Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tactica: High Elves vs. Dwarfs

Dwarf Army Analysis

  • T4, high armor values, Ld.9 across the board
  • Powerful runic combinations on lords and heroes
  • Strong anti-magic mechanics and lots of dispel dice
  • Accurate and powerful shooting in both units and artillery
  • Durable, reliable troops that will hold in combat when needed
  • Slow, easily outmaneuvered
  • Can be outnumbered (although not by High Elves)
  • Reliant on shooting to be most effective

Dwarf Unit Analysis

Runelord w/ Anvil
In total, they give the army +3 DD and a good amount of runic scrolls.  They can also take MRoBalance that functions the same as Annulian Crystal.  Watch out for his ability to make units charge in the magic phase or cast Wrath and Ruin that'll slow down your units' movement.

Lord on Shieldbearers, Combat Thanes, BSB
Could be geared for combat or survivability; you won't know until you reach combat with it.  Don't test the waters unless you're confident you can win combat.  If he's in a big unit of Hammerers, forget about it.  Nuke it from high orbit or engage it with your best hero-killer, White Lions and magic support.  He's not going down without a fight.  The combat Thanes can be tooled up with 75 point of runic weapons/armor so be mindful when engaging combats with them.  Most likely they'll be geared for combat, but sometimes they'll be geared for resilience so be ready for both.  Sometimes it's best to challenge with your unit champion so you can see what they're packing before you invest your Prince or someone special.  The Thane BSB will almost always be geared for survivability so you can bet your ass he's going to be tough to bring down.

Dwarf Warriors, Longbeards and Ironbreakers
Dwarfs are extremely durable and determined in battle.  Their large block of warriors will be taking plenty of damage from pitiful S3, so be ready to hex the crap out of them or buff your dudes with killing power.  ASF and re-rolls means we get plenty of attacks in so the problem lies in our ability to reliably wound.  Use the magic lores available to you and don't be afraid to throw a good amount of dice down to make things happen.  Hesitation will cost you games, so if you need a spell to go off, make it happen.  Like regular Dwarfs, Longbeards are just as sturdy but more dangerous in combat because they can take S6 Great Weapons on top of their WS5, and take a magical banner.  Ironbreakers are pretty much the same thing as Warriors except they have higher WS, S and armor.  Big deal, kill them the same way you would kill all other Dwarfs but be mindful that he'll take less casualties.

These guys are Stubborn on Ld.9 with WS5 and Great Weapons.  In order to win combat with these guys, you need to pretty much kill them all.  There's a lot of things in our army that can give these guys a run for their money, like White Lions, Sword Masters and Dragon Princes on the charge.  In fact, if you magically augment the battle enough, even Spears can take down a good number of these dudes before they get to swing (they only have Heavy Armor).  Sure they'll stay locked up in combat with you, but at least your doing damage.  Just like everything else though, if you run in there with a block of Spears and expect to win combat, you've got another thing coming.  You absolutely need support via magic or kills to prevent getting beat to shit.

Dwarf Shooting
For the sake of sanity, I'm going to put it all into this one paragraph and sum it up like this:  Dwarf shooting is the best in the game.  It's accurate, it hits hard and it can be magically enchanted to do flaming damage.  They can have S5 GTs that can re-roll scatter.. so if you don't deploy your dudes wide and use Swift Reform to the fullest, you're in a world of shit.  Thunderers have +1 to hit and do S4 Armor Piercing, so be mindful of where you place your Knights since they can fire in 2 ranks and stand and shoot.  The same applies to the auto-hitting cheat of a Organ Gun because that thing can most certainly mess you up if he rolls well (and he can re-roll the art dice if he wants).  S5 -3 to your armor saves is instant death to most Elves (including Dragon Princes) so you almost certainly want to tie those up or disable them somehow.  The rest of their weapons are pretty self explanatory:  Their cannons are magical and can re-roll misfires, their flame cannons will eat you alive and their Gyrocopters can fly around your flanks and burn you to death all day.  You need fast units to engage these threats as fast as you can and don't be afraid to nuke the hell out of them (by nuke, I mean magic/shooting).  Any 6s wound WMs now so that means you need to score 3 6s to take them out of the game.

Everything Else
This area is opened for suggestions and will be added based on player feedback/requests.

Recommended Magic Lores

  • Hex their unit's toughness to make them easier to kill
  • Hex their unit's strength to decrease their damage on your fragile units
  • Pit of Shades on low initiative units and instantly kills warmachines
  • Mindrazor on ASF units with re-rolls to hit mauls all their troops in combat
  • Turn their armor against them or decrease their value permanently
  • Buff your own armor with Glimmering Robes to vastly increase survivability
  • Enchant your weapons to be armor piercing and +1 to hit to increase heavier damage
  • Plenty of snipe spells to pick off heroes and BSB
  • Debuff their entire army with -1 S and T
  • Purple Sun can spell doom for the entire army

Recommended Units

Lv. 4 Archmage w/ Book of Hoeth or Staff of Solidity
When spells need to go off and Teclis is not an option, Book of Hoeth is your best bet. Dwarfs have a lot of dispel dice and runic scrolls, so forcing the result with IF is the best way to do it. If you don't want to or need to save points, go with Staff of Solidity because it's cheap and reliable.

