Chaos Dwarf Hobgoblin Overview:
In my opinion Hobgoblins are the unsung heroes of Blood Bowl. As one of the cheaper and more generic players they don’t tend to get the credit they deserve. Without them a Chaos Dwarf team wouldn’t tick. Though if you look at the shambles that was the infamous all Hobgoblin team and perhaps it’s easy to understand why they get dismissed so easily. The general dogsbody for the team, they plug up all the holes that need filling for the team to function at it’s best. With a low cost they enable to the affordability of the more expensive members of the team, do a lot of the ball moving, occupying dangerous opponents and lending the team a bit more speed.
All Purpose Hobgoblin:
- Normal: Block / Wrestle, Fend / Kick, Tackle / Pro
- Doubles: Dodge / Guard, Side Step
- Stat Increase: +ST, +AG, +MV
As Hobgoblins have one of the lower armour values for a Blood Bowl player they don’t tend to last that long if they end up taking a lot of hits. Thankfully their low cost means that affording a replacement isn’t too much trouble most of the time. When it comes to development of Hobgoblins I would look towards specialising a small number of them and then the rest being developed either as a potential replacement, or to make them as useful as possible in the most situations during a game.
Like most players you can’t go wrong starting with either Block or Wrestle for some added protection and to minimise turnovers when blocking. As Chaos Dwarfs are a low agility team they could do with someone who can reliably carry the ball. So the first one to get a skill on my teams will go with Block with the aim of specialising going forward. If you are facing a lot of stronger and Guard heavy teams, then Wrestle is handy to have to negate those abilities by dragging those players down. You don’t need to fear being fouled by most opponents as a Hobgoblin isn’t seen as a worthy target for most. Hobgoblins are also typically a bit faster than the types of players you will be targeting with Wrestle. Sticking them on a dangerous opponent will also keep your more valuable players safer.
There isn’t a great deal of skill choices from this point with only general access on normal rolls. Tackle is the usually recommendation on most teams though typically you’ve got six Chaos Dwarfs who already have it. The downside there is that they aren’t very mobile so there is a case for taking is second on a Hobgoblin too. However for a general purpose player I would lean towards Fend. It can help you avoid having to make dodge rolls and may make chain blocks a bit more awkward to achieve. If they do live to get a third skill, which is unusual for a non specialised role, then Pro can come in handy for a psuedo reroll on blocks and random chance events like catching bouncing balls. You could also use it on movement rolls if you don’t have a team reroll handy.
Kick is helpful to have assuming you’ve filled out the ball carrying role already, though you won’t want to have have more than one player with Kick on the team. You can kick deep vs slow teams with the aim to get your Bull Centaurs in their backfield before they secure the ball. Then against agile teams a short kick puts the ball within range of your slow team to try and take advantage of an early turnover.
For double skills I always say you can never have too much Guard, especially on a team that’s bash orientated but not very high strength. It will combine better with Block than Wrestle which may dictate the way you go. Dodge is another strong option, with Block you can go down the ball carrying route, or with Wrestle you can go down the blitzing route.
When it comes to stat increases you can pretty much always take a strength or agility increase. Agility will give you a much more mobile player to do ball carrying duties and strength will help a lot in the bash game and it’s not a bad skill for a ball carrier either. Some players will take movement as the team is relatively slow though personally I’d skip it early on and take a skill instead and it’s going to be more useful most of the time.
Ball Carrier Hobgoblin:
- Normal: Block, Sure Hands, Fend / Kick Off Return, Pro
- Doubles: Dodge, Side Step / Guard, Sure Feet
- Stat Increase: +ST, +AG, +MV
Now as I explained in the article on Bull Centaurs some crazy coaches will use those for ball carrying due to how tricky they can be to knock over. Personally I think using a low agility player to carry the ball when you have players with higher agility on the team a bit strange. Whilst Bull Centaurs can dodge easier than Hobgoblins after they get Break Tackle, first you have to get that skill, you will also want Block and Sure Hands which can take ages. You are then taking much needed strength out of play and sticking them in a cage. If your ball carrier is sat safely in the cage then against most opponents it doesn’t really matter how strong they are. You will pick the ball up more reliably with a Hobgoblin and they can dodge more reliably as they don’t need break tackle (which also only can work on one dodge a turn). They do have a bit less movement though most drives you have too many turns and end up stalling that it’s not really an issue. This leaves your Bull Centaurs and their higher strength and strength skill access to concentrate on that side of the game.
