Chaos Dwarves

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Tuomas Pirinen (longswor@tower.nullnet.fi) writes:



-- the warcry of the Chaos Dwarfs

A guide to the forces available to the Chaos Dwarf player:

CHAOS DWARFS Chaos Dwarfs, or "Big Hats" as they are also known, are almost identical to the normal dwarfs but with certain important differences. First and most importantly of all, Chaos Dwarfs don`t hate greenskins. Second, they do not benefit from being dwarfs when dispelling enemy magic. They still get the special rule for moving in armour, though. T 4, WS 4, and High LD 9 are balanced out by their low M and I. Their avarage BS is of no consequence because their main weapon (the blunderbuss) is not affected by range or most other usual BS penalties. Point cost is a standard 8. All in all they are just a little bit worse deal than normal dwarfs, but this is compensated elsewhere.
BULL CENTAURS These are one of the best basic races of WHFB. High S, T, A, W and LD make Bull Centaurs truly formidable. Their characters are always recommendable, especially their battle standard bearer since this creature has far more resiliance than a normal Dwarf Champion. Bull Centaur lord is your most powerful single model in H-T-H, so if you have points to spare, choose him. The only down-sides of the Bull Centaurs I can think of are their high point cost and the limitations of their selection of equipment.
GREENSKINS Other races with powerful line of characteristics are limited in numbers, but Chaos Dwarfs get the Hobgoblins, Goblins, Orcs, and Black Orcs as a welcome bonus. As the Black Orcs are quite cheap and very powerful, I usually try to field a few of them. If you include orcs and goblins in your army, be sure to take some Hobgoblins, too. Getting rid of animosity is quite something!


LORD I usually go for the Chaos Dwarf Lord, since I can get the Sorcerer Lords anyway. I consider Sorcerer Lord only in smaller battles, since it saves points and can shock your opponent (No one expects a Lvl 4 mage in a 1000-point battle!)
BATTLE STANDARD Go for the Bull Centaur. Anything that increases your Battle Standards survivability is a good thing.
SORCERERS Chaos Dwarf sorcerers are very good mages because of their T of 5. Look for the following spells:
DoomroarAgainst low LD opponents
EruptionAgainst Dwarfs and others with low I
Ash CloudAgainst Chaos
Lava StormAgainst everybody


CHAOS DWARF WARRIORS Your compulsory unit. They are dwarfs armed with hand weapons, 2-h axes, heavy armour and shields.
WeaknessesAs all troops armed with 2-h weapons, Chaos Dwarf warriors strike last. These troops also suffer from a horribly high point cost.
UsesBecause they can field a magical standard, Chaos Dwarf warriors are not useless by any means. Their high T and armour-save should see them through most missile attacks your enemy can throw at you. If you know that your opponent is planning something special against your Warriors, just field a 5-strong regiment. That's all that is needed. Any basic human, Skaven, goblin or elven infantry is quite helpless against these axemen because of their WS 4, T 4 , effective S 5 and 5+ save.
CHAOS DWARF BLUNDERBUSSES Chaos Dwarfs equipped with these unique missile weapons. In great numbers, they are truly devastating devices.
WeaknessesHeavy armour boosts their PV by far too many points. The short range of their weapons combined with slow M and inability to move and fire means they can be out-manoeuvered.
UsesI always try to have such a wide line of Blunderbusses that there is simply no room to out-manoeuvre them. One rank is usually enough against Skaven, Elves and human Infantry, but against heavily armoured targets such as Knights, 3 ranks is just what you need. Keep a few extra dwarves as a reserve -- it`s extremely annoying to have your S reduced because your 3rd rank lacks one model!
BULL CENTAURS The best regiment of the whole army. S 4, T 4, 2 W, 2 Attacks, M 8 and LD of 9! In addition to this, they qualify as fast cavalry and can carry a magic standard!

