It's time for the Beasts Of Chaos Review !!!!!!
For the last 20 Years the Herd have been my main army. I am more of a purist, no chaos mark and only Brayherd units, using ambush if possible with lots of Gors and Ungors supported by one unit of Bestigors!
On the other hand having a Battletome reassembling all the Chaos Beasts in one synergistic army was always an incredible idea !
I am not gonna lie, in all history of Beastmen armies my favorite army book was the force compendium pdf they made for the AOS release. This compendium pretty much started my AOS motivation and without a good Army book for the Herd I feel less inclined to play AOS. (but there are so much cool game right now that it's hard to keep up with everything)
Rest assured, the New Beasts of Chaos Battletome is nearly as great as the PDF compendium from AOS release. Yes it's missing the named characters from the world that was. That is if you only focus on Beastmen, considering they managed the inclusion of the Chaos Menagerie in one army it's maybe the Best Army book ever created !!!!!
I usually try to follow a conducting line when I write a review but to honor the Beast, i'll go Wild without much planning !!
The fluff part while succinct help to understand the Beasts presence in the realms. The Beast were here before Sigmar and age of Myth they got slaugthered hard but when chaos rose they rose with him.
We also learn that they are Half Natural force Half Chaos hence Beastmen reflects the realm they are originating from. So yes There are Beastmen with fish head at the bottom of the ocean ^^
On the god side Beast venerate some kind of alpha Progenitor beast (that could very well be a god beast). There are a few more story/Theories in the book that I don't want to spoil ^^ But there is this idea that Beast are part primordial force part chaos.
It was fun to read that Gavespawn herd worship an entity know as Morghur the great Devolver.
The Beasts of Chaos army is lot more that the sums of all his components let's look at the different army rules and see what they grant.
As usual with the AOS Battletome if you choose the Main keyword of the book ''Beasts of Chaos'' in this one you get allegiance abilities. The difference is the number of them there is a ton :
Before the game begin you can place an heardstone in you territory and 12” from enemy territory.
All the old scenery rules are removed and replaced with 2 powers. Both have a 6'' range from the stone and get an extra 6'' at the start of each battle round.
1) -1 to armor save to units within range. This is bonker good as rend is usually one of two big Herd problems (Spoiler alert : not anymore ^^) and the wording is very lenient since if only 1 model for a unit is in range all the unit get the debuff.
2) Don't take Battleshock for BOC units wholly within the range. You can't get too far but will see in a minute that you don't have to !
Very close to the old rule but now you get 1 brayherd unit in ambush for 1 BOC unit. Meaning you can ambush with all the brayherds and keep other BOC by the herdstone ^^. Distance is 6” from any edge and more than 9” from enemy.
Timing is end of turn 1 move phase unless you have a specific trait mile this one :
Creature of the storm
Ability for Shagoth and Dragon ogor. At start of your hero phase free move of 1d6" if you are more than 3” away from a enemy unit. Keep in mind that the Shaggoth is now a wizard so moving before casting is super interesting.
Anyway it's a super good power that grant extra threat range.
For Warherd (bullgor..) heal 1d3 wounds if you wipe an enemy unit.
Optional, you can choose 1 Greatfray and get extra abilities but you are forced to choose a certain warlord trait / relic. The 3 options are Allherd, Darkwalkers, Gavespawn.
Darkwalkers and Gave Spawn are very good. Honestly all herd feel like the weakest but if you go full summon it's scary !
The Allherd offer : command ability is if general is on the BF you get 1 summon point (primordial call point). Allherd trait is re-roll charge roll for unit wholly within 18” if general is within 3” of enemy.
Darkwalkers offer : Ambush for everyone , Turn 2 ambush, Teleport command ability (must be 9” from enemy and 18'' from a friend hero, teleport anyware 9'' from ennemy.
Gavespaw : My favorite, Dead heroes become spawn on 2+, command is +1 attack to 1 unit if 12” from a spawn ^^, relic is +2 dmg to a weapon but unmodified 1 deal 1mw to the bearer. super good on a beast lord !
A K A Sacrifice and Summon !
-You get 1 point each turn
-A hero 3” away from the stone can inflict 1d3 mw on a unit within 3'' of the stone, you get 1 point per wound.
