Over the past couple of weeks since the release of the Wrath of Magnus, and the leaking of the rules therein; I have studied the book cover to cover multiple times. I have all but memorized the unit options for everything in the book, and been pondering the possibilities for various lists, mostly within the Grand Coven.
Over the coming couple of weeks or so I will be going over the Wrath of Magnus, and its tactical depth. I will begin with basic unit composition for the Thousand Sons units and will work my way into the Grand Coven and its component parts.
To preface this some of you may have noticed that generally speaking I go with a positive outlook; I came from the halcyon days of 3.5 where Thousand Sons had 2 wound infantry and chosen units full of sorcerers... And quite frankly I think Wrath of Magnus is somewhat a return to form in many respects. Although I have never done this kind of article before so *please bare with me* as I am new to this kind of thing, the Thousand Sons are my original "warhammer crush" so to speak, and really the primary army within 40k that I really enjoy the novels and gameplay for, as such....I've been waiting a LONG time for this.
Now to give perspective; I do not *generally* play "hardcore" tournaments. I have and most certainly will in the future, but they aren't my core focus when I look at a list. My gaming group is a wide variety of armies including most xenos, several marines of both 30k and 40k varieties, and includes a huge variance in lists and power levels.
Generally we start with fairly high points level gameplay, my community generally starts at around 1500 points as a base-line, and works our way up to 1850-2000-2500 points per player. We fall around "semi competitive" or "Casual" in the grand scheme of things, but have had our "power gamer" moments as well.
The order of the Grand Coven Tactica will be as follows:
Ahriman - Posted
Chaos Sorcerer - Posted
Rubric Marines - Posted
Exalted Sorcerer - Posted
Scarab Occult - Posted
Tzaangors - Posted
Magnus the Red - Posted
Grand Coven bonuses/Detachment bonuses - Posted
War Cabal - Posted - Addendum added 1/21/17
Sehkmet Conclave - Posted
Tzaangor Warherd - Posted
War Coven - Posted 1/8/17
Ahrimans exiles - Posted 1/12/17
Rehati War Sect - in process of writing.
and I will briefly address auxiliaries the non-formation auxiliaries after finishing the Formations.
I will also address allied daemons to an extent, though not as in depth as the above.
- There will be a Lore/spells-section added after auxiliares/allies are finished regarding the Tzeentch Lore, and the 10 other lores we have access to, I wont go over "every" spell but I will hit the broad strokes and give advice regarding primaris, fishing, and use of lores -
----------------------- Grand Coven Tactica to follow in adjoined post --------------------------------------------------
Ahriman - The (In)famous Space Wizard, First company captain of the Thousand Sons, and Chief Librarian! We all know him, we all either love him or hate him..... Although Id say now more then ever "love" is on the menu.
So what happened with Ahriman in this update? He retains his old statline, he is identical to his regular chaos codex statline/gear options....with 1 HUGE difference. The Disc of Tzeentch.
He is 30 points more expensive (ouch) then his on-foot variant. But after having a couple of playtest games with him.... What a change it is! I honestly think the Disc was the perfect change for Ahriman, one of my personal biggest issues with Ahriman was his spells were "generally" short ranged, he gets in range, casts a few spells, then gets locked down in melee. Forcibly challenged out due to "Champions of Chaos" and then...well..... *Splat* from the average fist Sargent.
Not anymore! T5 with +1 attack for the Disc is not only a much better statline, but the enemies ability to catch him and lock him down in melee has been stymied giving you a tactical advantage. You have a 12 inch move, a psychic phase for anything you do, and then in the following shooting phase you can turbo-boost him away 24 inchs, throwing him well outside of assault range of things that would be used to lock him down. Overall I think that Ahriman is fantastic and a great choice, he will be the "crux" caster of the list. But for all those positives he does have a big negative; he is VERY expensive. To get the most out of him you need to design with the list in mind around Ahriman, supporting casters, places to hide, units to get behind.
For lore choices; for our beloved Magister Templi of the Corvidae; I sometimes take 2-3 rolls on divination. you get the 1 roll on tzeentch, then I use the remainder for Divination, maybe 1 roll on telepathy or any of the newer spell lists. Divination has proved to be a very valuable asset, and the tzeentch lore is nothing to scoff at with 5 out of 6 potential rolls for Ahirman being excellent (boon of Mutation being the primary "bum" power for high level casters)
If you take Ahriman alot; all 3 major formations with him in it, Sehkmet Conclave, Ahrimans Exiles, and the basic War Cabal are all fantastic choices. War cabal allowing him to lay off divination a bit as you wont need prescience as much (oracular guidance is a bargain basement prescience. not bad at all for a basic formation bonus) The Sehkmet conclave makes him T5 on foot, or T6 on a disc!!! Ahrimans Exiles makes him and his accompanying sorcerers a absolute beasts in the casting phase.
To say nothing of the Grand Covens bonus for him, re-rolling perils? barring getting a spell familar? YES PLEASE. this leaves you with roughly a 33% chance of not receiving a wound on a perils, and saves you the dreaded 1 on the perils chart. Last thing we want is our *expensive* Arch-Sorcerer vanishing into thin air......
I have extensively played Ahriman since the release of Wrath of Magnus, in the War Cabal, the Sehkmet, and the Exiles. He is viable in all of them and really holds his own on the table, within the Sehkmet he is incredibly hard to kill at T6, within the cabal he can lay off buffing and hog dice for straight damage output allowing Oracular Guidance to work on units instead of wasting his potential (and in maxed war cabal he may as well be wearing terminator armor for his ability to shrug off wounds), and within the Exiles his casting potential and dice use go through the roof. He is more viable and powerful now then ever before. and frankly I think hes one of the better casters in the game, able to pull more then his weight almost every game.
I will go more into depth regarding our Arch-Sorcerer when I go over these formations in more detail, all posted below.
Sorcerer - Ah yes; the chaos sorcerer. The old work-horse HQ of psychic chicanery. Good as always, Both worse and better within the Grand Coven and Thousand sons detachments. They are relatively cheap, beginning in our list at a standard 75 points, (automatic mark of tzeentch) and retaining weapon options! These are the very cost-effective choice, and allow melee AP 2 (something we sorely lack!) to be fielded respectably. These have been gone over, and over, and over, and over. And they get better within the War Cabal, Sehkmet, War Coven, and the Grand Coven as a whole. Give them Spell Familiars, discs if you wish, and let them generate warp charges and fight fairly well while tossing out buffs, and having a decent price point.
These don't need "to" much elaboration, the main buffs they get is minor perils protection and the ability to cast a level above their own. meaning Force is easy for that sweet 3++ on tap, among actual buffs and other abilities.
