- 1 Why Play Dwarfs?
- 2 Army rules
- 3 Unit Analysis
- 4 Building Your Army
- 5 Tactics
- 6 See Also
Why Play Dwarfs?
Because you like to piss people off by legally taking 25 war machines in 3,000 points matches. You also like Leadership of 9 across the board, a Toughness of 4 and Heavy Armour. Also if you have a thing for alcoholic midgets. Finally, DEM BEARDS IN HELICOPTERS.
Ancestral Grudge: Hatred Skaven/Greenskins; everyone else has a chart (1-2 : Your general Hates opponents general / 3-4 : All your characters Hate all enemy character / 5-6 : The entire army Hates the enemy). This is an awesome ability and makes Dwarfs potentially one of the best armies in the game. Yes, it is a table and therefore massively randomizes your success rate, however there is no bad result and if you look at it statistically, you can easily predict what it will be useful for. For example, you can completely rely on your characters Hating enemy characters, this is immense.
Resolute: +1 Strength on the charge. Epic. Look at Choppas and now see that on your better, more resolute Dwarfs.
Relentless: No Leadership test for marching close to an enemy. Good, even though Leadership isn't too much of a problem.
Shieldwall: +1 parry when charged, but only on the turn they have been charged. Now you have a reason to use your shield dwarfs. Having a third of all damage blocked in combat is amazing. Ask Daemons. You rarely ever charge first as dwarfs, so you should see this as a bonus.
Dwarf Crafted: You don't take the -1 to hit penalty when doing a Stand and Shoot reaction. Every Dwarf ranged weapon has this, bar the war machines. Another reason to field the dwarf gunline.
Natural Resistance: Unless you're letting an allied wizard tag along you get +2 base to dispel. NEVER EVER FORGET THIS.
Lords & Heroes
Note: Named characters are almost always overpriced. In most cases, it's easy to emulate their abilities from scratch and save quite a few points. That's not to say they're worthless; named characters do have some unique abilities and combos, but make sure you're getting your points worth.
- Lords -
- Thorgrim Grudgebearer: Thorgrim is more of a buffer than a close combat machine, the biggest of which is adding +3 to Ancestral Grudge (83% chance to have your entire army get hatred) and actually conferring eternal hatred for himself and any unit he joins if you roll a 7+. He can hold his own in combat as well, even against other character killers, having 7 wounds and a 2+ armour and 4++ ward save, which increases to 2++ against (heroic) killing blow and attacks with multiple wounds. His axe always wounds on a 2+ / 3+ against magic armour (like the Master Rune of Skalf Blackhammer), always strikes first and against (chaos) giants has multiple wounds (D6). Thorgrim has an 18" inspiring presence, his unit gains immune to psychology and stubborn and his throne bearers have 4 attacks with WS5 and S4 (so double regular shieldbearers). An interesting little rule states that he must be your general and that if he dies, your entire army gains frenzy. On the downside, he cannot "Look out Sir" when he joins a unit. Thorgrim is basically 650pts that your opponent will have a hard time claiming. He sure will try though.
- Thorek Ironbrow: 435 points! You can play him in 2000pt games now, though he's horribly overpriced for what he does, re-rolling one dice for the Anvil of Doom per turn (S10 hit if the re-roll is a 1 and the rule is lost) and getting +1 bonus to cast, and he costs 145 points more than a normal Runelord on Anvil. Thorek's weapon doesn't allow armour saves and will destroy magic armour upon an unsaved wound, but well, he still isn't a good fighter. At least he is reasonably protected with an 1+ armour save plus all the buffs from the Anvil of Doom of course, but also still suffers all the disadvantages. Not recommended.
- Belegar Ironhammer: The new close combat Lord, comes mounted on an Oath Stone with WS8, he's geared for character killing, having always strikes first and receiving +1 to wound rolls, once per game being able to unleash a total of 8 close combat attacks. He has a 3+/4++ save and is immune (!) against (heroic) killing blow. The downside is that you can make a Lord character just as good if not better from scratch.
- Ungrim Ironfist: He's a pretty nice hero or monster killer due to Slayer, Strength 6, Killing Blow, D3 wounds on monsters and enemies having to re-roll successful ward saves, he's also pretty tough when facing anything with flaming attacks due to his 2++ Ward vs. Fire. Other than that he'll fuck up a few Lords and he'll weather a few hits, overall cool for Slayer-themed lists, but he can only join Slayer units. Slightly overpriced at 350 points, but WS9 and T6 is pretty nice, meaning that even Tyrion hits you on a 4+. Something that is often overlooked is his ability to buff your slayers, taking Ungrim means 1 slayer unit in the army can take up to 100pts of banner runes meaning all of a sudden you can take a second master rune in the army so if you want both Groth and Valaya you now can or if you want your slayers to have MR3 now they can. Or that Banner of the Lost Holds, which further increases Ungrims already considerable close combat skills.
- Ungrim, Incarnate of Fire: During the End Times, Ungrim does a Karl Franz and becomes the Incarnate of Fire. He gains +1S, +1W and +1A on his profile, flaming attacks, a S4 flaming breath attack and an innate bound spell (power level 5, magic missile, 24", 2D6 S4 flaming hits). However he has lost his Slayer King rule, but basically the only thing he loses is enabling a slayer unit to get a 100pts standard. He can still join slayer units and be the general but now can also join non-slayer units. Flaming attacks make him a bit of a *meh* choice however, he is good, but anything with a 2+ flaming ward save (cheap for every army) will laugh off his attacks
- Grombrindal: The White Dwarf! He's an optional character but what an awesome guy, at 500 points: LD 10 with MR 3, armour 1+, ward save 4+, a magic axe with +2 strength, starts hidden and can rally people next to him. They should make this guy part of the Dwarfs army list.
- Heroes -
- Josef Bugman: The epitome of a dwarf grudge holder, and at 165 points he sits between a cheap Lord or a wallet killing Thane with stats more towards the former. As long as he's alive his unit rolls on a 2D6 table of which two of the results are great and one result almost never hurts you. He can also be put next to a Lord on Shieldbearers as he now heals D3 wounds per turn. His unit of Rangers is situation dependent but is no longer mandatory. Josef is actually pretty good!
