[WFB] Legion of Azgorh Review: Chaos Contingent

As mercenaries and weapon smiths, the Chaos Dwarfs are known to sell their services to the hosts of the north in return for slaves, souls and plunder. To represent this, the following Legion of Azgorh units can be taken as part of a Warriors of Chaos army using the options listed…

Totally called it.

Anyway, there are two ways to shanghai Chaos Dwarves into your Warriors of Metal army. The first concerns the Great Host options from the Throne of Chaos book. These are, essentially, a rather fiddly way of creating the old all-in-one Chaos armies of yore, and while this is highly relevant to my interests, it probably deserves a devoted post somewhere down the line, as its own Big Damn Deal.

The other way, the way for pick-up games or players who just want their tall Chaosmens with axes and their short Chaosmens with guns in the same army, is similar to the old Kislev contingent from WFB sixth edition. Firstly, the Army General must be a Warrior of Chaos. Fair enough. Secondly, there’s a very reduced set of units available; the two Wizards, Castellans, Infernals and any of the four war machines. Including, I note, the Iron Daemon…

Thirdly, the Chaos Dwarf units and characters are tied to one another; you have to take a Chaos Dwarf character to unlock a Chaos Dwarf unit, and you have to take a Chaos Dwarf unit to unlock a character. Infernals live in Special and are limited to one per Chaos Dwarf Wizard; the war engines all live in Rare.

In practice, this boils down to a way of giving Warriors armies cheap-ass Metal wizards (or an extra Lore on their Level 4) and ultra-reliable war machines, plus slow, easily-Stubborn infantry blocks with mid-ranged (albeit pricey) shooting. In other words, three things which the previous Warriors book really bloody needed.

While I’m not too familiar with the current Warriors, I would hazard a guess that it’s mostly the war engines that they’d want. Infernals look less than spectacular when compared to the Chosen who live in the same slot; as combat infantry the Chosen pump out a staggering quantity of attacks at higher strength (fifteen S5 attacks from five models is bloody ridiculous), and as big blocky units the Marauders are cheaper and hit harder. The one niche I can sort of see is small-to-middling units with guns and possibly a Castellan as artillery guards with either a decently deadly Stand and Shoot or the ability to clear chaff with some decent enough shooting. Problem is, they’re quite dear for ‘decent enough’ and in an army where cheap choices to fill out the essential role of Steadast tar-pit are alleged to be few and far between.

As for the war machines, their expense and their occupation of the Rare slot means there are probably two options. If you want to avail yourself of big meaty Chaos beasties, I’m hazarding a guess that you’ll have to go light on the Chaos Dwarf guns; possibly a couple of Deathshriekers (the cheapest option by a long shot) and a Daemonsmith to keep them ticking over. If the rest of your Chaosmens are bringing enough flavours of punch on their own, it might be time for the full battery; two Deathshriekers and two Magma Cannons just squeak into a 2000 point army and would probably be comfortable at 2400 and up. In such a list your Daemonsmiths would likely be the primary Wizards, taking the bulk of the Heroes section.

Another take on this is the use of the Chaos Dwarves to bring an inexpensive, resilient Level 4 wizard with a fun alternative Lore option. Breath of Hatred, especially on its all-friendly-units option, would be brutal handing out re-rolls to Warriors units; Ash Storm could pin down anything the Warriors don’t especially want to fight, or lock down the enemy’s Level 4 one turn at a time; and the damage spells are, well, ranged damage in a Warriors army, with a couple of neat snipe effects. What’s not to like?

The downside here is the lack of pace on the Sorcerer-Prophet; he’d need to be heading upfield in a unit of Infernals, probably toting the Banner of Swiftness so they could keep pace with the Warriors, and probably escorted by a Castellan for Stubborn fun. In essence, this unit would replace a Warriors of Chaos unit and Sorcerer Lord, and would gain the Lore of Hashut in exchange for the raw melee output of the Warriors. Whether you think that’s worth it depends, I guess, on how highly you rate melee infantry with only one attack. Blunderbusses might be a fun option, deterring chargers into your melee blocks, and on a unit that actually wants to move upfield rather than fulfilling the usual ‘static, Stubborn artillery guard’ role.

Another take on the approach might be the Dreadquake bunker; a lot of wounds wrapped around a Wizard with one of the more long-ranged Lores, and a war machine that gives you a bit of board control, as well as threatening some of the heavier targets, softening them up for your Warriors.

The big problem with Warriors armies, though, is that they ultimately want to be in combat, and while having a few big guns to force the issue and bring the enemy closer is nice, there’ll come a point where the guns don’t have much to shoot at. Again, the Deathshrieker is an option given that it can be sneakily induced to shoot into combat. However, as I scratch my beard and belly (it helps me think Dwarf thoughts), I wonder if this isn’t the chance for the Iron Daemon to shine.

Think about it. It has the twin cannon, for the early game, blasting away at things; it’s tough enough, especially if Hellbound, to tie up things the Warriors don’t want to deal with themselves; it’s also one of those “it’s how tough?” targets, although not quite on Steam Tank levels. Aaand… at least one of them can slide into any game larger than 1500 points with ease. You can just about fit two into 2400 if you don’t mind only one of them being Hellbound.

So far, so mechanical. Now let’s talk narrative. Hoo yes, you knew this was coming, didn’t you?

The suggestions that immediately suggest themselves are the aforementioned mercenaries; a Daemonsmith or two and their ‘experimental’ war machines, tagging along with a ravaging Chaos horde to test them out. Hell, you could even bury a couple in the list by having them as Hellcannon minders, almost invisible to the casual observer, although you’d have to have something else of Chaos Dwarven make aboard. Iron Daemon, maybe? Three mighty Hellbound daemon-engines, none more trustworthy than the other?

Another is the powerful Sorcerer-Prophet, persuaded to march west with his Infernal Guard and engines of war. This would probably involve taking a few units of Infernal Guard, probably one focused on the melee business and a couple of Fireglaive-toting escort units, plus a brace of lighter engines. If you were feeling very devil-may-care, you could even slip a Taurus or Lammasu in here, just to demonstrate that the Prophet’s the one calling the shots.

The final option, I think, is the mock-Legion army. This essentially replaces Hobgoblins with Marauders, drawn from the Warrior Core section, and features either a cheap Chaos Lord (perhaps modelled on the old special character, Lord Astragoth; a Chaos Dwarf in an iron body that moves and fights like the mightiest of humans) aligned with its own Sorcerer-Prophet, or perhaps an armoured Daemon Prince representing a powerful avatar of Hashut. The idea here is that the Marauders are either human slaves, or willing devotees who take the avatar as their Chaos Power of choice. They form the army’s Core and mandatory General, and everything else is a Chaos Dwarf; a small, shooty unit of Infernal Guard or a war engine. They sit back and let the humans do the bulk of the fighting and dying on their behalf. Seemples.

As for what that army would look like… hold on for the final instalment!

You may now commence belching

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