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Dwarf Strategy

Summary

Dwarves are very reliable and powerful at what they are good at: blocking and staying on the pitch. However, they are also extremely limited. If forced to play outside their comfort zone, Dwarves can be made to look very foolish. On the other hand, if they can force their opponent to play their game, Dwarves can appear unstoppable.

Strengths

All players start with Block (except Runners). All players (except Runners) have access to Strength skills (including the very powerful Guard and almost-as-powerful Mighty Blow). Most players have AV 9. All players have Thick Skull. Team re-rolls are cheap. Skills like Frenzy, Dauntless and Tackle which are useful for dealing with certain tricky opponents are available on the starting roster.

The net result of this is that Dwarves can two dice (and occasionally one die) block very reliably. They also don't need to worry too much about getting blocked themselves occasionally since high AV and Thick Skull tend to keep them on the pitch.

Weaknesses

Very slow. Dwarf offences are rarely quick affairs. If your opponent gets a 2-0 lead you've probably had it. In addition, Dwarves can often be easily stalled on if they've been drawn out of position.

Poor agility on all except four players. If these players (or just some of them) are eliminated, things look quite bad and options are considerably reduced. When the ball goes loose, often it just won't be accessible to one of these players (who are still relatively slow and unagile).

Only average base ST. Dwarves are only strong as a unit. They don't have individuals like Mummies, Big Guys or Black Orcs who can sometimes be dominant even without much support. Dwarves can find themselves outweighed in the long run by teams (Orcs, Chaos) who, like them, have lots of Strength skills but have high base ST too (and often higher AG and MA too).

Development

In general, you cannot have too much Guard. However, it is possible to have too little of some other skills (notably Mighty Blow) relative to Guard. The exact mix of Guard and Mighty Blow you go for will depend on the state of your team and its future plans. If in doubt, err on the side of Guard.

Also, with regard to Tackle, never think that just having it on the Longbeards is enough. It's also an important skill for Slayers as they are your hitters. It's also useful to have a fast player (ie, a Runner) with Tackle for those times when the target has run out of the reach of any Longbeards.

On fouling, it is worth Dwarves having one or two Dirty Players in case they have a bribe or get the ref. However, fouling is not the mainstay of a dwarven strategy: all your players are too expensive to foul with when there is a risk of being sent off. Generally you should only foul with the eye off you, and even then only targets who are really worth the attention. Longbeards and Runners can both be considered as DPs.

Longbeards: On normal rolls, Guard and Mighty Blow. They have no other especially strong normal skill choices (Pro and Piling On being the best of what's there). One can have Kick. One or two can have DP.

On doubles, Stand Firm (or Side Step) and Dodge. Dauntless is also a possibility if the Slayers aren't providing enough or you find their Frenzy causes too many problems. Diving Tackle can also be useful.

+ST is an automatic pick. +AG offers very little. +MA is not as good as Guard or Mighty Blow, but is better than any later normal choices.

Blitzers: On normal rolls, Guard, Mighty Blow and Tackle. Could also get Strip Ball or Sure Hands later.

On doubles, Stand Firm and Dodge.

All stats are good.

Runners: On normal rolls, Block and Tackle. On later rolls, Strip Ball could be taken. Some coaches prefer Runners to Longbeards as DPs thanks to their higher MA and AG.

On doubles: Dodge and Side Step. Dodge makes it really hard to get the ball off them, and Side Step helps you make sure it doesn't bounce anywhere helpful if the worst does happen. (Note that Runners don't need to bring even more Guard to the party.)

All stats are good.

Troll Slayers: On normal rolls, Mighty Blow, then Guard and Tackle. Why Mighty Blow ahead of Guard? Because of Frenzy, Troll Slayers are your designated hitters when you're blitzing for damage. MB helps them cause that damage while other dwarves will support them with Guard in the process.

A similar argument applies for Tackle. The best players to target with MB are AV 7 players. These often have Dodge. MB+Tackle+Frenzy is a powerful weapon against AV 7 Blodgers. One downside of Tackle is that, in the client, it makes crowdpushing more difficult. However, Dwarves do not have the movement or agility that allows teams like Norse or Dark Elves to set up unexpected crowdpushing opportunities in the first place. Few good opponents will let dwarves crowdpush often.

Thanks to Dauntless (and all their friends with Guard) Multiple Block can also be considered on Slayers.

On doubles, Stand Firm and Dodge.

Much like Longbeards, +ST is an automatic choice; +AG offers relatively little; and +MA is okay, but MB, Guard and Tackle are all generally better.

In-game tactics

Assuming you are tougher than your opponent, which should hopefully be the case for most opponents, the boring, probably unpopular, but obvious dwarf strategy goes like this.

During your offense, pick up the ball with your Runners and use them as ball carriers. Give them Block and Dodge if possible to make it very tough to get the ball from them. Box'em in with your other players and use the rest of the half to score moving slowly forwards, knocking your opponents into the dugout. Think twice before trying to pass, dodge, or other risky practices. Wait to score until your opponent doesn't have time to score for themselves. Give the rest of the players skills like Mighty Blow, Guard, Stand Firm and Dodge to make them hard hitting and tough to knock out.

On defense, if playing another slow team that won't try to run through you, just maul them as good as you can. If playing fast/agile team, position players with Tackle and Stand Firm carefully to require some dice rolling and maybe a re-roll to get through your lines. Position two hard hitters with decent move behind your lines in an attempt to injure any player getting through to score. If you manage to lay a hand on the ball, secure it first, and then think about offense. If you start off receiving, you shouldn't need to go on defense before the second half, and by then you should be in power play if your offense went good.

If played correctly, you should manage a 2-1 victory in most games, and you shouldn't need rerolls during your offense since you're not taking any chances. Note however, that players might not want to play you if your casualty rating gets too hairy.

In case you're out of luck, or facing a team equally hard hitting as your own you might find yourself in a position where you cannot just go head to head with your opponent. If this happens you're a bit out of luck as dwarves are not exactly known for their ball playing, though detecting the situation, playing extra cautious and taking a few more risks on the offense, you might manage to secure the game anyways. Consider planning ahead for this, to have a few skills on your team helpful in such a situation that might help you exploit whatever weakness the other team has.

(In-game tactics by: humbe)

See also Dwarf team lineups

Last update: July 25, 2008