The Thousand Sons Premature Traitor Legion Ranking

by | Dec 30, 2016

Since the official release of the new Traitor Legion Supplement, I have been sleeping with the book. The Traitor Legion Supplement is a dream come true, a love letter for Chaos Space Marine players. As an old timer it is hard to imagine it was 2002 since we had the¬†legendary, but infamous 3.5 Chaos Space Marine codex. Now as we speed ever closer to 8th edition and maybe Warhammer 40k End Times, let us hope the Traitor Legion Supplement will live on in whatever comes next. The Traitor Legion Supplement is amazing without being broken, better yet hopefully it will do what no other release has done before…bring balance to the game.

The Traitor Legion Supplement starts off on the right foot by quickly dispensing with the fluff, only dedicating two pages to each Traitor Legion and a minimal amount of recycled art and model pictures. Much like the Generals Handbook this release is about the rules and priced just right at $35.00.

Before we begin here is a few pointers for these reviews…

  • We will be ranking the Traitor Legion individually, the order will be a countdown from 9 to 1.
  • Most important these reviews will assume the reader has a copy of the Traitor Legions Supplement handy.
  • Focus will be on the Traitor Legions themselves, not what you can Ally with for instance.
  • All Traitor Legions get Veterans of the Long War for free, allowing them a version of Chapter Tactics.
  • All Traitor Legions change certain units to Troop choices, only really good for Combined Arms Detachments.
  • All Traitor Legions get unique Detachments, Warlord Traits, and Artefacts.
  • All the Traitor Legions are good and playable, so don’t think any of them are bad just because I rank them lower than others.

So let us go with number…

The Thousand Sons

As everyone knows December 2016 was the month of the Thousand Sons, with the epic release of Warzone Fenris: Wrath of Magnus and for the first time we got a playable Primarch in Warhammer 40,000. It also ushered in updated rules for the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion, but how would they stack compared to the rest? If I had the courage I would say the Thousand Sons are actually still one of the worse Traitor Legions, but as it is they the access to tons of Sorcerers and Magnus makes it is impossible to rank them worse than 5th on the list.

Thousand Sons Special Rules

The Thousand Sons get minimal bonuses, the Blessing of Tzeentch is situational and forces your Psykers to cast powers they might not otherwise want to use Warp Charges for. The Blood Feud probably helps your opponent more than the other way around, and having over-priced Rubric Marines as Troops is still gives me a collective meh. The biggest problem is the Thousand Sons are the only Cult Traitor Legion that doesn’t get Fearless for all Chaos Space Marine units.

Thousand Sons Warlord Traits

The Thousand Sons Warlord Traits are not bad, but not great. They don’t have a must roll on this table now pull, with Lord of Flux and Lord of Forbidden Lore being the best. Then you have something like Aetherstride that only makes sense if you run some sort of Terminator Warlord. You though cannot go wrong with Undying Form, when you are not taking Magnus the Red.

Thousand Sons Artefacts

The Thousand Sons have a pretty great set of Artefacts . The Astral Grimoire is getting a lot of love on the Internet, but maybe the Staff of Arcane Compulsion for cost and potential is better. Giving opponents a stackable -2 charge roll is super fantastic, especially for an army like the Thousand Sons who most likely don’t want anything to do with Assault. The Athenean Scrolls is very underrated as well, because who doesn’t hate miracle Deny the Witch rolls when you need a critical psychic power to go off. Back to the Astral Grimoire which is great combo weapon, when you need a friendly unit to make an Assault or get away from one.

Thousand Sons Grand Coven Detachment

Thousand Sons Grand Coven Detachment Example List

The Thousand Sons Grand Coven is only as powerful as the Formation it has access to because the Command Benefits are redundant or overkill. When you have Spell Familiars the Thousand Sons won’t get to much out of the Perils of the Warp re-roll and having an extra Mastery Level probably won’t matter when your entire army is psychic. That leaves you with some great Formations, that run you into constant points problems. It is tempting, but you need to forget about going after the Favoured of Tzeentch special rule, the focus needs to be on Sorcerers and chaff to protect them. Since you are going to take Magnus the Red you should stick with the War Cabal and take four Sorcerers and minimal amounts of Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators. As for the Auxiliary the cheapest is a Daemon Engine. If have the points though the Tzaangor Warherd is a fantastic choice, not only does it get you another Sorcerer, but you get units you can throw away while you destroy everything with mind bullets.

You can also go the Sekhmet Conclave route, because bonus, you don’t need to take up a Command slot for Magnus the Red and the Scarab Occult Terminators generate a ton of Warp Charges and then on the War Coven to just pile on the Sorcerers. Finally, you can go the Rehati War Sect with Daemon Princes flying around with Magnus the Red, still this means you cannot go hog wild on a War Cabal point sinks.

The Thousand Sons are at their best as single Formations outside Detachments, but going Combined Arms means you get access to things the Grand Coven can never get, like Obliterators or Cultists. Combined Arms is also the cheapest way to get Magnus the Red at only 830 points all together.

Overall, the Thousand Sons are really slaves to the might of Magnus the Red, he is that powerful and you can expect Thousand Sons armies are going to be less about the Thousand Sons and more about the Daemons they ally with. The combinations are just too powerful to pass up when you have spliting Horrors, along Magnus the Red flying around in a Formation like the Omniscient Oracles with Fateweaver and Lords of Change. The actual sad part of the new Thousand Sons, is they made the already powerful Tzeentch Daemons better, at least the Thousand Sons new models might be so fantastic it players will still give them a try.

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