Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Competitive Gaming In 30K

I always approached 30K as "Historical gaming in the 40K universe".  The 30k rule set does a great job of nailing the personality and battle doctrine of the original 18 space marines legions and their approach to the battlefield.

The rule set is also a bit of a throwback to earlier editions, where you picked your army from an force org chart and caps were placed on units by a percentage of points in the overall list.

What truly sets 30K apart as a unique game is that most games are mirror matches played from the same codex. Sure you have Legion rules, war gear, Rite of War, special units and special characters layered on top to customize the armies, but in general you are sending very similar armies against each other.

Even with all the layers of rules you can heap on top, it is not uncommon to see the same units on either side of the board that are often not enhanced by the parent legion rules set. Think Spartans, Leviathans, Contemptors, Sicarans, etc. Fundamentally, many of the better units are core units in the codex and can be taken by any Legion.

With most games being played out of the SAME codex, an inherent balance exists in the game that is difficult to achieve in 40K where all the races have radically different core rules. Massively different rule sets lead to rock, paper, scissors mismatches.

Another balancing factor in 30K are the larger compulsory troops sizes. Units generally start at 10 guys and get significantly cheaper if you take larger squads. Thus armies tend to start with a similar core and the core tends to be a large percentage of your overall points. So armies tend to be fairly similar in build.

From a game design perspective, its clear the Legion specific units are upgraded versions of units already found in the core codex. Even Special Characters are based off the core codex templates. Often you are simply taking about a praetor with an extra wound and some special war gear or warlord traits.

All these balancing factors really leads to a game where a win vs. a loss is largely based on the skill of the General. It is the most balanced game system for competitive play that has been put out in a long time by GW / FW. There is no BEST list. Every list is beatable. And as long as you bring a list that is built towards taking all comers, you should always have a good chance to win any mission.


It starts at the $$$$ price of entry.  30K is exceptionally more expensive than 40K, and that is a HUGE statement in itself. Until recently, if you wanted to play 30K, you had to throw big money at Forgeworld. Games Workshop finally put out a plastic set and there is a rapid proliferation of recasters that entered the scene... Still the point stands that original adopters of 30K were older veteran players looking to field a "master class" painted army. For a long time, this kept a lot of the younger players, the new players and the competitive players deeply invested in 40K, away from the 30k game.

From these roots, we have a community that is hugely invested in the aesthetics and "historical" accuracy of their Legions. To the contrary, 40K is chock full of "counts as anything generic marines", as its all you can do to keep up with the codex creep and breadth of rule sets. Instead, in the 30K community, the colors matter, the list makeup matters, the mark of armor, the heraldry and the tactical markings matter.

In addition, Forgeworld has gone out of their way to build the game around major events and timelines of the Horus Heresy. They published campaign systems, missions and rules. They created Zone Mortalis, for smaller games and boarding actions. They added character advancement tracks and even campaign relics. And to be truthful, many of the major battles in the Horus Heresy were not evenly matched. Betrayals like Dropsite Massacre, gutted legions and killed off primarchs an some of the missions reflect this ugly truth.

So it's important to understand that the HATE comes from the lack of respect of the fluff. The disregard of Armor Marks. The tolerance of halfhearted painting attempts. BUT MOSTLY from the prioritization of the GAME over the other parts of the hobby.

But should that mean 30K should shun competitive players? Absolutely not.


In my experience, the rules and the game system are as important to the hobby as the miniatures, the fluff, the painting and the format of the games being played.

IMO, the best games are close games with well painted forces, on an amazing tables, with enthusiastic opponents. (Booze helps too). But the games I remember, are the games that came down to the last dice roll. The close games. The competitive games.

More than any other GW/FW game system, 30K is built for close games. Thus, 30K is the best system for competitive gaming. It's the Generals and the tactics employed on the table, which wins most games, not who can afford the newest models.

It's also a game system where every Legion has a lot of strong builds, which is an amazing feat for a GW/FW ruleset! With my Raven Guard I can field jumper heavy, flyer heavy, pod heavy, infiltrate heavy, outflank heavy, rhino heavy, AV14 heavy, alpha strike, beta strike and even attrition lists and stand toe to toe with the best that most Legions can put together. And that is only one Legion!

So let's be brutally honest... Is 30K a game system that is pointed well enough for any Legion to bring any units they want and still be competitive? Unfortunately, No... It's not written that well. So what you field matters.

Which brings me to why competitive gaming is important to the community. Knowing your codex and what choices are bad is an important part of being a responsible gamer to the 30K community. 

Nothing is worse than curb stomping a bad or new player. It's not fun for either side and it's not a function of player type or a function of what list you brought. It's a function of under emphasizing the importance of the GAME aspect of the hobby. It is also important to know your enemies strengths and weakness. If you ignore game part of the hobby, you will be beaten by a more knowledgeable opponent.

30K is not fun for your opponent if you have neglected your homework... Yes. You need a Spartan Plan. Yes. You need a terminator plan. Yes. You need a primarch plan. Yes. You need a way to get your troops across the board and to HOLD objectives. No. You usually can't just walk there.

Strategy, list building and tactics are core parts of the hobby and honestly, investing time into the GAME is an important part of being a responsible member of the 30K community. Don't show up without a plan. Don't be that guy.

In closing, I started writing a tactics blog as a place to store my thoughts and chronicle the building of my Raven Guard legion, but it has grown into something much, much more. I have seen bad players become good players. I have seen NEWBs grow to community leaders. I have seen players start with a 500 point forces that grow to legions. And I have personally enjoyed the tactical discussion and strategic pondering of how to build certain armies and how to counter other armies.

So I feel that after all the hours of assembling, converting, priming, painting, inking, highlighting, flocking... After all those lists built and Facebook posts written... After all those glued fingers, exacto blade cuts, pin vice punctures and rugs ruined from drop paint pots... don't you owe it to yourself and your opponent to play the game well?

I think you do and that's why competitive gaming belongs in 30K. Take some pride in your GAME.

Friday, February 17, 2017

SPACE WOLVES 30K TACTICS - Know your enemy - Part 1

As a tread head, my original interest in the Space Wolves started with the Leman Russ Battle Tank and continued with the release of specialty codices, minis and unique units like the wolfen and the massive Thunderwolf cav.

Russ is also an especially interesting Primarch. He is a true lead from the front warlord and his legions buck tradition and are extensions of Russ's personality. To other Primarchs though, he is the executioner of the Emperor. He is rightfully feared, as it was the Space Wolves sent to destroy 2 of the initial 20 primarchs and Legions when they strayed from the Emperor's light.

With release of Horus Heresy Book 7 - Inferno, we finally have rules to play out the Burning of Prospero, the Epic clash of the Space Wolves sent to exterminate the Thousand Sons.

The Space Wolf Legion Rules really focus on their unique infantry and dispersed HQ great company structure. As you will see, the rigid structure heavily restricts build options but adds flavor by layering rules through a mix of IC, unit, ROW and war gear rules.

So are Space Wolves the lap dogs of the Emperor or the incarnate of the Emperor's executioners? Let's take a look in bite sized pieces.

