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Dark Elf Runners

Blood Bowl Dark Elf Runner
Dark Elf Runner Overview:

Dark Elf Runners are somewhat different than the more traditional Thrower builds of other teams. Typically most Thrower types will be the same speed as their side’s Lineman. The Dark Elf Runner though is faster and they also come with Dump Off rather than Pass and/or Sure Hands. This leads to them being used in a somewhat different way than you may be used to using. There is also a temptation to be overly reckless with them as well.

Dark Elves are better at running the ball using screens and even cages, than passing like the other Elf teams. Dump Off is the key here as should the other team get to hit your Runner you can try a pass to a nearby team mate. This works well for Elves compared to other players as their higher agility means the tackle zone of the attacker is less of an issue and there will be more targets for you to pass the ball too who are likely to catch it. These combine to forcing the other team to have to look at covering all those nearby targets. This can spread the play and defence out making it easier for you to move the ball off to another area of the pitch and screen them off again.

Dump Off doesn’t mean you should just leave your Runner open to being hit though. They start with no defensive skills and also don’t have Dodge if they get bogged down. Coupled with their lower AV7 they can also get hurt if they get knocked down. Dump Off also isn’t a guarantee to keep hold of the ball and you will be a bit miffed if you fumble the pass and then they just rolled a push back on the hit. So you should still make sure to keep the ball carrier safe from an easy hit like any other player holding the ball. Should you need to make a break for it and can’t cover him then you can use other players nearby to have an outlet to keeping hold of the ball.

There are though three ways I see of developing a Runner, one is to maximise the effectiveness of Dump Off by taking Nerves of Steel. Build both this way and keep them close and you really should never be losing the ball, even more so if you get Pass and Catch on them too. The second option is to build one like above and just pass to any team mate instead, then build the second for a more traditional Thrower build as you are still an Elf team and can score fairly easily in two turns if needed and have a reliable long passer.

The problems with those two builds is that they aren’t going to have defensive skills to stay on their feet. So the last option is to go that way and they effectively become built a bit like your Blitzers though with lower armour. Then you can decide whether to risk a Dump Off if they get hit depending on the skills of the player hitting them. If they don’t have Wrestle and Tackle then you may just decide to keep the ball and take the hit than risking dropping the ball by passing. Also some teams like Nurgle can really make passing the ball hard. Dump Off should allow you to stall out fairly effectively for a standard 2-1 game plan so you don’t need the long passing quick scoring options. Though as Elves if you keep a reroll back you should still be able to manage two turn scores if you need them.

Dump Off Specialist Runner:
  • Normal: Nerves of Steel, Pass, Catch/Dodge/Block, Sure Hands/Side Step
  • Doubles: Strong Arm/Guard
  • Stat Increase: +ST +AG +MV

Obviously Nerves of Steel is the first option here to give the best chances of Dump Off working and if you are going all out for that then Pass is next. If you are going for two in tandem then you can do with Catch as well. This also helps with using them to mark receivers and will intercept passes 55% of the time. Of course if you are using Dump Off this way they are going to be hit and probably won’t last too long. Replacements should skill up fairly quickly though if you don’t mind the player turnover. So before Catch you may look at getting Dodge and Block to keep them upright and also mobile. Sure Hands could be handy, though you will just Dump Off if hit so don’t need to worry about Strip Ball. Also I tend to pick the ball up with whoever could do with a completion SPP and pass it to the Runner (again Catch helps here). Side Step is a useful later skill.

This player doesn’t really need to make use of doubles, it will make them more expensive and slow down getting a more useful skill for their role. A case can be made for Guard as always, though they are low armoured and may not have any protection skills when you roll doubles. Strong Arm could be worth considering as well if you want to be doing longer passes. +ST is great as it will require more players to get in for a hit on them meaning you are more likely to have a team mate free for a Dump Off target. +AG is really nice for both running through tackle zones and for longer passes (doesn’t help with dump off though). +MV is preferable on ball carriers than +AV though it wouldn’t be terrible to take the armour on someone who may be taking a lot of hits.

More on Page 2…

26 Responses to Dark Elf Runners

  1. Dalryk November 23, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    what about taking Wrestle instead of Block on the Faux Blitzer Runner?  On the assumption that you’ll dump off rather than take the hit when carrying the ball, staying on your feet isn’t so important and it takes the opponent’s blitzer out of the play at the same time.    Then on defence you’ve got a(nother) Wrestle option for going after the opponent’s ball carrier.

  2. Coach November 23, 2009 at 2:35 am #

    That is a great idea and I wish I’d thought of it! Obviously for ball carriers Block is the preferred option. The one downside would be that they could be targeted by Juggernaut equipped killer builds but I don’t think you can live life worrying about that. I may even write that up into a specific build.

