Transcribed by Nathaniel Ball
Being a Noble is not simply making important decisions and being adored by those you walk by all the time. There are moments that can be very taxing. Today, I was relaxing in a personal bath heated by lava stones imported from the World’s Edge Mountains, enjoying my Bordeleaux, and enjoying a slow smoke of cigarro leaves from Cathay. And then, my assistant, Nathaniel, comes in to remind me I need to present a follow up discussion on the applications of Imperial Nobility defenses in Blood Bowl. The nerve! I will, however, continue my bath, my drink, and my smoke. Nothing in my contract says I must dictate my knowledge while being tortured with mundane activities. Let’s get on with it.
As some of you more observant and perspicacious have realized, in order to win a Blood Bowl game, you need to score more than the other opponent. The brightest coaches in Blood Bowl have discovered how important defense is in comparison to their ability to score touchdowns. That is to say, there can be an inverse relationship with how much you value defensive plays versus how you value your offensive plays. For example, a Wood Elf coach may not apply their team’s entire energy to defending a Dwarf team; Wood Elves are quick and can score more touchdowns in the time allotted them versus their shorter, stouter, and slower opponents who may take half the game to score one touchdown. Thus, it is at the coach’s discretion on how much energy to apply at any given time. The Wood Elves may opt for containment and wait for a surgical strike to strip the ball away while the Dwarves may look for player to player marking looking to pound Elven face to the dirt. Ah, this cigarro is giving me a nice surgical strike of relaxation to my toes, I must say.
Now, unlike prancy Wood Elves, slow Dwarves, and dim Black Orcs, who pretty much rely on one style of defense, Imperial Nobility teams have a greater versatility in forming all types of defense and can transition quickly to either one. This is due to the inherited genius that Nobles have. In allowing their commoners to share the same field as them, the Imperial Nobility increased their defensive capacities by two types of positions. Firstly, let’s discuss the Nobles on your team. Your Throwers are not designed to be initial defenders, though they could come into play as simple support, a last ditch safety, or a hunter looking out for a stripped ball. Secondly, your Blitzers may do well in stripping that aforementioned ball either by making tremendous blocks, or by Guarding the opposing players and aiding other players in blocking. Whew! Nathaniel, this cigarro is really hitting the spot. I’m even slipping down the tub a little.
Where was I? Ah, yes. Defense. I believe it is one of our benefactors, Taureau Amiral, who stated in his Art of Coaching,
6.8. A coach is skillful on offense when his opponents do not know where to defend, and he is skillful on defense when his opponents do not know where to attack.
Who knew Minotaurs could be so eloquent, let alone have the intelligence to articulate that to understand Defense, you need to understand your positionals? That leads us to discuss the Commoners of the Imperial teams. Your Retainers, though not very agile and a bit weaker than the rest of the team, Fend off opponents, potentially freeing up these players to support defensive tactics that need to be employed. There is another added benefit. They can tie up opposing players trying to get to your backfield by having to dodge around them. And if your Retainers were taught how to Sidestep? Well, that is a dangerous peasant right there. Secondly… wait. One, two, three, ah- fourthly, heh heh heh, did you hear that slip up, Nathaniel? It’s the cigarro, I’m telling you. Those Arabians know how to wrap these things! Fourthly, heh heh heh, your Bodyguards are mobile blockades when they Stand Firm. What else can be said there?
Defensive set ups change on the teams you play. For quicker teams, I like to post my Bodyguards on the outside lanes. This will either force blitzes to be made to try to knock them down (which they may or may not decide to Stand Firm) or will force multiple dodges to get by. Once a Bodyguard learns how to Guard, it gets more difficult to knock them around on the sides. Bodyguards are also capable on the outside lanes and as safeties thanks to the fact they all learn to Wrestle before they step on the pitch. If you decide to have them learn to Tackle, and learn how to Strip Ball, well, there you have a great hunter/safety. Yuck, some bath water got in my mouth. Nathaniel! Why didn’t you tell me I was slipping deeper into the bath? Luckily, I saved my cigarro! That nearly came out of your paycheck, you know? What’s that? I don’t pay you? That’s a calamitous situation, then.
As I was saying, based on the strength of the front line, or facing bashier teams, you may want to only employ three Retainers to the Scrimmage. If your opponent has a weak line, throw them all up there! Blitzers should always be used as hunters and/or safeties. Should you have an Ogre on your team, you may also want to keep him off the front line depending on how likely you think it will be that your opponent will knock him down on their first chance to lay hits.
Let’s go over positions with the more Defensive minded coaches and what you should be looking for in training your team.
Bodyguards start with base training that can lend themselves to be good Safeties. Combine their Wrestle with Tackle and Strip Ball, and you will have Runners and Throwers shaking in their little booties. Other skills to think about- Dodge, Dauntless, and Jump Up.
Like Offense, Block is definitely needed at some point but never underestimate a Fending player that can Sidestep! Other skills- Wrestle, Guard, Defensive. So basically, these positions can be cookie-cutter with skills because they are mere commoners. Probably smell bad, too.
Tackle, Strip Ball, Dauntless. Other skills- Guard and Jump Up.
Ridiculous proposition, isn’t it?
Your second cookie-cutter position. Like Offense, teach Block, Multiple Block, or Break Tackle quickly! And… now I want cookies.
My head is swimming, Nathaniel! No, not because I’m in the bath! Well, maybe. This cigarro is something else, let me tell you. What leaves are used in this? Whuzzat? I’m slipping again, Nathaniel. Down into the tub. Rub a dub dub tub tub rub a dub * glub glub glub *