Why Play Beastmen
Let's say you like Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy, but you're not that hell-bent on winning every game you set out to play. A strange thought to many, I know but let's entertain this one. What would an army of this sort look like? I'll tell you what it would look like - it would look like Beastmen! Like Daemons and Warriors, Beastmen have all that cool chaos flair, like spiky bits, evil and malice, awesome looking models, etc. - and none of the cheese! If you like an army of angry, bitter, drunk pseudo-furries (it's actually a lot cooler than that sounds), you will like the Beastmen.
Also, if you like tough, fast-moving cores supported by awesome lords and heroes, one of the most bad-ass special units and literally terrifying rare choices, Beastmen are for you.
Sadly, Beastmen were written when 7th edition was in vogue and they really shined back then. Today, they are overpriced and nowhere near as durable as they used to be. Essentially, they're now a casualty of 8th edition; pity that WHFB had to be rebooted because of an exceptionally OP army made by a particular cocksucker.
Until the Beastmen get their new army book, Beastmen is for those that likes to use a challenging army that relies on actual tactics, much like how the Dark Pansies USED to be in this regard.
 Unit Analysis
The first thing to note about Beastmen is that most of the army benefits from a rule called "Primal Fury." In close combat, the unit takes a Ld test and if successful, gets hatred for the round. If the unit passes on a double 1, they get hatred AND frenzy for the rest of the round. While this sounds good, you must understand that one of the Beastmen's major weaknesses is their low LD, so they won't be passing as much as you want them to.
The other thing to note about the Beastmen is that a number of units can be held in reserve for a Beastmen ambush. Gors, Ungors and Ungor Raiders can all do this, which requires a duplicate unit of the one you want to ambush with (excluding characters and upgrades, it just has to be the same size). Ambushers can strike on the first turn if you roll well enough; after that, the table edge they come in on is determined by the roll of a die and if you roll a 6, you get to choose the side. Again, this sounds good but Gors and Ungors are absolutely terrible and the randomness of where they show up can often screw you over (I need them to show up on the left and they...show up on the right). Never mind that even if they show up where you want them to, they can't charge on the turn they arrive, giving everyone a turn to react to them being there. Therefore, this tactic is best used as a distraction, with shitloads of cheap, annoying surprise-attacking little cunts. You will however need many of them...
 Lords & Heroes
 Named Characters
Note: Under the current edition, named characters tend to be overpriced; you can pretty easily emulate most named characters from scratch and save yourself some points. That said, a few named characters do have abilities and wargear or wargear combos unique to them, so if you absolutely need to have them, go ahead. Just make sure you're really getting your points worth.
- Gorthor, The Beastlord: The Archaon of Beastmen, which is kinda sad when you think about it. Costs 125 points more than a Chariot mounted Beastlord and you are willing to pay that because of the 18 inches of Inspiring Presence. That is the ONLY reason why. Combat wise, he's okay, but unreliable. Killing Blow is nice, but his mediocre I and only slightly above average WS (especially for a lord) hurts him a lot. His magic casting ability is pretty useless (as you need to use dice to cast Bound Spells now) and the fact that he's hanging out on his own in a chariot is essentially an invitation for any Lord with a mount and magic weapon to walk up and take a swing at him (more on this later, under the Beastlord). He's still fairly useful, but you might need to keep him out of combat and behind your main units.
- Khazrak, the One Eye: Here we go. 80 points less than Gothgor, helps your Ambushing units to arrive better (never roll a 1 again) and can actually join units and help keep them from fluffing rounds of combat (and unlike Gothgor, he can actually survive the odd round of combat with another lord). If you want a special character Beastlord, this is the one.
- Malagor, the Dark Omen: Not too bad as far as Beastmen Special Characters. If he starts casting he gets hard to stop, he helps your guys around you get Frenzy and he helps hold up your enemy's general. Maybe a little on the pricy side, but worth it for his abilities, especially since he can fly around and troubleshoot. Not bad, not bad.
- Taurox, the Brass Bull: THIS RAPE TRAIN HAS NO MODEL! More seriously, Doombulls are iffy as is, and spending more points on one is not something you need to do. If you want a Doombull, take a Doombull and kit him out for bear, don't bother with this guy.
