This article will detail the Beasts of Chaos army starting from its lore, describing the main units and their roles, how the army plays and finally our personal opinion of the army.
For a complete run-down of the different armies available in Age of Sigmar, consult our Age of Sigmar army overview article.
In this article we will refer often to Matched Play and other technical terms like allegiance abilities, command points, army roles in building a list, core battalions, Endless Spells/Invocations, etc. We assume the reader will be knowledgeable with those terms, otherwise please refer to the relevant guides for more details.
Overview of Beasts of Chaos Army
The Beasts of Chaos claim to be the rightful owners of all Mortal Realms and despise any form of civilization. They revelled in the purest forms of Chaos way before the Chaos Gods could enter the realms and even before Sigmar created his pantheon bringing order in their perfectly wild domain.
Also called the gor-kin, they represent heavily mutated humanoid beasts whose only purpose in life is slaughter and “occasional” bloodshed. Their rituals and chaotic energies attract all sorts of other wild and mutated creatures that the best Bray-shaman or Beastlords persuade to join on their side of the battle.
Historically they are the remnants of the Warhammer Fantasy army Beastmen, with some monstrous addition. And with some exceptions, like a new re-sculpted Beastlord released with the latest battletome, their model range is still the same from the previous game with some really dated sculpts, some still in finecast.
The advantage is that there is a rich and vibrant second-hand market that allows to buy an army heavily discounted, plus a good Vanguard box and few other value boxes released from time to time.
Their last battletome took a while to arrive but confirmed what of good this army has to offer considering it has been quite a contender for the high spots in tournaments since their White Dwarf update added rend to the army. Now there are even more useful units, some with a niche role.
Lore of Beasts of Chaos Army
No one really knows how the gor-kin came to be, but everyone has its own opinion, from humans that mutated after entering a pact with Chaos forces to simple natives of Ghur, the Realm of Beasts. Beasts of Chaos themselves don’t really keep track of history, however there is a myth common to all tribes that they all descend from the Gorfather, a mythic being whose current whereabouts are completely unknown but that it is prophesised it will be back to guide his gor-kin in battle.
Morghur, the Great Devolver, a figure that has his roots in the World-that-Was, is also venerated by many tribes including the Gavespawn, for which the end goal is to evolve in a mutated Chaos Spawn to better commute with their divinity.
While there are some gor-kin that serve the Dark Gods, they are often despised because to serve a being you are not able one day to betray and slaughter is not honourable. However, the boons those divinities can provide to their followers, are enticing enough that many surrender themselves. Each Chaos God has its own mutate race of gor-kin, from the avian Tzaangors loyal to Tzeentch, to the slimy Pestigors followers of Nurgle, from the blood-maddened Khorngors to the depraved Slaangors.
The Beasts of Chaos once proliferated in all Mortal Realms, even before the primitive races of humans, aelven and duardin started building civilizations. They were able to slaughter them at ease and no one could contrast them. Then Sigmar arrived, starting to build cities with high walls and organised military infrastructure and his followers chased the gor-kin away from their territories. They tamed the wilderness that once belonged to the Beasts of Chaos, forcing them in the darkest and more chaotic corners of the mortal realms.
In Azyr, the Thunderscorn waged a tempest war against Sigmar and his armies but, eventually, they were chased off the Realm of Heavens for good. All gor-kin despise Sigmar, and they celebrated when the Dark Gods finally took a grip of the Mortal Realms invading them.
The Age of Chaos was the golden age for Beasts, who were finally able to take revenge on Sigmar protegees. Entire civilizations crumbled under their hooves, and all who didn’t die in the slaughter, were sacrificed under the Herdstones. These monuments impregnated with Chaos energies, represent the focal point of a Greatfray, where prisoners are immolated to obtain mutations and weapons are forged. They are also the only type of rude construction that gor-kin maintain, as everything else is toppled and destroyed.
