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Each team represents one race (or closely linked group of races) based on those present in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, though Blood Bowl has a more extensive roster of races including a number that were only briefly, or never, supported in Warhammer.
The game box supplies the coaches with players enough to field Human and Orc teams, which are also the teams recommended to newcomers for ease of learning. Teams may also contain individuals who are not part of the group of players used on the pitch, e.g. cheerleaders.
Each race plays differently, thanks to the different skills and characteristics of the players on offer. For instance, Dwarves, Orcs, Chaos and Undead teams all tend towards a blocking-heavy style of play, grinding down the opposing team as far as possible. Elves, by contrast, tend to have high Agility and plentiful movement, passing and dodging skills, so are more suited to avoiding contact while scoring through running and passing plays. Some teams pose challenges for experienced coaches because of inbuilt imbalances. For instance the Lizardmen team has a mixture of fast-moving Skinks and slow, heavy Sauruses, the challenge for the player being to make good use of these two complementary player types; the Halfling team is mainly composed of Halflings, who on the face of things are entirely incompetent thanks to being both weak, slow and unskilled, but can nonetheless be played effectively
The different races progress at different rates, with some having peaks at certain experience levels.