A point of note; with the tzeentch lore becoming (overall) pretty good, I quite like them now, give them an axe and go to town, keep them cheap, or deck them out if you dont want to run Exalteds/Ahriman. (we have staves out the wazzoo so STR 6 / ap 4 is great, but we need some more ap 2)
These suckers can also get the very nice and important "spell familiars" helping out the list immensely with warp charge efficiency. Dont neglect these guys as they are a work horse HQ unit that within our list is easily spammable. Not every list needs all the big bells and whistles to do well ;-)
(side note for FAQ purposes; via RAW in the War Coven an odd discrepancy occurred in that a unit can get bonuses to lores....that he cant even take.... Hoping GW FAQ's this in the future and they probably will, but till then RAI me and friends are allowing the war coven units to gain access to all 5 lores if within that formation, as its pathetically obvious thats the intent of that Formation)
Rubric Marines - Oh boy; This is the rough one folks. Our beloved Dust bunnies. GW's design philosophy behind these is still somewhat confusing to me. They begin at a high price point, at 23 points a model they are 1 point more then sternguard and have access to a 4++ (3++ on tap), with ap 3 bolters, and the newer weapon options. My opinion on these is that generally its either 1 unit for spot removal, or all the way in the War Cabal for the re-rolling 1's (if points allow)
The unit is so niche and so expensive its hard to make effective use with a "middling" amount in the list. I have only played the war cabal one time base, and it is good, it certainly helps. The issue is that this unit is over-costed for what it does. The sorcerer leading the squad is 58 points, before the mandatory melta bomb. So each time you take a unit your taking 4 rubrics at 23 each, and a Aspiring at 58 points. In this case "bigger" is better, so a bigger unit would actually save you points. Within the War Cabal they are Decent, and it certainly helps their high unit cost. Outside the war cabal? IF you intend on using Rubricae this way make sure you design a list around them, or have a specific purpose in mind. IF I do I usually make sure there is a divination sorcerer for access to Ignore Cover, Prescience, or Misfortune for rending ap3 bolters. Ahriman often fits this bill as well. Give them a purpose and they will pull their weight.
Their price point for what they do is very high, granted their are ways to mitigate cost. the 3++ on tap is fantastic at saying "NOPE!" to anything ap-based. but they still retain the issue of dieing to standard gun fire. (beware any basic rifle spammed ad-nauseam)
Within the war cabal, I would take the requisite 1-3 units, but no more. (side note; stay away from the warp flamers....they are a trap!!! *fun games only*) If the flamers were ap 3 we could talk, but sadly ap 4 and at a staggering 7 points a model on an already expensive unit.... Quite painful.
The Soul-Reaper cannon is in a strange place as well, Its a GREAT gun on a Slow and Purposeful platform; but you must take 10 to get it, and generally to protect the investment you spend a further 35 points on a rhino. which makes the squad INCREDIBLY expensive. You can also make a choice to leave out the soul-reaper, and make room in the rhino for 1-2 other sorcerers. so out of a rhino you've got several sorcerers, and a unit of rubricae landing in front of a good target. Certainly another good choice even though it lacks the kick of the Soul Reaper.
A Squad in a rhino has its uses, and i most certainly will take lists where I'm taking 2-3 of the rubric squads, but if you do that your focusing on shooting prowess with psychic help as opposed to the opposite, and your list needs to compensate for that. Oracular guidance and the unit leader able to buff a 3++ is great, but it still does have its limitations, they are 1 wound marines after all, they just don't care nearly as much about AP weaponry (50%-66% less likely to care!)
Additional note regarding Rubrics on the table; the "best" possible use for Rubricae, and the way that they truly shine on the table is within a War Cabal, maxed out for activation of the "Favoured of Tzeentch"
Do NOT neglect the rubrics within a Max war cabal and treat them as a 450 point "tax". I have personally used this formation on the table in 1850-2000-2500 point games, and the basic Rubrics always perform quite well, for the points you pay (23ppm for the basic bolt-gun using Rubric) the Rubrics truly do full fill their role as bodyguards and elite infantry with a statistic for survival falling just shy of terminator durability for (basically) half the points cost.
I bulk out my Rubrics, usually 2 of the 3 squads and try to get a soul-reaper within the unit to really take advantage of a unit that in most circumstances is mind-numbingly hard to kill. If you wish to know more; Please scroll down to the War Cabal and read the Addendum after it.
Exalted Sorcerers - These bad boys, the Best and brightest of Magnus the Red....or the treacherous scum that helped Ahriman with his Rubric..... YMMV! I have seen many people saying they are "overpriced" or "not good enough" as it were, obviously I disagree with that, allow me to elaborate!
We do have 1 major complaint; the hefty price tag (are we sensing a theme here?) These suckers are "sorcerer +1!" and they live up to that reputation on the table. These guys begin at 160 points BASE. Well above the 75 points of your basic sorcerer (for this tactica i am always assuming Mark of Tzeentch comes on the Sorcerer, as well as vets of the long war)
So right off the bat were sitting at a heavy 85 point differential..... Well what do we get for these 85 points?
First and foremost a SUBSTANTIAL stat boost at a full 3 wounds, BS 5 (yay witchfires!) and Init 5 over the basic sorcerer.
They also come stock with Aura of Dark glory, giving an easy 4++ (3++ on tap) as per usual, Fearless (great for those cultist/Tzaangor blobs!), and begin with Mastery level 2, meaning you get a roll on lore of choice just for taking one.
As a final buffer for them over the basic sorcerer you are looking at a once-per-game "orbital bombardment" type attack; an unlimited range small blast, str 9, lance, heavy 1 shot. Using the sorcerers BS of 5, needless to say this is good and very useful for a few things (ap 2 or tank busting as needs must!)
To add to this list they have a HUGE list of lore choices. 11 lores in total, Divination being the stand-out ("basic" sorcerers don't get it!) making them incredibly versatile, thousand sons being the only chaos space marine faction with regular access to divination on demand.
So when you add all of this up you are looking at a very powerful character choice with some great options, but they are indeed expensive. Really when I look at an exalted sorcerer I see a "chapter master sorcerer" equivalent, and in most circumstances 1-2 is all you will ever need. Powerful, potent in melee, and capable at being a "Crux" caster in a list much like a weaker Ahriman.
A couple of notes here; they have gear options from Artefacts (this is great), and have chaos rewards for access to the all important spell familiar! Don't neglect these. It can make these guys go from "pretty good" to "great" really fast.
I almost always put 1-2 exalteds on Discs, the T5 and 4 attacks base is very nice and well worth the 30 points spent, as well as the mobility of a psychic "hit and run" for harassment and keeping your exalted's well out of harms way.
If you put them on a disc you dictate when they commit. NOT your opponent. This is important for a model that generally wont have base AP 2 weapons in Melee keep this in mind when picking your fights on the table.
Thus comes the biggest negatives for the Exalteds - Weapon options....where they at? Well unfortunately they are locked into "force staves".... now I am actually quite fond of force staves.....BUT we already have a lot of those and very little base AP 2, granted i still think that exalted outputting 5-6 str 6 attacks in melee + any buffs...is quite impressive damage output, it does mean that Armor save 2+ models can be an issue, make sure you keep this in mind. As an example I have had a Space Marine Sargent with a 3+ armor save hold me in combat for 3 turns, by himself, against an exalted 8x his point cost, it most certainly can happen so just bare it in mind on the table. (though against 90% of targets they perform fine and do quite well)
I generally also advise putting them on discs.....that T5 alone can save them from "champions of chaos" rule. I save my regular sorcerers for on foot, and dont hesitate to commit my exalteds into power-fist wielding foes! with an almost assured 3++ invul and T5 with 3 wounds? thats a tough nut to crack! (added aside; A sorcerer on disc can fire the Beam while moving as jetbikes give relentless to the rider....just a thought to keep in mind when using exalteds. USE YOUR BEAMS!!!! I myself have forgotten to on more then one occasion *que sad face* )
(Added Addendum 01/08/17): Something to be kept in mind when taking Exalteds is that they are not naturally relentless or S+P and as such if they wish to move AND use their beams you must either be on a disc, or skipping your movement phase with the model in question. Another thing: the beams (while very good) are NOT barrage weapons and as such require line of sight, but also want the model your firing at to be out of cover. IF these shots land they are devestating. damaging even AV 14 on a 3+ (due to lance) Just bare in mind that the enemy gets cover if applicable. and use Discs to position better for the shot.
