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 What's so bad about beastmasters?

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Kehmor
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PostSubject: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Sun May 22 2016, 16:18

So I was having another look at beastmasters/beast packs today - I was wondering what it is that means no one takes them? Note I am not attached to this idea - like most of my posts I'm reasonably certain I'm just missing something - I have also never used a beast pack in 7th edition nor own the models to try this out.

For 110 points (roughly the same as a naked unit of grotesques) You can take:

1 x beast master
1 x flock
2 x khymera
2 x Fiends

This would give you a unit with majority toughness 5 (same as grotesques), majority WS 4, 12 wounds (3 more than grotesques), 5+ invuln saves you could include upfront, higher initiative across the board, and on the charge:

12 strength 5 attacks,
8 strength 4 attacks,
5 strength 3 rending attacks,
2 strength 3 might as well not include these attacks.

This compares to average 21 strength 5 attacks from grotesques on the charge (assuming rampage) which may well be better in many situations, especially with their poison, however beasts also have fleet and a 12 inch movement and aren't slowed by terrain - so no raider "tax" and substantially more mobile once the grotesque's raider gets popped - I would have thought there was some value to having a unit that can't simply be ignored.

I can imagine you may well get into trouble if the beast master dies and in order to include more and keep toughness 5 you'd have to include more fiends.

Just seems strange to me that they are dismissed out of hand.
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Skulnbonz
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Sun May 22 2016, 16:58

The main problem with beastpacks is that they will:
1. Almost always swing last in close combat, as they are INI 1 when charging over a shrub or a few pebbles scattered around.

2. Have abysmal leadership, requiring you to spend 10 points on what amounts to a grot on a skateboard, and in most cases multiples of that model

3. They are not so much beastPACKS as beast "small communal groups", having cut the number of models in HALF over previous editions. This means each wound, model removed and charging, say.. flamers, is much more detrimental to the efficiency of the unit than before.

4. Every model except the Khymerae is way overpriced, the khymerae being only slightly overpriced.

5. for 120 points, you can have 2 beastmasters and 10 dogs. For 120 points, you can have 5 warriors, a venom with an extra splinter cannon, and even a blaster. Both are effective against the same targets, but one is WAY WAY more efficient and in most cases OBSEC.

So, in short, not worth what they cost.
If they were still allowed in packs of 24, you would see them being played.

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Rokuro
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Sun May 22 2016, 17:56

There's something about Beastmasters that gets overlooked a lot: They may be pretty bad for an assault unit, but surprisingly good at short-to-mid-ranged shooting.
Splinter Pods can fire 2 Poison shots up to 18'' far, after moving, and still allow for a charge afterwards, if necessary. That's notably better than a Splinter Rifle. Also, Beastmasters can move 12'' and ignore difficult and dangerous terrain. And all that for only 2 points more than a Warrior.
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stilgar27
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Sun May 22 2016, 17:59

Losing access to Baron Sathonyx was also a big blow.  He was the cheap, skyboard special character which could keep up with a beast pack and grant them both hit and run and shrouded (among other advantages).  But since some other company made the only model for him... GW gave him the ax.  The direct change to the beast pack that hurt it the most though, was probably the nerf to the razorwing flock (which got significantly worse while getting more expensive).

Fiends arguably got better in 7th, but grotesques definitely did and they typically beat fiends for the cost while not taking up a competitive fast attack slot.

All that said, both fiends and kymera can be viable, especially in small games with a lot of cover.  I'd avoid razorwing flocks altogether though.
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CptMetal
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Sun May 22 2016, 20:13

I'd actually use my Hellions as a pure beast master unit. They are cheap, fast and have a nice amount of fire power.

And Khymera units would be interesting too. I actually have ten Hellions still in the box...

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BetrayTheWorld
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Sun May 22 2016, 20:53

I still intermittantly use Khymera. They're really good units to use as a base for a deathstar that has sanctuary, fortune and hammerhand.

