Vampires

Blitzing Vampire:

The first Vampire to skill up you will probably want to take Block first rather than Dodge. You need someone who can both hit more reliably and successfully. No one on the team starts with Block so it is vital to get it on someone asap. The remaining Vampires can wait somewhat and look to take Dodge first as already outlined. After that take Dodge for the same reasons as before. From this point you can turn one who took Dodge then Block down this route instead as they are essentially the same now. Strip Ball threatens to knock the ball loose and with Hypnotic Gaze an option getting a blitz on the Ball carrier is fairly straightforward. Tackle will deal with Dodge players and might be preferable if most teams have Sure Hands at this point.

You have plenty of choices beyond this point though with the great skill access of Vampires. Pro can let you reroll some blocks and other dice rolls, Juggernaut is great if against lots of Wrestle and Fend opponents. Mighty Blow helps with removing players which is of obvious benefit. Again there no great double choices and stat increases follow the same logic.

Killer Vampire:
  • Normal: Block, Mighty Blow, Piling On, Jump Up / Tackle / Pro / Frenzy / Juggernaut
  • Doubles:
  • Stat Increase: +ST +AG +MV

With access to strength skills the obligatory specialist killer is an option. Start with Block for reliability and to take out non Block / Wrestle opponents. Mighty Blow helps with breaking armour and causing injury and Piling On increases that effectiveness. After that you have a world of choices. Jump Up keeps them mobile and can get more blocks in from being prone. Tackle is great against Dodge heavy teams, Pro will help get more opponents over. Frenzy can somewhat act a pseudo block reroll giving you a second hit. Juggernaut is helpful to counteract Fend to make sure you can use Piling On, it will also cancel Wrestle so you can target those opponents as well. You can somewhat combine this build with a Crowd Push specialist as they have a lot of overlap. Doubles and stat increases as normal.

Passing Vampire:

The one build that would require doubles is a Thrower as you don’t have access to passing skills. I don’t personally think that a Vampire team needs one and I don’t personally ever develop one. As it makes use of a double, it makes sense to wait until one rolls a double for their first skill. Pass would be the best option as they are fairly good at throwing anyway with AG4. It also means that you don’t have to try and save a team reroll as urgently and could use it on Bloodlust if you failed it. After that Strong Arm will make the longer passes easier (you already throw quick ones on a 2+). If you don’t find you make longer passes that often you might want Sure Hands instead to help with picking up (not that you often need it) and to protect against Strip Ball.

If you find that you often look to hold onto the ball for a while and progress forward, then Block can be useful to have. It will also make them more useful on defence, Vampires are expensive players and not being flexible with them can cost you. If you just want to sit back and throw long passes then perhaps take it later in their development or skip it entirely. Dodge will help with protection as much as Block and can also help get somewhere to make a pass shorter. Sure Feet is helpful again for closing down the passing range as well. If you get more doubles then Accurate can make longer passes even easier, or consider Safe Throw to help protect against interceptions and avoid fumbles on those longer passes.

A strength increase is somewhat wasted on a pure Thrower, if you get it after already taking Pass, then I would switch up the development to make them into a more defensive Thrower. Agility is great for ball handlers and can let you dodge through screens easier and movement is far more useful than armour on a passing player.

Vampire Summary:

A slight change from the usual with this article but that is somewhat forced as Vampires aren’t the usual player. They are a tough team to get to grips with for new players, though they are a very good team in the hands of the right coach. Look to maintain their flexibility as with their strength and agility they can all pretty much do anything when they aren’t eating their team mates.

Over specialising them can make them poor at anything else compared to a more well rounded selection, this is why I don’t like the Thrower build. A compromise on that would be perhaps taking just Pass as a later skill selection with one who already has or can then get Sure Hands. AG4 means they are already competent passers of the ball when needed and with Block and Dodge already they can look to retrieve loose balls. Use Hypnotic Gaze and blitz with a team mate as well and you can even remove some of the tackle zones on the ball.

Vampires are very flexible players who can pretty much do anything. Consider what the team needs when selecting your skills and also what skills most of your common opposition has and look to counteract them. You should also pay attention to what play styles you have trouble against and look to strengthen verses those sides. Vampires can break a cage easier than probably any other team with judicious use of Hypnotic Gaze. The same goes for loose screens, if you have someone in blitzing range of their ball carrier you should be able to get a hit on them.

A lot of the suggested builds here have a lot of overlap, it is hard to be specific with them due to the nature of a successful Vampire team. You also have a lot of skills available to you, it is possible to build an out and out receiver, an interceptor or a marker for example. You can also look to combine all those roles into one more flexible player. This is what you need to think about with so many skill options available to you. Hopefully this article will have switched your way of thinking from the typically more rigid development options you are used to. With all these options there, you can see why taking Pro first might well just delay you getting that juicy combo that is so effective. Use Pro to compliment your players development later, not as a stop gap semi effective counter for their reliability.

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?

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  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!

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    • 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.

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  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! 🙂

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  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.

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  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).

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  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.

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  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.

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  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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?

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    • 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.

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  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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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  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.

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    • 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.

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  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 +

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    • 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.

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    • 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%.

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  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 🙂

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    • 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.

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      • ^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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