Army Review: Dwarfs

While I am a big fan of the traditional army review format, they usually only show the opinion of one person playing in one particular meta. In reality even within the same gaming group there is often a lot of disagreement over which units are top tier and which leave a lot to be desired. So I decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Andrew, Eric and Matt for all their help with this army review.

The ‘Expert’ Panel

Andrew Heinrich
Hello!
I started in the hobby during Warhammer 8th edition, and this is the only army I’ve ever played (with the exception of a brief flirtation with Ogres). I swapped to Kings of War when Age of Sigmar dropped, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been to Masters twice, placed top Dwarf one of those years, and have done decently well in the online tournament world (top Dwarf player in CtA 4, I think, not sure what my standing among Dwarf players was for CtA 5). I’m a good player, not great, no GT wins under my belt, so take my opinions with whatever grain of salt you like.

Nothing in the list breaks a 7/10 in my estimation because the Imperial Dwarf army has no specific unit that really measures up to such units in other armies. Internally, we could make some arguments for some units pushing into the 8-9 level, but honestly? No. There are no Huscarls, Soul Reavers, or any other such stellar unit in the army. 

Eric Winter
Dwarfs were my first army. The shooting in V2 was almost unstoppable. I won best general at bayou battles 2019 in Houston, TX with them.

In V3 I saw a huge change in their meta. Shooting is still a viable option , but I finally got to see very impressive all Melee options. Their speed takes a lot of practice to master, but once you learn how to manoeuvre the army, I would say they are a solid 8/10.

Matt Croger
Hello! I’m an avid Kings of War player from Australia and run several tournaments per year including our largest, Clash of Kings Australia. I am also one of the hosts for the Counter Charge podcast.

I have played Dwarfs for most of my Kings of War time which was near the start of Second. I played Elves for about a year and then have been working on my Dwarf army since. I enjoy tournaments but am not an overly competitive player. A little known fact is that it was me that added the glocks, to the rocks and brocks combo of second in the form of 3 organ guns, interestingly it was my least successful list.

Overall I still really like Dwarfs in thirds but I think are a primarily a list of “good” units with very few outstanding. Feel free to dismiss everything I write in my portion.


The Rating System

Each unit in the army is given a rating /10 using the scale below.

Note that the score given is how the unit compares to all other units in the game, not just compared to other units in the army. However, each unit should be considered in the context of this particular army e.g. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


Ironclad

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 6/10
Ironclad are cheap, solid workhorse troops. You can take them with Dogs, so they have a little bit of bite. In a horde they present a decent shield wall, troops can sometimes work as blockers or cheap objective holders. Speed 4 makes them hard to really use except as a bulwark against more expensive units. There’s a world in which spamming hordes of these might be good? Not tested yet.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Elliot – 8/10
This is a really good unit. I don’t think I’m giving away too many RC secrets to tell you that every unit is costed based off a generic template, we then apply pluses and minuses based on stat changes and special rules. The really good units in the game tend to be the ones that get good value out of their ‘pluses’ and don’t feel the effects too strongly of their ‘minuses’. Ironclad are one of those unit.

Their weakness is obvious and its one that’s shared by pretty much every unit in the list, they’re slooooow. But on this occasion being slow comes with a pretty serious upside; it lets Ironclad stay cheap. This unit has the defensive profile of an elite infantry unit at a budget pricetag.

Excellent in both regiments and hordes, these guys are a great way of squeezing a tonne of high defence Unit Strength into your list. They also make very good value Throwing Dog delivery systems. The only real criticism I can throw their way is that they’re less specialised then their Ironguard or Shieldbreaker cousins – that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean they might end up getting overlooked in some lists.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Eric – 6/10
This unit is great at sitting on objectives. Def 5 14/16 on a regiment takes some focus to remove. Good at playing anvil in hordes as well.

Matt – 8/10
This is a great unit than can fit the almost any style of play. The fact that they are Def 5 and cheap makes them viable almost at any size. At their points level they are comparable in price to Men at Arms Retainers but can fit a variety of roles. I feel the regiment level is most points efficient at 110 points and whether you add Mastiffs or not will depend on the rest of your list. Spamming these with Mastiffs is one way to get under the skin of your opponents or stick a troop or regiment in the back fields for resilient object claimers. A horde is fantastic anvil to hold up your opponents.


Ironguard

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Andrew – 7/10
Probably the best Dwarf infantry unit available. D6, melee 3+, and with easy access to Bane Chant they can be a real problem for enemies to shift. Speed 4 makes them, again, hard to employ aggressively. You can give them Dogs if you want, and that can give them a little bit of utility. These guys typically only melt against top-tier units, and their counterpunch can be deceptively effective. Great bait for unwary adversaries with access to better units.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Elliot – 8.5/10
15/17 nerve, Headstrong and Defence 6 on a 100x80mm footprint… yes please! These guys are seriously good and three to four regiments form the basis of the majority of my Dwarf lists. Like the Ironguard, their low speed lets them keep such an exceptional stat line at a very affordable 150 points. I tend to use these as my front line, holding the enemy’s hammer units up whilst my shooting softens the rest of their army up.