++ Numeration: The VIth Legion ++ Primogenitor: Leman Russ ++ Allegiance: Loyalist 
Preferred Style of Fighting 
"Since the days of the VIth Legion's inception on Terra, it has remained a Legion apart from its fellows, its origins shrouded as it garnered a fearsome reputation for its warriors' prowess as a shock-assault force as well as tireless pursuers and a peerless hunter-killer force. Unexpected violence was the Legion's calling card, its campaigns unsubtle, but brutally swift. Like their latter-day namesakes, the wolves of old Terra, its warriors' assaults are calculated exercises in ferocity, aimed to tear and rend until the foe lies in ruins or is driven to its death." 
"Conditioned to hold a near-suicidal disregard for danger and trained to exploit this to the fullest on the battlefield, the heavy infantry that form the core of the Legion's battalions are a force that has been honed in battle against the countless enemies of Mankind and, it is whispered, against their own wayward brothers. For, unlike their brother Legions, the Space Wolves were kept under the tight control of the Imperial Court and unleashed at the Emperor's command as often to chastise those who would renege on their oaths of service as to destroy those who resisted the offer of Compliance."


From a high level, the core rules largely reward infantry heavy assault armies with a focus on encircling and closing quickly with the enemy.

Bestial Savagery: +1 WS when charging. Counter-attack and must sweeping advance if they win combat on a turn they charged or counter charged.
Hunter's Gait: +1 to run and consolidate (termi and jumpers excluded).
Preternatural Senses: Ignore night fight. Re roll table edge when outflanking. No infiltrators within 18" even if the unit is out of sight.

Space Wolf Army Selection

The army selection is fairly complicated and restrictive. Some of the fine points worth mentioning is that the additionally required HQs are not "compulsory" HQs. So things like priests and the like count toward the HQ requirements.

It should also be noted that Grey Slayers being compulsory troops and everything else being support ends up restricting a lot of the possible ROWs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Grey slayers are priced equally to standard tac squad but have considerably more wargear options, making them very versatile.
  • HQ: 
    • Compulsory HQ: Praetor or Centurion
    • Mandatory 1 HQ per 1000 pts
    • Priest of Fenris replaces Chaplains, Librarians and Primus Medicae
  • TROOP:
    • Grey Slayer may be taken as compulsory troops
    • All other troops choices gain the support squad rule

  • Power Weapons maybe exchanged for frost blade or frost claw for 5pts or frost blade for 10pts
    • Frost Blade: +1 Str, AP3, Specialist weapon
    • Frost Axe: +2 Str, AP2, Specialist, unwieldy
    • Frost Claw: +1 Str, AP3, Shred, Specialist weapon
    • Great Frost Blade: +1 Str, AP2, Master-crafted, 2 handed, -1 to initiative but +1 attack if in base with more than one model 
  • Aether-rune Armour: Praetors or Priest of Fenris can upgrade Artificer armor for 20 points
    • 2+ armor save, +1 W, Re-roll Deny the witch rolls
  • Fenrisian Wolf: Praetors and Centurions (without jump packs or termi armor) can take up to 2 wolves. The HQ maintains their IC status. They are basically 2 attack space marines with a 6+ armor save and can be upgraded to cyberwolves with FNP 5+. 
  • Burning Claws (Relic): Wolf Claw, master-crafted and armor bane.

The Pale Hunters: 
  • +1 to reserve rolls
  • All non termi infantry units, gain hit & run (2d6 not 3d6) 
  • +1 attack when assault units locked in combat 
  • No Artillery. No Drop Pods.
  • Only one Heavy 
First, let's chat about the rules. Jump infantry are infantry so get this rule.

As for "locked units", a unit is locked after you have finished a charge move. So if 2 units charge in the same turn the second unit gets the +1 attack benefit. So consider the option of charging in characters separately. It's a risk but it could add huge amounts of attacks in the assault phase.

I personally think hit and run is one of the best rules in the game. It's value can easily be overlooked when compared to other ROWs. That said, no Drop pods AND a max 1 heavy support restriction will be too steep for many generals, but I think this ROW is VERY strong.

The Bloodied Claws: 
  • Grey Slayers and Assault Squads get furious assault and MUST charge if able.
  • +1 combat resolution in hth when in the enemy's deployment zone
  • Warlord gains Howl of the Death Wolf Warlord trait i.e. re roll run and charge dice for one turn. 
  • No immobile, artillery, slow and purposeful units
  • No allies 
This will be the go to ROW for most Space Wolves lists. Furious assault sets up a lot of combos. One of the more powerful combos is taking power axes in the Grey Slayer and Assault Squads. This gives you WS5, S6 AP2 attacks on the charge, when when mixed with Rad grenades means you are Obliterating 2W T4 terminators and pretty much more things Adeptus Astartes. The restrictions are also fairly minor.

That said, the MUST charge rule can be a huge liability in the late game against a wily opponent.

Other ROWs: 

With the compulsory Grey Slayer rules, you end up losing any ROW that has mandatory units from the standard crusade codex. The list below is what you are left with.
  • Orbital Assault
  • Armoured Spearhead
  • Outcast Sons 
  • Sky Hunter Phalanx (with difficulties)
  • ZMAF
  • The Pale Hunters
  • The Bloodies Claws


Leman Russ: The first thing that jumps out at you about Russ is his beefy stats lines. 6's across the board, I7 ad WS9. Russ has 2 weapon options. The first is master crafted, S8, AP2 re roll armor pen. Then second is S6, AP2, Shred and sever life, which basically is a toughness test, which causes an extra D3 AP2 if failed. Russ can divide his attacks between the 2 weapons.

BUT what makes Russ interesting is that models in base to base with him are -1 to hit in hth and -2 if they are in base to base with him more than one turn. With WS 9 that means pretty much everyone is hitting him on a 6+. All and All Russ is a Primarch Killer.

He also buffs a space marine army by gives them all +1LD and he has a one use re roll for all run and charge rolls.

He also unlocks Vargyr Termies and Legion Vet squads as compulsory troops. Which is a big deal with Grey slayers being the ONLY other compulsory troop option, unless you take a ROW that adds to that list. Plus, you can take Warrior's Mettle as a Vet option.

  • Wolf-kin of Russ: Cool. 30k Thunder wolves :) First off, they count as an HQ, which is sweet since you need an HQ per 1000 points anyway. During the game you can use them to LOS Russ if they are within 6", which helps get Russ to where he needs to be... Beating face. The can also be a cheap unit to lock unit so everyone else get +1 attack if you are using The Pale Hunter ROW. The downside is that they both give up KPs, so can be a bit of a liability in certain missions. 

Greigor Fell-hand: Crown breaker (Preferred enemy IC and FNP 5+ in a challenge), 3 attacks, S6, AP2, master crafted, shred

Greigor is basically a cheap beat stick, granted he only has power armor and refractor field. He only has 4 attacks on the charge though, so don't expect to be collecting Praetor heads. He should mince most Sgts though.

It should also note he has Warrior's mettle, which is great with Grey slayers. However, it's tough to attach him to grey slayers because they start at a unit size of 10. So most transports can fit him. So he's good with grey slayers on foot (probably outflanking) .

OR in a Pale Nomad list, you put him in a Spartan with a large Grey Slayer unit. He detaches and charges first with the crazy Warrior's mettle charge range and you follow it up with a charge with the Grey Slayers, which are now all +1 attack on the charge ;)

Hvarl Red-Blade: YES. This guy will be the GO TO HQ for most armies. 5 S6 Ap2 Armorbane attacks on the charge as WS7, in Tartaros armor with a Iron Halo, and grenade harness and A MOTHER FUCKING HEAVY BOLTER. Lol. It's like a 6 year old made this guy up. I love it.
  • 3 INFANTRY units can scout 
  • Units within 12" get Preferred Enemy (Infantry)
This guy has everything you need to make space wolves work. Scout is a great rule because you can use it for a scout move OR unit is to outflank and space wolves get to re roll the out flank roll. Also remember that scout confers to dedicated transports as well. So in the armoured breakthrough ROW you would get Scouting land raiders. And finally, Jump Infantry are Infantry, so you can scout jumpers 12" forward.

