[Archive] Competitive review of Indy Chaos Dwarf codex vs. Ravening Hordes CD section


I’m going to start by going choice by choice, then finish up with some general observations.

Basic Lords:

High Priest of Hashut/Sorcerer Lord:

Well, first off, he’s slightly more expensive in the new book, and he’s lost a point of leadership. On the other hand, he now comes standard with Chaos armor. His spell casting is unchanged.

However, he’s now able to spend his 100 points on something worthwhile, while the Sorcerer Lord is stuck with scrolls and power stones. Both the Holocaust Cloak and the Arcane Apparatus are worthwhile casting aids, and ward saves are plentiful nowadays, with the Fire Stone of Uzkul reproducible and providing MR and a 6+, if the need arises.

Above and beyond this, the Lammasu is a greatly improved beast, but costs the same amount. To my mind, this is a necessary upgrade. It’s now got one higher weapon skill, initiative and attack, in addition to Sorcerous Exhalation, which will shield the High Priest from the first miscast . MR 2 is inferior to the previous custom rule, but that was obviously going to go away.

So the High Priest Lord choice is a stronger caster, but with one less leadership and more expense. In addition, if you go the Lammasu route it might actually be able to harm something in a fight, particularly with flaming Sword of Rhuin. I’d say that this choice is an overall upgrade, though I don’t think its actually a strong choice overall. It’s just not as weak as previously.

Chaos Dwarf Lord/Overlord:

The Overlord is, once again, more expensive than his predecessor, probably due to the Chaos Armor. He’s lost ballistic skill as well, oddly enough. That’s not really a big deal.

The kicker is that he’s actually got magic items he can work with now. The Axe of Zhrahzak is probably the only Lord Only choice I’d consider, but the Axe of Ghorth, Hell blade of Hashut, Hammer of Hashut and Soul Eater are all worth using. Normally I’d also consider the Hailfire gun, but the Hero has a higher BS than the Lord, so he should probably get it if you want it. Go figure.

Also, each and every magic armor entry is worth considering. They are all great, and a Lord should totally have a set, particularly if he is a flyer Lord. The Hell armor, in particular, is amazing.

The Great Tauren also picked up a wound, which is a useful buff. Tauren Lord with magic weapon and magic armor has always been a competative Lord choice, and it’s only gotten better. This is a substantial buff to the army overall, as the Lord is much more survivable and his about as hard as he always did.

Bull Centaur Lord/Great Bull Centaur:

He’s very much unchanged. He’s got the same profile, an awesome profile by the way, and costs the same. He can buy 10 point Chaos Armor, which I’d regard as mandatory unless you are giving him magic armor. Which you totally should.

He’s basically the beneficiary of the equip buff. Give him a magic weapon/armor, go to town. He remains a first class knight beat-stick in a list without an awesome heavy cav unit.

Hobgoblin Chieftain:

He’s a new Lord choice, cheap and with weaker stats than the Dwarves. He’s also got a much much cheaper price tag. His big selling point is the Hobgoblin Hordes rule. This allows you to get your core choices out of the way without buying expensive Chaos Dwarves. If you want a gunline army, it’s probably worth it.

His leadership bites, but the guys in the army who aren’t hobgoblins (who you want fleeing anyway) have good leadership, and can have heroes to lead them. The units he makes count as Core are great choices to have as core, the units he makes Rare are stuff you weren’t going to put in a rare slot anyway, so they just fall off the list.

He’s probably the best Lord choice for a gunline army if you are committed to no magic/counterassault, but why would you do that? He’d be insane in the old dex, but nowadays I’d say he’s best if you want to run an all hobgob army. You might be able to do more than I’m crediting with fast cav and redirecting, but I think with the new Earthshakers that list will die a well deserved death.

Basic Heroes:

I’m going to skimp on these, as they are alot like their Lords. The key to remember is that nowadays they have the equipment to be effective. This is a huge change.

Previously the pdf basically had enough items for your Lord, period. Fighting Heroes were carrying common magic items or great weapons, and subordinate mages were scroll caddies.