- Grimm Burloksson: The Master Engineer to trump all others, able to unleash a good amount of firepower on his own and decent in close combat, though he's better staying back and buffing your units with one of the following (unlike regular Master Engineer only on a roll of 2+ though!):
- Artillery Adjustment: Allows a friendly War Machines to his BS of 5 and the ability to re-roll an Artillery Dice which can be the bounce on a Cannon or a Flame Cannons scatter. Useful for all war machines, esp due to the changes to the Organ Gun, use it if you want to snipe that enemy wizard or kill squishy things with stones.
- Increased Range: Does what it says on the tin. Increases the units Crossbow and Handgun ranges by 2D6, so your horde of 40+ Quarrels can now hit more things! Use it if that one enemy unit is just out of reach.
- Superior Volley: Models in the unit may re-roll any to hit rolls.
Again, useful for Bolt Throwers and Organ Guns (Organ Guns roll to hit now).IRONDRAKES. For Organ Gun you would use Artillery Adjustment because it also grants that re-roll for the artillery die.
Note: While named characters are judged against their generic counterparts, generic characters are examined based on their role in your army.
- Lords -
- Dwarf Lord: Your principal commander and clearly the best Lords choice. Sports a very good statline and can be made incredibly nasty in close combat with the right combination of rune items. Always put him on Shieldbearers. With a 125pts allowance for runic/magic items, you can either boost both his offense and defense for a balanced build or go all out killer or tank.
- Runelord: Sadly Runelords have taken a serious hit with the new Army Book as anything that can be done by them can usually be done by a much cheaper Runesmith besides the Anvil of Doom. Granted, they confer a better magic resistance and can have a whopping 150pts of runic items or ancestral heirlooms, but unless you want the Anvil of Doom, do not bother taking the Runelord. Viable loadouts and successfully fielding him are tricky.
- Daemon Slayer: Same as before but forces successful ward saves to be re-rolled and does D3 wounds to Monsters. It's nice now that when kitted out properly, he can be guaranteed to kill a Daemon prince, with some weapon runes he comes out at a good price and is a worthy consideration. Be careful as he can get focused and destroyed quite easily, and at much greater impact being a lord choice unlike dragon slayers.
- Heroes -
- Thane: Very solid Hero. Comes in two builds, the 'Thane o' pain' and the 'Tank thane'. Basically, the names say it all. Tank thane concentrates on staying alive, and therefore uses armour runes. The Thane o' pain operates on the philosophy that if the enemy is dead, then it won't attack you back. See example loadouts for Tank Thanes and Thanes o' Pain.
- Runesmith: Runesmiths are the true heroes of the new dwarf codex. Always take 1 with a dispel rune for 85pts. Though they have lost their free dispel dice, they now channel power/dispel like wizards, grant armour piercing and grant magic resistance (1) to whatever infantry unit they're a part of.
- Master Engineer: Buffs your artillery, and can make one entrenched (counts as being behind heavy cover). Great if you are playing a shooty list. Also gives your cannons and grudge throwers free artillery die re-rolls which can save your ass many times over. If you take one, they work best with an organ gun, which takes most advantage of their BS 4 and an artillery reroll.
- Dragon Slayer: Better than before as he now has D3 wounds on each attack against monsters. When cheaply kitted out these guys can do some nice damage. Worth taking one and run him alongside the rest of your army as a threat to monsters if you don't have cannons or warmachine hunter defence.
- Shieldbearers: (Dwarf Lords only) Arguably one of the best mounts in the whole game. Counts as a single model and grants the Lord +2 wounds and +2 on armour save. Shieldbearers have 2 attacks in close combat with WS5 S4 I3. The model is still counted as infantry, so still has look out sir! and potential parry saves from shields (yay) but on the flipside is still vulnerable to killing blow and can be stomped (boo). Still, for a measly 40pts it's dirt cheap. Always put your Lord on one of these!
- Oath Stone: (Dwarf Lords and Thanes) A very neat upgrade for a Thane (can be the BSB!) for 25pts, as it allows the unit to make parry saves to the flank and rear. Furthermore, the unit cannot be disrupted but also can never choose flee as a charge reaction. Naturally it only makes sense when put into a unit with shields, Ironbreakers shine most. Has the small caveat that the character on the Oath Stone always has to accept challenges, so make sure he is well protected (especially important for a BSB)
- Anvil of Doom: (Runelord only) Counts as a single war machine model and, similar to Shieldbearers, grants the Runelord +2 wounds and a 5++ ward save for 170pts. Anvil Guards also have 2 attacks in close combat with WS5 S4 I3. The only way for Dwarfs to have something to do in the magic phase besides dispelling. (for more see Magic: Anvil of Doom)
- Dwarf Warriors: These are your
bread and butterbeard and ale. They have Toughness 4, Leadership 9 and Heavy Armour as standard. Give them shields if you don't want them to die or give them great weapons if you want them to kill shit. Always take them in big units of 30+ with full command, they may not be the most expensive units but those points add up fast so you need to make sure they are formed up as a horde to get the most attacks out of them.
- Longbeards: Longbeards, an actual unit now, are 4 points more than a dwarf warrior. They are better at killing shit and not running away, being immune to psychology with ld 9. They also allow nearby units to re-roll failed panic tests when not fleeing, which is nice if your BSB is out of range. Generally better with a hand weapon and shield at s4 and good for making sure your flank units don't run away, but in terms of close combat, hammerers and ironbreakers are better for points in all regards.
- Quarrelers: Crossbow dwarfs. They are dwarfs with crossbows with Heavy Armour as standard. That's about it. Take them if you want to be shooty. Also they can take shields and great weapons. Shields are good if you want to get into a shooting match with Wood Elves. Take these guys as your general core as crossbows will generally outrange all other armies at range 30 and great weapons will still allow them to hit any kind of anti archer unit and come out smiling. 40 man horde of these stubbies with great weapons is a scary prospect to charge against especially with new improved stand and shoot.
