Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A evaluation of the Norse runner in bloodbowl


Player Type:                       Give me the ball, give me the ball, GIVE ME THE BALL!!!!
Position:                              Runner (they may be called catchers, but believe me they’re not!)
Starting Line Up:               Probably
Strengths:                           Block, Dauntless, Agility access
Weaknesses:                     Low armour, average agility
The Runner (I’m sorry, I refuse to call them catchers) on the Norse team is probably one of the most underrated players in this team of specialists, simply because you’ve got two Ulfs, two Beserkers and the Yhetee taking all the spotlight.
The Runner however is your best option for scoring touchdowns, and don’t let his stats or anyone else tell you different.
How to manage the downsides
Well as with all Norse he’s got below average armour, by now you should know that taking the dodge skill is priority one for mitigating against that (unless you roll an armour increase with your first skill of course!). Really though, the Runner should be the easiest player to mitigate armour with, since he should be carrying the ball, and therefore should be screened off from your opponent’s players most of the time. If your runner is getting hit, things aren’t going well for you!
The biggest drawback to the Runner is his agility of 3. Now sometimes that’s not going to be a problem, but in the league I’m playing in at the moment, my Runner has the butteriest fingers of all, even a Black Orc seems more likely to catch a pass than him (consequently it’s hurting me both in terms of touchdowns and the advancement of my Thrower, but I’m not bitter, honest!). Early on then, you probably want to eschew throwing the ball to him a lot, either hand it off and once he’s skilled up a bit, then you can start racking up the completions, or just let him pick it up in the first place and run the length of the pitch (after all, he’s just as likely to pick it up as your Thrower is!)
How to maximise the strengths
Well you don’t really maximise Block on a Runner particularly, it’s more of a safety net since you can get away with Blitzing with him if your opponent is blocking your route to the endzone. Most receivers or ball carriers don’t come with block, so don’t take the offensive strategies with their ball carriers in the same way, which is exacerbated by them generally being lower strength as well.
Dauntless works in a similar way, this guy isn’t someone you particularly want to be blocking or blitzing with too often, but if you’ve got a big guy in your way, Dauntless helps you get him out of there to clear your path. It is a useful skill to have defensively as well though, since if your opponent manages to give the ball to a strong player, Dauntless is your best bet for getting it off them.
Finally, this is the only player in your team with easy access to agility skills. They’re very important to you being able to score touchdowns, and so you really want to protect this guy more than anyone else on your team. Once you get them, you need to start using them to score touchdowns and once the runner starts to skill up you can spread a few around to other players, but not until he’s got at least two skills.
Do you start a league with one?
I would, though I can see an argument for taking your full complement of Ulfs and Beserkers instead. There’s very little difference at the start of a league, but the more time you take to skill up a Runner the more difficult it is to get them there later when other teams start building skills.
What skills can they take?
Dirty Player
Really don’t recommend you try fouling with this guy, if he gets sent off your ball handling ability will drop considerably
Fend
As I mentioned already, really he’s going to be screened most of the time, so you shouldn’t need too much in the way of defensive skills, dodge should suffice.
Frenzy
It’s an offensive skill, but for someone who should be carrying the ball most of the time, you don’t want the negative side of it causing you problems, leave it at home (and this is one of only two players I’d say that about on the Norse team!)
Kick
Give it to your Thrower, if you haven’t taken one then you might consider it.
Kick Off Return
Worth thinking about, the Runner’s movement of 7 is decent, but a three square boost on the kick off never hurt anyone. Probably most useful if you’re thinking of building one guy to fetch the ball and another to score with it.
Pass Block
Probably the only player in the Norse team I’d even consider giving pass block to, but even then his average agility makes it a slim chance at best, worth thinking about if you get an agility increase early.
Pro
Ok so we know by now that I don’t like Pro much, and to be honest, the Runner can take all the skills he needs to get guaranteed re-rolls so Pro is a poor attempt at a general backup.
Shadowing
The best option for taking this skill in the Norse team, I’d still probably leave it in the box to be honest unless you really can’t think of anything else to give them.
Strip Ball
Best taken on the Beserker, who’s more suited to retrieving the ball from an opponent carrying it, it’s a wasted skill slot on a Runner.