Me3 and 12 attacks is nothing to sniff at either, but this is a unit that really benefits from having Bane Chant support nearby.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 7/10
While they are still a good unit at Def6, the removal of the CS1 option hurt them in my opinion. Still great for a solid infantry line.

Matt – 6.5/10
Absolutely nothing wrong with these guys but when it comes down to points efficiency, I’m usually taking Ironclad, particularly if adding Mastiffs. I’d be taking this unit if I was spamming Def 6 and wanted to guarantee an anvil for my rocks to surge around. I’ve never taken these at a troop level as a speed 4 troop even with Def 6 still isn’t getting it where you want it and still only needs a few wounds to put it in danger of being popped.


Shieldbreakers

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 7/10
Shieldbreakers are arguably the army’s only “hammer” unit, and then only in a horde. The Horde is solid – good nerve, decent defence, good offence. Again, Dwarfs don’t get to have top-tier units, so these guys will have to do. Regiments are OK with dogs, but their handful of attacks and Speed 4 make them easy to eliminate, isolate, or ignore. Hordes are harder to ignore because of their footprint and Unit Strength.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Elliot – 7/10
I went back and forth a few times on my score for Shield Breakers unable to decide between a 7 or an 8. I love the hordes and they’re an incredibly good value unit; 205 points for that amount of damage output in excellent. They’re also one of those rare infantry units in the game that is perfectly viable at both troop, regiment and horde level.

The only thing that holds them back for me is the amount of other investment required to really get value out of them. Def4 sticks out like a sore thumb in the Dwarf list and these guys are often shooting target #1 – this means that you pretty much always need to be screening them with other units. As the Dwarfs only real infantry hammer, this is also the first unit where I lament going down to Speed 4 even though it does keep them cheap. You’re pretty much always going to take the first charge and even though you’ll most likely get a chance to swing back, the next hit will almost definitely kill you.

I use my Shield Breaker hordes as my second wave behind the Ironguard. Anything that has killed the Ironguard is usually in a fairly diminished state, allowing the Shieldbreakers to sweep in and mop up anything that’s left.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Eric – 7/10
Great unit, but they will need chaff as they are quite squishy. Only source of CS in your regular infantry arsenal. I like to run them with Ironguard as anvils and Mastiffs as chaff.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Matt – 7/10
These buff, bearded lads and ladies have had their role changed significantly in 3rd going from Me4+ CS2 to Me3+ Cs1. I really like them, they’re cheap enough to add Mastiffs and if I had them modelled on regiments I’d consider checker boarding them with Ironclad. In 2nd Ed taking these guys in a horde was like chopping yourself off at the knee on one leg and entering into a sprint, however the changes to charging in 3rd makes it viable. Speed 4 still makes them a problem so I’d consider getting Caterpillar on them so they can get where they need to be. If you’re taking one horde why not take two?


Berserkers

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 4/10
They tried to make these better for 3rd, and they failed. Wild Charge is nice, but the lack of melee offence outside the number of attacks makes them uninspiring. Can they be used? Yes. Should they? Not for the cost.

Elliot – 4/10
They… suck quite frankly. I really hoped that V3 would be their time to shine and so many other Berserker style units in the game are excellent, but the Dwarf versions are overcosted and not killy enough to justify the loss in Defence. Speed 5 and Wild Charge (D3) is fairly decent, but at Me4 they’re so likely to just bounce off their target. To me these feel like a unit struggling to find an identity. Their Vengeance special rule suggests that they’re supposed to tank a hit and then grind back, but at Def4 they aren’t going to take all that much killing. And at Me4 they’re really not a hammer unit either, on average an Iron Guard unit only gets one less hit per turn than a Berserker regiment. Fearless is also a rule that is normally massively sought after, but in an army that is entirely Headstrong anyway it loses some of its shine.

It’s a shame because they’re a style of unit that would bring so much to the Dwarfs… maybe one day they’ll actually be useable but right now just ignore them and move on.

Eric – 1/10
The dreaded score of 1 goes to these awful excuse for Berserker. 

They are pound for pound, the worst berserker in the game. They have to survive a charge to be slightly useful, and a good player will see that and find a way to negate it.

Matt – 3/10
These guys have put all the effort into getting dressed up and doing their hair, run down to a party to be told you can’t come in it’s not fancy dress. Sigh. I want these guys to be good but again, just like they did in 2nd, they need a look. For the points, mounted versions are just better. Vengeance is a tasty little rule but at Def4 at the troop level they’re likely not going to be there to use it next turn and similarly with the regiment. Me3 would make me look at them with more than just a side glance or natural CS with Vengeance giving + 1 but sadly for now I just have to leave the half naked dwarfs sitting on the shelf to gaze at….Oh hellow, how well muscled you are.


Bulwalkers

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 6/10
Giving these guys Big Shield would have put them on par with Ironguard or even better. However, at Def5, their cost doesn’t justify their application on the field. Phalanx is OK, but honestly, everyone you face will be able to pick their battles. They’re never putting cavalry or fliers into this unit unless they’re sure it’s going to pop.

Elliot – 7/10
A perfectly decent unit that just like the Ironguard, Ironclad and Shieldbreakers gets elite level stats at a fairly budget cost. For me personally, I don’t often find the 25 point increase over the Ironclad to be worth it for +3 attacks and Phalanx, but if you play in a meta that has a lot of cavalry and/ or fliers these guys will be your best friends.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 6/10
The large number of attacks on a horde makes them a prime candidate for a top tier magical item. With Sharpness or Strength these guys pack a whallop, and they can get charged and live to tell the tale. 

