9th Edition Faction Focus: Thousand Sons

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9th edition is on the way, and with it a whole raft of changes to the factions of Warhammer 40,000. With the Munitorum Field Manual out in the wild and the Faction FAQs released, now’s a good time to start taking a look at what’s changed for all of our favourite armies. Today, Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones and Alice “RagnarokAngel” Lirette are talking about the Thousand Sons.

We’ve already covered the Death Guard and Chaos Space Marines; it’s time to round out our Heretic Astartes faction trifecta looking at the Thousand Sons.

The Thousand Sons saw a resurgence of sorts after the release of Psychic Awakening: Ritual of the Damned, with a host of new stratagems, powers, and relics that made the faction much more powerful. This boost in power was good if you were running monofaction lists, but on the competitive side meant that Thousand Sons were immediately being included in most Chaos Armies as a Supreme Command Detachment full of powerful casters. With the changes to 9th edition and its new rules for army construction, how do they hold up? Join us as take a deep dive into the Thousand Sons, how they’ve changed, and what it means for the faction this edition.

The Rules Impact

First off, a number of rules changed and a lot of these directly impact the Thousand Sons.

Changes to Smite

Let’s talk about the big, terrible change first. The wording on Smite has changed in 9th edition, and the increased difficulty for casting Smite multiple times in a phase now no longer exempts units with the Brotherhood of Sorcerers ability, which is a significant problem for the Thousand Sons, who depended on the ability to cast multiple Smites per turn to supplement their damage output with a ton of mortal wounds. Without this exemption, casting Smite has become much more difficult, and Thousand Sons are stuck working more with their physical weapons to do more damage, which isn’t ideal. Our major hope is that this gets fixed quickly in a 9th edition FAQ.

Changes to Melee Combat

Melee combat has changed a bit in 9th; the ability to trap units has been significantly reduced, charges have become more difficult thanks to the CP re-roll change, multi-charging has become much more difficult, units that Heroically Intervene can be attacked, and vehicles are able to shoot in combat, preventing them from being “turned off” by melee units that reach them. These are, for the most part, changes that benefit the Thousand Sons, who are not a melee-first army and would just as soon drop devastating hails of Inferno bolter fire on enemies. The big downside here is that Overwatch has become a Stratagem, which means you’ll want to be a bit more mindful of when and how you open yourself up to charges.

Missions

The GT mission pack changes things significantly for 9th edition, changing how missions are scored and what player priorities will be on a turn-by-turn basis. Perhaps the biggest change is top-of-turn scoring for primary objectives, i.e. players score for holding objectives in their Command phases, which means that a unit has to already be on your objective holding it before your turn starts to score. Going first this means you need units that can move quickly to capture objectives and then stay alive while holding them. Going second this means you need to be highly conscious that only have four scoring turns and you need units that can whip an enemy unit off an objective while simultaneously moving onto that objective to occupy it. This can only be done easily in the Fight phase, though Thousand Sons have some tricks to help. Thousand Sons have some interesting choices they can make with secondaries as well which we’ll explore later on.

Vehicles and Shooting

The new Big Guns Never Tire rule allows vehicles to move and shoot heavy weapons with no penalty to hit and shoot non-Blast weapons in combat at the units that they’re engaged with. This improves some units considerably, and immediately makes Helbrutes and Daemon Engines better: Helbrutes can now take guns and gleefully charge into combat, where having the ability to shoot makes heavy flamers in their fists and options like the twin heavy bolter much more attractive. Meanwhile, Daemon Engines that previously suffered from having a 4+ BS are now a bit more viable thanks to being able to stay mobile without their accuracy becoming dire, though you’ll want to further boost them with Prescience to get them some semblance of real accuracy. This is also wonderful for Heldrakes, who will greatly enjoy the ability to fire their baleflamer in combat.