To finish up; Use your Exalteds people. They have worked wonders for me on the table, and have a place even in competitive environments. I will go over their formations when I come to the formation section of the tactica....needless to say, the War Coven, Rehati, and Ahrimans Exiles are all incredible for them.
Scarab Occult Terminators - And now for the first new "unit" of the release...... the Scarab Occult Terminators! These bad boys I am particularly excited for. "Dust Wing" is now a thing! our beloved Sorcerers did NOT in fact forget to take their terminator armor into the warp! and it comes out better then almost any other terminator in my opinion......and these are (IMO) far better then basic rubricae for the points alotted.... GW has an easier time with new units then old units having different rules, normal trend for them honestly, and they did not disappoint here!
Unlike their Rubricae Power-armored brethren.....These guys are NOT slow and purposeful! (evidently the Aspiring Sorcerer is a scrub at controlling his ashen dead brothers...)
So what we have here is a unit that I need to break down a bit; the first part is.... its base cost is pricey. A base cost of 250 for 5 on the outset made some people balk at the price. For me I did initially, till I sat down and really started going over the price in detail....I think we struck gold here.
For this price we are looking at 40 points a terminator. The basic chaos terminator is 31 points a model before upgrades. We pay 40 for ours....well what do we get?
Mark of Tzeentch is included for that sweet 4++ (3++ on tap), we get AP 3 Inferno Combi-bolters, we get your bog standard power swords (...more ap3....) and basic terminator stats.....Except 1 big addition....we are automatically fearless. This is for the intial 4 Terminators.....the last Terminator....is the beloved Sorcerer-Sargent.
He breaks down to a nice neat 90 points. And this is actually *gasp* at a "discount".....yes...that's right.. A discount. He is a 2 wound, WS 5 Sorcerer, with the same 11 Lore options as the exalted! At Mastery level 2 in terminator armor with the Mark of Tzeentch, and NOT fearless, the same sorcerer would be 125 points.... so we receive a 35 point discount for a sorcerer HQ....In nearly all respects barring gear options.
This to me....feels entirely fair, and to be a well designed unit choice...we pay a hefty cost, but its for a very good reason!
To preface this, you have to be in the right mindset for the Scarab Occult. I will say this from personal opinion from what I have seen so far....I want to say based off the options in front of us....the Scarab Occult are somewhere in the top few terminator units in the game. To be even more specific id say they are one of the best shooting termie units in the game.
They are "mediocre" in melee combat this is true, But they more then make up for it in the shooting phase.... a 5 man unit may take TWO heavy weapon options. a Ten man may take up to FOUR! A 5 man unit can have a Soul-reaper cannon, AND a Hellfyre missile launcher within the same unit. Combine this with the sorcerer with full lore options.... Anyone else see the plethora of possibility here? A 300 point unit that can deal damage, cast spells, and fight "relatively" well against anything that isn't dedicated melee makes for a very good unit, but with a heavy price tag. Though this unit does retain the standard "small arms fire" issue of basic terminators, it does laugh just as much as any storm-shield terminator at AP weaponry (more so in some cases)
They do also have an option for the Chaos Land Raider...which is not a bad choice and decent if you want a unit tooled more for up-close and personal, or perhaps going after an objective with a Str 5 AP 3 warp flamer + a charge from a land raider. It is also valid; though I myself will be focusing on them shooting and either charging after....or just overwatching (yes...the CAN overwatch!)
Along with the Sargent buffing and casting spells? These bad boys perform very well on the table top. Within our 2 "Core" formations of the Grand Coven (both of which they are required for) They become even better, either re-rolling 1's to hit (for the melee/heavy weapons more so then anything else) OR becoming T5! (that helps with the small-arms issue, all but fixing a huge terminator weakness)
So as you can see; I am quite fond of them and will be using them extensively. and I really hope the 1k Sons community does as well! they are worth every point in either formation, and are good enough where taking them in a CAD is valid if they fit your army design. don't neglect the elite of Magnus, they will do well for you!
Tzaangors- These guys are an interesting choice. They have a base statline almost identical to your basic Ork Boyz with T4, Str 3, and LD 7/8 but cost one point more. These is because they also come with a nifty 6+ invul save. Its neat, and these fulfill an important role within the Thousand sons! (Actually several!!!)
The basic Tzaangor unit is 70 points for 10 (in reality id say 80....Twist bray. always.) and these help to "bulk" out our *Extremely* low model count army. This unit is really the epitome of "Cultist +1" and if you look at Cultists and add the mark of tzeentch..... you are looking at a very negligible points difference between a unit of marked cultists (60 points) and a unit of Tzaangors (70 points) (Amended 12/22/2016 for incorrect information regarding points)
This unit is simple, and doesn't have a ton of options which is fine! They work exactly as they are and don't need a whole lot of help base on the table. A group of them can be anywhere from 10-30. They work several different roles very well both IN and OUT of their very good formation.
As everyone knows Objective Secured is a very powerful rule in the current 40k and within a Basic CAD they fit the bill for that nicely, take 10-15 of them, stick on an objective and they have to be dug off. Or take a blob of 30 with a sorcerer or two and you have just given those sorcerers lovely bubble-wrapping that is relatively difficult to kill. (a tiny bit more difficult to kill then an ork blob...so by 16% ;-)
Twist brays are all but required, as their biggest weakness is going to be their base LD is only 7, becoming 8 with the twist bray. There are a couple of ways to assist this, the biggest (and easiest) being to stick a sorcerer in a unit and have him bubble-wrap. Even in this case; still take a twist bray....simply because you also don't want the sorcerer being forced into a challenge if he ends up in a combat with someone in the unit.
The unit of tzaangor should have a specific purpose in mind, even when coming from the Formation: are they bubble wrap? are they a first horde wave? or are they objective cappers?
With this in mind you should decide on the size of a unit. 10 is fine sitting on an objective, go to ground in cover...well...everyone knows the drill on that already! Use them as additional wounds for important sorcerers. Or you can use a unit of 20-30 as first horde waves, a blob of 30 is only 220 points (with twist bray), this blob has about (minus power klaw) the same potential as an ork blob when smacking into a line (or being smacked into) and can help to tie up particularly nasty opponents so that they aren't going after our important Rubricae or their sorcerer masters, or shooting daemon engines/tanks or objectives.
Personally I actually think that Tzaangors are very much the star of the book! They are points effective. well costed overall, and are very easily spammable in and out of the formation (which...by the way... is the best auxiliary option for most thousand sons armies. just FYI)
One final note on the Tzaangors; While I personally see the Twist-Bray as a 10 point auto include........I think the auto-pistols are essentially the exact opposite. Never take them. 10-30 las-pistol shots dont help our list at all honestly when the tzaangors could be even cheaper. No reason to bring that cost up, save the points, give it to a sorcerer for gear or levels.
In short; Use these suckers. I absolutely love them both in and out of the formation and help a great deal with some major weaknesses built into the Thousand sons lists.
Magnus the Red- the Crimson King, Magnus of the one-eye, the Red Cyclops, the Lord of Prospero.
He is quite the number isn't he? When I first saw his model I almost fell out of my chair....then I saw his points cost...and DID fall out of my chair. Hes 650 points, a gob-smacking point total. His stats as previewed by GW's community site are quite impressive. And once you see his abilities and gear it becomes even more so...... BUT; Is he worth 650 points? Lets find out.....
