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 How powerful are dwarves?

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Dmig
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PostSubject: How powerful are dwarves?   Wed 27 Jan 2010 - 19:23

SO I bring this up because my group has limited experience with them. I was the first in my group to play dwarves and I was just unstoppable I dont exactly remember my starting list but it was something like this:

Noble: dwarf axe, shield, gromril armor
Engineer: Crossbow, hammer
Slayer: 2 Hammers
Slayer 2 Hammers
2Thunderers: Crossbows

My engineer before long had a 42" reach, quickshot, trickshooter and really high balistic skill, My leader got so tough he was a rock and could stand up to anyone, and my expanding group of thunderers had everyone scared. I did so well that I vowed not to play dwarves again, and no one played as them again until very recently and the only way my group would approve their use was by taking away both the had to kill and incomparable miners rules. I felt this was a little harsh but the guy really wanted to play dwarves.

Now what is other people's experience with dwarves? Are they really overpowered or did I just get lucky?( I did get some really nice advances)
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Wed 27 Jan 2010 - 20:21

Our group's experience with dwarves has been interesting.

One guy started a dwarf band in a campaign. After about four games, he chose to drop them and start another warband, he was so frustrated with them.

Later, the same friend decided to try them again. He gave up on them again after a few games.

In the very next campaign, my brother gave them a try. He hated them.

I forget all of their complaints, but the main one was that the 3-inch movement meant that they performed poorly in the run-and-grab-stuff scenarios, which we rolled a lot (in most of these games there were four warbands).

Next I gave them a try - they performed poorly for me. In part this underperformance was my fault - I kept forgetting that they only went OOA on a 6, not 5 or 6. I am fairly sure that cost me a dwarf or two.

Anyway, some time later I tried a second band, since in general I like dwarves and I have a couple of tons of great old Citadel models (don't get me started on the plastic dwarves - I generally love GW's plastics, but for some reasons they seem to have no luck with plastic dwarves, despite producing some brilliant metal ones. But I digress). My second dwarf warband did very well. In fact, over time they were probably the strongest warband I have ever had.

Later when a different group started a campaign, I tried dwarves again. They did well. Not brilliant, but pretty consistently solid.

About a year ago I tried another band, which ran as recently as last month. They are coming along very nicely indeed.

This is getting kind of boring. Sorry. But my experience seeing them played and playing them is that they are a fairly tricky warband to run, and are often going to be slooow out of the gate, but over time if you are patient they will more than likely come through for you. I suspect the fact that yours became so dominant so quickly was as much a consequence of good playing backed by some luck. With my most successful warband, that's what happened to them - their first couple of games they were a mob of short John Waynes and Chuck Norrises (Norrisi?) running around putting the boot in. I still remember the first game - in the same turn skaven charged them from one side and undead from the other. They broke both warbands without losing a guy - luck really, but it happens sometimes. That game and the next gave them a great start and they never looked back. Generally, they are slower to develop then that band was.

On the whole, I thing GW was right to rate them as compatible with the official warbands, were so many other additional bands did not become "official".

Their weaknesses:
Slow movement. Nothing you can do about it really.
Low initiative. Go with the flow and give two-handed weapons to anyone who can pack one - if you're always gonna go last, go last with gusto! Used to be you could give them spears so they could belly-stick all those speedy show-offs as they came in on the charge, but alas no more. Note that buying two-handed weapons for everyone is a bit pricey.
Only four starting heroes: It gets better. Shard-wise they make out fine, but they get fewer cool multiple rolls early on.
Two of the four heroes don't benefit from many of the dwarf strengths: specifically, the two slayers cannot wear any armor and cannot pack any of those extra-long range missile weapons. This weakness never goes away.

Their strengths.
They can wear heavy armor, pack shields, and still move 3. They become tanks. It's pretty cool. But all that heavy armor is expensive, so it takes time for this advantage to truly manifest itself.
Toughness 4 + OOA only on a 6. Together, these rules make them some of the most durable warriors in the game. They may not earn as much experience early on as other warbands, but they also lose very few guys they have to replace, so it adds up.
They always find an extra shard. So, even when they have only four heroes they do fine for money, and with five and especially with six heroes, they are going to be rolling in gold.
They have some useful special skills. True for the general dwarf skills and the slayer skills.
Good leadership. When the captain goes OOA, nobody really notices...
Long-range weapons. Gotta love the engineer.

