This is an overall information article about the Destruction Faction Beastclaw Raiders. It will cover the following topics:

  1. Lore of behind the Beastclaw Raiders
  2. What units and miniatures that are available for the Raiders
  3. The special rules of the Beastclaw army (including a rundown on the battalions)
  4. The playstyle and feel of the army
  5. A bit about the competitive aspects of the army
  6. The cost of buying the army
  7. Potential allies for your mobile Ogor force
  8. The overall pros, cons and verdict on the army

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A note on the artwork

In this article, I have used the amazing artwork from the faction battletome. I have done this to convey the right aesthetic and feel of the army. All rights for the images are reserved by Games Workshop and the very talented artists that have made them (and I hope they will not get pissed by me displaying the army artwork here).

Short Overview of the Beastclaw Raiders Faction


The Beastclaw Raiders are a mobile, mainly mounted, elite Ogor (Ogres) army. The Beastclaw Raiders aesthetic has clearly drawn inspiration from mounted nomads (particularly the Mongolians). They wear some armour, but there is also a lot of skin showing. The beasts they ride on a are big brutish snow-beasts covered in fur. The Raiders have a clear “winter is coming” theme going on.If you like snow, ogres, elite (low model count) all mounted armies and a melee focused mobile playstyle, you will be right at home with the big guys on big beasts.The battletome for the Raiders was released with artefacts and battalions, but also at a time where GW was okay with having very small factions. The Beastclaw Raiders have very few units to choose from, the army lacks synergies and buffs and is, competitively speaking, very weak.

How is the lore and theme for the Beastclaw Raiders?


One of the surprising things about Beastclaw Raiders when they came out, was how well crafted and unique the lore felt compared to the Ogres of old.

  • The Everwinter is following all of the Beastclaw Raiders clans. This means they are constantly moving away from the winter (that is constantly coming) and on the hunt all the time.
  • Not much is known of the Everwinter. It might be a curse, it might be something else completely. The Raiders believe it is a part of Gorkamorka, so treat it as their God.
  • Their nomadic lifestyle is key to understanding their culture. Everything revolves around survival. Food, making yourself useful for the tribe and having the strength to smash the enemies of the tribe are important parts of their culture.
  • The Frostlord (leader of the clan) is not necessarily the strongest person. The leader is selected based upon a weird ritual, where the Ogor that had most of his captured meat eaten by the other Ogors gets to be the leader (so if you are not good at hunting, it will be hard to become lord).
  • The Ogors will eat almost anything. In spite of that, they are always hungry.
  • The mounts are sacred and venerated in the Beastclaw raiders tribes.
  • The Everwinter can also be helpful to the Raiders. It will actually hurt their foes more than it will hurt them (they are used to a bit of mind-numbing winter after all).

Miniatures and units available for Beastclaw Raiders


The Beastclaw Raiders only have two plastic kits: a big monster kit with mounted Ogors and a small monstrous cavalry kit also with Ogors on top of beasts.

You can find all of the kits for the Beastclaw Raiders here (affiliate link to the store I recommend for your country).

The Big kit can build 2 different mounts and each mount has 3 different options for riders. This means the kit can produce 1 of the following 6 options:

  1. Frostlord on Stonehorn 
  2. Frostlord on Thundertusk 
  3. Huskard on Thundertusk 
  4. Huskard on Stonehorn 
  5. Stonehorn Beastriders 
  6. Thundertusk Beastriders

The Stonehorn is melee oriented and can take some damage. The Thundertusk is also big, but has a great shooting (frost) attack as well as the ability to heal with the right warscroll.

 

The Mournfang kit will give you 4 Mournfangs with riders. The riders can be equipped with different weapon options (Ogres mounted on semi big beasts).

The plastic kits are very dynamic and of great quality.

Besides the two plastic kits there is also 3 finecast packs available, but only on the GW webstore:

  1. Icebrow Hunter (single Ogor hunter on foot)
  2. Frost Sabres (two big cats)
  3. Icefall Yhetees (3 big foot style foot troops)

The finecast kits are ok, but they are expensive. The Yhetees are not the best looking models around.

