Black Rock Dwarves - Black Widows - Deadlings - Desert Dogs - Divine Wind - Gnolls - Gnomes - Middle Kingdoms - Night Elves - Orcs
Pharaohs of Vihktora - Ratmen - Razorbacks - Sarcos/Calasain - Samhaino - Siringit - Thunder Hammer Dwarves - Timberline Elves - Valkryies

Black Widows Playbook

By Dark Lord

The Black Widows are described as the team with the strongest passing game in the league – this isn’t fluff, this is how they should be played. Short passes are the key. The ball can turn over in an instant so you should always be in a scoring position. The Black Widows have a good mix of positions coupled with the threat that the Widowmaker imposes.

Team Strengths
  • A good team to use for learning to play Elfball.
  • Good flexibility in the mix of positions available.
  • The only team with access to 6 players of SKILL 4.
  • Very mobile – all players have JOG 6, and the Strikers and Widowmaker have DODGE 4.
  • The Widowmaker!

Team Weaknesses
  • The Widowmaker is a unique piece – once she’s off the field, your best Tackler is gone.
  • Highest MIGHT in the team is 3 – The need for Impact Challenges can be frequent.
  • Only 3 players with TACKLE 4 or higher.

Plays in a similar way to:
Gnolls, Sarcos/Calasain and Valkyries

Getting Started

This section gives some views on how to compose a team

1) Roster Choices
Take the Widowmaker. Do not deviate from this advice.
Take at least one Hunter, preferably both – with your Widowmaker they are your hardest tacklers
Take two Strikers
Take a Thrower to act in your backfield – this can be replaced by a Midfielder if you’re worried about the low MIGHT.
Take at least one Midfielder to man (woman?) the face-off circle.

2) Support Items
Probably not worth taking Kegs for this team due to the low GRIT levels, but I would certainly look at maxing out on potions.
A Bribed Ref will let your players take short cuts through the goal circles, but since all your players are allowed to take part in the face-off you would be wise to spend this 5 points elsewhere.
If you have points to spare, take as many Cheerleaders as you can afford, but don’t worry too much - your team is capable of generating plenty of momentum with their high SKILL attributes.

3) Abilities
A handful of abilities throughout this team will really make your opponents tear out their hair in frustration. Concentrate on abilities that enhance the passing game. This is the strength of the team – making it even better makes the team better!

4) Reserves
The low GRIT of the Strikers and Widowmaker means you could find yourself short on numbers. Take a couple of reserves to cover the situation. Obviously the Widowmaker is a unique piece, but with the ability to choose 4 Strikers, your passing game should never suffer.

Player Types

This section is a quick review of the player types available on the team.

0-2 Hunters
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
3
4
3
2
3

As one of only three players available to you with TACKLE 4 or more, these girls are best used to bring down those high DODGE opponents who are running in for the score, or to take out a Monster that is blocking the route for your own Strikers. With this in mind, it’s worth looking at building your two Hunters into a specialist Monster Hunter, and a specialist Defender.
For the Monster Hunter, Cutblock is a no-brainer. Most of the Monster types have very low DODGE, and are protected by an Impact challenge that usually needs multiple successes. This ability bypasses that challenge beautifully, and you can easily engineer a 4 dice Tackle challenge that only needs 1 success to knock them down. Always remember that to use Cutblock, your Hunter needs to have moved at least one hex prior to the Tackle. To increase the odds of a successful Tackle, it would also be good (although not essential) to give this player Grapple.
For the Defender, I would recommend Grapple and Psycho as top picks. Psycho will give you 5 dice in any shove challenge, which is a great way to generate momentum, but more importantly will let you bully any opposing Strikers into the sidelines and out of the game! It also helps in any Impact challenge, and when you finally go for the Tackle, you have the Grapple ability to increase your chances of forcing an injury challenge. If you wanted to put a 3rd ability on this player, it would be nice to also have Agile, to help you snag the ball if you manage to pop it loose, and throw it to one of your forward players.