- Morghur The Shadowgave: Unbreakable and kinda fun in the stats department but he kills one friendly (AND ONLY FRIENDLY) model per turn and turns it into that which shall not be named. If you want to take him, keep him near your Ungors to try and turn them rather than something more worthwhile and be aware that if no other friendly model is near enough, he takes the hit himself, so be careful. Generally not worth it, but can be fun in a non-competitive list.
- Slugtongue: Slugtongue costs nearly 80 points than a level 2 Bray Shaman for a 50 percent chance to cause up to D6 wounds (usually D3) to 1 enemy unit before the game begins. Oh and he loses access to Lore of Beasts. Not worth it.
- Moonclaw, Son of Morsleib: Just what you need, something to make your units worse. As low LD is one of the major weaknesses of a Beastmen army, his Stupidity causing is MUCH more likely to hurt you than your opponent. His once per game ability to drop stone throwers could be fun, if he's inside a unit, you're gonna end up firing at the same unit 3 times (and if you're in combat then your opponent is just going to laugh at you). Oh and did we mention he's Level 1 for 125 points more than a Bray Shaman? Skip him hard.
 Generic Characters
Note: While named characters are judged against their generic counterparts, generic characters are examined based on their role in your army.
- Beastlord: You are going resent this guy. You need him, oh good lord do you need him, but you don't want him. He's expensive and he'll crumble under direct assault, but you NEED his LD9 bubble. Keep him in a unit, if he's in a chariot any lord or hero who wants to take a swing at him essentially can with impunity and almost any Lord (and a few heroes) can knock him out in one-on-one. Use him, but carefully and make sure you keep him away from Assassins.
- Great Bray Shaman: The wizard lord of the Beastmen. Useful as far as Wizards go, but a tiny bit on the pricey side. His LD8 could help in a pinch, but don't rely on it. As with before, keep him away from combat with other heroes, his combat stats are a trap, he will get killed.
- Doombull: Doombulls are an iffy model. They're expensive and hard to keep in line (Frenzy plus Bloodgreed means he and his unit are easy to strand). They can become a rape train under the right circumstances, but LD8 makes him unreliable after a fluffed round of combat. Be careful about sticking him with Minotaurs and think about screening units, odds are you're spending a lot on that unit, you don't want it to get isolated and shredded.
- Wargor: What with Beastmen LD being both critical and piss poor, and your Beastlord being unable to be everywhere at once, you're going to be buying a lot of these guys to do unit babysitting and troubleshooting. As with Beastlords, most people can kick their teeth in, so be careful with them. Also, get a BSB. Seriously, you need it. A lot.
- Bray Shaman: Cheap level 2 wizards are always useful for when things go tits up for your Level 4's and Bray Shamans fill that role nicely. Worth taking. Don't be fooled though, they can't fight in combat so don't try it.
- Gorebull: He has all the issues of a Doombull with none of the advantages. At least a Doombull has a brutal statline and higher base LD than the Minotaurs (pathetic) LD. Combined with limited access to magic equipment, makes the Gorebull just a fucking awful choice. Ignore.
 Core Units
- Gors: The basic troops of any Beastmen army. Lucky you. Seriously though, these guys are fucking awful. Same cost as a Dark Elf Warrior with Spears and Shield, with 1 higher toughness and Primal Fury as opposed the usual Hatred. Oh and they have lower WS, I and LD, and no armor. These guys are going to die by the truckload and cannot be relied upon to stick around against any stiff resistance without hero backup. But they're your basic infantry, so you're probably gonna need to take some or your army will be sorely lacking. Bring huge fucking units and throw in babysitting heroes and lords to try and bolster their terrible LD. And if you're gonna buy additional equipment, make it Extra Hand Weapons, Shields might as well not exist for them.
- Ungors: Wow and I thought Gors were bad. 5 points for a unit that can't actually accomplish shit makes 7 points for a unit that can rarely accomplish shit seem great. You're probably going to need some just to keep your Gor/Bestigor units from getting flanked, just be aware: Without a general/hero nearby they can't even function as a Horde (be Steadfast all you like, you're still likely to break when you lose combat at LD6). Keep them near the General and pray.
