> Hi all
>
> Another new listmember, another new league :)

Cool!

> As the topic hinted, I'm taking Norse in out league, a couple of the
> players have started, so ill get a few underdogs to start with.

Great.

> This is my current team list (well i havn't started, this is what im
> planning on taking)
>
> 11 Linemen 550k
> 2  Blitzers 180k
> 1  Passer 70k
> 1  Catcher 70k
> 2  Rerolls      120k
> 1  Fan factor   10k
>
> I'm also considering dropping a lineman for more sundries (fan factor,
> etc) but i'm not really worried about money or long term success, its
> only the game that counts :)

The first game, you mean. The second, third, and subsequent games will
count more if you start with a sounder base :)

I might suggest something like this:

4 Blitzers 360K
8 Linemen 400K
3 Rerolls 150K
9 Fan Factor 90K

Go to town early. Pick up an Apothecary right away. You can go far simply
trying to maim your opponents - but not if your team is short on Rerolls
and Fan Factor to start with!

Maybe consider swapping a Reroll for an Apothecary to start with - at
least if you'll be playing against a banger team in your first game. That
AV7 does NOT hold up well, even with all that Block.

> My strategy (at this moment) consists of fielding 11 linemen on startup,
> keeping the blitzer, passer, catcher in reserve.  Then i would spend the
> first half, or until the next kickoff, thumping the opposition, and
> possibly worrying about the ball.  Then, hopefully with casultieson the
> opposition, i'll have 4 reserves, including all my specific players, to
> come on and hopefully score.

That's not bad! However, try keeping, say, 1 Blitzer in reserve instead.
Pick up the Throwers and Catchers later! No one has Sure Hands, so once
you have the ball - don't throw it away! ;)

> Now this is the part where you tell me this is a stupid idea ;)

Nah. Norse are fun. Carnage, carnage, carnage!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now onto more detail......

I will probably start up a new Norse team this season in the Modest
League. I know Norse have a reputation as a team that can dish it out, but
can't take it...

...but I take some issue with this. I think Norse are very intriguing, and
would make a very, very fine team in the hands of the right coach.

In analyzing the Norse, I'm going to compare them to their closest kin:
the Human team. I will do this on a general basis, and then on a
position-by-position basis.

I will make the following claims up front:

* I have never played Norse.
* I have limited experience with Humans.
* I've played this game for a LONG time.
* I don't believe one team or the other is 'clearly' superior.
  Each has its own strengths, weaknesses, and styles.
* What holds true for this analysis might not hold true in an
  analysis based on a team other than Humans.

GENERAL ANALYSIS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Norse and Human teams enjoy a number of advantages over most other teams.
Chief among these is access to all mannner of skills save Physical
Abilities. Norse and Human teams also have cheap Linemen, access to both
Wizards and Apothecaries, and a large number of position players.

A quick perusal of the two team lists reveals that Humans have the edge in
MA, AV, reroll cost, and number of position players. Norse, on the other
hand, have the edge in ST and starting skills.

If we consider playing styles, we will see that the Humans can employ a
decent strength game built around their four Blitzers and attendant
Strength Skills. They can employ four Catchers with good MA and a couple
of scoring skills up front, and their Throwers allow them to run or pass
effectively.

Norse, on the other hand, have all the same ingredients in different
measures. Norse have good Throwers and Catchers, but they are much
different than their Human counterparts because of differences in starting
skills and stats. They will likely employ more of a running game or short
passing game. Norse Blitzers ensure that the team has a heavy-hitting
element, and the success of these players is obviously essental to the
success of the team as a whole.

Norse Blitzers can provide a serious edge for any smart Norse coach.
However, Human Blitzers can help counter the Frenzy advantage because
Human Blitzers are more likely to choose - and be in position to +use+ -
the Guard skill. Norse Blitzers can't rely on Guard, because they never
know where they'll end up next!

