The Norse team is made to hit, and it is the humble Norse lineman who is key to making those hits stick. For 50K, you get typical lineman stats, but only 7 armor and 6 movement. The linemen starts with Block, which is an amazing skill and makes the Norse lineman really stand out. It basically means that your linemen are significantly less likely to fall over when Blocking or being Blocked, but that is not the main reason that the Linemen are on the team. With multiple Frenzy players on the team, your Blitzers, Werewolves, and Snow Troll may not always be in the correct position to get the most out of those extra Blocks. That is where your Norse linemen play important positional roles, assisting with that second Frenzy block as well as the first. They are also important in steering blocked opponents out into the crowd.
If you hadn’t guessed already, Norse are a bashy team. They aren’t bashy in the same sense as Dwarves or Chaos… Norse are FRAGILE when taking hits. Norse teams need to knock opponents off the field early, however that can happen. As a Norse Coach, I’m just as happy knocking a piece into the crowd as I am to cause the casualty and get the SSP. Despite starting with it isn’t the linemen who’ll end up primarily being responsible for most of the execution. (Though you should feel confident enough to throw a couple of 1 dice blocks with them at the end of your turn.)
Norse linemen have easy access to the General skill tree. Only mutations are out as far as doubles go… my guess is that any player who expresses a mutation gets shipped off to a proper Chaos team. Though an extra arm would certainly help while rowing the ship, drinking, or fighting… the three things that Norse seem to do a lot of.
There are several skills where one is probably enough. The first in this category is Sure Hands. I’ve seen many Norse team with a Sure Hands Lineman running the offense. With a reroll to pick up the ball, this certainly helps save those team rerolls for other things (cough… Piling On…. cough, cough), but I won’t get into those things here.
If this is your first skill on any of your linemen, then it is worth considering Kick. Kick is a strong skill, giving you much better control over where to put the ball when your opponent gets first possession. With luck, it will give you an opportunity to get some nice hits in while your opponent literally scrambles to pick up the ball. It isn’t a big benefit to your gameplan, but a few extra turns of hitting before your opponent gets their offense going isn’t going to hurt!
Another skill that Norse can apply well is Dirty Player. It is all important to get as many of your opponent’s players off the field as quickly as possible, and a well-timed boot can certainly help. There is no guarantee that the player won’t get sent off, but now you have a 1-in-6 chance to get that player back at the next kick-off… better yet induce a couple of bribes. In general, you only want 1 dirty player per team, and you’ll also want someone waiting on the bench to come in when that player is invariably sent out.
A skill that is more useful in multiples is Wrestle. Wrestle plays right into the Norse playbook. An opponent on the ground has no tackle zones and can’t assist in blocks. Not only that, but you have the choice of when to use your own Block or Wrestle… great for taking out your opponent’s Blitzers and freeing up those important Frenzy pieces for safer first and second Blocks.
Being a Fragile 7 AV team, some coaches like Fend. Fend does allow you to mess with your opponent’s blocking schemes, but I just don’t find it as useful on a Norse team. With Lineman as cheap as they are, I’m not worried about their durability.
Typically, not a first skill but Tackle can serve you well in certain situations. If your league is infested with Goblins, Halflings, Elves, and Amazons then you may want some tackle players. Normally, you wouldn’t play your Tackle players up on the line… Dodges there tend not to be important ones. You want Tackle on your Safeties… deep within your own territory. However, Tackle goes better on Norse Catchers or Blitzers.
Looking at Doubles, there are several skills that can make a Norse Lineman quite the star.
Of course, if you roll doubles on a bashy team Guard should be one of your very first choices. Guard supports your gameplan with the Frenzy models, giving good assists in blocking. No doubt, this is probably your go-to skill on a double. You want it… you want as much of it as you can.
Once again, there are a few skills here that go well on the singletons up above. Dodge goes on a piece that has already picked up either a movement boost or the Sure Hands Skill. This will make him an excellent ball handler. Sneaky Git goes on your dedicated fouler.
Finally, let’s talk about Ability increases for the Norse Lineman.
You may be given the choice to increase either his Armor or his Movement. Being a 6 moving team, adding that one square of movement would be a very good thing. Armor increases are wasted on the Norse… going from 7 to 8 is a huge increase in durability, but it is also half the cost of a whole another player! Go with a movement boost or get Guard (Yes… you need Guard on all your linemen!)
With a piece that already had Guard, I might take the Agility boost instead of another double skill. Being able to reposition a player with Guard could be the difference in so many of the Frenzy hits. Worthwhile, but only on a ball handler or someone with Guard already.
Take Strength… always take Strength.
That is a little summary of my favorite 0-16, the Norse lineman.
This is Dolch wishing you Best Blitzes.