Kings of War/Tactics/Dwarfs
Why Play Dwarfs
If you like sitting in a corner, grumbling and drinking, then you've found your spirit animal. Plus ginger fanatics riding giant, armoured badgers!
Seriously, these guys are awesome. They have incredible defense, a ton of hard hitters, and can shoot as well or better than any army in the game.
On the con side, they are generally slow. On the pro side, see above, and check out the incredible diversity of units below.
See also: Dwarf
Army Special Rules
- Dwarven Throwing Mastiffs: Any unit equipped with 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+ that gains a re-roll to all failed damage rolls against units with Shambling. 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.
- Grizzled Veterans: All units in the army, unless otherwise noted, have Headstrong.
- Army Standard Bearer: A 50 point Inspiring hero. Budget nerve re-rolls for days.
- Berserker Lord: This guy rocks. Hits on 3s, eight attacks as an individual. Put him on a Brock and give him Blade of the Beast Slayer. Defense is only 4+, but nerve is very high, so he can take a ton of damage and keep dishing it out (-/17!). Can't be wavered. Giving him the Wings of Honeymaze can be awesome alternative too. A flying Berserker Lord is pretty useful. The hittiest of your basic characters. His Inspiring only affects other Berserkers unfortunately. Can be mounted on a Brock to support your Brock Riders. Your best bet for monster hunting (see above regarding Blade of the Beast Slayer). Note that a Brock mount doesn't give him thunderous charge like the unit; Sveri needs a large cav badger to get TC by himself.
- Garrek Heavyhand: One of your unique heroes. He's slow, but hits like a truck. This one has Crushing Strength (3), Inspiring, and Regeneration (6+). He hits on a 3+ and has a defence of 6+, so he is hardy. Five attacks. Inspiring. The problem, as always, is price at 150 points. He also wants to be in melee with his rules, but with a speed of 4 you're not going anywhere quick.
- Herneas the Hunter: This guy is a legend. Only three attacks, but with his magic crossbow the Skewerer, he has piercing three. He also hits on 3s. Take him and two Ranger Regiments to give them all stealthy and elite (Herneas's Hunters Formation). In melee, he's crushing strength 2.
- King: Crushing Strength (1) and Inspiring on a defence 6+ body. He's slightly sturdier then the standard bearer, but also costs more than twice the points. Generally you'll probably want to stick with the cheaper options for inspiration. Your best bet for missile disruption; Give him fly, sneak up a flank, charge a scary missile unit to disrupt it, repeat until game ends. He is still a tad expensive for this role but passable at it (we can't all be a Pharaoh Troll).
- King on Large Beast: Faster and able to dish out more attacks and damage on a charge with thunderous charge 2, he's not a bad option to support infantry or Brock charges. Bear in mind, he's about as expensive as a horde of Ironclads... Sometimes cool to give this guy the Diadem of Dragon Kind for breath attack (10).
- Ranger Captain: Are you taking Rangers? If so, you could do worse; he'll keep up and keep them going. If you're not, best look elsewhere. Herneas is better, but a lot more expensive.
- Stone Priest: If you're taking either flavor of Earth Elementals, he's pretty much required (heck, take 2), but is mostly useless otherwise. They can have Bane Chant (2) for a few extra points, which ups them to 'only-slightly-better-than-useless' once the Earth Elementals kick the bucket, but by that point you have bigger problems.
- Sveri Egilax: A bigger, smashier, more expensive Bezerker hero with ten attacks. Being large cav gives him thunderous charge. But not an individual.
- Warsmith: Armed with a pistol and Crushing Strength (1) and Piercing (1), this guy also has a lot of more subtle bonuses if you bring a lot of war machines, which you should. He is Inspiring to all war machines, plus he gives many of them individual bonuses when within 6" of them. These are detailed in the individual war machine entries, but suffice to say he can be quite nice if positioned between two or three such war machines to give his benefits to all of them at once.
