Wrath of Magnus Review: Formations and Detachments


PeteyPab has the scoop on the new 40k Wrath of Magnus formations and formation based detachments. Check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

Before I go onto the review I would like to say that there is a lot of interesting, new units and dataslates in the book and if you want to know what those are first check out Reece’s review here. He is also going to go over Magnus in all his glory (lucky…) so if you haven’t already I would suggest reading that article first, I will be waiting right here after you recollect your jaw.

Also, this review is based on a first reading of the book, so take it was a grain of salt! I may miss something and my initial opinions may change. Let me know if you disagree with me on any points in the comments section!

Tzeentch Meme

Welcome! Or welcome back, the Wrath of Magnus book is going to set the entire 40k world on fire. It is exciting for every player of the 40k community not only because it is giving the Chaos Space Marine faction a much needed boost, but also because of the precedent it sets. I do not honestly think Magnus will be the only new primarch revealed and this book is indicative of GW’s desire to advance the storyline and give us smashing new models and rules in the process. So without further ado, here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly formations and detachments in The Wrath of Magnus.


The Good (WahaWuaaaaaaa)

  • Thousand Sons Grand Coven: The Formation Based Detachment (FBD) for the new Thousand Sons faction is not particularly amazing rules-wise. It’s command benefits let you reroll your warlord trait, let you reroll perils, and let each of your psykers cast an additional spell beyond their mastery level. That is solid, but not amazing. What makes the FBD good is it’s options. It has a cheap Core choice (550 points minimum) and allows you to take Magnus by himself as a command choice, and a single Heldrake as an auxiliary choice. You also have other single standalone options, but I think the Heldrake is the best choice.
  • War Cabal: The superior core choice, it comes with the Favoured of Tzeentch rule (more on that later) and if a psyker successfully manifests a power in a War Cabal unit then it lets the unit reroll all 1’s to hit until the start of your next psychic phase. This can make your already lethal models more lethal and makes the Thousand Sons lethal in all three phases of the game. The cheapest way to kit it out is with 2x Sorcerors, 1 unit of Occult Terminators, and 1 unit of Rubric Marines.
  • Tzangor Warherd: The best Auxiliary formation in the Thousand Sons FBD, the warherd makes your cheap Tzangor units better by giving them the ability to run and charge in the same turn. They also get +1 strength and Initiative if they roll a 9 or better for a charge. This is also the easiest formation to activate the Favoured of Tzeentch rule. It also allows you to take 0-6 chaos spawn if you want to spice things up a bit.


  • The War Coven/Ahriman’s Exiled: I was tempted to put these two formations in the “Ugly” section because they are just so plain, but I realized these formations are just another version of the Cyclopia Cabal and Librarius Conclave. Both formations allow up to 10 individual pskers, with amazing wargear options, and the ability to harness powers on a 3+. The Coven do so for one psychic discipline from the BRB, and the Exiled allow it as long as the model is within 18′ of Ahriman. Expect these formations to become all the rage because all of the models have access to some amazing options. Think Traitor’s Hate powers, with level 4 psykers, riding on jet bikes (discs of Tzeentch).
  • Brimstone Conflagration: Not only is the name great, but the formation isn’t terrible. With a cheap 1 exalted flamer tax, and 3-9 brimstone horror units it is a cheap formation with some explosive play. Literally. The formation lets your brimstone horror models (not units) “consume themselves with flame” and do D3 str 4 ap4 hits to a unit in close combat, at the cost of a lowly 3 point model to EACH unit in close combat with the horrors. Thats pretty hot.
  • Omniscient Oracles: This formation allows you to bring Fateweaver, and 1-3 Lords of Change to give you the ability to reroll the seize the initiative roll, as well as any reserve rolls. Oh, and there is that business about letting you reroll 1s for all your to hit, and to wound rolls as well as all of your psychic test. But who’s gonna use that?
  • Heralds Anarchic: Chaos Daemons finally get their own broken psyker formation in the form of 3-9 Heralds of Tzeentch which generate one additional warp dice in each psychic phase per model in this formation on the battlefield. Which can be really helpful when you’re trying to manifest 20 powers a turn.


