Dwarf Army Book Review – Part 3 – Lords and Heroes

In the 3rd part of the review I looked at the character models available to the dwarves. I also decided to do this a little differently and instead of spitting the section by Lords and then Heroes, I instead grouped them by the Lord and Hero counterpart.

As an aside, when uploading the pics of characters painted, it really bought home how much my painting had improved since most of the army was painted (even in my eyes). Yet more stuff that will need to get back on the table at some point…

Part 1 – Why play them, Army Special Rules and Dwarf Armoury

Part 2 – Runic items & Ancestral Heirlooms

 

Dwarf Lord

The lord is a solid melee choice. Fairly standard lord stats but with boosted WS (7), T (5) and LD (10). He gets all the dwarf army special rules. And can take a massive 125pts of runic items.

I like the lord. You are more likely to see him than an equivalent lord in a different army but this is because you don’t need to take a high level spell caster unlike most others. That isn’t to say you often see him, as there are arguably more competitive choices. If you are going to take him, I cannot see why you wouldn’t take him on shieldbearers (except if you didn’t have the points) as 40pts for the +2 W, +2 armour save and +2 WS5, S4, I2 attacks is a bargain. That alone gives you a 2+ save and 5W off the bat. If I had to take a lord with limited points, I would probably take that over runic items.

One of the most fun things about the lord is just the wealth of options available on how to arm or armour him. You can build your lord for offense of defence but he works especially well as an immovable object. I have and will mention the unkillable lord several times. The classic build for this is: Shieldbearers, 2*Ro Iron, 1*Ro Fortitude, 3*Ro Warding and a Great Weapon. This gives you in defence: 2+ save, 4++ ward, T7, 6W with 4 WS7, S6 attacks (and 2*WS5, S4 attacks). Not too shabby I’m sure you will agree (probably an understatement if ever there was one. That much toughness and that many wounds on an infantry model is obscene).

A cheaper version (by 50pts) would be to drop the 3*Ro Warding and the Ro Fortitude and replace that with 1*Ro Preservation. This drops 1 point of toughness and the standard 4++ ward and replaces it with a 2++ ward vs killing blow and heroic killing blow.

Probably the main reason for the lord heading down the defensive runic route is his base strength of 4. Taking just armour and talismanic runes leaves the option for you to just arm him with a cheap great weapon. The defensive runes almost always ensure you have the option to hit back and his strength and GW will still ensure you get a -3 save modifier.

If I’m taking runic weapons, I’m partial to this combo: MRo Smiting, Ro Might, Ro Parrying. This gives him double strength vs T5 or higher foes, multiple wounds (D6) and he gains the mark of Nurgle (sorry -1 to hit). The last helps offset the lack of defensive runes. I still mount his on the almost compulsory shieldbearers and and give his a shield for a 1+ armour save. You would have 15 points left to spend (if you wanted), so could add a Ro Luck (it’s a luck stone from the BRB – basically re-roll one dice for this model in the game) or a Ro Fire (for a 2++ ward vs flaming attacks). I think the key rune when taking a weapon is Might as it allows you to offset the lack of base strength. That isn’t to say you always have to take it but I feel it has the most utility.

I do have to say that this lord cost can be expensive. To put it into perspective, a minimal build (shieldbearers and great weapon) is just under 200 pts but fully runed up, in the classic unkillable build is over 300pts. For that cost you can get 2 runed up warmachines or another block of troops.

If you do take him you won’t be disappointed but you have to think carefully on where to place him. Yes you could put your tooled up lord in your hammerers but that unit is already a magnet for spells, missile fire and artillery and most opponents will avoid combat with it as much as they would witch elves. You would be much better off placing him in your weakest combat block. Perhaps dwarf warriors, as suddenly that weakest block is looking a lot nastier. It’s worth pointing out that if you are playing closed lists, most opponents will automatically assume that your lord on shieldbearers is the unkillable variety, so you could still ‘buff’ your weak unit whilst fielding the cheaper bare bones option to free up points for other options.