Priest of Fenris: A strange but powerful unit. You have to choose either to run them as a Speaker of the dead, which is an apothecary / chaplain like character or as a psyker with some anti psyker abilities.
  • Speaker of the Dead: Comes standard with a power maul, healing balms (5+ FNP) and Garm blood vial (8" Poison 4+ rending assault d3+1 one use grenade). 
  • Caster of Runes: Comes standard with a Runic Matrix (re-rell deny the witch and caps powers at 4 dice if used against this unit.) 
Overall, Priests of Fenris are VERY good. But they don't mix well with Grey slayers and they can't take jump packs (which would be awesome in the bloodied claw ROW), they can't take bikes (with would have been awesome an outflank heavy pale nomad list). So finding a place to hide these guys is actually a problem. I think you will large just run with Deathsworn.

Especially if you go down the route of Russ, which opens up vets as compulsory troops, which opens up Pride of the Legion, which opens up Deathsworn as command squads and let's the Deathsworn take a dedicated land raider ( which would also scout).

Priest of Iron: Forge Lord, Master of Signal and Praevians can be upgraded to Priests of Iron, which gives them the option to upgrade their armor to Aether rune armor (+1 Deny the witch, +1 wound, 2+ save).
  • Forge Lord: May take cyber wolves for +15 points instead of Servo-Automata. It's a fluffy option, but it's nothing insanely good. At 15 points and 6+ 5+ FNP, they aren't really resilient or cheap enough to be bullet magnets. And the wolves aren't beasts, so you can really run them next to a forgelord on bike (which would have been cool). They also don't really hit that hard in hth. So really, the only plus is that he gets to add wounds to a unit, which I guess could be useful for a dev squads or something. Overall, it's not that interesting of a choice. 
  • Master of Signal: Not really a front line combatant, so adding a wound or anti psychic power doesn't really add much to this guys. And MoS are support characters, so it's not like you are making your warlord super durable. Overall, it's a lackluster choice. 
  • Praevian: Battle-automata can take the counter attack rule. Don't pay for this... FW needs to read the 40k rules better... Paevians already have Counter-attack from Bestial Savagery and it's a universal rule that extends to the entire squad. So it's a trap. That said, it's worth pointing out that you get coutner-attack + whatever rule you choose on Praevian table for your castellax. 

Deathsworn Pack: These are Space Wolf Vets that come standard with artificer armor, a bolt pistol  / power axe and stasis bombs. In HTH they are fearless and get their attacks at I1 even if they are killed.
  • Stasis bombs are pretty sweet: 6", Fleshbane, AP2, Small Blast, pinning gets hot. 
They also get some pretty good wargear options, including Rad Grenades i.e. wounding on a 2+. They also have cheap upgrade access to power fists, great frost blades and thunder hammers. These guys are about as deadly as it gets and they a priced pretty at a serious discount. Expect to see a lot of these guys.

Varagyr Terminators: This is your special snowflake termi squad. They come with stubborn, fear, S5 hammer of wrath attacks, the ability to accept challenges and WS 5. Also don't forget, they are space wolves so get an additional +1 WS on the charge. So at WS 6 they are interesting IC hunters.

They also can get frost blades of your choice, which is a double edged sword because all the frost weapons are specialist weapons, so you don't get your +1 to attack. BUT, you can buy a second frost blade for 5 points. So they are basically A3 S5 lighting claws, or A3 S6 power axes. BUT you can also swap a frost blade for a powerfist for free or a chainfist or thunder hammer for 5 pts more. So if you go frost claw / power fist you all of a sudden have a pretty versatile unit.

All that said, these are also 59 point 1W terminators... Sure 5 of them get 20 attack on the charge, with 5 x S5 hammer of wrath hits and hit on a 3+, but is that really worth 95 points more than a standard termi squad? I don't really think so.

Legion Veteran Tactical Squad: Russ unlocks these guys as compulsory troops, which is a very good option, as the Space Wolves come with preternatural senses, +1WS on a charge and counter-assault rules that all layer well with the Vet rules.
  • Marksmen: gives rending through the sniper rule but also out flank, which Wolves get to re roll the dice when entering from reserves. 
  • Warrior's mettle makes use of the fact that Vets come with bolter, pistol and CCW, and makes them very mobile on foot. 
  • Weaponmasters: Give them WS5 which becomes WS6 on the charge

Overall, Space Wolf vets are very good out f the box at hth and have access to Power Weapons for everyone. So you can either go all in and make units combat monsters or just take a couple power weapons. So whether you go power weapon crazy or just sprinkle them in, you are left with a unit that is very difficult to move off an object.


Grey Slayer Pack: These are your compulsory troops and all other troops gain the support rule. From an ROW perspective, this limits your ability to take a bunch of ROWs. That said, Grey Slayers are quite good, so it's not a huge loss.

From a points perspective, they are the same cost as tac marines but come with BP / CCWs instead of a bolter and swap fury of the legion for Warrior's Mettle.

  • Warrior's Mettle: Models may not go to ground. Re-rolling pinning tests. Can charge after running., and an charge after firing bolters (both situations have a -1 to charge distance).
  • What's intersting about this rule is that its "Models" not unit. So it's a tricky rule to figure out how it works with ICs. If the unit shoots with bolters and the the IC shoots with a pistol? Can you still charge? I say yes, but it's not exactly clear. But can you run after you charge? I would say no. 

Warrior's mettle is a very good rule, which makes space wolf troops really fast and charging after bolter shoots is basically like an extra I10 attack.

What really sets Grey Slayers apart is the ability to take wargear. Some of the interesting options include, 5 pt power weapons, chain blades, or combat shields for EVERYONE or a powerfists or combi weapons on a 1 to 5 basis.

I mean 325 pts for 20 guys with 60 power weapon attacks is a great deal. And remember they have counter attack and are hitting with WS5 on the charge. Also remember that deathsworn packs have rad grenades, so consider the combo charge possibilites. And you can buff these units with a priest.

^^^^ This is what makes this codex GOOD ^^^^

Legion Assault Squad: With bloodied claws, these guys pick up furious assault, which is great for oblitting power axes. Beyond that though, you can really start seeing how this Legion starts to layer rules upon rules. Without much point expenditure you are WS5, counter assault, +1S, re roll 1s to hit and wound and your opponent could be -1 T. And since some of these conditions require the unit to be charging, Legion Assault Squads become a solid choice if you wanted to add a 3rd troop choice.


Legion Land Raider Battle Squadron: While these guys get no special rules, they can be made a dedicated transport through the armored spearhead ROW or though Russ with with Pride of the Legion. This allows the landraider and the unit inside to scout. In addition, the Warrior's mettle rule is insane out of a landraider. You're  talking 6" move + 6" deploy + D6 run + 2D6 charge. And your warlord may very likely be giving you re rolls on the run and charge dice.


At first glance, Space Wolves look pretty boring and very limiting. The legion rules are very restrictive and force you down a path of grey slayers and lots of ICs. This is problematic, as the Warrior's mettle rule doesn't play well with ICs.

Once you get past that, you quickly see that this Legion has the ability to layer A LOT of special rules on top of a unit. This pretty much starts with Hvarl Red-Blade. Honestly, expect to see this guy in pretty much every list.

He gives, 3 INFANTRY units Scout (outflank) AND give out preferred enemy in a 12" bubble to entire units. Now stack +1 WS on the charge and Rad Grenades from DeathSworn and finally add ROW rules. Even Basic Grey Slayers become crazy good.