Battleline:

The Stonehorn and Thundertusk without a hero on are battleline in Beastclaw Raiders and the Mournfang pack is battleline in Beastclaw Raiders. The Yhetees can become battleline if a Thundertusk is the general and the Frost Sabres can become battleline if a Hunter is the general.

This means that all units (except heroes) can become battleline. This also means that you can make an army made of only big monsters with Ogors on top!

Both the Stonehorn and the Thundertusk have a viable place in armies, but you will quickly see a trend towards Frostlord on Stonehorns and Huskard's on Thundertusk. The non-hero version if the monsters are not in a great place right now.

The Mournfang can have their place in units of 4, but they are mainly a way to fill battleline requirements.

In general, the Hunter is not that good. The cats can have their place as a fast objective taker and the Yhetees also have a spot in certain builds. As a new player, I would probably shy away from the finecast models. They are expensive and are not the best of options on the field (unless you know what you are doing).

The kits all hold the minimum amount of models for a unit. The only exception is the Mournfangs where you get 4 models and you only need 2 for a unit.

Any start collecting or box sets available for Beastclaw raiders?

The Beastclaw Raiders Start collecting box includes:

  • 4 Mournfangs
  • 1 kit of Stonehorn/Thundertusk

The Start Collecting box is pretty damn good, since you are going to get two Mournfang kits and one big monster kit, giving one of each plastic kit. The Mournfang kit is normally £40 and the monster kit is £36 (total of £76). Since the Start collecting box costs £55, it is a saving of £21. The question you are gonna ask yourself: will it ever make sense to buy anything else than the Start Collecting box? The answer is probably no. This box might be the cheapest way to build an army in Age of Sigmar, so you get that as a perk.

You could also get very lucky and stumble upon the Icewind Assault box in your local gaming store. It is out of production now, but the price of it was very good. In it you got all of the Raiders miniatures in one pack (2 monsters, 4 mournfangs, 4 sabres, 1 hunter and 3 yhetees).

Do Beastclaw Raiders have endless spells and faction terrain?

The Beastclaw Raiders where made a long time before endless spells and terrain for an army was a thing. In the future, it is very possible that they will get an update (but no one knows when or if it will really happen).

How does the Allegiance Abilities work for the Beastclaw Raiders?


Beastclaw Stampede: on the turn a Beastclaw Raider unit charges, it can reroll wound rolls of 1 in the combat phase.

You generally want to charge anyway (extra damage on most units) so this is a nice addition. It would have been better if it was rerolling to hit rolls (Raiders hit worse than they wound), but you get what you get. A minor buff, that will likely only make a minor difference.

The Everwinter's Blessing: At the start of your own hero phase roll a D6

  • 1-2: Reroll save rolls of 1 until your next hero phase
  • 3-4: You can move all Beastclaw Raiders 3″
  • 5: Roll a dice for each enemy unit within 3″ of one of your models. On a 6 deal d3 mortal wounds to that unit.
  • 6:  Roll a dice for each enemy unit within 3″ of one of your models. On a 6 deal d6 mortal wounds to that unit.

The save buff is so and so. The movement can be good and the save reroll can be good – but it could also be meaningless. The worst part is that you have no way to manipulate the result so you cannot plan around it. The damage can also be good, but again nothing you can really rely on (how many sixes can you realistically roll?).

Overall the Allegiance Abilities are quite weak. If you go ahead and compare them to some of the newer books, they are lacking some punch. A few more abilities (with more power), as well as better artefacts and traits, would be very welcoming. As it is now, you could just as well play Grand Alliance Destruction instead (Allegiance rules for Destruction overall is in the Core Rulebook).

A stonehorn from the Beastclaw Raider faction/army being a boss

A rundown on some of the Battalions for Beastclaw Raiders


The Raiders battalions are quite weak. This is sad, as the extra artefact you get from one is a huge benefit on your big heroes mounted on monsters.

