How To Pick Your Starting Roster

Why Your Starting Roster Is Important:

The one thing all teams have in common is that you have to pick an initial roster to start the team with. The current version of the rules allow for greater flexibility in your starting team, whilst still allowing them to be competitive in the short and long term. (Obviously if the team is playing an infinite number of games they should get some “long term success” at some point.) Some things to consider when starting your team is: how long your season is, which order of races you are facing (not always known), what other races are in the league, the attributes of your own chosen race and how other coaches are likely to start theirs. If you know that you are in a really bash heavy league for example you may decide to favour more heavily armoured players than low armoured players, or you may look to start with more than 11 players and less rerolls to avoid getting outnumbered. The race you have picked probably pays the biggest influence though, with regards to player costs, reroll costs, starting skills and player fragility. Due to the changes in Fan Factor and winnings and the fact you don’t need to start with much (I would start most teams with none) you have more money at your disposal for players or rerolls.

Number of Games Your League Lasts:

This is important to know from the outset as it will change the importance of the different components that go into creation of a team. The longer the league the less important your roster in the long run as given enough games you can turn things around (that doesn’t mean you can ignore the points laid out here though). It is of most importance in really short leagues. If you are playing what I would consider a rather short league of 10 or less games then most of your players aren’t going to get a chance to skill up. This means your team as a whole will probably not have many skills on it, so getting more players that start with skills on the team may take more of an importance. I would still start with a minimum of two rerolls though or you can suffer on the pitch. The shortage of games also means you won’t have as much time to get money to buy new players, replace injured and dead players or get more rerolls. This perhaps puts more of an emphasis on taking players with higher armour and leaving off those with lower armour until you have purchased an Apothecary.

Reroll Heavy or Reroll Light:

One of the biggest mistakes beginning players make is starting with too few Rerolls. They are generally vital to success in most games as any given die roll can fail, some skills can make up for this somewhat but you are going to need Rerolls more often than not in a game. At the very least I would start any team with a minimum of two Rerolls, the fact they double in cost after team creation can make saving up for more take quite a while if you took too few and can’t win games. The other advantage that Rerolls have over both Players and Fan Factor is that you can’t lose them. Fan Factor can go down and players have a habit of missing games, getting injured and sometimes outright death. Rerolls will stay on your team and be available for every game unless you decide to drop one, or in some games have them stolen by Master Chefs, though this tends to be rare for starting teams.

If you do start Reroll heavy though you will have less money to spend on players, so will tend to be filling your team up with cheaper ones than the better yet more expensive options. Having more Rerolls though will counter for having less skills and you can also use them on any of your players and not just the specific player with the dedicated skill. You can then attempt far more things than you would after you have run out of Rerolls, giving you both an advantage on the pitch and can also aid player development through SPP generation. If you took more expensive players and they die or get an injury which makes you retire them, you then not only have to save up to buy that player again, you also then have to save double the cost to get more rerolls and all the time you are saving up, you have to use a Journeyman player with Loner during your games.

The flip side, starting Reroll light does let you get better players early on. The advantage this brings is that they are more likely to succeed on the pitch and are less likely to need Rerolls. They can come with skills to aid moving or ball handling, or skills that help knocking over opponents or making it hard for opponents to knock them over. If they have a skill reroll for dodging or catching, it saves your Rerolls for doing Go For Its, picking up, or hitting opponents. You can only use one Reroll per turn and if you are doing passes, dodges and go for its with unskilled players, fail the first roll and you are walking a tightrope for the other rolls.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages and you want to get a combination of both that will give you the best chance of winning games. You get more money for winning games and so which ever method you go, the more money you can win will let you afford what you decided against taking at the start. The other thing to consider is the cost of the Rerolls for your team as well, as Reroll prices differ from race to race, the more expensive the Rerolls are the biggest the amount you need to save up to buy more Rerolls further along in your teams development. Having to save up 140k is quite a bit more than having to save up 100k, so bear this in mind before splashing out on all the expensive players.

Starting With an Apothecary:

With more money available to spend it is now more viable to start with an Apothecary, I still don’t do this with most teams though as I would prefer to get more Rerolls. Usually you will have an odd 10-30k left over when creating a team now and I would look to save that instead of spending it on Fan Factor, then hope to get enough money after the first game to be able to afford an Apothecary. If you don’t start with one then I would put an Apothecary as the number one purchase for any team that is able to take one. The reason to start with one is that they are often cheaper than your better players and saving one from death makes more financial sense than buying another Lineman would have. Of course the Apothecary can still fail and players can die regardless though most of the time they will save you money.

You do need to start with eleven players though and by the time you have eleven players and some Rerolls you probably don’t have enough money for an Apothecary. You can of course take more Linemen instead of more expensive players, but then you don’t have many players who cost more than an Apothecary to warrant the cost in buying one when you start your team. The other thing to consider is that some games you don’t need to use the Apothecary at all, players need to be knocked over, have their armour broken, then injured and then a bad serious injury roll. Usually if this does happen it is to your Linemen or whoever it is you tend to put next to opposing players to tie them up and not usually your more expensive players which you bought the Apothecary to save.

