Blood Bowl – Dark Elf Playbook


Welcome, blood bowl fans! In today’s video, we’re delving into the Dark Elf teams playbook. I’m currently working on a tournament team to play some practice games against a buddy, and he suggested I look at the Dark Elves. So I’ve scoured every source I could to put together this video which hopefully should help you as much as it helps me. Remember, I’m not an expert Bloodbowl coach, I just play one on TV. So if you think something I’ve said isn’t correct or if you have any extra tips on how to get more out of a Dark Elf team please do leave a comment.

So, let’s get started!

Let’s kick things off by introducing the Dark Elf roster. The first thing to note is that the Dark Elf team doesn’t have a catcher or thrower, instead we have a Runner which kind of acts as both. Players overall are pretty expensive with the cheapest being the lineman at 70k. We also have a lot of aggressive players, Blitzers, Witch Elves, and Assassins. Everyone has Agility 2+ so handling the ball and dodging away should be good but their passing skill isn’t great. Everyone is also fast, so getting into position should be good.

Linemen are the backbone of your team. That Agility is going to let them dodge away when you need to and if they do need to take a block, that armour should keep them safe. They are solid all round, however, they can be relatively expensive for a lineman.

Blitzers are the stars of the Dark Elf team, offering great movement, high agility, and good armour. They start with the Block skill, making them formidable on both offence and defence. The Dark Elf team is one of the few team with the luxury of having four Blitzers! Blitzers tend to be fast and hard hitting usually starting with block. While the name might suggest they’re great for Blitzing, they end up being pretty great all rounders, especially this Dark Elf with Agility 2+. The only other teams with 4 Blitzers are Orks and Humans, so this is the only Elf team with the option. Points are tight so it can be tricky to fit all 4 in, but they are worth it.

Witch Elves bring a unique element to the team. With great movement, high agility, and Dodge they are going to be able to get where you want them. They have Frenzy which is a bit of a double-edged blade that you need to handle carefully. If they have the support it will let them get a lot of work done, but without the support Frenzy could leave them stranded and making poor blocks. If they do go down though, Jump up lets them get up without spending 3 move and if they want to block they just need to succeed at a 2+ agility test.

Runners are the teams ball carriers, boasting great movement, high agility, and the Dump-Off skill. Their primary role is to navigate the field, evade opponents, and secure touchdowns. The Dump-off skill lets them perform a quick pass if they are nominated for a block which is a great way to keep the ball safe. Often you are going to use them to hold onto the ball until you hand off to one of the other players, all with 2+ agility to make the catch and great movement to score.


The last player we have are the Assassins who are sometimes considered a trap. At 85 points they are more expensive than a runner. You take them for the Stab skill which lets you skip straight to the armour roll instead of making a block. Often you’re just better off making a block in the first place. They are recommended mainly as inducements against low armour targets who would be hard to take down with a block due to the dodge and or block skill.

This is a pretty flexible team. Your players aren’t strong, but you do have lots of Block and Frenzy. They’re all fast but not crazy fast. You’ve got fantastic Agility but not great passing and no dedicated throwers or catchers. Among all the Elf teams, the Dark Elves perform the poorest in terms of playing a passing game. This edition significantly downplayed the emphasis on passing though, hitting the other Elf teams harder than the Dark Elves.

This is a precision team. The high agility means you can pretty reliably dodge out of tackle zones. This means you get to choose your engagements. Where other Elf teams are keen to just get out of combat, the Dark Elf who dodges out will often move to assist a block or blitz against lone targets.

When it comes to actually scoring, the team plays a pretty great running game, either having the Runner take it all the way or handing the ball off to another player to score. As everyone on the team is Agility 2+ with at least 6 move, any player is a potential scorer.

Now, let’s discuss some starting team compositions for the Dark Elves.

Out of the box, you can make a team with 5 Linemen, 2 Runners, 2 Witch Elves, 2 Blitzers, and 1 reroll. While this team might not be ideal, it’s a starting point. The Blitzers are the real stars of this team and having only 2 in the box is a real limitation.

With two boxes, you can go for the classic starting build: 6 Linemen, 1 Runner, 4 Blitzers, and 2 rerolls. This build focuses on high armour and offers survivability during early games. Then once you get some games under your belt you can start working on getting those Witch Elves into the roster.

In this case, almost everyone on the team is at 9 armour. It might seem like a small difference but moving from 8 to 9 armour changes the odds significantly. Rolling 8 or more on 2d6 has approximately a 42% chance, while rolling 9 or more drops to around 28%. There are a few other potential builds, but I definitely think this is the best one. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of players on this team there isn’t really a a lot of options.

As your Dark Elf team progresses, you get to develop their skills.

