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.