The Dark Elf Bible

By Vorstav Vaul
Including the distilled wisdom of Arlith Blacknife [AB]

An a-z of how to run your Dark Elves well in the short and long term

Dark Elves are a tough first team to play, because they don't do any one thing really well. They are competent at the running game, useful at the passing game (but have no lightening fast catchers), and can hold their own with hitting (but they don't have anyone with ST skill access). So how do you play this bunch of 'all things to all people'.

There are a few pointers which really should be of relevance to any coach intending to field elves. These are as follows.

Elf Hints

  1. Do NOT start a Elf team if you are the only 'finesse' team in the league. It will not work in the long run.
  2. Choose your opponents carefully. Avoid playing 2+ games, back to back against a 'power' team.
  3. Get a high FF. Elves cost alot. You will need the money.
  4. Take many Random Events as they are the best money cards in the game.
  5. Avoid the Elven Star Players. You can develop your own better players.
  6. You have the best linemen in the game. Use them as such.
  7. Give some of your scorers Leap. You will need an aerial brigade, to force you opponents strategy off balance. Not all the teams have access to this ability. You don't need a hole in the line, and AG 4 makes it likely to succeed.
  8. Get alot of Re-rolls when you can.
  9. Learn the Move/Pass/Move/Hand off/Score routine. (Or Move/Hand Off/Move/Pass/Score). All your players are just as good as most teams throwers and catchers naturally. AG 4. Love it, Use it. [AG 4 is slightly less successful than AG 3 with Pass. The difference is all in the head - some Coaches prefer the safety net of the skill reroll. -AB]
  10. All your players can get Block and Dodge. This is a powerful tool because although many teams can get either, few can get both.

The Players

The Dark Elves are a low powered team. Their movement is insignificant. Their AV of 8 allows them to get stuck in and survive a few fights. They lack high-speed catchers, and they are not going to win any long protracted engagements.

Witch Elf. She is definite catcher potential despite the Frenzy. Jump Up and Dodge gives her a maneuverability that compensates for her lack of pure speed. MA 7 is not bad, but it still means that a Witch Elf must get 4 squares into the opponents half, in order to score any 2-turn TD's. The ST of 3 makes her more dependable, but the AV of 7 really sucks. [AV 7 is always a sore point with any team. (Just ask any Wood Elf or Skaven Coach.) Block is a great first skill for the Witch Elf as it allows the Coach to release her fury without too much worry. -AB]

Blitzer. Did you ever want a Human blitzer with an AG upgrade? Well, here he is. Only he can't take ST skills, but has to endure the AG-selection. Which in the end, is not a great loss.

Thrower. These guys are over-priced compared to Humans and High Elves. In the long run, an extra 10k isn't too much of a hassle. It would be nice to be able to buy this fellow for starters, although any Lineman is equally good at 20k less.

Lineman. Get as many players as you can ASAP. A full roster is a necessity. A lot of people turn their noses up at the sight of linemen, but a lineman on the field is at least there. If you hold out for the expensive players, you're going to be fielding 8-10 players at half-time and then things will get real ugly.

 

Tactics

General
Try your safe (no dice required) moves first, then you do your main play, then dodge your team one square away from any opponents [Safe moves first is a great tactic for any Coach no matter the team. -AB]

Offence
Basically it should take two turns to score. Beat a hole in the opposition line by concentrating your attack against one of the enemy flanks, and secure a foothold deep(ish) inside enemy territory, so that some of your players can reach the endzone, next turn. Ensure that at least one is unreachable by opposing players, so you can avoid tacklezones on this player. Also make sure that the opposition only gets to throw one block (his blitz) by staying out of the way. The main benefit with this tactic is that your opponent gets only one Blitz, so he has to choose between trying to stop one of the scorers, or going after more important players (i.e. Witch Elf). Usually opposing coaches can't help but try to stop a scorer. With a handful waiting at least one will be safe. This means that they can only bring down one Elf in their turn (and then foul...) using a Blitz - and it's going to be one of the few that broke through.

Meanwhile get the ball, and move it into your back-field. Place your thrower out of blitz-range. To score, blitz and block an opening for your receiver. Run your thrower forward, from the deep position, and toss the ball. Always make your pass as short as possible, or you WILL fail, losing the ball in the process. [I find my Throwers incapable of making 4+ passes. Give them a 5+ or a 3+ and they'll make it without breaking out the Pass reroll. Remember, if you roll a '1' on the first dice, the Blood Bowl fate means you'll roll a '1' on the reroll! -AB]

Score with a Lineman, if your Blitzers or Witch Elves are in difficult positions. [A score with your Lineman assures your team SPP's. A handoff to a Blitzer assures a burned reroll and a scattered ball! -AB]

Defence
The basic strategy should be to hassle the opposition ball-carrier in his backfield, before he has time to get the support or an offense moving forward. With AG 4, Elves can successfully leap on a 3+, so sending them over the top is an effective tactic. Get one into the backfield, blitz the ball carrier, and grab the ball.

