Warhammer - Age of Sigmar Meta Insights: Beasts of Chaos Part 2
Quite a bit has changed since our last dive into Beasts of Chaos, with the army getting its FAQ, as well as further representation in tournaments. Most notable among the changes is the rapid rise of Tzaangor Enlightened on Foot, a middling unit in early 3.0, and a downright unplayable one upon our books’ release. The best news, however, is the fact that each of our factions has seen a Top 3 placement in tournament play (with the minimum requirement being a 20 person sanctioned tournament), and the lists have some stand-out picks that’ll be sure to improve any list you choose to pilot. So, with more knowledge in the broader pool for Beasts, I want to look at where we stand now, examine some specific army lists, and talk tech for your own battles in the Mortal Realms.
Via Games Workshop
The FAQ, published a literal day after our first article here on Flipside covering BoC’s Meta Insights (thanks GW), provided a few noteworthy clarifications, and one huge change that has since impacted army lists the world over. First, the clearing-up of the Doombull’s interaction with Retreating, coupled with the untouched Slitherwrack Helm, make it a genuine auto-include. We have the capability now to consistently make “free” 2+ fights-last rolls at the low cost of 1CP, meaning that bogging down the Doombull is essentially impossible, unless he’s piled-into and surrounded. In addition, helping out the Gavespawn, it was clarified that in fact, they had intended the Aura of Insanity on Morghurite Chaos Spawn to stack, which absolutely brutalizes deathballs; as you’ll see later in this article, some players have taken this boon to the extreme, although I’m unconvinced in spam lists (as historically, they’ve only succeeded with Flies & Dragon Ogors, which have far more staying power than squishy spawn). However, more than either of these changes individually, the reduction in points for Tzaangor Enlightened on Foot, or TEoF moving forward, from 165 to 90 is absurd. Looking below at the table, not only is a 6 man of TEoF cheaper than Bullgors, they hit nearly as hard or harder, and that’s factoring in the Mortal Wounds bulls cause on the charge. For 180pts, you get 18 wounds at 4+, which is far tankier than the optimal Bullgor set-up, resulting in 12 wounds at 5+. All told, this means TEoF are objectively better than Slaangor, much to my personal dismay, and are essentially better in most scenarios than Bullgors; it means lists are going to adjust to account for at minimum 12 TEoF, and likely have little to no Reinforcement Points to spare on something like a 30 man blob of Gors.
Calculations from AoS Statshammer
So mathematically, if TEoF deal more damage per pt, have greater survivability per pt, than any other feasible hammer in the BoC book, what can’t they do? For starters, they’re an extremely low-ceiling unit compared to other hammers, and while their damage is more consistent, it’s in far less of a burst pattern, meaning you need to accrue value-over-time in combat to see a massive return on investment. Moreover, their damage has no attached Mortal Wounds, which can be a tremendous downside into certain matchups; while you’re never getting AoDed by units they’re in combat with, meaning they have an effective extra -1 rend into armies with a good CP economy, like usual, BoC suffer into Ward-heavy targets. It is convenient, therefore, that we have a fantastic option to deal with low-armor, high-ward units, that even eat our Battleline tax: Ungor with Gnarled Shortspears.
These pesky little satyr are more than just a cheap way to fill out a Battleline tax, they’re also a fantastic skirmishing & objective play piece that can swing way above their pay grade.
Ungor with Spears have long been a unit that was never taken by any BoC player with anything other than aesthetics in mind; the loss of an extra attack on a 25mm model simply wasn’t worth the extra 1” of range in combat. That said, in our new tome, across the board designers have been giving Brayherd units with spears something they’ve never had: A ranged attack. This not only allows Ungor to harass enemy units without worrying for their own safety, but also due to AoS’ ruleset, represents a net-0 loss of attacks in melee, given you can shoot into combat, while in combat. You’re losing Rend on the ranged portion, of course, but that’s a fair tradeoff when so much of your army already drops saves to near-0 anyway. Moreover, we can make back this Rend in a roundabout manner: By shooting at units in melee with a Chaos Gargant. The Chaos Gargant is among the highest echelon of units to receive a glow-up in their respective new book, going from a meme-worthy joke scroll, to a formidable, cheap monster that serves to buff everything that surrounds him. Not unlike the now-powercrept Slaangor Fiendbloods, the Gargant is a unit that puts out more in games exponentially, given you put more into it. Its Aura of Foulness is a walking secondary Herdstone, so playing around a little giant can suit many lists well. The name of the game, now, is efficiency in BoC; we have enough units whose math far outreaches their points (a common theme in our books, funny enough), and the time is nigh to put such efficiency on display.
Now, I want to talk about the list I’ve been bringing to my own events & testing, as well as some of the marks of standout lists from pre-FAQ! My take is the first since the FAQ to truly make use of the TEoF, and I’ve had an incredible slew of success in that regard!
This is my personal list for the upcoming tournament slate, and I’ve got plenty I’ll be attending across the Eastern Seaboard to show off just what 18 TEoF can do! As can be seen, the standout of this list is a focus on Brayherd units, and general efficiency; counting the Trumpet Relic, we’re bringing more bodies than any other modern list can muster, and by cutting out Cygors & Bulls, we’re able to shift our focus onto redundancy, having fallbacks and safety in the event rolls don’t go our way. The Beastlord especially has been a brilliant piece of tech in testing; coupling the Skullfray Gorehorn CA with Trumpet, and his natural buff, you can make nearby TEoF one of the most efficient hammers in the entirety of AoS, surprising opponents with the consistency & damage at your behest. In addition, this list makes good use of the Wildfire Taurus, now no longer affecting friendly models, in order to spread Fights-Last across multiple enemy units, with its companions, the Slitherwrack Helm Doombull, as seen above, and Gors, our most consistent summon off of Trumpet. Of note, the only really undecided piece of this list is the subfaction, where I waffle between Darkwalker & Allherd every tourney-practice game.
Via Warhammer Community
Before the TEoF’s reduction in points, however, much of the upper level success BoC had was in the capable hooves of Cygor-spamming Quakefray pilots, although the math never really worked out on these, with the lists often carried by well-known players within the community. That said, the new joke in town is Gavespawn spam, running anywhere from 12-15 Morghurite Chaos Spawn, and simply trying to reduce all enemy attacks to 1-per-model. I have been thoroughly unimpressed by these lists, though a few rising stars in Australia have been making use of massed Spawn, so there may be hope yet for a cheese list to emerge! As the book gets more & more testing however, I think we’ll begin to see lists begin to look more like mine, conservative Battleline and a ton of TEoF, backed by any manner of support units (in my case, a Chaos Gargant & Tzaangor Shaman). Ungor Raiders have been slowly ditched for Spear Ungor, Bullgors soon to be exchanged for Enlightened, and the circle of improvement continues for optimization-minded herd players. There’s lots more to come, however, and plenty of tricks that take time to hone, especially with regards to deployment.
Tune in next time on Meta Insights, where I talk about on-table scenarios, deployment silliness, and any new tech that crops up! I’ve been loving the new book more and more, as I explore its depths, and I have a hunch there may yet be more power lurking in its binding. Let me know any thoughts you have in the comments below, or anything you’d want me to talk about in the next article!