team’s strength. Use Grab to pull an opponent into a scrum of your players and then use a cheap Goblin to stick the boot in, even better if they have Sneaky Git and or a Bribe. It maintains your strength advantage against most teams and also makes it easier to get three dice blocks with your Troll.

From here there are a few routes to take. If you’re coming up against Dodge players and you don’t yet have anyone with Tackle then I would opt to take that on one or two of your team. One is better than none, though you aren’t a mobile team and it could be easy for the other team to avoid.

If you’ve already got Tackle, or don’t think you need it, then it’s a toss up between Stand Firm or Mighty Blow. Mighty Blow has the benefit that it’s easier to remove opponents and also helps to generate Star Player Points a bit quicker. Stand Firm prevents opponents pushing you away which has a few benefits. Your team is slow so being pushed backwards hinders your progress towards the opposing end zone. If you’re pushed away from opponents then they won’t be standing next to you to hit them next turn. If you’ve been using Grab and positioning to manipulate the opponents next to the sideline, then it makes it hard for you to also get pushed into the crowd.

The opposing team also can’t push you out of the way to make gaps to run through, or push you backwards so they can follow up and mark your ball carrier. It can also force them to waste actions if they only get a push result on a block, or it forces them to attempt a dodge which can create turnovers. It also combos really well with both Guard and Tackle.

Beyond those skills then it’s helpful to have one or two players with Juggernaut. It makes them more reliable when blitzing as you’ve opted not to take Block and offers the same advantages that I outlined in the previous build. Break Tackle is another skill that can be useful on occasion, though I’ve found most of the time I’m just hitting opponents next to me, or they are trying to dodge away leaving me unmarked. With careful positioning you can also usually block someone free. There will still be occasions where the opponent has specifically marked you to force you into a dodge, on those times then Break Tackle has it’s uses.

Pro is another interesting and flexible option. Where Brawler lets you reroll a both down result, Pro can possibly be used on the other die if it was also not what you wanted. It can also help if you find yourself performing any agility rolls such as dodging or ball handling.

When it comes to taking random skills, it’s something that I experimented quite a bit with. There are quite a few useful skills in both the General and Strength categories, however it does come with the risk of getting some of the less useful ones instead. The other advantage is that it requires less Star Player Points, so you can get more skills more quickly and they raise your team value by a lower amount.

I would still always just save up and take Guard first as it’s just so useful in any build. After that you might want to try taking a random as the second skill and then depending on what you get tailor the build on that player from there. Black Orcs already start with two of the twelve strength skills and if you’ve taken Guard already, that along with the fact they aren’t allowed Strong Arm means that you are randomly going to get one of the eight skills left.

Mighty Blow and Stand Firm would be great, whilst Juggernaut and Break Tackle can be useful. Arm Bar is less desirable but has some synergy with Stand Firm. Piling On I found to not be that useful as I couldn’t afford to go prone, or even worse be sent off. Thick Skull isn’t terrible and has occasionally saved my players when I got it. Multiple Block I kept forgetting I had it and I don’t think there really was many occasions to use it anyway.

If you’re feeling lucky then it can be fun to try, though my experience with them thinks that they might be better served when taking later skills after you’ve specifically developed players with more useful skills first. It did however mean I managed to get a Black Orc levelled up really quickly after he already had Mighty Blow and Guard, though I wish I’d saved up and taken Tackle rather than getting Juggernaut, Multiple Block and Break Tackle (in that order).

For both secondary and stat increases, the same logic applies as already outlined.

Tackle First Black Orc

This build is very similar to the ones above, though it prioritises Tackle as the first skill. I quickly found that I needed to pivot away from the Guard first strategy on at least one Black Orc as Dodge players were causing my no end of problems. This was still the case even if the opposing player didn’t have Block as my player also didn’t have it. Note that you will struggle with Block and Dodge opponents even if you do decide to take Block if you don’t have Tackle.

From there it depends who you are playing against. If you are facing lots of Dodge opponents then this player may be doing a lot of your blitzing. If that’s the situation then Mighty Blow and Juggernaut (or Block) are worth considering. Guard is never going to be a bad option and Tackle does combine well with Stand Firm. As mentioned above Pro has it’s merits as you can use it when Blitzing, unlike Brawler, or if you find you need to dodge out to get to the blitz target.

Again, for secondary and stat increases please see above.

Black Orc Blockers Development Summary

The introduction of the Black Orc team has offered coaches something different from the traditional look of most other races. Starting with Brawler really opens up the viability of ignoring Block, though not without some risks involved.

The biggest struggle with the team is their lack of speed and responsiveness when it comes to scoring or adjusting to adversity. From my experience with them you can’t go wrong with Guard, though don’t overlook Tackle, even if you are taking Block on some or all of them. I also feel that Stand Firm should be a vital cog in improving the team. Unfortunately I didn’t random it a single time in the two league seasons I’ve played with them. As I write this I’ve just redrafted them for a third season which starts next week and I’m going to save up for the Guard and Stand Firm combination to see how it goes.

I believe the win rates of Black Orc Teams across different environments has been quite low. If you’ve tried them and have any insights or want to share your experience then please comment below. Hopefully I’ll be back to share some success by targeting some Stand Firm. Blood Bowl 3 is also releasing in a few weeks so I’ll no doubt give them a few tries on there as well.

1 thought on “Black Orc Blockers”

  1. Such a nostalgic feeling to see the player builds updated on the site. Love it. 🙂

    Looking forward how your Stand Firm experiment goes. In my opinion the Block build you presented is generally the best way to go. Just like with lizardmen saurus, your team is already strong (so guard isn’t too critical) but low on block, and you want your roadblocks to stay up (I’d look to block up the troll first too with a secondary if possible) and slightly improve odds of earning spp. 2nd skill Guard and you can start bullying better, Mighty Blow 3rd so you won’t fall behind in numbers, get easier drives more consistently and keep earning spp. Hopefully at least couple of Black Orcs reach Tackle at 4th level as that is useful against many teams.

    Stand Firm is the natural pick as a 3rd or 4th skill for such a slow roadblock, but unfortunately I believe at least three with MB (preferably with Tackle later) are a necessity. My idea is to have a MB blitz available every turn at either side of the pitch and the 3rd one is “backup” in case you lose one, which can happen.

    Your recap sums up why they do not perform well. Combine that with lack of skills and they struggle to keep up with bash teams, also forced to delay Tackle to give an easier time for dodging teams. Potentially having no tackler at worst sucks, but it is hard to pass up on the usual bash shenanigans. And you really need more than one or them to achieve anything noteworthy.


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