keskiviikko 4. lokakuuta 2017

Where is he now - Berserker

One of the special troop types presented in the 3rd edition rule book is berserkers. Their descripsion says that they are units of troop that can enter a wild and uncontrollable frenzy. The berserker frenzy resebles the psychological effect frenzy but is something a bit more.

Berserkers are found in Norse armies, both in the mercenary contigent and in the WD107 published full Norse army list. The are available in both human and norse dwarf form. Chaos dwarf berserkers can be fielded as part of a chaos mercenary contingent. Chaos dwarf berserker units are also available for Khornate armies as ppesented in Slaves to Darkness.

Once again I´m supported by LM´s apparently infinite
collection of miniatures. Norse berserkers with 2H axes.

Before a battle the berserkers work themselves into a battle-fury by clashing their swords, chewing their shields and singing ´berserkers songs´. Al this will turn them into frothing homicidal maniacs with foaming mouths and glazed eyes. They will attack anyone or anything that gets in their way. Berserkers are so battle-crazed that even deadly wounds won´t necessarily stop them.

THE RULES (p. 96)
  1. Berserkers never wear armour, but may carry a shield. They may be armed with any hand-to-hand and throwing weapon, such as a throwing spear or axe. Many berserkers carry two hand weapons, choosing to forego a ´namby-pampy´ shield in favour of offensive weapons.

    All this suits the berserker style quite nicely. One could of course squable about the throwing weapons being not very berserky but hey, you don´t have to take those if you don´t want to. 3rd edition rules for wielding two hand weapons are pretty harsh. The +1 to hit bonus from frenzy helps with that but it´s up to you if you want to go that way. If I were facing goblins or other troops of low WS, two hand weapons could be a choise for norse dwarf berserkers.
  2. Berserkers automatically enter frenzy the first time they charge or are charged. No dice test is made. Once berserkers are frenzied they remain so for the rest of the battle.

    Nicely in line with the general description of the berserkers and their lust for battle.

    Don´t forget the effects of frenzy: +1 to hit and to wound rolls, +1 to any saving throw, never take rout tests, cannot be routed and ignore psychology tests.
  3. Berserkers cannot be pushed-back in hand-to-hand combat, nor can they be routed as a result of hand-to-hand combat. They will refuse to give ground and will fight to the death regarless of circumstances. They must always follow-up in close combat regarless of the circumstances.

    This is a very good trait. It means that even if you lose a round of combat your enemy won´t get that +1 to hit bonus for pushing you back. As you are not pushed back. These guys can be used as an anchor point of your battle-line. They will not run a away from combat allowing your other troops to take on enemy flanks and rear.
  4. If a unit of frenzied berserkers finds itself not in hand-to-hand combat at the beginning of it´s turn, it must charge the nearest enemy troop. If there are no enemy troops within charge range, the berserkers battle-lust is such that they will charge any friendly troops in charge range! If no troops are in charge range they will move at double rate towards the nearest visible enemy.

    In my opinion this is not as bad as it might initially sound. Just make sure that there are no on units in front of the berserkers and you are out of harms way. The rule doesn´t state what to do if there is no visible enemy. Perhaps then the berserkers would manouver towards nearest friendly unit in order to get in charge range. I would propably GM it that way.
  5. Berserkers must always pursue routing enemy, including previously friendly units! Once they have entered frenzy they do not need to reform after pursuit or a charge, but are concidered insantly reformed and must attack or move towards any enemy of friendly unit as described above.

    Very well in line with everything above. And a good clarification about reforming.
Berserkers cost an extra +5 points, added after points for equipment. A normal human berserkers is therefore worth 10 points and a norse dwarf costs you 13 points.


Quite logically you get a smaller number of higher quality troops, in this case norse dwarf berserkers. Being pretty tough by themselves the berserkers can do with a lvl 5 hero. In my opinion double-handed weapons are a must for berserkers. With frenzy you then get +2 to to-wound rolls and that is a lot.

On odd side is the weapons option differences. Why throwing weapons for dwarfs but not for humans?


First thing that sticks out is the missprint on human berserker profile. Numbers have shifted one column to right. Not a big deal.

But a bigger thing is the change in unit sizes!

Now the human unit size is only 5-10 and dwarf 10-20. Can´t follow the logic here. Like someone had been thinking: "The Norse dwafr berserkers are really tough - let´s let the players take a bigger unit of them to make them even tougher".

There are no seperate rules for berserker characters. I´m assuming that you can take them if you pay the extra 5 points. But I would limit their use to leading berserkers units. Just like with were characters.

Norse dwarf berserkes unit by LM.


With maximum unit size of 20 models and a lvl15 hero this can be one tough unit. And a pretty expensive one too. With full unit with double handed weapons, standard and a hero costs 455 points. As mentioned before the two handed weapons is a must for chaos dwarf berserkers too.

A pair of LM´s chaos dwarf berserkers.


The Perry sculpted Norsemen and Norse dwarfs ranges have a couple of suitable models for berserkers. The norse dwarf slayers make perfect berserkers too. From norsemen I would choose the models with bare upper body and dynamic pose. SoL will help you out here, here, here and here.

Foundry has still in production the ex-Citadel Vikings including berserkers. You may want to check out their other viking models too.

CP models has a range of vikings including berserkers. Don´t know how these scale with old Citadel ones.

V&V miniatures too produces 28mm viking models. Their berserkers look a bit chubby for my taste but that´s propably just me.

Chaos dwarf berserkers can be found in the Citadel D3 Chaos dwarf series.


Sadly the Norse as an army were left out of the 4th edition.  And with that the berserkers ceased to exist. The Norse came back with 6th edition of WFB as part of forces of chaos and new fluff was written for them. In this new setting the berserkers became devotees of Khorne which actually makes some sense. Battle-lusting warriors slipping to the dark side.

What is sad is that berserkers in my opinion became just another type of chaos warriors. Where´s the originality? If the berserkers (and all Norse) had to be turned to chaos why not make use of the tragic side of that. I´m thinking about slow degeneration. Perhaps understanding that everything has gone wrong but not being eble to do something about it. Hating oneself for the blood-lust and not being able to control it.

In the 40k there are Khorne Berzerkers described as: "Driven into battle by the frenzied need to kill, Khorne Berzerkers slaughter everything in their path and leave nothing but twitching corpses in their wake. These murderous lunatics have been ritually lobotomised to remove all trace of fear or compassion. In place of these emotions, they receive cortical implants that heighten their already fearsome aggression to psychotic levels". How original. 

And in the AoS they have Vulkite Berzerkers. Google at your own responsibility.

2 kommenttia:

  1. I've been wondering if the unit sizes for human and dwarf berserkers got switched by mistake in WD#107.

    1. That could be it as there´s really no sense in the sizes given in WD107. I would personally allow unit size 20 for humans too.