Charging to fame and glory behind their Star Players, Blood Bowl teams are drafted, drilled and deployed onto pitches from the snake-infested jungles of Lustria to the ice-capped peaks of the Worlds Edge Mountains.
Fame, glory and gold – tempting sirens that have called all but the most timid of races to the violent grind of the gridiron.
Countless teams have represented the various races over the years, and even today, new teams are formed every year. Blood Bowl is a brutal, unforgiving sport and most careers are short lived. Injuries and deaths (both on and off the pitch) fast take their toll. Blood Bowl fans are a passionate, unforgiving lot and it’s not uncommon for teams to fall out of favour. A canny coach might change the name of his team multiple times in a single season to hide from the shame of a defeat. Others are forced to recruit a new team altogether. Such a diverse array of challenges ensures the Blood Bowl landscape is always changing with the times.
Some teams though, however brief their time in the spotlight, will always be remembered in the annals of Blood Bowl history. Whether by virtue of glorious touchdowns or on-pitch violence, their names are now synonymous with the Great Game. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of those teams, and a look at some of the infamous Star Players who led them to victory.
Team Colours: Blue and white
Owner: JJ Griswell Jr
Head Coach: Helmut Zwimmer
Home Stadium: The Oldbowl (capacity 71,411 – surface astrogranite)
Team Honours: Blood Bowl Winners: 2471 (XL), 2479 (XIX), 2485 (XXV), 2487 (XXVII), 2491 (XXXI).
Hall of Fame Players: Walter damm Kempft, Erdrich Holstein, Coach Johann Weisshaupt, Jules Winder
Spike! Magazine Team Rating: 321
Human teams tend to have a well-rounded skill set. This grants them a degree of versatility that means they can attempt any sort of play and are almost impossible to predict.
The Reikland Reavers were formed over a century ago, in 2389, when a vacant franchise came up in what was then the Oldlands Conference. Known during their first few years as the Altdorf Acolytes, the team quickly established their reputation for great skill and ability, as original owner DD Griswell Snr poached and bought up the best players throughout the western lands. This policy of marrying awesome buying power with the best skill money can buy has seen the Reavers in good stead throughout their long life. Today, under DD’s great-grandson JJ Griswell Jr, the Reavers are probably the finest all-round team in the known world.
“Get back in your Dugout,
Get out of our sight,
You can’t beat the Reavers,
Don’t bother to fight.”
Team Colours: Red and white
Owner: His Most Grossest Majesty Gobsuck Skullcrush XII
Head Coach: Gort Severlimb
Home Stadium: The Doom Bowl
Team Honours: Chaos Cup winners 2441, 2445, 2450, 2451, 2452, 2453, 2454, 2460, 2469, 2473, 2477, 2482, 2483. Blood Bowl Winners 2464 (IV), 2473 (XIII), 2495 (XXXIV)
Hall of Fame Players: Eruk Ogrehack, Bolg Stonemangle, Garg Worm-face
Spike! Magazine Team Rating: 317
Big, strong and heavily armoured, Orc teams’ preferred tactic is to mangle the opposing players until they litter the pitch and can no longer contest the ball – scoring points is a secondary concern.
Under the dismal, dingy lights of the Doom Dome, the Orcs play with a powerful home-field advantage, and they are all too happy to use their loud, belligerent crowds to intimidate their opponents. This is also true on the road, as the team travels with a veritable Waaagh! of fans wherever they play. The Gouged Eye has risen steadily from its years as a laughing stock, and are now chief contenders for the top spot. Under the auspices of tribal overlord Gobsuck Skullcrush XII and the extremely sadistic training methods of Severlimb, the Gouged Eye have thrived, and the cycle of violence dolled out in training can be seen in every play the team makes – it’s a rare match against the Gouged Eye that doesn’t end with numerous casualties. Even when measured against consistent league winners like the Reavers, the Gouged Eye are not to be underestimated – they are steamrolling their way to a championship and wont be stopped.
“We are Orcs and dat’s no lie
We’ll make yoo screem an’ make yoo cry
We’ll pull yore hair an’ pinch yore thigh
An’ if dat don’t work, we’ll gouge your eye!