- Flame Priest He's new in 2019. Comes with fireball (6). Give him bane chant and upgrade him to fireball (10). He's a good choice to put with a horde of Bulwarkers or other heavy infantry (Ironguard, etc.) as a chaff clearer and bane chanter.
- Berserkers: A truly obscene number of attacks - especially for a troop (20 attacks!) - and very high nerve make them fantastic hitters. Their 3+ defense is bad, but incredibly high nerve keeps them around longer than you would think. They are also fearless and cannot be wavered. Great in Troop strength to add some serious hitting power to your 2nd line, keep them away or hidden from ranged attacks. Thanks to their Nerve, it will take a lot to make them break, but don't expect them to survive sustained combat. The regiments are over costed when compared to Berserker Brock Riders, take mounted variant unless models restrict.
- Bulwarkers: These guys are incredible, especially as a horde. They are the anvil of anvils. Really difficult for even an incredibly hard hitting unit to break by itself. They have big shield (6+ defense from the front) AND phalanx, cancelling thunderous charge, with a nerve of 21/23. Give them a battle standard bearer or a hero in proximity for inspiring. If you want to get really crazy, put Banner of the Griffin near them with Rally 1 to raise their nerve even higher. With thirty attacks in a horde, they can really counterpunch too. It's never a bad idea to give these guys Blessing of the Gods (elite) or Brew of Strength (crushing strength 1). Like an Ironclad they can take throwing mastiffs, which is nice, because like most Dwarf infantry, they're slow. Protect their flanks and they are among the hardest units to break in the whole game. Put them in front of a hill with a pair of organ guns behind them (or other serious shooters) and they are a wall of steel protecting your firepower from a charge.
- Ironclad: Your cheapest unit of Dwarfs. They hit on 4s in melee and have 5+ defense with headstrong. Very solid for the price. Give them throwing mastiffs for a range attack. Nothing too fancy, but a cheap filler unit if you don't have many points left. Ironclad troops at 70 points makes the cheapest screens dwarfs have access to. Hordes are very sturdy.
- Ironguard: The creme of the crop of your infantry line, they add quite a bit of durability and will dish out all kinds of hits to normal enemy infantry. They are an expensive option, however - Ironclad are a much cheaper and more numerous anvil, while Shieldbreakers make a better hammer than Ironguard with 2-handed weapons. Much like Bulwarkers and Berserkers, use carefully.
- Ironwatch Crossbows: The cheaper of the standard shooting units. This one has Piercing (1) at a 15 points cheaper then the rifle version at troop strength. You do also want to keep in mind that with crossbows and rifles they are only shooting with a 24" range, while the long rifles get a 36" range with Piercing (2). Generally the rifle unit is the better option, although again it is slightly more expensive.
- Ironwatch Rifles: The more expensive standard shooting unit. This one has the same range as the crossbow unit but with Piercing (2) vice Piercing (1). Generally the rifle unit is the better option, although again it is slightly more expensive.
- Rangers: Rangers are arguably the hidden secret of the Dwarf Army, particularly as shooters, hitting on a base of 4. Give them the formation Herneas's Hunting Party (two regiments + Herneas Hunter) and they get both elite and stealthy. You can further buff them up with Brew of Keen Eyeness or Heart Seeking Chant. If facing a high regen army, given them Fire Oil. They end up being one of the best shooting units in the game, and if you place them in a forest with pathfinder and stealthy, they are virtually impossible to out shoot. They have crushing strength 1 too, so they can hold their own in melee. The key is to have them with Herneas, though. Supporting Rangers in the forest with an Elemental Horde (pathfinder), a Berserker Brock Regiment with Maccwar's Potion of the Caterpillar (pathfinder) or a Steel Behemoth (strider) is always a good idea too if you want to deter the enemy from charging with something fast or very hard hitting with pathfinder or strider (like Direfang Riders, Ogre Siege Breakers, Mounted Sons of Korgaan with Maccwars', various Herd units, etc). Lastly, they're also faster than other Dwarf infantry. They also have vanguard. Try them out.
