Vampire Thralls

Blood Bowl Vampire Thrall

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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9 thoughts on “Vampire Thralls”

  1. I haven’t played Vampires yet, but your last couple of articles convinced me to do so. I already ordered some Reaper Minis that fit.
    Anyway, I thought of a ‘Blood serving Thrall’ build, that is mainly there to be placed for the case that a crucial Bloodlust roll fails and you want to save up that reroll, but the suiteable skills like Thick Skull or Jump Up are only available on doubles, so I guess it isn’t worth the TV increase, since the Thrall would probably leave the pitch anyway at some time if he gets bitten all the time.

  2. I started giving Vampires a go, and doing alright. The vampires because of their hypnotic gaze are tieing up the opposition, and the the thralls are scoring all the touchdownes, and getting all the spp. Is it wrong to turn them into efficent ball handlers? this is the way my thralls seems to be heading. It just seems wromg as its a vampire team and not the squishy gimp team!

  3. I’m a firm believer in that if something is working then why not keep doing that until it stops working. Using the Thralls as ball carriers is something that I try to do to stop the Vampires hogging all the SPP.

    I don’t really build any as a dedicated ball handler as that one Thrall may then start hogging them. Sometimes though against certain teams it can be useful to have and even if you do have one, if you manage the team well they don’t have to end up a SPP hog.

    There is no right or wrong way to develop a team and as long as what you are doing is winning you most of your games, then I’m not about to tell you to stop! Some tactics I may argue are suboptimal, though this isn’t one of them.

  4. With Vampire teams, I find I usually use whoever is conveninet to pick up the ball, mainly to spread the SPP. Thralls are a good choice, as they don’t require a thrall babysitter to follow them into the endzone in case they lose their craving for blood right before they score.

  5. I’m an advocate of taking Sure Hands on a Thrall, mainly because re-rolls are so valuable to Vampire teams, moreso than most others. The more skills that allow you re-rolls on the team, the less you have to worry about failing Blood Lust with no backup re-roll.. Using a re-roll to pick the ball up can mean a failed Blood Lust later in the turn, or vice versa with a re-roll used on Blood Lust and a failed pickup leaving you vulnerable.
    That’s not to say this should be your only person scoring, though. If you get through a turn without using a re-roll yet and are in a relatively safe position, you can hand off at no higher risk than the original pickup to allow you to spread the SPP.

  6. I’ve been playing Vamps quite a bit recently up to around mid tv (1,500 or so) and have also played against high tv Vamps (2,000’ish) a couple of times. For the first Thrall that gets a double, I would always take Leader. Rerolls are so expensive and bloat your tv, so I find the Leader skill a really efficient way to counter this. Not only does it save you 140,000gp than buying a reroll after team creation, but you get both a leader reroll and a Thrall for the same tv as a normal reroll (from a tv perspective this is effectively a reroll plus a free Thrall).

    Im also a big proponent of trying to skill up Thralls to get Wrestle. It not only helps to keep them on the pitch a lot longer, but it makes them a lot more reliable for blocking. Once the Vamps have 1 or 2 skills I really try to score with the unskilled Thralls if possible. Once they have Block/Wrestle I wouldn’t go out of my way to score with them though, as Vamps can make better use of the spp.

  7. I have a min max vamp team with two vamps. Yeah, it is douchey, but it is just vamps and I got tired of playing Chaos/Nurgle every game. I was having fun playing down around 1100-1200 but then something happens, the thralls don’t die as often and you get some great big thralls.

    Now I have a Block/Dodge/Leader/Guard/Fend and a STR/AG/Block/Frenzy/Tackle that are blowing the team up into the 1600s.

  8. I’m not a fan of thick skull, but i imagine it could be useful the more Vamps you have on the pitch. For example if you field the full 6, I can see it possibly being a worthwhile doubles pick. Instead of 42% chance of suffering a KO or worse, it is reduced to 28%.

  9. Sneaky Git doesn’t seem as a good suggestion, even for a fouling Thrall. It costs you more TV and doesn’t really improve the performance of the Thrall. Sure it does however makes you try to make more lonely fouls as a failed armour roll wont result in a sent off no more.
    But yeah, I generally feel that Sneaky Git is a non-pick skill for all players that lack the Agility skill access. Certainly as you want to risk as little TV in fouling all together.
    So if you would happen to get a second skill I would prefer Block and Dodge because they suddenly make this player more versatile. And it sure does mean that a new Thrall should pick op DP to step in as primary fouler.

    I don’t have much experience with Vampires but I do appreciate having more capable Thralls on the field. You generally don’t want to spend all your TRR so making blocks with Thralls typically has a low priority, until they get Wrestle, which makes a whole different story.

    I am a fan of Thick Skull on Thralls….
    but for free using the NTBB rules. Vampires are considered Tier 3 just because any good coach will target Thralls, just as you Vampires will. So they do need some resemblance of toughness right of the bat. Otherwise you will be playing outnumbered through most of the drives and have no options left.


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