Thanks to getting a copy of the Dwarf book and the nice people at Bugman's Brewery, I have finally revised my original Dwarf Tactica for the new Dwarf book. Part One: Dwarves vs. Lizardmen Dwarfs have had a lot of minor changes in their new book, but the essence of fighting Dwarfs is the same as it ever was. Pretty much every Dwarf army will try to soften you up with shooting and then make you march across the table to fight their elite infantry. What differs is that you won’t see as many mono-builds. It won’t be the same shooters and the same infantry (or the same proportion of shooters and infantry) in each list. Ours response is similar. You need to either deploy several war machine hunters, take mitigating magic spells, and/or select units that will relatively undamaged by war machines. Every dwarf has very similar stats. Nearly every Dwarf has M3 and Ld 9 (a few 10s), WS 4 or 5, T 4 or 5 and S3 or 4. Everyone gets heavy armor at least now (in the old book shooters had light armor). Dwarf Special Rules Note, most of these abilities apply to first round combat only. That means Dwarfs will be slightly more likely to break us quickly after one round of combat. This also means that Dwarfs will be very good at defending and attacking buildings since every round is a new round of combat. Ancestral Grudge: Dwarfs Hate all Skaven and Orcs and Goblins. If they roll a 5 or 6 at the start of a game, they hate Lizardmen too. If they roll a 3 or 4 their characters hate all Lizardmen characters. If they roll a 1 or 2, their general hate’s your general. It’s hit-or-miss. Obviously it’s bad for us when superior WS troops get to re-roll hits on us, but it isn’t a huge deal since it doesn’t come up every game and Hatred only works once per combat. Relentless: Dwarfs do not have to make leadership tests to march ever, this includes their flyers. Not a huge deal because Dwarfs are very unlikely to fail a march test anyway with a minimum Ld of 9. Dwarf Crafted: Most Dwarf shooting other than artillery does not get a to-hit penalty to stand and shoot. Not too bad given how gunline armies expect to get a lot of stand and shoots. Most Dwarf shooters are BS 3, so this basically makes them BS 4 when shooting light arms. all Shieldwall: When receiving a charge, Dwarfs entitled to parry saves get 5+ parry save rather than the usual 6+. Resolute: Most Dwarfs get +1 Strength when charging. Resolute is a bit redundant for great weapon troops, but it is meaningful for hand weapon troops. Between this and shield wall, Dwarf players will get something attacking or defending if they take axe and board troops over great weapon troops (though great weapon troops are still the norm). Oathstone: A Dwarf character with an oathstone allows his unit to get parry saves to the flank and rear. Characters with an oathstone cannot refuse a challenge. Runic Items: Dwarfs don’t have magic items, they have runic items. They are affected by anything that can affect magic items and do just about everything the BRB items can do on the whole, plus handy anti-magic abilities. A fair number of runes have different power levels. For instance the Rune of Warding bestows a 6+, 5+, or 4+ Ward Save depending on how many points are spent. I am not going to waste forum space reviewing every runic item, so I will make generalizations. If a runic upgrade seems to be especially powerful or popular, I’ll mention it in passing with the unit(s) likely to take it. I will make note that flaming attack runes (including breath weapons) are fairly cheap and likely to show in many lists, so it’s not a bad idea to give your characters anti-flaming attack items, especially if they are running outside of a unit. I will note that Runic Standards are pretty potent. The expensive ones bestow bonuses on the unit AND friendly units within 12 inches. The Rune of Slowness deducts movement from enemy chargers and synergizes very well with typical reactive Dwarf lists. Runic Standards can also bestow Stubborn or Vanguard. The dreaded Master Rune of Balance has been halved in power. It only turns one of our power die into an enemy dispel die on a 4+. Spellbreaking runes act as common Dispel Scrolls though they can be augmented to cause enemies to lose the spell forever on a 4+. I expect to find about one rune of spellbreaking per runesmith on most Dwarf lists. Other characters CAN take them, but runesmiths and runelords have bigger runic item allowances then the others and rarely are combat powerhouses, so they don’t have too many other things to spend the points on. Runic upgrades equal magic attacks and nearly all war machines take runic upgrades. Higher State of Consciousness is not an adequate defense for a lone Slann in most cases. Finally runes can