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8th Ed. Dwarf Tactica (detailed)

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Scalenex, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Part One: Dwarves vs. Lizardmen

    Every dwarf has very similar stats. The non-characters do not deviate from the following (except Slayers). Nearly everything has a hand weapon and shield or great weapon as their sole options. Regular troops have WS 4 and S3, elites have WS 5 and S4. Every Dwarf (save Ironbreakers and Slayers) has heavy armor.

    M3 WS4 or 5 BS3 S3 or 4 T4 W1 I2 A1 Ld9

    Most dwarf generals learn that the win more battles if most of their troops have great weapons and are deployed in horde formation. Killing power is usually more useful in 8th edition than defense and with their low Initiative scores, dwarves don’t lose must with ASL. Hand weapon and shield units are usually used as tarpits, expendable chaff, and for holding objectives like buildings. Most great weapon troops can take shields as an option, but since it’s only good for missile fire, few players choose to do so.

    This tells you the basics. Dwarves pretty much always score more hits than the LM they are fighting, they are tough, but not impossible to wound. A dwarf with a handweapon will do respectable against most things the LM throw at them, but a GW will chop down most of our list easily. Their basic Core not only outfights our basic Core, but are cheaper meaning they win any war of attrition. If you can’t flank the dwarves, or outnumber them locally, or use augments and hexes to swing fights in your favor they will win fair fights.

    Dwarfs aren’t required to fight fair (we don’t, why should they?). LM lack ranged hitting power, dwarves excel in it. In most cases a Dwarf opponent who knows what’s he’s doing will castle up and blast you with war machines as you advance so not only will his troops outfight yours, your blocks will arrived on the field depleted by shooting. You need to either deploy several war machine hunters, take mitigating magic spells, and/or select units that will relatively undamaged by war machines.

    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.


    Core


    Warriors: Regular troop, HW+Shield or GW. No special ability. In a straight forward fight, a horde of GW Warriors will kill Saurus or Skroxigor noticeably faster than the LM kill them. Warriors are cheaper than Saurus too, so wars of attrition are extra bad. If you aren’t outnumbering them, flanking them, or using magic to tip the scales, Dwarf warriors will beat pretty much all LM units save Temple Guard (who they tend to draw with).

    Longbeards: Elite troop, HW+Shield or GW. Immune to panic, other units within 6” can reroll failed panic tests. The special ability is not super relevant though because with Ld9 dwarves rarely panic and dwarf battlelines tend to be compact meaning most troops are in BSB range most of the time. The extra S and WS is what one should be concerned with. Long Beards can take Runic Standards.

    Quarrelers: Regular troop, HW, HW+Shield, or GW. I have yet to be impressed by what most missile fire in 8th ed can accomplish. Our blocks aren’t likely to be significantly damaged by crossbow fire, but they still fight like dwarves. Skirmishers are weak enough to not like being shot at, but if you have room to move around you can often avoid the firing arcs of quarrelers. Remember crossbows are move or fire. Since LM have little in the way of long ranged attacks, most Dwarf opponents will castle up and force you to come to them. A large block of quarrelers can shoot at you while you are advancing, then play like they are regular warriors and wail on you with great weapons.

    Handgunners: Regular Troop, HW or HW+Shield. A little less range than crossbows and moderately more expensive. They can’t take great weapons but they get a great consolation prize: +1 to hit in shooting due to a Dwarf special rule. With their unusual accurate shots they are deadly to our skirmisher units and can even get a few hits on chamo skinks. They are still move or fire, so you can deny them the opportunity to shoot at your juicier skirmishing units by dancing around the board.

    Rangers: A ranger is an upgraded unit of GW warriors, longbeards, or quarrelers that has Scout. As far as I know they are the only Scout in all of Warhammer that doesn’t have Skirmish (EDIT Ogre Maneaters can be given Scout and do not have Skirmish). Unless they take a special character (Josef Bugman), dwarves can only take one unit of rangers. They could take a small unit for harassment or a large unit to provide a significant threat behind your own lines. If you think your opponent might have rangers, try not to leave any strategically important buildings open or they will be near impossible to dislodge. Dwarfs usually finish deploying before most other armies. Another use for Rangers is for dwarf players who want to have the last drop to ensure a response to an enemy surprise deployment. Rangers can also take throwing axes, mostly for stand and shoot.


    Special, Infantry


    Hammerers: Elite with great weapons. Stubborn, when joined by a dwarf lord, they gain immunity to Fear and Terror as well. They hit at S6 and are stubborn. Basically they will tear through anything we have, an excellent deal for their points. They can take Runic Standards.

    Miners: Regulars with great weapons. Miners have tunneling which is functionally identical to ambushing in all important respects. If the unit champion is upgraded with a steam drill, they can reroll failed rolls to arrive. They have another optional upgrade: blasting charges. It sounds good but it’s essentially a very overpriced one use weak stand and shoot. If you leave anything in the back the miners may come for them. Also watch out if the dwarves seem to be funneling your troops to a side table edge, they may be trying to set up a miner flank charge. If you are facing an all comers list, there’s a good chance the dwarfs will have a very small unit of miners (5-10). Small units of miners are a popular dwarf remedy versus enemy war machines, but said unit is not likely to be more than an annoyance to a LM army seeing as we do not have stationary war machines.

    Ironbreakers: Elites with hand weapons and shields. They have gromil armor which boosts their save from 4+ to 3+. A block of these guys can tie up almost anything all game, they only inflict S4 hits though so won’t kill much. They are a little steeply priced for what they do, and consequently they are not a super popular unit choice.

