The Ninth Age Lores: Lore of Beasts

lore of beasts

The Lore of Beasts – The Ninth Age Lore Review

Seeing as I’m starting a new Beastman Army for The Ninth Age, I’ve had to decide on one (of many) important factors with regards to building my army: magic lores.

Any veteran (or new, for that matter) WHFB player can wax philosophic about the synergy that comes from proper lore choice. This single decision often changes the synergy and gameplan of an entire force. Will you blast ’em with fire? How about going anti-meta with Metal? Well, Beasts has always been one of my favourite- not for the full lore, mind you, but because of the undeniably powerful Wyssan’s WIldform: a signature spell that, when successful, adds +1 T and S to a unit until the following turn.

Unfortunately, this lore didn’t have a heck of a lot else in 8th. Sure, Savage Beast and Impenetrable Pelt could be nice, bubbled (all characters within a certain range) if you brought a ton of cheap heroes, and kept the battle lines tight. Curse of Aranheir had its uses… but overall, the Lore always felt underwhelming.

I’m happy to say, I don’t believe that is the case, anymore. Let’s go through spell by spell:

Lore Attribute: The Beast Within
Due to the changes in lore attributes in The Ninth Age, there is a greater tactical focus on how they function. That is to say, they seem to function as more of a “free second spell”, rather than a minor (and, at times, useless) bonus. Again, another reason why lores like Life and Death were so popular, while Beasts and Heavens lagged behind. Here’s the text from the brand new Lore Attribute for Beasts

Target has +1 Strength or +1 Attack. (choose which when the the attribute is cast)
Right away, I’m excited. Combine with Wyssan’s Wildform (which has remained the same), and I can now dole out +1 S, T and A to my hammer units, such as Minotaurs- all with one cast. Incredible. Or, if I happen to have a unit of Gors fighting something that is tough, I can make it +2S and +1T. S5 Gors? S6 if, for some reason, I include the Beast Banner? This is now, officially, a dangerous lore attribute.
EDIT: As was pointed out by Altao, the lore attribute has the FOCUSED keyword, making it only target single characters. This changes the usage, obviously, but still seems fairly solid with a good, fighty, character in a unit.
Signature Spell: Wyssan’s Wildform
Same as it ever was, and I mean that in the best way possible. +1S and T for a relatively low casting value (10+ for 12″ range, boost to 13+ for 24″) for the effect, and a cornerstone of the lore. It’s all about buffing your combat units. Spells like this make good units into blue chippers and weak units into real threats (I’m still toying with the idea of S5 Ungors).
No change, really, and that’s a good thing.
1 – The Flock of Doom
Now we’re getting into the “rolled-for” spells. The old “flock” used to be a series of low S hits, that always seemed okay for Warmachine hunting… but not much else. The new, improved, version is another beast (ha) in itself. For a cheap 7+ cast, this attack causes 2D6 S3 hits at 24″ range (9+ boosted for 48″).
That extra point of strength matters. This spell has now become a great little chaff-killer, retains its warmachine hunting possibilities and, overall, just feels like it may have a place in my list, now. While certainly not the most powerful of spells, it has some potential.
2 – Inner Rage
The first “new” rolled spell. For a cheap 5+ cast, it can provide the caster’s unit with the Frenzy special rule. If boosted to 10+, it has a range of 12″. Now, I’ve always wanted to run a “Combat” Great Bray Shaman (Mark of Tzeentch, 4++ ward, Brass Cleaver etc.) and this augment really helps out. Frenzy can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, it creates a possibility for redirection, and yes it can really mess up your ordered plan. That said, a charging horde of Gors could really benefit from this- especially if Wyssan’s and the lore attributes are used.
Imagine that, a frenzied unit of 50 Gors slams into (well, most things) with Inner Rage, Wyssan’s and a +1A and a +1S Lore Attribute applied. Based on a, say, 7 frontage, that would be: 42 (assuming plain Gors) S5 attacks that could, possibly, reroll to hit if the Primal Fury check is passed. Those cheap, iffy, Gors have now become a blender.
Some interesting combos can be made possible with this spell.
3 – The Amber Spear
Not a lot of change here, but I don’t believe much was needed, anyways. 9+/15+ for a S6/10 Bolt Thrower that causes D3/D6 wounds. The main change seems to be the rewording: the higher level no longer works as if it were a cannon. Though, overall, this won’t change much in its use, other than fiddly rules-lawyering.

The cost isn’t too bad at the lower level, and the higher level is a good “big game hunter” for an army like Beastmen, who lack serious ranged threats (I swear to god, I’m going to make Cygors work…). All in all, nothing too fancy, but some good magical firepower.

4 – The Wolf Hunts
Interesting doesn’t begin to describe this one. Middling casting cost of 9+/12+ for a range of 18″/36″. Oh, the effect? Yeah, it’s a permanent augment of +1M and Swiftstride special rule.

It is very, very rare in WHFB that you could really mess with your, or your opponents, movement values. In fact, this is a spell I’ve always wanted to see around (or something like it). The possibilities are overwhelming. Super-fast Minotaurs? Sure thing! M6 Gors? You got it! Swiftstride is just the icing on the cake, especially for an army that needs to be in combat- your Gor horde having some Cavalry-esque functionality is phenomenal.
Love it.
5 – The Curse of Anrahier
Ah yes, the spell that started the debate “Does open ground count as terrain?” Many a game has gone south (socially) because of the original, unclear, text of this 8th ed. favourite. Well, here’s what The Ninth Age had to say about it:

Target has -1 to hit (shooting and close combat),and treat all terrain (including open ground) as
dangerous terrain, and fails dangerous terrain Tests on 1 and 2

Hallelujah! We have clarity! SO, in essence, this is another spell to mess with movement. Will you stop your enemy dead in their tracks, not wanting to risk failing dangerous terrain tests, with your Wolf Hunts’d Minotaurs set up a juicy flank charge? Or do you just really like the utility of -1 to hit, especially for a Beastman army, that already has decent-to-good Weapon Skill?
An old favourite that has been clarified. It’s a thing of beauty.

6 – Transformation of Kadon
Another one of those former “Rules Lawyer’d to Death” spells. Well, folks, it’s a whole new ballgame, now:

Target get one of following effects (choose one
when spell is cast):
Aspect of Hydra: +2 Attack and Regeneration
Aspect of Chimera: +3 Strength, 4+ Scaly Skin
Aspect of Manticore: +4 Initiative, Killing Blow
Aspect of Dragon: +3 Weapon Skill, Strength 4 Flaming Breath Weapon

Very, very different spell, obviously. 12+ to go through on the caster (remember that Great Bray Shaman I was talking about?) or 15+ for a target within 12″. This, to me, feels like the perfect amalgamation of the former Lore of Beasts’ character buff spells. It has so much utility, and so many little meta-combos within it, the spell is just begging to be taken!

That’s All, Folks!

Well, this concludes the mini-review of the new Lore of Beasts. I’ll be updating my progress with it as I get more games in with The Changehorns, my new Beastman force.

If you’d like to check out the lores, for yourself, you can click here.

Thanks for reading, and keep on enjoying The Ninth Age!

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