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Continuing the trend set by the articles about the master rune of balance, about engineers on warmachines and about the dwarf rare choices I will be starting on request, on 3 articles about the dwarven elite choices: Longbeards, Hammerers and Ironbreakers. Giantslayers have a similar profile, but they aren't included as they are a champion upgrade for slayers ( even though you can upgrade as many slayers as you wish ) and they are ridiculously expensive. Too expensive to be realisticly counted as a viable unit.
Now on to:
Elite Dwarf Units Part 1:
Longbeards introduction: Who are they?
Longbeards are the eldest dwarfs, with long grey beards that reach to the floor and have the experience of many decades behind them. Dwarfs are a longlived race that usually become between 200 and 300 years old and longbeards are most likely far into their hundreds. While most races weaken and wither after their prime as they get older, dwarfs in fact only get stronger with age and only a few years before they die they will get weaker.
When a dwarf's beard is so long that it reaches the floor he is considered to be one of the longbeards, and a celebration is held in honour of the newly declared longbeard. Due to their status longbeards are released from many of their mundane duties and obligations. Dwarf society features a beard tax which is inversely proportionate to the length of a dwarf's beard, meaning the longer the beard the lower the tax is. Longbeards therefore pay very little beard tax and some of the venerable dwarfs do not have to pay any tax at all! The longbeards also have more time free from normal the professions to practice their skills and instruct the younger dwarfs ( often in the tavern ). Nearly all dwarfs are craftsmen and artisans but in each clan the longbeards form a core of professional soldiers.
Dwarfs respect age. When dwarfs are unsure what to do the wisest solution is to turn to the dwarf with the longest beard in the proximity, because the longer the beard, the older the dwarf ( as dwarfs do not cut or trim their beards ), and the older the dwarf the wiser he is. As old and wise dwarfs they sit proudly at the tables of kings and in dwarven councils, and their advice is well listened too indeed.
Longbeards have a steady influence on the dwarfs around them, since little will unsettle a longbeard. He's seen it all and few opponents will measure up to those he fought in his prime. They constantly grumble about the inadequasies of everything presently and everything used to be better "back in the old days". Younger warriors will fight all the harder around them, determined to impress their elders and avoid their withering moans and grumbling. This will most likely prove futile as little can offset a longbeard from a good grumble
What do longbeards do?
Longbeards have an ever better statline than regular dwarfs as their WS and strength are bumped up to 5 and 4 respectively. They come with the same options as dwarf warriors ( shields, great weapons, ranger upgrade ) and can buy a runic banner of up to 50 points. Also they have the Immune to panic and old grumblers special rules, granting themselves and units within 6" of them a sturdy immunity to such unsettling things as the honourless slaying of 25% of a unit and funny enough also terror ( page 78 says that terror requires the target to make a panic test )!
What role can they fill?
Thanks to their versatile options they can fill several different roles. Many people have been trying out large units of longbeard rangers ( they are scouts ) with throwing axes. This can be suitably scary for anyone to face as the longbeards' throwing axes are strenght 5! The fact that they will just about always merely hit on 6's ( long range and stand&shoot inflict -2 to hit ) makes those as scary as a elf with a disturbingly large pair of tweasers... ( which can potentially be pretty scary to the more dark and perverse minds among us.. but moving on! ) These rangers can still be very devastating as they have WS5, T4 and as rangers are forced to take great weapos they have str 6! The rangers are very close to the enemy right at the start of the game and that's where you want a combat unit like longbeard rangers. Too bad scouts can't charge in the first turn if their side goes first, and because great weapons strike last and they only have heavy armour you should prepare for a lot of casualties.
Rangers are a more exotic option which will depend more heavily on how the player wants to play them. The following options are more common: Shields or great weapons? Here I can provide you comfortably with an answer.....
..one which I will reveal later on
Longbeards with shields work similar to warriors with a 4+ armour save and a parry and are a good unit for the line, which can be used to bolster units with its special panic immunity rules. But as opposed to warriors who can hardly kill snot, the longbeards are actually pretty good at it because they have strength 4 and WS5, equal to chaos warriors, and they should win pretty much any fight against a STR3 T3 units and have good odds against elites. The shield longbeards are an effective anvil for your line that can hold an enemy in place while hammer units ( preferably hammerers ) can charge in and claim victory. These are guys you can trust on to weather most of what the enemy can throw at them.