In short, I think they are a strong warband, but they require more skill than many to play. Unless you have a hot game early one, they are going to be a little slow developing, but they develop steadily and will shine if you are patient.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Wed 27 Jan 2010 - 20:34

I'd say it depends heavily on your group's playstyle. If your players tend to go high in numbers and skimp on equipment, then your dwarfs are probably going to have a rough time as they are expensive (meaning low starting numbers and difficult to replace, when the eventually die).

Conversely, if your group favors warbands that are smaller in number with fancier equipment, then they'll probably do just fine, maybe really well, because of all the special rules they have.

mweaver's assessment is pretty spot-on, in my experience. The only thing I'd want to add is that a really bad first game or two can land them in a hole that is very, very difficult to dig their way out of.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Wed 27 Jan 2010 - 20:55

"The only thing I'd want to add is that a really bad first game or two
can land them in a hole that is very, very difficult to dig their way
out of."

I find this observation to be true of all of the "elite" warbands - dwarves, all of the elf variations - because their models are so expensive to replace. One bad game early on and they have a far harder time recovering than warbands with cheaper models. Which means, of course, if someone else is running one of these warbands stomp on them quickly!
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Wed 27 Jan 2010 - 21:19

mweaver wrote:
I find this observation to be true of all of the "elite" warbands - dwarves, all of the elf variations - because their models are so expensive to replace. One bad game early on and they have a far harder time recovering than warbands with cheaper models. Which means, of course, if someone else is running one of these warbands stomp on them quickly!
Agreed.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Wed 27 Jan 2010 - 22:52

Thanks. I think it was propably more luck and the fact that I was already the most sucessful in my group at the time.

Also totally agree on the dwarf plastics. No character to them.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Tue 2 Feb 2010 - 16:22

I have a tactic I use for dwarves which makes them nearly unstoppable.
Its a warband I call
12 Angry Dwarves.

but the 4 dwarf heroes.
Fill out the rest of the roster as cheaply as you can. If you want to powergame and have individual henchmen groups for your beardlings (most of your henchmen) whatever it doesn't matter.
Equip them with hammers and daggers. Ignore armor, ranged weapons and weapon upgrades.

Now swamp your opponents with fighters that are as good as theirs. Beardlings are WS3 and 25 GC LD 8. and the key things T4 and only OOA on a 6. The point is to get these guys to lad as fast as you can and get some real cash coming in. Would an advanced Thunderer or Clansdwarf be a better lad? Sure but you have 4 heroes that are dead hard anyway. you need cash.

With a warband this size it is very tough for other warbands to overwhelm you with numbers. WIth your Toughness, think of your warband is actually 14 or 15 members. If will take that many wounds to force you out. You rely upon the best leadership in the game (bar none) to wear your opponent down. Its very dwarfy.

Indeed, the only warbands that I have ever had trouble with was undead. They could match me for expendable warriors and the Vampire could hammer a dwarf. Orcs could win, but had to play the right way. (again able to match the expendable warriors) That's it.
Skaven, lots of rats, big deal, terrible leadership. Humans (of all kinds) not tough enough.
Chaos with nasty Possessed and 3 beastmen are a problem but you can target the rest of the band. I always made a point to victimize any Chaos band early in a campaign to prevent them from growing uncontrolled.
I've never played against beastmen, they might have the strength and toughness to beat that.

As your warband progresses you replace lost beardlings with clansmen and thunders, as well us upgrading weapons and armor. 12 Dwarves with helmets is a small nightmare.

I also go out of my way and get the Trollslayer hired sword, pit fighter too oh and I look for a halfling cookbook and a halfling scout to increase the dwarf horde.

I don't play this warband against my friends anymore. Its just too mean. I do plan on using it if we get a campaign at the local store, though. Heh heh.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Tue 2 Feb 2010 - 18:04

Four heroes using a bunch of young dwarves as cannon fodder? Doesn't sound very dwarfy to me! Quite the contrary, in fact. But I can see how it would be an effective warband.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Tue 2 Feb 2010 - 19:42

Gotta teach 'em some how. Upstarts gotta get their beards bloody somehow.

I think its very dwarfy. 4 dwarves out to teach the young 'uns about the world and make some money in the process.
Perhaps the dwarf lord couldn't find enough fools to follow him to Mordheim. Slayers are crazy and perhaps the engineer in an old friend or owed the lord something.

We were talkin about the effectiveness though. It is indeed effective. Too much. really. Especially if you do 1 man henchmen groups and have all 6 heroes 2 games into the campaign. Throw in the Arabian merchant for some extra cash and acquisition capacity. Perhaps the Kislev Ranger for some search modifications and your 12 angry dwarves get good equipment in a hurry.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Tue 2 Feb 2010 - 20:34

Fair enough, in terms of dwarfocity.

