Kings of War/Tactics/Abyssal Dwarfs

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Why Play Abyssal Dwarfs[edit]

Abyssal Dwarfs are the Chaos Dwarves of Kings of War. They even got big hats. So if you like big hats, chaos squats, and war engines, this is the army for you.

Army Special Rules[edit]

  • Cruel Masters: All Abyssal Dwarf units have the Vicious special rule, meaning they re-roll all to damage rolls of 1.
  • Mutated Throwing Mastiffs: Any unit equipped with mutated throwing mastiffs has a once per game shooting attack with a range of 12 inches. This shooting attack gives you 5 dice that hit on a 4+ and re-roll all failed damage rolls. Any damage caused then grants you the same number of dice to repeat this attack. This process repeats until you don't score any damage.

Unit Analysis[edit]


  • Abyssal Grotesque Champion: A beastly hero so grotesque it doesn't have a model. Large cavalry hero with Brutal, Crushing Strength (2), Nimble, Regeneration (5+), and Thunderous Charge (2), but only 5 attacks. Somewhat spendy, but it does have more special rules than most heroes would get. This thing is actually more combat oriented than an Supreme Iron-Caster on Great Winged Halfbreed, but does lack the spell access. Not the greatest at putting out damage and probably rarely a good hero choice, but not the worst in the army either.
  • Abyssal Halfbreed Champion: The Inspiring cavalry hero for the army. This one also comes with Crushing Strength (3) and Regeneration (5+), making it harder to kill then your infantry equivalent. It also comes with 6 attacks and 8 speed, but like most Inspiring heroes you probably want to keep him behind your larger blocks within the nerve re-roll bubble. It's debatable if you want to save the points and go with the cheaper version or invest in the extra survivability.
  • Ba’su’su the Vile: The living legend that seems to be in half the evil army lists in the core rule book. He comes with Crushing Strength (2), Fly, Individual, Inspiring (Gargoyles only), and Regeneration (5+). He also still makes a unit of Gargoyles defence 4+ and gives them Crushing Strength (1) for 20 points. In a lot of ways he fits the same role as an Archfiend of the Abyss, but is more maneuverable on his smaller base and Nimble from his Individual rule. He's still really expensive though, so only take him if you got a specific plan for him and his Gargoyle pals.
  • Brakki Barka: Your second living legend choice. Brakki Barka has Crushing Strength (3), Individual, and Regeneration (5+) on a cavalry base with a fairly standard cavalry stat line, although he does hit on a 3+ in melee. He also is known for being a bit of a loud mouth, which translates into having an Inspiring bubble of 12" instead of the usual 6" range. You want him in melee combat though, so he'll be charging a lot if you take him, but that Inspiring bubble is the best in the game so it's not all bad.
  • Iron-Caster: Your basic caster. He comes standard with Fireball (6) and Heal (3), although the latter only works on war engines, Immortal Guard, and golems. He can upgrade to get Lightning Bolt (3) and Surge (8) as well. His best use is probably as an engineer to heal your war engines as he also has Inspiring for them. Place him behind and between your war engines and/or Immortal Guard units to maximize his effectiveness.
  • Overmaster: The Inspiring infantry hero for the army. Cheaper by 40 points than the Abyssal Halfbreed Champion, he loses 4 speed, 1 attack, 2 points from Crushing Strength, and Regeneration altogether. Not great, but expected for your budget inspiration. If you take him, keep him behind your infantry blocks as with most heroes to get your nerve re-rolls.
  • Overmaster on Great Abyssal Dragon: Shockingly expensive for what you get. This is the most expensive unit in the army and it only comes with 8 attacks at Crushing Strength (3). It does have Fly and Inspiring, which it should at the points, and a Breath Attack (10) for shooting. This puts it in that weird zone where it wants to fight in melee, but you're better served just blasting away with the Breath Attack instead. If you like dragons, it's a nice aesthetic, but if you like value it's probably not up your alley.
  • Slave Driver: Your basic army standard hero. You know the drill if you've played a bit; for 50 points you get your cheap source of Inspiring. You know you want to take a few, give in to your hate...
  • Supreme Iron-Caster on Great Winged Halfbreed: The Mantic equivalent to a Chaos Dwarf on a Taurus. For 85 more points you get a slight buff to nerve, more than double your speed, gain Fly, and upgrade your Inspiring to work on all your units, as well as Crushing Strength (2). His spells are larger as well, trading up to Fireball (10) and Heal (4), although the latter still only works on war engines, golems, and Immortal Guard. As before he can also upgrade to Lighting Bolt (3) and Surge (10). Expensive, but if you take him, use him in much the same way as you'd use a foot-slogging Iron Caster.


