March 7, 2014

The new Dwarfs: a Stumpy review Part 1

Other than a weekend of fantastic gaming the best thing about the NZTC was the new Dwarf army book delivered into my hands by Pete Dunn who ordered in a batch of them for local Dwarf players, somehow managing not to burst into flames or come down with a strange rash.  Thanks Pete much appreciated.  Got no sleep on the Sat night as I was up to all hours reading it and have been making endless lists all week and trawling Bugmans Brewery reading global opinion.  Yes I know there have been lots of reviews of the book but I wanted to give my thoughts.

The Book
Like all of the new hardback releases the new Dwarfs is a well put together tome.  Some repetition of old artwork in places but most of what you get is brand new and its fantastic.  The picture of Dwarfs fighting Skaven on p.32 is a particular favorite.

Army Rules
Some key changes here that I really like and which I think are a big positive:

  • Ancestral Grudge - been some grumblings about this but I like it.  Adding hatred vs. Skaven fits in with the army history and the D6 table works well.  Fluff wise you can look at it as a Grudge roll i.e. is the battle a personal grudge between generals, between characters or armies.
  • Dwarf crafted - means no more -1 to stand and shoot for Quarrellers & Thunderers.  Minor change but it helps.
  • Resolute - +1 strength on the charge.  I like it.  Some grumbling that "Dwarfs never charge" but that's complete BS.  I used this on Monday vs. Ogres to great effect.  
  • Relentless - same as old book but removes -1 to flee and pursuit rolls.
  • Shieldwall - +1 parry save when charged.  Very nice bonus but not one that is widely applicable as any model with a GW automatically loses his parry save as do any characters that put Runes on their weapons.
  • Natural resistance - no change here +2 to dispel.  
Dwarf Armoury
Couple of minor tweaks here but significant ones:
  • Handguns - lose their +1 to hit but gain (along with crossbows) Dwarf crafted. Going to miss +1 to hit but honestly I've always preferred Quarrellers.
  • Pistols - quick to fire & dwarf crafted makes them more likely to hit when standing and shooting.
  • Oath Stones - not sure about this.  Big change is you can pick it up and move.  But you also cannot flee from a charge and it only really benefits HW/Shield models.  
  • Shieldbearers - adds +2 Wounds to your Lord!! Golden. Give him some of the new runes and you can have a Lord who is T6 with W6.  Word of warning - Shieldbearers no longer make a Lord immune to KB and HKB as in the old book.  
  • Heavy armour - nearly everyone gets it
Lord/Hero Changes
Some big changes here some good, some bad, some just blah.  But overall I'm happy.  Players who relied on Anvils are not however as it has been nerfed hard and you can almost guarantee that you will never see an Anvil in a game again.  Pity really as I had just finished painting mine. Key changes are:
  • Master Engineers - are now only BS4 not BS5 as with old book.  Still have their 3 attributes to aid with shooting.
  • Runesmiths/Runelords - give any unit they are part of AP which is just awesome.  Still some debate here as to whether this would apply to units in the shooting phase - I don't think it would.  Runesmiths gain MR1 and Lords MR2 which is nice.  But big change they no longer gain free DD but have to channel them like normal wizards.  Some major grumbling here but... ITS FAIR. It brings us in line with the other armies and we still benefit from free MR and the ability to take multiple scrolls.
  • Anvil of Doom - NERFED BEYOND DEAD enough said. 
4 core units now - Warriors, Quarrellers, Thunderers and Longbeards. 
  • Thunderers - now 12pts instead of 14 which is cool but without the +1 to hit and with shorter range I'll stick with Quarrellers.  
  • Longbeards - no longer an upgrade but are slightly more expensive at +4pts more than a standard warrior rather than 3.  They do gain ITP but this has a down side in that you cannot flee as a charge reaction.  
Big change here is the inclusion of Gyros as a special rather than a rare choice and some minor points tweaks.