So lets look at some 30k primarchs and their points costs as a basis for comparison with Magnus. They begin their lowest point costed models (lorgar and fulgrim) at 375 points a model. This of course includes a full range of gear and abilities not only for themselves, but also that benefit the army. "the" most expensive primarch (in 30k) is Horus Lupercal, and he comes in at a hefty 500 points. We have to pay 150 points MORE for Magnus then for Horus......well.....thats a heck of a thing....So lets compare;
His base statline (to be entirely fair) is actually above basically all of the other primarchs with Ferrus and Vulkan as the notable exceptions. He has Str 8, and T 7. Nothing to scoff at. His base wounds of 7 puts him in a higher tier of health then almost anything in the game, along with having all the "standard" primarch rules: Fleet, Eternal Warrior, It will not Die, and Adamantium will.
He is also a FLYING Monstrous Creature. he has a 4+ armor save (grav hate is real!) and an invul save of 4++, being a daemon of tzeentch he re-rolls 1's. He also has Vets of the Long War, meaning if a blessing is on him hes sitting at a nice and tidy 3++ re-rolling ones. His Warlord Trait is also pretty good (not great) for when you want to keep a certain opponent at arms length on the table. Fly away, and even if hes grounded your opponent may as well be in difficult terrain. (God help them if they are, at a -4 to charge)
His weapon is fairly excellent and in most cases can actually "make" a new model when it swings, if that 6 happens to be the killing blow for a figure.....you get a free spawn! Since spawns are great....thats pretty awesome for when Magnus gets "stuck-in" (dont count on it; but its nice when it happens!)
Now onto the real meat here; No less then FIVE Psyker Mastery levels. So on his own; He can generate 5 warp charges, and can cast up to 5 times in turn. In the Grand Coven....he can cast 6 times! He is a beast in the Psychic phase. Knowing all 7 spells from Change, all 7 from Tzeentch, and his own "Gaze of Magnus." He is a true master of the art, and harnesses charges on a 2+, while being 100% IMMUNE to perils of the warp...so cast away!!!!
To mitigate his points cost you can actually look at his mastery levels as a form of "army support" in a way. Giving 5 warp charges to the army, and allowing Magnus to use Siphon on 1-2 dice to allow him to harness even more on his own. (RAW Siphon may be one of the most powerful spells in the game, though RAI is contested...either way...magnus is insane when supported with other psykers nearby) If you take away his mastery levels at 25 points a level, he ends up being 525 points for his statline + gear, which feels over costed slightly, but adding in his ability for army support and he becomes incredibly powerful.
Out of the spells he has, one of them is actually a summoning spell, Warp charge 2 to summon an exalted flamer, or Warp charge 3 for a set of 3 flamers, or an exalted chariot!!! With magnus harnessing on a 2+ its easy for him to summon something basically every turn of the game, mitigating his points cost. (this you can count on working. huge added bonus) Magnus truly is a Psychic machine gun, outputting several different spells, with fantastic mobility. As well as being very powerful in his own right before spells.
One point that cannot be forgotten; You cannot hide. If you are on the table Magnus CAN see you for the purposes of any spell he casts (you will of course still receive cover) but he can see, and cast at you as long as you are within the range of the spell. Buildings? Area terrain? Blocking? whats that?!?! He flys over, casts spells at anyone he wishes and dares you to come get him. THIS is a great ability and very useful for his (very much) shooting based Lores.
He also has the ability to fly; which....unfortunately is one of the most abused mechanics in the game. Heres hoping they change it with 8th, and I don't imagine most people would "enjoy" playing against a behemoth in the air that summons, supports the army, blasts theirs away, and can also solo almost anything in their army Barring titans and knights if grounded.
Granted for 650 he is incredibly expensive, but he has more then enough ways of mitigating this cost. this includes support, summoning, buffing, and machine-gunning. I personally think he IS worth his points cost, but he does become the Crux of the army, the army must be designed around him being his primary negative.
Now the important question to most Thousand Sons players out there: is he usable in 1850 and 2000 point games?
In 1850 you are looking at 1200 points of supporting units. Its certainly doable, though at this point id likely drop rubricae completely and focus on Tzaangors, daemons, and some armor.
At 2000 Id be more keen on taking him (my personal preference), with 1350 for support you could plug him into several different formations, afford to support him with better sorcerers and either Tzaangors or Daemons (or both!) And at this point you could afford some Rubricae.
Within formations it helps mitigate cost a great deal giving him additional abilities or supporting elements (the Sehkmet Conclave being incredible for Magnus, and the Rehati being a very good command formation allowing magnus to become the "focal point" of the army)
Overall I think GW did right by Magnus, is he "overcosted"? I want to say yes, but not by much.... I think at 600 he would be absolutely perfect. but at 650 hes still usable, and I think quite good. Though he does have some big weaknesses, Ranged D, and Poison weapons/armies will be the bane of his existence. (And Cuelexus (SP?) assassins are hilarious against him) So beware of these weaknesses, and use him as the crux of an army, you will do well in most games you play.
And with the Crimson King the "units" Section of the Tactica has been finished! Formations shall follow in the section marked off below!
Thousand Sons Formation: War Cabal - This is the first of the big 6 Formations for the Thousand sons, This is one of of our 2 core choices within the Grand Coven, if you want to play a Grand coven there aren't to many options within the Core. So lets get started as I have seen LOTS of talk about this and tons of lists focusing on it (rightfully so)
The War Cabals minimum allotment of units is 1 "leader" model (Ahriman, Daemon Prince, Exalted Sorcerer, Sorcerer)
and then 1-3 Sorcerers / Exalted Sorcerers
For units its 1-3 Rubric Marine squads.
and finally 1-3 Scarab Occult squads.
What do you get for this formation? The first is the most common rule known as "Oracular Guidance." (OG) If a Psyker manifests a spell from within a unit for the War Cabal, then that unit gains Re-rolls to hit of a "1." Its not bad, and certainly makes our basic Rubrics more accurate then your average marine, giving them a nice little boost to their shooting, and helps the missiles/soul reapers in the list as well.
With OG active you can look forward to re-rolling in Melee, shooting, and any witchfires that require a "to hit" roll. I have found this rule to be overall useful in my play testing (and playing) so far.
Its not a bad rule, and fitting for a core formation bonus that feels about right, helping Scarab Occult and Rubrics in shooting, and helping everything in the assault phase. Its incredibly easy to get it active as with the Grand Coven you will have plenty of dice to go around. It also means we don't need to rely on divination as heavily as you would think, Prescience is almost moot if you are focusing on a War Cabal as central to your list design.
Now that that is done with; time for the "Big" rule of the formation. The rule "Favoured of Tzeentch" is the much loved/maligned rule within the new Thousand Sons formations.... The rule states "if you take the maximum number of units within the formation, you can re-roll all saving throws of "1." .
Heck of a rule......The first thing you think is probably.... "WOW! 2+/3++ terminators re-rolling ones! This even makes Rubrics worth taking!!!" the second is "Wait....whats the minimum points required for this?" And to answer that question; Its 1500 points. (no that is not a typo; 1500 points is the MINIMUM lowest possible points cost for this formation to be "maxed out")
A War Cabal with Favoured of Tzeentch rule, 4 BASIC level 1 sorcerers (marked for tzeentch, no other gear), 3 Scarab occult min 5 man units, and 3 min size Rubricae 5 man units..... 1500 points. Giving you the aforementioned Oracular Guidance, along with the re-roll saves, which as you can guess is INCREDIBLY potent on Terminators (statistics posted below), and makes rubrics worth taking and incredibly durable. (again, statistics for this posted below in the Addendum)
But this comes with an issue...... 1500 points BASE for this formation..... No anti tank, nothing beyond 13 warp charges, and a whole bunch of AP 3 bolters with some force-stave wielding sorcerers. (that and 10 rolls on the tzeentch table) As well as the Scarab occult sargents fishing for various spells. So the next thought is "well....we've got the durability....now we need anti-tank and anti-horde" and this is where points costs discussions come into play.
