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Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Lore of Beasts Review

This is my first Lore review and I am going to cover Beasts.  A Lore a fair few armies have access to and is often seen on a L2 for Wildform (we will get to that!).  I have however used a L4 Beasts for a long time with Wood Elves and am currently trialling it on a L4 Sluaghtermaster.  I think it is an underrated Lore.  It is not a utility Lore and I think you need to have a build/clear purpose in mind for its use if you’re taking but it can be highly effective. 

Lore Attribute -  Wildheart if a spell from the lore of beasts is targeted on one or more units of warbeasts, cavalry, or monstrous beasts, monstrous cav, chariots, monsters, swarms or any unit from Warhammer Armies: Beastmen, then the casting difficulty is reduced by 1. 
One of the weaker lore attributes in review but it does have it uses depending on your army.  Casting Wildform on a 9 with a L2 on monstrous cav etc. is useful.  One thing that a lot of players miss is if you are throwing an Amber Spear at a monster this also drops the casting value by 1.  Not going to come up in every game but good to know. 

Signature Spell: Wyssan’s Wildform
A spell that needs little introduction, one of the best signature spells in the game.  +1 Strength and +1 toughness 12” on a 10+ and boosted to 24” on a 13+.  One of the best all round low casting combat buffs, with so many uses from the obvious to throwing it on a unit of 8 dryads and throwing them in a flank at S5/T5 this spell can swing a game.  A lot of players see the Lore of Beasts as all about Wildform and it can often be a must stop spell.  There are however ways of manipulating this.  Some armies will take multiple L1’s/L2’s for the this application to force it through, beastmen being a good example of this.  A cracking spell and one that you will always default at least 1 roll to. 

1.   The Flock of Doom
This is a magic missile that does 2D6 S2 hits on a 5+ 24” or boosted on a 8+ to 48” range.  This is an oft discarded spell and often gets derided as not being that useful.  2D6 S2 being not much more than a sneeze in someone players eyes.  And yes while it might not be chipping away at a unit of 40 Gor it has a number of excellent uses.  Depending on opposition I often take this spell on a L2 or a L4 if I roll it and I’ll tell you why.  Warmachine hunting... the 48” range on an 8+ is a fantastic investment for 2D6 hits.  Because of the high T you are wounding on 6’s anyway so it does a better job that a 2D6 fireball due to lower casting.  I have taken warmahcines with one cast of this by rolling high for hits and getting the lucky 3 6’s needed. Very useful.  Ethereals – often armies using Beasts might not have another way to deal with these, spirit hosts etc.  Flock is great for this.  Skirmish troops – I’m looking at gutter runners, shades and camo skinks as prime targets for this.  You can often end up taking off 3 or 4 of these low T expensive troops and causing a panic test.  A great spell that people will often let go. 


2.   Pann’s Impenetrable Pelt
This is an augment cast on an 8+ for +3 toughness on a single character within 12 or bubble to all characters within 12 on a 16+.  For me this is probably a spell I’ve used least in the deck.  While is can be useful a toughness 8 slaughter master could be fun I’m normally trying to cast other spells in the deck and this is the spell I most often substitute for wildform if I roll it.

3.   The Amber Spear
The spear is a magic missile with a range of 24”.  It pierces ranks like a bolt thrower and is S6 (D3) W’s on a 9+ and S10 (D6) W’s on a 15 +.  This is a great spell and essential gives you a cannon shot in your magic phase to deal with large targets.  As a WE player this was often my only option for Steam Tanks, Dragons etc.  With the increase of large flying targets in the WOC book and with ironblasters being comped at 0-1 I am viewing this as another option to effectively deal with large targets.  With a L4 casting this on a 11+ (10+ if using it v a Monster) you can easily chuck 4 dice at this reliably.  If you have a mobile mage (WE’s etc.) you can even get a cheeky S10 shot down a flank of monstrous cav etc. Really give an opponent a sad face.