  • Hammerers - two changes (1) they now have 2 attacks base and (2) any Hammerer in a unit can accept a challenge meaning you can't challenge out my characters anymore.  Will still be my main unit and will hit ever harder now.  S7 on the charge, with AP if they have a Runesmith.  
  • Ironbreakers - can Gromil shieldwall giving them a 5+ PS or 4+ on the turn they are charged with the shieldwall rule.  Cinderblast bombs and Drakefire pistols on champion are nice additions.
  • Miners - are cheaper at 10pts and have ambush deployment now, gaining soft cover on the turn they arrive.  But without the Anvil charge they are less useful if not useless.
  • Slayers - two changes that count (1) Deathblow - you kill a slayer it always gets one attack back before it dies (2) you can take the Slayer King as your army general and give your Slayers a 100pt banner.  However, they still die easy.  A tough skin save i.e. like Savage orcs would have been a good change here - but might have made them over powered not sure.
  • Cannons/Bolt-Throwers/Grudge Throwers - lose their Engineers and effectively lose a wound.  Bolt-throwers cost more at 55pts vs. 45pt in old book.  No other changes.
  • Gyrocopter - everyones raving about these at 80pts (down from 140pt) and with ability to take up to 6 of them and give 3 vanguard I can see why.  The new Brimstone gun is cool but i'll stick to the template (which has no more partials).  They also gain a Terradon like bomb run.  Lots of talk about 4-6 being the minimum in any army.  Me I prefer infantry but can see myself taking at least 2 from now on.  Great change.
Oh dear what have they done and look two new toys.
  • Rangers - in RARE!!! really?!?  Why?!   I understand the fluff and see how it fits in but honestly Rangers as a core unit choice made more sense. 14pts each is Ok as they come with GW, HA and throwing axes as standard.  But they cannot take a magical standard (as Longbeard Rangers used to be able to) and max out at WS4 S3 vs. WS5 S4 for Longbeard Rangers.  They now also compete with the other rare choices.  
  • Organ Guns - they must roll to hit, BOO but fair and acceptable.  But on the plus side they roll 2, thats right TWO, artillery dice to decide shots so max of 20 AH HA HA.  They also only misfire when both dice misfire and you can give them runes.  What does that mean?  It means add the Ro Forging and your Organs will NEVER EVER misfire EVER and with their range increased to 30" they are going to decimate opponents.  
  • Flame Cannons - I can't quite understand the rule changes but I think they are back to the old 7th Ed rules so could be cool again
  • Irondrakes - very very cool 15pts for a WS5 BS3 S4 T4 warrior with a RNG 18" S5 AP Flaming weapon that is quick to fire (HA HA), and which can move and shoot without penalty (as its dwarf crafted).  Add in Forge-proven Gromil armour which is basically Dragon Armour with a better AS and these guys are awesome.  
  • Gyrobomber - very cool, very very cool.  

Thoughts so far
I really like the new book, the new rules and the unit changes.  Yes Rangers are now rare but they were never an auto-include for me so that won't affect my play style.  Organ Guns are just awesome now so I'll be having 2 of those in my army and my lists probably won't change that much except they will be a lot nastier in combat and Ill be taking 2 Runesmiths minimum from now on.  

Others may Grumble but I think the books done a good job with these changes.  The army is nicely balanced, we have the ability to forge a horribly strong gunline that is also tough in combat as well as a beefed up combat army.  On the whole I think GW, with the exception of the Anvil, got it right and the new book was well worth the wait.  Would have loved another 50-100 pages of fluff but you can't have everything.

.... big question is what have they done to the RUNES???


Peter Dunn said...

Nice positive review. Are you sure you are a real Dwarf?

John Murrie said...

Well I do try. Not quite sure why othwrs are unhappy no new book gives you all the toys you want. Expectations were far to high.

Honestly think grumbling is due to some players not being able to adjust their play style.