Wrestle (General)

The player is specially trained in grappling techniques. This player may use Wrestle when he blocks or is blocked and a ‘Both Down’ result on the Block dice is chosen by either coach. Instead of applying the ‘Both Down’ result, both players are wrestled to the ground. Both players are Placed Prone in their respective squares even if one or both have the Block skill. Do not make Armour rolls for either player. Use of this skill does not cause a turnover unless the active player was holding the ball.


Wrestle is one of the new skills introduce in the LRB5 rules. It probably has the greatest impact of any of the new rules and it will probably get selected the most. For years some coaches have been suggesting that block was too good and needed splitting into an offensive and defensive skill. That hasn’t happened though Wrestle has certainly had an impact on the blocking game and certain players will benefit from Wrestle over Block.

It has two main uses, both to do with the blocking game. The first one which is probably of most use to the majority of the races is the ability to to take down opposing players with Block. Most typically this will be the opposing player who has the ball, more often than not their ball carrier will have Block. Previously having Block yourself was no help to getting them off their feet. Wrestle allows you to both go prone at the expense of armour rolls on either player, though it will mean the ball goes loose. Of course it isn’t just limited to the opposing ball carrier, any select player on their team that is in the way can be targeted in this manner.

The other use as I see it is for taking down opposing players when they are blocking you. Of course you can still elect to take Block instead, though Wrestle has some advantages here. While it doesn’t cause the other team a turnover, having their player going prone may be really bad for them. Should that player be providing assists with the use of Guard, a stronger player, a slower player or exerting tackle zones, all these can be helpful to you if you get them off their feet. Slow players will be out of position and can’t move very far if they have to stand up. They also can’t hit someone on your team again next turn without using up the Blitz action. Your player may also be in the position to just stand up and run away next turn as well, where before he may have had to dodge away from the player. The other benefit of getting their player prone is that it may leave you a nice target to foul as well. Any one of the above factors may cause a coach to decide to not do a one die block with his Block players where before they would have.

This skill may really catch out even experienced coaches if they haven’t played against it before. It is one of the new weapons in LRB5 and an important one to get to grips with.

  • Better chances of knocking down ball carriers
  • Can take down opposing players with block when they hit you
  • Can free up more space by removing tackle zones
  • Slows opponents down
Useful to:

The fact it is great for blitzing the ball loose, it would appear to be a great skill to take on Blitzers. However I would really shy away from giving a player who starts with Block the Wrestle skill. Their uses overlap too much and there would be preferable skills for those players. So the players who typically would send after the ball carrier instead of a Blitzer: Gutter Runners, Catchers (Human, Elves, maybe Amazon), Beastmen, Pestigors, Ghouls, perhaps even Witch Elves. Others may need a double skill to take it: Skinks, Goblins and Halflings, though it can be handy to have a couple if not at least one on a team. Some of those players though where you have 2 or more on a team, you might want to split it up with two taking Block and two taking Wrestle. This gives you more choice for players carrying the ball and fielding the different ones depending on if you are kicking or receiving.

For the types of players who typically line of scrimmage fodder, this is a useful skill as outlined earlier. Skaven and Elven Linemen can make great use of this, perhaps Amazon Linewomen too. Human Linemen I might err to the side of taking Block but it is a close call. The disruption they can cause the other teams slow hitting players benefits them well. You don’t always have to use it though, should the other team roll a Skull/Both Down on their first block with an unskilled Black Orc for example, if you used Wrestle to avoid the armour roll, then you also either saved them a turnover or a reroll. So you need to watch out for situations such as that, your player may be better off taking one for the team!

46 thoughts on “Wrestle”

    • Obviously the fact you can easily get Block and Dodge on everyone on the Amazons is a nice advantage they have over a lot of teams. However Wrestle is really good for hitting the opposing ball carrier who will typically have Block. So yes you should get at least one player with Wrestle, a couple of Linewomen could make good use of it, keeping them towards either side of the pitch to cover the whole width. Two is harder to avoid than one.

      The reason why Linewomen, is that it would be a waste on the Blitzers who already have block. All your players have the same stat line so it isn’t like anyone is faster who could cover more of the pitch. The starting skills on the Throwers and Catchers don’t really compliment having Wrestle either.