  • The Pale Nomad on the Charge with Power swords = 81 attacks, hitting on 3+, wounding on 3+, AP3, and re rolling 1's to hit and wound and against infantry. 
  • Which is ~50 dead space marines. 
  • The Bloodied Claws on the Charge with Power Axes = 61 attacks, Hitting on 3+, Wounding on 2+, AP2, which oblit T4 models, and re rolling 1's to hit and wound and against infantry. 
  • Which is ~25 dead cataphractii 2 wound terminators. 
  • It's also worth pointing out that with power maces and this ROW you are running around with 81 S7 attacks on the charge... So consider this an strong light vehicle hunting squad. 
And that is the damage output of a singe 325 point COMPULSORY TROOP CHOICE!!!! And with counter-attack it's pretty much a death sentence for most units to charge these guys as well.

Preternatural Senses is also a very strong rule that other legions would absolutely love to have. Re roll ouflank deployment opens up the ability to run a very outflank heavy force, which is fun but tactically, it gives you a lot of choice versus different armies. 

Preternatural Senses also forces infiltrators to stay 18" away even when out of LOS. Thus, taking a single naked recon squad can COMPLETELY SCREW any sort of infiltration heavy force. Finally, ignoring night fight is a nice little perk. 

From a list building perspective, I think most players will gravitate towards The Bloodied Claws, The Pale Hunters ROWs. For these two ROWs, Hvarl Red-Blade seems absolutely mandatory. Expect lists to be either foot based and outflanking or vehicle based and scouting.

  • For The Pale Nomad ROW, Wolves can make good use of small out rider units, our ICs on bikes. They can send in small cheap units to "lock" units in combat to add attacks to other other units. As you can't take pods in this ROW and can only take a single heavy support, expect Super Heavies, fliers wings of lightnings, and grav/melta speeders. Storm Lord is actually an interesting Super Heavy for these guys. Overall, I think this is your "Outflank" heavy ROW. Large units of Grey Slayers out flanking with ICs on bike and outflanking marksmen vets with combi flamers in rhinos sounds like a pretty scary army. It's reserve heavy, so units like damocles command rhinos might be a good pick up (and yes it counts toward your HQ totals)
  • For The Bloodied Claws ROW, I think you will still see Hvarl Re-Blade, but in this ROW expect smaller unit scouting in transports, or scouting Jump Pack Wolves, or deep striking Jump packs. I think some foolhardy general will try to run big units across the board... but I think that army concept will fail. 

As for other ROWS, I think that armoured spearhead and orbital assault will be a popular ROWs.

  • For Armoured Spearhead, expwct to see Hvarl Red-Blade scouting units of Landraiders. This increases the scout move of infantry to 12" and Land Raiders are assault vehicles. Add in Warrior's mettle and you have huge charge range out of one of these tanks. You also don't have the immobile or No pod restriction, so things like contemptors or levies or termies in pods can help add preseasure turn 1, while you can't charge. 
  • For Orbital Assault, remember that EVERYONE has counter assault. So the idea is not to blast everyone off the table turn one. That's a Son's of Horus Build.... Instead, the idea is to drop a ton of bodies that you are screwed if you charge them and doubly screwed if you don't. Russ is actually very interesting in this sort of list as this is one of the only way to get deepstriking termies, and vets are good in a pod list (think rending combi flamer spam). It should also be noted that Grey Slayers are pretty versatile podders as they can be kitted hth heavy on the war gear, but they can also take 2 combi weapons. 

Also remember, that Vet's with Marksmen can outflank, so expect heavy outflanking forces to be supported by Vets. Especially, if Russ is on the table because Vets become Troops. 


New rules, so this is a lot of theory hammer, but this is how I would approach countering what I think are the stronger wolf lists.

To counter Space Wolves you have  their movement.

If Space Wolves are playing an outflank based force you have 2 options. Either string minis down one side of the board so they can't deploy. Or deploy centrally and counter attack with things like Mor Deythan flamer squads in rhinos.

If Space Wolves are playing a scouting force, you really need to get them out of their transports quickly. Consider a force that has 3 landraiders deployed. They will deploy centrally and scout 12" forward. They can't assault turn 1, but Grey Slayers can have a 12" + (re roll) 3D6 range. You likely can't kill 3 landraiders, maybe one. But you can vastly reduce the effectiveness of these types of units through tactics.

  1. Deploy something like grav rapiers in the corner of their deployment zone. Now they have to blow their scout move to deal with you. Plus you might take the land raider out before it gets to you and you've stranded a unit in their own corner. 
  2. Park a rhino sideways in front of the landraider. Also try to use impassable terrain to jam up movement lanes. It should knock at least 6" off the assault range and you again put them in the tough position of either moving forward with their assault or deal with the rhino and it's contents.
  3. Deploy towards the corners. They won't have enough movement to deal with everything. Plus you put them in the tough position of dividing their force. 
  4. Know the Rules! They can't end their scout movement within 12" another unit. With infiltrate, you can really hinder their scout moves. Just be wary if they have a recon unit to push you back 18".
Conceptually, you should be able to take out a land raider a turn. The goal is buy time my offering up bait units and slowly dismantle the landraider. Then you use units like flamer vets, plasma units, mor deythan, typhons, etc to clean up the infantry. 

If Space Wolves are playing a deep strike heavy force, flyers are a great way to go. That said, Wolf pods don't really put out huge fire power when they come in, but they are a huge hth threat. Ultimately, you can counter pods with a bubble wrap unit and mor deythan in a rhino.

At the end of the day, most lists Space Wolves will run heavily towards one of these army types or will contain elements of these three lists. Mixing and matching the these tactics is how to defang the wolves. Raven Guard are actually have the right tools to deal well with heavy elite infantry lists, but it's really how you play your list that is going to make the difference against Space Wolves. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gaming at Home: The Alpha Game Table

Gaming in Manhattan is a challenge. Gaming stores are usually crowded or cramped, unless you go out to Brooklyn to somewhere awesome, like NuBrand gaming.

Now add a 9 month old and new professional ballerina wife... and gaming trips to Brooklyn are tougher to pull off.

So I decided to bring some of the gaming to me!

STEP 1: Get a Gaming Table

A 4 X 6 table is a big fricken table. It's larger in size than most dining tables and getting buying off from the ball and chain to buy a huge table to game on in a Manhattan apartment is like asking if I can have tiger as a pet.

Undeterred, I started looking for solutions.

The first thought was to get a cool folding table. For example this one from Crate and Barrel. Awesome design, folds up into nothing, but it's a little small. Great for Malifaux or blood bowl though. I even got the buy off from the wifey!

I thought I could get away with a 4' X 6' piece of ply wood on top, but I have to say, it's a big piece of wood to hide in a small apartment... and with a piece of plywood on top, it gets a little... dicey ;)

Soooo... what if I cut the ply wood into 3 individual 2' x 4' pieces and figure out how to hook them together!

3 pieces of poplar and now some sort of assembly system?

Perfect! Just like that! 

Well it's been done, and I'm sure it works great, but you still have 3 pieces of wood and whole fricken table, which is nightmare to bring anywhere. Oh and it's heavy as hell. 


A fellow gamer shot me a link for a crowd funded gaming table on Indiegogo. 

It looked to good to be true! and it was... It had rounded corner and was 4' x 6'. 

Rounded Corners?! ROUNDED CORNERS! 

WTF! That wasn't going to work! 

About a month later though, the guys running the crowd funding listened to the feed back and add a couple inches to accommodate the corners! Impressed by their initiative, I took the plunge and joined the crowd funding.  

MONTHS WENT BUY... and then came The Horus Heresy Weekender and leaks of the Inferno rules! Oh Joy!