- Sharpshooters: The elite shooting unit for the army. This one shoots at 36" with Piercing (2). They also come on a larger base, but with a smaller unit size. What hurts though is they get less attacks then your Ironwatch Rifles. They even have a lower nerve value, which is odd, but they do get that extra 12" range so they're not awful, just not terribly ideal for the points.
- Shieldbreakers: The harder hitting, but slightly less defensive version of the Ironclads. You trade out a point of defence for Crushing Strength (2). They are slightly more expensive then Ironclads, but their benefits outweigh the loss of a single point of defence if you got the points.
- Earth Elementals: These guys are awesome, especially in terrain. Decent hitting power, pathfinder, and fantastic defense - they're super solid. 18 attacks for a horde. They won't replace Shieldbreakers for crushing power and aren't worth it without a Stone Priest for support, but boy are they durable. Give bane chant to your stone priest so that they become crushing strength 2 (their base is crushing 1).
- Berserker Brock Riders: Badger cavalry! 26 attacks for a regiment! Nerve is -/22! They're great. If dwarfs riding on badgers isn't enough for you, they come with Vicious and Thunderous Charge (1). That means they get +1 to damage and re-roll unmodified 1s to damage, so the damage is going out if you get the charge. Don't hesitate to use magic items on them. In particular, Maccwar's Potion of the Caterpillar (pathfinder), Brew of Strength (crushing strength 1) and Blessing of the Gods (elite) are all very good upgrades. They're also your only cavalry, so you'll be using them anyway if you want cavalry.
- Greater Earth Elemental: It's a good addition to add some serious hitting power to a charge or if you're going heavy on Earth Elementals, but it won't last long going toe-to-toe against infantry (though fearless 18 nerve and def 6+ is pretty great for the cost). Like it's smaller cousins, a Stone Priest is the next best thing to mandatory.
- Steel Behemoth: It's a GOAT tank. Supremely hard to kill, hits like... well, like a tank, and with a breath attack with piercing 1, ludicrously high Nerve, and Crushing Strength (3!!!) to boot. Great place for those gyrocopter/bomber models... Mantic released their version at last, and it is magnificent. It's point cost is a little steep, but a monster-sized base, Crushing Strength (3), and over 20 attacks each combat make this guy the most powerful (and durable) multi-charge support we've got. Strider, so good in tough terrain too. 250 points.
- Craggoth: He's a super Greater Earth Elemental, hitting on 3s instead of 4s. Crushing Strength 3. Also has vanguard. 40 points more. He's good.
- Golloch's Legendary Steel Behemoth: He's super expensive at 340 points. He's also probably worth it. Iron Resolve, Strider, Very inspiring (9 inch range), 6+ defense, Golloch's Gun (15 attacks at 18 inches with piercing 2 hitting on 4s), Crushing strength 3, D6 + 25 in melee. Golloch is a killer, both at range and in melee. He also can support a lot of other units with his very inspiring. Consider Golloch's Thunder formation (Golloch and two regular steel behemoths) to increase all of their speed to 5. Remember this gives you extra range on shooting too, since they can move and shoot. It can make a big difference.
- Battle Driller: A melee weapon team in all but name, it doesn't really work on it's own on account of low Nerve, but can stack on extra attacks and lower the enemy nerve in combined charges. Useful to quickly swing Horde-on-Horde combat in your favor or get a good flank in, but overall you get more bang for your buck elsewhere. For the price, it's not a bad choice to guard your gun line while the main units are throwing down elsewhere.
- Flame Belcher: Breath Attack 18! Very handy against light units. Short range but useful as a defensive machine to protect other war machines. Gets Elite when near a Warsmith. Don't underestimate these guys. Remember, they have no reload and can move and shoot. One of the best chaff-clearers around. .