Longbeards with great weapons are, to be honest, not worth it in my ( expert ) opinion. They strike last and with a pitiful 5+ armoursave matched by even most elves they die in droves compared to units with shields. And your units are very expensive to lose many. You also strike last with great weapons. Dwarfs however are slow and will strike last in almost every case, a great weapon makes little difference to this. They make up for their slowness and lack of durability with pure power. Fear the almighty str 6! [insert trembling opponent here] . And since you can step up any casualties you suffered shouldn't limit the amount of carnage you can cause. They can even carve open enemy knights and other tough opponents! What's not to like?
The problem is that hammerers do this too, they can hold their ground better because they are stubborn and they are even cheaper! If you ever consider taking longbeards with great weapons who are not rangers, pinch yourself and take hammerers. Really. Another viable alternative is warriors with great weapons. Their Ws and str are lower but strenght 5 is still to be feared, and they are a damn sight cheaper than longbeards and hammerers.
Why longbeards and not others?
Some of you might of course be wondering now and thinking "if we should always take hammerers over longbeards with GW's because hammerers do it better, then why shouldn't we take ironbreakers over longbeards with shields, since ironbreakers do that better?" The truth is you are right! In reality you would be better off with hammerers or ironbreakers than longbeards with shields/GW's. Longbeards are cheaper though ( if only slightly ) than ironbreakers, provide panic immunity and fill the gap between warriors with shields and ironbreakers. They can be made out of plastic, which is also important for those who aren't blessed with gold hoards as high as those of a dwarf.
And do not forget these buggers are core. You will need to fill those points. You can fill those with warriors, but in that case you can just as well simply upgrade the warriors to longbeards, thereby making your core choices as hitty as your special choices.
Longbeards are halfway between hammerers and ironbreakers. They can perform both roles, although not as well as their special choice equivalents, and add in some special psychology rules. If you want a unit of elites operating out of the range of the BSB and/or Dwarf lord then longbeards are safe against panic tests and the humiliation of failing them. We wan't to avoid the longbeards grumbling at you after all, saying "I told you so.." If one of your units panics despite a BSB reroll it will usually be over 200 points worth. Longbeards are immune and protect others from it if they are not in range of the BSB.
What runes are good for the longbeards runic banner?
You can never miss with a rune of battle.
Rune of slowness is pretty good for ranger longbeards. And if the enemy fails the charge due to the rune you still stand & shoot ( even if the enemy does not come within the maximum range of the axes. Page 17 ). This allows you to charge in the next turn, or to throw your throwing axes a second time ( if the enemy is out of the throwing axes' 6" range you can move and fire without a penalty because throwing axes have the 'quik to fire' rule ), and when the enemy attempts to charge again the next turn you will get another stand & shoot ( because of 'quik to fire' even when the enemy is too close ) . 2 ranks worth of throwing axes thrown 3 times can cause substantial damage, longbeards have str5 throwing axes!
I have grown increasingly fond of the rune of determination, which practicaly guarantees your unit stays in place as an anvil unit, so that your hammer unit can still smash into a flank next turn.
The master rune of grungni is a must-have in my opinion, but not necessarily on longbeards. I use the master rune of grungni on my hammerers as the hammerers form the center of the battleline and can spread it's protective aura to all my combat units that way.
The rune of courage is good but not as usefull as before, and BSB's should ensure you passing the tests.
A couple of ancestor runes can't be wrong for such low cost, and maybe mean the difference between holding and running.
A rune of sanctuary can combine with the master rune of grungni for a fearsome defence against direct damage magic. Sadly magic resistance means little these days as few spells allow actual magic resistance saving throws.
I am a fan of a rune of battle & rune of determination, which I advice. There is nothing wrong with a non-runic banner, but it'd be a shame to waste the space.
There you have it, longbeards with shields are a good anvil unit, who fill core requirements, and grant handy psychology bonusses.
The bearded one, loremaster
well, of all the elites, Longbeards was the one i was hoping for. You kindof opened my eyes to using shields instead of great weapons and putting hammerers along side them. too bad cus i dont actually have hammerers xD.
You could take all the articles you make and combine them in the Tactica section to be the first to have an 8th tact.
