Beastmen: Magic


                If you want to play Big Magic Beastmen you will need several things:

1)      The proper choice of Lores of Magic

2)      Four Shamans (yes, this is the proper plural of shaman)

3)      The proper choice of magic-boosting magic items

I think the major weakness for Beastmen magic is #1.  You can choose from the following four lores—Wild, Beasts, Death, Shadow.  Here are my opinions of each:

Shadow Lore [This is my recommendation for Great Bray-Shamans]

The best two spells (Unseen Lurker & Pit of Shades) both need 4 dice to cast successfully.  So I would only take this lore with a level 4 Great Bray-Shaman.  The problem is that many of the spells have only 12” range and your mages don’t have any way to increase their mobility (aside from using Steed of Shadows to hop around).  So I would rate this Lore choice as “mediocre”. 

Steed of Shadows (2 dice = 83.3%) – use this to hop your Beastmen (not Minotaur) characters around.  Don’t forget you can use this to charge fleeing troops and auto-cause them to flee again (hopefully off the board). 

Creeping Death (2 dice = 72.2%, 3 dice = 91.2%).  This is best used against armored T4 enemy characters that are outside of units or heavily armored elite troops. 

Crown of Taidron (3 dice = 82.4%) This is not attractive since it is a 12” AOE effect that hurts both friends and foes and your Shamans will have a hard time getting into a position to use it that is both 1) not going to get them killed and 2) around a bunch of enemies and not a bunch of friends.  Meh. 

Shades of Death (3 dice = 74.1%) With all the fear & terror in the game this can be handy to avoid having your non-fear causing troops get auto-broken by fear causing enemies.  It can also be used to cause a surprise terror test on enemies within 6” of your fear causer.  Meh. 

Unseen Lurker (4 dice = 79.5%) Magical movement is often game-winning.

Pit of Shades (4 dice = 73.3%) It auto-kills low Initiative enemies.  Absolutely fantastic.  The following species are particularly susceptible:  Dwarves, Ogres, Slaan, Saurus, Orcs, Treemen, Hydras, Skeletons, Varghulfs, Cairn Wraiths, Chariots, Plaguebearers & Heralds of Nurgle, Chaos Spawn, Centigors, Dragon Ogres, Liche Priests, Swarms, Kroxigors, Trolls, Zombies, Corpse Carts, Spirit Hosts, Beasts of Nurgle, Bone Giants, and virtually all warmachines (i.e. cannons, Screaming Bells, etc.)

Death Lore

This is a rather generic damage-dealing & anti-low-leadership-enemies list.  Like Shadow a lot of the spells have 12” ranges making it less than ideal for Beastmen. 

Dark Hand of Death (2 dice = 83.3%) Standard magic missile.  A

Steal Soul (3 dice = 82.4%) 12” range, auto-hit, auto-wound, no armor save vs. one model.  Plus it heals you and can take your wounds above starting value.  Fantastic for character-killing (its only weakness is vs. wards & regeneration).

Wind of Death (3 dice = 82.4%) Standard upgraded 2d6 dmg magic missile.  These are always very nice. 

Walking Death (3 dice = 74.1%) Identical to Shades of Death (see Shadow Lore above).

Doom & Darkness (3 dice = 74.1%) -3 to enemy leadership is always nice.  Plus is stays in play for one turn without the normal drawbacks of a “remains in play” spell (i.e. you can cast other spells, it can’t be dispelled, etc.)

Drain Life (3 dice = 62.5%, 4 dice = 83.3%) 12” range, all enemy units, ignores armor saves.  Good against clusters of armored enemies, but tricky to use with slow beastmen casters. 

Beast Lore [The is my recommendation for Bray Shamans]

With the horrible leadership of Beastmen, Oxen Stands becomes a gem.  And The Beast Cowers is one of the most powerful spells in the game.  Finally, with the exception of the lame default spell the list generally has very long ranges, including two spells with unlimited range that don’t require LOS.  So your slow beastmen shamans can lurk in forests in your deployment zone and still cast spells. 

The Bear’s Anger (1 die = 50%, 2 dice = 91.7%) I guess you could use this to buff unit champions (+3A, +2S, +1T, can’t use weapons) but don’t forget it’s a remains in play spell so use it last (or it prevents your caster from casting anything else). 

The Oxen Stands (2 dice = 83.3%) Fantastic for rallying your often fleeing troops. 

