Dark Elf Teams

Evil beyond belief, skilled without doubt, the Dark Elves take to the pitch to show the world their superiority. Dark Elf teams prefer a malevolent and spiteful running game over the passing of their goodly cousins. Backed up by the ruthless Witch Elves and dangerous assassins, a Dark Elf team has all the tools to power through rather than around any opposition line.

Overview:

Out of the four available Elf teams that you are able to play, Dark Elves are perhaps the most challenging. They favour a running play over the passing play that the other Elves will use more. They don’t have any catchers unlike the others though they are the only one who has the ability to start with four Blitzers. Coupled with the higher armour like the high elves, this gives them the best ability of the four should a fight develop. They also have Witch Elves, who whilst perhaps a little bit fragile, come with three great starting skills.

Dark Elves are the slowest of the four Elf teams and the lack of dedicated catchers does make it harder to build a team really great at passing. Their players are also not exactly cheap as is true of most Elven players.  Some of their players can be tricky to use, the Assassins are unusal and Frenzy can get Witch Elves in trouble. The Dump Off Runner can off load the ball when hit, but does have low armour.

For a beginner team, Dark Elves are mentioned at the end of the rulebook as perhaps needing slightly more advanced skills to coach. This comes down to the pricey players and they don’t start with the passing ability that the other Elf teams do. The fact the Witch Elf also starts with frenzy and without block can lead beginner coaches to getting into trouble with them. They do present a slightly different feel compared to the other Elves and with AG4 they aren’t exactly terrible at moving the ball or dodging when needed.

Strengths:
  • Four AG4 Blitzers
  • Witch Elves
  • Agile
Weaknesses:
  • Expensive
  • Some Low armour players
  • Positionals that can be tricky to use

25 thoughts on “Dark Elf Teams”

  1. Me and a few freinds are thinking of starting a small blood bowl league. There will be around six of us playing regulary, but we’ve dececided that no two players may play the same team. I’ve been looking at playing Dark Elves, but I’ve never actually played blood bowl. And was wondering if you had any advice for first time coah starting a team? Thanks

    Reply
    • Dark Elves can be tricky starting off because of the high priced players and the somewhat tricky to deal with Frenzy. Assuming you are starting with the standard TV1000 teams (1million to spend) then I would go with the following. 4x Blitzers, 1x Runner, 6x Linemen, 2x Rerolls. This is the best starting line up in my eyes as you get mostly AV8 on the team, you are fairly quick, start with 4 players with Block and can still fit two rerolls in. An apothecary should be your first purchase, then you can either save up for a Witch Elf or a third reroll, though you could perhaps take Leader on your Runner as his first skill (unless he rolls a Double). That should get you started, any questions about skills to pick feel free to ask as and when they crop up.

      Good Luck!

      Reply
  2. Thanks coach! We’re getting our first game together next week hoepfully. We’ve already drawn opponents, and it looks like I’ll be facing either an Orc or Amazon team (the other player hasn’t commited to which of his teams he’ll be bringing) Any advice on playing against these two teams, the player is one of the only two exprinced coachs in out little league.

    Reply
  3. I haven’t played Dark Elves under the new rules yet, so unfortunately I can’t offer much as their roster has had significant changes.  Personally I don’t like it, and said so during testing – they went from “most hitting, least passing elf team” to “silly circus elves.”  I think it may be a bit tough as a team for a new player.
    Playing as and against a new team can be significantly different than playing developed teams.  Against Orcs you want to try to let them make a mistake.  They’ll cage up and try to take as long as possible to drive down the pitch to gain a 2-1 victory, but early on the black orcs don’t have block and will fail one of their blocks.  Try to keep a guy in position to take advantage of an unlucky turnover, and keep the threat alive that you could blitz the ball at any opportunity.  If you can, try to get your guys in front of the cage, but out of TZs, so he can only blitz once per turn.  Make it so his advance is so slow that he has to take a risk to score in time. Target the throwers if they start with one, as they’re probably the lowest armor player they have.  If he has a troll, try to make him as useless as possible – you can either try to separate him from another player to force a 4+ Really Stupid roll, or tie him up with a single lineman away from the action.
    Amazons aren’t fast, but they’ll be very tough to knock over.  There are very few players in the game with both strength 3 and dodge to start, and Amazons happen to be a full team of just that.  Try get the ball on the ground if you can, as they  have no ball handling skills and only AG3 to start.  Focus on smart positioning – without tackle you won’t be taking them down much, and they’ll be able to dodge better than you can to get out of TZs and move where they want to.  In particular, don’t feel the need to knock the blitzers over – if you’re blocking/blitzing , focus more on which direction you want to be pushing them.