When Sigmar deployed the Stormcast Eternals across the realms to retake what was defiled by the Chaos forces, the Beasts of Chaos were able to face their foe once again. New cities propped up, crusades are constantly sent in the wilderness to retake important ley lanes or build new cities and outposts on strategic points. But that is the gor-kin domain and Sigmar’s followers are well aware of what happens when they encounter one of those herds.
Nothing exemplifies this better than what the Sylvaneth experienced in the Witherdwell, a dark place in Ghyran, the Realm of Life, retaken by Morghur’s followers and since corrupted so that ooze and eldritch energies propagate from there infiltrating the other realms.
The new settlements are also a great occasion for the Turnskin Plague to develop. This is a curse that infects those who listen about it, or it can be also triggered by corrupted water and food, that eventually ends with the infected person mutated in a gor-kin with entire villages decimated by this plague.
The Realm of Beasts just began and it’s a great time for the Beasts of Chaos.
Army rules for the Beasts of Chaos
But how does a Beasts of Chaos army play on a tabletop? First let’s go through the main rules for this army.
Beasts of Chaos subfactions are called Greatfrays and there are 4 of them:
- Allherd, the greatest of all Greatfrays dominating huge portions of the Mortal Realms, great to replenish Gor and Ungor units.
- Darkwalkers, the best ambushers, allows Gor or Ungor units to teleport from one battlefield edge to another.
- Gavespawn, the followers of Morghul and his mutations, unlocks the Gibberish Convocations. This and normal Chaos Spawns become battlelines.
- Quakefray, hordes of behemoths led by Cygors, who become Priests in this army. Cygor and Ghorgon become battlelines.
Their main battle trait allows for a zero-deploy army, meaning that during set-up you can choose to deploy zero units in the battlefield and still get some benefits out of it.
To start with, you get command points from the general even if he is in reserve but, more importantly, you can leave the reserve by setting up in the first or second end of movement phase within 9” of an edge (with the usual 9” distance from any enemy unit). You get +1 to charge the turn you deploy so it’s an added bonus. But, as we will see later, this is not the end of the ambush tactics available to the Beasts of Chaos: you could shoot from outside the battlefield, or even perform heroic actions.
Speaking of which, Beasts of Chaos have their own list of Heroic Actions that they can perform, in addition to those generally available, called Rituals of Ruin. The particularity of those is that you can perform any of them each turn with different heroes, as long as you first assign D3 mortal wounds that cannot be negated to either the hero or a nearby friendly unit. So the heroic Beast leaders can potentially carry 5 heroic actions per turn, 1 of which even from reserve (designating an edge point for measuring distances).
This list includes:
- Warping Curse for D6 mortal wounds to an enemy unit.
- Blood Taunt to taunt enemy units towards one of your heroes.
- Brand of Wild Fury to provide a 12” 6+ ward to all friendly units.
- Alphabeast Instinct to avoid battleshock tests in the same turn.
Beasts of Chaos generals can choose between a good list of command traits like Propagator of Ruin that allows to use a second Ritual of Ruin in the same turn and without paying the mortal wounds cost, or Twistfray Cursebeast that improves the casting roll of the hero. Placed on a Tzaangor Shaman with Arcane Tome you now have a very mobile and powerful caster in later turns.
Gor-kin heroes have also access to artefacts of power with great options like Slitherwrack Helm that gives strike-last effect to a unit being charged by the bearer, perfect for your Doombull charges, or Brayblast Trumpet that allows to summon a unit of Gors, Ungors or Ungor Raiders and is a decent replacement for the summon mechanic now removed from the Beasts’ arsenal.
There are two types of spell lores that we are going to discuss in the Wizards section: the Lore of the Twisted Wilds for Brayherd wizards (Great Bray-shaman and Tzaangor Shaman) and the Lore of Dark Storms for Thunderscorn wizards (Dragon Ogor Shaggoth).
As always, please consult the official FAQ page to verify if anything in your tome is up to date. Not much changed in February 2023, but there’s always a chance a specific rule is re-interpreted.
