Blood Bowl – Vampire Star Players Review

A few weeks back we gave our first thoughts on the new and completely reworked Vampire team.  Now it’s time to turn our attention to the other big Sylvanian arrivals in this release: the Star Players.  The Vampires brought us three new stars, one of whom is a bona fide Blood Bowl legend.  All three of these stars can only play for the Sylvanian Spotlight teams, so let’s jump in and see what they bring for both fans and foes of the Undead.


Captain Karina Von Riesz

Captain Karina Von Riesz – image courtesy of Games Workshop

Karina is the only completely new and original star of the three.  Her piratical name and design will evoke fond memories for those who enjoyed the Vampire Coast in Warhammer Total War.  And the Captain has a suitably piratical backstory, turning her band of seafaring raiders into the Sartosan Shipwrecks Blood Bowl team, before selling them off and embracing a life of freebooting.

As befits her ball-carrying pose, Karina is definitely a fast and agile player, with an impressive MA7 and AG2+.  She also packs Dodge and Jump Up, so she has great potential wherever she starts her turns.  Karina also comes with ST4, and like the rest of vamp kind, Hypnotic Gaze, Regeneration, and Bloodlust (2+).  The last of these traits has the potential to be the most impactful, because Karina’s special ability, Tasty Morsel, lets her bite an opposition player once per game after failing a Bloodlust roll.  The opponent must be ST3 or lower, and not a Star Player, but this is an absolutely wild ability that I actually didn’t think we would ever see in BB.  This has huge potential both for Karina’s versatility and also as a potential offensive ability; an automatic injury roll for an opposition player puts a number of pricy blodgers on notice.

At 230k, Karina looks like great value to me, and my intuition was that she might find a more impactful home in the non-Vampire teams, where her skillset will bring a totally unique and powerful option.  The main problem there will be that outside of her special ability, Karina has no Thralls to bite on non-vamp teams, so she runs a major risk of spending turns doing nothing.  On that basis, here’s a tournament build fitting Karina into a Vampire roster, where she can simply be an excellent ball-carrier and all-rounder.

The Dread Pirates – 1100TV

  • 1 x Karina Von Reisz
  • 2 x Vampire Throwers
  • 1 x Vampire Blitzer
  • 1 x Vampire Runner
  • 8 x Thralls
  • 2 x Team Re-Rolls

This is a balanced team with plenty of bodies and lots of reliable hypnotisers.  Taking Leader on one of the Throwers will help Re-Roll issues a lot.   Strip Ball on the Blitzer will give you a very powerful ball-hawk.


Ivan ‘The Animal’ Deathshroud

Ivan ‘The Animal’ Deathshroud – image courtesy of Games Workshop

The Animal returns to Blood Bowl after a brief hiatus.  He was originally added in the BB2016 release, and was largely a rework of an old Khemri Star, Setekh.  Neither of his earlier iterations ever had a GW model, so this is the first time seeing him in the ‘flesh’, and I think it’s fair to say he looks absolutely badass.  

Ivan is effectively a super-Wight, with lower agility, but ST4 to make up for it.  He is also absolutely loaded with skills, boasting Block, Disturbing Presence, Juggernaut, Strip Ball, and Tackle.  This is an incredible smorgasbord of some of the best take-down and disruption skills in the game, and makes him an extremely valuable blitzer for any team.  His special ability, Dwarfen Scourge, gives him a one use Mighty Blow, or Mighty Blow +2 vs Dwarves, which is very nice indeed.  At 190k he is very much cheaper than the sum of his parts, and he’s already started to crop up in Shambling Undead tournament builds.  Below is a sample of what is possible:

Ivan’s Terribles – 1150TV

  • 1 x Ivan ‘The Animal’ Deathshroud
  • 2 x Mummies
  • 2 x Wights
  • 2 x Ghouls
  • 6 x Zombies
  • 2 x Team Re-rolls

This team is a very nasty basher at tournament TV levels, and Ivan’s plethora of skills opens up more options for your Wights.  A good helping of Guard will make this a very nasty prospect.  You can also swap a Zombie for a Skeleton, and giving it Dirty Player can ramp up the pain even more.


Count Luthor Von Drakenborg

Count Luthor Von Drakenborg – image courtesy of Games Workshop

The Count has been a staple of supernatural sides since Blood Bowl in its current form arrived twenty years ago.  The Count’s new mini has had a very civilised upgrade, with eyeglasses and a nonchalant walk replacing the bared fangs and b-movie villain pose of the original.  He still has skull kneepads though, thank Nuffle.

With Morg refusing to play for any flavour of undead, Luthor has traditionally been one of their few heavyweight Stars, and his statline certainly maintains that tradition.  Boasting the terrifying combo of ST5 and AG2+, and backed up by Block and Sidestep, Luthor is an immense force on both sides of the ball.  The Count retains the Hypnotic Gaze and Regeneration traits of his fellow bloodsuckers, but does not suffer from Bloodlust, making him far more independent and reliable, and meaning he plays well with all of the Sylvanian Spotlight team.

Luthor’s special ability, Star Of The Show, gives a free Re-roll, once per game, for a drive after he scores a touchdown.  This is a nice bonus, and definitely useful, but not game-changing.

At 350k, the Count is certainly in the top cost tier of stars, but his stats are so extreme that he is very likely to see play in both league and tournament formats, and be the main man when he does.  One very interesting option is with Tomb Kings, who love his potential as an unstoppable ball-carrier:

Hand Me My Suncream – 1200TV

  • 1 x Count Luthor Von Drakenborg
  • 4 x Tomb Guardians
  • 2 x Blitzers
  • 5 x Skeletons
  • 1 x Team Re-Roll

Luthor’s heavyweight cost makes this one for the generous tourneys only; but puts an outrageous amount of strength on the pitch, with no negatraits to hold it back, and none of the Tomb Kings’ normal ball-handling issues to worry about.  Block, Mighty Blow, and Guard can be spread amongst the supporting cast here to ensure you retain total control of the field, and with the team light on Re-rolls, scoring with Luthor will give you a nice opportunity to benefit from his special ability.


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