POSITIONAL ANALYSIS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Linemen
~~~~~~~

Position                MA ST AG AV  Skills     Cost
~~~~~~~~                ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~  ~~~~~~     ~~~~
Human Lineman            6  3  3  8  -           50K
Norse Lineman            6  3  3  7  Block       50K

Human Linemen and Norse Linemen are related in a 'half-dozen of the other'
way. Human Linemen have one more point of AV, but Norse Linemen start with
the Block skill. Conventional wisdom holds that the Norseman will have the
advantage early in his career, but the Human will eventually gain Block
and overtake his counterpart, allowing the AV advantage to show through
more strongly. However, close analysis proves this inaccurate.

If we consider these two as rookies, we see that they are actually equal
at breaking AV in a matched Block. The Human will knock the Norseman down
1/3 of the time, and break AV 5 times in 12. Final rate of success: 5/36.

The Norseman will knock the Human down 1/2 of the time, but will break AV
only 5 times in 18. Final rate of success?

5/36. The two are identical at this stage of their careers. However, note
that because the Norseman will cause more knockdowns, he is actually in
the more enviable position, because he will be able to force his opponent
to stand up in his tackle zone more often than the Human will be able to
do the same. Furthermore, the Block skill protects him more often when he
initiates the block, and he is less turnover-prone than his Human
counterpart.

What happens if a wandering Black Orc Blocker turns his attention to our
two players? This is a two-die Block in the Black Orc's failure.
Intuitively, we know that the ailure rate for the Black Orc is constant
across our two contestants, because he will fall down on any combination
which forces him to choose a skull or a double-down result. What we are
truly concerned with is the rate at which he will knock down and break AV
on either of these players. We will allow for the moment that the Black
Orc will take a pushback over a double-down result if at all possible.

Given that restriction, the Black Orc will knock down the Human 23 out of
36 times. He will break AV 5 out of 18 times, resulting in a final success
rate of 115/648.

Given that restriction, the Black Orc will knock down the Norseman 5 out
of 9 times. He will break AV 5 out of 12 times, for a final success rate
of 25/108 - or 150/648. In this case, the Norseman comes off second best
in terms of not getting hurt...provided, of course, the Orc coach will
take the pushback over the double-down result against the Human Lineman.

In passing, it is worth noting that the BOB-down/Human-standing ratio sits
at 35:1, because this will only happen on a pair of skulls. The Norseman,
however, will be in this enviable position 1 time in 9: four times better.

One skill passes. Each now has a Star Player Roll, and each rolls
normally. The Human Lineman takes Block, effectively neutralizing the
skill advantage of the Norseman and bringing his AV advantage to the fore.
The Norseman will take Pro, however, in an effort to cause more knockdowns
and AV breaks. What happens now?

In a matched Block, the Human will knock the Norseman down 1 time in 3,
and will break AV 5 times in 12. Final rate of success? 5 in 36. That's
right - his success rate hasn't changed at all. Granted, he is less
failure-prone, but he won't hurt the Norseman any more than he did before
he gained the Block skill.

The Norseman, meanwhile, has watched his sole blocking advantage negated:
after all, he can no longer count on a double-down result to drop his
opponent. He has picked up a new advantage, however: Pro. Let's see how it
works...

The Norseman can knock the Human down on the first throw of the dice, but
his odds have dropped from 1 in 2 to 1 in 3. However, if knocked over, he
will still break AV 5 times in 18. Initial success rate, without Pro:
5/54.

To this, however, we may add a few qualifiers. The Norseman might knock
the Human down cleanly on the Block (1/3), but fail to break AV (13/18).
He could successfully Pro the roll (1/2), and then break AV (5/18). This
is exactly the same multiplication of odds found in the example above, but
with an extra 13/36 thrown in. We set that to the side for the moment.

The Norseman could also fail to knock the Human down on the Block (2/3).
He could make his Pro roll (1/2), and then knock him down (1/3) and break
AV (5/18) as before. This is exactly the same multiplication of odds found
in the first example, but with an extra 1/3 thrown in. We add this to the
13/36 found in the previous example, and the 36/36 implicit in the first
example, and determine that the odds of knocking down the Human Lineman
and breaking AV on a one-die Block when the Norseman has Pro and the Human
has Block are:

61/36 * 5/54 = 305/1944.

