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Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:15 am
by Dalamar
I'm curious what you all think about Dragons in warhammer.

In all regards really, GW idea of the miniature, their application on the battlefield, their use as mount for various types of characters, ways of dealing with them or general overpoweredness (but since this is Tactics forum, try to write at least something about tactics ;) ).

I'm a giant fan of dragons, I try to include them in my lists as much as I can.
The pre-high elf plastic dragon era is a bit of a hit and miss with the miniatures though. 5th edition HE dragon had Dark Pegasus wings, which looked funny on the large model, then for some reason GW insisted on putting human looking ribcages on their dragons (except the wood elf one, which is one of the better ones). Finally they came up with the latest HE dragon and the new DE dragon, those two are sweet.

I know how despised they were in 7th edition and before, capable of taking on nearly anything and breaking it on the charge. Fully ranked unit could pose a problem with their static CR of +5, but even then the probability of dragon winning was staggering.

Nowadays I see dragons as expensive surgical tool. One wrong charge and the dragon is gone, just ask some local Ogres ;). With the advent of large blocks of infantry and introduction of Steadfast, dragons are becoming a dwindling race. Sure, they can still most likely grind down most opposition to nothing, but it will take them time, time that the enemy has to bring friends to flank charge the dragon.

So I'm more and more deliberating using Dragons as mounts for my Level 4 wizards. That way the entire model is still effective while staying out of combat, and I'm much less inclined to commit it to a charge that it has a chance of losing. It also makes for a really expensive hard to catch model, as long as any artillery is dealt with swiftly.

Let the floodgates of ideas open!

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:25 am
by Kefka
I love dragons as well, they are the archetype "big bad monster" of fantasy, and seeing one on a battle field gets me excited.
Though, this is coming from an ogre player. As you said, I love the challenge of running my tyrant out and facing the beast.

On the flip side, playing an army that has access to dragons, I usually save using them until 3000+ games or storm of magic. They are just a bit too expensive for me, and it only takes a stray cannon shot or two to take him out. I wish dragons could get more protection, it seems they die too easily to anything that deals multi wounds.

The models, however, I can't get enough of. I have 3 painted dragons, and 2 more sitting waiting for conversions and paint.

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:29 am
by Omnichron
I love the dragons, and the idea of our dreaded lord or sorceresses riding it into war.

As for the usage of it. I feel it has become a worse choice over time. It once ruled as the biggest, heaviest and most dangerous monster out there, but over time, the armies have gained newer, bigger and meaner monsters. Also, the armies have gained the equipment needed to deal with these magnificent beasts, which kinda leaves them less unique than they used to be... and they are rarely seen on the battlefield because of these things.

They can do alot of damage, but also be shot down rather quickly, which kinda makes them potential big waste of points.

I will use dragons alot when I play bigger battles with friends, but in tournaments I don't see it as such a great option unfortunately.

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:41 am
by Assani
I agree with all of u. Dragons are very nice models, its fluff and they are pretty good. But as u all say, they are easy to take down for most armies.

If I field one, and I often do in friendly games, I run him straight ahead towards the enemy with warmachine as targets. Or easy picking units. Then I get fewer rounds of shooting and magic against it.

In my opinion they have to move quickly into combat, and hope it holds until help comes along :twisted: .

Btw, our new dragon = sweet model :shock: :D

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:32 pm
by Masterofdarkness
Yep I am planning on using galrauch as the base for my dragon. I just need to figureout what I want to run with him. I was planning on having a slot on the base where a person is standing so I can swap out characters.

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:25 pm
by Dalamar
That's why I'm lately mounting a sorceress on it's back.

When dealing with war machines, it doesn't matter what kind of rider the dragon has, it should destroy the machine on the charge.

But with sorceress on top, it can more often than not destroy one more nearby, or hurt another unit. Soul Stealer, Blade Wind and Black Horror are all damage spells you can cast from combat as they're not magic missiles and perched on top of a dragon, not many things will block your LoS.

Then by the end of the game the dragon with sorceress (I like to give my dragon riding sorc a Whip of Agony so she's not totally useless in combat with 2 S5 attacks) can rear charge some weakened unit and stand a good chance at breaking it.

Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:23 pm
by Sulla
Wouldn't a sorceress with the whip and pendant, mounted on a pegasus, achieve the same results everywhere except vs a unit for a fraction of the cost? (rhetorical question)

Regardless of that, I think it totally depends on the enemies you will be facing. My typical enemies preclude fielding large monsters due to either massed war michines, magic (gateway and flickering fire) or huge infantry blocks. 2 of the armies I face regularly are also entirely s5 or greater greatly reducing the dragon's ability to choose safe places to engage in combat.

I think that last point sums up the real issue with dragons and other large monsters in 8th. It's not war machines (although they got a lot better at killing big guys). It's a combination of war machines, combat buffs and hexes, steadfast and casualty removal, huge 40+ combat blocks and the huge number of great weapon hordes out there all combining to increase the risk to your big investment both in and out of combat and reduce them to a support unit. None of these things stop a dragon being powerful but they do mean it is overpriced for what it can actually achieve on the tabletop.

