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Tutorial New Dwarf Tactica

Discussion in 'Lizardmen & Saurian Ancients Tactics' started by Scalenex, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    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.
     
  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 through 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 against most foes.

    Saurus will make a fair accounting of themselves versus Axe and Board dwarves (after their turn one bonuses at least), 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 in an all-comers list, consider adding one rank for a list to fight dwarves. You need to remain steadfast, so your Saurus will stay in place if beaten. A buffer of extra troops is handy to make up for artillery losses too.

    Skink Cohorts, vanilla: Dwarfs are M3 troops and many times they will be holding their initial deployment position for two or three turns. For these reason, it is likely to be challenging to use a Cohort as a redirector. The main use for a Cohort is a tar pit. When I played my friend’s Dwarfs in an army swap with the old book, he schooled me with my own Lizardmen through using a Skink tarpit very well indeed. Now that Dwarf elites are stronger than ever, this tactic will become even more viable.

    Skink Cohorts, Skroxigor: I think Skroxigor would do relatively well against Dwarfs. While it’s true that Kroxigor can be singled out now, most of the attackers they have to worry about will have ASL, so the Kroxigor will at least get one attack in. Also, since the most potent great weapon blocks are in horde formation, only the front rank can target the Kroxigor, most will be stuck with lowly Skinks to swing at. Strength 7 hits will rarely go to waste as Dwarfs have at least T4 and AS 5+.

    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. They are even better when your opponent is a gun line hoping a river will impede your advance.

    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 less than half the points per wound. The downside versus Saurus Warriors is that you will be pretty much helpless if they take the Kroxigor out, but the Dwarfs will hurt their CR in the turn they single out the Kroxigor so we get a consolation prize.


    Skink Skirmishers: Circle around dwarves and whittling them down with poison isn’t very efficient (though it doesn’t cost you much to try if you can avoid unwanted charge arcs). 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.

    If you are facing Slayers, the Skink Skirmishers primary job should be to thin out their lines with shooting. If you are NOT facing Slayers their primary job versus new Dwarfs is to take down gyrocopters and bombers with poisoned shooting. Given that the Dwarf army book now allows the option for Dwarfs to play proactive armies, you might get some mileage out of Skink Skirmishers as redirectors for these new units (but sadly not march blockers).

    Another potential use for Skink Skirmishers is to spam the enemy artillery line with several Core skinks instead of flyers or Chameleons. Since you are probably going to lose two units of war machine hunters to organ gun fire, it is better to lose cheap Core as opposed to 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: Because Dwarfs are slow and tend to be stationary, you will rarely need Swarms to act as a stall. As weird as it is to say this, Swarms should be on your front lines (if you use them at all). While it would be fantastic to take advantage of a Dwarf horde unit’s wide footprint to smack it with your favorite infantry unit simultaneously, I fear that is easier said than done. While artillery has better than to do than shoot at piles of snakes, I think infantry shooters could paste our Swarms pretty efficiently before they got to the enemy lines. I would not take Swarms unless I was attempting a target saturation strategy involving several units that don’t like BS shooting.


    Chameleon Skinks: With no Organ Guns to fear, Chameleon Skinks should have an easier time hunting war machines than they used to. Easier does not mean easy. An experienced player will pack units fairly tight around their war machines, but hunting them is still doable. 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, so charging them is still a good idea when possible, especially if the war machine is entrenched (engineers can bestow hard cover on one artillery piece).

    Chameleon Skinks are not a one trick pony. Don’t forget that Chameleon Skinks are also good at killing Slayers or Dwarf flyers.

    Terradons: Terradons have multiple purposes. They can hunt things as well as chameleon skinks, though they tend to rely on close combat instead 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 uncaught fleeing dwarf units).

    They do have drawbacks versus Chamo Skinks. Wound per wound they cost more points, so they are more vulnerable to organ guns in that respect. I am also worried that rock dropping will accomplish little, especially if a rock dropping detour delays you from reaching your real target. Also, they don’t have the protection against BS based shooting that Chamo skinks do so a unit of Terradons is vulnerable to Organ Guns, Quarrelers, Thunderers, and Iron Drakes. Come to think of it, I don’t think I want to take Terradons against Dwarfs. Most Dwarf lists will take at least two of the four units I just mentioned.


    Ripperdactlyls: I plan to try these guys against Dwarfs, but I’m not optimistic. They hit harder than Terradons, but they would present a very expensive target to Dwarf war machines. 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. I think the real value of Rippers is to take down Gyrocopters and bombers. Not only do Rippers outclass the steam powered flyers in close combat, but a unit of Rippers engaged in close combat can’t be shot at.