Units and their roles in the Beasts of Chaos Army
Heroes in Beasts of Chaos
Heroes can perform Heroic Actions, in addition to the other abilities they can perform. You do it in the hero phase and you can only do one heroic action. Here is the list:
- Heroic Leadership: on a 4+ (or 2+ if your general has been slain) get a command point only that hero can use.
- Heroic Willpower: one non-Wizard hero can attempt to dispel or unbind a spell for that phase like he was a wizard.
- Their Finest Hour: can be used only once by each hero to improve save and wound rolls by 1 for that turn.
- Heroic Recovery: a disengaged hero can heal D3 wounds if he rolls less or equal to his bravery with 2D6.
Beasts of Chaos don’t have many heroes and the Beastlord merely represents the Brayherd side. He has the standard melee hero profile with mortal wounds on unmodified hit rolls of 6 and a bonus provided to nearby Brayherd units when he is engaged with an enemy hero. He also tags along with one of those units, enabling them to attack directly after him.
Despite this, with 6 wounds and a save of 4+, he will not survive long and if he needs to pick his fight against enemy heroes, most of the time he will encounter tougher melee heroes rather than weak support ones, meaning that he could be the first to bite the dust.
He is not the worst hero ever, and at the right price he could see some use but there’s better options in the Warherd side. As a general, he unlocks Bestigors as battleline.
The Great Bray-shaman is the standard wizard for this army, although the Tzaangor Shaman is also a Brayherd unit with better stats. He can increase by 6”, bringing to 18”, the range of Heroic Actions carried out from the Rituals of Ruin table, for example providing an 18” 6+ ward bubble to the entire army.
He is a single caster, and his signature spell has a chance, based on the opponent Bravery, to halve his movement, retreat or charge roll. It’s a poorer version of Hailstorm (spell available to Thunderscorn wizards).
As a general, he unlocks Bestigors and Centigors as battleline.
Grashrak Fellhoof and his Despoilers are a warband coming from Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave starter set. He is also a Bray-shaman and his signature spell provides a +1 to hit bonus against a targeted enemy unit in addition to few mortal wounds. His retinue is there to provide 10 extra wounds to Grashrak through the bodyguard ability while maybe allocating a couple of wounds here and there.
The Doombull is the best melee hero profile in the army. Period. He has strong melee attacks that allocate mortal wounds on unmodified 6 to hit, and damage after-charge.
Where he shines, is the charge phase, where he can issue a command to another Warherd unit (another Doombull, Bullgors, Ghorgon, Cygor) to make them charge in that combat phase bypassing Unleash Hell.
The artefact Slitherwrack Helm matches perfectly a Doombull, enabling the strike-last effect to the charged unit, so that our minotaur has more time to savour his prey.
As a general, he unlocks Bullgors as battleline.
The Dragon Ogor Shaggoth main drawback is the fact that it’s a sculpt more than 20 years old converted from metal to resin. If you can get past this, you have the only leader available for a Thunderscorn themed army, indeed, as a general, he unlocks Dragon Ogors as battleline.
As the only wizard available in the small Thunderscorn roster, he has access to an entire lore dedicated to himself (more on this in the Wizards section below) plus a personal spell that allows to heal up to 3 Dragon Ogor units.
He has a high chance (50%) to ignore the effects of spells and endless spells and can heal and allocate mortal wounds to engaged enemy units each end of combat phase.
He has a missile attack with high potential and a series of melee profiles that are quite scary, especially considering is a wizard. Plus, he is a monster, so he can carry out a monstrous rampage.
The Beast of Chaos Tzaangor Shaman represents the avian side of the army, the one related to Tzeentch. The only buff that provides to the other Tzaangors is limited to resurrecting up to 3 models from a nearby Beast of Chaos Tzaangor unit as long as the spell Boon of Mutation slays as many enemies.