The Crow’s Feast (2 dice = 58.3%, 3 dice = 88%) An upgraded magic missile, but with only S3.  Average. 

The Beast Cowers (2 dice = 58.3%, 3 dice = 88%) Enemy cavalry, swarms, chariots, and monsters cannot move or attack in melee for one round.  Note:  In the main rulebook under “monsters” a Slaan is given as the example in the illustration.  In addition, Greater Demons are specifically identified as “monsters” in the Demon book.  So both of these creatures are (according to the rules) susceptible to this spell.  That said, I’m under the impression that some GW employee publically claimed that they weren’t so there may be a FAQ or somesuch where they alter this.  Yet although instance of GW not understanding their own rules…

The Hunter’s Spear (3 dice = 82.4%) Auto-hitting bolt thrower.  Cool.   The problem is that it would be really helpful to have a mobile mage so you can flank enemy untis… which you don’t have. 

The Wolf Hunts (3 dice = 74.1%) A good but not ideal movement spell.  It is somewhat limited on what it can be used upon and only moves you straight at your enemies.  However, if you move up to within 2” of the enemy (during your movement phase) this spell basically guarentees a charge in the magic phase (if you successfully cast it). 

Wild Lore

Like Shadow and Death there are a number of very short-range spells which as we have repeatedly noted is not ideal for Shamans who can’t fly or ride fast mounts.  Sadly, this is probably my least favorite of the four lores. 

Bestial Surge (2 dice = 58.3%, 3 dice = 88%) This has a tiny range (6”) and it seems to not allow you to magically charge (since you stop within 1” of a “unit”—which assumedly includes enemy units.)  So I guess you could use it to advance a bit quicker… but generally its pretty lame.

Viletide (2 dice = 58.3%, 3 dice = 88%) This is similar to Creeping Death, except it doesn’t ignore armor saves.  This is decent for shooting completely unarmored T4 enemies (i.e. mages outside units) who will take 3 wounds on average.   

Devolve (3 dice = 74.1%) Again we have a 12” radius effect that ignores enemy armor saves.  This one is inferior to the Death and Shadow versions which always work vs. this one which only works if they fail a leadership test (although this one doesn’t affect allies). 

Bray-Scream (3 dice = 62.5%, 4 dice = 83.3%) Its hard to get into position to use a breath weapon effectively and this has a high enough score you need a Great Bray-Shaman to cast it.  Its only saving grace is that it ignores armor saves.  Eh.

Traitor-Kin (3 dice = 62.5%, 4 dice = 83.3%) Having a Star Dragon attack its rider or a Hydra eat its handlers is pretty cool.  The problem is that you will often not have any attractive targets for this spell.  Too situational for my taste. 

Mantle of Ghorok (4 dice = 65%) You have 13% chance of miscasting on this big boy and if it works the character it is cast upon has a 33% chance of taking 1W with not saves allowed.  That said, +d6 Strength and Attacks is downright nasty on minotaur characters.  This is the best of the bunch, but your Great-Bray Shaman will only get it in 66% of your games… so its risky taking this lame list and hoping you roll a 6 when choosing spells. 

Magic-boosting Magic Items

                I would start by giving one of my Bray-Shamans the Shard of the Herdstone (50 pts).  Deploy it in a forest or behind a hill or building in your deployment zone and park your Shamans around it (which will cause it to generate 4 power dice/round).  It will be a magnet for the enemy’s army so you can deploy your troops to smash them as they come at it. 

                I would give my other two Bray-Shamans 3 Dispel Scrolls and the Hagtree Fetish (25 pts).  The Fetish makes your damage spells re-roll to wound (which is fantastic) against one enemy unit per turn… so focus all your fire on it and destroy it. 

                Finally, I would give my Great Bray-Shaman 2 powerstones (20 pts each) and the Skull of Rarkos (60 pts) .  The powerstones should be used ASAP in conjunction with your big spells (i.e. Unseen Lurker, Pit of Shades) to draw enemy dispel scrolls.  The Skull provides a nice steady bonus to all your casting scores and has the same radius of effect as the Shard of the Herdstone. 

Dispelling Spells

One key to dispelling properly is to ALWAYS use only the proper number of dice.  MORE IS NOT BETTER.  MORE IS NOT BETTER.  (Get it?)  Here is the rule:

If your opponent has a casting TOTAL of… 3-6 (use 2 dice), 7-9 (use 3 dice), 10+ (use 4 dice or a scroll). 

