Wednesday, 25 September 2019

No Substitute: Discontinued Units in Cities of Sigmar - Part 1: Humans and Duardin


Nobody likes having a new army book, battletome or codex come out and feel like it's telling them their cherished older models are now consigned to the domain of friendly games and *shudder* community driven alternative rules sets, and it seems like this is what an awful lot of Cities of Sigmar players feel right now. I completely disagree with this sentiment, and have put together a guide detailing the best way to continue using both recently and long (we're talking like Dogs of War long) discontinued miniatures in Cities of Sigmar armies moving forward.

If you're interested in Cities of Sigmar (and you're likely to be, having already made the regrettable decision to visit a blog dedicated to them), you're probably at least passingly familiar with the original Warhammer Fantasy Battle armies from which their constituent parts are formed. The units comprising Cities of Sigmar's constituent mini factions once belonged to much larger ranges, with many units discontinued to fit a single army with as little internal overlap or contested shelf space as possible (don't worry, we're still AoS's largest range). In addition to the armies formerly known as the Empire, Dwarfs, High Elves, Dark Elves, and Wood Elves, this guide also covers how to fit units from the older WFB human ranges belonging to Bretonnia, Kislev and Dogs of War into Cities of Sigmar armies should you so wish.

I'm breaking this article into two posts for ease of navigation, with this section covering human and duardin/dwarf units and heroes (with a side order of halflings), and Part 2 everything aelf/elf. Every unit covered will have at least one Cities of Sigmar or allied warscroll suggested as the best means of representing it. Many discontinued units are better represented by existing warscrolls than others, and with this in mind I've put together the following grading system:

  • A - A perfect (or near perfect) fit, the old unit's appearance, background, how it fights, and what it looks like fully fulfilled by the suggested warscroll, and likely to earn your army serious cool points.
  • B - Good enough that it's obvious to your opponent what the model represents, but maybe not the most harmonious fit when it comes to the comparative status, fighting ability, or even equipment options of the old unit and what it's supposed to represent side by side.
  • C - Any Longbeard will tell you the regrettable truth that some units, characters and war machines simply have finite shelf lives, and find themselves orphaned, with no rules representing them, and no real suitable proxy. Thankfully the units this happens to usually aren't mainstays, and are normally niche units or characters on unusual mounts most players aren't likely to have more than a handful of. They're probably best left on the shelf as a reminder of happier days, but if you're really insistent on finding ways to still use models you love, I've included at least one suggestion for each.

Also flagged are the entries where existing models require varying degrees of conversion work to better fit a new warscroll, or are best represented by allies instead of Cities of Sigmar units.

I've made the decision to not include suggestions using a warscroll with the human, duardin or aelf keyword to represent a discontinued unit of a different race, as I believe that doing so is confusing and against the spirit of the game's background. Obviously everything expressed here is one player's opinion, and I'd never want to impede on your enjoyment; if you want to run a Halfling Hot Pot as a Drakespawn Knight, then that's between you and your opponent.

I've been a little eager putting this guide together, and it will be updated in full as soon as more information on Battletome: Cities of Sigmar becomes available. I'd also love to fill it with pictures of models from players' Cities of Sigmar armies (as well as my own) instead of stock photos of units painted by the 'Eavy Metal team, and if you'd like to show off you models here, then please contact me.


THE EMPIRE, FREEGUILD, COLLEGIATE ARCANE DEVOTED OF SIGMAR, AND HUMAN IRONWELD ARSENAL

Freeguild Archers:

Freeguild Crossbowmen (A): The loss of the gorgeous Freeguild/Empire Archers kit was probably the only casualty of this unit disappearing. From rank and file, non black powder Freeguild missile unit to rank and file non black powder Freeguild missile unit, I don't see how humans with bows could be mistaken for anything else available.


Free Company/Freeguild Guard with militia weapons:

Freeguild Guard, Crossbowmen, Handgunners and Greatswords (A): My undisputed favourite ever Games Workshop models, Free Company were a kit containing a lot of different weapons options (originally released for the skirmish game Mordheim), and as a unit were never that hot on WFB battlefields; so do what Empire players did back in the day and divide them up among your appropriately armed State Troops Freeguild units. Anyone with a hand weapon goes in Freeguild Guard unit armed with swords, the same for halberds, greatsword armed militia shock nobody and become Greatswords, blunderbusses go in Handgunner regiments, and crossbows and bow armed models become Crossbowmen. Pistol armed models are a little tricky, and if you can get their torsos off look grand converted into Pistoliers, otherwise their best fit is with Handgunners.


