How the FAQ Impacted Thousand Sons
First, let’s take a look at what the FAQ did for the galaxy’s greatest sorcerers. Specifically we are looking at the final version of the Psychic Focus rule and how that relates to everyone’s favorite power to hate, Smite. In the Beta rule that was tested leading up to the Big FAQ, every time a Psyker cast Smite beyond the first attempt, they would incur a -1 to the cast roll. Effectively making Smite harder to cast and trigger “super Smite” while making it essentially easier for the opponent to deny. In the final version, however we see that the actual Warp Charge increases by +1 for every cast beyond the first. This effectively means that Smites still become harder to cast, but they can still trigger “super smites” on rolls of 11+ and of course become more difficult to deny.
Thousand Sons (along with Grey Knights) received a unique exception to this increase in Smite casting cost. Per the Big FAQ, any unit with the Brotherhood of Sorcerers ability is immune to the increase in warp charge cost for casting Smite. On the surface this doesn’t seem to be a big deal. I believe the obvious intent here was so that Aspiring Sorcerers in Rubric and Scarab Occult Terminator squads would be able to get their little mini-smites off without incurring penalty. But, taking a closer look at Brotherhood of Sorcerers we see that ALL Psyker units within a Thousand Sons army gain this ability including, Daemon Princes of Tzeentch. Now, you can see where I’m going with this. The picture becomes more clear.
Magnus and his Flying Daemon Sons
Obviously the Big FAQ did a lot for the game severely impacting turn 1 Alpha Strikes thanks to the new Beta Tactical Reserves rule, which will be used in all major competitive events from here until the new rule is finalized. This is probably the biggest change on the surface as a whole for 40k at the competitive level as now you have essentially a turn to establish some board presence before your opponent drops the hammer on you. Magnus, it seems becomes playable again. And joining him are three of his flying Daemon Prince buddies and more than likely Ahirman as well; aka The Rehati War Sect.
So, we have established that Thousand Sons now are one of only two armies capable of casting full smites, and while Grey Knights are certainly capable of doing it, no army really does it better than Thousand Sons. The Daemon Prince of Tzeentch has the statline of a standard Daemon Prince but also comes with a 4++ built in and the ability to manifest two powers per turn; making these guys mortal wound dealing machines on the battlefield!
The Supreme Command Detachment is the go-to here and, depending on supporting units, will include 2-3 Daemon Princes of Tzeentch with wings, Ahriman and Magnus the Red. I personally prefer to bring 3 Daemon Princes and Ahriman along with the big red machine.
But that is so many points. Certainly it isn’t viable
Oh, but it is viable. Not only is it “viable” I would argue that due to further changes in the rules thanks to the Big FAQ, that it is top tier quality. Specifically because of how it relates to Assassins and their use post FAQ. Cullexus Assassins really annoy this army, without doubt. But the Imperium player cannot simply bring one without incurring some pretty specific penalties thanks to the Battle Brothers Beta rule.
There are only two ways to bring an Assassin now and that is via a Vanguard detachment of three with no HQ, giving them 0 Command Points, or by the Auxiliary Support Detachment, which takes up a slot and requires the player to sacrifice a Command Point to bring one. The same holds true for those pesky “Null Maidens” units as well. So, not only are you casting full Smites unlike everyone else in the game, but the counters to them become less likely in an Imperium list because of the Detachment restrictions.
Feel the Power of the Warp Unleashed: Choosing Psychic Powers
Although this particular detachment is very strong and very capable, you must be careful in how you equip them and what powers you choose for them. I typically prefer to have each one have some form of buff spell for Magnus, one mortal wound dealing spell, and of course they all know Smite. I will generally have one Daemon Prince with a Hellforged Sword to deal damage to nasty targets if need be. This one typically has Diabolic Strength to get to STR 9 and an extra attack.
For the others I take powers like Infernal Gaze, Tzeentch’s Firestorm, Gift of Chaos, etc to dish out further mortal wounds. These are particularly nasty as most of them don’t require the target to be the closest model, unlike Smite. Which means you can easily pick out characters and other support units with these mortal wound spells and with the added 6” range to all powers due to Brotherhood of Sorcerers it makes them incredibly formidable.
I generally also give one Glamour of Tzeentch, Temporal Manipulation, and Weaver of Fates to them to cast on Magnus freeing up his casts for things like Death Hex, Infernal Gateway and Warptime. Ahriman generally should take Doombolt, Bolt of Change, and Death Hex as well. Because of his +1 to casting roll, and re-rolling 1s within 9” of Magnus, he is capable of getting off these high cast cost powers.
For relics I typically pay the extra CP to get both the Dark Matter Crystal and Helm of the Third Eye. The Helm is an absolute must as you will use your stratagems throughout the game to improve the output of the Princes as regaining those CP is clutch and currently Thousand Sons are the only army in the Chaos faction that has the ability to do it.
