Special Forces


"But I thought Slayers were a Special choice. Stop confusing me or I'll stop reading!" Well by God I can read the Army Book too, but you'll notice before this came the Elite, not the special! But I like your spunk dear reader, and so I shall continue. After you go get yourself a nice strong drink or two to clear your head. Yes, drink up now...

Slayer, the prolific thrash metal band formed in 1982, has been a hugely influential and indomitable force in- Woah there shortbeard, how much've ye imbibed? We're nay talkin' 'bout the thrashin' o' metal here... We're talking about slayers, the ultimate Warhammer concept: fire-bearded, tattoo-laden Dwarves with a lust for suicide by combat. Slayers lack the statline of the elite fighters of a hold, but they represent a whole different tactical dimension you can opt to embrace: Unbreakability. They just don't go anywhere. You cleave one's arm off and he spits in your eye, so you gut him, but then find yourself being choked with his intestines (how he does this one armed you've got no clue, but it dawns on you that perhaps that's why he's called a slayer). This allows the wielder of such a unit to do all sorts of tricksy things. You can bog down almost any enemy unit for a period of time, many units indefinitely (depending on Slayer unit size which I'll address). Such a bogged down unit is extremely vulnerable to a flank charge even from incredibly slow Dwarf units. Knowing where the enemy will be for the nest two or three turns can allow you all the extra maneuvering time you may need to get in there with some backup and break that sucker. Alternately Slayers can tackle units which would otherwise break through your lines - large fear causing units come to mind - and hold them off for at least a while so you can prepare.

And Slayers don't care how tough you are. The Slayer rule means that they always wound what they fight on a 4+. While not incredible (especially since many tough units have solid armor saves) this is a solid ability and gives Slayers a fighting chance in a variety of combat situations, especially since they have 2 attacks each (really the more expensive/tough the model a Slayer fights the better the Slayer is for its point cost - can someone say suicidal? Suicidal! Ah that's a good lad).

The plight of a naked Dwarf
The biggest concern for Slayers is their lack of armor. While they'll dive in there and stay put, they'll die in droves if thrown haphazardly against the wrong enemy. Multiple attack, high strength, high armor save enemies are bad news for a unit of Slayers, and one should find a different means of dealing with such lethal foe (Hammerers have similar dependability but the strength AND the general to deal with such threats). Also, there is the concern of shooting as there is nothing that prevents even an arrow, aside from sheer tenacity, from felling a Slayer.

The solution to both these problems is the same - keep your Slayer unit large. While a small tarpit of slayers (10 or 12) can be a handy trick, Slayers seem to operate much more efficiently when fielded in units of 15+. They deserve a rank bonus and standard just as much as the next Dwarven unit, and arguably more so since they'll never be fleeing and dropping theirs. Shooting casualties are somewhat unpredictable, and I don't think they're any cause for concern. Consider that those same shots could have been directed at your Dwarfs with great weapons (max armor save 5+) and felled them just as easily. At least even the smallest unit of slayers wont panic or break. And again, that's why you field them big. The larger the unit of slayers the more likely there is to be one of the suicidal maniacs left at the end of the game preserving half of the unit's points, and perhaps even holding the enemy in place. At 11 points each, unbreakable and with 2 attacks that always match the enemies toughness, I consider Slayers to be rather underrated, and a very tactically useful unit choice. And they're dead sexy in their little loincloths of doom.


Like the SOG teams back in Vietnam these units travel deep into enemy territory, often unsupported, ready to seriously kick some. The Dwarven Rangers function like other armies scouts in that they can deploy after all other units in advanced positions on the table. This allows them to get into key positions to disrupt the enemies forward advance through march interdiction and adopting a threatening posture. A key factor for this unit in both these roles is their foresters ability allowing them to move through forests as though they were not there. This means you can set up a unit of rangers inside a woods providing them with ample cover but leaving their movement unhindered. More specifically you can make sure they get into that woods right in your enemies path, giving him a difficult decision of whether or not to deal with this potent threat. If he follows you into the woods you can either fight or flee, either way leaving his unit bogged down, or he can completely disrupt his own line and try to avoid you all together, which of course will then leave your Rangers free to pop out of those woods and harass his flanks, throw axes, and go claim a table quarter.