The Bad (WuaaWaahWuaaaaaaa)

  • The Favoured of Tzeentch Special Rule: I am so sorry Tzeentch enthusiasts. I wanted to love this rule, I really did. It allows the formation to reroll all failed saving throws of 1. Not bad right? There is a caveat though. You need to take the maximum number of units in the formation. This can get really expensive, really quickly. Since a lot of the Thousand Sons models in the book are really expensive, and Tzeentch’s favorite number is 9. The rule is good, but when you have to spend 2250 points on Terminators to get it, it can be a bit lackluster. The cheapest way to get access to it in the book is the Tzangor Warherd where it actually is pretty amazing.
  • Sekhmet Conclave: Speaking of terminators, this formation lets you take any of the HQ choices, plus magnus, and 3-9 Occult terminators for +1 toughness to units that are within 6′ of 2 other units fom this formation. At 50 points a model, the Terminators are the equivalent of Grey Knights. Both in power level, and cost. One unit might make a good base for a deathstar, especially with the new Traitor’s Hate powers, but I don’t see people wanting to run 3.
  • Pandemonium of Tzeentch: The Chaos FBD is underwhelming. There isn’t much to say here it has a cheap core choice but the Daemonic Incursion FBD from the Curse of the Wulfen book is superior. The command benefits let you reroll your warlord trait, or the result on the Tzeentch Warp Storm Table (which is ok), but that is what you would expect. The real dissapointment is the Ephemeral form rule. Which gives the models in the formation +1 invuln save (up to a maximum of 3+) but at the cost of the Daemon of Tzeentch ability to reroll failed saving throws of 1. Which is, what I think, really makes units in the army shine. Especially because the Grimoire, and going to ground in ruins are still a thing.

the ugly

The Ugly (WaaaWahWahWuaaa)

  • Lorestealer Host: A cheap core choice for the Pandemonium of Tzeentch FBD with the blue scribes and 3-9 blue horrors. It can be kind of cheeky, and gives Tzeentch a bit of an anti-psyker element, which is nice. But what essentially amounts to preferred enemy psykers, and +1 strength to witchfires if you are within 9 inches of an enemy psyker is nothing to write home about. The real saving grace for this formation is that it is cumulative with other strength boosting abilities like the Locus of Conjuration for some terrifying Flicker Fire shots.
  • Rehati War Sect: This formation would be awesome if you didn’t compare it to some of the other psychic formations in the book. It lets you bring Magnus and 3-9 Exalted Sorcerors/Deamon Princes. These units have line of sight to everything on the battlefield (not infinite range) when determining targets for psychic powers and harness on a 3+ if within 18 inches of Magnus.

pablos logo

So that’s my review. Tune in next week for a special episode of Chapter Tactics where I will be going over the effect the Wrath of Magnus book will have on the tabletop, and at events.

Which of these formations are you most excited about?

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

Frontline Gaming will buy your used models for cash or store credit!



About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

59 Responses to “Wrath of Magnus Review: Formations and Detachments”

  1. abusepuppy November 26, 2016 12:36 am #

    >At 50 points a model, the Terminators are the equivalent of Grey Knights.

    GK Terminators are only 33pts/model; they’re actually one of the better buys in the codex as well as for Terminators in general. Unless you meant Paladins, which are two wounds each.

    • Peteypab November 26, 2016 11:33 pm #

      I guess you’re right. Paladins are where my thought process was. Either way, even at 33 points per Grey Kmight termis are still inferior to most troops choices.

      Terminators just aren’t very good right now.

      • abusepuppy November 27, 2016 4:50 am #

        Eh, GK Termies are pretty alright at 33pts, since they come with force weapons and have good gun options as well as psychic powers. Grav murders them, but Grav murders most things pretty hideously- they do at least benefit from an invuln save.

