Look at War Machines - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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  1. #1
    Keeper of Records and Ale King Ulrik Flamebeard's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Leeds, Yorkshire
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    Look at War Machines

    War Machines of the Dwarfs

    [NB: I tend to put something like this on all these articles of mine, and with good reason. I'm not that experienced, so these are more musings,and thoughts I have gleamed from players off the net or from my limited experience. So take it with a pinch of salt.]

    Well another thing from me, war machines this time. The true dwarven weapon? A great strength for the bearded warriors from beneath the ground? Of course they are. He's a few things;

    A quick basic thoughts into the use of war machines first though;

    Do not expect to win the game with them.
    Very important this, war machines are not game winners – they are there for supporting roles. Use them to reduce ranks or take care of things that will cause you infantry problems, e.g. Skirmishers, Fast Cavalry, Flyers, Monsters etc. These types can be bad news, flank charges, rear charges, drawing too much missile fire etc they have many uses.

    Pick your targets in priority. A common mistake and one every makes, and then the veteran's point the mistake out, is target priority. Simply put look at your opponents army and see which units will cause you the most problems for your infantry, then reduce them. I don't mean destroy, but reduce. It's no good to fire everything on one unit in the hopes of utterly destroying it if the rest of the army gets to your lines intact. Make them less effective by knocking a rank off, or with cavalry in fives or sixes – one or two kills will panic them and most likely put them under 25%. Then leave them.

    Concentrate your fire.
    Once you have gotten your target priority sorted, let them have it. All of it. The more stuff you have on one unit/target the better the chances you have do doing the damage you require upon it. Then once you've knocked a rank/panicked them etc. Move onto the next in the list.

    Special War Machines


    A usual sight on the battlefield under the control of a dwarf player, and with good reason. This war machine is one of the best choices available, why though? Well it's got high strength and ignores saves, making it ideal to hit anything but skirmishers and flyers with. The bouncing ball will generally go through five or more in a normal sized unit, with good rolling, killing them on two's. Not bad for a hundred points is it?

    Of course big unit's isn't it's only choice of target practice. It is quite useful for downing large creatures; dragons, manticores, hydra's etc. It's high strength and no save play a big part again, but the main factor is it does D3 wounds. With good rolling a single cannon could drop a dragon in two turns. So multiple uses for the trusty thing, the down sides aren't much.

    It looses out to the bigger Empire Great Cannon, bloody manlings, on two things – range and wounds. Being the smaller of the two the dwarfish version is less capable of long range shooting, it also does D3 wounds less than the Great Cannon's D6. Meaning it's longer to take down multiple wound models.

    One thing I must point out with a cannon, is targets. Go for the kills. Yes they are very able in the taking down of knights, but you will only kill one per turn per cannon. While firing on a unit you're more likely to get at least three, most likely more. Always look ahead, more kills or expensive kills?

    Runes of Note – Rune of Forging, Rune of Reloading, Rune of Fortune, Rune of Burning

    Stone Thrower

    My personal favourite. Why? It's a save ignoring template weapon with a 60� range. A good guess will mean most of a 20mmx20mm based unit will be covered (well at least five, plus partials). This is the cheapest war machine for dropping infantry blocks, but it also does well vs monsters. The template is likely to catch rider and mount, meaning at least one will get twated with a S8 hit (under the hole). Then the D6 hits come into effect, chances are that's a dead rider and a wounded mount.

    Again, the stone thrower needs proper use to be effective. It's tempting to go for the expensive knights and such, but with such big bases you'll get one and maybe two other on partial. They can be used for such units, but I'd keep it unless you have no other choice. The main target as the cannon is blocks of units, chances are you'll cause a panic test with good rolling.

    Downsides being it's guess range, very difficult to plan properly. The scatter dice means it could go anywhere, and that makes them unpredictable near your own troops. They aren't the strongest of attacks with only strength four, wounding toughness three troops on three's, but it is usually enough.

    Runes of Note – Rune of Accuracy, Rune of Penetrating, Rune of Burning, Rune of Fortune.

    Bolt Thrower

    The cheapest and arguably the best choice, or considered so by many. Being as you can take two per slot, it means for less than the cost of a cannon you get more fire power. Cheaper than the rest, no misfire and still strong enough to take down a couple of models in a unit per shot. Strength six decreasing makes it another idea choice against rank and file, no saves means everything has to fear it. And it is yet again another D3 wounding machine, so monsters will fear these – especially if there's more than two pointing it's way – and will try hard to keep out of LOS.