If you follow this rule you will dispel ~80% of spells that you roll dice at.


Beastmen: Special Rules

Primal Fury

Beastmen-proper (i.e. gors, ungors, bestigors, beastlords, etc.) have a new rule called Primal Fury.  This allows them to re-roll missed attacks in melee much of the time.  Each round of combat they have to test to see whether they gain this benefit (a Ld test). 

                Bray-Shamans, Gors, and Ungors all have S3 attacks.  Since the likelihood of damanging someone with a S3 attack is virtually zero Primal Fury isn’t really an issue.  Likewise, chariots have only a single Bestigor with a Great Weapon (S6) to meaningfully benefit from the bonus so it really isn’t that significant. 

                In contrast, Bestigors & Centigors with great weapons (S6) and Beastlord and Wargor characters all gain a very nice benefit from re-rolling missed attacks in melee. 

                Beastlords (and troops within 12”) get the re-roll 85% of the time.  Wargors and units they lead get it 75% of the time.  Bestigors and Centigors gain it 60% of the time.  When they do get the bonus it generally means that they will hit 1 and a half times as often as normal.  So if your Beastlord would normally hit 2 times, with primal fury this will increase to 3. 

                There are 3 related magic items.  Axes of Khorgor are largely redundant on Beastlords and Wargors since both they and primal fury do the same thing.  Save them for your Doombulls & Gorebulls.  The Horn of the First Beast improves your likelihood of gaining hatred as follows:  Beastlords 97% (+12%), Wargors 93% (+18%), Bestigors/Centigors 84% (+24%).  Personally I don’t think it is worth paying 50 points of your magic item allotment for this minor of an increase.  The Banner of Outrage improves the Bestigor herd’s chance of gaining hatred to 100% (+40%) during every round of combat.  The downside is that it also grants hatred to your opponent during the first round of combat.  Personally, I don’t think the benefit is very impressive.  I would just stick with the good old War Banner if I chose to run Bestigors. 


How soon do your troops show up? 

66% of the time they show up on turn 1.  22% of the time on turn 2.  8% of the time on turn 3.  3% of the time on turn 4.  Less than 1% of the time on turn 5…  So you never have to worry about them “not showing up”.

Where do they show up? 

50% of the time they show up on a random flank (although you choose the spot on the flank)

25% of the time your opponent picks the table edge (although you choose the spot on the edge)

25% of the time you pick the table edge and the spot on the table edge.   

What can they do when they show up?

Move but not march or charge. 

Man-Bane:  Your Beastlord and his unit gain hatred 97% of the time (rather than 85%) when fighting Empire or Brettonia.  A positive but minor benefit.

Impact Hits:  Your minotaurs do extra damage on the charge.  Doombulls do ~2 S6 auto-hits, Gorebulls do ~2 S5 autohits, and regular Minotaurs do 1 S5 autohit.  A moderate positive benefit. 

Bloodgreed:  Doombulls, Gorebulls, and Ghorgons start the game frenzied.  Minotaurs do not.  If any of these troops win a round of combat their number of attacks increases by 1 (with this being frenzy for Mintoaurs).  For each additional round of combat they win it goes up by 1 again.  But if they ever lose a round of combat they lost frenzy (at least temporarily) and their number of bonus attacks “resets” to 0.  This is a great benefit.  It and impact hits significantly jack up the hitting power of Minotaurs in general.  The downside is that you pursue/overrun only d6” inches so you won’t catch many fleeing enemies. 

Slaughterer’s Call:  Units led by a Doombull or Gorebull become frenzied.  Cool. 

Fear/Terror:  The four big guys (Cygors, Ghorgons, Giants, & Jabberslythes) cause Terror (and are immune to psychology).  Minotaurs and Razorgors cause fear (including characters and chariots pulled by Razorgors).  More importantly, everything else in the army does not cause fear or terror and has low leadership to boot.  So if you field anything else be prepared to have all sorts of problems fighting against fear-causing enemies. 

Despoilers:  Bestigors that capture standards gain a +1 CR benefit per standard.  Cool. 

Thunderous Charge:  Tuskgor’s no longer get a Strength bonus on the charge.  It now only applies to Razorgors.  Boo.

Chariots:  Razorgor and Tuskgor chariots (like all chariots) are auto-destroyed by a single S7 hit that successfully wounds.  That sucks.