be combined so a single runic weapon could have up to three upgrades. On the whole this does not impact us. Weapons with multiple runes are NOT cheap but a Dwarf player can get around the requirement of not taking the same rune combo twice via combos. For instance on Grudge Thrower could take the Rune of Accuracy and a second one could take the Rune of Accuracy paired with the Flaming Rune. Core Warriors, Hand Weapon and Shield: Saurus Warriors will win a grindfest with a unit of Axe and Board Dwarfs, but it will take a long time without buffs or support. In most cases an A&B group of Warriors is there to tie your units in place for great weapon troops to hit you later so you want to try to bring in support to remove this anvil/tarpit hybrid quickly. Warriors, Great Weapons: Great Weapon Warriors will usually beat Saurus Warriors in a grindfest if neither side has support. You want to outnumber the gw Dwarfs, outflank them, or use magical buffs, or you are in for a bad time. Longbeards: Long Beards are like regular Warriors only they are Immune to Pyschology, have Strength 4 and Weapon Skill 5. They also give nearby Warriors rerolls on Panic tests. Unlike the old book, there is no cap on how many Longbeards you can take, so a Dwarf player can fill up their whole Core requirement entirely with these elites if they so choose. They are tough customers whether equipped with axes and shields or great weapons. Quarrelers: Quarrelers have crossbows. They have good range, and are part of most gun line or castle strategies. Unless it’s a minimum sized unit, most Quarrelers will be equipped to also double as a hammer or anvil this way depending on their equipment choices. Quarrelers can also double as Axe and Board or great weapon Warriors if given the right equipment upgrades. Thunderers: Dwarfs with handguns. Like the Quarrelers they can take shields to double as a relatively cheap anvil unit that shoots, but they can’t take great weapons. Most Dwarf players favor Quarrelers for an all-comers environment, but once in a while the armor piercing becomes more important than the greater range. One such instance is when the Dwarfs’ opponents all have Scaly Skin. Special Hammerers: Hammerers are the ultimate Hammer unit. The fact that it is a very lousy pun does not make it less true. Two attacks hitting at Strength 6 for a reasonable points cost. These guys will be a staple of nearly every competitive list and they will flatten anything we can throw at them, Sauri, dinosaurs, you name it. Their one shortcoming is they only have 5+ armor saves. That means whatever ranged attack units you have should generally concentrate your ranged attacks against enemy Hammerers unless the Dwarf player took Slayers in addition to Hammerers. Ironbreakers: Nearly as potent as Hammerers, they are the ultimate anvil unit. 3+ Armor save with a 5+ parry save. The RAW are vague on whether or not they get a 4+ parry save on the charge. Unsurprisingly, GW is overdue with a FAQ on this. Many Ironbreakers will have characters leading them with Oathstones to let them use their parry saves against flank and rear attacks. They also have Ld10 instead of the usual Ld9. If you have to fight them, you want as many high strength attacks as you can muster. Since they don’t have a lot of killing power, you might be able to break them with CR if you can deny them steadfast, but it is better to bypass these guys or tarpit them with Skinks. Miners: Miners are basically Warriors with Ambush (and they cost the same!). Chances are we will be charging at the Dwarfs full tilt, so Miners in our back field won’t bug us as much as it would another army who actually has a static gun line. Still, one should at least vaguely keep in mind that Miners can pop up in unwanted quarters when deploying and moving your forces initially. Blasting Charges used to be a joke, but now they are decent. They have a four inch range quick to fire thrown weapon that cause S4 Flaming Attacks. The Steamdrill is pretty much the same as ever. It gives the unit champion Strength +3 attacks and lets the Miners reroll failed rolls to arrive. Slayers: Slayers inflict a lot of damage on anything in front of them since they get a lot of attacks and they never need to roll more than a 4+ to wound something. They even get to make one last attack after dying in close combat (unless it’s via Impact Hits). They can alternate combat to combat between two hand weapons and great weapons, but I think most Dwarf players will use great weapons most of the time against us, unless you got them fighting a mass of Cohort Skinks (good for you if you set that up!). They wear no armor at all, so they should take most of your shooting. Better to kill them at range and delay fighting