Chaos Dwarf Bull Centaurs Overview:
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Bull Centaurs are one of the best players in the game of Blood Bowl, let alone on the Chaos Dwarf team. This is reflected by their high price, they are the most expensive non Loner player or 0-1 positional player in the game. They are faster than their average movement suggests thanks to starting with both Sprint and Sure Feet, they are strong and highly armoured and being Dwarfish they also have Thick Skull, so getting them from the pitch is no easy task. With General and Strength skill access they can become very formidable players. Apart from the high cost their only other downsides are the below average agility and the lack of core starting skills. Thankfully the higher cost is offset by the rest of the team being fairly cheap.
Another thing that sets Bull Centaurs apart from other players is that they are perhaps the single biggest player that coaches will disagree on how they should be utilised on a team. It basically all boils down to if you feel you should use them as your main ball carrier or not. There are valid arguments both ways so I will try and outline both and let you make up your own mind how to use yours.
The Chaos Dwarf Bull Centaur Ball Carrier Conundrum:
The Argument for it:
There are two main reasons for using a Bull Centaur as your ball carrier and that is that they are your fastest players and also they are strong. If they are sat in the middle of a cage they are going to be very tough for the other team to get the ball off them. Their higher strength also means they can blitz away easier if the situation calls for it. Also those times that the ball carrier needs to make those go for its to get out of trouble, they come with the in built skill reroll to aid that.
These attributes mean Chaos Dwarfs are the only other team apart from Vampires that are likely to choose a ST4 rookie player to be their main ball carrier. From time to time you may see Saurus or Black Orcs used but that is usually to try and feed them SPP rather than because they feel they are best suited to the role. Due to the rarity of such players, many coaches are often not that prepared to deal with them which can be to your advantage.
Development of Bull Centaurs can also be on the slow side if all you do is bash with them, so using them as your offensive ball carrier will get them more touchdowns and aid in generating SPP and more skills for them.
The Argument against it:
While there are some good points for developing them as your ball carrier I think there are more reasons against it. There is a fair amount of overlap in skills anyway it really boils down to if you are going to give them Sure Hands or not.
Most teams will look to use their most agile players as the ball carrier as they are better at ball handling and moving around. For Chaos Dwarfs that would be a Hobgoblin, sure when you factor in a Bull Centaur with break tackle can dodge easier and they are a bit faster there isn’t a lot in it. Hobgoblins are also weaker but that usually doesn’t matter if you are successful in avoiding your ball carrier taking hits (which you should be!) When they are nice and snug inside a cage the strength of your ball carrier doesn’t matter if they can’t hit him. Some players can use Leap to get into the cage easily but they will then often be facing a lot of hits from Guard, Block and Tackle players and then perhaps a foul after for good measure. You somewhat make your Hobgoblins a bit redundant taking the ball carrying role away and leave them mostly for fouling and getting the odd assist. Hobgoblins also only have general skill access. Their skill choices are limited and Sure Hands is usually one they will consider, though you wouldn’t take it if you have it on your Bull Centaurs. The Bull Centaurs on the other hand have a lot of great skills to pick from that you are passing up if you take Sure Hands.
However the advantage of using a Hobgoblin instead of a Bull Centaur for your ball carrier is that then frees up your Bull Centaur to do other things. Another reason other teams don’t tend to use their ST4 players to carry the ball is that they are better at hitting and protecting another player who is carrying the ball. Compared to most other bash orientated teams Chaos Dwarfs are one of the weakest ST wise, so hiding one of your two possible ST4 players inside a cage doesn’t help in the hitting game. If one of your Bull Centaurs is inside the cage, that means you have a Hobgoblin outside the cage to do the job of protection and helping advance the cage. There isn’t much between using either of them as the ball carrier, but a Bull Centaur is by far more useful on the outside of a cage. It is harder for the other team to deal with a ST player on defence than a ST3 one, especially when the weaker player is also only AV7! So not only would a Hobgoblin be easier for them to hit, they can’t get easy access to Guard and other strength skills but they are much easier for the other team to injure and start to get a numerical advantage. If the other team is already stronger, giving up the numbers to them will make life harder for you.
Bull Centaurs are one of the best blitzing players in the game with their movement and strength, especially when they get more developed. Taking skills to aid them in being a ball carrier means you are sacrificing a skill that would make them even better Blitzers. I don’t understand why someone would do this when you have an alternative player who can carry the ball with just as much success. When you also consider that they don’t start with any core skills you are limiting the effectiveness of your blitzing opportunities. The first two skills are generally going to be Block and Break Tackle (in either order) and the more skills a player has the longer it takes to get the next one, delaying the blitzing skills in favour of Sure Hands is something you should consider.
They can also become a SPP hog if you go this route as you will rarely do much scoring with anyone else. If you are also doing most of your blitzing with them too, then other players may suffer from slow development instead. A team built with Bull Centaurs primarily carrying the ball may struggle to ever get any skills on their Hobgoblins making them juicy targets on the pitch for the opposition.
Even if you don’t build them towards being your primary ball carrier, they can still do the job on any given drive if you feel tactically it is to your advantage. The main reasons to take Sure Hands would be that it helps counter their low agility when it comes to picking the ball up, saving your pricey rerolls for the rest of the drive. It also negates Strip Ball, though it isn’t a commonly taken skill these days apart from Wood Elves and a couple of other races. Depending on the teams in your league this may not be a concern at all. A Bull Centaur can often pick up touchdowns from defensive drives much like other players who blitz the ball carrier of the opposition. If you knock them down and get the ball loose they may your only player in range to attempt a pick up. If they succeed it can then often lead to a touchdown your next turn, or if you don’t you still then have a ST4 player stood next to the ball that they have to deal with.
There will also be offensive drives where you whittle the numbers on the other team down that you may decide to try and do a hand off to the Bull Centaur in order to feed them some SPP to aid their development. This situation will occur far more frequently if you have the Bull Centaurs outside the cage with an extra blocking orientated skill, rather than sitting inside it with a ball handling skill. Even if you get an AG3 Bull Centaur, I don’t think that changes the arguments much as you still would be taking one of your strongest players away from a role they are better suited for than their team mates.
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