A fairly tough little wizard, again with the built-in magic armour and an Ensorcelled Hand Weapon (magical and +1 S, so not bad but not spectacular). Lores of Fire, Death and Metal. Usual level 2 upgrade, usual 50 point magic item allowance, a pistol option and the stupid naptha bomb again, only it’s even worse here because Daemonsmiths can’t ride anything and will probably never be in range to chuck it.
At a squeak under 100 points without upgrades, it seems to me that there’ll be two ways to approach these lads. A level 1 Daemonsmith with a Dispel Scroll or similar, packing the signature spell for his Lore, can lurk among the war engines and focus on keeping them ticking over; if you had two or three with the Lore of Fire they could potentially all Fireball the same thing to get some mileage out of Kindleflame, and if you had two or three with the Lore of Death they could snipe characters and recycle power dice. The other option involves jacking them up to level 2 and either having three level 2 wizards with the same Lore, or one level 4 and one level 2 across the army, thereby locking down the selection of spells available to the army and guaranteeing you’ll get ’em all somewhere.
Whichever way you slice it, I don’t think they need to bunker up in units, not when the war engines are so good and the re-rolling of dangerous war engine dice is so handy.
A WS6, T5, very slow melee hero with Blackshard armour, and options for a shield, pistol, great weapon or fireglaive (a handgun with 18″ range and a built-in halberd for enough points to make you wonder if it’s worth it on BS4). What’s to write home about here? Well, firstly he’s your Battle Standard Bearer option, and rerolling all your Leadership tests on Ld 9 or 10 is, I’m sure, not to be sneezed at. Secondly, he’s Stubborn and so is any unit he joins; that means Chaos Dwarf units don’t have to be massive in order to at least hold up enemies, although breaking Steadfast will still require a deep block of something. Thirdly, he can pack 75 points of magic items, enough for things like the Giant Blade plus Other Trickster’s Shard, for instance, or the Sword of Bloodshed. However, a weapon is only as good as its delivery system, and the delivery system here is two stumpy legs with no mount option bar the Arabyan Carpet. The budget option. I reckon, will have the Ruby Ring of Ruin and maybe a fireglaive so he’s at least contributing something in every turn, and the Battle Standard, and a piece of magic armour to improve his save a bit.
Here’s the skinny. Sixty points gets you a M9 Wolf with three WS4, S5-on-the-charge attacks on the back of it. If you want a throwaway Hero for hunting war machines, holding up Monstrous things by fighting one of them at a time, or clearing out the enemy’s chaffy crap like Warhounds, I bet these are your lads. They can’t be your General – you need a Chaos Dwarf for that – not that you’d want to since they’re only Ld7. They can have 25 points of magic items, which to me suggests budget picks like the Shield of Ptolos, Dragonbane Gem and so on – anything that makes them either sneakily hard to kill, or in some way more annoying. Given how fragile and one-hit-wonder they’re likely to be, I might even consider one of the Potions on them – they look like they’ll have one turn to do something useful and then they’ll die.
Bull Centaur Taur’uk
A Monstrous Beast Hero with M7, decent combat stats (including his Stomp, he basically has fives in WS, S and A, and I4 is pretty good for this army). He doesn’t come with Blackshard Armour built in, but you can buy it for a trifling sum and I think you’ll want to, since he also has Scaly Skin – stack the Blackshard Armour atop that and you have a 2+ save before you’ve bought a single magic item. Give him a shield and it’s 1+. Told you something was better than Castellans for high saves.
He has the options for an additional hand weapon or great weapon. The former might be good if you’re ramping his save up to 1+ with a magic helmet; the latter does afford S7 but it feels like a waste of one of the few semi-decent Initiative stats in the army (and thus it annoys me immensely that that’s what you get on the Warhammer Forge model).
His 50 point magic item allowance allows a lot of one-two punches – key items to watch, I think, are either the Trickster’s Helm or Dragonhelm, the Dawnstone, and The Other Trickster’s Shard. I’d also be intrigued by the Relic Sword (since the big things they wound on a 5 might not have the best armour and S5 might be enough to get some wounds through) and, again, maybe the Potions to rack up S or T 8 on a crucial turn.
He can’t be the general and, crucially, you need at least one unit of Bull Centaurs in order to field him at all. Alas, this means you can’t do what I was planning to do and buy a Bull Centaur kit just to run three independent Taur’ruk with shields (i.e. 1+ armour saves) as your entire Hero allowance. That said, the 1+ save comes in under 200 points, with enough wiggle room for a cheap item or additional hand weapon depending on how you want to get your 1+ save. Again, three of these could fit comfortably in a 2400 point army and I think they’d be more than a bit fierce.