Posted 24/08/2017

David’s Duardin

While David of the Garagehammer Podcast may be a manling, he certainly knows his stuff about the duardin! With the General’s Handbook 2017 bringing the Dispossessed up to speed with their Fyreslayer and Kharadron Overlord cousins, we caught up with David to look at some of the most exciting changes to these stoic warriors:

With the upcoming release of the General’s Handbook 2017, we will receive almost 20 new or revised sets of allegiance abilities. While most players (the rational, logical players) will rush to check their current army, I went straight to the narrative play section, but that’s another article. After that, I still didn’t go to my current army, because after two years, changes were coming to my first love of Warhammer, the army now known as Dispossessed.

When I started playing Warhammer about twelve years ago, Dwarfs were my first army, and all I played for four years. I haven’t played my duardin much in Warhammer Age of Sigmar, (the Stormcast Eternals have captured my imagination) and I’ve been patiently waiting for the Dispossessed to get some attention. When I heard they were getting their own allegiance abilities, it would be a gross understatement to say I was excited.

Now, a small disclaimer is in order for anyone who doesn’t know me. I have a reputation for being a “story stinker,” since I’m more interested in narrative play and Warhammer lore than top tier play, probably because I lack the ability. (Although, with the new Open War cards, open play’s become much more interesting, but that, again, is another article.) I love telling stories through a series of games and nothing pleases me more than when a unit’s rules match their lore, regardless of whether or not it makes the unit “optimally powerful.” So I openly admit, I was looking up the allegiance abilities and other rules to see how well they fit the duardin lore.

Their battle trait, “Stubborn to the End,” is pure duardin. They simply refuse to run. It’s too shameful! To represent this, on a roll of 1-3 they pass their Battleshock test, no matter what! Modify their bravery? Kill eleven in a unit? Or sixteen? Doesn’t matter. Roll 1-3 and they pass. That’s just cool.

Duardin just wouldn’t be duardin if they didn’t hold grudges, would they? Of course not! So, before you pick your command trait, name your grudge. Grudges apply to all Dispossessed units in your army for the entire battle, even if your general dies. It’s not like a general dying would make a grudge go away, would it? All six of the grudges affect your duardin in the same way: they allow them to reroll hit rolls of 1.

The question is, what’s earned the ire of your duardin? Are haughty leaders being disrespectful? Choose rerolls against heroes. Maybe your duardin constantly battle against Skaven, the undead, or other horde armies. Choose rerolls against units starting the game with twenty or more models. Does your army preen over their ornate, quality armour? The duardin laugh at your shoddy craftsmanship (and pick rerolls against units with a save of 4+ or better). Maybe your duardin hunt monsters, despise units that move 10″ or more, or find it good sport going after units that are either in cover or didn’t start the game on the battlefield. Whichever you choose, your duardin aren’t happy and they are going to put forth extra effort to kill whatever they’ve got a grudge against.

Now, I realise that you may often have to pick without knowing what your opponent will field, as in a tournament setting, and that makes the entire grudge list extremely situational. Well never fear because one of your command traits allows you an out, so let’s get to them. As I just mentioned, Grudgebearer allows you to switch your grudge once per battle, so if you get to the table and your grudge isn’t quite right you can adjust it.

Of course, if you don’t feel you need that, maybe you’re Resolute. If so, your general and units within 6″ pass Battleshock on 1-4 instead of 1-3. (Nobody breaks in front of their general!) One last trait I really like is Siegebreaker. Take away the +1 for cover saves for units attacked by your general or friendly units within 6″.

Of course, the Dispossessed have artefacts. None seem game changing, but they can certainly add to the story. Maybe you’re a clan of tunnellers, and the Ancestral Pickaxe lets you take that hero and a unit within 3″ off the board in your hero phase, having them resurface your next hero phase. This could be a great way to get you across the board fast or a quick escape from a bad situation. If this battle is personal for your hero, the Grudge Rune allows him to pick an enemy hero to reroll hit and wound rolls against. Alternately, in a moment of desperation, sound the Gromrilhorn and add 2 to the bravery of all Dispossessed until your next hero phase.

There is more here, but these are my favourite. Will all this place Dispossessed at the top of all the tournament lists? Nah. But it does make them fight like the duardin I’m familiar with. They’re stubborn, grumbling old warriors who never run from a battle and who fight extra hard against an enemy they feel have wronged them.

Finally, we have the duardin allies: Fyreslayers, Ironweld Arsenal, Kharadron Overlords and Stormcast Eternals. Of course, this makes sense as duardin of all stripes stick together, and the Stormcast can ally with all Order forces. These four allies offer the Dispossessed enough variety to fit any play style while still making sense with their lore.

Overall, this is an exciting time for Dispossessed players, with new abilities, new grudges, new artefacts, and allies, all of which make sense in relation to whom the Dispossessed are. If you’re a player like me, you also have some Fyreslayers and Kharadron Overlords, so you have a bunch of allies ready to go and so many options to explore. For me personally, my duardin rebasing project just moved to the next spot in my hobby queue!

Thanks, David! If you’re looking to field a duardin force of your own, make sure to pick up your new allegiance abilities in the General’s Handbook 2017, available to pre-order now.

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