Dwarf Deathroller Overview:
The Dwarf Deathroller is the strongest player in the game (along with Deeproot Strongbranch) and can cause real problems for the opposing team. They epitomise the Dwarf way of playing, slow, tough and full of hitting. A Deathroller won’t be adding much in terms of speed to your team, but they do provide you with a player who is stronger than ST3. Their really high strength makes it very hard for other teams to hit and even if they do get knocked over their high armour will rarely break. Mighty Blow causes damage to those they hit and Stand Firm is great for forcing players to dodge away and also holding space on the pitch you want to keep clear.
Unfortunately there are some drawbacks to having such a strong, high armoured, wheel of death on the team. The sheer size and flagrant abuse of the rules doesn’t escape the eye of the referee and they will get sent off at the end of the drive they start. This means you will want to either make good use of bribes if you can get them, or failing that field them in a drive that will last as long as possible. This will usually be the one where they Dwarfs are receiving, when they aim to use up the whole clock slowly moving the ball to the opponents end zone for the touchdown. Deathrollers also have Loner so you will want to be careful about what dice rolls you elect to do with them. Fortunately their high strength means that they get 3 dice on a one verses one block against a ST3 player. This will minimise the turnover potential and makes up somewhat for their lack of Block. If you blitz with them then Juggernaut will practically wipe out most turnovers in this situation.
Other tricks up the sleeve of a Deathroller is that their high strength and Break Tackle make is rather easy to dodge into multiple tackle zones. If you are attempting this then it is usually because you are trying to dodge into a cage. Don’t be surprised though if the opposing team tends to keep the ball away from them and hope their slow movement keeps them away! If you are fielding the Deathroller when you receive though, you should have the ball so this option perhaps won’t crop up too often. (For the record ST7 with Break Tackle dodging into three tackle zones is a 3+ roll.) Also Loner means you will probably only get one shot on the dodge roll, don’t be afraid to use break tackle to move into a better position though, into two tackle zones is a 2+ roll!
The last consideration is that they have Dirty Player, normally you wouldn’t want to be fouling away with a player that causes a lot of problems. As the Deathroller is going to get sent off anyway though, you can start using them to foul towards the end of your drive, not really caring if you get sent off. It can work out to be a very good trade if you remove an opposing player for the rest of the game!
Deathrollers aren’t going to usually skill up very fast and their job on the pitch is very one dimensional. Therefore developing them up is fairly straightforward in the skill they would take, it is personal preference which order you elect to take them in. Guard is always handy for Dwarf teams, you can never have enough and with ST7 and Stand Firm, they aren’t a player that is going to get knocked over or pushed away easily. Grab is great for keeping players they hit next to them, keeping as many opponents tied up as possible. As usual it can be used to create space and also set up crowd pushes for your Troll Slayers as well. Multiple Block is also perhaps worth considering (safer to take it if you manage to get Block first though) they can then block 2 ST3 players in the same turn without needing any assists and still get two dice in your favour.
Doubles, much like on Big Guys look like Block or Pro, Block obviously helps when hitting and will let you do more two dice hits rather than looking for only three dice all the time. Pro can be used to try and reroll blocks (therefore again helping with two dice ones, though Block is better), or you can use Pro to attempt more Break Tackle dodges that might be a bit risky. There is also the interesting choice of selecting Diving Tackle to really tie up opposing players, this would lead to a more passive role perhaps (though less risk of turnovers) and combines really well with Grab. Frenzy is also nice, six block dice on a ST3 player (assuming no assists either side) means you should be knocking an opponent over every turn you can hit one.
For stats I would pass up on +ST, it is a big increase in team value for a player that will get sent off a lot and the double roll is more useful. They are also already strong enough to not really get as much mileage out of the increase compared to pretty much any other player in the game. +AG is worthless, +AV you can’t take as you already have maximum armour. That just leaves +MV which can be handy for that extra movement around the pitch.
Dwarf Deathroller Summary:
The Deathroller is a player that has a lot of split opinion about if they are worth taking on your team. Starting the team with one will often leave you with less than 11 players on a drive in your early games, so it isn’t recommended then. For the same reasons you might want to wait until you have one substitute already so get one as the 13th player on the roster. They are expensive though and use up quite a bit of TV that you could otherwise have on either skills or inducements. The fact they only play for one drive and that can be a really short time if the other team manages to turn you over for a quick score. On the other hand they are great fun to use and you are happy enough to put up with the sacrifices then they can certainly make your games more entertaining!