    While I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door” 

Only THIS and nothing more!

Merry Christmas. Get the crowbar and a hammer, Ralphie. Go on. "Fra-gi-ley." That must be Italian. I think that says "fragile." Oh, yeah. Here we go. They did a job on this, you know? No, here, Ralph, hold this. There could be anything in there! Jesus! Maybe they forgot. It's in there. It's gotta be in there. Would you look at that? What? Would you look at that? What is it? It's a ALPHA Game Table: Portable Game Surface!

Setting Up The Alpha Gaming Table: 

The gaming table has 6 legs, folds out twice, and the 6 legs are kinda short and lock in place.

The leg extensions conveniently clip into plastic holders on the underside of the table. The table legs have screw out extendable feet to accommodate uneven floors and the like. 

The leg extensions clip into the short legs to create the full length gaming legs. 

Last Step! 


The Alpha Game Table is really quite sturdy. I wouldn't stand on it or put do carpentry on it, but it is totally sturdy enough as a gaming table. 

The surface is a lacquered aluminum and MDF. It seems pretty durable and waterproof. Mine actually came a little chipped, but overall, it's a beautiful, flat, sturdy surface. 

Add a F.A.T.M.A.T. from Frontline games! And you are ready to go. You can see how they added a little extra table to handle the round corners. 

I can't wait to get my first game on this! Stay tuned as I paint up some. 

"Nobody puts baby in a corner!"

Overall, I love this table! Seemed a little pricey, but you can see the money went into making it sturdy and well designed. 

My only gripe? 

It should have came with a perfect sized bag with a should strap and two straps on the side so you could hang it on a pole with carabiners, like you do with gaming mats. Hopefully, I can find one! 

LMK if you guys have any questions about the table :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


I have always loved the Thousand Sons. They are Loyalist marines that were forced to be traitors because of their beliefs and the Emperor's mistrust of their knowledge of the warp. With the new Horus Heresy: 7 book "Inferno", coming out and the recent drop of amazing plastic Thousand Son models, there has been a lot of requests to branch out and write a tactics article on them.

First and foremost, let me preface this article by saying Thousand Sons are not any easy army to understand and the learning curve to play such a psychic heavy Legion will be steep. In order to review this codex I also had to dive into the rules a bit.

Speaking of which, if you haven't seen the rules, you can find them here:

Thousand Son Rules

++ Numeration: The XVth Legion ++ Primogenitor: Magnus the Red ++ Allegiance: Traitoris

Preferred Style of Fighting

"The Thousand Sons were born of capricious fate and have ever walked a precarious path between duty and damnation. The nascent Legion was spared destruction by the discovery of its Primarch, the one-eyed giant Magnus the Red. Only by Magnus' devotion to his newly-found sons, his vast intellect and his mastery of the arcane was the Legion saved."


"Of all the Space Marine Legions, the Thousand Sons made the greatest use of those possessed of psychic ability, integrating these warrior-mystics into a labyrinthine command structure so that they, by the application of their powers, could alter the very flow of cause and effect to achieve flawless victories."

    • Covenant of Sorcerers: Warlord must be an IC Psyker
    • Prosperine Lore: Access to all disciplines but Malfic. ICs can upgrade to level 1 psykers and can upgrade a power weapon to a force weapon. 
    • Signs & Portends: If perils, all units take pin check. If all ICs dies, -1ld and no sweeping advances. 
    • Cult Arcana: Warp charge on a 3+ if power and squad match
      • Pavoni = Biomancy: +1 to run and sweeping advance
      • Raptora = Telekinesis: 6+I or +1i saves
      • Corvidae = Divination: Re roll 1s to shooting attacks if stationary
      • Athanean = Telepathy: Adamantium will and immune to fear
      • Pyrae = Pyromancy: +1 hammer of wrath

    • Arcane Litanies: Can ignore 1 peril's of the warp. 
    • Aether fire Cannon: Can upgrade a plasma cannons to have soul blaze.
    • Asphex Shells: Bolt weapons gains shred (not heavy bolters). Termies, Vets, roto-cannon support squads, and ICs can take them on bolt weapons.
    • Luminiferous Resonator (Relic): a S10 AP3 Salvo weapon that compares against target's leadership instead of toughness... it has no effect on vehicles. It has a 12" range but being Salvo means you can't assault afterwards no matter how you fire it, so its a bit iffy. Toss it on a terminator and suddenly it makes a lot more sense.


    During the Crusade and Horus Heresy psychic powers were regarded as dangerous and thus forbidden by the Emperor by the council of Nikaea. And they were right. Psychic powers are dangerous so let's look at them!

    • Novas, beams, focused witchfire and witchfire all are Witchfires!!!

    Brotherhood of Psykers (BoS): 
    • So the important thing to know about psychic units is if the power targets "the psyker", the whole unit gets the benefit. Yeah. HOLY SHIT! 
    • IC's that join the unit do NOT pick up the BoS rule, so IC's can't cast a psyker only power and convey it to the squad. 
    • Khenetai, Sekhmet Termies, Veterans, Termies and Command squads with Ahriman can all be Brotherhood of Psykers and take advantage of the psychic rules. Ammatara also have there own version of this rule, but can't really be buffed up in the same way. 


    So biomancy does two good things. Turns a Psyker into a beast or buffs a unit. BUT remember, that in units with Brotherhood of Psykers (BOS) it buffs the whole fucking unit. Also, remember that units that are Pavoni are +1 run and sweeping advance, so this your hth centric option.

    • Smite: A marine Killer, great power with AP2. But in the hands of Magnus the Red? You can get 4 Str D shots out of it. Ouch. 
    • 1 - Iron Arm: +3 Str AND +3 T. That's insane on a BOS, especially if you layer on instant death from force weapons. 
    • 2 - Enfeeble: -1 Str AND -1 T. It's ok. Not more special with KSons. 
    • 3 - Life Leech: Witch fire. So an option for Magnus. 
    • 4 - Warp Speed: +3 I AND +3 Attacks AND Fleet. Again... A retardedly good buff for a BOS unit. I mean you are talking about adding 30 attacks to a 10 man squad! And any squad you are casting this on is probably bristling with power weapons. Plus you are talking about I4 power axes. Plus fleet is awesome. 
    • 5 - Endurance: Eternal Warrior, 4+ FNP and relentless. Especially great on something like Sehkemt termies that have multiple wounds. FNP is great on everything. Relentless is solid, it might actually be nice on something like roto cannon support tac squad with Asphex shells. 
    • 6 - Haemorrhage: A solid power, but nothing special with KSons, especially in 30k where T4 is everywhere. 

    Telekinesis is a mixed bag for K sons, however coupled with Raptora this becomes your resilient option. The 6+I save across the board is fine, but the +1I is REALLY GOOD. Especially when combined with other Invulnerable save buffs.
    • 0 - Assail: 18"beam. With marksmen vets you can add rending. 
    • 1 - Crush: Focused Witchfire. Is a good assassination power for Magnus. 
    • 2 - Objuration Mechanicum: Forces gets hot on other units or a haywire hit. Nothing special although it's nice against something with high ROF like a rapier platform unit :p 
    • 3 - Shockwave: It's a NOVA. It's not bad considering Raptora is based on resilience, i.e. tarpitting. Also vets with marksmen can add rending to it. 
    • 4 - Levitation: Movement is always nice, also remember you can get this on a Contemptor. Death from above! 
    • 5 - Telekine Dome: So this is where the rubber hits the road.  All units with 12" of a psyker gets a 5+I save. When combined with Raptora that drops to 4+I. That's pretty significant since you can spread a BOS squad over a lot of the board to give out 4+i like candy. 
    • 6 - Psychic Maelstrom: Witch fire. So Magnus. That said it's already a 2 WC cast so it would bump to 4 WC. So Meh, but it would be an auto Str D shot.