them as long as possible. Unfortunately, many will take a Runic Standard giving them Vanguard mitigating their vulnerability to ranged attacks. If you can’t shoot them, feed them sacrificial Skinks to keep them away from your heavy units. Your dinosaurs will thank you. Cannons: Cannons are very good at killing big dinosaurs, moderately good at softening up infantry blocks, and poor at killing skirmishers (save Salamanders and Razordon where they are adequate if not good). Most Dwarf armies will have a cannon or two, especially if they are making a LM specific list. Most cannons will have runic upgrades and/or engineers to make misfires less likely/less severe. Plan ahead. Either don’t take big dinosaurs at all or take at least three for target saturation. Grudge Throwers: In the unlikely event there are not cannons, there will be extra Grudge Throwers (and visa versa). Grudge throwers are very good at softening up infantry blocks, moderately good at killing big dinosaurs, and moderately good at killing skirmishers. Most GTs will have the Rune of Accuracy meaning the player gets a reroll on Artillery dice scattering. They can also have runic upgrades to boost the strength of their hits making them extra nasty to Saurus blocks. Expect them to GT the crap out of any Temple Guard you bring. An Iron Curse Icon is not a bad investment. Bolt Throwers: They can buy some upgrades to boost accuracy and damage and the like, but the regular bolt thrower isn’t any different from the main book. Dwarf players who use BTs tend to like them because they are relatively inexpensive, so they are unlikely to have a lot of rune options (if any). They are not a bad unit, but the other artillery pieces are so awesome that Bolt Throwers seem bad by comparison. Gyrocopters: Gyrocopters are way better for their points than they used to be, so you will find one or more of them in most Dwarf army lists. They have decent stats, they don’t cost a lot of points (roughly half the cost of what they used to be), and they have a potent reliable flame template (hits are S3 armor piercing). They can swap their Steam Gun for a Brimstone Gun, but I wouldn’t expect this to be used against non-Ogres (thinking of it as trading a flying Salamander for a flying Razordon). Half of your opponents Gyrocopters (rounded up) are allowed to take Vanguard. This provides a lot of maneuverability and speed in an army known for being slow. Use their speed against them. T5 with a 4+ armor save is nice and all, but they only have three wounds. If they get too far from their own main lines, you can surround them with Skinks and shoot them out of the sky. Gyrocopters can kill Skinks, but Skirmishers are hard to hit with a template en-masse if you deploy them as wide as possible (free reforms and all that). A Gyrocopter trying to fend off Skink attacks is one not burning your main infantry blocks, so I’ll take that trade-off any day. Also, Dwarf anti-magic isn’t as impermeable as it used to be and you aren’t going to find better magic missile targets in the Dwarf army than the flyers. Gyrocopters can make a flyover “shooting” attack during the movement phase once per game using the artillery die to determine the number of S3 AP hits inflicted, but they forgo their regular shooting when they do this. Misfires cause one auto-wound. Rare Organ Guns: On the whole, these are more deadly than ever. Organ Guns no longer auto-hit, so they aren’t the Chameleon Skink killers they used to be. In every other category they are stronger. They fire more shots now than before. They also can take Runic upgrades or engineer buffs including upgrades to make them misfire less often and less severely. They can pretty much shred any of our chaff units other than Chameleon Skinks to bits. If they take Runes AND engineer buffs they can boost their BS enough to put some hits on Chameleon Skinks. One nice thing about the Organ Gun rolling to hit is that we can actually make a tactical response to this unit other than “Prepare to take hot lead in the face men!” We can leap frog between barriers, forests, and marshes to enjoy some cover. This will reduce the severity of your casualties from “terrible” to “bad”. Flame Cannon: This is not the best war machine in the game, but it’s not the piece of carp it used to be. It can take runic upgrades and it can shoot farther now. It triggers panic tests when a single model dies just like a Salamander. That’s bad for our Ld5 chaff units. It inflicts d3 wounds so it can put the hurting on medium strength units like Kroxigor and Salamanders. Rangers: Rangers have moved all the way from Core to Rare, but they gained a lot. For the same cost of a great weapon Quarreler you get a gw Quarreler with throwing axes (in case