by Coach 'Krusher (Coach Blacknife's Dugout)
Overall, the Chaos team has two obvious Strengths – the team’s overall ST (in conjunction with Horns and Strength Skill access) and its good overall AV (no player suffers from below-average armour).
However, there is one glaring Weakness (aside from price) – Chaos teams do not have any bona fide ballhandlers. With no Throwers and no players with a 4 AG, regular players (in this case, Chaos Beastmen) are asked to shoulder the load when it comes to scoring TDs.
Many coaches argue that Chaos teams should just skip with the formalities and forget about scoring touchdowns, opting instead to turn their teams into devastating machines capable of annihilating any given opponent.
However, as it has been pointed out in a previous thread, such teams can go games upon weeks without finding opponents (because they crush everyone in sight). And besides, a one-dimensional Chaos team is pretty boring, really, for both the coach and the opponent.
There are actually, in fact, two positively good reasons to try and develop a Chaos team which can actually – Khorne, forgive me – score :) The first is a simple mathematical fact – every casualty inflicted gives the inflicting player 2 SPPs (and gives the inflicted player something to remember you by!;). Every touchdown gives the scoring player 3 SPPs – so it only takes 2 TDs to get your first skill, as opposed to 3 Casualties. Scoring 2 TDs takes no particular skill other than actually managing to roll a 3 to pick up the ball. Scoring 3 Casualties, though, with nothing but Horns to help you out, is going to be a little slow in the making. (I haven’t even mentioned the bonus SPPs one can occasionally get later from actually – gasp! – throwing the ball…)
Secondly, no Chaos team is going to be able to win any games come tournament time if it can’t actually move the ball and score with it on occasion.
That being said, it’s time to look closer at constructing such a scoring machine…
Strengths. Horns make every last one of them good Blitzers. They can also take Strength Skills in addition to General Skills, making them more well-rounded players than the Human Linemen whose stats they mimic.
Weaknesses. Each player costs 60K, mostly owing to the Horns – and only one player can use the Horns each turn, and even then only on a Blitz – and even, then only in specific circumstances (you must have moved at least 1 square prior to throwing the Block).
Overall. Definitely above-average players. However, their main Weakness lends support to the claim that a Beastman Ally is more valuable than a goat-man on an actual Chaos team.
Strengths. High ST rating (4) coupled with average AG make Chaos Warriors among the most devastating players among the game. High AV is also a plus, as is the access to Strength Skills.
Weaknesses. Each player costs 100K, which is a bit pricey on a team with 70K rerolls. Also, their 5 MA tends to limit their overall usefulness, which goes a ways towards negating their 3 AG as a factor in gameplay.
Overall. The fact that you can get 4 of these players is a HUGE plus, and contributes highly to their desirability.
Your team may not have a Thrower-type available, but as one astute observer on this list pointed out: your players are all at least competent with the ball. A 3 AG isn’t exactly poor, in game terms. Neither is a 6 MA. In fact, Chaos Beastmen are no worse than average in any given category, and can thus be expected to perform any duty reasonably well – well enough, at least, to occasionally pick up the ball or make a successful dodge, even without skills.
In fact, a Chaos Beastman makes a particularly adept ball-carrier, because he generally lacks the one debility most other ball-carriers exhibit: frailty! A Beastman doesn’t injure easily (AV 8), and can Blitz his way out of most scraps with his Horns. And since in the early games you won’t have a designated ball-carrier (at least, he won’t have any particular skills that mark him as such), you don’t have to both protecting him, since anyone else could do the job equally well!
In light of a lack of passers (and an even more noticeable lack of receivers, Chaos teams are particularly suited to running the ball, as you might imagine. With Chaos Warriors anchoring the front line and Beastmen using their Horns to Blitz open holes where needed, a Chaos team can hold the ball for quite some time before scoring!
Every player on a Chaos team has access to both General and Strength Skills. In addition, every Chaos player can use a doubles roll to select a Physical Ability. This comes in very handy, as many PAs – Big Hand and Two Heads come to mind – are designed to combat the fact that Chaos teams have no access to Agility Skills.
These great warriors of evil will most likely be found on the front lines, dealing out a great deal of punishment while trying to punch open the opposing team’s front line. Because they will be doing a lot of Blocking, Block is absolutely essential for a Chaos Warrior’s first skill (assuming a normal roll).
As your Warriors will want to take out as many opposing players as possible, I’d recommend that Mighty Blow and Pro be the next two skills taken. Mighty Blow has obvious uses. Pro is good for players who will be throwing a lot of Blocks, as it allows them to reroll failed (or unsatisfactory) Blocks, as well as screw around with AV and INJ rolls. In fact, I’d recommend taking Pro first, as it is about halfway to MB in terms of damage, and can cover for a lack of Tackle when facing opponents with Dodge (and, as I’ve said, it can bail you out of that inevitable double-skulls roll). The only reason I’d advise against taking Pro first instead of Block? Pro doesn’t help when you’re getting hit – which Warriors will be doing, often!
