Saturday, October 8, 2022

REVIEW: Sons of Behemat - The Rules

Fe-fi-fo-fum, the Sons of Behemat once again shake the mortal realms to their foundations with their mere tread. Everyone's favorite gigantic rabble-rousers are back with the second iteration of their battletome and they have a few new tricks up their, er, well, they have new tricks. Let's find out what these monstrous behemoths have in store!

For this review I'm actually splitting it in two with the rules and the lore. I'm starting with the rules for one simple reason; they're quicker for me to read through and write about! I'll hopefully have the lore review up either tomorrow or early in the week. There is some good stuff in there too. Gargants are always good for a chuckle and there are more than a few in there. Thank you to Games Workshop for sending me the battletome early for review.

On the rules side we have a few key changes as well as some streamlining. On the Allegiance Abilities side of things Mightier Makes Rightier is still here, but with a slight tweak. For the purposes of claiming objectives, Mancrusher Gargants each count as 10, but when it comes to Mega-Gargants, the amount their worth is now on their warscroll. This is due to the fact that it now degrades as they take damage! I'm sure this is a big sigh of relief to anyone playing against Mega-Gargants, as it's no longer an all or nothing game when trying to claim objectives away from them. While some gargant players may be upset at this, I think it makes for a far more balanced and fair game. All of the Megas start out at counting as 20, except for King Brodd, who starts at 25, then then degrade from there, going down to 12 for the regular Megas after they've taken 30+ wounds with two other levels between the top and bottom.

You still have to pick a Tribe for your army to come from, but now there's a new fourth tribe, the Smasher Tribe. We'll cover those in a bit. Lastly, all Megas now have 3 unique Monstrous Rampages they can pick from in addition to the core ones. Beast Grapple allows them to pick another Monster nearby and roll a dice, on a 3+ both that monster, and the Mega doing it, fight last. This is great for tying up big threats and letting others pile into it. I think this is particularly good when you take a Mega as a mercenary too, since you'll likely have more smaller units that can pile in and chip away at it. Earth-shaking Roar lets you pick an enemy unit with 1 or 2 wounds and roll 2D6. For each point that you roll over their Bravery, a model from that unit flees. Lastly we have Colossal Slam, which lets you pick a monster within 1/2" of you and reposition it anywhere else also within 1/2" of you. Basically you can twirl them around your Mega, which will be great for picking them off objectives. They also take D3 mortal wounds. The one downside is the Mega performing this Rampage is at -1 to hit for the rest of that following combat phase. The Chuck Rocks rule is gone from this section, but all the Mancrusher Gargants now have a missile attack on their warscroll.

Before we move onto the individual tribes, we actually get some generic traits and artifacts that any Sons army can take. This is a departure from the last book, which had everything tied to an individual tribe. There are three Command Traits, which are all pretty good. One increases you to 40 wounds, another lets you fight as if you're uninjured, and the last gives nearby units +1 to their charge, though I expect the first two will see play more often. We then have four Artifacts to pick from. Again, most of these seem pretty good. One buffs your stomp attack (which most Megas have), and another lets you ignore -1 rend as well as the potential to bounce back mortal wounds. I really like the last two though. Amberbone Totem lets you run and charge. Always a good pick. Scavenger's Wake is a one per game ability that lets you pick an enemy unit within 3" of you and roll a dice for each model in the unit (up to 10) and on a 4+ you do a mortal wound. This represents all of the creatures that follow in the Mega's wake looking for an easy meal.

When it comes to the Tribes, you have four to pick from; the Breaker Tribe, Taker Tribe, Smasher Tribe, and Stomper Tribe. Each one has two unique command traits and artifacts, and then two or three unique rules. You also have to take the corresponding type of Mega-gargant as your general for your army. The Taker Tribe is the one centered around the Kraken-eaters. They have two unique rules, one of which makes Mancrushers count as 15 models instead of 10, and a command ability that makes Mancrushers' club attacks do +1 damage against units with an artifact or that are unique (special characters). Both of the command traits are pretty good options, with one allowing you to take an additional artifact, even on the same hero, and the other denying Inspiring Presence and Rally to nearby enemy units. For the artifacts I really like Glowy Lantern, which lets them cast an Endless Spell at double the range.

The Breaker Tribe is all about the Gatebreakers and targeting scenery and garrisons. Breaking Down The Houses gives Mancrushers +1 damage against enemy units wholly within terrain or garrisons, while Ramming Speed is a command ability that lets a Mancrusher unit charge 18" and roll 3D6. They also have one additional rule called Fierce Loathings that applies to Megas and Mancrushers and lets them pick one of three special rules for the game for your entire army that will give them +1 to hit against either heroes, totems, or war machines and monsters. One of the command traits lets you pick a second one of these Fierce Loathings that applies only to your general, and the other traits lets the general fight at the top bracket as long as they're targeting a unit wholly within a terrain feature or they themselves are within 3" of a defensible terrain feature. The two artifacts either do mortal wounds on top of the damage from the Gatebreaker's flail, or give a boost in combat against heroes.

The Smasher Tribe are the newest kids on the block and center around the new Beast-smasher Mega-Gargant. They have an ability that makes Mancrushers do more damage against monsters, and also have a command ability that allows them to fight at the top of their bracket, as well as getting to swing back even if they die. For the two command traits I only really like one of them, which has you roll a number of dice equal to the wounds characteristic of an enemy monster you just killed, and for each 5+ you heal one wound. On the flip side, both of the artifacts are really good. The Shatterer makes it so if you roll a 6 to wound against an enemy hero, monster, or war machine, you break their armor and they can no longer improve their armor save for the rest of the game. They also have an artifact that lets you call a Waaagh once per game and give your whole army +1 to hit for that combat phase.