Korhil, Caradryan, Prince w/ White Sword, AoC and GP
Korhil can challenge anything in his army and emerge victorious with his increased chance of Killing Blow. Caradryan offers a good challenger and 4+ ward vs. Wrath and Ruin from the Anvil. If you don't like SCs, go with the Prince for the Ld.10 and awesome killing power. If you want more survivability, go with a simple GW and Vambraces of Defense instead. If he has a Dwarf Lord and issues a challenge, he's probably tooled up with all kinds of runic madness. Just keep that in mind.

Lv.2 Mage w/ Seerstaff of Saphery
Supporting caster can take something cheap like High Magic and spam out Shield of Saphery to protect your units against enemy missile/artillery fire or cast Courage of Aenarion should the battle goes ill.

Spears deployed in 10x3 formation, Swift Reform
Deploy wide so you don't get completely destroyed by his accurate, high strength stone throwers and harassing Gyrocopters. When you need to get into the fight or his warmachines have been neutralized, swift reform and engage.

Phoenix Guard, White Lions
As long as has warmachines like cannons, flame cannons and grudgethrowers in his army, you want to deploy wide to minimize damage to your ranks. Phoenix Guard can take a ton of beating and still strike back but you'll need some form of magic buff if you want to kill anything.  The AP banner is something to consider as well.  White Lions can pretty much chew through his entire army once they reach close combat so you want these guys in combat ASAP.  WS5 and S6 are essential at killing a high T army like Dwarfs and Stubborn just adds to the flavor.  Keep as many of these guys alive as you can:  Screen them, buff them, do something, just get them in there!

Something fast - Cavalry or Eagles or both
Cavalry/eagles is just mandatory. There's nothing in the army that applies more pressure to his guns than cavalry or eagles, or both. You want to get up in his face as soon as you can and distract his guns away from your troops.  Your top priority should be anything that can apply a template or just outright maul you like Organ Guns.  If you have Eagles and he has Gyrocopters in the air, it's time to do some serious dogfighting.  You do not want templates on your flanks.

Recommended Strategy
  • Neutralize or pressure his guns so the rest of your army can move up and engage in combat.
  • Expect to be dispelled a lot if he has a Runelord w/ Anvil unless you take Book of Hoeth or Teclis.
  • Keep your units large and wide so you can prevent damage done by area of effect warmachines.
  • Use your magic to bring down his toughness or armor and buff your units so you can effectively wound his units. Magic is your best friend.
  • If he has a good amount of Great Weapons, be prepared to take heavy casualties in combat. You need solid support to kill a lot of his guys to reduce getting wrecked back.
  • Get in fast, get in hard. The longer you delay, the more he can shoot up your army.
  • Don't get over confident and over-extend your army. The Dwarf army can take a lot of damage, you can't.
  • Don't be surprised if Dwarfs charge out there or move across the fields are accelerated rates.  Be mindful that this is now 8th Ed. and that Dwarfs have a average charge range of 10".
  • Don't even bother shooting Dwarfs:  His artillery counter-batteries you all day and you can't really wound his dudes.  On top of this, he outshoots you any day in the week.


HERO said...

Alright, this is my first guide. Everything is subject to change based on YOUR feedback. Let it rip: Tell me what to add, what to change, if things are incorrect (this is huge), or any other comments or concerns. These guides will be constantly updated as long as feedback keeps flowing. Thanks!

James Price said...

good stuff so far, nice suggested combos. if i have learned anything from my encounters with those stubborn bearded fools its that they rightly fear white lions, give them some magical protection and watch their army fall. thankfully against several of his units step up is not that painful really.

I would say sword masters but they get shot up easy, however when i used them they actually got to the other side of the board, make them tougher and their fine. (which requires good magic, maybe save it to the last spell and get him to waste dispel dice on spell that do direct damage, then cast the make tougher spell.

but yeah you hit the nail on the head here. which army you doing next?

Anonymous said...

This is a good guide, thankyou! Would you suggest using things like Cloak of Beards or Pendant of Vengeance or are they just a waste of points?

Anonymous said...

I haven't played against my friends dwarf army yet, but I am already having nightmares about S5 GT's and cannon balls. I run a Book of Hoeth lvl. 4 with shadows, so I won't be going down without a fight... it's gonna be a slugfest, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Top notch analysis :) I am having trouble picking which unit to run (WL's vs. SM's). I tried running the SM's with Ellyrian Banner to make them act like WL's and actually got them stuck into my opponent's Temple Guard unit and they racked up the kills. With S5 re-rolls on WS 6, I was frequently hitting with almost every attack and then doing about 10 wounds on average before saves. I had softened up the TG with Pit of Shades beforehand so there wasn't much left after the SM's got a hold of them.

HERO said...

S6 is much better for breaking Dwarf lines and the 3+ vs. shooting and Forest Strider offered by White Lions makes them superior choices over Sword Masters.

Thanks for the comments so far! I haven't decided what army I'm going to do next.

