This article was written for a previous version of the Blood Bowl rules and has some outdated information in it. You might still find it contains some useful information.
There is now an an updated Blood Bowl 2020 Second Season Dark Elf Starting Rosters article.
Dark Elf starting teams mainly have the decision on which positions to perhaps not start the team with at all. Their players are expensive but they are also good though a couple of them are also somewhat fragile. Thankfully their rerolls aren’t too expensive so spending more on better players to start means you don’t have to save up much more for an extra reroll later compared to the average cost of a new player. Previous editions of the rules saw Dark Elf teams starting with 11 Linemen so they could afford 3 rerolls and max out on the fan factor. Now no money needs to be spent on fan factor you can get the better starting positional players from the outset.
High Armour Dark Elf Starting Roster:
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This is the most often recommended starting roster for Dark Elves for a number of reasons. First of all you start with all four Blitzers getting some Block on the field straight away and they are also fairly fast and have AV8 rather than AV7. They are the key players for the team doing a lot of the heavy lifting and being flexible players. Dark Elves are the only Elven team that can have four blitzers so make the most of it and get them in at the start. Having a Runner from the start gives you that defensive problem (for the other team) of having to deal with Dump Off. Also with passing skill access you can perhaps get Leader early on to get an extra Reroll. The rest of the starting 11 is made up from Linemen to maximise the armour on the pitch to help negate early injuries. The AV7 of a Runner isn’t a problem as with only one on the team it shouldn’t be too tricky to protect him as you would do with any ball carrier. You could drop the Runner for an extra Lineman and save 10k for an apothecary, though a Dark Elf team with full positionals will only have space for 6 Lineman. Starting with 7 means eventually you will perhaps sack one or have to wait for one to get injured or die. It also means having to have an extra Lineman miniature or using a proxy in its place, though this is only an issue for tabletop players. This leaves you with enough money to get two rerolls and as mentioned a Dark Elf reroll doubled in cost isn’t much more than your average player cost.
Future purchases see you getting an Apothecary first as with nearly every other team. After that I would save up to get the Witch Elves, they are great players but their high cost makes fitting them into a starting team troublesome. If you haven’t taken Leader then you may want to get a third reroll between the Witch Elves. Lack of rerolls can be somewhat compensated by the skills you take on your players as well.
Witch Elf Dark Elf Starting Roster:
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A slight variation on the above roster giving you a Witch Elf to start with at the expense of a Runner and a Blitzer. The disadvantages are that you have one less Blitzer and therefore Block skill, though you may not really miss the Runner. You also have the 7 Linemen issue as mentioned before. The benefits though are that you get a player who starts with Dodge which may save rerolls and the threat of Frenzy can be great as well, especially near the side lines. You do have to be careful though, with no Block and AV7 coupled with the high cost and no Apothecary to start with, you can expect opposing teams to look at fouling at every opportunity.
Purchases are the Apothecary and then the last Blitzer and then either a third reroll or the other Blitzer. This will mean having no Runner for quite a while though but I can’t see me preferring buying one over the other options, perhaps another reason to start with one as in the first example.