Saturday, December 17, 2016

40K: Thousand Sons Are A Horde Army (Stop Laughing!)

The only way to make these guys work is to flood the board with gribblies to support the expensive core units.


OK, OK, now that you have busted a gut laughing at my foolish headline, let's settle down and talk about this.  To start, let's take a look at the Wrath of Magnus backstory.  Without giving away anything for those who have not read it, or never intend to, this story involves LOTS of daemons.  Yes, this is the same as HORDES of daemons.  Pinkies, Blues, Flaming Babies, Screamers, Fire Belchers...the whole crew.  They are anywhere and everywhere in the story.  Why do I mention this?  Because I am a narrative player, at least in terms of my army builds.  I want what I put on the table to win, to be sure, but I also want it to be consistent with the story of the army as much as common sense (and still being able to win) will allow.  I am NOT a tournament level competitive player.  Never have been, don't want to be.

Case in point.  On a recent podcast, folks were discussing how to take Daemon Princes with a Mark of Tzeentch to max out the invulnerable save of the model.  In an Alpha Legion army!  First of all, at least from a narrative perspective, Alpha Legion never followed a particular Chaos god.  In fact, one could argue that they are not really Chaos affiliated.  They are anti-Imperial, not Chaos.  So for me, this is the type of min/max/optimization that tournament players do.  All good...for them.  They are amazing, talented players who push the rule sets to the limit.  They do what they need to do to win games.  I am not those players.  I want my builds to, at least at some level, reflect the story of the army my models represent.  Now on to my case for Thousand Sons "hordes."

To those who have said Thousand Sons are expensive, I could not agree more.  A single unit (5 models) of kitted out Scarab Occult Terminators runs around 310 points.  An Exalted Sorcerer rolls in at about 200; Ahriman at 230.  So the core formation I am going to run, at least out the gate, is a Sekhmet Conclave with 3 squads of Termies and Ahriman (why Ahriman?  I will explain in a moment).  With each unit taking a Soulreaper Cannon and a Helfyre Missile Rack, this formation rolls in at about 1140!  Expensive as hell for sure.  But wait, all you budget conscious bean counters.


First, my Termies, at this point, are rocking 2+/4++saves.  They are T5 (formation benefit).  Since they are Relentless (because of their armour), they can rock those Inferno combi-bolters out to 24", moving or not.  So each squad has 2 x S8/AP3, 4 x S5/AP3 and 6 x S4/AP3 shots (twin-linked), all at 24".  Let anyone not wearing Terminator armour come close (including those pesky Sisters of Silence) and my boys will make ectoplasmic soup out of them.  The Sorcerers intrinsic to each squad have access to Biomancy.  They have a 50/50 chance of rolling a blessing, and at least one should get Endurance.  Once they cast their powers, I will have T5, 2+/3++, and at least one squad in the formation with FNP Terminators.  Worth the 62pts/model?  This formation is expensive to be sure, but very solid in terms of survivability...did I also mention they are Fearless?


So where does the horde thing come in, Dan?  Most of my casual games are played at 2000pts.  This leaves me will about 850pts to play with.  Right now, I only have 16 models on the board, and basically no anti-vehicle capability (with the exception of the 24" Helfyres).  So I am going to go with the thing that the Wrath of Magnus tells me is part of the Thousand Son story...daemons.  I will also throw in some Tzaangors as ablative wounds/bodyguards for Ahriman.  But in terms of the Daemons, I will start by using the Pandemoniad of Tzeentch Detachment, which gives my Daemons 4++ saves.  Wow!  I will meet the detachment requirement using the Heralds Anarchic (3-9 Heralds of Tzeentch) and the Lorestealer Host (Blue Scribes and 3-9 units of Blue Horrors).


I will give my Heralds the Exalted Locus of Creation, allowing the Blue Horrors to split into TWO Brimstones instead of one.  That means a unit of 15 Blues will, in effect, have 45 wounds!  Yes, the Brimstones have 2W each, but at T1, they are effectively doubled out by everything.  If I take three units of Blues and 3 Heralds at about 120pts each, that will add another 585 for a total of roughly 1730.  A unit of Tzaangors will take me to about 1900 (the Scribes are just under 100).  Finish this off with a single unit of 10 Pinks, and we now have an army with about 175 4++/5++ saves (counting all of the splitting) on the board.  That does not count my Thousand Sons units.  Please note: these point costs are estimates, merely provided to give some perspective.

Add to all this at least 20 warp charges to start the game...before the splitting starts.  This should allow for both blessings and some anti-vehicle psychic foolishness.  Doombolt, Treason of Tzeentch, Bolt of Change and Infernal Gateway are on the list of powers available to both Ahriman and the Daemons in the army.  Another powerful aspect of this list...almost all of the units are essentially Fearless.  The Daemons have Instability, of course, but they need a double 6 to vanish.  Otherwise, they take a few more wounds (and split some more!) and hang around.  It will take a LOT of shooting to get rid of 45 x 4++/5++ saves.  The math-hammer says 30 shots at BS4 will give 20 hits.  At 2+, 16 of those wound.  8-10 models removed.  It would take four turns of shooting to take out a single unit of Blues.  All the while, Ahriman is summoning Pinks onto the board, and the Heralds are joining these units to give the Sons player even more Daemon madness.  He is also up to mischief at the beginning of the game; his Master of Deception Warlord train allows him to Infiltrate D3 Troop choices.
So there you have it.  The wall of Rubric Marines, solid as a granite mountainside...and waves of Daemons to overwhelm the opponent in a gibbering tide of madness.  I am sure that there are many more variations on this theme.  This is just a narrative gamer giving folks an idea of what the Sons of Magnus can bring to the table with the new rule set.

Have you had a chance to play the new Thousand Sons?


  1. Hi, very good article.

    I play Thousand Sons, and have done so for about 20 years. I love the new rules. I play events, but I do not play competitively.

    My currently list is:

    Sorcerer with Astral Grimoire (jump infantry book)
    3 units of Scarab Occult Terminators w/ Helfyre Missile Racks
    Lord of Change

  2. Thanks for the comment...glad you enjoyed the article. I don't play competitively either, so for me this is a great opportunity to put together a very narrative list. I will be bringing LOTS of daemons (pinks, blues, fire babies)!


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