Beastmen Tactics: Special
Alright, I'm back again with more of my horned fiends. This week I will go over the Special choices, which I believe are the swinging arm of the army. While the Core choices of the Beastmen are pretty solid, the Special is what brings the army together.
First up are the long horned monstrous infantry. Minotaurs are a pretty devastating unit, being WS4 S5 and still a respectable initiative of 3. They deal impact hits much like ogres, plus they have the rule Bloodgreed. Once the unit wins combat they become frenzied, and each time they win combat while frenzied they gain another attack! The only downside to these guys is that the pursue only D6", meaning it is hard to even chase down a dwarf. At 55 points a piece, they can rack up quite an expense in your army. They can choose between shields, additional hand weapons and great weapons, I prefer either the AHW or GW options myself, getting a little extra save isn't nearly as fun as getting a lot more attacks, or striking at S7.
I would recommend either running them in small units of 4 (2x2) or go all out with a few big units, or even the fabled "minobus" which consists of a medium to large unit of Minotaurs, plus a Gorebull BSB and a Doombull for extra killing.
Don't forget that the Bloodkine (champion) can take 25 points of magic items, this is very nice when you take something that helps the whole unit, such as the Ironcurse Icon or especially the Blackened Plate.
Oh Centigors, how I want to love them. They boast a fairly impressive statline, with WS/S/T4 and A2 right off the bat, and they are armed with light armor and a shield giving them a decent save of 4+, but unfortunately, they are just hard to justify at 25 points a piece. When taking them, I am typically torn between spear/shield and great weapon, though most people stick with the spear/shield. Overall, while they aren't terrible, they could stand to be 10 points cheaper to compete with the Orc boarboy, otherwise spending 250 points for 10 of them just isn't worth it. The models look lovely though and converting them is a blast, I just wish their cost was a bit more appropriate for what you get. If someone has some good strategies for using them though, I'd love to hear it, especially since I have some that I've converted.
A unit or two of Harpies can never be wrong. At 55 points for 5 of them, or 70 for scouts, they're a very cheap and effective charge blocker. Their stats are decent with a high initiative and two attacks a piece, so they're not bad at killing warmachines either. I would never take an army without a unit or two. Check out my article on charge redirecting for some great uses.
These are my favorite part of the book. For 12 points you get a WS/S/T 4 warrior with a great weapon and heavy armor, plus this is the only unit that can take a magic banner. They have the hatred of their Gor cousins and a rule called "Despoilers" which gives them an extra +1 combat resolution for every banner they capture, while not huge, it isn't bad either. I usually put my Great Bray Shaman in a Bestigor herd that is 35 models strong (run 10-wide), with the Standard of Discipline, giving the unit the same LD as if they were near my general, but having more independence. When they charge into combat with a unit that has been reduced to WS1 by Miasma, you have one extremely deadly unit, hitting on 3's with re-rolls, wounding on 2's, being hit on 5's with T4. Most units in the army work exponentially better when buffed or when the enemy is hit by miasma a couple times, and that has never been more true than with the Bestigors. Unless I'm running a minobus army, I would never be without a good sized unit of Bestigors.
Do you like chariots? If you play Beastmen, I hope the answer is "yes". The Razorgor chariot is one of the biggest and baddest chariots around. This engine of destruction causes spine crushing S5 impact hits, as well as being T/W 5 with a 4+ armor save. It has the same crew as it's smaller counterpart, but it is also sporting a razorgor with 4 S5 attacks! The whole model has primal fury, so even those Razorgor will re-roll hits. They're a bit steep at 145 points, but adding one to a combat that you're not sure of will nearly guarantee a victory.
"That'll do pig" is something that my opponents hear me say frequently. 55 points for a bacon cruise missile that will be a huge pain in your opponents loins. Taken in units of 1+ means that I always take single models, since having 2 means when one dies, the other piggy runs all the way home. The same point cost as a unit of harpies gets you a monster that is S/T5 with 4 attacks and becomes S6 on the charge. I've had this pig charge in and take out wizards in a unit on multiple occasions and in SoM he has kicked a couple wizards out of their silly little towers as well (if only he was a pig-mage to take them over after). I will always take at least one Razorgor, if not 2-3 in every army I take, they are just too versatile for their points to ignore.
With one exception, the Beastmen book has a great selection of very strong special choices, ranging from very cheap to extremely expensive though. I typically run 3-4 of the cheaper units, either Harpies or lone Razorgor, plus a large block of Bestigors, though it's very tempting to also throw in some Minotaurs and Razorgor Chariots. When writing a list for Beastmen, I suggest starting here, then filling in the rest of your army to support your Special choices.