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Dealing with the Dwarf PDF Print
Monday, 28 July 2008

Dwarfs are perhaps one of the hardest Warhammer armies to beat, especially in a pitched battle. With their high leadership, strong armor, and punishing ranged weapons, a strong Dwarf army can stop a Bretonnian player dead in his tracks. Any general who doesn’t at least have a certain measure of apprehension when going into a match against them is incredibly brave or incredibly foolish. So after many, many battles with Dwarfs, (they are perhaps my most frequent opponents) I have compiled a list of strategies on how to deal with each Dwarf unit. They might not always work, but these plans will certainly help get the upper hand on some peskier Dwarven foes. In this two part guide, I will provide some strategies that I have tried and tested in the crucible of battle. The first part will deal with Lords, Magic, Warriors, Thunderers, Iron Breakers, Hammerers, and Miners. The second will be about Dwarven siege machines, gyrocopters, longbeards, and quarrelers.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that all Dwarf generals do think differently. Some will be more overconfident while others will be more cautious. There is no guarantee of what will happen in any game. Half of everything is luck, the other half is fate. 

Dwarf Lords

A Dwarf Lord is a tough combatant, boasting WS 7, a S4, and a T5, not to mention his high leadership. When he is boosted by a great weapon, no average Paladin can take one of these guys, and a Bretonnian Lord stands no better chance in straight out combat. Generally, skilled Dwarf players will throw their lord into the most assault oriented part of his army, where his leadership and power can boost his attacks. A good combination is a unit of KOTR with a Lord at their head. The Lord should be set up like a duelist from the Tactica Bretonnia, in other words he should have the Virtue of Confidence, the Armor of Agilulf, Gauntlet of the Duel, and the Sword of Heroes. The Lord will be expensive, probably about 241 points (with Knight’s Vow and Barded Warhorse). I can almost guarantee you that he will win the duel with a Dwarf Lord. Plus, the attacks of the KOTR’s might be able to break the unit around the Lord, causing him to retreat with his unit.



Magic against Dwarfs is nigh-impossible. That’s common knowledge. Sure, they can’t cast anything but a Runelord or Runesmith can easily dispel most magic you throw at them. Even if you do get a spell or two off, it probably won’t do much to a strong unit of Dwarfs. In the long run, don’t waste your valuable points on expensive magicians that can’t do a thing.  Plus, Bretonnian attack magic isn’t exactly explosively destructive or damaging. If your determined to magic your way through the battle, make sure you have a Damsel or Prophetess with the Sacrament of the Lady. Your gonna need those power dice.



Warriors are the basic Dwarf unit, strong, steady, and incredibly slow. Most Dwarf players facing knights will equip at least one unit with great weapons, sacrificing heavier armor for more punch power. At first, it might seem tempting to shoot at warriors with bowmen, but is doubtful that you will kill many, simply due to the toughness of the average Dwarf. However, the key to defeating the average unit of warriors is mobility. Use the peasant screens (or lures) to draw the Dwarfs in close enough for your knights to execute a crushing charge. Charge forward a unit of peasants, watch them break and run back towards you with Dwarfs in hot pursuit, then strike. If you are afraid of dwarves being hesitant to pursue, simply try and bog them down with masses of peasants, then execute a crushing flank charge to seal the deal. Generally, a unit of KOTR can break a unit of Dwarf warriors in one charge, but if they can’t, don’t panic. You have most likely weakened the unit enough that you can defeat them within the next turn. Be wary of flanking attacks though. A favorite tactic of Dwarf generals is to let you charge, then catch you in a trap of Dwarven muscle. In order to stop this from happening, always keep a unit of Knights in reserve whenever possible, ready to charge in and hit the flank of a flanking Dwarf unit. Peasants, though not the most capable fighters, can also make crucially important flank charges to aid their Knights if they become trapped. Always have a back-up plan against Dwarves. 


What can I say about Thunderers? Their handguns are made for destroying armor and aren’t strong enough to grant a 5+ ward save from the Blessing. They can easily pick off unit after unit of brave knights from a long distance. However, you can use this sense of security that Thunderers feel to your advantage. While a Dwarf player takes aim at your bigger, scarier units like Grail and Questing Knights, sneak up a unit of skirmished longbow-men through woods and other terrain. Once they’re close enough to the Thunderers, unleash a volley of arrows and disrupt the unit. While longbow-men might not be the best archers in the world, enough arrows will kill just about anyone at closer ranges. They will at least cause the Dwarf player to be distracted for a turn or two, allowing you to set up a charge or assault. Make sure you keep your fire-drawing unit just out of range of the Thunderers though. Remember, Pegasus Knights are much more costly and not as effective at hunting knight killing units (they are still men, no matter how awesome they are.) Which would you rather lose in terms of victory points, a couple of worthless bowmen, or an expensive and valuable unit of Pegasus Knights? My only other suggestion would be to try and out-maneuver the Thunderers with a unit of Pegasus Knights. If Thunderers move at all, they cannot shoot and if you hit them with Pegasus Knights on the flank or in the rear, they cannot choose to stand and shoot. This gives you a huge advantage over them. Mobility is key.


Miners are rarely chosen in a Bretonnian game, simply because we lack large amounts of siege weapons. However, if you fear these warriors coming up in the middle of your forces, keep a unit of bowmen and men at arms in reserve. A volley from the bowmen will be able to at least damage the unit, allowing your men at arms to successfully engage them in combat. If the Miners are used as a regular combat unit apply the strategy for dealing with warriors. It should work just as well.

Iron Breakers

Scary little buggers aren’t they? With tough armor and high weapon skill, Iron Breakers are perhaps the strongest Dwarf unit available. They excel at stopping charges and can break just about any cavalry unit in the game. Yet again, in order to defeat these strong opponents I find myself turning to peasants. The Grail Reliquae is the perfect unit to bog down Iron Breakers. I know many generals prefer not to use Grail Reliquaries out of matters of principle, but it is perhaps one of the most valuable Bretonnian units available. With Stubborn, a 4+ armor save, and the Lady’s Blessing, these peasants will fight Iron Breakers to a standstill, allowing your knights to charge past the them unimpeded. You can also use a peasant lure, as detailed above. If you plan on using this tactic however, make sure that Questing Knights are your charging unit. They have the best chance of cutting through the Ironbreakers heavy armor with their great-swords. If lead by a Paladin with the Sword of the Quest, these Questing Knights will shred the Ironbreakers on a charge. Even with the nerfed great-sword rules in the newest addition of Warhammer, keep in mind that Questing Knights will always have a S 5, no matter if they have charged or not. Since Iron Breakers do not have the great weapons that slice through armor, Questing Knights will always be saving at a 3+.  Your definitely at the advantage and even a 4+ armor save is better than the 2+ Iron Breakers are used to.


Hammerers are tough, no doubt about it. When they have a general in their ranks they are stubborn, not to mention immune to terror and fear. But even hammerers are not invincible, and are quite easy to bog down in combat. Again, the Grail Reliquae is an excellent unit to tie up a group of Hammerers in a long drawn out combat. If your Grail Reliquae is already bogged down, make use of Grail Knights and archers. Use your archers to weaken the Hammerers, because their armor is not that strong, and then slam them with GK. They should be enough to at least wipe out the regiment. The Hammerers might not break, but they will certainly be fighting with a serious deficit. Combine this with the Bretonnian Lord model listed above (in the Dwarf Lord section) and you will probably be able to destroy the regiment and lord. A unit of GK without a Lord can also all act as champions, allowing you to hold up the Dwarf Lord in the Hammerers and letting your GK slaughter his bodyguard around him.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 July 2008 )
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