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Thane

Like the lord, the thane has all the dwarf special rules. The main difference between them is the stat line with 4 of the characteristics (WS, W, A and I) being a single pip lower. Retaining an LD of 10 and costing less than half the value of the lord, makes a thane a very attractive alternative, especially with his 75 point runic item allowance.

Even with a naturally high leadership, it is rare that a dwarf player won’t take at least one thane to use as a BSB. There are very few armies that can perform without them, the risk of failed leadership tests is just too great. With their low movement and reliance on a solid battleline, the BSB is rarely out of range of key units if deployed well so he is more often than not a staple of your army and I think that is as it should be. I’m very much of the school that all armies should have a general and bsb if only for fluff reasons.

In terms of arming your BSB, again the runes give you multiple choices and you also have to factor in the banner runes. A solid choice is to give him a shield and the MRo Grungni. This gives his a 3+ save and a 4++ ward as well as throwing out a 6” bubble that gives a 5++ ward vs shooting. Not only does this make him very durable but it is very handy when defending warmachines against counter battery fire. (Not to mention helping your slayers last a little longer).

I most often flit between that build and taking a shield and the MRo Valaya, which gives an additional +2 bonus when dispelling. I find this combined with the spellbreaker runes really helps neutralise (or reduce) enemy magic phases (at the expense of some defence for your thane). You can add other runes to the banners as a BSB has a 100pt allowance but it quickly boosts the cost and as with the main banner rune, which ones you take should depend on the army build you are taking and if it fits in with it.

The third of the builds I favour can be used for a bsb or for a normal thane. Give him a MRo Gromril, Ro Iron (for a 1+ save and an additional wound) and a Great Weapon to boost his strength. This still leaves a few points to play with. Depending on what you are fielding and where you are planning to deploy him, you can then add an oath stone (though I wouldn’t advise this if you are using the thane as a BSB).

Again, there are lots of fun combo’s to take with runes and this barely scratches the surface.

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Master Engineer

The ME allows a warmachine within 3″ to use his BS instead of their own and also re-roll an artillery dice (in the same way as a Rune of Forging). As a tertiary affect he can also entrench one warmachine at the start of the battle to give it hard cover.

His primary and secondary abilities equate to 50pts of runes, so you are effectively getting a hero and body guard for your warmachines for an additional 20pts. If you then take into account the entrenchment ability he gives, then you are making a saving 5pts (at least if he is taken naked).

Now having said that, I would only normally take an engineer if I were to take an Organ Gun, as his abilities sync with this machine the most (as you can use all three of his abilities with it) and I’d go as far to say I consider a taking one Master Engineer per Organ Gun, a mandatory choice. It is worth pointing out that you could take an organ gun with no runes and just a ME without compromising its effectiveness and suddenly that banner of the world dragon bearing unit of elves, isn’t looking too safe!

I’d never take an engineer on a cannon or a grudgethrower as taking runes is normally more cost effective. I would take one on a flame cannon IF I had taken the Rune of Penetrating on it (as I would want the re-roll to misfires the ME would provide).

In terms of armaments, it is worth adding a Ro Stone to an engineer to boost his armour to a 3+. A brace of pistols never goes amiss to boost his combat potential when guarding his warmachine. You could consider a GW instead, as it is cheaper, but the pistols allow a stand and shoot reaction and that can make the difference in combat. The main thing is to keep him pretty cheap.

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Runelord

A Runelord is the master of the runic arts. He is often the oldest dwarf in the hold, imbued with years of wisdom. He gets access to all the standard dwarf army special rules and also gets access to some unique Runesmith rules:

Forgefire: This gives the Runelord and any unit he is embedded in, Armour Piercing. This is a superb rule and one of main reasons to take a Runelord/smith (just after the ability to take dispel ‘runes’).

Runelore: This allows him to channel dispel dice. This is the same as wizards and isn’t game changing but can crop up to assist during the game.

