Chaos Dwarfs vs Beasts of Chaos

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Some or all of this article may be out of date with the release of Daemons of Chaos.

While few Beastmen of Chaos exist in the Darklands, the Chaos Dwarfs sometimes meet them in battle as part of the mighty warbands that sweep down from the Chaos Wastes, or when their armies travel to enslave and pillage other lands.


[edit] Advantages

The biggest advantage Chaos Dwarfs really have is that their armies are much easier to assemble - but they have a few edges over Beasts of Chaos beyond that.

[edit] Missile Weapons

Simply put, the Beasts of Chaos don't have them. War machines work very well, though because their Beast Herds deploy in skirmish formation Death Rockets and Earthshakers tend to work better than Hobgoblin Bolt Throwers. While rather tough compared to most infantry, they are unarmoured and fairly expensive compared to Greenskins with bows. The Beastman Herd rule is generally used to protect the more powerful (and costly) Gors by allocating hits to the Ungors first - fortunately, Chaos Dwarf Blunderbusses are very good at providing a lot of hits.

[edit] Superior Discipline (and Numbers)

Most Beasts of Chaos units don't have particularly high Leadership, and some others - like Centigors and Chaos Trolls - tend to suffer from Stupidity. If a Chaos Dwarf general keeps a tight rein on their Greenskins and takes enough of them to outnumber their opponent, then they should be able to at least hold their own against the Beasts of Chaos. Even given their ability to re-roll Psychology Tests (if Chaos Undivided, which is default), Chaos Dwarf units generally have the advantage here.

The flipside to this are the much more powerful and expensive units and champions, particularly Minotaurs, Chaos Giants, Chaos Ogres, Chaos Spawn, and Dragon Ogres, which have relatively high Leadership or are Immune to Psychology. While rare (unless the army general is a Doombull, in which case expect lots of Minotaurs), these units also cause Fear or Terror and are very unlikely to break. Fortunately, none of them are immune to hits from war machines, flanking attacks, or the like, and many have their own aberrant rules governing their play, such as the Minotaur's Bloodgreed. In many cases, sacrificing a cheap unit of Hobgoblins is sufficient to distract these units long enough to get in a flanking position, or target them with artillery.

[edit] Superior Equipment

In general, Chaos Dwarf armies field better-equipped units than Beasts of Chaos armies. The standard Chaos Dwarf Warrior, with their heavy armour and shields, generally fair well against Ungors, Gors, and Bestigors. Hobgoblins with Light Armour and Shields, Black Orcs and Orcs (Big 'Uns or not) generally manage to at least hold their own against Ungors and Gors, while Hobgoblin Wolfboyz can easily handle Warhounds of Chaos. Bull Centaurs are generally superior to Centigors, especially if equipped with heavy armour to fend off any throwing axes.

The real difficulty comes with Minotaurs, Chaos Ogres, and the like, which Chaos Dwarfs have no directly approximate unit and have to make use of either Dogs of War and/or numbers to handle such foes. Ogre Dogs of War from the Ogre Kingdoms list are particularly useful when "fighting fire with fire" so to speak.

[edit] The Many-Headed Chaos Army

The forces of Chaos include not only Beastmen, but mortal champions of the Ruinous Powers and their daemon servants. A Chaos Army can therefore field units from all three army lists, and a Chaos Dwarf general facing such an army will have to deal with the vast variety of forces that might oppose them.

The general character of an army, and its composition, are highly dependent on the Army General - if the Chaos General is a Beast (or a Daemon with the Unliving Idol Daemonic Gift), then the army is treated as Beasts of Chaos, and Core units from Hordes of Chaos are counted as Special choices. Some of those choices are of particular concern to Chaos Dwarf generals when fielded in Beasts of Chaos armies, and are addressed below.

[edit] Chosen Warriors of Chaos

While Warriors of Chaos are roughly equivalent to Bestigors, a unit of Chosen all bear Chaos armour and have an extra Attack - it is best to attack these units in the flank, preferably with Bull Centaurs or other heavy hitters. In straight combat, Chaos Dwarf Warriors can hold their own, but Blunderbusses are nearly useless against a 4+ armour save.

