Beast Herds go to The Ocho – Game 1

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  • Greetings, one and all.

    I hope that reading this finds you in good health and good spirits, the better to enjoy the exciting tale of the Beast Herd at 2020’s biggest international team tournament. Now, normally, this would have meant the ETC, but since this won’t be happening our good friends from across the pond stepped in and pulled the gaming community together. So instead of ETC 2020 this year we have The Ocho 2020, sponsored and ran by Team USA. As it says on the tin, this is a team tournament for teams of 8 players, and will run until roughly the end of July for a total of 6 rounds of competitive T9A played on UB.

    Team Belgium couldn’t miss such an event, so we answered the call. Now, reader, if you are looking for a guide on how to win at an event like that, you’ll have to keep on looking: our initial approach here was “pretend this is the ETC and bring your most competitive list”, but somehow this meant bringing Undying Dynasties when the whole world knows that they are literally dead and not just resting. Also it meant that people actually came to me for list advice, which may explain why our Vampire Covenant player ended up with 16 spells and our Sylvan Elves with more flying models than elves with bows. To round this selection up, we included all kinds of elves, Saurians without a Quatl, and – of course- everyone’s favorite underdog, the Beast Herds. Oh, and Kingdom of Equitaine because we didn’t get the memo that armour was so 2017.

    So if you want to actually win one of these, here’s my advice: don’t take my advice, and also at least remember to bring Daemon Legions, Warriors of the Dark Gods, Vermin Swarm, and Infernal Dwarves, especially at the specific timepoint where successful list building for the infernal stunties relies on closing your eyes and picking any random amount of unit entries, provided it has a shooting weapon or a name that starts with Bast and ends with Ion.

    But what good is winning if you cannot win in style, I ask you. Which brings me to the list I submitted for the event :

    To the uninitiated it might seem like a random smattering of units, but these have been actually tried and tested over the past 8 months, and they have surprised me pleasantly time and time again. The big problem however is that you cannot actually predict in what way they will surprise you each game, just that they will. So you can imagine the nightmare that is doing pre-game estimations when on paper all of your units die before they get to strike the enemy. Needless to say, there was a whole lot of purple in my estimation matrix (purple being the colour attributed to open matchups or -simply put- “I don’t know how this will pan out”) .

    For the first round we’d get to face the “Old Team”, a Spanish team made up from experienced tournament players some of which are often contenders for the ETC qualifiers. I would get to play their captain, Álex @Portador de Tormento with his Vermin Swarm army:

    Portador de Tormento wrote:

    So a lot of the usual suspects were there: Vermin Daemon, double Dreadmill, footpad core, Plague Catapults, but then he put his own special touch with an Abomination and a big Vermin Guard unit: The latter had me worried, since the machinists on their own are often enough to deal devastating amounts of damage to naked beasts. Add to that the Assassin with his S7 Ap4 attacks and multiwounds against my characters, and you’ve got a unit with a huge “STOP” sign on it.

    The secondary objective for this round was Spoils of War, and we got the Marching Columns deployment. The plan going into the game was simple: try to contest all 3 spoils of war tokens, avoid the big block if at all possible, use the Centaurs to deal with the Dreadmills fast. Oh, and make sure that the Abomination didn’t get around my flank; I was already regretting leaving the Cleansing Light at home.

    My opponent won the roll for sides, and I also allowed him to deploy first: outdeploying him was more important than the first turn. The Vermin Daemon picked the Vermin Hereditary, Fate’s Judgment, Unerring Strike, Scrying and Stars Align, while the Soothsayer went with Healing Waters, Master of Earth, Summer Regrowth and Stoneskin. So we started going back and forth, and we did so until the very last moment: once the Abomination was done, I dropped everything to force my opponent to play first: with the Dreadmills either out of range or severely hampered by the Dark Rain, I wanted to try and draw the rats forward so as to be able to charge them on my turn 1.

    Álex won the roll for the first turn and promptly gave me the first turn, having seen through my plan.

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    With my initial plan of being reactive to what the Vermin would do out of the window, I decided to rush them instead. The positioning of the Abomination gave me a rare opportunity to push with the centaurs up the middle of the board without having to fear about it coming crushing down my flank. The positioning of the Dreadmills and the Vermin Daemon meant that I would be able to use the Feral Hounds and the Gargoyles to pin them in place, and I took that chance. To the right, I kept the Beastlord back to prevent any sneaky abomination moves and protect the spoils of war token, in the middle I edged up with the bulk of my forces, still careful not to give any charges to the dreadmill or the Vermin Guard, while to the left I kept the centaurs and minotaurs back, defending the objective.

    In magic I attempted to boost my Great Weapon centaurs, but my attempt at Healing Waters gotdispelled. I had to settle for a Master of Earth on the leftmost dreadmill, which caused 3 wounds!

    TURN 1 – Vermin Swarm

    My adversary didn’t take the gargoyle bait, and casually sent the middle footpads to clear the feral hounds. Mirrorring my moves, the right flank stayed put, while the left one pushed up, with Footpads advancing close to the spoils token, and the Vermin Guard approaching within shooting range. The Dreadmill redirected my big Centaur unit, making sure that I’d only be getting 2 centaurs in contact if I charged in.

