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Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Guide to the Orc Team rss

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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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This is the fifth guide in the series and the first one with more detail and a slightly revamped format (older guides will be revised at a later point). Cards belonging to the Sudden Death expansion have their name in red and it is assumed that you are using the most recent errata for the game. This guide serves as an overview and introduces a potential strategy for the team in question.



Team Name: Gouged Eye
Team Style: Aggressive tackling
Prefered Upgrades: Team Upgrades
Secondary Upgrades: Staff Upgrades
Tertiary Upgrades: Star Players.
Pros: Strong starting lineup in terms of raw bashing power, solid Team Upgrades, good at fan point generation.
Cons: Weak ball play, no access to deck rotation, no cheat mitigation.

Introduction: New players are often tempted to pick the Orcs as a starting team due to the appealing nature of simply smashing through the opposing teams. Having a very one dimensional opening strategy is however harder than it looks and this team is recommended for players with a bit of experience.

The hardest challenge facing the Orc coach is creating good upgrade combos and utilizing a tackle heavy team against strong Star Players on opposing teams, this and the very limited ball playing ability of the Orcs makes it essential that the coach is on top of his game.


Roster: (Minus linemen, they are identical in number and stats on all teams)

2 : Orc Thrower: (2) with Sure Hands and 1 Passing.

2 : Black Orc Blocker: (3) with Frenzy and 1 Tackling.

3 : Orc Blitzer: (3) with 1 Tackle and 1 Cheating

1 : Da Troll: (4) with Piling On and 1 Tackling and 1 Cheating

Team Upgrades:

1. Illegal Substitution: Matchup Action: Replace one of your players with a randomly drawn one at a matchup. (Exhaust)

2. Smash Em, Bash Em: Response: Attempt to injure a player you just successfully tackled (50% chance). (Exhaust)

3. WAAAGH!: Response: Treat your tackling player as if he where stronger then the target, causes you to lose 1 fanpoint if it results in a blank die roll. (Exhaust)

4. Orcidas Sponsorship: Scoreboard Phase: Gain possession of the ball with a player that successfully tackles a ball carrier. (Exhaust)

5. Beat Da Points Outta Dem!: Response: Gain 2 fanpoint each time you injure an opposing player.

6. Illegal Choppa Block: Response: Gain 3 fanpoint each time an opposing coach resolves a tackle with a rolled X.

Team Management: At the start of the game the Orcs are rather luck dependent. Your initial hand of players is what you will be forced to work with since you won't have any access to sprint. The good news is that half of your entire team starts with tackle and you can deliver an impressive beat down with your Black Orcs and Troll against opposing (3) players.

If you suffer from a poor initial hand then don't despair. A large part of your initial strategy is to make other teams afraid of you. Your opponents will worry during the first week that your heavy hitters are coming out against them (make sure to maintain this impression). This can force them to look elsewhere and if your first weeks lineup was rubbish then they will know that they have a reason to fear in week two. Unfortunately the same holds true if your first weeks hand was particularly strong, your opponents will be able to predict that you have a weak lineup to throw against them.

A good Orc coach is a bad person in general, you will need to be a gambler and a bully to pull off wins with this team. The biggest problem that you face is that most things that you do have a risk attached to them. Every tackle is a small gamble even when you try to stack the odds in your favor and a few bad rolls can leave you seeming (and feeling) impotent against an opposing team.

The remedy for this is a mixed blessing in the form of your cheating players. Only high players on your team cheat and this makes it risky to use them on throw away gambits (it is never safe to have only a cheater at a highlight), the good news is that cheating also scares opposing coaches. Even if your heavy hitters fail to take down opponents, no one can be sure that they won't cheat their way to victory.

Risk management is very important with this team, gambling in the form of tackling (4) players with your access to frenzy is tempting but you need to consider carefully if taking down a (3) player with better odds of success would leave you in a better position. Also keep in mind that you might need to insure yourself against your high value players being sent off the pitch (the Orcs have no cheating upgrades).

Your very limited ball handling ability will be best put to use by taking the ball or moving it as a last move at a highlight since Sure Hands offers no protection against players with passing, this can help you stack things in your favor or remove the edge from a team that's based on a passing strategy.

Upgrade Strategies:

Star Players: With no starting access to sprint then a heavy focus on acquiring Star Players is generally to be avoided with this team. Freebooters tend to be a safe bet and 8/25 of the Star Player deck consists of them, they keep your power up and your deck lean and mean. If you end up drawing regular Star Players then going for sprint is a good idea or failing that taking a strong player with tackle and putting him to good use during the next week (you may not see him again).

Some good picks are:

Freebooter Runner Freebooter: (3) with Dodge, 1 Passing and 1 Sprinting. Even without access to tackling then this guy really pays off. The sprinting can be very helpful if you are sitting on some linemen and this counts double since he already replaces one of them, also with your very limited ball handling then this can become a potential (5) at a matchup.

Freebooter Blitzer Freebooter: (3) with Frenzy, 1 Tackling and 1 Cheating. The Blitzer has the best synergy with your team (it's a duplicate of your Black Orcs) but with only two of them in the deck you can not count on getting one.

Morg N Throg Independent: (5) with 1 Cheating, 1 Tackling and 1 Sprinting. While Morg is always a stellar choice then his Sprinting and Tackling combo are especially appreciated by an Orc team.

Varag Ghoulchewer Orc: (4) with 1 Tackling and 1 Passing. Response: If an opposing ball carrier is successfully tackled at this matchup gain 1 fanpoint. This is a great star player against a team with good ball control and generally useful to increase your potential at a highlight.

Smashjaw Orc: (3) with 2 Tackling. Response: If Smashjaw injures an opposing player gain 2 fanpoints. This guy is a bit situational, but he can be helpful in beating down weaker players and milking fanpoints with some luck.

