A Thousand Sons – Chapter Approved 2018

With the release of the 2018 edition of Chapter Approved things have now changed. The Open Play stuff is cool but not my cup of tea, I love Narrative Play but what I’m most interested in right now is Matched Play. The thing with Matched Play is that it works in Narrative too. It is just all about a level play field. So with that said, let’s take a look at the shape of things to come.

My main army in 8th edition is Thousand Sons. And since I’m a hipster at heart I’ve actually played both Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators all along. Now, while these units look awesome they have struggled in a game that mechanically favours tons of wounds and buckets of dice. Overcosted and underperforming, the dust units are everything the Chaos Cultist is not. But come Chapter Approved this might change.

I thought I’d take a look at points and see where this leaves the Thousand Sons. The general theme of the Chapter Approved changes is to buff not nerf. While individual units and wargear may have received points increases most things have gotten points drops instead, and hopefully gotten more competitive because of it. For Thousand Sons this is most definitely the case. For example, a unit of ten Scarab Occult Terminators fully kitted dropped 54 points. 3 points per model, 5 points per Soulreaper Cannon and 7 points per Hellfyre Missile Rack. While the Scarab Occult Terminators are still among the most expensive Terminators in the game the points cut is still quite substantial. And most welcome.

The Rubric Marines also saw a modest cut of two points per model. At 16 points per model and a minimum of 2 points of wargear they are still expensive. They are in fact one of the most, if not the most expensive Astartes Troops unit in the game. The big change is the points cut on the Warpflamer, it is dropping five from 15 to 10 points a pop. Still expensive but the Warpflamer is a badass weapon. A five man squad with four Warpflamer and an Aspiring Sorcerer with a Warpflame Pistol (down to 3 points) is now “only” 131 points compared to its old cost of 165 points. Now that’s an impressive cut. I’m not saying that this unit will be the most competitive pick but it will be easier to squeeze that unit into a list now. And once on the table top it will perform quite well. It is faster than you would expect since it can Move and Advance before unleashing their sorcerous flames.

To further push the use of Rubric Marines the humble Chaos Cultist saw a slight price hike. Going up from 4 to 5 points per model they are most definitely loosing some of their competitive edge but they are still substantially cheaper than a barebones unit of Rubric Marines, have more wounds and more board presence. I will continue to bring Cultist but I might drop from 40 to 20-30 bodies. Now if you used to tool up you Cultists with Flamers and Heavy Stubbers the increase is softened somewhat since both those weapons got a bit cheaper. Hopefully we’ll see more Rubric Marines in the game but the top choice is still Tzaangors, and they remained unchanged.

There is a ton of changes, I’ll run through the rest of the changes. First up is the Sorcerer and the Sorcerer in Terminator Armour. While the Sorcerer is weaker than his Exalted Overlord, with a weaker statsline and no Aura ability. But the Terminator Sorcerer have one thing going for him and that is his Familiar. The Familiar give him a +1 to his Psychic tests. Reliable spell casting is an amazing ability. He used to be 140 points with Familiar, Stave and Inferno Combi-Bolter but dropped down to 122 point. You’re still in! The normal Sorcerer on foot might have a spot in a tight list where every point counts but he looks a bit too mediocre even with the 5 points drop.

Speaking of mediocre, the Chaos Spawn got a big drop, going down from 33 points to 25 points. I think the Spawn at this cost is quite interesting. While still not very good on paper I think you might be able to make the unit work on the tabletop. For a measly 125 points you get 20 t5 wounds, moving 8″ and potentially hits like a ton of bricks (at WS 4+ but hey, you can’t have everything). Thousand Sons have a stratagem that allows you to pick mutation and re-roll the number of attacks. Not bad and like I said, points wise in a interesting spot.

