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which would be best for a 500 - 1000 point dwarf army? cannon, bolt thrower, or grudge thrower
I'd go with a bolt thrower, with engineer, and S7 rune. Can't misfire, hard to kill in CC with the engineer, and good against Chariots/monsters/knights.
You need several grudge throwers to reliably get damage out of them, and cannons and bolt throwers offer similar capacity. Cannons can hit multiple units, but this is relatively rare in practice. Cannons are REALLY good if your opponent has screens in front of expensive ranked infantry, but if you get a hill, then screens are irrelevant anyway.
Hi! I agree with Kooshlord here, the bolt thrower is a reliable thing to have and helps out especially to keep your flanks from that nasty cavalry.
Grudgethrowers never seem to work for me, they are unreliable most of the time and are only helpful in particular in larger battles. Then they can leave big holes in your opponent's lines!
Cannons are more or less the same as grudgethrowers in that they are unreliable and can blow up at the most unexpected times. If you're doing an 1000pts battle they are useful, but at the 500pts end they won't help very much unless you're lucky.
One thing that you should consider is an organ gun - these are devastating, you should always include one in your force if you can.
Hope that helps!
"Well... that hurt" - Vampire Jon Skellan (Mannfred's right hand man) after being beaten up, falling down an underground waterfall and being impaled by a stalactite.