4.   The Curse of Anraheir
This is a hex with a range of 36” on a 10+ boosted to a 72” range on a 13+.  It has two parts to the spell.  The target unit suffers a -1 to hit penalty on both shooting and close combat rolls.  In addition the unit treats “all terrain” as dangerous terrain and fails the test on a 1 or 2. 
I will highlight a section from the rule book as this spell becomes highly effective because of it.  Open GroundOpen terrain is the most prevalent type of battle field terrain. 

This a great spell with multiple applications and one I am always looking to take if possible.  The -1 to hit turns it into a great combat buff in its own right.  It also gives you the option to reduce BS shooting as well having an impact.  The ability to cause dangerous terrain tests on units is a great effect; imagine 40 savage orc bigun’s charging taking one lot of dangerous terrains and then having to overrun taking another?  You might end up taking off 10/12 depending on rolls.  I used this to great effect last game and it really chipped off wounds on a highly armoured unit. 
I find this combo’s well on a L4 in the combat throwing 2/3 dice at wildform 2/3 dice at this and having dice spare for another spell.

5.   The Savage Beasts of Horros
This is an augment spell cast on a 10+ with a range of 12 on a friendly character giving +3 strength and +3 attacks or can be boosted to affect all characters within 12” on 20+.  I love this spell, and it can be a real game winner.  I actually often find the lower casting value on a 10+ on a single combat character can be enough without having to risk the 6 dice for the 20+ cast.  Don’t get me wrong the 20+ is epic but you if you don’t reach the casting value or your opponent has a scroll and you don’t double 6 the cast, it’s wasted.  A number of armies can really get use out of this – I recently ran a flying doombull and having this guy on 9 S9 attacks was Epic and on a 9+ to cast = win.  I’ve applied the same theory to my Beasts Slaughtermaster with Fencers Blades giving him 7 S7 WS attacks.  A pretty good combo.  Even a single Bret paldin on his own can be something you don’t want to charge with a cast of this.  Again this really comes into its own when you have wildform, curse and savage beasts all of who can swing a key combat in your favour.  In summary an awesome spell that you can build a combat character/list around. 


6.   Transformation of Kadon
   Remains in play – transformation is an augment cast on the wizard himself only if he is on foot.  On a 16+ he turns into a black hydra, feral manticore or a horned dragon.  On a 20+ he turns into a mountain Chimera of Great fire Dragon.  These monsters can be found in the warhammer rulebook at the back.  This is an interesting no. 6 spell and again one I have had limited success with.  Basically you turn your often expensive L4 into one of the combat beasties above.  All of his magic items no longer are in effect and he can’t cast spells.  Special rules however do still apply (hatred for the beastmen etc.).  Wounds done while transformed carry over. 

I often find when you are looking to turn your L4 into a mountain chimera things have not gone well.. It can be a really powerful combat spell but again is often a spell I overlook.  Where I have got use out of it is with a L2.  I really am not bothered if my L2 dies because he has turned into a hydra as long as he has breath weapon and thunderstomped the life out of a unit first!  With this being remains in play it also means it can kill a phase for your opponent as they need to throw probably 4 dice to remove it from play.  

The mountain chimera is probably the most potent of these monsters with 4D6 attacks, a S4 breath weapon, frenzy and poison attacks plus a thunderstomp.  It can be devastating but also risky and my ideal 4 spells often tend to be wildform, spear, savage beasts and either curse or flock depending on the application.    

Conclusion:  I find beasts to be a subtle (or not so subtle!) lore to use that takes the right build to be truly effective but can offer a lot on both a L4 and L2 for a number of armies.  It is a combat lore and possibly doesn’t offer you that much if you are not looking to seek combat often but spells such as spear, flock and curse certainly give you options.  I am certainly looking forward to seeing how my beasts Ogre list evolves and check back for updates. 
Agree/Disagree with my thoughts let me know.    

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