White Dwarf #473 – Tome Celestial: Beasts of Chaos

Dragon Ogor Shaggoth Credit: JoeKAnother Tome Celestial is starting to hit newstands, this time covering the often mocked Beasts of Chaos. Can this turn them around? Tome Celestial Beasts of Chaos is finally here. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I don’t think this was it. One Warscroll change and a new set of very specific monstrous rampages shouldn’t really make monumental changes to a book with nearly 60 Warscrolls. Yet somehow it has?

Allegiance Abilities

Lets look at the big change first: the Warscroll change to the Beast of Chaos Terrain piece, the Herdstone. This used to have a 6” bubble effect around it which grew by a further 6” every round, this applied to both it’s battleshock immunity aura and the enemy model armour save reduction. The effect has been split off into two abilities: Entropic Lodestone and Locus of Savagery.

Entropic Lodestone – Previously this effect gave -1 to saves to units within a certain range, starting at 6″ and expanding out by 6″ each turn. While a solid effect it tended to expand too slow to truly help you when you needed it.

This effect is table wide and applies a bonus rend of -1 to friendly weapons in rounds 1 and 2, then an additional -2 rend in rounds 3, 4 and 5. That’s right, the entire army from round 3 onwards is at -2 rend, bare minimum. If they already had -1? That’s a -3! Units such as Bullgor are now at -4. This all in army which already had some of the best rend boosts in the game. In the age of save stacking this is such a massive boost to the army it’s difficult to put it into words.

Locus of Savagery – Previously this effect granted battle shock immunity within the 6” and growing aura, which was great but you usually outpaced the effect. This rule now has 2 different effects, both tied to the aura. However this aura now starts at 12” instead of 6, really allowing you to maximize your armies speed.

The first of these aura rules affects battle shock, instead of making you immune you now take half the amount of casualties when you fail a test, rounding down. This means a lot of small 3 man units are effectively immune outside of modifiers and some of the slightly bigger units (5-10-20+) really get to ignore an awful lot of additional causalities you would otherwise suffer.

The second part is a little bit different and really encourages bigger units. When a unit within the aura is effected by Rally you get models back on a 4+ instead of a 6+. This is a really powerful ability and I believe the second time we’ve seen this (since ‘Ard Boyz). However with only 4 reinforcement slots it’s by no means as great as it could be. There are some choice units for really making the most of this: Dragon Ogres 125pts for 3, able to make them Battleline so 9 man units for 375, 45 wounds in that unit or Tzaangors which come in at 350pts for 20 totalling 40 wounds. Both units can take a little hit without breaking and with the ability to grow them back (in both players turns if needed) you can really pull off the immovable object for the first time with the BoC army.

There are some real tricks to getting the most of rally – and I think that Dragon Ogres really play into that with their large base size, allowing you to remove the front rank as they die in combat to potentially drop out of combat at the end of your opponents turn, rally them back on a 4+ and then charge into a fight on your own terms with more numbers.

Credit: dexefiend

Monstrous Rampages

The other big change are the addition of 5 new monster rampages. 4 of these are locked to specific monsters while the 5th is doable by any monster, lets have a quick look at each of them.

Primordial Roar – Usable by anyone. On a 2-5 you get 1 summoning point, and on a 6 get 3. Just a nice little bonus isn’t it? Allows for an average of 4 points going into the end of the movement phase on Round1 if you go second, that’s 10 Gor (or 10 Ungor in a pinch) on Round1 every time. There isn’t really a downside to this and if you’re taking more than 3 monsters chances are you’ll be using this on one of the none core melee monsters to add to your summoning pool. Really handy for that Shaggoth which is standing near the stone cutting his own wrists and healing himself each turn to do.

Feast on Flesh – The first of the 4 monster specific ones. Each Ghorgon is only allowed to do this once per game. This increases the Ghorgons rend by an additional -1 and also allows them to heal for the amount of models slain. Great if you’re going into a horde or have taken some damage already – however you’ll usually want to Roar as the first monstrous action. Increasing one models rend vs denying the enemy +1 save through AOD against everyone attacking seems a no brainer unless want the heals.

Devour Spell – Cygor-specific this time. You can immediately attempt a dispel on an endless spell, with some bonus healing if you manage it. Lets be honest, endless spells aren’t generally dominating the game, but it’s a nice option and options are never bad.

Entropic Miasma – The Jabberslythe-specific Monstrous Rampage. In an army specializing in having insane amounts of rend, this Rampage targets an enemy hero within 3″. Roll a dice, on a 2+, subtract 1 from their armor save for the combat phase. If its a 6, subtract 2 instead. Insane. Their warscroll got a bit of a hit in the last Broken Realms update, but this can be dirty for sure.

Thricefold Savagery – If you guessed Chimera, you’d be right! This monster rampage can only be used by Chimera. If they declare this rampage, and then target the same unit for all of their attacks, all of the Chimera profiles get +1 attack. “Chimera… Smash?” This does give the Chimera +4 attacks at a base rend of 1,2,2,4 when at full health, due to the new Herdstone rules.