    Thanks for the idea.

  3. altf4 November 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    If “Nerves of Steel” remains on the top of the needs when dealing with “Dump-Off”, I would advise “Safe Throw” to be chosen just after.
    Getting rid of adversaries’ TZ negative modifiers is a necessity but giving the ball to the opponent is worse than losing it. “Pass” therefore takes precedence upon “Accurate”, as “Dump-Off” deals with “Quick Passes” (with AG4 and NoS, it ends up with a 2+ in almost all situations).

    • Coach November 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

      Most of the time when you use Dump Off there isn’t really going to be a chance to intercept (if you position your players well). I’d rather skip safe throw (though in LRB6 the holding onto it if you fumble on non natural 1s is handy) to get a skill that is useful in more situations. Not to mention if you do manage to keep hold of the ball when rolling a 2 cause of safe throw, you are still going to get knocked over and lose the ball anyway, even more so if they have Strip Ball.

  4. Deesaster November 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    Wrestle on runners helps also against blitzers with a lot of MA, that go after the guy you dumped off to after the initial block. If you manage to get jump up into your build as well and both runners will always be able to stay close to each other, duo-runners are nasty to deal with.

  5. DiddleySquat January 18, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I prefer a mixed approach to building your Runner.
    Pass as a first skill, for 3 reasons: it boosts Dump Off; passing play increases your scoring potential; passing play helps spread the SPP around more evenly.
    Dodge second, for 2 reasons: increased mobility, as your Runner will probably be the player who will try the most to pick up loose balls; protection against non-tackle blocks.
    Skill 3, 4 and 5 I’d opt for Block/Wrestle, Accurate and Sure Hands (in no particular order): Block/Wrestle for the obvious protection. Both skill have their advantages and disadvantages, so pick the one that suits you best – I’d go for Block on this build. Accurate improves both normal passing and Dump Off. Sure Hands for that extra boost when trying to pick up a loose ball in TZ’s (not that much against Strip Ball as with Pass and Accurate already, Dumping Off often gives you a better chance at keeping possession, more so against a Tackle/Wrestle blitz).

  6. VoidSeer January 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    To each his own. I take sure hands first. I do pick up the ball a lot more than getting hit.

  7. Danzeru April 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    The Leader skill is not mentioned at any point during this guide. I understand it is a Passing skill and therefore these are the only DE players with access to it. Which build can this skill be worked into? I thought it wouldn’t be bad on a long passing Runner? As he could stay out of the way of trouble and therefore conserve his RR.

    • Coach April 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

      I very briefly mentioned it in the Summary on page 2. I’ve had a successful team without taking Leader at all. It does have uses and I did sometimes wish for an extra reroll.

      If you do take it, it does mean you are forgoing an alternative skill, either to increase passing or to help protect one of the lower armoured players on your team. I don’t really select Leader very often for most teams though, perhaps someone else who has taken it can give their input on the subject.

  8. Snotty June 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I find leader skill is can be good in two ways. Firstly if you have player who tends to stay back  in defence, he often wont get near the ball (unless something has gone wrong), so  this way he is helping out the front line, with their passes and blocks.
    2nd, is if one of your reserves as leader. When one of your ace players has got injured, you need all the help you can get
    the skill would be best with lineman you can afford to have less contact and not runners, who need thier ball handling skills.

  9. Doover July 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Going to play a new DE Team soon so I put some thoughts into them.
    After all I was thinking about 2 Runner with NoS and Pro.

    Sure Pro is only a 4+ Reroll but you can use it for Passing, Catching, Picking up the Ball and Dodging away when you don´t have Dodge or a Tackle is next to you later.
    The first view would be to give one Pass and Catch to the other one but with Pro they can switch the role in the next turn if needed together with the other bonuses.

    • Coach July 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

      I had great success with only having one Runner who didn’t take any passing skills at all. I would still prefer Pass or Catch to Pro though. I’m not a big believer in using Dump Off or letting my ball carrier get hit either for that matter. Try asking on the forum to see how people who went a perhaps more traditional route got on. Good Luck.

  10. otzenpunk September 8, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

    I’m a little bit confused, why you suggest Strong Arm on a “Dump Off Specialist Runner” for a double. As far as I understand, Strong Arm and Accurate do nearly the same, except Accurate being better, because it works on quick passes, too. Is there any reason, why you’d want to boost your TV with an inferiour skill?

  11. Coach September 9, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Just a poor choice of name for the build. If you are going that route they are going to be taking specialist throwing skills. So if going that way might as well go the whole hog and take Strong Arm as well so they can also provide a long passing threat as well.