- Ungrel Four-Horn:A 75 point upgrade that occasionally turns into a Wargor and allows you reroll Primal Fury tests against Empire, Bretonnia and other Beastmen. Oh and he traps you at his basic LD, IE 7. Spending 75 points on a unit that will still break under any direct pressure is not a good call. Skip him.
- Ungor Raiders: Skirmishers got nerfed in 8th edition and these lads are no exception. If you need a few points (say 30 or so) to fill out your core requirements, I guess these could make okay flank guards, but don't expect them to accomplish much.
- Warhounds: The main reason to take Core units in a Beastmen army is to try and hit minimum requirement as fast as possible and since Warhounds don't count towards that, these guys are iffy. They make okay screening units, but are vulnerable to Panic and cause Panic in others. Their primary use is as a screening unit for Frenzied Minotaurs, so that's...something.
- Tuskgor Chariots: The Chaos Gods have seen fit to grant you a core unit that's actually worth it's points, and this is it. Seriously, you can never have enough of these filling out your core choices. Don't go overboard though, you're not Tomb Kings, you can't make an entirely chariot army (and least not and have it work).
 Special Units
- Minotaurs: Minotaurs are your blunt force instruments and are indicative of the army as a whole: Powerful on the face of it, weak in the details, overpriced, prone to running like pussies if they fuck up. Shitty LD, Bloodgreed and weird movement to role ratio within the army makes Minotaurs a hard unit to use right. But if you're willing to invest the points and the time (not to mention a babysitting hero), they can truly fuck shit up. Be careful about how you move them, and consider investing in a screening unit.
- Bestigors: If you want to take Bestigors, you're going to have to commit to them. Units of 10, 15, even 20? Fuck that, who do you think you are, Elves? No, if you want Bestigors you're going to want HUGE units of 30+. Yes they're overpriced for their abilities, but at least at that size they're unlikely to get shot to pieces. In units of that size, they can actually accomplish quite a bit, but don't let them operate on their own. You're going to want a Beastlord nearby and a BSB in the unit would not go amiss. And you definitely need a magic banner. As we said: Commit.
- Razorgors: A solid enough flanking unit, but beware that WS3 and LD6, it will cause problems. And really, for the same cost you could just get more Minotaurs which is probably a better choice. And the models is absolute balls.
- Razorgor Chariot: For 15 points more you could get 2 Ungor Chariots, which is the better choice. Overall though, not a bad choice, as it provides a fairly nasty blunt-force hitter. Just, as always, be careful.
- Centigors: Garbage. Absolute garbage. They're overpriced (Cold One Cavalry costs 2 points more and is better in essentially every possible way), they'll crumble if they hit a unit that's not made of cardboard, 1 of their drunken results is meh, one is okay (would be better for a different unit) and the third actively makes things WORSE. Any points spent on these is wasted.
- Ghorros Warhoof: Spend 155 points to make your Centigors slightly less shit! Honestly, this guy would be 100% better if you could field him and then just cause him to die out of nowhere. As it is, he's not very good. But then you've already taken Centigors, so go ahead and take him, what do we care?
- Harpies: It's amazing how much the omission of one special rule can change the Harpies from being pretty good (in the Dark Elves book) to being a risky difficult proposition. They cause panic. Remember, Panic is the easiest way to get your units heading for the hills and never returning, and Beastmen don't exactly need a reason to panic. But they make okay screening and war machine hunting units, so if you're running Minotaur heavy, you could think about investing in a small unit or two.
 Rare Units
Beastmen Rare choices are overpriced and underpowered, like all of the Beastmen book right now. However, unlike most of the rest of your army, they operate just as well with or without Hero/Lord supervision. Thus they can fill gaping holes in your army, cause casualties where you normally can't and hit the flanks.
- Giant: You know him, you love him and he's slightly over priced (225 vs the Ogre Kingdoms or Orcs and Goblins Giants' 200 points, because the they aren't immune to Panic. Oh and ALL of the Ogre Kingdom's Giant's Pick Up And... result in auto-death for the target. Depressing). In all seriousness, the Giant is a safe boring rare choice and combines with any of the other big choices for a perfect 500 points in Rare units. You want the Giant
- Chaos Spawn: Worthless in Chaos Marines, worthless in Warriors of Chaos, worthless here. Do you want a unit that can either hang around the back of your army failing to do anything, or lurch on ahead of your units to get run over by any competent combat unit (T5 and 3 wounds does NOT make him survivable). What's more, he's eating up precious Rare Points. Every time you take a Chaos Spawn, Tzeentch kills a kitten. Think of the kittens.