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24 thoughts on “How To Pick Your Starting Roster”

  1. I’d personally put a lot more emphasis on the expected length of the league. Our most recent league was just eight games long, whereas some of my teams in the past have still been going strong after more than fifty games. In an eight-game league, most of your players won’t get upgraded – in a sixteen-game league, most of them will; in a fifty game league, all of them will. This makes skilled players much more important in a short league; you did kinda mention this in passing, but I’d have given it a lot more coverage.

  2. Perhaps example starting rosters for each race are worth being in here for beginners?
    Or would you rather do that on either the team page or the forums when they happen?

    It’d be good to have a spot to discuss starting team lineups for league play and for tournament play. Though the tounament play probably needs its own string of articles lol.

    Top job coach, keep it up 🙂

  3. Some great points there.

    Whenever I am starting a new team I like to spend ~200k on Rerolls and an Apot. This will give you 2/3 rerolls and a chance to save an important positional player. I never use an Apot on a Lineman (unless its the last turn perhaps), but as you say spending 50k to save yourself having to buy a new 120k Wardancer or a 90k Gutter Runner who scored most of your tries makes alot of sense.

    After that I go with a Sure Hands Player, a Blocker and a Runner with Dodge. Once you have at least one of these each you can fill up to 11/12 players with Linemen. If you have spare cash afterward you can ‘upgrade’ your Linemen, say you have 70k spare, that is an extra Gutter Runner(Lineman+30) and Stormvermin(Lineman+40)  for example. I rarely start with a Big Guy unless you have to i.e. Goblin Teams, etc.

  4. Perhaps example starting rosters for each race are worth being in here for beginners?

    I’ve had a category in place since day one ready for these, as there are a few different viable starting line ups for every race, I will be doing separate ones for each race. If needed in the future I’ve set it up to easily have different starting rosters for different amounts of starting money as well.

  5. Where are you planning on putting the starting lineups? On the team articles or a separate link to all of them or?

    Apothecary is being evaluated on a ‘one game’ value here for some reason also. They’re a bit like a reroll, their value is in having them forever and the cumulative effect of having one is well worth the investment.

    On LONG leagues, particularly the Cyanide ‘open league’, I start with a big guy on pretty much any team that doesnt have access to strength 4 players as standard. This is mainly to start their progression as soon as possible.

    On short leagues or tounaments its much more likely i’ll skip on the big guy altogether.

    Its not clear cut though, big-guys add a lot of backbone to a team and can indirectly cut down on your number of casualties.
    A skaven team without a rat ogre loses a lot more players in my experience. Even if the rat ogre spends a large portion of the game not doing anything useful, just its presence (and guard hopefully) makes the opponents life a tiny bit more difficult and stops them getting a clear three hits on your front line using just three players.  they are at least usually forced to either spend another player or two on the front line skirmish, or not follow up on a hit or two in order to assist against the big guy. Either way you end up with less of your players being hit and therefore fewer injuries.

    The treeman for the wood elves is a trickier one, I like to have one, but I appreciate that a lot of coaches dont, and in tournament play I have previously not taken one (though my only tourney experience is little-league local stuff, none of the ‘serious’ ones lol)

    I’d skip mino for chaos, roller for dwarves and troll for orcs without losing any sleep, but rat ogre and ogre for humans I’d take (though lots of ppl dont).

    I’m looking forward to dark elves adding to the cyanide game, it’ll be interesting to have a team with no big-guys in the comp and see how it fares in open league format, I’m looking forward to using them.

  6. The forum would be a better place for starting rosters. There’s a lot of post online about that already.

    I agree about the Big Guy for leagues. He’s either in from the start or out.
    The treeman in wood elves team is not mandatory.Some people like it, some don’t. I personnaly never play with one.
    My league WE setup is: 2 dancers – 9 lineelves – 2 RR -30k in the bank.
    Starting Orc league setup: 1 Troll – 4 BO – 2 runners – 1 thrower -2 lines – 1 gob – 3RR – 20k in the bank

  7. Yes, Skaven Teams definately need a Rat Ogre in my experience, and in fairness he isn’t the worse of them, failing Wild Animal doesn’t lose you his Tackle Zones.

    I’d have to disagree with VoidSeer’s absolutism, but I do understand why you would feel that way. Saving up for a Treeman or Mino is worthwhile for a longer League IMO, but obviously you would probably never have the money in a shorter league.

  8. My WE setup is typically (for leagues of medium to long):
    1 dancer, 1tree, 1 thrower, 2 RR, 8 linesmen, 10 in the bank.
    Then its apoth, catcher, catcher  assuming no losses or only a linesman lost. 

    For a tourney I’ve tried a few and the most comfortable to play felt like double dancer, 8 linesmen and a thrower (2 RR)

    I dont like playing without a thrower, too much relies on that pass working, too many bad things happen when it doesnt and I dont like to have to save a reroll just for that through the entire half.

