Sons of Behemat Wrap-Up: Allies, Mercs and Misconceptions

“They make war not just to fill their extensive bellies, but because they love the thrill of it. No longer are they outsized monsters repeatedly lashed by the elements, challenged by would-be heroes and often starved to near-exhaustion by their own ravenous metabolisms; on the day of battle, they are gods.”

— Battletome: Sons of Behemat

At this point, it’s fair to say I’ve banged on about the book at length. This final post in the Sons of Behemat series will be a quick one, addressing a few questions that have already come up time and again, hopefully acting as a useful reference for people who, like me, are planning on playing the army.

I’m going to flip the script and give a few pointers on how I would go about beating Sons if I saw it across the table, and then we’ll wrap up with a couple of quick thoughts on quality of life in Sons of Behemat, because I just can’t help myself.

Then it’s over to you: let me know your war stories, let me know what lists you’re playing, let me know how you’re finding them out in the wild!

Ready? Let’s go.

Do they have any Allies?

No. Hard No.

What about the Fungoid Cave Shaman?

Still no. The rules allowing this cheeky sausage to be included in any Destruction army came via Malign Portents and its FAQ:

However, GW recently uploaded a list of publications that are part of Matched Play (without requiring special permission from your opponent). Malign Portents is not one of them.

Check out the GH20 DC for the full list:

And huge shoutout to Vince from Warhammer Weekly for suggesting this on his show, it’s a great resource for the game. If you play an army that’s had the White Dwarf treatment – which is loads of them, at this stage – you are back in business!

How about Mercs?

Brilliantly, yes. The Merc rules from GH19 were removed from the game, but that doesn’t mean all Mercs are gone.

Forbidden Power, which is on the Matched Play list linked above, has its own self-contained rules for using Fyreslayers or FEC as Mercs. The whole playbook is open with the exception of some FEC monsters, meaning you can bring onboard an Arch Regent for a proper 2-spell caster who comes with 20 free Ghouls.

This one was thrown out there by Rob on his brutally entertaining (or entertainingly brutal?) review of the book, and it’s certainly a good option. One thing I’d point out though is that you don’t get those Ghouls turn 0, so you can’t deploy them as a screen to push 9″ teleporting dakka back from your good stuff. It’s an intriguing option, nonetheless.

Can the Kracken-Eater Dispell or cast Endless Spells?

No, because he doesn’t gain the Wizard keyword. This is the trigger that allows access to both, from the Malign Sorcery supplement:

This might get a favourable FAQ down the track, but as it stands, that artefact feels pretty underpowered.

Does Longshanks allow me to step over Endless Spells?

No. Read the rule carefully, and it’s pretty clear that this falls through the cracks:

The rule allows you to “ignore models that have a Wounds characteristic of 10 or less”. Endless Spells do not meet those conditions. The first part is fine – they are models – but the second part is not. They do not have a Wounds characteristic of 10 or less. They do not have a Wounds characteristic at all.

Their Wounds characteristic is not zero, nor a million, nor blue, nor a sausage, nor Wednesday. It doesn’t exist. They don’t have one. Claiming that they have a Wounds characteristic of zero is, unfortunately, just making shit up.

Encouragingly, Facehammer don’t seem to understand how this rule works. In their second bite at reviewing the book, they talked about using Longshanks to charge or pile in over models to reach a Mortek Crawler (which is not legal, because neither of those are normal moves); they also stated that you can walk over Endless Spells, which is wrong as detailed above.

Why is this encouraging? Because if it implies that the rule doesn’t do what the playtesters thought it would do, then perhaps it isn’t functioning as intended, and we could have a favourable FAQ incoming.

My one big hope here would be that this is an erratum to the Longshanks rule itself (adding “and Endless Spells”), rather than a face-saving “clarification” that models without a Wounds characteristic count as having a Wounds characteristic of zero. The latter could raise knock-on questions in terms of terrain models having a Wounds count, so let’s just keep it clean and clear and fix the issue where it sits: within Longshanks itself.