    Divination largely buffs shooting and so it matches well with Corvidae, which hands out re roll 1s in the shooting phase like candy. This is obviously a buff across the army, but where the Corvidae really shines when combined with Divination is the Pride of the Legion with tons of Vets. Stacks rending on top of Divination, with Asphex bolts that offer shred is absolutely NASTY and is totally a full army viable build.

    • 0 - Prescience: Re roll to hits is especially good for high shot units like roto cannon support squads, but it's also REALLY good for rending units. Vets can become BOS so they can Auto choose Prescience and get a roll. You will see this combo as standard unit in a lot of Kson armies. 
    • 1 - Foreboding: Counter attack and Overwatch are solid. What's nice is that it's a blessing that extend to the psykers squad. Solid on units with Asphex bolts. 
    • 2 - Forewarning: Gives a unit 4+i. Always nice. 
    • 3 - Perfect Timing: Gives ignore cover. This is insane on certain units. Think phosphex rapiers or plasma cannon tacs. While your at it you could go crazy with support plasma cannon tacs with soul blaze! (Seriously, though don't. Too Expensive)
    • 4 - Precognition:  This power is another one that is good for something like vets with combi plasma because BOS gives re roll to hit and wound to the whole squad. It's also solid for something like Sehkmet termies when added to their hth attacks. 
    • 5 - Misfortune: Rending is especially good when added to units with Shred. Roto support squads are probably the best unit for this but units like rapiers with shatter shells or even units like vets or termies with Asphex shells. 
    • 6 - Skier's Gaze: Solid in 40K for tactical missions but in 30K it's good for reserves and outflank. 


    So telepathy for most people is really all about invisibility. There is not much synergy with Adamantium Will or immune to fear. But don't let that discourage you. Beyond invisibility there are a lot of game winning powers in this list but you have to think outside the box. Consider using this with running orbital strike. Vet's and deep striking termies coming in and blasting telepathy powers, Ahriman also give 3 units scout which makes 3 units pretty viable. Vigilators are a solid option as well or even Vets with outflank.

    • 0 - Psychic Shriek: It's a witchfire, but without a strength can't really be tweaked by Magnus. That said it's a very strong ability to have scattered around and army and it's especially good when you cast it on a 3+, especially when you have a lot of units doing in. 
    • 1 - Dominate: No synergies, but it can definitely be an annoying. 
    • 2 - Mental Fortitude: Fearless is very good in 30K. You will find you underestimate this power and you happen to get it while to shoot for invisibility, then it ends up being the things that saves your ass. 
    • 3 - Terrify: Again this is one of those powers that is overlooked, but can be game breaking. If you can find ways to get into range turn 1, you can BOO units off the board. So imagine drop pod vets with rending flamers. You try to scare a unit off the board with -1 ld and then do enough damage to force another check. It's a not a crazy high level of success but it has huge potential. 
    • 4 - Shrouding: Another one of those useful, but not truly game changing powers, but it would stack with those vigilators if you took them ;) 
    • 5 - Invisibility: So invisibility breaks all sort game winning combos open. Always best with a big death star. The Guard of the Crimson King ROW works well here. Take a big unit of termies with magnus and laugh as they try to hit you. 
    • 6 - Hallucination: Fine power, but not a lot of synergy with KSons. 


    Pyromancy is one of those lores that come alive when you face militia or other non 3+ armor save armies. It's also doesn't really have a lot of synergy with the Pyrae cult which gives +1 hammer of wrath. The hammer of wrath bonus is tricky to get a lot out of. You can either go bulk like in a 20 man tac squad or with a big assault marine squad so that you get double hammer of wraths or go with high quality hammer of wrath hits like castellax and contemptors.

    • 0 - Flame Breath: Heavy Flamer and with marksmen vets you add rending. As it's a primaris, it's a reliable combo to add to a vet squad. 
    • 1 - Fiery Form: For units with BOS for a 4+i save, soul blaze and re roll wounds on other Pyromancy powers. 
    • 2 - Fire Shield: 4+ cover save and units treat terrain as Dangerous. Seems ok, but it goes great with most units that already have hammer of wrath attacks like assault marines and the like. 
    • 3 - Spontaneous Combustion: A focused witchfire that can gut a squad, no synergy with KSons though other than Magnus. 
    • 4 - Sunburst: Nova that can really trash chaff units like militia, but with Vets with marksmen it picks up rending as well. 
    • 5 - Inferno: A long range witch fire. Good for Magnus and it comes with a large blast. 
    • 6 - Molten Beam: Meltagun beam weapon. 


    Santic powers do not get a companion Cult Arcana. That said, they are pretty strong set of powers, just remember that pyskers perils on doubles and KSons don't take perils well. You either take them when you play Word Bearers or to layer on top of other powers if you rolled what you wanted early.

    • 0 - Banishment: -1 to daemon invul saves. So highly situational, aka bring it Word Bearers
    • 1 - Gate of Infinity: Redeploy a unit via deep strike. Solid for shooting units or for end game scoring. Might be good to try to take with a divination heavy force. 
    • 2 - Hammerhand: +2 strength to a unit. Solid upgrade to any unit. 
    • 3 - Sanctuary: +1 invul saves, so great with cataphractii or with tartaros if you took Raptora. 
    • 4- Purge Soul: Purge soul is a focused witch fire with opposed leaderships to cause wounds. Solid character hunter. 
    • 5 - Cleansing Flame: Heavy Flamer NOVA. Nasty with Magnus. 
    • 6 - Vortex of Doom: Str D blast vortex, but at 3 WCs its a lot of risk to roll a double. 



      HQs are especially interesting in a KSons army, they basically all have access to psychic powers and force weapons, but more importantly you can attach them to a unit to buff them. Ultimately, you want to identify what powers you are shooting for based on the other units in your list and assign your HQ units according to the best combos based on what powers you rolled.

      Magnus the Red: Magnus adds a lot to an army. Everyone becomes LD 10, anyone in his unit is fearless, and the army re rolls reserve rolls. He also unlocks Sekhmet and Legion Termies as troops and he drops the troops arcana restriction. He's a 2+/4++ that reduces Str D by 1 wound. He has Str 9 AP1 hth attacks and D3 S8 Ap2 pistol shots. Any attacks targeting him or his unit is -1 to hit and blast scatter +1 inch.


      He doesn't need LOS for psychic powers and everything ignores cover.

      Mind Wrath: ADD +2 WC to a witchfire power and it double the range and adds 2d6. IF the strength become 11+ it becomes Str D.

      Remember that Novas, witchfire, focused witchfire and beams are all witchfire powers!!!!

      So something like sunburst could be 18" radius that causes every unit to take 2d6 Str D hit!!!