    Troll Slayers: Slayers are the red headed step children of dwarf infantry. They can choose between fighting with great weapons or two hand weapons battle to battle. They are very good at killing big dinosaurs, but war machines are so good at that they aren’t really necessary. They don’t kill our infantry any faster than Hammerers and due to their lack of armor they die much faster. They are unbreakable, but dwarves have high Ld and don’t break very often anyway. Slayers have a max unit size of 30 so they can’t be formed into too deep of tarpits. It’s expensive but Slayers can upgrade as many units into champions (Giant Slayers) as they wish, this more than doubles their cost but it boosts their Strength, Toughness, and Attacks. Since Giant Slayers are technically champions, every close combat attack on them has to be individually assigned which can theoretically be a pain. If you do see slayers, this signals that the dwarf player is probably planning to take the fight to you or at least meet you half way as opposed to forming a castle and making you march at him. Shoot the slayers with whatever you have before they get into close combat: poison is your friend.


    Special, Artillery

    There are lots of runic upgrades to put on artillery. To go over each one would be overkill, so I covered the ones that crop up the most frequently. Note a warmachine can be rigged with a rune to explode if defeated in close combat, so if you are playing with a non-newbie who seems to be leaving a war machine open, it may be a trick.

    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). Few dwarf lists don’t have a cannon or two. 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: 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).


    Rare


    All three Dwarf Rares are warmachines, none of them can be boosted with an engineer or runes though.

    Organ Guns: Dwarf armies rarely enter the field without one. Many take two. They dish out lots of S5 hits and don’t need to roll BS to hit. They are pretty decent at shooting up most things they point at but they are usually used to defend the rest of the artillery line against skirmishers. If it’s on our list and says “Skirmisher” somewhere then the Organ Gun will obliterate them. Unless it misfires, expect to lose one unit of war machine hunters every round until the Organ Guns are dead.

    Gyrocopter

    The gyrocopter was seriously weakened by the transition to 8th edition, but it’s not useless. As a flyer that is exempt from the dwarf penalty to pursuits and fleeing. It’s got a long potential charge range so they force fleeing units off to flee further. They can also set up supporting flank charges or burn things. Their flame template does respectable damage but due to an old army book hold out, it can’t march and fire and partially covered models are only hit on a 4+.

    Flame Cannon

    Flame cannons collect dust on the shelves of dwarf players who long for the day when 8th ed makes them a reasonable choice again. To get an understanding for how much they suck, picture a Salamander that can’t move or fight, costs twice as much, only hits half of models partially covered with the flame template, and potentially explodes on a misfire. The one thing it can do that a Salamander can’t do is that it does d3 wounds. This makes them a moderate threat to Skroxigor and Kroxigor blocks.


    Characters


    Dwarf Lords: The dwarf’s basic fighty lord. Most will take the shield bearers upgrade which gives them more attacks and a better armor save. Dwarf lords are the only Ld 10 choice on the dwarf’s list that’s not a slayer, everything else is Ld 9. A dwarf lord will probably be loaded up with runic items to make him very hard to wound and very good at killing things. A Saurus character stands little chance of beating a dwarf lord without extenuating circumstances in his favor, so don’t seek out epic challenges. An Oldblood on a Carnosaur has a reasonable chance of winning, but the odds of said Carnosaur not being shot to death by a cannon before entering CC are low. A Dwarf Lord can lay down the hurt on our regular troops but on a point-for-point basis aren’t as effective as dwarf elite troops at slaying Lizardmen. Generally speaking Ld 10 isn’t necessary either, so you won’t see a lot of Dwarf Lords on the field, especially if you are facing a list designed for fighting LM and not an all-comers list.

    Thanes: The dwarf’s basic fighty hero. They have a wide variety of runic options and then to come in the basic flavors of Defensive Powerhouse, Offensive Powerhouse, and Half and Half. Most Thanes of any build are at least as strong as a Scar Veteran with the same points cost. Thanes are the dwarf’s only BSB option, so most Thanes you see will be BSBs. Most Thane BSBs you see will have the Master rune that gives them a +1 Armor Save and either be buffed with the Dwarf’s dawnstone equivalent, a Ward Save, or a nasty melee weapon.

    Rune Lords and Runesmiths: Runelords add two dispel dice to the dwarf player’s pool, runesmiths add one. These are cumulative so a dwarf player with multiple rune users can really sink your magic phase. In addition to the raw dice, they have runic upgrades. The Master Rune of Balance which causes the dwarf’s opponent to lose a power die and the dwarf player to gain another dispel dice. Fortunately they can only take one of those per army. Dwarf players can take multiple Runes which act as dispel scrolls though. The dwarfs don’t have anything in their arsenal to knock out IF spells though.

    Anvil of Doom: The Anvil of Doom upgrade turns a Runelord into a war machine. If the Dwarfs take an Anvil of Doom they get two dispel dice on top of what the Runelord already supplies. The Anvil of Doom has three powers. 1) they can immunize dwarf to psychology tests of various kinds, 2) they can smite enemies (EDIT: this effect also temporarily halves the movement rate of the target which is highly inconvenient for our faster units), and 3) they can give friendly dwarves free moves (which can be a march or a charge). 1) is relatively unimportant because dwarves have good Ld scores. 2) is relatively unimportant because the Dwarfs have GW troops and artillery to bring the hurt on. 3) is a game changer. A dwarf army with the anvil is highly mobile, replacing a traditional dwarven weakness with a new strength. If the dwarf unit are already in charge range, they can instead use their regular move to wheel around your flank and then use the Anvil free move to charge your flank. If they are out of charge range they can move into charge range. This is extra deadly if a large unit of miners are behind your main line. Basic Anvil strikings has a 1 in 6 chance of failure (and failures roll on a misfire table with a 1 in 6 chance of losing the anvil and runelord). Augmented strikings have a 1 in 3 chance of failing and misfiring, but affect more targets. The Anvil of Doom does not require Line of Sight for anything it does so it can be tucked away somewhere very safe from your war machine hunters most of the time. If an anvil is open take it down! You can rob your foes of mobility and magic defense in one go. Note the anvil’s guard and the runelord are a lot tougher than an ordinary war machine in CC.