    Temple Guard: Our elite infantry are only slightly better than Dwarf Core. 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 the Dwarfs will try to point their best killers at the Temple Guard as 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), 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: Saurus Cavalry did fairly well against Dwarfs under the old book and I don’t see why that would change now. 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. I’d take spears over hand weapons. Again you need to make sure your first turn really counts. I would consider taking the War Banner for similar reasons. Their Achilles Heel on the Dwarf list are Bolt Throwers, but BTs are a fairly unpopular choice amongst Dwarf players.


    Kroxigor: Multiple S7 hits followed by S5 stomps would do a lot of damage to dwarves, and the Kroxigor’s ASL is rarely a serious problem versus Dwarfs. The hard part is keeping Kroxigor alive long enough to make it to close combat. Three or four Kroxigors are just asking to get toasted by Flame Cannons, Organ Guns, or Iron Drakes. A larger unit of Kroxigors would be a tempting target for cannons and to a lesser extant the grudge thrower though they can take hits of this nature better than a dinosaur would.

    A unit of Kroxigor is probably best used as a counter against Hand Weapon and Shield Dwarfs. The Dwarfs S3 or S4 attacks won’t do much against the Kroxigor and Kroxigor can negate their full armor saves. Point for point, Kroxigor lose out against great weapon troops. I just don’t see a Kroxigor beating four great weapon warriors or three Hammerers and that’s an optimistic matchup already.

    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, read this.

    I’m not a huge fan of bringing Stegadons over Ancient Stegadons in general, but Stegadons beat Ancient Stegadons in my opinion because they are cheaper and can thus be fielded in greater numbers and it doesn’t hurt as much to lose them to artillery. The dwarfs don’t have many multi-wound models, so you probably don’t need to upgrade their horns unless you expect to catch a Gyrocopter somehow.

    Bastilodon: I like this new unit in an all-comers environment, but I do not plan to field one in anti-Dwarf lists. 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 most of the Dwarfs that count are packing great weapons. The snake based shooting hits won’t wound very often. I don’t know what I like better. A Solardon risks being dispelled fairly easily, and an Arkadon relies on taking lots of Swarms


    Rare


    Salamanders: There are many reasons to take Salamanders and many reasons not to take them.
    Positives: Dwarves tend to field large units in hordes which means you can get a lot of hits. Salamanders are a harder hitting than our other 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 or 10 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.

    I think Salamanders will work best with a Monster Mash army with lots of Skinks. If you don’t have any larger dinosaurs, the cannons will likely point themselves at your Salamanders. If you don’t have many light Skirmishers, the Organ Guns and Irondrakes will likely point themselves at your Salamanders. If you have Salamanders I would suggest aiming them at the Hammerers first if at all possible.


    Razordons: Like the Salamanders, I think they would work best in a Monster Mash army. They are cheap enough to not be a great target for artillery, so stick them in front of your more valuable dinosaurs. If the cannonball doesn’t kill the model, it stops. Razordons have three wounds and a 5+ Handler Save. Most importantly, they are cheap.

    With their improved range they can pepper at dwarfs without much fear of retribution. The Dwarfs will probably fail their charge against the Razordons shooting at them, so they will probably 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. They also have a good enough mix of shooting and close combat to threaten Gyrocopters and Bombers (and they are very hard to kill with the gyro template weapons).

    Ancient Stegadons: Ancient Stegadons are good against Dwarfs if they can make into close combat. Strength 6 will wound dwarves on 2s and eliminate the armor saves from all but Ironbreakers and Iron Drakes. 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.

    Take two or more Ancient Stegadons or take zero. If you take Ancient and a regular Stegadon on a list, any opponent with half a brain will take out the Ancient Stegadon first. If you take one Ancient with an EOTG and the other without it, the EOTG will be shot at first. Again, take two EOTG or zero.


    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 new Dwarfs do not have the mountains of dispel dice that the old Dwarfs enjoyed, but they do have a lot of sources of MR now. Between MR and the Dwarves high Toughness scores, you probably want to focus on buffs and hexes more than direct damage spells. Also keep in mind that Dwarfs can use their power dice to snuff out Remains in Play spells and they usually have nothing better to do with their dice, so avoid relying on RIP spells.

