March 10, 2014

The new Dwarfs: a Stumpy review Part 2

Of all the discussions around the new Dwarf book at NZTC a large number were about the new special characters and the Anvil of Doom.  Some things don't quite make sense, others I really like and some things I will definitely miss but overall like the rest of the book the changes are pretty good - with the exception of the Anvil of Doom.

The Anvil of Doom Suck
I've only ever used the Anvil once in a tournament and that was at 4000pts where I found it really good but only because it allowed me to move units.  In standard 2400pt games I have never taken one.  Nothing in this book convinces me to change my attitude towards it - I will however rework the model to turn it into a cool looking unit filler.
Now a fancy looking unit filler
Anyway in regards to the AoD it is now used in the magic phase, not the shooting phase, and striking runes now works like standard bound spells.  The changes to the Anvil represent, to my mind, the biggest in the new book and quite frankly the one thing that GW stuffed up.  The basic changes are:

  • Anvil no longer has its own characteristics - in the old book it was a warmachine with T10 and opponents in the shooting and magic phase rolled to hit on that toughness.  Now they roll vs. the toughness of the Runelord (T5).  It still counts as a warmachine (I think) except when people shoot or cast at it. WTF?
  • Anvil Guards & Runelord buffs - you still gain two wounds which are basically those on the Anvil Guards so no changes here and the 2 guards have the same WS5 S4 characteristics. The guards do not get the AP bonus offered by Runelords/Runesmiths for some reason.
  • Armour & Ward Saves - have improved to a 5++ against everything vs. the old books 4++ vs. shooting and ranged magical attacks and 6++ vs. close combat.  
  • Movement - yes it moves but only 3 inches (but where is the new model with its wheels?), but honestly who is going to move it and why?  If it wasn't a warmachine I guess you could charge with it?
  • Additional PD/DD dice - you gain 1PD and 1DD per phase for every Anvil of the field; not bad still the same but you are still down dice with the RL/RS no longer giving you any.
Now we come to the big changes the 3 bound spells/runes that the Anvil can cast.  First up there are two problems with one minor and one major:
  • PROBLEM #1 Casting - Dwarfs get +2 to dispel but no bonus to cast as they effectively have no wizard level.  So vs. an enemy mage of say L4 they are immediately at a disadvantage when it comes to casting.  
  • PROBLEM #2 Miscasts - The runes are bound spells.  You roll PD to cast them.  So you can miscast.  But what happens when you do?  There is nothing in the book that tells you?  Do you roll on the standard miscast table or on the warmachine misfire table?  The standard miscast table won't work as a Runelord is not a wizard and does not have wizard levels.  Consequently, several miscast results do not apply to him.  The warmachine misfire table also doesn't work becasue.... there isn't one anymore... the old Anvil had one.  The new one doesn't????  Clarification - as innate bound spells there are existing rules covering miscasts but I would still like some official clarification here e.g. if I miscast a bound spell from the Ruby Ring the ring gets destroyed??
Except a FAQ to come out pretty damn quick from GW about this as these are serious omissions from what is otherwise a great book.  The new runes of the Anvil are:
  • Hearth & Home - all units within 24" are ITP, vs. re-roll fear and terror tests or re-roll fear, terror, panic and break tests with old Anvil.  Not to bad but given that Longbeards/Slayers are already ITP and that BSB's give you re-rolls anyway and you're always going to be L10 not really useful.
  • Oath and Steel - augment spell that increases a targets AS by 1.  This is new and replaces the only useful thing the old Anvil did which was ANVIL CHARGING.... sorry GW but you stuffed up here.
  • Wrath and Ruin - blah blah same old 2d6 S4 magical hits range 24" but without the ability to target any enemy anywhere on the board (or D3 units) and to ground flying units/models.
For all these changes which make the new AoD useless a Dwarf Runelord pays an extra 170pts.  Yes thats 5 points cheaper than the old book... but seriously?? WTF??

Thorgrim Grudgebearer
Really can't comment on this guy as I have never used him and at 650pts without a lookout sir if with a unit why would you bother.  Only T5 for a guy on what is basically a warshrine/chariot but with 7 wounds.  His attacks and stuff are pretty cool and the best thing he does is give you +3 on the grudge table meaning that you are extremely likely to get army wide hatred at the start of the game.