quick to fire is needed) and Scout. They can be fielded as small as five with no upper limit. We don’t have war machines or anything like that, so Scouts aren’t too scary. Still, elite troops in or near our deployment zone are annoying in small numbers and dangerous in large numbers. Deployed properly, Rangers will slow down your overall advance and give the enemy more opportunities to shoot you. Deployed sloppily the Rangers will get in over their head and be overwhelmed easily providing us with free points. A small unit I’d shoot with Skinks. A large unit, I think I’d want to flank with Rippers or maybe Terradons. Irondrakes: These guys are strong on offense and defense. They have Strength 5 flaming shooting attacks with an 18 inch range. They have 4+ armor saves with 6+ Ward saves, 2+ saves versus flaming attacks. They can guard war machines or flanks. They can serve as shooting anvils and they can either hold a building or incinerate a building. The champion can take a S8 (d3 wounds) 24 inch gun for big game hunting or take a Brace of Flaming pistols to guarantee his unit always gets a Stand and Shoot. These guys get scarier with runic banners. Their one weakness (besides an inability to shoot things more than 18 inches away) is a high points cost, so you won’t see HUGE numbers of them. If someone knows a good way to handle these guys, please let me know! Gyrobomber: Somewhat less popular than the cheaper Gyrocopters. They can drop nasty bombs over units they fly over things. The bombs use the large template to inflict Strength 3 armor piercing hits. They have a chance of getting a secondary bonus hits with a small template. The bomb is very good at killing Skinks, unless the scatter dice rolls poorly. Given that Gyrocopters are much cheaper, don’t come out of Rare points, and even have a token bombing run, I’m not sure we’ll see many bombers. Bombers aren’t bad, but I don’t think they stack up against the other Rare selections. Gyrobombers have the same statline of Gyrocopters, so my advice is the same: shoot them with Skinks or magic missiles. Characters Dwarf Lords and Thanes: The basic Lord and Hero respectively. The new books has reduced the difference between Dwarf Lords and Thanes. They are about as similar to each other as Oldbloods and Scar Veterans. Both have Ld 10, so about the only thing Lords can do that Thanes can’t do is take Shield Bearers (they bestow extra attacks, wounds, and armor save). Both Lords and Thanes can be geared out as killers, but defensive builds are likely to be the norm, especially a Lord with Shieldbearers or Thane BSBs. Note Thanes are the only BSB option. I expect most Dwarf lists to take a Thane BSB. I do not think we will see too many non-BSB versions of Thanes barring the occasional Thane general. Rune Lords and Runesmiths: These guys saw a major revamp. Their anti-magic is not guaranteed anymore. Both Rune characters can channel dispel dice now, but they no longer automatically generate dispel dice. Both characters bestow AP and MR on units they lead (which means they are more likely to join proactive units now rather than hang out with the war machines like in the old says). I expect most players will favor two runesmiths over a single runelord, so they can spread the bonuses out. There really isn’t anything a Rune Lord can do that two Runesmith can’t other than take the Anvil of Doom (which is now considered a very weak fluff choice). Anvil of Doom: The Anvil of the Doom climbed all the way up the Nerf Tree, fell and hit every branch on the way down. The Anvil of Doom upgrade turns a Runelord into a war machine. They add one free dispel die to the Dwarf’s pool every turn (used to be two). The Anvil has the same three effects. The good news for Dwarfs if they no longer have a catastrophic misfire chart. The bad news is that the Anvil now casts the three effects as bound spells and they lost their best special power from before. Since most Dwarf players will only have three spells and no more, any spell not cast with IF should be fairly easy to dispel. Note, the penalty for bound spells rolling Irresistible Force is negligible, so a wise Dwarf player will use lots of dice to cast his spells. It might be good in a team game where you have an allied spell caster absorbing most of the enemy dispels but the Anvil spells specific Dwarfs, so GW has closed that loophole. All Anvil spells have 24 inch range and very low casting difficulties. Rune of Hearth and Home immunizes a friendly Dwarf unit. No biggie, Dwarfs usually pass their psych tests anyway. The Rune of Oath and Steel is okay, it gives a temporary boost of +1 to a unit’s armor save. The Rune of Wrath and Ruin is the best one, inflicting 2d6 Strength 4 hits on a target