- Thunderers: Handgun Dwarfs. Upgraded to Heavy Armour and dropped two points makes them useful again, they still put the hurt on units plus with Shields and a rune of Groth One Eye nearby they make a surprisingly tough anvil to setup a beautiful countercharge with that unit of Great Weapon Quarrelers you have sitting beside them.
- Hammerers: 2 Attacks now. TWO! Stubborn elite Dwarfs with Great Weapons. For 14 points , you get a warrior of chaos stat line (barring less initiative) and a 75-point runic banner allowance. Careful who they fight though, they might attack like a Chaos Warrior but they die far easier than one especially to ranged attacks and they cannot afford to get into a grind, that's what Ironbreakers are for.
- Ironbreakers: Elite Tarpit. For 14 points each you get WS5, T4, Ld10, a 5+ parry that continues throughout combat (even if Ironbreakers charge!) and a 3+ armour save. Keep them near your BSB and you have a solid unit. They will hold down S3/4 opponents three times their number and eventually come out on top. Give them the rune of Stoicism for Stubborn or Strollaz's Rune for Vanguard to shove a mean tarpit in your opponent's face right from go or put a cheap thane with an oathstone in the unit for a great flank guarding unit.
- Slayers: This unit has changed a bit, and it's debatable if it's for better or worse. Slayers now wound on 4+ instead of raising their strength unless they needed a lower result. They have also gained the Deathblow rule, which allows each Slayer to strike once before they die in a blue-horror-esque style, useful on Troll Slayers as you get your full amount of normal attacks, not so useful on the Giant Slayers (of which you can once again make an entire unit out of). They still keep their ton of axes, but since they lost their bonus strength, great weapons will be come more common, after all, charging Slayers using great weapons will be Strength 6, regardless of whether they’re dying before they get to attack which means you're going to get a use out of all those Dwarfs once you get into combat (and they will kill everything when they get there), of course actually reaching the combat is the hard part, with no armour archers will butcher these units. (Tactic: Run a unit next to them (with the slayers as the arrow tip) and shove a BSB with the Master Rune of Grugni on the edge so that the AoE of the Rune covers the Slayers and hey presto you get slayers with a 5+ ward against shooting)
- Miners: Have a nifty special rule that lets them enter the game from any table edge after turn 2 on a roll of 3+ and they count as being in light cover in the turn they show up. They are very good against static armies that take war machines and the like, take in small groups of 10 or so and go war machine hunting or rear charging with them. As far as upgrades go, the drill isn't bad, but don't take the charges. Your miners should do the charging. They shouldn't be charged.
- Grudge Thrower: Its a standard stone thrower for 80 points. Can be buffed up with runes and engineers, the right combination can make this a very effective war machine. These can seriously troll T3 armies. Take a rune of accuracy and penetrating for 65 points to get str 4, re-rolling to hit, blasts, a bit more expensive now but still worth that Ironbreaker/Hammerer unit you traded for it.
- Bolt Thrower: Not terrible, but with a point increase to 55 pts a pop and loss of a 15 pt BS4 Engineer they became far more expensive to use effectively. Don't bother unless you are list tailoring and they serve a specific purpose.
- Cannon: At 120 points cannons are so, so. They are necessary, but usually aren't worth taking more than twice unless you're running a very heavy gunline list. Of course the price goes up as you add runes and engineers, which you should do to make it very reliable, and if you still have the battle for skull pass model (which is a tiny as fuck cannon model), be sure to field those. Cannons are best vs models with high numbers of wounds, good saves, high point cost or any combination of those.
- Gyrocopter: Gyrocopters have completely changed with the introduction of the new Army Book. They are now the dwarf equivalent of great eagles. Changed only slightly from the previous edition, they now have a gun choice, either keeping the old one (a str 3 armour piercing template), or a gun that fires d3 str 5, flaming, armour piercing shots. They also get their bomb back which can be handy when harassing opponents trying to approach your gunline or positioning behind units about to flee so they take Dangerous Terrain tests. Vanguard can be useful, but make sure that they are never in a position to get charged.
- Rangers: Sadly the days of scouting hordes are over. Having been moved to the rare section, rangers have now the same role as chameleon skinks, shades and shadow warriors, except they do it worse. However if you have any Quarrelers with Great Weapons spare that aren't fufilling your core requirement, then you should swap them for Rangers, because they have throwing axes and scout for exactly the same price.
- Bugman's Rangers: If you field Josef Bugman, one of your Rangers units is eligible to become Bugman's Rangers and Josef has to join the unit and cannot leave. Bugman's Rangers cost an additional 3pts (which makes them the most expensive troops in the list!) but have WS5, BS4 and S4, which is huge. They fight better than regular Rangers, hit harder and will throw S5 thowing axes at BS4! Because of Josef Bugman, the unit is immune to fear and terror and with Liquid Fortifaction your unit has a 66% change of being stubborn and a 25% chance of having T5. Something like 15 BF4 crossbows in the flank or behind the frontline can really ruin your opponent's day, and he will have to divert something meaningfull to deal with this threat, as this unit is not easily dismissed.
- Irondrakes: If you were ever worried about those Chaos Warriors posing a threat, just take these guys and you'll never have to worry about them ever again as they absolutely murder high Toughness high Armour squads and pump out far more shots than your warmachines, as well as making excellent Monstrous Infantry killers. Their models also look badass.
- Organ Gun: The rage machine from the previous edition is revamped and is now BS based, but rolls two artillery dice rather than one. It can also now be given up to 50 points of Runes, as well as putting an engineer on it allowing it to hit a lot more than it previously could. Also, the range is now 30" allowing them to keep up with your Crossbows in range and even hit those elves trying to snipe you.
- Flame Cannon: Against Gobbos, Monstrous Infantry and Skaven, it can be used very effectively to cause panic tests on any large unit, being able to throw down a str 5 flamer template is amazing in fantasy especially when it causes d3 wounds. Don't be worried about taking one as its range is a lot longer than it looks, be sure to give it runes though, nothing's worse than having your cannon blow up when you really need those Night Goblins to panic.