How to beat Sons of Behemat

Most analysis I’ve seen focuses on what can or can’t take down a Mega Gargant in a single turn. My advice? Don’t bother.

What I’d be doing in most cases is walloping the Mancrushers first. They can’t screen at all, and putting 12 wounds through a 5+ save really isn’t hard. Once you’ve smashed them, the Sons player only has a couple of models left, which you can overwhelm or ignore depending on the mission.

Let me tell you, if I play against you with KO, I won’t be throwing the kitchen sink at failing to kill your rerollable Warstomper; your Mancrushers are going to be standing around with their heads exploding like a scene from The Boys, and then your Stomper won’t be quick enough or strong enough to solo the army.

It’s broad advice and of course you’ll need to adapt to individual circumstances, but as a Sons of Behemat player, I feel like you’ll be playing right into my hands in most instances if you go straight for my most durable units.

A few words on Quality of Life

Regardless of where this book ultimately sits in terms of power level, I think there are a couple of ways the quality of life could have been improved, purely to help people just enjoy these guys as much as possible.

The first point is customisation. The obvious comparison for this army is Stonehorns, and when I look at them, I usually run two Frosties: I’ve played about 30 games with that army now, and in every single one of them, they’ve had 1 Command Trait, 2 Artefacts and 2 Mount Traits between them. That’s 5 pieces of additional tech layered on to two models, and this is not a stretch: it’s just how people play them in the real world, without having to bust your army to get there. It’s just what you get.

If any model in the game should have agency, it’s the Mega Gargant. Look at them! The rules writers only had one kit to work with, I hear ya, but I do feel like they left something on the shelf in terms of giving the big fellas a bit of leeway with “Mount Traits” and maybe a second, free artefact for the army since they can’t take Battalions. I don’t think that would push them beyond the pale.

Secondly is the damage issue. The tenor of the debate has tended to boil down to:

  • On the one hand, a call for fewer attacks doing more damage per swing, because damage 2 is a bit daft and not thematic for these gods of war;
  • On the other hand, a defence of the current position, which is around 8-10 attacks doing about 2 damage each, because rolling more dice smooths out the bumps

My two cents would that this didn’t have to be either / or. In a book with four Warscrolls, it would hardly bloat the rules to allow each Mega to choose how they use their weapon when they attack: either “Swing” or “Smash”.

I actually don’t find it unthematic that a Mega-G can get 10 attacks per swing; the Gatebreaker for example has a flail, and we’ve all heard the expression “flailing around”. I could totally get on board with multiple opportunities to hit from one big lunge, whipping that thing around on its chain.

On the other hand, how cool would it be to have just the option to bring this thing smashing down in one big swoop, to fucking stove something’s head right in? One mighty attack, with an unmodifiable 4+ hit roll, doing a surreal amount of damage if it does connect.

What this does is puts agency in the hands of your players. Most times they’ll choose the Swing anyway, because it’s reliable output; but you’re giving them the choice. Even just having access to the Smash will make these guys feel like they have the potential to unleash absolute hell, if they land this one huge blow just right. It might not stop KO and Tzeentch hoovering up the podiums, but fuck me it’ll give you some epic stories.

Just a thought.

So that’s a wrap folks! If you’re still thirsty for more, the Just Saying guys have a full review that is both detailed and insightful, so go check them out and you’ll be ready to go to war:

If you’re planning on playing this army, I’ll point you one more time to my own Takers review, which is when I started to get excited for Sons. What’s more, the tech is in large part transferable to other Tribes by bringing the kicker with you:

So please do hit me up on Twitter with those sexy, sexy photos of your armies, especially in action on the tabletop, and even moreso if you’re smashing up those Wyldwoods.

May Gork bring you strength, may Mork bring you wisdom, and fuck Wyldwoods.

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