    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 a thane or dwarf lord of similar costs. That’s a lot of points in something that has no armor save at all. If you see Demon and Dragon Slayers it probably means your opponent cares more about the theme of his army than the competitiveness.

    Master Engineer: These guys boost war machines nearby, though only one at a time. The best value option is probably letting grudge throwers re-roll artillery misfire dice. Most will have a ranged weapon option. They can fire their own weapons while still boosting a nearby war machine. They also have the ability to entrench one war machine at the beginning of the game providing a war machine with hard cover (usually the most exposed one). Many dwarf players forget that bonus. You can show yourself to be both a knowledgeable player and a good sport by reminding your dwarf opponent to do the entrenchment if they forget.

    Most of the runes options just mimic BRB options or were already covered in the unit they are most likely to be associated with. The following runes bear special mention.

    Master Rune of Challenge: The Master Rune of Challenge can be wielded by any character. They can force an enemy unit within legal charge range after charges are declared to either declare a charge or flee. This is especially dangerous if you are trying to sneak a mobile unit around their flank by hugging the edge of the table. Then you are forced to either have a 95% chance of your unit fleeing the table or make a charge into a unit that is 95% likely to obliterate them in one round.

    Rune of Brotherhood: This rune can be taken by any non-Slayer character. It allows a dwarf character to join a unit of miners or rangers without impairing the deployment special rules of the unit. This rune can be taken by multiple characters allowing a dwarf player to play all or most of their army without doing normal deployment.

    Special Characters: The Dwarves only have three special characters in their current book. A boosted dwarf lord that bestows his unit with Hatred vs. all armies, a boosted runelord that has a lower chance of miscasting with the Anvil of Doom. The two mentioned characters cost A LOT of points so you aren’t likely to see them very often. The third character Josef Bugman. Bugman allows a dwarf player to take an additional unit of rangers. He also has a magic beer tankard that can heal a wound on himself or another character every round he’s not engaged in close combat. An army with Josef Bugman was probably designed around him (see the below entry on uncommon dwarf armies).


    Dwarf Broad Army Types


    The Castle: Bugman’s Brewery talk about distinctions between types of castles, but they all are the same principle. Line up large dwarf blocks in front of the artillery weapons, and position the artillery so they can see over the heads of the dwarf units, or shoot between the narrow gaps between the units. A wise dwarf player will position their castle so there is no good place to put scouts (either by having a wide castle or placing a few strategic units outside the castle “walls”. If there is a small gap it may be plugged partway with an entrenched war machine or have a line of single file warriors, handgunners, or quarrelers plugging the whole. The dwarfs stay put most of the first few turns of the game and let the artillery do its job as the enemy advances. Not only is this popular in general. It’s probably the best strategy to take vs. Lizardmen. Close the distance as quickly as you can and try for coordinated charges against the units you need to crack open their defenses. I haven’t come up with a better solution. If anyone on the forum has an idea, let me know.

    Gunline: Dwarves probably stretched from table end to table end and nearly everything shoots. The Gunline loses the defensive power of the castle but has a devastating amount of shooting. Because the entire back part of the table is full, it’s extra hard to get scouts through. The basic strategy is the same, shoot the advancing enemy as they come to you. Like before you want to close the distance as soon as possible. If you do get a units through you should be able to do a lot of damage, take out a shooting unit and then turn and rip sideways through their line.

    Infantry Army: The unorthodox dwarf player is playing with very few or even no war machines! Remember dwarf infantry tends to outclass ours so be careful with which fights you decide to pursue. It’s tempting to turn the tables on the dwarfs and keep your main line stationary while you try to whittle down the advancing dwarfs with poisoned shooting, salamanders and magic, but beware. The dwarf player freed up a lot of points not taking war machines and they are almost certain to have at least one big block of miners to arrive at the rear of your army to ruin your day which will reduce your incentive to hug your own table edge.

    Bugman Army: This is a rare army type. Around 75% of more of his army isn’t on the table, and you just finished. He took Josef Bugman. There are two large blocks of Scouts going to show up near the center towards your line, and at least two blocks of miners going to pop up wherever you least want them too. You need to take the initiative and go on the offensive right away or your most critical units will have rangers to the front and miners to the back, (or visa versa if you decided to turn a block around). Whatever unit doesn’t have Scout or Ambushers is probably a war machine or a unit left behind to guard the war machine. If you have units to go after the war machines, do so by all means. Taking out the artillery is less important than usual though because you will likely be in CC more quickly than usual and thus be unable to be shot at as much.

    EDIT: I discovered Bugman armies are half again as deadly with an Anvil of Doom. Then you can really get out maneuvered by dwarves which is unusual for M3 troops. If you see a Bugman list on the horizon, aim for a tight deployment because a wide battle line on your part will lead to a unit or two of yours being on the outs for most of the battle.
     
  2. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Part Two Lizardmen vs. Dwarves


    Now Lets look at LM units thorugh the lens of how they interact with Dwarves.


    Core


    Saurus: I’d advise against taking spears unless you have a lot of ranks and are planning for a very long fight. Most of the time dwarves will make you charge them rather than charge you, so you can’t count on spears for the first round of CC. By the time you march across the field taking artillery fire and then fight one round of CC, you can’t be guaranteed that you’ll have enough models left to have a third rank of attacks to give you the spear attacks. The ward save is pretty useful when most hits you take are S5 or S6 and your armor save will either be 6+ or nothing. Saurus will make a fair accounting of themselves versus hw + shield dwarves, but remember you need superior numbers, flank attacks, or magic support to take on a great weapon horde and expect to win. However many ranks you would normally take, consider adding one for a list to fight dwarves. You need to remain steadfast so your Saurus will stay in place if beaten, and a buffer of extra troops is handy to make up for artillery losses.