Blast Weapons

On the defensive side, Blast weapons represent a huge problem for horde strategies, particularly for large units that have to walk across the table on foot. This hurts Tzaangors, who had already been hurting a bit since their points hike in Chapter Approved 2019. Without a way to make large units fearless or buff them, it’s harder to recommend blobs of 20+ models with trash saves.

Strategic Reserves

While a good number of Thousand Sons units are perfectly capable of teleporting onto the battlefield, there were a few stragglers who lacked the ability and for them Strategic Reserves can be a real asset, helping protect them from first turn shooting and giving you insurance against losing the first turn roll-off. Rubric Marines are a good pick for this, and it can be a more cost-efficient way to put a second (smaller) unit or some Tzaangors into reserves, since putting two units into reserves with the Webway Infiltration Stratagem will cost you 3 CP.

Picking All of Your Upgrades Pre-Game

This is a bigger deal for competitive play than casual, but previously many rules such as Psychic powers, add-on Warlord Traits and Relics, and using stratagems that upgrade units were done at the start of the game, after you’d seen your opponent’s list, allowing you a chance to respond to what they were bringing. That’s not the case anymore, meaning that we have to be much more laser-focused with our pre-game strategy, and it means that a lot of traits and powers that we’d have used conditionally now just aren’t likely to make it into our lists. The upside here is that Thousand Sons armies historically bring so many psykers that you’re maxing out your options every game anyways.

Army Construction

OK now for the biggest one – Army construction has changed significantly in 9th edition and the most notable changes for Thousand Sons are that 1. Adding detachments now costs CP, making taking additional detachments costly, and 2. The Supreme Command Detachment has changed dramatically, now only allowing a single Lord of War or HQ unit that’s either a Primarch or a SUPREME COMMANDER. This is a massive upset for the Thousand Sons – it effectively means the end of the Thousand Sons Supreme Command detachment as a vehicle to add Ahriman, a Winged Daemon Prince, and another Sorcerer to a Chaos Space Marines army. It also makes Magnus potentially a more attractive prospect in the army, since he’s a bit easier to include and as we’ll see in the FAQ section, he no longer prevents you from taking Sorcerous Arcana if he’s your Warlord.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The FAQ Update

The new FAQs made a bunch of minor adjustments to the Thousand Sons, mostly bringing their rules text in-line with 9th edition wording around things like Engagement Range. The biggest change is to the rules in Ritual of the Damned: The Warlord Traits section has been changed – now any Thousand Sons <CULT> Character can gain the relevant <CULT> Warlord trait instead of a Codex Warlord Trait. Previously this was only available to your Warlord and specifically the <CULT> they were chosen from. Now extra traits given to other Characters can include the Cult traits even if they’re in a cult different to your warlord. Also, Sorcerous Arcana has been amended to include armies led by Magnus the Red, so now taking him as your warlord doesn’t lock you out of taking Sorcerous Arcana. Which is a good change given that taking Magnus in a Supreme Command now locks him in as your Warlord.

 

The Points Update

In case you missed our points overview of the changes in the Munitorum Field Guide, you can find those here. Overall, the Thousand Sons came out largely ahead on these changes, with minor increases to the factions key units that look great relative to other factions.

HQ

One of Thousand Son’s greatest strengths has been having access to an amazing slate of PSYKER characters with access to a large array of powers. Many of these characters received only minor or no points updates in the Munitorum Field Manual, meaning they’ve come out well ahead. The downside is the aforementioned lack of immunity to increasing Smite difficulty and the fact that the Supreme Command detachment has now changed, so taking 3 Thousand Sons in a Chaos Space Marine army without Troops is no longer an option.

Ahriman and what is essentially his non-named variant the Exalted Sorcerer did really well. Ahriman got a noticeable increase of 19 points on foot while Ahriman on a disc (Which is likely what you were taking anyway) went up only 4 points. Exalted Sorcerers, both on foot and on discs were one of the few models to buck the trend of point increases and actually went down 12 points each, and that’s before you consider that Force Weapons no longer cost anything, driving their costs down further. This makes Exalted Sorcerers a much more attractive option as your third HQ choice but Ahriman isn’t going anywhere – he’s just that damn good.