      When you get them is up to you, I’d be tempted to get one of them earlier, but Block will be more useful for hitting the Stunty players, so you may get block on others before the second with Wrestle. Taking the Dwarven players down with Wrestle could be more useful against them, really slowing them down and negating Guard on any you wrestle down. This is more a personal preference or fixture list related.

    • Indeed Norse are a tricky team to know where to put Wrestle. I’m not sure I would go with the Ulfs though, ST4 is probably more useful if they are standing up and they are also a likely foul target if you put them on the floor with Wrestle. Block is also better to get SPP and that will be the most likely source of them for the Ulf. I think you probably have to either bite the bullet and give it to a Lineman or just forgo Wrestle totally.

  1. Would you get Wrestle on Ulfwereners rather than block?
    As everyone else as block in the Norse team, they seem the only candidates to get it… but I have doubts on the usefulness of wrestle on them rather than block as I’d rather have them standing and putting their ST4 in the way of the opponent…

  2. One thing I’ve noted with the advent of wrestle is that it can save you a turnover as the offensive coach.
    Often you will be in a position where you have no player with block available to perform a blitz/block, in those situations, if you have two choices of who to throw the block AT, pick the guy with wrestle.

    Commonly for me this occurs in one of those parts of your turn where you have a lot of possible moves and none of them seems clearly more advantageous than the others. You have a blitz and noone really worth blitzing with or against, or you have multiple single dice blocks you could perform with linesmen if you want to and no real incentive to do it or not.

    Generally it seems a coach with wrestle will use it almost every time, particularly in the cyanide game, so you can often get away with your one dice both down result even though your guy doesnt have block, letting you continue your turn and throw some more, hoping for better results. Its not a big advantage, but its there.

    The other point is that a big guy (who doesnt have block or jug) blitzing or blocking a player with wrestle gets out of both downs without a turnover and without the horrible experience of your minotaur falling down and dying trying to hit an elven linesman. The other coach has a good reason to use it (the elf is after all far more likely to be injured than your minotaur if he doesnt) but nonetheless you are still FAR better off blitzing that elf with wrestle than the other linesman with block.

    • Thanks for pointing this out, though I would still utilise Big Guys in the standard way. If you do that early in your turn against me, then I will quite likely choose not to use Wrestle. You will then either have to try and Loner Reroll or take the turnover, giving me an advantage. If it is the last action in your turn I’d probably elect to use Wrestle as chances are I won’t gain much advantage from it. As far as I’m aware the Cyanide PC game forces you to always use your skills so this isn’t an option for the defensive coach in the game, this is due to the incomplete implemention of the rules in that version though.

      So do be aware that the opposing coach may choose not to use Wrestle before you go around blocking, though this is certainly worth consideration, but while it doesn’t cause you a turnover, having your player prone could be terrible for you and still not worth the risk of a One Die Block. If you do still want to risk it then maybe it could be worth not hitting the guy with Wrestle if you have higher armour and skills like Mighty Blow, sure you will both go down but you have a higher chance of hurting them, than they do to you.

      Nice comment, thanks.

  3. I’m confused here. Is it possible to have Block and Wrestle So that your player has the ability to take out other players without block violently on both down, but still has the ability to take other players that DO have block down as well if the situation is important enough?

    If you had a blitzer with block AND wrestle (and maybe tackle for good measure) Then you could take down a player without block on both down and trip up. If you blocked a player that DOES have block (And has the ball for example, so you REALLY need to get him down) Then you could choose wrestle instead and take him out correct? Does the cyanide version of the game allow you to choose if you’re going to use block or wrestle? Is there anything in the LRB5 that clears up how to go about using both?

  4. You can have Block and Wrestle but you have to obviously give up another skill to be able to take both. The reason most people don’t get both on the same player is cause they have some overlap in what they do.

    Norse are a team that are probably most likely to get a player with both, as Wrestle has its uses over Block but most their players already have Block to start with.