Nowadays you’ve got a glut of armor and weapon choices. You can have a Chaos Dwarf hero with a great weapon and some 50 pointish armor, or a BSB with an actual magic banner. You can have a bull centaur hero with a magic weapon without robbing your lord.

On that subject: the Black Banner of Zharr Nagrund is preposterously great for a BSB to carry, if you have any kind of a fighting block. A 5+ ward save on units with great armor is moving into Hoff territory, particularly as the unit standard bearer can carry the banner of Daemonic tides, or just a war banner. For a unit of Immortals, they become a formidable hammer.

Daemonsmiths have replaced the basic scroll caddy/wizards. This is, a good change for distinctiveness, but a nerf to overall effectiveness. It weakens the casty part of the list, but makes it more dependable going off and keeps the dispel pool normal. Critically, the Daemonsmiths are still wizards, so they can still take arcane items.

The problem, to my mind, is just that they are about twice as expensive as normal wizards, and that there’s no way to guarantee what you’ll get for their bound spell, or even reroll it. If they get a spell that isn’t any good in your battle (one that targets war machines vs. Daemons, for example), that’s part of your magic gunline that’s just gone, no need for them to dispel it, and what you can trade it out for is a magic missile. By contrast, the level 2 wizard from the pdf had 2 rolls on the table, and could use up to 3 dice.

That said, the extra points on the Daemonsmith go into fighting power. He can actually do a passable fighting hero impersonation, though if he rolled up a magic missile that obviously takes his cast out of the pool. He’s also the only guy who gets to ride the Daemoneater, which is an awesome chariot.

I think he’s an uncanny valley sort. He’s not a fighting hero or a casting Sorc. I’d probably take one for the scroll caddy, put him on a Daemoneater and send him in to bolster the line when it gets messy. I think putting him in and taking the Sorcs out really hurt the casting gunline approach, as he’s just not as dependably threatening as a level 2.

Theory hammer alert though, I haven’t tried them out. Could be that the bound spells eat up all the enemy’s dispel dice, then the lvl 4 gets the good stuff off.

Other note, the Black Gem is back, 5 points more expensive but as great as ever. Still goes on a hero, still used to sucker CR punch an enemy on Dragon or a Greater Daemon.

Special Characters:

Morgok the Daemonspawn is an amazingly good hero, for a proportionately high price. If there was only a Hobgob Shaman choice he’d be great in a Hobgob list.

His spells will draw dispel dice, if the other player has any clue what’s up. He’s more expensive than a regular Daemonsmith, but totally worth it. He can also fight decently. I’d definitely put him in any magic heavy list, but oddly enough not for a hobgob themed list, where he won’t be able to get his magic off.

Rykarth the Unbreakable is not worth it for his fighting ability, which is average, KB and a good armor save, but might well be worth it to make a unit unbreakable. He’s unbreakable himself, so if they charge in and he ducks a challenge they aren’t overrunning.

If I was going with a fighting Chaos Dwarf infantry block list I’d probably take him. He’s also mandatory if you are going with a deathstar approach.

Zhatan the Black bites, hard. He’s almost as expensive as a Great Taurus Lord, but has no mobility, average fighting ability for a Chaos Dwarf Lord, and no ward save. None. He’s not even immune to flaming attacks. His big gimmick is that he negates animosity within 6"…6 inches! Seriously. He also steals the BSB slot, so you can’t take the Black Banner of Zharr Nagrund, in exchange he’s got a lucky snotling. He’s got MR 3. Maybe that’s why his price tag is so high? Seriously, this is a codex with a reproducible MR 2 item priced affordably.

I’m disappointed, cuz he’s a total rockstar in the fluff. Join Settra in the realm of special characters who lead entire factions and never see the tabletop, Zhatan. (also, if you are keeping score, Zhatan’s got bs 4, like the hero. Maybe it’s just the basic Lords who forgot how to aim? You know, the guys who fly around and would LOVE the Hailfire gun? Aaagh!)

Gorduz is probably better than a normal Hobgob Lord if you want a gunline list. He’s got a ward save on his last hit, decent attack power and he can ride a Warg. He’ll only cost you one of your war machines, and he can sorta fight.