Ability picks
  • Monster Hunter:- Cutblock, Grapple
  • Zone Defender:- Grapple, Psycho, Agile


0-3 Midfielders
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
3
3
3
3
3

These players bring a lot of flexibility to the team. Buff can create a reliable Shover, as well as helping in the Face-Off challenge. Agile will create a good ball-handler and secondary Thrower/Receiver.
However, the specific Midfielder Type abilities deserve special mention here. A midfielder with Rally/Helping Hand can provide support to your throwers and strikers regardless of facing. For a passing team this is a substantial benefit.
Rally/Teammate gives the midfielder the ability to move closer to a teammate using Momentum instead of Jog. This can create a player able to move far beyond normal and lend their help where it is needed. It would be even nicer to have Helping Hand on this player, but another ability would probably be too much of a points investment.

Ability picks
  • Face-Off Midfielder:- Buff, Agile
  • Support Midfielder:- Rally, Helping Hand


0-4 Strikers
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
3
2
4
4
2

Your main forward players, Agile/Nimble will create a very reliable receiver. Add in Focused if you want to see your opponents gnashing their teeth in frustration!
Grapple/Psycho can give opponents a nasty surprise as your seemingly weak Striker starts to shove their way to the goal on 5 dice! Very nice if you can shove a defender into their own goal circle and get them ejected.
Steal is an interesting skill. First of all it never needs an Impact challenge, regardless of the opponents MIGHT.
You only get 2 dice on the challenge, and it can easily be engineered to only need 1 success to pop the ball loose. You could strongly consider adding Grapple to this player and build them as a specialist ball stealer. If you want to stretch to 3 skills, Burst would be a fine add. However, it will be nigh on impossible to generate momentum from the Steal challenge for the extra hexes of movement, so you may need to use cheerleaders, or risk an easy challenge prior to the Steal.



Ability picks
  • Receiver:- Agile, Nimble, Focused
  • Freight Train Striker:- Grapple, Psycho, Agile
  • Ball Stealer:- Steal, Grapple, Burst
  • Speedster:- Steady, Sprinter


0-2 Throwers
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
2
3
3
4
3

Agile should be taken as a first skill on your main thrower – end of! It helps with so many challenges, and if you intend to use your thrower as a thrower (and why wouldn’t you?), it would be criminal not to take this ability.
Scramble will enable the thrower to chuck long passes even if they’ve moved (with 1 extra success needed) – definitely worth a look, and it also opens up access to Lead Pass, which can create out-of-turn movement that plays havoc with your opponents field position. As always with these “use momentum to move” skills, you need to think how best to generate momentum without risking your overall strategy.



Ability picks
  • Agile, Scramble, Lead Pass


0-1 Widowmaker
JOG
MIGHT
TACKLE
DODGE
SKILL
GRIT
6
3
5
4
1
2

She’s there to take people out, and I don’t mean on a date.
You can’t ignore the access to Cheapshot, which lets her stick the knife in downed players. Couple this with Grapple, and watch the body count go up. Ruthless will also give her extra movement, albeit limited in the direction of more downed victims – however, beware the temptation to use Ruthless to move her out of position in order to get in another cheap hit.
Alternatively, if you want to concentrate her attentions solely on players that are still standing, you could consider the Grapple/Psycho combination, which will give her 5 dice on Shoves and 5 dice on Tackles (with a re-roll).


Ability picks
  • Coup De Grace:- Cheapshot, Grapple, Ruthless
  • Goalie/Reliable Tackler:- Grapple, Psycho, Buff


Setting Up

BW_Routes.jpg1. Widowmaker
2. Hunter
3. Midfielder/Thrower
4. Midfielder
5. Striker
6. Striker/Hunter

















The lines represent the general path I will be taking with the players. This is by no means a rock solid route or pattern I will run. It's got many variables like the team I'm against, the current situation and the general health of my team. This is very abstract, so keep that mind if you feel a need to nitpick it.


