[Archive] Main Chaos Dwarf Styles of Play

Groznit Goregut:

Hi All,

Normally, with any army, there are a few styles of play that people generally tend to play with. I’m not used to playing dwarfs or chaos dwarfs and wondering what type of variety in army lists are there?

I can easily see a gunline army. Lots of shooting and war machines.

Hobgoblin horde army? The few core dwarfs and the rest are hobgoblin hordes? I’m sure someone can do it.

Elite fighting army? I’m not sure if it can be done with chaos dwarfs like I think regular dwarfs can do.

What else?


I tend to go more of a defensive army. A couple hard to break blocks of warriors. With a fair amount of shooting (Earth shaker to slow down enemy to buy time for my shooting/spells) or to delay some of the army/shut down shooting. A couple blunderbuss for close range volleys that really (hopefully) decimate the enemy so my blocks can win. Archers for longe range/monsters. Warmachines as needed.

A harder hitting Orc block with Choppa/Shield, Bull Centaurs, and a lord on Great Taurus to smash into the flanks or rear in order to tilt the combat strongly in my favor. Great Taurus Lord also adds some serious mobility and allows some hunting.

That’s the style of my army. Doesn’t entirely bank on one concept.

Groznit Goregut:

Thanks for the input! I like to hear people’s general tendencies. I could see an army like CD have only so many builds. I’m wondering if I am missing any.


The CD list is rather flexibile, or at least it strikes me that way.

You can make an aggressive list using Bull Centaurs, Black Orcs, Orc Big Uns, Great Taurus, etc too… which is very tempting.


I tend to play my chaos dwarfs as an aggressive meatgrinder using bolthrowers and magic to destroy monsters and fast movers, my earthshaker just aims at the most target rich part of the opposing line as to me it’s the disruption to my opponents movement phase that is priceless. I use my blocks of 20 naked hobgoblins as bait, to flank charge or go after warmachines and missile troops. My bullcentaurs to hammer a flank or punch a hole in the line. Then my warrior blocks with blunderbuss support smash into the remnants and grind them down through mostly static combat res and not dieing

Other than that things are so situational around opponent and terrain that I play each game as it comes

Groznit Goregut:

So, do Chaos Dwarfs not get the ability to march even if march blocked, like normal dwarfs?


CD don’t get the relentless rule like normal dwarfs, but imaginably they would get something similar if there is ever a new army book.

Personally I play a magic-heavy defensive list, but have BC/wolf rider units in position for a counter charge. And random sneakiness, like the lammassu sorcerer with the dark mace of death and the hobgoblin cannonball hero :slight_smile:



No we don’t get to always march and we don’t get 4 dispel dice but we do flee and pursue 2d6-1 in essence we get the racial disadvantage and non of the racial buffs - however we get cheap slaves, cavalry and cool warmachines plus fantastic models which i think more than compensates

Groznit Goregut:

Thanks for the feedback so far. It still looks like most CD armies sit back and wait for you to come to them. Is that the gist of it?


Personally I don’t sit back we have to many other options and thats what (normal) dwarf players do - so a steady grinding forward is the order of the day for me

Groznit Goregut:

I’ve got a couple of other questions that probably would be best to stick in this thread.

For Blunderbussiers, do people give them full ranks of 5? Do people always go with enough to get the full strength hits? Would anyone every seriously think of running 12 dwarfs to get full bonus, but not the rank bonus? Can they survive in combat? I don’t mean against an uber unit of knights or ogres or something, but ranked infantry? They are still T4 and a 5+ AS. If they had rank bonuses, they could still put up a good fight. Does anyone ever give them banners?

I’ve been thinking of hobgoblins, too. I know that people use 20 naked hobgoblins and 10 arrer hobbos, but has anyone tried 20 hobgoblins w/ shields? It’s just 20 more points, but it increases their armor save by 2. It’s still pretty cheap, but it just might save the unit for a turn or two. Does anyone ever take fully tanked up units of hobgoblins for the 4+ AS? Does anyone ever give them a banner?


deploying bb 4 wide suck: it looks bad (really it does) and even fast cav will eliminate them if they do one wound…
as for hobgoblins i always use 2 blocks of 25 with standard, HW, light armour and shield… 4points still is a good bargain for a 4+ save unit. they tend to do verry well indeed
(i prefer 2 such blocks over a unit of 3+ save, T4 chaos dwarves anyday…-heresy-)

- i use naked hobbies, only in units of 10 for redirecting and screening :stuck_out_tongue:


BB really need to be 5 wide, as grupax said. They won’t win any combats (except against skeletons, gobbos, peasants or similar units), but in a big unit they can hold on long enough for something to come in and support. I usually run them 6 across and three ranks deep, for more frontage. :slight_smile:

As for hobbos, I hesitate to use shields because hobbos are a missle screen, for disrupting charges, for sacrifice and for flank charges. Since three of these tasks entail them getting killed, doubling their price is not at all worth it and loses you vp. Better to have another unit to cause your opponent more worry. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you have a banner, because hobbos WILL break sooner or later, and when they do you risk lots of VP if their banner is run down. At their low points cost you will have several units, and as I mentioned before their main purpose is to be thrown away, so don’t lose any more VP than you need to.


For Blunderbussiers, do people give them full ranks of 5?  Do people always go with enough to get the full strength hits?  Would anyone every seriously think of running 12 dwarfs to get full bonus, but not the rank bonus?  Can they survive in combat?  I don't mean against an uber unit of knights or ogres or something, but ranked infantry?  They are still T4 and a 5+ AS.  If they had rank bonuses, they could still put up a good fight.  Does anyone ever give them banners?