In troops, they are very stout too.

Matt – 5/10
Reportedly these are the most popular dwarves of the clans as they have the longest spears….. Honestly these guys will be a meta choice. If you’re not regularly running into cav there’s almost no reason to take them when you have Shield Breakers and Ironclad at your disposal for cheaper. If you are however, I’d be taking them in regiments or hordes , channeling the Von Trapp’s and singing goodbye to my opponent as they wail against a Def5 Phalanx wall.


Ironwatch Crossbows

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Andrew – 4/10
OK shooting unit. Meh.

Elliot – 5/10
I’ve rated these a 5/10 on the understanding that you’re only taking a single regiment of them, nothing more!

At 135 points these guys are just on the edge of being cheap enough to be able to sit back on an objective all game and not really get involved in the fight. Their shooting will most likely only do 1-2 points of damage a turn, but that’s plenty when their main job is to stay alive and score on the scenario. For me the horde is far too much of an investment and the troop is the same price as a Sharpshooter troop, which is just plain better in every way. In fact a Sharpshooter troop is probably better than a regiment of Crossbows…

Eric – 3/10
These guys just aren’t worth the points it takes to make them useful.

Matt – 4/10
I have not modelled any shooting regiments in this army other than Rangers because currently, why bother. I could see myself using these at the regiment level as they are not too pricey but the penalty for shooting regiments on their US makes me in other directions. They are victim of the minor little nerfs all adding up on shooting. If they were US 3 they’d become a more strong maybe for me. At the troop level you may as well take Sharpshooters and at the horde levels you may as well take your dollar bills and go stick them in the top of someone’s undies.


Rangers

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5.5/10 (5/10 in a regiment, 6/10 in a troop)
Rangers look great on paper – melee, shooting, movement. And they are good. However, in the Imperial army, there’s not a lot of support to be had. Some players make good use of them (I did in 2nd). And for them, I think this score will probably look a little low. YMMV. I think I’d rather take more Ironguard.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 7/10
I think its worth pointing out that I didn’t play Dwarfs in V2, so I’m looking at Rangers with fresh eyes instead of lamenting what they used to be. Saying that, Rangers are ace! My preferred size is definitely troops, and two of these together can shoot like a V2 Elf archer horde used to. I keep them close to the rest of my lines, meaning that if my opponent want to deal with them they will have the rest of the Dwarfs to answer to afterwards. Or they ignore them at their peril – 10 Ra4 shots a turn adds up very quickly and when these guys manage to get into a flank they’re brilliant.

I would personally steer clear of the regiments unless you’re going down the Free Dwarf route. 185 for an irregular regiment is a fairly hefty pricetag and unlike Heartpiercers or Flamebearer regiments, you don’t need the higher nerve level to make use of Regeneration.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 6/10
Good at spotty damage while waiting for a charge, and mid tier at melee.

Matt – 7/10
These guys are like the lads and lassies at school who not only had killer legs that kept them at the top of sports teams but also trounced you in maths, they do everything reasonably well. I primarily look towards troops to get a couple of threats in but when points get tight I’m happy to take the nerve bump for a regiment. I’m conflicted on the price point of these, on one hand they do things better than some of the other scouting shooting options in other armies such as having CS1, but at the same time they lose Steady Aim. They’re ok at the moment but I’d like to see them come down 5-10 points or get Steady Aim.


Ironwatch Rifles

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Andrew – 5/10
Meh. OK Shooting unit. A little better than crossbows because you can make them Elite if you go with a Warsmith.

Elliot – 3/10
See everything I said about the Ironwatch Crossbows, except the rifles tip over into the “too expensive to sit out the whole game taking pot shots” price bracket. I really don’t see a use for these in any size.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 4/10
While they are better than the crossbows, the cost to make them work is still too high.

Matt – 3/10
These are just about one of the untouchable units for me. You pay a lot for the extra piercing, but you may as well pay less and have things do the job almost as well. Your problem is on the Ra5+ not on the piercing. Maybe if they had extra range but at that point they are sharpshooters. Leave them at home babysitting the kiddy dwarfs.


Sharpshooters

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 6/10
Good shooting unit. Basically, they’re little Lightning Bolt chuckers with unit strength. They are low nerve, however, so deploy them well and have a plan for them.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 9/10
These guys are bloody amazing for their points. I always take at least one troop of them and they’re always my very first drop, effectively giving me a free drop. That’s because in army made up almost entirely of Height 2 infantry, they’re always going to have a shot on something and seeing as they’re Ra4 they don’t really care about being in cover.

These are a reliable 1-2 points of damage every single turn of the game. When you combine that with Organ Guns, Ironwatch Crossbows, Rangers, Throwing Dogs and Steel Juggernauts it adds up to consistently deleted units. What’s even better is that unlike War Engines, these guys have Unit Strength meaning that they excel in scenario play. Keep them at the back on an objective and force your opponent to deal with them.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 6/10
Pesky little buggers. Drop them in the corner with a firing line and watch your opponents get severely annoyed.

