Sunday, November 20, 2016

40K: What The Thousand Sons Need To Be

We've had a look at the fantastic models for Wrath of Magnus. What should the rules look like to make this another Genestealer Cult home run?

Genestealer Cults blazed a new path for codex specific rules.  The Cult Ambush mechanic, as well as army rules like Unquestioning Loyalty and Return to the Shadows have made Cults a truly unique faction; not reliant on wargear and model specific special rules.  Can GDub do the same with the "new" Thousand Sons?  I am hoping so, but the history of what has (or hasn't) happened with Chaos Space Marines, keeps me from being cautiously optimistic.  What needs to be done to make Magnus' Sons another meta-changing release?

Can It Be Done?  Not so sure.  Just throwing out another supplement, as with Crimson Slaughter or Traitor's Hate, will certainly give us new formations with unique rules.  But in the end, I am using the same models and having an army with many of the same issues.  Khorne has received his due with these supplements and the addition of Khorne Daemonkin.  So are we looking at something like a "Tzeentch Daemonkin" build?  The unique mechanic in KDK (the more I kill, the more powerful I become) would need to be replicated in Wrath of Magnus, focused on psychic powers as would be appropriate for Tzeentch.  Unlike KDK, however, Wrath of Magnus is a supplement that supports an ongoing storyline.  Have other "storyline" supplements been able to revive certain Space Marine factions?  I haven't seen this.  Does a Decurion-style build option really create enough change for the Thousand Sons to make them as unique as the Cults?  Here are some things I would hope to see..

  • How about a Cult Ambush-style table for using psychic powers?  The Thousand Sons ARE psykers, and just as units in a Cult army can all use Cult Ambush, all of the units in a Thousand Sons army should be able to manifest their psychic gifts in some way.  The options for how this would play are as varied as the imagination itself.  I would hope it would be consistent with the story that is being told, and with the unique gifts that have made the Thousand Sons who there are.
  • Could we see a new psychic powers mechanic preview with Wrath of Magnus?  Rumors tell us that there may very well be a shift in the way the psychic phase works.  This supplement would be a great place to give it a go and prep us for other changes due in 8th Edition.

  • We can be pretty sure there will be weapons unique to the new Sons.  A quick look at the models makes it fairly apparent.  It bodes well that there appears to be a Reaper-style Assault Cannon being used.  For those who read A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill there was specific mention of this in the book.  What else do they need?  AP3 bolters and AP3 pistols for the Tzaangors?
  • Can you say invulnerable saves?  This is the Tzeentch "thing," so I would hope they would spread liberally among the new units.  How about a 3++ for the Termies, a 4++ for the Rubricae and a 5++ for the Tzaangors?  Maybe some kind of group think mechanic for the Exalted Sorcerers...the more models in the unit, the better the save (similar to the Field Harmonics rule for Onager Dunecrawlers).

  • Kine Shields anyone?  One the most memorable moments in the Prospero books was when a group of Space Wolves charged into a group of Thousand Sons, and the Sons erected a Kine Shield using the psychic power of the entire squad.  So how about a squad of Rubricae with a Sergeant-type model being able to do the same thing?  Maybe a 5++ against shooting and a 6++ in close combat?  This is, of course, if they don't get an intrinsic invulnerable save.  Perhaps making Kine Shields a bubble that affects units within "x" inches.

  • Filling out the org chart will be interesting.  I don't recall from the Prospero books that the Thousand Sons relied very heavily on armoured units.  So how will they fill those Heavy Support choices?  I hope it's not with stock Land Raiders, Predators or whatever other dusty models are laying around.  Obliterators would be Ok, as long was they are in keeping with the theme of a Thousand Sons army.  Forge/Maulerfiends?  Just doesn't seem to fit. How about Fast Attack?  Chaos Space Marines have Raptors and Warp Talons.  Maybe a Tzeentch version of these?  Certainly using Heldrake to fill this out would be nice.  I am also hoping no bikers.  Have the Thousand Sons ever used bikers in the novels or other stories?  The org chart fill is a place I can see GW going lazy, and just telling us to use the CSM Codex as the fix.

The models look amazing.  This thing has such great potential.  And honestly, I think the Genestealer Cult "rules revolution" creates a higher expectation in terms of creativity in the ruleset than we might have seen previously.   The good news is we will probably be seeing grainy pics of some of the rules this week.  Let's hope there is no bad news.  And, even if this is not what I am hoping for, there is still the Burning of Prospero and the 30K Thousand Sons to scratch that itch.  Gdub, here is another opportunity for you to show us the "new you."

What would you hope for in terms of the Thousand Sons rule set?


  1. What I hope for in the Thousand Sons rule set:

    1. Completely overhauling the Tzeentch psychic discipline. It's pathetic, and that's just unacceptable for the god of magic.
    2. Making the mastery level of the Aspiring Sorcerers improve with larger squad sizes. 5-man squad? ML1. 10-man? ML2. 15-man? ML3, baby. Or just let us pay for the increase like we do with normal sorcerers.
    3. I really miss 3.5's 2-wound terminators. If we can get 2-wound terminators back I'll be happier than Slaanesh in a whorehouse.
    4. The option for Rubric marines to take special weapons that have more strength and/or better AP. Mainly the better strength variety, as tank-busting is the only weakness a Thousand Marines squad has, especially if the aspiring sorcerer doesn't land that 33% chance to get Doombolt. I'll even take expensive options at this point, like a 25-point Reaper Autocannon-esque weapon. That way my Havocs can swap out their autocannons for missile launchers. The option for stronger weapons would seriously improve my whole army because I would no longer have to outfit models with the intention of covering the weaknesses of my preferred troops (the Thousand Sons) and instead I could equip them to facilitate a more efficient strategy on the battlefield. I'd finally stand a chance against Tau and Eldar!

  2. Many thanks for the detailed comments Taylor!

    I'm all in with your suggestions. The lack of ranged (Doombolt is only 18" as I recall) anti-armour or any anti-air are the two biggest issues, other than the point costs. We shall see soon enough!

    Thanks again!


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