With those 3 powers, a unit of 10 of them has 4+ rerollable invuln saves and puts out 40 WS4 S6 attacks on the charge(for 100 points). I used them like that last codex, to a bit better effect since last codex they started with a 4+ save that was improved to 3+, and they could be taken in larger units than 12, so the powers were more of a force multiplier.

Alternatively, when you want a bunch of cheap units that don't do anything but move 12" and score, while simultaneously neutralizing their bad leadership as a fault, you can take seperate units of single khymera to add target saturation and cheap scoring. In most cases, any time an opponent would fire at a single khymera early in a game would be a gross waste of firepower. So either they do it, and waste a ton of shots, or they don't, leaving you free to run amok with dogs. One might think that doing so would spell your doom in killpoints games, but if you make the rest of your list sufficiently nasty, with little regard for defense and a singular purpose towards destruction, it could make your dogs a red herring for the rest of your list, where they think they're getting ahead by killpoints when shooting you dogs, when in reality they're just killing units that don't matter in the beginning, while you target their units that DO matter. Then by the time they realise their mistake, it's too late to rectify the damage that has been done.

As for beastmasters themselves, I find them rather "Meh". Yes, they're way better than a warrior for 2 points more, but warriors aren't impressive either. We take warriors because they're obsec and because we have to in order to meet various formation/detachment requirements. If anyone ever takes an excess of warriors in a detachment that doesn't give them obsec, I'm sure most tactically inclined people here would recommend that they alter their list.

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 04:09

I was thinking of running a pair of Clawed Fiends, for the aforementioned distraction and tryin to get opponent to waste shots at them. And then if they make it into CC, they may do a bit of damage

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 06:45

Skulnbonz wrote:
The main problem with beastpacks is that they will:
1. Almost always swing last in close combat, as they are INI 1 when charging over a shrub or a few pebbles scattered around.

I hate seeing this as a reason any unit is crap... contrary to popular internet thought - not every assault happens through or in terrain Rolling Eyes

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Kehmor
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 11:32

Massaen wrote:
Skulnbonz wrote:
The main problem with beastpacks is that they will:
1. Almost always swing last in close combat, as they are INI 1 when charging over a shrub or a few pebbles scattered around.

I hate seeing this as a reason any unit is crap... contrary to popular internet thought - not every assault happens through or in terrain Rolling Eyes

Yeah - I get the impression people play with a whole lot more terrain than I do the way they go on about this.
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amishprn86
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 14:12

Kehmor wrote:
Massaen wrote:
Skulnbonz wrote:
The main problem with beastpacks is that they will:
1. Almost always swing last in close combat, as they are INI 1 when charging over a shrub or a few pebbles scattered around.

I hate seeing this as a reason any unit is crap... contrary to popular internet thought - not every assault happens through or in terrain Rolling Eyes

Yeah - I get the impression people play with a whole lot more terrain than I do the way they go on about this.

We play with about 5-6 pieces, a couple LoS, Ruins/ruble on each side and some soft cover too.

We try to make it no matter what side you pick there isnt a large advantage.

But with everyone at my local that isnt SM trying to stay in cover at all times, you will get into CC in cover for me.

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Skulnbonz
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 14:28

Massaen wrote:


I hate seeing this as a reason any unit is crap... contrary to popular internet thought - not every assault happens through or in terrain Rolling Eyes

If your opponent has a unit susceptible to beastpacks, like firewarriors or scouts, if he does NOT place them in terrain, it is more of a statement to his lack of ability than the prowess of the beastpacks.

Does EVERY assault go through terrain? no. If your opponent has units on foot against your beastpacks, SHOULD every assault go through terrain?
You bet ya!

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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 14:30

I miss my Baron Beastpack! Sad

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 14:41

Count Adhemar wrote:
I miss my Baron Beastpack! Sad

I think we all do Sad

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Skulnbonz
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 14:46

Count Adhemar wrote:
I miss my Baron Beastpack! Sad

Me too.
So much.

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Bhaal
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 14:57

I've been trying to incorporate beastmasters and beasts in my army, but I can never seem to justify the points to spend on them. To me, the times where they are the superior choice just isn't numerous enough. Maybe with the new FAQ/errata draft that has changed slightly. I have yet to try it out.

