I played my third game of 8th edition and my second one with my new Thousand Sons army Friday night. I faced my brother and his Astra Militarum. I had challenged him to the first mission of the Fate of Konor campaign – Invasion.
The mission has asymmetrical victory conditions. The defender scores points by destroying the attackers unit while the attacker scores points at the end of the game by having units in the defenders deployment zone. So if the defender destroys more than half of the attacker's army the game is won by sudden death. I knew that this mission would be an uphill struggle with a Thousand Sons army. At least the way I build my army.
It felt like I faced all Cadians remaining in the Galaxy. I faced a Brigade Detachment with a few Basilisks, a Manticore, a Valkyrie, a couple of Chimera and a Leman Russ and tons of infantry. There was even some Space Marines in there. My brother pretty much flooded his half of the table leaving little room for me to deep strike.
My list was Ahriman and a Sorcerer in TA, 18 cultists, 10 Rubricae with bolter, 5 Rubricae with flamers, 5 Scarab Occult, 3 Spawn, my new Forgefiend and my new Heldrake. This was the Thousand Sons bit of the list. I also had a squad of 5 Chaos Terminators with combi-plasma and 5 Raptors with 3 melta guns. I deployed the Raptors, both squads of Terminators and the TA Sorcerer off table while the rest conga lined at 12".
The first turn saw me shuffle everything up the pitch I managed to pull off a couple of first turn charges. The Heldrake flew across the pitch and locked the Manticore in close combat. I only dropped my Raptors. The Cultists took a devastating toll first turn, both due to morale and overwatch. I also learnt the hard way that you should charge with vehicles first to soak overwatch. And that with a little will and effort you can squeeze and big oval base in most everywhere.
The return fire during from the Astra Militarum was truly brutal. But with my Heldrake deep in the back line it was the prime target and it took a lot of fire. But it survived with two wounds remaining. Indirect fire is really, really good. Fear the big guns! I took a bit of losses on my big Rubric Marines squad and lost Ahriman in a combination of poor unit placement on my part and a mistake regarding how you take saving throws and inflicting damage. Oh well, never leave your characters exposed if your opponent got deep strikers.
Next turn saw my Warpflamer Rubricae bringing the pain. Inflicting 17 hits and 11 unsaved wounds on a big squad of conscripts. Brutal! Together with the Spawn they continued to engage the remaining grunts and the Warlord hiding among them. My Terminators also dropped in slagging the Leman Russ (prescience and plasma ftw!) while the Scarab Occult nuked a squad of Assault Marines. Even after the second turn of the Astra Militarum I was in a pretty good spot. Both my Heldrake and Forgefiend survived devastating fire. But in the end two overcharged plasma guns at rapid fire range tore the dragon out of the sky. Those invulnerable saves had proven themselves invaluable regardless. A normal tank like a Predator would have been destroyed two times over.
With my limping Daemon Engine still on the table third turn began. The game wasn't really close. I had lost a few units and others were quite depleted. Sure, I could win but that would require me not loosing more than two or three units. The Warpflamers continued to shine burning everything. The Spawn rocked too, tearing up the lone commander Warlord. My Raptor rolled ones and failed to hit with their Melta guns and then got killed in overwatch. Sigh!
Both squads of Terminators were all business clearing their respective areas. That combi-plasma would be amazing was no surprise but the Inferno combi-bolters were great too. The amount of dice you throw at rapid fire range is … yeah, amazing. At AP-2 to boot!
But all was in vain. The Forgefiend got fried and after every remaining gun rained down on my Rubric Marines with Warpflamers it was game over. I managed to roll five ones on seven or eight wounds (I had a 2+ save). When the turn ended we concluded that I needed to table the Astra Militarum to win and we both agreed that that wouldn't happen. Victory to Imperium by sudden death!
It was a good game. I really enjoyed the uphill struggle but it proved to hard in the end. One of the thing that really help keeping the Astra Militarum in the game early on when I pushed his lines was his Command Points. The Brigade Detachment gives you a whooping +9 Command Points. The ability auto pass morale, reroll critical dice and use special strategems multiple times over the game is fantastic. Do not underestimate the power of Command Points!
I couple of things I take from the game:
- Never leave your characters without a babysitting meatshield.
- The Heldrake is amazing. It can reach out and touch anything. This is absolutely what Thousand Sons need. I want another one!
- The Forgefiend look scary and draw a lot of fire but its damage output is limited.
- Don't forget that you can advance with your Warpflamer Rubricae and STILL fire! That gives you a great threat range especially combined with Warptime.
- Spawn was a positive experience. I want more.
- Cultists just die. Cheap but a crap unit.
- Command Points ftw.
That's all, folks!