      Below are the modified psychic powers: Biomancy looks like the winner IMO

      • Biomancy  - WC3 - Smite: 36" S4+2d6 Ap2 Assault 4
      • Biomancy  - WC3 - Life Leach: 36" S6+2d6 AP2 Assault 2 - Gain back a wound
      • Pyromancy - WC4 - Inferno: 48" S4+2d6 AP5 large blast 1, ignore cover, soul blase
      • Pyromancy - WC4 - Molten Beam: 24" S9+2d6, AP1, Melta, assault 1, beam
      • Pyromancy - WC3 - Sunburst 18" S4 Ap5 Assault 2D6, ignores covers, soulblaze, Nova
      • Telekinesis - WC3 - Assault: S6 AP- Assault 1, strike down
      • Telekinesis - WC3 - Psychic Maelstrom - 24" S10 Ap1 Barrage, large blast assault 1
      • Telekenisis - WC3 - Shockwave - 18" S4 AP -  Assault 2d6, pinning , Nova
      • Santic         - WC4 - Cleansing Flame - 18" S5+2d6 Ap4 Assault 2D6, ignores cover, soulblaze, nova
      • Sanctic       - WC2 - Votex of doom (which is already a Str D) 

      Ahriman: He is basically a level 4 psyker locked into divination. Which means you will be looking to build a shooting army with him with divination spread through the force. His warlord trait give 3 units scout, which means you have the opportunity to run a fairly aggressive army. Forward units offer synergy with a ROW like Guard of the Crimson King, where you have mass deep striking. Ahriman also works well with units like Rending, likes Asphex Vets or roto cannon support squads. Or you can go assault heavy like 3 units of termies in spartann or landraiders and just focus on the scout ability.

      Ahriman also let's you upgrade a command squad to a Level 2 BOS unit. They have to be corvidae. They have to be corvidae and generate powers from divination. So no termy or bike command squads craziness. I don't really see much reason to take them unless you want a fearless bubble.

      Magistus Amon: A very interesting character. He get infiltrate and is a lvl 3 psyker with corvidae & Antenean, so your troops can take either one and still match the warlord. He gives you a seize the initiative re roll and can block units from outflanking within 24" of him and deep striking within 12".

      He also is basically always 2+ in cover and gives a unit a +1 to cover saves which is unnamed so it would stack with stealth and shrouding.

      His warlord trait is really the reason most people will take him though. He allows a non super heavy / non flyer to come in automatically on a predetermined turn via outflank. The obvious use is to fire a spartan and big nasty squad at an enemy turn 2, but ti also lets you be kinda cagey if you have an objective near a board edge that you want to claim late in the game. It's a shame you can't combine this with Guard of the Crimson king, but I could see it working well with pride of the legion, the recon ROW or even something funky like the armored breakthrough ROW.

      Good units to outflank:

      • Castellac Achea
      • Sekhmet or regular termies in a landraider or spartan
      • Kenetai in a landraider
      • Predator or vindicator squadron

      Legion Praetor: Thousand Son's Praetor's can upgrade up to a level 3 psyker and can upgrade a power weapon to a force weapon. He can be a serious beat stick if you roll the right psychic powers, but remember, this guy will likely be your warlord, so whatever you choose as your cult arcana, your compulsory troops will also have to take.

      Legion Centurion/Consuls: HQ IC can take 1 psyker level and can take a force weapon, which opens up quite a few interesting combos. Sanctic stacks well with most other lores for example.

       Plus with a little luck, a 65pt Centurion with a power axe in a squad with warp speed, now has 8 S5 AP2 I4 attacks on the charge. CRUNCH.

      The Librarian should also be called out. This is how you get you warp charges, how you get the powers you want in your squads and how you customize your force to the enemy you are facing. It's librarians that really make this list tick.


      Legion Veteran Tactical Squad: Veterans have 2 interesting upgrades. First, they can upgrade to a level 1 brotherhood of psykers. Second, you can give them Asphex shells which has shred. Adding Asphex shells is a cheap way to crank up the damage out put of the squad. When combined with the marksmen trait, you get rending, shredding bolters. 10 naked vets with Asphex bolts is only 160 pts and kills 6 marines a turn. That's highly efficient.

      Alternatively, you can give them the brotherhood of psykers upgrade. From here, I would either go towards shooting and take divination or towards mass power weapons and biomancy. The Biomancy track is probably better left to termies, but the divination has some merit, especially if you are mixing in some power weapons and the like.

      Legion Terminator Squad: Much like Vets, Termi squads can also take Asphex bolts and/or become a Level 1 BOS unit. There are some great combos. Consider Raptora Cataphractii Termies start with 3+i saves and you can give them combi meltas and chainfists. Or Pavoni tartaros would be great with biomancy and combi axes and you try to get warpspeed.

      Especially in larger units, I don't see why you wouldn't take this upgrade. As for the Asphex bolters. They are ok with combi bolters. That said, I do think you are better off with something like combis.

      Unlike Sekhmet termies, Legion termeis with the the BoS upgrade have more restrictions (other than malfic) on lores they can take, which opens up some pretty beefy options if you look at Biomancy.

      Osiron Contemptor Dreadnought Talon: Osiron Version can become a level 1 psyker and choose from telekinesis, telepathy, pyromancy and divination. They get adamantium will and must swap to a dreadnougt force blade with an asphex combi bolter.

      In general, I think you take divination on this guys, pretty much every power makes him better. Re roll hits is a good pick up and you might land a 4+i save or ignore cover, which makes me thing you go plasma cannon on him.

      Sekhmet Terminators: Level 2 BoS, 2 wound termies with force weapons, and stubborn. Its a solid rule set. You can chose to put them in tartaros or cataphractii armor and you can choose powers from telekinesis or pyromancy.

      NOTE: "may choose their powers" - It's a little ambiguous if it means you can choose instead rolling, but I'm pretty sure choosing the powers is the intent.

      In general, I think Sehkment should be fielded with Telekinesis, in order to get the +1 to invulnerable saves and run them as cataphractii. With Telekinesis, you can choose Telekine dome that would upgrade other raptora to a 5++.  Levitation adds a lot of mobility to the unit, but the other great choice is psychic maelstrom. Str 10 AP1 large blast is nasty power.

      If you go the Pyromancy route, you are probably going tartaros armor.  Fiery form and fire shield give you a 4++ or a 4+ cover. While this only brings you inline with cataphractii termies you do pick up an interesting combo with Amon, which adds +1 to cover saves, bringing you to a 3+ cover save. You could even take a vigilator for stealth, which would get you up to a 2+ cover save, which is pretty close to a 2+/2++ in the shooting phase. The vigi would give you scout too, which sets up a 1, 2 punch with whatever you are auto flanking in on turn 2. As for the rest of Pyromancy, which is great for clearing GEQs, which goes well with the hammer of wrath attacks. Alternatively, spontaneous combustion is a solid focused witchfire.

      NOTE: It if you don't choose power from either Telekinesis or Pyromancy, since they are BoS, you can choose to randomly generate powers from the Lore's available to to all Thousand Son.

      Beyond Amon, you have great ways to deploy these guys with either deep strike from GOTCK or scout from Ahriman.

      And for funsies you get Asphex bolts for free which are great or the combi upgrades are only 5 pts! I expect you will see one or two these units in most armies. Good Luck

      Khenetai Occult Blade Cabal: This is you Thousand Sons HTH glass cannon. They have tiered rules, so get better the more Khenetai are in the squad. Let's face it, if you see these guys, they will be a full 10 man squad. So they are WS7! with 5 force sword attacks on the charge. They murder basic infantry, and with force weapons they probably murder everything else as well. Biomancy is likely your go to psychic lore. I actually think a chaplain might be really interesting in this squad too, although it might be overkill. 50 power sword attacks should gut most squads.

      These guys will likely be jumping out of a land raider or storm eagle or anvilus.

      Legion Rapier Weapons Battery: While not a unit called out in the Thousand son rules, it's a unit that gains a lot of power by adding psykers with divination. Re rolls to hit and ignore cover can make certain rapier battery weapons choices insanely good. Example: ignore cover and phosphex shells.


