Part 3: Lesson 3 - Goblin Secret WeaponsBlood Bowl 101
Lesson 3: Goblin Secret Weapons
Our next match is against Goblins manned by Agent355. Goblins are an oddball team overall but there's a lot going on mechanically with them, and most of it is better suited to one of these posts. Goblins as a team are made up of a pair of Trolls (Big Guys with actual negatraits, which we'll talk about in the video) and a bunch of goblins (who are special in their own way, specifically because of a skill they have called Stunty). Goblins, being dirty, sneaky cheaters, come to their matches with weapons, which are illegal according to the rules of Blood Bowl. These tools are called Secret Weapons, and they're the topic of today's post.
Goblin teams can get their Secret Weapons on the pitch and the ref can't do anything because stopping the match for any reason is verboten. However, after the drive ends either because of a touchdown or because of halftime, the referee immediately ejects any Secret Weapons who were on the field and they have to spend the rest of the match in the Penalty Box. These Secret Weapons are the focal point of a Goblin team and they're extremely powerful tools which can cut a swath through your opponent, but they must be used carefully or else you won't be able to get the most out of the drive that they play in.
Let's take a look at them. (Sprites taken from FUMBBL)
I'm also going to take this time to introduce you to some Blood Bowl shorthand. When we talk about players' stats we typically say them in the order MA, ST, AG, AV. So, the Wight would be 6 3 3 8. The Flesh Golem would be 4 4 2 8. The Zombie would be 4 3 2 8. Makes sense? And, following his stats, we list any skills he has. I'm going to use this format when discussing the Goblin secret weapons.
3 7 3 7 Ball & Chain, No Hands, Secret Weapon, Stunty
Yeah. Fuckin' weird. Fuckin scary, as well. I'm beginning with the Fanatic because he's by far the most bizarre unit. Each of these Secret Weapons are going to have the Secret Weapon skill and a skill unique to that unit. Secret Weapon is exactly what I was talking about earlier, where the player can only be on the pitch for one drive and is then put in the penalty box for the rest of the match. His other skill, Ball and Chain, describes a set of rules that the Fanatic must follow. The other unique skill, No Hands, is exactly that. The Fanatic has his hands full with his giant flail, and he can't pick up or hold the ball.
The Fanatic is a chaotic whirlwind of pain. He swings his ball and chain with reckless abandon and little control. The Fanatic doesn't blitz, and he doesn't make blocks normally. He also doesn't move normally. What he does is a crazy hybrid of the three actions. When you go to move with the Fanatic, he chooses one of the four cardinal directions to move. He then randomly moves to either of the three squares in that direction, centered around the cardinal direction he chose. If a unit is in the square he wants to move towards, he throws a block against that unit. Even if it's a teammate. And at ST7 you can bet your ass he's going to ruin whoever he runs into, friend or foe. Of course, if he accidentally throws a block against your own teammate, you're the one picking block die so you can simply pick a push or whatever. If he runs into a player who's prone on the ground he whacks them away. They get pushed, he moves into their square, and they have to make an armor check, meaning a Fanatic can knock a player down and not kill them, then immediately in the next movement cave their skull in with his flail. He's best handled by getting the living fuck away from him, because at a chaotic 3 movement per turn he's not going to run you down very well.
You also don't have to make dodge rolls as the Fanatic, because you're not dodging through tackle zones, you're whirling your iron death machine above your head and soaring past players. Also, if you manage to knock down this behemoth (or the more likely scenario of him knocking himself down on a dubskull) you skip the armor roll and move straight to the injury roll. Also, if the injury roll comes out stun, you treat it like a KO, because stunning the fanatic causes his ball and chain to come straight down on his small, green, gobliny noggin. So, a Fanatic that goes down either gets KO'ed or CASed, which increases the danger level of this insane unit.
6 2 3 7 Bombardier, Dodge, Secret Weapon, Stunty
The Bombadier has the same stats as a normal Goblin, and all the skills of a normal goblin plus those special Secret Weapon skills. That's because the Bombardier is a goblin who brought high explosives onto the pitch. The Bombardier can choose to move, blitz, punch, pick up the ball, foul etc. However, he can also choose to rain death down on some poor suckers. The Bombardier can choose to attempt to throw a Bomb onto the pitch. If he chooses to throw a bomb, he can't also move (because he needs time to light the fuse) so you have to decide if throwing the bomb is worth staying where you are. If you choose to throw the bomb, it works the same as the passing mechanic, except you're aiming for a tile rather than specifically a player. Like a pass, you need to roll pass dice to try and aim for the tile you're throwing at. Like a pass, rolling poorly can cause the ball to scatter off-course, and beating the roll means the bomb lands exactly where you chose. When the bomb touches down, it causes a Knockdown on the player in the tile it lands on, if it lands on a player. The blast also has a chance to knock down any of the players in the 8 squares surrounding the blast site. Each of these players in the nearby tile have to make a 4+ check. So they have a 50/50 chance of coming out unscathed. Even if they're laying on the ground already, the same rules apply. If a Bombardier CASes a unit through bombs, he doesn't get SPP.
However, the real fun comes when you try to intercept a bomb. Like a pass, a bomb can be intercepted or even caught if it lands in a square occupied by a player. The same dice get rolled that a normal interception or catch would require. If you manage to catch or intercept it, rather than having the ball explode in your face Looney Tunes style, you get to throw the bomb yourself. So, if a Bombardier tries to arc a bomb over a Dark Elf and the Dark Elf manages to snag it out of the air, he can try to return it to sender, or turn around and chuck it at a nearby enemy Troll. Or he can just throw it into ground harmlessly nearby. Of course, one of your player could catch the second bomb toss, and I've both seen and taken part in thrilling bomb battles where both sides play Hot Potato with an explosive, tossing it back and forth.