Matt – 8/10
Sharpshooters are a tasty little unit, at 100 points they’re relatively cheap and the combination of Ra4+ with 36 inch range means they are more reliable war machines that can actually hold objectives. They can do pip damage just about all game and if you combine them with some other shooting then put out some serious hurt. Insert heart emoji here.


Berserker Brock Riders

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Andrew – 6/10
I said what I said. Maybe a 7? But no better. Brock riders are the only unit we get greater than Speed 6. They are not hammers (they simply are not). They are not anvils (-/18 does not cut it anymore). They are not nimble or anything else cool. They are Vicious. They hit on 4s. They have extra attacks. They are only TC1. They are only D4. You need them because they are the only thing in your army that can move. But compared to other cavalry units, they just don’t cut it. You have to give them a magic item like Pathfinder or Jboots to really use them well, so their “low” cost is a bit of a lie.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 6/10
Controversially for a Dwarf player, I don’t like Brock Riders – I actually think they’re pretty crap. They went from a really tanky unit in V2, to medium cavalry at best in V3. But with a heavy cavalry price tag.

-/18 is a good nerve, but Defence 4 means that they’ll be taking ALOT more damage than other Cavalry units. 26 attacks at Me4 is only 1 more hit on average than 18 attacks at Me3. Except like all the other Cavalry regiments they don’t have TC2 or even better CS1 TC1. This means that when Hindered they hit like a wet fart.

I just find them all round… meh. They’re not terrible, but don’t really do much. The best I can say is that the troops make fairly decent thicc chaff.

I know others will disagree with me (and that’s the whole point of this format!) but I’ve tried and I’ve tried them and I’m consistently underwhelmed. Stick to the awesome infantry choices Dwarfs get and ignore this unit.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Eric – 8/10
 I was upset at the nerf they got in v3 until a local player showed me just how absurd the troops are now. Seriously. . . make an all Brock and Lord on Beast list.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Matt – 7/10
I have seen a few dwarf players stumping around with no teeth recently, most likely from all the gnashing over the touch up these took in the move from 2nd to 3rd. They copped a very significant nerve nerf but also a significant points decrease.

This has seen a big change in how they must be played, no longer can they be pushed forward and survive a round of shooting or an initial charge, instead they must be held back until the opportune moment. I have still been putting two regiments in every list but am becoming more convinced that the best numbers are either 1 or 3. At speed 8 they still need a delivery system in regiment form, but at a troop level they may just be some of the best chaff going around and are far more points efficient. Volume attacks are always good but with only TC 1 they can really wimp their attacks.


Earth Elementals

Andrew – 6/10
As good a unit as any other army’s version, but ours are a touch better simply because of the Stone Priest’s ability to hit them with Surge and Bane Chant. Flexible movement is key in the army, since our army sucks at moving. Elementals can provide a mobile, flexible centre than can support to either side if needs be. I always have two hordes with a Stone Priest, I never give them magic items.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Elliot – 7/10
Defence 6 on a Fearless -/18 unit will just always be good there’s no doubt about it. In a vacuum these are excellent units and I can see why so many Dwarf players gravitate towards them.

I’m not a personal fan but I know that’s more about personal preference than the quality of the unit. I don’t like how when you start taking Elementals you’re pushed so far down a particular list design path… once you take one horde, you need a Stone Priest to take full advantage of them. If you take a Stone Priest you pretty much have to give him Bane Chant or else you’re paying points for special rule you can’t use. By the time you’ve invested so many points into your Stone Priest (who only Inspires Elementals) you really need to take a second horde of Elementals to justify the spending on the Stone Priest. So a single horde doesn’t really cost 220 points, it actually costs 550.

They’re 70 points more expensive than an Ironguard regiment and for those 70 points you get CS1 (12 Me3 attacks =/= 18 Me4 attacks), +1 Nerve, Fearless instead of Headstrong, +1 speed, Pathfinder and Brutal. That’s a fairly decent chunk of additional stuff, but its also a decent amount of points more than Ironguard.

I personally would rather take 3 Ironguard regiments rather than 2 Earth Elemental hordes.

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Eric – 8/10 (with a Stone Priest)
Anvil, hammer, and rock hard abs?! What else could you want in a unit? Def6 and Stone Priest synergy is top notch.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Matt – 7/10
These guys are really going to depend on your specific build, given you don’t need to unlock a lot of monsters you don’t lose anything comparably to an infantry horde. You’re taking this unit if you want the def 6 wall, with Me4+ and CS1 they’re not going to be reliable for you even in a flank on a high def unit so you’ll get more punch out of your infantry hordes. I actually think they’re great value in a regiment but they make unlocks difficult if you take them like this.


Mastiff Hunting Pack

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5/10
Our only chaff. They are not good chaff compared to proper fast-moving, cheap, nimble chaff enjoyed by most other armies. But it’s what we got. Their high nerve means they can sometimes do things other chaff cannot. They can throw dogs for 15 points, but they aren’t headstrong and it’s not hard to waver them and really bork up your lines.

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Elliot – 8/10
They’re super fast! Ok, they’re not. But they’re super fast compared to their little legged masters.

I’ve rated Mastiff Packs so highly simply because their cost/stats ratio is exceptionally good value. There are better chaff units in the game, but for 65 points Mastiff Packs are easily the best value.