Magic Resistance (2): a 5++ ward against direct damage spells is helpful but not normally that useful.

He is also the only dwarf that can access the Anvil of Doom (which I’ve already covered under the armoury section but to recap, it’s pretty rubbish, don’t take it in any kind of competitive game).

You want to really like the Runelord. He does have a massive 150pt runic item allowance which is great but he falls into a null zone. His stats aren’t good enough to make him a combat character compared to your other options (he has the same attacks as the hero version. Why would that seem like a good idea? I suppose they were modelling them on wizards but with an additional attack). He also costs double the price of a Runesmith so if you take into consideration, forgefire and the ability to take spell breakers, there is no conceivable situation where you wouldn’t take 2 Runesmiths over a Runelord. That is a real shame and because of this, it makes the Runelord the only generic lord option I would never take in a competitive game.

Now having said all that, if you were to take a Runelord (120pts) on an Anvil (170pts) and want to max him out for laughs, consider all or part of the following build: Runic Weapon – 3*Ro Speed (15pts) to give him +3 Initiative. This boosts him to initiative 6 in total and gives maximum protection vs those test or die spells. Give him a shield (3pts) and on his armour give him a Ro Stone (5pts) and Fortitude (35pts) to boost his armour to 2+ and Toughness to 6. Then give him 2*Ro Spellbreaking (45pts) and a Ro Balance (50pts) to give you maximum protection in the magic phase. Sure it comes in at 443pts all told but could be quite amusing.

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Runesmith

This is the hero version of the Runelord and a better option in every way. He gets all the same rules, excepting a smaller 75pt runic item limit and Magic Resistance (1) but only costs half what the Lord does.

I would state that EVERY dwarf list should contain at least one Runesmith. If you don’t have one, you should go back and look at your list and rewrite it to put one in, that is how useful they are.

As all Runesmiths will take at least the first level spellbreaker for 25pts, realistically they only have 50pts of Runes. I personally like to kit them as cheap as possible for defence, with a Ro Stone and shield so they get a 2+ save and 6++ parry. Occasionally I might also give a Ro Preservation for protection vs Killing blow if he is my General. I have taken the GW, MRo Gromril and Ro Fortitude combo for a S6, 3W, 1+ save. Though with only 2 attacks as standard, this isn’t as effective as giving this combo to a Thane though.

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Daemonslayer

I have a real soft spot for all things slayer. Most armies have their iconic units but there are some that just stand out. For me that is slayers. If you read the time of legends books there are some interesting comments on slayers, as it is only around this time that they started to appear and at the time, many dwarves thought negatively about it and that becoming a slayer was taking the easy (and less honourable) way out of facing the responsibility of their shame (pretty sure that was the gist and I’m not making it up – will have to re-read them to be sure).

Either way, Daemonslayers are the toughest most badass dwarves. Shunning armour and seeking out the biggest monsters and challenges to find a worthy death, they have survived everything thrown at them. Gotrek is the most well-known thanks to the Bill King books but there are many others.

They have very limited options available to them. They can take a runic weapon and can only join a unit of slayers. That is it. So at 5pts cheaper than your basic lord, what else do you get for your 140pts?

Firstly a slightly differing statline. You drop a point of BS and gain a point of initiative. That’s a great trade off and boosts it to 5 giving you a greater chance of striking first.

He keeps the standard dwarf special rules, only dropping shield wall (quite rightly) and retains the standard slayer rules of:

Unbreakable – never has to take break tests and is immune to psych. How I love this rule. It is possibly the greatest strength of a slayer.

Slayer – always wounds on a 4+. Again a good rule and helps against monsters or other high toughness units but it doesn’t help against armour.

Slayer Axes – Can choose to use an additional hand weapon or a great weapon at the start of each combat. On a slayer unit this is a great option but on a slayer character I tend to advocate taking a runic axe which replaces these options.