        I wouldn’t call them great, but in a Nemesis they are a fairly legit threat to a lot of things. You’d rather have a Dreadknight, but as far as Troops go they’re at least as good as Tactical Marines.

  2. Tooks November 26, 2016 1:48 am #

    Is that Heralds Anarchic formation description correct? If so… god save us.

  3. BoomWolf November 26, 2016 7:29 am #

    I thought the terminators are 40 per model?
    That’s what it says on your other post.

    Also, having a hard time telling just what is available to each “faction”.

    What CAN the War Cabal actually contain? what is it’s upper limit? any “non standard” 1ksons units? (raptors, talons, bikers, w/e)

    Any way to get other tzeentch daemons in there? chariots, screamers and such?

    • Peteypab November 26, 2016 11:30 pm #

      It’s 250 points for 5.

      • Happy_Inquisitor November 27, 2016 6:43 am #

        One of those guys is a lvl2 sorcerer with full access to all the powers. Even if we take 40 points each for the normal guys that makes him a bargain at 90 points in terminator armour – a base lvl2 GK Librarian is pretty good value at 110.

        Ignoring the fact that you have psykers in these units is rather missing the point – and the points value – of the army IMO. If anyone thinks that taking sorcerers is a tax then this is definitely no the right army for them – go play Khorne.

        • Peteypab November 27, 2016 11:51 am #

          I have no idea where you’re going with your post. But, they are 6 wounds at 250 points with no weapons above a 24 inch range. You can never get them with the ability to reroll 1s on there failed saves because you have to take 9 of them. Which is 2250 points alone. At least outside of apoc or large friendly games.

        • abusepuppy November 27, 2016 12:25 pm #

          The fact that you’re getting a ML2 squad leader in the unit is nice, but don’t mistake him for an actual Sorcerer. He can’t leave the unit, so if you take three or four casualties he can’t go find more ablative wounds. He doesn’t have access to the same gear loadouts as a normal Sorcerer, either, including the all-important Spell Familiar.

          They’re not awful. I think the terminators are pricey, but usable in casual play. But in competitive play, 250pts for five guys is simply not an acceptable price when one Grav Cannon can wipe out most of the squad in a single volley (not to mention other issues.) They’re still more-expensive-than-normal Terminators, at the end of the day.

          • Alex R November 27, 2016 8:48 pm

            Im also pretty sure these guys can over run as theyre using tartos terminator armour from the horus heresy. If this is true they will be so much better than standard terminators with a 4++ re rolling 1s yes please

          • abusepuppy November 27, 2016 11:48 pm

            They don’t reroll 1s unless you max out their detachment (which is almost impossible, since that costs you more than 2000pts just for the core.)

          • Nurgler November 28, 2016 6:27 am

            Actually, it’s maxing units, so you just need 15 Terminators.

          • Happy_Inquisitor November 30, 2016 10:34 am

            I was not saying that they are the most competitive thing ever, just that stating its 50 points for the regular terminators is a bit misleading.

            For a competitive list of massed sorcerers you probably want the regular sorcerer types because Deathstars are so powerful and the Independent Character rule is pretty badly undercosted by GW. So yes by the rule of “take all the undercosted/overpowered stuff you can” you would always prefer to take the IC sorcerer option because you can – and because when building that style of list you do not want to dilute it with high quality dudes when you can pack it with KDK dogs instead.

  4. Skallagoose November 26, 2016 8:21 am #

    Just a quick thought; Can you maybe label Core/Aux/Command for us? you have the core labelled well, but i cant figure out if the rest is command or aux.

  5. Skallagoose November 26, 2016 8:41 am #

    Also a quick question. In the Core Choice, can you replace one of the sorcerers with Magnus or Ahriman?

