Starting Beastmen Strategies
Welcome, friend, to the wide and wonderful world of the Beasts of Chaos. Whether you are just starting out a Beast army or want to add some beast units to your Mortal or Daemon force you have come to the right place.
The Beasts of Chaos army plays like no other army in the game, it is filled with fast and cheap expendable troops who rely on the charge for victory backed up by hard hitting monsters. The army has very weak defense on the whole due to their lack of armor on most units and generally low leadership. Beasts of Chaos generals have to be patient, and think far ahead as sneaky maneuvers and precision timing are often key to success. Once you begin to learn the unique skills required to play the beast army properly you may find that more often than not you only lose the units that you allow the enemy to kill.
It is hard to say where "Basic" tactics begin and more advanced tactics and those that center around specific units begins.
Beasts of Chaos units mainly focus on speed and maneuverability to place themselves in favorable positions. Each of their units move faster than those in an average army, and the main troops, Beast Herds are quite mobile as they are skirmishers. It is best to always try and use your maneuverability to your advantage to keep your opponent on the back foot. If they are only reacting to your movements you are in control of the game and on the path to victory. Skilled players can even control your movement without you even realizing they are doing it, this is a mark of a true master.
The first essential tactic is the "Bait and Flee." Many armies use this tactic and many of you who are staring a Beasts of Chaos army as a second force may already use baiting and fleeing in your other army. The basic idea behind the bait and flee is to put one of your units in charge range of the enemy and then flee as a charge reaction, thus putting the enemy unit out in the open so you can charge it with your other unit(s). You must make sure that the unit you intend flee with will not run over any of your other units, as this will cause them to panic as well. The Beast army list has great, cheap sacrifice units in the Warhounds and small Beast Herds. Normally the baiting unit will be rather good at rallying in most armies, but that is not the case with a Beasts of Chaos list. The Beasts of Chaos army has low leadership on average so do not expect your units to rally much more than half of the time. This is not as big of a downside as it might appear at first, and this is important. Due to their low leadership and lack of armor(excluding Chaos Ogres and Beastigors) if you happen to get caught in a situation where one of your units is getting charged it is probably going to die. Keep this in mind as it means any unit in your army is viable for fleeing. The unit is already dead if they stay, why not take the opportunity to make the unit that charged them fail their charge and get flanked by one of your nearby units? The unit is already dead, if having it flee will put you in position to win the game and not cause panic amongst your own troops it might be best to flee as a reaction. The unit is already dead, they might even escape and rally next turn, essentially giving you your dead unit back. This may be hard to grasp at first, but it is definately a key thing to understand when you play a Beasts of Chaos army. There are of course exceptions to this like if you have a powerful character in the unit, and it also depends on what they are being charged with. Fleeing with your powerful units will often throw your opponents off and in their confusion you can seal victory.
Cavalry units are often the bane of many armies, and Beast ones especially. Beasts cannot take the charge, and the faster movement of cavalry essentially guarantees that we will get charged. This brings us to the second tactic "I Dare You." Essentially similar to the bait and flee it requires a quick unit, most likely Warhounds. What you do is place your quick expendable unit a mere couple of inches away from the unit you wish to get rid of. You then have another unit like Minotaurs that hits very hard out of the charge line facing about where the unit will end up. This basically shows the person that if they charge your sacrifice unit they will die by your hard hitters. They either have to charge your cheap unit and die, or sit there and do nothing. This can also be done with Beast Herds against light cavalry, or with a hero against armored cavalry. Beast herds can charge in any direction so they do not need to face where you think the unit will end up, and can therefor threaten another area at the same time. A small variation to this tactic is the "Backstop" which is causing the charging unit's overrun to hit one of your units, most likely using Chaos Ogres against light cavalry.
By now you should have a general understanding of how a Beasts of Chaos army operates on the field. With what you know now you should play a few small games and get a feel for how the army operates. Later we will touch on more advanced tactics and the Beasts of Chaos special rule "ambush." Good luck with your games, happy hunting, and do the Beastmasters proud!