Deathblow – If a model with this rule is killed, they immediately can make a single additional attack. A fluffy rule and gives you a chance to take out something in a last hurrah.

He also gets the unique Dragon Slayer rule – Gives you the multiple wound (D3) rule vs monsters.

His own special rule is Daemon slayer – Any ward saves made against your attacks must be re-rolled. You basically get the other tricksters shard.

So you get a whole host of special rules, most are excellent and none are bad.

In terms of weapons, you can really tailor this to offset the unit’s weaknesses or take character/monster killers etc. A classic options is:

MRo Swiftness, Ro Might and Ro Parrying (gains always strikes first, double strength against T5+ opponents and enemy suffer -1 to hit him in combat).

He is also one I might actually consider giving 3 runes of cleaving. I also like the idea of giving him the MRo Smiting so he gets multiple wounds (D6) against all foes. If he gets in a challenge and is slain he then gets a final chance to cause D6 wounds back at the attacker. It just seems apt somehow.

You can run a slayer character solo but any opponent worth his salt will use them as a pin cushion as soon as look at them. I might still consider it with a Dragonslayer but due to the cost I’d never run the Daemon slayer outside of a unit.

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Dragonslayer

He gets all the same rules as the Daemonslayer (bar the ability to force re-rolls to wards). Comparing him to the Thane he again loses a point of BS and gains one of Initiative and costs 5 points more.

Everything stated about the Daemonslayer, applies to the Dragonslayer.

All in all, I’m not as big of a fan, maybe this is because he loses an attack and a wound on his profile and with no defence, it makes him a bit too squishy with not enough damage output.

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Special Characters

There are two main reasons for taking named characters. You are either fitting them in for fluff or for a special ability they are able to confer that no one else can. They are, in the main, considerably more expensive than their generic counterparts.

Full disclosure, I’ve only ever used 3 of the 8 named characters in this review.

Thorgrim Grudgebearer

He is the current High King, known to have struck off an impressive entries from the Dammaz Kron (Book of Grudges). He gets the following dwarvern army rules: Ancestral Grudge, Relentless and Resolute (so no shield wall).

He is carried into battle by 4 dwarves on the Throne of Power and has 4 unique magic items. In addition he MUST be the general if in the army and if he is slain, all dwarves get frenzy! So what are his unique items?

Throne of Power – This is treated as shieldbearers (so he counts as infantry still) and he gets +2 to his save. The difference is he gains +4 wounds and 4 additional WS5 S4 attacks (to represent the 4 dwarves carrying it) but loses the look-out sir rule if he joins a unit. He also gets a 4++ ward and his commanding presence range is increased from 12” to 18”.

The throne is great, +4 wounds puts him up to monster levels and means he can’t be one shotted by cannons. The ward helps further prevent this and the increased range is a bonus but not as important as for other armies, due to the high leadership of the dwarves.

Axe of Grimnir – This is one of Grimnir’s two legendary axes (Gotrek was long thought be wielding the second). This grants him ASF, it wounds on a 2+ (3+ if they opponent is wearing magic armour) and multiple wounds (D6) vs giants.

ASF is always great but with a high chance of getting re-rolls to hit anyway it isn’t as useful for the High King. The 2+/3+ wounding isn’t bad but doesn’t help him overcome high armour with his base S4. The Multiple wounds is very conditional. I can’t remember the last time I faced anyone with a giant. So all in all, this axe is good against monsters with low saves but not great against anything else.

Armour of Skaldor – Gromril armour that combines with the Throne of Power to give him a 2+ save. In addition it gives him a 2++ ward vs Killing Blow, HKB and attacks with the multiple wound rule (this is basically a boosted Ro Preservation).

I like having KB and HKB protection, it doesn’t come up a lot but is always good to have on a tanky lord. The unique preservation against multiple wounds is conditional but again helps against things like cannons (especially with no look-out sir protection).

Dragon Crown – Grants Immune to Psychology and Stubborn

Stubborn is all kinds of good and there is never a reason to lament having it. ItP is conditional on dwarves.