Drunken:   At the start of the game each of your Centigor units falls randomly into one of three categories. 

33% = no effect (i.e. +2 init). 

33% = slow (-1M which means you flee/pursue only 2d6”) but slightly more hateful (hatred 80% of the time rather than 60%). 

33% = stubborn on Ld 7.  (This means they will pass any non-fear causing break test 60% of the time OR 84% of the time if within 12” of the BSB). 

Cygor’s Ghostsight:  Although they don’t get primal fury, Cygor’s can re-roll missed “to hit” rolls vs. undead/demon/tree spirits/characters with magic items and anything with a magical attack. 

Cygor’s Hurl Attack:  Your Cygor is a stonethrower (with no minimum range) that can move and shoot.  However, 1/6 of its shots will cause 1 wound to itself due to misfiring. 

Cygor’s Soul-Eater:  Wizards within 24” must pass Leadership test or else their failures to cast spells (i.e. rolling too low) become miscasts.  This is especially good vs. enemies that roll small numbers of dice (1-2) per spell—i.e. Undead & Ogre Kingdoms. 

Jabberslythe’s Aura of Madness:  This is either awesome or worthless depending on whether your opponent has an Immune to Psychology army (i.e. Undead or Demons).  If they don’t you can just fly your Jabberslythe around dishing out AOE damage.  The likelihood of taking damage is as follows:  Ld 5 72%, Ld 6 58%, Ld 7 42%, Ld 8 28%, Ld 9 17%, Ld 10 8%.  Remember that the damage does not allow armor saves and go park yourself near those knights…  Very nice. 

Jabberslythe’s Slythery Tongue:  With BS 4 and the fact that you are probably going to be moving and shooting I would expect that you will need 5’s on average to hit.  So you should do a couple S5 hits per game (although one of them should auto-wound due to poison).  A minor benefit.   

Jabberslythe’s Spurting Bile Blood:  This is a nice way to hurt enemies who hurt you in melee.  The problem is that the Jabberslythe is a whopping 275 points so doing a bit of damage back isn’t going to soften the blow of losing that many VP’s.  A minor benefit. 

Ghorgon’s Swallow Whole & Strength From Flesh:  Instead of doing 7+ S6 attacks you can have a 50% chance of killing blow a man-sized enemy and regaining d3 wounds as a result.  I think this is best used in two scenarios.  1) You want to eat an unkillable Dark Elf general who has the Pendant of Khaleth.  You have a 50/50 chance of doing it.  2) You want to heal your Ghorgon up above half health so that it doesn’t cost you half VP’s.  You have a 50/50 chance of healing each round.  A minor benefit.

Stubborn:  The Beastmen army has a wide selection of stubborn troops.  This ability is HUGELY benefitted by being within 12” of a BSB. 

                                                                                Normal Break Chance                    w/BSB re-roll

Ghorgons & Giants (Ld 10)                           8.3%                                                      less than 1%

Beastlord w/Crown of Horns (Ld 9)          16.7%                                                    2.5%

Cygors (Ld 8)                                                      27.8%                                                    7%

Centigors (Ld 7)                                                41.7%                                                    16%


Beastmen: Chaos Gifts & Magic Items

The Best

Gnarled Hide:  +2 armor save that stacks with anything.  Fantastic. 

Dispel Scrolls:  They are frighteningly overpowered.  Nothing else in the game can totally neuter a feature of your opponants offense.  Imagine a Scroll of No-Damage-In-Melee.  Would you take some?  I ALWAYS take 4 in every game I play. 

Talisman of Protection:  Better than the Enchanted Shield since it can be combined with a mundane shield and it can’t be reduced by enemy strength bonus.  Roughly comparable to the Gnarled Hide. 

Trollhide:  Regeneration on a 5W Doombull?  Yes please!

Ramhorn Helm:  +1 armor save that stacks with anything.  Cool.  A free attack for every successful armor save?  Awesome.  I would always try to have this stacked with Gnarled Hide, heavy armor, and a shield to maximize the number of attacks back I can make. 

Cacophonous Dirge:  This is the item I have been waiting for.  I want it just so I can verbally abuse my opponent when it goes off.  “Hey buddy I guess you can just shove that musician right up your *$@#.  Looks like you wasted 5 points there, sucker.  Thought it was going to be a tie?  Well #@& you.  I win the combat by one mother@#&*@#.” 