Looking at the current crop of 8th edition monsters, it will be interesting to see what direction gw go with dragons/ridden flying monsters in the new books. Will they increase resilience like the terrorgeist, arack or warsphinx or just lower cost like the wyvern?

Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:10 pm
by Dalamar
Sorceress on a pegasus would have trouble fighting some war machines (say dwarf machines with 4 crew of T4 dwarves? Rather unlikely she'll kill them all on the charge.

And would be absolutely unable to deal with anything stronger like a unit of skirmishers, fast cavalry or a small shooting unit. Rear charging any blocks of infantry in the later stages of the game would be very risky as well.

Dragons are supposed to be the most powerful of monsters. I hope they will put them on par with the other beasts. But that will also mean increase in points costs and they already barely fit in 2500 points armies.

Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:34 pm
by Omnichron
I'd guess the point of fielding a sorc on the flyer would be to avoid close combat entirely, which is why I wouldn't put her on a dragon.... I wouldn't want her to be picked apart in close combat.

In general, I see the reasoning for making something stronger on a field it's rather weak, by pushing in equipment, mounts and improving it... However I disagree with it. Compared to the points, a unit which is made to take on everything, might have lost its field of expertise and just end up a as a big blob of points which is just allright at its original task.

By instead improving a choice in what it is made for, you get several awesome and fun parts of a force to fight with, and I think this particulary is true to the dragon and close combat (So, I wouldn't choose a sorc on the dragon with that in mind).

By having the dragon with a close combat specialist, you won't think twice about running into most units. By wearing equipment on a lord which also protects both him and the dragon (like the ring of darkness/shadows or what it was called), you specialize it on its field, and thereby make it a more viable choice.

At least, that's my two cents :)

Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:24 am
by Dalamar
I look at it this way:

Dragon - strong combat unit
Sorceress - strong caster.

Together - strong caster that can engage in combat (Chaos sorcerers do it all the time)

Yes, you can put dreadlord on a dragon and focus on the combat strength of the unit, making it even stronger. But Dreadlord won't make the dragon any better at breaking blocks of infantry (or any other unit), while sorceress can decimate units like that with a sneer on her face with a Soul Stealer followed by Black Horror followed by combat round with breath attack and thunderstomp.

By having the dragon with a close combat specialist, you won't think twice about running into most units.

This is in my opinion a downfall of a combat dragonlord. Overconfidence. Units are far more resilient in 8th edition than they were in 7th. They can also always strike back as long as there are troops left. Dragons have to be used with great care and having a sorceress on top allows you to do that without wasting turns getting the dragon into position, after all you want your 600+ point investment to earn its keep.

And once the dragon is in position for a crippling charge, those 3 (2 in case of my build with Whip of Agony sorceress) extra attacks won't make such a huge difference.

Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:22 am
by Leduwob
I love dragons, but they were not my choice in recent battles. Why? Because is almost impossible to put them in 1500 or 2000 pts army. So many Hydras, Manticors, Chimera are out there today, for a far less points then the dragons 320 points. Also the newer the monster is, is usually harder to be killed, have all sorts of cappabilities...
Its just like with our RBT, they are good, but they are not worth their points. Dragons have to see some pts cost reduction, which I doubt will happen, so...

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:54 am
by Red...
@leduwob: I take it that you are referring to Storm of Magic (Chimeras can't be found elsewhere IIRC and normal mantis with just T5, 4 wounds and no armour save are too squishy to be useful). It is indeed difficult to fit a dragon into a 1500 or 2000 point list, but personally I think that's a good thing - I mean, how many small skirmishing forces would really be led by a Dragon Lord?

For me dragons make a fun occasional include in 3k games, particularly if I know my opponent is going to be running a cheesy list (or after one terrible warhammer weekend - where I took a generic dwarf army into a mini tournament and got destroyed 4 times in a row by two brand new tooled up Ogre Armies and a Horde of Chaos Warriors - and I really wanted to win in my next game...). But generally, I think they have a much more viable role in fluffy, fun 4k+ games.

But essentially yes, Dalamar you are right. A dragon is now a surgical tool for taking out specific objectives and taking them out reliably. That said, the combination of thunderstomp and a breath attack do make it possible to take out heavier units if you really need it to. I still think they are very good value for their points and are pretty unrivalled by any other unit or monster out there. I mean, T6, with 6 wounds and a 3+ armour save is pretty stunningly resistant compared to many of the other options that older armies in particular have (e.g. wyverns, manticores, giants, etc).

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:28 am
by A.andersson
No! Dont falter! Dragons can be great in tournaments and a competitive envronment as well! I turned up 3rd place in a tournament ( using etc restrictions) playing with a dread lord dragon. The trick was not to surgical strike (although that may have worked as well), but to combo charge with my other hitters. A sorceress would have to use a combat oriented lore for that to function though...

Few units stand a chanse against dragon+knights+hydra. This tactic just goes back to old elf tactics some editions back were you had to use several units in conjuction to achive victory.

Good luck and dont underestimate the raw power of the dragon!