    Now, a different downside this time – BS. The bolt thrower relies on the crews BS of 3 to hit, so at short range hitting on 4's. And 5's at long, not all that good. But it does mean it won't explode in your face. And it's not as strong as a cannon or won't do as much damage as a stone thrower, but still does it's job.

    Once more, a block weapon. It's best use is to take on blocks of troops, the high S and long range is great – with good rolling you will run through all their ranks (well almost). Maybe even getting a panic test. Two are great for shots on monsters, or with the right runes it's augmented strength can be enough to down chariots and war machines with a single wound.

    Runes of Note – Master Rune of Skewering, Flakkson's Rune of Seeking, Rune of Penetrating, Rune of Burning.

    Rare War Machines


    The fastest thing in the dwarf army, useful in many ways – many of which have been covered before, elsewhere – and even more so in a dwarf army than in others. The 20â€? fly move makes it's ideal for march block, lone mage/hero hunting or even taking on skirmishers. It does also have a use in running units down, the long charge range means it'll be able to destroy most infantry units (charge a fleeing unit, it must flee and allows the 20â€? to beat the units flee distance.).

    Down side being; cost, vulnerable to shooting, slow strength of attacks, useless in combat and crashes. Costing forty points more than an un-runed cannon the fast gyrocopter is a good choice, but must be used correctly to be worth it's points. Unable to rune makes it just that bit less reliable.

    Organ Gun

    A smaller weaker version of the Empire Helblaster Volley Gun, firing only the number of shots equal to the artillery dice. But it is far from useless. All shots are strength five and have armour piercing, meaning anything hit takes a S5 -3sv wound. Not bad. Very useful for flank guarding, it's usually enough to keep fast cavalry and skirmishers from heading it's way.

    Again, a high points cost. Not costing quite as much as a gyocopter it is much less useful than one of them of course. It also has a maximum range of 24â€?, meaning you'll get maybe two shots off before the enemy is upon it – if they're infantry – or one against cavalry. The number of hits it can do it's anything spectacular really, maximum of ten hits with the possibility of doing only two. Lacks the stopping power of the bigger brother.

    Flame Cannon

    Again, another favourite of mine – and indeed many dwarf players. Why? A strength five template that causes D3 wounds, is flaming and the best - saved till last as always – it causes an auto panic test should a single wound be taken. Expensive, yes. Worth it? Most defiantly. The second shortest ranged war machine at a dwarf players disposal, but makes up for it with the template. Typically you'll cover four to five and upwards, the high strength means you'll be wounding most models on threes or twos. It's D3 wounds means even hero level characters should worry, least they be caught in the blast.

    Costing the same as a gyrocopter, the flame cannon is arguably one of the best choices in the game. But very volatile. It's misfire chart makes it easier to explode on you, and it lacks range. The best it can hope to get is 30� (12� guess + 10 on artillery dice + 8� flame template), so it's still risky as it's out of use until the enemy close. And once more, no runes possible.

    Best of uses, block infantry. Even against heavily armoured units you have a good chance of panicking them, and against horde armies – there's little better choice.

    Regiment of Renown

    Goblin Hewer

    Having never actually used this yet, I can't say much. But it's obvious from just looking at it the Goblin Hewer is something to fear. The machine itself could possibly match the Helblaster for its destruction of units, for each rank in a unit hit by the Hewer the target takes D3 hits. Bad enough you say? Yes, big blocks suffer badly from it. It's strength isn't as high as other war machines but it still has a nice minus two save mod, enough to wound T3 troops on three's and drop a four plus save to a six.

    It's more or less a bolt thrower in terms of firing it, ie use BS, 48� range etc, but to be honest that's where it all ends. More over the crew are slayers. So they follow the normal rules, but have great weapons. So two S5 slayers plus Malakai, and he's the big oddment. The hewer comes with an attached hero and engineer, he can use his elven BS of five to hit on two's. He's also a slayer, so he's got better stats and a repeating dwarf handgun. In all the Goblin Hewer is tough.

    Downsides; there isn't much to be honest. The strength of it will mean it has a tough time wounding anything with a T5 or more, and even it's -2 save mod isn't that effective vs heavily armoured units. It's crewed by slayers, so no chance of fleeing and re-crewing it at another time – its fight to the death. Malakai has to choose whether to use his handgun or fire the Goblin Hewer, a choice of which is best in the circumstance.

    * * * * *

    I hope this has been helpful, mainly for beginners but still. Any comments and advice the veteran's would like to impart with I expect would be helpful, to us all.


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  3. #2
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    exelent ( spelling ? ) piece of writing there ku this should be pinned, the goblin hewer bit was good as i didnt know anything about them but

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