    Magic started with the Awakend swarm being cast on the GW centaurs; three died, but at least I then managed to dispel the rest, aided by the magic resistance of the BSB. Shooting was a lot deadlier: it started off slow, with both Plague Catapults failing to hit, but picked up the pace with the rest: when the vermin were done with their lighting zaps, sling shots and poisoned shurikens, only 5 out of the initial 13 GW centaurs remained! In combat the Footpads forced the Feral hounds to flee, and caught them in pursuit.

    TURN 2 – Beast Herds

    With the Centaur unit effectively depleted, I knew I wouldn’t get a second chance: the GW centaurs fell upon the right dreadmill, and the Gargoyles, somewhat hindered by the Lightning Rod, managed to roll high enough to charge the Plague Catapult on foot. On the left flank the minotaurs and the chariots forced two footpad units to flee, keeping the leftmost objective safe for th time being. In remaining moves both Longhorn units appeared right behind the Vermin Guard/dreadmill and the fleeing Footpads, while in the middle my unit of centaurs advanced to block the Vermin Daemon’s charge into the BSB’s unit.

    In magic we started strong: despite my opponent binding Stone Skin, I forced him to spend all of his dice to dispel Healing Waters, leaving me with 6 dice for spells. I figured I’d start off with Master of Earth on the wounded Dreadmill, but failed that on 2 dice. I then put the Blooded Horn totem on my Centaurs, and promptly failed Summer Regrowth on 3 dice on them. Quite a bad result for such a promising magic phase!

    The combat made up for it: the charging Centaur Chieftain went first, before the Dreadmill could zap, and managed to destroy the contraption outright! The Gargoyles destroyed the Plague Catapult and reformed, leaving the BH in a good position.

    TURN 2 – Vermin Swarm

    Charging into the centaurs in the middle was an obvious trap, so my adversary elected to deny my bait. One unit of fleeing footpads kept on fleeing, while the other rallied thanks to the BSB. In remaining moves the Abomination moved away from the Beastlord on chariot, the remaining Dreadmill redirected both Longhorn units, leaving the Vermin Guard open to shoot the GW Centaurs once more.

    Magic was once again focused on the BSB’s unit, a combination of the Unerring Strike and Awakened Swarm managing to kill all of the remaining centaurs, leaving the BSB alone. In shooting the catapult killed some Wildhorns, the Night Runners unexpectedly put 2 wounds on my BSB, and then it was time for the Engineers and their coils: luck smiled upon me, as despite 2 wounds going through at AP3, I managed to roll double 5’s and keep the chieftain alive against all odds!

    TURN 3 – Beast Herds

    The minotaurs had their chance to shine now by charging the Vermin Daemon , but they failed their roll. However, the Beastlord on chariot managed to charge into the Plague Brotherhood; if they passed their steadfast break test then the Abomination wouldn’t be able to countercharge. In other news, the leftmost centaurs pushed some Footpads further away by forcing them to flee, and my two ambushing longhorn units piled into the Dreadmill.

    The wounded centaur hid inside the Wildhorn unit (who picked up the spoils token), and the rest of the army angled themselves in preparation for a Vermin Guard charge, with the central centaur unit redirecting the Vermin Daemon once more. In magic my Soothsayer tried in vain to panic the Night Runners with a Master of Earth, but at least he managed to heal one wound off the centaur chieftain.

    Combat went smoothly for the beasts: the Longhorns killed the Dreadmill for a couple of casualties back, and the charging Beastlord killed a bunch of Plague Brotherhood but not enough to deny them their steadfast. My opponent cleverly elected to not use his general’s discipline, but the frenzied rats showed excess zeal and passed the test on their Discipline 6 nonetheless!

    TURN 3 – Vermin Swarm

    Yet again, the Vermin elected to maneuver instead of charging the chaff: the Abomination moved towards my forces, and the Vermin Daemon hid behind it. Too far away from their general now, the fleeing footpads both failed to rally, one unit running off the table. The Vermin Guard turned around to deal with my ambushers, and the remaining two night runners redirected my minotaurs.

    In magic I let the Stars Align through on the Vermin Guard, as well as an Unnerring Strike on the Beastlord on chariot (it did no wounds). This meant I could easily dispel Scrying on the Abomination. The Vermin Guards’ shooting fared only slightly better: four Longhorns died to the pistols and breath weapons, but the Longhorns failed their panic and fled, stopping just short of the table edge.

    The Beastlord on chariot gave an impressive performance this turn, breaking the Brotherhood’s steadfast and sending them fleeing off the board.

    TURN 4 – Beast Herds

    With the Abomination now dangerously close to my lines, I had to commit the Beastlord on chariot against it. My right minos failed their frenzy and went into the Night Runners in front of them, and my Raiding Chariots did too, having spotted a short overrun into the Abomination and possibly into the Vermin Daemon’s flank after that. Unfortunately, the chariots failed their charge. My fleeing longhorns failed to rally, fled off the board and panicked their mates sitting right next to them. They also fled off the board; problem solved!

