Developing Chaos Dwarfs: Mid-Season Thoughts

I just finished up my 6th game of the season last Tuesday so I thought I’d record some thoughts on how my team is progressing. I played Chaos Dwarfs in season 1 but I painted up a new team and wanted to start them from scratch with their own history. You can click here to see my initial build; here is how the team has progressed in six regular season games and one farm game against the Cobrollers:

  • Minotaur
  • Bull Centaur (Block, Mighty Blow)
  • Bull Centaur (Block, Dodge)
  • Chaos Dwarf Blocker (Guard)
  • Chaos Dwarf Blocker (Stand Firm) x2
  • Chaos Dwarf Blocker x3 (no additional skills)
  • Hobgoblin (Niggling Injury)
  • Hobgoblin (-1 MA)
  • Hobgoblin

I’ve suffered two deaths of Hobgoblins, one of which had Sneaky Git. So far, the biggest boon to the team has been the Dodge on the Bull Centaur but that piece seems to be under a bit of a hex. Twice this season (once against Tyler and once against Christian) he has suffered a casualty to a 2-die (my choice) block while carrying the ball. Both times my opponent rolled Defender Down/Both Down. This evening that same Bull Centaur received a very undeserved MVP which game him enough SPPs to add Block so hopefully that won’t be a pattern that continues.

When I first played Chaos Dwarfs in season 1 my path for the Bull Centaurs was to give one Block, the other Sure Hands, and skill the Blocker up with casualties and the Sure Hands one up with TDs. I was fortunate enough to get a blodger that season, as well, which worked out really nice. I received the doubles roll after the game against the Cobrollers and I was tempted to try something a little more out there and give the Bull Centaur either Jump Up or Side Step but the blodger I had in season 1 was so productive I couldn’t resist the prospect of another Blodger. I was initially planning to give Sure Hands to the other Bull Centaur as his second skill but I decided to make him a killer instead with Mighty Blow. It’s come in handy and he’s been breaking a lot of armour so I’m glad with the choice I’ve made. Much of the conventional wisdom I’ve read put Block and Break Tackle as the automatic first two skills for Bull Centaurs but I have yet to put Break Tackle on one. Barring something extraordinary like a Strength or Agility boost, I think the next two skills will be Sure Hands on the blodger and Break Tackle on the killer. With Dodge I have, in the absence of Tackle, AG2 with Dodge still gets away 75% of the time if I dodge into an open square so I don’t feel like I’m risking too much when I dodge with the blodger but, that being said, it’s always scary when you need to dodge away to score with ball-in-hand!

In season 1 the first normal skill on every Chaos Dwarf Blocker was Guard. As I’ve played throughout this past year, however, Stand Firm has become my new favourite skill for them. In general (i.e. not just in the HoBBLe), the Frenzy meta seems to be the gold standard. I would say upwards of 75% of the teams I’ve played against in tournaments that don’t have players that start with Frenzy have given a player Frenzy as an upgrade. Frenzy, more than any other skill, changes the way you line up on both Defense and Offence, usually resulting in the sidelines being open. Stand Firm all but eliminates that opening turn effectiveness and allows the sidelines to remain blocked. Additionally, I love how Stand Firm adds to the effectiveness of a stall. I’m more than happy to have a single Chaos Dwarf Blocker with Stand Firm be a punching bag for a higher-strength opposing player because. Simply stopping a player from moving up-field when blocking is great when stalling and, properly positioned, it can limit the effectiveness of blitzing off as a push is essentially meaningless. Add to that built-in Tackle and even AG4+ dodges become all the more risky on players like Witch Elves and Gutter Runners. I fully intend to have at least two more Chaos Dwarf Blockers with Guard and hopefully a doubles will come my way so that I can give one Claw. If I’m lucky enough to get doubles on a Chaos Dwarf Blocker with Stand Firm I will definitely give it Prehensile Tail. As a sideline clogger, the combination of Tackle, Stand Firm, and Prehensile Tail makes them a nightmare to deal with and any even Leaping over them becomes much more perilous.

In terms of the Hobgoblins, I pretty much don’t care what happens to them. I know that there are many who use them as ball carriers since they’re the only AG3 players on the team but, honestly, I see no point in skilling up such disposable players. I will never use an apothecary on them and if one ever gets to the point where they get two skills I will cut them immediately unless they get a ST, MA, or AG boost. The first Hobgoblin that skills up will get Kick, the one after that will get Dirty Player, and if I somehow get a skill on a third one I’ll probably go with Wrestle so I can keep him in the back-field as a sacker.

In terms of my schedule, I’ve intentionally played some of the higher TV teams early in the season (Professor Grodbart’s, Razers & Grazers, Karond Kar Raiders, and Da Iron Rok Rekkaz) with the thinking that I can use inducements to buy wandering apothecaries to keep my players alive. I’m hoping to keep the inducements I get at a relatively high level and a big part of that will be managing team value effectively.

Chaos Dwarfs are a great team out of the box and come with pretty much everything you need. They’re built for a 1-0 or 2-1 grind but they are more diverse and more fun to play than regular, boring Dwarfs. Even though the Bull Centaurs are quick enough to score in 2 turns the AG2 doesn’t exactly equip them to do so by dodging in and out of tackle zones. I score all my TDs with the Bull Centaurs so having them each with 2 skills after six games is great but the Chaos Dwarfs themselves skill up slow. I’m not complaining about having six players with Block, Tackle, and Thick Skull but by this point in the season I was hoping to have them each at 6 SPP with two with Guard, two with Stand Firm, at least one with Mighty Blow, and another with Claw. Kinda boring and predictable but it’s what works. Once I have my second Chaos Dwarf with Guard I am severely tempted to give the fifth one to get his first skill Grab. My team isn’t great at dodging so having more flexibility around where pushed/knocked prone opponents go can make breaking through the opposing line that much easier.