    Strong Arm doesn’t help at all for Dump-Off though so sorry for that confusion.

  12. Galantrin December 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Hey, coach.
    Great article. One question about +AG and Dump Off though. You say that +Ag don’t help your Dump Off passes, but I don’t see what you mean. A quick pass is usually 2+, but with at least one opponent in your tackle zone you will never get better than a 3+ roll. As I see it, 5 AG will make sure you get a 2+ Dump Off pass as long as you only have one opponent adjacent. (?)

  13. howabe December 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    As the build has Nerves of Steel as the first skill, modifiers won’t affect any passes 😉

  14. Mico Selva April 11, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Coach, what would You consider a priority for the faux blitzer build on a 5-5 roll, +MV or Guard?

  15. Coach April 11, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Hi Mico,

    As you’ve not said otherwise I will assume it is the first skill, thought I don’t think it really makes a big difference as far as I am concerned. As nice as having a MV8 player would be, for my money I’m taking Guard. The only time I perhaps wouldn’t is if the team is already fairly well developed and had a fair amount of players of Guard.

    You will need to be careful with them though as they are one of your lower armoured players, I’d look to try and get then Block and Dodge as soon after as possible. Though they could make do with one of those as you shouldn’t neglect to try and get skills on your other players as well.

    At the end of the day though a Dark Elf team can be formidable opponents without a single double or stat increase on the entire team. Extra movement is easier to compensate for by positioning a lot of the time, the advantages of Guard though are hard to replicate.

  16. xama May 17, 2011 at 3:48 am #

    hey guys!
    Congratz for this great web,good job!

    Dark Elves Runners are not very popular, most of the teams prefer maxing on blitzers right from the start or having witches,RR’s, apothecary,etc,,

    I like Runneres a lot, they’r cheap , fast & versatile.
    Runners cost 10K more than a line and get +1Mv,can be throwers since they can get Pass skills, and they also make good catchers.

    A few days ago the Dark Elf Runner “J.Pelosombra”, nº7 of the “Silent Nighthawks” died failing a rerolled Gfi, the medic tried to heal, but death was redundant….He was the leading scorer of the team
    Pelosombra ; Mv8 St3 Ag4 Av7 , Dump off,Dodge,Surefeet,Sprint.(+1Mv)

  17. Ryan August 8, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    Dump Off Specialist Runner: remove strong arm as a double. If you wanted to take strong arm you could take accurate and save 10k. And accurate isn’t even on the list

  18. Joe March 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I messed up on my runners and gave one stand firm and kick. Now I am having trouble getting them to score to take a second skill.

  19. Voltorocks April 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    One of the most important roles these guys play that you don’t seem to mention is ballhawk. As one of few players in the game with MA 7 and GAP skill access, Dark Elf runners with Nerves of Steel and dodge are surpassed only by pro-elf catchers in their ability to make their way into traffic, recover a heavily marked ball, and either dodge away or lob it out (maybe with pass?). With dump off, you could even just stand there in their cage and wait for them to hit you, if you had to.

    I think this is an oft overlooked aspect of defense; so much energy is spent getting the ball loose, but if often takes a good ‘hawk to turn that into a score, rather than just a stall. Throw in an AG boost and/or leap, and no loose ball is safe, or round out with block and sidestep to make them impossible to knock down.

    • CariadocThorne November 28, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

      This “retriever” role is actually the reason I play High Elves, not Dark Elves.

      The High Elf catcher starts with Pass and Safethrow. Add Dodge and Sure Hands, and he is already very good at retreiving the ball, then running or throwing it clear. Add Nerves of Steel or Accurate and he becomes great. He’s almost good at running the ball clear as the Dark Elf Runner, missing just a point of MA.

      By contrast, while the Runner is very slightly better at running clear, he is a lot worse at throwing clear, needing 2 extra skills just to be as good.

  20. Sven November 8, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    As far as understand corectly you mean to say that nos will be used to pick up the ball but, it only works on throw catch and intercepts.

    • Ben November 18, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

      I think he means using NOS in order to throw the ball out, not for the pick-up.

  21. Arlo November 9, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    An interesting benefit to taking wrestle is that if an opposing player blitzes the runner and intercepts the dump-off, or catches a bouncing fumble, and is then wrestled down during the hit, the opponent suffers a turnover. I have been eagerly waiting to see if it implements in the computer game, but from my understanding of the rules, it should be the result. Not great to be letting your handler get hit, or to hope for the both down, but it would be gold to see the look on your opponent’s face when you force a turnover during their blitz.

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