  5. Thanks coach 🙂 I was just wondering if it was even possible. Do you have to declare which skill you’ll be using before you roll? It just seems like it could be useful in rare situations (maybe on a single player that you want to be a saftey who can take down anyone anytime with block tackle wrestle and diving tackle if you only push maybe) It just seems like actually resolving which skill applies could be a head ache 😛

  6. You get to decide which skills to use after the dice roll. This applies to any and every roll and goes for both coaches  as well.

    This is stated on Page 23 of the rulebook if you need proof.

  7. You also get to decide which skill you do NOT want to use. You don’t have to use block on a “both down” roll. You can choose to be knocked prone.
    I agree, it’s fairly situational, but the case may arise.
    Best example I have, is not to use dodge to avoid being pushed around on a “defender stumbles”.

  8. Another option is if your player with Block or Wrestle gets hit early on in the opponents turn by a player who has neither. Even better if it is a Big Guy or someone else with Loner. You take the hit for the team and either cost the other side a turnover or force them to use a reroll, maybe both if their player has Loner.

  9. Not using wrestle on a “both down”, can cause a turnover.
    Your opponent has to decide whether he uses a reroll before you make up your mind on using a skill or not.

  10. Wrestle is actually one of the few skills that IS optional use in the cyanide game. Its implemented correctly.

    The funny thing is that a large percentage of the players playing dont seem to think it through before hitting yes to use it.

    So you can, as stated before, often ‘get away’ with a block result that should have ended your turn had your opponent thought about it.

    I’m actually undecided on whether i like the inclusion of wrestle or not, skills that cancel other skills are troubling to me, you get wierd chains of skills like pass-block, safe throw, long legs

    On one hand I like it since it gives you the paper-rock-scissor mechanic that almost all good games have, but on the other hand I feel its often too game-affecting.

    The key example for me is the presence of tackle on all dwarves making goblin teams completely useless against dwarves when they at least have a ‘fighting’ chance against other teams.

    In fact tackle in general, if you’re feeling like being a nasty bugger in a league with a few agility teams, can be an absolute nightmare.

    I think part of the issue for me is the advent of the Cyanide game’s public league which is what a lot of people are playing as their primary blood bowl experience. Since its a giant league with effectively unlimited players, you can make a team for a specific opponent that isnt necessarily viable against other types of opponent….and do remarkably well with it by only challenging that type.

    Its not a problem with the game I guess, its a problem with the implementation of the multiplayer lol.

    In general though I honestly feel like Tackle’s effect is almost too strong.

  11. I didn’t really realise how wrestle worked, but I guess it can be summarised as: ‘when you really, really want someone else knocked down’ unless you can’t get block, in which case it’s better than a turnover.  And yeah, I’d  good use this for Big Guys with block. Fouling time!

  12. At times I could say it would be worth it to have Block+Wrestle on a guy. This would ONLY be if the player started with Block in the first place. The reason is that there can still be plenty of guys who don’t have block even later on in a season (such as big-guys, or just the in-between buys like Blorcs who, for some reason, can be interminably hard to level up sometimes. In any case. I’d suggest it because it lets you take down the other guy on a both-down when ‘attacking’ as it were. And Wrestle is still good to make holes in the opponent’s TZ when the other team has block (and esp if they have guard too) to reduce the aid the other team has on other nearby guys.

  13. I’m wondering- if you have wrestle and the opposing team blocks your player, selecting both down, this would not cause a turnover?  But if you did not have wrestle it would have caused a turnover?  So you just gave away the possibility of taking control in this situation in order to imply have one enemy player prone?

    • With Wrestle you have the choice, if your player has much lower armour than theirs and it is their last action of their turn, then it makes sense to use Wrestle. The turnover won’t be a big deal to them at that point and your player is more likely to get hurt.

      If it is their first action of their turn then you can choose to not use Wrestle and either force them to use a reroll or suffer a turnover. Of course then you risk your player getting injured as well. If the opposing player has either Block or Wrestle though then you will always use Wrestle yourself. If you are playing the cyanide game though I don’t think using skills is optional like it is on tabletop or alternative digital versions.

  14. I´ve been thinking…
    If a player has declared a blitz action and both players are wrestled to the ground, can the blitzing player stand up and continue moving if his MA allows it?