[edit] Daemons

Too extensive too go into great detail here, see Chaos Dwarfs vs Hordes of Chaos for details, but be aware that all daemons cause Fear, are Immune to Psychology, and have a Ward save that doesn't work against magical attacks (either spells or magical weapons). It is highly recommended that every character take at least a cheap magic weapon in case of daemons. Screamers of Tzeentch and Chaos Furies can also provide air support to Beasts of Chaos armies, another reason to stock up on Goblin or Hobgoblin archers, Orc Arrer Boyz, and the like.

[edit] Marauder Horsemen

While not slow by any means, the Beasts of Chaos army list lacks fast cavalry, which can be supplied by the Hordes of Chaos. For the cost, however, a Chaos Dwarf general can - and probably should - field fully equipped Hobgoblin Wolfboyz. Still, beware these Marauder Horseman trying to flank your slow-moving Chaos Dwarf units.

[edit] Steeds

Particularly large Chaos armies can feature Heroes and Lords riding appropriate mounts drawn from the Hordes of Chaos - even a Lord of Chaos on a Chaos Dragon, although those are very rare in Beasts of Chaos armies due to their high cost and the fact that they cannot be the army's general.

[edit] Disadvantages

Besides their general unpredictability, there are three things Chaos Dwarf generals should look out for when facing Beasts of Chaos armies.

[edit] Ambush

Expect a sizable force of Beast Herds and War Hounds of Chaos to be set up for ambush - this can generally be noted by the relatively small size of the fielded Beasts of Chaos army. The best thing to do with a suspected ambush is to kill the Chaos General before they can spring the ambush and bring these additional forces onto the table - magic and war machines are the best bet, here. At worst, keep away from the table edges and keep a rearguard force with the war machines.

[edit] Dedicated Armies

Chaos armies composition are also affected by the Mark of Chaos that the Chaos General bears. Chaos Generals have the Mark of Chaos Undivided by default and may field units and characters with many different Marks, but some armies are dedicated to a particular Chaos god, and their unit and character choices reflect that.

[edit] Khorne

Khornate armies are marked by Frenzy and a dislike of magic, represented by additional Dispel Dice - it can be almost impossible to get a spell off against a dedicated army of Khorne. While their Frenzy makes them deadly at Close Combat, it also makes units marked by Khorne easy to lead into traps by sacrificing cheap Hobgoblin units to expose their flanks or rear.

[edit] Nurgle

Nurglish armies are hardy; characters with the Mark of Nurgle have one more Wound than normal and some units and characters cause Fear, while Minotaurs get Scaly Skin. While not as immediately dangerous as the Frenzied berserkers of Khorne or the powerful sorcerers of Tzeentch, the combination of endurance and psychological warfare can break Greenskin units and Chaos Dwarf characters. Be careful to provide adequate Leadership to Greenskins, either with characters, the Banner of Slavery, or both and make sure your own Heroes and Lords can take a few hits.

Nurglish Sorcerers must use the Lore of Nurgle, which consists primarily of Remains in Play and debuff spells.

[edit] Slaanesh

Slaaneshi armies benefit by being Immune to Psychology, a tremendous advantage given the low Leadership of many units. Try to avoid taking Fear-causing spells against armies of Slaanesh, as they are essentially worthless. In Chaos Undivided armies, Shaggoths of Slaanesh are highly prized for their ability to strike first.

Slaaneshi Sorcerers must use the Lore of Slaanesh, and serves primarily to manipulate and buff units - the most dangerous spells for Chaos Dwarf armies is probably Enrapturing Spasms, which can silence a war machine or let an expensive unit of Bull Centaurs stand there like cows to be slaughtered.

[edit] Tzeentch

Armies of Tzeentch are characterized by Sorcerers; any unit bearing the Mark of Tzeentch generates extra Power Dice so long as they aren't fleeing. Such armies tend to be very magic-heavy, especially early in the game when the Sorcerers have more Power Dice to throw around. Using the Chalice of Darkness to restrict their spellcasting and Dispel Scrolls to negate the worst of their magics until a few of their units flee or are destroyed, when they will be easier to deal with.

Tzeentchian Sorcerers must use the Lore of Tzeentch, which features a selection of powerful spells. The most powerful spells, Indigo Fire of Change and Violet Fire of Tzeentch are particularly dangerous; Chaos Dwarf heroes have less to fear from the latter thanks to their high Leadership, but Goblins and Hobgoblins are very vulnerable to the former.