If a bomb knocks down a player on your team, your turn end immediately and you turnover. If you roll a 1 when you try to throw the bomb it falls out of your hand like a failed pass would, except this failed pass can blow your leg off. It only causes a turnover if it knocks down your player (which it often does). These two rules add to the danger of making a Bomb pass.
6 2 3 7 Chainsaw, Secret Weapon, Stunty
Why is he called the Looney? Well, he brought a god damned chainsaw to a Blood Bowl match! A Looney, like a Bombardier, is a normal goblin with a deadly weapon. The Looney can move around like normal, but instead of throwing blocks or blitzes, he revs up his chainsaw and hacks away at opponents. Before he can saw away at enemies, he has to successfully start up his saw. He makes a d6 roll, and on a 1 the chainsaw kicks back on him, jumping out of his hands and slamming into his face with deadly consequences. If he succeeds this roll, he saws into his enemy. He skips blocking and goes straight into the Armor rolls. He gets a +3 to try and break armor. If he can't break armor even with this +3 the victim stays upright. However, breaking armor leads straight into the injury phase as normal. If a player tries to punch a Looney and knocks himself down, this +3 against armor is still in effect.
If you manage to get your hands on a Looney and knock him down (which is easier because he doesn't get Dodge) or on that case where his chainsaw kicks back into his face, the Armor roll against him gets the same +3 as he dishes out, because you presumably knock the chainsaw back into his own face. The chainsaw is the most reliable of the Secret Weapons and is therefore the most dangerous to your opponent. It is also the most fragile and prone to harm.
There's also a fake Secret Weapon. He's not even a Secret Weapon (pogo sticks are legal I guess) but people confuse him with a Secret Weapon all the time even though he doesn't get ejected and doesn't have the Secret Weapon skill. He's also the only other unique singular unit on Goblins so I'll take this time to talk about him.
7 2 3 7 Dodge, Stunty, Very Long Legs, Leap
It's a goblin with a pogo stick. Big deal, right? Well, he gets to Leap in addition to the normal perk which come from being a Stunty player. I'll explain Stunty in the video but here's as good of a time as any to talk about it. You know how Tackle Zones negatively effect dodges, as in dodging into more tackle zones makes the roll harder? Well, Stunty players aren't affected by Tackle Zones. They still have to make the Dodge roll, but getting away from one player is as easy to them as dodging through 5 players. It's important to point out because the Pogoer, in addition to going through opponents, goes over them. He has a skill called Leap which lets him, in the middle of a movement, jump from the square he's in to any unoccupied square in a 2 square radius from him. So, if the enemy has made a human wall of players in a straight line, you can run up to that line, Leap over them on a 3+ Agility roll, and end up on the other side, where you only have to make a simple dodge to dodge away from them. It can also be used to jump right into an enemy cage and smack the ballcarrier. Failing this Leap roll means he falls down into the square he was leaping into, and your turn ends. As I said before, he's not a Secret Weapon so he stays on the pitch the whole match (unless he dies or whatever).
He's also one MA faster than a normal goblin. That must be one hell of a pogo.
But, we're not done yet. One more mechanic to wrap your brain around. Well, rather, it's an addendum to a mechanic from last game.
Bribes. After all, this is Blood Bowl. We follow the rules, unless you pay us to not follow the rules.
As a refresher, Bribes keep your player from being Ejected. Before, if your player got Ejected, you could use a bribe to make a D6 roll, where 2+ meant he got to stay on the pitch. This also applies to Secret Weapons. If you had a Secret Weapon on the pitch for a drive and that drive ends, he would normally get Ejected and sent to the Penalty Box. However, if you bough some Bribes before the match with your Inducement money or were given some during the match because of a kickoff event (which happened in the previous match) you can use these bribes to try and keep your Secret Weapons from getting ejected. 2+ means they can go back out and the ref looks the other way, rolling a 1 means he doesn't take the bribe and they get sent to the box. You have to use one bribe per Secret Weapon, and one roll per bribe. If your Secret Weapon sat on the sideline for the drive, you don't have to worry about him getting Ejected and can bring him in whenever, it's only units who were on the field for a drive who get booted when that drive ends.
In the next match, Agent355 is going to play our 1210 TV team with a 1010 TV team in order to get a bunch of inducement money to buy bribes to try and keep his players in for a ton of drives to allow for more carnage. "Playing Up" is a common strategy for Goblin coaches, as playing against higher TV teams means you get that Inducement money to get Bribes to let you Chainsaw that much more. Goblins will also typicaly hold 13-14 players so they don't have to put all their Secret Weapons out at the start of a match. Also just generally because Goblins are so squishy and prone to dying.
The way to keep this from happening is to score early when your opponent's Secret Weapons are on the pitch, or to just generally try to create a situation where he gets as few turns with his Secret Weapons on the pitch as possible. The ideal situation would be Killing a bunch of your opponent's goblins and scoring the ball on your Turn 8, meaning he has to field all of his Secret Weapons on the final turn before the half because he has to field 11 players if he can. So he gets one turn with all of his Secret Weapons before half time, then they all get banned at the half.
As always, don't be afraid to ask questions. I'm not as familiar with Secret Weapons as I'd like so if anybody spots an error or anything please point it out.