  15. Wrestle is a great skill and is clearly better than block for most players. My rule of thumb is that any player who starts with MA of 6 or greater should be getting wrestle instead of block unless they already start with block of course or are being groomed for a specific role such as designated ball carrier or big guy ect.

    The reason? It prevents just as many turn overs as block and will result in more of your opponents being on the ground. Futhermore it will often free up your players from thier markers saving you dodge rolls. It combines well with jump up obvioulsy and also fend. Its also great combined with tackle and strip ball to blitz ball carriers.

    Remeber too if an opponent might suffer a turnover you can always elect not to use wrestle and force them to reroll or lose thier turn.

  16. Keep in mind that the opponent has to choose what die to use for a block *before* you choose what skills to apply. (That’s my understanding, anyway.)

    So it’s not a question of forcing the opponent to use a re-roll by electing not to use wrestle. If the chosen result is “both down” and they lack block, you have the option of causing a turnover right there with *no* chance to re-roll.

    That said, I imagine human opponents, particularly those who are used to Cyanide’s game and its typical “most skills are always automatic” approach, are going to fall in to the “Both down? No worries, they’ll just wrestle me” trap more often than tabletop players (or the AI).

    Incidentally, I think the game actually *does* wrestle automatically unless you go turn that off in the preferences.

  17. I don’t understand why ppl like wrestle. Maybe I’m dumb, but I just don’t see the value. Wrestle over block is a flat dps penalty for the sake of crowd control. taking away tackle zones for one turn does not win games. Making armor rolls on your opponent is how you win.

    Taking wrestle means sooner or later you will missing armor rolls you could have made with block. Besides you lose just as many tackle zones as your opponent.

  18. Actually scoring the most Touchdowns wins you games and removing a tackle zone for a turn can make the difference.

    Did you read the article or just comment without taking in all the points, it explains why you would want Wrestle. Block does no good and doesn’t get an armour roll either against a player with Block. If that player was also holding the ball and you had Wrestle instead then you get the ball free as well.

    Read the article and perhaps play against some good coaches who have Wrestle players on their team and maybe you will start to understand the value of it. I felt the same way initially thinking Wrestle was a poor mans Block, I have it on every team now though.

  19. I’m starting to really appreciate the value of Wrestle now.

    Someone explained to me once (it may have even been another article on this very website) that for non-bashy teams the purpose of a blitz or a block is usually to remove a tackle zone from a certain player. More dice rolls in Blood Bowl is a sure way to cause turnovers, so you only want to be blocking or blitzing in places where you’re able to move yourself closer to scoring (or to prevent the opposing player from scoring). Hence, whenever I take a Star Player, Eldril Sidewinder is my favourite; his hypnotic gaze ability is like having an extra blitz per turn.

    For players built as ball-strippers it’s almost invaluable; Wrestle and Tackle vastly increase your chances of knocking over that blodging ball carrier and getting the ball loose. I’ve also put it as a first skill on most of the Linemen in my Wood Elf team; they’re not going to outbash Orcs or Dwarves on the LoS, far better to knock them down and use their reduced mobility against them to score. I’m never going to beat a bashy team by inflicting more casualties!

  20. @ coach
    I think you need to accept that there’s alot “if” statements for proposing wrestle’s value, and that there are defanately “if” situations that make wrestle kinda wasteful… A specialized tactic usually loses to a generalist tactic.

    That said, I do have some positive things to say about wrestle. I’d say its most useful for teams that KNOW they’re going to be out muscled like skaven and Wood Elves, but much more questionable for humans, and Necro who might not want to lose the dps. Its mostly a waste for orcs and dwarves IMO.

    In essence, wrestle protects you for 2 attacks instead of just 1 like block, but at a cost of giving up 1 attack yourself. After you take wrestle, jump up becomes the new mighty blow. Its like spray and pray; you’re peppering your foe with many weak attacks while he makes a few powerful attacks against you. Dwarf teams in particular are vulnerable to this because they’re so guard reliant.

    Sneaky git + Dirty player are essential to have if you’re using wrestle to capitalize on all the lovely prone players on the field.

    So for coaches who don’t like these weird “focus on the ball” stratagies, that’s my two cents ;D. I would limit myself to only taking wrestle on players who can also get jump up, to avoid the painful dps loss.