I’m constantly amazed by what fails to kill them, their 11/13 nerve and slightly higher than usual defence for a swarm comes into play so often. Plus if you can get one of these into the flank of a cavalry regiment, they hit as hard as an Earth Elemental horde.

I have never taken these without the Throwing Dog upgrade as they’re the perfect delivery system for it. Having an effective 18” range on the Throwing Dogs means that you can reliably use them to pick off your opponent’s chaff before they get close enough to be a problem for you.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 8/10
With Throwing Mastiff, they make amazing chaff.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 8/10
This unit is sensational chaff. A nerve value of 11/13 means they survive more often that you would think so when Inspired can do they job of holding if you don’t want them to pop. Giving them Mastiffs just makes them so good and so bloody annoying! And who doesn’t enjoy the thought of dogs throwing other dogs. Amazing! At speed 6 and cheap they can be chaff for most things in your army but will primarily be your brock delivery system.


Ironbelcher Cannon

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 5/10
Cannons are solid, thought a lot less so since the nerf.

Elliot – 6/10
Cannons can either be incredible or infuriatingly inaccurate. There are games where you’ll swing between thinking they’re a 3/10 or 10/10.

For me the reason I settled on a 6/10 is the fact that you can’t really plan around them. Taking a full battery of 3 does at mean that you ‘should’ get two hits out of six shots, but that’s still not really guaranteed. Plus unlike the Organ Guns your opponent is unlikely to massively change how they play as a result of your cannons. More likely they’ll hope they miss and send a war machine hunter after them.

Theres nothing wrong with cannons, but nothing exceptional either.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Eric – 7/10
Anecdotally, I removed an Idol of Shobik in 1 turn with 3 of these bad boys. Powerhouse of a cannon.

Matt – 6.5/10
I was tempted to score this more highly but the reason I didn’t is because one on it’s own doesn’t really have a role, and 2 in a 2000 point game that meant 11% of points has gone on unreliable non scoring shooting. When they do hit yum yum you’ll be praising the Celestians and quaffing ale, more often than not unless you go for taking 3 I think they’re found wanting.


Flame Belcher

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 4/10
Meh. Flame Belchers used to be cool.

Elliot – 5/10
I like Flame Belchers, they fit really nicely into my play style of holding up the enemy’s big hitters with my Defence 6 units and shooting them to bits in the meantime. 15 Ra4 shots is nothing to sniff at and again combined with all the other shooting the list can generate, these can be used to fairly reliably but 3-4 points of damage on a unit.

However they’re held back by the fact that they’re War Engines. That means no Unit Strength and the fact that they can’t move at the double (or over obstacles at all) – if these were Monsters they’d be 7/10 easily.

Eric – 6/10
Decent at chaff removal when run with an infantry line.

Matt – 7/10
I am in the process of modelling some of these as I think they are really versatile in a list that is primarily infantry/slow paced units. Along with surge and individuals, these really are your only flying defence. The lack of piercing can hurt but with 15 shots, you’re getting 5 hits per turn and sneaking a couple of those to wounds. Good value all rounder.


Jarrun Bombard

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5/10
Longer range makes these nice, but cannons are a little better.

Elliot – 2/10
When was the last time that your Cannon’s didn’t have a single target in range? Not out of line of sight but actually out of your 48” range. Never? Though not.

Ignore these and take a cannon instead.

Eric – 1/10
This unit won’t be reliving its glory days. When stacked up to the Iron Belcher, it is the unwanted step child.

Matt – 2/10
I really don’t see a role for this over the cannon, the “Blast it” shot doesn’t have shattering like the cannon and the “lob it” well who cares about the extra 12 inches when you can cover most of the board with 48 anyway? Leave it at home and take a cannon.


Ironbelcher Organ Gun

Photo credit: Jose Vega

Andrew – 6/10
Other people swear by these. Mine miss all the time and then die. I would have rated these a 5, I think, but they’re being used successfully by other players.

Elliot – 8/10
Now we’re talking! I LOVE Organ Guns, they’re easily the best War Engines in the game simply because no other War Engine has such an impact on how your opponent plays.

They come in three’s or not at all in my opinion and they’re the absolute masters of area denial. Point all three of them at a point where you don’t want your opponent to go and then deploy the rest of your army safe in the knowledge that you’ve got ¼ of the board covered.

For Organ Guns to work best they do need supporting, else they will just get picked up easily by war machine hunters. Steel Juggernauts are absolutely perfect for this as they can angle themselves to charge anything that charges the Organ Guns, whilst adding another 5 Ra5, P2 shots themselves. Don’t forget, despite what everyone seems to think, you can actually move your Organ Guns. Plan ahead, any time that you don’t have a shooting target move the guns to where you anticipate you’ll have the greatest number of targets next turn – or where you don’t want to your opponent to be next turn.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 4/10
Not enough shots to remove units anymore. For the cost, its just underwhelming.

Matt – 7/10
A lot of people don’t rate the Organ Gun in the Dwarf list any more when you have other options and yes I miss the 3 extra attacks they lost and the 5 extra points they now cost but they probably were slightly too good before. Their strength is in area denial and combined with some protection can still eliminate chaff and put some early hurt on anything that drops in front of them. Still love me some glocks… fully licenced and controlled of course


Battle Driller

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Andrew – 3/10
If you have 90 points to spend just about anywhere else, I will.