Play Style

I generally play as if I had possession even if I don't. I position my players so I can do 2 or 3 short passes to the goal when I do have possession.

One thing about Elfball that I really enjoy is that your strategy needs to be fluid. In Blood Bowl generally teams set up in formations and run a pattern, but in Elfball it's more like Basketball or Rugby where your positional players have adjust to the situation on a turn by turn basis.

BW_Optimum.jpg
5 & 6 are scoring threats. 4 can reach 5 & 6 or 2 & 3 to help out when needed. 2 & 3 can both defend the goal and serve as a means to get the ball across the white line, and 1 The Widowmaker sits and waits like a spider in a web for anyone to get close.

In the top pictures the lines bow inward not as a rigid description of the hexes they follow but rather to illustrate that they work as a team to get where they are going.
4,5, 6 are my offense squad, and 2,3 & 4 are my defensive squad. 5 & 6 don't hang out there waiting for a ball to come, because they would get clobbered. It's more of a general note of their area of action. I can get a player to any other player who is in trouble in 1 turn. I can have 3 on Offense and 2 and Defense (not counting the goal tender) or within 1 turn I can switch it to 2 on Offense and 3 on Defense.
In fact, within 2 turns I could potentially have a full court press if I needed to force a turn over and lock up the opposing offense.

The other thing this strategy does, is drive any offensive play from my opponent to the outsides. Since my Widows aren't tacklers (Widowmaker excepted) I use pushes out of bounds as much as I can...and lookie lookie, I just happen to have a midfielder hanging around the center dot.

So like I said, I play this way whether I have the ball or not. If the opponent has the ball I do everything I can to passively make him drop it somewhere around midfield. If I am in optimal position, and he drops the ball at midfield I can scoop it up, do a short pass to one of my scoring threats and hopefully lay a zone on his goal tender in one turn. Then on the next turn, score. (With skills this becomes easier too)

If I do have possession I keep in in my backfield until I am ready to do a series of short passes. In optimal position with 3 holding the ball he can advance, hand it to #4, pass it to 5&6 or if desperate just chuck it down field for a punt.



  • Shoving is better than Tackling in most cases. If you only want to remove an opponent's tackle zone then a shove is much safer and more likely to build momentum than a tackle will
  • Tackling is for hitting the player holding the ball. Pushing is what you do to an annoying opponent. Pay attention to facing. Hitting a player from behind can make the difference between both down, and only you down
    And then, many times a better strategy is to cover the ball carrier to force a fumble rather than knocking him over....better to let the fickle dice screw him over when he tries to do something and then capitalize on it.
  • Do not end a player's turn still holding the ball. Play HOT POTATO! At the end of a players action he should be getting rid of the ball. Tossing the ball in a region unoccupied by your opponent is better than holding on to it! If you remain in possession of the ball the other coach gets two turns to come after you to pop it loose! And as you have seen getting the ball loose is not hard.
  • Momentum's importance cannot be stressed enough. Knowing how to manipulate that aspect of the game is vital to victory. Push the player before you tackle him to earn a momentum, for example.

Also, lots of people I have played with have thought that the attrition bash game is the way to go. Here's the thing, it's real easy to mess up a coach with that mentality. If you are playing against a team that is gonna try to bash you around until you are out players...just pull back.

Let him have the ball whether you win the face off or not. Pull back into your half just out of his reach. He can only bring one player across your line at a time, and when he you get to move two players before he can move that guy again. HIT HIM! Pick them off one at a time with your biggest tackle player and support. The heavy hitting teams aren't great at ball handling and/or movement so once they are down to 4 players or so they are EASY to score on. I've used this tactic with my Black widows against Samhaino, Dwarves, Siringit, Middle Kingdoms and Valkyries and it works. The attrition game is not so aggressive in my league anymore.
And don't be afraid of those monster players. The Impact Challenge is tough, but once you make it it's Tackle Vs. Dodge...and that's not so good for them!

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