I have written lists for 1850 and 2000 for the War Cabal maxed out. in 2000 its quite doable, and plays fairly well...you will always be outnumbered (you play the chaos equivalent of grey knights.......get used to it.) But the boost in durability is absolutely staggering. At 2000 you have the points needed to get anti-tank, anti-horde, and perhaps upgrade the rubricae to be slightly bigger if need be. (or perhaps in rhinos if you want to keep them mobile and able to support) Anything above 2000 is gravy for a Maxed out War Cabal list.
I have written several lists at 2000 I am pleased with for a maxed-out War Cabal, and to my surprise they play quite well......however 1850 is another story. That point level for the maxed-out War Cabal is incredibly hard to pull off. when I built lists for it I ignored the Grand Coven entirely and just went straight War Cabal with every point available, its still hard to get right.
I have not personally used an 1850 Max Cabal list yet, but the good news is that I have heard the community at large on various websites has had positive feedback regarding the ability of a cabal in 1850 from what I have seen, I will update this further when I have had table-time with my own lists for an 1850 cabal. (added 1-21-17)
Now that I have explained both rules I can see a "divide" between ways of tackling the War Cabal within the community, there's 1 of 2 ways that players generally use a War Cabal from what I see and what I have already played.
1) Use the minimum, 2 sorcerers, 1 Rubric unit (Either huge or in rhino), and one Scarab Occult unit with weapon upgrades, then you use the remainder of your points to cram awesome auxiliaries in (War Coven, Warherd, any of the tanks/daemon engines you want) Or an allied CAD allowing for Ob Sec on cultists/tzaangors, or allied Tzeentch Daemons as well, allowing for greater list variation.
Bare in mind that can work well, you get the Grand Coven overall bonuses which benefit all sorcerers in the list, and you get some nice options when dealing with 1 rubric units and 1 scarab unit, Its not a bad choice. (and OG certainly has its uses for these units) My standard in 1850-2000 is to take a 10 man unit of Scarab occult with 4 guns, and a 10-20 man unit of rubrics with supporting Sorcerer/Astral grimoire. Heck of a punch from either, then fill the list with support elements (AT and AP2 being primary concerns at that point.)
2) MAX OUT ALL THE THINGS! Take a Max War Cabal, all units possible for that incredible re-roll. and then just add support elements based on TAC or what is in your meta (my meta for example has lots of terminators and orks. so hordes and Ap 2 are things I have to prep for. thank God for mauler/forgefiends!) The list more or less designs itself at 1500, you can just alter what you take to get to 1850/2000. It plays very "plod forward and dont die" which is quite fluffy for Rubricae.
My biggest bug-bear with the Rubrics has always been the fluff-inaccuracy of them dieing to small arms fire...like a marine..... well.... Maxed out War Cabal fixes that nicely, if you want more detailed info for a Maximum War Cabal please read below!
Either of these list types are viable, both are playable, and both can be good! I cant wait to see how the War Cabal fairs in various environments, but overall I would imagine it will do quite well in most circumstances. I hope to see many a Tizcan general using this formation, its a good "core" choice and it really befits the 1k sons style.
-Maxed War Cabal Addendum-
So after some play-testing I have had a friend who is far better at math then I am go over some base statistics for me and give a rough outline of Rubrics within a War Cabal. (funny enough my regular Ork opponent!)
We all know the Terminators become nigh-on ridiculous with the very simple 1/36 failures assuming they retain the 2+ armor save (incredible), but alot of people I see take the Rubrics as a form of "tax"....and that's 450 points in Space marine TAX just to take the War Cabal while completely neglecting the Rubricae you bought with it. I have always thought this was a mistake in practice for the War cabal at 1850 or at 2000. (to say nothing of above)
Well I sat down and gave it an in-depth going over, and after seeing the stats for it I am quite pleased with how even basic Rubricae work within the max cabal, this is why I (as you may have noticed) jack up my squad sizes for rubrics within the War Cabal, usually aiming at getting a soul reaper or a big enough squad to threaten most valid targets for at LEAST one squad, if not 2-3 where possible.
The actual survival percentage is roughly 2/9 wounds taken for every save. it boiled down to a rough 78% chance for a Basic power-armored rubricae to survive. so out of every time you roll the save you are looking at a 22% chance of failure overall, this includes the re-roll obviously for the 3+ save, factoring in the failing a save on a 2 of the dice roll, followed by failing on a 1 or a 2 on the re-roll.
This means that in comparison to regular terminators (a 1/6 chance to fail, boiling down to a 16% chance to fail, or an 84% pass rate) we in comparison within the formation gain a 78% pass rate, and a 22% failure rate.... Translation; our Rubric marines are right behind terminators in staying-power. Just shy of terminator saves against non ap 1/2 weapons.
Against ap 1/2/3 weapons (if we assume that a blessing such as Force is active) you are looking at a unit of marines that out-survives just about any terminator in the game....even storm shield users due to the 3++ also gaining the re-rolls from the Cabal.
So not only do you have something approaching terminator survivabilty, but it also doesn't care much about AP weaponry (if at all) due to a natural 4++ and a blessed 3++ and as such is that much more difficult to remove. And this is for about 12 points less then the "standard" terminator (as most I believe are 35 points for most terminators)
Its a very interesting thing to see, granted I have seen them perform on the table against orks, necrons, and eldar, Legion and 40k space marines..... so I have already seen that the Basic Rubrics within the Max-War Cabal are completely worth it for their points cost.....and bring them to fluff-levels of survivability but I thought I would suss out the details for the community at large and perhaps give some factual data for the opinion I hold.
Thousand Sons Formation: The Sehkmet Conclave- The First Company elite of the Thousand Sons! Ahrimans own during the Great Crusade!.......Sadly even many of these First company veterans joined the ranks of the Rubricae. Souls trapped in armored shells.... What has become of them in 41st millennium? ...well....Ironically enough they are far better then their power-armored counter parts....
This is the second of the 2 big formations for the Grand Covens "Core" choices. This formation is fairly simple to start, and in all honesty I believe this to be the far superior build in regards to "competitive" games, and leaves far more diversity in list building due to the significantly lower points requirement.
The Sehkmet Conclave requirements are as follows;
A "Command" choice, being either an Exalted Sorcerer, Sorcerer, Ahriman, Magnus the Red*, or a Daemon Prince**
Then 3-9 units of Scarab Occult terminators.
This formation gives you 1 "real" rule you can use on the table, and a third that is unrealistic for most players in all but the largest of games.
The first rules fear........perhaps we can hope that in 8th this will mean something.........Moving on.
The next rule (and most important) is called "Sorcerous Sigil Wards" Which is "A unit from the conclave gains +1 toughness so long as they are within 6 inches of 2 other units in the Sehkmet Conclave. This is the "important" rule of the formation for sure.
The final rule is the much argued about "favored of tzeentch" which is "you may re-roll all saves of a 1" which as discussed before...in the War Cabal can be eeked out in a 1850-2000 point game....... but what of the Sehkmet? well.....with the lowest possible points allowance you can play this in is..... 2325 points. That and you have to own 45 terminators. So that is pretty much a "no-go" in most players books. (including mine) Don't get me wrong; I adore me some Scarab Occult and I love them on the table. I take at least one unit in almost every game with my Thousand Sons......but owning 45 is a tad much, I own 20 and think I went overboard!!!