- Gyrobomber: An extra large Gyrocopter that can wipe out entire hordes on its own, this thing will be a firing magnet, and as such can be used to distract the enemy away from a gunline, or stop the enemy from shooting your own guys if running a close combat list.
Building Your Army
Buying Your Army
Buy a battleline set or two to start, you can get a couple for the same price as a battalion from the official site if you know where to look. Do all of the warriors as the same type, 40 warriors in one unit is far more effective than two units of 20. The shooty dwarfs should be assembled depending on who you usually face. Thunderers and quarrelers should generally have shields. The 4 cannons are really good both ways.
Next, buy a dwarf lord with shieldbearers. Gyrocopters will never go amiss, but make sure that you can afford it if you made the cannon into an organ gun. Keep buying more dwarfs, a Runelord is no longer a good choice due to barely being better than the Runesmith for 60 pts more, but a BSB is still ever-useful.
If you feel you need to stretch your converter's wings and make something unique/different or aren't all that impressed by the dwarf miniature range, learn first and foremost how to green stuff beards. To make models look really good is easy, any detail you don't like just cover it with green stuff beard, and any model will always look better with an extra big bushy beard on top except for those otherwise stated. Old Longbeard models are a good reference for these conversions. Also, braids on either side of the beard add a Celtic feel to the models which is reminiscent of the previous incarnation of Dwarf fluff when they were a little less viking-y. More beard seems to go a long way, especially because the plastic sculpts don't really compare to any of the newer models coming out. Also bigger round shields do absolute wonders for Dwarf models, using thumbtacks or converted marauder shields make your models look amazing.
Repeat after me. War machines and lots of shit that refuses to die.
The nature of the Dwarf units is more restrictive than most other armies, since you basically have only two types of units: infantry and war machines. You don't have cavalry, war beasts, monstrous units, monsters, swarms, you don't even have cheap chaff or skirmishers! This, together with M3 across the board (Gyrocopters not counting) means that Dwarf players historically tend to play rather stationary. But make no mistake, it might seem easier to play like this, but it means that mistakes during the deployment phase are so much worse, since you have little chance to remedy them. With so little variation in your units, the differences often lie in the detail:
Dwarf Warriors vs. Longbeards: With the exception of a pure gunline, you're going to field at least one of these two units. It depends a little on your battleplan, but Dwarf Warriors with shields are the better choice for a tarpit, since they have the same defensive abilities as Longbeards (T4, AS4+, parry 6+/5+, LD9) at a lower price. Field something like 30 in at least 5 ranks, they can take a lot of punches. Dwarfs in general work very well with Great Weapons, as they anyway have a low initiative. 21 Longbeards with Great Weapons and the Rune of Stoicism work well, making them stubborn. They neither need a character to support nor the BSB-bubble but are still capable of holding their ground against most enemies. Be it Warriors or Longbeards, always have a full command.
Quarrelers vs. Thunderers: Well, both weapons have merits. The crossbow has the longer range, the handgun is armour piercing. There are more occasions where the handgun takes the cake, but the crossbow just has these extra 6", so if your opponent stays out of the standard 24" distance (or you have the first turn and your opponent was clever enough to deploy his troops half an inch behind the line), you would lose one round of shooting to move your Thunderers into threat range. Additionally, Quarrelers can be equipped with great weapons as well as shields, Thunderers only have access to shields. The command units basically only give bonusses in close combat and are therefore not really necessary as a) the champion doesn't have a better BS but an additional attack, b) both weapons are move-or-fire so the musician's main benefit for shooting units - the swift reform - has no use here and c) they cannot take magic standards and generally these units are not your dedicated close combat fighters anyway. Save the 30 points and get two more troops instead, maybe unless you're playing a gunline and your shooting units also have to fill the role as close combat units, in that case definitely get a full command unit! Superiority breaks down like this, based on the distance to the enemy:
- 30"-25": Quarrelers (duh)
- 24"-16": Thunderers
- 15"-13": Quarrelers
- 12"- 1": Thunderers
Hammerers vs. Ironbreakers: Your two main elite fighting units. With the changes in the last edition, Hammerers became just really, really good. They tick all the right boxes. Their only weakness, if any, is a relative low armour save, especially in close combat (buying them a shield only helps against shooting). But they dish out pain like little else and are stubborn, so they work just as well in two small units. Ironbreakers on the other hand are very resilient and with S5 on the charge and maybe a Runesmith in the unit are not to be dismissed offensively either. I'd say it depends a little on what you have in your core and what you battleplan is. If you're going for a classic hammer & anvil tactic, you need a big tarpit unit to hold your opponent and a hard hitting unit to flank them. You have a large block of Warriors with shields? Take a unit of Hammerers either side. You have Longbeards with great weapons? Have them around a unit of Ironbreakers.
Miners vs. Rangers: Your two choices for units with deployment special rules, a better form of Ambushers for the Miners and Scouts for the Rangers. To be honest, neither is too great. Dwarfs are slow, very slow, so they just don't make for good ambushers. Look at the rule: They can arrive starting from turn 2 (66% chance), cannot charge or march that turn, have to be placed in contact with a bord edge and only move 3". That means you can charge on turn 3 at the earliest, and only something which is still pretty close to the bord edge. And your opponent has a turn to react to your arrival. Minimum unit size for Miners is 10, at 10pts a model that's the cost of a Gyrocopter with vanguard. It would be different if Miners were core troops (which imho would also fit well with the fluff) and/or you could/would field two larger units. But since they are a special unit and literally every other choice in that category is superior, there will probably only be one relatively small unit. Yes, it can work in the right situation, but for me it is not a choice for a general army. A vanguard Gyrocopter is more versatile. Rangers have a similar problem. Scout is a nifty rule, and a decent unit with crossbows cleverly positioned can be a real threat for your opponent. Rangers would benefit from being Skirmishers, which would allow them more flexibility and would go nicely with their throwing axes (which are just great, never forget you have them!). Similar to Miners, Rangers are clearly the weakest choice in the rare slot, it would help if they were special troops. Both Miners and Rangers have the problem that you will have a hard time reinforcing their position with your slow army, which often likes to stay back and give their war machines more time to shoot the enemy to pieces anyway. They can be effective in the right situation, but most of the time that can also be done by Gyrocopters. And both units suffered a major blow when this one rune was scrapped which would have allowed a character to join either unit and gain their special deployment rule (
ideally combined with that other scrapped rune that forced an enemy unit to charge...). All in all Rangers can be a little more valuable, since you can get five at 14pts a piece and they can be deployed at a strategic position to deny it your enemy Scouts and Vanguard in 12", which can be crucial.
