Friday, January 7, 2011

Beastman Dilemma - How to build a herd?

So for the last few months I have been completing and playing my Wood Elf army - The Great Hunt.  Upon their completion (and the subsequent modification of the point level we play at - grumble, grumble), I decided to turn my attention to another army that had sparked my interest, The Beastmen.

In previous posts I have provided readers my thought process behind tactics, army composition and overall playstyle.  The Wood Elf army as well as the Eldar army provide me with the perfect selection of units to fit how I like to play.  Both armies possess fast and hard hitting units that require you to capitalize on outmaneuvering and surgically striking your opponents army.  So when I look for a second army in a game I attempt to look at the opposite spectrum in order to become a better player.
Example:
Ulthwe` Eldar - fast, fragile, precision - balanced army for both melee and shooting.
vs.
Black Templars - durable, strong, blunt - primarily a close combat army that punches you in the face.

It took me a while to figure out how to properly build a Black Templar army and even longer to learn to play it properly.  I couldn't use the same tactics that my Eldar used because the Black Templar army just didn't function that way.  I had to adapt and as a result I became a better player.

Now that I am fully vested into Fantasy, I find myself in the same dilemma again.  I have "mastered" how I like to play my Wood Elves and have developed tactics and a completely balanced list to be able to handle just about every army effectively.  So now that I am completely comfortable with my primary army, I felt it was time to branch out and learn another.

Enter the Beastmen.

The Beastmen army is rather interesting at first glance.  I really liked the Minotaurs and immediately wanted to field a lot of them.  I also liked the Gors, I felt they were perfect Core selections since they embodied a ruthless savagery that really communicated the overall theme for the army.  The Beastmen also were a close combat army, much like the Black Templars in 40k and so the theme continues.

Here are the major issues I am having and the reason for this post:
1.  Balanced army - I am having a real problem trying to actually build a balanced Beastman army.  Now when I say balanced, I mean strong in every phase of the game - Magic, Shooting and Close Combat.  My Wood Elves have managed to hit that perfect balance where they are effective in every phase.  I still have not managed to mentally make that shift for the Beastmen.  I have a feeling that I may have to concentrate primarily on ONE phase and pray that I am better at it than my opponent.

2. Themed army - I am currently juggling around several themes at the moment.  Each theme radically changes the entire composition of the army and as a result alters the playstyle.

3. Obvious weaknesses that I can not overcome - Beastmen suck at shooting.  No matter if you field 5 units of Ungor Raiders, they still suck.  Lack of armor is also a concern, while my Wood Elves compensate for it by skirmishing the Beastmen really have to get in there and smash so that isn't an option.

4. Avoiding the character heavy lists - I am trying to avoid spending more than 1/4 of the points on the Lord/Hero selections yet I keep ending up with about 750ish total for both.

5. Really awesome units that are not feasible to use in lower point games.  Rare selections for one, most of the chariots, Centigors, etc..

6. School of thought on number of models in army - Do I need to exceed 100 models in a 2000 point game? Do I need to horde up my Gors?  Should I bother Ambushing?

7. Lastly, how the hell am I supposed to play these guys?  My head tells me - rush forward and engage in close combat as soon as possible yet their special ability to ambush makes me wonder if I need to make 2 smaller units of Core to Ambush behind my opponent.


So as you can see I have several issues to hammer out and decide what to do.  I have not been idle however in this process.  So far I have managed to collect/assemble/buy the following units for my Beastmen.

2 Beastlord/Wargor Models
2 Out of Print Special Edition Wargor BSB models
Morghur
2 Bray Shaman
88 Gors (46 of them are older generation Gors, rest are the new ones)
44 Ungors (all have spears and are on 25mm bases so they need to be rebased)
4 Tuskgor Chariots
45 Bestigors (25 older metal models, 20 new plastic ones)
10 kit-bashed harpies (Daemonettes + gargoyles)
6 Minotaurs
1 Doombull model
1 Partially assembled Cygor (Giant)
3 Jabberslythe counts as (McFarlane dragons)
20 Chaos Hounds (10 metal, 10 plastic)
10 Centigors
1 Razorgor

So as you can see I have managed to amass a large collection because I thought I wanted to use this or that then after a while decided ...naw....

I will go ahead and post three lists that I have made over the last few weeks and I really welcome comments on them.  While I will not bore you with listing the thoughts and reasons behind making each list, I will just say that every list is themed in one way or another.  I will be doing follow up posts to these lists later on in the month after assembly has finished and I start actually playing them.

