So, after some first games against Mortans and Halodynes (300-500 points), I want to share my first impressions and experiences with the different parts of this great faction. Everybody may of course have other opinions and everything I write here is subject to change, if I ever have bad experiences.
My favourite warlord! Although not as good in surviving as the Runegate Keeper, the Warsmith adds much more versatility with its buffs like higher charge range and higher POW.
Reducing the enemy's DEF or ARM with Shatter can totally change the balance of a single battle, although it's an enemy tactic and so prone to not working against some enemies with high leadership.
Last but not least, the Warsmith has access to two-handed hammers amongst which I most like the simple and cheap Warhammer or even better the Doomangr Devastator which lives up to it's name and can destroy a whole unit on its own when things like Shatter work before the attack.
2. Runegate Keeper:
I only used him in 1 game and there he didn't really convince me of it's martial prowess. Don't get me wrong, he's rock hard and with his two-handed axe, he can dish out huge damage, but now when I compare the Keeper with the Warsmith, the latter comes out on top due to better tactics and abilities, the hammers in the armory are better than axes, Warsmith is a lot cheaper and can buy a Healing Potion and so effectively has even more life points than the Runegate Keeper. (if you discount armor in this calculation)
Until now, I couldn't test this guy, but on the paper he's just awesome as damage machine. Sure, his low armor makes him vulnerable but due to his abilities (no ranged attacks or spells against him, -D3 dmg per hit otherwise) and low treshold to get seriously wounded, he still is a cool and funny model to play. He just epitomizes the raging maniac storming ahead while snarling, rolling his eyes and with froth on his lips, receiving stabs and cuts without slowing him down in the least. The only thing I would wish for him would be access to the two-handed axes rather than or in addition to swords.
4. Brewer of Odrorir:
Oh well, what should I say...
This one looks nice as a buffer but in my personal opinion, these buffs are rather little buffies than real buffs
worth their own support character! The style and flavour of the Brewer of course is just perfect but he doesn't live up to the role as pure buffer when compared to some spellcasters for example. In conclusion, the brewer is nice but in my eyes not good enough.
Another model, I couldn't test until now and so far, I am not really sure what to make of it. It's game mechanics rely on your own models dieing which I'd rather prevent as long as possible. Ok, this could work in a list with many Skannfyrd Kinswords, which are cheap and so don't hurt that much when dieing but then I wonder why I should ad a 35 points model to heal and resurrect instead of adding more models (and thus more life points) to the army right from the start. When having enough cheap models to generate enough Spirit Tokens for the Valkyrie, then I can hardly afford the more expensive models, which would be worth to be healed. Additionally the Valkyrie has only a few life points and mid-quality armor, which is not that much of a problem since she is Ethereal but as soon as somebody with a magic weapon comes along, she is dead quite fast. I wish at least that she was Light Cavalry as they are riding flying horses in mythology and so are destined to be light cav.
This one can be very devestating when played and more important positioned good enough. With his 2" melee range you can keep him out of close combat range of the most enemy models and so need no fear of counter attacks. When I played him, I just hid him behind a building and dared my enemy to move along. When he finally dared, I rushed into the close combat against a whole unit of Halodynes Hoplites and miraculously survived the counter attacks. Which the Trash attack, the Chainslayer is very good at destroying or crippling whole squads of lightly armored models while at the same time his counter attacks are similarly fearsome especially when he get's a free action point from his warlord and thus can make the Trash-attack twice per turn.
7. Fjell Warriors:
As an old fan of all dwarvish, I have to admit, that these Fjell Warriors surprised me a bit in the beginning. They have less armour and leadership than Mortan Legionaires for example but the complete package is the best buy you can get for your money. Their two Self-tactics are for free! So, put them in Shield Wall mode until you can engage or charge and you have solid DEF13 and ARM9 with higher life points than other non-elite units. As soon as you can charge, you switch to the Skilled Strike tactic and combined with Warsmith-buff, you charge with whopping MEL7 and POW6 for only 2 ACT! Furthermore these guys are quite nice pointswise. For only 84 points, you get a full unit and you can take up to 4 units of these. You almost need nothing else when playing them in huge numbers. I love these guys!!!