Astragoth is pretty wretched. He’s more expensive than a conventional Sorcerer Lord, and what he gets is basically a bound item with Firey Blast, and a ward save. I guess his big thing is that he’s leadership ten. He’s got fighty stuff too, but as usual for a Wizard Lord it’s not really anything to right home about.

Another casualty of the “if you are awesome in the fluff you have to bite on the table” rule. Ward Saves are for fighting characters and those on monstrous mounts. Astragoth can rely on Lookout sir, he shouldn’t be in the battle, someone will cut him down. Give the Night Stone to Zhatan or Rykarth, and we’re talking.

Molocharoar is finally a guy who is as awesome as he’s made out to be. He’s about as expensive as a High Priest on Lammasu, and casts about as well. Then he follows it up with a ward save and a once per game breathe weapon, and tops the whole thing off by making his army immune to fear and terror within his proximity.

Totally worth it, if I ran a Lammasu army I’d replace a High Priest on Lammasu with Molocharoar with no hesitation. You’d think he’d get Sorcerous Exhalation, but I won’t hold that against him. He can even sort of fight! He fights about like a Great Taurus.

Only problem I have is that I was expecting an Archaon-style juggernaught of a character from his fluff. I’ll totally settle for a playable special char Lord, but I’m just saying, his fluff puts him on a level with Fateweaver, or one of the other big guys. He’s awesome for his price tag, I just wish he’d be about half again as expensive, and have more abilities to make him awesome for that price tag.

So that’s the characters. Overall an unqualified buff. Magic-gunline took a hit, but fighting characters became possible, beyond Bull Centaur’s w/great weapons.



These guys are basically unchanged, though their ability to get a decent magic banner is welcomed. You can give them additional fighting options, but I think if you want fighting dwarves you want Immortals. You can get an Eruption gun alongside them, but I think that’s not worth the points. Maybe as a redirector? It’s not a skirmisher so it can do that.


These guys can get comand now, I’d grab a musician for rally duty if my general was on a flying mount. They’ve got a much improved shooting mechanism. I think units of 10 of these guys will be most folk’s min-core. It’s Daemons of Chaos style expensive, but there’s not much else to do. If you are going with a fighting block or two of Warriors you can drop similar amounts of Annihilators, but expensive core is just a dwarf thing.

The Annihilator’s shooting is not just easier to resolve, it’s more powerful. Slanted charges no longer gut your volleys. Go Bighats!

Hobgobs are still redirectors. They’ve got a new unit size of 20+ and a points upgrade, but functionally they still do the same job. Take rabble/stikkas if you want this done, as they are cheaper.

Better yet, take wolf riders. They are fast cav, and do the very best at redirection. I’d always throw daemon eyes and a musician on them. Going down to 5+ unit size is a big buff for Chaos Dwarf redirecting.

Overall I’d call Core the same as before, presuming you don’t have a hobgob general. Blunderbusses have a buff, but it isn’t a huge deal. Wolf rider redirectors are cheaper and better at rallying than before, so that’s something.

Special Slots:

Sigh, Death Rocket, what’d the world ever do to you? This was always a no-use in the previous pdf, due to a pair of Bolt Throwers being cheaper and better. It’s still pretty much the same thing. You can get a pair of Bolt Throwers for less, and they do more damage.

In addition, the Death Rocket’s shot has been changed, and to my mind the change makes it weaker. It’s now a cannon that shoots a large template of s3 hits with armor piercing. No bounce beyond the inital artillery dice. If you guess 2 inches in front of the target unit you are pretty guarantee to hit a bunch…at s3.

This is probably a bit better for dealing wounds to light infantry than a pair of bolt throwers, but bounces off knights, monsters, and even large based heavy infantry, all of which the bolt throwers excel at. This needs either a cheaper point cost or a strength bonus to the shot.

Worth noting is that the Chaos Dwarf crew of the Death Rocket have move 4, but when it charges (as per monster and handlers) they just trot along with. It’s monster nature keeps it safe from Carrion, teradon riders and the like, and it doesn’t take terror tests any more. Good stuff.