The real dilemma is whether to use it in a unit with a musician or one without a musician:

Option 1) Your opponent THINKS he has won the combat by 1 due to his musician and your lack of one.  But then you spring the bad news.  No win for him.  It’s a tie biatch.

Option 2) Your opponent THINKS that the combat is a tie due to dueling musicians.  Then you spring this on him and win the combat by one.  This crushes his spirit and he weeps softly. 

Honestly both options are really fun.  Option 2 is probably more psychologically damaging, but Option 1 is sneaky and very unexpected.  I would probably try to switch things up in my games so my opponents never know what is coming at them. 

This item should be in EVERY beastmen army.  Period.  Frankly, being able to use the phrase “shove that musician up your @#&!” is well worth the price of buying an entire beastmen army. 

The Moderate

Crown of Horns:  I think the best use of this item would be on a Doombull.  As long as he was within 12” of a BSB he would break only 7% of the time (and wouldn’t have to worry about being outnumbered by a fear causing enemy).  The reason that I prefer him to the Ld 9 Beastlord is that he has W5 (rather than W3) so he can stay alive longer.  I would also give him Gnarled Skin and Heavy Armor and a Shield to try to keep him alive (as well as a Great Weapon so you can decide whether you want its offense or the shield’s defense). 

Many-Limbed Fiend:  On a Doombull this is a nice +1 S6 attack while retaining the option of carrying a magic weapon or great weapon. 

Gouge Tusks:  This is a great way to pump up the large number of attacks your Doombull/Gorebull is going to be dishing out. 

Enchanted Shield:  Inferior to the Gnarled Hide/Talisman of Protection/Ramhorn Helm, but still good.

War Banner:  The key drawback is that it can only be used by your BSB (who has better things to buy) or a unit of Bestigors (who aren’t particularly impressive). 

Stonecrusher Mace:  Basically you are paying 65 points to have an additional +1S (beyond your mundant great weapon’s +2S) and the ability to also use a shield (perhaps the Enchanted Shield) for +1-2 armor save.  Those are both nice benefits… but it is pretty expensive. 

Axes of Khorgor:  Redundant for Beastlords (who already re-roll to hit 85% of the time or more).  But very cool for Doombulls/Gorebulls.  They have a crap ton of high strength attacks and re-rolling to hit is fantastic (especially with another +1A stacked on…)  The only downside is that you must use your base strength (which is admittedly a 6 for Doombulls) and can’t use a shield (which is one of your few defensive options.)  Still it’s a nice option.

The Beast Banner:  Can only be taken by a BSB.  Nice effect but it means your most “survivable” BSB would be a Gorebull (T5, W4) with heavy armor and a shield (4+/3+ in melee armor save).   Frankly I think it is pretty risky since your opponent is going to be hunting for your BSB for both the easy VP’s and to stop the banner from working.  But use your own judgment…

Manbane Standard:   -1 Ld in a 6” radius around a unit of Bestigors.  Lowering enemy Ld is always nice.  The problem is you have to field Bestigors to have it (I guess unless you want your BSB to be running around trying to use it near important combats.) 

The Brass Cleaver:  This should generate 2-3 attacks each round when used by a 40mm based model.  In addition, you can use it with a shield.  I’m not totally convinced it is better than a great weapon but it might be as good. 

The Weak

Slug-Skin:  This is best on a Doombull/Gorebull since they have a bigger base.  That said, S3 auto-hits are really, really weak. 

Rune of the True Beast:  Too situational to be worth taking regularly.

Uncanny Senses:  Uh… why would I want +1 Initiative?

Shadow-Hide / Pelt of the Shadowgave:  For 50 points you can make it really hard to shoot at the bearer.  Why you would want to do this I don’t know. 

Primeval Club:  It is inferior to the Stonecrusher Mace and yet costs more points… Huh? 

Sword of Striking / Sword of Might / Sword of Battle:  I like Great Weapons more than any of them. 

Biting Blade:  Has anyone ever used this? 

Staff of Sorcery:  Ditto. 

Axe of Men:  An unbreakable general and major unit is very, very nice.  The problem is that your opponent has to be dumb enough to feed you a character (unit champions don’t count) and it only works after that fight is over.  The unbreakability will occur so infrequently that it’s a waste to pay 75 points for basically just killing blow.

Mangelder:  Funny name.  Weak effects.  Terror is not what it used to be with all the fear causing armies out there.  Additionally, there isn’t enough multi-wound stuff to worry about whittling away its Ld score. 