    Reply
    • “Silly Circus Elves” is a bit harsh. I’ve played the new roster and they aren’t much different than before. In fact with the Runners compared to the Old Thrower you get more in the other teams face than before. You shouldn’t judge a team you haven’t played yet, the old team lacked character, the changes are for the better.

      Otherwise I agree you want to just let the other teams make mistakes and try and hang onto your rerolls for as long as feasible. Keep your players behind the ball and don’t let them get past you. If you try and attack them at the back they will likely be able to get a cage through your team and put you in trouble.

      Reply
  4. Thanks for the advice guys, I was curious about one thing though. Would it be better to spend my winnings on a withch elf or a Assassin? Or skip both entirely and focous on getting as many rerolls as possible?

    Reply
    • Leave Assassins to end, read my Assassin guide for info on them. I’d get an apoth, then either a Witch or Reroll next, depends how many skills you have at this point. If you got a fair few skill rerolls then get the Witch, otherwise the Reroll then next take what you didn’t this time then get the other Witch then a 4th Rereoll.

      Reply
  5. Like I said, I hadn’t played the team in LRB5 rules yet, I remember playing them during testing.  People felt they High Elves and Dark Elves didn’t differentiate themselves enough, but I wasn’t one of them.  I just felt that the reduction of Dark Elf armor, and the extra positionals made the team feel a bit strange.
     
    And I think it might depend on how quickly you feel like you’re catching onto the game.  As you may have seen in other articles on the site, often times there are two schools of thought about when to get players who may skill up slow and be unreliable or vulnerable.  One suggests to get them early, so they have more chance to skill up, while the other says to get them later, after you have a more reliable team around them.  Relative to the rest fo the team, I feel Witch Elves and Assassins both fit into this category – both are better for the team after development than early on.  AV7 makes them both vulnerable, Witch Elves frenzy is a bit tough to control for a new player without block, and since Assassins are likely to spend a lot of their time stabbing, they won’t get SPPs from scoring or casualties.
     
    Of the two, I’d say Assassins are more of a long-term investment.  Witch Elves basically need Block to turn them into a sudden powerhouse, while Assassins you’re hoping to get a double to pick up Multiple Block and then get Dodge/Block/Sidestep to keep you on your feet and next to the people you want to stab.  So I’d probably recommend a Witch Elf first for more “now” power, since you’re a new player.  But if you feel like you’re catching onto things quickly enough that you can make the long-term investment, you could consider the Assassin.

    Reply
  6. Having played as the Dark elves through a league I have to say they I think are one of the best teams out there. They have a flexibility many other teams cannot match also when I played them I found that what was essential for the Dark elves is to be ready to instantly change your style of play at a moments notice like going from a bashing game to a passing game then onto a running etc, etc. I also found most people underestimated what they could do I mean with even the lineman having AG4 that you could take to any style. I often found the lineman working as throwers or catchers and scoring.

    I found that my witch elves where my highest scorers and part of this was that with their speed most people cannot keep up with a witch elf and they often only faced a single weak opponent at the back of the field who they could easily either dodge away from with their high AG and dodge re-roll or bash their way past with their Frenzy. And that one included in your initial line up may way give you an edge especially with their jump ability and many opponents forget that when working out how far they can move next turn leaving and what they can do.

    Also the assassin though perhaps not a straight away buy unless you have an extra 20,000 left over to upgrade a lineman. But the assassin has a real psychological advantage against new players as most people seem to here the word “Assassin” And constantly worry about the damage he will do often staying as far away as possible or triple marking him allowing others to launch attacks, plus he can be extremely useful to mark their star scorer who may find it very hard to slip away with the assassin using his shadow ability to follow him every where and making him roll dodges for every square he moves.

    The other bit to the assassin is his stab ability what means he can potentially put someone down with out having to roll to block what can be real useful when you have a opposing player with both block and dodge.

    As for the runner one tactic I used was to place him in the back field ready to grab the ball and then have someone else in place to receive the dump off to stop teams like skaven shooting past and overwhelming him and scoring all in one turn. Also he still makes a good thrower even with out pass.

    But as others have said an apothecary is a must have. And I must say this team excels at chaos changing from defensive to offensive with out warning and vice versa. Never get stuck in one style or you will run into a team that can overwhelm you. But good luck.

    Reply
  7. Stick with the roster listed by coach to start, its newbie friendly (or as friendly as dark elves get anyway) and pretty solid even for experienced players. Whether to get an assassin may also depend on what the other teams are in the league. If there’s lots of low armour teams (if he plays amazons in particular) they can be a VERY handy way of taking down block/dodge players with armour 7 (wardancer, amazon blitzer in particular)

    I prefer witches personally, but thats more of a playstyle decision (and flavour! Witch elves are my favourite thing in the dark elf list, and the dark elf warhammer fantasy list for that matter)

    If your blitzers are picking up dodge straight off, then you should end up with a very solid running game.