      Legion Tactical Support Squad: For 25 pts, Tactical Support Squads with Rotocannons can add Asphex shells. AWESOME! Or is it.. You are looking at a S3 Salvo 3/4. So a full unit pumps out a 40 shots at 30" and with Corvidae you are re rolling 1's to hit. On average it's 17 wounds so 5 marines kills. AWESOME? Well it's what you would kill with 45 bolter shots... And a 200 man tac squad 225 pts. So it's a little better than fury of the legion at long range.

      BUT. This squad can get nasty with a little help from divination psyker. Most of the power tweak up the output, but misfortune can make this unit nasty. Still 17 wounds, but 8 rend so you are looking at 11 kills.

      That's AWESOME! Right? Well... 10 vets @ 12" with Asphex shells is 160 pts is 10 wounds with 3 rends, so 6 kills.

      So really the answer is that Vets are more efficient, but Tacs supports are a great unit to pump up with psychic powers and misfortune turns this units into a very efficient nasty killing machine.

      Legion Breacher Siege Squad: No special rules, but Raptora grants +1 to invul save so you are 5+i to shooting and 4+i in hth. Plus you have access to santic, so you could get another +1. It also goes well with atomantic pavaise on a Doeredo dread. This is actually a pretty good build for zone mortalis.

      Legion Assault Marines: Similar to breachers, assault marines can get combat shields and Raptora increases your invul to a 5i+ to shooting and 4i+ in hth.


      Ammatara Occult Intercession Cabal: These guys are Thousand Son Recon marines, with recon armor, sniper rifles, and camo cloaks and they get it for about 4 points cheaper. PLUS they are level 1 BOS and have a dedicated power, called mind killer, which re rolls to hit and wound and ignores cover. Interestingly, they are level 1 BOS but mind killer is a 2 WC power.

      On paper, they plunk away killing people with sniper rifles.

      BUT... They ignore cover with their psychic power. So picking up the plasma gun on 2 guys is a worthy investment, but also consider craziness like any IC also get's ignore cover... Like an ignore cover phosphex bomb! Or a forgelord with a grav gun or conversion beamer. Hell, even a krack grenade.

      Also this is an obvious place to park Amon, as his armor stacks with the stealth on this squad. And it would stack with the Recon ROW... Speaking of ROWs, it should be noted you can take a nuncio-vox in this squad, which is great for deepstriking termies.

      So overall they are a hell of a deal compared to recon marines (although they don't score) and don't have a squad wide melta bombs option.

      Legion Seeker Squad: No special rules add but with corvidae you re roll 1s when shooting. In a Seeker squad you are already hitting on a 2+ which makes these guys basically have reroll everything and with scorpius bolters you are 24" S5 Ap2 shred heavy 1. So these guys work especially well with the rules.


      Castellax Achea Battle Automata Maniple: So I guess instead of getting a praevian option, Thousand sons get a special Castellax variant. These guys are geared for mulching infantry and are good at it too. At range they have a mauler pattern bolter and 2 bolters with asphex bolts and a rule to fire all at once, which ish pretty good output. In HTH they have rage, 2 attacks and 2 close combat attacks for a total of 6 attacks each on the charge at S6, AP2. They also can use psykers as cortex controllers so are much more free to run around the board and you don;t have the character tax to take them as you will already be taking psykers.

      Finally, you can use them to channel witch fires and maledictions through from other psykers, so remember that Novas, Beams, Focused Witch fires and Witchfire are all Witchfire.


      Axis of dissolution:
      • Automatically pass morale and pinning within 6" of an objective
      • Overwatch at BS2
      • Re Roll to hit and to wound rolls if a unit is falling back
      • Troops must be max size
      • not more tank and flyers than infantry
      The Axis of dissolution ROW is very shooting centric, so it actually works well with both Ahriman and Amon because they are divination HQs.

      However the max size troop restriction is a pretty rough limitation, that said, it basically gives you fearless units if you plop a unit near an objective, so 20 man tac squads with extra ccws or something like assault marines might actually not be that bad of an expenditure.

      At first look, people will write this ROW off, but KSons have awesome units to hold objectives. Auto passing morale means you have to kill the unit to the man. And this units might be T7 termies!

      The Guard of the Crimson King:
      • 2d6 take the highest for generating warp charges
      • termies deep strike, cause fear and re rolls 1s for failed invul saves
      • Sekhmet Cabal Termies must be taken as compulsory and can be taken as troops
      • Magnus can be take as a non LOW HQ choice
      • Magnus, Ahriman or Level 3 Praetor is HQ
      • May not have more vehicles than kson units
      • No allies
      You should feel warm and tingly when you read this ROWs because it's sexy. Sekhmet termies are very good and ultimately they are not crazy expensive for what you get. You will probably be running a Level 3 praetor most of the time (Big red works too), because you don't want divination on the Sekhmet. 

      OTHER ROWs: 
      • Pride of the Legion: As vets and termis of all kinda can be taken as troops and KSons add all sorts of awesome rules to these units, I would expect that this ROW would be used a lot. Combo it with Amon or Ahriman to help get units into place and focus on divination. Land raiders can also add a bit of anti tank. 
      • Orbital Assault: KSons rely heavily on ROWs OR Special characters to deploy units. Orbital strike let's you deploy units without relying on Special Characters. This frees up your Warlord to be a Librarian or a Praetor lvl 3 or even a delegatus. The nice part is that you take a biomancy Warlord which opens up crazy legion termies. 
      • Armored Breakthrough: This is a good way to add a lot of tank hunting to the list, which is good since none of the KSon rules help with tank hunting. This lets you take preds as troops. Plus you get a sicarian as an HQ but you have to take a IC psyker as a warlord (Think Ahriman or Amon). Then you stack up on units like flamer vets in rhinos. And maybe death star in a spartan or small hth assault units in land raiders. 
      List Building: 

      1. It's really important to match your warlord up with the your troops to maximize the cult arcana rules. 
      2. Once you pick your warlord "lore" try to take units that can benefit from different powers rolled. For example: Divination has re roll to hit, rending, ignore cover, etc. So re roll to hit is great for vets which has rending asphex bolters and power weapons. Rending is useless on vets because they can already get it, but it's great on roto cannon support squads. Ignore cover is useless on a flamer units so take a plasma unit or a phosphex rapier unit. 
      3. Finally, you are going to pull your hair out trying to solve tank hunting. So make sure you leave points for it. Rapiers solve a lot of problems for Ksons and can be pumped by psychics and are a great place to hide HQs. So consider phosphex  and laser arrays rapiers. You also have tank options including laser vindicators, grav speeders, lightnings, and to an extend land raiders and Spartans. 

      1. Go first. Psychic heavy forces can take huge losses before they get their guard up. IF you can hit them hard before they get going, you can make the reset of the game considerable easier. 
      2. Assassination is also a great way to help beat KSons. BOS units can be pumped to crazy levels Killing off ICs reduced casting dice as well as powers available. 
      3. Skirmish. Kson rely on deep strike, outflank of vehicle to get places. But if you pop the vehicles it means they are walking for the rest of the game. It also mean you should usually deploy centrally if you are looking to counter strike the turn they come in. Or put units at max range away from objectives. So of they deep strike near you they have a long way to walk to get to the objectives. 
      4. Flyers. Nothing you would be tempted to take in a KSon list has sky fire. It's not that they can;t take, but I bet you won't see it as a main focus. 
      5. Timing. Just because you have a juicy target don't necessarily pounce on it. Psychic powers fail. So if you have a mor deythan squad rip roaring to go, maybe the turn that the termies are T7 is not the best turn to send them in. 
      6. Magnus. He is a nightmare, but he can't fire psychic powers out of HTH. So sacrificing crap units to him in HTH occasionally can buy you some time and waste some of those points.