Hunting Spear:  50 point bolt thrower that can stand and shoot.  Fair nuff.  Sadly all Beastmen characters have BS3 so you aren’t real accurate.  I guess if you trying to play magic heavy you could give it to one of your Bray Shaman’s just for something to spend points on…

The Steel-Claws:  Since it requires 2 hands to wield (thus preventing you from using a shield) and costs 5 points more I think it is slightly inferior to the Brass Cleaver. 

Everbleed:  83% of the time this item does nothing.  No thanks. 

Blade Blunter Armor:  This only works against magic weapons so it is too situational to be taken regularly. 

Blackened Plate:  Sadly you can’t give it to somebody with the Trollhide.  And for non-regenerating stuff flaming attacks just aren’t that scary.  No thanks. 

Horn of the Great Hunt:  Well… you can’t use it to charge (I THINK that is what they mean by “you must stop within 1” of another unit).  But I guess most opponents would be tempted to dispel it just out of fear of your whole army moving a bit.  The problem is that you can’t put it on a mage.  I would rather have a 4th mage than a mediocre bound spell. 

 Horn of the First Beast:  50 points is pretty darn pricy for a ~+15% chance of gaining Hatred each round.  To spendy for my taste. 

Stone of Spite:  This should be guaranteed to draw two dispel dice or a scroll.  Cuz otherwise your opponants dispel scrolls all go boom.  The problem is that yours do too.  But I guess if you are playing big magic you could try to rely on your 7 dispel dice for magic defense and take this rather than the scrolls.  But I’m not sure that drawing out two dispel dice is worth foregoing all arcane items in a big magic army.  Pass. 

Skin of Man:  No thanks.  I don’t want to put my scroll caddy in harms way. 

Eye of Night:  So a really sucky version the Infernal Puppet with MR 2 strapped on.  Uh… no thanks?

Chalice of Dark Rain:  One use only.  Usable against shooty enemies only.  Why not also make it only effect Empire State troops while you are at it.  Way too situational unless you always play Woodelves or something.  But if you had to do that you would just quit the game because any sane person would rather be waterboarded that play multiple games against Wood Elves. 

Jagged Dagger:  Can only be taken by casters.  Who suck in melee.  No thanks. 

Totem of Rust:  Hmmm… only available to Bestigors, it negates their heavy armor.  And the benefit is… your opponent suffers an identical penalty. Wow.  I get to pay to screw myself and my opponent equally.  We need more items like this.  Thanks for the waste of ink GW.

The Banner of Outrage:  Yep. You guessed it.  This thing is outrageous.  It’s the baby brother to the Banner of Rust.  You have a slightly increased chance to get Hatred.  Your opponent is guaranteed to get Hatred (albeit only for the first round of combat).  Ummm… no thanks. 

Good (but only in a big magic army)

Power Stones:  Suprisingly helpful in a magic heavy offense.  Most players overlook these gems.

Shard of the Herdstone:  If you are going big magic this is a no-brainer since it would generate 4 power dice / turn. 

Skull of Rarkos:  Pronounce this item’s name with a Scooby-Doo accent.  “Hey Schwaggy, wook at the Schkull of Rarkos.”  Notice that the pronunciation of Rarkos is unchanged.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I guess if your 4 shamans are all hanging out within 6” of the Herdstone of +1 power die, you might as well have them hanging out within 6” of this item of +1 to casting results. 

Staff of Darkoth:  17.5 S1 hits.  S1 wounds T3-4 on a 6.  Which means you’ll do an average of 3 wounds against totally unarmored foes.  Against anything with armor/ward/regen it sucks.  So I suppose it is fine for shooting at unarmored skirmishers and the like.  Fair but not amazing for a magic heavy army.

Hagtree Fetish:  Very, very nice for a magic heavy army.  Who doesn’t want all their spells to re-roll to wound?


Beastmen: Characters

                To be honest I doubt we will see very many Beastlord or Wargors running around.  First, they have three (minor) advantages over Minotaurs: 1) +1 Leadership, 2) 75-85% chance of re-rolling missed attacks each round (95-97% vs. Empire/Bretts), 3) may ride in a chariot, 4) may pursue/overrun 2d6 inches (rather than d6 like Minotaurs). 