Empire Knights:

Demigryph Knights (A, minor conversion): Knights (of the horse riding, conventional variety) were a popular alternative to massed ranks of rather brightly coloured, fiddly to paint State Troops, and performed rather well on the battlefield, making them the backbone of most Empire armies back in the day, and have been the Empire and their descendants' biggest loss moving into Age of Sigmar. Before I tell you to use them as allied vampires, I'd like suggest a more innovative solution, requiring very little effort and earning you the acclamation of opponents everywhere.

Behold the humble Gryph-hound

Before you roll your eyes, close the article and make a mental note never visit my blog again, I'd like to put your fears at ease and say that that I'd never advocate a fiddly and ultimately underwhelming conversion involving swapping out parts of a horse with Gryph-hound bits to make a malnourished demigryph, and that what I'm suggesting is miles more elegant (and lazy). Simply take one of your existing Empire Knights, park him on a 75mm oval (leaving enough room), and slap an accompanying best boy hunting partner at his side. The knights' profile remains unchanged, and the extra wounds and improved mount attacks account for the Gryph-hound accompanying the horse. Yes, your knights' Gryph-hounds will have rend and do more damage than garden variety Stormcast ones, but just call them better trained...?

I plan on doing this with my own Empire Knights when my current painting schedule is cleared, and will upload pictures when I've done so.

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Blood Knights (B, allies): Vampires in the Mortal Realms can look like whatever you like, and as long as your knights haven't got too much Sigmarite or Blazing Sun iconography going, you can probably pull this off. Nowhere near as cool as giving them Gryph-hound buddies though.


Freeguild General on Warhorse:

Demigryph Knight Champion (B, minor conversion): Having hung around for a while with no knights to lead, the option to put a Freeguild general on a horse has finally ridden off into the sunset, taking a whole slew of wargear options with it. It's a little bit underwhelming to have the guy that used to run your entire army reduced to the model you take off before removing the standard or musician, but if you really want to keep using him, the best way to do it is by giving the aforementioned Gryph-Hound partnership a go and having him lead a unit of knights. Probably better off with a dignified retirement though.

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Vampire Lord (B, allies): See Empire Knights.


Freeguild General with Stately War Banner/Captain with Battle Standard:

Greatsword or Demigryph Knight Standard Bearer (B, possible minor conversion): There's no option to give Freeguild Generals a banner anymore, and while it is perfectly acceptable for yours to keep waving one with no Totem keyword or benefits if you want him to, it could get confusing, especially in Hammerhal armies. With this in mind, they could find purpose as the standard bearer of a Greatsword or Demigryph Knight unit (dependant on proximity to the ground).


Warrior Priest:

Freeguild General (A): Prayers don't do anything, but gives better rousing speeches.


Warrior Priest on Warhorse:

Demigryph Knight Champion (B, minor conversion): The last time I'll mention Gryph-hounds before we get to Bretonnia, but yeah, pretty much identical to a mounted general.


Excelsior Warpriest:

Freeguild General (A): With him being a model released for Age of Simgar (or at least a spin-off game) I was as shocked to see this guy go as anyone. Regardless, human melee hero, here you go.

Stormcast hero of some description (B): Bear with me. If anyone's put the Excelsior Warpriest next to any other human model, you'll be aware that he's at least 8' tall. In the Black Library short Ghosts of Demesnus by Josh Reynolds, Gardus Steel Soul forgoes his armour to visit his former mortal stomping grounds in Ghyran relatively incognito (or at least attempting to). We've established that the Excelsior Warpriest is huge; who's to say that he's not a holidaying Stormcast checking up on his old hometown?