    Even nerfed, Dwarf anti-magic remains potent. We want all the power dice we can get. Channeling Staff plus Harmonic Convergence will help a lot, so well the Forbidden Rod. The Reservoir of Eldritch Energy is very good since your dispel dice weren’t likely to be used much 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. All the spells are useful except for Drain Magic, naturally. 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 probably a no-go because it will get dispelled by a rune if not cast with IF and most big units will have MR. Arcane Unforging should see a lot of use given how many great runes the Dwarfs have access to. 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 to take the Dwarf castle.

    If you are the type that likes to swap out LOTS of spell, you will probably be disappointed 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). Still Heavens and Metal aren’t bad to dabble in.

    Heavens is a good lore versus Dwarfs. Even better than before given how popular Dwarf flyers are becoming. 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. 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. 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!

    Light is a good lore too if for no other reason than Pha’s Protection. The expanded version can shield a lot of your army against nasty Dwarf shooting. Timewarp can give your guys extra attacks and movement 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. It’s mostly hex based so MR won’t matter a lot. The few attack spells are Initiative based which is one fo the few exploitable weaknesses of Dwarfs. Okkam’s Mindrazor lets your troops hit hard enough to even squish Ironbreakers beneath your clawed feat. It’s nice to dock the mighty Strength and toughness cores of the other side but these are sadly RIP spells.

    Life is an okay lore versus dwarves, but its main claim to fame is Lifebloom, so I wouldn’t considering taking it unless I was planning on fielding a Monster Mash army. 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 versus Dwarfs is that two of its spells are RIP. Since we can’t take Loremaster here, we may be stuck with one or both of them in lieu of spells we actually want.

    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. The sniping spells are nice but Dwarf characters tough nuts to crack due to their high Toughness, Strength and Ld Scores. Gyrocopters and Bombers are probably better sniping targets for you. As an added bonus, most Gyros will fly way ahead of the main force which will mitigate the downside of Death of low ranges. To get maximum use out of Death you need Skink Priests to help you target your spells, and your Skink priests need a fairly large Skink Skirmisher bunkers to protect them from shooting.

    Metal is an okay lore, but not a great one. There is a misconception that dwarfs have above average armor saves. They have middle of the road armor saves. Most units have heavy armor and no shields. The direct damage spells are pretty much only good for Ironbreakers or Gyros and that’s it. Irondrakes have great armor saves, but they also have a bonus save versus Flaming Attacks. 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.

    Wandering Deliberations is also an okay “lore.” 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. Fortunately you should get decent mileage out of the Shadow, Life, Heavens, and Beasts spells.

    Fire is a subpar lore versus Dwarfs. The augments are nice, but Remains in Play spells are hard to maintain versus dwarves and S4 direct damage will not inflict many hits on Dwarfs, especially if they have MR.

    Beasts is a subpar lore against Dwarfs. If you want more Beasts than Wyssans and Curse of Anaheirs, you are probably planning to use agumented fighty characters. Against Dwarves, expect any spells you really need to save your heroes to be strategically snuffed out.


    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. There is s a trade-off. A Saurus on a Cold One robs your Scar Vet of any Look Out Sir, so it’s theoretically possible for a Grudge Thrower 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 rack 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 for the greater good. 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.

    As much as I like Wyssan’s, I would probably not take any Beast Skink Priests given that Heavens has no weak spells versus Dwarfs. Not only does Heavens have a nice mix of hexes and buffs but their attack spells actually hit hard enough to actually wound Dwarf units. Let’s not forget the rapid recent expansion of the Dwarf Air Force.

    If you don’t take a Slann, you probably shouldn’t bother with a skink priest and go with zero magic. Even nerfed, a Dwarf’s antimagic is too much for a skink priest to consistently overcome. 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 nearly always WANT to pursue, but a Skink on a flying mount should be able to knock out war machines.


    Special Characters: Tet is probably the only decent wizard SC we have given the mightiness of the Lore of Heavens vs. Dwarves and the Comet of Comet of Casandora in particular. Tet's ability to give things Vanguard is gravy. Mazdamundi is a liability on an Ancient Stegadon like that though he might be viable with Lore Mastery of Life. Kroak isn’t half bad, but in most cases against dwarves you want augments and hexes, not direct damage. Tehenhaun is probably a points sink.

    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. Anything Oxyotl will want to snipe is probably packing great saves so he is a waste of points.

    I don’t think the Saurus characters bring much to the table since they’ll just find themselves being fed sacrificial unit champions. Gor-rok is probably the only passable anti-Dwarf Saurus SC we have, but I think I’d normally rather have a vanilla Saurus character so I can equip ward save items.
     

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