Posted 15/02/2017

Jonathan’s Dwarf Blood Bowl Team

Jonathan is a prolific hobbyist, having won many painting competitions with his Blood Bowl teams. His Dwarfs are no exception, having just picked up the Best Team award at the Mighty Blighty League event at Warhammer World. Just take a look at these and you’ll see why…

Jonathan: Dwarfs were always one of my favourite races in the Old World, so it is no surprise that they are also the race I use the most in Blood Bowl (and have used for a good few years now). Consequently, this is the third incarnation of my Dwarf Blood Bowl team: The Karak Wanderers. Over the years, they’ve evolved quite a back story and have maimed their way through many leagues and even more tournaments.

Dwarfs aren’t everyone’s favourite team, it has to be said; they’re slow – though I prefer the term ‘steady’ –  and they aren’t very agile, but with their high armour and solid collection of starting skills, they can be really punishing opponents that are more than capable of clearing the pitch of opposition.

All of this suits me as a player; I’m happiest throwing Blocks and causing casualties, and these boys have done no small amount of that, winning and contesting more than their fair share of Most Casualty awards at NAF tournaments across the UK and Europe (and, in my mind’s eye, from the echoing and cavernous stadiums beneath the Worlds Edge Mountains to the ocean-going pitches floating on great hulks in the harbours of Marienburg).

As I’ve played Dwarfs, and as I’ve converted and painted new versions of this team, their backstory has grown. It started with their name, the Karak Wanderers, Karak in Khazalid meaning ‘Eternal’ or ‘Enduring’, and the idea formed that this team has no set home, wandering the Old World as a troupe of mercenary players.

In their first season with me, they wore blue and gold and perhaps did have a home stadium, left behind in the Worlds Edge peaks.

Their personal Book of Grudges is closed on what happened to that, as well as the name of their hold – the shame of its loss too great to bear and the details sealed away until such time as the pages can be opened and the grudge struck through. But it’s pretty safe to assume that, whilst they were pursuing tournament glory across the lands, it was overrun by Goblins…

This is more common than one might think.

It starts with Goblin-owned concession stands springing up to sell dodgy branded shirts, hats, and novelty giant fingers or Skaven selling cheap and disturbing snacks to the crowds. It soon escalates through visiting Goblin and Skaven teams making themselves comfortable in the locker rooms and hospitality suites, becoming short term tenants whilst the home team is on the road pursuing the majors, and finally ends with an almost complete takeover of the stadium through underhanded business practices by Goblin or Skaven entrepreneurs. This, in turn, leads to a decline in the maintenance of the stadium and a fall in property prices in the vicinity causing Dwarf residents to move out of the locale…

Next thing you know, another Dwarf stadium, perhaps even an entire hold, has fallen to the ravages of Goblins and Skaven.

It’s a terrible situation played out across the Dwarf empire whenever teams take to the road and fans follow them. These are the risks and Dwarf teams know them well, but glittering prizes are to be found on the road, so the risks must be taken.

Whilst travelling during that fateful season many years ago, the Karak Wanderers won many glories, culminating in second place in the Spike! Magazine tournament within my own club league. They came second because I am an idiot who Blocks when he should be scoring. Thanks to those ill-fated rolls, I was left no choice but to shave my head in shame while the gloating of my opponent (aka: my wife) rung in my ears!

Number 1, Ulf Stonehewer, the star runner on the team, offered a glimmer of pride and picked up the coveted Spike! Magazine Player of the Year award, and in every iteration of the team since, has proudly worn it in the form of a seal or ribbon somewhere about his armour.

There are other details like this that have carried across the versions or have evolved. Both Ulf at number 1 and number 3, the Blitzer Kar Thorbjorn, have stayed on the roster uninjured and have kept the same hair colours, blond for Ulf, grey for Kar, though it must be said he is practically white haired by now, no doubt a reaction to his coach’s often reckless plays!

Other players have stayed with the team, for instance the original number 4 Blitzer, Skagir Grimson, is still a valued player, though with age he has slowed and now fills the Blocker position at number 10 and anchors the line of scrimmage.

Only one of the original Slayers remains with the team, Khrag Kurnor at number 5, grim and ever-reticent about his past shame. His counterpart at number 6, Dhanon Dwargrim, was once a Blocker back in that sorrowful time while they hunted for Manish trophies in foreign lands not knowing that their home stadium had fallen. The shame he felt when the news arrived made him shave his head and replace the legendary Slayer Snorri Ghrondson (who died at the hands of an infamous Troll facing an Orc team in Stirland), his own shame at fumbling a hand-off in the end zone many years before finally expunged in death.

The original team played on bright, fresh grass in the human lands, as evidenced by their lush green bases. The second incarnation had returned to the Worlds Edge Mountains and played in the great open air stadiums of the Dwarf empire high among the mountain peaks, their stone bases showing this and their purple and gold kit reflecting a return to their noble homelands.

I have changed the colour of the team’s kit a few times, the idea here being that it shows a change in the team, an evolution in the background and, most importantly, that they’ve relocated their franchise and are playing in a new region. But being Dwarfs, they have always worn a lot of polished, bright gold armour, so even as kit colours change, their armour and team logo has remained largely the same which has given all the versions a sense of continuity.

It must be mentioned here that, in their purple kit and to mark their return to their ancestral peaks, the team Deathroller was actually a modified Gyrocopter, the better to swoop in from on high and angle its spinning rotors at the various opponents foolhardy enough to challenge the Wanderers in their own lands.

This newest version  of the team shows them setting out to reclaim their home stadium. They wear red and gold, reflecting their vengeful nature, and for the basing, I used the Shattered Dominion bases available for Warhammer Age of Sigmar. The cracked and shattered stones represent a Dwarf hold in great disrepair, ill-treated and punished by the Goblins who overran it and victim to the terrible weapons they habitually sneak onto Nuffle’s sacred fields.

Who knows what the future holds for this team as they return to the underway and the vast underground stadiums? No doubt they’ll be making use of the underground Kick Off chart included with the recently released Skaven & Dwarf Pitch.

One day, though, I think we can be sure that they’ll reclaim their lost home stadium, and there will be much quaffing of the finest ales and great celebration as sponsors flood to support this oldest of firms in the game.

Whatever the future holds for this team, I hope you’ll be inspired to stick with a team through thick and thin and evolve their background across the seasons. It’s another of the rewards of Blood Bowl well worth exploring, and it’s certainly true that, with practice, a team will see improved performances to add ever more depth to their story.

See you on the gridiron!

There you have it, folks! What a stunning team. Be sure to let us know what you think, and share pictures of your own Blood Bowl teams, over on the official Blood Bowl Facebook page. And while you’re at it, make sure you are logging the results of your games with the Blitzmania league for your chance to win

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