Great Book of Grudges – Add +3 to the ancestral grudge roll. On a 7+ all dwarves gain the equivalent of Eternal Hatred (can re-roll to hit in every round of combat)

There is often one thing that sets a named character above its generic counterpart and this rule is the one for Thorgrim. On a 2+ you guarantee your army gets hatred and you also get a 50% chance of rolling eternal hatred. I love this as rerolls to hit are just so useful.

So as you expect, the big boss of the dwarves is loaded with magic items and rules, so what are the drawbacks. Well let’s start with the big one. 650 points! This means you could not fit him in a standard 2500pt army unless you are using the 1.9 errata rules for 50% character allowances.

Trying to see what that cost is made up of, I’ve added together basic cost of the components. Lord (145), 2 * Shieldbearers (80), 3*Ro Warding (45), MRo Swiftness (25), MRo Skalf Blackhammer (75), Ro Preservation (25), Ro Stolicism (35), Ro Courage (20) – Total 450pts

The remaining 200pts is made up of the following abilities: Increased commanding presence range by 6”, additional +2 BS (completely pointless as he has no ranged attacks), MRo of Giant Slaying (from the axe), 2++ ward vs multiple wound attacks (from the armour) and the book of grudges effects. Is this worth it? It’s debatable. I suppose in a much larger game (where you are more likely to field him), then the additional hatred could really come into its own as you would likely have far more combat blocks.

My other main gripe with him is he only has a -1 modifier to an opponent’s armour save (from his S4). The best you can boost this too is -2 if you add a Runelord/smith to his unit. It’s just poor and so you would only want him realistically attacking monsters or rank and file.

Ungrim Ironfist

I love the Slayer King almost as much as normal slayers (fluff and rules). Sure he is reasonably expensive at 350pts but a tooled up tanky ‘unkillable’ Dwarf Lord comes in at over 310pts so he isn’t too much more. So what do you get for the points?

I’ll start with defence (and compare it to the tanky lord even though they aren’t necessarily built for the same role) and his WS of 9. He has to be one of a handful of characters with a WS that high and it means that most enemies will hit him on a 4+ but anyone with a WS4 or lower will only hit him on a 5+. This is almost as good as having a -1 to hit. The Dragon Crown adds +1 to his toughness, boosting it to 6 so most elite troops with GWs will only wound him on a 4+, as well as adding +1 to his save, which combined with his Gromril armour, gives him a 3+ save. Again these help reduce the odds of him losing one of his 3 wounds. On top of this, his Dragon Cloak of Fyrskar, grants a 4++ ward (which increases to 2++ vs fire based attacks).

If I compare is to the dwarf lord. The lord ‘only’ has a WS7 and tends to have a 2+ armour and 4++ ward, so pretty comparable so far. Where the lord outstrips Ungrim is with his T7 (not too much difference) but a whopping 6 wounds. Still, as you can see Ungrim is still pretty tough and not a push over with his defence. It is mainly the wounds that are the difference between them.

So what about attack? Again his WS comes into play. He will rarely, not be hitting foes on a 3+. Ancestral Grudge also gives him a chance at re-rolling failed hits in the first round of combat. His Axe of Dargo, grants him +2S which boosts him to S6, so he will wound most foes on a 2+ and will have a -3 to armour saves. He also has the resolute rule so gets +1 Str on the charge. On top of that, his 4 attacks, strike at initiative 5 and the Axe also gives them killing blow (so a chance to ignore armour and regen saves altogether and kill multi-wound enemy that aren’t monstrous). He also gets all the slayer rules, so any successful ward saves made against his attacks have to be re-rolled, against monsters any wounds caused become D3 wounds and the worst he can roll to wound on is a 4+. This is a lot of special rules and why I consider him a bit of a combat monster.