War Altar of Sigmar:

Celestial Hurricanum (A, possible minor conversion): As well as using several of the same sprues, the War Altar of Sigmar now has even more in common with the Celestial Hurricanum in Age of Sigmar seeing as how Sigmar and Celestial magic are now more or less the same thing; the only major difference being that the War Alter's ridden by a priest and the Hurricanum a wizard. If you build your War Alter with Volkmar the Grim on top, then he's easily ostentatious enough to pass for a wizard with no conversion work. If you opted for the slightly more tawdry generic Arch Lector, then carefully snap him off (to use as an Excelsior Warpriest) and replace with a Battlemage. Magic!


Witch Hunter:

Freeguild General or Excelsior Warpriest (B): An iconic sculpt with a strong place in the background and player's hearts, the Witch Hunter miniature was one of the hardest hitting casualties of the recent wave of discontinued models, and remains just about usable as either of these character choices, even if his equipment and rules don't translate perfectly.

Freeguild Hangunner Champion with brace of pistols (B): He may have the right equipment, but darn it, the Witch Hunter is just too cool to use as a unit champion.

Dude poking out of the top of a Steam Tank (A, minor conversion): Give your witch hunter the seat of comfort and power he deserves. After all, what better way to target enemy magic users than behind half a foot of steel while aiming a cannon?


Gunmaster:

Freeguild Handgunner Champion with Long Rifle (A): Do what everyone did back when Empire engineers weren't worth costing a hero slot and use him as a particularly fancy Handgunner champ.

Image taken from sodemons.com

Characters on smaller, older griffons and other monsters:

Freeguild General or Battlemage on Griffon (A, minor conversion): Stick another smaller monster like a Great Eagle next to your small griffon on a 120mm base, and boom! It's an unmistakable larger monster. If you're really lazy just raise your older griffon's stature by mounting it on as suitable rock.


Wizard Lord on Pegasus/Balthasar Gelt:

Battlemage on Griffon (B, minor conversion): Same principle as the smaller griffon above, fill out a larger base and the griffon's statline with another small monster. That said, a pegasus is significantly less intimidating than even the tiniest griffon, and may make for a diminished result result.

Stormcast Lord Arcanum on Gryph-charger (C): While Balthasar Gelt may have been outed as a Stormcast in the Black Library Soul Wars tie-in, his existing model isn't. If you're desperate for a mounted human mage character with a special rule that could represent short bursts of flight, then this is the best you're gonna get, though using non Stormcast units as Stormcast (especially with Cities of Sigmar armies having full access to Stormcast) is likely to cause a lot of confusion, and the equivalent of running Cadians as Primaris Space Marines.


Wizard on Warhorse:

Stormcast Lord Arcanum on Gryph-charger (C): As pegasus above but even more thinly stretched. Consider remounting on a griffon or retiring.


Great Cannon:

Hellblaster Volley Gun/Helstorm Rocket Battey and mercenary Blacksmoke Battery Cannon (A, allies, involves painting new models): Dwarf Cannons aren't dead. The mercenary company rules included in the General's Handbook 2019, whether by accident or design have created a sort of life raft for Cannons and Organ Guns, allowing them to still be fielded as allies by Cities of Sigmar forces, even if they won't benefit from any allegiance abilities, and are condemned to be stuck with their terrible, cumbersome old rules for crew forever.

An Empire Great Cannon gives you one Cannon, bereft of duardin crew, and a trio of human crew without a Hellblaster Volleygun or Helstorm Rocket Battery to fire. Acquire assemble and paint both of these, and you're golden, with two new war machines for the time and effort of one.


Mortar:

Helstorm Rocket Battery (A): One lobs cannonballs in the air, the other fireworks. Both come down on enemies' heads. Same principle, the Mortar's just decidedly less fancy.


I love ya, but you're dumb

War Wagon:

Steam Tank (C): War Wagons haven't been a thing for 19 years, and you've probably come to terms with their loss. I miss them dearly, but if you're lucky enough own one, maybe just save it for friendly games.


Halflings:

Freeguild Guard or Crossbowmen dependant on weapon options (A): With their being no mention of the Moot or its inhabitants in the End Times series, I think it's very safe to assume that every single one of the Old World's halflings survived unscathed into the Age of Sigmar.

Empire players have been mixing halflings in with their state regiments since they disappeared for good in 7th edition WFB. Personally I think they look a lot better suck into the back of human regiments in matching uniforms than they ever did as standalone units, and it probably spares them from being mistaken for duardin in Cities of Sigmar forces too.