-At the end of the movement phase you can Summon and Ambush with one summoned unit.
This rule is awesome for 2 reasons : First it's powerfull that you can transform weak ungor in Bestigor. Secondly your opponent can't ignore The Herdstone, unless he want to see the new improved chimera spawning in his back line.
That's it for the Allegiance abilities and that already a lot to compute if you include the Herd choice !
While there is no name characters left in the book there is 5 choices,
Heroes in the book are : Beastlord, Shaman, Doombull, Shaggoth, Tzaangor shaman,
Lost the shield and 2 handed weapons options.
No points change
Still can't run and charge :/
Grizzly trophy Command ability changed and benefit a lot from AOS2. Now you can use it at anytime during the combat phase and the beastlord doesn't need to be the general.
That mean you can send a non general beast lord with the new dmg 3 weapon. For 6 attacks 3+ 3+ -1 3 reroll 1 and reroll wounds on hero. If you kill something (and you should I think) you wait on your next activation and before attacking if the Beastlord is still alive ^^ you pop the command for rerolling).
On the paper it's a terrible command abilities but it kind of force the opponent to attack an already activated models. I don't know why GW hate the beastlord but heh your guess is as good as mine !!
Great Bray Shaman
No point or stats change but a +1 to wounds .
Devolve still the same but note that herdstone doesn't give +1 to cast anymore unless you roll it (if you can I am not sure).
Big nerf in the wording of infuse with bestial vigor.
We might as well talk about the Brayherd spell list here :
Viletide : d3 mortal at 12 or d6 mortal at 6”
Vicious stranglethorns : pick a terrain piece in 24” all enemy within 3” take d3 mortal (strong !)
Savage dominion : Take control of an enemy monster.
Tendrils of atrophy : -1 save roll within 12 until your next hero phase ! Awesome
Wild Rampage : See the image
Titanic Fury : BOC monster get +1A on all his weapons, very good on Chimera, Ghorgon
Chronomantic cogs from Malign Sorcery
it's perfect for BOC army :
Grant +2 to charge distance on all the table, can be casted very far from the action and benefit all the units ambushing. Crazy good ^^ Combo pretty well with the trumpet that grant +1 to hit for brayherds entering the terrain.
Just for this option you need at least 2 shamans !
-2 horns attacks 4+ 4+
Slaugther call heavily changed(nerfed), start of combat phase select 1 warherds unit within 12” add +1 to wounds until end of phase.
A bit more killy, bit more tanky, command ability a lot nerfed but : Have access to specific trait and specific items.
One of the trait grant reroll charge for warherd around 12”.
Combo : Ambush 12 bulls that get to charge on 6+ reroll with cogs+ bullgors banner ^^
No more behemoth but take a behemoth slot on army creation
-1 axe attack
Now a wizard with summon lightning and a spellist (3 choices)
Want more rend ?
Access to traits and Items :
-One relic allow run and charge friendly thunderscorn ww18”
-One trait grant +1d3 command points ^^.
If you want to go all in on summon, with a bit of luck you could gather 10 summon points first turn ! (but you have to take Allherd Greatfrays)
Grant +1 to hit to nearby skyfire or Enlightened.
Same spell items.
Tzaangor Shaman is a super important addition for Ambush/alpha strike plan. The elixir allow once per game to cast a second spell and reroll part or all casting dice. So the combo would be to cast the Chronomantic cogs endless spell with reroll and then Ambush with your units to benefit from the +2 charge range.
That's it for the Heroes let's look at the units.
Lots of little change here :
-Same as before.
-Anarchy and Mayhem became +1 attacks if more than 20
Ungors and Ungor raider
No change but ungors raiders can't be battle-line anymore. I hope it's a mistake ^^
Rant : I have amassed 80 Ungors raiders that are not Battleline anymore and they lost the old Herdstone buff.
Despoiler became +1 to hit vs units with 10+ and reroll 1 vs order.
Gained Bestial charge +1 attack on charge.
The amount of synergies with Bestigors is incredible you can do :
An Ambush with 1 unit of 30 Bestigors that will do, 4 attacks on charge hit on 2+, wounds on 3+, with +3 charge range. There is no point enumerating all the options, there are too many. Bestigors are now KING of the Herd !
