How to beat Dwarfs

Dwarf teams have a bad reputation with certain coaches, usually because people suggest that games with them are boring. I personally don’t agree with that and I find matches against Dwarfs an strategical cat and mouse game. Like all teams the key to beating Dwarfs is to work against their weakness and obviously for a Dwarf team that would be how slow they are.

There are two main way to take advantage of the Dwarfs slow speed, the first is to try and prevent them caging up and the second more typical game plan is to create a screen to slow their advance down the pitch. Dwarf teams will look to cage up the ball and use their great blocking ability and high armour to try and whittle the number of players down that you have on the pitch. For most teams if you try and mix it up with them you are just going to play into their hands. The key is to try and avoid contact and just create a wall of players they can’t easily get through, or because they are slow, get around.

Key Skills

If you haven’t already then take a read of the cage breaking article. Dwarf teams being slow and not particularly agile aren’t going to be running around throwing the ball, unless you face an unconventional build. If you have some fast and agile players and manage to get a deep kick (either from a favourable scatter, or good use of the Kick skill), then you may be able to get some of your players between their Runners and the rest of the team positioned to create a cage. If you can prevent a cage forming and then get good hits on their ball carrier then give this a go. A turnover score will be terrible for the Dwarfs, they now have to score but have less turns to do it in. This tactic will also usually take advantage of all your players while you still have them. Be warned though, if you don’t think you can pull this off then I wouldn’t attempt it (usually slower teams) as you can end up with players the wrong side of the ball and can’t stop the Dwarven advance. The addition of the Kick Off Return skill also makes it more likely they can get the ball into a cage successfully.


So the alternative is to form up in front of their team to stop the advance, you need columns of two players across the pitch. They can blitz the first one, but don’t have the speed or agility to get past the second. It is important you don’t stay in base contact either as that will usually allow them to create a hole they can start to press through.

Having Block and Wrestle are a great aid as Block will negate the Dwarf advantage of being a Block heavy team, while Wrestle can pull their players down. Their slow players having to spend three movement to stand up will really hinder them. Most Dwarf teams will also tend to have quite a lot of Guard, another reason to try and avoid getting in a scrum. Having some Guard yourself can help make their blocks harder and may give you some more opportunities to try and push them back.

You also need to be careful near the sidelines as they will use their Troll Slayers to remove your players by pushing them off the pitch. This is where Stand Firm or Side Step will come in useful. Both skills also help away from the sidelines too as you can stay in their way, preventing them from choosing where to push you. Lastly Fend can help if you do end up in contact, they won’t be able to follow up after blocks. Also it may eliminate the need to dodge your player away, or leave them in a position to get a two dice block to push the Dwarfs back.

Shorten their Drives

Time wasting on your offence is also something you should be aware of. A short drive is something Dwarfs aren’t designed for and can often struggle with. It makes it more likely they will turnover and you can perhaps get a takeaway score. If you can get a decent amount of your players through the Dwarfs, rather than just run the ball in you may be able to keep the ball safe for a turn or two. This can also happen if the Dwarf team makes the mistake of not leaving anyone deep, if you’ve a very fast player there is a possibility you can stand a square next to the end zone and all the Dwarf players are too far away to reach you. Again be warned that you are better to score than to risk losing it. If they get the ball off you they have two drives to try and win the game either 1-0 or 2-0.

While not that common you need to be careful against some of the Secret Weapon players a Dwarf team can field. If they line up with a Deathroller or Chainsaw player and you have the ball, then scoring quickly can get them sent off. If you are defending then a Deathroller can be avoided using the standard tactics, don’t lose your head just cause he has a a big ST7 player. Against a Chainsaw player you want to try and blitz them as the chainsaw may well let you break their armour instead of having it tearing through your players.


Depending on your priorities on the match there are going to be some useful inducements to take. An extra Apothecary and Bloodweiser Babes can help counter the Dwarf grind plan and hopefully prevent you starting a drive down too many players. The other great option is a Wizard. A fireball can make a great mess of a Dwarven cage. Or if they do try and make a break for it towards the end of a drive, then a lightening bolt can get the ball carrier which may enable you to blitz through to grab the ball. Don’t just use the Wizard early though, you may end up wasting it and the threat of a fireball may play on the mind of the Dwarf coach. It can cause them to spread out a bit more and a positioning mistake or a turnover can give you a shot at hitting the ball carrier.


