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Hey guys, I'd like to get your tactical input on dealing with the fishy elves. They're as fast as we are, they (almost all) fly, and they've got that brutal turn 3 Always Strikes First ability. What are you go-to tactics for dealing with them? How do you handle the updated turtle?
Recently, in the Beasts of Chaos discussion thread, a post inquired about what opportunities arise when playing Beasts of Chaos battalions out of the various Chaos God allegiances. Rather than simply answer there, I figured it might be helpful to respond in a new thread. That way, we can hopefully grow the conversation in a way that is more accessible to both casual review and search attempts. Beasts of Chaos Allegiance Before getting to the four Chaos God allegiances, it might be helpful to note what a Beasts of Chaos player gives up when using those. The Beasts of Chaos allegiance itself is a collection of minor, albeit interesting benefits, each keyed to the main Beasts of Chaos factions: Brayherd, Warherd, and Thunderscorn. Note that the Beasts of Chaos' menagerie of monsters (cockatrice, jabberslythe, chimera, etc.) get nothing from the allegiance's battle traits, little from the currently available Greatfrays, and only slight buffs from the allegiance's spell lores (the "Titanic Fury" spell notwithstanding). Nor are these monsters involved in the four Chaos God battalions. The focus of comparison thus centers on how Brayherd, Warherd, and Thunderscorn play differently in each setting. Only Beasts of Chaos allegiance armies get to ambush, only Beasts of Chaos allegiance armies get the Herdstone and its related Primordial Call mechanic, and (perhaps most significantly) only Beasts of Chaos allegiance armies get to use Bestigors, Bullgors, and Dragon Ogors as Battleline if the general is either Brayherd, Warherd, or Thunderscorn. I think the latter point is probably the biggest factor in allegiance selection. Having the option to forego Gors or Ungors, in favor of more elite forces, is attractive. With the recent price discount of Warherd units in the December FAQ, fielding an exclusively elite unit Beasts of Chaos army is more accessible. It is also helpful to note that the Beasts of Chaos allegiance can field a surprising amount of high Rend. The Herdstone itself creates an ever-increasing Rend effect. Further options include: fielding Warherd with Great Axes, the Brayherd spell "Tendrils of Atrophy," the Thunderscorn spell "Sundering Blades," and several artefacts. In fact, not many armies can have two Heroes with -3 Rend, which a Beasts of Chaos allegiance army can do by fielding two Dragon Ogor Shaggoths (one with an “Ancestral Azyrite Blade” and one with either Chamon’s “Rune Blade” or Ulgu’s “Dimensional Blade”). Much is said elsewhere about ambushing and summoning. Brayherd units often contribute the most to these two features. Beyond the Brayherd, the Beasts of Chaos allegiance's capacity to make Thunderscorn run and charge (via the artefact “Horn of the Tempest”), along with the Creatures of the Storm battle trait, results in Thunderscorn being one of the game’s faster heavy cavalry choices when used in this allegiance. The Warherd’s Bloodgorge battle trait is somewhat underappreciated, too. By the way, while earlier conventional wisdom seemed to recommend fielding Bullgors and Dragon Ogors in MSU, I think running units of six alongside their respective Hero option is the way to go. Bullgors benefit from having a Doombull nearby, not just for Slaughterer’s Call, but also for Inspiring Presence. Dragon Ogors are strong with the ability to re-roll ones when near a Dragon Ogor Shaggoth. Such seems applicable to all the possible allegiance options. Khorne Allegiance The biggest benefit to running a Brass Despoilers-heavy army out of the Blades of Khorne seems to be Khorne’s capacity to give units additional attacks. The Bloodsecrator (especially when buffed by the Gore Pilgrims battalion) and Wrathmongers make this possible. Both Bestigors and Warherd are the strongest recipients of this resource. Large units of Bestigors, if their charges maximize frontage, can produce a startling amount of -1 Rend attacks. When fully buffed, Tuskgor Chariots can also be surprisingly good in Khorne. Warherd probably gain the most, though, complementing their already high Rend and the battalion’s re-roll benefits. A solid unit of Bullgors in Khorne can put out a lot of damage. In range of both the Bloodsecrator and Wrathmongers, a fully-engaged unit of six with unit leader has 25 attacks at a stat line of 4+ re-roll 1s/3+/-2/3. A Ghorgon is particularly nasty in Khorne when fully buffed, with three potential Huge Slavering Maw attacks. Remember that the Wrathmongers’ buff helps the Cygor’s missile attack, too. Tzeentch Allegiance Warherd are going to come up several times in these discussions, because several Chaos God allegiances provide ways to address the Warherd’s weaknesses. Those weaknesses include few attacks, average accuracy, and no innate ability to run and charge. Khorne addressed the first by doubling, when fully buffed, a Bullgor’s attack output. Tzeentch addresses the accuracy issue. Destiny Dice can help ensure the Bullgors hit their targets. Even better, note that the new Tzeentch book explicitly states that Destiny Dice count as unmodified dice. This means that when used by Warherd to score 6s for their to Wound rolls, Destiny Dice