Both big battalions require more than 2000 points to fill, so they are mainly for cool big thematic lists (so not included here)

  • Jorlbad makes it possible to run and charge in the same turn. While this can be quite powerful, the cost of the battalion is quite high and it requires you to have a Huskard on Stonehorn (which is not the best use of your points).
  • Skal gives 2-10 units of Sabres the ability to deploy with the hunter from reserve (anywhere on the tabletop – but 9″ away from enemy units). While thematically very cool, the Sabres are only gonna wreck weak units so do not pose a huge threat. But, deep strike can be good for taking objectives.
  • Braggoth's Beast Hammer is the first Battalion to actually give you a real reason to build around a Beastclaw battalion (for competitive purposes at least). Sadly, it also requires you to take units outside the Beastclaw Raiders factions. You will need 1 Frostlord on Stonehorn (which you would probably want anyway), 2 Mournfang packs and 2 units of Gore Gruntas from the Ironjawz. The battalion will give you: +1 wound on the Stonehorn, +1 on hit rolls on your raiders unit when they are within 6″ of an Ironjawz unit (and vice versa) and you get to pile in and attack twice once per game. The +1 on hit is massive (big weakness of the Raiders army) and the extra attack is something that can make your alpha strike scary. The downsides are that the Gore Gruntas do not perform that well in combat (and you need to nuyIronjawz units for your Raiders army), you cannot put more units in the battalion than the minimum size and the range on the battalion buff is a bit wonky to play right.

It is a shame that Raiders battalions are so weak. They cost a lot of points, do not add amazing stuff and the unit requirement are never great. You are going to spend a lot of points filling them up with weak stuff, and when the bonuses you get are so poor, it is not really the best way to build an army.

That said, from a hobby and lore perspective, there are some cool things here.

Any cool combos available for Beastclaw Raiders?


There is no easy way of breaking this: there are no big cool combos. Why?

  • The Raiders have 1 command ability (Frostlord) and it is rerolling charge rolls on Raiders units. So no buff or debuff command abilities.
  • They have no wizards in the faction, so there are very few buffs and debuffs you can pass around.
  • The Allegiance ability is limited to the on charge combat buff and the random effect of the winter buff/damage.
  • The battalions are poor with very few meaningful buffs.

The biggest combo I can think of is making a list that tries to maximise the use of the once per game extra attack of the Braggoth's Beast Hammer Battalion, but that is limited by the small numbers of units you can bring in it.

Besides that, you are left with trying to play your army as efficiently as possible and maximising the small buffs and damage you can get from the different units.

Instead of pulling big combos, you have to rely on movement, hit and run, objective grabbing and zoning to win your games.

 

A thundetusk from the Beastclaw Raider faction in Aqsy being cool

What is the Beastclaw Raiders playstyle and how do the mounted Ogors feel on the tabletop?


  1. The army is crazy fast. Everything except the hunter (that can deep strike) will have a movement of at least 9″. Most units will have some way of gaining extra move (run and charge on so on). That speed, if used correctly, as very viable in the objective based Age of Sigmar. You might lose your whole army each game, but if you come out with the most points you win regardless.
  2. The Raiders are though. your units will have good saves and multiple wounds.
  3. No matter how you slice it, the Raiders will be an elite army with low body count. This can be the draw for many, but it can be incredibly hard to play an objective based game without enough bodies.
  4. With the low body count, you have to make the most of your mobile units. This means strategic hit and runs, knowing when to engage but also when to get out and get the objectives.
  5. Some units can pack a punch (especially the Frostlord on Stonehorn). Sadly, you will quickly find that your units will get brought down in an extended grind.
  6. No wizards in the army mean that you have to ally them in to cast magic of your own or dispell your enemy's magic.
  7. Because of your few units, beware of debuffs on your army. Anything that gives you minus to hit is for example very bad for the Beastclaw dudes.
  8. Terrain can be rough on your big dudes. You have to get your units in the optimal position to win. Big pieces of impassable terrain can have a negative impact on your enjoyment of the game.

Are there any competitive Beastclaw Raiders builds?


As you will probably realize, the Raiders are in a bad spot power wise. They might be one of the worst factions that have a battletome! Sure, a brilliantly skilled player can take the Beastclaw to a tournament and compete with some great armies – but as I see it, that will mainly be in spite of the Raiders, not because of the Raiders.

