Dwarf Runner Overview:
Dwarf Runners are the fastest player available to a Dwarf team and along with the Blitzers are the most agile of their players as well. This means that they going to do pretty much all of the ball handling for the team, especially as they also start with Sure Hands making them more reliable for picking the ball up and keeping hold of it. Their high movement and better agility makes them the most flexible player for a Dwarf side and as such it can be tempting to build them for blitzing or safety duty. If you could hire four then I would advocate this, though with access to only two on a team and no real alternatives for ball handling I recommend that both get designed for that role in mind.
The weakness of a Dwarf Runner is that they have lower armour compared to most of their team mates. With them being the main ball carrying options on your team they are going to get targeted a lot and the lower armour doesn’t help. This means you have to keep their protection in mind to a certain degree, though when they have got the ball it shouldn’t be hard to keep them safe in a cage. The other drawback is that they only have access to general and passing skills. The trouble with this is that while you can build them into being a good passing player, you don’t have any good options of players to pass the ball too. The team is slow and mostly of low agility, so anyone you get in a catching position is going to be marked out easily. Ideally agility access would probably be more helpful for Dodge and Side Step, but that isn’t an option, or strength access for some skills to help if building into a safety. Rather than dwell on that though there are still plenty of good options for a Dwarf Runner to take as they advance. Your offence can be rather one dimensional, but it is a dimension that you can execute effectively.
While personally I prefer the traditional option of picking the ball up and sitting in a cage until you can run the ball in for the score, there has been more noise made from coaches who go down the Dump Off route and playing them in tandem. I’m yet to be convinced this is a more effective strategy but it will let you play your Dwarf side in a more unexpected way. The fact the player is a Dwarf Runner and not a Thrower is there for a reason in my opinion, even though they do have passing skill access!
Ball Carrying Dwarf Runner:
- Normal: Block, Fend / Kick Off Return, (Pass, Accurate) / (Tackle, Strip Ball) / Pro
- Doubles: Dodge / Side Step, Jump Up / Sure Feet
- Stat Increase: +ST +AG +MV
The standard build for a player carrying the ball who sits safely in a cage, they start with Sure Hands so you don’t need to take that, the next most useful skill is Block. It makes them harder to knock over and gives some protection against both losing the ball and getting injured. Couple of choices next, Fend is handy for limiting the number of dodges you may need to do and negates Frenzy. Kick Off Return is also great for getting the ball safely into a cage as soon as possible after receiving the kick off, becomes more useful if you are in a Kick heavy league. At this point there aren’t really many fantastic options that will really make them any better and you can diversify from here. Passing skills can be handy on one for those times you have to try and attempt to score in two turns, or for moving the ball around if you recover it on defence. Alternatively you can take skills which will help on defence making more use from their better movement and agility, taking Tackle and Strip Ball. Pro can also be useful in some spots as well if you don’t have a reroll in vital spots.
For doubles there are a quite a few handy options, Dodge for staying upright when hit and if you need to dodge away. It will probably be easily negated by other teams if you only have one Dodge player though. If you want to skip Dodge then Side Step is also very helpful, both negating chain blocks and lets you control his movement more. Later choices can be Jump Up to help prevent the other team slowing you down so much or Sure Feet for more reliable go for its. For stat increases +ST makes it much harder to hit them when sat in a Guard filled cage and easier to blitz away if you really need it. +AG for ball handling and dodging and +MV gives them greater range, though be careful not to outrun the support of your team mates.
Dump Off Dwarf Runner:
- Normal: Dump Off, Nerves of Steel, Pass, Accurate, Block, Fend / Pro
- Doubles: Dodge / Side Step / Catch
- Stat Increase: +ST +AG +MV
This is a nod to Dark Elf Runners in the manner of playing a looser style but keeping the two Runners close by to pass to the other one if the opposing team manage to get at him. I personally don’t rate it, elves can do it as their whole team can handle the ball well and have enough movement to be a threat. Dwarf sides don’t have that luxury and it is negated easier, though can be fun to play if you aren’t all about the win rate. So start off with Dump Off for the obvious use and Nerves of Steel next to make sure you can ignore the players hitting you and also keep the receiving Runner available. After that Pass will give greater success to the Dump Off, as will Accurate after that and both can be helpful if you need the fast score as mentioned above.
All this does mean though that you won’t have Block till late on, so you could take it after Nerves of Steel if you wanted the protection. This is a bit of a paradox though, why would you be taking skills to stay upright with the ball if you are planning on dumping if off. The other downside is that lack of protection on your lower armoured player, especially as they will be getting hit as often as possible. If you don’t have two of these guys this strategy does become harder as well, so missing one who is injured or KO can really hurt your team. Doubles point to Dodge, you need it for the protection and keeps your guys more mobile. Side Step on a future double or Catch to help with the Dump Off success or for taking a hand off. Stat increase as above for the same reasons too.
Dwarf Runner Summary:
Dwarf Runners in my opinion have a very straight forward skill progression, you need them to handle the ball well and keep hold of it purely because your alternatives are practically none. Thankfully this only takes a couple of skills and they will be doing most of your scoring so will advance fairly quickly compared to their team mates. After that it is probably a good idea to try and utilise their movement and agility to help on defence. Low movement is your biggest weak point for both offence and defence so helping to neutralise that can really make the difference.