WeaknessesTwo-handed weapons that make you strike last. This is less of a disaster for Bull Centaurs, since their high T and multiple Wounds balance this out. All spells that require a I checks or Armour saves are very dangerous against the Bull Centaurs. Also, these guys are not cheap (though usually they are worth it).
UsesThe Bull Centaurs form my major strong-arm, along with Black Orcs. With right standard and a couple of the dreaded Bull Centaur characters leading them, they beat up almost anybody, especially in longer H-T-H combats. They come with the "Longsword seal of approval."
HOBGOBLIN WARRIORS "Middle class" greenskins. Better than goblins, weaker than orcs.
WeaknessesBasic LD of 6 and I of 2 mean that great many armies out-class them. Also, if they break, they somehow manage to cause panic test on their Chaos Dwarf masters!
UsesBecause they cost 4-5 points, you get their equipment very cheap. They can be also used to absorb missile casualities, beat up halflings, and especially to stop animosity.
HOBGOBLIN WOLF RIDERS Bit better than the normal goblin Wolf Riders.
WeaknessesCan`t beat any other cavalry.
UsesGiant Wolfs are pretty good fighters against any armies with basic WS of 3. I recommend using them as skirmishers with short bows to slow down your enemy`s efforts to march. You can then pick on War Machine crews and lightly armoured opponents with the bows.
HOBGOBLIN ARCHERS Very cheap archers.
WeaknessesNo long bows and the usual Hobgoblin weaknesses. Never expect them to win any H-T-H combats.
UsesWhen defending, they give you a BS 3, S3, 24" attack each. Leave them out in offensive armies, unless they are the ones you want to stop the animosity.
SNEAKY GITS Hobgoblins with 2 poisoned daggers, a very handy enveloping special rule, and not a shred of armour!
WeaknessesLow hobgoblin I and no armour-save mean they tend to die a lot.
UsesThey are often my main candidates for Crown of Command and Battle Standard. This tactic works well against Skaven, Human Infantry, and cavalry with less than 2+ save. Take a large (30 minimum) regiment of Sneaky Gits, give them Battle Standard (Dread banner if you are feeling especially nasty), Crown of Command, and a couple of good characters to lead them. You can put this unit against almost anybody, even elven cavalry. They won`t break (unmodified LD 10 with re-rolls), envelop the opponent (increasing their combat resolution), have 2 attacks, huge rank bonus and great resiliance. You lose rounds of combat at first, but slowly and surely you`ll envelop your enemy and those 2 attacks and -1 saves soon start to tell...
BLACK ORCS The famed regiment of the Orc & Goblin army, Black Orcs are a very good value for their points.
Weaknesses Black Orcs lack the ability to carry a magic standard when fielded under the Chaos Dwarfs. Watch out for their low I when attacked with spells like Pit of Tarnus.
Uses With Bull Centaurs, these guys are your close-combat specialists. If defending, give them spears, otherwise two-hand weapons, halberds and 2-h weapons. Two-hand weapons work best against elves with low T and Armour save.
ORCS Boyz are back! I think everybody knows what orcs are and how to use them. Remember that they are immune to panic test caused by other goblinoids, except other orcs.
Weaknesses Low I, mediocre LD, and inability to use crossbows. Armour saves also leave a lot to be hoped for. Large base isn`t a good thing, and neither is the fact that the dwarfs hate them.
Uses With bows, they can bolster your defensive line. With halberds or extra hand weapons, use them as close combatants. They are very effective in Chaos Dwarf armies, since even one unit of Hobgoblins stops animosity.
GOBLINS Cheap, weak, dismoralized. Equipment is very cheap for them.
Weaknesses Too numerous to mention. Watch out against the elves, which these guys fear.
Uses Cannon fodder and knight-trap (with Crown of Command). You can also annoy your enemy with short bows, or give their leading big boss the Heart of Woe to cause a shock for those opposing heroes.


EARTHSHAKER CANNON This machine is one of the many strong points of the Chaos Dwarfs. In particular, you should use it against the elves, and anybody else who relies on their speed. This comes in addition to damage equal to a Stonethrower. I think you should field at least three of these things to ensure that misfires don`t spoil your strategy. These cannon are costly in terms of money and points, though.
DEATHROCKET Good for mowing down infantry, if you field enough of them. Their misfires can backfire very badly indeed, though. I prefer the Earthshaker Cannon.
HOBGOBLIN BOLT THROWER Cheap. Go for it against armies that like to employ many knights. Try to place them to the flanks, so you get a chance to shoot enemy cavalry units from the side, causing maximum possible havoc. A plus side is that these devices don`t misfire.