Ghorghon Credit: JoeK

Open Play

Well this is nice! The Open Play twist rules don’t do nothing half the time, an auspicious start. On a 1-3 you get Murder of Crows, which stops the Inspiring Presence Battle command. This hurts you pretty bad, as an army of large hordes with poor bravery but against the right opponent it’s equally devastating. On a 4-6 both sides benefit from Ruinous Rampage which lets you spam the same Monstrous Rampage multiple times. If you saw above, you like this one a lot!

Your ruse is actually very interesting as well. Summon the Gor-kin grants 2D6 summoning points but you don’t get to generate any more the rest of the game. Great for a last ditch summoning effort when you’re close to something big.

Path to Glory

Terribly underwhelming, even by White Dwarf Path to Glory Standards. There are no new mechanics here, just some Veteran Abilities, a quest and some new territories

Veteran Abilities

As we’ve seen previously each boon is aimed at a specific subgroup of units, in this case Brayherd, Warherd and Thunderscorn. Each are really good and play well into what the units are best at.

Leaders of the Ambush – For your Brayherds only, adds +1 to attack for the turn they were set up in ambush. Solid stuff, especially with the new -1 to Rend. Your opponent will regret drifting too close to the board edge.

Blood-Hungry – For Warherd. Return D3 models at the end of combat once per turn. Quite good actually, since all your Warherd stuff is small, elite units it pays off big dividends to return a reinforced unit back to full strength.

Storm-heralds – For Thunderscorn. It basically gives you At The Double for Creatures of the Storm once per battle. Solid buff, no complaints here.

New Quest – Anarchy Unleashed

To their credit I actually dig how this one works, and least it’s not another “get a mount trait” quest that we’ve seen in the last few issues. For each victory while the quest is active, you gain a quest point and for each quest point you have when starting a new match you gain a summoning point. A small bonus, but upon getting 5 points you get 10 glory and the opportunity to reroll on your next territory gain if you don’t like what you got. Pretty sweet bonus and worth reusing over and over.


Tainted Deepwoods – This one is written a bit oddly, but I believe how it is meant to work is that the turn 1 Brayherd unit comes in from Ambush it can restore D6 models after the battleshock phase. Upgraded, you get to pick 2 units. A perfectly fine upgrade, considering most Brayherd units are liable to lose a few models the turn it comes in.

Wild Mountains – Increase your monster limit by 2 and roll a die during the aftermath phase, on a 6 get a new Monster. Upgraded offers no further benefits but increasing your monster limit to a total of 4 but hey free monster farm!

Warp-Nexus – A beefy investment, it does nothing in its base form and requires a chunky 30 glory points to upgrade. Once you do this though, the Locus of Savagery starts at 18. Not bad for establishing some forward momentum.

Beanith's Tzaangor
Beanith’s Tzaangor

Matched Play

Rounding things off in typical fashion, you’re getting a new Grand Strategy and 3 new Battle Tactics.

Grand Strategy – Protect the Herdstone

For this new Grand Strategy you must keep all enemy units more than 9″ away from the Herdstone and prevent it from being destroyed from the Smash to Rubble monstrous action. This isn’t too bad, actually. The big problem is that even with the increased range you still want it in a convenient location for your army to benefit. 9″ is still a pretty big range and would be fairly easy for some armies to crowd in on round 5 just to mess with you, so you’re playing with fire here. So if you want this it’s probably best to place it in a corner somewhere and just reap the benefits of the extra rend instead.

Interestingly it does specify that it has to be destroyed by Smash to Rubble, which means if a Gatebreaker Gargant or Kragnos destroyed it with their warscroll abilities it would be safe. I doubt an opponent would fall for this, but worth noting that they would need to commit the proper monstrous rampage to stop you.

Battle Tactics

Like previous Tome Celestials, you get 3 new battle tactics to play around with.

In the Shadow of the Herdstone – Destroy an enemy unit that starts within 9″ of the herdstone. A both more and less flexible Broken Ranks, it’s one of those ones that you’ll be happy about when the chance to use it pops up. Snipe a weak unit or Monster that tries to wander too close.

Fury of the Wild – If your General and 2 or more friendly units are within combat with the enemy. You can only use this on turn 1. Really solid, especially if you go second. Beasts love the alpha charge and have tons of ways to get there. The only potential pitfall might be if you get too zealous and kill something, then you’re not in combat anymore! So watch out!

Wrath of the Warped Wilds – A more restrictive Conquer, you pick an objective an opponent controls and take it back using a summoned unit. It’s fine, if the opportunity comes up you’ll certainly use it. It can just be dicey to rely on summoning in a unit and watch them fail a charge, but you can play with the odds a bit to make it largely reliable.


This whole thing is a pleasant surprise. Tome Celestials have so far been some passable “get you by” rules for armies. Some didn’t really need them while others were dying for a new tome and only given a little bump. Beasts of Chaos were suffering and the announcement of a Tome Celestial seemed like unfortunate timing.

Well, proven wrong here, this is easily the strongest boost from a Tome Celestial yet. The rend boost alone brings them up to a new level. The sheer number of attacks one can dish out, especially from large units of Gors and Tzaangors is staggering and now they have some real bite to them, especially on round 3 on. Beasts of Chaos players are excited and certainly have reason to be so! This brings them up several tiers and it’s exciting to see where they’re headed.

Unfortunately there’s no word on what – if any – the next Tome Celestial will be. If this is the last one, at least it went on a great note.

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