Cannon vs. Grudge Thrower vs. Bolt Thrower vs. Organ Gun vs. Flame Cannon: Phew, that's not easy, they're all great! Usually you shouldn't leave your hold without an Organ Gun, it's just too good. The good old Cannon strikes fear in your opponent's heart like little else, and there is always a target worth a shot. When in doubt or you don't know which army you will be facing, you don't make a mistake with fielding these two.
Gyrocopters vs. Gyrobombers: For only 80pts, there is almost always room in your army for at least one Gyrocopter. They make for good war machine hunters or harassing enemy units with their steam cannon, especially some pesky waywatchers or similar hiding behind cover. The Gyrobomber is nice enough, but it is inferior to Irondrakes, Organ Guns or Flame Cannons in the rare slots.
Runic and Magic Items
The Hammer of Karak Drazh: For 65 points you get a magic weapon that grants +3I and causes anyone you hit to drop down to I1. Good against high Initiative ASF units for taking away their re-rolls and against some characters/monsters for allowing your troops to attack before the enemy they're fighting. (Debatable. See discussion page)
The Red Axe of Karak Eight Peaks: All those Goblin and Skaven grudges have to count to something. Great if you are going up against those two armies... Otherwise you paid 50pts for making your attacks magic.
The Magnificent Armour of Borek Beetlebrow: For 60 points it gives you a 2+ armour save and a 3++ ward against str 6+ or higher, it's great if you plan on taking on lots of monsters (or holding up The End Times Lords), and even without the 3++ Ward you can still have a 5+ Ward in close combat if you were charged thanks to your Shieldwall rule. Shieldbearers or a simple shield will also take that 2+ save to a 1+ save.
Silver Horn of Vengeance: Even more grudge holding. For 45 points it gives for 1 turn, all dwarfs within 6" devastating charge (good for when the enemy reaches a gunline), and once used, causes fear in all elves. This can really bring the hurt with your Longbeards and Elite units, everyone Striking with two attacks and at S5 or S7 with great weapons will crush everyone in its path, and it also has good synergy with Slayers armed with two hand weapons since if Slayers die they still get to make one attack (and in this case they normally make 3 attacks for Troll Slayers, 4 for Giant Slayers) allowing you to throw a bucket of dice in combat.
The Fiery Ring of Thori: For 35 Points you get a str 4 flaming, breath weapon. This is a great item, and there's very little reason why you cannot put this on a character (even if it's a minor one), Breath Weapons are fantastic in 8th edition and perfect for dealing with the hordes you'll be up against.
The Banner of the Lost Holds: For 100pts it's unit rerolls to wound. That sounds good but it can only be put on your BSB and is usually not the best choice for doing so. Can also be used by a slayer unit if you field Ungrim Ironfist!
Runes: Runes come in many different flavours: Weapon runes, Armour Runes, Talismans Runes, Banner Runes and Warmachine Runes. An important thing to note is that apart from Warmachine runes, all characters can use any kind of rune. However some specific runes only allow certain characters to use them (e.g Runefolk) Also remember that Slayers (Dragon / Daemon) can only equip weapon runes. Like before Runes come with rules. They boil down to, only 3 runes a weapon, no rune combination stacking, and runes can only be put on Hand Weapons so don't buy other weapons for your Dwarf. Runes stack now, for example It costs 25 points to get a basic dispel rune but then costs 45 to get 2. And then when you take 2 stacked dispel runes on one character they do not have the same effect as 2 separate dispel runes on 2 different characters. They got rid of a few Runes too, no more Master Rune of Kragg the Grim, but they've changed a few as well, and maybe not for the better.
Master Rune of Skalf Blackhammer: You wound everything on 2+ and everything in magic armour on 3+. It works fine against high Toughness targets but then you're usually stuck fighting them in combat for a few turns anyway.
Master Rune of Smiting: D6 wounds per successful wound. Works well on character killer builds and even if you cause only one unsaved wound you'll still kill nearly every Lord character 50% of the time.
Master Rune of Alaric the Mad: The generic ignores armour thing. With how common ward saves are now (and with how high Dwarf Lords can increase their Strength) armour isn't really that much of an issue for you anyway. If you are up against things like Heavy Cavalry then this can help if you put it on a lesser character.
Master Rune of Breaking: 50pts for breaking magic weapons only on a 2+, when you hit. This one is pretty great, especially with how many magic items are going to be showing up in an opponents army. If you have the points to spare, it's well worth taking.
Master Rune of Dragon Slaying: This one really isn't worth it, any dragon out there can easily avoid your Dwarf Lord with this rune making it pointless, and it's effects can be duplicated almost just as well with Runes of Might.
Master Rune of Flight: Gives you a single 12" attack with your Lord that always hits on a 2+. Not a good idea to take this on its own as one more wound usually won't help you all that much, stack it with the Rune of Might for monster/character sniping.
Master Rune of Snorri Spangelhelm: 25pts for ALWAYS hitting on 2+s. Awesome, there's almost never a reason for not being able to fit this in your armour somewhere.
Master Rune of Swiftness: 25pts for ASF on dwarfs. This is amazing. Also gives you rerolls to hit against any army with Initiative 3 and lower (aka most armies) and can be stacked with the Rune of Speed for re-rolls against almost everyone.
Rune of Demon Slaying: Only works on Daemons but if you're tailoring a list and don't mind your Lord choice being pretty squishy, go ahead and get it 3 times. The first two ranks are good facing Daemons, but the third is not so great as it leaves you without any additional magic defences.