Again comparing him to the dwarf lord, the lord has 4 attacks at Str 6 (or 7 on the charge) due to the GW (so the same as Ungrim) but this also gives him the ASL rule. He does gain 2 WS5, Str 4, I3 from the shieldbearers but as expected, he is at a disadvantage to Ungrim if only down to the sheer number of additional rules the Slayer King has on the attack.

We’ve established that he has a solid defence and attack so does he bring anything else to the table? Well like other slayers he is unbreakable and as mentioned earlier if taken as a general one slayer unit gets a magic banner of up to 100pts. Unlike other Slayer characters, he can be the army general.

So is he worth taking? Yes definitely. Especially if you are a player who normally takes a Lord character and are planning on taking slayers and so a more themed list. I’ve taken him on numerous occasions and never regretted doing so. The main drawback is like all dwarf lords, he is still only M3, can only join a unit of slayers and costs the same amount as a block of dwarves or 2 runed up war machines.

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Thorek Ironbrow

I’m not going to delve into Thorek too much but to say that he automatically comes on an Anvil of Doom and has no spellbreaker rune and costs double a naked generic Runelord on Anvil.

Suffice to say, ignoring the massive over costing, you shouldn’t take him for the same reasons you wouldn’t take the generic character on an anvil.

If you are curious above the difference. He comes with MR (3), so one higher. He also gets to re-roll one of the casting dice on a failed attempt to cast a bound spell and he gets +1 to his casting attempts. He gets a 1+ armour save and his weapon allows no armour saves and if he causes an unsaved wound any magic items equipped by the opponent wounded are destroyed.

Belegar Ironhammer

The true king of Karak Eight Peaks, at first glance, appears to be set up as a combat lord but how does that stand up to scrutiny?

He has a standard Dwarf Lord stat line but with WS8, so higher than most opponents he’ll face. His Hammer of Angrund gives him ASF and +1 to his wound rolls, the latter really helps to overcome his low strength. On top of this, once per game he can double his attacks to an impressive 8.

He comes mounted on an oath stone, so has to accept challenges, so you hope that he is well protected in those fights. I would rate his defence as above average as although he only has a basic save of 3+ save, his Shield of Defiance grants him a 4++ ward with immunity to KB and HKB and on top of that any wounding hits that would automatically slay him only cause a single wound.

As a final rule he also grants stubborn to any unit he joins.

At 305pts he isn’t excessively costed but he suffers from the same issue as many of the special characters, he will struggle against high armour. Now from the fluff side, if you think about his primary foes (Skaven and Orcs) then neither have many high armour units so it wouldn’t normally be an issue but in the real world, it is one of the reasons you will rarely see him fielded.

Grimm Burloksson

In dwarf society, we don’t have family names as manlings know them but the second name often shows who your father is, especially if the father is someone of note. In this case Grimm, son of Burlok and the father was definitely of note, the renowned Burlok Damminsson. The father was always worth a look in older books, so what is the son like?

Well he is a master engineer with the normal dwarf army rules of: ancestral grudge, resolute and relentless. He also comes with an improved +1 BS (so 5) which is utterly fantastic, especially if you combine this with an Organ gun. It also helps out with his unique weapon, Grudge-raker, an 18”, S4, AP, Dwarf Crafted, Multiple Shot (2D3) modified handgun. He also adds +2 to his strength as he built a steam powered gauntlet to emulate his father and combined with his Cog Axe, with its AP, opponents take armour saves with an impressive -4 modification. On top of that, if he scores a hit in combat, on a 5+ their magic weapon is destroyed. Now he only fights with 2 attacks, an initiative of 2 and only has a 4+ armour, with 2 wounds, so I wouldn’t expect him to really survive in combat to make use of this ability.

It is very much worth noting, that he also comes with a brace of pistols and as neither of the above are magic items, he can choose to use these in combat (and I would over the Axe, every time). This gives him 3 S6 (S7 on the charge) AP attacks (on top of his 2D3 S4 AP shots from standing and shooting). Suddenly charging him is a much less appealing decision, especially from any chaff wanting to get past him to the warmachine.