The Daemon Prince of Tzeentch remains the beast it always has been, and compared to other Daemon Princes the point increase is barely noticeable as the non-winged variant went up a meager 4 points while the winged version (Which is universally preferred anyway) was completely untouched. This is largely because Daemon Princes of Tzeentch already cost more than his cousins in other Codexes but earned every bit of that points increase while still being worth it. Now Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons armies get punished while Thousand Sons don’t feel the change. The Winged Daemon Prince earns his points due to the sheer utility and flexibility he brings to the table. That’s not liable to go away anytime soon.

Sorcerers and Sorcerers in Terminator Armor held mostly steady with their 8th edition costs depending on loadout, thanks again to the drop in cost on force weapons. These tended to be seen as a points-efficient way to fill your Detachments’ remaining HQ slots due to their lower costs compared to Exalted Sorcerers but now that’s not really the case anymore and competition is going to be much more sever now that the gap has lowered significantly, especially with Terminator Sorcerers costing more than on-foot Exalteds.

In summary this is really good news for pure Thousand Sons lists. The change to the Supreme Command Detachment is going to significantly impact their popularity in soup lists but the good news is that the faction’s HQs are still strong and reasonably costed.

Thousand Sons Rubric Marine

Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Troops

While there’s not as much cause for celebration in the Troops section, there are still some things to be plenty happy about. Cultists have gone up to 6 points per model, which is a real blow but they’re still the cheapest Troop choice for the army at 60 points for 10. Tzaangors only went up one point per model (to 9), so they can be a potential alternative. But the good news is that Rubric Marines went up only 2 points per model, which is offset by the 8-point drop for the force stave on the champion, meaning you won’t start to feel the points increase until you get to models 6-10 in your squad. Rubric Marines got a lot better with the boosts from Ritual of the Damned and in 9th edition they have a good combination of durability and firepower to play well with the emphasis on capturing and holding objectives. All things considered the Thousand Sons got off pretty lightly here and while its a pretty expensive Troop section overall these are good troop options.

What’s really going to harm Tzaangors is Blast: Tzaangors were best taken in large groups (Rob’s Note: Herds) – maximum size if possible – and blast weapons are going to really hurt them. This might raise the value of Rubric-based lists even further, as it’s looking like smaller sized units designed to harass might be the smarter play.

Elites

Scarab Occult Terminators get a modest increase on the base model costs here, going up 4 points per model (to 30), plus an additional point for their power swords, though inferno combi-bolters stayed the same and the force stave dropped 8 points to offset this a bit. On the whole that means a squad of five with basic loadouts is now 10 points more expensive, which isn’t bad. Heavy weapons for the squad mostly stayed the same cost, though heavy warpflamers got a bit cheaper (-2).

Helbrutes go up a minor amount and get the benefits of Big Guns Never Tire allowing them to move and shoot without penalty and fire in combat, but there are still not a lot of reasons to recommend or take them in a Thousand Sons army. Hellforged Contemptors offer a bit more value for their cost, and it may be worth considering a double butcher cannon Contemptor to provide support against heavier targets give that they’re still pretty reasonably costed, especially compared to some of your other options. They’re likely a better bet than Decimators, which don’t provide enough comparative upside for their cost.

Finally there’s the Tzaangor Shaman, who only went up 3 points base (and saves points on the force stave becoming free) and is likely to see more use in 9th edition thanks to being a Pysker in the Elites slot, allowing the army to load up on more casters without taking another detachment and sacrificing CP. The Shaman’s utility as a Smite platform has decreased a bit, but it can make up for that by having one of the other Discipline of Change powers, with the most likely candidates being Weaver of Fates, Glamour of Tzeentch, and Temporal Manipulation.