Gissa G, gissa O, gissa W, gissa J… (etc)”
Team Colours: Yellow (home); Black, green and gold (away)
Owner: The city of Skavenblight
Head Coach: Vytik the Many Headed
Home Stadium: Uncertain - Negotiations Ongoing
Team Honours: Blood Bowl Winners 2477 (XVII), 2478 (XVIII), 2493 (XXXII); Chaos Cup Winners 2493; Orcidas Team of the Year 2478, 2493
Hall of Fame: Tarsh Surehands, Breeet Braingulper, Rasta Tailspike
Spike! Magazine Rating: 146 – it plummeted after the tunnelling disaster!
Skaven teams are very fast and very sneaky. If you can catch one of them, a superhuman feat to be sure, they struggle to take a hit. Known for being the most prolific cheaters in the game, some of their players are proficient assassins.
Rising from the foulest sewers of the land, the Skavenblight Scramblers are the world’s premier Skaven team, consistently beating out their nearest rivals, the Warphunters. Three times winners of the Blood Bowl, the team possesses a vicious mixture of the natural speed of the Skaven and the brutal raw power of its Rat Ogres. It can only be a matter of time before the Scramblers reach the top again. Skaven teams have never been short of fans – they seem to crawl out of the very walls sometimes – and the Scramblers have such numerous and ravenous fans that their games often need temporary ad-hoc seating arrangements to accommodate them, and they almost never leave a stadium un-damaged after they go.
“There was a team from Skavenblight,
They didn’t like to stand and fight,
They dodged around the other team
Then stabbed ’em up and made ’em scream!”
Team Colours: Blue and Gold
Owner: Thorn Durinsgold III
Head Coach: Gudrun Wolfric
Team Honours: Blood Bowl Winners 2462 (II), 2484 (XXIV); Orcidas Team of the Year 2484
Hall of Fame: Durgul ‘the Killer’ Hilliman, Coach Farakhan Karrag, Varak Varaksson
Spike! Magazine Rating: 289 points
The Giants are an old team with a very long and distinguished history. They were one of Roze-El’s original Blood Bowl sects, and they have been present for every major development in the game’s history. In more recent times, thanks to the motivation of team owner and patron King Durinsgold, they have consolidated their talents and re- launched themselves into the fullymodernised, up-to-the-minute, high-tech Blood Bowl game of today. In more modern times, the Giants have consolidated their skills with typical Dwarf patience. Under the tuition of youthful new coach Wolfric, and the inspired (and some would say quite crazy) captaincy of Grimwold Grimbreath (‘the Helmsmasher’!), the team are regularly setting new records for fatalities and touchdowns alike.
Team Colours: Black and purple
Owner / Head Coach: Boz Blacklung
Players: Goblins, Trolls
Team Honours: None
Hall or Fame: Figgit Spleenpuncher, Norgit No-nose, Dug ‘Elbows’ Snitchit
Spike! Magazine Team Rating: 47 points
The Lowdown Rats are one of the least successful famous teams, with an astounding loss streak of 247 games. Their playbook is legendary – every play is some variant on ‘hit the other team until they fall over, then hit them some more’.
‘Famous’ is a word that implies a level of prestige, and as such it’s not normally associated with Goblin teams. However, the Lowdown Rats definitely have a certain… erm… notoriety.
They approach Blood Bowl in the same way that a pack of mangy wolves might approach a tasty-looking thundertusk – with sneakiness, ferocity and relentless optimism. Their fans are a loyal bunch, who have stuck with the team through thick and thin, and live in endless hope that one day they might win a game.
Height: 7 ft 2 in
Weight: 325 lbs
Position: Anywhere he likes
Career Totals: 5 rushing touchdowns, 266 kills/serious injuries inflicted
Awards: 33 Most Valuable Player Awards. McMurty’s Spamburgers Footballer of the Year 2482, 2484, 2485. Anti-violence Watchdog Committee Worst Tackle of the Year 2484, 2487. Blood Bowl Winners Medal 2479, 2485, 2487. Blood Bowl Players Medal 2483
Spike! Magazine Star Player Rating: 374
Under an ancient charter, each year the Reikland Reavers are beholden to take on a young orphan as an apprentice. This practice has often paid off, as most of the young foundlings have grown up to be real tough cookies who’d bite an Orc’s leg off as soon as tackle him. However, when in 2468 a hulking great, useless, whimpering lump known only as Zug arrived as that year’s selection, the Reavers suspected they’d been sold a dummy. He was huge, overweight and unfit, ugly, brutish and apparently very stupid. As a result, he was also very unhappy and made life a living hell for the rest of the apprentices with his uncooperative behaviour.
