Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Friday, April 9, 2010

Unit Analysis: Thousand Sons

Kirby said he'd be unable to post today, so he asked me to write something. This will probably hold little new information for most of you, but it will be a useful exercise for me in writing my first unit analysis.

First, old business. Go join the Necromunda group! The link is a few posts down. It will be great fun, I promise. I'm hoping to start with games next week. If you have any trouble getting Vassal running, email me directly ( If anyone has interest or skill in making Necromunda maps, please do so and save them, then email them to me.

Ok, now some context before we get into the hardcore analysis. As I mentioned before, I started playing 40k when the 2nd ed. box was released, but the passion/addiction didn't really take hold until the first Codex: Chaos was released. I recall it coming out at Christmas and the web says it was 1996, so I guess I was 15, but my memory of being excited makes me want to be younger (if that makes sense). I can still remember ripping open those presents to reveal the codex, plague marines, berserkers, and of course Abaddon. Reading that old book is when I decided that Tzeentch was my favorite god and his followers the Thousand Sons were the coolest chapter/legion ever. I mean, they hit every possible check mark a 15 year old kid could have. Wizards? Check. Egyptian stuff? Check. Cool colors? Blue and Gold, um, check. Super powerful characters? Check. (If you never played 2nd ed, a Level 4 Tzeentch Sorceror Lord on a disc was nasty) Hell, they were even the nerds of the 40k universe. (I'm assuming most you, like me, fell toward the nerd end of the social spectrum in high school. I really haven't played them much since 2nd ed. but I started reading "A Thousand Sons" today and it brought all those feelings back. So I thought, why not play some Thousand Sons. I dusted off my rarely used Codex: Chaos Space Marines and took a look. Join me, will you?

Let's start with the good:
Troops choice. I'm happy already. We need Troops to win, right?
4+ invulnerable. Nice, especially in CC, but troops usually have cover, so it's not amazing.
ap3 Bolters. Again, nice, but reducing saves from 3+ to 4+ isn't quite amazing.
Fearless. ATSKNF would be better for a shooty unit, but it's better than poor regular CSM.
Slow and Purposeful. They want to be in rapid fire range to have any use at all, and relentless lets them sometimes get a charge off to avoid getting charged back next turn. They're always going to be in Rhinos so the DT move isn't much of a hindrance.
Sorceror. Gives some versatility with his power and some CC with his force weapon.

Overall, not much to like.

Now the bad:
Cost. 23 points? Yikes. That's the same as a Plague Marine. Someone at GW must really think highly of ap3. This cost is exceptionally outdated in a 5e world where everyone has 4+ cover, making ap3 and 4+ invul much less useful.
Sorceror. 60 points before powers? Egads man. Once you pick a power he's almost as much as a Librarian and he doesn't even have a hood. Forcing 1 in every unit hurts your budget big time.

Man, they're pricey. And their abilities are relics at this point. Still, 15 year old GWvsJohn (and back before forums, I went by "Tom" What a silly, simple name.) wants to use them.

How to use them:
I think we can all agree a Rhino is mandatory. Since using them as our troops base seriously hurts our melta showing, a combi-melta on the Rhino is probably mandatory as well.
I wouldn't take more than 5 or 6 plus the Sorceror per unit. They're just too expensive and as crappy as the Sorceror is, he's the only way the unit gets duality.
Powers: Wind and Gift aren't remotely worth their cost, so they're out. Doombolt is nice, but if your Inferno Bolts aren't getting it done, more s4 ap3 won't make a difference. We need some versatility here. Bolt of Change gives you some anti-tank ability and Warptime makes you somewhat decent in CC. They're the only 2 real options I think. I'd lean toward Bolt as a Thousand Son based army will be lacking anti-tank.
Support: With less melta than the average CSM force, I think you need 3x3 Oblits to even have a chance. You need to pop some transports early to put those Inferno Bolts to use. If you didn't notice already, Thousand Sons suck in CC, and since they're Fearless, they're staying there. I think you need some CC bailout as well. I'd probably lean toward MM Dreads, as they help your anti-tank as well. Winged Princes are another option. If you're willing to mix gods, a couple of Berserker squads could help too. If mixing, Thousand Sons can take advantage of Lash as well, using it to pull targets out of cover, so a Lash Prince is an option.
Tactics: I think objective placement becomes important in a Thousand Sons list. With ap3 and 4++ you own open ground. Put objectives in the open and dare opponents to go get them. Other than that, careful coordination of units is really important. A crafty general can probably get decent results with the Thousand Sons, but a noob will get rolled.

That's it for now. I'll post a sample list later.


7 pinkments:

Raptor1313 said...

And sadly, a crafty general vs another crafty general with better units bodes ill for the Thousand Sons player.

Which is a damned shame, since I"m a big fan of their models and fluff. They're just too expensive (especially considering the sorcerer), don't do multi-tasking, and their perks aren't even that great of perks.

The_King_Elessar said...

I always loved TSons fluff. I want to punch the Emperor for driving them out of the Imperium - they could have helped so much, you arrogant bastard!


I'm going to write some goddamn fluff for them, too. Yeah. That's definitely maybe going to happen, or not.

Chumbalaya said...

TSons look great, shame about their rules.

Let's see what you can throw down.

MagicJuggler said...

Though Sternguard and a Librarian make a good stand-in for your Thousand Sons.

Kirby said...

Magnus deserves all credit. Did anyone see the model built for him on request in a WD about 4 years ago? Loved it.

Sam Benson said...

I've devoted a large part of the past 2 years building a display Thousand sons army, which is a slow and painstaking process, but very rewarding.
I do play with the force as well though, and I've found all the points made previously do ring very true.
I have pulled off a few very humiliating victories against opponents who seem not to get the idea of cover, or that their marines are as durable as mine in the open, and try to engage me in a ranged firefight they were never going to win.
5th cover saves really neutered the TSons, no longer does AP 3 mean much at all and a marine player who uses cover will always win a firefight with their heavy/special weapons and far superior numbers.
Don't ask me about Orks or Tyranids...

Often I find people underestimate the TSons though, I've had people taken by complete surprise by a unit advancing, rapid firing and assaulting their squad, with the Aspiring sorcerer taking care of any character it might harbour!

Still, 250+ points for a squad of 9 is painful to swallow, and if you want to play a fluffy force, that's what you're looking at.

Anyway, for me it's about the background, some of teh coolest troop models GW produces and building a really nice army to enjoy on the battlefield, and less the outcome.

If you're interested, check out the TSons army blog:

I'm not sure how to make that a proper link here as standard url tags don't seem to work, but it should paste into a browser alright.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea of "Tsons don't kill transports well, so you need 9 oblits" is not quite the right track to take. Tsons are very expensive, so are Oblits. Therefore, if you want to make the most of one aspect of your army, you're going to need to cut costs on the other aspect. I suggest using predators for your anti-transport, along with bolt of change on your units of sons. Add a couple of termicide units, and that will give you a better chance of both popping transports, and having enough Tsons to deal with the stuff that pops out.

Oblits are nice and versatile, but they take a big chunk out of your army when you max out on them.


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