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Hey, I just started warhamer because my friend introduced me into it, and I started a Dark Elf army, while the rest play Empire, Dwarves, and Lizardmen. But the real problem are the dwarves. Their strength and toughness is so strong that when I watch Empire play Dwarves, they just seem to get slaughtered in close combat, and I know my Dark Elf army will too. So how would you proceed to take out Dwarves with Dark Elves? Ranged units like Repeater Crossbowmen since they can't really charge close to me quickly? And what happens when I do enter close combat with them?
Dwarves are going to be a tuff nut to crack. But you hit on what to do. Shooting is one way. close combat is going to be a little harder. Go after units that you have shoot at and combo charge the unit with 2 or more units. chariots will help out with there ST5 impac hits. But if you don't break them on the 1st turn, chances will get harder the longer the combat last.
Its always easyer if you can list what type of dwarf army he is playing, such as heavy on gunners/crossbowmen or lots of artilary but since you just mention hand to hand ill try to give you some tips on how to win
Firstly Magic, If you decide to go a little more magic heavy for your heros/lord then there is 3 spells thats will help you out tons, Im not saying the other 3 wont I think that the 3 im about to mention will benefit you greatly. Doombolt, Word of Pain and Black horror. Doombolt is great vs any army really but vs dwarves its excellent for 2 reasons, one is that dwarves are tough and have good saves so you should wound on 3's and leave 6+ or no save. Also the short range is less of a drawback because they only move 3' which allows you to stay in range longer and be safer. Dwarves have good WS and close to the same as your DE so this will allow you to hit on 3's and be hit on 5's. Black horror is a life savior here for the fact that dwarves are mostly str 3 and 4 and you will get rid of half or a little less under the template on average. Also you take their great armor save away. It will also force a panic test but Dwarves have great ld so dont count on breaking them often with this spell.
Items for the wizards --- Wand of Khariador ( doombolt ) , Tomb of Furion ( for you can get the spells you need ), Black staff ( for a lvl 2 sorc has a chance to cast Black horror if you get it ), Darkstar ( more power! )
If you go a little more towards the Nobles then becarful because Hero dwarvs can pack some nasty rune combos. Make sure your hero has a good save, so a coldone mount is nice if you have a unit of cold ones he can join. Killing blow is also your BEST friend. Once he sees killing blow he will be carful arounf your noble. Also try and get some str in there.
Items for nobles --- Draich of Dark Power ( killing blow and + str, its perfect ), Crimson death ( + str and still strike at IN ). Other items for ward saves are nice too.
Ok now for units. DE has good speed to begin with but when they only move 3' you can dance around them. Well atleast till the release the new stuff witch gfves them extra moves lol.. Keep full main blocks cause you will NEED rank and file. Also make sure you dont charge unless you can get a flank that turn also or the next at the most. Dark riders will be amazing with crossbows for you can run and shoot and if they follow you can auto flee and chances are you will outrun. This will also leave the dwarves in open.
Units such as Cold one knights, Chariots, Exectioners and witch elves vs nothing 4+ or better armor are good choices.
harpies are very good too. Dwarves dont fear so crappy harpy ld wont apply for charging.
Reaper bolt Thrower can be a alright choice also but just becarful for miners.
All in all just know dwarves good , take a look at his codex and see what units are able to take for you dont charge something you prolly wont kill. Its very important to know the enemy vs a strong army or any army at all for that matter.
Hope this helps a bit
It cannot be stressed enough that manuverability is key. You have to flank them, break them from massed shooting, and anything else you can think of. Then send one of your heavy hitters in.
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Magic is a real killer against the Dwarves as you can have a lot of it. They can defend against it to an extent but you will get some of your spells off every turn if you have 3 sorceresses Go for some harpies to harass warmachines and stay the hell away for his thunderers, strength 4 and +1 to hit against flimsy elves really hurts. Bolt throwers work well on single shot against his heavily armoured units because of the high strength and no armour save, use them on volley fire against his thunderers as they have no armour anyway. Be really careful if he has an anvil, it can't be dispelled so potentially some of his units can charge 12 inches in one turn (not a pleasant surprise to get hit in the face by fast moving short tanks).
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Get loads of artillery, and firepower. Dwarves are very tough and DE are not, so it's best to keep your distance. Also, use cavalry 'cos the dwarves don't have any. Target their artillery and thunderers. Then get special units (e.g; black guard and witch elves) to kill the survivors. Chariots and hydras are good, too, and always use a scorcerress, preferably a grade 2 one.