Fast Attack

The Fast Attack slot has never been a source of strength for the Thousand Sons and things haven’t really improved. Your only options are Chaos Spawn and Tzaangor Enlightened and if you are taking Chaos Spawn it’s more as a distraction unit than because they’re good. Tzaangor Enlightened get a hefty 5 points per model increase here, significantly hurting them as an option. They’ve still got a purpose but it doesn’t seem likely they’ll be fielded over other options in the list.

Heavy Support

With less ability to rely on mortal wounds from Smite unless an FAQ changes things, it may be worth it to give the Heavy Support slot a second look for Thousand Sons. There are essentially five options worth discussing here:

  • The Mutalith Vortex Beast got only a small (10) points bump, but remains a novelty. Nothing about the new rules really does much for it and while it has some neat buffs, it’s not reliable enough nor resilient enough to be worth taking.
  • The Defiler made it through the points hike relatively unscathed and we’ve (Rob’s Note: I’ve) made a case for it in Death Guard and Chaos Space Marines, daemon engines just don’t have the same support in Thousand Sons and so it’s better but probably not good enough here.
  • The same is largely true for Maulerfiends, but Forgefiends with double hades autocannons only run 135 points, and provide a decent return on investment, especially given that they can use the Daemonforge Stratagem to boost their output. They might be worth another look in Thousand Sons armies as ranged support.
  • The Hellforged Scorpius is also an interesting add, since its ability to double fire and shoot from out of Line of Sight makes it potentially a helpful addition, and the Blast attribute combined with S6, AP-2 D2 shots means that it’s a good weapon for taking out marines. It’s not going to be a huge help against T8 units, however.

The massive points increase on the Leviathan functionally removes it from contention for the army, since there’s little additional support to help it achieve its best results.

Flyer

Only one option here, the Helldrake, and it fits the same role as it does in the vanilla Chaos Marine book. It did really well here: The Heldrake only went up by a pretty reasonable 20 points and in exchange it gained the ability to fire into combat with its weapons – particularly important on the Baleflamer – and the Hades Autocannon is no longer impacted by moving and shooting. The Baleflamer probably remains the better option of the two but at least it’s got a lot more flexibility than it had before. It’s a promising way to deal with enemy flyers and harass the enemy from the first turn of the game.

Dedicated Transport

There are two options to discuss here, and both are worth your consideration. After spending 8th edition in obscurity, the humble Rhino has new value, despite receiving an 11-point increase. As a delivery platform, it can protect and move key units but also help hold objectives by providing a tougher body that enemies need to clear. In a similar fashion the Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill also has a ton of utility, able to carry even more Rubric Marines while being a massive threat that demands an action from the opponent immediately or it will chew through enemy units with its drill and melta cutters and shrug off firepower with its T8 frame. Both are decent options and putting Rubrics in Rhinos is a strategy worth considering in 9th edition.

Lord of War

Like Mortarion, Magnus gets off extremely light in the new points update with only a 20-point increase, and the new Supreme Command Detachment adds a lot of value to the Primarch, making it easy to take him as the Warlord in a Thousand Sons army without disrupting your detachments. The new FAQs also make this easier by creating an exemption for Magnus with regard to Sorcerous Arcana. The challenges for Magnus are going to be that he’s a monster with 18 Wounds, making him visible through Obscuring terrain and making him a target for shooting from the first turn.

The new Strategic Reserves rules give you some options, however: You can hide him away on turn one for 2 CP, which might be a necessity if you have a real concern you can’t protect him and you might be going second, and is something you can wait to decide until after you see what’s in your opponent’s army. That’s adding more cost to admittedly an already high points cost, but ensuring he’ll be able to use his psychic powers at least one turn has some real value.

 

How They Play

When it comes to putting this on the battlefield, the Thousand Sons are in an odd position. The points changes to the army are great – they saw minimal increases to key units and decreases in key areas. However the changes to army building makes fitting in the number of HQs they’ll often want difficult and the Smite change really hurts their ability to push out mortal wounds and make up for a lack of heavy firepower for dealing with tanks and other large targets. There aren’t a lot of great ways to get around this, but some of this can be made up for by taking some of the other powers that can dish out mortal wounds.