    Skink Cohorts: Skroxigor are a good Core choice versus dwarves. Kroxigor inflict S7 hits which will wound nearly everything on the Dwarf list on a 2 and negate all the armor saves of any non-character dwarf. Consider any dwarves the skinks kill as a bonus. Like Saurus blocks, a Skroxigor block isn’t going to win a combat without backup of some kind. Skroxigor have a M6 which is handy considering that dwarves frequently plant their feet round one and make you march across the table to fight them, the extra movement may help you get into combat one round sooner and avoid a round of artillery fire.

    If you have to get in a war of attrition, Skroxigor are a safer bet than Saurus. The Skinks are primarily to die in place of the Kroxigor and maintain ranks for Kroxigors. Compared to Saurus, against elite dwarves hit and kill Skinks at the same rate they kill Saurus. This means you lose five points a pop rather than eleven. Make sure you have lots of extra ranks though to maintain steadfast, the unit is toast as soon as the Kroxigor are exposed, but you knew that already. While the Dwarf player CAN target Kroxigor now, a horde can usually only direct one thirds of their attacks on the Kroxigor at best. Also, since great weapon troops strike last on both sides, if they target the Kroxigor it won’t stop the Kroxigor from getting their own swings in.

    EDIT: It occurred to me that with the new and improved version of Aquatic we got, a Skroxigor block will give a nasty surprise to a player who tries to hide his gunline behind a river with the hope of march blocking you.


    Skink Skirmishers: Circle around dwarves and whittling them down with poison isn’t very efficient, dwarf blocks tend to be huge and two or three losses here and there won’t matter much. Skink Skirmishers are too weak and puny to do anything more than hand over free victory points if they try a supporting charge. Skink Skirmishers are good and taking down slayers and gyrocopters, but not every list takes those choices. Another potential use for Skink Skirmishers is to spam the enemy artillery line with several Core skinks instead of Terradons or Chameleons. If you are going to lose two units of war machine hunters to organ gun fire, it is better to lose cheap Core than expensive special. If you go that route you want javelins and shields and try to charge the war machines as opposed to shooting them. They’ll probably be too many negative modifiers to maintain poison on multi-shot if you are gunning for war machines.


    Special


    Jungle Swarms: With the makeover Swarms got in the new book, Swarms should do well against Dwarfs. Dwarf hordes deploy wide so it shouldn’t be too hard to double charge a block with Saurus or Skroxigor on one side and Swarms on the other. The poisoned hits will help push the odds in our favor. Dwarfs have lots of things that shoot up Swarms but I’d rather they be wasting their shots on cheap Swarms than to shoot at juicier targets. Because Dwarfs are slow and tend to be stationary, you will rarely need Swarms to act as a stall. As weird as it to say this, Swarms should be on your front lines.

    Chameleon Skinks: Chameleon Skinks have two purposes really. Hunting war machines and thinning out slayers. Sometimes runelords and master engineers also hang out with the artillery and they make good targets. They are vulnerable to organ guns so if you want to bring chameleon skinks to go after the artillery line, you are probably going need a lot of them. Dwarf war machine crews are tougher in close combat than most other races so they can often hold out a round or two versus a pack of skinks. The good news is a war machine engaged in close combat it can’t shoot at you, and if the chameleon skinks are in close combat, the organ gun can’t shoot at them. If the war machine in question is entrenched, you should probably skip shooting and charge it regardless of other circumstances or it will take forever to bring down.

    Terradons: Terradons have multiple purposes. They can hunt things as well as chameleon skinks, though they tend to rely on close combat versus shooting. They are tough enough that they can help support an infantry block with a flank charge. They are also flyers and as such can charge fleeing units and either catch them and destroy them or try to drive them off the table edge (not that a typical battle will have many fleeing dwarf units).

    They do have draw backs versus Chamo Skinks. Wound per wound they cost more points, so they are more vulnerable to organ guns in that respect. Also they don’t have the protection against BS based shooting that chamo skinks do so a unit of Terradons is vulnerable to quarrelers and hand gunners and not just the dreaded organ gun.

    Ripperdactlyls: I plan to try these guys against Dwarfs, but I’m not optimistic. They hit harder then Terradons but they would present a very expensive target to Organ Guns. Rippers may be able to take down a warmachine a turn or two faster than Terradons but I don’t see that as necessary since a war machine fighting Terradons is one that isn’t shooting you.

    Temple Guard: Our elite infantry is roughly on par with the dwarf’s regular infantry, maybe slightly better. Any player who has the vaguest idea of what LM can do knows to try to kill the Slann. That means the Temple Guard are going to take a disproportionately high amount of artillery fire and they will try to point their hammerers or longbeards at the Temple Guard if possible to maximize their chances of taking the unit down. You need to keep in mind the beating the TG are likely to receive and invest in protective items, (the Iron Curse Icon is well worth the 5 points for your Slann), protective and regenerative buff spells, and extra ranks of models are all good. Whatever you can afford to give your TG, do so.

    Cold One Cavalry: I think Saurus Cavarly work very well versus dwarves. They are expensive but you don’t lose as much to a cannon ball as you do with Stegadons and you don’t lose as much with a GT as you do with Temple Guard. The M7 is nice for clearing the table distance as quickly as possible too. If they are taking on a big block single handedly, they probably need a Scar Veteran or the turn after the charge will be your last.

