Underworld Thrower Overview:
Underworld Throwers are nearly identical to their Skaven counterparts however their role as ball carriers is really pronounced without Gutter Runner team mates. As they start with Sure Hands they are the natural choice for picking the ball up and the Pass skill gives them the most options going forward in a drive to distribute it. Unlike a Skaven Thrower though they are hindered by the Animosity skill which can make giving the ball (via a Pass or Hand Off) to a non Skaven team mate (so the Troll or a Goblin) risky. It is only a one in six chance of them holding onto the ball, though it can prevent you scoring if you attempt it on the last turn of a drive without a reroll spare, and even then it could still happen! It isn’t all bad compared to a standard Skaven Thrower as you have access to Mutation skills on normal rolls which opens up some useful options. Otherwise though they are fast, with average strength and agility and low armour. While Goblins have Dodge and Stunty to help them move around, their low strength and not starting with Sure Hands is why they won’t usually be the ones collecting a loose ball.
When developing Underworld Throwers I would go down a similar route with both available to your team. A lot of the ball handling and ball carrier related skills will also go some way to turning them into a receiver. If you do use this method, then while one goes to collect the ball, the other can move ahead as a catching threat to help spread the defence out and make it easier to run a cage play. Also passing from one to the other avoids the Animosity issue.
Ball Carrying Underworld Thrower:
- Normal: Extra Arms / Block, Two Heads, Big Hand / Accurate / Nerves of Steel / Safe Throw
- Doubles: Dodge, Sure Feet / Side Step
- Stat Increases: +ST, +AG, +MV
The typical ball carrier options that are given to a Thrower who will likely be running the ball (which with an average agility team like Underworld is the most sensible) would be to take Block. This will offer you some protection and also help gives more options for players to blitz / hit opponents with, especially as nearly half a typically starting line up for Underworld will not have general skill access. The other strong first skill alternative would be to take Extra Arms, this will give you a much better chance of picking up the ball and can even perhaps help in the odd interception attempt. It is also what makes them dual action as a possible catching threat if someone else has the ball. After that I would go for Two Heads to make dodging easier. Relying on an AG3 player to dodge away is usually a scary die roll but against a good coach you can’t always have a blitz available to push opposing tackle zones clear.
At this point you should have what are probably the three key skills they need and you can perhaps deviate a bit with skill choices from this point. Big Hand can be helpful for getting at loose balls in a scrum of players, especially when combined with Sure Hands, Extra Arms and Two Heads (though you may have a Goblin built for this role). Accurate is rarely a poor choice for a Throwing player, though hopefully your movement will avoid longer passes. Nerves of Steel will let you get a pass off if you do get swamped by the opposition. It can also be great with Extra Arms as a catching threat for a pass and also for interceptions and catching bouncing balls. Some thought can also be given to Safe Throw if you do prefer to pass it a lot, especially if you tend to throw over opponents.
For doubles as usual on a ball carrier I would go for Dodge, with plenty of Goblin team mates you aren’t going to be a Dodge light team to really warrant not taking it. Side Step can be a useful addition or even Sure Feet. I’d rather take Dodge than both and I think you need to get the three key normal skills first, so would give serious thought to ignoring doubles. Stats wise I can’t ever see a case for turning down strength on an Underworld Thrower and an agility increase would also be a massive boost. If you get one early you could perhaps skip both or one of Extra Arms and Two Heads, though they can combine really well for dancing through tackle zones. Early on I would probably skip a movement increase but as a later skill I think I would be tempted.
Receiving Underworld Thrower:
- Normal: Extra Arms / Block, Two Heads, Nerves of Steel
- Doubles: Dodge, Catch
- Stat Increases: +ST, +AG, +MV
The receiver build isn’t that much different, especially for the first three skills with the same reasons as before. After that Nerves of Steel becomes a bit more desirable. For doubles again I would stick with Dodge, consider Catch and also look at Side Step and perhaps add some marking skills like Shadowing and Tackle to diversify. Stat increases follow the same logic as before.
Underworld Thrower Summary:
As you may now tell the ball will spend a lot of time on one Thrower or the other and their first three skills really concentrate on this fact. They will either usually be going to collect a loose ball, running up the pitch with the ball, or being a receiving threat. As only one can carry the ball at a time for future skills I would consider what your team is missing as a whole and see if you can take skills that will complement both your Thrower and perhaps the team as well rather than going all out for building great passing players. Remember you don’t have the luxury of AG4 team mates to be making passing plays to.
While I’m not a fan of it, perhaps give Dump off a consideration, though only if you’ve gone down a Nerves of Steel route. Leader is another skill I’ve not yet mentioned that is popular on Throwers, especially on teams that have expensive rerolls. However as the Underworld team is fairly cheap and I recommend starting with four rerolls I don’t think Leader is really needed. Also if you take it as an early skill choice it puts back getting the three key skills I believe they need. Pro could also be a handy later skill in some circumstances especially if you are out of rerolls.
Unfortunately though I think opposing teams will see them as your key ball handlers and they will get targeted a lot. You don’t have the easy choice of leaving them on the bench as that means a ST2 player comes on to replace them when you are defending (though you can consider it). If you do run one out as a receiving option, they could get taken down and gang fouled. Their low armour and this attention can mean they don’t live long. This is another reason why I would build both the same initially so you always have that backup option. Also be careful they don’t become the SPP hogs on the team scoring all your touchdowns…