Groznit Goregut
I always take mine as a unit of 15 with a standard and deploy them in 3 ranks - that way in combat they have static res of at least 3 (2 ranks + standard) and against lighter enemies (e.g. fast cav) often get outnumber as well. They double up as line troops for engaging weakened enemy line units as well.
I've been thinking of hobgoblins, too.  I know that people use 20 naked hobgoblins and 10 arrer hobbos, but has anyone tried 20 hobgoblins w/ shields?  It's just 20 more points, but it increases their armor save by 2.  It's still pretty cheap, but it just might save the unit for a turn or two.  Does anyone ever take fully tanked up units of hobgoblins for the 4+ AS?  Does anyone ever give them a banner?

Groznit Goregut
The only upgrade i would personally ever give them is a musician - but i rarely do - some people love the armoured hobgoblin units (25 hobgoblins with light armour, shield, musician, standard) but personally i would rather have 3 naked hobgoblin units of 20 and the 10 points to spare for the same cost. It all depends on what role you want them to fill - mine are there to die so the cheaper the better :cheers

Ishkur Cinderhat:

Lob Earthshaker grenades on top of your enemies. Blind them with smoke and shrapnel from your blunderbusses. Hack them to pieces with your axes. That is the proper Chaos Dwarfen way my friend! :cheers

Groznit Goregut:

I appreciate the answers! I haven’t had a chance to play any games yet with CD and I am trying to wrap my head around them. I’ve become too frustrated and bitter with OnG and am thinking about a new army. You caught my attention with your Word of Hashut magazine. I took the plunge and am ordering off ebay. To hear that there will definitely be a CD book in this edition makes it even cooler.

I bet there are discussions of using naked hobgoblins vs fully decked out. I can see the merit for both of them. Well, I probably wouldn’t give full command to the unit, but sometimes it’s worth it for a cheap 4+ AS unit. What I am curious about, though, is something more in-between. 20 hobgoblins is 40pts and w/ shield is only 60pts. The extra 20 is worth 2 AS points. It seems it might be a cheap “in between” kind of throw away unit for hobgobs. I mean, you want them to last as long as they can, right? If they actually hold the round they are charged, it’s for the better (most of the time). The chances of them holding go up significantly if you only pay 20 more points (half of what a new unit would cost).


For me the shield isnt worth it - against any strength 4 or more shooting it is negated and in combat its a 5+ save at best - 20 points equals 10 more hobgoblins - and personally if any of my hobbos survive a game I feel like I have done something wrong :mad


Also it’s important to keep in mind, what advice one person offers also reflects their play style better too. I might not do well with Hobgoblin horde, as it might not simply fit my style… I’m sure other people here are geniuses with it.

So ask yourself: How do I think tactically, as that makes a big difference too. Taking a force that fits that, helps a lot… then you can fill in gaps to possibly make up for certain things.


My style of play with the Chaos Dwarfs depends largely on what kind of army I’m fighting. The thing with vanilla Dwarfs is that the list offers you little to no flexibility, you will almost always have to castle up and take big gambles if you want to earn lots of victory points. With Chaos Dwarfs you have things like Bull Centaurs, Wolf Riders, Great Taurus, cheap wizards, and super cheap slaves that open up a much wider range of options for how you want to play your army. If you want to think about it this way, it’s a bit like playing an Empire army with large hats and some T4 sprinkled in.

Personally, I try to design my lists to be as flexible as possible. Some people prefer to create lists that are more focused on being aggressive or defensive but I find these are prone to bad matchups that you may not be able to recover from. Nothing sucks worse than taking lots of blunderbusses, bolt throwers, and earthshakers and then getting caught with your pants down by a Wood Elf skirmish heavy list or a Bretonnian RAF.

I use magic to support my ranged troops and war machines (8PD is all you really need at the 2k level, as this is enough to get one or two spells off per turn against most magic defenses) along with some Wolf Riders and Bull Centaurs for fast support, backed up by large, resilient blocks of Chaos Dwarfs and HW/S Orc slaves supported by my Sorc Lord’s Ld10 and a BSB. I also like to have a few throwaway Hobgoblin slave units on hand that I can use to screen my blocks or divert with. Sometimes they’re even useful as flanking troops, and all this for the low, low price of 20pts per unit! The army does everything I need it to do and I never find myself without the tools I need in any matchup, meaning I don’t have to play the same way every game which frankly gets a bit dull after a while.

One game I might try a weighted flank strategy to sweep through my opponent’s army, the next I might protect my flanks by deploying against a corner of the board and castling up around a hill. Sometimes I might deploy my large blocks in the center and let my fast troops pincer in on the flanks, and then sometimes I’ll sit back and let my war machines pound on the enemy before they bounce off my heavily armoured Chaos Dwarf blocks, ready to be run down by my Wolf Riders and Bull Centaurs.

Unlike, say, Daemons or Vampires, the true strength of the Chaos Dwarf list lies not in having a bunch of really powerful special rules and units, but in the fact that if you know how to make the various parts of the army work together you don’t really need those things to win games. It’s up to you as a general to make your army work rather than letting your army book pick up the slack for you, and that’s what I really enjoy most about my Chaos Dwarfs and what keeps me coming back to them. Ironically, I feel that despite being a Ravening Hordes list, if we had more books designed the way the Chaos Dwarf list is, we’d have far more balanced and entertaining games; that is to say that games would be more about who is the better general than who has more dirty combos and exploits up their sleeve.


That was really eloquently put Renufus, and it really sums up the list well. We have a sprinkling of everything, and you can go in many different directions. Admittedly your life will be easier with blunderbusses, earthshakers and naked hobbos…