Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dwarf Grumblings/Mumblings

Over the last couple of days I’ve been reading the new Dwarf book, not because I am a masochist but because I need to have an understanding for ETC considerations – comp, matchups and the like.
While my reading has been firmly directed at the army list section, colour me impressed so far. GW hasn’t gone for the cheap wins – such as adding monstrous Bear Cavalry – instead concentrating on the things that make Dwarfs, dwarfs.
I’m not sure how they are going to work but the choices look far more interesting now – and I mean that both from the viewpoint of the Dwarf player and his opponent. Yes you can still shut down a Magic Phase but you are going to pay to do it rather than it being innate.
You also have the opportunity to play an offensive game with 2A Hammerers that get +1 when they charge and – if they have a Runedude – have AP.
Do I think we’ll see the aggressive builds? Not from the current Longbeards who play the army but maybe we’ll see it from the Beardling Bandwagoners who pick it up.  The current Dwarfers are just so risk averse and the opportunity to take new, expensive, superfluous runes will be too much. Expect much redundancy – or as I term it “meteorite insurance”.
However I think that there are significant opportunities to be more aggressive than we have previously seen.


  1. Some reasonable commentary on Dwarfs. Colour me impressed.
    There are still too many "longbeards" stuck in their ways.

    As per usual, the innovators will be those new Dwarf players who pick them up with no preconceptions.

    Strollaz Darkestar here I come!

  2. I sense some Dwarf (player) baiting here...but I agree on the opportunity to come out of the hold and take it to the enemy. We'll see if that happens. Seems there are quite a few favourable first impressions out there. Bring on the dwarven deathstars!

  3. Ooooh, what's this large, sharp, curvy metal thing dangling before my eyes...... Look, there's a little worm on it too!

    I think the big question with the book is just how effective Dwarf troops will be in combat. It's fine having a list that marches towards the enemy, but many armies are very good at combat. If a Dwarf list minimises shooting, it's not like it can fall back on superior magic and movement if confronted by something like 22 Trolls and 7 Skullcrushers.

    Also, without shooting, non-Dwarves always have the option of disengaging, trading chaff while moving away from those stolid M3 blocks trundling their way towards them. Vanguard really helps, but we can expect Scout deployments to limit that option where these are available.

    I'm glad GW made an honest attempt to change the army's playstyle, and give it a more combat focus. Shooting is just as effective, but more fairly priced now, and the anti-magic is toned down as expected. The total lack of any sort of ranged buff ability is very dissappointing though. Yeah, we have the Anvil, but can anyone honestly say it's not a pile of poo? At least the Gyros are an excellent new choice, but the main to reach out and touch somebody remains the war machines.

    How successful GW were with their change remains to be seen. In the white-hot pressure cooker of the Wellington scene, where Warhammer is a 'blood sport', only the hyper-points-efficient survive at the top. If cannons and organ guns remain the best the book has to offer, then expect to see gunlines as the norm once the experimentation is over.

    1. Anvil has 3 innate abilities. It means you can 6 dice all day long without a problem. If you want to get through a spell, you can.

      The cost to cast is also incredibly low. Just compare 2D6 st4 MM to medium fireball...

    2. Tani Woodlisson that is such a Dwarfish reply. It seems so "glass half empty".

      The book is definitely a boost both in power and enjoyment.

      Am I here ranting that you got "free" hatred against rats and 33% of the time vs other armies? No.

      Dwarfs players are funny. In the ETC discussions they are demanding that 33% chance be increased to 100% otherwise tit's unfair.

      Glass half empty

    3. The hatred roll is a stupid design decision. Dwarves should have access to hatred, both for game balance and for fluff reasons, but not like this. It should be linked to items that characters can purchase (a Book of Grudges is the obvious one) or as a character special rule. To have a single roll at the start of the game have such a huge impact either way is just lazy. But the ETC guys are pushing it too far, their proposal is ridiculous.

      Of course Dwarves should hate Skaven. The Skaven book is full of how they've smashed the stunties for millennia. That probably engenders a bit of ill will.

