DISCLAIMER: By no means am I an "Expert" on this subject, I do however have some years of experiance playing dwarfs in the latest two incarnations of WHFB. So this is not a list of the only way to use dwarfs, or the only true things about them. This is merely my take on the Dwarf armies units, character, and ability in the current edition.
Dwarfs In WHFB 8th Edition
Too start, this will be a summary of what I feel has become of the Dwarfs as an army as of the eighth edition of warhammer, on some other forums I have seen tactics articles or summaries on other armies, but no love for the stunties! So here goes:
I will start with the the most obvious changes, then proceed to breakdown our units and options.
Relentless: This rule special rule, which makes dwarfs un-march blockable, hasn’t changed at all. If anything it has been made redundant, as with the new rules required to march block, most players wont even bother building armies with march blocking elements.
Resolute: This rule has not changed at all.
Ancestral grudge: This rule has only gotten better in my opinion, with the new rules for supporting attacks, it just means you will be re-rolling with even more attacks! Even more dead greenskins!
The Magic phase: Dwarfs were if anything improved in the magic phase. With the addition of winds of magic dwarfs will be receiving a fair amount of dispel dice, added to the fact that a runesmith adds a dispel die, and a runelord adds two. Combined with our universal +2 to dispel attempts mean that we are even more magically resilient!
The Movement phase: Little has changed here, with the new charge rules dwarfs have received a major bonus with an average charge of 10”.
The Shooting phase: Dwarfs have always been known for their powerful shooting phase. But now with ability to pre-measure ranges on targets, warmachines are more accurate then ever before, combined with the ability to shoot in ranks regardless of hills, our shooting has only become more deadly!
The close combat phase: Dwarfs have always been well known as a durable army in close combat, a base toughness of 4 across the whole army means we can take hits well, and heavy armor across all our combat units (barring slayers of course. More on them later) makes us very hard to kill. One slight disadvantage is our lower initative value, but as earlier mentioned our toughness value, and armor should more than allow us to weather the attacks. Combined with supporting attacks and step-up dwarfs have little to fear in close combat.
Dwarf Lord: Dwarf lords are rock hard characters, with a admirable statline and a affordable points cost, where they come in to their own more so than any other army, is the ability to completely customise your lord. Add to that 25 extra points to spend on magic equipment can make for very powerful lords. A favourite build of mine is: Dwarf Lord, Shieldbearers, Great Weapon, Master rune of kragg the grim, rune of fury X2, Rune of stone, master rune of spite. That gives this lord 6 str 6 Ws 7 attacks, with a 1+ armor save and a 4+ ward, with a toughness of 5. Thats pretty deadly if you ask me!
Runelord: A powerful enough fighter in his own right, where he comes into his own is his adding two dispel dice to the pool, and the ability to bring a revered, and deadly anvil of doom to the table. With acces to quite a few anti magic runes, and acces to the anvil he is quite a versatile and useful character.
Daemonslayer: Not seen fielded in many armies, due to his lack of any form of protection often means you just throw him away when in combat, and his low points allotment for weapons means he is often overlooked. I personally don’t favour this character as I cannot find a use for him that I cant fill with something more versatile or resilient.
Thane: A rock hard hero choice, with the ability to carry the Battle standard into battle, these are a must in any dwarf army, the ability to take more points of magical gear makes him a hard fight for most heroes, and equipped well and with a bit of luck could prove a challenge for some lord level characters.
Runesmith: Basically a less potent Runelord, all the perks minus the anvil of doom.
Dragonslayer: A weaker daemonslayer, finds a bit more of a place due to his cheaper cost. I have used him to lead units of slayers to add some punch. One again with only two wounds and T5 he is very vulnerable.
Dwarf Warriors: Here are the staples of the dwarf army, our rock hard core troops. With a ws and toughness of 4, coupled with a LD of 9 they are quite a resilient unit. They wont put out an incredible level of damage, but they can always lose some survivability in exchange for great weapons. If equipped with great weapons may be upgraded to rangers, to gain the scout USR.
Longbeards: An upgrade unit from a unit of dwarfs, these guys do everything warriors due, but better! (hard to imagine, I know!) A +1 boost to WS and STR means they can hit harder, and are better at it. They can take a runic standard, and are immune to panic tests, (for those times the BSB isn’t around) and help nearby units with their panic. If equipped with great weapons may be upgraded to scouts to gain the Scout USR.
Quarrellers: Dwarfs with crossbows, not to much more to say, with the inclusion of great weapons they can be upgraded to scouts, gaining the scout USR. This unit if often overlooked in favour of thunderers, but their extra range has helped me snag some last minute victory points before.
Thunderers: Dwarfs with handguns, a very popular unit. Dwarf handguns are even better than normal handguns with the +1 to hit bonus, making them very effective at hurting anything from a distance.
Tomorrow will be adding special and rare, to be followed by general tactics!
SPECIAL AND RARE
Hammerers: These are my absolute favourite unit in the dwarfen army, great character, good profile. But the problem lies here, with the new rules, their stubborn means next to nothing which really means they are just worse longbeards. (Really really sadface.) The ability to take a runic standard like all dwarfen elite is always a bonus though.
Ironbreakers: The hardest unit in the dwarf army, and the toughest thing outside of WoC. With shields a 3+ armor save and a 6+ ward save means they can take a hit like a champ, and with str4 and ws5 can hit back like one too. As always a runic standard is always a wise idea.
Bolt thrower: Not to much to be said, its a bolt thrower, though with runes it can be made much more effective.
Grudge thrower: A stone thrower, with the inclusion of runes can be made much more accurate and deadly.
Troll Slayers: A fluffy and iconic dwarfen unit, these guys are rarely fielded because at over 10 points a model your paying for t4 with no save. Not exactly conducive to longevity. Though they are unbreakable, and ItP. Any number of them can be upgraded to Giant slayers, ws5 str4 2A but this makes the model cost 26 points. Once again 26 frigging points, for a t4 unit with NO armour. Always a bad idea.
Cannon: A cannon, can be upgraded to be more reliable or deadly with runes.
Miners: Ah! Something that does something other than move slow and fight or sit still and shoot!?! Blasphemy! But really, this unit can be fun, with their ability to come on any board edge can allow them to lend last minute flanks, or objective claiming. But since they always fight with great weapons, there is a rather high risk that quite a few will die before they swing back, which you don’t want at over 10 points a model. I always give mine a steam drill on the champion!
Organ gun: A personal favourite of mine and many dwarf players, the ability to pump out artillery die worth of str5 armor piercing shots is not to be underestimated, especially when you can re-roll the artillery die (as long as you didn’t misfire) makes for a lot of dead enemy! They cant bear runes as they are too new fangled, but honestly, they don’t need them.
Flame cannon: A powerful addition, I have seen it used quite effectively, but likewise have seen it overshoot drastically or undershoot terribly. I don’t like to use it, mostly because it is to unreliable for me. The cannon cant bear runes, but it is killy enough.
Gyrocopter: Not very often seen, most likely due to only a 4+ with 3 wounds and T5, meaning any war machine will smash it in most likely one hit. And even small arms fire and magic missiles can bring it down. Then your down 145pts. Its weapon is alright, a str3 template with -1 to saves isn’t too shabby, especially since it can fly, so can get into a prime position.