Even staunch Dawi Zharr such as you gentlemen may think “No”, but hear me out.
I always loved Fireglaives. They look cool and the concept is just awesome. They’re an excellent blend of close combat and missile weapon, all packed in that sturdy Chaos Dwarf shell, but only recently it became clear to me just how unique that is.
Generally we judge troops on three main categories:
- ability to dish out wounds in close combat
- ability to dish out wounds in the shooting phase
- ability to soak up damage
I know, there’s also maneuverability, psychology, special rules, points costs etc, but for now I’d say these three are the big ones. And let’s have a look at Infernal Guard with Fireglaives here:
Melee: 1A at I2 and WS4 with S5. Very solid. That S5 puts it above lots of units. For infantry, I’ll give it 4 out of 5.
Shooting: 1 shot with 18" range at BS3 and S4 AP. The range is not that impressive and with the BS3 will mean you’ll basically always only hit on 5+. But then it’s a handgun hit, that’s nothing to sneeze at. 3, maybe 3.5 out of 5
Hardiness: T4, AS4+ (3+ against shooting), 5+ Ward against flaming attacks. That’s very good. 4.5 out of 5
I then had a look at the other armies to find something similar. And there isn’t much! All pure melee units are immediately disqualified, and most of the shooty units cannot hold up. A few I found:
Dark Elves Shades with Great Weapons
Melee: 1A at I5 WS5 S5. That’s very very good. 4.5 out of 5.
Shooting: More range, BS5, multiple shots, but only S3. Still, that’s better. 4.5 out of 5 again.
Hardiness: Well. T3. Optional light armour. That’s 2 out of 5 stars and I’m feeling generous here.
They have a better damage output but are much more flimsy. And they even cost more! And are a special choice. For me, Infernal Guard win for their balanced approach.
Flamers of Tzeentch
Melee: 2A at I4 WS2 S4. Two attacks is great, but that’s not why you take them. 3 out of 5.
Shooting: Same range and S4, but at BS4 and multiple shots. They got this. 4 out of 5.
Hardiness: same T4, W2 and a tzeentch WS of 5+. I’d say it’s a tie at 4.5 out of 5
Flamers are very good, everyone knows. But they cost a ton and the unit is 3-6 models. I think I prefer Infernal Guard. Weirdly enough Flamers of Tzeentch don’t have flaming attacks which I think they absolutely should have.
Melee: 3A at I2 WS3 and S4 plus Impact Hits and Stomp. I mean yeah, it’s better per model but combined with base size etc. I think it comes out as a tie 4 out of 5.
Shooting: More range, multiple shots with special rules at same BS3. Def. better. 4 out of 5.
Hardiness: Same T4, W3 but only AS6+. Goes to the Infernal Guard. 3.5 out of 5.
Comparing infantry and monstrous infantry is not easy. In a direct confrontation I think I’d put my money on the Infernal Guard.
Dwarf Quarrelers with Great Weapons
Melee: 1A ASL WS4 S5. The same as the Infernal Guard but with ASL, so in the direct comparison the Infernal Guard take the cake. 3.5 out of 5
Shooting: Much more range, the great dwarf crafted rule but not AP. Still, Quarrelers have it. 4 out of 5.
Hardiness: Same T4, but only AS5+ and nothing against flaming attacks. 3.5 out of 5.
Maybe the closest fit. Quarrelers are a little cheaper, are better at shooting but a little worse in melee and not quite as hardy. Still, an excellent unit and basically an auto-include for Dwarfs for a reason.
So, to conclude my question, are Infernal Guard with Fireglaives the best unit in the game? Answer is probably still “No”, but they are very, very versatile, do very well in both close combat and shooting phase and are part of a very select group of units across all armies which can do the same. They are quite expensive but you get a unit which will definitely have an impact in the game.
P.s. Have I missed other units which can compete in this little game of mathhammer?