Tuesday, 10 December 2013

An evaluation of the Norse Yhetee in bloodbowl

Player Type:                       Raging wall of fur, muscle and claws
Position:                              Big  Guy
Starting Line Up:               No. Well, you can but don’t say I didn’t warn you
Strengths:                           Strength, Starting skills
Weaknesses:                     Low(ish) armour, no normal access to Block skill
The Yhetee is the big guy of the Norse team, and is a savage creature, capable of rendering down even the toughest opponent into strips of beef jerky. Just don’t ask him to carry the ball, he’ll probably burst it.
How to manage the downsides
Ok so your biggest weakness for the Yhetee is the fact that he doesn’t have block, and doesn’t have an easy way of getting it either. What that means is that realistically, despite his strength you don’t want this guy on the line of scrimmage, as he’s costly and goes down more easily than almost anyone else on your team. His armour is also such that you wouldn’t say he’s safe from being hurt (yup, just bought one in my club’s league and he got injured in the first game – fortunately nothing long-term).
The best way to manage this lack of a skill therefore is to make sure your early blocking has the best chance of success, by which I mean try to get a 3-dice block, aim for receivers who are usually ST2, or give a couple of assists.
Second, and I’ve already touched on this. Don’t. I repeat, DON’T, put him on the line, especially if your opponent is getting the first turn. DO protect him and hide him a little to allow him to make a blitz in your first turn.
Thirdly, skill selection. Ideally you want to be hitting with the Yhetee, it makes passing your wild animal test easier and lets him cause the casualties that are realistically going to be your only way of getting SPP’s. Without block though, hitting someone else becomes risky, so unless you roll a double (which you take as block, even if it’s a double 5 or 6) then take Juggernaut first. This lets you ignore both down results and count them as pushbacks instead (which has the added benefit of meaning you get to go again with Frenzy!).
How to maximise the strengths
At ST5, the Yhetee is your strongest player, and will be getting two dice against almost everyone else he blocks. Without the block skill though, he’s vulnerable even on his own turn and so until you can mitigate that, you need to pick on weak players, or ones who are equally unskilled, so at least the opponent will be going down on a both down too. Claws is a massive bonus however, and as such you also want to be hitting the best armoured of your opponent’s players (I’m thinking Black Orcs and Chaos Warriors are ideal targets here).
One of the Yhetee’s biggest advantages, in terms of potential at least, is his disturbing presence, which deducts 1 from your opponent’s roll to pass, catch or intercept if he’s within three squares of the Yhetee. On paper, that’s brilliant, enough to even make a elf think twice, but in-game the reality is that it’s a secondary bonus, there are limited opportunities to be within that sort of range of your opponent when he actually wants to pass or catch. I’m not saying it’ll never come in handy, but it’s not a skill to base your tactics around – particularly since wild animal can make your player fairly static if he’s not hitting someone.
Finally therefore, your Yhetee is good just for being there – big guys naturally gather a lot of attention from their opponents and as such they give your other players more room to operate. If your opposite number ignores the big guy, hurt something with it, he won’t ignore it again, but above all else, make him deal with it.
Do you start a league with one?
Realistically, and as much as I’d like to say yes, don’t. 140,000gp is a lot of coin to throw around on a player at the start of a league, and he’s very capable of burning through your re-rolls too. I’d normally aim to recruit him as either the 13th or 14th player, after you’ve got 2 Ulfs. These three guys in combo are terrifying for most opponents.
What skills can they take?
Limited, since as with all big guys, they only have access to Strength skills without needing a double.
Break Tackle
This is situational, but can be huge. It lets your big guy become more agile than an elf (sort of) for one ‘dodge’ only. It’s massively helpful therefore for breaking out of a ruck, providing that the square you’re dodging to is clear, as any further dodges will be made using your standard agility of 1. The downside to this is that unless you’re using it to blitz, there’s a 50/50 chance your Yhetee will refuse to move anyway.
Guard
He won’t start there, but let’s be honest, your Yhetee is likely to end up in a scrum at some point, and if he’s handing out assists to the other players involved so much the better, but I’d say it’s not the first skill you want to be taking with him.
Juggernaut
This is. Blitzing for a Yhetee is a must, and this skill is one of the reasons why. If you fail to roll a double on your first skill increase, then juggernaut lets you count ‘both down’ results as a pushback, limiting your turn ending results to just the attacker down. Early in the league, or just if you can’t seem to roll a double on a skill increase, then this drastically reduces instances of your Yhetee causing turnovers, even if it does mean he doesn’t get the points for causing casualties.
Mighty Blow
Skill number 2, unless you can take block, as with it you’ll basically be able to consider everyone you go up against to have armour 6, and that’s a very good thing.
Multiple Block
I’m not a fan of multiple block, but with assists in the right place, the Yhetee can open up big holes in a defensive line if you’ve got it. Tricky to use well though.
Piling On
You start with Claw, you’ve already taken Mighty Blow, Piling On is the third arm of the holy trinity of causing casualties. Some would advise not to pile on with your Yhetee because it leaves him open to being fouled, personally I’d say if the opposing player is worth getting off the pitch, then it’s worth doing, and opposing players are almost always worth getting off the pitch. Plus, once you’ve got these three skills then those SPP’s will start to rack up, and enemy big guys will fear you.
Stand Firm
This is a skill best used in combination with Guard on the line, and therefore not ideally suited to the Yhetee, I wouldn’t take it unless I was running out of options, or played a lot at the edge of the pitch.
Strong Arm
No. Never, ever, ever do you want to be passing with a Yhetee. If for some reason he ends up holding the ball and there’s no way of getting him to the endzone to benefit from that rarest of things, the big guy touchdown, then you want to be handing off instead.
Thick Skull
Can be useful but extremely situational, leave it at home if at all possible.
What are good options for doubles skill rolls?
Block
Essential for good blocking, if you roll a double then take this above any other consideration
Tackle
Rolled a second double and not sure what to take? Tackle is always good for putting those dodgy players down, giving you yet more access to casualty points.
What are the best stat increases to take?
To be honest, the only one I’d consider would be armour, as his AV8 is pretty low for a big guy. ST is tempting but most stuff you’re going to hit is weaker than you anyway, and you can always find a way of getting an assist in there if you need to. Agility is futile, there is never going to be a case for building up a Yhetee’s AG value, and MA isn’t too bad at its starting level anyway for a big guy.
What are the best skill combinations?
I have only one, particularly given the limited skill set available. If you roll a double at any point, take block and insert it into the list, if it’s your first skill, drop juggernaut.
1.       Juggernaut
2.       Mighty Blow
3.       Piling On
4.       Guard
5.       Break Tackle
6.       Stand Firm
Final thoughts
The Yhetee is your angry face. Combined with the two Ulfs you should have in your team, he makes it a very angry face indeed that’s capable (once they’ve all got a couple of advances) of playing the power game with any other team in the rulebook. Until then, he’s a very scary presence for the weaker elements of your opponent’s tream and he can, subject to circumstances, make their passing game much more tricky.