Fantasy Fisticuffs #33: Over and Under (Beasts of Chaos)

Sometimes you’re up for a challenge, and sometimes the challenge just beats you.  This week I try to see if I can do absolutely anything with Beasts of Chaos.

I am a glutton for punishment.  Trying really hard to find, through real experience, the most over and under performing units in every army has been a bigger production than some might guess.  More than just reading a battletome, it has been a half-year long journey in sourcing the armies I don’t own, play-testing, and hopefully mining some nugget of information people haven’t.

This might be the week that broke me.

Holding the distinct dishonour of being the losing-est army with a battletome across all of Age of Sigmar, the Beasts of Chaos surely couldn’t be that bad, right?  I mean, they got Endless Spells and a terrain piece, so they were looked at… presumably by a game designer… recently enough that something must work.  Even my modest, but beloved Grots win games when good players use them…

Nope.  I love gaming, and love all of you putting up with me, and hopefully enjoying what I do.  I love Age of Sigmar for all it gets right, and even its quirks and imperfections.  But Beast of Chaos, I distinctly don’t love, and it makes me sad to say how poorly positioned they are for competitive play.

Finally tracking down a mad-lad who would actually sell me a huge BoC collection for a decent price, I got them… and here were some of what I found.

Let me preface this by saying this is PURE BoC as per their own battletome.  I know Wrath of the Everchosen and other Chaos lists can adopt many of these units, and give them some tricks, but this is talking run solely as their own army.

Over-Performer: Ungor Raiders

Surprisingly decent, this unit really sums up a lot of how I feel about Beasts of Chaos.  It isn’t that their book is devoid of good units, it is that their counterparts in other books just do so much more to influence games, and earn wins.

That aside, this unit always did work and surprised me for how modest its stats are.  In large, and I mean full forty-man units, they can be surprisingly threatening with their shooting.  Volume of dice can let you take out smaller, but often essential heroes, and at 320pts for a full unit of forty, you don’t need them to do too much to earn their points back.

Importantly, they leverage the army-wide abilities well.  IF you deploy them on a flank (assuming you can get all those bodies to fit in your restrictions), they are JUST enough of a harassment that they cannot be ignored, but are just enough of a tarpit to be a waste to commit to removing.  Do this to a less experienced opponent who lets you get behind them, and you can be surprisingly disruptive.

If nothing else, AoS is often a game of table presence, and these guys can advance, with bonuses, still shoot, and clog up a ton of table space.

It isn’t absolutely awesome, but consider a Desolating Beastherd battalion as well to give these guys just a little extra oomph.

Under-Performer: Chaos Gargant  (I know, I know…) Honourable Mention: Chimera

The Chimera is a whopping 240pts of inconsistency, that is mediocre when it rolls hot.  I would go to lengths to describe it, but the Gargant just said, “Hold my beer”…

This feels like cheating as we all know this unit’s warscroll we likely be unrecognizable come the Sons of Behemet release.  The problem is that right now this model is continuing its long history of being absolutely terrible.  Since at least 7th Edition Warhammer Fantasy, this model has been a laughing stock mechanically, ruled by fun, narrative rules, but being a disaster in a serious game.

Not wanting to disappoint, this pre-Sons Gargant is awful.  He has a miniscule number of attacks, with its sole decent offense coming from a Head-Butt neutered once he is bracketed.  Oh, and he will be bracketed by a stiff breeze, as his 5+ save and 12 wounds mean he will be dead to any concerted effort.  Realistically many players will likely just wound him enough to be irrelevant offensively, and move on to units that might actually effect the game.

He’s a super fun kit to built and paint, but this model will just add insult to injury, wasting 170pts on your list, and having the gall to injury your own army half of the time when it dies.  A rare class of model has negative value, where each you take actively makes your list worse.  This is such a model.

Final Thoughts:

I would have thought it unfathomable that an army with modest summoning, ready access to outflanking, and generally high mobility, would just be so poor overall, and I suppose it speaks to a bit of creep in AoS.  Armies today generally have at least one unit that is so good or value rich, that you can build around it.  The missing piece of that here, really compounds how mediocre everything else is, from terrible choices of Greatfreys, to difficulties in producing Mortal Wounds.

In short, this army simply doesn’t have the tools needed to win more than a stray game, at a serious event, and that pains me.  I will always be a huge advocate of this hobby being for everyone, and not everyone needing to feel competitive, but it is a real shame that those who love this army as a concept, genuinely have a toolbox that works against them.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Mark Gottlieb

Writer, Game Designer, and owner of Fortunate Sun Studios, I have always tried to lead a life in some way built around paying back to gaming, and the gaming community. This hobby, and everyone in it, saved my life on more than a few occasions, and now I get to put my heart into helping it thrive for everyone!

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