After several months of nonsense from the mountainous lump, head coach Helmut Zwimmer could stand the disruption no longer and decided to take Zug in hand. Zwimmer has never been known for his gentle approach to coaching, and gradually he managed to penetrate the clouds surrounding his pupil’s brain. A new, happier Zug began training with the rest of the team, and everyone soon realised just what an achievement their head coach had made, for the new Zug was a revelation. His immense bulk was offset by a very skilful co-ordination; this guy had size and strength, and he knew what to do with them! Zug played his first game for the Reavers’ first team in the autumn of 2476, and succeeded in making his presence felt by severely injuring eight Middenheim players in the first half. Over the years, he has become a firm favourite with the fans, for he can be a most exhilarating player to watch. Sure, he doesn’t do all the fancy stuff – he rarely breaks out of a walk, for example, but he’s an expert at incapacitating an opponent with a simple backhand swipe of one of his great paws. One interesting result of this technique is that he has the largest collection of Orc teeth in the world.
Height: 5 ft 2 in
Weight: 188 lbs
Position: Blitzer; team captain
Career Totals: Rushing 1,042 paces, passing 402 paces, 51 touchdowns, 299 fatalities
Awards: Orcworld Magazine Orc of the Year, AFC Player of the Year 2485, Chaos Cup Winners Medal 2477, 2482, 2483, Blood Bowl Players Medal 2478
Spike! Magazine Star Player Rating: 417
Major Blood Bowl stars come in all shapes and sizes. Some fans idolise players because they are handsome, or strong or very charismatic. Others, though, actually notice and appreciate good tactical playing, and a majority are great fans of long-serving Gouged Eye captain, Varag Ghoul-Chewer. Varag’s unusually tactical brain (for an Orc!) and his violent playing style has ensured him a good-sized crowd of rabid fans.
Varag was originally a foreman at the Wolfleg lead mines in eastern Drakwald, but was captured by slavers from the rival Gouged Eye tribe in 2471. The following year he was spotted by the coach of their Blood Bowl team, the celebrated Gort Sever-limb, while he was putting one of his captors on the critical list. Quickly recognizing the potential playing advantages of having a player who could make a few rudimentary decisions, Coach Sever-limb took a tremendous chance and put the inexperienced Varag at the head of his 2474 Eye team (most of the 2473 Eye team had been massacred by ‘Axeface’ Mangelsson of the Vynheim Valkyries the year before).
Ghoul-Chewer was an instant hit, and despite a few complications involving some over-drastic punishments for player insubordination, has remained at the head of the increasingly-successful Gouged Eye team. His finest hour so far was leading his team of young braves to a second Chaos Cup win a few years ago. Now, he has set his sights on moulding a team worthy of winning the Blood Bowl Championship too!
Height: 6 ft 4 in
Weight: 168 lbs
Position: Blitzer; team captain
Career Totals: 65 catching touchdowns, 96 rushing touchdowns, 69 kills/serious injuries inflicted, 4 interceptions
Awards: 9 Most Valuable Player Awards, Bloodweiser Best Newcomer Medal 2484. AFC Player of the Year 2487. Blood Bowl Winners Medal 2485, 2487, 2491.
Spike! Magazine Star Player Rating: 463 points
It isn’t often that head coach of the Reikland Reavers, Harry Zwimmer, has a nice word to say about any other human being, but it is recorded that when he first saw the young Griff Oberwald play, he actually declared, “Zat boy is almost above average!” Such immense praise from the tight-lipped coach was only the first in a great many compliments paid to the young superstar from Streissen, who has since been called, “Griff the godlike!” (Spike! magazine), “Phew! What a scorer!” (Middenheim Mirror) and “The greatest single gift to our profession since Morg ‘N’ Thorg first bit a Goblin’s head off in the Chaos Cup!” (Undertaker’s Gazette).
The young Oberwald came to the attention of Reavers fans in his first game for the team at the end of 2483, in which his ferocious tackle play garnered him three ears, a nose and a two-match suspension. Undaunted by this minor set-back, Griff gained a permanent place in the Reavers first team, where he battled his way through the lines alongside his halfcousin and team captain Orlak Sturmdrang. A quite remarkable second season for the Reavers earned him a precious Best Newcomer medal, and culminated in his scoring the winning touchdown against the Darkside Cowboys in the full-scale rout that was Blood Bowl XXV.