I really like what they’ve tried to do with this. While it’s a weaker option I think it’s more characterful, and I’d still use my pair with the new weapons. Previously they just felt like stone throwers that didn’t Earth Shake. Now they are their own thing. I just wish for s4, s5, auto-panic test, SOMETHING, to make me feel better about giving them a whole special slot.

Obsidian Guard are everything I want in Chaos Dwarf infantry. ws5, s4, fear, killing blow. I love em. I think they are adequately costed, up there with the rest of the game’s elite infantry (black guard, etc.). With a character in the mix these guys could actually win a combat, and causing fear means they don’t take terror tests when someone flies a hippogriff by.

In my force any block I intended to do the fighting with would be Obsidian Guard. They basically take up the slot previously used by Black Orks, and are better at it.

Hobgob bolt throwers are as great as ever, and only 5 points more expensive. No complaints whatsoever.

Bull Centaurs are basically as before. You can upgrade their armor to Chaos ARmor, and it’s probably worth dropping a dispel scroll somewhere to do so. They are special choices now, so they don’t auto-lose to the Earthshakers. That means they might get fielded. They’ve always been decent knights on the charge, just without the resilience. Still the same.

I wish they caused fear on the charge, or were ITP on the charge, or some such. Watching these guys flinch from skeleton archers is painful. That said, the move to special has enormously benefitted them, and in a non gunline list I could easily see 6 man units of these guys.

Their competition is right up next, with the Daemoneaters. Very nice chariots here, and using impact hits in place of mount attacks is a nice tough. A Daemoneater versus a 5 or 6 man Bull Centaur unit is a very intriguing choice. I’m unsure of which I’d pick, have to try it out for a while.

Sneaky Gits are still Hobgobs in special slots who don’t have bolt throwers. Making them Scouts goes a long way towards making them worthwhile, however. Animosity remains a crippling problem for units expected to operate independently.

I still don’t thinkt they are worth it, scouts or no. Just too likely to animosity or terror off the board. Shame, they are a neat concept. Maybe if they were skirmishers?

Rare Choices:

Earthshakers: These have been massively nerfed, and they needed to be. The large blast template radius is infinitely more sane than the 2d6 inche radius nonsense.

The new earthshaker can’t be depended on to paralyze the enemy’s entire army, and amen to that change. I still think they are worthwhile. Stonethrowers that can’t be eaten by weak flyer/fast cav units that paralyze enemy units if they hit. They even got a minor points decrease. Yay.

Inferno Golems:

These guys are entirely new. Basically they are like Ogres everywhere. They’ve got just a move of 5, so more like Ushabti. I think they are overpriced for what they do. I’d rather hire Ironguts. M5 on a big base isn’t that good, and I’d take a troll’s regen over a 3+ armor save any day. ITP isn’t something I want on a fear causing unit.

It’s easy to see why they are so expensive, t5. The thing is that they don’t have any static res, or hit particularly hard (s5). They’d lose if they charged equivalent points of hw +s core chaos dwarfs in the front.

Kollossus Daemon Tower:

I’m going to have to try this guy to get a feel for it. My gut is that it’s too expensive for what it does. Basiaclly it brings its impact hits to a fight, then hopes we don’t lose. It’s also a slow moving terror causer, which si useful. It’s got decent shooting if it somehow gets close to the enemy and uses its breathe weapon.

I’d like to see a base size on it. It’s also an intriguing platform for a fighting char. I tend to think Daemoneaters will be better, but it’s a wait and see situation, I think.


Still as good as it is in the WoC. The missing ingredient from the Daemon weapons of the Chaos Dwarfs is Unbreakable. This thing has that, so it can do double duty as a stonethrower and a lineholder.

Final thoughts:

I think the loss of the old Earthshakers has crippled the Chaos Dwarf gunline o’doom. This is a good change for fairness and playability, but means the list has to fight. With the new magic items, it can. I don’t think it can defeat the modern codexes in the fight, but it’ll at least be a battle, as opposed to the earthshaker snore-fests that Chaos Dwarf battles are nowadays.

