Bringing together all my previous thoughts on the Chaos Dwarves, let’s have a go at an army list!
The Backhanded Slap of Hashut
Lords – 600
Sorcerer-Prophet – extra magic level, Shield of Ptolos, Talisman of Protection; mounted on Lammasu with extra magic level – 600
Heroes – 600
Daemonsmith Sorcerer – Dispel Scroll – 120
Daemonsmith Sorcerer – Ruby Ring of Ruin – 120
Infernal Castellan – Army Standard, Enchanted Shield – 135
Bull Centaur Taur’uk – additional hand weapon, Blackshard Armour, Dragonhelm, Luckstone, Crown of Command – 225
Core – 625
23 Infernal Guard – fireglaives, full command – 423
40 Hobgoblin Cutthroats – shields, full command – 202
Special – 480
3 Bull Centaur Renders – additional hand weapons – 135
Deathshrieker Rocket – 100
Deathshrieker Rocket – 100
Magma Cannon – 145
Rare – 325
K’daai Destroyer – 325
Total – 2495 / 2500
I’m sure proper tacticians have a real term for this sort of thing, but I can’t help think of it this way.
The ‘elbow’ of the slap, the pivot at one end of the line, is the Infernal Guard unit; they set up with the Castellan at the innermost end, eight wide by three deep, march on the first turn and then just start shooting, not really going anywhere. They also serve as artillery guards for the two Deathshrieker Rockets, which are deployed a short distance back with the Scrolling Daemonsmith between them, 2.5″ away from them so his miscasts can’t catch them but his re-roll ability can. (Note that dropping one Deathshrieker will neatly and legally fit the army into 2400 points.)
The ‘forearm’ of the slap, the bit that goes in the middle and stops the line snapping in two, is the Hobgoblin unit – they are either a Horde, just to occupy space on the table, or a deep block to pin something down and go “look at us, we’ve got eight ranks, we’re well Steadfast” – and they should still be within the Battle Standard Bearer’s optimum range, too. The Magma Cannon goes in here somewhere as well, at the other end of the Hobgoblin line; it gets the Ruby Ring Daemonsmith, with whom it shares a range band, and chucks steaming great gouts of fire in support of the actual business end of the army. Finally, there’s the Taur’uk, who may deploy with the Bull Centaurs but who fulfils a more ‘block’ than ‘smash’ tactical role – with his 1+ save and Stubborn he can sit in front of a unit of middling infantry all day long, not going anywhere. There are sufficient points, in the 2500 point version of the build, to give him a great weapon (matches the model, S7, but a bit of a waste of I4 if you ask me), should that take your fancy.
The ‘backhand’ itself, meanwhile, comprises the Bull Centaurs (they could have shields for the same points, if chopping up Forge World is not your thing, but they have decent I and unspectacular A, so I think the extra hand weapon’s better), the Destroyer (get stuck in and roll down the line!) and the Sorcerer-Prophet. The 1+/4+ Prophet should probably stay at arm’s length unless he’s needed to help out one of the other units, letting the Bulls and Destroyer do the combat donkey work while he flings spells and chases down survivors.
You have a great many options in terms of magic. The Lore of Hashut on the Prophet and the Lore of Shadows on the Lammasu unlocks the most nifty spells, I think, with Metal on the Daemonsmiths (signature spell HO!) to help with smashing really tough targets but let’s not rule out using the entire list to corner the entire Lore of Death and squashing key models in the enemy’s army flat, or a horrendous bombardment from giving everyone the Lore of Fire. Despite the temptation of Ash Storm I’d actually go with Fire on the Prophet too, purely because Fulminating Flame Cage would turn him and his mount into a pseudo-Taurus and make it potentially worthwhile to get stuck in with them.
One downside that I can see here is a chronic shortage of deployment drops – it shouldn’t be an enormous issue since, by and large, the list is more ‘set a plan and follow it’ than ‘react to where the enemy’s stuff goes’. If the army finds itself regularly outdeployed through lack of drops, it might be worth breaking the Hobgoblins down into two units, and possibly shaving points (losing the Ruby Ring plus the extra level on the Lammasu, and trading the Magma Cannon down for a third Deathshrieker) in order to fit in a third block of twenty.
This list also seems like it’d break down into modules quite well, with some specific things to swap in and out that would significantly change how it played.
- Swap the Lammasu for a Bale Taurus and go play the “I’m a combat caster now” game with the Prophet. In this case, the Mask of the Furnace and Stone Mantle might be a better equipment set, along with the Lore of Fire for those tasty combat buffs.
- Black Hammer of Hashut instead of Crown of Command on the Taur’uk, for smashy fun with Ash Storm.
- an Iron Daemon with Hellbound and possibly Skullcracker instead of the K’daai Destroyer or Bull Centaurs and Taur’uk – good if someone pisses and moans about the Destroyer’s presence.
- swap the Bull Centaurs and Taur’uk or the Destroyer for six K’daai Fireborn with champion; they become a different kind of fire-and-forget piece, more ‘blaze of glory’ than ‘hold them back’.
- swap the fireglaives for blunderbusses (dropping the Ruby Ring of Ruin) and potentially add the Banner of Swiftness (dropping the extra magic level on the Lammasu instead of the Ring) to make the Guard a more aggressive prospect.
- remove the Prophet from his Lammasu and add a Dreadquake Mortar with Hellbound and Slave-Ogre, for a more conventional gunline army – might be a good one with the Iron Daemon, as a Mortar with the Steam Carriage is a pretty safe place to hide your spellcasting General in my book.