The upside is that the Thousand Sons are otherwise well-positioned for 9th edition’s focus on holding objectives and controlling the middle of the table; Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators are pretty resilient – especially against 1-damage weapons – and the army has several ways to get them directly onto objectives before an opponent. When it comes to building armies the game has changed considerably but on the whole, monofaction armies will probably want more HQ choices than a single detachment can offer, and may also want to mix Cults of the Legion, which suggests that a Battalion + Patrol structure is likely to be the best option, with the Supreme Command to add Magnus. The Patrol detachment may also be a good place to add in Tzeentch daemons if you’re looking to pile in Horrors.

When it comes to capturing objectives early, Scarab Occult Terminators are going to be some of your most reliable tools, not just because they’re solid units but because their ability to finish off targets in melee means that they can both clear objectives and move onto them in the same turn, ensuring they’re under control at the start of your next Command Phase. Risen Rubricae should also be a key part of your game plan, since it’s a powerful way to help mitigate the downside of going second by letting you deploy a unit of Rubric Marines anywhere on the battlefield more than 9″ from enemy models.

Pure Thousand Sons lists are likely still going to struggle against T8 units, where there may not be enough mortal wounds output to deal with multiple knights, particularly with the Smite change, and there isn’t enough high-strength, high-AP shooting or strong melee threats to make up for that discrepancy. However, it’s also likely that with the meta changing to make those lists unfavorable this won’t be so big an issue.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Adding Daemons

Chaos Daemons didn’t do particularly well in the transition to 9th edition but they still have a large number of powerful units and Engine War added some great buffs for both staple units and some of the more borderline options. Two of the big options for us to consider here are the Lord of Change and Horrors. Exalted Lords of Change have a few interesting tricks, and with the change in Smite mechanics, Lord of Flux makes a lot more sense now as an Exalted bonus, though there isn’t a bad ability on the list so if you wanted to roll the dice with two upgrades, it’s not the worst idea I’ve ever heard. The other unit you’ll want to consider is Horrors. Pink Horrors went up to 8 points per model with Blue Horrors going up to 7, but the unit can still smite and can tank like champions thanks to the new morale mechanics. Models added to a unit do not affect its starting strength, so if you set aside some reinforcement points to add blue horrors to a unit, you can end up with a unit that is extremely resilient to Attrition tests since it will take forever to get it below half its starting strength, and that doesn’t include the chances of getting D6 models back if you have an icon and roll a 1 for the morale test.

Souping in Other Chaos Marines

Realistically, Thousand Sons have more to offer Chaos Space Marines armies than the other way around, but the same is not true for Death Guard, where a Thousand Sons detachment can be a significant value add to a Death Guard army. Specifically, it’s worth going back to the well of Smash Bros lists that incorporated Magnus and Mortarion.

Secondaries

There are some interesting quirks to picking Secondary Objectives for and against Thousand Sons. First, because your armies will have a glut of PSYKER characters, you’ll find that Psychic Actions secondaries in the Warpcraft category seem much more viable. Unfortunately, each of the Psychic Actions secondaries in the Warpcraft group require a CHARACTER to perform, and you’ll seldom want to spend a Character’s Psychic Phase performing an action, though if you are considering it, Tzaangor Shamans make the best fit for performing these, since they’re able to hide among other units and aren’t sitting on a ton of powers they could otherwise cast. Which of these you’ll want to take will depend on the opponent, but generally Mental Interrogation is the least risky, though Pierce the Veil can be something you can accomplish if you commit to something like a Terrax Termite Pattern Assault drill with a character inside it.

Aside from Warpcraft, Thousand Sons’ options become more difficult. Raise the Banners High has some value, particularly if you’re running cultists to fill out a detachment, and Domination favors a strategy of holding the middle if you can accomplish it. Bring Them Down is also likely to be a consideration against armies that have less elite units.

