Blood Bowl Vampire
Vampires Overview:

A Vampire player makes a good case for being one of the best players possible at the game of Blood Bowl. They are very strong, have high agility, average movement and armour. They have fantastic skill access so can develop to perform any role well. Vampires also have two great skills, Regeneration makes them very resilient and Hypnotic Gaze (the team’s best weapon) can render an opponent useless.

With all that going for them why don’t they take the honours of the best player? As with any player they have their downsides, they are expensive players to hire and they can also be somewhat unreliable thanks to Bloodlust. While they do have two great starting skills, they do lack any of the core skills as a rookie. All this combines into them easily being reroll hogs and turnover machines. If you don’t manage them right they can destroy their own team and forget they are even in a match.

The main thing to consider when playing with Vampires is how many you are going to have on the pitch at a time. The more you have on the pitch, the more times you are going to have to roll for Bloodlust. If you have more, then on the other side that means there are less Thralls to feed off. So the more Vampires you have, the more you fail Bloodlust and the less options you have to go and bite to avoid turnover. If you are biting more Thralls then you are more likely to injure one. That also means there is one less to feed on next time and if you fail to bite one, then you also lose the Vampire off the pitch. This can escalate to a point where the other team can ignore you and just run in a touchdown. So the thing to take from this is that you shouldn’t have too many Vampires on the pitch at any one time. It can also be a good thing to not take an unnecessary action with one if you can avoid it, so that you don’t have to roll for Bloodlust.

Thankfully the latest rules have given them a bit of a boost and things aren’t as bad as they used to be. They no longer do permanent damage to their team mates and they also don’t lose their action any more when they need to feed on some blood. That last change is a big one as it gives a bit more control back to you as the coach. Vampire players and teams handle in a rather unique way compared to any of the other Blood Bowl races. Due to that I’m going to take a slightly different format to discussing the development of a Vampire.

Vampires and Pro:

If you have looked around at other advice on playing Vampires you will inevitably seen at least one person recommend to take Pro as their first skill. There are advantages and disadvantages to doing that and I’m going to run through the arguments as this is probably the one thing that divides Vampire coaches.

The reason you see so many coaches suggest taking Pro first is to try and get a handle on Bloodlust. As I explained above it can really destroy your plans if you don’t consider the effect it will have on your team. Pro is also useful from the point of view that you can use it on all the agility rolls a Vampires makes and also on blocks too. All those are very good and useful points, so why would anyone suggest to not take Pro?

I’m one of those who says not to take it, well certainly not early in development. Pro can be a great choice for the fourth, fifth or sixth skill, just there are better options early on. One thing nearly all Vampire coaches will agree on is to start the team with not many Vampires and to take a lot of rerolls. If you only have a couple of Vampires on the team then that is a lot less Bloodlust rolls to fail. It also means that you will have a lot of Thralls on the pitch, so you can take the decision to fail and just go and bite one.

You also have lots of rerolls, if you are using your Vampires later in your turns then you can just feel free to use a reroll if you fail Bloodlust. A reroll has the advantage that it always works, Pro only allows you to reroll half the time, so it can’t be relied on in crucial spots. Instead of taking Pro I would recommend to take Dodge first. Most of the rolls a Vampire will usually do are going to usually be: Bloodlust, blocks, dodges, Hypnotic Gaze and less often ball handling rolls.

The first you can’t avoid unless you do nothing with them that turn, this is a good thing to be aware of (for any coach not just Vampires). The only way you can reroll a block is with a team reroll or Pro (remember the latter only works half the time). Dodges you will probably be doing a lot, so having the Dodge skill is great and also offers some protection where Pro doesn’t. Hypnotic Gaze doesn’t cause a turnover if you fail, so most of the time if it doesn’t work it isn’t a big deal. Ball handling rolls you typically try to minimise with every team you play and you can get other specific skills to help with those if you wish.

So to sum it all up, I don’t take Pro early on as you can get skills which always work (unless they are negated in some way) or you can use a team reroll. Most rolls that you make cause a turnover or are crucial in some other way, I would rather use something that is certain than take the chances with Pro. I will admit that taking Pro can make them more reliable, especially if you have run out of rerolls already. I just think it makes them less effective compared to one of the many other skills that you can select instead. You will also see Pro friendly coaches admit that there are rolls that they will just use a reroll on, passing up their Pro ability of their player anyway. There are quite a few excellent Vampire coaches who preach the no Pro route, it is tried and tested and I use it myself.

Vampire development builds on Page 2…

29 thoughts on “Vampires”

  1. Great article Coach. As someone who has never played Vampire before, but with the impending release of Legends will now have the opportunity too, I was wondering how to effectively use them. At the beginning of the article, you mention that a critical component of playing with the Vampire team is the ratio of Vampires to Thralls. At first glance I would have assumed you would just put all your Vampires on the pitch, as they are far better players than Thralls, but I can understand the problems this could lead to. So I was wondering, what is the optimal number of Vampires to field on a drive?
    I also noted that you didn’t give any of the Vampires wrestle. I thought this would be a great skill on one of them to take out the opposing ball carrier?