Breaking this down simply, we come up with something slightly above 5/33.
Note that these odds are better than the original 5/36 odds the Norseman
had when neither player had gained a skill!

The Norseman's failure (read: "turnover") rate has dropped as well. He
will now fall over only in the following circumstances:

* Rolls a skull (1/6) and fails to Pro out of it (1/2)
* Rolls a skull (1/6), Pros successfully (1/2), skulls again (1/6)
* Rolls a double-down or pushback (1/2), Pros successfully (1/2),
  rolls a skull (1/6)

The total odds? 5/36 - actually less than the original 6/36 odds of
falling down when neither player had gained a skill. Granted, the Human
Lineman has cut his failure rate in half, while the Norseman has posted
more modest gains. It is still important to note that the Norseman
succeeds more often, and fails less. He also causes more knockdowns, so he
forces his opponent to stand up in his tackle zone more often.

The wandering Black Orc, of course, is now more deadly to the Norseman by
far, because his success rate is the same for both players, so only AV
provides the difference. The AV, of course, is in the Human's favor.

The accounting gets trickiest at the two-skill level. The Human Lineman,
in a head-to-head encounter, would take Pro, but the Norseman can't really
take a single skill that will help him take out the Human Lineman unless
he takes Frenzy, which is exceptionally difficult to calculate. At this
point, however, the Norseman becomes generally useful to the rest of his
team. He can take Tackle, for example. He can take Frenzy. Or he can take
Dauntless, essentially giving him the edge over the Human Lineman when the
wandering Black Orc makes his re-appearance.

Most Human Lineman who are not DPs do not seem to average 2 skills apiece.
If they do get to that point, the journey has usually been a long and hard
one, and they don't seem to last much longer beyond that. This means that
the old adage about the Norse - "Once other teams pick up Block, they've
lost their advantage" - doesn't really ring true. In fact, the Norseman
enjoys a number of advantages over his Human Lineman counterpart for a
large portion of their respective playing careers.
 
 

Throwers
~~~~~~~~

Position                MA ST AG AV  Skills               Cost
~~~~~~~~                ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~  ~~~~~~               ~~~~
Human Thrower            6  3  3  8  Sure Hands, Pass      70K
Norse Thrower            6  3  3  7  Block, Pass           70K

Human Throwers and Norse Throwers are similar, at least initially. The
Human Thrower is less turnover prone because of his Sure Hands skill,
while the Norse Thrower is less likely to be knocked over in a Block -
and, as a consequence, is less likely to be injured despite his lower AV.

Of course, Passing is a Thrower's forte. Both players have an AG of 3 and
the Pass skill, so each can make a decent living Passing the ball as
rookie players. As they develop, however, it is likely that their paths
will diverge.

If each player becomes a long-ball artist, then they will develop fairly
evenly. The Human Thrower will likely take Accurate, Strong Arm, and Safe
Throw, while the Norse Thrower will counter with Sure Hands (a given, in
my book), Accurate, and Strong Arm. On a fourth skill, they will probably
come to a head as the Human takes Block, while the Norseman counters with
Safe Throw. At this point, the Human Thrower has the advantage of AV.

However, this is not a likely development for the Norseman because of his
Catchers, who are no speedier than any of their team-mates. The Norseman
will likely develop along a path that is different, yet also useful.

We can rightfully assume that any reasonable coach will take Sure Hands
for his Thrower's first skill. After all, it relieves him of the need to
keep a team reroll handy for picking up the ball, and also protects him
from any opponents with Strip Ball.

At this point, he is a sturdy ball-carrier, but not as adept a passer as
his Human counterpart. I believe that absent any speedy players, Norse are
well adapted to small 'cage-style' tactics. This requires the Throwers to
get the ball (Sure Hands), run it up field, and perhaps make a Quick or
Short Pass to a Catcher who runs upfield for the score. He might also want
to be able to survive a hit and dump it off, and he should also be decent
at throwing a Long Pass or Bomb.