- Ironbelcher Cannon: A war machine with Blast (D6+2) and Piercing (4). This thing hits really hard, although it only gets one shot with the Blast per turn. Like many dwarf war machines, if it sits within 6" of a friendly Warsmith it gains a special bonus; this one has you add +1 to your Blast attack.
- Ironbelcher Organ Gun: A 15 shot, 24" range gun platform! Incredible firepower for the price. The shots only hit on a 5+, but with Piercing (2) they punch through even the highest defense. If they are within 6" of a Warsmith they gain Elite. That makes a big difference. Consider taking two with a warsmith as a powerful battery in the center of your line (or even better, on a hill behind your infantry). They can knock out expensive, high defense, hard hitting units.
- Jarrun Bombard: An alternate version of the Ironbelcher Cannon. This one is always Blast (D6+3), but drops to Piercing (2) in return for the ability to use the Indirect Fire rule if it wishes at a range of 12" to 60" for it's shot.
Dwarfs play fairly similarly to their WHFB cousins. When in doubt, build a fortress in the corner and wait.
Unlike their much more grimdark relatives, Kings of War Dwarfs are Speed 4", and movement rules allow units to move at double speed when giving an 'at the double' or 'charge!' order, assuming there's no blocking terrain (i.e. forests, walls... or anything but the occasional hill). Pivoting and re-positioning is vastly simplified, and the do-all-end-all rule for charging is this: if your unit's Leader Point (front-center of the unit base) is within double-speed distance of any part of the enemy unit and there's nothing in the way, your charge succeeds and you put your unit adjacent to theirs. No random charge distances, no bothersome pivot requirements, no confusing 'line up' rules, measure all you want before hand. This all boils down to MUCH faster and more maneuverable dwarfs than many of us are used to, which is good, considering Objective-based win conditions are a REALLY BIG THING NOW - sitting in your little fortified corner ain't gunna cut it every game, lads.
That being said, your average Dwarf unit can take a charge like nothing else in the game, and have pretty dang good Nerve to boot, so with reasonable rolls you won't be running away anytime soon (unless you do something colossally stupid, like let a unit get charged in the flank and rear simultaneously or sit in the corner all game or something).
- Speed. Their low speed, and propensity to castle in the corners, makes the objective missions quite a challenge. In tournaments/competitive games you should always consider some brock riders or speedy allies.
- Healing. You have no native healing spells. Consider a Healing Charm on a Standard Bearer.
- Nerve. Most of your units can get nerve into the low 20s and this means it takes a real hammer to shift them on the charge. You can build quite the counter-charge around this and your small units of bezerkers, used like detachments.
- Guns/Warmachines. Being alcoholic inventors they have a wide range of ways to sit on their porches and kill varmint.
- Picket Lines. Use small units, like troops of rifles as your first line. Hold the flanks with your defensive infantry. Line up your harder hitting infantry behind the rifles (and warmachines). Use your faster units (riders, bezerkers, rangers, etc) to swing the opposing flank.
- Detachments. Pair hordes of defensive infantry with Troops that have lots of attacks or crushing strength. The weakness here is if you come across someone who can break the hordes in a single turn. So beware of multi changes on your wide units from low frontage opponents.
- The castle. The classic. Build a battle line in front of a hill using your best defensive units. Anchor one flank with the board edge, anchor the other with distraction canifexes (berzerkers). Put your war machines and guns on the hill behind the battle line. Place you hardest hitters on the flank with the board edge and try to roll them through the opponents flank guard and then down the line towards where your berzerkers are dying (preferably slowly and on stupid angles).
- The Bowl. Similar to the castle except you line the center of your battle line with guns and short range, reliable war machines. This creates a killing field here. Then, rather than pushing from the board-edge flank, use fast units to drive up the middle of the board. This will funnel the opposition into the teeth of the guns.
Alternatively, you can send in heavy infantry to grind up the middle block the entire board, while your Cannons boom away from a suitable hill-top.