Narrowing the Tiers 2020
[NTBB2020 Rosters & Summary] [NT Rosters Explained]
[Have fun trying NTBB - join the play by email league NTBBL]

Welcome to the Narrow Tier Blood Bowl (NTBB) rosters and rules. These house rules are intended for coaches and leagues that - like myself - would like to narrow the gap between the best Blood Bowl teams and the worst. The ambition is not to make all teams equal, but to make all teams viable, hopefully diversifying your Blood Bowl experience.

A lot has happened since the 2015-edition of NTBB: Spike! Magazines were released causing changes to existing teams, and the BB2016 rules were released, fixing most of the problems that I myself tried to solve with the CRP+ rules pack. Of those 10 house rules, only 2 remain:

1. rewritten Sneaky Git (Agility) skill: The player is a sneaky silver tongued git. Whenever you roll for K.O. recovery, you may also roll a d6 for each sneaky git who is currently sent off. On a 4+ the penalty is revoked, and he may return to play (provided that he isnt KOd or injured).
Fixing weak skills, while commendable, is beyond the scope of these rules. The new rules added Argue the Call back in to improve fouling (and by extension Goblin teams, who employ secret weapons). To my mind, that didn't go quite far enough.

2. Right Stuff (Extraordinary):[Added to skill text]: Additionally, the player is not easily tackled. Any opponent blocking (or Blitzing) this player is not allowed to use Tackle skill to affect the resulting block dice.
The performance of slightly developed tier 3 teams is just appalling - not to mention the fact that against Dwarfs and Chaos Dwarfs things get really nasty. This rule helps Gobbo, Halfling and Ogre teams develop, and gives a lesser boost to Underworld (+ Orc teams adventurous enough to use skilled goblins).

The Rosters
Whether you use any of these 2 rules or not, the heart of the NTBB rules are the Narrow Tier roster tweaks. Blood Bowl was intentionally designed to have strong and weak teams, but while this is just perfect for some leagues, the Narrow Tier roster tweaks are for the coaches that would prefer a more level the playing field - mainly in short- and mid- term play (as well as  tournament play).

The performance disparity of the BB2016 rosters was inherited from the previous edition, in which certain "tier 3" teams (Gobbos, Halflings and Ogres) were meant to have a lifetime win percentage between 25-35%, tier 2 teams (Underworld and Vampires) were supposed to have 35-45%, tier 1.5 (Pact and Daemons of Khorne) 40-50%, while proper tier 1 teams (everyone else) were meant to have a win-percentage of 45-55%. 

With the NTBB roster tweaks I wanted to abandon the (IMO terrible) notion of "lifetime" balance - e.g. that a team starting super strong and ending super weak (or vice versa) is "balanced". I also wanted to improve the performance of tier 3, lift tier 2 to the cusp of tier 1, merge tier 1.5 into proper tier 1 - and slightly raise the bottom of tier 1. I also wanted to rein in the very top of tier 1. I used inferential statistics to figure out which teams needed a tweak (for further details read on here) and the result is changes to 11 of the 26 NAF legal rosters. I should note that all statistics aside it remains to be seen whether the suggested roster tweaks work as intended. This is definately not hard science.

When choosing the specific changes made to each roster, my rules were simple enough:
a) No overhauls: The changes are intended to be small, simple and significant.
b) All team changes must be unambiguous nerfs or buffs
- though player feedback has made an exception of the Wood Elf team.
c) No new miniatures required (or made obsolete) - your painted up team is still good.

So, in closing, my ambition is not equilibrium - I don't want every team to become 0-16 6338 linemen and I don't want BB to become chess'. My ambition is the exact opposite! I want more variety and more fun, by having more teams widely played - I want the joke teams to be funny on the pitch, and not just in the back of the rule book. And I want a wider field of contenders in tournaments and short leagues - rather than so many duplicates of the strongest starters.

The NTBB Rosters - [Click here to see the full rosters, rulebook-style]
Tier 1 - minor nerfs

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Wood Elf: Wardancer

0-2

110K

8

3

4

7

Dodge, Fend, Leap, Block

GA

PS

Wardancers trade Block for Fend. This most likely will push Strip Ball back a bit on the development curve, giving other teams some time to respond. Also, the price was reduced by 10K to reflect the severity of the nerf.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Undead: Mummy

0-2

120K

3

5

1

9

Regenerate, Grab, Mighty Blow

A

GAP

Mummies trade Mighty Blow for Grab - making the Undead team less potent against opponents with a shallow bench.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Amazon: Linewoman

0-16

60K

6

3

3

7

Dodge

G

APS

Linewomen takes a price hike to 60K, making the team less min-maxable, and in turn making Blitzers, Catchers and Throwers better value for money.

Tier 1 & 2 - minor boosts

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Chaos: Minotaur Lord

0-1

150K

5

5

2

8

Loner, Wild Animal, Frenzy, Horns, Leader, Mighty Blow, Thick Skull

SM

GAP

The Chaos team is a slow starter (and with the BB2016 nerf to Piling On, they don't get as good later on). Starting with a leader helps get them off the ground.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Daemons of Khorne: Bloodletter

0-4

70K

6

3

3

7

Horns, Juggernaut, Regeneration

GS

AP

The Daemons of Khorne team suffers from a massive redundancy on skills that can only be used on the Blitz action. The Bloodletter gets 10K off as a compensation.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

High Elf: Thrower

0-2

90K

6

3

4

8

Pass, Safe Throw, Accurate

GAP

S

The High Elf team struggles in early play and is by far the least popular of the elf teams. Their signature player gets Accurate for free, making them truly the best thrower in the game.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Slann: Blitzer

0-4

100K

7

3

3

8

Diving Tackle, Jump Up, Leap, Very Long Legs

GAS

P

Slann teams struggle early on, and the Blitzer is not a popular player. 10K off his price sweetens the deal.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Vampire: Thrall

0-16

40K

6

3

3

7

Thick Skull

G

APS

All human linemen are 6337 + something. Thus the hardiest thralls follow their masters unto the Blood Bowl pitch, making the team less likely to self-destruct.

Tier 3 - the biggest boosts

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Goblin :River Troll

0-2

110K

4

5

1

9

Loner, Always Hungry, Really Stupid, Foul Appearance, Mighty Blow, Regenerate, Thick Skull, TTM

S

GAP

The Trolls on the Goblin team are upgraded to disgusting and durable River Trolls - making it much harder to take them out.
Also:
The recommended rules for Right Stuff and Sneaky Git are bound to help Goblin teams in developed play.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Ogre: Snotling

0-16

20K

6

1

3

6

Dodge, Right Stuff, Side Step, Stunty, Titchy

A

GPS

The puny Snotlings become slightly less puny - but he is still the weakest and squishiest player in the game.
Also: The team gets a 10K discount on both Ogres and ReRolls - and
the recommended rule for Right Stuff will help too.

 

Player

Qty

Price

MA

ST

AG

AV

Skills

Talent

Doubles

Halfling: Hefty

0-2

50K

5

2

3

7

Dodge, Fend, Stunty

GAP

S

The Halfling Hefty gets the slightest buff: Access to Block
Also
: The recommended rule for Right Stuff is bound to help Halfling teams in developed play.