When it comes to your opponents, you can expect Abhor the Witch to be picked against you in every single game by armies that have no psykers, though the upside is that they’ll also be unable to deny your psychic actions.

 

Credit: Charlie A

Let’s Build Some Lists

Now that we’ve gone through all the theory, it’s time to put this into practice. I’ll start with a couple of monofaction lists, and then branch out to some soup options. Right off the bat, the lack of a Supreme Command Detachment means that if we want to add the same number of Thousand Sons psykers to another army we’re going to need to either pay a 180 point premium for 3 Cultist Squads, have a plan for some Rubrics, or scale it back a bit.

Monofaction Thousand Sons

Let’s start with a list that doesn’t include Magnus.

Thousand Sons Battalion Detachment (-1 CP, 1996 points)
Cult: Cult of Magic

HQ: Ahriman on Disc of Tzeentch (170)
HQ: Winged Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Hellforged Blade (195), Magister: Devastating Sorcery, Sorcerous Arcana: Arcane Focus
HQ: Exalted Sorcerer w/Force Stave (100), Warlord: High Magister

Troops: Rubric Marines x10 w/Inferno Bolter (180)
Troops: Rubric Marines x10 w/Inferno Bolter (180)
Troops: Rubric Marines x10 w/Inferno Bolter (180)

EL: Scarab Occult Terminators x10 w/2x Soulreaper Cannon (389)
EL: Tzaangor Shaman (85)
EL: Tzaangor Shaman (85)

HS: Forgefiend w/2x Hades Autocannon (135)
HS: Forgefiend w/2x Hades Autocannon (135)

DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi-bolter (78)
DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi-bolter (78)

This list packs two squads of Rubrics into rhinos and the third can be deployed into the middle of the battlefield with the Risen Rubricae Stratagem, ensuring you’ll be able to occupy the middle of the table as soon as you want it. The Terminators are the army’s big mid-table presence, and with support buffs from the Psykers should be able to lay out some effective firepower. This list will almost certainly want to use the Magister Stratagem to give an extra Warlord Trait (Devastating Sorcery) to the Daemon Prince. The list packs two Tzaangor Shamans for extra help and to give you ideal units for Warpcraft secondary objectives.

If you want to add Magnus, you can do that by taking out the Forgefiends, a Rhino, and a Shaman:

Thousand Sons Super Heavy Detachment (0 CP)

LoW: Magnus the Red, Warlord

Thousand Sons Battalion (0 CP)
Cult of Magic

HQ: Ahriman on Disc of Tzeentch (170)
HQ: Winged Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with 2x Malefic Talons (200), Magister: Devastating Sorcery, Sorcerous Arcana: Arcane Focus
HQ: Exalted Sorcerer w/Force Stave (100)

Troops: Rubric Marines x10 w/Inferno Bolter (180)
Troops: Rubric Marines x10 w/Inferno Bolter (180)
Troops: Rubric Marines x10 w/Inferno Bolter (180)

EL: Scarab Occult Terminators x10 w/2x Soulreaper Cannon, 2x Hellfyre Missile Rack (419)

FA: Chaos Spawn (23)

DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi Bolter (78)

This is likely not the best way to take Magnus – I think there’s more play for him in a list with Mortarion now – but if you’re going to take him in a pure Thousand Sons list, I think this is an OK way to do it. You’ll want to pay attention to your opponent’s army before the game to know if you’ll need to put Magnus in Strategic Reserves  so you can protect him turn 1 and you’ll need to either walk or Webway one of your Rubric squads into position but one Rhino and Risen Rubricae still gives you plenty of mobility on the other two. This list doesn’t have the Shaman support so it’s less likely to be working on Warpcraft secondary objectives.

Soup Options

We still have several soup options with Thousand Sons we can consider when it comes to combining the army with Chaos Space Marines and Death Guard.