Nice piece Hairy one
Warchief Diggah o da Bloodmoon Squiggahs
Great article! I usually use them as Rangers becuase I feel Hammerers and Ironbreakers do what they can do better than the longbeards. But longbeards with greatweapons and ranger option is pretty sweet. You get to deploy last, deploy them where the help is needed and generally is an annoyance for your opponent. I use about 20 of them without throwing axes. Never really hit hard enough for me. Hitting on 6 is pretty lame. If I had 40 longbeards, and deployed them 10 wide for 20 shots I would consider it, but then again, it becomes a pricey unit!
Great, thanks for this. I currently run my longbeards with hand weapons and shields, and always take them. As you say, the points for core need to be filled out, and longbeards are great for this. Good to see you share my views on this
I've never really gone for longbeard rangers, as they get pricy then, and I prefer rangers as a cheap(ish) disruption unit, so I normally use crossbowmen.
2500 points of Empire for ToXG: Points painted for month 4: 0 Points painted overall: 510
I found the Longbeard's special psychology rule to be rather useless in 8th. Battle standards - I'll have one in every list - make them obsolete.
I know they themselves are immune to panic which is nice but not really worth considering in my book.
Just checking if you noticed that. Perhaps add a downside part to the article?
A few notes on what was said.
Thrown weapons do not suffer movement and long range penalties.
A Battle Standard Bearer only has a range of 12. This does not cover the entire board. Old Grumblers is great for flanks or simple on thier own as rangers ahead of your army.
On paper longbeards are not better than ironbreakers or hammerers, that is true. However, they are a core choice. This means it leaves you much more room for specials, while fleshing out your core requirements. They have the same stat line as those other options too.
As for standards, the Rune of Slowness is really neat in this edition. With your opponent no longer being able to safely ignore you, they will have to engage from greater distances. That D6 penalty really makes a difference.
They are good for spots in the battleline where the BSB does not reach. And their total immunity is preferred to near immunity It can happen some times that a unit fails a panic test twice, even on ld 9. The chance is low, but it is a a unit of 300 points propably that will be running away like elves.
For their combat roles ironbreakers & hammerers are each better and you are unlikely to run out of points for the special section ( 50% ) , but they are cheaper, plastic, and still a core unit. If you want to fill your core requirements with something besides just missiletroops and warriors you can just as well take longbeards who have a profile as good as the special units. Core needs to be filled and I'd take longbeards over warriors.
@ wolfpack: Ah, forgot slowness: Great rune of course.
Throwing axes do suffer from long range though. They are quik to fire and so do not suffer movement penalties and can always stand & shoot.
Rune of slowness is pretty good for ranger longbeards in fact, because if the enemy fails the charge due to the rune you still stand & shoot ( even if the enemy does not come within the maximum range of the axes. Page 17 if I recall correctly ) I will put this in, good you mentioned it Wolf_Pack. Rep for you. I have added it in now:Rune of slowness is pretty good for ranger longbeards. And if the enemy fails the charge due to the rune you still stand & shoot ( even if the enemy does not come within the maximum range of the axes. Page 17 ). This allows you to charge in the next turn, or to throw your throwing axes a second time ( if the enemy is out of the throwing axes' 6" range you can move and fire without a penalty because throwing axes have the 'quik to fire' rule ), and when the enemy attempts to charge again the next turn you will get another stand & shoot ( because of 'quik to fire' even when the enemy is too close ) . 2 ranks worth of throwing axes thrown 3 times can cause substantial damage, longbeards have str5 throwing axes!
The plastic ones do not suit this in my opinion. So, I request you retract that statement.When a dwarf's beard is so long that it reaches the floor he is considered to be one of the longbeards
It is a rather interesting article, and well thought out. It's a shame that the great weapon gets so little love for the dwarf players, understandable but a shame. S5 from the warriors is nice, but the extra bonus of that point of strength to make it S6 is very useful. However, as Bearded pointed out that pretty much anything that Longbeards can do Hammerers can do better. The immune to panic and the reroll is useful, however a little bit less so these days with 8th edition. It is however much more useful out on the flanks to help anchor them when they are out of reach of the BSB. The fact that they're core does also help with the choice of them. In my opinion a very staple and strong unit in the dwarf army, either with shields or great weapons.
the great weapon will get more love in future articles, and if you've been following some of the developments on bugmansbrewery, you will know that the great weapons have picked up an incredibly large following amongst dwarf players compared to 7th.