Warhammer - Age of Sigmar Meta Insights: Beasts of Chaos Part 3

Carter Kachmarik
April 05, 2023


We’ve gone into the basic strategy behind the new Battletome for Beasts of Chaos, as well as listbuilding considerations following the FAQ, so now, I want to use today’s Meta Insights to talk about positioning & battalions, or, how your army organizes on & off the table.  Beasts of Chaos in their current iteration are the most positioning-oriented army in the game, being able to essentially appear wherever they need to between turns 1 & 2, although every model in the book pays a tax for that fact.  Therefore, if you’re not squeezing every bit of advantage out of the points hike you pay for universal positioning abilities, you’re losing out on a crucial benefit Beasts have over other armies!  Knowing how to deploy (or not) is vital, especially given the relatively glass-cannon nature of the faction.

Via Games Workshop

For the vast majority of your games, you’ll be doing what we’d call a ‘null deploy’, wherein the only things on the table for you are things you physically can’t put in Ambush, like the Krondspine Incarnate, or Be’lakor.  This does a few things for you, starting with the fact that you control the ‘damage threshold’ of the early game; if you’re simply not presenting targets for your opponent to kill, their damage goes unused, resulting in net advantage for you.  If you’re able to make your opponent’s first turn a set of move actions, and maybe some buffs, you’re setting yourself up for success on the second Battle Round, when your Rend comes online.  That begs the question though: If you’re usually declining to put ~90% of your force on the table, does it matter who goes first?  That’s a slightly more difficult question to answer, and it mostly boils down to your capacity to fit everything you want in a 1-Drop (which, following the Tzaangor Enlightened on Foot buff, is highly unlikely).

When the question of Hammers was between Slaangor Fiendbloods & Bullgors, it was much more feasible to slot your army into a 1-drop, usually with Quakefray, and take Beastial Cunning to drop your 6-9 Bullgors directly on an opponent’s battlecruiser unit.  Now, with Tzaangors out-valuing Bulls on nearly every front, and requiring reinforcement points aplenty, it’s nearly impossible for an optimized list to fit into a 1-drop. That means you’re generally incentivized to go all-out on drops, and not bother trying to contest turn priority, which means your opponent will often choose the order: Savvy opponents might allow you to go first, given it forces you to provide them more targets, and less likely to get a devastating double-turn, although the majority will still choose for you to go second, out of instinct.  If you’re null-deploying, and prepared for either scenario, it behooves you to run a list that therefore uses as many battalions as possible, not caring about drops.

Via Warhammer Community

The number 1 battalion you want to try & force is Warlord.  Given we have some stellar relics, there’s a tremendous incentive to take two over one; this also pushes you to take (generally) 4 Heroes, being 3 for Warlord, and 1 more for your choice of Vanguard, Linebreaker, etc.  When actually dividing up your units, you want to make sure your hammers go into something like a Vanguard or Galletian Veterans, so they’re able to consistently charge in, or hit in multiple ranks (especially for Bullgor, less so for TEoF), and you also want to consider something I’ve been pioneering in my tournament play: Galletian Sharpshooter Spear Ungor.

Spear Ungor are among our best Battleline for cost, likely tied with Gor, but shockingly cheap.  Giving them spears makes them a stellar harassment unit, but no one expects them to be able to ping wounds off of small heroes (the theme of the current Season), which you can then finish off with your Ritual of Ruin: Warping Curse.  Spear Ungor in Sharpshooters both allow you to fold in your Battleline into a ‘free’ battalion, insofar as it has no opportunity cost, where they would otherwise have little to no benefit elsewhere.  If you need a place to tuck your Ungor, Sharpshooters make them a surprising way to deal with a variety of threats.

In terms of deployment, you’re looking for a few things out of ambush: Where does my hammer best arrive from, and do I have room to fit them all to get the magic 9” charge?  The smaller the ‘footprint’ (space on board) a key unit takes up, the more easily you can sneak it into surprising areas out of ambush, with this being especially true for single models like Cockatrices, Doombulls, or Tzaangor Shamans.  On turn 1, you’re usually looking to play conservatively, and score either the tactic Desecrate Their Lands or Aid of the Wilderness while getting one or more of your Wizards onboard.  Not only do these uninteractive Battle Tactics not depend on ones’ opponent, they achieve what you’d want to do anyway: Stick a few key units behind or by cover pieces.  On turn 2, you’re looking to let all hell break loose, ambushing out the rest of your force, Trumpeting, and using the Wizards you placed onboard last turn to cast things like Tendrils of Atrophy or the Wildfire Taurus, tremendously swingy spells that can determine the course of the game.  In fact, all of our Endless Spells are good in the new book, it’s simply that Taurus is so wildly undercosted that it ekes out other options, and we really don’t want to be playing more than 1 as a single-cast army.

Via Games Workshop

A general game schema might go as follows: Turn 1, you pick Desecrate Their Lands going second, scoring Hold 1, Hold 2, and BT for 4 points, before getting the double turn.  Turn 2, you place everything onto the board, picking Gaining Momentum or the uninteractive Tactic you didn’t choose turn 1, trying to swing the game with everything you have, and score objectives with sheer mass of Ungor/Gor bodies.  Turn 3, you’ve been hit back after a bloody turn 2, so you go for Eye For an Eye, and clean up a stray unit while repositioning via something like Tunnel Master, or the Darkwalker faction trait.  Then, by Turns 4 & 5, you’re either so far ahead that you can pick something off by targeting it with a RoR & Reduced to Savagery, or take back an objective and score Rampaging Beastherd.  Either way, so long as you deploy conservatively, go buck-wild on Turn 2, and then score our exceptional Faction-specific Battle Tactics when able, you should be very well-positioned to win on points in a given game.  That’s the long & short of planning, and remember, you generally want to plan your Tactics a turn or so in advance, given missing even 1 in this meta can really hurt your overall score for placements!

That wraps it up for Meta Insights on Beasts of Chaos!  I’ve got a full slate of tournaments for this Spring & Summer season, so if you see some pale purple goats on the table, go ahead and say hi!  Let me know any thoughts you have in the comments below, and I’m excited to return next time I cover Age of Sigmar!


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