As a caster, he has a better chance than the Great Bray-shaman to get in position with his 16″ flying movement, and to survive longer with a 4+ save. He has access to the same spells (Lore of Twisted Wilds) and is the only wizard in this army with a casting bonus (through his Elixir +3 for a second spell once per game).
If you are pointing to introduce strong magical potential in your list, then a Tzaangor Shaman general with the Twistfray Cursebeast command trait and an Arcane Tome as artefact, can really spice up things.
Monsters in Beasts of Chaos
Monsters can perform special abilities called Monstrous Rampages at the end of the Charge phase. Each action can be performed only once per phase therefore only up to 4 monsters can perform one at a time. Here is the current list:
- Roar: on a 3+ an engaged enemy unit cannot issue or receive orders in the following combat phase.
- Stomp: on a 2+ do D3 mortal wounds to an engaged unit that is not a monster.
- Titanic Duel: + 1 to hit rolls against another engaged Monster.
- Smash to Rubble: on a 3+ demolish a close-by terrain feature, disabling its scenery rules.
The Ghorgon is a veritable beast with extreme low to wound rolls (2+) and high damage. It can also literally swallow entire models healing itself back in the process. As it needs to beat their wound characteristic, it can quite reliably eat two 2-wound models after piling in and heal 4 wounds back.
Ghorgon’s unique Monstrous Rampage, Feast on Flesh, improves its rend by 1 and allows another 3 wounds healed back when slaying enemy models making this huge fighter much more durable.
It goes well in combination with the Doombull ability to make a Warherd unit charge in the combat phase.
The Ghorgon becomes a battleline in a Quakefray army, losing the Behemoth role.
The Cygor can be assembled from the same kit as the Ghorgon and represents the anti-magic unit. Indeed, it can unbind 2 spells per turn as if it was a wizard and its monstrous rampage, Consume Endless Spell, allows to “eat” an endless spell within range as long as the casting roll is reached, healing of the same amount as well. If you play in a meta where Endless Spells are common sight, this is the unit for you.
On top of all of this, the Cygor becomes Battleline (losing the Behemoth role) and Priest in a Quakefray army. This interesting change allows the Cygor to chant universal prayers in addition to Earthshatter, a prayer that allocates D3 mortal wounds to all enemy units within range of the target objective and reduces to half the value of the enemy models contesting it.
As the only priest in the army, it is also the only source to chant Curse (1 mortal wound for each unmodified 6 to hit the targeted enemy model receives).
It does have also a single missile attack, bit more reliable than in the past, but still only one.
The Jabberslythe is a monstrous model, once again one of those available only in resin. Its specialty is to hunt heroes as its monstrous rampage, Aura of Madness, worsens the save characteristic of an engaged hero up to 6+! It can also bounce back some wounds received in melee in form of mortal wounds (on a 4+ for each wound, allocate a mortal wound to the melee attacker).
Apart from this, it has some attacks, including some missile damage, it can fly (after the FAQ) and is relatively cheap. Probably not your first option, but it does have a role.
The Chimera is an amazing model and a joy to paint. Its monstrous rampage, Thricefold Savagery, is unnecessarily limiting: it improves by 1 the attack characteristic of all attacks, but they need to target the same unit.
If you are fighting a single big unit makes sense, but the attacks themselves are nothing noteworthy. Compared to equal priced Bullgors or Dragon Ogors, even with the monstrous rampage activated, it has a lower damage output.
Its advantage is the 10″ of flying movement, but with the big base, it may struggle to find a place where to squeeze in. It does not have a damage table anymore, however, meaning her stats do not decrease the more it’s wounded.
The Chaos Gargant is one of the potential assembly option of this kit available also for destruction armies, representing the main infantry for Sons of Behamat. To make it “chaos-y” choose the horned head and the hooves instead of the feet (or any other combination if you feel like customizing the kit).
While it has a damage table, is the only monster in this section to not have its own monstrous rampage. In compensation, has a 3″ aura of -1 to save and it increases its attacks when in proximity of a friendly hero.
