Hey guys, Chandler here to give you a rundown on the Scarab Occult Terminators for Thousand Sons. For more reviews, analysis, and strategy check out the Tactics Corner.
In the days before the heresy the Scarab Occult Terminators served as the most elite of Magnus’s forces. Also known as the Sekhmet they were composed of the greatest warriors in the legion. Like their Rubric brothers, they would suffer a harsh fate after Ahriman’s disastrous Rubric ritual. Turned to dust they became little more than automatons commanded at will by the legion’s remaining sorcerers. Wielding powerful inferno rounds in their combi-bolters and provided with the Blessing of Tzeentch they make for powerful warriors of the changer of ways on the battlefield. Each squad led by a capable Sorcerer they are able to wreak havoc against the enemies of the legion.
Coming in at a whopping 250 points, the Scarab Occult Terminators are quite pricey, but still capable of dishing out a ton of damage under the right circumstances. They have the normal statline of a Terminator squad, but dish out devastating firepower to anything with a 3+ armor save or worse. Each unit is led by a Mastery Level 2 Sorcerer with 2 wounds who has a variety of disciplines to choose from, including Divination, unlike the normal Chaos Space Marine Sorcerers.
Scarab Occult Terminators are, of course, equipped with terminator armor granting them a 2+ save and a 5+ invulnerable base (which is improved to 4+ because of the Mark of Tzeentch). Each is equipped with an Inferno Combi-Bolter, which is a twin-linked boltgun firing AP 3 rounds. Each Terminator comes with a power sword with no way to upgrade which while nice against most units, means they are effectively useless against vehicles and tough units you might see in battle with a high toughness or good armor save. The Sorcerer that leads the squad comes with an Inferno combi-bolter like his brothers, but also carries a Force Stave, again, with no way to upgrade or switch out his melee weapon. He can swap out his combi-bolter for a power sword for 5 points, giving him the ability to get an extra attack in combat.
You can add up to 5 additional Scarab Occult Terminators for 40 points per model. For every five models one can replace his combi-bolter with either a Heavy Warpflamer or a Soulreaper Cannon, which while cool options, are not really worth their points investment. Additionally one in five can be equipped with a Hellfyre Missile Rack which shoots 2 Strength 8 AP3 missiles. A nice upgrade for 20 points that gives them some options against light vehicles and high toughness targets.
These guys come equipped with quite a few special rules including Fearless, Mark of Tzeentch and Veterans of the Long War. Additionally the Sorcerer is a Mastery Level 2 psyker capable of choosing powers from a ton of disciplines including all the standard Big Rule Book disciplines except Daemonology (Sanctic), as well as the new powers in Traitor Legions and Wrath of Magnus. Naturally being Mark of Tzeentch he has to take at least one power off that tree, as well as the Primaris for free, leaving him one roll on the other charts. Still not a terrible option.
If they are taken in a Thousand Sons detachment they can bump their invulnerable save to a 3++ when the Sorcerer casts Force, or some other blessing power that targets the unit via the Blessing of Tzeentch special rule, which gives them a lot of durability. And of course, like all Chaos Space Marine units, the Sorcerer has the Champions of Chaos rule which requires him to issue and accept challenges when possible.
So are these guys worth taking? I’d say yes, quite possibly, but only in a War Cabal Formation (where they are a requirement.) Typically you want to take either an extra Sorcerer or an Exalted Sorcerer with the Astral Grimoire to make them jump during movement, which really makes them quite a capable threat on the table. The biggest drawback to using this unit is the price point per damage output. In general they are slow, and thus have trouble escaping units that will either tarpit them or outright kill them. The Astral Grimoire mitigates this weakness making them super fast for terminators and giving you more flexibility in picking and choosing your targets. When given this sort of speed it makes picking out those weak or light infantry units much easier, which is what you want to do with them.
Their combi-bolters are all twin-linked which means you’ll get those re-rolls to hit no matter what which in short range can be pretty devastating to anything with 3+ armor or higher. I personally like to run one with the Hellfyre Missile rack for some versatility against light tanks and monstrous creatures. The fact that they carry power swords really limits how effective they can be in combat, and with only Strength 4, they can get bogged down pretty easily. The possible 3++ makes them incredibly hard to kill however, so your opponent might not be eager to throw in things like Wraithknights into them for fear of being bogged down the entire game. That said, this is not a unit that you should use to tarpit things unless absolutely necessary. There are better units for that than Scarab Occult Terminators. For 250 points base, you’re going to want these guys to be able to do some damage in battle.
Effectively these guys serve as great meatshields for your Exalted Sorcerers. The Sorcerer in the unit can focus on casting the blessing (like Force) allowing your Exalted Sorcerer to really make the most of his ability to throw down nasty witchfires or maledictions. Avoid charging most things except those you can very easily kill in combat with the power swords. Typically I use them as a mid-field or backfield defender. They are generally a great counter for pesky drop pod units that want to threaten your side of the board and are quite capable of murdering those tactical or devastator squads that pop out.
If you do find yourself facing down an unfavorable combat, let the Scarab Occult Sorcerer soak up the challenge, so your Exalted Sorcerer can throw down his attacks on the unit. With Instant Death cast, and wounding most things on 2s with Strength 6 he is capable of dishing out a ton of damage on a unit. In a War Cabal it’s even better as you’re re-rolling 1s to-hit in combat if you cast a psychic power that turn. The Sorcerer can usually hold up in a challenge fairly well slinging a Force Stave of his own with usually a 3++ to boot and 2 wounds.
Taking a basic Sorcerer as opposed to the Exalted version to go along with these guys is also a nice option, especially if you can get Gate of Infinity as it allows you to deep strike them around the board and get out of combat if you find yourself in a tarpit. Throwing Hammerhand on them also makes them quite deadly as suddenly those AP3 power swords are swinging at Strength 6. Unfortunately the Sanctic discipline is only available to the basic Sorcerer, which limits the unit quite a bit, but still a decent, and even cheaper option with the right powers.
In general, while this kit features some gorgeous models, you’ll probably rarely find yourself fielding the unit, unless you’re running a War Cabal as part of a Grand Coven where at least one unit is a requirement. In my experience, the unit is pretty decent given the right circumstances, but you have to be very cautious with how you play them to maximize their ability to damage the opponent’s army. For 250 points, the price point is just too high generally to include them in anything more than fun games for the most part.
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