      You seem convinced that I'm a pessimist, no matter what I say. The crux of my post is that it all comes down to how well Dwarf troops can fight. Possible hatred, +1S on the charge, 2A Hammerers, stubborn banners and AP Runesmiths all help with this. If it's enough to let Dwarves stand up to the Skullcrushers, Demigryphs and Gutstars, then you'll see a lot of marching armies, with 2 or fewer war machines, maybe none (why give up the points). Miners from the back, Vanguard Hammerers with 3-4 gyrocopters and rangers in support. Should be fun.

      But if the heat is too much, and it proves that the added combat ability isn't enough, that opponents either outfight, or simply outrun the stunties, then the guns will probably come out again. GW has attempted to redesign the army to an extent, so credit to them for this. It's too early to tell if they are successful, and certainly too early to say that the book gained in power (at least if you roll a 1-4 at the start of the game).

      And the Anvil is still crap, on paper at least. Can I swap it for a Screaming Bell?

  4. All for the low, low price of 170 points... Plus the Runelord that goes with it, who then can't join a unit and give it Armour Piercing and MR2. It's now T5 with a 5+ Ward, so it's cannon bait (which is kind of ironic, given how Dwarves love cannoning off other people's toys, no doubt there'll be lots of lulz and sympathy for that).

    It wouldn't be so bad, but 2d6 S4 24" direct damage spell, +1 A/S and ItP in a bubble is not that great for the price. The one you really want to cast will have your opponent saving theirr DD for that, with a +2 or +4 to dispel.

    On the plus side, it doesn't blow up anymore, you have a 24% chance of an IF and it can move 3" a turn.

    I have to say, it really is a pile of poo. We all suspected magical charging was going, but they haven't made it worthwhile at all as far as I can see. I really hope I'm wrong and a better player than me shows the way with it. But 300 points or more is too much to pay for what it seems to offer.

    Gyrocopters look fun though, need to paint my third one up.

    1. TK have to pay 135 for 1 innate spell. Empire I believe pays more for the altar... Most races have to pay more than 170 points to get a level 3 caster that can miscast. Anvil is innate.
      I think you are overlooking how powerful innate can be under the current rules set.

    2. True, I'm not used to using bound spells, so there is a lot of theory and not much practical experience in my position. So I could very easily be wrong.

      However, the War Altar and the Casket normally go with a Level 4, or at the very least a Level 2. So there are other spells to pick from in the magic phase, most of which are more impressive than the three from the Anvil. The Altar and Casket fit within a wider casting strategy that either draws scrolls and DD to allow the bounds to be cast, or uses the bounds as cheap distractions to allow the wizards to cast. That synergy is missing from the Dwarf book.

      The Altar has bubble Hatred and Banishment isn't a bad spell by all accounts, especially with a couple of Light Wizards standing nearby. Light of Death is also very good I believe, especially against Monsterous Cav.

      Given there are no other wizards in the army to save DD for, closing down the Anvil should be pretty easy, even for a single Level 2 caddy One spell might get through, but the most important one will be stopped; the 2d6 24" spell if there's no combat, the +1 A/S if there is.

      Like I said, all theory at this point. I might give it a go in a few months, once I've tried other combinations. Hopefully someone brighter and more optomistic than me finds a way to use it. Maybe it will be the new filth after all.....

      First game last night. Turns out 2A Hammerers with Hatred are pretty good, even against Demigryphs. That Hatred roll at the start of the game is going to be really important. It's still a really clumsy game mechanic if you ask me.

    3. I cant see the Anvil being used much either. Yes, it's innate spells, yes, there's no longer the worry of blowing up, but the spells are also not that great. The first spell, ItP? that means we cant choose to flee, ruining any double flee tactic we could muster with the gyros? The Armour save is ok, but that'll be blocked if youre in combat like Tane said. The anvil seems like a huge sinkhole of easy points and now doesnt have any movement help that the Dwarf army needs.

  5. With the ability to take multiple units that can vanguard including infantry, fliers and rangers Dwarfs can now get across the board quite quickly

    An after playing Tane last night, I agree Hammerers with Hatred simply kill things, good thing for my knights and Demi at least they weren't Strength 7 armor AP Hammerers