It shares also some rules with its Destruction brethren, like the ability to remove a model after piling in or the area of damage when it dies.
The Dragon Ogor Shaggoth is also a monster, and the only leader in this list.
Battlelines in Beasts of Chaos
The Gors are the standard battleline for Beasts of Chaos. Compared to the Ungors, they have full grown horns that makes them less bullied than their unluckier half-horns brethren. Compared to the last edition, Gors warscroll made some huge steps forward.
Having a shield provides them a 4+ save that can be combined with any ability (like All-out Defence) that gives +1 to save to bring them to 3+ that is pretty good for a cheap battleline. Add to this that they have a good chance (on a 3+ and only against charged units with a lower number of models) to apply the strike-last effect to their target and that they rally on a 5+ and you have a good all-round unit for its price.
Bearing two axes provides an extra attack per model, so which loadout to use will depend on what role you want to give to that unit. Both have some values. If you are using the sub-faction Allherd you will want many of these units as you get D3+3 models back each battleshock phase, plus a chance to rally during your own hero phase.
The Ungors are the other base battleline for this army. Their kit is quite flexible as it allows to set up a full melee unit, Ungors armed with blades, a mixed skirmish unit, Ungors armed with spears and a ranged unit, the Ungor Raiders.
It shares few traits in common with the Gors, notably the standard bearer that lets Rally on a 5+, the musician that adds +1 to run and charge rolls and the fact that in an Allherd army they regenerate D3+3 models each battleshock phase.
In addition to this, when picked to fight in the combat phase they can simply retreat. As their role is to screen other units, or to reach objectives, the spears that add a missile attack is a nice addition, as you may not want them engaged in combat.
Each unit unlocks a unit of Ungor Raiders as battleline.
Conditional Battlelines in Beasts of Chaos
The Bestigors, as the name implies, are the best Gors and as such they get also better armour and weapons. They are a good hammer unit, with the ability to add more attacks if the opponent uses All-out defence against them, and to reduce the to wound roll of enemies targeting them after an Unleash Hell.
As their brethren, the Gors, they also rally on a 5+ and they are battleline if the general of your army is either a Beastlord or a Great Bray-shaman.
The Ungor Raiders are the ranged version of the Ungors with which they share many bonuses (rally on 5+, +1 to run and charge and Allherd resurrection). For each unit of Ungors in your army, one unit of Ungor Raiders becomes battleline.
They are little more than a nuisance, with weak and short ranged attacks, but their particularity is that they can now shoot, once per battle, from the reserve. The FAQ has explained better how it works, but basically while they are hiding, they can shoot any enemy unit within 12″ of a battlefield edge.
The Centigors are another finecast model that didn’t age particularly well. Aside from that, they greatly improved from their previous warscroll: their shooting attack has rend and good chances to hit, decent attacks that get even better if they are nearby an objective that you don’t control, and they can retreat and charge as long as the standard bearer is still alive.
Combined with their 14″ movement and +1 to run and charge, it makes them a really mobile unit able to hit your opponent flanks. They can even tank a little bit since they ignore the first 2 wounds or mortal wounds suffered in each combat phase.
They are battleline if the general is a Great Bray-shaman, and, at the right price, we may see few of them in many lists.
The Bullgors represent the elite infantry of this army and they can become battleline with a Doombull as general. They have 3 different weapon loadouts of which the Great Axe is the most damaging and statistically performing.
However, since all unmodified 6s to hit cause mortal wounds, the Paired Axes that have more attacks have a better chance to fish those mortal wounds. The Bullshields change the save characteristic from 5+ to 4+ meaning that it could get on a 3+ with an All-out Defence or similar ability. But you are most likely to issue All-out Attack instead with this unit, to increase their damage output as an hammer instead of using them as anvils.
With their +1 to charge (with the musician) and damage on charge (re-rollable with a standard bearer) you want them often picking their targets and wiping them before moving to the next one.
