by Ben Singleton (www.blood-bowl.com)
Here commences a definitive guide to everyone’s favorite short, fat people in Blood Bowl (no, not bloody Halflings!). Dwarfs have been playing Blood Bowl since it was invented and teams such as the Giants and the Ironbreakers are legend. Dwarfs seem to be ideal Blood Bowl players being tough, well armored and having that stubborn knack of refusing to die! Most successful Dwarf teams work on the principle that if they can take out all the opposing team’s potential scorers and wear down the rest, there won’t be anyone left to stop them from scoring the winning touchdowns!
Choosing your team
This is the team that has served me well in leagues championships and:
1. It’s flexible
2. It uses all the models that come in the box
2 Runners – 160,000
2 Troll Slayers – 180,000
2 Blitzers – 160,000
6 Longbeards – 420,000
1 Reroll – 40,000
4 Fan Factor – 40,000
Total – 1,000,000
Dwarf Team Tactics
On the offense, Dwarfs are at their best. The Runners should field the ball and run forward. The other players should then form a pocket around the ball carrier led by the Troll Slayers, possibly with a Blitzer ‘going it alone’ up a wing to keep the option of a pass open or to take the opposition from behind. You should then be able to smash your way through the defense hopefully taking large chunks out of the opposing team.
This play should work well against fast, wussy teams (i.e. Humans, Skaven, Elves, Halflings and Gobbos), but against the tougher teams (Chaos Dwarfs, Orcs, Undead, Chaos, Norse and other Dwarfs) you may need to adjust it a bit, but on the whole your greater resilience should see you through despite their greater strength.
Note: If you think it’s worth it, you can put off scoring for a few turns so that your opponent doesn’t have enough time to score. WARNING: THIS IS BEARDY!!
It is easier to defend against harder teams; deploy quite close to the front line and give as good as you get, leave your Runners back to intercept anything that gets through the rest of your team or to take out any Gobbos thrown over your defenses. With a bit of thought you should at least be able to hold up the opposition. If you think you need to, you could bring up your runners to support the rest of the team or perhaps to get a hand to the ball.
Defending against a fast team is harder. I favor the 3, 4, 4 pattern described by Andy Chambers in his article Dugout of Doom in WD 183. This prevents any serious holes appearing in your line. I recommend having three Longbeards on the skull, a Longbeard on each wing one square from the side, the Blitzers are deployed one square behind. Each Troll Slayer is then placed one square behind the front-line next to the wide zones. The Runners are one square behind them. This should be effective in stopping that fast scum.
Dwarf Players and useful Skills to have
New Dwarf teams have advantages over other starting teams as they all come with a set of useful skills. I mean, can any other race claim that their Linemen come with 3 Skills?!!
All Dwarfs come with the handy Thick Skull Physical Ability. This gives all the team a 50% protection from being knocked out! Combined with high armor values this makes Dwarfs very hard to get off the pitch.
I will now go through the merry, sociable bunch of psychos that make up your team.
Note: If you are fortunate enough to roll a double, in most cases, go for Agility Skills because this is the only skill table other than Physical Abilities that you cannot choose from regularly.
Runners do as their names suggest; they run! These are the guys who can pick up the ball with some sort of surety of success, having from the start the useful Sure Hands skill. Runners will benefit from skills that keep them in one piece on the run up to the opposition’s end zone, skills such as Block. Other skills that are good for them are Leader, Pro and Tackle. Try to get one of your Runners Guard and the other Dodge. That way the Runner with Guard can support the other with Dodge. Any Stat increases are welcome but Move increases may seem a bit excessive.
ONLY PASS IF IT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! If you want to pass the ball a lot play with an Elf team!
Note: A lot of people on the Net consider making a Runner into a thrower is essential. I disagree. ‘Pass’ is a useful skill, but I think that Runners are better used carrying the ball forward.
These are the basic guys, the Linemen. At a glance their Stat lines are not particularly inspiring (especially their Movement! – Ed), but they make up for this by coming with the very useful Block and Tackle, a very nice skill combo for dealing with those pesky catchers and other annoying, dodging opponents. Longbeards will benefit form Lineman skills like Guard, Dirty Player and Mighty Blow. On rolls of a double, I recommend Diving Tackle or Dodge. All stat increases are welcome especially Movement and Agility increases as these allow the player to keep up with the action and handle the ball with some chance of succeeding. Try and get one Longbeard with Kick because this will make life defending so much easier.
These are the guys who intercept ball carriers and run forward as escorts because they have good Armor, Movement and Agility (for Dwarfs, that is, I mean let’s not get carried away now!) so they can handle the ball and Dodge fairly well. It is the Blitzers who pick up the ball if the Runners get clobbered, so Sure Hands could be useful. Like Longbeards they benefit form skills like Tackle, Guard, Mighty Blow, Dodge and Diving Tackle. As they are faster than Longbeards thy can get into better positions to use skills like Strip Ball and Pass Block. Any Stat increases you are fortunate enough to roll are useful, particularly Strength increments.
These are the ‘ardest members on your team and they should lead from the front smashing their way through anything that’s stupid enough to get in their way!
They come with the skills Dauntless and Frenzy, which, during the early stages of a championship, makes them unstoppable! Their only problem with Frenzy is that you have to follow up and hit your opponent again which can work against you.
Skills that these fellas benefit from are Stand Firm, Pass Block, Tackle, Strip Ball and Guard (sigh), on doubles Diving Tackle combines with Pass Block to create a nasty ‘catcher-killer’. Mighty Blow turns these guys into blocking daemons. Any stat increases are welcome; particularly Agility increases as these allow the player to handle the ball with some chance of hanging on to it!
The Dwarf team only has access to two Star Players in Death Zone but this is more than made up for by the vast number of stars that are in the Journal and on the Net. I will go through a few of them.
Now he is a really useful guy is Mr. Ironjaw, he s ST4 and comes with Mighty Blow (ouch!). Otherwise he is just like a normal Troll Slayer but has an Agility of 3 so he can dodge (a bit). He is useful throughout the championship.
With 4/7/1/10 as its stats and not having to make Dodge rolls, the Deathroller literally churns up the pitch, its only weakness being that if its knocked over its instantly destroyed for the game! All is not lost; however, as it will be repaired in time form the next match. Deathrollers are very effective early on in a championship but get less and less so towards the end, when people get players with Dauntless and skills like that. I recommend using it to multiple block several opponents or to Foul.
(Rules published in the Blood Bowl Compendium) The Cannon is very useful for scoring quickly, the only problem being the amount of luck required to score!
(Chainsaw wielding loony)
A Longbeard, but when his Chainsaw is started, go on a Fouling spree! The only problem is starting the chainsaw, having only an Agility of 2 means that this is difficult.
Useful if you want to try a throwing game. Helpful if the player you shoot the ball to has Diving Catch, otherwise ignore.
Well, that’s it from me in my Stronghold of Lewes. I know for a fact that a lot of people disagree with me on certain points, as any tactics article is often a matter of personal preference. So, why not tell me what you think or just email me anything to do with Games Workshop.
Originally published in Citadel Journal #30