  2. Great guide, Vampires seem to be a very unique (and fun!) team to try out.
    About doubles skills, what do you think about Leader? Reasons being rerolls are expensive at 70k a piece and doubles skills are necessary on Thralls (for Guard etc.), whereas it is hardly taken on a Vamp. Not to mention a Thrall is easily taken off the pitch. You would be shaving 40k of TV off, equivalent to another Thrall!

    • Some good questions here, I’ll follow up on some of them when I cover Thralls and the Starting Roster. I’ll aim to get them up by the end of the week.

      Regarding Leader though, it is an option though I start the team with a lot of rerolls and so when a drive goes well you can have a few left over at the end of the drive. You do save on the team value as mentioned, though as the team doesn’t have any skills as rookies, I prefer to get those skills on the pitch instead. You can replicate Leader with a team reroll, you can’t make up for those missing skills, so I personally think the trade off is worth it. On a well developed Vampire team it might be a nice option, though by then you will have plenty of skill rerolls and enough team ones already to not really need the extra one from Leader. You could take it and drop a team reroll perhaps to shave the team value slightly, though the difference isn’t massive.

      I don’t give Wrestle to a Vampire purely from a personal preference though there are some tactical reasons for it. I will usually give it to nearly every Thrall so you can use them to blitz the ball carrier. You can use your own Guard and/or Hypnotic Gaze to clear a path and remove defensive assists. It also keeps the Vampire on their feet which is great from not being fouled perspective. They are also hard to knock over with ST4, Block and Dodge. Once you got Side Step as well they are very hard for a lot of teams get past, if they are on the floor they lose that. So Wrestle can be great for taking out the ball carrier but you can often lose their tackle zones at other times you don’t want.

  3. I won seven out of the first eight tournaments in our league, with various different teams. Then I tried Vampires and struggled to finish mid-table… which is great, as I was looking for a challenge and they sure gave me it. I actually really enjoyed it.

    I made two main mistakes: not enough Thralls, and too much Pro. The end result (alongside the fact my opponents rapidly worked out they needed to pick on the Thralls) was that I ended up with only six players on the pitch and if any of them rolled a 1 then a 1-3, I lost the turn and inevitably the entire drive.

    I’d already decided for myself to change things next time I used Vampires (I’d still take Pro as the third skill though, just not the first) but this article is desperate for a follow-up covering starting rosters and the optimal ratio of Vampires to Thralls! Three to eight, maybe? The problem I found was that three good players and eight really, really bad ones does not a good team make! Six Vampires can break open any cage in the game and score against any opponent (…until they run out of Thralls), three Vampires can’t do anything at all, so where does the balance lie?

    Need a Vampire team article, as well as Vampire players! 🙂

  4. I think you can draw a correlation with how many Vamps on a team have Pro and how many you can set up on a drive. I would start with Blodge and then maybe start adding Pro as a third skill on every second Vamp. The idea being I can come to them latter in a turn and still be confident of them doing what I need them to do. Also latter in a half when the rerolls have run out I can turn to them first.
    I started with 3 vamps and 4 rerolls and I’m looking to get all vamps Blodge and one Pro before I add a forth Vamp to the team.
    I think one of the Vamps biggest problems, besides Bloodlust, is Team Value management. With Rerolls at 70k and Vamps at 110k, they can be giving away heaps of inducements. Pro helps you not to need 6+ rerolls on the team. That said you want to limit its use to Bloodlust rolls, Hypnotic Gaze rolls and double push back rolls unless you’ve already run out of team rerolls. Relying on it for failed pick up rolls probably isn’t a clever thing to do.

  5. A few comments in regards to the vampire thrower. My mate got an early double and opted for the Pass skill on one of his vamps and it has worked really really well. With a thrall or two flanking him (so he has someone to bite if needed) he can hold onto the ball until a another player is in position to make a TD. It is also easier to prolong the drive if needed, to avoid a 2-1 grind, as it is very difficult to get sufficient players down to get the ball off a S4 vamp, possibly with Block, Dodge or both later on. A passing vamp can really set the pace of the game imo, but of course you also have to develop your playstyle to fit the passing vamp. I would only recommend this though, if you start your team with at least 3 vampires (if we talk an early double roll).

  6. One thing that Pro does have that Leader does not is it gives you a chance to use a reroll when you have already used the team reroll for the turn. You can use Pro on as many players as you have it in a turn. You can only ever use 1 reroll per turn.

    That said, I think it definitely shouldn’t be a first pick. 3rd seems about right, circumstances depending.

  7. I think you can go as far as fielding 5 vampires with 6 thralls on the field, if you operate the vampires in group then they can actually use the same thrall to bite if needed, also do field them in pairs, keeping vampire and thrall in close proximity, this way you will only rarely run out of thralls to bite. despite bloodlust giving them a clear disadvantage, their overal skill gives them a clear advantage, my point being is that with vampires you may use more rerolls on bloodlust, but as they are more skilled, you actually save on rerolls for other tasks (you actually save more on rerolls than you need rerolls for bloodlust). they can often block without assist as such they can still operate effectively even if not all 11 players are on the field.