ZHATAN THE BLACK Even the greatest heroes cower with fear when faced with Zhatan the Black.
Weaknesses None, unless you consider his inability to ride all monsters a disadvantage. I don`t.
Uses I see no reason why you shouldn't include Zhatan in every army. Just remember that he is a H-T-H fighter, with his high WS and the terrible special rule for hating all enemy. Equip him right and hail him off to battle!
GORDUZ BACKSTABBER The only Hobgoblin Lord available. Comes with a handy special rule that allows him to "hang in there."
Weaknesses He is only a Hobgoblin Lord. Cheap but not that powerful.
Uses I very often place him in charge of the Sneaky Gits. He boosts their H-T-H potential, and is able to carry Crown of Command plus two other magic items, and he also gets an additional UM save against the last wound inflicted.
ASTRAGORTH THE SORCERER LORD A combined tank/Sorcerer Lord. He is also a very enjoyable conversation item.
Weaknesses His suggested base size (25 x 50 mm) makes him impossible to put into an infantry unit, since the enemy archers can pick him out. He is, of course, very expensive.
Uses The most enduring Sorcerer Lord you can field. This mage doesn`t have to be ashamed in H-T-H. One good trick is to give this guy a Blade of Darting Steel. This gives him 6 automatic hits! Not bad for a sorcerer...


One of my favourite monsters is the Lammasu, since it saves me the trouble of equipping the rider with a dispel-item. I favour Manticore over the Bull Taurus.


Tuomas Pirinen (longswor@tower.nullnet.fi) writes:

The thing when fighting with Chaos Dwarfs is to strike the right balance between the expensive dwarfs and cheap greenskins. The Chaos Dwarfs don`t fall into any special category. Chaos and Skaven always attack, High Elves defend and so on, but the Army list of the Chaos Dwarfs itself does not hint in which way to go.

There are few basics, though:

  1. Always take Bull Centaurs
  2. Take Hobgoblins if fielding Orcs or Goblins
Otherwise, I suggest that you tailor your army to fit your style, since the Chaos Dwarf army list certainly allows this. Here are a few suggestions:

THE HAMMER OF HASHUT This is a simple and brutal tactic. Go for full offensive. Bull Centaurs, Monsters, Black Orcs, maxed-out Sneaky Gits, and allied Chaos forces should wreck just about anybody. Glorious and risky.
THE LAVA AND THE STEEL Chaos Dwarfs are a very diverse army, so they are well-suited for combination tactics. Divide your army in half. On one flank, deploy your Bull Centaurs and character-beefed-up Wolf Riders. On the other, put your Blunderbusses, Hobgoblin and Orc archers, and all those Earthshakers. While your cavalry (hopefully) mows the enemy down, your other troops blast away. It is a rare force indeed that is brave enough to approach Blunderbusses in three ranks. Allies to take are orcs armed with Crossbows.
THE FLAMES OF HASHUT As the defensive strategy is my firm favorite with almost any army except Chaos and Dark Elves, I have spent some time trying to compose a defensive Chaos Dwarf army. First, I take enough Blunderbusses to lay a curtain of fire in a place where I expect my enemy`s main attack will be concentrated. If possible, I try to make the field of fire as wide as possible, and put the War Machines on hills. Sorcerers blast away with spells and the Flames of Hashut burn high. Woe to anyone who advances on them! I keep fast troops away with at least three Earthshakers, and I often take the Orb of Thunder to keep those nasty enemy fliers from messing up my careful position.
Heed me well and bring back many slaves and sacrifices from your conquests.



Tuomas Pirinen (longswor@tower.nullnet.fi) writes:

The Chaos Dwarfs have access to all magic items that Chaos can get, excluding items limited to the followers of specified Chaos Gods. It is worth dipping into the Chaos Boxed set and fishing out the Chaos Runeshield and the Sword of Change. In the Undead Book there are also a few interesting items that Chaos Dwarves can use, including the Black Axe of Krell and the Chaos Runesword. There are many other items, too numerous to mention. Borrow/buy/steal the Chaos Boxed set and see for yourself!


Last Updates
21 June 1996reorganized
23 April 1996reformatted
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