Thursday, December 6, 2012

Warhammer 40K Beasts and Cavalry

I love them. 

I got my first taste of their delightful ability with the Dark Eldar BeastMaster unit.  The unit simply FLIES across the table and can all but guarantee its arrival on target, on time.  That it carries around so many wounds within it is an added bonus.  It simply is a beastly unit to take down and while it often IS taken down eventually (after all, it's an assault unit, and most assault units, like NFL Running Backs, can only battering ram their way so far before they are stopped) the damage it can do is far in excess of the risk.

The most interesting target for Dark Eldar Beasts is the Parking lots of the world.  Imperial Guard and other Razorspam type lists rely on the effectiveness of their artillery and long range weapons to make the threats manageable before they arrive so that lesser weapons might matter.  They often wrap their vehicles in non-essential units.  So the trick is to assault the guardians from an angle directly opposed to the angle of approach the Beasts want to take, clearing the way for them, leaving the meaty insides of the enemy artillery attack open for the taking.

I personally have used 2 Razorwing flocks, 5 BeastMasters, and 4 Clawed Fiends to tremendous effect.  The Razorwings provide perfect ablative ability, especially in cover and the BeastMasters are distributed to avoid losing morale.

Perhaps scariest of all, adding a fearless character that's fast on the move can really make the unit a LOT tougher to take down.  Baron Sathonyx is a popular choice as an escort for the unit because he gives them better leadership and can take hits.  He's probably the best choice to accompany them but allied choices also exist.

Beastmasters are not the only Beasts in 40K.  The Chaos Space Marines now have a worthwhile Beast option, the Chaos Spawn.  Just 30 point 3 wound Beasts with random coolness in close combat (but all of their random coolness is good randomness). They cause fear and are fearless which really helps them fill a tarpit role if needed and it can potentially even the scales against more able combatants.  They get D6+2 attacks on the charge and possibly many more.  They can be in units of 5 And for 6 points per model, they can get tough 6!

So 168 points for 5 Nurgly Chaos Spawn?  That just is really a fantastic value buy.  Fleet just makes Beasts complete in their speedster role.  I am sure that most people can find a spot for a 168 point unit that is that cool.

The combination that caught my fancy is a force led by Huron Blackheart and a Chaos Lord on Steed of Slaanesh.  The ability to outflank them seems attractive to me and the advantages of Hurons Warlord trait suits my style of gaming very well.

Imperial Guard Cavalry are now seemingly much better also.  Though the rules need a slight adjustment on the issue of their lances, they are a fearsome counter charge unit.  In fact they are exactly that, protecting the lines with vicious power.  You are always torn with this unit between wanting to charge the field or do what they were designed to do:  defend.  But in the end, when they hit at or near full strength they can obliterate most units.  They are prices as a sacrificial unit after that and that's fine.  I don't know if a lot of people will turn to these fun figures given the FOC slot they fill honestly, but if they were to move it to a different FOC, you might start seeing more of them.  I have used Rough Riders for quite a while and really enjoy the whole idea of them, but in actual combat one can see that to take them is to be bold indeed!

I could go on about these unit types but my main encouragement is to try these things in your games and report back here with your experience using them.  I'd be very interested in hearing how that has gone for you and what your thoughts might be on the new Chaos Spawn and really any of the Beasts and Cavalry units there are.


  1. I really like the increased activity on your blog! These articles are always fun to read- almost as fun as your bat-reps ;p

  2. hmm... Was that a not as subtle as one might have hoped hint? Lol.

    What types of articles do you most like to read? Obviously besides the batreps?

  3. I enjoy your analysis on tactics and units. I also think The Elven Sword GT is something you should talk about and feature as well. I know you're already prepping for 2013, to share how you are doing that with readers, as well as, how the GT will shape in sixth would be interesting.

  4. The Ambassadorial Tournament you're referring to is being worked on. There is a lot to do for it, sponsors to seek and that sort of thing but I am excited to revisit that. Right now the target is April. I cannot really say for sure but that is when I'd like to do it. One of the tricks in planning the Ambassadorial Tournament is finding a slot that isn't taken up by another local event. Getting the word out takes time, as do some of the things I wish to do to make it a special tournament unlike any other. The pomp and circumstance I envision for it may take a year or two to ramp up to but I am confident that I will be able to get there.

    You can do your part though by encouraging more people to join the Blog and follow us. I am sure that internet word of mouth is one of the keys to successful tourneys. My Webmaster is extremely capable and when we get closer, I will ask him to help us in that regard.

    Thanks for the comments. I'd appreciate anyone elses feedback as well on tactical or other subjects we could discuss here. I didn't want it to be a carbon copy of other Blogs with lists and more lists all the time. I like list building and it should be a part of blogs, but it shouldn't be THE main use. Your help in making this interesting for people to read is appreciated!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.