Death Guard Battalion Detachment (-1 CP, 1,443 Points)
The Inexorable

HQ: Daemon Prince of Nurgle w/Wings, Hellforged Sword (195), Warlord: Ferric Blight, Relic: The Leechspore Casket, Powers: Putrescent Vitality
HQ: Necrosius the Undying (135), Powers: Blades of Putrefaction, Miasma of Pestilence, Gift of Contagion

Troops: Plague Marines x10 (180)
Troops: Plague Marine x7 (126)
Troops: Poxwalkers x10 (70)

EL: Plague Surgeon w/Hypertoxic Tinctures (-1 CP)

HS: Plagueburst Crawler w/2x Plaguespitters (170)
HS: Plagueburst Crawler w/2x Plaguespitters (170)
HS: Plagueburst Crawler w/2x Plaguespitters (170)

DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi Bolter (78)
DT: Chaos Rhino w/Combi Bolter (78)

Thousand Sons Patrol Detachment (-3 CP, 550 Points)
Cult of Magic

HQ: Ahriman on Disc (170), Powers: Prescience, Doombolt, Weaver of Fates
HQ: Daemon Prince of Tzeentch w/Wings, 2x Talons (200), Powers: Warptime, Infernal Gateway, Magister: Devastating Sorcery (-1 CP)

Troops: Rubric Marines x10 (180)

This list combines the best of both armies, giving you monstrously tough units that can occupy the middle of the board with a bevvy of psychic powers that can put out mortal wounds to take out tough targets and support the Death Guard units by helping them move into position or boosting their accuracy.

 

Lord of Change

Credit: Silks

Monster Mash

I’ll likely put this list in the Daemons Faction Focus as well, but there’s likely some real play in a list packing Mortarion and Magnus again. This list is patterned after the one that Davis Frye recently piloted to a 1st-place finish at a 9th-edition release party RTT in Virginia, and focuses on threat saturation with big daemons (Frye has given credit to Seth Riggins for coming up with the list).

Chaos Daemons Battalion Detachment (-3 CP, 1,035 points)

HQ: Keeper of Secrets w/Shining Aegis, Exalted: Quicksilver Reflexes (-1 CP), Powers: Delightful Agonies, Phantasmagoria
HQ:
Lord of Change w/Baleful Sword Exalted: Random (-1 CP), Powers: Infernal Gateway, Bolt of Change, Gaze of Fate
HQ: Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage, Exalted: Blood-Blessed (-1 CP)

Troops: Nurglings x5
Troops:
Nurglings x5
Troops:
Nurglings x5

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (-3 CP, 495 points)

LoW: Mortarion (495), Powers: Miasma of Pestilence, Blades of Putrefaction

Thousand Sons Supreme Command Detachment (+3 CP, 465 points)

LoW: Magnus the Red (465), Warlord, Powers: Warptime, Doombolt, Weaver of Fates, Tzeentch’s Firestorm

The list packs a massive psychic wallop, able to cast from all three disciplines with some powerful casters, while having some powerful melee threats. The Nurglings are there to occupy objectives from the beginning of the game and come in units large enough to be a real pain to move, especially since they can use the Nurgling Infestation Stratagem from Engine War to regenerate after they take losses.

Also, I asked Davis about which Exalted Traits he chose, and this was his reply. Absolute Legend.

So i never really picked them. I always rolled. But i got extremely lucky on the rolls for the Bloodthirster. He had +2 charge every game.

 

Outlook: Decent

Things aren’t perfect for the Thousand Sons with the nerf to Smite casts, but there’s a reasonable chance that may be addressed in an upcoming 9th edition FAQ and even if it isn’t, the faction came out well enough through the points changes that they have some strong options in an edition that will be dominated by durable units that can hold objectives and control the middle of the table. While they aren’t as durable as the Death Guard, they’re nothing to sneeze at and they pack a much deadlier punch thanks to their inferno bolters. If the Smite issue gets fixed, they’ll be a top-tier army and if it doesn’t, they’ll likely still have some play.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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