List 1

2000 Pts - Beastlord General Army Roster

Gorebull (1#, 247 pts)
1 Gorebull (Battle Standard Bearer), 247 pts (Hand Weapon; Heavy Armour; Shield; Battle Standard Bearer; Causes Fear; Frenzy)
1 Sword of Swift Slaying
1 Talisman of Protection
1 Uncanny Senses

Great Bray-Shaman (1#, 284 pts)
1 Great Bray-Shaman, 284 pts (Primal Fury; Level 4 Upgrade; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Talisman of Endurance
1 Gnarled Hide
1 Smoke and Mirrors
1 0. Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma
1 1. Steed of Shadows
1 2. The Enfeebling Foe
1 3. The Withering
1 4. The Penumbral Pendulum
1 5. Pit of Shades
1 6. Okkam's Mindrazor

Beastlord (1#, 215 pts)
1 Beastlord, 215 pts (General; Primal Fury; Hand Weapon)
1 The Steel-Claws
1 Armour of Fortune

Gor Herd (24#, 217 pts)
23 Gor Herd, 217 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Gor Herd (24#, 217 pts)
23 Gor Herd, 217 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Gor Herd (20#, 185 pts)
19 Gor Herd, 185 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Minotaurs (5#, 325 pts)
5 Minotaurs, 325 pts (Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)

Bestigor Herd (20#, 280 pts)
19 Bestigor Herd, 280 pts (Always Strikes Last; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour)
1 Gouge-Horn (Always Strikes Last; Hand Weapon; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour)
1 Banner of Eternal Flame

Chaos Warhounds (5#, 30 pts)
5 Chaos Warhounds, 30 pts

Composition Report:
Points of Lords: 499 (0 - 500)
Points of Heroes: 247 (0 - 500)
Points of Core: 619 (500 - Unlimited)
Points of Special: 605 (0 - 1000)
Points of Rare: 0 (0 - 500)

Total Roster Cost: 2000


List 2 

2000 Pts - Doombull #1 General Army Roster

Doombull (1#, 326 pts)
1 Doombull, 326 pts (General; Hand Weapon; Shield; Causes Fear; Frenzy)
1 Sword of Swift Slaying
1 Armour of Fortune
1 Uncanny Senses
1 Gnarled Hide

Bray-Shaman (1#, 112 pts)
1 Bray-Shaman, 112 pts (Primal Fury; Level 2 Upgrade; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Smoke and Mirrors
1 0. Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma
1 1. Steed of Shadows
1 2. The Enfeebling Foe
1 3. The Withering
1 4. The Penumbral Pendulum
1 5. Pit of Shades
1 6. Okkam's Mindrazor

Wargor (1#, 166 pts)
1 ×Wargor (Battle Standard Bearer), 166 pts (Primal Fury; Hand Weapon; Heavy Armour; Shield; Battle Standard Bearer)
1 The Steel-Claws
1 Talisman of Protection

Harpies (5#, 70 pts)
5 Harpies, 70 pts (Flyer; Scouts)

Ungor Raiders (7#, 42 pts)
7 Ungor Raiders, 42 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Hand Weapon; Short Bow; Skirmishers)

Ungor Raiders (7#, 42 pts)
7 Ungor Raiders, 42 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Hand Weapon; Short Bow; Skirmishers)

Gor Herd (24#, 217 pts)
23 Gor Herd, 217 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Gor Herd (24#, 217 pts)
23 Gor Herd, 217 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Gor Herd (20#, 185 pts)
19 Gor Herd, 185 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Bestigor Herd (19#, 268 pts)
18 Bestigor Herd, 268 pts (Always Strikes Last; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour)
1 Gouge-Horn (Always Strikes Last; Hand Weapon; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour)
1 Banner of Eternal Flame

Chaos Warhounds (5#, 30 pts)
5 Chaos Warhounds, 30 pts

Minotaurs (5#, 325 pts)
5 Minotaurs, 325 pts (Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)

Composition Report:
Points of Lords: 326 (0 - 500)
Points of Heroes: 278 (0 - 500)
Points of Core: 703 (500 - Unlimited)
Points of Special: 663 (0 - 1000)
Points of Rare: 0 (0 - 500)

Total Roster Cost: 2000

List 3 

2000 Pts - Minotaur Heavy Army Roster

Bestigor Herd (19#, 268 pts)
18 Bestigor Herd, 268 pts (Always Strikes Last; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour)
1 Gouge-Horn (Always Strikes Last; Hand Weapon; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour)
1 Banner of Eternal Flame

Minotaurs (5#, 325 pts)
5 Minotaurs, 325 pts (Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)

Minotaurs (6#, 384 pts)
6 Minotaurs, 384 pts (Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Light Armour; Shield)

Gor Herd (30#, 265 pts)
29 Gor Herd, 265 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Gor Herd (30#, 265 pts)
29 Gor Herd, 265 pts (Ambush; Primal Fury; Musician Mus; Standard Bearer Std; Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)
1 Foe-Render (Hand Weapon; Extra Hand Weapon; Extra Attack)

Doombull (1#, 326 pts)
1 Doombull, 326 pts (General; Hand Weapon; Shield; Causes Fear; Frenzy)
1 Sword of Swift Slaying
1 Armour of Fortune
1 Gnarled Hide
1 Uncanny Senses

Wargor (1#, 164 pts)
1 Wargor (Battle Standard Bearer), 164 pts (Primal Fury; Hand Weapon; Heavy Armour; Battle Standard Bearer)
1 The Steel-Claws
1 Talisman of Protection

Composition Report:
Points of Lords: 326 (0 - 500)
Points of Heroes: 164 (0 - 500)
Points of Core: 530 (500 - Unlimited)
Points of Special: 977 (0 - 1000)
Points of Rare: 0 (0 - 500)

Total Roster Cost: 1997



So there we have it.  Once again I throw up three lists for appraisal and comments and we'll see how things work out.  I'm fairly certain I will end up not using any of those and make yet another "perfect" list after a few weeks.

Thanks!