Ungrim Ironfist
This guy I really like.  Why?  Because he's a Slayer with an AS and a WS, one that you can take as a General and put into a unit of Slayers.  With 4 attacks at I5 WS9 S6 with killing blow he is going to hit hard in combat especially vs. Daemons with the new slayer rules.  A 4+ WS or 2++ vs. flaming is also grand and he's T6 so will be hard to put down.  350pts though so I think people will take him in themed lists i.e. with a lot of Slayers but not in standard lists where for 280-320pts you can get a decent Lord.
Ungrim Ironfist - the Slayer King
Thorek Ironbrow
I know said GW lets take the only Dwarven Special character that has always been banned by comp. everywhere and make him so useless that no-one will bother to take him anymore and thats what they did.  Enough said, move on, grumble grumble... but not something that affects me as I've never been an AoD player.

Belegar Ironhammer
The rules for this new character were released weeks ago so everyone knows what he does and its pretty damn awesome.  There are a couple of things that people raving about him overlooked though:
  • Basic stats - WS8 S4 T5 W3 I4 A4 L10 4+ 4++ and immune to KB/HKB for 305pts.  Not bad especially as he gets +1 to wound is ASF and once per game can double his attacks for one round of combat (nice in a challenge), and gets the standard +1S on the charge.  But for 305pts I can get a Lord that does nearly the same thing.
  • Oath Stone - yes he has one which is ok, but it means he has to accept challenges.  
  • He only has a 4+ 4++ which is Ok but not fantastic.
The model is pretty damn cool though.

Josef Bugman
The only decent SC in the old book that you were allowed to take and many people did.  As an individual character he is a lot better than he was although 10pts more expensive.  There are a couple of issues with him though:
  • Rangers - are now rare and coupled with the no Anvil charging they are less likely to appear in peoples lists from now on.  You no longer have to take Longbeard Rangers to play Bugman but if you want to they are going to cost you 17pts a model - for a WS5 S4 A1 I2 warrior?
  • Liquid fortification - upgrade to his drinking rules effectively makes the unit he is with stubborn (roll 3-9 on 2d6) but possibly also Flammable (roll a 2 on 2d6) or gain +1T (roll 10-12 on 2d6).
I'll probably still take him just for the Stubborn thing and because he isn't bad in combat but I wouldn't expect him to live very long as he only has a 3+ AS with no parry (despite the shield) as his weapon is magical.

Grimm Burloksson
Most definately the best special character in the new book.  A unique Master Engineer that for 165pts gives you some serious buffs and also a machine in combat, that and the model is just fantastic:
  • Master of Accuracy - on a 2+ you can increase a unit of Quarrellers/Thunderers range by 2d6", give a warmachine is BS5 and re-roll an artillery dice, or models in unit with 3" can re-roll to hit (and thats any unit not just Quarrellers or Thunderers) - Irondrakes or an Organ re-rolling to hit sounds good to me.
  • Close combat - WS4 S6 with a weapon that on a 5+ will destroy any magical weapon of an opponent that he hits, not wounds, hits.  
  • Shooting - BS5 great stuff at RNG18" S4 AP 2d3 shots - very nice indeed especially if he gives himself re-rolls to hit.  

This guy will be the first new character model I buy and I will be taking him as why wouldn't you.  

Final thoughts
The new special characters are, Thorek and the AoD aside, pretty damn good.  Bugman is still worth taking for fluff reasons but as Ranger lists are not really that viable anymore its debatable whether you'll see him that much.  The 3 new special characters though are pretty darn good but for me Grimm Burloksson is the one Ill go with initially at least until I get some AoW Slayers after which I'll try the odd Slayer themed list.

Part 3 to come... the new Runes


extremedoc1 said...

Thanks for the reviews, I okay dwarfs but rarely get chance to. I've found them very helpful



extremedoc1 said...

Or play dwarfs even! Late here!

Sam said...

Its an innate bound spell. So miscasts do nothing.

Tane said...

Yeah, miscasts only mean that the Anvil can't cast any further spells.

The profile used on the Anvil is the Runelords, so it won't auto-fail characteristic tests, though I2 on the Runelord means he'll fall down the hole pretty often.

I had thought about giving him T10, a Spelleater, Rune of the Furnance and shield, and pushing him up front. He can bang his runes in combat, is Unbreakable and with T10, 5W, 3+/5++ will do OK to hold things for a flank charge. But that's 500+ points for a roadblock, you'll do better with a unit of Ironbreakers with RoStoicism.

Finally, he gives AP to his guards doesn't he? Does it specifically say he doesn't?

John Murrie said...

@Sam - cheers for clarification

@Tane - it specifically says that guards dont get AP.

Tane said...

G'day John,

Had a look, and the guards do get AP; it specifically states this in the last sentence, 2nd para on page 37. They don't benefit from any magical weapons that the Runelord carries.