Lastly we have the Stomper Tribe. Big Shouts lets you issue the same command ability to multiple Mancrusher units from your general for the cost of only one command point. There's also a command ability that boosts the attacks of the Mancrushers' missile attack (throwing rocks). Lastly, their Mancrushers do more damage the larger the enemy unit is. The two traits give you re-rolls on your hurled body ability and an 18" charge range. For the artifacts they have a club that heals them and give them a 5+ ward while they have 25 or more wounds left, and an artifact that makes nearby Sons units bravery 10. As you might have noticed, there is a theme of buffing Mancrusher units in all of these tribes. You can still do an army entirely of Megas, but I suspect this is their way of trying to encourage you to take Mancrushers as well. You pretty much won't benefit from most of your Tribe's special rules if you don't.

We get a whole Path to Glory section here, but there's just too much to cover here. They have some additional rules that make them run better in smaller games, which is understandable, since their armies are so small. They also have stuff like an injury table, veteran abilities, territories, quirks which your Megas can earn, four quests, and a unique battleplan.

On the Matched Play side of things you have four grand strategies and six battle tactics. For grand strategies you have Make the Land Tremble, which requires you to have a unit run or charge every turn that game, which can become tricky with a low model count army if you get tied up in combat. There's also a King Brodd themed one which is pretty cool. For battle tactics there are a couple of good ones. There's one for kicking an objective into your territory, which you'll probably try to do anyway, there's one for demolishing a faction terrain feature, and there's some for doing various monstrous rampages. Probably my favorite though is Man-skittles which you get for having a Warstomper pick up an enemy model and hurl it into a battleline unit. I mean, it's funny and a great name.You also get two core battalions, one which is two to four Megas and can either be a one-drop or an extra enhancement, or one that's two Mancrushers with the option for a third and a Mega, and can either be a one drop or Swift.

Before we move onto the warscrolls, we have the mercenary rules for the army. We have the three mercenaries from the last book, plus a fourth in the form of Odo Godswallow, a Beast-Smasher, who can only be taken by Destruction armies. I believe the rules for mercenaries in general have been changed now, because it no longer mentions anything about it disrupting your command points, unless there is something in the core rules that overrides that. Honestly, that may have changed with the start of 3rd as well, I've never used a mercenary in my armies.

On the warscroll side of things we get four new units in this book; Kragnos, Brodd, the Beast-smasher, and a Mancrusher Mob. Kragnos is Kragnos. He's included in every Destruction book now, just like how Nagash is in the Death ones. King Brodd is the new special character for the army. He starts with 40 wounds, so beefier, counts as 5 more models, and can dish out a ton of damage with his damage 5 Obelisk of Tor Crania. He also shares a lot of rules that all the Megas have, like Almighty Stomp (jump for the Warstomper), Crushing Charge, Death Grip, Longshanks, Son of Behemat, Terror, and Timberrrr! The unique elements he brings is being a Warmaster, his Creepers, and he's a priest. The Creepers are the little guys that climb on him and if you're within 3" of an enemy monster you get to roll a dice in the charge phase, and if you roll above the value on his table then the enemy monster cannot do a rampage. Besides having access to the generic prayers, he also has one of his own, Power of Behemat. It goes off on a 3 and gets +1 to the roll if Brodd has killed a monster already in the game. You then get to pick from one of three options; adding 2" to all your units' moves for the rest of the game, healing D3 wounds to each unit, or improving the rend of certain weapons across your army for that turn. Each of these can only be used once per game.

The Beast-smasher is more in line with the rest of the Megas, but has a higher bravery and does more damage. He also has two abilities, one of which allows him to trade in all of his attacks with his main weapon for just 1 attack when fighting an enemy monster. If you manage to get the damage through though it does 5D6 damage! If you're lucky with your dice rolls you can pretty much one-shot anything in the game. The rest of the Megas have had minor tweaks, but you'll be able to see their warscrolls soon enough, so what I really want to focus on next is the Mancrusher Mob.

Bonus classic Brodd in this picture

Previously, there was an option to take 3 Mancrushers at a reduced points cost and it counted for three battleline. Now, instead, you have a specific warscroll that's 3 Mancrushers. Their profile is the same as the option to take one on its own, but you get a few extra rules. To start with, you have a unit champion. This model gets +1 attack to its club, but is also the only one who can do Monstrous Rampages. To make up for that though, if you do the Stomp rampage, and roll a 2+ you do one additional mortal wound for each other Mancrusher in the unit. Since everything in this army besides Kragnos is battleline, yes, even Brodd, you don't need to worry about this unit counting as three or anything, as long as you have 3 units.

I like the changes they made to the rules. It still feels similar to before, but it's been streamlined and expanded upon. I'm super excited to see King Brodd as an official model with rules considering he started out as just a conversion in the old Realmgate Wars books and only had a warscroll battalion to his name. He's pretty good too, and that model is fantastic! The Beast-smasher is great as well. I'm a sucker for the model with the "big" weapon. There's definitely the feeling that they want you to at least have a couple of Mancrushers in amongst your Megas, with all of the Tribe rules revolving around them and the new Mob warscroll as well. I'm excited to delve into the lore next since Destruction armies are always a fun read. Make sure you tune back soon for that review!

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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