Elf Catchers

Blood Bowl Elf Catcher

Elf Catchers Overview:

The Catchers on an Elf team are the main reason most coaches would choose to play this team and they are easily the stand out player available to you. Elf Catchers are the best rookie players in the game at catching the ball, even better than other players after they have got a few skills! They are fast, have high agility and average strength, their downsides are a high price and typical of receivers they have low armour. The reason that makes Elf Catchers so good, is that along with their high agility, they come with both Catch and Nerves of Steel.

That means that unless it is raining or there is some disturbing presence nearby, they will catch a pass or hand off on a 2+ with a reroll and scattering or bouncing balls on a 3+. That is if you want them to, sometimes you may choose to not use those skills if you would rather a bouncing ball scatter again. That would usually occur if it scatters to a player on your team who has already done their action for that turn, of course though you could still catch the ball even if you elect to not use those skills. The only other exception would be interceptions which are 5+ with a reroll. This ability to ignore Tackle Zones when catching makes them very hard to stop when it comes to scoring.

Being able to catch the ball that easily makes the offence of an Elf team probably the hardest to stop in Blood Bowl. If you like scoring a lot then an Elf team might be for you (though that isn’t always the best strategy). As you don’t need to worry so much about your Catchers being marked, it makes it a lot harder for the other team to defend against them. They are also very good players to use for marking players nearby the ball carrier before you try and get it loose. Their tackle zones will make it harder for the opponents to catch the bouncing ball, while they have a very good chance of gaining possession themselves if it comes to them.

With such a good Catching ability, it is probably very tempting for new coaches to just concentrate on increasing their ability to score. The truth of it is that there aren’t many skills that will make much of a greater impact on their scoring ability. Like I mentioned already as rookies they are still better than a lot of players on other teams who have developed into better receivers. (That would mostly be down to the fact that it requires a double skill advancement to get Nerves of Steel for Catchers on other teams). So due to this, I wouldn’t personally develop any Elf Catcher down that route, you can get far better use out of them building them to do other roles. They will still have their great catching ability but can also aid the team in other ways, effectively giving you two players for the price of one!

Ball Carrier Blitzing Elf Catcher:

Not only are the Catchers really great, but you can have four of them! The Blitzers on the team are destined (in my opinion) to become very good marking players. I am very fond generally of building Catchers as Blitzers now and I would look to build two on any Elf team that I was coaching. They have the highest movement on the team so have the best range to get to targets, they don’t start with Block, so by taking Wrestle first (to counter Block on opposing ball carriers) fits them perfectly. Wrestle will also provide them some protection (watch out for Juggernaut) as they are big targets. I follow that up with Dodge again for protection but it also makes them even more manoeuvrable and harder to hide from. Staying upright also helps with being a Catcher on offence as well.

After that look at getting Strip Ball (especially if your league has plenty of team without Sure Hands) and Tackle to deal with Dodge. As I like to build two, I would give one skill to one of them and the other skill to the other one. You shouldn’t really need both skills on two players, certainly not Strip Ball anyway, one on the team should be enough as it is easily countered. After that consider Leap so you can get into cages easier, again it might not be necessary for both to get it, leaps fail more often than dodges and it isn’t always wise to jump into a cage either. If I had to pick I would probably take it on the Tackle player as ball carriers can often have Dodge and Sure Hands. Leap can also be very helpful on offence letting you get out of tightly marked spots. I would take Side Step next, it makes it harder to get rid of them and offers some protection against being chain blocked.

After that there are loads of choices that can work, it depends which way you want to take them. Diving Tackle and Shadowing are great, though work better on Block builds than Wrestle ones. Sure Feet can give you more blitzing and scoring range. Fend can help protect them more, especially against Piling On and Frenzy (this would probably be my next pick). Pro can be nice for rerolls of double pushes and failed Leaps when you don’t have a team reroll. Dauntless could be useful if you are playing against a lot of stronger players. Jump Up is also worth considering, it especially combines well with Wrestle for getting back up off the deck.

For doubles I would take Guard, Elven sides don’t have natural access to it and they need to get it when they have the chance. A strength increase is great for getting blocks in your favour and makes it harder to get blocked in return. Agility increase is also helpful, it would really combo well with Leap to make a scoring powerhouse and you can also  dodge through tackle zones easier. Movement can be handy, I would skip it early on in short leagues, but it would be good for one turn scoring via chain pushes easier.

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16 thoughts on “Elf Catchers”

  1. Regarding the ‘apothecary being saved for catchers’ comment, back in the bad old days of LRB4, I tended to prefer to keep it for the blitzers – merely because catchers, even rookie ones, are remarkably easy to skill up.

  2. I have always been a huge fan of Dump Off on Elf Catchers on the roll of a double. Keeping a spare Catcher nearby if you need to make a break the ability to shift the ball on a 2+ and have it caught on a re-rollable 2+ has your opponant yanking out his hair in frustration.

  3. Dump Off is a poor choice, it offers no protection and only works if when that player both has the ball and you are letting them get hit. It doesn’t help you with hitting anyone, when being hit, or moving around. All of which you will do far more often.

