EDIT: Updated to GHB2020
This list is a variant of the classic Hearthguard Berzerker wall with the introduction of Kharadron Overlords for some high mobility.
At the start of your hero phase, you can activate one of the following six ur-gold runes. To do so, state which rune will be activated and roll a dice. On a 1-5, the rune has the standard effect. On a 6 it also has the enhanced effect. The effect(s) of the rune lasts until the start of your next hero phase.
Each ur-gold rune can only be activated once in each battle, and no more than one can be activated at the same time. Once you have used a rune, you can choose a new one to use in your next hero phase, but you cannot use the same one again.
Rune of Searing Heat: If the unmodified wound roll for an attack made by a friendly FYRESLAYERS unit is 6, add 1 to the Damage characteristic of the weapon for that attack.
Enhanced Effect: Roll a dice for each enemy unit within 3″ of any friendly FYRESLAYERS units when this rune is activated; on a 2+ that enemy unit suffers 1 mortal wound.
Rune of Awakened Steel: Improve the Rend characteristic of melee weapons used by friendly FYRESLAYERS units by 1.
Enhanced Effect: Improve the Rend characteristic by a further 1.
Rune of Farsight: Add 1 to hit rolls for attacks made with Fyresteel Throwing Axes by friendly FYRESLAYERS units.
Enhanced Effect: Add 1 to wound rolls for attacks made with Fyresteel Throwing Axes by friendly FYRESLAYERS units.
It might be tempting to use the movement Rune right away in the first turn to get into your enemys face, but I found it to be much more valuable in later turns to get your units to where they need to be to capture an objective or get close enough for a charge.
Remember you don’t have to use any Rune, if you don’t want to. Sometimes it’s useful to save that extra rend Rune for later.
Seize by Force: HERMDAR units wholly within enemy territory or wholly within 12″ of an objective do not take battleshock tests.
This makes Battleshocks for Fyreslayers basically obsolete, great.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Skull-breakers and Oath-takers: You can use this command ability at the start of the combat phase. Pick 1 friendly HERMDAR VULKITE BERZERKERS unit or 1 friendly HERMDAR HEARTHGUARD BERZERKERS unit wholly within 12″ of a HERMDAR HERO. That unit fights at the start of that combat phase, before the players pick any other units to fight with in that combat phase. It cannot fight again in that phase unless an ability or spell allows it to fight more than once.
This is why we take Hermdar as our Lodge. It will override almost every “I fight before you fight” mechanic any other army can use against you (refer to FAQ for specifics). In our turn it will allow us to strike first and then strike again with the same unit (see Battalion rules). Not much out there will survive a double activation by 20 angry Dwarfs. This CA enables us to just sit tight on an objective and let them charge you. You don’t really care – as long as we have a CP available, we will hit them first.
Lodge Leader (Runefather): You can use this command ability at the start of the charge phase. If you do so, pick a friendly model with this command ability. Add 1 charge rolls for friendly FYRESLAYERS units wholly within 12″ of that model until the end of that phase.
Never used it really.
A HERMDAR general must have this command trait instead of one listed in Command Traits section.
Warrior Indominate: Subtract 1 from wound rolls for attacks that target this general and friendly HERMDAR units wholly within 12″.
This works against melee and shooting, very useful.
Tyrant Slayer:Pick one of the bearer’s melee weapons. You can re-roll wound rollsfor attacks made with that weapon that target an enemy HERO. In addition, if the unmodified hit roll for an attack made with that weapon that targets an enemy HERO is 6, that attack inflicts 1 mortal wound on the target in addition to any normal damage.
We have to take this in Hermdar, it’s ok.
The Nulsidian Icon: Each time a friendly FYRESLAYERS unit wholly within 12″ of the bearer is affected by a spell or endless spell, you can roll a dice. If you do so, on a 4+ ignore the effects of that spell or endless spell on that unit.
Our only source of anti-magic. A 50% chance to disrupt a spell is very useful, much better than having only 1-2 unbinds.
The Heroes are what keep this army running through their buffs and Command Abilities, protect them at all cost.
Runefather: Makes your Hearthguard Berzerkers Battleline, gives out the -1 to wound aura. He´s a decent fighter with 3″ range, good against foot heroes with his artefact, but don´t expect him to kill a terrorgheist.