  6. W November 26, 2016 11:57 pm #

    “generate one additional warp dice in each psychic phase per model on the battlefield” – Please tell me I’m reading this wrong and that I’m not giving my Daemon opponent 150+ free warp charges.

    • Fagerlund November 27, 2016 2:21 am #

      Guessing it meant to say “per Herald in formation on the battlefield”. At least I hope so.

    • Petey Pab November 27, 2016 8:38 am #

      Ah, thanks man I changed it. It only counts models in the formation.

  7. Melabi November 27, 2016 12:40 am #

    What is the cheapest way to activate the save 1 reroll? Can you tell me what is the upper limit composition of the war cabal? thanks

    • Petey Pab November 27, 2016 8:41 am #

      The Tzangor warherd is the cheapest formation to activate it. In any other formation you need to take 9 of each of the secondary units. The war cabal would be well over 2000 points maxed out.

    • Cephalobeard November 27, 2016 9:21 am #

      What’s the cheapest way to use Magnus outside of TS? I’m trying to fiddle using him with Daemons.

      The 3 Exalted Sorcs + Magnus formation?

      The Magnus + 3 Terminator formation?

      CAD with LoW?

      Would he still get to reroll 1s?

      I… I have so many questions. Hah.

  8. Z8ppy November 27, 2016 8:51 am #

    What is the requirements for the war herd,1-2units or similar to the other demon ones and requires 6-8

  9. bigswizz November 27, 2016 9:19 am #

    How many units of Tzangor does the warherd require? 9?

    • Peteypab November 27, 2016 11:39 am #

      The warherd is 3 units of tzangors, and then 0-6 units of either spawn or tzangors.

  10. beau November 27, 2016 10:36 am #

    I am confused… will have to wait til I see the book. From what I am hearing some of the things you are calling bad or ugly I see some decent ways to build around. Magnus + 3 dp’s or fatey + LoC can be built into a1850 point lists pretty darn well, especially with tzangors and pink horrors.

    • Cephalobeard November 27, 2016 10:49 am #

      That’s what I’m hoping to do. Full bird boys if possible.

    • Peteypab November 27, 2016 11:44 am #

      The only formation with Fateweaver or Magnus I put in the bad/ugly section is the Rehati War Sect. Which isn’t bad, just kinda of average. Hence the ugly rating.

      Since when has taking 3-9 DPs been good? The tetrad is just ok, and that formation uses its princes better.

      • Cephalobeard November 27, 2016 11:55 am #

        What do you think is the best way to access him, optimally, Pablo?

      • Cephalobeard November 27, 2016 11:56 am #

        What do you think is the best way to access Magnus, optimally, Pablo?

        • Peteypab November 27, 2016 12:11 pm #

          A CAD

          • Peteypab November 27, 2016 12:14 pm

            Followed by a points efficient Grand Coven.

        • Cephalobeard November 27, 2016 12:31 pm #

          Grand Coven, eh?

          I’m not feeling the Tsons so far. They seem to suffer from Deathwatch syndrome and are very expensive. I look forward to seeing lists, I’m getting Magnus either way, just a matter of finding his fit.

  11. Peteypab November 27, 2016 1:50 pm #

    Understandable. The CAD is still the best way to go for Magnus.

  12. Yriel November 27, 2016 4:01 pm #

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the War Cabal rule for re-rolling 1s for saves says that the War Cabal must “contain the maximum number of units”, not models/unit. Therefore, you can take 3×5 Rubrics, 3×5 Terminators, 3 Exalted Sorcerers/sorcerers and 1 of the allowed leader models (e.g., Ahriman, Sorcerer, etc.) and get the bonus, right?

    That would mean 450 in Rubrics, 750 in Terminators, ~300-400 in sorcerers for a total of 1300 to form the core of the army to gain this benefit.

    Add in a Demon CAD for some horrors and you may have something workable.

    • Reecius November 27, 2016 4:02 pm #

      It is units yes, not models.