A major difference between Rangers and other scouts is their ranked formation. This means that rather than deploying forward a unit of scouts which at best can only harass with shooting and stop march moves, you get to deploy a fully capable, ranked Dwarf combat unit with command which can flank and swiftly (sort of) maneuver through woods. Armed with great weapons and wearing light armor, these woodsy warriors are capable combatants that fight (and thusly threaten) precisely the same as your standard great weapon armed clansmen. Except they've deployed amidst your opponents lines. At 12 points they're quite reasonable.

As for numbers, Rangers are flexible depending on their desired application and effectiveness. If you're going to field a small unit (10-12), you might consider the otherwise overcosted throwing axe. This will allow you to move into range, throw your axes, have your opponent either turn to face you (which is another turn of axe throwing) and/or charge you (which, with stand and shoot, is your 2nd or 3rd round of axe throwing). This will give these fellers a fighting chance, and make them pretty annoying in general. Crossbows are way to expensive even in small units. Musicians are worth considering for added insurance when you flee.

In larger units of 16+ (my preference), Rangers can take many charges and not only stick, but eventually break their opponents. Take a full command (or at least a musician and standard) If your opponent commits something large/deadly enough to deal with them, just make sure his failed charge (you're going to flee) takes him into the woods where that lethal unit of his will be bogged down for most, if not all of the game. The larger the unit of Rangers the more stuff they'll draw towards them which is less that's committed to your main infantry line.

Rangers are one of those units which allows their wielder to dictate the game and throw a cog in the wheel of his opponent's. Dwarf armies, being generally reactionary, have very little which can do this effectively, and so Rangers are an invaluable addition to almost any kind of Dwarven army.


Also coming in at 12 points Dwarf Miners are, on the surface, fairly similar to Rangers. They're armed with great weapons, have the same basic statline, but instead of light armor receive heavy armor (not something I'd voluntarily pay for but it's included). Miners have the fairly unique ability to start the game off the table and bore their way amidst the battle in later turns, called underground advance which sounds very ominous. (If you field miners make sure to announce the "underground advance phase" during each of your turns, suitably altering your voice and laughing manically. Note this will only work once. Results may vary.).

Underground advance lets you, as of turn 2, roll to see if your miners enter the board. If they do so you can place them at any point on any table edge and then make a normal move - this is good. In many situations (especially if you do a refused flank and thus force your opponent to stick to that edge) you'll have opportunities to have the miners come in the arch of an enemy unit's flank or even rear. If the enemy is already engaged with your resilient Dwarfs then he'll have no choice but to absorb the charge and be broken. Also Miners can come in near an enemy shooting battery (a cluster of war machines/shooting infantry) and crush them the turn after.

The problem with Miners is the inherent randomness of the underground advance. You have a 50% chance of the unit coming in on turn 2, which is a bit less than ideal because your opponent may not be in key positions by then (depends on the speed of the opponent and who goes first). On turn 3, which I consider ideal your chance is about 66%. Turn 4 you begin to really push your luck as combat is likely already being fought and the Miners can't charge the turn they enter the board; roughly 84% chance of arrival. While slim, they may not arrive at all, or entirely too late, and this is definitely something a Dwarf player cannot afford to spend a minimal 120 points on. Additionally, in some games there may be no table edges from which Miners can affect the game so you're largely dependant on your opponents positioning. And they can't catch cavalry. This is why Miners are an uncommon choice and none too popular. If you are going to field them, I'd suggest keeping the unit small. A unit of 10 is more than sufficient to nail a flank or rear, or to wipe out some war machines. No command is necessary. Also, if the unit comes in too late or with no good position available, a 120 point unit contesting or claiming a 100 point table quarter (or even better, an objective) isn't the worst thing that can happen.

Created by: ZiggyQubert. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 01:36:52 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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