Elliot – 3/10
In its current guise I don’t see any point in ever bothering to take a Battle Driller. Their stats are fairly decent and if they were 60 points I’d maybe consider it, but at 90 points they’re far too expensive to ever justify adding in.

My biggest issue with them is the fact that because they have the Individual special rule your opponent can over run after killing them, letting them fairly easily take out two of your unit a turn.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 3/10
The cost is a bit too high for its special rules.

Matt – 3/10
Pretty sure King Golloch has haemorrhoids from the anger caused over what has been done to the poor Battle Drillers. Last edition even at their cheap points they still weren’t an auto include so I’m not sure who they drilled the wrong way to get the current treatment because basically you wouldn’t bother taking them now as a non-scoring individual that at best adds slight damage to a combat. Their best rule is Brutal when adding to that combat, but overall they’re not overly effective chaff even due to their slow speed.


Steel Behemoth

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 6/10
If this unit had Speed 6, it would be a truly cool unit. Right now it’s too slow to really do the job a big gribbly needs to do. The upgrade is really expensive, and most other armies get flying, fire breathing horror shows for that many points. 

Photo credit: Jose Vega

Elliot – 4/10
Suffering a similar fate to most ‘on foot’ monsters in Kings of War, the Steel Behemoth is just far too expensive for what it does. If you compare it to a Greater Earth Elemental, its effectively paying an addition 30 points for its shooting attack – but if its shooting its not making use of it combat stats that it pays SOOOO much for.

It’s also painfully slow, but unlike other units in the Dwarf list, it doesn’t get the budget price tag that comes along with the slow speed. Golloch’s Fury is laughably overpriced, taking an already overly expensive unit into ludicrous territory.

A horde of Earth Elementals will do pretty much the exact same role, move faster, unlock and are significantly cheaper. I’m looking for a redeeming feature but I haven’t found one yet… the models really nice.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 7/10
I’ve never been a big fan, but I have seen them do solid work in many dwarf lists.

Matt – 6.5 (7.5 with Golloch’s Fury)
I am always very conflicted over such expensive units with only US 1 but the reality is that the  beasts are very unlikely to do die if played well. I actually really like the upgrade to Golloch’s Fury. The Very Inspiring and extra range and piercing is very useful although I find it unusual it loses Steady Aim for the premium you are paying. I think these all go best in a list with combined shooting. I have seen them well used babysitting other warmachines for when the person tries to take them out they get countered by the behemoth.


Greater Earth Elemental

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Andrew – 5/10
Good, like any other G.E.E. in any other army. Doesn’t benefit from the Stone Priest’s special ability by virtue of it’s CS. Speed 6 is nice to have on hand in a Dwarf Army, but you’re probably better off taking another horde of regular elementals.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Elliot – 6/10
Whilst still very expensive, the Greater Earth Elemental is a solid unit. Fearless, Defence 6 and -/19 is an unbelievably hard nut for some lists to crack and I’ve seen tooled up Soul Reaver infantry units bounce off them before being swarmed by Dwarfs (one of the most cathartic sights in wargaming). Having a Speed 6 threat in your lines is big deal for the Dwarfs as it stops your opponent being able to manoeuvre quite as entirely unopposed as they otherwise might do. It’s the additional speed (and the cost) that pushes the Greater Earth Elemental a head and shoulders above the Steel Behemoth in my opinion.

Unlike the Earth Elemental hordes, I think the GEE is a perfectly valid choice in an army that doesn’t include any Surge, although if you happen to already have some in its certainly not a bad thing.

Photo credit : John Blakemore

Eric – 8/10 (with Stone Priest)
Drop this bad boy on the corner of an elemental line and your opponents will regret charging in.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 6/10
I have to admit to not having used one this edition, when it comes down to it I just want the points elsewhere. In a surgeable list could be great though the square base allows some funky charges and he is as tough as the weathered skin on Jon Faulkes’ face. However he is hurt by the size of the titan base when trying to get some sneaky charges and I just feel that despite being tougher and more attacks than he used to be, due to hitting on 4s he’s not going to bring you that love you desperately desire.


Dwarf Lord

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Andrew – 4/10
Expensive, slow-ass line commander. The special horn can be nice in some armies. He’s better with Wings. He’s slow, doesn’t hit hard, but he’s D6. Mostly, he’s boring.

Elliot – 7/10
A really solid little individual that just like many of the infantry units, gets to have a fairly stellar stat line at a budget price. These guys are a steal with the Wings of the Honeymaze as they get all this mitigates all of the weakness of being only Speed 4. I’ve never seen anyone take the Headstrong re-roll aura and I can’t imagine I ever will. It’s nice but seeing as you can’t take it in conjuncture with the Wings, its pure luck whether or not your Headstrong failing units happen to be within 6” of him at the time.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 7/10
The aura makes the army virtually unwaverable. Wings of the Honeymaze make him great at shutting down shooting , which can be key when playing these insanely slow Dwarfs.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 7/10
I love the Lord. With Wings of Honeymaze he is super annoying for your opponents and those extra 5 attacks can’t be ignored. The Horn of Heroes is ok but if you’re taking him with Wings then nah. I can also see multiple of these in an infantry heavy list and at Def6 and Mighty man they are going to be annoying!