    Kroxigor: Multiple S7 hits followed by S5 stomps would do a lot of damage to dwarves. I haven’t tried them versus dwarves in large units yet because I don’t have enough Kroxigor models in my collection to make a serious go of it. I’ve tried a trio of Kroxigors once or twice. I know a trio of Kroxigors is pretty vulnerable to Organ Gun fire. A larger unit of Kroxigors would be a tempting target for cannons and to a lesser extant the grudge thrower. Now that they are both cheaper AND stronger I plan to dust off my many Kroxigor and smash some dwarfs. You don’t even have to worry about striking last most of the time.

    Stegadons: I mentioned that LM infantry can’t really take on dwarf infantry without support. Stegadons are capable of giving said support in spades. Cannons take out Stegadons. If you plan to use Stegadons versus dwarves, have an anti-cannon plan. Basic steps you can take to protect yourself from cannon related Stegadon loss includes healing them up with Life or High magic, defusing War Machines with Pha’s Protections or Iceshard Blizzard, killing the war machines early, and bringing a spare Stegadon (dwarves only get so many shots before the Stegadons reach the main line). I’m not a huge fan of bringing Stegadons versus dwarves, but Stegadons beat Ancient Stegadons in my opinion because they are cheaper and can thus be fielded in greater numbers. The dwarfs don’t have many multi-wound models so you probably don’t need to upgrade their horns.

    Bastilodon: I like this new unit but I do not plan to field one against Dwarfs. Artillery and elites with great weapons will not be impressed by the Bastilodon’s mighty armor save. The Initiative bonus is unnecessary against Dwarfs because almost all the Dwarfs that count are packing great weapons. I don’t think the Beam of Sotek will kill enough Dwarfs to make up for it. If you want to take this guy, take the Ark of Sotek and load up on Swarms.


    Rare


    Salamanders: Salamanders, while still good, are less powerful versus dwarves than most armies.
    Positives: Dwarves tend to field large units in hordes which means you can get a lot of hits. Salamanders are a more hard hitting than skirmishers so they can help nudge a combat a protracted combat in your favor with a supporting flank attack.
    Negatives: The dwarf’s high toughness means a Salamander won’t rack up the kills you’d normally expect against large units. Ld 9 doesn’t fail a lot of panic tests either, and some units in the dwarf army are immune to panic or get rerolls for failed panic tests. If the dwarves aren’t moving towards you at all, then it takes longer to line up a good shot. If the dwarves are forming the “castle” then odds are to line up a good shot for a salamander fire blast, you expose your team to a nasty charge. If you don’t have any larger dinosaurs, the cannons will likely point themselves at your salamanders. If you don’t have any chamo skinks or terradons, the organ guns will likely point themselves at your salamanders.

    Razordons: I believe the new improved Razordons will do well against Dwarfs. They are cheap enough to not be a great target for artillery. With their improved range they can pepper at dwarfs without much fear. The Dwarfs will probably fail their charge against the Razordons shooting at them, so they will not test the stand and shoot. A lot of Dwarf players block their artillery with a small unit of shooters. A Razordon should be able to neutralize a small block of crossbowmen or handgunners pretty easily to clear the way for your war machine hunters.

    Ancient Stegadons: The stuff I said about Stegadons being good support units but vulnerable to cannons applies here. S6 impact hits, regular hits, and thunderstomps are awesome. S6 will wound dwarves on 2s and eliminate the armor saves from all but ironbreakers. A cannon still wounds an Ancient Stegadon on a 2 and has a 33% to kill them in one hit. I don’t like those odds for something as expensive as an ancient Stegadon. If you take Ancient and a regular Stegadon on a list,, any opponent with half a brain will take out the ancient Stegadons first. I would say either take two Ancient Stegadons or take zero. It might even be worth taking two EOTGs. You’ll want all the magic support and ward saves you can get, the blowpipes won’t help much anyway.

    Troglodon: Probably a lousy choice for taking on Dwarfs. If I want to bring a cannon magnet, I want to bring a cannon magnet that will inflict serious damage if it makes it to the enemy lines.


    Characters


    Slann: The best way to overcome dwarf spell resistance is to either trigger IF on critical spells or spam the other side with several low casting spells. We can’t get power dice as easily as before but we still have lots of options. Channeling Staff plus Harmonic Convergence will help a lot. So well Reservoir of Eldritch Energy (since your dispel dice weren’t going to matter anyway).

    Most Dwarf artillery will have runic upgrades making the hits magical so making your Slann ethereal will not help you much. Better to rely on Look Out Sir rolls.

    Lore Selection for Slann
    High Magic should work well. You should certainly drop Drain Magic ASAP. Tempest doesn’t hit very hard, but with how tightly packed Dwarf deployments are you might be able to make up for that in volume. Apothesis is not likely to heal as fast as you’d like but it’s not bad. Fiery Convocation is nice if you are going the IF route but since Dwarfs don’t have anything else to do with their power dice, they are guaranteed to snuff it out in their next turn. Arcane Unforging seems like a wash. You can use it to neutralize a Dwarf anti-magic rune, but if you do that you have to waste a successful casting roll on it so even in death the anti-magic item serves it’s cause. The golden spell is Hand of Glory, it’s cheap to cast and Dwarfs aren’t used to opponents with better WS then them. The platinum High spell is Walk Between Worlds. Close the distance quickly and the Dwarf castle. The lore attribute will rarely help you since dwarfs will be dispelling so many of your spells, you won't have enough power dice to cast the spells you like and the spells you don't like (with the intention of dumping them).

    Life is a good lore versus dwarves (you can pick your jaw off the floor now). It has a lot of cheap spells your can rattle off one after the other if you prefer lots of small spells. If you prefer shooting for heavy spells, Dwellers is always an option. Regrowth and the Life spell attribute are good for healing damage inflicted by artillery. If your dinos aren’t killed in a solitary round, you should be able to return them to full strength relatively easily. The downside of Life is that dwarfs don’t have anything better to do with their power dice than remove your remains in play spells.