    The rest of the units maneuvered to pin the Vermin Daemon down and prevent the footpads from approaching the leftmost objective.Magic went really well: the Stoneskin was, of course, blocked by the second binding scroll, but that still left me with a lot of options. My opponent dispelled the Blooded Horn Totem and the Gnarled hide totem on my Beastlord, leaving me with enough dice to put Healing Waters on him, therefore protecting him from any divine attacks coming his way.

    It was not until we got into combat that I figured out (with the help of my opponent) that Healing Waters was actually useless on the Beastlord, due to the Basalt Infusion! Oh well. The Abomination struck my character, dealing a single unsaved wound; between the impact hits, the BL attacks and the Fatal Folly extra attacks, the abomination died instantly, giving me an overrun into the Vermin Daemon.

    TURN 4 – Vermin Swarm

    With the Daemon engaged in combat, the only movement for the Vermin was to turn the Vermin Guard around and move towards my minotaurs, and to rally the fleeing footpads.

    In magic I kept all of my dice to dispel the Stars Align, which meant that I had to let through the Awakened Swarm on my Mongrel Raiders, as well as the Scrying on the Vermin Daemon. Engineer shooting put 5 wounds on my leftmost minotaurs, and the plague catapult hit my Wildhorns once more, removing an entire rank.

    In the only combat of the round, my beastlord managed a single wound into the Vermin Daemon thanks to his impact hits, and got a wound back in retaliation. The vermin general held his ground though.

    TURN 5 – Beast Herds

    This time I had a lot of good charges: to the right, the Centaurs rear-charged the Vermin Daemon and the Minotaurs and my Wildhorns flanked him. Unfortunately, the Wildhorns failed their 5+ roll and stumbled forward, denying me an automatic win in that fight. The minotaurs to the left fiailed their frenzy and had to charge, but thankfully they were in range of the footpad unit and charged them instead of the Vermin Guard (they failed).

    Magic was relatively uneventful: my opponent stopeed Stone Skin, and then I did the same error asin the previous turn, casting Healing Waters on the beastlord on chariot! At least this meant that he healed a wound, but it made both of us chuckle.

    This time the Vermin Daemon fluffed his rolls completely, and my Beastlord put another wound on him. Having lost by 6, the VD failed his break test and disappeared from the battlefield!

    TURN 5 – Vermin Swarm

    There was not much to be done now, so the Vermin Guard charged into the minotaurs right in front of them. The rest of the vermin maneuvered slightly, and the plague catapult landed yet another rock into my Wildhorns. The Vermin Guard easily killed the two minotaurs, and reformed to face my chariots in the center. (Here he could have overran towards the objective, 7”away, but he would have risked getting flanked by the chariots)

    TURN 6

    In the closing steps of the game my Gargoyles charged and killed the second Plague Catapult, and the rest of my units moved into safety. The chariots moved back but were still around 16” away from the Vermin Guard. However, I managed to put Stone Skin on them with my last magic dice, thus rendering the Vermin Guard charge too risky. So they elected to try and zap my leftmost centaurs instead, getting half points for the unit in the process.

    In the end, the result was an 18-2 victory for the Beast Herds!


    This was an unexpected result against the Vemin Swarm; I was afraid that the combination of the Vermin Guard and the Vermin Daemon, if used aggressively, could have punched a big hole in my army.

    Getting the first turn turned out to be a blessing, as it allowed me to rush the opponent’s army and quickly deal with the most threatening pieces early on. In hindsight, I think that the Vermin could have taken some of the chaff I gave them early on, and tried some longer charges to threaten my units. Remaining relatively passive with the Vermin Guard, traps or not, took a huge worry off my mind.

    That’s not to say that I wasn’t lucky: the BSB surviving an entire shooting phase on one wound, the plague brotherhood’s badly timed courageous stand and the Beastlord’s performance in the fights all helped very much. All in all, a good game against a fun opponent with a very satisfying end result for the beasts. What more could I ask for?

    The rest of the team did well, in a round that had no drawish results: every game ended up being a 17-3 result or higher for one of the teams, in a very bloody round. But the Belgians came out on top, with a total of 98 points that put us in the big boys’ league.

    Next up: do the Beasts bite off more than they can chew? Is a Scourge edible? What’s the correct pronunciation for lemures? All that and much more, in the next installment of this series!

    Take care,


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Comments 6

  • tommytucker -

    excellent report. thanks!

  • Gnomster -

    As always, a beautiful, infotaining read!

  • Ezekiel57 -

    Hehe, I don't think "UD are literraly dead" AT ALL. UD players just have to change the way they think to use new (and old) strenghts of the book. ;)

  • Firthunands91 -

    Just a slight remark, the assassin loses MW if the weapon is enchanted!

    Loved the report and the game, hope to catch the one following.

    • Dasi -

      He means the assassin has MW against the chariot in shooting. Well, I think he means that

  • Herminard -

    Masterpiece, Ser Sidiras