If you win the coin toss I would always elect to kick against a Dwarf team (read the Kick or Receive article). You are far more likely to succeed defending with a full team of eleven players and the most likely time you will have this is at the start of the match. If your containing game plan works well and you prevent them scoring, then some time wasting before you score yourself should mean you leave the pitch with the win! Just don’t get sucked into having to try and get the ball carrier as this can leave you in a scrum playing into the hands of the Dwarf team.

If you’ve any an extra tips or advice on beating Dwarf teams then please comment below.

15 thoughts on “How to beat Dwarfs”

  1. Great article.
    I’d like to echo the importance of taking Wrestle. Nothing messes up a dwarf team’s plans more then having their guard players taken to the ground. The slow recovery allows most teams to get up and in better position before the dwarf can recover.

    • If they have got round your defence and are stalling by the end zone, you just have to blitz the cage and try and flood as many players as you can around it.

      If you can mark the ball carrier with a Stand Firm or Side Step player even better. This can also work on a cage corner and then if they remain standing the next turn you should be able to block a path free to the ball carrier.

    • Another good point, getting the numerical advantage really does help. Dwarfs are some of the hardest players to remove from the pitch (Block, high armour, Thick Skull) so targeting the lower AV8 players if you have a choice of available targets will help.

      Also look for any crowd push opportunities yourself.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hi !
    Great article.

    you don’t speack about the grab skill.

    Grab will allow you to breack the cage step by step, as you can block a corner with 2 dices and pull the dwarf in the middle of your teamates.
    More chances to stunt or injure the dwarf, and depending on your own team, more chances to succeed while fouling him, or just to scatter the dwarf team slowly but surely, no ?

    • A good cage is never going to have any of the five players in base contact with any of yours. Even with Grab and pulling one of the corners out with a blitz action it it going to be much different than just blitzing them without Grab. You are right that you could possibly get extra blocks and a chance to knock them over (and even more if you have more players with Grab). I just don’t think it really achieves much and Grab isn’t really that common a skill for most teams.

      I’m not sure I’d want to scatter the Dwarfs out that much, sure they generally prefer to be bunched up but this can also make it easier to contain their team from going anywhere and they can all get in each others way if there isn’t much space. They are too slow to run around a team but scattering their players out gives them somewhere to try and get a foothold in another area to aim at moving the cage to. It also means you need to defend a larger area of the pitch which you need a lot of players in the right place to do. This means a thinner spread of players and an easier chance for the Dwarf team to find a weak spot to try and make a hole. I’m not sure I would be fouling that much either, you need a lot of assists to break armour and you really don’t want to get players sent off.

      If I’ve misunderstood a situation you are trying to describe (which is easily done with text) feel free to create a thread on the forum using some pictures to demonstrate. Always good to discuss different strategies and maybe you will teach me something new!

  3. well, not confortable with graphics, so i’ll try to explain in details.
    I assume you’re not playing an elf team or something, but a team which can stay in contact (so you may have grab with some of your players, it make sense).

    I hope i’m not wrong in the whole line, but what I mean is just this :
    – the dwarf team have 5 teamate at least for his cage. It only leave 6 players for him to manage a hole or to stuck you.
    – you can use 6 of your linemen to stuck his own 6 “free” player, use the 7th to help your blitzer, and blitz a corner of his cage with the 8th player with grab.

    – You then have 3 players free, and depending of the situation they can :
    1- if you think that your “stucking guys” are weak, make sure that none of his 6 “free” player will complete the cage by a blitz –> create a wall between them and the cage.
    Ideally, one of this player will block the dwarf again if he is not on the ground. That will push him away from the cage another time.

    2- if you think that at least 50% of your “stucking guys” will manage to stay alive for the coming turn, then use your 3 remaining players to stuck the other corner of the cage.
    Ideally, one of this player will block the dwarf again if he is not on the ground. That will push him away from the cage another time.

    A “graphic” (D are dwarves and C gets the ball, X are your players, G the grab player)
    I’m not reprensenting the 6 “free” dwarves nor yours, too many possibilities.

