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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beastmen and Eighth Edition

With Warhammer Ocho only recently having reared its head, a lot of people online and locally have been discussing how the "tiers" or power rankings for the armies might change. I was surprised to see that Beastmen were still ranked at the very bottom by many forum goers, and strongly disagree.

Beasts were not a great seventh edition army. Their magic was too difficult to cast for the small values you got from it, the army was too fragile, and low leadership / lack of fear causing was a huge problem to deal with. Eighth has treated them well, however.

First, the percentage system has allowed Beasts to take more than one Lord choice. Instead of choosing between higher leadership (The Beastlord), powerful killing (Doombull) and magic (Great Bray-Shaman), the Beasts can now double up to get real options. I personally am liking the Beastlord / GBS combination, so that I can have a reliable leadership 9 along with my magic.

Second, the new BSB rules allow us to reroll Primal Fury. With the aforementioned Ld 9 and the reroll, getting Primal Fury off is almost a given, and rerolling to hit is even better in Eighth, with prolonged combats abounding. Largish units of Gors do pretty well even against tougher opponents when they're getting a large percentage of hits.

Finally, the new magic system is great for Beasts. We have access to two of the nastier lores (Shadow and Death), and even Lore of the Wild is viable now with its relatively lower costs. My Level 4 and Level 2 casters have done some serious damage in the last few games, both by spitting out damage and debuffing enemy units. We have some great magic items as well, which now make a lot of sense in the new system.

Beasts absolutely have some issues. Almost everything in the book is a bit overcosted, and while we're tough, there's a severe lack of armor throughout the army. I can see an issue versus some armies and opponents still, but the outlook is much brighter than it was.

So where does that leave me? Five games into Eighth edition, my Beasts are 5-0. I've played against Lizardmen, Orcs and Goblins, Tomb Kings, High Elves, and Daemons. In each of them, I've watched Gors hold their own, Minotaurs eat their fill, and even the Ungors beat some heads in.

What's been most pleasant for me is the fun to be had in the magic phase. Many of you know that I disdained magic for all of 7th Edition, as it was too much investment for too much risk. In the last few games, it's instead been a great, but not overpowering, part of the game as a whole. I've used it mostly to complement other parts of the game, bringing everything together into one killy symphony.

My game against Bart's Daemons the other night is a good example. The much dreaded Purple Sun spell from Death only went off once the whole game, and then only killed two Bloodletters. However, selective other spells made Bart's units weaker, and allowed regular Gors to break them more easily. In my game against Collins the other day, to contrast, sniping his all important characters out of their units with Death and bound spells made all the difference. Against good opponents like these two, magic didn't run wild and rule the game, but it allowed me to pressure different aspects of their armies to my advantage, employing different tactics depending on my opponent.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on Beasts and Eighth so far. It's been a blast, and I look forward to getting more games in soon.


  1. What do you run in a typical Beastmen army? I've been thinking about starting them as my second Fantasy army.

  2. 8th helped Beasts a lot. All the big monsters now get stomp, and they have the best monstrous infantry in the game with minotaurs. They are fast, and with the new BSB rules Beasts can hit pretty hard. Yes, they have no armor and their larger monsters are expensive, but overall I think they are balanced.

    I look forward to playing them, and giving you a lost :)

  3. I'm running a heavily armored Beastlord, a Level 4, a Level 2, a Gorebull BSB kitted for killing, two units of 25+ Gors, two Units of 5/6 Minotaurs, and a Ghorgon, at 2500 points. The books has some versatility, and there are good ways to kit your units/characters.


  4. How do you not run the Doom Bull though, that model is freaking unbelievable. It's almost worth starting the army for...

    good write-up, very enjoyable.


  5. I have the Doombull model, and run him as my BSB. The Doombull ruleswise is a fantastic killing machine, but eats up points and doesn't support the army quite as well.

  6. The new BSB rules have given the beasts a major buff, and the new frenzy rule set makes minotaurs much more controllable and harder to bait. But there are still more problems for us; lore of wilds sucks deep, no lore attribute, and no really golden spells to hope that you will randomly roll. No more screening our doombulls from missile fire, and overall lack of armor, which doesnt hurt as long as we have loads of expendable gors that hit with S5T5 and hatred (primal fury, beast banner, and the attribute spell of beasts). And the one BIG thing is the steadfast rule, making us more reliable in <1000p games (even thogh Ld7 without rerolls is bad anyhow). Beastman ambush should be used only if you must (good vs dwarf gunlines, but no use vs WoC for example)