Rune of Fire: One rune isn't anything to write home about, but with how great Breath Weapons are in 8th edition, two runes are awesome. The third is not worth it as it leaves you without any additional armour. This also isn't a Master Rune, so if you're up against somebody who loves spamming hordes you can attach it to several Thanes for horde killing BBQ lists.
Rune of Fury: All around really good, Frenzy is much more easily reigned in than it was before(and Dwarfs have great leadership across the board anyway), and the third rune is fantastic if you plan on getting stuck in combat against horde armies.
Rune of Dismay: Fear is useful (especially if you have the hatred result on everything), but the next two runes aren't. Terror is nowhere near as good as it once was and you're almost never going to make use of the full effects of the second two runes.
Rune of Cleaving: All three of these runes are pretty decent choices, and they have great synergy with nearly every other weapon rune, if you have any points to spare you can't go wrong with one or two of these runes.
Rune of Might: Good for a monster hunter character or a character killer. Two of these plus the Master Rune of Swiftness pretty much guarantee you'll drop any monsters/Toughness 5 characters stupid enough to attack your Dwarf.
Rune of Striking: This can be useful, if you're after Hordes and don't want to rely on chance to get hatred then go up to the second level, the first and last levels aren't really worth it as Dwarfs already have a high enough Weapon Skill.
Grudge Rune: Perfect for character killers, this and 2 Runes of Cleaving is pretty formidable in challenges.
Rune of Parrying: Another great rune if you're making a Lord who murders in challenges or want to protect a character against low WS opponents (making them hit the dwarf on 6's).
Rune of Speed: Same as before, +1 intiative. Great way to get magic attacks for only 5 points.
Master Rune of Adamant: Gives the wearer T10 for 100pts. If combined with the Rune of Parrying the character becomes nearly invincible against anything that doesn't auto-wound him, making a fantastic tarpit that deals good damage if you give your Dwarf a great weapon.
Master Rune of Gromil: Unmodifiable 1+ armour save for 30pts. In every army other than dwarfs, it would be epic. Sadly this is easily achieved by Shieldbearers and a rune of stone which you were going to take anyway, if you want to take it though put it on a thane and send him off to bother lower tier heroes.
Rune of Fortitude: The first rank is fantastic, who doesn't want a T6 character? The next two ranks are not as worth it, you can get a better Ward Save elsewhere and ignoring Multiple Wounds is a little too situational to be that useful. (Debatable. See discussion page)
Rune of Iron: The first two runes are fantastic, combine those with the Rune of Fortitude and shieldbearers and you have a T7 6W character that still has a decent amount of points to spend on magic items. The third rank isn't that worth it as Regen Saves can no longer be taken after Ward Saves and you can get a better Ward Save elsewhere.
Rune of Shielding: For 25pts you get a 2++ against shooting. Put it on an Runelord on an Anvil, but otherwise you can do just fine with the "Look Out Sir!" rule.
Rune of Preservation: 25pts for a 2++ against Killing Blow. This one is a bit situational, and is only really great if you're list tailoring.
Rune of Impact: If you have 10 points to spare then one impact hit isn't that bad, consider it another attack that auto hits for 10 points.
Rune of Stone: Same as before, 5 points for +1 armour. Epic rune that ignores the rule of pride (e.g can take it on each of my thanes), the only reason you won't take this on everyone is if you used up your full points allowance elsewhere.
Master Rune of Groth One-Eye: Dwarfs have great leadership across the board, and giving everyone within 12" stubborn means you'll almost never fail a break test, especially if the general is nearby, a great choice to put on a unit of Hammerers.
Master Rune of Stromni Redbeard: An extra +1 combat res to all dwarf units within 12", can be great in larger games but is usually outshone by Runes of battle. If you want to take it anyway it stacks fairly well if you have another unit with the Runes of Battle.
Master Rune of Valaya: 65 point drop for a total of +4 to dispel (+2 for being Dwarfs, +2 for the banner) and at the start of each magic phase, each Remains in Play is dispelled on a 3+. A fantastic rune and for general lists and the one rune you never want to go without. With how powerful current magic is this is the best protection you have against Init test or die spells (like the purple sun) as well as making the opponents army much weaker because you can almost reliably dispel spells like Throne of Vines every turn without wasting power dice.
Master Rune of Grungni: BSB only. Another fantastic rune and perfect for gunline lists since it even gives your cannons within 6" the 5+ Ward Save.
Rune of Battle: The first two runes are good, but the third can only be put on the BSB and costs a little too much to be worth it since you'll already be getting +3 combat res from just the banner alone, attacking in one more rank is usually overkill at that point.
Rune of Slowness: The first two runes are good for ensuring your enemies fail their charge, and then get countercharged by you (or shot at again, which can do more damage), and it has good synergy with the Silver Horn to get you those extra attacks when you charge. The last rune isn't as good because it can only go on the BSB, though giving opponents ASL is still really helpful with your Initiative 2.
Rune of Sanctuary: Magic Resistance isn't as great as it used to be, and it won't stop that purple sun from wiping out a unit, but you can still make use out of the first level, as adding/not adding it allows multiple units to take the Rune of Battle on their banners too.
Rune of Stoicism: Another easy way Dwarfs can get stubborn. A good banner if you didn't want to put the Master Rune of Groth One-Eye on that unit of Hammerers. Put it on and have fun never running away.
Strollaz' Rune: Vanguard for 35pts. Really nice on dwarfs, you can build an army around this rune (since you can put it on more than half an army), consider it an extra turn without getting shot at. But don't bother taking this on Rangers since they still have to remain 12" away from the foe and still can't charge first turn, if you go first. Works really well with Irondrakes.
Rune of Courage: All of the Dwarf units that can carry this will not get much use out of it anyway, it doesn't work well with other banner runes, and Dwarfs already have great leadership. If you're up against a lot of Undead or Daemons it might be somewhat handy, but there's generally better banner runes.
Ancestor Rune: This is another rune you can build an army around, With the Master Rune of Groth One-Eyer giving you Stubborn, you can essentially make a unit Unbreakable in combat for one round (or even without Stubborn if you didn't lose by much). If this rune had a downside it's that it doesn't stack well with the other runes for normal units.