When the end of days is near and the final battle is to be fought, I want some of these guys as my battle brothers. They have a superior statline with nice MEL, ARM, LEAD, high life points and wield a two-handed weapon, but this comes at a high price pointswise. You can only play them in units of maximum 5 each, but when they get to their destined target, they hit like an avalanche. The only downside in my eyes are the self-tactics. Why should I ever want to make +2 dmg with my critical hits when I can make a second attack instead with my full ACT points? Sure, it's possible, under certain circumstances (when the unit got a free ACT point from the warlord or after making 1 counter attack and activating later the same round) but this is rather a fluff tactic than a real useful one. Statistically, I might get not even 1 critical hit with all of the 5 guys in the unit when they make only 1 attack each...
Otherwise they cause Horror in Fear/Horror causing units, which is a nice surprise and quite funny.
9. Fimbul Toughborns:
In my eyes the most undwarvish unit in the whole Dwarvenkind of this army, but they are your only possibility to make the enemy come to your slow moving units. I am a total fan of the Toughborns as their crossbow bolts can blot out the sun and make the enemy fight in the shadow of your awesomeness! Up to two shots per model (with the Twinshot tactic) at up to 20" distance or 1 shot and Stand Ready tactic which creates a nice field of death under the template, especially against units with high DEF and low ARM as this tactic provides auto-hits against everybody moving under the template. Combined with the Grindstone tactic of the Warsmith, these Toughborns can dish out quite a lot of damage while at the same time are quite fast on their little feet due to being light infantry and ignoring the difficult terrain penalty. So, hide them in a forest and shoot shoot shoot!
10. Skannfyrd Kinswords:
These guys are kind of mediocre standard warriors, with a nice balance of points cost, playable numbers, survivability and damage capability, however I rather like my Fjell Warriors for the same role and almost same point costs (30 Kinswords are only 40 points cheaper than 30 Fjell Warriors). The Shieldbash tactic is nice against badly armoured targets but otherwise, I'd always prefer my Dwarves. I think, the Kinswords can be used in conjunction with a Valkyrie (like described in the Valkyrie section) but otherwise, they are just inferior.
You want it big, mean and nasty? Then take the Fjellgangr! In one game he quite casually destroyed 3 Mortan Carnifexers on the charge and those are some quite hard and terrifying bastards! Charge into 2" range, smash the first target to pulp with the ridiculously high POW attack, survive the counter attacks if they are possible (you have a higher range than most units/models) then use the Slay Movement to get in range to more models. Now you make your free Slay Movement Attack and so smash the second model. Afterwards, you either use your big club to make another high strength attack and kill the 3rd model or you swing it in a wide arc and and hit everything in 2" range. If you managed to shove him a 6. ACT-point before his activation, you can also make a 3rd high strength attack and so can kill up to 4 highly armored models in only 1 charge or a lot of badly armored models with 2 Trashs.
Sure, the Fjellgangr has only a low armor but combined with the Stoneskin ability, he has quite a nice effective armor in the end and a lot of life points. And I just love the idea of a big, bad, ugly guy running up to someone and kicking him Leonidas-style around with his Boot attack.
And the best of this model? You can take two of them!!
Last but not least the Bloodvarg. A snarling, slobbering, growling monster moving incredibly fast towards the soft and squishy (and tasty) enemy weakspots. With a move distance of 16" per turn and a total charge distance of 12" (assuming the Furious Charge ability doesn't alter the base movement value but the final charge distance). The Bloodvarg alone isn't able to take on whole units like the Fjellgangr for example, but I rather see his role in threatening/killing weaker characters (esp. supporters/mages and ranged fighters) or stopping Mortan warmachines from shooting. It's a cool flanker and fast forward unit, but beware when employing him in a mostly Dwarven army, because then the Varg will be on his own at the frontline for quite a long time before the slow moving Dwarves will arrive.
The Nordgaard consist of very fluffy and stylish models/units, which...
- aren't dependant on supporting each other
- are good allrounders
- are quite slow and not too numerous
- have almost no ranged combat
However depending on your playstyle you can have a solid wall of slow but untiring dwarven meat moving forwards, supported by superiour craftmanship or some lonely but highly effective models plucking apart the enemy bit by bit (or bite by bite
) or a mix of this.
I hope, this little review after some initial playtesting helps with deciding for the Nordgaard as army of your choice!