Posted 22/08/2017

Rhuairidh’s Brayherds

Brayherds are among 15 factions that have just received new allegiance abilities in the General’s Handbook 2017, and few in the Warhammer Community team are quite as excited as Rhuairidh. We caught up with Rhuairidh to preview the new battle traits, points changes, artefacts and command traits and to see how they’re changing his army:

Rhuairidh*: Do you remember, all those weeks ago (2 weeks) when I told you I got involved with Skirmish because I only needed a handful of models? And I wouldn’t have too much to paint? And they probably wouldn’t grow beyond an allied detachment?

Um. Well… It’s best if I just show you:

When I found out that Brayherds were getting some new toys in the General’s Handbook 2017, I decided once and for all they’d be my army. Forearmed with an early release copy of the book, I’ve spent the last few weeks quietly turning my Skirmish force into a full strength Warhammer Age of Sigmar army, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Whether you’re a Brayherds player already or you’re thinking of starting a new army, I’d highly recommend the new General’s Handbook and the changes it brings.

Brayherds players have access to Herdstones** again! This is a really interesting mechanic and one that I feel opens up a lot of options for the army. With ambush (and excellent natural mobility) Brayherds aren’t much of a defensive army, but positioning your forces around a Herdstone really helps increase your territorial control and helps maximise the effectiveness of units like Ungors and Gors thanks to Damned and Inspiring.

My current strategy is to place a few Massive Regiments near my Herdstone, as the sacrifice is more than worthwhile to get +1 to hit on a larger unit. This is particularly nifty with a unit of 40 Ungor Raiders (I cannot stress enough how far I’ve moved from my original idea to only paint and play a handful of models). Sacrifice a few hopeless Ungors to the Dark Gods, then let loose with the rest of them – you’ll have between 37 and 39 attacks, hitting on 3+, rerolling 1s and 2s, and wounding on 4+… more than enough to knock a decent chunk of wounds off a lightly-armoured monster, or turn a key enemy hero into something that very much resembles a dead porcupine.

It’s worth mentioning that the Herdstone is Deadly to enemy units too. Keeping your army near your Herdstone (or even behind it) can force your enemy to take risks with their favourite characters and models. I’ve been combining my Herdstone with a Jabberslythe to further increase the danger of the area around it; thanks to the Aura of Madness, even if enemies survive their charge they’ve still got a chance of being stunned for a turn.

Massive Regiments suit Brayherds armies very well, as most of their units get some considerable bonuses when taken in large numbers. A full-strength unit of Bestigors is 60 points (!) cheaper than taking 3 units of 10, while I feel the new reductions make standard Ungors very efficient indeed – with their small base size and spears, you can get loads and loads of attacks out of a big brick of Ungors.

Secondly, Ambush!

Some Brayherds generals will already be familiar with this ability from the Wildstalker Brayherd formation. This ability gives the Brayherds army a lot of flexibility and allows them to grab a lot of territory very quickly. In matched play scenarios with lots of objectives, you’ll be able to claim them and force your enemy to split their forces to deal with you. What’s more, you can use the new Bestial Cunning Command Trait so that some of your forces arrive in the second turn, allowing you to outmanoeuvre your foes:

Brayherds also have an ENORMOUS unit pool available beyond their faction. As well as 400 points of allies, there are the Bray-Shaman and Savage Dominion.

As you may remember from Matthjis’ article about summoning, a 10+ cast isn’t tremendously reliable. Previously, casting Savage Dominion usually consisted of me yelling “A-HA!”, throwing the dice and trying to choke back tears when they turned out to be anything less than 10, which, according to statistics, is 83% of the time. However, thanks to Scion of the Dark Gods, the Herdstone and the Balewind Vortex, a Bray-Shaman can quite easily stack up to +3 to cast, meaning summoning monsters becomes far more reliable! An ostensibly “Brayherds” army could feature tons and tons of monsters, depending on how much you’re willing to sink into reserve points. No more heartbreak (in that one very specific circumstance).

It’s also worth noting that this spell can be used to bring ANYTHING with the Chaos and Monster keywords onto the board… including Archaon himself. There’s something incredibly appealing (if unlikely) to me about the Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse finding his very essence torn through the Mortal Realms to find himself in an unfamiliar scene:

“WHO DARES TO SUMMON ME?” rumbles Archaon, with a voice like a sacrificial axe being ground against a whetstone, full of dark and thunderous promise.

“Baaaaaaaa”, brays a Bray-Shaman, pointing an accusatory finger at a hapless looking group of grots. “Make green-skins dead. I compel ye. Baaaaa!”

What’s more, as Chaos Wizards, Bray-Shamans can summon Daemons too. This means that Brayherds have a choice of over 50 models outside of their Allegiance to choose from, so you’ll be able to keep your army flexible. I’ll probably be adding some Flesh Hounds to my list so I can potentially get some nifty first-turn charges off to aid my ambushers.

One of my favourite new Artefacts for the Brayherds is the Brayblast Trumpet. Giving your ambushing units +1 to hit is great, and I’ve found it particularly useful on Ungor Raiders, who don’t even need to rely on getting a successful charge! It’s also a great way to make sure that your Tuskgor Chariots hit hard on their initial turn. The Rune of the Insatiable Beast is also a great pick for an ambushing Beastlord, making a successful charge on the turn he arrives much more likely. To my mind, however, the Herdstone Axe is the best choice, purely for the chance at wiping a massive character like Nagash or Alarielle off the board in one fell swoop.  

Overall, I see Brayherds in the General’s Handbook 2017 as an army that punches far above its own weight, capable of hammering the enemy with piles and piles of attacks from very efficient massed infantry while controlling huge swathes of the board, either through ambushing or setting up defensively around a Herdstone. You can catch me and my Brayherds army in action today with a game against Ben Johnson’s Stormcast Eternals on Warhammer Live – check the full schedule for details of when you need to tune in.  

You can get your own copy of the General’s Handbook 2017 here.

* It’s basically pronounced ‘Rory’ for those of you who were wondering.
** You can see that Rhuairidh has converted a tree from a Citadel Wood to serve as his army’s Herdstone.

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