Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fantasy Thursdays: Beastmen Review (Slugtongue)

One of the things that I have enjoyed about the recent wave of armybooks is all of the various unique characters that have been included in each book. This review is focused on one of the most interesting, and potentially powerful, unique characters that has been included in the new Beastmen book; Slugtongue.

One of the first things that I really like about the character is the fluff surrounding it. The character is the living incarnation of famine, similar to the horseman of the same name. Anything in the presence of Slugtongue quickly withers away and perishes. What they have done with this character is to write it such that one could create a “Nurgle” themed army based around it or simply use the character as a dark aspect of nature. The same could be said about Taurox, Ghorros, and Malagor. It’s a nice way of separating the beastmen from the ‘true’ chaos armies while still giving players some fluff that can be used as the basis for a chaos god themed army.

When it comes to the rules for the character, the first thing that stands out is the ability called “Curse of the Famine-Fiend.” It is an interesting rule that reflects the fluff of the character by potentially causing wounds to enemy units that are within range of its effect at the start of the game. While I think the ability has a lot of potential, being aware of the model while deploying, plus the need to place the model at the forefront of the army to maximize the potential damage it can cause, means that it can be avoided or very vulnerable once the game begins.

In the diagram above, I show what the area of effect would be if Slugtongue was deployed 12” forward and in the center of the board. As the diagram shows, units directly across from it will be affected by the ability, but those on either end will not. That is where this ability becomes interesting, as I propose that its real use is not at killing enemy units, but forcing your opponent to breakup his forces in an attempt to limit the potential impact of Slugtongue. Using the speed of a beastmen army with the ambush rules means a player could overwhelm one “side” of an opponent’s army if they focus their deployment on avoiding Slugtongue.

In addition to “Curse of the Famine-Fiend”, Slugtongue has poison, primal fury and regeneration. Again, this fits well into the fluff of the character, but does not make the character groundbreaking or something that everyone “must” field. Slugtongue is also a level 2 wizard that can use the Lore of the Wild or the Lore of Death.

When it comes to which lore to select for it, I am thinking that Slugtongue should take the Lore of the Wild. Bestial Surge and Viletide are the preferred spells for him from a fluff standpoint, but I could see benefit in casting Devolve if the plan is to keep Slugtongue moving towards the enemy. The other spells are simply too high of a casting cost for them to be of much use by a level two caster.

Finally, going back to the fluff for the character and how it translates on the battlefield, I am thinking that Slugtongue would do best if placed within a unit of bestigors. While beastmen units can no longer get any marks, fielding Slugtongue with a unit of the old Nurgle bestigor models seems to be an effective combo and would have a certain visual appeal.

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