Halfling Hot Pot:

Helstorm Rocket Battery (C): I love the Halfling Hot Pot more than most of my immediate family, but there's really not anything quite powerful enough to represent it in games of Age of Sigmar. Probably best left to the sidelines of a Blood Bowl pitch.


DWARFS (INCLUDING TROLLSLAYERS), DISPOSSESSED, AND DUARDIN IRONWELD ARSENAL



Dwarf/Dispossessed Warriors:

Longbeards (A): A lot of Dispossessed players got a proper grumble on at Warriors being taken away from them with Cities of Sigmar, but failed to see it for what it really was, their warriors being promoted. A dwarf with an axe is a dwarf with an axe, and whether your Warriors were the (imo) particularly inadequate 2005 plastics, or infidelity preferable earlier metal models, guess what? Those dwarfs are pretty bloody old, and they and you have earned the right to pull up a pipe and grumble. Arise, Longbeards.


Thunderers:

Irondrakes (B): Thunderers and Quarrellers are Dwarfs/Dispossessed's biggest loss, with no immediately translatable unit. Irondrakes are the only comparable duardin missile unit, and while that means it should be obvious what they're representing, the gulf in the scope of weapons they use and level of armour worn is too severe for me and I'll be retiring mine.


Quarrellers:

Irondrakes (C): As Thuderers, but they don't even use guns. Maybe with some severe conversion work, like flaming crossbows using parts from the Sisters of the Watch kit. BRB, comparing sprues...


Rangers:

Longbeards (B): I lost count of the times back in the day when my opponents looked at me like I was cheating when I said my Rangers were armed with crossbows and were going to stand and shoot, having to turn the models around and tilt them in order to get a good view of the missile weapons hidden under their shields. If you're lucky enough to own a unit of Rangers with their crossbows hidden from plain sight, then there shouldn't be anything preventing you from running them as Warriors Longbeards.


Miners:

Longbeards with great axes (A): As Warriors.


Cannon and Organ Gun:

Cannon and Organ Gun (A, allies, these still exist): As explained above in the Great Cannon entry, I've got no idea if it's intentional or not, but the Cannon and Organ Gun are both still usuable as allies in a Cities of Sigmar force thanks to the magic of the General's Hanbook 2019's Blacksmoke Battery mercenary company. It remains unfortunate that their crew will fall over and die in a stiff breeze.

If you're interested in using your Cannons and Organ guns as part of the Blacksmoke Battery, there are a wealth of exclusive synergies on offer to Cities of Sigmar armies, especially those hailing from Greywater Fastness, that I've written about in detail in a guide for this site, posted here.


Grudge Thrower:

Cannon (C): Not the best fit. Leave it on the shelf or turn into scenery and recycle the crew?


Bolt Thrower:

Stormcast Celestar Ballista (B, new crew): Replace the crew with the Stormcast pair from a Celestar Ballista. At which point you'll have a Celestar Ballista and might as well paint that up along with the crew to use instead.

Cannon (C): Calling the Bolt Thrower a better fit to sub for a Cannon than the Grudge Thrower would be like naming the tallest dwarf.


Flame Cannon:

Cannon (A): The clue's in the name.


Dwarf Lord on Shieldbearers:

Warden King (A, minor conversion recommended if sanity to be retained): Perfectly suitable Warden King, it's not like the two guys balancing the shield were ever going to have a lot of impact on fighting anyway. Alternatively, if you've ever had to suffer through regularly using one of these models and regularly having to reattach the three metal dwarfs making it up, then I don't need to tell you to slap the Dwarf Lord on a regular 32mm base, and give the two Shieldbearers a much needed (permenant holiday) at the bottom of a drawer somewhere.


Runelord on Anvil of Doom:

Runelord (A, minor conversion): Snap the Runelord off the Anvil to use as... well, a Runelord, consider doing the same with the Anvil Guards to run as Warden Kings or unit champions, and call the Anvil thematic scenery.


