Monday, November 28, 2011

Beastmen: A load of Bull, with a side of Goat!

There’s been a bit of discussion amongst my Ordo Ineptus brethren about Beastmen. When the Army Book came out (was it really 2 years ago?!) we all felt more than a little let down. I personally was just finishing an all Khorne Minotaur army using the old book, and was very disappointed that something like that could not be done again. Now this was in 7th edition, and there’s some communal experience with 8th edition now, so the question we had was, do Beastmen still suck?

He doesn't suck, but he does have a pot-belly!

I was researching going to Templecon in February. Their Fantasy tournament has many restrictions on almost every army…the mean combinations just aren’t allowed. Notably, there are no restrictions on Beastmen…in fact, they get 200 extra points.


Yes, that’s right…straight up bonus of 200 points.

So, do the Beastmen really suck to the point that they need 200 extra points?

I'm at work, with no desire to do anything constructive, and Army Builder just begging to be played I decided to see what I can come up with that fits my style, to see how bad it can be. Warning: this is kind of “stream of consciousness" as I bounce back and forth between real work and this. Good luck following it!

The concept is a couple big steadfast cheap units of crappy Ungors; two units of Minotaurs with a Doombull and Gorebull to give them some fun punch (super-hammers); and a couple decent-sized Gor units to take advantage of Primal Fury. All supported by a cheap Shaman with Beast magic, some scouting Harpies to kill stone-throwers, and a million Ungor Raiders to harass, ambush, charge and march block, and give lots of extra deploys.

Many of you may remember my penchant for Minotaurs, so I really wanted this to push the cows. To start with, I want a big ridiculous Doombull to lead one of the Minotaur units:

Doombull: Ramhorn Helm; Talisman of Preservation; Gnarled Hide; Many-limbed-Fiend, Heavy Armour, and a Shield.

This guy, counting Frenzy, has 7 S6 attacks, plus d3 S6 impact hits, plus Stomp, plus an extra attack every time he makes an armour save...speaking of which, he has 1+ AS and 4++ Ward. He prices in at 348.

To lead the second Minotaur unit, a Gorebull with Heavy Armour, Shield, Dragonhelm, and The Brass Cleaver. While not as ridiculous as the Doombull, he still sports 5 S5 attacks, d3 impact hits, Stomp, and an extra attack for every enemy model in base to base. He costs 212.

And some Minotaur units for them to lead...two units of 5 with great weapons at 315 points each (see, this is why I think Beastmen are considered less competitive...they are WAY over-priced...more on that later).

Yes, that is a baby diaper draped behind him...

I don’t think much of the Beastman Lore, but the Lore of Beasts from the BSB has a great Signature spell that’s a bit easier to cast on the Beastmen, so I think a Shaman is in order.

A Shaman upgraded to Level 2 with a Dispel Scroll comes in at 135.

Ok, we've got some Hammers, but I want some Anvils. Ungors are dirt-cheap...almost Goblin cheap. I want two units of 40 with Standards and Musicians. Those come to 209 each. Spears would be nice, but in most situations they'd only be 5-wide, so not enough extra attacks for the expense, and don't want to lose the parry ward save.

More goats...I like the idea of Gors with xtra hand-weapons supported by a high Ld General and BSB to take advantage of their Primal Fury rule: every combat round they make an Ld test, if they pass they get to reroll failed hits. If I go 6-wide, that's somewhere around 18 attacks at WS4. Only S3, but if the Shaman can get the +1S/T spell on one of them, they're pretty potent. They can hit a unit the Ungors are tied up with, or go after “softer” units as the situation warrants. I guess I think of them as back-up Hammers.

So the Gors first: two units of Gors with Standards, Musicians, and extra hand-weapons at 151 each.

We need a real General (the Doombull can be the General, but only Ld8 and with Frenzy I don't know where he'll run off to...), and I think the Beastlord will do the trick...if nothing else he's LD9.

Beastlord with Armour of Silvered Steel; Talisman of Endurance, The Other Tricketser's Shard, and a Great Weapon - 247 points.

I really love that model, but can't find pics of mine!
And a Wargor BSB with Armour of Destiny and a Shield - 162 (maybe better option to make him survivable, but I can't find it).

I love the Ungor Raiders for cheap deploys, ambushing, ranged ability, and royal pain in the ass factor...a unit of 5 of them makes a fine speed-bump, and costs only 30 points. I think 6 units of five is the way to go.

