Dwarf Blocker Overview:
As Linemen go Dwarfs have some of the most expensive ones in the game though they are called Blockers and not Linemen. You may also hear people referring to them as Longbeards, mainly due to the fact they have long beards! Their high cost is reflected in their performance on the pitch and they are very good at their job. All the usual grunt work that is done by a Lineman for their team, the Dwarf Blocker is proficient at all such tasks. With high armour they are hard to remove from the pitch when they get knocked down, a trait improved even more by all Dwarfs having Thick Skull.
It is also harder to knock over a Dwarf Blocker compared to most other Linemen players as they come with Block to start with. So being harder to knock over and hard to remove from the pitch when you do means it is hard to outnumber a Dwarf team. Starting with Block also gives them another advantage in that they are better at hitting the opposing players as well. You can risk a one die block with a Dwarf Blocker with the same odds of failure as an Elf has for dodging. The other starting skill for a Dwarf Blocker also compliments their blocking ability by negating Dodge on opposing players. It can also force an opposing coach to elect not to dodge players away if they have used a reroll already that turn, aiding the Dwarf Blocker in tying up opposing players.
The last great benefit of a Dwarf Blocker is their normal access to strength skills. With this they can get all the great skills to help with their blocking game on normal rolls. This makes them both easier to get and also helps keep their Team Value lower than if they needed doubles like most other Lineman in the game.
It isn’t all good for them though, as mentioned already they are fairly expensive as the most numerous default player for a team. Their benefits offset this though and with lots of core starting skills on the team along with cheap rerolls this isn’t really a big problem for Dwarf teams. The fact that they are hard to hurt as well means they tend to last a long time and so the team doesn’t spend a lot of money replacing players. The other quite obvious downside is their low movement. Dwarfs by nature are slow and if you position badly or make mistakes, most other teams will be able to outmanoeuvre them and you will have trouble keeping up. The last semi issue is that for a bashing team they are only ST3, but they are only Lineman so that is to be expected. This can cause problems against stronger teams but there are ways around that which I will go into below.
Blocking Dwarf Blocker:
- Normal: Guard, Mighty Blow, Stand Firm, Dauntless/Pro/Piling On/Kick/Dirty Player
- Doubles: Dodge/Side Step
- Stat Increase: +ST +MV
First skill on most Dwarf Blockers should be Guard, while there is temptation to take something else unless it is +ST, I would recommend taking Guard first. As Dwarfs start with the edge in the blocking game against most teams starting with Block and Tackle, you need Guard to keep that edge. Guard also lets you compete better against the stronger teams. Early in development players stronger than you don’t have Block, once they get it though, if you don’t have enough Guard then with your low agility and movement you are going to get stuck against them. It can be tempting to take Mighty Blow first as their development tends to only come from MVPs and casualties. The trouble with this is that if other teams get Guard or facing stronger players you won’t be able to do two dice blocks. If you can’t do those then you will burn through rerolls doing one dice blocks and the amount of players you knock over decreases as well. Less knock downs will mean less chances to hurt players even if you do have Mighty Blow to make it easier. Guard first, then Mighty Blow, unless the team is already really developed with lots of Guard on team mates already. Then Mighty Blow will help rookie Blockers get up to speed easier. That being said a Dwarf Blocker with just Guard is a very good player to have.
So after those two starting skills there are a few ways to go, but as this is the standard build I’d get Stand Firm on a few players before branching out. Stand Firm will stop weaker teams from pushing you away, so you can hit them back next turn, or force them to dodge away which may be riskier. It also means your Guard stays where you want them, move into the right place and a Guard player who can’t be pushed away is a nightmare to deal with. It is also good for the wide zones as well, making it less likely that players can push you out the way to make a path to run through. It also protects against getting crowd pushed against many teams, though beware of blitzes from Juggernaut players.
After that or instead of Stand Firm if you have a few already you can diversify a bit. Pro will let you attempt to reroll blocks that are only a push back (I’d recommend to use a certain team reroll for double skulls if possible). It may also help with catching bouncing balls if you wanted, or in a pinch pick up rolls, dodges or go for its. A couple more Dauntless players to go with your Troll Slayers would probably be helpful as well, if you are in a league with lots of stronger teams then get it before some Stand Firm. You can also consider a couple of players with Piling On as well to make them really dangerous to the opponents. One thing to bear in mind with it though is that it puts you prone, making Guard useless and you are also very slow so may end up out of position and somewhere useless for protecting or advancing the ball. On a developed team Kick can come in handy, though you aren’t very fast or agile to take as much advantage of it as other teams but there will be times you can. Also kicking deep against a team you left 2 or 3 turns for them to score can sometimes make the difference. Lastly a Dirty Player wouldn’t hurt, due to their lack of speed and reliance on Guard though it isn’t usually wise to get a player sent off, but if you can get a bribe or a dangerous player off then it comes in useful.
With so many useful skills to take on normal rolls there aren’t many choices I would take on a double and often choose to skip it. For the first advance on a young team I’d ignore it and take Guard, it will be far more useful while the team develops. The main skill I would get is Dodge though, not cause you want to be dodging a lot but it makes them even harder to knock over. Block+Dodge+Guard+Stand Firm will get opponents cursing you. There is an argument for taking Side Step as well, in Tackle heavy leagues Dodge might not be a great choice, though most of the time I’d rather get Dodge and then get Stand Firm on a future increase. Stat increases are fairly easy, +ST is a must take when ever you roll it, +AG is often a waste of team value, though an extra AG3 player can be useful in a more developed team, I would mostly ignore it and hope to get +AG on one of your AG3 players instead. While +AV is useful, I feel Dwarfs are tough enough already and +MV is going to be more useful as low movement is the team’s biggest disadvantage.