    Its up to you whether you deliberately expose the runner to a ‘difficult to get to’ blitz or not. I’ve seen people play that way quite a lot, if he survives a few games he’ll end up with a level up just from dump-off passes alone and its quite easy to set up a break down one side of the field with a blitzer on the sideline side of the runner so they cant cover the blitzer before they blitz your runner (so you’ll get a quick and easy dump-off…hopefully) which is hard to deal with for most teams, particularly early in a league.

    You can also play a full passing game still using a linesman or runner as a thrower. If you buy a third reroll then this method will skill up linesmen quite quickly but may cost you a few rerolls that you wouldnt otherwise have used, depends a bit on how long your league is likely to run. If its a long league and losing a game through wasted rerolls is worth it for some good skilled up linesmen then go for it, if its a short league and you need to win games to progress or get the prize, then go with the witch and stay on two rerolls, as mentioned earlier, with just one skill the witch becomes a powerhouse, and with two you can choose to have one of the better ball retrievers in the game or one of the better recievers in the game.

    I’ve also only seen assassins in a handful of games since they’ve been added, so I cant comment on their utility. They look to me like they’d be pretty much at their very best against amazons though, so if you’re sure he’s using amazon and you’re ok with rigging your team just a tiny bit you could take one in your starting lineup instead of one of the blitzers. I’d probably do it just for the variety, but if you’re new to the game, the blitzers are far more rounded and more forgiving/resilient.

    Reply
  8. You forgot the “no reroll” roster :

    2 WE
    4 Blitzer
    1 Assassin
    1 Runner
    3 Linemen

    It could seam foolish such a roster with no reroll, but for experienced player, it’s not so difficult to play as they know the game well. And because they know the game well, they know that the best tactic is to avoid to roll dices as much as possible, so no need to reroll… much…
    I am the kind of player who has a lot of bad luck on dices, whatever the game, so I learned very young to avoid to roll the dices when i can do something else not involving many dices.
    This roster evolves good with pro for WE (I would say pro skill is good for any frenetic player), jump-up for Assassin and pass for the Runner. An Assassin from the beginning of the team can evolve more easily : as they don’t have more or less blocking skills than most other beginning playesr of other teams, they can go to TD easily and also use shadowing on the opponent reciever which can lead to get the oppenent player injured and the Assinssin growing up. Getting pass on the Runner will help to send the Assassin for TD. Of course, the first thing to buy is an Apothecary, then rerolls.
    With 4 Blitzers starting with block skill, you avoid most turn overs when attacking and you have 4 players which will stay longer on the playground : that is 1/3 of the team.
    Personally, with my bad luck on dices, I became a great fan of pro skill : it allow you to make more rerolls during the game and also more than one reroll during the turn. You can even reroll a not bad roll on a blocking action outside of the main action when you think you could have the luck to send one more opponent player outside of the playground. As DE team has no Big Guy, it can be also helpfull to roll -2D with pro : it gives a better chance to hit a stronger player which doesn’t have block skill most of the time.
    I’m sure you will find other interesting things with this roster.
    Enjoy 😉

    Reply
  9. Whoa! Three years ago i started BB with darkelves and this website as a guide. In the five seasons I’ve played I’ve taken four division championships and three league tittles.

    Darkevles are awesome

    Reply
  10. Hmm on the cyanide game, I have had a lot of sucess, with going 2 ReRolls, 3 Blitzers, 2 Assasins, 6 Lineman.

    Its basically your recommended Settup, but with exchanging the runner and the 4th blitzer for 2 Assasins.

    I like it because it is an endless league, so I get apothecary after the first game. And when i lose my apothecary too early in the match, i can just concede no harm done. So injuries are much less of an issue. But assasins are fun and really strong if leveled up. So you can basically use them alot like lineman, and since its an endless league them gaining spp somewhat slowly (although they tend to act almost like catchers for me), is really not much of an issue.

    They are just SOO strong against other scoring teams.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback but your comment about just conceding boils my blood, you say no harm done but it’s a loss on your record! As long as you’re enjoying at the end of the day, then all is good, not everyone plays with the same goals in mind. I agree that Assassins are great fun though!

      Reply
      • Well to be fair it almost never comes to it, I only really do it when i have to use my apothecary in the first couple of turns.

        But nevertheless. I really enjoy them over lineman, much more for the shadowing than the actual stab usually. And its just great pressure against other elves and skaven.

