Battletome Sons of Behemat: My Top Five Power Plays

If you’re a dedicated Giants player, you’re going to go through a few stages of grief with this book, so let me help you get through it more quickly: the Gatebreaker is dogshit.  What they’ve done to him is just sad, and what worked for Sons before won’t work now; but once you work through that there’s plenty to enjoy in this book.  The Dev Team have certainly put in a lot of work into this book – copy pasta it ain’t – so let’s take a look at what the book can offer.

What this article is not

This isn’t a classic Battletome Review where somebody keys a review copy of the book back into WordPress, slightly paraphrasing every rule, and then tells you it’s really good.  Nobody needs yet another one of those, and as soon as Wahapedia gets updated they’re completely worthless anyway, so I’m going to assume you’re already familiar with the contents of the book – and if not, I highly recommend AOS Coach’s preview video:

It’s also not a full, critical review of the book along the lines of: “This part is great, but they’ve massively fucked up XYZ. It’s in whatever Tier competitively and this is what I’d change next time”. I’m not saying I won’t go down the well like that on future books, but it’s not really where my head is at with Sons right now, and I just want to enjoy the army for what it is.

What this article is

Moving slower, hitting softer and scoring objectives worse.  That’s quite the hat trick of nerfs to everything that helps you win games, no?  Honestly, you can understand why there’s been despair and even some initial uproar amongst a section of Sons of Behemat players.  But while it’s not an army that’s likely to tempt the filth chasers to jump on board, it’s still solid and a lot more interesting to play:

  • Unique and amazing Monstrous Rampages that hit that perfect nexus of powerful, cool and thematic
  • Trimmed points for Mancrushers to help with the trading game
  • Extra support for achieving Battle Tactics
  • More internal synergies from King Brodd and subfaction rules

This book is a bit of a journey, because what worked before is gone, but I don’t think you should give up on it without giving it a fair go.  What we’re focussing on here today is some of the fun and unique tech that Sons of Behemat players can enjoy: we’ll punch through a few power plays, celebrate some other unique aspects of the army and then follow up in Part 2 with a couple of lists I’ve been working on.

Ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to the future

My Top Five Power Plays

So here we go, here are a few things I’m really looking forward to doing with this army:

Play #1: Crouching Gargant, Hidden Stonehorn

Grab the Warstomper’s Club of the First Oak artefact for a 5++ ward that kicks in after you’ve taken 25 wounds, and pair it with the 40 Wounds Command Trait (Monstrously Tough) for a proper beast.  As my mate Jayden pointed out, when you’ve still got 15 wounds with a 5++ up your sleeve you’ve effectively still got an entire Stonehorn for your opponent to deal with.  Thicc.

Play #2: 1 + 10 = Heaven

4 club attacks may be shit, but the points drops on the Mancrushers are significant because you can now fit a whole extra baby into the right lists.  Costing 150 for one or 450 for three means you have complete agency over how you put them on the table:

  • Singles for threat overload, better trading and objective scrambling
  • Trios for the enhanced Stomp, unit Leader and better buff magnification

Those points just slot in so neatly with a whole bunch of configurations:

  • Single Mega: For those of us who do like Babies, you can now fit 1 + 10 with a Warstomper (or Kraken-Eater for that matter) instead of 9 previously
  • Double Mega: Those multiples of 150 slot perfectly into the 900 points left from a King Brodd + Beast-Smasher core
  • Triple Mega: Trip Stompers now gets you four Babies instead of three

Is “Take one more Mancrusher” really a Power Play? Eh I guess not, but getting a whole extra Gargant on the table is pretty sweet to be fair.

Play #3: Alpha Gargs

If you’re not about just wandering into the middle of the table and standing there waiting for Ironjawz or DOK to slaughter you, may I introduce you to Ramming Speed?