Grashnak Blackhoof Chaos: (5) with 2 Sprinting and 1 Tackling. This player is a beast and the double sprint makes your team far more deadly since your small deck will rotate much faster.

Bloodhorn Chaos: (3) with 1 Tackling and 2 Passing. Scoreboard Phase: Gets the ball if it is at midfield. While Bloodhorn is a modest tackler, his ability to get the ball can give you a decent edge.

Bone Crusher Skaven: (5) with Strip Ball 1 Cheating and 1 Tackling. A solid heavy hitter, you will most likely favor his tackle over Strip Ball.

Headsplitter Skaven: (4) with 2 Cheat and 1 Tackle. A strong tackler but his penchant for cheating can be risky for the Orc team.


Team Upgrades: Your Team Upgrades are heavily stacked in favor of response type abilities and they are for the most part geared towards intimidation, tackling and point generation. An Orc coach will benefit heavily from having a strong emphasis on Team Upgrades.

Some good picks are:

Smash Em, Bash Em in particular is a great asset since it intimidates your opponents and has good synergy with the rest of the upgrades.

Beat Da Points Outta Dem! can be hard to use effectively (you often benefit more from attacking a fresh opposing player) but it strikes fear into opposing coaches since they know you will be tempted to finish off their players.

WAAAGH! is handy since any of your players can tackle an opposing player no matter how mighty he is (a sneaky tactic is to pair this with a lineman and a bonus tackle from a Staff Upgrade).

The rest of the upgrades are less essential but they all help you on your path of violence.


Staff Upgrades: Being gamblers to begin with, the Orcs can do well with a secondary focus on Staff Upgrades (its hard to predict what you draw). Extra player abilities and bonus fan generation can really give the Orcs a boost during the mid and end game.

Some good picks are:

Sprinting Coach: Matchup Action: Gain 1 Sprinting (exhaust). Since you don't start with any sprint then this can be quite valuable in keeping your linemen out of the front ranks.

Tackling Coach: Matchup Action: Gain 1 Tackling (exhaust). Speaks for itself, abuse this with extra attacks from high players or get creative by pairing it with WAAAGH!.

Bloodthirsty Supporters: Response: Gain 1 fanpoint each time you injure an opponent. This has good synergy with some of your other abilities and every point you can milk counts.

Laying the Smackdown!: Scoreboard Phase: Gain 1 fanpoint for every downed opponent at every matchup where you have a standing player. This is a great card for generating points even if it can conflict with the need to injure players to score with other cards.

Offensive Firepower: Scoreboard Phase: Gain 2 fanpoints each time you win by a difference of at least 3 . If you are confident of reducing your opponents to rubble, then this card can pay off.

Team Merchandise Booths: End of Game: Gain 4 fanpoints. This card is a good choice if your other options are not that appealing. It does not show up on your Fan Tracker so it can give you a small boost that is under the radar.

Regeneration Coach: Response: If one of your player is downed then you may attempt a regeneration roll on him. (exhaust). This can be very useful when an opposing coach is determined to counter attack you. Even the off chance that your player can regenerate will worry your opponent.

Depending on the situation then you may find more situational upgrades useful from time to time. Overall the Orcs have a good return on getting Staff Upgrades.

Final Thoughts:

The Orcs have an interesting start to the game, opponents will be tempted to over or under invest in highlights involving your team. Hopefully your reputation for brutality will encourage at least one opponent to under invest when facing you. Your capacity to beat down the opposing team is designed to encourage them to migrate to greener pastures rather then having a battle of attrition. Sometimes you will face two stubborn opponents who both think they need to go all in against you, in that case it is safer to cut your losses at one highlight and focus your remaining energy on defeating the other one.

Early on you will be wanting to focus on Team Upgrades to make the most of your violent tendencies. While staff upgrades are healthy for you then you should always consider going for a Star Player if it will undercut your opponents who rely more heavily on that strategy, just don't over invest in new players since that will backfire in the long run.

The benefit of targeting Staff Upgrades in the mid and late game is that most other teams don't put much of a priority on them. This can leave you facing under invested opponents that you can milk for more fan points via your response abilities.

If your fan point generation is going well you may even be able to ignore fan points at highlights until the final week of the season. This can often be better then appearing as the front runner too early, the extra upgrades you grab may give you a decent boost on the final tally.

Overall being an Orc coach is a demanding job, bad luck can bury your aspirations and you really need to be alert for response opportunities at every step of the game (since you will have so many).

Feel free to comment or add observations below. Hopefully this can be a useful thread to discuss Orc strategies in general and strategies different from the guide in particular.
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Dave Roy
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This is awesome, since both the wife and I tried the Orcs yesterday. She didn't like them (she's still learning the game and she doesn't tackle a whole lot, so obviously the Orcs are not a good fit for her). I tried them and I had a general inkling of what I needed to do, but I wasn't playing them aggressively enough so I lost badly too.

This article will greatly help with that.
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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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If you are playing two player games, then the Orcs can be pretty tough to play well.

They are a fun team, but with less focus on Star Players they can face a really uphill battle against a team that gets new ones consistently. Also their trademark bullying has less impact with only one opponent. Their double dependency on luck (tackles and cheating) will really make or break them in a two player situation.

If you are playing with more players, then they are a great choice (they are pretty unique) otherwise assume that you are setting yourself up for a challenge.
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Chris G
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Good synopsis and guide, I pretty much agree with it. The key factors which are key, that you touched on are lack of sprint means you need to time when you purchase Star Players, since you really want them in the final round, Cheating is certainly something you want to do but it's definitely a gamble. However as you said Orcs work best as a win big/lose big team. There is no point in trying to play them safe.
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