Unforged, Trollslayers and Slayer characters:

Fyreslayers (B, allies): Coming as a shock to nobody, the Unforged and older metal Slayer models are easily identifiable as Fyreslayers, with entire army's worth of different weapons loadouts and heroes to represent them to your heart's content. Unfortunately, as repeatedly expressed by Gotrek, Fyreslayers aren't exactly "real" Slayers, have a totally different culture and way of fighting, and once you get past the initial resemblance don't even look particularly similar up close. You can easily say you're using Fyreslayer rules to represent Unforged, or that your Fyreslayer lodge comes from a remote part of Ghur, low on ur-gold, and with wearing trousers foremost in their list of divergent customs though, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.


Malakai Makaisson's Goblin Hewer:

Organ Gun (A): If Valaya and Grungni have respectively blessed you with the fortune to own one of these puppies, and the patience required to successfully pin it together, and aren't using it as an Organ Gun already, then you should very ashamed of yourself, and as a result maybe consider taking the Slayer Oath.


Malakai Makaisson:

Cogsmith (A): He's even got a repeater handgun.


Long Drong's Slayer Pirates:

Arknaut Company or Vulkite Berzerkers (C, allies or Tempest's Eye): If only there was a way to evenly portion out this unit's pirate and trollslayer elements into two respective Kharadron and Fyreslayer units. Unfortunately there isn't, and they're not a fantastic fit to represent either.


BRETONNIA

I'm fully aware that Bretonnia currently still has compendium warscrolls and matched play points, and have included them here both because I've got no idea how long it'll be before those compendium warscrolls get the Warhammer Legends treatment and disappear, and to demonstrate how an existing Bretonnian collection can seamlessly be used as the foundation of a Cities of Sigmar force. Bretonnia's more esoteric units in Pegasus Knights and Trebuchets have a hard time finding purchase as Cities of Sigmar warscrolls, but the army's trademark backbone of various kinds of knight on regular horse and peasant infantry transition into CoS armies with minimal effort.



Knights of all stripes and mounted knightly characters:

Demigryph Knights (A, minor conversion): See Empire Knights. Each member gains a Gryph-hound best friend, and Bretonnia's signature unit are back, fighting at the power level they deserve and not confusing anyone by having to pretend to be aelves or vampires.

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Blood Knights (A, allies): A much better fit for Bretonnian knights than Empire ones, what with all the grail imaginary, lack of "SIGMAR" embossed on their breastplates, and meaner looking horses. Didn't Aborash and Giles have a sort of bromance going on in the novel Lord of the End Times?


Hippogryph:

Freeguild General on Griffon (A, minor conversion): Just add another small monster (possibly a Pegasus Knight or two) and put on a 120mm oval, as described with the smaller Empire griffons.


Knightly characters on Foot:

Freeguild General (A): Not sure I need to explain this one.


Damsel:

Battlemage (A): Beginning to wonder why Bretonnia even had their own army book at all.


Men-at-Arms:

Freeguild Guard with halberd or spears (A): Did anybody bother giving their Men-at-Arms spears? I know they were an option, but didn't come on the sprue.


Grail Pilgrims:

Freeguild Guard with swords (A): You'll have to loose the Grail Reliquae, but you will be gaining a distinct unit that looks absolutely nails.


Archers and Squires:

Freeguild Crossbowmen (A): See Empire/Freeguild archers.


Mounted Yeomen/Mounted Squires:

Freeguild Outriders or Pistoliers (C): Both are human light cavalry with missile weapons, but that's about where the similarities end, and you'd be sending Baldrick to do Lord Flashheart's job. Mercifully Mounted Yeomen had to compete with much more exciting options in Questing Knights, Pegasus Knights and Grail Pilgrims for a much coveted special slot back before the world blew up, and so the number of Bretonnian players owning any can likely be counted on one hand.


Pegasus Knights:

Freeguild General on Griffon (A, minor conversion): See Hippogryph. Unfortunately you are going to need a hippogryph for every two Pegasus knights, and will struggle to use your entire collection if you ran a flying circus back in the day.

Stormcast Prosecutors (C): If you've got enough Pegasus Knights to be able to do this, you've probably got enough other Bretonnian units that you don't have to.


Trebuchet:

Helstorm Rocket Battery (C): Hard to proxy in rules and spirit (it certainly doesn't look like anything built by the Ironweld Arsenal) and probably best left on the shelf.. No huge loss, as no Bretonnian player is likely to own more than two of them anyway.