Dwarf Lord on Large Beast

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Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 7/10
This, however, is a good Lord unit. He’s flexible, Nimble, can hit hard, threaten flanks, and provides good range of threat and flexibility. He’s overcosted when you look at what people get over in the realm of the Northern Alliance, but he’s still a solid choice. Haste, Mead of Madness, and other items go well on him. 

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Elliot – 6/10
A decent enough unit, but with the price point to match. Defensively this unit is exactly the same as a regiment as Ironguard which is incredibly good especially as the 50mm base limits the number of units that can get into combat with them at once. I try to limit myself to only taking one, because their damage output is simply ok at best. Taking multiples eats up a huge amount of your points without giving you a whole lot of punch.

I think Dwarf players really overrate this unit, I’m certain that my co-reviewers will have rated it higher than me. But I think that’s because they’re looking at it through Dwarf-tinted glasses and its the only bit of durable speed in the list. Compared to equivalent style units its pretty average and if this unit existed in any other armies it would be thought of as unremarkable at best. I recommend not spending too long comparing these to the Northern Alliance/ Varangur Lord on Frostfang, it’ll just make you sad…

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Eric – 10/10
Herald of the dwarf army. This unit has so much versatility. High Def and nerve, and decent melee stats to go with it.

Matt – 8/10
Probably one of the best changes for this list coming into 3rd. Speed 7 is a bit meh but having a Nimble Def6 on a 50mm base is just ace. He can almost hold a flank on his own if necessary whilst the bulk of your army does the heavy lifting in the middle or another flank. I’ve seen lots of people advocate for 2 but for me I’d have be playing 2300+ for that.

Get this Lord in the flank and sing a death march to your opponent as with almost anything else in the same combat it’s going bye byes.


Berserker Lord

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Andrew – 7/10
Our only mounted combat individual. He’s inexplicably not Mighty. He is flexible, can pin down fliers, and can hold down units or push a combat over the edge for you. I highly recommend at least one in the army. Give him Duelist or Blade of the Beast Slayer.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Elliot – 7/10
Either mounted on a Brock or with the Wings of the Honeymaze (which let you keep your Wildcharge (D3) for a very tasty 23” charge range) these guys make brilliant little guided missiles, flinging themselves around the battlefield and causing mayhem wherever they’re needed most.

People have a tendency to overinvest in them in my opinion, and seem to gravitate towards the Blade of the Beast Slayer because of the high number of attacks. But once you’ve mounted him on a Brock and given him the Blade he becomes 160 points, making him really quite pricey and meaning that you need to be making sure you get value out of him.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Eric – 7/10
This guy on a mount can reach out and touch shooters, hit casters trying to hide behind infantry, and with the Blade of the Beast Slayer, he makes a great monster hunter.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 7/10
I’d rate the Berserker Lord more highly if all versions were good but you just wouldn’t bother with him on foot. Take him on a brock with Beast Slayer and he will always ground a flier and likely go a round or 2 with them. That is still my favourite fit out but can be good options with Mournful Blade if you need an individual hunter or if you want a warmachine hunter/chaffing individual give him wings and with wild charge D3 is a pain in proverbial.


Stone Priest

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Andrew – 6/10
Necessary tax for having elementals. Stone Priests have a nice special rule that lets them Bane Chant a unit of elementals they just surged into combat. I typically take Bane Chant and the Staff of Conjuring on mine. 

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 4/10
This is a protest rating. Boo! Stop forcing narrow list design and let people build lists how they want!

The Stone Priest is one dimensional and boring as hell. Have you ever seen one outside of a list with at least two Earth Elemental hordes, or taken without Bane Chant? No I thought not. The Stone Priest is 40 (yes that’s right 40!) points more expensive than an Undead Necromancer and all of those points have clearly gone into the Stoneshaper and conditional Inspiring special rules. Think of all the different permutations that you can get out of a Kingdoms of Men Wizard – now look back at the Stone Priest, yawn and move on.

I guess it’s a perfectly fine unit when you’re doing the cookie cutter thing it’s so clearly designed to do. But seriously, units that are so one dimensional like this are boring and shouldn’t exist.

Photo credit: Billy Capgun

Eric – 9/10
This guy standing behind elementals will be your armies MVP. Surge those behemoths into a flank and then toss out Bane Chant for a tasty helping of unit-be-gone.

Photo credit: Bob Nelson

Matt – 5/10
Scoring the Stone Priest is tough because without rocks you just don’t take him due to no natural Inspiring, you now have the Flame Priest instead but if you have rocks he is an auto. You still need a couple of rocks units for him to be worth taking. To see him in more lists I’d like to see some sort of free replacement for surge to make him worth considering.


Warsmith

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Andrew – 4/10
I had hopes the buffs for this guy would make him better. He’s still a waste of points.

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Elliot – 4/10
Giving Elite (ranged) to a whole host of different units could be a truly excellent rule, if those units were themselves worth taking. But they’re not… so it isn’t. Point for point you would always be better off just buying another War Engine.