Master Rune of Balance: 50 points for a 4+ chance of stealing a power dice. Not as good as it once was, but if you have the points to spare there's no harm in adding it to a Runesmith.
Master Rune of Spite: Generally your points are better spent on armour so that it's effects don't have to come into play, though if you're making a Slayer themed list this one can prove useful.
Master Rune of Passage: 10 pts to auto-pass Dangerous Terrain tests. Good on a Runesmith or thane for helping a Horde pass through terrain pieces.
Rune of Warding: The easy Ward Save runes. These are not nearly as great as they used to be since with Hand Weapon and Shield your character has a 5+ Ward Save by default when charged in close combat against S8 and lower (aka everything he has a chance at killing) so only the third rune will help you all that much, and "Look Out Sir!"/Master Rune of Grungni should protect your character well enough outside of combat. That said going up to the third level still does help a lot if you want a Rune weapon to go along with your Lord. (Highly debatable! See discussion page for continuation)
Rune of Spellbreaking: Dispel Scroll that can be taken on more than one Runefolk. Same price as a dispel scroll. For 20 more points you get the stack which is the same except you have a 50% chance to remove the spell from the wizard. 1 is a must take (and you can take them across multiple Runesmiths), though 2 stacked are only really worth it if you know your opponent is going to be using spells like the Purple Sun or buffs like in the Lore of Life.
Rune of Luck: This rune can be worth it if you have a point sink Lord that you don't want to lose to a characteristic test, otherwise it's more of a way to bypass the Rule of Pride concerning Talismans.
Rune of Furnace: 2++ ward against flaming attacks for 5pts. A great way to bypass the Rule of Pride, and with how common flaming attacks are becoming it can be handy to have on a character. Also very important when facing Lore of Metal.
Master Rune of Immolation: The ultimate Greater Good Rune. For 30 points you can detonate your warmachine at will, after combat, to cause 2D6 S4 flaming hits to enemies. Not bad and it can really help you screw over war machine hunters and prevent them from running through the rest of your gunline.
Master Rune of Disguise: Not a bad rune/way to get hard cover if you don't want to pay for more Master Engineers.
Rune of Penetrating: The first rune is excellent on every warmachine besides cannons, the second one isn't nearly as good, you can almost always spend those 10 points elsewhere.
Stalwart Rune: Does a good job at speed bumping Warmachine Hunters, but it also costs the same as the Master Rune of Immolation which can kill those hunters outright. Take it if you already have the Master Rune of Immolation on something else, but otherwise it's not that good.
Rune of Accuracy: For 25 points you get +1 BS or reroll the scatter dice if you use one. Almost mandatory on Organ Guns and Grudge Throwers.
Rune of Forging: For 25 points you can reroll an artillery dice whenever a missfire occurs... Almost mandatory on Cannons and arguably Organ guns.
Flakksson's Rune of Seeking: For 15 points your bolt throwers get +1 to hit against flying foes. This won't help too much against flying units, but it can cause lone fliers a lot of grief.
Rune of Burning: For 5 points you get flaming attacks. This is arguably the best rune in the book because it allows you to set up different warmachines with very similar runes and bypass the rule of pride and it makes anything with regeneration, flammable or ethereal (war machines with runes have magical attacks) wet themselves. But of course it also means that everything with a 2+ ward save against flaming attacks will laugh you in the face. Never slam it on all your war machines!
Rule one of Playing Dwarfs, Dwarfs have no Wizards. Dwarfs have runes which can be cast from the Anvil of Doom in the form of innate bound spells.
Anvil of Doom
This has been completely redone (as it is in every edition). It now grants an additional 2 wounds, a 5++, bodyguards, 1 power and 1 dispel dice and is a 170pts upgrade for a Runelord (and so on its own is more expensive than the Runelord). Multiple Anvils do not stack and it is still a war-machine and can thus be entrenched, as well as instant killed by Pit of Shades/Dwellers Below/Purple Sun (along with the Runelord). The runes are now cast as innate bound spells, the Rune of Hearth and Home gives immune to psychology, which isn't that great because everyone is LD 9, the Rune of Oath and Steel gives a +1 to your armour save, by far the most useful ability especially when combined with Shieldwall, lastly The Rune of Wrath and Ruin when struck on a 5+ is 24" direct damage spell that hits 2d6 times at str 4. Overall the Anvil is not usually worth it unless you're going up against an army without much magic (ironically what it's supposed to help stop), against more than half the armies you'll put it down, and then take it away a first or second turn (along with the Runelord) because a characteristic test spell was cast upon it. (See discussion page for more on this.)
Arguably, Dwarfs are one of the best armies at countermagic, even without a single wizard on the table. Because of their natural resistance, Dwarfs always receive a +2 to dispel attempts, as long as there are no wizards in an allied army. Together with the Master Rune of Valaya, Dwarfs dispel at +4 like a level 4 wizard. Better, even, because they also receive the +4 after a failed dispel attempt. Runesmiths/Runelords generate power/dispel dice like wizards, and no Dwarf in their right mind would ever leave their hold without at least one anyway. Because of the rune system, Dwarfs are also the only army which can have more than one dispel scroll (i.e. Rune of Spellbreaking) and even ones which can destroy a spell after dispelling it. Because Dwarfs don't have magic outside the Anvil of Doom, you can freely use the power dice in your own phase to dispel anything which may have remained in play, meaning you rarely suffer spells for longer than one turn. The Master Rune of Balance can further tip the scale in your favor, on a 4+ robbing your opponent of a power dice while giving it to you for dispelling. Should you go for an Anvil of Doom, you will receive an additional guaranteed power/dispel dice per turn, so a dedicated anti-magic Dwarf list with a Runelord + Anvil, 1/2 Runesmiths, MR of Balance, 2/3 Runes of Spellbreaking (potentially at level 2) and MR of Valaya (remember it can be taken by Hammerers!) can seriously shut down a magic phase. Watch your Vampire Counts opponent cry his eyes out.
