It is quite the norm that Blood Bowl teams are privately owned, but where the majority of teams are owned by proprietors and coaches who run their teams as professional outfits., there are plenty of other teams that exist for other reasons. Rich nobles, wager entrepreneurs, crime lords with large sums of cash to hide from treasury men who ask bothersome questions, all these and more are drawn to the sport.
|QTY||Position||Cost||MA||ST||AG||PA||AV||Skills & Traits||Pri||Sec|
|0-2||Thrower||75k||6||3||3+||3+||9+||Pass, Running Pass||GP||AS|
|0-2||Noble Blitzer||105k||7||3||3+||4+||9+||Block, Catch||AG||PS|
|0-4||Bodyguards||90k||6||3||3+||5+||9+||Stand Firm, Wrestle||GS||A|
|0-1||Ogre||140k||5||5||4+||5+||10+||Bone Head, Loner (4+), Mighty Blow (+1), Thick Skull, Throw Team Mate||S||AG|
|Special Rules||Old World Classic|
Imperial Nobility Team Overview
Imperial Nobility are one of the two new teams added with the new 2020 Blood Bowl Second Season box set. As someone who was disappointed with the “Warhammerfication” of Blood Bowl moving away from a Blood Bowl universe to integrate more into the Warhammer fantasy world, I must admit I was predisposed to not like this team. I was never a fan of the Bretonnian team for the same reasons and Imperial Nobility have a head nod towards that fan made roster. Once I actually sat down to put a tactical eye over the roster I find myself drawn to their unique combination of starting skills.
The 1994 3rd edition of Blood Bowl had a lot of similarity and formulaic creation of the different rosters in the game. I’m really happy to see that in order to add some more variety in the many many available races that’s we’re seeing more experimentation with player abilities. This makes teams more unique and different and the variety is one of the big draws for me (which is why I got bored of playing against the same old races in NAF tournaments).
For the first time we see Blitzers that come with Catch as well as Block, which fits how a lot of people use them. Catch is a skill you could make use of, but not a skill you would prioritise taking on a Blitzer, so it makes a nice addition to a player you may often be handing the ball to. The Bodyguards can help claim space and create spaces to run team mates through. An Ogre will help soak up pressure and compliment your Bodyguards. The Throwers aren’t the best and more geared to helping run the ball and backed up with cheap Linemen who aren’t that agile but have Fend to aid freeing them up to move and again help control space.
Imperial Nobility teams are really geared to hold up the advancement of the opposition with skills like Stand Firm and Fend. Starting with Wrestle will let you create gaps and slow down Block players. You want to gather up the ball and keep it away from the other team whilst you manoeuvre down the pitch before finally creating that hole to run the ball through into the end zone. So despite my initial misgivings regarding the background of the team, I think they are well equipped to deal with the current game playing 2-1 clock grinding meta.
Imperial Nobility Team Strengths:
- Useful and unique starting skills
- Cheap Linemen with Fend
- Can start with a lot of Block + Wrestle
Imperial Nobility Team Weaknesses:
- Expensive Rerolls
- Pretty average stats
Imperial Nobility Team Tactics
I’ve given a hint above how you would go about trying to play this team. Their stats aren’t great but they have an edge at low team values with access to a lot of Block and Wrestle. With average agility you aren’t going to be doing a lot of ball handling with this team, ideally looking to either just do one pick up roll and maybe one hand off at some point in the drive. For the same reason you are also going to want to try and avoid having to make lots of (or any) dodge rolls, especially with the ball carrier.
The Bodyguards and Ogre will form the front line between the opposing team and your ball carrier when you have the ball and the first defensive line when the other team has the ball. Stand Firm can really hamper the progress of the other team on both offence and defence. Having Wrestle as well doesn’t have the greatest synergy with Stand Firm but it can combine well for slowing down the other team and also using them to create a gap through opposing lines. You’ll need to be careful about getting into an all out brawl with bashing teams though as you only have an average armour value.
Use the Blitzers to go after non Block / Wrestle players and back up the Bodyguards. They will also make your scoring threat by being further forward of your ball carrier, especially as they have Catch to help getting the ball to them with either a hand off or passing action. If your progress down the pitch does get bogged up then they can Blitz their way through and also have the best receiving threat on your team.
The Throwers are really there to collect the ball after kickoff and free your Blitzers up. They aren’t actually that great at passing and any you attempt to do so will ideally be as short as you can make them. I don’t see Running pass as being a particularly strong skill for them (or in general) but it does give you some options to help provide a screen or even mark an opponent after you offload the ball (note it only works on quick passes).
Use your linemen to provide more cover for whoever has the ball and other general tasks like marking players and providing assists. They are cheap enough that you don’t mind trading them for a more expensive opponent via fouling. Their low agility means you really want to avoid having to do dodge rolls. As they come with the useful Fend ability, you may find opponents avoid blocking them as a push result may just free them up to run off somewhere more useful.
Imperial Nobility Team Development
I think the most obvious need for the team would be to try and get as much Guard as possible (which is never a bad tactic for any team). This will help make up the strength gap against stronger teams and has very strong synergy with the Stand Firm on your Bodyguards. Against Wrestle isn’t ideal in combination of Guard but it’s one of the things that makes the team unique. They will probably spend a lot of time in contact with opponents so Mighty Blow will help to get a numbers advantage and as Wrestle is very useful at taking down opponent Block + Dodge ball carriers, it’s probably worth considering getting Tackle somewhere.
The Blitzers are strange is that they get Agility rather than Strength access that’s typical for all non Elven Blitzers. Dodge is going to help keep them upright and to make better use of their higher movement. Tackle might work better on Bodyguards for going after ball carriers but it’s worth some thought here too. Side Step to go along with all the Stand Firm the team has will help control even more space. When you’ve got some Guard on the team I would take a good look at Frenzy, this isn’t a team that’s going to be scared to get near the side-line, so use that to your advantage to push opponents into the crowd.
When it comes to getting Sure Hands I would put it on a Thrower as the Blitzers have a wider choice of useful options. You might also consider getting Block first, especially if you’re going to end up using Running Pass to mark opponents. Accurate can help make those quick passes easier, but I would aim to be doing hands offs if at all possible. With expensive team rerolls, Leader isn’t a bad option either, as long as you can keep them protected. Passing is something best avoided in Blood Bowl and a lot of the Passing skills aren’t that useful either. When safe to do so I would try to avoid scoring with Throwers to get SPP on your Bodyguards and Blitzers.
The Retainer Linemen are pretty expendable. I don’t see them gaining many skills but you can’t go wrong with the classics of Block or Wrestle when they do. A Dirty Player could also come in useful at some point.
Imperial Nobility Team Summary
This is a team that’s geared up to play the running game and to frustrate the opponents who are trying to do the same. As is standard good practice for every team, you will be looking to minimise any ball handling / movement that involves rolling dice. Look to control the space on the pitch and use your advantage to stuff a team into an area they are going to have trouble getting out of. The sideline is going to be your friend and positional play is going to be key.
Just be mindful that while Wrestle can help you create holes to run though, the opponents can take advantage to do the same. If you back them up with well positioned team mates, then use the ability of Stand Firm to really clog up the pitch, even if your Bodyguards end up on the ground. I can see this team being really fun to play, as long as you use your tactical nous and play to the strengths of this team’s unique starting skills.