Generally, for warlord traits the one that improves the invulnerable save is certainly the one that stands out, but with how this army will function, High Magister is actually the better choice here as it gives a +1 to your Daemon Prince warlord’s casting rolls which is incredibly clutch.
The Thousand Sons codex is loaded with some awesome stratagems to really help ramp up this army. Specifically Cabalistic Focus. For merely 1 CP you can add a further +2 to Magnus’ Smite attempt when within 6” of 2 other Psykers from Thousand Sons. Giving him a +4 to his roll! It gives you a much higher chance of getting the 2d6 Smite off with him. It is also useful for getting off clutch powers with high casting values like Death Hex, for example.
The Great Sorcerer is another great Stratagem here, as it allows Magnus, for example, to cast his full complement of spells in one turn for 1 CP. Also great for your Daemon Princes so they can cast Smite and two of their other powers.
Chaos Familiar at first glance seems not so great, until you switch up a power from say Ahriman to give him Death Hex when your opponent didn’t see it coming. Or perhaps Infernal Gateway when the opponent has a bunch of units castled together.
The Rehati War Sect is going to eat up a lot of points. In total, if you take 3 Princes and Ahriman on a Disc with Magnus, it is over half your army in a 2000 point matched play game. That said, we need some cheap support units. Chaos Daemons are the perfect choice here. Brimstone horror squads make excellent screens or backfield objective campers but the two primary units you want to look for are either Pink Horror or Plaguebearer blobs.
This army functions by moving up the table, surrounded by a durable and hard to kill blob of daemons so that they cannot be targeted thanks to the Character rules. You want to wrap all the Princes and Ahriman up in this blob to ensure they cannot be shot at or charged by the enemy.
The Pink Horrors with The Changeling trailing them are a good choice here as they have a 4++ with a 6+++ ignoring wounds ability. You can throw down 2 CP for Warp Surge Stratagem to increase their invulnerable to a 3++ making them incredibly hard to remove a blob of 30 in one turn. And of course the Horrors gain an extra shot each if the unit has 20 or more models so they are able to lay down some good firepower as well being able to move, advance, and shoot.
I personally prefer to use Plaguebearers for this role however. Their offensive output is not as high as Pink Horrors as they have no shooting, but a unit of 20+ Plaguebearers is naturally -1 to hit. Throw a Poxbringer with Miasma of Pestilence nearby and he can make them a further -1 to hit. Suddenly armies like T’au and Astra Militarum, both capable armies with tons of small arms dakka, need 6s to hit the Plaguebearers who also come with a 5++ and a 5+++ to ignore wounds. In my experience these guys work amazingly well for keeping pressure off your Daemon Princes while they blast things away with mortal wounds.
I typically will also run a Lord of Change along with this army as well because it’s one thing to have to focus attention on Magnus on turn one, but it’s another thing all together to have to focus on Magnus AND a Lord of Change. While Magnus cannot be allowed to go unchecked, he and the Lord of Change are taking the pressure off your Plaguebearer/Horror blob for a turn or two allowing the Daemon Princes and Ahriman to move up field and start wrecking things, as they are the true killers in the army.
+++ Rehati War Sect (Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition – ITC Faction THOUSAND SONS) [112 PL, 1995pts] +++
++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos – Daemons) ++
+ HQ +
Lord of Change: Bolt of Change, Boon of Change, Gaze of Fate, The Impossible Robe
Poxbringer: Miasma of Pestilence
The Changeling : Gaze of Fate
+ Troops +
Horrors : 10x Pair of Brimstone Horrors
Horrors : 10x Pair of Brimstone Horrors
Horrors : 10x Pair of Brimstone Horrors
Nurglings : 3x Nurgling Swarms
Plaguebearers : 29x Plaguebearer, Plagueridden
++ Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) ++
+ HQ +
Ahriman on Disc of Tzeentch: Doombolt, Death Hex, Weaver of Fates
Daemon Prince of Tzeentch : Dark Matter Crystal, Diabolic Strength, Hellforged sword , Infernal Gaze, Wings
Daemon Prince of Tzeentch : Malefic talon , Temporal Manipulation, Tzeentch’s Firestorm, Wings
Daemon Prince of Tzeentch : 6. High Magister, Gift of Chaos, Glamour of Tzeentch, Helm of the Third Eye, Malefic talon , Warlord, Wings
+ Lord of War +
Magnus the Red : Death Hex, Infernal Gateway, Warptime
This army is capable of dishing out an incredible number of mortal wounds every turn, and has the capability of winning a war of attrition over the course of a game because of the survivability of the Daemons supporting units. It gives you plenty of bodies for objective control as well. No one does the Psychic phase better than Thousand Sons now. But be advised, don’t take this to the club on wargaming night unless your opponent wants a really competitive game. Table flips might ensue otherwise.
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