Hi, everyone. Chandler here with a look into our favorite power armored automatons, the Thousand Sons, and how they might fare in the upcoming Newhammer. There are exciting times ahead for everyone as we enter into a new era of the game, and Thousand Sons players everywhere have plenty of reasons to be hyped. So, let’s get to it shall we.
I started playing Thousand Sons about 5 years ago. When I decided to delve into the depths of Chaos I started reading the fluff and found myself drawn to Magnus’s legion. Besides his kick-ass mastery of the warp and sorcery, the story of the Thousand Sons is one of tragedy. Arguably the greatest tragedy in the entire line of fiction save for the fall of Horus himself. Despite their amazing story, however, in the game they were fairly mediocre…ok that is putting it mildly; they sucked…bad. Enter Wrath of Magnus and the introduction of a Primarch into the game of 40k and suddenly the faction got a huge boost! While many might expect that to slow down as Newhammer dawns upon us all, I think the dust boys will be better than ever!
GW gave us a gift in the form of a look into the new datasheets using the Rubric Marines as an example. There’s a lot to soak in here and not all of it we know about just yet. One thing of note, Universal Special Rules are essentially gone. All of a units special rules will be included in their respective datasheets (much like Age of Sigmar) making it much easier to play for reference purposes.
Aspiring Sorcerers will be able to exchange their Force Staves with Axes and Swords again, something that was sorely missed with the Wrath of Magnus update. These weapon profiles look pretty nasty. Interestingly a Force Sword now has better capability of getting through armor than a Force Axe coming in at -3 to AP! That is pretty huge.
The All is Dust rule gives them the potential to have a 2+ save in the open against small arms and melee attacks which is very nice! Having a 5+ invulnerable save is a change from before, but I don’t expect many units in the game to have much better than a 4+ invulnerable save and the 3+ invulnerable might become extremely rare (whereas today it is fairly common place.)
Finally, we have the keywords which will be used in army building to denote abilities and traits for units within certain army builds. This is a mirror of the Age of Sigmar formula and will probably be used to unlock command benefits and the like as well as artifacts and relics for specific builds.
Up until the release of Wrath of Magnus, Thousand Sons in general suffered from horrible movement. They were simply not mobile enough in a game that became more and more dependent on speed and mobility. Slow and Purposeful, while great for letting them Rapid Fire and charge after, was more of a hindrance than a boon as they could easily become bogged down in terrain, incapable of running, etc. Once the transport blew, these boys were stuck in place for pretty much the entire game. Wrath of Magnus gave us some help there with the Astral Grimoire relic, allowing one infantry unit to gain the Jump type for the movement phase. Suddenly slower units like Rubrics and Terminators had a lot more mobility than they did before.
Rubrics now have a 5″ movement which is about what we would expect from an infantry unit of this nature. The good thing is Chaos Rhinos will be more resilient than before. While surely it will be possible to focus one down in a single turn with the right weapon selection, it will take a lot more than a lucky meltagun or lascannon hit to take one down. That allows you to move those Rubric marines around the board and get them into key positions much easier than ever before. And looking at the new datasheet above, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the unit cannot make a Run move if needed!
Slow and Purposeful is gone (as are all Universal Special Rules) and instead we get a more streamlined version in their datasheet allowing them to ignore the new -1 penalty to their BS when firing heavy weapons when moving. Also consider the fact that essentially every unit in the game has split fire you can fire those Soulreaper cannons into a harder target like a light vehicle, while focusing your inferno bolters and flamers into infantry. Speaking of the Soulreaper, with now a -3 AP these things become devastating to any target on the battlefield making it tempting to field a unit of 10 Rubrics now!
As for inferno bolters, as we have all seen AP values are changing and while the standard bolter for a Space Marine will have no affect on a target’s armor save, inferno bolters certainly will. With a -2 AP value they become much harder to save against even for high armored targets like Terminators or other 2+ save units.
Adding flamers to Rubrics was an overpriced option and not very good, but in Newhammer a unit of Rubrics equipped with flamers that have a -2 AP value could end up being extremely dangerous to your opponent. Expect to see quite a few of these units on the table when Newhammer kicks off.
The most important phase for any Thousand Sons player, the Psychic phase is where the army usually does the bulk of its damage in the game. From devastating Witchfire powers, to buffs to make your units that much more difficult to kill, the Psychic Phase was the bread and butter of a Thousand Sons force. Sadly, warp charge hogs like Ahriman and Magnus made it so roughly half the psykers you paid points for did next to nothing in the game other than be warp charge batteries for the big nasties. That is no longer the case.
Every psyker in the army will have the opportunity to cast powers which makes this army much more devastating than before. The new Smite power alone, which will be known by all psykers, looks to be devastating as Mortal Wounds (a carry over from Age of Sigmar) makes its way into 40k. Mortal Wounds is likely one of the biggest changes facing the game, and one that is probably the least talked about in Newhammer discussions. In Age of Sigmar, a game I’ve been dabbling in for a bit now, most of the top tier lists are capable of dishing out tons of Mortal Wounds to the enemy which is important because they offer no save of any kind. I expect Thousand Sons to be capable of generating a lot of Mortal Wounds through the course of a game, and this alone could push them higher on the rung of the 40k ladder than ever before.
Even Aspiring Sorcerers will be capable of casting Smite, although dishing out slightly less damage than other Sorcerers on the battlefield, it still becomes a pretty devastating power.
As far as Magnus goes, anticipate him to be incredibly pricey to field and probably limited in the Force Organizations charts. And while he won’t know up to 15 psychic powers, expect him to be able to cast 4-5 fairly reliably every turn. With the changes to flyers, however, you won’t be able to keep him in the air and avoiding combats as we’ve seen in 7th edition. That said, he is still a primarch and I expect he will be quite devastating in the assault phase.
The overall changes to the Psychic phase are probably the biggest thing for Thousand Sons players to be excited about as this could potentially push the army into top tier status in the game especially with the capability of dishing out mortal wounds like candy.
The assault phase has never been kind to Thousand Sons really. They are not equipped with grenades and being Fearless and incapable of hurting some high toughness or AV targets meant they could be locked up fairly easily with no way out of a combat making it difficult for them to get onto objectives. As we have seen with the new to-wound chart, now they will actually be capable of hurting some of those targets in combat, and while they still won’t be an optimal choice against some of those hard to kill targets, they still have options. Aspiring Sorcerers, for example, are capable of doing some nasty damage in melee with their weapons having significant modifiers to saves and causing D3 wounds!
I expect a big boost here for Scarab Occult Terminators as well. In the current version of the game, they are deadly to light infantry but very mediocre against anything with a 2+ save or high toughness/AV. If the profile of the Force Sword for Aspiring Sorcerers is any indication, Power Swords could potentially be -3 AP making Scarab Occult Termies deadly to any enemy unit on the battlefield!
Aside from all of that every unit will have the ability to get out of a combat in Newhammer which bodes well for Thousand Sons as they can move and focus on what they do best which is blast things with their bolters and psychic powers. The days of locking up a pesky unit in combat are over, and this breathes new life into Thousand Sons.
Overall there is a lot to be excited about with Newhammer for just about every faction. This will probably be the most significant change in the game in two decades, but in my opinion it will be better for everyone new and old alike. I personally am excited to see armies actually playing the way the fluff intended them to play in the game. As a Thousand Sons player I can’t help but be excited about the changes to the Psychic phase especially knowing that GW wants to put a lot of emphasis on making Chaos Space Marines great again. There are glorious days ahead for our warp driven brothers…just as planned.
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