Hey everyone, Chandler here. In this article we’re going to be taking a look at the new HQ choice for Chaos Space Marines and Thousand Sons; the Exalted Sorcerer. For more reviews, analysis, and battle reports check out the Tactics Corner.
As warp storms tear through systems and the veil between space and time is broken the Lords of the Silver Towers emerge ready to reign down destruction upon their enemies. The greatest of the Thousand Sons psykers, each an exile from a time long passed, the Exalted Sorcerers weave the most complex and destructive magic known to mankind. And now these psychic powerhouses are ready to bring their devastating sorcerous abilities to table tops all over the world.
Overview: The Exalted Sorcerer is a HQ choice for Chaos Space Marines armies as well as for the Thousand Sons legion. He comes with the Mark of Tzeentch by default which limits his availability to some CSM armies. When running a Legion themed army, using the rules in Traitor Legions, he can only be taken in Detachments of Black Legion or Thousand Sons. If you’re not using these rules, however, he can be taken in any generic CSM Combined Arms Detachment.
His statline is pretty decent with WS and BS 5, Strength and Toughness 4, 3 Wounds, Initiative 5, 3 Attacks, Leadership 10, and a 3+/4++.
The extra wound goes a long way in the game to helping keep this guy alive. With 3 Attacks base, means he will sling 4 attacks with his extra close combat weapon and 5 on the charge with a Str 6 AP4 Force weapon. Weapon Skill 5 means he’ll hit most things on 3s as well. He is only Toughness 4 though so a lucky shot from a meltagun or krak missile can end him, but that’s where the Disc comes in. More on that below.
Wargear: He comes stock with an Inferno Bolt Pistol which is 12″ range Str 4 AP3, a Force Stave, Frag and Krak grenades (which is very nice considering Rubrics don’t have them), and an Aura of Dark Glory giving him a 4++ Invulnerable Save thanks to the Mark of Tzeentch. His wargear options are somewhat limited in that he can only take items from the Chaos Rewards list or Chaos Artefacts. His only option for mobility is a Disc of Tzeentch, so no mounting him on a bike or jump pack sadly. Still, on a Disc he becomes Toughness 5 with 4 base attacks and the ability to move up to 36″ in a turn!
Special Rules: This is where the Exalted Sorcerer shines against his regular Sorcerer counterpart. He comes with the much maligned Champion of Chaos rule, which will require him to issue and accept challenges when possible, Fearless, Independent Character, Psyker (Mastery Level 2), Mark of Tzeentch, and Veterans of the Long War. That’s a pretty stout set of special rules. Being Fearless is a huge benefit considering the regular codex Sorcerer is not. Mastery Level 2 is nice and for 25 points you can upgrade to a Mastery Level 3. Mark of Tzeentch is a bit limiting in that you always have to roll at least 1 power off of the Tzeentch Psychic power table, but considering the new table is actually quite good, that’s not much of a drawback.
Where the Mark limits him is in his availability to other armies. Most of the Legion Detachments have special requirements of their units and, as stated above, only 3 of the Legions can incorporate an Exalted Sorcerer, and only Thousand Sons can do so within the “Decurion” style build we’ve come to love in 7th edition. You could run a Black Legion detachment or simply generic Combined Arms Detachment and use the Exalted Sorcerer as a HQ option in those armies. This guy was designed for Thousand Sons though, and when included in some of their Detachments it really enhances his capabilities.
As a Psyker he can generate from the Tzeentch table as well as Biomancy, Daemonology (Malefic), Divination, Telepathy, Telekinesis, Pyromancy, as well as the new disciplines, Ectomancy, Geomortis, Heretech, and Sinistrum. This is a much more broad set of disciplines as compared to the basic Sorcerer. Gaining access to Divination is amazing and is something that CSM lack in general. He is restricted in Daemonology however, in that he can only cast Malefic unlike the basic Sorcerer who can chose from either Maelfic or Sanctic (as of now). The more broad choice of disciplines gives you plenty of options depending on the opponent making him even more dangerous than a normal codex Sorcerer.
Finally, he has the Lord of the Silver Tower rule, which allows him to make a once per game Coruscating Beam shooting attack with unlimited range with Str 9 AP 2 Blast and Lance One Use Only. Pretty handy for catching Infantry out of cover late in the game, or trying to deliver some damage to a high AV target like an Imperial Knight.