    Light is a good lore too if for no other reason than Phas Protection. The expanded version can shield a lot of your army against nasty Dwarf shooting. Timewarp can give your guys extra attacks and movent handing for reaching and killing the enemy faster. WS 10 is nice too, now they can have to roll 5s to hit you! Allowing a doomed unit to automatically make their break test is useful here too. The low casting values of Light spells mean you can spam the enemy with multiple spells, which is always good. Net of Amytok can also shut down a warmachine for a turn more effectively than Ice Shard Blizzard (though the damage is inconsequential)

    Shadow is a good lore. Okkam’s Mindrazor lets your troops hit harder than theres. It’s nice to dock the mighty Strength and toughness cores of the other side, and the across the board low initiative scores of dwarves make them vulnerable to the Pit of Shades.

    Heavens is a good lore. Dwarves are an opponent that would make me consider giving the Lore of Heavens to a Slann (though one could just take Tet). Dwarf battle lines tend to be very compact so Chain Lightning can hit a lot of units. An exceptionally tight castle could be vulnerable to Wind Blast. The hex and augment spells that force rerolls could swing a critical battle just enough to let you win. The lore attribute means any gyrocopter is toast. Iceshard Blizzard is nice for nerfing enemy artillery, but since most of the time you are facing 4 or 5 big guns, the 50% loss on a single gun won’t make the dwarf general shed many tears. The real gem is here is Comet of Cassandora. If the dwarf army decides not to advance towards you, punish them for that! Even if their infantry are trudging forward, the artillery is stuck where they are and the organ gun can’t save the other artillery like usual. Remember that Comet of Cassandora is not a remains in play spell so they can’t be dispelled with dwarf power dice and you can have multiple Comet tokens on the board at once!

    Death is an okay lore. The bonus dice from the lore attributes means you have a few more dice to overcome their dispel pools. The aforementioned low Initiative makes dwarves vulnerable to purple sun. It has a spell that reduces Strength and Toughness and another spell to reduce their mighty Ld. Hero sniping spells are nice because you can own the magic phase if you can remove the runelords. The downside of Death is that most of the spells are short range and most dwarves make you come to them rather than marching at you like many other armies are prone to do. To get maximum use out of Death you need Skink Priests to help you target your spells and your Skink priest needs a bunker unit to protect it from shooting.

    Metal is an okay lore. The direct damage spells aren’t very useful on non-ironbreakers and giving your skinks Scaly Skin 5+ won’t matter much since most enemy attacks are S5 or S6, but the rest of the spell list is solid. Giving your guys +1 to hit and armor piercing is a nice way to swing combats in your favor. Permanently rusting the armor saves of the large hordes from 5+ to 6+ means your Saurus will cut through them that much quicker when you reach them. Dwarves are somewhat vulnerable to Final Transformation for their tendency to field infantry in very large blocks. There is a misconception that dwarfs have above average armor saves. They don't. Most units have heavy armor and no shields. The best non-character unit they have for armor saves is is Ironbreakers which is only 3+ and an unpopular choice to boot.

    Fire is a subpar lore. The augments are nice, but Remains in Play spells are hard to keep versus dwarves. The magic missiles and direct damage spells are not going to hold a candle to the damage dwarf ranged attacks will do to you.

    For similar reasons, you probably don’t want a Wandering Deliberations Slann. While a WD is good for giving you lots of cheap spells to spam, the magic missiles don’t hit hard enough against T4 Dwarfs to make that strategy worthwhile.

    Beasts is a subpar lore. Against an army without crazy dispel dice, you can strategically boost your heroes to dominate combats they are involved in. Against Dwarves, expect any spells you really need to save your heroes to be strategically snuffed out. Wyssan’s Wildform is great but you can get that from a Skink Priest or a High Slann swapping spells.

    Old Bloods and Scar Veterans: If you want to boost the hitting power of your units with a character, you are probably better off taking the cheaper Scar Veteran. An Old Blood won’t stand up to a dwarf lord in a duel without a Carnosaur and Saurus Old Blood on a Carnosaur is just asking to die against an army with that much artillery. I like to put Scar Veterans on Cold Ones in Saurus blocks, the extra armor save is nice and once every two or three battles, a dwarf unit will fail a fear test. A Saurus on a Cold One robs your Scar Vet of any Look Out Sir, so it’s theoretically possible for a GT rock to deviate and hit your Scar Vet BSB tacked on to the side with higher Strength hit, get past his 4+ ward save and squish him on round one….You know purely hypothetical, never happened to me.

    Even with the addition of Scarnosaurs I don’t think one should take Carnosaurs against Dwarfs. The d3 wounds will be wasted on most Dwarf targets. If you want to take big dinos, Stegadons should be able to wrack up more kills on a point for point basis due to Impact Hits.

    Skink Priest: There’s no reason to keep a scroll/cube caddy against dwarfs, so the most common use for Skink Priests has been pre-empted. If you want extra power dice to overcome the runelords spell resistance, they could caddy a forbidden rod and prepare to die. A skink priest is good insurance if you go really light on dice with the Slann to maximize the number of spells cast. If you fail to cast the Slann’s first or second spell you can at least have the Skink try to cast something. Also Heavens is a useful lore against dwarves as is Beasts (for Wyssan’s anyway). Skink Priests help you target direct damage spells too though you probably want to favor hexes and buffs versus damaging spells.

    If you don’t take a Slann, you probably shouldn’t bother with a skink priest and go with zero magic. A skink priest isn’t going to overcome the mountain of dispel dice against him. Also if you go no magic all the points your dwarf opponent spent on anti-magic items and units become worthless.

