Vampire Thralls Overview:
Thralls play a vital part of a successful Vampire team and they are there for more than just lunch for their super human team mates. They are very cheap players and you get a decent amount for your money. Their biggest downside is their low armour and that they don’t start with any skills, but the rest of their stats, while not great, aren’t bad either. They do only have access to general skills, but what do you expect for the cost and it isn’t terrible as there are many useful general skills to give them. Certainly enough given the speed most coaches develop them at as the Vampires on the side will tend to get most of the SPP.
Without Thralls on the team the Vampires not only will get outnumbered but they will become harder to control, causing more turnovers and sometimes leaving the pitch. Thralls are also key to being able to control the Bloodlust of Vampires, you can use them to dictate where you can move your Vampires even if you fail the Bloodlust (this will be covered more under the Bloodlust article).
The cheap cost of Thralls also makes them more suitable for certain jobs on the team, such as fouling (so you get less team value sent off) and marking dangerous players (AV7 renders Claw ineffective). The life span of most Thralls though will be rather short. They can spend a lot of time being stunned or worse, either from being hit by the opposition, failing agility rolls or getting bitten by a Vampire. This can make it hard to gain SPP and get those skills that may prolong their life. Some though may lead a longer life depending on how they develop which may lead you to trying to keep them out of trouble and looking to bite alternative ones. It also won’t be often that an Apothecary is used one one, as you will usually want to save your Vampires instead.
Line of Scrimmage Thrall development:
Typically you are probably going to look to putting rookie Thralls on the Line of Scrimmage to take the hits. Sometimes though you are going to have to use some skilled ones cause you run out of rookie ones. This is more likely to happen when the team gets more developed and even then you won’t want to put your better Thralls in the firing line. Thankfully though you don’t need many skills to perform better on the Line of Scrimmage and I would start off with Wrestle. This will help bring down stronger, slow bashing opposition who will often have Block. It is also good to have some Wrestle on the team for when you want to blitz the opposing ball carrier. After that take Fend, it will cancel out Frenzy and Piling On and importantly make your Thralls more mobile by eliminating some dodges when the opponent usually would follow up.
You don’t really need more skills past this point, if a Thrall does get more then look to use other on the LOS in preference. Tackle will turn them into a better option for going after ball carriers (your Vampires will usually prefer to have Block). Pro can help make them more mobile and let you reroll some blocks. Dauntless could also be a good option if you face a lot of stronger opposition fairly often.
For doubles Dodge is best to keep them on their feet more and as typically all your Vampires have it, there is more pressure on the opponents Tackle players. If there are a lot of Tackle heavy teams though then I wouldn’t bother. Instead take Guard which is going to be useful a lot of the time. Even if not facing lots of Tackle, taking Guard instead wouldn’t be a mistake and could actually work out better. Any stat increase is welcome though then makes them far too valuable to put on the LOS. A strength increase compliments your Vampires well, agility gives you another option for handling the ball and extra movement on an average speed team should help you out.
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