The movement will help out a lot, as good tactical movement can seriously win you games. But to play with the top dogs, you have to hope they make more than one mistake. Artefacts from the Malign Sorcery will be a must if you hope to play the best Raiders army you can.

The most competitive list might be the Braggoth battalion. But then again, if you are already adding units from the Ironjawz you have to really ask why you are playing mono Beastclaw Raiders anyway? Why not just played mixed destruction, get the best from the Raiders (two big monsters) and cherry pick good units from the other destruction faction?

Another way is to try and spam the best units. This means either Huskard on Thundertusk and try and spam their 6 mortal wound ability (and keeping them healed up with various artefacts, abilities and spells).

You could also go for some melee smash variant, but you will find you get outfought be newer and more powerful armies.

There are also some builds that add in some Ogors on foot as allies. I can see that working out, but it will quickly end being Ogors on foot with the Beastclaw Raiders added in as allies.

A list of things holding the army back with regards to being competitive:

  1. Poor battleline options
  2. Few options with regards to warscrolls
  3. Lack of bodies
  4. Very poor allegiance abilities and artefacts
  5. Very poor Battalions
  6. One poor command ability (so you have to spend command points on running and rerolling charge rolls)
  7. No wizards
  8. No great buffs

All that said, Beastclaw Raiders are not that far from suddenly being much better. They can make great use of extra artefacts on the big guys, so just one great battalion would do wonders. A way to utilise command points on something useful would also be amazing. Let us hope they get a helping hand in an updated battletome.

What books will I need to play Beastclaw Raiders?


The Beastclaw Raiders have a battletome with allegiance abilities, artefacts, command traits, lore and warscrolls. Only very minor things have been changed according to their Errata.

You will need the newest Generals Handbook to get the updated points for the Raiders (or have a look in one of the Army Builders to get the points).

The Malign Sorcery will be helpful to make your army stronger. This will mainly be because you will get access to artefacts that will make your big monsters stronger, but a few endless spells could also prove to be valuable (if you ally in a wizard).

The Beastclaw Raiders battletome
An image of the Generals Handbook 2018

How up to date is the Beastclaw Raiders and what are the chances for future changes?


The Beastlclaw have a semi up to date battletome, but a very small selection of miniatures. In fact, I am positive that we will never see such a small faction for Age of Sigmar again (it is clear it does not work and GW are actively working towards merging smaller factions). It is possible that Beastclaw will either get merged with Gutbusters (hallo Ogre Kingdoms!). They could also get a few more models (the beloved Moonclan treatment), but I think this will be very far in the future (if ever).

The battletome was made after Sylvaneth, meaning it has the full set of allegiance abilities, artefacts, battalions and so on. They are missing spells, endless spells and terrain. Their allegiance abilities are poor compared to modern Battletomes. There is a good chance they will get an updated battletome, but I doubt it is in the very near future. Might first happen in early 2020.

Mournfang and Thundertusk riding on the avalance of the everwiner

What is the cost of buying a Beastclaw Raiders army?


The Raiders are one of the few factions that can put an army on the table with so few models. As a new painter, this is a very welcome thing (as it will be very feasible to get the army done). From a wallet perspective, it also makes the Raiders a very cheap army to buy. If you want cheap, you have to avoid the finecast models. This also means trying to forge an army based on what you can get in plastic. Luckily, both plastic kits are a part of the Start Collecting box.

  • 2 Mournfangs are 160, so the 4 in the box will be 320 points
  • The monster can become many things depending on how you build it. The Frostlord is 420 no matter that mount. The Huskard is 340 points on a Stonehorn and 360 points on a Thundertusk. If build with normal troops on it the Stonehorn is 320 and the Thundertusk is 340 points.

This means they you are getting between 640 and 740 points for each start collecting box. That many points for £55?Insane. If you stick to the plastic models, the Raiders are definitely one of the cheapest and smallest armies you can get in Age of Sigmar.

What are the Allies available for the Beastclaw Raiders?