  • Abyssal Berserkers: Pretty much the same as standard Dwarf Berserkers, they are easier to rout but have crushing strength. Good for hiding behind slave orcs to punish opponents once the screen is broken.
  • Blacksouls: Your basic Abyssal Dwarf infantry unit. Cheaper than the Immortal Guard, more expensive than Slave Orcs. They get the same amount of attacks as Slave Orcs and hit on the same 4+, but on the plus side they have a defence of 5+ instead of 4+. They are also not Yellow-Bellied, which isn't that much better, and have Vicious, which is slightly more relevant. They can take a mutated throwing mastiff for 15 points, a good idea in general, and can switch out their shields for two-handed weapons, dropping to a 4+ defence and gaining Crushing Strength (1).
  • Decimators: Your infantry shooting unit. This is represented by their breath attack and Piercing (1). They cannot take mutated throwing mastiffs or other upgrades, but given that you're shooting with them every turn instead this understandable. A mainstay for any Abyssal Dwarf army.
  • Gargoyles: Available in troop size only. They hit on a 4+ with a low defence of 3+, but they gain Fly and Regeneration (3+). You want to use this to harass the flanks of smaller enemy units so you don't get wiped out before you can use your Regeneration. Low model count means you're fleeing on an 11, which isn't very high at all, so you need that Regeneration to reduce your total wounds on the unit.
  • Immortal Guard: More elite version of Blacksouls, although they do not have the Elite special rule. They hit on a 3+ and have all the same upgrades as Blacksouls at a cost of 20 more points for a troop and 30 points for a regiment. Coupled with Vicious this means you are hitting with most of your dice. They also have a higher nerve value and can not be wavered. Unfortunately you cannot take a horde or legion of this unit, so you're looking at a smaller, more mobile unit instead of a large horde.
  • Slave Orcs: The cheapest infantry unit in the army. At a reduction of 15 points from a Blacksoul you lose 1 defence and Vicious, while gain Yellow-Bellied and Crushing Strength (1). They are also on 25mm bases, meaning their physical size is slightly bigger than your other infantry. The cheap, expendable unit of the army.

Large Infantry[edit]

  • Lesser Obsidian Golems: Large infantry that surprisingly enough isn't quite like their Warhammer Fantasy counterparts. These have Crushing Strength (2) and Shambling. They hit on a 4+ and have a defence of 6+, so they're not taking wounds very easily. They are priced around the same as other elementals at 135 points for a regiment and 210 for a horde but have the toughness of Earth elementals with the crushing strength of fire while swapping pathfinder for vicious. This is a good anvil unit that while isn't able to put a lot of wounds out they are able to put out reliable wounds on most anything.


  • Abyssal Halfbreeds: Your iconic cavalry. For 125 points you get 5 of these guys at troop strength. They come with Crushing Strength (1), Regeneration (5+), and Thunderous Charge (1). They hit on a 3+ and will generally get +2 to their damage rolls with a re-roll on all 1s, making them surprisingly hard hitters, especially with their speed of 8. Solid choice for damage output.
  • Slave Orc Gore Riders: Cheap chargers, great for flank charges that ignore Yellow-Bellied. Generally Halfbreeds will get the job done better, but they are there in case you want cavalry you really don't care about losing.

Large Cavalry[edit]

  • Abyssal Grotesques: The big brothers of your iconic cavalry. For 165 points you're getting 3 of them at regiment size, with only 1 more attack than the Halfbreeds, but Crushing Strength (2), Brutal, and 5+ regeneration with better nerve, making them more survivable, but they hit on 4+ because of their slow reflexes, or something. Compared to Halfbreeds, a regiment of Grotesques is 40 points more expensive and a Horde is 55 points more expensive, with only 1 more attack for the troop and 2 more for the horde, meaning the Halfbreeds are much more efficient at killing things, but the Grotesques live longer and hit harder against 5+ and 6+ defence units.


  • Greater Obsidian Golem: The bigger cousin of your large infantry. This one has Crushing Strength (3) due to it's larger size. You get 8 attacks for 160 points with a defense of 6+ like the smaller version. It has one more nerve then a horde of smaller ones and a much smaller frontage allowing for easier multi-charges with your units while limiting your enemy from ganging up units on it. A solid hammer that is able to be surged into flanks easily though the smaller ones have better damage output due to their much higher amount of attacks.

War Engines[edit]

  • Angkor Heavy Mortar: The biggest war engine in the army. As with the other war engines here, it has Indirect Fire and Reload! This one throws out a single Blast (D6+4) shot with Piercing (3), meaning you're getting between 5 and 10 potential wounds that each get a +3 to their wound rolls. While that all sounds great you're paying a lot of points for something that will hit a third of the time making it very feast or famine. Be prepared to have it crush a unit or two in the first couple turns or have it do nothing the first couple turns and become useless when you have no targets to shoot once melee starts to happen.
  • G'rog Mortar: The Momma Bear of the Three War Engines. Sits between the huge punch of the Angkor and the reliable shots of the Katsuchan, the G'rog is pretty unimpressive, with only a d6+2 blast, and only piercing 2 for 20 points less than the Angkor. Generally not something to look at unless you REALLY need those twenty points spent elsewhere.
  • Katsuchan Rocket Launcher: The smaller war engine. Like the other war engines it has Indirect Fire and Reload! With Blast (D3) and Piercing (1) you're not making quite the impact that the heavy mortar makes, but it is also 35 points cheaper. It does get 3 attacks instead of 1, but you're also losing 2 points to Piercing and that Blast (D6+4). Thus you get between 3 and 9 potential wounds with a +1 to their rolls with the rocket launcher, while the heavy mortar puts out 5 to 10 potential wounds with a +3 to their rolls for 35 points more. The upside is that you're likely to still hit at least once with your shots, so you'll get some small value from your shooting every round, instead of relying on getting lucky with your mortars. Reliable and cheap, but doesn't hit particularly hard.

.; Dragon Fire Team: Not really a traditional war engine but a cheaper replica of other breath weapons. 50 points nets you a cheap breath weapon (10) on dwarven legs. While it doesn't have the amount of shots of a dwarven flame belcher or the piercing of a goblin war trombone its ability to move and fire with vicious makes it an easy add to any army.


Tactica here.