      • Yriel November 28, 2016 1:26 am #

        Thank’s for confirming… I wish Thousand Sons had an extra wound across the board like they did previously, that would make them worthwhile and fix a lot of their problems IMO =(. Phil Kelly, are you reading this? Please print an errata to make Rubrics and Cabal Terminators have an extra wound plz!

        • abusepuppy November 28, 2016 8:12 am #

          The 4++ in theory replaces the extra wound they had. It’s obviously not as good, but it’s worth remembering that they were a LOT more expensive (and still bad) back when they were 2W each.

          • yriel November 28, 2016 9:20 am

            I had a lot of success with Thousand Sons in 3.5. Being able to move up, use the flame power twice (which was good back then) , rapid fire then charge would generally wipe out a unit or do a lot of damage. Overall, they were resilient enough in that meta with 2 wounds and the sorcerers did a lot of damage. For example (and for what it’s worth), in the 2005 LVGT that Games Workshop put on, I was the ONLY person to go undefeated and I used Thousand Sons but I did not place because my painting was bad lol.

          • abusepuppy November 28, 2016 12:58 pm

            There were way, way better things available in the CSM 3.5 book- like Iron Warriors, or daemon bombs. BA Rhino Rush, Eldar Starcannon spam, and other options also outclassed them pretty badly.

            I don’t doubt you had some success with them at the time, but the broader results of the meta certainly didn’t support them much.

          • yriel November 28, 2016 7:44 pm

            Indeed, there is the meta and what is generally good and there are always outliers or players that can make something work. I miss my 2 point terminators that cost 36 points, though =(.

          • abusepuppy November 29, 2016 8:44 am

            Yeah, I feel you on that- while the CSM 3.5 book was a disaster in a lot of ways, it did have some very cool and flavorful stuff in it as well. I’d love to see Cult terminators for the other gods come back as well- maybe we’ll see something with the Legions book that is slated to be coming up next.

            I’m really, really hoping for some good Slaaneshi (and specifically Noise Marine) toys, otherwise I may have to sell that army off. :\

    • Peteypab November 27, 2016 6:13 pm #

      Yes, that is true. But only the units in the War Cabal wpuld get the rerolling 1s buff. Add an a cheap Auxiliary like a single heldrake and you’re good to go.

  13. Tomb King November 27, 2016 4:36 pm #

    Well well well… what do we have here?
    Fw + loc
    Magnus + 3 exalt3d
    Renegades for days.
    Its going to get hairy boys!!!

    • QkO November 28, 2016 7:01 am #

      I have one better:

      Omiscient Oracles – FW + LoC level 3 with impossible robe and Staff of Tzeentch
      Heralds Anarchic – 8 heralds level 1 on foot, one with paradox, another with grimoire
      TS CAD
      Sorcerer, Lvl 1, MoT
      2 x 10 Cultists, MoT
      Magnus (Warlord)
      1850 on the nose

      That’s 29 warp dice, plus the extra ones Magnus will be getting from syphon magic, plus D6 per turn, an average of 40-42 depending on how many powers FW/LoC cast. Heralds have one guaranteed summon per turn with paradox, which will give them ablative wounds with at least 1 squad of self replicating horrors by turn 2. Heralds will have 8 rolls on demonology for an almost guaranteed cursed earth + grimoire = Unkillable. FW and LoC have 5 rolls at demonology for a 75-80% change at cursed earth per game as well – LoC and Magnus will go down to a 2++ re-rollable, FW to a 3++ rerolling ones. You also have 2 nearly guaranteed burning chariot summons per turn (FW and Magnus), 2 obsec cultist squads with a sorcerer rolling on Telepathy with a 1//3 chance of getting shrouding/invis. FW and Magnus flying around wrecking everything in sight with D witchfires and the LoC on the ground daring people to shoot at him and charging on turn 2. I will be fielding this in a local tournament on Dec 10 (will be literally taking time off work to have Magnus painted by then) and drink the tears of my enemies

      • Tomb King November 28, 2016 2:32 pm #

        How does that list handle getting alpha’d? I like power dice but too many eggs in one basket can die horribly to sisters/assassin.