    Skink Chief: Now that Skink Chiefs are cheaper, I can see some use for these guys. You don’t really need Skink characters to keep predatory fighters in check because when you break a dwarf you usually WANT to pursue, but a Skink on a flying mount should be able to knock out war machines, even the Anvil of Doom if said Skink is properly tooled out.

    Special Characters: Given the mightiness of the Lore of Heavens vs. Dwarves and the Comet of Comet of Casandora in particular, Tet is a good choice. Tet's ability to give things Vanguard is gravy. Tiktakto with a large unit of Terradons could work. On your arrival drop a ton of rocks on the organ gun, hopefully kill it, and pivot towards the next war machine in line. Mazdamundi is a liability on an Ancient Stegadon like that. Kroak isn’t half bad, but in most cases against dwarves you want augments and hexes, not direct damage. I don’t think the Saurus characters bring much to the table since they’ll just find themselves being fed sacrificial unit champions.
     
  3. Qupakoco
    Skink Chief

    Qupakoco Keeper of the Dice Staff Member

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    Very nice write-up. Good information in there. I don't play against dwarves often, so the insight into their troops is very helpful.
     
  4. n810
    Slann

    n810 First Spawning

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    Hey Stewart we realy need to get this sticked and linked to the tactics main index.
     
  5. Lord Tsunami
    Salamander

    Lord Tsunami Member

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    very VERY nice post! i play dwarfs a lot too, and i totally agree with basically everything you said. very nicely summed up :)

    just a few minor pointers, that could be worth editing since this post should be read by many MANY people.

    1) the dwarf "dispel scroll" is 25, not 50 points in my book at least.

    2) you could add "providing cover for the sauruses" to the usefull things you can have skink skirmishers for. sure, it wont work if he uses mass marmachines, but if he has any thunderers these will be just brilliant. if he has mass warmachines, then just run up and try to kill said machines with shooting.

    3) terradons can do some things that chameleons cant when it comes to WM hunting. in a tight castle, there is often room for 1-2 terradons to charge a machine over the "wall" (dont worry, rarely will you have more than that left after some shooting :p), while chameleons will most likely be -2 to hit from hard cover. add another -1 for moving (or long range) and you cant use multiple shots and still get poison. i am not saying that they are better, but i would bring some of each "just in case" rather than trusting entirely to chameleons.

    4) you say that sauruses with ASF would get to reroll hits against dwarfs. this isnt true, because you only get the reroll if your I is equal or greater than your opponent. the fact that dwarfs with GWs have ASL doesnt matter.



    again, thanks for a great post :)
     
  6. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I put it in the 8th Ed Tactica Index. It's under the Dwarf section as the "formal" one. I also changed everything Lord Tsunami pointed out.
     
  7. Dog On Todd
    Kroxigor

    Dog On Todd Member

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    Seriously,

    Thank you so much for this post!

    I will be glued to this thread for months to come, I'm sure
     
  8. Taipan
    Temple Guard

    Taipan Member

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    Pretty analysis. I'll just add a few of my thoughts;

    - Magic: Dwarves are as broken as Empire once were in this area, they just stack denial on top of denial. So, you have to take Mystery and Rumination, then spam to break their wall of 'dispel dice/scrolls for miles'. 'Pit' from the Shadow Lore nukes their units pretty handily (go for the large blast version, he'll be clumped up so scatter doesn't matter as much), and the debuffs and buffs from Shadow are ideal for taking down their blocks (Mindrazor will make him cry, as will Miasma and Enfeeble Foe). Light is only good if you have two Slann to work with, by itself you won't kill enough to justify the Slann's inclusion. Life is good, and 'Dwellers' is pretty reliable given their main blocks are going to be S3/4, but like with Light I'd take Shadow first.

    - EOTG: People always seem to be down on it, but honestly, 5+ ward bubble against such a shooty opponent is golden. Sure, you'll pass like 1 in 3, but given how everything but his cannons (broken) and grudge throwers (stone throwers suck against us usually anyway, so even less casualties) is pretty average, it shuts down the few crossbow bolts or bullets that do hit. Not to mention the 'Burning Alignment' is pure death once you get in close. Not much you can do here sadly, just hope he rolls crap for the wound roll and soldier on. As the OP already mentioned, 'Pha's Protection' and 'Iceshard Blizzard' will screw with him, so stack them where possible.

    - Anti-warmachine: Unless he's an idiot, they're going to be screened pretty effectively. So, the chances of Skinks or Terradons successfully disabling or tying one up in melee are pretty low. That said, Skinks are going to die either way, so running them up the flanks and trying to poison the gun crews is a good idea.

    Dwarves are currently a real paradox of an army; they possess insane advantages (accurate magic cannons, accurate artillery, unbreakable walls of S5/6 melee infantry, magic denial for miles), but like us a lot of their units are crap or overpriced (thus leading to like three viable builds, if that). I hope they get updated soon, because staring down 8+ dispel dice and 4+ dispel runes every game gets depressing, and that is before their cannon pulps the EOTG Turn 1. And they are exceptionally boring, they just sit there and make you charge.
     
  9. Huichi Mixi
    Skink

    Huichi Mixi New Member

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    I've found salamanders are pretty good vs the weaker dwarf units, since they have -3 armour save flame attacks. Do not bother flaming war machines though since the s3 of the breath weapon will do nothing against t7 of the machine. Do however charge the sallies straight into the warmachines instead, its a pretty much stalemate (maybe slightly in favour of sallie) but at least he won't be shooting you with his organ gun or dropping rocks on your steg/saurus. Skink skirmishers drop like flies to the organ gun and to a lesser extent thunderers, but they are still useful, poison will cause a couple of casualties to non-elite units and then you may be better off charging into thunderers since skinks will strike first and he will generally outshoot you at close range.