    D D
    D DX


    XD DX
    XD X

    At this point, if you don’t roll skull/skull or skull/powskull, you have this situation :
    – 6 dwarf with one of yor player stucking them. Sure they can try to dodge, but it is dwarf…. so they will block you, and if they don’t stunt or injurie your players, the same players will be stucked next turn. One can blitz you in order to help his cage, and that’s why the wall is important.
    – 1 dwarf that have been blitzed. If it’s not a blodger, you have some good chances that he will be on the ground, one of your player near him;
    – the ball carrier and 3 dwarf firming an inciomplete cage.
    – 4 of your own player, creating a wall between the cage and the 6 other dwarves, or stucking the cage.

    So at this point, if the dwarf doesn’t injurie many of your player, he will have to work hard to create a real cage again.
    If you don’t have grab, the blitz will just push the dwarf IN the cage, or really near it.

    • It’s hard to follow what you are saying, though it looks like you are trying to swarm the cage, which is a valid tactic if you have a strong bashy team. I don’t see why Grab is of any significance though.

      You can just blitz the corner of a cage without needing Grab and push them next to your team mates for more hits. You just have to blitz from a specific direction depending on which square you want to push the corner to. There is only one square you can’t push them to this way and that would be the direct diagonal away from the ball carrier. You wouldn’t want to push them to there anyway though as that will still leave the path to mark the ball carrier blocked if you don’t knock them over.

      There may be situations where because of where the Dwarfs are positioned you can’t blitz at the angle you need which Grab will help but I don’t think it is needed. For a bashing team Block, Guard, Stand Firm and Side Step are all more useful and skills most teams are likely to have at their disposal.

      I’m not saying you are wrong, I just don’t see Grab as a skill you need for beating Dwarfs and it isn’t one many coaches are typically going to have a lot of the time either. Those are the reasons I didn’t mention it, though if it works for you then don’t let me stop you!

      • The grab skill only works on blocks, not blitzes. So as long as the dwarf coach doesn’t leave any cage corner in contact with your players, I can’t see grab having a huge benefit against dwarves in particular.

  4. Be careful when kicking against dwarfs, they may have a death roller and keep the ball 8 turns to injure the maximum of you players.
    If you receive first, you will force them not to use the Death roller in first half, or have the opportunity to score early and kick him out.

  5. I have also found it necessary to receive first when playing against dwarfs with a deathroller, especially as more vulnerable teams such as Skaven/Underworld, otherwise they just hold up the game while the deathroller crushes me for the whole first half, leaving me crippled. At least by threatening a fast TD they have to choose between having their deathroller’s time on pitch curtailed, or pulling it out later in the game, giving me more chance to play freely before it appears.

    I guess I just get terribly frustrated by the indestructible deathroller cherry on an already bashy dwarven cake.

  6. I do find that grab is useful against dwarfs but only if you can force there cage to engage you. By blocking there forward path in my case with tombguardian and wrestle skeletons backed up by my blitz ra’s n throw ra formed in columns you can halt there advance and force them to use non caging players to find a gap, these guys are likely to be left in tackle zones. Grab enables me to position those guys so I can chain push the ball carrier out of the center of his protective cage even if its unengaged. Obviously this is helped more by Juggernaut and Frenzy but once clear the ball carrier can then be trapped.

    The other Huge benefit of grab against dwarfs is on your offensive you can use it to break up the Dwarf team, isolating them from there guard bearing team mates. This will break the dwarf line very effectively and due to poor Ma and low Ag once isolated and contained like this is becomes very difficult for them to reform a defense.


  7. How to win Dwarfs that have 500k inducements?
    They buy Deathroller, 2xBribes, extra Troll Slayer and re-roll.

    Bribes keep Deathroller on the field so he will kill most of the team. With Deathroller you can’t stop the cage. So you will need to score as fast as you can so you can get lucky to get the Deathroller out of field.

    I play Skaven and there is no way to stall the game against Dwrafs as they kill the team when you stall and you have no players left for next drive.

    • You can cut players / rerolls etc from your team, then they won’t get as much inducement money.

      You can also still stall for a few turns if you get in a position to stall. If they knock other players on your team over, then just don’t stand them up and they may also lose players to fouling. Dwarfs are slow, you don’t have to stall out the whole half, even two turns can make things much harder for them.

      If you want more specific advice, you need to make a thread on the forum and post both team rosters. For them to be getting so much in inducements there must be a big difference in skills etc so I’d still fancy my chances as the Skaven team.


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