Added despoiler for the depoiler axe.
Charge bonus is now +1A and not reroll attack anymore.
Can still reroll charge.
BloodGreed changed to deal 1 extra mortal wound on unmodified 6 to wound. Note there is a way to get blood greed on 5+
Got 2 horns attack each !
Drummer bonus nerfed from +1 for each enemy within 12” units to flat +1. Off course I was a bit sad when I discovered the drummer nerf but with Ambushing Bulls it would have been Totally crazy !!!
-BRAYHERDS keyword added !!!!!
-Gained 2 forelimbs attack (5+ 5+)
-Drunken revelry +1hit and +1 to be hit & replace drunken courage.
Got 5 Bravery now
Super mobile they can move a flat 17” with the shaman speed buff, run 1d6+1 and then charge 2d6 for a 18+3d6 threat range ^^ Pretty good if you want to disrupt back line, charge supports or visit enemy territory.
-Battle line if Shaggoth is general
-Dual weapons gained 2 attacks
-hit on 3+ now
-reroll 1 if 12 from a shaggoth.
-Could be very good with the Shaggoth itemsgranting run and charge for a 8+4d6 threat range.
Uncontrollable Stamped changed a bit : No more forced to charge, ReRoll charge distance and mortal wound on 6 to hit.
Battleline if Tzaangor shaman is general
18pt each (expensive)
Savagery Unleashed nerfed to flat +1 attacks if more than 9models.
Gained +1 attacks on spear.
Preternatural enhancement is now on the Shaman warscroll.
The big change is on Judgement from afar, now it's unmodified 6 and it was 6+ (with a +1 from shaman) but they are 20 points cheaper as a trade off.
Arcanite inclusion : It's happened Tzaangor are part of the herd now and they can be used to ambush. It's been a long time since I had 2w gors under my commands ! ^^ I am still not sure how to use them tbh.
Now that we check all the Units let's get to the monsters !!
A few update there too :
Gained 2 wounds.
Benefit a lot from the new unbind distance.
No point change.
Not much synergies but still a fun model.
Ravenous bloodgreed changed.
Swallow whole was previewed by Rhu already (roll 1d6 to eat someone)
No point change
Only one change the sword like talons is 4 attacks 8 on charge instead of 1d6/2d6
No more a behemoth
Bile blood is 4+ for 1 mortal wound.
The weapons stat are at full life.
take a behemoth slot
Gained 1 attack on each head
Gained 2 attacks on claws
Super strong option now !
Only difference is that Eadbutt first step is 6 dmg (like durthu)
A bit better than before, you can inflict 1 mw to get 1 extra attack on each melee weapons.
A giant can get to 3 Eadbutt a turn if you have magic/Hero support.
That's it !!!
No more harpies in the book. :/
There are 3 :
Birds : remove 2 bravery
Doomblast : debuff non Beast of chaos with -1hit (unit within 3'') get an extra 3'' each turn.
Taurus : predatory with 24” threat range (12 range and 12 move) deal 1d3 or 1d6 against large units if you take wounds you fight last.
Taurus is nearly auto include in every Beast Army.
Palisade is very handy to protect a shaman near the Herdstone or a Beastlord ^^
Cogs are auto include if you are Ambush Heavy
If you are wizard heavy you can stack multiple source of -1 to hit (Feminid, Doomblast, Light palisade).
4 gods specific battalion, nothing specials but add Khorne, Slaanesh, Tzeench, Nurgle keywords. Still I have no idea on how use them since Brayherd only have slave to darkness ally.
I read a message from Rhu where he was saying that everything would be working fine but I don't know how unless you plan to use these Battalions as allied force. All cost 160+ points.
Non-god specific Battalion :
-Thuderscorn Stormherd battalion : random healing or mortal wound each turn (a bit less than 200)
-Hungering Warherd Battalion : Extra pile in movement
-Desolating Beastherd : mixed warherd/Brayherd that grant unmodified 6 generate 2 hit. Apply to melee and ranged but only in enemy territory. So it's super neat if you ambush or take the fight to them !
-Marauding Brayherd : +1 charge roll but very big Battalion (around 10 units to have)
Excluding these, this Battletome is incredible. We are now a Faction !!