- Cygor: Cygors are useful, but somewhat iffy. They amount to an overpriced stone thrower who can mess up magic units and units with Ward Saves, but his pathetic WS (2. Fucking 2) and low toughness for a monster (5) mean that he's likely to crumble under direct assault. On the other hand, he's your only real solid shooting and your essential only hope for killing Large Flying Monsters, which are one of the things that can fuck you. Use him, but cautiously.
- Ghorgon: This motherfucker is scary and under the right circumstances can cause a lot of carnage, but requires careful use. For starters, Frenzy and Bloodgreed increase the possibility of him being led by the nose (yes I know you need to fail an LD test to accidentally charge, but he will still pursue that unit of Fast Cavalry that flanked him and he won combat, trust me, canny opponents know how to use Frenzy), and being stranded in a bad situation (if he gets into combat with 2 ranks of Swordsmasters, White Lions, Witch Elves, etc, you might as well just remove him). His swallow whole is of limited usefulness and his mediocre WS makes him an iffy proposition. On the other hand, he's one of the 2 units in your army that can operate entirely self-sufficient (even Jabberslythes and Cygors need general or unit backup, the Giant is the other) which might make him worth it all on it's own. Be careful with him though, he's expensive and can easily be put in a situation where he'll drop like a fly.
- Jabberslythe: This thing is so hideous it drives your enemy insane (and it's model costs so much it drives YOU insane). Not as all around good as the Giant, Cygor or Ghorgon, due to a lack of Stubborn and comparatively low S and T, but he flies, he shoots, he causes wounds when he gets wounded, he thunder stomps and he drives enemy models insane. Will probably be worth his points so long as you don't use him carelessly. Just keep him away from Vorpal Swords. Also, VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Despite being a flying monster he is NOT repeat NOT qualified to go head to head with a Dragon without backup. A Dragon with a halfway competent rider will knock his ass down. Sending him up against anything above a Manticore qualifies as using him carelessly.
 Building Your Army
 Army Composition
You will field many Gors and Ungors. This will make you unhappy, as both are overpriced and crumble under any real pressure, but you need them to fill out the gaping holes in your army.. You will need a Beastlord to hold the army together (LD9 is very important) and a bunch of Wargors to play troubleshooting and to support important units. Fill up your core as you like and take Special and Rare based on how you want to play.
 Magic Items
- Gifts of Chaos:
- Crown of Horns: It's over costed, and with 8th Edition Rules you get Stubborn so long as you have more ranks than your opponent.
- Slug-Skin: Noooooope. 30 points for a S3 hit on the what, 3 models max that are in base contact with him? No thanks.
- Many-Limbed Fiend: 1 extra attack at base strength? For 20 points. Nope.
- Gouge Tusks: Here we go. Helpful for breaking through heavily armored fuckers and keeping you from fluffing those important rounds of combat.
- Gnarled Hide: This one is excellent, 10/10 WOULD BANG, especially when combined with existing armor.
- Rune of True Beasts: Not worth it. It won't protect him enough from big scary monsters and it won't protect him at ALL from the Riders, which is where a lot of the threat comes from.
- Uncanny Senses: Good if you're combining it with The Swift Sword of Slaying and might face initiative 5 troops to make sure you get those rerolls. Just be sure to NOT combine it with a Great Weapon.
- Shadow-Hide: Too limited in it's wording. And never mind that if he's on his own, in cover, people shooting at him will already be at -2 and will therefore probably be ignoring him. Skip it.
- Magic Weapons:
- Primeval Club: The fuck is this? Who thought this was worth an S5 lord's ENTIRE points allowance. Beastmen lords don't need help wounding, they need help hitting. Never mind that point where you're fighting Zombies and are wounding on a 5+. Skip it.