The Raiders can ally with:

  • Aleguzzler Gargants
  • Firebellies
  • Gutbusters
  • Maneaters
  • Troggoths

While allies can be great for the Beastclaw, you will be severely limited by the amount you can bring (because 1 in 4 units can be an ally, and you are not going to have that many units on the table).

Some potential decent ally options:

The big downside of the Beastclaw is that you do not get access to cheap, efficient bodies. On the other hand, if you want to keep it mounted an elite that is not really an option anyway. Primarily you will be looking to ally in a Wizard.

  1. The Gargant can be pretty useful, but I am not really sure it brings anything new to the table for you.
  2. If you want a spellcaster, you have to ally in something. The forge world Troggoth Hagg is an option. The firebelly is an option. The butcher is a good option (buff on hit rolls) and the Fungoid Cave-Shaman can also be useful (more command points and ability to double cast spells).
  3. You could get some shooting potential via the Gutbusters or add some more bodies with Ogors on foot.
A lord on a stonehorn killing some khorne dudes

Pros of the Beastclaw Raiders


  • Very few models to paint and they can look crazy good on the tabletop (big and brutal). The kits are also very dynamic and cool. While they were not released in Age of Sigmar, The Mournfang and Stonehorn/Thundertusk kits are quite new.
  • With so few models, it will be easier for beginners to remember what their army can do. Combine this with the few buffs and weird interactions and it makes this a very easy army to grasp.
  • The “all mounted very mobile” army is quite attractive for some people.
  • The “winter and frost” theme of the army is quite cool (pun intended).
  • Somewhat easy to paint, depending on how you want to go with it. Skin tones can be hard to make look “natural”, but fur and other stuff will be easy. You can easily get away with doing just basecoat, shade and drybrush. You can also use the GW snow texture paint for easy bases.
  • Performs quite solid at the 1000 points bracket (because other armies have a hard time to combo and synergise with so few points).
  • While the army is quite bad right now, a few tweaks could make it really good. Who knows, it might be really good by the time you finish painting the army up!
  • Very cheap army. A couple of Start Collecting Boxes and you could be on the table!

Cons of the Beastclaw Raiders


  • Not a lot of options with regards to units or models
  • Very low tier army if you are looking at things from a competitive angle
  • Not a good army if you are looking for something very complex to play or something that have loads of different options.
  • While the Battletome does have battalion and Allegiance abilities, we have seen a real power creep since this book came out. You will be envious when you hear what your mates new army can do.
  • Even in very casual games, you can get run over. It is possible that you will face factions where you will lose 9/10 games – no matter what build you or your opponent takes. This can be bad if you are mainly playing against the same opponent over and over again.
  • The low skill ceiling of the army means you could get bored quickly (the I-have-tried-everything-in-this-army-syndrome).

Overall verdict on the Beastclaw Raiders


I am really sorry for all the doom and gloom regarding the Beastclaw. But I think it is very important to know those things before you invest your money, time and emotions into an army. Their power level might not mean anything for the first year or so, but it will quickly become a drain on your hobby enjoyment (believe me, I have owned multiple super weak factions). If you only have a few friends who play AoS, it is likely that they play something new and updated for AoS 2.0. Chances are good that you are going to get consistently blown out of the water, and that is no fun in the long run.

While I would never recommend the Raiders to a player looking to compete in tournaments, they can be a great beginner army. One of my friends actually picked up the Raiders mainly because there were so few models he needed to paint and they look amazing (and the lore and artwork of the battletome really got him hooked).

I sincerely hope Beastclaw will get the update treatment, as they need more options and cool stuff. For now, if you want to play this army it should mainly be because:

  1. You like the theme and the aesthetic of the models
  2. You would like an army with few models to paint or something that can be painted up quickly
  3. You are looking for something simple to play

At the end of the day, you should ask the question:

Would I be better of playing the Beastclaw as the allied part to something else? Or should you go Grand Alliance Destruction instead?

Do you love their cool lore, aesthetic, theme and miniatures so much that it will overcome the weakness of the army?

Thanks for reading!

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