                In contrast, Minotaurs have the following benefits:  1) +1 Movement, 2) +1 Strength, 3) +2 Wounds, 4) +1 attack, 5) Ogre-sized base making them immune to killing blow, 6) frenzy, 7) grant frenzy to the unit they lead, 8.) bloodgreed gives them +1A per round of combat won, 9) cause fear, 10), d3 S6 impact hits on the charge, 11) the model of the Doombull is freaking amazing. 

                I think it is always worth spending 25 points making your Gorebull into a BSB.  The re-rolls on break tests (especially on Stubborn units) is wonderful.  So is the +1 CR from having a banner.  Finally, this in no way interferes with your Gorebull having whatever mundane or magic items he might desire.  He can still swing a great weapon and wear magic armor (unless of course you prefer the Beast Banner or Manbane Standard…) 

2 Bray-Shamans with 2 Dispel Scrolls each is mandatory for my armies.  You simply can’t have too much magic defense.  If you don’t face much magic normally feel free to take less at your own risk.  One caddy with two scrolls is just asking your big-magic opponent to hit you in the face with a wire hanger repeatedly. 

General Recommendation

Doombull, Gnarled Hide, Talisman of Protection, Ramhorn Helm, Heavy Armor, Axes of Khorgor, Gouge Tusks

Gorebull, Battle Standard Bearer, Trollhide, Great Weapon

Bray Shaman, 2 Dispel Scrolls

Bray Shaman, 2 Dispel Scrolls


Beastmen: Biting Flies


The Biting Flies are cheap, quick units whose goal is to harass the enemy.  They include Gor Herds, Ungor Herds, Ungor Raiders, Chaos Warhounds, Harpies, and Chaos Spawn.  These all have Strength 3 (except Chaos Spawn with S4).  This means they will cause virtually no wounds.  So they need a different role to play.  This role involves: 

1)   March blocking.  Simply keep a unit of Biting Flies within 8” of the enemy and they can’t march.  Skirmishing Ungor Raiders and Harpies are best at this. 







(I like Dylan Gauker’s Golden Demon winning idea for Harpies using old ghoul models) 

2)   Turning.  This is a very important technique used by all veteran players.  When the enemy charges one of your (non-skirmishing) units, the enemy “turns” to face “out the butt” of your unit.  If they pursue or overrun they do so pointed “out the butt” of your unit.  So, by moving a unit of Biting Flies in front of an enemy unit, and placing it at an angle, you can control the direction of the enemy unit after the charge.  This is hugely useful both for directing enemy units away from your stuff, and by opening up their flanks for charges from your stuff.  Chaos Hounds are best for this as they are faster (M7) and cheaper (30 pts. for a unit of 5) than Gor Herds and Ungor Herds.  [In addition, Chaos Spawn movement is intentionally written to prevent them from being used to “turn” opponants.  Note under Lurching Horror the phrase “(the player) may not subsequently change the Spawn’s facing.”  This prevents you from angling the spawn to “turn” enemies that charge it.]   




3)   Rank Bonus.  There are three likely candidates for building fully ranked units in a Beastmen army.  Ungor Herds (100 pts for 20), Gor Herds (140 pts. for 20), and Bestigors (240 pts. for 20).  Gors are significantly more survivable than Ungors due to their WS4 (which means most troops hit them on 4’s rather than 3’s), T4, and Ld 7.  In contrast, Bestigors advantage lies in their offense—they have S6 with great weapons and can carry the War Banner.  I don’t think that 5 S6 attacks in the front rank is worth nearly doubling the points cost of Gor Herds if you are planning on running them fully ranked.  If you want full ranks in your Beastmen army take Gors… but personally I would just forego it altogether as I don’t think its a particularly strong feature of the list.   


4)   Killing weak enemies.  To be honest Harpies, Ungor Raiders, and Chaos Hounds are going to have a lot of trouble trying to kill even the weakest enemies.  The “hardest hitting” of your expendable Biting Flies is the Chaos Spawn.  It has the added bonus of being unbreakable.  Don’t expect it to crush ranked units but it can threaten war machine crews, lone wizards, and light cavalry successfully.   

Chaos Spawn 

(Here is another awesome model by Dylan Gauker) 

General Recommendation: 

    3+ units of 5 Ungor Skirmishers (30 pts. each)  

    2+ units of 5 Chaos Hounds (30 pts. each) 

    0+ units of Chaos Spawn (55 pts. each) [fill up any left-over Rare slots] 

 0+ units of 5 Scouting Harpies (70 pts. each) [fill up any left-over Special slots] 




Beastmen: Glass Hammers



Glass Hammers are units designed to cause casualties.  Chariots, Razorgor Herds, Minotaurs, Centigors w/Great Weapons, and Bestigors w/Great Weapons are your primary attacking units. 