- Axe of Men: A little on the expensive side and lacks a way to make the enemy accept the Challenge. Maybe if he could take a more proactive role in Hero killing (IE, if he had a mount). As it is? Nah.
- Stonecrusher Mace: HERE we go. Great for a combat Lord, especially if you're going to face Empire and you want to see the look on your opponent's face when you break his Steam Tank. Still a big on the pricy side.
- Mangelder: Nah. Terror got neutered, as did Fear, so it's too expensive (plus it says Model, not Unit for the second ability).
- Hunting Spear: Having been officially FAQ'd to be a throwing weapon, this one can actually be worth it, just of it's potential for Monster Hunting (big scary monsters that fly, like Dragons, are one of your worst enemies). Best for a cheap Hero, just be aware that your BS will cause you frustration.
- Axes of the Khorgor: Good on a Doombull to make sure you get those attacks in, but it will really eat into his magic points with its high cost.
- Steel Claws: Wielding this weapon comes with a cigar and a penchant for calling people Bub. Amnesia is optional. Seriously though, a good item for it's points, combine with Gnarled Hide for an effective combat Hero, or with both Gnarled Skin and Trollhide for an effective Lord.
- The Brass Cleaver: Eh. It's 30 points for what, 3 extra attacks? Might be more worth it on a Doombull who's wandering on his own. But then he'll just get charged by a hero on dragon and you wasted your points. Still, not a bad item for a hero, since it's on the cheap side. Just keep him out of Challenges.
- Everbleed: If this item works for you regularly then what are you doing playing Warhammer instead of shooting craps in Vegas? Seriously, the amount of luck required to make this work regularly is absurd, so the points are essentially wasted.
- Magic Armour:
- Blade Blunter Armor: Could be worth it just to discourage enemy heroes with magic weapons. Though I don't know if it'll work if the character and thus the armor, are killed before it can knock out the magic weapon. Worth investigating.
- Trollhide: It would be churlish of me to point out that Dark Elves have a suit of armor that does the exact same thing, but is Heavy Armor, for 15 points less. But it's still a good item.
- Blackened Plate: Good on Minotaur Bloodkines, but could be good just because of the ubiquity of Flaming Attacks. Still, you could very easily buy this and have it not do a single thing.
- Ramhorn Helm: Good when combined with Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour and Shield, giving you 1+ Armour Save that gives you an extra attack every time you make an armour save. Very good with this combo. Send a Doombull out on his own with this and watch his decimate rank and file troops.
- Enchanted Items:
- Shard of the Herdstone: Extremely awesome, but keeping all your Wizards in one place is just begging for a unit of flyers to come eat them.
- Horn of the Great Hunt: Great in a Chariot list or if you need to get into combat fast. Beastmen resist shooting damage in the same way an infant fights Mohammad Ali, you want ANYTHING that will get them into combat faster.
- Horn of the First Beast: It's over costed, and you're better off using your Battle Standard Bearer to get those Primal Fury rerolls.
- Stone of Spite: Could be fun, especially against Dark Elves/High Elves (though if you're fighting either of those armies, you've probably lost already) but it's worthless against Daemons or Dwarves (though, see above). Not a bad item though, especially for friendly play.
- Skin of Man: Perfect for a Bray-Shaman who, in your opinion, should not live past turn 2. If you have some silly desire to keep your Shaman alive long enough to affect the game, you should probably skip this one. Keep in mind this still works if your Shaman is mounted on a Chariot, so if you have the points try out a scouting Razorgor Chariot.
- Cacophonous Dirge: Since Musicians only work in combat if you've drawn (and ONLY if you've drawn) this one is limited in usefulness, but it could be okay at ending drawn out combat.
- Eye of Night: Overcosted and weirdly specific in it's effect. If it effected ALL wizards within 24, it might be worth it. As is, no thanks.
- Chalice of Dark Rain: Since, as I said, Beastmen do not resist shooting well at all, this item is worth it. Unless you KNOW you're not facing an army that's not using shooting (and it can be useful against some of those: Read it, it says that Banshees can't scream except on a 4+), you should really be grabbing this.
- Arcane Items:
- Skull of Rakos: Odd, but effective, especially if you grabbed Shard of the Herdstone. Probably worth it even it only affects the one Shaman.