[edit] Doombulls

A Minotaur Lord, or Doombull, is a costly and dangerous character that will only go down with concerted effort on the part of the Chaos Dwarf general. Unfortunately, a Doombull acting as the Chaos General will also allows Minotaurs to be taken as Core choices - this can be very similar to facing an Ogre Kingdoms army as far as facing a force of large, expensive, multi-wound models goes.

[edit] Targets

These units from the Beasts of Chaos army deserve particular mention.

[edit] Chaos Spawn

The possibility of seven S4 (or S5, or S6) attacks from an unbreakable unit is enough for most Chaos Dwarf generals to want to kill these things as soon as possible before they can deal too much damage. A Death Rocket should deal with these things nicely, provided you can hit it.

[edit] Chaos Trolls

Standard anti-Troll weaponry here: Lore of Flame or Lore of Fire. Try and fry it before it reaches your lines.

[edit] Tuskgor Chariots

The only chariot in the Beasts of Chaos army, barring any they borrow from the Hordes of Chaos (which are expensive). Hobgoblin Bolt Throwers tend to work well against it.

[edit] Army Composition

Heavy armour for whatever can take it, and as many Bull Centaurs and war machines as you can safely field. Small units of Hobgoblins and Hobgoblin Wolfboyz are highly recommended, primarily as bait; a single maxed-out unit of Goblins with shortbows makes a nice cheap missile unit if you have a Chaos Dwarf Hero leading it, and/or keep it near the Banner of Slavery. Your typical Chaos Dwarf Warriors and Blunderbusses actually do very well against "straight" Beasts of Chaos forces, and should be divided into firing lines and "hammer" blocks for flank charges.

The real trouble is when you end up facing mixed armies, particularly the inclusion of various daemonic units and Chosen Chaos Warriors or Chosen Chaos Knights as Special Choices. Paranoia instills a "cover your ass" mindset in Chaos Dwarf generals - common precautions include equipping each character in the army with at least a minor magical weapon, taking at least one Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer with the Lore of Metal or Lore of Fire with the Chalice of Darkness or a parcel of Dispel Scrolls, and investing in a unit of Leadbelchers instead of an Earthshaker (for fear of Ambush).

[edit] Strategy

The primary characteristic of Beasts of Chaos armies is their tendency to Ambush, which serves several purposes: can attack the enemy on the flank or rear, prevents densely-packed units from being destroyed outright by war machine fire, and in general screws up static battle lines. If the Chaos General is not a Beasts general this ability is lost, and the army is treated as Hordes of Chaos army.

It is very difficult to say what the Beasts of Army will be composed of - relatively cheap and plentiful Beast Herds and Bestigor Herds; fewer but much more powerful units like Minotaurs, Chaos Ogres, and Chaos Trolls; or elite Chosen or Daemon units drawn from the Hordes of Chaos list combined with Tuskgor Chariots - often a mix of such units are present. The few rare choices - Chaos Giants, Dragon Ogres, and Chaos Spawn - are extremely powerful and will require concerted effort to destroy before they wreak havoc on your lines.

[edit] Checkered

For this stratagem, invest in Chaos Dwarf Warriors with Great Axes in units of twenty, and Hobgoblins (with shields and light armour) in units of fifteen, and line them up in a square of alternating units (like a hollow checkerboard) with the HB on the corners and center.

Ideally, the Hobgoblin units should be placed three inches ahead of the Chaos Dwarf units to act as more appealing bait. The center holds a unit of Bull Centaurs and a unit of Hobgoblin Wolfboyz with bows. Chaos Dwarf Heroes and Lords with magic weapons are the order of the day, as are full commands for the Chaos Dwarf units.

The basic plan is simple - lure the enemy into attacking the Hobgoblin units, allowing the Chaos Dwarf units to attack the flanks of the attackers. When a gap opens in the line, the Bull Centaurs or Hobgoblin Wolfboyz spill through and wheel to face the enemy, hopefully catching them in the rear.

This plan is vulnerable to lots of things, primarily magic. One good Bray-Shaman or Tzaanbull can ruin the play. If worried about that, consider fielding a Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer Lord on a Lammasu with the Chalice of Darkness, or else make sure to give your Army General the Talisman of Obsidian.

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