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post #12 of (permalink) Old 12-11-08, 10:27 PM
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Chaos Dwarfs
Written by neilbatte

While Dwarfs as a race are resistant to the mutating powers of Chaos, no race is completely immune. Far to the east in the wasteland between the Worlds Edge mountains and the domains of the Ogre kingdoms, lies the Plain of Zharr a desolate lava strewn region that is the home of the Chaos Dwarf ziggurat cities.

The Chaos Dwarfs are slavers and artificers to the warriors of chaos, ruled by the ancient and evil Sorcerers that live at the pinnacle of Zharr Naggrund. Many believe them to be the creators of the Black Orcs and they use an array of greenskins as fodder for their slave raids and armies of vengeance, as the Dwarfs themselves are few in number, being the survivors of only a handful of once loyal Dwarven holds that were corrupted sometime after the sundering.

All Chaos Dwarfs worship the bull headed god Hashut and serve the will of the Sorceror lords, that are slowly turning to stone to line the road of sorcerors in Naggrund. It is the worship of Hashut that makes the Bull centaurs and the mounts of the lords (The great taurus and Lammassu) so special as they are revered as facets of the bull god.

Unfortunately for budding Chaos Dwarf generals, the army has been unsupported for a very long time and all of the original models are rare and expensive; added to that they look their age. The first Chaos Dwarf army book was unfortunately a White Dwarf list so wasn't that good compared to its counterparts. The range of models was also limited and as an effect it never really took off as a viable race so was phased out with only occasional references in other peoples fluff to tantalise the diehard Chaos Dwarf fans.

On the plus side with the release of Battle for Skull Pass, many more people have managed to convert all the models in the box into one viable chaos dwarf army, which is helped further by the improved plastics in the Chaos, Dwarf and Orc and Goblin plastic ranges. Even though the Big hat/Assyrian look Vs the more modern Steampunk look debate still rages. The army as a whole can be fairly easily converted (With the exeption of the bull centaurs and the 2 fliers).

Chaos Dwarfs, despite their lack of an update and meaningful magic items are still a competative army and work best when you use their area denial based weaponry to its best effect, such as Blunderbusses and the Earth Shaker Cannon.

The main combat units are just basic Dwarfs with a few upgrade options, The only unique option is the Blunderbuss which is excellent against horde armies. The other option is Hobgoblins, which are a bare step up from normal goblins but have a few disadvantages over goblins, such as paying twice their basic cost for a shortbow and expensive command groups. However they can be mounted on wolves and are still light cavalry even when fully equipped.

For specials they can choose to take Orc Boys and Gobbos from the current army book, including Big uns, and may also take 1 unit of Black orcs. They also can take multiple bolt throwers and the less than reliable Death Rocket (a modified stone thrower), as well as Sneaky Gits (think gobbos with poisoned attacks and 2 hand weapons).

There are only two rare choices, the first and most dangerous is Bull Centaurs. Imagine Dwarven cavalry with relatively cheap command groups! The second option is the Earthshaker, which is basically a stonethrower that after it hits causes penalties to movement and shooting over a large area.

I left Characters until last as they mainly fall into the generic Lord/ Sorcerer categories. Though there are bull centaur lords/heroes and a Hobgoblin hero none of which are game winners on their own, but the majority have Ld 10 which is great when mixed with Orcs and gobbo's.

What stands out is the Bull Taurus which causes terror, flies and is immune to firebased attacks.It also has good stats, not so good as the Lammasu, but it does give magic resistance 2.

Money Saving
If you want a cheap easy army then perhaps Chaos Dwarfs are not a best first choice. With the army being unsupported for a long time and only having a limited range of expensive collectors models, Chaos Dwarf armies are not cheap.

For most Chaos Dwarf generals the option to buy an all classic model army is just too expensive, this is where the Battle for Skull Pass set comes in. It is quite possible to convert a relatively cheap Chaos Dwarf army from the Battle for Skull Pass dwarf models. However it will take a lot of effort and some models in the range will require a great deal of skill to produce a good alternative.

While the list on paper seems one of the weaker armies out there, strangely the combination of Dwarf stubbornness and leadership, the power of the Orc and Goblin units available, with the added unfamiliarity of most opponents with the list is a powerful mix. This list does remarkably well against the top tier lists. Its main weakness is against Dwarf and Empire gunlines and strangely, Ogres, as the blunderbusses are really bad against multiple wound models.

The best, and at the same time worst, thing about this army is the fact that most of the models need to be converted, so the army becomes very personal and the generals of Chaos Dwarfs tend to be fanatical. Find more info on Hand of Hashut or Chaos Dwarfs Online. Good luck!
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