So the only real rule in this formation getting dedicated use is the Sorcererous Sigil-wards. However in reality that's all that needs to work. When we look at a Sehkmet Conclave we are looking at 825 points to get this formation working....which "feels" about right both in practicality and table use.
That is bare minimum 3 squads of terminators (12 Rubricae and 3 sorcerers), and 1 basic Sorcerer. This from my perception isn't a bad deal, as a large section of T5 2+/3++ terminators as the "core" of a list is quite a scary proposition, sitting at 15 terminators, 7 base warp charges, and access to all lores on the Scarab sargents. This also helps greatly with the chief complaint regarding terminators: "Small arms fire" killing them far to easily; Well.....T5 is a huge bonus to mitigating that issue.
One additional thing regarding the command element: I would never take a basic sorcerer in the Sehkmet conclave. I would always *ALWAYS* upgrade it to either a Exalted (on disc), Ahriman (on disc), Daemon prince, or big Maggy himself. (I will go more into Magnus and Daemon prince later)
Simply enough this Idea is, take a sorcerer (your pick!) or Ahriman, and stick them at the center of the formation, make them level 3, let them cast spells all day long. sitting at T6 on a disc with a 3++ invul with ranged spells/buffs.
When I run this however I am looking at about 1000-1100 points or so If you plan on running a sorcerer/Ahriman as the primary HQ. this leaves with 1850 and 2000 both having a fair amount of points to play with, Allied CAD, Auxiliary tanks/daemon-engines, or Daemonic/Chaos Guard allies!
My basic strategy for this is (ironically and fittingly!) a Pyramid structure tilting on an axis. Take a Pyramid, put a unit on each end of the pyramid, stick Magnus/Ahriman/Daemon prince/Disc Exalted at the dead center, and pivot the units to fight where needed, leaving 1-2 in front, 1 in back, character in center. keeping all units within 6 inchs of another unit. Fairly easy, but does limit movement, this will be mitigated in supporting elements. Usually I stick a Sorcerer or Ahriman within a unit at first, then separate him later allowing me to keep the +1 toughness even late into the game. Removing T5 termies with storm-shield equivalent saves is not easy.
This is both great; Wow...heck of a core. and bad....as it does "Centralize" your list. (this is just my personal strategy, I am sure there are plenty of other valid ones) Now onto the support elements that would help this issue.....
In this list a few things are great, and a couple are "meh" and must be kept in mind, for this particular formation I like using Warherds, or a CAD with cultists/tzaangors added, as the numbers must be pushed up a bit to compensate for lack of initial bodies. This list also gives a very reliable core to the center of a list with casting as well, as you have 3 units that can "body guard" better then almost anything in the game for sorcerers in those units (not including their own dedicated sorcerers)
Another idea for supporting this list is maulerfiends/forgfiends. I would love to run 2 forgefiends with this list behind the main line of terminators, that combined with terminators, and a divination sorcerer leading the command element.....thats ALOT of shooting. (and not half bad casting either) for only around 1500 points (give or take gear/items) and then at 1850-2k you can bulk out substantially.
You can if you wish run an additional terminator squad, though I would save that for 2k+ only. at 1850 the 3 squads with weapons and Large character at center would work very well. otherwise you are looking at 1200 points + guns in terminators. Generally I would prefer to bulk out the existing squads, but taking a 4th may have its merits in 2000+. In 2k if i am not using allies I usually get either a fully bulked out Occult squad with 4 weapons, OR buy an additional squad for another unit. allowing 5 units within the Conclave including the Character to retain access to +1T
The Sehkmet are far easier to make competitive as they allow for more variation in list building with a very strong "core" formation at the center. The extra bells and whistles arent needed for this to work, it just does. The only primary suggestion i will make; always take the missiles/reapers in the scarab occult. The combi-bolters and power weapons speak just fine on their own, but the extra heavy weapons compliment the unit and although expensive usually (in my experience on the table) pull their weight for the points.
another thing you can do if you wish to bulk up more, bulk out one squad to a full 10 man, use them as the "front" line of the formation, and this allows the other squads to go as needed with the command choice.
*Magnus the Red*; So to those who haven't figured it out....yes....this formation DOES give Magnus the Red T8. AND this formations design allowing him probably is the reason that GW didnt make him T8 to begin with. (didnt want a T9 running around) which feels fair.
He obviously becomes the center of the pyramid and fires spells, buffs, summons, and shoots gaze/blasts everywhere he can while sitting behind the front line, then when combat is joined he hops over, and charges wiping out whatever is engaging the terminators (or a new more......tempting target) and due to his base being huge is VERY easy to put within distance of those termies for those sweet sweet T8/T5 bonuses.
**Daemon Prince**.... This one is more or less just "baby" Magnus the Red. Do the exact same thing, and in this rare instance you don't even need to give the prince Wings if you don't wish, T6 4++ re-rolling 1's with 4 wounds is a solid stat line for a level 3 casting prince. (although wings give so much utility its probably still a decent idea)
To summarize; This is the better of the core formations, and honestly out of our 6? id say its probably one of the top formations on the table as well. Use it. Love it.
Thousand Sons Formation: The Tzaangor WarHerd- The Warherd is an interesting auxiliary and somewhat places in the same way as a formation for cultists would, except this one really lands in a unique place due to an aspect the Thousand Sons normally lack in the Grand Coven - Speed.
This formation requires a Sorcerer (exalted or vanilla) and 3 units of Tzaangors. So right off the bat the minimum cost of this formation is 285, and gives you 31 models including a tax-sorcerer. You can add to this formation 0-6 Tzaangors OR Chaos Spawn*
This formation as I mentioned; gives some speed to the normally slow and plodding Rubricae of the Thousand Sons. And at a reasonable price point. This formation like the others has some nifty little bonuses;
Fleet - This rule in general is always good. and in the case of the tzaangors helps them close the distance so they don't get shot up so bad, as well as allowing a re-roll for the charge distance rolled....Not bad!
Something that only recently came to my attention is that the Sorcerer within the Warherd formation gains the "Fleet" rule. Meaning that the best 2 formations for a "beat stick" melee sorcerer on disc...is either in the Warherd for fleet (re-rolling failed charges) OR the Sehkmet conclave (the T bonus while on disc bringing him to T6 for melee) Just something to bare in mind. This also includes Chaos Spawn in the formation, 5 Spawn + Seers Bane Sorcerer in the formation makes for a lightning fast unit that can slam into and wreck alot of big targets. (heck a biomancy sorcerer with Stave also would work str 6 base only getting better as things ramp up)
(Fleet Edited in reference to the sorcerer/fleet)
Avaricious Vigour - The Tzaangor units from this formation may Run AND Charge in the same turn......wow.....that kinda just gave nice framing for Fleet in this formation....those tzaangors really will pick their battles in most scenarios. In a fluffy little bonus any charging tzaangor unit rolls a 9 or MORE on their charge roll you add 1 to their strength and 1 to their initiative. That part...while nice when it works, is not quintessential and is a nice "added" bonus when you happen to roll it. (I believe the math comes out to something around a 27% chance, so a little over 1/4th) But don't count on it when looking at this formation!
The final bonus..... Favoured of Tzeentch..... re-rolling 1's for saving throws.....and its not terribly hard to access as you need 0-6 units of Spawn or Tzaangor.....but why would you want to on units that have a 6+ invul save? who cares? feels like a bit of a waste to me.