The Dragon Ogors are the mainstay of a Thunderscorn themed army. They become battleline with a Dragon Ogor Shaggoth as general. Compared to the old battletome, where they appeared in every list following the White Dwarf update, they now have a simplified weapon profile, so you can choose whichever you prefer.
They compare with the Bullgors as they share a similar role but with different associated leaders. The Dragon Ogors have 1 wound more, 1″ more movement, better save (comparable to the Bullshield) and a similar damage output without the mortal wounds. To compensate, they can heal each combat phase and damage the engaged enemy unit.
Overall they are really similar profiles, but the Bullgors are still cheaper.
The Beast of Chaos Chaos Spawn becomes a battleline in a Gavespawn army. They represent what happens when the Chaos Gods’ favour turns, but for the Beasts of Chaos they represent the vile offspring of Morghur, the Great Devolver.
They can run and charge, but have a random number of attacks (2D6) and random movement (3D6″). They hit and wound on a 3+ if they roll a double when determining how many attacks they perform.
However, Gavespawns can also field the Gibbering Convocation that is a set of 3 Morghurite Chaos Spawns that also count as battlelines. They are Chaos Spawns with a much more reliable profile that adds a missile attack with rend and 2 damage, an ability that reduces by 1 the attack characteristic of engaged enemies and 8 attacks instead of 2D6.
All of this almost at the same price, but you are forced to take 3 of them and all count as a separate unit.
Ghorgon and Cygor become battleline in a Quakefray army.
Wizards and Priests in Beasts of Chaos
Beasts of Chaos wizards are divided in two groups: Brayherd and Thunderscorn. To the first group, who have access to the Lore of the Twisted Wilds, belongs only the Great Bray-Shaman, the Tzaangor Shaman and Grashrak Fellhoof. You could potentially give an Arcane Tome to a Beastlord making it a wizard, but I would avoid.
In this spell lore there are interesting options like Viletide that allocates mortal wounds and prevents the target from receiving commands for the whole turn, Vicious Stranglehorn that prevents the target from piling in, and Tendrils of Atrophy that adds 1 extra damage to each successful hit against the target enemy unit.
The Lore of Dark Storms is available only to the Dragon Ogor Shaggoth (the only Thunderscorn hero) and it was expanded in the last iteration of this battletome. There are good options here as well, from Hailstorm that halves movement, run and charge rolls of the target unit hindering their mobility, to Fulgurous Blades that can add a bit more longevity to a Beasts unit reducing the number of attacks received in the combat phase.
All wizards in this army are single casters, but the Tzaangor Shaman once per battle can cast a second spell with a +3 bonus. The only other bonus to cast available in the army is through the command trait Twistfray Cursebeast that adds the number of the current battle round to the cast roll of the general.
The Cygor can only unbind two spells per turn and “consume” an endless spell with a Monstrous Rampage, and is also the only Priest available in the army (only when in a Quakefray army).
Other units in Beasts of Chaos
The Tuskgor Chariot is the classic chariot profile: decent attacks, great movement (10″), damage after charge. In addition they also have a single shooting attack.
The Razorgor is one of the worst models in the range, both conceptually and in realization (still finecast). They have few attacks, that can double if they charge and are in close proximity of an Ungor unit, but no rend and not much else to say…
Once upon a time, each Chaos God had their fair share of mutated Gors. Slaangors represent Slaanesh’ side and they are the first ones to be added after the Tzaangors from Tzeentch, hence also one of the newest model available in this army. Note that current warscroll specifically mentions Beasts of Chaos Slaangor Fiendbloods, meaning that they are now unlinked from the Slaaneshi warscroll.
Their attacks are ok, and they have an ability that allows them to move in any phase in which they receive wounds as longs as they are 9″ outside any enemy unit. Slaangors can also attack twice in the same combat phase once per game, but the second time they attack at the end of the combat phase and with 3 wounds and a 5+ save, not much may be left of them to attack.