Tactics: The Exalted Sorcerer can be a real beast under the right conditions, although quite expensive. After you mount him on a Disc, give him a Familiar, and increase his Mastery Level to 3 that’s 230 points and that’s without a Chaos Artefact! As stated above, he can be taken in non Thousand Sons armies, but he really shines with his Rubric bros. In a Grand Coven detachment he gains the Blessing of Tzeentch, improving his Invulnerable save by 1 when he is effected by a Blessing. Casting Force can easily bump him up to a 3++. He can also re-roll Perils results and can cast one more power than his Mastery Level would normally allow. A Mastery Level 3 Exalted Sorcerer could potentially throw out 4 psychic powers a turn in a Grand Coven with re-rolls with a Spell Familiar.
Luckily the Blessing of Tzeentch extends to all Thousand Sons detachments, which means even outside of a Grand Coven he can gain the bonus. Several other Formations make use of the Exalted Sorcerers in Wrath of Magnus (and subsequently Traitor Legions.) When taken in a War Coven, for example, you can choose one of the disciplines between Biomancy, Pyromancy, Telepathy, Divination, and Telekinesis and all Exalted Sorcerers can harness warp charge when casting from the chosen tree on a 3+. A couple of these taken in a War Cabal Formation with maximum units can give them re-rolls to their Invulnerable Saves as well, but again, it becomes incredibly pricey to do so.
The Disc of Tzeentch is an absolute must have piece of Wargear in order to raise his Toughness to 5, making him less susceptible to Instant Death. It also gives him the ability to turbo boost up to 24″ in the Shooting Phase as he becomes a Jetbike unit. That can be handy as it still allows you to fire away several Witchfires or Maledictions then get him to safety behind line of sight blocking terrain or to hop him onto an objective. Thousand Sons in general have severe mobility issues, so having the option to scoot around the table as needed is a nice bonus. If you’re willing to invest the points into the Astral Grimoire, you can make his unit a Jump type as well so they can keep up with his speed.
So, is he worth it? I do believe so. Especially when taken in Formations like the War Coven or in a War Cabal. Moving him around with a squad of Rubrics and throwing Blessings such as Prescience, for example, is pretty awesome. Like most things in the game, these guys are better when spammed. Coruscating Beam is a pretty deadly ability considering the range is Unlimited. Being able to drop 2-3 or more of these Str 9 AP2 blasts throughout the game during key moments when your opponent is caught off guard can have a significant impact on a match. It’s a nice ability which supplements the Thousand Sons who as a whole struggle a bit against high AV targets and units with any kind of 2+ save.
One could even make a case for the War Coven with Exalted Sorcerers to replace the Cyclopia Cabal in power due to their extra durability and speed. Not to mention the Treason of Tzeentch power which acts almost exactly as the Shroud of Deceit. Tossing four of these guys with a group of KDK Flesh Hounds, for example, can make quite a formidable death star. It is disappointing that they don’t have the option to take a Bike as that is probably the more reasonably priced option. Still, taking the Disc gives them an extra attack and 6 attacks on a charge with a Str 6 Force weapon is pretty strong.
I primarily see these guys flying around in squads with Rubrics as ablative wounds while they deal massive damage with their Witchfires and Maledictions. Meanwhile the Aspiring Sorcerer casts Force to buff the entire unit to a 3++. To get the most out of these guys you must be careful on power selection. Fortunately most of the psychic disciplines they can choose from give them options to deal with various threats. Facing off against Imperial Knights? Running most of them with Heretech powers might be the best option. Taking on something like Battle Company with lots of bodies? Psychic Shrieks or various Tzeentch witchfires might be worth focusing on.
Overall, the Exalted Sorcerer is a much better option than even a Mastery Level 3 generic Sorcerer. They are simply more versatile than their basic counterparts and have the added bonus of being Fearless and access to Divination powers. Casting Perfect Timing while in a group of Rubrics can suddenly make that a pretty terrifying unit. Throwing down Misfortune making all of those AP3 shots also Rending can clear infantry pretty quickly as well. Psychic armies in general can be challenging to run, but with enough practice using them, I believe Exalted Sorcerers can have a significant impact in the game. So mount up those Discs and get ready to reign warp fire down upon your foes!
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