  • For Linemen, prioritise Dodge, Block, and Wrestle, with one player specialising in the Kick skill to reduce the risk of a touchback and direct the ball into the side of the pitch where you’re stronger.
  • Runners can benefit from skills like Leader for an additional reroll or Dodge to enhance their ball-carrying abilities.
  • Since Blitzers already start with Block, focus on giving them Dodge to create the deadly Blodge combo.
  • While Assassins aren’t recommended, Dodge can be a good option to help them get into favorable positions.
  • Witch Elves can be terrifying when they get Block in addition to Dodge. Giving one Wrestle is a great way to take down players with Block or Sure Hands. While having Block means you don’t go down to a Both Down, having Wrestle lets you take an opponent who does have block down on the same result. This works well with the Jump Up skill having the Witch Elf ready to go next turn. Using wrestle does not result in a turnover, both players don’t actually go down and instead players are placed prone without an injury roll.

When it comes to Star Players, the Dark Elves can select from any that will play for the Elven Kingdoms League or just any team. For the scope of this video, I’m going to focus on the Dark Elf players rather than looking at star players.


Now, let’s take a look at a tournament-ready Dark Elf team. For tournaments what typically happens is you get a slightly large budget to purchase players from and you get to assign some additional skills. In a way this simulates team development across a league. Depending on the teams Tier the amount of skills you can get and the number of star players you can take will change.

In this example we’re looking at a 1.15 million starting team. This lineup consists of 6 Linemen, 1 Runner, 3 Blitzers, 2 Witch Elves, and 3 rerolls. We’ve also taken an Apothecary to try keep our players on the field. That’s a total of 1.15 million on the button. I’d love to get a 4th Blitzer but the points don’t quite work out

Dark Elves are tier 1 so we can either get 6 primary skills, 4 primary skills and 1 secondary skill, or 3 primary skills and access to 1 star player. Going for those 6 skills will definitely give us the most bang for our buck. In this lineup, we recommend giving the Runner the Dodge skill, which will keep it a little safer and will help reduce the risk when dodging out of tackle zones. Depending on your preferred play style, you can also consider giving them the Leader skill when you’re looking for re-rolls elsewhere.

Moving on to the Blitzers, all three should receive the Dodge skill. This not only increases their survivability but it also helps them get where they need to. This will mean everyone but the linemen are AG 2+ with dodge which will give us a lot of flexibility on the pitch.
For the Witch Elves, I’ve gone with the Wrestle skill for one and the Block skill for the other. The Witch Elf with Block will be a formidable force on the pitch. The Wrestle skill is similar, but will be great for taking down targets with Block.


While you might be playing your game online in Cyanide games version of Bloodbowl, this game originally and still is a board game to be played with miniatures. There are a couple of different options you can take.

While the classic Games Workshop team is a great starting point, it has its limitations, specifically it only has 2 Blitzers. The box doesn’t include Assassins which are available through Forgeworld, but as discussed earlier that’s less of a concern. So we’re looking at getting 2 boxes, essentially just for 2 more blitzers, and we end up with a lot of repeats as there is only one pose for the positionals.

An alternative approach that appeared on Warhammer Community is to use Dark Eldar miniatures from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. You can use Drukhari Kabalites for the upper bodies of the Blitzers and the legs of Wyches for the lower bodies. Reverse this combination for the linemen. The Witch Elves and Runners can be straight-up Wyches, but consider using different heads to differentiate them.

To enhance your conversions, you might find it helpful to pick up some Blood Bowl-specific arms for your miniature conversions. This can add unique touches and improve the overall aesthetic.

Lastly, if you’re looking for third-party options, there are several 3D printed Dark Elf teams available. Personally, I have this Corvus Dark Elf Team from UGNI on order. The perk here is you get all the models you need all at once. These designs are also a lot more varied than the GW version where you’re essentially stuck with just one pose for each positional.

You do need to either print them yourself or get them printed though, which could make for quality issues. You also won’t be able to play them in any official GW events, but I think unless you’re living in Nottingham it should be fine for the vast majority of your games.

To consider how we play the team, let’s start with setup formations. So this is where we place each player before a drive starts. We’ll be looking at four formations recommended by the Bonehead Podcast channel, each suited for different scenarios. Remember, if you’re receiving the ball you’ll get the first turn, but if you’re kicking instead you need to prepare for the other coach to get their hits in first.

Against a bash-oriented team, the classic Anchor defence is a reliable choice. This formation focuses on protecting your players while leaving the flanks open. The linemen stand in the front line, relying on their high armour value to get back up. The primary target for your opponent to break through is the Blitzer, which can be a challenging task.

An alternative option if you have Witch Elves in your lineup, is to position them in L formations. If your opponent blitzes into one of your Blitzers on the side, they’ll have to disengage or risk setting up the Witch Elves for a double Frenzy two-die block.

Against finesse teams, like other elves, the Chevron defence can be highly effective. This formation creates multiple screens and forces opponents to make numerous dodge rolls. The central line is the most accessible, but opponents must first clear the linemen and then face the threat of the Blitzers and Witch Elves blitzing from the sides.


Now, let’s move on to offensive options. The first formation we’ll discuss is the 5-4-2. This setup features a strong front line consisting of 2 Blitzers and 3 linemen who can hold their ground and create space. The Runner and potentially some linemen at the back can sweep up and pick up the ball. On the wide zones, you’ll find the Blitzers and Witch Elves, ready to provide support. The initial Blitzer serves as a tough target, and if opponents venture further, the Witch Elves are waiting to frenzy them off the pitch.