So now we’ve covered him armaments, how do his special rules compare to the normal Master Engineer?

Well he can entrench machines in the same way. In addition, he has his own special rule called: Master of Accuracy. He rolls a D6 and on a 1 he can’t use it. On a 2+ he can choose one of the following 3 options on a unit within 3”, though he can never benefit from the effects himself (in either situation, he CAN still fire his gun – unlike a normal engineer):

1. Artillery Adjustment – This is the normal ME rule. A warmachine can use his BS and re-roll an artillery dice. NOTE: unlike a normal engineer, this CAN be the distance the cannon ball bounces or flame template moves.

2. Increased Range – A unit of Quarrellers or Thunderers can add 2D6” to their range.

3. Superior Volley – A unit can re-roll any missed shooting hits.

The first of these is useful, especially as you can re-roll the bounce/flame template movement (unlike the normal engineer). However you will normally just take a generic ME if you want to baby sit a machine using these abilities. You will normally be taking Grimm for the second and third abilities. These are just fantastic. Applying the increased range to Thunderers means that, on average, they now have the same range as crossbows. If you give it to quarreller, then they are suddenly hitting the troops that were carefully positioned out of range. Both of these could be a nasty shock to an opponent who isn’t expecting it and these kind of things can help to throw their game plan.

You could apply Superior Volley to Thunderers or Quarrellers to maximise their hits but I would prioritise giving it to your Irondrakes as their volleys would benefit far more from it, in terms of maximising the sheer devastation they can cause. His Grudge-raker also, conveniently, shoots at the same range as their guns (it’s like it was meant to be).

In terms of price, he is around double that of a generic engineer and at 165pts that isn’t breaking the bank. Taking him does mean you are more likely to go down the gunline build but he is well worth considering if that is your plan, as he just makes that build stronger in every way, though I would clarify that by saying, I would only take him if I were planning on taking larger units of missile troops as I think his abilities are wasted if you are using him just for warmachines and you’d be better off just taking a standard Engineer. A very good choice (and the model is great too).

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Josef Bugman

Josef is almost as an iconic character as Gotrek or Thorgrim. Almost all dwarves know and rate his beer as having reached almost the pinnacle of the brewer’s art. Most also know of the demise of his brewery at the hands of goblins.

He comes with a standard Thane stats (except an improved BS and Initiative) and the normal access to army special rules of Ancestral Grudge, Resolute and Relentless. Although he does have a shield (combining with Gromril armour for a 3+ save) he doesn’t get the Shieldwall rule, which is quite right as the magic weapon would prevent him getting a parry save anyway.

He also gets the Scout rule, allowing him to deploy either on his own or within a unit of rangers, which fits his fluff nicely.

He and any unit he joins also get the rule: Stout Courage. This grants immunity to fear and terror. Note this is different to the Immune to Psychology rule and as such they can still panic (and can choose to flee).

His magic weapon, Ol’ Trustworthy, gives him +1A, +1S and Armour Piercing (basically 2*Ro Cleaving and a Ro Fury) and that gives him a very respectable 4, S5 AP attacks at initiative 4.

Bugman’s Tankard is his enchanted item and at the start of any friendly turn, Bugman, or any model in the same unit, can drink form this and can gain +D3 wounds they had already lost during the game. This can be useful and as every reviewer points out combines well with the ‘unkillable’ dwarf lord.

He also gets his own unique rule called: Liquid Fortification. At the start of each friendly turn roll 2D6 and the result rolled lasts until the next roll.

2 = Bad Brew – The unit becomes Flammable.

3-9 = Belligerent – The unit becomes Stubborn.

10-12 = Leathered – The unit gains +1T.

There is only one bad roll and the chance of that occurring isn’t high. The other two are excellent.