  8. That “mark” needs stand firm. Block/Dodge/Diving Tackle/Stand Firm is really irritating. Add some Tackle or Jump Up to recover the ball and you have a hell of a player

  9. As a coach, I am normally a massive fan giving every player Block/Wrestle and Dodge if I can, even over some stat bumps.

    I played Vampires last season in my league, though, and found that Dodge, then Pro on all of my Vampires, with Wrestle Thralls, worked really well. I think Dodge first is a no-brainer, because Vampires need more mobility in case they lust while in a tackle zone. Better coaches will ensure this happens a lot, and separate them from the thralls. I still think it’s still a close call between Block and Pro second, but with even two Pro players I found it quite easy to field 5 Vampires at a time, and if I bring the team back I’ll continue the trend to try to get up to 6 Vampires if I manage to have 4 with Pro. The more 6/4/4/8 guys with Gaze you can effectively field, the better this team is.

    This team is a LOT less bashier without Block, but another thing to consider is you don’t have to knock down as many players while playing Vampires because you can just Gaze those Guards and screening players away, which works even better with Pro.

  10. I am going quite well at the moment 3 vamps 10 thralls 3 re rolls and 1 apoth. I still want a 4th but it’s a good balance at low tv.

  11. I am currently doing Vampires after very good success with my Humans mainly due to this site.

    I am just wondering if Leap is a viable option for the blitzing Vampire? Block, dodge, strip ball, leap. I know it seems like it’s just a complete wardancer rip off, but with S4 I think it could be pretty good.

    Only thing is, is Leap really worth it if you already have hypnotic gaze?

    • Leap is a great skill to have, though on a Vampire team I find it a waste and you can usually make a hole with Hypnotic Gaze. Due to that I would rather put Tackle on them and there are plenty of other useful choices to take before Leap as well.

  12. Frenzy on Vampires? So we need to place our Thralls carefully or this skill will force us to be away from Thralls during the block.

    • Correct, though I wouldn’t put it on every Vampire, usually a single one is enough who you primarily use your Blitz action with. Sure sometimes you will want to Block and it may lead you away from a Thrall, though with lots of rerolls you have them to cover such situations where you won’t mind using one if the Bloodlust roll is critical.

    • At this point it really depends on what the whole team looks like, for more accurate advice create a thread on the team development forum and post your whole roster. Any extra info you can give like common opponents, teams you have trouble against will also help.

  13. My general build, since he asked and I just can’t shut up about Vampires, is block dodge tackle and then sidestep and jump up in some order. This is always the first vampire I level up in a league. block gets the ball out early. then dodge makes it a mobile pain. tackle takes down the new dodgers in the league. ss and jump up gives them the mobility they lack

    It took me 15 games to get there in OCC since we keep track of that kind of stuff. a total menace to other teams.

    • Personally I’d rather have a skill, they are more useful more often and Vampire teams are really skill light to start with. While extra movement can be useful in certain situations, it is something you can mitigate to some degree with good placement of your players.

  14. Hypnotic Gaze Specialist: Which has not been discussed for whatever reason but hypnotic gaze takes -1 tackle zone penalties when attempting the skill on an opponent. However you can counter this by giving the vampires nerves of steel which then allows for +3 at any given time in any amount of tackle zones. Since vampires will often use hypnotic gaze to break cages I think it’s important to address this strategy and acknowledge the chemistry between the two skills and how effective they can be in the game.

    Block,Dodge,Pro,Nerves Of Steel,Stand Firm,jump up
    AGI +

    • I’d have to dig the rulebook out to double check but I think Nerves of Steel only applies on passing and catching the ball and not for other rolls such as Hypnotic Gaze.

    • I’ve just looked it up and my memory was correct:

      Nerves of Steel (Passing) The player ignores modifiers for enemy tackle zones when he attempts to pass, catch or intercept.

      So perhaps if you’re going from the computer game rather than the actual game rules then it might differ, but the actual rules indicate that Nerves of Steel doesn’t help with Hypnotic Gaze. The computer game doesn’t follow the official Blood Bowl rules 100%.

  15. Essentially this is a “Cage Breaker” build and it really should be more like: Block,Dodge,Pro,Nerves of steel,side step and jump up. Hypno +3 in any tacklezones. You are welcome 🙂

    • Shadowing relies on the difference in movement between your player and theirs, so it works best on high movement players. I think Vampires are a bit too slow for it to be really useful. It will work better against slower teams if your league has a lot of those, however they are more likely to just be able to hit you and are less likely to try and dodge away.

      • ^Thanks for the quick answer! Yeah, seems like my math was off, but it’s still a 50/50 chance against the same movement isn’t it? Not that a lot of slow moving players usually carry the ball, so you’re right.


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