  21. Brettski, are you playing the same game as the rest of us? What is this “DPS” you keep talking about? Blood Bowl is a fantasy FOOTBALL SIMULATION, not a wargame. The objective is to SCORE TOUCHDOWNS, not reduce the enemy HP to 0 or destroy their base! And if you think that focussing on the ball is a “weird strategy”… sorry man, I’m afraid you’re just not very smart. Or maybe you just don’t care that much about trivialities like “winning”.

    Wrestle is a skill used specifically to counter enemies with Block. Since EVERY team will generally have as much Block as it can, if you can’t see the value of Wrestle then you’re playing the wrong game.

  22. @ Arcane Azmadi

    well that seems a little unfair, considering that I just wrote a post on what I like about wrestle. And since neither of us has seen the other play, lets all spare each other the empty hubris, kk?

    Look, I just see it as more of a replacement for strip ball than for block. Wrestle is really only helpful when hitting the ball carrier or someone directly in front of the ball carrier.

    Tactically speaking, wrestle is a double edged sword, and spamming it on your entire team is probably a bad idea. First, while its great for hitting the ball carrier, its terrible for BEING the ball carrier. Any player that starts with pass or catch should prolly skip this skill. Players who take wrestle essentially foregoes the possibility of being the ball carrier.

    Likewise, anyone who can take guard as a normal skill should be reluctant to use wrestle, as it stacks terribly with guard.

    Lastly, while it can be used to create openings to run through, that can just as easily be used against you. When your opponent wants to create an opening for himself, he might look to your player with wrestle who is great at taking ppl down, but is rather poor at staying standing. To me, that seems to mute alot of the tactical benefits.

    In conclusion, having 1-2 Wrestle+tackle players is quite handy, but putting it on everyone with 6+ movement seems like madness to me. Its a niche skill, not a give to every player skill. Other skills say “u get better at x.” Wrestle is like “you get really good at x, but now kinda suck at y.” It’s an important caveat that I think you’re glossing over.

      • I have just skilled up a Dirty Player Hobgoblin and Wrestle is looking like a great option for his second skill. Any player he wrestles to the ground will be prone for an easy foul next turn.

  23. Love the article. I have been using the skill with great effect on my Skaven Linemen. The idea is to open up holes for the Gutter Runners to score.

  24. Hey guys, have found it really helpful reading all your posts, great job!
    I agree that wrestle is a great skill for linos on shaven and WE teams as more often than not you will open up a hole for your next turn (and also avoid the other bash you were lined up for!)
    Another great Speed team use that I havent seen mentioned here is for what I call a hole puncher. Most good coaches will set up their deff so your only option of breaking through on the wing is a 1 die block at best. With block on block this can end in a stale mate with the guy going nowhere and your blitzer left lined up for a free block next turn. With wrestle you can guarantee a 5/6 chance of at least moving him aside if not taking him down.

  25. Although it might not be 100% true for all possibilities/situations, the cyanide game do lets you choose which skills to use or not.

    For bashy teams, wrestle isnt really a good choice. in general, causing casualties earns SPP which you will miss if using wrestle, not to mention to cut down the numbers of opposing players in general. also, your opponent might be down, but you as well. so next turn either you would need to blitz(but still lose MA to stand up) or be of less use (with block and a both knocked down result, you might not get your opponent down if he has block too, but you get a 2nd chance next turn) so you effectively can use wrestle offensively only every 2 turns. it is also a contraproductive skill if on one side you build your players with guard/tackle which are of no use if you’re down. I can see its use for fragile players and specific situations but otherwise it doesnt fit in as other skills do. I mean, I prefer to build players with skills that augment each other rather than skills that are used seperately and I feel that with wrestle you have to make more sacrifices in this field.

  26. Well, except that Bashing teams like to punch holes and sack the ball carrier too. A player with Wrestle or two fits on most any team.

  27. One question: If you go wrestle on linefodder what would the second skill be?

    I have a zombie (nec team) which I decided to give wrestle first. My idea would be to give him dauntless assecond and use him to tie up big guys. If I get/need the chance I can then hopefully one die some big guys to lay them down. What do you think?