In Summary

  1. Bottle them up. Try and keep your opponent to a narrow frontage. If they're doing The Cage, great. Let them. If they are all in a group then your defense can be deeper not spread out across the field.
  2. Fall back. Set your defense up with 1-2 spaces between them.
  3. Have at least two layers of defense. This way if they do break through and cream one or two Linemen (hopefully requiring the use of their blitz), then they will still have to do some dodges to score.
  4. Don't get in a clench. If you end the turn with any one player in base to base contact with a "meat grinder" type dude, you're asking for it. This means that you can usually only have 1-2 players per turn that are targeted for destruction and with some luck you can keep them alive.

Specific Tactics

' Da Cage '
There are two options open, to an elven coach in this predicament. The first is a contact punch-up and the second is to use the clock and control it's pace. [Guess which one is favoured by Elven teams! Another tactic is to let the other team score after 5 turns, allowing you 3 turns to secure a reply. -AB] Dodge your elves 2 squares from the cage each turn forcing only 1 blitz and slowing the cage to a small amount of movement every turn. He can't advance faster than 1 square a turn (marching by follow-ups). An aggressive style of play may force him to expose the ball-carrier, and then you can dodge in, give him some taste of fine Elven boot-leather and grab the bouncing thing (the ball!).

' Your equals '
Against weak teams, pummel him into the ground, and make sure you can block as many as possible each round. AV 7 spells disaster in a lengthy fist-fight. A Witch Elf has a good chance of getting the creepy bastards out of the game. A Big Guy? Well, a Blitzer might do well to throw even a 2 Die block against him, as long as there is a re-roll around. Just remember to foul the ugly fella. [Dark Elf teams love to foul, it's in their very nature to follow that path. Just remember that you shouldn't foul if it could mean that you play with less than 11 players at the next kickoff. -AB]

If you get your Elven offence in scoring mode, and all you need is one defensive score to basically give you the game. Its important to point out that this strategy is only of limited success.

In a perfect world this works well. On the Blood Bowl field be prepared to think fast.

 

Skill Development

Witch Elf. These two girls are going to be your most skilled players and much will rely on how they perform. The jobs that you should keep in mind for them are; cornerback and wide receiver/speed queen.

Block is their first skill. It gives you offensive power and a measure of defensive safety. Having three skills already puts the lady in league with the Troll Slayer and the Wardancer. The only thing preventing you from this course of action is a stat change.

If you gain MA, then follow the Block, Sprint, Pro, Sidestep route.
If you gain ST, then try Block, Pass Block, Strip Ball, Shadowing.
If you get AG, then Block, Leap, Sure Feet, Nerves of Steel gets you've got a catcher.
If you don't get stats increases, go for a mix of the above, e.g. Block, Pro, Sprint, Strip Ball.

And on a roll of doubles? Definitely Mighty Blow! If you get a second pair, then perhaps Stand Firm will interest you. If you feel sick, give your lady Sidestep and Stand Firm. Just to show off how many SPPs you can burn...

Blitzer. Blitzers enable the rest of the team to perform. They are Linebackers and Running Backs. Dodge is the best, first skill. Barring doubles and Stats, get Pro and Leap to go.

If you gain MA, then get the Sprint, Sure Feet combo...
If you gain ST, then try Pro, Tackle and hope for doubles.
If you get AG, then get Leap and Pro as above.

Skills like Sure Hands, Diving Tackle are good. On the roll of a double, I'd recommend Mighty Blow again. This isn't me being one dimensional, rather it is the best use for them.

Thrower. Make your thrower fast and mobile rather than a show off with long-ranged throws (This is a High Elf/Wood Elf trait that you should not follow). If you can move fast enough, you will not need to throw those long bombs... Start with Accurate and Sure Hands to have a reliable ball carrier, then get Sure Feet and Safe Throw. As he develops, buy another and make him a defensive thrower. Block, Dodge, Sure Hands and Dump Off, if you make it to a fourth roll. If strip-ball-itis hasn't set in, you can exchange Sure Hands for Pro, just to expand his repertoire. This will give you a good way of exploiting turnovers without being a defensive liability. You can just see him scoring by the old QB sneak...

Lineman. The key to dark elf development is to not make carbon copy players. I do not like the idea of having a players with obvious roles in a team, but the players must be tailored to specific jobs.

Start a few of them with Dodge. Their next skills are Block followed by Sidestep. Then spread Dirty Player, Pass Block and Diving Tackle amongst them. If you roll doubles, use it to get Guard. Give the rest the Block skill, barring doubles or stat increases.

If you gain MA, then make a Block, Tackle, Shadow guy.
If you gain ST, then get Block, Diving Tackle and Pro.
If you get AG, then invest in Leap and Pro and Pass Block.

The other linemen who have Block get either Pass Block (if your league is elf-happy), Diving Tackle (if your league is ultra-violent) and Dauntless (if your league is overgrown). They then get Pro and Dodge.

Use doubles rolls as follows. Your +1 ST Lineman should take Mighty Blow. The Dauntless guy should get Mighty Blow and all the rest can get Guard for mutual support.

 

1