Battlesmith: He grants a +1 Save aura and a 4+ spell ignore aura. If he dies, units in range can decide to protect his Icon and will re-roll all hits and wounds in melee for the rest of the game at the cost of not beeing able to move or charge. Can be usefull if he dies on top of an objective. OK-ish fighter, but better keep him behind the lines.
Runemaster: Keep him close to the Forge for +1 on your prayer rolls. He’s here to give out the +1 save spell, invoke the Fyrewall and set some terrain on fire for a couple of mortal wounds.
Runesmiter: Our second Priest. He can also invoke the Fyrewall if needed. His role is to take one unit of Hearthguard Berzerkers and be set up in reserve for deep striking. His warscroll prayer lets you re-roll all wound rolls and the lore prayer lets a unit run and charge.
Hearthguard Berzerkers: Although naked, these boys are the toughest unit in the game when buffed up by all the +1 to saves and -1 to wounds. They have 2 wounds each and a 6+ DPR which turns into a 4+ if any hero is within 10″ (not wholly). Once they are alone, they will start to fall apart though, so again, keep those heroes safe!
The Poleaxe causes 2 additional MWs on a hit roll of 6, the Broadaxe has 1 rend and causes two damage. Both options have 2″ reach so they’ll be able to fight from to rows.
Vulkite Berzerkers: Battleline, quite tanky if buffed, can cause MWs on the charge (never happens and then they don’t get the shield benefit in the subsequent combat phase – stupid). Use to guard a backfield objective or to screen your heroes from behind.
Auric Hearthguard: Have decent shooting against Monsters, but are mainly there to take wounds for heroes within 3″ on a 4+. Basically a walking wound reservoir for your buff heroes to keep them around longer.
Lords of the Lodge:
Oathbound Guardians: If a unit of HEARTHGUARD BERZERKERS from this battalion is wholly within 12″ of a HERO from the same battalion at the start of the combat phase, then after that unit has fought in that phase for the first time, when it is your turn to pick a unit to fight with later in the same phase, it can be selected to fight for a second time.
I usually select the unit with Poleaxes to be in the battalion (you technically only have to chose at the start of the battle, so depending on your opponent you could chose the broadaxes, for example when facing units that make you re-roll 6s to hit). This way the chance for the extra MWs is increased.
In an army with 4″ move, the extra 3″ pile-in move is a significant movement boost (+75%). Can be used to strike first with the Hermdar CA to kill off the screen and then pile in the second time to get within reach (2″ weapon reach) of the juicier targets behind.
Gunhauler: A teleporting Gunship with 10 wounds.
Keep both the Kharadron units save behind your lines and let them shoot at small support heroes. If an opportunity presents itself, send them out to grab an objective or push a small unit from it (land, shoot, charge). If necessary, they can teleport out of combat and still shoot and charge later. Either the constant threat for objectives forces your opponent to keep units back or they will score you points in the late game.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
Blocks line of sight to protect your heroes from shooting or magic, can be used to block of enemy units and grants a mystic-shield like re-roll 1s to save to everyone around. Great use for 40 points, however sometimes unpredictable because it can disappear at the end of the round or block your own units off if placed badly. Since it’s not an endless spell, opponents can’t interact with it or unbind / dispell it.
Make yourself a 12″ measuring gauge. You will thank me later.
Everything always needs to be wholly within 12″ with this army to benefit from buffs, so everyone will cuddle up in one big orange haired, muscular ball of rage. So usually I place my Hearthguards from the battalion in front. The heroes behind, close to the Auric Hearthguard to throw off wounds. Make sure to leave space for the forge and don´t block your own path with it either.
The second unit of Hearthguard Berzerkers will tunnel with the Runesmiter. Note that these are two “dead” drops, so you can start with those without revealing any unit placement yet.
Due to the great mobility of the Kharadron units, hese can be stuck somewhere at the back out of harms way.
This list has 7 drops, so often you won´t have the choice of who goes first. However even against shooty Alpha Strike Armies this is not too bad. Use the Vulkites and Hearthguard Berzerkers to screen your heroes. No one cares if the Vulkite die and the Hearthguard can take the hit.
Get your two blocks of Hearthguard onto the important objectives and sit there with the heroes cuddled up inside. Activate your Hermdar ability to strike first if charged. Until the enemy finally manages to kill you off (remeber, Battleshock imune ww12″ of an objective), you´ll probably have scored enough points to win the game. Make use of the Kharadron to jump around, score vacant objectives and kill of small units or foot heroes. Don’t overcommit them, because they’ll die quickly if charged by anything thougher than gnoblars.