Now, on a roll of doubles, you have a lot of choices available. Passing Skills are right out, of course. Among the Agility Skills, Dodge is never a bad option. However, for those looking to get more punch out of these machines, Diving Tackle is always a good choice. No other Agility Skill stands out inmy mind as particularly useful to a Chaos Warrior.
Physical Abilities offer the usual choices. If I hadn’t taken Mighty Blow yet for a Chaos Warrior, I’d strongly consider Claw. Combined with Pro, this lets your Warrior take all kinds of opponents out of play – some on a more permanent basis than others! Personally, I would not take Razor Sharps before Claw, and I wouldn’t take either of them if I already had Mighty Blow – Diving Tackle would more greatly amplify your player’s impact during a game.
Regenerate is good for a particularly targetted player – and it also helps you protect your 100K investment. Spikes is never bad, although this can be replicated by a Magic Helmet. Most other mutations (I’m writing off the top of my head here, without rulebooks) are right out the window.
.It would be good to turn at least 2 of your Warriors into Guards, to help anchor the front line (and make it stronger). They should DEFINITELY have Block, and Mighty Blow as well, if possible (I won’t deal with anything beyond the third skill, as it hadn’t been my experience to have more than 2 players with that many SPPs on my roster at any one time).
I would rule out most other Strength Skills, though, especially Piling On. Voluntarily placing 100K players on the ground on a regular basis is a sure recipe for disaster, IMO.
Using the Basic and DeathZone rules, a Chaos team with a full roster would expect to have 4 Chaos Warriors and 4 Star Players on its roster. This leaves room for 8 Beastmen.
While Beastmen are good at one thing (maiming) for certain, their well-rounded style of play (average MA, ST, AG, and AV) can be combined with an astute choice of skills – and a bit of luck in the form of doubles skill rolls – to provide a malleable fighting force capable of handling a large number of tasks.
Runners. The first thing any would-be adviser will tell a Chaos coach is this: get a Beastman with Big Hand right away. Coupled with Sure Hands, it gives you a near-failsafe player who can get into the worst tangle of players (especially if he has Stand Firm) and get the ball.
Of course, if it was that simple, every Chaos team would be running around scoring TDs willy-nilly So, of course, it ain’t that simple…
The biggest problem, IMO, is this – you do want a player with Sure Hands and Big Hand as your ballcarrier. The problem is that most coaches will take the Sure Hands right away – and then they’re stuck with hoping that this particular player will roll doubles and get Big Hand. If someone else rolls…
The trick here is to exercise some patience. Pro is the weapon of the average – yet dedicated – player. It is also a prime Beastman tool. Your first skill should be given over to Pro if it isn’t a doubles roll. Let this player act as your ballcarrier until you can get a player with doubles (who then takes Big Hand). If this Pro gets another skill, he can always use Block to help him out – Block and Pro are useful no matter what, and this player can then be developed along other guidelines given below when your Big Hand player comes to the fore.
As far as the ball-carrier goes, he can then use doubles rolls to give himself Dodge, which is usually useful as well.
Berserkers. Undoubtedly, being gifted with Horns lends itself to all matters of nastiness. For one thing, if have Frenzy and can find a suitable ST-3 target, you can go nuts and push that target right off the board – eliminating one player for the rest of the drive, with no AV roll required.
If you have Dauntless, Horns gives you a great chance to take on big guys and win. Even the great Morg’N’Thorg will be hit with two dice when Blitzed by a sufficiently psychotic Dauntlessing Beastman.
In either case, Pro is a necessary skill – in the case of the Frenzier, to help get the desired pushes; in the case of the Dauntless player, to help make the Dauntless roll. Block is of some use here as well (for the obvious reasons). And while there is no necessary reason to make your Dauntless Beastman a Frenzier, the option is there – and if it worked often enough, could provide a huge lift during a game!
Frenziers would need Frenzy, followed by Pro and Block. Dauntless players would need Dauntless, followed by Pro and Block (or Pro and Frenzy, if you want to take a chance on it!).
The best thing about Berserkers is that they don’t need any doubles rolls to be effective. In fact, they’re about as effective a standard player as you could possibly create!
Hunter-Killers. Similarly, these Beastmen are simply built to be nasty and effective: Block, Mighty Blow, and either Pro or Guard are all obvious combos. Stand Firm can be used as a filler or change now and then.
Your first “Hunter-Killer” is easily adapted from your initial ball-carrier (as described above), who should already have at least Pro (and maybe Block).
Defensive Specialists. A large number of Physical Abilities can be lumped into the “defensive” category – Tentacles, Foul Appearance, Very Long Legs, etc. However, these skills are all generally useful only in conjunction with such skills as Pass Block and Shadowing. As these skills are generally of more use to Skaven players, it is a safe assumption that they don’t work all that well for Chaos Beastmen, owing largely to their average MA of 6 and lack of Dodge skill.
Personally, I’d recommend using Frenziers as “deep safeties” and foregoing the creation of “defensive specialists,” but for those who might want to create such players, the combinations and possibilities should be apparent.
As you can see, there are a good four solid “classes” you can lump Beastmen into – and, as you’ll probably have 8 of them on your roster, you can go with 2 of each “type” to create a good array of truly well-rounded players – despite your lack of so-called “skilled” or “position” players!