- Staff of Darkoth: Remember how we said that you want to tip the odds in your favor? This item is exceptional at helping you do that. Well worth taking.
- Hagtree Fetish: Beastmen magic is lacking in offensive spells, but this could help in a pinch. Worth taking in larger lists.
- Jagged Dagger: If your Bray-Shaman is trying to run touchdowns or getting into combat, he's probably gonna bite it too quickly to make use of this. Still it's 10 points, so what do you have to lose?
- Magic Banners:
Please note that the only unit that can take magic banners is Bestigors. This may seem like a losing proposition since you already sunk a lot of points into that HUGE unit of Bestigors (to bring the large number of guys you need to have to keep them from getting shot to pieces/cut to ribbons before they get to combat) and you don't want to sink more points into one unit. To that I say: Bitch, did you think I was kidding? You ARE sinking more points into those Bestigors.
- Beast Banner: Really good for a unit you NEED to survive or cause casualties, especially a large Gor unit. Great for a BSB.
- Totem of Rust: Because Beastmen's enemies really need help killing them? Skip it, it'll hurt you more than it hurts your enemies.
- Manbane Standard: Could be worth it on the Bestigors, especially a center-field one.
- The Banner of Outrage: So let me get this straight: The Beastmen
get the chance to reroll their opportunity toautomatically get Hatred every turn and your enemies also get Hatred, just not every turn. You also lose the chance to get Frenzy from Primal Fury, at least according to the FAQ. What is it with these banners helping out the enemy. It's not like they need the help. Don't ever take this.
- The Banner of Outrage: So let me get this straight: The Beastmen
Beastmen magic is generally overpriced and underpowered, just like the army itself and can be beaten down by any dedicated magic armies. Hell, even if it's not a dedicated magic army, it can probably outcast you (Ogres army specific Lore will kick your ass and even Bretonnia and Wood Elves get access to Lore of Life). As such, casting is NOT something you want to rely on, as essentially anyone can do it better than you.
But it's not all bad, your casting Heroes and Lords are cheaper than MOST peoples and can hold up acceptably in combat (not on their own, never on their own). You're going to want your lower level Heroes to concentrate on Lore of Beasts and grab multiples of it's Signature Spell (and maybe try to grab an offensive spell or two) to try and tip an important combat in your favor. Lord level wizards should be nabbing Lore of Death right out, for it's usefulness at sniping enemy heroes and weakening enemy units. Lore of Shadows is okay if you want to try for Occam's Mindrazor, but Death and Beasts are more all purpose. Note that the Beastmen's personal lore is not very good, as it has high casting values and low range (4/7 of the spells have ranges of 6-12) which means it has to be a high level Shaman near the front to make proper use of them, which is NOT where you want him.
Let's get down to brass tacks here eh? Beastmen, as an army, have some gaping holes. The biggest and most egregious: They have piss poor LD across the board. This means that you need, need, NEED most of your units to be either within your general's LD bubble or contain a babysitting Hero (and even then, don't get excited, your LD max is just about equal to Dwarf base LD). This means you're going to be concentrated towards the center and thus reallllllly open to flank charges.
The best strategy is to concentrate your Gors/Ungors/Bestigors towards the center and play big monster/screening units on the flanks. Minotaurs do flank duty alright, but are unreliable and easy to strand. Cygors are decent, but need the screening unit to keep dedicated combat units away. Ghorgons fair a little better but have the same problem that Minotaurs have in that they are easy to pull off in a bad direction. Screening units are key to prevent that from happening. Remember, keep both of these monsters away from dedicated combat units with lots of attacks, great weapons or poisoned attacks (and remember, the instant either of them is in combat with Witch Elves, you might as well remove it, they're done).
Don't be afraid to stack the odds, no one came along and gave you a 175 point Hydra. For instance, Gors will almost ALWAYS lose to their equivalent points in Dark Elf Warriors. But, you toss in a Cygor or even a Chariot on the flanks, and suddenly you're doing okay.
Much of Beastmen playing will involve heavy maneuvering, unit redundancy, draw and counter-charge and avoiding getting shot to pieces. Welcome to Warhammer on Hard Mode.