Irondrakes is a Dwarfs missile infantry unit in Total War: Warhammer. The Irondrakes wield drakeguns, firing bursts of alchemical fury over anyone in their path.
The bitter underground wars that the Dwarfs fight daily to protect their Holds are evolving, as the Dwarfs' foes come up with diabolical plans to get past Dwarfen defences. Time and again, the Dwarfs' courage and rune-enhanced weapons and armour have turned the tide, yet their foes have learned; when Skaven find the corridor blocked by unmovable Ironbreakers, they call for their own loathsome countermeasures - warpflame-spewing fire throwers, gas grenades or cobbled-together chopping machines. For their part, Night Goblins turn to mushroom-addled ball and chain-wielding Fanatics, Cave Squigs or Troll mobs. For the Dwarfs' defence, the cost in lives is high. It was the Engineers' Guild that invented the drakegun, a weapon which fires a blast of alchemical fury - a searing bolt of blazing energy. Short-ranged but incredibly potent, a single volley from a unit bearing drakeguns can halt the onrushing charge of enraged Mangler Squigs. Ironbreakers who show an aptitude with the drakegun were further trained and formed into new units. When first used, even the Gromril armour of the Ironbreakers struggled to protect against the intense heat generated by the fiery blasts. With the aid of Runesmiths, new armoured suits were developed bearing runes of protection first designed to safeguard those who work in the high temperatures of the massive forges. Now, when confronted by a foe capable of breaking through a wall of Ironbreakers, a new fighting tactic has been developed. Ironbreakers open ranks to allow the Irondrakes to file past. With well-drilled precision and the barking orders of an Ironwarden, the dark is soon illuminated by molten blasts. The stalwart Dwarfs blaze away as attackers fall, their crumpled bodies still smoking with fist-sized holes burned through their flesh. The Irondrakes have proven so effective that their services are pressed into action wherever a throng may fight.
- ▲ Anti-Infantry: Anti-infantry units have an advantage against targets that are smaller than a horse. This advantage can be a damage bonus against small targets, superior weight used to smash through lighter enemies, or an explosive attack from range that effects a large area.
- ▲ Armoured: Armoured: Armoured units can block damage from any source apart from Armour-Piercing damage.
- ▼ Weak Against Armour: This unit's attack can hardly punch through armour and is thus wasted on heavily armoured enemies.
Tricky to use but phenomenally effective when used correctly. If they can get a good volley off into a mass of infantry they can potentially kill hundreds in just a few seconds with a wave of flame. Each model is fairly tough, but the unit size is very small and can easily be over-run by a normal sized unit. Their small unit size can also be used to their benefit by hiding them among your other units in your backline and then slipping them through small gaps or around the flanks to fire at a 90 degree angle to the lines so as to not hit your own Dwarfs to much (a little won't get through their armor). There is not tarpit that can survive this kind of assault for long and the leadership effect is such that whole enemy line can chain rout remarkably quickly. Heavily armor units won't take as much damage, but they may start to waver anyway particularly if their tarpit was just incinerated.
Heavily armored dwarfs wielding primitive flamethrowers, Irondrakes are the dwarfs' answer to horde armies, and they are brutally effective in this role...if you can manage correctly. While their short range and limited mobility can leave them vulnerable to cavalry or particularly fast-moving infantry, their area of effect attacks and their high damage numbers make swift work of most lightly armored enemies. They, along with the line infantry and the heavy artillery, are the last component in the tactical trifecta that makes dwarf armies so brutally effective on the field.
Some tips for their use:
1. Make sure that enemy cavalry (or fast infantry) cannot simply ride you under. While this is a perennial problem for dwarfs, Irondrakes are one of the units that really suffers from it, as their attacks require them to effective set up, and then take time to prime their weapons.
2. Try to flank enemy infantry where possible. The longer, raking shots will work just like artillery, but the low armor-piercing values will mean that your dwarfs are far better-suited to surviving that kind of attack.
3. For a variety of reasons, flamethrowers prove to be excellent tools for killing most archers. Use them, and remember to practice the appropriate cackle for when your enemies howl. Just remember not to use them on dwarf crossbowmen, or chameleon skinks.