        • QkO November 28, 2016 2:56 pm #

          FW formation allows reroll of reserves so any unit I find could be vulnerable to alpha I’ll reserve. I also get reroll of seize, which gives me a higher than average chance of going first. And heralds in cover can still go to ground for a 3+ rerolling ones. All I need is one turn of casting to either alpha myself or flood the board with summoned units. Either way it’s a way of testing out Magnus competitively, hopefully it’ll work but we all know how it goes when dice start rolling!

          • Cephalobeard November 29, 2016 6:08 am

            I love this so much. I’m stealing your list.

  14. TouchOfOblivion November 27, 2016 9:48 pm #

    Man…I was so hyped for this army but it’s ridiculously underwhelming. The only actually scary things are Magnus and Pink Horrors. Good job, GW. You frakked it up.

    • abusepuppy November 29, 2016 8:46 am #

      Eh, I think that people are harder on Scarab Terminators than they deserve. They aren’t amazing, but they aren’t terrible, either. The formations are overall fairly solid- they aren’t going to make top-tier play, I think, but honestly that’s probably a good thing given where the power level of the game is at right now.

  15. Cj November 28, 2016 5:06 am #

    So what units are in the warcoven/ahrimans exiles?
    Sorcerors as well? If it’s just exalted sorcerers it might be a bit much.

    • Peteypab November 28, 2016 7:22 am #

      Just the units I mentioned

      • Cj November 28, 2016 9:12 am #

        Unless I’m going blind,I can’t see any units stated

        • Pablo Martinez November 29, 2016 11:42 am #

          Nope, I’m the blind one. We obviously couldn’t be completely comprehensive, but the Warcoven allows Exalted Sorcs and Reg Sorcs, as well as single DP, Sorc, or Ex Sorc

          Ahriman’s Exiled is only Ahriman and 3-9 Exalted Sorcs

      • highwind November 29, 2016 5:53 am #

        Do Exalted Sorceres already come with the MoT?

        And if they do, is there any rule which lets them “bypass” their forced roll on the Discipline of Tzeentch table?

  16. Sterling Arnet November 30, 2016 10:00 pm #

    So if i take magnus in cad he doesnt get reroll 1s?
    How would i make a list with following

    Exalted sorcerer
    3 x 10 tzzangors
    Fate waeaver
    2 x 20 pink horrors

    Please help

  17. Gutty December 2, 2016 7:35 am #

    Do I understand the Heralds Anarchic Formation correct, that say 9 lvl 1 Heralds at 45pts a piece EACH (?) create an additional warpcharge for EACH (?) model in the Formation?
    So nine guys would create a total of 90 (9*9+9) Warpcharges for a total of 405 Pts? Or does the Formation give you just +1 WC for every Herald?

  18. Dean December 3, 2016 9:45 am #

    Just got the book today, and even I’m confused with the force org chart. I’m still trying to work out what the minimum requirements are for me to take a battle-forged army with Magnus as hq, from what I can tell it’s a 5 man rubric squad and 1 unit of tzaangors, can someone correct me if I’m wrong. Also those saying scarab occult termies aren’t that bad, any termies are bad for me, my entire playgroup play horde army’s or tank army’s, and termies are too expensive to field, hence why I’m asking the minimum for Magnus army.

  19. Stre4 December 6, 2016 9:46 am #

    I think the whole The Favoured of Tzeentch Special Rule could have worked better if they had the requirement for the unit size be 9 models instead of 9 units (geez thats crazy – these people are getting too greedy). That could have been better. Of course for the Sekhmet Conclave it would still suck having to field 27 terminators but its a lot more doable than 45 as is now… Just my opinion tho. let me hear what you guys think.

  20. Redcelerity December 17, 2016 5:04 am #

    The terminators are only 40 pts per model!, not 50!

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