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Yep, it's been a while, far too long in fact. I couldn't get myself to start writing this.
Article: Elite Dwarf units part 2:
The hammerers are the elite, the best dwarven warriors of the hold personally selected by the king. Most dwarfs are militia and have regular professions next to their warrior duties, whereas the hammerers form a cadre of professional soldiers and are constantly on duty as the king's personal bodyguard. As befits such great warriors they enjoy great respect from their peers, much like the longbeards.
If a dwarf proves himself to be courageous and skilled over many battles, he may be selected by the king to become part of the hammerers. Apart from bravery and skill at arms loyalty is required and the hammerers swear an oath of allegiance to the king never to leave his side. Duty is a sacred thing to dwarfs and one of the cornerstones of their society. No dwarf would ever dare disgrace himself by breaking his oath, rather giving his life for his lord to protect him instead of facing the dishonour.
As a result hammerers are viewed as stubborn by other dwarfs, who as a race are already famous for their stubborn tenacity and determination. The inducted hammerers are given a great hammer by their lord to symbolise their bond and from these hammers they gain their name.
The commander of the hammerers, the gatekeeper, has special duties as the guard of the gates of the hold. He is also the only one to have keys to the king's chambers apart from the king himself. At all times hammerers guard their liege's chambers and stand watch in silence, forbidding entry unless ordered.
The first hammerers appear to be appointed during the reign of king Morgrim Blackbeard in -1245 IC. The king was visiting the gold mines of Gunbad to bolster morale after many night goblin raids. At that moment hundreds of night goblins burst through the walls and the king's bodyguard, back then warriors of the royal clan, were overwhelmed. Master craftsman Kadrin Redmane took up his hammer from his anvil to aid his lord and the other smiths followed his example. They fought their way out of the mine and Kadrin was rewarded by the king with a runic hammer, from which the ceremony of gifting the great hammer is supposedly derived.
On the battlefield the hammerers form the center of the throng around their lord. Their hammers rising and falling inspire the rest of the throng. The dwarf army has been likened to a fortress, and if its' clanwarriors form the walls then the hammerers form it's citadel. They are the personification of the dwarf spirit: Unyielding and immovable, grimfaced and resolute.
Hammerers, a quik overview:
Hammerers are good fighters, close to chaos warriors in terms of stats, lacking compared to them in initiative and attacks, but beating them in leadership. Most notably they have a high WS of 5, the good dwarven toughness 4, and also strenght 4.
As can be deduced from their name and fluff, they carry great weapons, and they have the option of buying a shield and runic banner. They also have two special rules: stubborn, as described in the BRB, and bodyguard, granting them immunity to fear and terror when joined by a lord. This better than being 'immune to psychology' because it still allows you to flee as a charge reaction if you happen to want it. I am sure there are circumstances where that's acceptable. Well, not really. But anyway..
Curiously enough while one would assume that due to their high strenght and 'relatively low' armour hammerers are suited to an offensive role this is not necessarily true. Hammerers are well suited to two radically different roles and most in between.
A unit with such high strenght is well suited as a shock unit, to slam into an enemy and smash the snot out of them before moving on. Because they have strenght 6 they are ideal to kill heavily armoured foes in a single hit and negating as much save as possible. However because they strike last, a lot of hammerers might be killed before the unit strikes. Especially other units with a high strenght that will strike before them are dangerous. Look out for halberds and monstrous stuff like minotaurs and rat ogres. A unit of chaos warriors with halberds can mess your hammerer unit up badly, and above all swordmasters ( ASf, higher WS and higher I? curse you GW, curse you!! ).
If you manage to get the charge on a unit of knights, prepare for a lot of armour shattering, and any average ws3/4 , str3 unit will be little more than a speedbump. Combined with a lord in the unit, a hammerer unit can beat almost everything into the dust while the lord takes on the most powerfull opponent he can find.