The Green Knight:

Stormcast Lord Celestant on Dracoth (B): He's supernatural enough that it's easily justified, but the rules don't feel like the tightest fit. Maybe run him in a Living City force?


KISLEV

Boyar:

Freeguild General (A): Like a regular Freeguild General but with vodka breath and a much better hat.



Winged Lancers and Gryphon Legion:

Demigryph Knights (A, minor conversion): See Empire Knights. Just add Gryph-Hounds, those feathers have got to come from somwhere!

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Blood Knights (B, allies): Remember that bit at the end of the first Blade film when Blade rocks up in Russia and says "Hello, comrade" to a vampire? This is it.


Horse Archers:

Freeguild Outriders or Pistoliers (B, major conversion): Not the smoothest fit, but if you swap their bows out for the glowy ones from the Sisters of the Watch kit, you can say they've got magical frost bows that are the equal of any gun.



Kossars:

Freeguild Greatswords or Crossbowmen (B): A hybrid melee/ranged unit with no Cities of Sigmar option to neatly slot into, I'd suggest splitting the models wielding axes and bows between Greatswords and Crossbowmen respectively.


Tzar Boris:

Demigryph Knight Champion (B): It's a sorry thing to see the exquisite Tzar Boris's most viable rules in any game system being a mere unit champions, but on the other hand if you own a Tzar Boris miniature and aren't regularly using him then you probably don't deserve to own a Tzar Boris miniature.

Stormcast Lord-Celestant on Dracoth (C): I mean it's not a unit champion...


DOGS OF WAR

If you're unfamiliar with Dogs of War dogs of war then don't despair, they were a short-lived mercenary army hailing from a pastiche of renaissance Italy released over 20 years ago, who despite having a big cult following, never quite caught on as a mainstream Warhammer army. If you're interested in finding out more about them, then check out the retrospective review of their army book I recently wrote. Before anyone gets excited, it's probably worth clarifying that the Dogs of War were a mostly human army, and not in fact actual dogs.


Pikemen:

Freeguild Guard with spears (A): I mean they should probably have a 3" weapon range instead of 2", but hey. If only AoS still measured from the model and not the base...


Crossbowmen:

Freeguild Crossbowmen (A): I thought I'd go for the least obvious choice. Braganza's Besiegers probably don't suit a 6+ save as well as their counterparts mind.


Duelists:

Freeguild Swordsmen (A): Cloaks and parrying daggers as shields.


Knights/Venators/Al Mukhtar's Desert Dogs:

Demigryph Knights (A, minor conversion): See Empire Knights. Everything's better with Gryph-Hounds.

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Blood Knights (B, allies): See Empire Knights. The vampire that sired these guys can't have been picky.


Birdmen of Catrazza:

Stormcast Prosecutors (C): If you've managed maintain ownership of these models for 21 years without their flying stands snapping, causing them to chip and fall apart, then you've earned the right to run them as whatever you damn well like.


Galloper Guns:

Hellblaster Volley Gun (B, minor conversion): Galloper Gun barrels were pretty small when they debuted, and thanks to models getting bigger and better in the intervening decades are now dwarfed by a regular handgun. I'd recommend squeezing two of these (horseless) onto a a 90mm oval and calling them a Hellblaster.


Phew! Head on over to Part 2 if you're interested in ideas on how to continue using the various aelf/elf units made itinerant over the course of Age of Sigmar.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for a really nice and well thought article! Really nice ideas on how to use your old models in the new AoS 2/Cities of Sigmar.

    I have big armies (mostly 5-6th ed and forward) of both the empire and dwarfs and would love to use as much as possible of them, and this is a great inspiration!

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  2. I planned on using my Kossars as Shadow Warriors. The human vs aelf aspect doesn't really matter and its much better fit than your solution.

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    1. Cool, as stated in the intro my suggestions are just personal preference and what you want to use your models as is totally up to you. :)

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  3. I know I'm late for this but, Dwarf Thunderers/Quarrellers are just short Freeguild Handgunners/Crossbowmen.

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    1. If your opponent allows, Dwarf Warriors can also be Freeguild Guard (two handed become halberd, as and shield become sword and shield).

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