  9. I run with tree, dancer, thrower, linesmen and 2RR in the average league (medium to long league)
    For a tourney or short league, double dancer, thrower, linesmen and 2 RR is the way to go for me.

    I dont like playing without a thrower. yes I know your linesmen are just as good with a reroll on standby, but a) they dont look cool doing it, b) it means you have to save half your rerolls for the one critical throw you know you’ll be doing at some point in the half. That leaves you with only one reroll you can really afford to use during the half, not enough to give you the best chance at forcing a turnover td.

  10. @Thanatos
    The problem is that big guys are dead slow to skill up (expect the Mino and the RO, maybe). Even in long leagues, your rookie big guy will face full block lines or dauntless blitzers etc. if you buy it late.  If you want a useful BG, you kinda need to take it from the get go.
    I do not start with a WE thrower on purpose in leagues. A good elf team needs to have very skilled lines. A thrower skills damn fast, and hogs all the passing SPPs. I always try to make a quick pass when receiving (MVP + quick pass = 1 skill).
    On short leagues or tournaments, I do definitly start with one (and leader as 1st skill).
    With my league starting roster, I go : Apo – 1st thrower – catcher – catcher – 2nd thrower – 2x catchers (provided I don’t have to replace anyone).

  11. I get you now, and while yes BGs are slow to skill, they only really need Block/Juggernaut to be competative against a more advanced opposing LOS. That is just 3 Cas, which might take a game or 3 but not too long.

  12. I believe part of his point, however, is that if you take a BG later on, you wind up with a rookie BG facing a developed LOS, and it’s even slower to get them the Cas they need.  Against an unskilled human lineman a BG inflicts a casualty approximately 1/16 blocks (if you figure 2 dice, 1/6 failure from nega-trait, Mighty Blow, no Frenzy).

  13. Juggernaught does not make them competitive with a skilled line of scrimmage.

    In fact, if you’re going down the juggernaught path then they probably shouldnt be on the LOS at all, they’ll be blitzing ppl off the field or hitting squishies.

  14. Guys, I appreciate your comments but can we take the more specific discussion onto the forum. I understand taking a Big Guy at the start or later (or not at all) is kind of relevant. The same with starting Wood Elves with a Thrower or not, but the forum would be much better suited to specific threads for those races. Think I need to add an extra forum for general team build non race specific threads though for things like big guys and inducement discussion that aren’t so specific to a certain race.

  15. Most BB websites have a section for starting rosters with a thread for each races. If you create the section and sticky one post per race, we can start yelling at eachother 🙂

  16. My starting team for Norse is killing they are currently 11-1-2 and now have 4 re-rolls 11 ff and full 16 players.
    I started with 1 thrower, 1 yhetee, 2 norse werewolves, 2 blitzers, 5 linemen and 2 re-rolls my only loss was the 4th game of the season. I had to purchase the second thrower due to my starter thrower Constantly  being targeted his +1ag on his first level was awesome. I quickly started picking up runners as quick as I could so I could score faster with their 7 movement.

  17. I might add the first starting roster for norse where I didn’t take big guys was 1 thrower 2 berserkers 2 runners 7 lineman 3 re-rolls 1 cheerleader 3 fan factor perfect million team I ended up in 4th place. 9-4-2 over regular season 2-1 in playoffs. Wasn’t a real threat or beat down anyone good until I got the werewolves and Yhetee thats why I started this new longer league with the big guys.

  18. Hey Coach
    I have recently started playing blood bowl and would like to ask some help regarding choosing correct team. I started game from modelling point and it is very important to me that my models look right when thinking at their playstyle. For example using human AOS starter set chaos models would result in bashy team rather than fast ball handler. They do look like they want to rip your face off, not play honest ballgame!

    I recently saw James Braund’s converted team, the Hoeth Harlequins, converted from WH40k harlequins, and decided to convert me some clowns. Harlequins are typically nigh impossible to catch or pin down, less fighty without their toys (which they won’t have in the pitch). So my question, after long winded intro is as follows:

    Which elf team plays overall like you would expect from harlequins? Fast with tons of evasion and ball handling. Since this is a converted team, with modelling, i can make it look like any team in game, though woould prefer it to be elf. Also, i am beginner coach so if your suggested team is beginner friendly, all the better. Thank you in advance

    • I know other players who have used Harlequins for Elven teams and used the same miniatures for whichever of the four Elf teams they are using. Personally I think they would best fit the Pro Elves or Elven Union as they appear to have been renamed as. Though they are reportedly the next team Games Workshop are going to release a new set of minis for, so Wood Elves are probably the next best fit. I wouldn’t say any of them are much easier than the others to play though.

  19. Hey Coach,

    Do you have any insight/advice about the new Bretonnian team in Cyanide’s Blood Bowl 2? I notice they still haven’t included Slann or Chaos Pact, but I don’t think Bretons are from any official (i.e. GW) publication, and I’m a touch unsure where to go with them.


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