Welcome to the Beastmen Army Book breakdown and Tactica Guide. This set of posts is an amalgamation of guides and articles compiled by individuals from other forums/blogs and websites. This particular guide borrows heavily from Rothgar13 and his pro's and cons and general layout but I’ve taken other guides and articles and tried to weave them into his initial layout, added new sections, descriptions of item effect and re-writing quite a few areas. As ever, if anything is inaccurate, has been missed or if you have any other thoughts, please comment and I’ll add to this - Knoffles. Post Guide Post 1 - Introduction and special rules Post 2 - Magic Lore analysis Post 3 - Chaos Gifts and Army book Magic Items Post 4 - BRB Magic items Post 5 - Lords, Heroes and Mount options Post 6 - Core Choices Post 7 - Special Choices Post 8 - Rare Choices Post 9 - Recommended Units and Tactics Post 10 - Sample Character Builds Post 11 - Sample Army Lists Post 12 - Marks of Chaos (End Times - Glotkin/Archaon) Contributors Rothergar13 - http://www.librarium-online.com/forums/beastmen/219165-8e-beastmen-handbook.html Azeebo - http://www.miniwargaming.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=76257 Gojiragor - http://z8.invisionfree.com/herdstone/index.php?s=76bd4677de766a3a6f7cf61a77217f72&showtopic=21170 1d4chan - https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Warhammer/Tactics/8th_Edition/Beastmen Knoffles (that’s me) OnceBitten360 – He hasn’t written a guide but has put up dozens of Beastmen battle reps on Youtube that are worth watching to get a feel for the army - https://www.youtube.com/user/OnceBitten360 Why play them? Do you like the dark twisted places found in the deep woods and forests of the world? Do you have a deep resentment of man, and believe they usurped your rightful place and drove you into those woods. Do you have an unending hatred of all other races combined with an instinctive cunning? Congratulations, this is the army for you! How do they play? The first thing that has to be established, when talking about Beastmen in the competitive sense, is their army identity. What does this army play like? What things does it bring to the table? We'll expand upon this below: 1. Beastmen are a Horde army. We have infantry with above-average stats (WS4, T4, and even S4 are fairly easy to obtain in this army), but with below-average defensive equipment when compared to other troops with these stats, like Saurus Warriors or Chaos Warriors. This is somewhat mitigated by their lower points cost when compared to those same elite troops, so we can compensate for our poor armor with numbers and take advantage of mechanics such as rank bonuses, steadfast, and Horde formation more effectively. Even our more elite builds benefit greatly from having lots and lots of guys on the table. 2. Beastmen have a strong Magic phase. While our Lore access is relatively limited and our native Lore is in the running for being the worst in the game, the main rulebook Lores we do have access to (Shadow, Death and Beasts) are all exceptional, and we have access to several items that can generate additional power dice, which makes our magic phase quite formidable. 3. Beastmen depend heavily on their characters. Because most Beastmen troops have average or below-average Leadership, little immunity to Fear, Panic, or Terror, and a Leadership test-dependent combat gimmick, a strong Leadership value is crucial, and that is invariably provided by characters. Additionally, the magical strategy that sets Beastmen apart is dependent on multiple casters, so this is an army that will put lots of investment into Lords and Heroes. This is especially true for any army that looks to use Minotaurs as its primary offensive unit, as they feature poor defense for their cost and thus depend on characters who can stand in front and take damage for them. It is worth noting that that the army book was written in the 7th edition and as such it does suffer a bit in 8th edition. Mainly, in so far as, a number of entries are really overpriced for what they bring to the table (especially minotaur units and the monsters). As such the army is considered to be at towards the lower end of the power tier. Most tournaments balance this out by allowing Beastmen players to take a couple of hundred extra points in their lists or marks of chaos from the end times, Glotkin/Archaon book. Don’t in any way make the assumption that they are an ineffective army. They can be brutal in the right hands, with plenty of hard hitting units/characters, combined with plentiful cheap chaff. They just take more maneuvering and strategy to play. They aren’t a Warriors point and shoot kind of army – Knoffles. Special Rules Primal Fury At the start of each round of combat, a unit/model with this rule must take a leadership test. If passed they gain hatred. If you roll a double 1, they get both hatred and are frenzied. This is the rule that gives the army such punch and turns your fairly average units into brutal killers. It is the single most important rule in your army and you must NEVER forget to roll for it. Seriously, write it down on some paper and have it on the table in front of you. It is THAT crucial! Please note that if you do gain frenzy, it only lasts until the end of the combat phase, in the same way as primal fury. They can also gain frenzy several times during the battle (if you happen to roll double 1's a lot!). Beastmen Ambush You can choose to keep a unit off the board 'in ambush' providing, they have this rule and you have another unit of the same size (or larger) that you deploy as normal. This is one of the more iconic abilities for Beastmen and on the surface sounds like something that's pretty useful to have. Unfortunately, the beastmen version of the rule is very much subpar to the rulebook version and this is for a number of reasons: 1. The chart is very unfavorable. Only have a 1/6 chance of going where you want (as opposed to a 1/3 chance of being delayed, and a 1/6 chance of showing up where your opponent decides) is not good odds, and it shows in play. The occasions when you get an Ambushing unit in a genuinely useful tactical position should be celebrated, because they are rare. 2. The units involved need character support, and they likely won't get it. This alludes to the previous point I made - since characters can't ambush along with units, you're basically gambling on that your Leadership 6 or 7 troops can nail some tests and actually contribute. A quick look at the typical distribution of 2D6 will tell you those aren't good odds. The other table edge or the far flanks typically aren't where you have your big blocks (and thus your characters) jockeying around for position, so they'll be on their own for a bit. And god help you if your opponent can cause Fear... 3. Requires unit redundancy. Given that you need another unit of the same size or larger on the table to ambush something, this is a tactic that can either get really pricey quickly, or force you to water down your main units in order to pack fighting-caliber numbers on your ambushers. Neither of these propositions are appealing. Now having said that, the rule isn't completely useless. It does allow you to: 1. Ambush from turn 1 2. Provide an alternate means of deployment, one that an opponent must cater for, potentially putting them off their game plan, especially if you can make it so they are reacting to your plan. Building an army around it does not work (even taking Kazak One-Eye) so the question then becomes, if you are going to use it, how best to utilise it? Throwing multiple units of 5 Ungor Raiders into ambush can be worthwhile, as at 30pts for 5 and with enough of them being used for chaff, some should come on at a table edge that might be beneficial in order to tie up warmachines for a turn, however anything bar a human or goblin crew should easily beat them in combat. A unit of 20 Gor is possibly the best option. Having a unit of this size offers some flexibility. It is a big enough threat to easily take out warmachines and threaten the rear of an opponents lines and you don't have to use them in ambush. If you happen to roll the watch tower scenario, you also have a unit that is quite capable of garrisoning it and holding it until backup arrives.