Long Passing Runner:
- Normal: Pass, Accurate, Sure Hands, Nerves of Steel, Block/Dodge
- Doubles: Strong Arm
- Stat Increase: +AG +ST +MV
The more traditional build for a Thrower taking Pass first as you can use it to reroll Dump Off as well as normal passes. Accurate up next as it negates the -1 for the opposing player when being hit and you Dump Off as well as range modifiers. Sure Hands can be handy for two turn scores and when facing Strip Ball to give an option to not Dump Off and take the hit (though you don’t have any defensive skills). Nerves of Steel combos well with two Runners and lets you mark up a player while you do a pass as passing ends your movement. After that I would probably look at taking Block or Dodge. Strong Arm is the only obvious doubles choice and while all the stats are useful an early +ST may benefit a different build and could even be skipped to save TV on a later increase.
Faux Blitzer Runner:
- Normals: Dodge, Block, Side Step, Nerves of Steel, Catch
- Doubles: Guard
- Stat Increase: +ST +AG +MV
This is my preferred build for the Runners, they can tend to hog the SPP as you may often forgo Dump Off as it is always a threat if he is holding the ball and you think you can survive the hit. Unless in tackle heavy environments go with Dodge first, they get tied up and tend to do a lot of Dodges. Early on less players have Block or Tackle so Dodge is also best for protection. Block next and they start to look more like the Blitzers and can be used like one as well. After that I look to take skills based on the rest of the team and the other races you are facing. For traditional options I’d go with Side Step next to stop them getting bogged down and stay near the sidelines where you Witch Elves can threaten crowd pushes. Nerves of Steel will help keep the ball in the hands of a Dark Elf and for intercepting and catching bouncing balls. Catch also helps with all those as well and provides another reroll for when you have to make quick scores.
Doubles I’d take Guard, more so it is easier for team mates to blitz opposing players away from them, as opposed to getting stuck in a ruck. +ST is great and +AG and +MV are also rather useful.
Dark Elf Runner Summary:
Dark Elf Runners have given the Dark Elves more separation in play styles from the other Elven teams which is a welcome changed to their roster. They can be fantastic players if you learn to utilise them correctly and as such their teams have the most flexible running game of any race now. Their one let down is their lower armour but they got more speed as compensation. You can have a successful team with only one runner if you prefer the extra armour of a Lineman along with the slight saving in TV.
One option I didn’t mention though was Leader, Elf teams tend to roll a lot of dice which can really burn through your rerolls. As keeping the ball in the hands of a Dump Off player causes more issues for the defence you may come to the last turn of a drive with the Runner still holding the ball and no rerolls. With no one on the team likely to have Catch you can find the Runners hog the SPP rather than risking dropping the ball by scoring with a team mate. So be wary of this and sometimes using Dump Off to get the ball into the hands of a team mate can be treated as a free pick up attempt. If you do fail it then you may have the option to use another player to pick up and score during your turn.
Also as an extension to the SPP hogging and fast development of Runners if going down a route as an extra Blitzer type, you may find taking skills like Tackle useful, especially if facing lots of Dodge heavy teams and you are light on Tackle. This flexibility shouldn’t be ignored and don’t just think they have to take Passing skills because they have access to them. They still do the ball carrying role well with Dodge and Block but aren’t just limited and one dimensional.