Revisiting Beastmen Monsters
Hey everyone, a while back I touched on the Beastmen rare choices, but now that the models are coming out, I thought I'd take another look at the often forgotten monsters of the Beastmen book. Unlike last time which was just a general review, I'm going to discuss exactly how to make each of these monsters worthwhile in your Beastmen army, because lets face it, we want them all!
The Cygor is a monster who gives you access to a stone thrower like attack, as well as having a few anti-magic abilities. It has a poor WS of 2, though it can re-roll attacks against anything that has a bit of magic to it. The Cygor sports an impressive M7, as well as S6 and a few 5's for T/W/A, which is a fairly standard monster stat line. The Cygor's Soul-eater ability means that wizards within 24" take a LD test, if they fail then any failed casting attempts result in a miscast, this ability can be especially deadly if you can get the wizard to fail their LD test.
So how to use this cloven hooved cyclops who like throwing stuff? First of all, there is the obvious, he is adding a bit of ranged power to your army which you would not have otherwise. Find the units that have the biggest blocks, or ones which you know will give your Gors the most problems and pummel away with menhir.
Aside from the nifty stone thrower, the Cygor's Soul-eater ability is particularly interesting. What I've found this ability does is that instead of causing many miscasts from failing spells, it instead gets your opponent to commit more dice, and thus lower the number of spells they can cast per turn, as well as increase their odds for a miscast. To get this ability to work however, you need to get an enemy spell caster to fail a LD test. If you use Lore of Death, Doom and Darkness should really help out, giving off a -3 to your opponent's LD, also the Manbane Standard helps a bit too. In general, I don't rely on Soul-eater until after I've killed my opponent's BSB (which is often a priority), but it is a pleasant surprise when it does work.
To really get your points out of the Cygor, you must make use of all of it's abilities, so lastly, when it comes to picking a target, obviously go for the gold and try to hit anything with a magic item, magic attacks, undead, daemons, or anything with a ward save. Something to think about is that the ward save can be of any kind, so someone buffed a unit with a ward save from magic? Send in the Cygor! Someone has a character with the Ironcurse Icon, then guess what? Cygor re-rolls hits against he whole unit! The list goes on and you'd be surprised how many things you can re-roll against (I'm looking at you, Brets).
Next up we have the Ghorgon, undeniably the most effective of the 3 monsters. Like the Cygor, he's moving 7" a turn, but has an impressive stat line with WS4 and S/T/W/A of 6! He has Bloodgreen, Frenzy, ITP and Stubborn (LD10) as well, which in all adds up to one nasty fighter.
Ghorgon's start combat dishing out 7 attacks, and every round of combat that you win, you will get another attack. Additionally, since the Ghorgon is on a chariot sized base, only 4 enemies wide will be able to attack back, it's because of this that you can deal a surprising amount of damage while taking little in return. If you are facing a WS 3/4 enemy, try using Miasma to reduce the enemy's WS to 1, so that they will require 5's to hit you back, and often need 6's or 5's to wound you back, meaning that unless something goes really wrong, you will have a very solid chance of winning combat without support. After that first round, you're now up to 8 attacks, and it keeps going from there. I prefer to avoid getting Ghorgons in combat with deeply ranked enemy units, as the +3 ranks and standard will make it a bit more difficult to win combat. Even if the Ghorgon doesn't win combat though, it is still Stubborn LD10, meaning it's not likely that it will stop fighting.
If possible, adding a Ghorgon to a multiple charge will be devastating. Stick him along side one of your units and when he gets in combat, not many enemies will be able to strike it, while it just sends your combat score through the roof. He wont be good for overrunning though, so typically a good combat reform is the best you can ask for.
The Ghorgon also has two special rules: Swallow Whole and Strength from Flesh. Swallow whole allows you to give up ALL of your attacks for one special attack that causes killing blow on a 4+. Strength from Flesh says that if you killing blow something with Swallow Whole, you will regain D3 wounds. As nice as that sounds, I don't think I'd ever use it unless there was only a single enemy left, the big problem is that you will end up losing combat by using this attack, and if you lose combat, you lose all the extra attacks from Frenzy and Bloodgreed. Usually, I would prefer to go down in a whirlwind of gore.
This ugly beast is pretty much the red-headed stepchild of the Beastmen army. It's stat-line, while not terrible, isn't exactly spectacular either, WS4, S/T/W/A 5, not bad, until you consider it's point cost. It is however the fastest monster in the army with M8 and Fly. It's has poisoned attacks and ITP, as well as a couple special abilities of it's own: Aura of Madness, Slythey Tongue and Spurting Bile-blood.
The Aura of Madness is an effect with a range of 12", all enemy units have to take a LD test, or they suffer a number of wounds equal to what they fail by. This doesn't seem so bad of an ability, until you remember that they get to use their general's LD, as well as any other bonuses or BSB re-roll. Like the Soul-eater ability of the Cygor, to make the most use of this, you need to hurt the enemy leadership base. If you plan on running a Jabberslythe, you should definitely plan on using a level 4 with Death, to best increase the odds of getting Doom and Darkness, additionally the Manbane Standard will help out as it does for Soul-eater. Unfortunately however, none of this will help you against Undead and Daemons as Immune to Psychology units are unaffected by the Aura of Madness.
Slythey Tongue and Spurting Bile-blood are both relatively minor abilities. The first gives the monster a 12" S5 ranged attack, while the second causes a S5 hit to any unit which wounds the Jabberslythe in close combat. The second ability while it could be potent, requires you taking wounds and getting yourself killed to work, so I wouldn't really try and take too much advantage of it.
So what else can you do with this monster? It still has a monster stat line and the ability to fly, so you can charge over one unit to hit another. If you put a Jabberslythe on your flank, the opponent will move to counter it to protect it's back lines, and a lot of people don't think about it just charging right over them. With it's flying move, you can set yourself up to look like you're about to take a charge into a ranked unit, only to go over the top of them and into an easy to kill unit behind them. Using units like the Razorgor to serve as distraction can also keep the enemy off guard, or they may focus all their attention on your Jabberslythe and your Razorgor's will be able to run free, charging into war machines and lone wizards with reckless abandon. The trick to using the Jabberslythe effectively is the same as any other flying monster, attack where it's not expected and take full advantage of LoS blocking terrain until you're ready to strike.
The Beastmen monsters aren't exactly found at bargain basement prices, but if you plan your list accordingly, there are ways to use them all. If you're interested in mixing up your list a bit, try out using a Ghorgon, if you're willing to go a bit further, try out the Cygor or even the Jabberslythe, backed up by as many leadership draining abilities as you can find. I'm looking forward to picking up a new host of monsters this weekend!