An alternative offensive formation is the Heavy Flank. Here, the aim is to punch through on one side and create a strong cage along that flank. The witch elfs are quite dangerous here as they always threaten to push players into the crowd. One of the great things about the Dark Elf team is if your opponent shifts to heavily defend on this side, the Dark Elves have the Agility to disengage and the movement to take advantage of gaps made in the other side of the board.

Moving on to tactics, these are the smaller elements that complement your overall strategy and help you execute your game plan effectively.

Let’s start with screening, which although it may resemble a formation, is a fluid option. The goal here is to force dodges from your opponent, potentially leading to turnovers. The more layers your screen has, the harder it is for your opponent to break through. It’s important not to mark opponents, as that would give them free blocks. Instead, limit them to one Blitz and make them take multiple dodges to progress.

As the Dark Elves favour a running game in Blood Bowl, understanding their speed is crucial. The Runner, with a movement allowance of 7, can score a two-turn touchdown from the line of scrimmage. Keep this in mind as you position your players. Blitzers and Witch Elves, also with a movement allowance of 7, can achieve the same. While the Dark Elves aren’t known for their passing game, the Runner does have a pass skill of 3+. However, more often than not, you’ll be relying on hand-offs with a receiver catching on a 2+. This means you can reliably score a single-turn touchdown if needed, starting one square off the line of scrimmage.

Caging is another basic tactic you’ll frequently employ to protect your ball carrier as you advance down the field. The classic cage formation is depicted here, but variations may arise based on the situation. Note that while the X-shaped cage works well, a Cross formation does not. With the Cross formation an opposing player can blitz in without having to make a dodge roll to get there.

One crucial aspect to consider when playing Dark Elves is how to properly use the Frenzy skill effectively. Frenzy is not an optional skill, so it’s important to evaluate all blocks and not just the first one. Let’s take a look at an example. In this scenario, we have a lineman supporting from a position where it can also provide support for the frenzy block. This does mean we need to be very aware of players with Sidestep. As they can control where they get pushed back to, they can dictate the next block and lead our Witch Elf into a trap.

It’s worth noting that we’re aiming to frenzy the target player into the crowd. With two Witch Elves on the field, we can cover both sides, in effect narrowing the safe parts of the pitch for our opponent. The drawback with this of course is the Witch Elf ends up having to follow onto the square next to the sideline. If you blocked as part of a blitz action, don’t forget that you can move after a blitz if you have any movement left. This also makes the Sidestep skill a good option for a Witch Elf as it’ll keep the safe.


We already talked about making cages, but it’s also worth looking at breaking them. There aren’t really any clever tricks for the Dark Elves in relation to this. With agility of 2+ and the Dodge skill, dodging in beside the ball carrier might seem attractive but that dodge will have a -3 penalty, so it’ll be a 5+ with a re-roll. That’s about 44% chance of succeeding, doable but very risky. Bloodbowl is all about managing risk, so this is the sort of play you’d only really look at after you’ve played out the other options. You’re much better first taking out a corner and moving in after that.
We do have the Witch Elf with Frenzy which can help but do remember they will need to followup, so be aware of where that Witch Elf will end up if they need to followup after a second block.


As the Dark Elf players are Strength three, pretty much every block or blitz will need some support. Luckily we have the agility to get someone into position if needed. In this way, the bash game of the Dark Elves is about precision strikes. They will not win a straight up brawl in the middle of the pitch. So it’s important to consider whether or not to mark an opposing player. Marking can be a strategic move to disrupt your opponent’s plans, but it’s essential to choose your targets wisely. We can happily mark players with a strength of 2 like Goblins, Halflings, Skinks, Gutter Runners, and Catchers.

It’s worth noting that our linemen and blitzers have an armour value of 9, making them a bit tougher and more capable of withstanding blocks. Additionally, the blitzers possess the Block skill, making it harder for our opponents to successfully block them.
Our Witch Elves do have dodge which helps but they also have a lower armour value of 8+. That said, they are aggressive players and will end up marking after making a block. With their Jump-Up skill, even if they are knocked down, they’ll be ready to make a block on a 2+ Agility roll during the next turn.

Stepping away is usually our preferred tactic, it leveraging the agility of our Dark Elf players with their impressive 2+. However, this can give our opponents more options to dictate the play. Knowing when to mark and shut down those options is a key tactical decision. We already talked a little about how to break a cage. In this tactic we’re marking the corners of the cage for a very particular reason. A player that throws a block, isn’t moving, at least if they aren’t blitzing. So our opponent has to choose between throwing blocks or trying to dodge out to move the cage.

And that brings us to the end of this playbook. We have a better understanding of the players, we have some set formations, and we have some general tactics to consider during the game. Remember, it’s important to assess the situation, work out your options, and understand the risks involved. Thank you for joining us in this episode of “Blood Bowl – The Dark Elf Playbook.” We hope you found this video informative and valuable for honing your Dark Elf team’s strategies on the pitch.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share this video with other Blood Bowl fans. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d be thrilled to hear from you.

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