15 Jan 2014

Tyranids and Chaos Dwarves

Hey guys, Learn2Eel here with a little update for those craving some more thoughts on the (sadly) highly controversial new Tyranid codex. I've had trouble accessing Blogger lately to post articles for some weird reason, but it seems to have resolved itself. As it stands, I'm still going through the Tyranid codex as I haven't had much time to really go over it - it's been a bit of a busy weekend! I do have some thoughts to share though, so expect one of those "Top 'x' Changes" articles in the coming days. I've also decided to do an easily digestible mini-review similar in vein to my old Chaos Space Marine and Dark Angels Tacticas, just to give people looking for more streamlined and quickly read views on the codex. This will be in addition to the main review, and due to the incredible reception the "Seven Days of Glory" received, I will be doing a fluffy Tyranid equivalent....mwahahaha!

I wanted to take the time to also discuss my own hobby, something I don't often do. Lately, I've been looking at what Warhammer Fantasy army should follow my almost completed Vampire Counts - in fact, I've been posting queries about this very topic on various forums for several months now! The Dark Elves, High Elves and Empire remained my top choices after entertaining the idea of each army, but the costs of doing each of the armies justice was pretty high - the cheapest being a Caledorian High Elf army, and the most expensive being a Har Ganeth Dark Elf army. This isn't really an issue, but something that would influence my decision a lot - Dark Elves were the army I was most interested in from a rules and visuals perspective, but the cost served to put me off.

With the Australian prices for Games Workshop products actually being very similar to those of Forge World (minus the import costs - buy in bulk!) I've started to entertain the thought of Forge World armies. I'm waiting for Thousand Sons to get the Horus Heresy treatment, and on that particular Tactica, I know I'm very late on it, but sadly this really is due to the incredibly rapid release rate of Games Workshop codices and army books. It's kind of like a happy irritation. However, for Warhammer Fantasy, I'm really starting to like the look of Chaos Dwarves. I've read the rules for the Army of Azgorth in the Tamurkhan book and have been really impressed; it is an entirely elite army with durable, but slow, Core infantry in the form of Infernal Guard, some of the best war machines in the game, a brutally tough to kill "chariot-monster", arguably the best monster in the game, incredibly tough and cost-effective characters, but a distinct lack of chaff. They also have some really strong monstrous infantry options to boot, and though this seems like I'm praising them overly, I like that Chaos Dwarves have a lot of innate weaknesses; aside from certain units, their forces are designed to grind enemies down in combat through attrition rather than win in a straight fight. They are really reliant on their war machines to severely cripple enemies for their Infernal Guard to finish off, and the army is generally pretty static. This would be a very welcome change from my Vampire Counts in terms of play-style, I can make a competitive or themed army list that is fun to play either way, and the models are of course simply gorgeous. I've never been more impressed with the basic Core models for an army, the various War Machines are lovely to look at, and converting up a K'daii Destroyer would be a very worthwhile endeavor.

I'm really looking forward to doing this army after first getting another 500 points of Vampire Counts (currently sitting on 2000) to finish them off, and getting two Wave Serpents and one Wraithknight to complete my Eldar. As long as I buy in bulk, the expense will be about the same as the Har Ganeth Dark Elf army I wanted to, perhaps less, and it will be one amazing looking army not only to play, but to look at. This was a sample army list that I came up with earlier today, built around not only the Chaos Dwarves penchant for artillery, but also two of the most colossally dangerous and tough monsters in the game.

Sorcerer Prophet w/ level four, lore of hashut, enchanted shield, talisman of preservation, chalice of blood and darkness

Daemonsmith Sorcerer w/ lore of fire, dispel scroll
Daemonsmith Sorcerer w/ lore of fire

Infernal Guard (24) w/ musician, standard bearer
Infernal Guard (25) w/ musician, standard bearer

Magma Cannon
Magma Cannon
Deathshrieker Rocket Battery
Deathshrieker Rocket Battery
Deathshrieker Rocket Battery
Iron Daemon War Engine w/ hellbound, skullcracker

K’daii Destroyer

Total = 2498

I really like the look of this list. The idea is that I form a giant "anvil", with each Daemonsmith Sorcerer supporting two or three war machines - they get a Look Out Sir roll from them! The five war machines will obliterate any hordes and monstrous infantry that they spot - Magma Cannons shoot Strength 5 Templates using the cannon rules that do Multiple Wounds (D3) to every model under the template! - while the Daemonsmiths baby-sit them to keep from them misfiring, as well as using the Lore of Fire for medium ranged anti-chaff harassment. The two Infernal Guard units, one joined by the Sorcerer Prophet (who is incredibly tough at Toughness 5, Wounds 3, 2+ armour, 4+ ward), are the defensive units that sit forward from my artillery to clean up the scraps. The Iron Daemon and K'daii Destroyer use their incredible offensive and defensive abilities to single-handily mow down entire units, and I will use them to keep the flanks of my "anvil" secure. The Iron Daemon has a ridiculous Toughness 8, 8 Wounds, and does 2D6+2 Strength 8 Impact Hits on the charge, in addition to 2D6 Strength 8 Thunderstomp attacks! As it is Hellbound, its attacks are magical and thus Ethereal tarpits cannot slow it down; besides, it is Unbreakable to boot! 