The (obvious) reason why I call them Glass Hammers is because they are all pretty darn weak on defense.  Minotaurs, Centigors, and Bestigors are all T4 with ~5+ armor save.  Think of them as lightly armored orcs.  Yikes.  Chariots and Razorgor Herds are T5 but chariots can be auto-killed by a single S7 hit.  Eek.  And Razorgor T5 isn’t much help without a shred of armor.  Ugh.  There are three ways this lack of defense is likely to hurt you.  1) The enemy charges you.  They break your glass hammer before it can do anything.  2) The enemy shoots you.  They break your glass hammer before it can do anything.  3) You charge the enemy but they are very rugged and survive your attacks.  They swing back and smash your glass hammer.  This means these units need to get into combat with non-uber-rugged enemies ASAP. 

Here is how they stack up offensively.  I run my offensive units of 25mm models 7 wide to maximize their number of attacks.  I run my 40mm models (i.e. ogre-sized) 4 wide for the same reason.  [Note: One S5 impact hit is comparable to two S5 attacks since attacks miss approximately 50% of the time.]

Glass Hammer Hitty-ness comparison: 


4 Minotaurs w/Great Weapons = 12 S6 attacks + 4 S5 autohits (i.e. 8 S5 attacks) [+4 S6 attacks/round of won combat due to bloodgreed]




7 Centigors w/Great Weapons = 14 S6 attacks

4 Razorgors = 16 S6 attacks (S5 after the charge)


2 Tuskgor Chariots = 2 S6 attacks + 7 S5 autohits (i.e. 14 S5 attacks)


7 Bestigors = 7 S6 attacks

Razorgor Chariot = 3 S6 attacks + 3.5 S5 autohits (i.e. 7 S5 attacks)

General Recommendation:

1-2 units of 4 Minotaurs w/Great Weapons

1 unit of 7 Centigors w/Great Weapons

1 unit of 4 Razorgors

0+ units of Tuskgor chariots [using up whatever points you have left-over after buying everything else you want]



Beastmen: Big Snipers

The Beastmen rare selections include four Large Targets—Cygor, Ghorgon, Giant, and Jabberslythe.  They are all T5-6, W5-6 with no armor, wards, or regeneration whatsoever.  I call them Big Snipers because if you expose them to enemy attacks they are going to die really quick.  Its just not that hard to put 5-6 wounds on a bare-naked large target.  A unit of 15 skinks with blowguns can kill one in a single round of shooting.  So the biggest piece of advice about these guys is BE OVERLY CAUTIOUS.  You can lose 275 VP’s really quick if you make a mistake.   

Cygor – The Cygor shoots like a stone thrower with no minimum range (and only does 1W to himself if he misfires).  He also generally forces Wizards within 24” to not cast spells using only 1-2 dice (they have to go big or go home) for fear of miscasting.  So think of the Cygor as a fragile stone thrower with an anti-wizard AOE.  Sneak him around behind terrain to catch wizards in his AOE and throw stones at stuff that can’t shoot him to death in return.   

Cygor \


Ghorgon – The Ghorgon is the best at melee with 7+ S6 attacks.  He is also frenzied so enemies can bait him out into the open.  I would park him behind a forest/building and threaten to flank charge anybody who comes over to your side of the piece of terrain.  Don’t be afraid to turn his back on enemies (or have him face the building/forest) to avoid being baited into charging worthless units.  [In addition he can forego his normal attacks for a 50% chance of using killing-blow on the normally unkillable Dark Elf generals who all run around with the Pendant of Khaleth.] 


Giant – Giants are basically a less reliable version of Ghorgons.  They might do a fair bit of damage in melee… or they might not.  I would always take the Ghorgon due to his reliability.   

Jabberslythe – He is your only flier and his AOE Aura of Madness is sheer hell on enemy armies that are not immune to psychology.  I wouldn’t get him into combat… just fly him around from one terrain piece to another keeping as many armored, low leadership enemies in his AOE as possible.   


(Lots of people make cool models suitable for a Jabberslythe with green stuff… found this on dakka dakka forum) 

General Recommendation 

0-2 Cygors/Ghorgons/Jabberslythes

November 2017
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