Chaos Warhounds are now 2 wounds apiece and with one of the charge dice always being a 4, they are much more reliable in their charges. Outside of this, they are only interesting for their high movement (10″) that allows them to chase objectives.
The Cockatrice has always been a fun model to list, because of its Petrifying Gaze. The way it works in this iteration, makes this model extremely interesting for any Chaos army, not only Beasts of Chaos.
Now, it does only D3 mortal wounds on a 4+, but if any go through, the targeted enemy unit can only score hits in that combat phase on unmodified hit rolls of 6!! That can be massive against hard hitter units.
It’s currently cheap, can fly 12″ and can do a lot of attacks (but without rend) when charging. On the downside, it is not a monster and with 8 wounds on a 6+ save, as soon as it’s getting too close to your opponent, it will be the target of his ire.
The Beasts of Chaos Tzaangor Skyfires are one of the potential assembly options that creates also the Enlightened. They are the archer version and if you need more missile firepower they are a good alternative. Their shooting attacks ignore any penalty or bonus on the save roll from the enemy, meaning that they ignore cover or Mystic Shield, and does mortal wounds on unmodified hit roll of 6.
The Enlightened come from the same kit as the Skyfires and have 2 different assembly options: Beasts of Chaos Tzaangor Enlightened and Beasts of Chaos Tzaangor Enlightened on Discs of Tzeentch, that seems a mouthful, but what really means is that the later increase movement to 16″ flying, 1 extra wound apiece and some extra decent melee attacks.
What they have in common is that units engaged with them cannot receive commands, and that they wound on a 2+ (except the mount attacks from the discs) if you are taking the second round. With 4+ save and 4 wounds, the version on discs is an interesting option.
The Beasts of Chaos Tzaangors, another warscroll decoupled from the Tzeentch book, represent the line infantry of the avian side of this army. Their main problem is all the various optional weapon loadouts available to this army, starting from deciding to add a 6+ ward with the shields, or 1 more damaging attack (the latter is better for offensive potential).
Then you can fill up the roster with Mutants and/or Greatblades, and deciding who is attacking which unit can become cumbersome. All of this for a damage potential slightly lower than Dragon Ogors (when charging, so by adding 1 more attacks on the beaks) but at a cheaper cost.
If you have a spare Tzeentch army, some Tzaangors led by their Shaman can be a great addition to a Beasts of Chaos army, but they are not essential.
Endless Spells, Terrain and Start Collecting in a Beasts of Chaos Army
Beasts of Chaos were one of the first armies to get Endless Spells and their selection is an interesting one.
The Ravening Direflock is a spell composed of three models, each can really hamper the ability of your opponent to issue commands. To start with, Rally and Inspiring Presence cannot be issued while within 6″ of any piece of this spell, and all other commands on a 5+ are not received and the command point is spent.
The Doomblast Dirgehorn is a debuffer piece that provides a -1 to wound penalty to non-Beasts of Chaos units in an increasing aura (6″ more every turn, so if not dispelled after 3 turns can affect as much as 18″ aura).
Finally, the Wildfire Taurus is an excellent defensive piece that aside from splashing mortal wounds around, it applies also the strike-last effect to non-Beasts of Chaos units within 3″. It can be combined with Gors, so that you can spread the love of strike-last around the table and is more dependable as it does not require a dice roll.
Beasts of Chaos also have their own scenery piece: the Herdstone. This is the single piece whose rules change in a White Dwarf article singlehandedly improved the performance of this army. It still provides a rend bonus but now it’s by 1 from the second battle round and by 2 from the fourth battle round (instead of from the first and from the third). It also lost the battleshock protection, but is still an important piece for your army, so you may want it in a corner of your territory and protect it from roaming monsters ready to Smash to Rubble.
Finally Beasts of Chaos have their own Vanguard box that replaces the previous Start Collecting. This is a really interesting box that provides a lot of miniatures (34!!) and a solution for every question.