Sure Hands
You remember that ball retriever I mentioned earlier who got given Kick-off Return? Sure Hands would be my second choice for that situation. Still better on your Thrower though.
Tackle
Shouldn’t really be blitzing or blocking too much, and when he does, the Runner should be just as happy with a pushback, as it clears space for the race to the endzone, so don’t do it.
Wrestle
No, definitely not, the Beserker fetches the ball, you don’t want any situation where you could be knocking yourself over and dropping it, which is what happens if you have this skill and your opponent has block.
Catch
If you plan on passing the ball to him, then this will be a must, though for reasons I’ll explain in a moment, it wouldn’t be my first choice skill.
Diving Catch
This is. With Diving Catch you will be taking accurate passes on a 2+, and can always use a team re-roll if you fail that until you get Catch. The vital difference though is that Diving Catch lets you attempt to take inaccurate throws, kick-offs and throw-ins that would land (not end up, land) in an adjacent square. You won’t get the +1 modifier for it being accurate, but any chance is better than none! This would be my second favourite skill on a Runner.
Diving Tackle
Leave it here for the Beserker to take, it’s a very useful skill but I prefer to keep my Runner skill slots for offensive options.
Dodge
Priority number one, take this skill first above everything except an agility increase.
Jump Up
This becomes a very useful skill if your Thrower starts to get good at passing, since it lets you threaten the endzone from a decent distance away even if you start the turn on the floor.
Leap
Only really worthwhile if you get an agility increase, otherwise it’s a 50/50 risk that’s not worth taking in my opinion, and there are more important skills you can get
Side Step
Like this, however much you screen your Runner, at some point they’re going to get blocked. Side step means you can use the full width of the pitch to your advantage, and if you only get pushed back, you can actually get yourself within striking range of the endzone, bonus!
Sneaky Git
You’re not fouling with your Runner are you. No, you’re not. Leave it here.
Sprint
Worth a pop if you get to that fourth/fifth skill, a Norse runner with 10 squares of possible movement? Yes please!
Sure Feet
If you take Sprint, then yes, if you haven’t then you shouldn’t fail enough to need this skill.
What are good options for doubles skill rolls?
Accurate
If you haven’t taken a Thrower and are using a Runner to retrieve the ball, this is worth considering, provided you’re passing and not handing off, but then if you’re doing that you’re in dire straits anyway!
Dump Off
Frustrates your opponent massively, they put everything in to get that blitz on the ball carrier, who then slips the ball out of the back door to the other Runner who’s nearby. It’s a risky play though and works better on higher agility players due to the likely number of tackle zones.
Nerves of Steel
Absolute gold if you pass the ball a lot, since tackle zone modifiers make a mess of your attempts to catch the ball.
Pass
That Runner you’re using instead of a Thrower? Give him this if you can.
Juggernaut
Worthwhile thinking about since it counts as a pushback instead of a both down, so lets you continue that run to the endzone.
Strong Arm
Still not using a Thrower? This will help.
What are the best stat increases to take?
Agility or movement, either is very important to this player, but leave the others at home and take the skills instead.
What are the best skill combinations?
The ‘Runner’
1.       Dodge
2.       Diving Catch
3.       Catch
4.       Side Step
5.       Sure Hands
6.       Sprint
The distributor
1.       Sure Hands
2.       Kick-off Return
3.       Accurate
4.       Pass
5.       Kick
6.       Nerves of Steel
The Spoiler
1.       Dodge
2.       Shadowing
3.       Pass Block
4.       Diving Tackle
5.       Jump Up
6.       Sure Hands
Final thoughts
The Runners are the players who should be getting your touchdowns, but remember that early on they are no better at ball handling than your Linemen or Beserkers, so don’t take risks, if you’re playing a team like Skaven for example they can pounce on any mistake you make, so only risk the pass when you have to, and you have the time to correct any mistake (seriously, if it’s the last turn and someone else is in range to score, don’t try and give it to your Runner instead, you’re asking for fumble fingers!)
A fully developed Norse team should have two Runners, I’d be tempted to skill one up as the classic Runner and the other as the Spoiler, who’s just there to make everything your opponent does just that little bit more difficult.
Under no circumstance though should you risk them unnecessarily in a melee – unless the ball is available, or your opponent will definitely score next turn then keep them out of the soup!