        Reply
  11. I can’t wrap my head around Dark Elves, at least not around TV1000. Unless they’re playing other Elves, Slann, Halflings etc. they’re just getting outwalled.

    They’re just too squishy. Can’t get around, since MA6 is fairly regular and can’t break through either, since most teams pack enough defense. Any half decent player that’s not playing a squishy team, can outwall Dark Elves at early TV.

    Reply
  12. I’m the opposite of that – I struggle with them later on in the leagues. I don’t have too much of a problem with them until TVs of around 1500, when the bashy teams have some good skills and then my DEs get dead. a lot.

    Reply
  13. I disagree with and find them at their strongest at mid tv! When they should be all blodged and most teams will only have probably 2 tacklers high tv is when the hillers start consistently knocking players down and you are back to being squishy dancey elves

    Reply
  14. I’m just starting my dar? elf team in a league. I’ve never used them before but am experienced in bashy teams.
    So, we have a mixture of responses here , which is good.
    I’m looking forward to using them, I’m seeing it as the better coaches do well this team. It’s a test to see how good a coach I am.

    Reply
  15. I adore Dark Elves, and their runners. I find that teams do not have an answer for Dump Off. The trade off is that runners are squishy. They are still elves and can still move the ball quickly around the field.

    I feel that Dark Elf play is very reactive and not proactive. Defensively, you put yourself in a safe position to slow the other team down and keep them in front of you. Then you wait until you see an opening or a mistake and you capitalize on that mistake. To capitalize on that mistake, an Assassin that can make a straight armor roll ignoring tackle zones is a powerful tool to have in the beginning, and looking at getting strip ball on a witch as soon as you can. Line elves are sacrificial lambs you put in harms way.

    Skills are usually focused on hit die survivability. I have found building up to 4 rerolls is comfortable for this team. Hiring new players typically happens to upgrade killed line elves and add needed units that you identify through your league.

    7-line
    2-runner
    1-Assassin
    1-Witch
    2- ReRoll
    1- apothecary.

    It’s a squishy lineup, but it’s a design to generate much needed SPP early to win games and generate fan factor to make more money.

    Reply
  16. I’m not a dark elf coach, but I’ve faced a lot of them and this setup wouldn’t scare me at all. You’re going to have to do a heck of a lot of dodging, especially if you come across a high AV team. Those sauruses, black orcs, longbeards, tomb guardians, ogres etc. will simply lean on you and it will most likely get worse as the game progress.

    In short, you need some Blitzers.

    Reply
  17. I have started a new league online with many real life friends. What’s the game plan? After game 1 I bought an apothecary. Do I save up for a 3rd re-roll, or go straight into Witch Elves? Then do I fire linemen and keep it tight or keep them on to have a bench in case of injuries? I’m not sure what the order is and how to keep from getting too much TV bloat. We are only 2 games into the whole league so far so I’m quite poor atm and basically just have the beginning roster (7 linemen, 4 blockers, 2rr.)

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t fire players unless they are crippled by an injury (some injuries you can keep them until you can afford to replace). I would probably get a Witch Elf next so you have 12 players. You can’t really go wrong either way at this point, rerolls have the advantage that they can’t die. Whichever way you go you may end up thinking you’d wish you went the other route. Knowing Nuffle, by the time you’ve saved up to afford either one your team will have suffered an death so a new player makes sense either way.

      Good luck!

      Reply
      • It has occurred to me that I could invest in the Leader skill on my Dark Elf Runner, which would be a no gold costing re-roll, and he’s a useful player anyway, and then also get a Witch Aelf.

        This seems like it is getting 2 birds with 1 stone. Although it appears that for the Dark Elf Runners everywhere recommends immediately getting Nerves of Steel instead. However it’s the only player that can immediately get Leader, as it would take a double on any other player.

        Also, there’s Skaven, Wood Elves, and other squishies (Halflings) in my league. Might it be worth investing in an assassin?

        Reply
        • Ah you didn’t originally mention you had a Runner, so yes taking Leader is an option. I would 100% not take Nerves of Steel as the first skill. Whilst is has nice synergy with Dump Off it’s a trap as it means your Runner is getting hit.

          You want to protect them not encourage people to hit them whilst they have low armour and no protective skills. It sounds like you are worrying too much about rerolls. Elf players are easy to skill up and get Dodge on (an MVP and one completion which for elves is 2+ 2+). With lots of dodge and high agility rerolls are a bit less important. You’ve already got 4 players with Block to prioritise doing your hitting with less risk too.

          So I would get a Witch Elf (who have Dodge to start with) and if you really want another team reroll I’d get Leader though personally I’d take Block on the Runner.

          Reply

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