activate Bloodgreed/Ravenous Bloodgreed. A Fatemaster’s innate command ability is arguably a better buff for Warherd than the Doombull’s. Also of note is the Hosts Duplicitous Change Coven: an armywide buff that prohibits enemies from retreating seems helpful in a Warherd-heavy army. Lastly, successful completion of agendas can result in different Warherd units that increase considerably in potency as a game progresses. Nurgle Allegiance Once more, Warherd benefit arguably the most in Nurgle, gaining increased maneuverability thanks to both the Great Unclean One’s “Doomsday Bell” and the Feculent Gnarlmaw’s run and charge buff. When combined with a maximized run, a Ghorgon can reliably move 17” on its first turn, making first turn charges a real possibility. This is without factoring in an additional 2” movement bonus from the Cycle of Corruption, and also without further speed buffs from endless spells. Effective management of the Cycle of Corruption is a key to getting the most out of a Pestilent Throng in a Nurgle allegiance army. Its wizards gain access to the “Foul Regenesis” spell, just like all Nurgle wizards in a Nurgle allegiance army. If cast successfully, pick the bonus needed at the moment, with an eye to the next turn, too. An armywide +1 to Wound is helpful, especially for those units like Bestigors and Warherd that are already at 3+ to Wound. Alternatively, if defense is needed, the capacity to neuter opposing forces’ exploding 6s might be more useful in some circumstances. Healing should not be ignored; remember, the Great Unclean One’s innate spell also heals Nurgle units, which include a Pestilent Throng’s multiple wound Warherd, Thunderscorn, and even the Brayherd’s Centigors. Centigors (and, to perhaps a lesser degree, Bestigors) in a Nurgle allegiance army have a particular combination available to them when buffed by a Rotbringer Sorcerer’s “Blades of Putrefaction” spell. These Brayherd units both have an innate capacity to gain +1 to Hit (Bestigors is dependent on opposing units). That bonus means that the additional mortal wounds made possible by “Blades of Putrefaction” trigger on 5+ to Hit rolls, rather just 6+. With the amount of attacks Centigors and Bestigors inflict, such results in a high likelihood of many mortal wounds prior to damage from the attacks themselves. The speed at which “Blades of Putrefaction”-buffed Centigors and/or Bestigors can move, combined with Warherd units’ own improved movement, results in a Pestilent Throng that can reliably charge a surprising amount of elite units on the first turn. Slaanesh Allegiance Thunderscorn gain arguably the most from Euphoric Killers, given innate amount of attacks available in a given space, with both Warherd and Bestigors also significantly benefiting from that armywide buff. A Dragon Ogor Shaggoth also has an innate healing option which, combined with its high wound count, can result in many Depravity Points becoming available over the course of a game. Additional benefits for a Depraved Drove in a Slaanesh allegiance army likely depend on the Host chosen at army creation. A Godseekers list amps up units’ already above average speed. A Pretenders list allows Gors to both re-roll 1s to Hit and have a melee 4+ save, making a 30 block unit of Gors a cost effective buy at 200 points each. Further, a Pretenders list can run a Doombull with both the “Hunter of Godbeasts” command trait and the “Sliverslash” artefact, resulting in a Hero that: (1) re-rolls charges against an opposing Hero Monster with an artefact (many armies have these), (2) attacks five times at 3+/3+/-2/4, re-rolling to Hit rolls, (3) inflicts additional mortal wounds on unmodified to Wound rolls of 6, and (4) rolls additional attacks from Bullgor Horns. An Invaders list might slightly edge out a Pretenders list as the most efficient option for a Depraved Drove. While its outright potential damage output might be somewhat less, the additional range for command ability like Inspiring Presence is very attractive for units with average Bravery. Also, the “Best of the Best” command trait complements the Depraved Drove benefit, especially for a Thunderscorn Hero. When fighting an opposing Hero that has an artefact, a Dragon Ogor Shaggoth general, armed with a Rune Blade or Dimensional Blade, will attack three times at 3+/3+/-3/3, re-rolling to Hit and to Wound, plus other melee attacks. That is a strong Hero killer. Closing Thoughts Beasts of Chaos is a fun range of units to play in and of themselves, before even considering which allegiance one finds most fun. At times, I have explored all five options; each has an appeal that might surprisingly compel my interest for a time before I move on to a different build. I recommend eventually trying them all, but for beginners, especially those without much experience with Beasts of Chaos units, I think starting with the Beasts of Chaos allegiance is the best bet. Learn the basics of what the Brayherd, Warherd, and Thunderscorn do well and what they do not do well. Get a sense for their capacity for speed relative to other armies, as well as how their respective innate buffs complement each unit. If there is an aspect to the Beasts of Chaos range that you discover you particularly enjoy (high Rend capability, high speed, etc.), then explore the Chaos God allegiance that most accentuates that facet. Have fun! I hope the above is helpful and look forward to the conversation. Happy wargaming!