As for terrain, here's an example on the amount of terrain my group usually play on: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8FeSASq6PZ5Z1M2TlVBM1o1djg&usp=sharing
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 15:31

Skulnbonz wrote:
Count Adhemar wrote:
I miss my Baron Beastpack! Sad

Me too.
So much.

Sad old so-and-so that I am, I just went back and re-read the tactica I did for the Beaststar back at the start of 7e. Those were the days!

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 15:48

Yeah I always play them in old Book especially when 7ed came out, Eldar Ally for powers was insane with them.

It was a large fast moving unkillable Melee unit that gave my Army the Perfect threat.

Im using Talos CtC now for the same purpose but its not as good.

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 16:42

Kehmor wrote:

Yeah - I get the impression people play with a whole lot more terrain than I do the way they go on about this.

They probably do. I was completely flabbergasted when I saw how much terrain was used at major national tournaments. The ITC's tendancy to drop large, LoS blocking terraing right in the middle of the table makes weapons that have longer than 36" range almost worthless unless they also have barrage.

Because of this, and because my local meta has shifted towards emulating the ITC playstyle, the image below shows about the lowest level of terrain density I can expect to see. Most of the time, it's got a bigger building right in the middle, with taller ruins throughout as well.


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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 17:07

But that type of terrain is perfect for staying in cover.

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 17:51

amishprn86 wrote:
But that type of terrain is perfect for staying in cover.

I know. That's my point, that almost always, units will be charging through some sort of cover. The picture was in response to someone saying other people must play with a lot more cover than they do, which is probably true.

My local games all used FAR less cover than major tournaments seem to use these days. It's as if some people got super butthurt at shooty armies, and decided to use terrain on a national level to make melee armies better by allowing them to stick to cover longer on their approach.

We'll see how long that lasts now that infantry and tanks can't go through walls any more even though the books went into great detail as to why all units COULD move through walls, which makes no freaking sense, and is another example of why I think they let people do the FAQs who don't actually know about the game, but I digress...

...If the FAQ stays as is, I think we may see a shift in the terrain that tournaments use, since standard infantry and tanks will no longer be able to move through lots of the terrain they previously used, meaning that they'd now need to take 3 turns to get to a position that previously would have taken them 1 turn, if they continue to use the same terrain.

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 17:55

Hmm about tanks and walls, but that could open up to more tactical games, I kinda like to play with tanks now a few games and see how it goes.

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 18:14

amishprn86 wrote:
Hmm about tanks and walls, but that could open up to more tactical games, I kinda like to play with tanks now a few games and see how it goes.

If by tactical, you mean a lot less killing, you're completely correct. Things just aren't going to be able to get to each other. An infantry unit could run circles around a terrain piece playing keep away from another infantry unit trying to get to them while they're technically only an inch away from each other, looking through windows the the other one.

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 18:15

BetrayTheWorld wrote:
Kehmor wrote:

Yeah - I get the impression people play with a whole lot more terrain than I do the way they go on about this.

They probably do. I was completely flabbergasted when I saw how much terrain was used at major national tournaments. The ITC's tendancy to drop large, LoS blocking terraing right in the middle of the table makes weapons that have longer than 36" range almost worthless unless they also have barrage.

Because of this, and because my local meta has shifted towards emulating the ITC playstyle, the image below shows about the lowest level of terrain density I can expect to see. Most of the time, it's got a bigger building right in the middle, with taller ruins throughout as well.


I know this table (too well . . . i hate playing there though) . . . Let me know if you want to get in a game sometime.
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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 20:27

Woozl wrote:
I know this table  (too well . . . i hate playing there though) . . . Let me know if you want to get in a game sometime.

I actually don't know the table. I just grabbed it off the web as a quick example of the least possible terrain I'd see in my area. Otherwise, would have been happy to try to get a game in! Where is that table from, anyhow?

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PostSubject: Re: What's so bad about beastmasters?   Mon May 23 2016, 21:27

Game Kastle Santa Clara. It is one place where the more competitive players in the San Jose area (South Bay Area) play regularly.
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