Anonymous said...

Hammerers are only stubborn when with a dwarf lord.

Anonymous said...

Hail HERO, by decree of the council of princes Ulthuan and the Phoenix King himself, you are hereby and hence forth to be known as Warmaster Hero, and Prince of Ulthuan!

Thank you for your wisdom in battle.

Herald of Ulthaun

HERO said...

Hammerers are immune to fear and terror when with the Dwarf Lord, they are Stubborn ALWAYS. Rwarrrr

Anonymous said...

It is important to note that most Dwarf kings and even some thains might be immune to poison and more important killing blow.

Also I wouldn´t field repeater bolt throwers at all, too expensive and with the anvil miners can dig themselves out anywhere on the table and charge in the turn they emerge.

Other than that I also had great experience with white lions in 7th edition in 8th with more attacks and re rolls to hit....they are awesome.

Anonymous said...

Lore of Light might be pretty good against Dwarves because of two spells: Pha's protection and Birona's Timewarp.
Turn 1: March your elves 10" up the battle field. Cast Phas Protection and Bironas Timewarp (assuming you've got Teclis or Book of Hoeth these should go off alright)
Dwarfs now suffer -1 to hit and their warmachines don't work on a 3 or less.
Turn 2: charge your M10 elves into the dwarven line (due to Bironas Timewarp) and start killing. You'd average a 17" charge which would definately get you in range along with the marching in turn 1.
Do you think it could work?

HERO said...

Lore of Light can work. You need a good amount of dice to cast with a normal Archmage even if you got Banner of Sorcery. For Teclis, this is a lot easier to pull off since you get the +D3 from his Moonstaff. To effect an entire army with Timewarp, you'll probably need 6 dice to cast, and you'll probably want 4-5 for Pha's Illumination. That's exactly why you need Teclis to pull off this combo because 1. You don't want half the army blowing up from a miscast, and 2. you need the big PD numbers to pull it off. For a normal Archmage, however, you'll probably want to Phase (Pha's)/Timewarp your White Lions and just catapult them straight forward. 17" average charge range with an additional attack each (assuming your 6 wide) will generate 25 attacks at WS5 with re-rolls S6. That's a lot of dead Dwarfs.

Anonymous said...

Using Light with Teclis/Archmage Book of Hoeth as mentioned and supplementing them with a L2 with seerstaff and Lore of Life, Flesh to Stone and Throne of Vines would be even better giving them T7 against the Dwarfs.

Anonymous said...

The problem with that is you're relying on throwing a ton of dice at the light spells, which 1) will waste a bunch of your dice; and 2) will in all likelihood cause irresistible force. The chances of getting any non-Teclis spells off afterward are slim to none.

HERO said...

That's why you have Book of Hoeth..

Anonymous said...

bring as many white lions you have. With my s6 ax i will make them into little kitties

Anonymous said...

Underestimate us Dawi at your peril Elf!! Our axes are sharp and the Grudges we have against you are still fresh in our minds.

Quannum said...

Hey Hero,

Thought I'd point out that the Anvil Runes are struck not in the Magic phase but the SHOOTING phase and do not count as magical spells/missiles, therefore units cannot claim a Magic Resistance ward save from Wrath and Ruin.

Dwarfs distrust magic - they'd never use it. The runes are basically sounds that are rung out over the battlefield that have the various effects.


Anonymous said...

Why do Thunderers have +1 to hit?

Anonymous said...

Man this is a great guide, I've been looking at how to beat my friend who had Dwarves and a heap of cannons and you have just given me the answers. Cheers Hero, you are a General even Malekith will fear

HERO said...

Thunderers have +1 to hit because of a special rule they have in their book. Think of it like adding crosshairs to a gun. It makes 'em more accurate.

Sapphon said...

Overall, I'd pull fewer punches with this guide if I were you. Some parts of it are gold:

Deploy wide, then swift-reform once warmachines are engaged. Beautiful. You make it very clear how stupidly dangerous S5 stone throwers are, and then you tell how to deal with it.

Also, your assessment of the importance of Irresistable Force (ie Teclis or Book) against Dwarves, I would say, is spot-on. Trying to force a magic phase through using sheer numbers of spells and power dice doesn't usually work well against them - you'll get some spells, but at useless times and not in the combination you wanted.

But some parts...will actually hurt the reader if he tries them.

Use cavalry against Dwarf shooting units? No. Charging them with cav is basically a free shooting phase for the Dwarves; wham bam here's my 2 ranks of S4 BS4 armor piercing, thank you ma'am. The right way is to land eagles behind them and let them choose between a rear charge or turning away from the battle.

Also, on Korhil: KB is great. Don't get me wrong. But Dwarves are exactly the wrong army you want to depend on it against. They've got the Rune of Oh No You Ditunt.

Lastly, I would probably just come out and say it. A Dwarf Lord will wipe the floor with your combat Prince. The Dwarf has a better statline, better magic item selection, and 50 more points to spend on them than you do. It will happen. Be the bigger man, accept your inferiority in a challenge, and find some other way to get rid of the bugger. If you don't, you'll end up like Caledor II.

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