A practice rarely seen, due to most Battle-Scrolls being crappy, those that can give Dwarfs wizards appearing pretty late and many players and TOs having never heard of them (although technically they are perfectly legal). Quick reminder - a Battle Scroll is like a formation from 40k, but in Fantasy. Battle Scrolls can be taken by any army, but rules for Allied Armies apply, so Dwarfs would have little use for, say, Vampire Counts Battle Scroll. However, Empire is a long-standing ally of the Dwarfs, and Imperial wizards kinda fit in. There are two fitting Empire Battlescrolls Dwarfs can use. Defenders of Middenheim is a worse one, as it is large, expensive, makes your army feel less Dwarfy, can be seen as powergaming dickery, because in addition to Wizard you get Ghal'Maraz and cavalry, and the Wizard in question has Lore of Beasts, which isn't the best thing for Dwarfs. On the plus side (which can and will be attributed to powergaming dickery as well), taking this Battlescrolls lifts the requirement for spending 25% on Core. White Wizards of Templehof is much better. It is a small nice Battlescroll, containing a level 4 Light Wizard on foot, a Luminark (as if you didn't have enough warmachines) and 20-man unit of Free Company, which is crap, but hey, you can just send them to die somewhere. Lore of Light is pretty nice for Dwarfs, fixing their Initiative and Movement issues and being a quite nice lore all round. Getting ASF when fighting Elves as a Dwarf is also priceless.
As the rulebook has set your army up to nearly never make the first move in anything from army placement to attack rolls, it is a good idea to theme your army around getting the enemy to come to you. try for at least one cannon just incase another git brings a cannon so you won't have to take 5 turns of cannonballs to the face (OUCH!).
Because dwarfs have such shit movement (M3), it's a good idea to just let your combat units wait for a bit while your opponent marches towards you, especially against armies like Beastmen, Skaven, OaG, WoC, Daemons and other armies with not much shooty shit (beware as both Skaven and O&G can sometimes field nasty gunlines). As they're coming towards you, start fucking them up with your war machines, thunderers and quarrelers. Once you've weakened them a bit, charge in for the kill with your combat units. Warning: this tactic will get you bum-fucked against elves, empire and armies with lots of missile fire/magic.
Hill Defence: Stick a cannon and a grudge thrower on a hill. Array your units so that they are protecting the hill. Behind, and out of sight of the enemy, place your secret vengeance weapons- gyrocopter and anvil of doom. The plan is to use the artillery to whittle down the enemy with your war machines, then break the enemy in CC. At that point, the gyrocopter comes swooping over the hill and smashes into the fleeing units before they get a chance to rally. Beware of shooty armies and spells and template effects. This strategy requires ranks and outnumbering when you reach combat. If you can't break the enemy, the last ditch option is to use the gyrocopter to shred them into little tiny pieces using the bombs and gun.
Surprising Charge Offensive: Almost all the time you will have a defensive army. Large infantry blocks, lots of war machines, move-or-fire weapons. And your enemy will expect it. It's what Dwarfs excell at. But you can mix that up, if you want to: Strollaz Rune gives vanguard to any infantry unit you want, and with clever pairing you can give that to 4 units easily. Combine with Miners, Rangers and Gyrocopters with vanguard and you can be in your opponents face in turn two. And since you get +1 strength in the turn you charge thanks to resolute, that can be a surprise that really hurts. To be honest, most of the times the traditional approach works best for Dwarfs, but it can be a welcome change.
How to play vs...
Monsters of any kind: CANNONS. MORE CANNONS. Side note: Consider flaming Organ Guns, dwarfed by master engineers.
Skaven/Empire: Kill the war-machines/characters with cannons and then whatever else happens to present itself. Against skaven, be extra careful with the dispel game, and if they bring a Bell, focus it down, as from turn 2 onwards it can wipe your artillery. The dreaded 13th is also a must-dispel, bonus points if you can take it off the board completely through a rune. You have hatred against every Skaven unit, that should give you a nice edge in close combat.
Vampires/Tomb Kings: Kill those darn Wizards. Use Cannons, Catapults, Gyrobombs, everything. You cannot win in a war of attrition, if you are going combat, so go in for the challenge with the knowledge you will have hatred and they won't. Be aware that if they happily accept your challenge with an kind of vampire or tomb king/prince that the character is most likely set up for challenges and is going to either put out a heap of high S attacks or be hard as nails in smaller games and in larger games be both.
Wood Elves: Artillery (Flaming Cannonballs and Organ Guns) is the name of the game. The new Wood Elves are fast and shoot well, but still have lousy armour and the trees are not as devastating as they were. The problem is that they now have access to the eight magic lores and the Dark/High elves too; their magic buff options have grown a lot; neutralize their magic phase with the Rune of Valaya and some Runesmiths. Shoot the Dryads with Quarrelers. Treeman/Treekin? Use Fire.
Warriors of Chaos: The only army where the default core troop is better than your elite. WoC have no shooting units (alright, Marauder Horsemen, but come on...) and only one war machine (although that one is not to bad, destroy it quickly!), so they will come at you fast. You'll need war machines for their monsters and monstrous cavalry/infantry. Take as many Irondrakes as possible, they will melt those Chaos Warriors and even the occasional Knight right down like butter. WoC is also one of the armies with more regeneration than ward saves, so flaming attacks are always handy. Keep in mind that WoC characters have to issue challanges in close combat, so they will likely be kitted out to perform well there, and that your characters on Oath Stone have to be the ones accepting the challenge! A properly kitted out Dwarf character can hold its own though.
Lizardmen: Rejoice! Saurus Warriors have initiative 1, finally you'll be the one attacking first. Be wary of skinks, poisoned attacks are the bane of high toughness troops and war machines especially! Bring counter-magic for the inevitable Slann and war machines for the monsters.
|Warhammer Fantasy Tactics Articles|
|Forces of Order:||Bretonnia • Dwarfs • Empire • High Elves • Lizardmen • Wood Elves|
|Non-Aligned Forces:||Ogres • Tomb Kings|
|Forces of Destruction:||Beastmen • Daemons • Dark Elves • Orcs & Goblins • Skaven • Vampires • Warriors of Chaos • Chaos Dwarfs|