    If I was ever going to take it the earliest I would ever do so would be after Block and Dodge, though chances are then you aren’t likely to be knocked over so wouldn’t really want to use Dump Off.

    All of that means I can’t justify taking it as a skill. You are far better off in terms of winning to take skills that help you on defence. An Elf team offence isn’t something that you would usually be struggling with.

  4. The problem with Dump Off is that it only works if the guy with the ball gets thumped.
    The other problem with the Elfs is that pretty much all of the positions are mis-named, with most positionals changing roles with every skill. Guard is the better choice as it allows you to mix it up a little with the opposition, the whole point of the Nerves.

  5. The problem with Dump Off is that it only works if the guy with the ball gets thumped.
    The other problem with the Elfs is that pretty much all of the positions are mis-named, with most positionals changing roles with every skill they gain. Guard is the better choice as it helps when you mix it up a little with the opposition, which is the whole point of having the Nerves skill. It is all about the “in your face” aspect of the Elf team.

  6. I was wondering… how about juggernaut on a double? With this ability even if caged by 4 opponents you may blitz your way out (with a push result) 2 out of 3 times (rolling 2 dices under), then dodge away (hopefully 2+ with dodge). Comboed with nerves of steel means that, even caged, you may catch 2+ blitz 2/3 out and dodge your way to the scoring even without block. What do you think?

    • I would rather have Guard as it is going to be useful in a lot more situations. It also then means he will assist a team mate who is coming in to blitz him free from the markers. Admittedly Juggernaut is useful to have on someone on your team so you can also target Wrestle players on the opposing team, so if you do already have a fair amount of Guard players I can see sense in picking Juggernaut on someone.

  7. I can’t see ever taking Dump Off on a Catcher. If you want to go that route get it on a Thrower — they already have Pass and can get Dump Off and Nerves (or just Accurate) without doubles.

    I can see some use for it, as an option to push your offense behind a screen instead of always going for 2-3 turn passing TDs, or after scrums where you’ve retrieved the ball but were for some reason unable to score immediately. I’d still go the normal deep passer route on my main Thrower though.

  8. Honestly, Pro Elf catchers are designed for scoring touchdowns and also developing a good defensive anti elf style game. What this means is that due to the catch/nerves of steel starting skills you can often dictate the throwing game of your opponent when you’re in defense by marking receivers or getting in intercept range. Of course you’re going to have to position yourself correctly and you’ll need quite a bit of experience to get this right every single time.

    I main pro elves and I’ve found that the standard blodge works in their favor I am not a fan at all of wrestle for these guys they are simply not designed to take hits or to be laying on the ground like a $2 dollar whore just waiting to get F****D!! Especially vs foul heavy teams. I mean what’s the trade for a 100k catcher say vs a 40k zombie or goblin. Not worth the risk.

    All pro elf catchers are natural touch down scorers so their focus should be on defense. Block – Dodge – Fend – Passblock – Side Step.

    Doubles definitely take AGI + if you can and if you’re very lucky you could use that combined with Guard if you happened to roll doubles again but in saying that I’ve passed up doubles on the first skill just because I know how crucial blodge is for these guys early on.

    In defense these guys stop the opponents throwing game and with their defensive skills as stated above they are natural support defenders and are usually standing behind the blitzers and looking for a mistake or to maximize field position i.e – your standard 2 by 2 square defense (that’s 2 squares in between each defending mark and a support player behind). The fend is crucial to avoid follow ups from bashy units and that horrendous piling on can be a real game changer.

    The bottom line is Pro Elves are fantastic defenders and have a naturally gifted offense which is unmatched by any other team in my humble opinion. So many coaches make the mistake of trying to break a bash cage out of desperation wishing they had dauntless and guard to do it well if you want your blitzers to take that route go for it I think it’s a great idea too but for me scoring in defense is not necessary unless you’re losing.

    Do your job and defend correctly, wait for a mistake, if one is not made utilize the MA to starve your opponent of field position and play the drive out!!

    • I think it’s essential to have a wrestle piece on a Prelf team — you simply will not get the ball above 1500tv otherwise, when the blodging AG4 (maybe surehands) carrier gets it. As for the other three, I firmly favour blodge over wrodge — if you want to score, Block is way better than Wrestle; and it’s usually good on offence, if not amazing.

      My favoured advancement would be Block > Dodge > Sidestep > Fend. Then on defence you can use your 4(!) catchers to mark the ball carrier after blitzing away the cage corner with your Blitzer, with reasonable surety he will be marked and stay marked. Of course if you roll doubles for Guard that’s all to the better. I’d favour SS over fend for that reason, once you have blodge and marking up the carrier it makes it a real annoyance for the opponent to shake 2+ markers.

  9. Is there any room for a frenzy player on the elf lineup? I’m thinking a tactical chain push option would be great but can’t see where it might go, perhaps a wrestle catcher or a blitzer?

    • It’s generally always handy to have a Frenzy player, though if your playing environment has mostly stronger teams with lots of Guard then you might find it gets you intro trouble.


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