In order to understand the strategy of dwarves it is important to notice the strengths and weaknesses of the army. Most people playing the dwarves fall in love with the war machines, runes, and missile troops but the real strength of the dwarves is their rock hard infantry. For their cost the basic dwarf trooper is the best deal in WFB. Leadership 9, toughness 4, weapon skill 4, and Heavy Armor for 8 points is a deal. Point for point they should be able to deal with any other infantry and pass most random leadership tests. They also have an excellent assortment of elite troops with Ironbreakers, Hammerers, Longbeards, Miners, Rangers, and Slayers. All having special abilities, and with the new revision some have become that much more useful to the offensive Army.
Dwarves’ biggest problems are the lack of fast moving troops and the -1 to flee/pursuit rolls. The tactical problem with the dwarves is often how to get your opponent into combat without being flanked or overpowered elsewhere. But, what to take? The point total and number of slots dictates that you can’t take it all. So you have to prioritize personal play style with what is effective on the battlefield and try to make it work.
Offensive Dwarf Theory by The Dark Dwarves
Dwarves can often beat players on the strength of the opponent's weakness. Too often an opponent will allow the dwarves to sit back and fire at will. When units close on the dwarf’s well placed lines they have been severely weakened or are unsupported. This piece meal approach can lead to an easy slaughter. While dwarven shooting is good it is tough to wipe out a unit with it as the dwarves do not shoot as well as the elves or empire. This strategy can also be beaten by a few kills and table quarters (More on Table quarters will be covered later). This defense is also very vulnerable to being flanked or charged by a big unit of cavalry. To avoid this it is important to advance. The dwarves should reach the center of the board, at least, by the end of the game.
The concept of advancing with a Dwarven army is one that is seen by some as ‘unnatural’ because of our limited movement. What I have found in playing is that people start to expect certain things from certain races and players. When you do what is not expected it can put your opponent ‘on tilt,’ which can lead them to make more mistakes then they would normally make. Advancing is the main tactical concept in the Offensive Dwarf Strategy.
The purpose of advancing is to get into hand to hand (HTH) combat. The offensive list revolves around combat and for good reason too. As thewrathchilde has pointed out in his article, “There are several aspects of the game; movement, magic, shooting, and close combat. In order to be effective an army has to be focused on one or two of these and then have an answer for the rest.” Offensive Dwarf armies should be HtH focused. This means they should be focused on the HtH combat phase of the game.
A game consists of 6 turns and each turn has different phases; movement, magic, shooting, and combat. Magic and movement phases are hampered just because of our race. We are slow and have no access to Mages. So that leaves us with Shooting and HtH combat. Hence, the two main styles of armies for Dwarves; Heavy shooting and Heavy combat.
Let's do a quick comparison between the phases: In a six turn game, there are a six of each phase; movement, magic, and shooting but up to 12 close combat phases because you fight in each players turn, thus allowing for more opportunities to kill the enemy and use our static combat resolution to win fights.
The second tactical concept in the Offensive Dwarf Strategy is creating a combat advantage. When advancing toward the enemy you can best utilize the relentless rule of the dwarves, while at the same time restricting the enemy’s movement. By using more units than the enemy or incorporating various shooting elements into the army for example, one can create combat advantages.
The phases of the game Dwarves need to focus on are HtH and shooting. Even though shooting is flashy and has its place, it should be used to support the infantry units by creating favorable match-ups between units.
By using both concepts of Advancing and Creating Combat Advantages Offensive Dwarves can take board quarters, achieve objectives in scenarios, and play against a variety of opponents relatively the same way always using our strengths and mitigating our weaknesses. All of which are key in a tournament setting where the opponent is unknown.
- The Dark Dwarves