As a final special rule, he gets Bugman’s Rangers. This allows one unit of Rangers to get +1WS, +1BS and +1S. This boosts the rangers up to Elite dwarf stats and elf shooting levels, all for a ‘miniscule’ +3pts per model. It is worth considering if you were planning on bringing a sizable unit of rangers (otherwise I wouldn’t bother).

Although you could put him in a unit of rangers (whether upgraded to Bugman’s Rangers, or the standard variety), I much prefer putting him in a mainline unit with the BSB to both protect and buff them both. I do consider him more of a buffing unit, despite his decent melee ability.

Cost wise he comes in at 165 points. Taking into account the price of a Thane (65) and his weapon Runes (60), this means his other special rules and enchanted item cost 37pts. If you look at it that way, he is very well costed.

Would I take him though? Possibly. It would all depend on the build and what I wa hoping to get from him. If I were running an Ambusher/Vanguard Hybrid list with a large unit of rangers/Miners and Longbeards, then he would be a serious contender for the list.

Option character rules

Grombrindal

These rules for the White Dwarf were published in WD. It does specifically state that he shouldn’t be used in tournament games. He comes with the straight up stats of a normal dwarf lord but costs a whopping 500pts! Why does he cost so much you ask?

He gets the dwarf army rules of ancestral grudge, resolute and relentless. On top of that he is unbreakable.

He has the option of starting the game hidden in a unit (in a similar way as an assassin) but if the unit he is hidden in flees or is wiped out, he stands his ground and is placed on the table.

He has 4 magic items:

Rune Helm of Zhufbar – any fleeing dwarf units within 12”, will automatically rally. A handy ability but nothing to write home about.

Armour of Grimril Scales – This gives him a 1+ save and a 4++ ward. This is a solid save and ward and is a great if simple piece of armour.

Rune cloak of Valaya – This gives a MR (3). It almost guarantees direct damage spells can’t harm him as it combines with his ward but is quite conditional.

Rune Axe of Grimnir – With +2S, re-rolls to hit and wound and opponents having to re-roll successful armour saves, this is the Axe the High King wishes he inherited.

Overall he is a good combat character that can be sprung as a nasty surprise. You have to be thinking that a large part of his cost is likely tied up in this Axe but he is very expensive and wouldn’t be something I’d include except in a much larger game (in a similar way to Thorgrim)

Grombrindal on Shieldbearers (30th Anniversary)

It should be stated that the designers of these rules intended for this to be ridiculous and it should only be used in agreement with your opponent and they should be bringing Greater Daemons, Dragons and Special Characters to pit against it. This is because Grombrindal is held aloft by none other than Gotrek and Bugman.

The rules for Grombindal are the same as those listed above with one additional item:

Ancestral Shield – Any ranged attack that targets Grombrindal has its strength halved (this includes magic missiles, cannonballs etc.). In additional, the Shield and any other magic items carried by the White Dwarf, cannot be nullified in any way.

This item and mounting him on the other 2 renowned heroes increases the cost from 500 to 1000pts.

So how do their rules combine? Well both heroes add attacks to the White Dwarf.

Bugman adds 4 S5 I4 attacks.

Gotrek adds 4 attacks at I4 that automatically wound, allow no armour save and each cause D3 wounds. Against Daemons or Dragons it becomes D6 wounds.

The final rule is a fun quirk where the 3 strong personalities can have conflicting ideas of what they should do. You roll a D6 in the movement phase and:

1-2 – Bugman decides to have a drink. You can’t move but all wounds are healed.

3-4 – The wiser head of Grombrindal rules and they can move normally

5-6 – Gotrek in a rage that he still lives moves towards the greatest foe. The model must move 12” towards the enemy unit with the greatest points value. If he moves into touch with anything, he counts as charging.

He is basically stupidly priced but if you could arrange a game where your opponent just bought dragons, greater daemons and other such monsters and then faced them off against Grombrindal, you could definitely have a great evening of laughs.

5 thoughts on “Dwarf Army Book Review – Part 3 – Lords and Heroes

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