    • That’s a pretty good idea, either that or Tackle, though if they are tying up Big Guys more then Dauntless will be more use. I tend to find though that that type of player will rarely get to the second skill, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  28. I have a rule-of-thumb for choosing block vs. wrestle – just go in order:

    1. Bashy team that focuses on injuries more than the ball? Yes = block, no = go to #2
    2. Will the player regularly be holding the ball during the opponent’s turn (ie. your main sure hands player)? Yes = block, no = #3
    3. Does the player have Guard? Yes = block, no=#4
    4. Frenzy utility player (crowd pushing Witch elf or Ulfwerener)? Yes = block (or jugg/wrestle), no = wrestle

    basically, if they’re carrying the ball during the opponent’s turn or have guard, you want block. If they’re line fodder, a kicker, a receiver who generally gets the ball and runs right in for a TD, then you want wrestle.

    Generally the teams who focus on scoring tend not to focus on hitting. For those teams on the fence (amazon, human, dark elves), they tend not to get most of their SPPs through injuries, so wrestle will open up scoring opportunities OR will keep your players alive vs. bashier teams (vs. stunty teams, you may very well give up a few SPPs you may have earned through injuries, but when the block/mighty blow troll, or saurus, or treeman rolls a both down, you’ll be happy he’s not rolling armor, and that he’s outta commission for an extra turn)

  29. I was wondering what happens if both players involved in a “both down” block have wrestle?

    Do they negate each others skill? In which case block becomes relevant or do they both have the option to use wrestle?

  30. I just played a rather long league as vampire, and got wrestle on basically every thrall save maybe 2. I never regretted my choice.

    While inferior to block if you wish to charge in and punch people a lot, wrestle is far superior on the defense. I’d usually just screen the field with wrestle+ fend and let the opponent come at me, since I found vampires to be incredible at capitalising on oppenings but rather ill-suited to running around the field left and right every single turn without a purpose.a slick chance to maybe injure or stun an enemy player was often not worth the trouble of a 1/6 chance of sending one of my own guys on the floor.

    The way it works with such a team (and i can see it working efficiently for teams like those elves fellows) is that it is simply unvaluable on defense. Later in a league an awful lot of people are sporting block and guard and trowing 2dices left and right. Should they do this on your turn and roll a lot of both down, then that’s 3-4 guys who either didnt knck you down, or went down with you. the catch is that since they go down on their turn, you get to get up and move freely on your. So instead of having a stalemate where everyone just headbang each other without consequences, you create holes that are ripe to be exploited on your turn. If you are playing vampires, elves, whatever, this turns an impassable melee into a simple ”blitz this guy to clear a way and score” or simply move your team foward and secure ground while stalling. Combined with some fend, and you get some amazing crowd control.

    Long story short, if you want to just bash people and score spp, wrestle isnt your friend, but if you like to play very defensively, control the field, minimalise risk and wait to do those essential touchdowns, then wrestle definitely is worth it. Of course, the more you grab on the same team, and the more it shifts your focus and strategies. Wrestle players will really enjoy adding dodge and/or fend to this skill.

    Sidenote: altho rather weird at first, I found that having diving catch on such a team can be very helpful, and actually acts as a substitute to dump-off. A guy with nerves of steel and diving catch travelling alongside your ball carrier mean that if you get blitzed on your ball carrier, then you have someone who can reliably grab the ball back right here right there and run for his life the next turn. I’m not saying ”Hey guys this is the new best strat”, just pointing out that once you start thinking outside the box, new possibilities emerge. For example, if you choose to get very defensive (which isnt a bad thing, less rolls= less failures), and go for a wrestle-based strat, then having such a guy on your team becomes actually useful, since bloodbowl can be chaotic and sometimes the guy with the ball maybe wont be the designated ball carrier. The diving catcher is also pretty neat to have when he works in conjunction with the wrestling blitzer, as if he moves in for the assist against the ball carrier, he can more often than not try to grab it right here right there, instead of sending the ball into a frey where you’d have trouble getting it. and if you play defensively and focus on the ball, having the ball right where you want it is sort of key.

    A lot of tangents and ramble, but TLDR wrestle isnt as straightfoward as block, but with the right team/playstyle, it can become as versatile as block in the right hands…


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