Oberwald’s qualities are those of the classic Blood Bowl hero. He’s tall, superfit and strong, with a grace and co-ordination that can leave most other players standing. Instantly recognisable across a murky Blood Bowl field by the splattering of gore across his kit, Oberwald cuts a very dashing figure and it’s no surprise the girls go wild when he has the ball in his capable hands. Oberwald became team captain at the start of the ’87 season and immediately made his mark on the team, driving them harder than ever with startling results. Reikland finished the year as Blood Bowl champions yet again, and Oberwald was voted AFC Player of the Year. Since then Griff has gone from strength to strength, and is now one of the most respected (and feared!) Blood Bowl players in the world.
Height: 7 ft 11 in
Weight: 390 lbs
Position: Blocker; team captain
Career Totals: 42 passing touchdowns. 43 rushing touchdowns, 512 kills/serious injuries inflicted
Awards: 46 Most Valuable Player Awards. Services to Organ Transplants Medal 2479, 2491. Anti-violence Watchdog Committee Worst Tackle of the Year 2479, 2480, 2485, 2486, 2491. NFC Player of the Year 2485. Chaos Cup Winners Medal 2471, 2487
Spike! Magazine Star Player Rating: 685
For all their bizarre magic and weird rites, the Chaos All-Stars are very popular with the Blood Bowl-watching public. This popularity is due, at least in part, to the success of their hulk-like Ogre Blocker, Morg ‘N’ Thorg. Morg, or ‘The Ballista’ as tongue-tied commentators have nicknamed him, is a huge, lumbering juggernaut of a player. With his half-shaven head and grim, tusky visage, he looks very frightening, but off the field he’s as gentle as a lamb and a great hit with children. As a result of his award-winning series of road safety adverts, accidents have been cut by more than a quarter, and he’s sold more soft toilet paper than anyone in history!
On the Blood Bowl field, though, Morg is the accident; at least, he always leaves the objects of his tackles looking like they’ve been in a road smash! His play tactics are effective in their simplicity – either he bludgeons his way through the opposition and scores, trampling everyone in his way; or he gives the ball to one of his Goblin team-mates and throws them into the end zone to score!
Club historians still aren’t quite sure where Morg came from; legend has always had it that he simply walked into a practice session one day and signed himself up. Wherever he came from, he was a natural Chaos All-Stars player, being both calculating and cruel, and blessed with a brutal-looking exterior. He’s always been very shy of revealing details of his personal history to sports reporters, and has been known to demonstrate his shyness to the more irritating of them. Incidentally, Morg is the only player in the history of the game to be elected to the Hall of Fame before he has retired from the game.
Height: 5 ft 2 in
Weight: 162 lbs
Position: Troll Slayer
Career Totals: 3 rushing touchdowns, 102 kills/serious injuries
Awards: Spike! Magazine’s Anger Management Award 2392, Most Brutal Outburst 2436, Lauriel Elflock’s Fabulous Follicles Award 2469 (refused to accept)
Spike! Magazine Star Player Rating: 318
The Slayer Cult is a strange but well-documented aspect of life for a Dwarf, seen as the only option for those who have committed a shameful act. Shedding their worldly possessions and symbolically greasing their hair with pig fat, these contrite Dwarfs seek only a pure death in combat against the most terrifying foes imaginable. Traditionally, they had sought their fate on the battlefield, but all of that changed when Grim Ironjaw joined the Black Mountain Blades. In retrospect, it’s difficult to believe that it took as long as it did for a Slayer to take to the Blood Bowl pitch. Where better to seek a glorious death than in an arena surrounded by baying fans, where a team of hulking brutes are doing their very best to break your bones? The Blades were a particularly well-suited team, one of the few non-Orc teams in the Thunder Valley League, and Ironjaw regularly came face to face with snarling Trolls and fearsome Black Orcs.
As news spread of his prowess, ever more Slayers began to seek out the game, resulting in the current state of play where most Dwarf teams boast one or two of these doom-crazed maniacs. Following a successful first season, Ironjaw spent several years moving from team to team, always striving to move up in the league rankings. After all, as he saw it, the most glorious death to be found on the pitch must surely be at the Blood Bowl itself, facing off against one of the NAF’s most accomplished teams. In the years since, he has yet to compete in the fabled tournament, but with each passing season, his chances are greater and his legend grows ever more impressive. Who knows – maybe this is his year!