This Command Ability is probably the best only reason to run Breakers Tribe currently, allowing all your Mancrushers to charge with 3D6 from 18″ away.  You can ramp it up with Brodd’s prayer for +2” movement, and the native run + charge on their Warscroll for a massive 34” threat range turn one. 

There is some decent movement tech available to the whole army, regardless of subfaction: the Rabble Rouser CT gives you a further +1” to charge, and the Amberbone Totem artefact (available to any Mega Gargant, regardless of subfaction) slaps run + charge on a Mega for an effective 16” movement (or 18” with Brodd’s prayer).

Is Ramming Speed enough to rescue Breakers Tribe?  Probably not, but it does give the army an element it didn’t have before.

Play #4: The Perfect Plex

Nobody’s ever kicked outta that

There is sooooooo much you can do with this Rampage, but I’m going to limit myself to one cool case study.  OK, one and a half.  Right, just the three. 

Credit: Games Workshop
  • In case you didn’t know, the Beast-Smasher Mega Gargant can use his Behemoth Brawler ability to carry out two Monstrous Rampages back to back, as long as they both target an enemy Monster.  Fuck yeah!  So first, you Suplex an enemy Monster off an objective, then follow it up with Titanic Duel and thereby offset the -1 to hitFun fact: you are now D3 mortal wounds closer to scoring the Colossal Violence Battle Tactic, which requires you to kill a Monster you Titanic Duelled.
  • Even better if you can Suplex that enemy Monster over near to King Brodd who duly Roars at them, and then uses his own Creepers ability to stop them doing any Monstrous Rampages of their own.  That in turn means you can’t be Roared at yourself, so your Smasher can safely use All Out Attack and BOOM! you’re still hitting on 2s even after the Suplex penalty.

They’ve taken D3 mortals, you’ve moved them off the objective, you’re hitting them on 2s, you’re double teaming them with two Mega Gargants and they can’t use any Command Abilities.  Cop.  That.

  • Bonus: The Crossface Chickenwing Suplex.  For your second Rampage, you can put them into an arm bar and both fight last (which means you’ll still swing first on your own turn):
Credit: Games Workshop

The Battle Tactic “Fury of the Titans” requires you to use all three of your bespoke Rampages in one turn, and you’ve now hit two of the three with just one Mega-Gargant, leaving the rest of your army to carry out Earth-shaking Roar. Let’s goooooo!

Play #5: Endless Hell

The Kraken-Eater’s Glowy Lantern artefact lets you cast an Endless Spell at double range.  The wording won’t allow you to rort the system with Ravenak, but there are still a couple of things you can do beyond chucking Purple Sun a bit further up the field:

  • Dump Shards of Valagharr into the guts of their army with a mighty 36” range.  Cripple your opponent’s movement and switch off teleports – good luck passing a DPS test when you lose a turn just walking slowly forwards.
  • Speaking of dodging DPS tests entirely, you generally want Soulsnare Shackles right in front of you to prevent charges, so there’s often limited use in dropping it around your ankles turn 1 then walking away from it onto central objectives. With the Lantern you could throw it right out there turn 1, ready and waiting for you in the middle of the board as you step into its comforting embrace.  You could even have Arcane Tome on another Mega Gargant for the Shards of Valagharr + Soulsnare Shackles NPE wombo combo.  DPS?  DP-No!
  • Shout out to Victor for his cheeky Bridge list: Takers Tribe with Kragnos, Krondspine, a Kraken-Eater with the Lantern and 2 Mancrushers, all backed up by the Soulscream Bridge.  A handy 48” range on the Bridge means you can cast from out of unbind range and still pop up where you like, ready to nail that 9″ charge with Kragnos (3D6” charge) or the Incarnate (native charge rerolls). And all the while your Giants are holding the objectives – love your work mate.
Credit: Tom Lees, and he’s gonna need one more now

A couple of pointers for competitive play

  • A tale of two wordings: King Brodd’s Grand Strategy really is laughably bad, because you have to apply the effects of all three of his prayers.  That puts you on the clock to nail a series of 3+ rolls before he gets mercked, or even just runs out of Hero Phases if you roll a few 1s and 2s.  No thank you – I’ll be sticking to the generic ones for now.