The K'daii Destroyer is so evil, with between 7 and 9 Weapon Skill 5, Initiative 5, Strength 6 flaming attacks due to its (D3) Frenzy. You can't even escape it as it is a ridiculous Movement 9! It is also Unbreakable - but Unstable, in this case - with Toughness 6, 6 Wounds, Leadership 9 and a crazy 4+ ward save. It eats entire units for breakfast and is practically immune to most of the usual monster counters aside from cannons - which it can even ignore on a 4+ due to its ward save! - with high Initiative, Strength, Leadership, Toughness and so on, making it immune to most "test or die" spells. Speaking of spells, my magic defence is superb, with a Level 4 and two Level 1s (for channeling), a dispel scroll, and a really nasty magic item on my Sorcerer Prophet that allows me to steal D3 Casting or Dispel dice from my opponent, while sacrificing D3 of my own Casting or Dispel dice. The amazing thing about this is that it can be used at any point in the phase; use all your dispel dice to stop one or two spells, then steal your opponents' remaining dice with the item! And hey, it isn't even one use only - you can use it in each magic phase!

While probably not the best Chaos Dwarf list anyone has ever come up with, I really like the idea of it. The entire army is incredibly high Leadership, with 8 on my war machines, 9 on my Infernal Guard and K'daii Destroyer, and 10 on my Sorcerer Prophet. Some may wonder why there is no BSB, and this is a valid criticism. From what I read up about Chaos Dwarves, the idea is that if your war machines do their job, enemies won't have much left to beat your Infernal Guard in combat. The monsters aren't going to run, and the high Leadership of the army and their crazy good durability - the basic Core model each has Toughness 4, 3+ armour, 6+ parry save, and a 5+ ward against flaming attacks! - basically makes up for the loss of the BSB. I'll have to try this out and see how it works in practice, but I think with three Deathshriekers and two Magma Cannons plying their trade, as well as the Iron Daemon and K'daii Destroyer protecting the flanks, combat resolution likely won't be an issue and, as I mentioned earlier, neither should magic. The Deathshriekers also give me the flexibility to deal with monsters and lone characters, able to fire alternate single shots that are basically Strength 8 stone thrower shots without the blast marker with all the usual loveliness, including Multiple Wounds (D6). Basically, there is almost nothing I can't engage, and while my Iron Daemon can theoretically get tied up and unable to do anything if it gets charged by a cavalry units, its Toughness 8, 8 Wounds and flat Unbreakable mean that unless it is a chaff unit holding up my expensive monster, my opponent is going to be wasting a lot of points trying to get out of that combat. Besides, chaff really shouldn't be a problem with two Fireballs and lots of war machines. 

This list can deal with almost anything without being over-powered or anything like that; in fact, it does have its weaknesses. No BSB can be exploited through certain spells and special abilities, though it is prudent to note that my Sorcerer Prophet's unit is Immune to Psychology because of his special rules. Aside from the two monsters, the army lacks any kind of mobility, with my infantry all having Movement 3. If I face a chaff heavy list, I could be in serious trouble if most of them are monstrous beasts, flyers or cavalry. The model count is also pretty stupidly low, meaning I can't afford to sacrifice any of my units through silly mistakes. It will be a tough army, but that is what I really like about it; it is incredibly flexible in terms of dealing with all kinds of enemies, and the low model count makes it easy to transport. And besides, if I manage to get the charge off with an Iron Daemon into - for example - a unit of Blood Knights, the carnage that would ensue would be well worth a probable loss against most Vampire Counts armies. I see quite a few Blood Knight death-stars in my local area, and if an Iron Daemon managed to get the charge off on one of them, my opponents would practically vomit. 2D6+2 Strength 8 Impact Hits will kill pretty much anything, and Blood Knights will not only have no saves against it, but they are incredibly expensive models that would likely be completely wiped out! 

So yeah, that is basically what is happening at the moment here at Imperator Guides. I'm super excited to start a Chaos Dwarf army - though I'm going to have to spend something like $500 to finish my Vampire Counts and Eldar first from memory - and the beginning of a slew of Tyranid articles is just around the corner. If you have any feedback for me for my initial Chaos Dwarves list, or if you have any suggestions for the upcoming Tyranid Tactica series, feel free to leave a comment for us! We always appreciate any and all input! Thanks again guys! Eel out.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eel, very much looking forward to your Tyranid review.

    Weirdly, all the negative feedback has made me want to start a tyranid army more. That and the crazy swarm deal. There's something about having to coordinate synapse and juggle instinctive behavior that's really appealing. It's a very different strategy to other armies.