Uzkul Werit:

So I’m not the only one who saw the Immortal/Banner of Zharr Naggrund combo? :slight_smile:

I like the Death Rocket. Slap that on a unit of Elves or Clanrats, they’re gone. Most importantly, they’re actually unique now.


I think the warrior option for chaos armour should feature in this competitive review.


A thorough and well thought out review.

I’ve seen quite a few lists with the Kollossus in it, so I suspect it may be better than I first thought (a lot of those had a character on it).


@Uzkul: Black Banner FTW! I think an Immortal unit with a character in it and that banner may be the anvil unit that CD have always lacked.

I want to like the Death Rocket, I just think of all the t4 decent armor save guys in the world, and 2 bolt throwers would do more damage to them, and be cheaper. To say nothing of Cav. The Death Rocket also misfires. Now, to its credit, it is a monster, but that also makes its misfires much worse.

Basically, I agree with you. I like it more in its new form (yay uniqueness!), just still don’t feel it’s worth fielding.

@grimstone: I thought I covered it under the fact that warriors can get additional fighting options, but if I want fighting CD I’ll take Immortals. I don’t like the idea of using my points on Dwarf Warriors in Chaos Armor (who rapidly close on Immortals in price, if given a weapon as well), when the Immortals give me s4, ws 5, KB, and most importantly cause faer.

Still, to each their own. If I was going with a fighting throng I’d probably have some blocks of CD, just to get the Core out of the way at the same time I got a fighting block.

@Wallacer: I’ve tried it out a couple of times, I just think they are too expensive for what they bring (terror, breathe weapon, some dwarfs). Mine just get charged by flying monsters and tore asunder. I feel like Stubborn or Unbreakable would have made it worthwile at >300 points, but without morale stuff it’s too vulnerable to losing combat and breaking.

Da Crusha:


These guys are basically unchanged, though their ability to get a decent magic banner is welcomed. You can give them additional fighting options, but I think if you want fighting dwarves you want Immortals. You can get an Eruption gun alongside them, but I think that's not worth the points. Maybe as a redirector? It's not a skirmisher so it can do that.

well, actually I think the new equipment options can be pretty  neat to experiment with. now we have the option of chaos armor and additional hand weapons, that can make a nice flanking unit, before I had to rely on sneaky gits with no armor and toughness 3, for extra attacks. also, the option of a 3+ armor save on a unit with spears, thats unheard of in any other army. but dwarves with spears.... that makes me chuckle:P


I ran the list 3 times vs an empire, VC, and Wood Elves. and massacred all times… really the army is rather unbalanced considering… Your Machine as effectively TO5 ogres with a special shooting attack… they are great late game as they can run in and break ranks as they are US 6 with the crews. and they do good damage. the Firestones basically shut down offensive spells expecially if you take them on smiths and take steed of shadows… as you can effectively guarantee they will get where they need to be. The Spear option on the Warriors is really a bad idea. I took a Blood Knight Charge lost 4 guys and came back to kill 2 of their winning the combat! Against the Wood Elves the player was so pissed off with the list he spouted for hours about how chaos armor on dwarf core infantry was completely retarded. In all honesty… I tend to agree from a unbias stand point… I really disagree with Relentless making it to the list…

The one major problem I found was that the RH list is unique… is has its own feel… The Indy GT list really feels like someone took the best of dwarfs and the best of chaos and mashed it together to form the list… I dont honestly see the perceived negative of the list. Good WS, Outstanding warmachine options and the shooters are second to none, their strength is average for the most part, they are slow but have easy access to essentually cavalry and fast cav, as well as average movement troops and scouts. They are expensive but have easy access to dirt cheap units that do no effects on the slower troops. they have a very good magic list and pretty much every item has a general use or an awesome use against a limited number of armies. they have outstanding base toughness and leadership, they have outstanding armour and weapon options. I mean really… Can anyone point out a true army negative for them… Skaven… low leadership when you take them in the flank. and they roll up like a carpet, VC. Kill the tough to kill general and the rest starts to disappear.