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:29 pm
by Dalamar
At this point you hardly need a dragon. You already have knights and a hydra in combat (One of which is probably on a flank)... so the Dragon can get busy causing havoc somewhere else.

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:28 pm
by Tyrannus deathbringer
I'm a big fan of Dragons in fantasy in general (and in real life ;) )

I'm also a fan of the newer plastic GW Dragons and I'm currently involved in converting two of them :D

Dragons IMO are an under utilised aspect of Warhammer and always have been. The mystique of creations like Chaos Warriors and Space Marines did much to forge GW's brand, but GW have never managed to create a strong brand image in Dragons or exploit their full potential in either their existing games or any spin offs.

The past design of the models has always been vastly different from model to model, and they have generally been too small. Their in game rules on the other hand have always been good, though I would say underpowered rather than overpowered (fluff wise not necessarily game-balance wise).

I think you are being kind Dalamar when you describe the past models as 'hit and miss'. Even the new plastic Dragons while good IMO, are not great and pale in comparison to other model Dragons out there.

I haven't played a big enough game of 8th to include a Dragon yet, though I'm looking forward to doing so. As with other flying monsters I would be looking to avoid cannon balls and use their mobility and power to hit the flanks of units I've already engaged from the front. There is nothing more irritating than your Dragon riding Lord being challenged by a unit champ then beaten in CR :evil:

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:48 pm
by A.andersson
Yeah most of the time. But in some not so very unusual situations it might be required... You would still have great flexibility though, and those three units can easily lock down a large portion of the battle field with potential charges. Wich I find is key to winning a battle, (gaining momentum). But I get your point, this would work to a certain degree with a lv4. Depends on the matchup though. And the question then would be: is that relible enough to take to a tournament?

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:06 am
by Eglard
I use a dragon lord with my DE nowadays all the time. Though he cannot single handedly break ranked units on the charge, he can kill very many models. I try to get combo charges on big expensive units with the dragon, hydra, cold one chariot noble (with black dragon egg), cold ones and black guard. Any 3 of these units can deal serious damage on the charge. I try to destroy my opponent in one round of CC.

He is also ideal at dealing with knight units and monsters. Cannons are a problem, and they have to be dealt by other units.

Modelwise I prefer the reaper dragons. They have a sense of movement in them that the GW dragons just do not have. Though I have to admit that our new dragon is awesome.

I have also been thinking about the dragon sorceress, but I have stayed away from it because I feel that it could not exploit the dragons combat powers to their fullest extent. A dread lord can also take more punishment on the way in. But still a sorceress with a whip should win combat against almost any unit with thunder stomp and breath attack. Not a bad choice, but a more costly one than dread lord.

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:12 am
by Dangerous Beans
I love dragons - until I met my ex-girlfriend... :lol:

Nah seriously, before I ever knew much about warhammer I always dreamt of fielding an army with multiple dragons though it was mostly 6th ed that I ever used them with some amount of regularity (the cries of cheese when our 7th ed book rather forced me into a mindset to play deliberately trickier DE lists in an attempt to cease these screams although my few close WH playing mates love using or fighting against dragons: a HE player, WE and Skaven).

I have begun reconsidering what it would be like to be fielding the dragon lady again with the old focus familiar, pendent and possibly black dragon egg (2 breath attacks vs a horde? Erm yes please... followed by doombolt, chillwind or black horror to finish off? YUM!). This particularly came to my concious realisation when both:

a) I read Storm of Magic and began drooling at the prospect of playing a game with a dragon riding sorceress
b) I acquired our snazzy new plastic dragon kit, whom 90% of it I love but see a few criticisms in that the leg wrapping around the tree looks a little weird, the riders look a little static/legoman and the model stands VERY tall so that gaining any cover save (woods/buildings) or hiding from LOS becomes hard, although the conversion work I have planned should help all these factors ;)

I also echo the points of using dragons either in sync with our other units (and try to make sure we attack flanks to negate their 2nd rank hitting our lovely model and also stop that annoying parry save) and that in fact a dark lore wizard (who lacks range anyway and wants to be near the action) would complement a dragon perfectly: particularly because if she were to suffer a couple of wounds (or to help prevent her demise anyway) then soul stealer quickly gives her a fix up AND drastically drops horde sized units down.

In that sense I think a shadow wizard would complement this combo nicely (reduce enemy WS and/or I from hitting our WS6 I3 creature/strength to stop them wounding or toughness so that our breath weapon(s) become more devastating :twisted:

I think with other unit choices like 3 harpy units (put warmachines under pressure), dual 10 man shade units (unit enemy shooting units) and dual hydras (target saturation) should take the heat off this girl and her pet.

Saying all of that, she really is only a beast for 2500pt+ games but this I feel is befitting of a model so grand, large and magnificent!

As for how 8th affects Dragons, I believe that you cover it rather nicely Dal, though seeing as no army books (aside from Zombie Dragons but theyre half dead anyway and can be healed) from 8th ed. yet have had any dragons, I wonder if they'll introduce the new sized dragons (storm of chaos style) and perhaps allow wizard upgrades for them (black should blatantly be death or dark!).

I'll post more about this when its not 3am :P