- Normal: Block, Dodge, Strip Ball / Tackle, Pro / Juggernaut / Mighty Blow
- Stat Increase: +ST +AG +MV
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.
- Normal: Block, Mighty Blow, Piling On, Jump Up / Tackle / Pro / Frenzy / Juggernaut
- 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.
- Normal: Strong Arm / Sure Hands, Block /Dodge, Sure Feet
- Doubles: Pass, Accurate / Safe Throw
- Stat Increase: +ST +AG +MV
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.
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.