On the other hand, the Battle Tactic to use all three of your own Monstrous Rampages in one turn specifies that you only need to carry out all three.  One of these (Beast Grapple) only has an effect on a 3+, but that doesn’t matter: you carry out a Monstrous Rampage simply by picking it, and just the action of rolling the dice (succeed or fail) is enough:

Credit: Games Workshop

If that weren’t the case, you could keep trying again and again to Roar at someone until you hit the 3+, but that’s not how it works.  You carry out the Monstrous Action regardless of whether any rolling succeeds or fails, so as long as your opponent’s list contains both Monsters and units with a wounds characteristic of 1 or 2, you can straight up choose to achieve this Battle Tactic.  Well not if you fail your 3” charge, but that’s the real reason you might consider the +1” to charge aura Command Trait: not so much for slightly better odds of nailing long bombs, but for making it impossible to fail a three incher.  

  • Speaking of Battle Tactics, you should have a really good chance of scoring Desecrate Their Lands turn 1.  I still see people forgetting that the terrain piece being partially within enemy territory is enough to score this one, so with Mightier Makes Rightier you’ll generally be able to rush enough “bodies” up there and secure it.
  • Age of Sigmar is to a large extent a trading game; and beyond dying slowly that’s a traditional weakness of Sons.  Your cheap units aren’t very cheap, but they do die as easily as things that are, and it’s a worry.  The good news is that 150 point Mancrushers trade a little better than previously; the even better news is that Smashers Tribe has a Command Ability that lets them fight when they die (if they haven’t already fought that phase).  I seem to be the only person who’s excited about this one, but to me it’s reason to believe that there’s life in Smashers Tribe beyond the mirror match or just hoping your opponent is running Cockatrice spam.
  • I really want to mention that Terror (a warscroll ability on all Mega Gargants) is now super strong: it switches off Inspiring Presence within 3″. I did say that I wasn’t here to regurgitate rules back at you, but eh that’s just fucking solid, so I’m making an exception. I love it.
  • Finally, don’t forget that Brodd’s movement prayer can be used to help you get out of trouble: in an edge case, it might make all the difference in being able to retreat that big base out of combat or not.  It won’t always matter, but better to measure up in the Hero phase and choose your prayer accordingly, rather than getting to the movement phase and finding out you’re just short.
Credit: Brad B, @carrionking87. Check out that reposed dude on the right!

Hobby opportunity

The last thing I’ll leave you with is the Creepers – those little critters that sit on King Brodd and stop enemy Monsters doing their Rampages by gouging at their eyes.  I love this thematically and it’s a really cool effect, but I want my Creepers to be humans who worship Mega Gargants as Gods of War walking among them.  If you know of any suitable minis or prints (and I’m afraid Johann doesn’t fit the bill for this one), please let me know.

I guess the decision to bundle the King Brodd bits in with every Gargant kit means there’ll be lots of spares floating around – nobody needs four of him – so if you end up with those bits and are looking to sell, please DM me.

And maybe some enterprising person will come up with a 3D printable upgrade kit too, since GW don’t want to sell us one separately, so again let me know if you’ve sculpted one and I’ll help you get the word out there.

And there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed that one and more importantly, that you’ll enjoy playing Sons of Behemat with this book. 

Are there things I would change?  YES. 

But is there a lot of creative energy here?  ALSO YES. 

And am I excited to play this army?  HELL YES.

I hope you are too.

Well that’s a wrap – I’ll be following up soon with a couple of Sons of Behemat lists, as well as that interview from Dalton I’ve been promising you.  Have a good weekend, stay safe from the floods if you’re reading this in Australia, and I’ll see you on the other side.

Credit for the cover image to Tom Lees

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