Kings of War/Tactics/Free Dwarfs

From 1d4chan

Why Play Dwarfs[edit]

Why indeed?

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.

And those are the ways in which free dwarfs are similar to dwarfs, but beware, this is the nuka cola quantum variant of dorfisnesh, the black ale. The tipes of units available to them haven´t changed that much, but the rules available to those units have. Thus bringing a whole new play style to dwarfdom. Basically many units in the army, exchanged Headstrong for Scout and pathfinder, thus becoming worst deffensively but much better offensively due to increased mobility. Suddenly dwarfs are no longer a tace that has to mostly focus on taking charges as you can instead focus on charging your oponents some of the time.

In short, this are fast dwarves, a really exciting prospect for veterans of kow or the game that was. See also: Dwarf

Army Special Rules[edit]

  • 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 8 dice that hit on a 4+ with piercing 1. For 15 points its not exceptional but not bad, and thanks to the Packmaster it can be an interesting upgrade.

In addition to that, most units in the army have either headstrong(which makes them great countercharging) or scout + pathfinder, which makes them great at charging. This will be noted in each unit entry.

Unit Analysis[edit]

Hero[edit]

  • 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. Shoots at 24 inches if you move, or at 30 if you dont, thus making him your main sniper. In melee, he's crushing strength 2. Has scout, thus allowing you to have a leadership bubble to support your troops in case they get charged and are too far away from other sources of inspiring due to their scouting he is inspiring only to rangers though.
  • 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). He is also quite good for taking charges, since his nerve is reasonably high, and defense 6 is no joke for the majority of units. Being mighty this also means that he can stall units quite comfortably.
  • 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.

Infantry[edit]

  • 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.


  • 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 bread and butter of the free Dwarf Army, being particularly good as shooters, hitting on a base of 4 and decent at melle hitting at 4 but with CS 1 . 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, they are virtually impossible to out shoot. They have crushing strength 1 too, so they can hold their own in melee. Supporting Rangers in the forest with an Elemental Horde (pathfinder), a Berserker Brock Regiment with Maccwar's Potion of the Caterpillar (pathfinder)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 scout, thus helping you go that extra inch and start shooting from turn 1. Also they are speed 5 which is pretty fast for a dwarf and makes them capable of realistically taking objectives in objective based mission. Try them out, they are the backbone of the free dwarf army and since they are regular you can use them to unlock cool stuff.
  • 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 shocktroops of the free dwarf army. They hit on 3+ with Crushing Strength (1) which is very good in the current state of melee combat. Also the free dwarf version comes with scout and pathfinder instead of headstrong, which means that this fellas can and should be pulling charges by turn 2 instead of being limited to counter charging. Alwasy take 2 hordes of this guys to have a solid base for your army .

Large Infantry[edit]

  • 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).

Cavalry[edit]

  • 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.

The free version can have throwing acces, for 10/20 points but is not really worth it.

Large Cavalry[edit]

None.

Monsters[edit]

  • 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 will last long going toe-to-toe against infantry that doesnt have native crushing strenght, fearless 19 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.


  • Craggoth: He's a super Greater Earth Elemental, has scout in order to accompany your rangers and shieldbreakers as well as self inspiring which helps him operate as an autonomous flanker, also comes with fireball 10 for some shooting goodnes. 25 points more. He's good.

War Engines[edit]

  • 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.


  • Jarrun Bombard: An alternate version of the Ironbelcher Cannon. This one is always Blast (D3+1) and piercing 3 at 48" or Blast(d3+1) with piercing 1 and indirect fire at range 60" can be upgraded to an ironmonger, gaining shattering(+1 to nerve rolls against unit shot by this fella) and iron resolve(as if that mattered) for 10 points

Tactics[edit]

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).

Weaknesses:

  • 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.

Strengths:

  • 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.

Formations:

  • 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.