Thursday, 11 April 2013

Tactics: Thousand Sons

It should be obvious by now, I love Thousand Sons. I've played the army twice in my gaming history (the Chaos marines evolving from Sons, to Iron Warriors, to Black Legion, to a custom war band, and then coming full circle). They form the core of my force, and are present in almost every game I play. I've decided to re-build my models and improve on their design. So, whilst I wait for my unnamed unreliable UK postal service to deliver my parts, here are my thoughts on how best to use squads of Thousand Sons.

First off, you will need to know that you must run a Sorcerer of Tzeentch to use Thousand Sons as a troops choice, otherwise they are an elites. But with improvements made to sorcerers, this isn't entirely a bad thing. Also, if you play thematically, you will have a Sorcerer anyway. You may notice that they have got a bit cheaper in their latest codex. They still cost 23 points per marines, but the price of the unit sorcerer has come down, and that's where the savings are made. Sorcerer's cost 60 points on their own last codex, and in the new one, they work out at...58 points. Well, not that much cheaper when it's said like that, but remember that after the 60 points, you had to pay for a mandatory power, costing up to 25 points for the good ones (bolt of change was pretty much your only option for anti armour). In the new codex, powers are free.

However, they must be taken from the Tzeentch discipline. Less variety, but there are some nice powers in there, including a gift granting buff power, an altered Doombolt, and a poisoned AP2 flame template. The primaris power is one of my favourites, and half of the time  you will want to swap for it. A random strength blast template with a range of 24" (longest range Tzeentch power). It also has a more potent version of soul-blaze, causing D3 extra hits for EACH model killed. Extremely effective against weaker armoured opponents, where this bonus can soon stack up.

Thanks to the rules changes to Slow and Purposeful, Thousand Sons are not as, well, slow as they used to be, and always count as moving 6". You will probably still want to invest in some Rhinos, as foot-slogging over long distances isn't advised, even if you can take the shots to the face and live. They are still able to shoot and charge, but I would only charge if:
A-the unit to be charged is severely weakened from enemy fire.
B-the unit is weaker than you.
C-it's to avoid a charge from the enemy, and deny them a charge bonus.

Even if Thousand Sons aren't that hard hitting, they can take more punishment from power weapons than any other unit in the codex. They can make great stalling units, allowing other units to move up and avoid the heavy hitters. Laugh as you stall thunder hammer/storm shield Terminators and Dreadnoughts, as half of their attacks should bounce off a 4+ invulnerable save. Also, because fearless has changed again, they will never run away when they loose combat.

The main bonus of Thousand Sons, since 5th edition, has always been their AP3 bolters. They still get them, and with the average cover save going down to 5+, they are more likely to kill. The reduced cover makes you own 4+ invulnerable save more worthwhile. Another boost you can take is the Icon of flame for 15 points. It's your only option, but it can help against weaker horde units, as it grands the squad soul blaze. Not a particularly powerful ability, but trust me, it does help in thinning down units. Managed to take down a Meganob with it once, so it with good luck it can help in all situations.

So, with these tips, you can now get the most from your blue bodiless automatons of Chaos.

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