Sorry Warsmith I want to love you but feel that you need a bit of redesign to ever be worthwhile.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Eric – 5/10
He has his uses, but overall, I think the points are better spent elsewhere.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Rusty Shackleford

Matt – 5/10
I want to love him but the reality is that elite on low volume shooting is not going to yield many rewards, and when everything is tripling attacks on your war machines you’re paying for an Inspiring unit to try and get a snake eyes on the re-roll.

If you had volume of Warsmith and Ironwatch units it’s a maybe but you’d almost want a gunline to make it work.


Dwarf Army Standard Bearer

Andrew – 5/10
He’s every Standard Bearer, complete with requisite Lute.

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Elliot – 6/10
Nothing too much to dislike, other than his little legs can mean that it can sometimes be a pain to get Inspiring where you need it. But Def5 and Headstrong is a nice touch.

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Eric – 7/10
Give him the Lute and call it a day.

Matt – 7/10
Cheap Inspiring you can add a lute or shooting attack too depending on your list so why not?


Steel Juggernaut

Photo credit: John Blakemore

Andrew – 6/10
Maybe 6/10 is generous. I used these a lot early on – they’re really great in a couple of ways. Honestly, they need to be a unit on their own. As Inspiring sources of chip damage and decent combat, they can be useful. Especially since they provide Nimble. However, they aren’t *great*, and I’d rather have a regiment of Ironguard for the cost. 

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

Elliot – 8/10
Fantastic little unit that comes with everything you could want from a Dwarf Large Infantry hero. He’s sturdy and reliable. The best use for these guys is either babysitting war engines while still being useful because of his shooting attack. Or sat alongside Ironguard/ Ironclad and picking up flank charged once the enemy has engaged.

Eric – 7/10
These guys are just great to have around. Tanky , manoeuvrable, and they shoot?!

Matt – 7.5/10
The MacGyver of the Dwarf list. This unit is useful for about anything. Def6, yum, shooting attack yum, 5 attacks on 3’s CS2 yum, inspiring yum. In the right list take two and it will cover most of your units and still scores. Think tougher ogres that shoot.


Flame Priest

Andrew – 6/10
Nice to have another source of Bane Chant and a Fireball handy. I wish these guys would allow the army to take Fire Elementals. Give one of them an Inspiring Talisman and you have a nice, flexible line commanding character.

Photo credit: Erasmus Burger

 Elliot – 6/10
These are nice decent little Wizards and after you’ve given the Lute to an Army Standard Bearer, they’re a fairly good value way of getting more Bane Chant into your list. But their choice of spells is fairly limited and Fireball is currently very much second fiddle to Lighting Bolt.

Ok but not great. Still more interesting than the Stone Priest though…

Photo credit: Gregor Siegel

Eric – 6/10
 Good source for Bane Chant when not running elementals.

Matt – 3/10
Fireball 6, who cares. You’d literally take him to get BC as a second source instead of on your Standard Bearer because without Inspiring he is worse.


Rordin the Dwarf

Andrew – 1/10
Why?

Elliot – 6/10
He stacks up quite favourably compared to a basic Dwarf Lord getting Pathfinder, +1 CS and his really quite neat special rule (Now I’m Angry) for a mere 20 points.

The problem is, you don’t tend to take Dwarf Lords on foot you take them with wings. But if you wanted to take a Dwarf Lord ‘on foot’ then Rordin is a very decent and worthwhile upgrade.

Eric – 6/10
He’s fun, but competitively I think you’re better off elsewhere.

Matt – 5/10
In an infantry list where you are taking a Lord you’d consider this guy as you get a bit of bang for the extra 15 points in Pathfinder, + 1 CS and the Now I’m Angry special rule. Can’t see a role for him otherwise.


Garrek Heavyhand

Andrew – 1/10
No seriously, why? The Imperial Dwarfs got straight-up screwed on named characters and Mantic needs to fix it. Both of these guys are useless.

Elliot – 4/10
See above about Dwarf Lords on foot, but for yet another 25 points compared to Rordin. The problem is you’re now up to 45 points more than a basic Dwarf Lord and you still only have 5 attacks. Realistically what is CS3 going to achieve for you that CS1 doesn’t? 1 more damage per round? Regeneration and +1 nerve is nice, but for me Garrek falls very much into the ‘meh’ camp. Also can Dwarfs please get a Living Legend that isn’t just another speed 4 Dwarf Lord with a few extra bells and whistles tied on?

Eric – 7/10
Running this guy with a line of infantry is great. He adds some much needed punch when added to a charge.

Matt – 6/10
For the extra points you get a bit at CS3 and Regen on Def6. That’s a bit drool worthy. However at a 150 points for an individual again you’d want to be infantry heavy as speed 4 is so cruel in this game!


Elliot’s Beer Fund

If you’ve enjoyed the blog and you’re feeling generous, you can buy me a pint. Please dont feel any obligation to do so, I’ve started this blog because it’s fun, not to make any money. Any money received will go towards hosting costs. Or my beer fund… ok mainly my beer fund.

£3.00


Summary

Overall average ratings /10: 5.8/10

Most agreed upon unit(s): Shieldbreakers, Battle Driller, Berserker Lord (All reviewers gave the same rating)

Least agreed upon unit(s): Garrek Heavyhand (5 points of difference between highest and lowest scores)

One thought on “Army Review: Dwarfs”

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