So the obvious strengths of this formation are easy to see, combined with the innate toughness of a Tzaangor (T4 and a 6+ invul) This lets those blobs of Tzaangors PICK their battles. they run across the board and either claim objectives, engage opponents with opportune charges, or can hang back behind the line to support walkers or Sorcerers.
The Warherd falls right in as a great auxiliary for the War Cabal or Sehkmet Conclave. Allowing for a good amount of models on the table in support of the quality shooting of the Rubricae or Scarab Occult, Use smaller units of Tzaangors as objective cappers or Sorcerer bunkers, use the larger blobs to run interference for the Rubricae/Daemon engines.
Generally when it comes to the War herd I personally shoot for 20/10/10 for unit size, or 20/20/10 something in that range. usually leaving 1 unit at ten, and then using the others as support between 15 and 20 models each.
Now for an extremely important part of the Warherd....... Chaos Spawn* this addition to the formation (in my opinion) is a HUGE boon to us. I personally (given we cant run screamers with our sorcerers) choose to use Chaos Spawn as a 2-5 man Retinue for a valued sorcerer (or several....)
This gives Thousand sons a couple of things we need; Melee punch. Toss a unit of 5 chaos spawn and exalted into almost anything and they will shred that target, and of course a retinue for a disc sorcerer. T5, multi wound, 6+ invul, and hit like trucks in combat and retaining their speed with the jetbike in tow! I really dig the synergies here and have seen them used to great effect on the table. Scary unit and scary potential!!!
As you can all probably tell; im fond of this one.
reasonable points cost, great bonuses, and takes a decent unit and makes them damn good on the table!
Thousand Sons Formation: War Coven: The Thousand Sons of Prospero had the 5 Primary Cults within their military structure. It was outside chain of command and allowed each Sorcerer to not only be ranked militarily, but for ranking their talents within certain schools of Sorcery....and for those of you who love the cults from the novels as much as I do... THIS is the formation you use!
The War Coven is the "Bargain" Cost Ahriman's Exiles, while still being a fantastic addition to a War Coven, it allows for easy access to a plethora of sorcerers AND is your "auxiliary" choice within a Grand Coven.
Please Note; There is a disclaimer before going into tactics regarding RAW vs RAI within the War Coven as there is a rules discrepancy built in to the coven and seemingly omitted from direct statements within the rules of the formation. So this creates a RAW vs RAI argument that will be covered first.
So the choice for a War Coven are as follows:
You pick a "command" model, and the choices are either a Daemon Prince, an Exalted Sorcerer, or a Sorcerer.
then you may take 3-9 Exalted Sorcerers, or Sorcerers.
The Rules that accompany the formation are "Prosperine Cult" which allows you to pick one of the five base lores within the primary rulebook, after choosing said lore, you harness from said lore on a 3+ with any sorcerer/prince from the Coven.
Before I go into the actual "tactics" of using this formation let me tackle the issue:
----A disclaimer regarding RAW vs RAI in regards to the war coven-----
The War Coven has a discrepancy in it in regards to Lores and what sorcerers can and cannot take. The formation reads "Before Generating powers for models from a War Coven, you can choose a single cult of Ancient Prospero from those listed below, all units in the formation then count as having belonged to that cult. And harness warp charges of 3+ when attempting to manifest psychic powers from their cults associated psychic discipline.
You then choose one of the 5 prosperine cults, All 5 cults cover all 5 basic psychic disciplines within 7th edition 40k. (not including daemonolgy disciplines.)
Biomancy, Divination, Pyromancy, Telekenisis and Telepathy. This bonus is then applied to everyone in the War Coven.
Some of you may have already noticed it; the big discrepancy is that normally Telekinesis and Divination are not usable by Daemon Princes or Chaos Sorcerers. The discrepancy is that you are in a formation, which gives bonuses to casting, which these models *technically* cannot receive. that is the "RAW" interpretation. That being said, Most of the people I have met obviously see the RAI intent of the rules and the formation, and Daemon Princes and Sorcerers CAN in fact use telekinesis or divination within the War Coven.
Everyone knows GW's writing isn't the clearest. And the blurb before the cults makes it pathetically obvious "they were a member of said cult, therefore know those abilities" and if you dedicate the cult to Corvidae or Raptora then you receive Divination or Telekinesis on the sorcerers in question. "all units count as having belonged to that cult" is more then enough for most people, but every group has someone that would prefer to go by RAW interpretation.
Though the general community online tends to think the "RAW" interpretation is correct, I hope this gets FAQED in the future for clarity.
So......now that THAT'S out of the way...lets move on. I will assume (as you may all be able to tell) that all 5 cults are accessible to the models within the formation.
Now the other bonus is the all to well known and maligned/loved "Favoured of Tzeentch" we all know it at this point, Ive gone over it half a dozen times already, and needless to say....if you are doing this in 1850-2000 with 9 sorcerers and a Command sorcerer....good luck fielding anything else! Though interesting for 1-off goof around games, I wouldn't use it in any serious capacity.
This formation gives you some very interesting possibilities within list building. It allows you to have easy access to several things that could help the Thousand Sons on the table a great deal, less warp charge consumption, and more effective casting of a single spell type, of which you can spam access to.
We have an issue with a few things, hordes, AP2 in melee, and tank busting reliably. We usually use spells to cover one of these gaps, and use list building to cover the remainder. I myself focus on one of two build types, either use sorcerery and psykers supplemented by some shooting. OR the reverse; High amounts of quality shooting supplemented by sorcerers. (these options being our 2 primary list types. as most have noticed barring some of the best psykers in the game we are fairly rigid in terms of list design)
The War Coven allows us to work around these weaknesses by picking the Discipline best suited for us. Because you don't choose the school you harness at LIST design, you choose it just before you generate powers....you will already know what your lists weaknesses are, and what your opponents are before you even generate. This allows the War Coven incredible flexibility.
This War Coven Formation also has a half decent price point, The minimum is "Technically" 4 sorcerers with mark of tzeentch....but in "reality" to make use of the formation bonus to make it really worth taking you need to upgrade each to a minimum of level 2, preferably level 3. So the "actual" minimum of the formation is (give or take) 400 points.
4 Sorcerers, each with mark of tzeentch, and 1 additional level for generating a power. This comes to about 100 points each. So 400 for the minimum for the formation to get effective use of it.
The nice thing about it is the easy access to any lore, Telepathy, Divination, and Biomancy everyone is well aware of. Overall good lores, good primaris, and you can fish for powerful spells and not be to bothered if certain others come up.
Pyromancy and Teleknesis I have issues with in some scenarios, but Pyromancy (especially if using a disc sorcerer coven) has its uses for flying up, blowing novas or flamering units, then flying 24 inchs away far beyond effective retaliation. This can be picked on the spot before the game starts, helping tremendously with Hordes and Spamming lists for weaker units that are difficult for our expensive rubricae to deal with. Being that the casting is 16% more effective within the chosen lores, it helps flexibility. If you happen to roll a bum power? Primaris is always useful.
For something like a list focusing on quality shooting....spamming sorcerers in Divination may have some great effect as well, precognition sorcerers, rending bolters, ignore cover bolters, Even allowing for the "meta" advantages of Sciers gaze in Malestrom missions. Fishing for what is most useful for you, and being easier to cast for these spells.
Biomancy... well at this point we all know how good it and Telepathy are. Invis, Shriek, pretty much all of biomancy. and the majority of telepathy also has incredible uses. especially casting on 3+ you can feasibly 1-2 dice almost all WC 1 powers. and within the Coven tossing out more spells is always a good thing.