I suspect the same tactic would work for a lot of other warbands, too. Indeed, it is the same basic tactic people push for the skaven. The dwarf swarm is probably the toughest, but it will by mid-game be the smallest - assuming other bands are using the same tactic. I admit I had never thought about the swarm approach with dwarves.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Tue 2 Feb 2010 - 20:38

Other bands can do it too but in doing it with dwarves you counter one of the weaknesses of the dwarves, small number of heroes. The large warband preserves the lord (in all liklihood) and that superior leadership wins many games.

The extra shard with 6 heroes allows for a number of hired swords.

I love my dwarves and I still play them, I just don't do "12 angry dwarves."

I've been wanting to play Gunnery School of Nuln and Beastmen.
Just finished up my Middenheimers. On to Marienbergers and Witch Hunters. THEN maybe I can do the Gunnery School and Beastmen, Skaven are lurking too. Oh so many warbands.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Wed 3 Feb 2010 - 7:49

Dwarves are a mixed bag. They are really good at what they are good at, shooting and fighting, but they have a horrible movement.

mweaver was spot on with his strength and weeknesses.

Dwarves are a really good defensive warband, if you have to guard a tower, or any senario where you don't have to move or your enemy has to come to you then you are fine. Any senario where you have to chase someone down, or you have go to the enemy you are in trouble. So any of the snatch and grab senarios you will have problems with.

I don't think that they are unbalanced the trick to beating Dwarves is to use terrain to get up on them, and the swam them with guys. Dwarves are tough and their armor and advantages are make them harder to kill, but not impossible.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Sun 14 Mar 2010 - 16:55

"Dwarves are tough and their armor and advantages are make them harder to kill, but not impossible."

They are of course vulnerable to being double-teamed and knocked down or stunned by the first attacker - the out-of-action-on-a-6 rule no longer helps (but in the case of knocked down, the T4 may still save him!)
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Sun 14 Mar 2010 - 17:09

If you make a warband with 10-12 models to start its tough to get double teamed by very much. To the extent that you are double teamed your superior WS, T and LD should allow you to carry the day most of the time.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Sun 29 Jul 2012 - 13:29

I have found the Dwarves to be overly powerful.

Mordheim is a game where the battlefield has lots of cover and because of the rules, close combat is always a more reliable strategy than shooting. The Dwarves are bloody hard to kill, needing a 6 to take them OOA makes them very difficult to kill at range, harder given their high toughness and use of armour. In CC they are bloody high unstoppable, the slayers decimate everything, I have been playing several ages against them and haven't won one yet, they cling to cover and jump (not literally) into combat and carry the day from there. I really think they are over powered and need tuning down a bit, the warband and its rules seems to have been made for fluffy reasons (like the Hard To Kill and Miners rules) without any play testing as to how this affects the game, like a bunch of guys sat down and said, "right people like dwarves, lets have a warband, dwarves are tough, high toughness then, their hard to kill, lets make a rule for that then, their great miners...' so on.

I will say though that this could just be that I am unlucky with my Outlaws warband, that struggle to get kills at range because of the high toughness and needing a 6 on the injury chart and are hopelessly outmatched in CC. (I'm finding that Hunting Arrows essentially makes the Hard To Kill rule void... *sly laugh*) I guess it comes down to luck, and lets not forget the lower numbers of heroes and higher cost... i guess it evens out. We're now starting an Empire in Flames campaign in a hope that the change in terrain density will even things out and force us both to rely on tactics...
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Sun 29 Jul 2012 - 22:25

OOA on a 6 doesnt help them much in Close Combat, rather, is good as a defence against shooting.

when youre locked in combat, a stun result might as well be an OOA. the amount of instances where this stun would save the dwarf from being killed in the next turn are so few and far between, that its not really worth banking a strategy on

the dwarves success rate is based on the scenario, not the band they play against. In scenarios where its a straight up brawl, (Skirmish, Street Fight kind of), they will excel. in EVERY OTHER SCENARIO, they will struggle if not outright fail before turn 1. Anything with a turn limit, dwarves will usually lose as well.

powerful stats and nice abilities, but the movement 3 thing will prevent a lot of wins. luckily, the bonus shard makes up for that.
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PostSubject: Re: How powerful are dwarves?   Mon 30 Jul 2012 - 6:27

Not to mention when you finally kill a dwarf for good, its a hefty amount of gold that dies with it.
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