It starts with a Great Bray-shaman that is always a decently cheap wizard that can be used in different contexts (like using heroic actions through the Rituals of Ruin) and then adds 2 battleline units (Gors and Ungors), an extra unit that can become battleline if the hero in this box is your general (Bestigors) and another conditional battleline unit that is one of the best hammer available in this army (Dragon Ogors).
The Ungors can also be assembled as the more skirmish Ungor Raiders for a bit of ranged threat (just a bit however). Overall this Vanguard box is an excellent first purchase for this army, and if you can find a use for the shaman (or sell it to friends or the second-hand market) multiple boxes can be an added value.
Tactics and Final Verdict on the Beasts of Chaos Army
Beast of Chaos are definitely an unusual army that feels and plays differently from other armies we have seen so far. Their main trait is to be able to threaten any portion of the battlefield forcing the enemy to protect their backlines carefully and to concentrate in the middle area.
They can perform interesting tricks like starting with 0 units on the field (but they are not the first one) or shoot and command units from the reserve. The Heroic Action Blood Taunt deserves a little bit of attention. Normally you would use it to force a key enemy unit to abandon the safety of their ranks and expose them closer to your hero ready to finish them off with adequate support.
However, it is also possible to sacrifice a cheap hero that would keep taunting a slow but powerful enemy unit towards a corner of the battlefield effectively removing them from the game. Imagine Gotrek taunted by a Shaman for 3 rounds before he can finally get rid of him… Of course, knowing it is also important as an adversary so that you avoid placing slow or important units within 12” of the edges.
Alphabeast Instinct is also an interesting one because of its timing, in the hero phase, meaning that circumvents abilities that may prevent the command ability Inspiring Presence in the battleshock phase, and it does not use command points.
There are only 4 sub-factions (up from 3 in the previous iteration of the book) but all have a sense and are interesting. The strongest one is probably Allherd because of the healing properties on the basic troops but is not an auto-take and if you are not building on Gors and Ungors, it is definitely not your first option.
Even Quakefray transforming a Cygor in a Priest (the only option available in this army) and anti-wizard unit, is a great alternative worth considering, especially if you like big boys like the Ghorgon, as your battleline.
The army focuses also on specific debuffs that help protect their otherwise frail constitution. The Gors have a chance to give strike-last to the engaged unit, and the endless spell Wildfire Taurus to any unit nearby. This definitely helps, but the winner of the best debuff must go to the Cockatrice that assuming you can let it survive long enough to get in range, has a great chance to force enemies to hit only on unmodified rolls of 6, shutting down some powerful units for a combat phase.
Other debuffs available within the army focus on preventing command abilities from being issued or received, like the endless spell Ravening Direflock, the Viletide spell available to Brayherd wizards or either Tzaangor Enlightened. These are powerful abilities that can really mess your opponent plans.
On top of that, you have a huge roster of available monsters, some more useful than others, with a better damage table than before (or no damage table at all) and some extra oomph with personalised monstrous rampages.
There are also some good hammer options with Bullgors and Dragon Ogors, but some alternatives like Bestigors and other opportunely buffed units too. There’s a bit of ranged potential, so that you are active in all phases, and of course, there’s also the chance to really compete in the magic meta with some good endless spell options and some buffs from your wizards like Twistfray Cursebeast that combined with a Tzaangor Shaman and a Cygor can really allow magical power.
There’s a reason if Beasts of Chaos has been in the top ranks of the meta rankings for some time: they are a strong army with lots of choices and potential to play in any phase. And they are extremely fun!
The only downside is the dated age of some of their sculpts, but we can only hope one day they are going to get the Gitz and Seraphon treatment!
If you are interested in the competitive standpoint, when we talk about statistics, a tremendous effort is done by Rob from the Honest Wargamer, Ziggy and Tsports Network! in the AoS Stat Centre with precious information, constantly kept up to date.
Really good informative material is also collected by Dan from AoS Shorts.