Basically this formation takes the Decent base lores, gives you an easier casting attempt, and allows you to tailor either to your list design, or your opponents weaknesses. And as an added Bonus; Please remember when going for powers that you roll powers "one by one" technically. So if you are fishing for powers on a level 3 sorcerer or the likes of Ahriman, you roll ONE at a time. That way if you get lucky after 1 spell you can ditch that lore and get from another lore you want.
Generally speaking I love the flexibility within the War Coven, I had thought about a Daemon Prince with divination, but the issue there is you are fishing for Precog, we have enough access to Prescience already so its probably safer to go with a different lore at that point.
Within a shooting heavy thousand sons army, focusing on the ranged output id go for Divination War Coven in a heartbeat, fixing some BIG issues within the thousand sons at range, rending, ignore cover, and re-rolling all to hit rolls being extremely plentiful.
and just sacrifice a daemon princes ability to cast on a 3+ for some attempts at Biomancy while the rest of the coven focuses on supporting the army or any of the "new" lores as well, all of them having uses and a very good spell list.
I really like this one on the table. I see a lot of potential for this one In its own Grand Coven or even if you just take it as a Formation attached to a CAD. I have used it both ways, and enjoy the versatility it brings.
I see this particular auxiliary as a great choice, both by itself in addition to a CAD. or in a Grand Coven to really supplement casting ability. Making Rubricae, Terminators, daemon engines, or tanks that much more dangerous, or allowing us to alter our list to help with the likes of AP 2 or Anti-Horde powers, easing our worries of being outnumbered or outgunned, and giving us the dice to deal with a plethora of issues. This formation will see the table a lot both in and out of the Coven, I see alot of potential here.
Thousand Sons Formation: Ahrimans Exiles - This is one of the "big money" formations, The Exiled Elite of the Thousand Sons, far and apart from the "Second Rate" sorcerers that stayed with their father on Sortiarius. They have gone by many names, Prodigal Sons, Brotherhood of Dust, but for us? We can simply refer to them as "awesome."
This formation is both incredible and awe-inspiring, yet horrific on the table, its a "war coven +1" formation, far better then the war coven...but the price is set to match the greatness.
To start.... the formation requires Ahriman being the *Only* command option, as you could probably guess by the title!
Followed by 3-9 Exalted (and only Exalted) sorcerers.....very simple, not to many options on the surface.
This formations bonuses are the already much discussed "Favoured of Tzeentch" which hilariously you can activate for the low-low price of 1670 points! Its a bargain!!! (ouch)
Then there is the real meat of this formation, its simple and effective rule, "Cabal of the Rubric" : "Ahriman and models from this formation that are within 18" of Ahriman Harness warp charges on a 3+"
Wow........This cranks up Ahriman and his Exalted brothers to an insane degree. Casting 16% better, for every model as long as Ahriman is on the board and in range. This allows Exalteds with spell familiars to very easily 1 dice warp charge 1 spells and reliably cast, freeing up a lot of warp charges for other uses.
This (as you may have guessed) also makes Ahrimans Psyker-Barrage style even more potent, within the grand coven he would be throwing out up to 5 spells, 3 of which may be the same Witchfire power (take your pick) He can even more-easily scream units or scrapcode tanks off the board....and with this effective warp charge generation he wont hog warp charges as much as in other lists.
Everyone right off the bat can see this formation for the power house it is. However there is one major issue.... *at the risk of sounding like a broken record* The points cost.......... The BASE points cost of this formation with no upgrades, familiars, or artifacts....is 710 points. Of course you want to give everyone discs, and probably another level of power to each of the Exalteds......and the all important spell familiars to make that lovely 3+ harness even MORE reliable..... So you (After Level 3, discs, and familiars for all!) end up at a rather gob-smackingly high 950 points.
This is a staggering use of points in a standard 1850-2000 point game. So the question is......is it worth it? The only answer I can give you is "YES!!!"
At the time of writing I have had 2 games with the Exiles, and despite the incredibly crazy point cost (though you can most certainly cut a couple corners) they are completely worth it. Exalteds are great, and I find Ahriman (despite being slightly overcosted) to be overall fantastic and reliable in the games I bring him. Now you are giving me something that allows this formation of 4 models....to effectively prop up an entire army......Its an attractive (if risky) proposition.
So the primary issue with the Exiles is that their points cost is horrendous, and as such needs to be properly supported. You design the list to work around the Exiles. They become central to the lists function and you need to bare this in mind when building them. Let the Exiles do the heavy lifting and give them proper support through either a CAD, or the Grand coven.
One thing of note within the Grand coven, the Exiles are a Command option, as such this means to get the full bonuses of the Coven you would need a Conclave or a War Cabal (the war cabal minimum being 550) so that would put you effectively at the price of Exiles + the minimum war cabal + an auxiliary choice, as you can imagine....this becomes problematic in normal sized games. Just something to keep in mind is that you will be paying the price of the exiles + at MINIMUM 650 points (550 war cabal + helbrute being the cheapest aux) to be able to use them within a grand coven. In above 2000 this shouldn't be an issue, but under 1850-2k it becomes a drain to keep in mind when designing a list.
As such with the Exiles, don't be afraid to just go with a CAD. Use it as a basis for support, toss in cultists, tzaangors, allied daemons, armor/walkers, and let the exiles get to work on the table, sitting at a base-line of 13 Warp charges I have found is overall very good for the formation, but within the CAD you could toss in either Daemon allies, or another Sorcerer at level 3 as an HQ to support for some extra dice for the Exiles to hog.
My average with War Cabal and the Exiles was 19 power dice, and it allowed the exiles to effectively prop up the entire list, but it filled almost the entire 2000 point list with very little wiggle room.
The best part of the exiles is that not only are you harnessing on a 3+, its not like the coven where you pick one thing to harness, its ANY and ALL spells the Exiles and Ahriman possess, new lores, old lores, daemonology.... take your pick! When rolling for powers, pray that someone rolls Siphon on the tzeentch table, it makes this formation all the more powerful on the table and lightens the warp charge load even further.
*Remember* When rolling powers you roll ONE. AT. A. TIME. Don't just batch-roll powers. If you don't like a power you get, think about it, go over the other lore options, you are NOT locked into one until you roll, so once you see a power....think about it for a minute and make sure it or the primaris is worth getting. Also note that you will now what your enemy is bringing before you even roll, so can adjust your power/lore selection accordingly, this has saved me in more then one game and allows the Exiles to be incredibly flexible (for a formation that will often be *literally* 4-5 models)
Overall I really like the Exiles, and considering my extensive use of Ahriman and Exalted Sorcerers, its a natural transition to use them. However, when doing so you need to keep in mind Lore choice, army composition, and supporting elements. And choose between the CAD or the Grand Coven to really make the best use of the remaining points. when a formation of so few figures takes up roughly 1000 points, you need to really keep the other elements of the list in mind....armor, body count, supporting elements, and ways to deal with various opposing builds. Of course half of these ways are "chuck spells at them!" which works with this formation incredibly well, just remember to keep the remainder of the list in mind to properly support the exiles and you will see Ahriman and brothers stopping whole armies in their tracks!
I really enjoy this formation, I think that overall its very powerful, but has a gut-wrenchingly high points cost so you must have plans (hah) to go with the list to really make the best use of Ahriman and his powerful brothers.....that being said......I really enjoy it on the table, and see its potential and power with the right combination of lores.
Edited by Sonoftherubric21, 22 January 2017 - 11:33 AM.