unit. Not too bad, but Dwarfs have artillery that does this for cheaper. Demon and Dragon Slayers: Slayer characters are good at killing things, but they can only join Slayer units or fight alone. Their damage output is not usually that much better than an offensively tooled up thane or dwarf lord of similar costs (and Slayer characters can’t serve as general). They aren’t the pure fluff choice they used to be, but it is risky putting lots of points into something that has no armor save. Both Slayer characters inflict d3 wounds per hit when fighting Monsters. Demon Slayers also force foes to reroll successful Ward Saves. Other than those things, they are basically ordinary Slayers with more wounds and attacks. Master Engineer: These guys boost war machines nearby, though only one at a time. They bestow their BS skill on war machines and allow the war machine to reroll artillery die. They are good at letting grudge throwers re-roll scatter dice, but they are probably at their best with Organ Guns since the Organ Gun uses BS AND artillery dice. Not only do these guys make war machines more accurate, they also make them harder to kill with war machine hunters. MEs aren’t that tough as characters go, but most Chameleon Skinks and Terradons are not equipped to handle even weak characters. Rippers should do well. Note that MEs get a look out sir when near war machines so trying to pick them off with magic missiles will probably not work. They can take firearms, but most won’t bother since MEs can no longer shoot their guns while assisting a war machine. Special Characters: Dwarfs have gained quite a few SCs, though they are mostly resurrected old characters rather than brand spanking new characters. I doubt you’ll SC Lords very often given their points cost. The heroes (the last two I listed) are reasonably priced and versatile, so you may see these guys periodically. Thorgrim Grudgebearer is an offensive power house constrained by his M3 score. He gives a lot of buffs to units he joins and has Heroic Killing Blow. In the unlikely event you see him (minimum 2600 point game), keep your heavies away from his unit and tarpit it or redirect it. He also gives a +3 bonus on the Ancestral Grudge roll at the beginning of the game with eternal Hatred if “7+” is rolled. If you do kill him (good luck, his saves are awesome), all Dwarfs gain Frenzy which could be a good thing, but will probably be painful for you. Thorek Ironbrow is a Rune Lord SC that has to take the Anvil of Doom, but he can’t take the Spellbreaker rune (which is half the reason people take Runesmiths). I doubt you’ll ever see him fielded against you. Ungrim Ironfist is a Slayer SC that can actually serve as general and allows Slayers to take very potent Runic banners. He also has a 6+ armor save and 4+ Ward Save which is good by Slayer standards. He is nigh-mandatory for Slayer themed lists, but not likely to see play in ordinary armies. With ASF and +1 to wound, Belgar Ironhammer is unofficially an anti-character character. He is a Dwarf with ASF and potent defenses. Naturally since he is good at fighting enemy characters, you should generally fighty characters away from him. Josef Bugman is probably the SC that will see the most use and he’s certainly the SC my local meta’s Dwarf players favor. A potent fighter that buffs his unit. Note that the buffs change round to round based on a 2d6 roll but it will usually be Stubborn. All the buffs are pretty good. He fits with most lists because an ueber-elite unit of scouts works well with both aggressive and reactive Dwarf lists depending on Bugman’s boys are meant to be the first strike of the offensive or a potent stalling unit. He can also heal himself or other characters in his units d3 wounds every round, so you can’t nickel and dime him, you have to kill him quickly or not at all. Grimm Burlockson is a SC Master Engineer. Unlike most Engineers Grimm can let a unit reroll an artillery die determining a cannonball bounce or the distance of a flame thrower toss. OR he can also boost the range of Quarrelers or Thunderers in lieu of a war machine if he so choose. OR he can cause a single unit to reroll all misses with ranged attacks. Unique among engineers, he can shoot his firearm while doing all this (drop in the bucket compared to his buff but worth mentioning). The one downside is he is less disciplined than other engineers. He has a 1 in 6 chance of not being able to buff anything (but he still gets his shot). Oh yeah, due to his steam punk cybernetics he has a 1 in 3 chance of breaking magic weapons of enemy characters if he scores a hit on them in close combat and has Strength 6. Given he only has two attacks, charging him in close combat is probably still a good idea.