For the early games with the team you will end up having a handful of Hobgoblins with Block. I would start with this over Sure Hands as you won’t know which will get a double on the next skill. If you start with Sure Hands then you have tied them into this role. If you get a Hobgoblin with Dodge on one of their first two skills then you can aim to round off the desired three skill ball carrier set up of Block, Dodge and Sure Hands on their third skill. If they go beyond that then like before Fend and Pro work for the same reasons outlined above. An alternative to take is Kick Off Return to help gather up the ball and get it safely in a cage as quickly as possible.
I’ve already mentioned that Dodge is your obvious choice when rolling doubles. After that then Side Step helps avoid getting tied up in a scrum. Guard is generally going to be useful for Chaos Dwarf teams, though you will want to a be a bit careful about diving into a mass of opposing players. Having it on a ball carrier makes it easier for a team mate to blitz off opposing players that start the turn marking them. Sure Feet gives you that more reliable burst of speed on the occasion that you need it.
I’m beating the same old drum when it comes to stat increases and the same applies here as I put for the all purpose build.
- Normal: Wrestle, Tackle / Strip Ball, Frenzy / Pro
- Doubles: Dodge / Mighty Blow / Guard
- Stat Increase: +ST, +AG, +MV
A player dedicated to dragging the opposing ball carrier down is not a bad player to have available. Wrestle will negate the fact they typically have Block, follow this up with either Strip Ball if the league is light on Sure Hands players or go with Tackle if the opponents are more likely to have Dodge. It’s still worth having both of these skills even if the typical ball carrier in your league environment has Sure Hands as they won’t always be the one holding the ball. Frenzy gives you another bite at them, with a reroll you can potentially get six block dice on them. As usual with Frenzy you will want to be careful about the assisting player situation is on the second block roll. If most of your opposing teams are stronger and / or have a lot of Guard players then you may want to avoid Frenzy. Pro again can help to possibly reroll those rolls for when you’ve already used a reroll, want to avoid using a reroll, or have run out of rerolls.
For doubles you can make arguments for Dodge so that you don’t get tied down so easily that you can’t get to the target, as well as keeping your Hobgoblin alive a bit longer too. Mighty Blow will help remove opponents from the pitch and perhaps get you more SPP quickly. Guard doesn’t really help with taking down an opponent but it helps your team when moving the ball, or aiding team mates to free your blitzing player up to avoid making a dodge attempt.
The stand out stat increase when it comes to hitting players is obviously +ST. It will make getting the block into your advantage so much easier. It will also paint a big target on your Hobgoblin’s life as their value has now increased massively and they still have pretty low armour. Thankfully being stronger will also make it a bit harder to target them too. Try to keep them out of dangerous scrums and lurking behind the safe line of Chaos Dwarf Blockers ready to pounce when you get a shot at the ball carrier. Agility again frees them from being tied up easily and they can also recover the ball if you’ve not got another handily positioned Hobgoblin to do that. Extra movement will let them cover more of the pitch.
What I will finally say about this role is that you will also likely have both your Bull Centaurs developing for blitzing too. Generally for a high strength and expensive player you won’t want to be putting them prone by taking Wrestle. When you get a shot on the ball carrier you will need to weigh up which player is going to be the more effective in that situation. Obviously this build will go up in value if you’re one of those crazy coaches I mentioned earlier who has developed a Bull Centaur into a ball carrier.
The other useful role that a Hobgoblin can fulfil is that of the fouler. Being such a cost effective player they tend to be a lot more disposable that a lot of opponents. If you have the opportunity to stick the boot in with plenty of assists against a valuable player for the opposing team, then it’s generally going to be worth the trade off for being spotted and getting sent off.
I’ve not put a list of skills here as I typically recommend doing this with rookie Hobgoblins as they are contributing the least to your team value. You can go for Dirty Player if you wanted and it’s more worthwhile when team values in the league are getting higher. Some players will go for Sneaky Git but I’m of the opinion that they are more useful skills to have on the team, especially if that player may end up getting sent off.
Blood Bowl Hobgoblin Summary:
So there we have it, Hobgoblins are Blood Bowl’s Mr Versatile. For most teams you will find that it’s rare for many of them to ever get more than two skills. Most of the SPP are going to end up on the ball carrier as they are going to pick it up and hopefully be transported safely in a cage down to the end zone. If you’ve really got the ball secure you can try handing it off behind a nice screen to another player you want to get more SPP.
Opposing teams will try and target your poor Hobgoblins as they don’t have much in the way of protective skills and they have low armour. If they can leave a Chaos Dwarf team with just slow and low agility players then their life becomes a lot easier. Use your Blockers and Centaurs to try and keep the opposing team screened away from them and then your Hobgoblins are running around behind the scenes popping up when and where they can be the most effective. Use them wisely and you can have a very successful team.