    Stegs are good if they can make it into the dwarf units since they get most of their attacks before the dwarfs if they're using great weapons. Be careful of dwarfs wielding them though (make sure its a small/depleted unit so you can kill most before they strike or alternatively support the charge with a 2nd unit), a decent number of great weapon attacks on the steg will seriously wound it or worse. Saurus aren't bad vs dwarf warriors and non-elites, our 2 attacks per model is really their main strength. Dwarfs aren't easy and yes expect to get reasonably battered by the time you make it over there.

    Dwarfs are expensive in points so you will probably be facing an army smaller than your own. This means plan for those combined charges on units to make the combats in our favour.
     
  10. liath
    Saurus

    liath New Member

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    Great tactica!
     
  11. skink95
    Jungle Swarm

    skink95 New Member

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    I played a dwarf player recently who played a very tight castle . Columning is when you place your units behind each other with typically the slowest units in the middle the fastest at the front and the slightly slower behind . This works great if your not playing skink heavy as it gives that -2 to bs shooting but requires good manipulation of the movement phase . Though please note that columning is not effective at all vs gunline armys . I would also like to point out that the jaguar standard , sun standard and banner of swiftness are all a good choice vs dwarfs
     
  12. T`hinker`er
    Salamander

    T`hinker`er Active Member

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    Can a Scar Vet on a Cold One joined to a unit of Saurus be picked out by a cannon? Sorry, I don't have my book handy...
     
  13. Old Mossy
    Bastiladon

    Old Mossy Member

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    Yep. Different troop-type = no look out sir.
     
  14. T`hinker`er
    Salamander

    T`hinker`er Active Member

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    Yeah, that's what I thought. The original article only mentions the danger of a Grudge Thrower deviating, but the cannon is a far bigger concern when playing the Dwarfs with the Scar Vet. Personally, I either put him in a unit of Cold Ones, or have the Scar Vet on foot and get him a ward save or the Armor that makes him -1 to hit if you are planning on having him go toe to toe with the Thane.

    On that subject, what are some good Scar Vet builds to use against Dwarfs?
     
  15. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I partially disagree. If your opponent is going out of his way to kill your Scar Veteran, a cannon is a bigger threat, but I don't view that as a common occurance. The reason I viewed Grudge Throwers as the noteworthy threat is because grudge throwers are usually targeted at our Saurus blocks anyway so the mathematical odds of being hit by a rock eventually are fairly high. Cannons are usually targeted elsewhere.

    It depends on whether you want your Scar Verteran to boost your CR by killing normal troops or if you want to try to have your Scar Veteran kill enemy characters. I haven't found the one build to rule them all but I did decide to forgo Scar Veterans with great weapons and go with Halberds instead. Unless you are fighting a character, S6 will let you wound on 2s regardless of what you are fighting so S7 is overkill, so you might as well take the halberd which costs a little less and doesn't make you always strike last. That's a very small gain from the tweek but I thought I'd bring it up since you asked.

    I don't know if this extends to ALL dwarf players but the guy I play against usually doesn't bother allocating attacks to my Scar Vets and tries to kill the Scar Veteran by breaking the unit with CR and then trying to catch them with the pursuit (or autokilling the Scar Vet if it's the BSB). If they do direct attacks on you your armor save isn't going to mean as much because most things on the Dwarf list have gw and hit at S5 or 6, so you want to focus on Ward Save verus armor saves. Also items that make you harder to hit (Fencer's Blades, Glittering Scales) would also be worth investing in if you are paranoid about Scar Veteran safety.

    You already mentioned good guidelines for Scar Veteran builds, ward save and stuff that makes you harder to hit so a lot of this is just repeating what you said.
     
  16. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Just revised the OP for the new book.
     
  17. Smexygor
    Chameleon Skink

    Smexygor New Member

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    Sounds to me like fighting dwarves is even more of an uphill battle. Le sigh.
     
  18. E_Ran358
    Skink

    E_Ran358 New Member

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    I played a 2500 game against Dwarves yesterday and won very narrowly. I brought a large block of Saurus, Salamanders, TG w/ Slann on High Magic, skinks, and an Engine (I was using an all comers list). There are a couple things that stuck out to me.

    THE ANVIL
    This thing makes Dwarves lose their dwarviness. It makes them mobile, it makes use slow. It's Tough. A Bad Time For Lizzies.

    THE ORGAN GUNS
    Our skirmishers don't give them a modifier and with S5, they hurt. My friend takes 2 and uses them to shoot down any warmachine hunters

    HORDE OF LONGBEARDS
    THIS was devastating, the horde was tooled up with a rune of slowness and scouting. The Longbeards were equipped with throwing axes (+1 Str.) and Great Weapons with a BSB as well as a rune that made them stubborn on a 4+.
    This horde scouted right in front of my line and rune of challenged my salamanders.
    -this combo is CRAZY expensive but tough. with the versatility and maneuverability given by the anvil and -d6 from your charge it makes it a very difficult unit JUST to charge and every failed charge you get a S5 stand and shoot. IF you do get in combat, good luck, the horde hits hard.
    BUT if you can kill it, you'll notice the points when it gets to VP time.
     
  19. Smexygor
    Chameleon Skink

    Smexygor New Member

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    Against that horde, if you can get fiery convocation off with irresistible force and they don't roll fantastic for magic dice that's two turns of S4 per model. Unlikely but possible. Also, try to get lore of life stuff for the buffs and dwellers; it'll only kill a third at a time, but its still worthwhile every time. Otherwise...hit from the side with something that denies ranks?
     
  20. rantapanda
    Kroxigor

    rantapanda Member

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    i guess what u need to do is double-flee with skirmishers and charge it to the sides.. or rear.
     

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