And the only thing better than Harpies is Harpies with Scout, so a unit of five them for a mere 70 points.

So what's the total damage, then? Not too horrible, 2704. Ironic...that's almost dead on to the 200 extra points that big tournament gives Beastmen. Would the list work? I don't know...a lot would depend on my ability to get the Ungors in to the right enemy unit without losing the Minos and/or Gors too early. With that many deploys (with no ambush, 13 deploys) I have a good chance of getting the match-ups I want in deployment.

But, for normal play it's 200 points over. So what to drop? The Great Weapons on the Minos are expensive, 8 points each. I could drop some of the gear off the heroes...does the BSB really need a 4+ ward? Same with the Beastlord, he might not need all that extra stuff. I could probably lose 2-3 bodies from each Ungor unit, but I wouldn't go any more than that, they'll die by the handful and I need those ranks to remain Steadfast.

Ok, I'll rework the characters first:

The BSB get dropped down to just Enchanted Shield. 3+AS will have to do!

The Beastlord gets the same treatment, he loses the Shard and his Ward save.

The Gorebull, Doombull, and Shaman are all pretty solid. I hate to mess with them. At 2626 now.

Lets drop the Great Weapons from the Doombull's Minos (I'm not sure I have that many Great Weapons anyway!), which takes us to 2586. Getting close!

Trim some of the Core...drop the Standards from the Gor units...they should only be fighting things tied up with the Ungor anyway, so will already have the Standard in the fight. Also drop 2 Ungor from each unit. 2546!

Do I really need the Dispel Scroll? We'll try without...2521.

And as much as I love that Brass Cleaver on the Gorebull, we'll drop that down to Sword of Might, and he loses his magic Hat, so goes from 3+ to 4+ AS. Note that I want to keep at least one magic weapon in here to deal with any mean Ethereals that show up, especially since I don't expect to be casting any Magic Missiles.

And sadly, this leaves me one point over. Aaarrrgghh…WTF?

A slight rework, then...drop one Gor from each unit (they can still be 6-wide, with a full 6 second rank and a third rank of 5) and the Gorebull gets back his Brass Cleaver and the Charmed Shield. 2496! Nothing worht spending 4 points on that I can fact only thing is an xtra hand weapon for the shaman...why not?

So, after all that, I have 2500 of Beasman Suckage for your review:

Beastlord (General): Armour of Silvered Steel (2+AS); Great Weapon - 202

Doombull: Ramhorn Helm; Talisman of Preservation (4+ Ward); Gnarled Hide (5+ Scaly Skin); Many-limbed Fiend (+1 Attack); Hvy Arm; Shield - 348

Bray-Shaman: Lvl 2; xtra hand weapon; Lore of Beasts (from BRB, not the Beastman Lore of Suck) - 112

Wargor (Battle Standard Bearer): Hvy Arm; Enchanted Shield - 129

Gorebull: Heavy Armour; Charmed Shield (first hit ignored on 2+); Brass Cleaver (xtra attack against every enemy model in BTB) - 203

5 Ungor Raiders - 30
5 Ungor Raiders - 30
5 Ungor Raiders - 30
5 Ungor Raiders - 30
5 Ungor Raiders - 30
5 Ungor Raiders - 30

38 Ungors: Standard; Musician - 199
38 Ungors: Standard; Musician - 199

16 Gors: Extra Hand weapon; Musician - 133
16 Gors: Extra Hand weapon; Musician - 133

5 Minotaurs - 275

5 Minotaurs: Great Weapons - 315

5 Harpies: Scout - 70

Total: 2498

So, again, I don’t really know if it will work, the biggest question mark for me is the smallish Gor units. I’d envisioned having more than that. Maybe combining them in to one unit is the way to go? I don’t know. I like the idea of them working as “wingmen” for the Ungors that stay Steadfast. The Minotaurs can kill whatever they want, but I’d focus on getting them in to the flanks of whatever is fighting the Ungors. The Raiders will harass and sacrifice themselves as needed to keep the flanks clear, while ambushing and Harpies will deal with warmachines or shooting units.

I can almost field this. I think I need about 20 Ungors…but I can proxy Night Goblins easily enough to give it a few test whirls. Anyone up for a game? :

What do you think…does this list suck? Do Beastmen suck? Will the Colts ever win a game? Let me hear your thoughts!

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