Basic Defensive & Offensive Setups

Posted by Wulfyn on 22nd September 2019

(Article by Joemanji, for more wisdom check out his patreon page: )


Hello Blood Bowlers! I have been asked a couple of times about basic setups, and so this brief article will demonstrate a few of these for those who might find them useful. All these will need to be adapted slightly for the particular team you might be using, but the general principles discussed will be very similar.

Defensive Setup 1

This is my default setup, and the one I will use most often at the start of a half. The general plan is to hide as many players as possible from your opponent’s turn one blitz action, whilst having a central position that allows the majority of your players to redeploy most effectively on your first turn. This setup concedes the wide zones, but there are two main reasons why this is not a problem. Firstly, your opponent will usually be worried about covering the ball on his or her first turn, and so won’t have the players to spare running players into your half. But secondly, should the ball land favourably and the opposition try to flood down one wing, this is probably to your advantage. The worst case scenario is that you can force them to score early, leaving control of the game in your hands and a 2-1 win in your sights. But more often this will prove an overcommitment from your opponent and you can shut them down completely, forcing them back into their own half or even squeezing them against the sidelines.

The three players on the Line Of Scrimmage (LoS) are the most expendable on the team. Generally these are placed together as it minimises the number of blocks the opposition can throw against them if they are unlucky enough to roll pushes. Unless you have a Strength advantage over the opposition so great that you can guarantee not being blocked, it isn’t worth putting more valuable players like a Mummy or Black Orc on the line. The chance of having one chipped – no matter how small – simply isn’t worth it. The five players hiding on the back row are the most fragile on the team, with those in front of them either the most likely to survive or those least problematic to lose.

Defensive Setup 2


This probably my second most common defensive setup, and is used when conceding a quick touchdown is something that you are much more concerned about. Midway through a half would the most common time to use something like this. This setup is much more focused on position than protection, with only the two Runners in a pocket where they cannot be blitzed by the opposition. This setup is offset on the back two rows to avoid Frenzy and/or to make it harder to the opposition to engineer assists to block the players on the edges. The faster players are placed in the central areas, giving most opportunity to cover if the opposition concentrates on a single wide zone. The three players on the LoS must be bunched together here, or else it will be too easy for the opposition to run through the middle.

Example Offensive Setup

Offensive setups are much harder to replicate, but there are some general principles that I like to consider. In the example above there are two players in the backfield to worry about the ball, as generally the pickup roll is the last thing you want to do on your first turn in case you can get away with not rerolling a failure. The second player (here a Witch Elf) will generally wander over and stand next to the ball in case of calamity. It is really useful to have a player next to the ball if you roll a double skulls for example, as it allows the most options to reposition the ball on your next turn. The five players on the LoS are setup to block diagonally to maximise blocks in the case of push backs. If all three blocks work then that leaves two players remaining to make use of the team’s blitz action.

The remaining four players are setup in a position to cover the opposition rolling a Blitz! action. They are mostly concerned with protecting the centre of the pitch and preventing the opposition getting through and pressuring the back of your LoS. If the ball lands both wide and shallow and then a Blitz! is rolled you are probably screwed regardless, so I find it best not to try to overprotect that event. These four players will have a fluid role on my first turn. Assuming no Blitz!, if the ball lands shallow or in midfield then they will bank off and cover the ball before any blocks are rolled. Should the ball land somewhere the opposition cannot reach it on their first turn, a couple of these players are free to get involved in blitzing someone if required.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this please comment or even just press the like button, or if you really dig my Blood Bowl articles then you might even consider contributing to my Patreon page. At the moment I am writing a series of Patreon-exclusive NAF World Cup 2019 guides, one for each of the 26 teams!