It is my contention that the best two skills for this are Accurate and
Dump-Off. Some coaches would place Nerves of Steel before Accurate, but I
believe this is inefficient. If you only ever Dump-Off in the face of one
defender, Accurate is every bit as good as Nerves of Steel, because it
cancels the -1 penalty incurred by the opposing player's tackle zone.
Additionally, it will help you complete those Quick and Short Passes prior
to scores, and it will also help minimize the fumbles on Long Passes and
Bombs. Nerves of Steel will not help these things.

This will give you a different, yet efficient Thrower well-suited to the
short passing game employed by a team whose players are all MA6.
 


Catchers
~~~~~~~~

Position                MA ST AG AV  Skills               Cost
~~~~~~~~                ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~  ~~~~~~               ~~~~
Human Catcher            8  2  3  7  Dodge, Catch          70K
Norse Catcher            6  3  3  7  Block, Catch          70K

Human and Norse Catchers are at opposite ends of the catching spectrum.
Because Human Catchers have high MA, low ST, low AV, and some scoring
skills, they will likely be developed as 'burners' or Pass Blockers. It
takes a tremendous amount of time and investment to develop them as
'hitting' players, because they need Block, Dauntless, and Diving Tackle
to be effective. Likely skills involve Block, Sure Feet, Sprint, and
Nerves of Steel.

Norse Catchers, on the other hand, will never qualify as 'burners'. They
do make good Diving Tacklers, however, because they start with ST3 and
Block. They can also make nice complements to your Throwers, running up
the field with the rest of the pack before catching a Dump Off and running
in for the score (Blitzing their way through if need be!)

You have options with Norse Catchers. Dodge is one of the more likely
skills, because a ST3/AG3 Block/Dodge player who can catch the ball is an
obvious asset to the team. Other good skills include Diving Tackle, Nerves
of Steel, Side Step, and Sure Feet. It all depends on the type of player
you want.

Humans do have one advantage over Norse in the Catcher department: they
are allowed four Catchers, while Norse may have only two. However, Norse
Linemen are decent players who come with Block, and suitable back-ups to
Norse Catchers once they have acquired Pro. This advantage plays into the
hands of a good Human coach, who can build a pair of offensive scorers
and a pair of defensive Pass Blockers. However, it does give the Norse a
sizable edge in ST, and the ability of the Human team to send their ST2
Catchers deep will be severely curtailed against a Frenzy-heavy team like
the Norse.
 
 

Blitzers
~~~~~~~~

Position                MA ST AG AV  Skills                    Cost
~~~~~~~~                ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~  ~~~~~~                    ~~~~
Human Blitzer            7  3  3  8  Block                      90K
Norse Blitzer            6  3  3  7  Block, Frenzy, Jump Up     90K

If Norse enjoy one large advantage over their Human brethren, it is in the
area of Blitzers. Human Blitzers are faster and better armored, but Norse
Blitzers start with two extra skills. One of these skills is an Agility
Skill they can't normally get, making Norse Blitzers the only players in
Blood Bowl with this advantage!* (see the end of this tirade)

Human Blitzers can develop into outstanding players in their own right.
Pro, Dauntless, Mighty Blow, Stand Firm, Guard - these are all excellent
choices for Human Blitzers.

Norse Blitzers, however, have to play to their strengths - and that means
they must cater to Frenzy and Jump Up! To this extent, Norse Blitzers must
rely on such skills as Pro and Stand Firm. Guard and Mighty Blow are not
quite as useful for the Norse Blitzer, because he often ends up far away
from his team-mates - or pushes his opponent into the stands, where his
Mighty Blow isn't even needed!

As any number of coaches will tell you, Frenzy has obvious drawbacks.
However, a smart Norse coach with four of these players can dictate play
to his opponent, almost certainly keeping the enemy away from the
sidelines, running for his life up the middle of the field. A Norse
Blitzer with Stand Firm creates a real problem for any opponent who
doesn't break his AV in a Block.

* Dwarven players start with Thick Skull. We didn't count it :)
 

-=-C.
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