In large part due to their stubborn special rule, the hammerers are ironically a great anvil unit. Even the worst loss can be dealt with when testing on ld 9 or 10, possibly with a reroll from a BSB close by. Any enemy will have to accept that they are going to have to kill off the hammerers to the last. Hammerers are great at reliably holding the enemy in place while a second unit can slam into the rear or flank.
Hammerers are not very good at surviving drawn out fights though, so prepare to lose a lot to a war of attrition. Hammerers must be taken in large units to absorb the casualties, while the lord does his thing. You can adhere to this general motto:
"Ironbreakers are a brick wall, designed to stop the enemy at once, while the hammerers are a sponge that absorbs the enemy's impact. The wall might seem best, but walls can topple or be broken, whereas the sponge can not."
The major advantage hammerers have over other dwarf combat units is their high strenght and ability to cancell out armoursaves. Against enemy units with good wardsaves this advantage is mostly cancelled out. Daemons and phoenix guard are good examples. You might wound them on 2's, but they will still save on 4's or 5's. In comparison dwarf elites with shields will wound them on 3's but have a great armoursave left which hammerers do not.
It's great to have a single high strenght attack. But if that str6 hit will only kill some 3 point scum of a model it is not very usefull. And since they have a lower save they do not do too well in the aformentioned war of attrition, whereas ironbreakers would weather the storm of low strenght attacks far better. The sooner the enemy breaks, the better.
While not strictly necessary, they are certainly handy. Hammerers ( especially with a lord ) are a big missile target and cost quite a lot of points so you will want to keep them alive and not lose them to some silly arrows. Also with a 4+ save you will still have a decent 5+ save against str4 templates, or 6+ ( it's still something ) against those nasty str 5 templates like warpfire throwers, hell cannons and doomrockets.
A couple of runes are handy for the banner of the hammerers.
The ancestor rune is completely redundant.
The rune of sanctuary is cheap, but magic resistance is a complete joke in 8th edition.
The rune of determination basically turns a hammer unit unbreakable for 1 turn, but its basically a 100% guarantee they will hold. After a streak of rolling 11's and 12's for your breaktest this rune certainly has a therapheutic role. But necessary? Nah.
A rune of battle is always handy, and helps the hammerers perform their shock role by swining combat resolution their way.
The rune of courage is redundant with high leadership, and immunity provided by a lord
The rune of slowness, nothing wrong with this one as you can turn your enemy's charge into a failed charge and charge next turn. Charging only grants +1 combat res though, and you still strike last. This rune does allow you another turn of shooting to soften up the enemy.
The Master rune of grungni. It is rightly a master rune. Hammerers will often form the center of your line, and with this magnificent rune you can protect your arrow attracting hammerers, and the units next to them.
That's pretty much it this time, I have this feeling I am forgetting something, but I am sure I will remember it if I did, and edit it in.
Next time: the Ironbreakers.
The bearded one, loremaster
well I read it and found it good. I simply am no fan of Hammerers and thought I'd give you my thoughts on the Ironbreaker topic instead!
"Stand fast, for the honor of your Clan"
Same here, I read it, it's an exellent article, kinda makes me want more Hammerers, but I too am an Ironbreaker person, so I eagerly wait for that one
Necrons W0/D0/L0 Dwarfs W10/D2/L6 (8th edition)
I read it, there just wasn't much to say about it really. You covered all the necessary points and uses. There isn't much to say against it. Hammerers are a great dwarf unit, perhaps our best. They did take a bit of a hit, in that they will always strike last now - charge or no - but they also now act as they should have always been. Hammerers. I was never a fan of the unit having the weapon, but it never getting used except pathetic things such as goblins or elves. Now, they have to use the hammer, and it just feels right. Sure, more will die - but that's how it goes. You sacrifice defence for offence, and the reverse is also true. I now see Hammerers more as a hammer unit, in the right place they'll smash almost anything aside. They can play the anvil role still, but less so now that they lost the ability to use their shields in combat as well.
Good article! But nothing new to me (Sorry)