Another group of units that have problems hitting stuff are the Daemon Engines of the Thousand Sons. Curse with WS and BS 4+, while cool looking and decent, they haven’t had it easy with their inflated points costs. Guess what? Yeah, every got cheaper. It’s like Oprah: You get a Daemon Engine, and you get a Daemon Engine. The Maulerfiend and Defiler dropped 20 points base, the Forgefiend dropped 19 points and the Heldrake 18 points. Some of the wargear got cheaper to, like the Forgefiend guns. My newly finished double Hades Autocannon is now less than 150 points, 29 points less than before (I was hoping for 40 so rather pleased). A triple Ectoplasma Forgefiend is now 160 rather than 197 points. A Lasher Maulerfiend clocks in at only 132 point. That’s now bad at all. I will most definitely look to these models when building my lists in the future.

The big warpbeast, the Mutalith Vortex Beast got a 25 points cut and look rather attractive at 125 especially if you bring units that have synergies with it. Tzeentch close combat units benefit the most but unit user strength bases shooting can be buffed to. It is a big maybe for me mostly because I’m not a fan of the model.

A model that I do like is the Land Raider, I still don’t own one because they’ve never been good enough to justify the cash spent. Are they getting better with Chapter Approved? Yes, very much so. The base cost is cut down to 200 from 239 and the twin lascannon drop another 10 points each. So basically a 60 points cheaper now. That’s a lot but the Land Raider still suffer from some basic mechanics in the game – namely getting tagged and hugged in the Fight phase which will render the model useless. The Land Raider really need something to deny this from happening, much like Imperial Knights.

Look here, another seamless transition, from one walker to another – let’s check out the Helbrute. The Helbrute is a real winner getting a 12 point drop and its wargear drops too. Close combat is getting cheaper, a double power fist Helbrute got 22 points cheaper, and shooting is cheaper, Las/Missile Brute dropped 27 points. They all look quite attractive points wise. And since I love walkers colour me happy. Back in 7th I ran three Helbrutes in my CSM list all the time. Is it time for a comeback? Yeah, I think so. I just need to convert some heretek battle automata to count as Helbrutes.

That’s the breakdown. Now I’m off to write some lists and see what I can do with the new points. It’ll be interesting to see what allies can be worth taking. I might do a post on that too.

Keep on keeping on!

15 thoughts on “A Thousand Sons – Chapter Approved 2018

    1. Yeah, it’ll be awesome. With some psychic support (flickering flame and prescience) along with the Daemonforged stratagem it’s a quite good shooting unit.

      8 shots, hitting on 4+ with +1 to hit from Prescience and full re-rolls from the stratagem. That’s an average of 7 hits.

      S8 so it is wounding all heavy stuff on 3+ or 4+, with a +1 from Flickering Flames and again full re-rolls from the Stratagem. It is wounding a Knight on 3+ with re-roll, that’s 5-6 wounds, or most support tanks and monsters on a 2+ with re-rolls, 7 wounds.

      Only downside is AP-1, it is a bit weak and there is no way of improving it, not that I know of anyway. Flat damage 2 is ok so it will but a dent on most things.

      Preferred target would be something like a Greater Daemon stripped of its Invulnerable Save through Death Hex. That would be ridiculous. Stuff with 4+ are quite vulnerable too as the jump from a 4+ to a 5+ is huge.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Definitely a nice write up. I was surprised you didn’t mention the changes to Smite on the Aspiring Sorcerers. The base smite goes from a single mortal wounds, but the <10 on a psychic test change is massive .. multiple chances of D6 mortal wounds every round pushes us closer to be a competitive army in Matched Play.

    I love my daemon engines. I have a pair of Twin Flamefist Helbrutes. The idea was always use their S12 -3AP DMG3 attacks in melee and bake hordes with their Heavy Flamers. They dropped from 28pts each. I try to keep them close to my Lasher Maulerfiend. Which counting all three daemon engines I went from 464pts to 388pts.

    I love running a Battalion of daemons along with my Thousand Sons. A Changecaster is now 65pts. We can snag +5 CP by fielding a pair of them and 30 Blue Horrors for 280pts. Exalted Flamers dropped 20pts, so three are now 210pts which give us 9 18" range S9 -4AP DMG D3 shots. Best thing about mixing them into your battlelines is they are characters so cannot be targeted unless their screens are down. As with the Helbrutes, autohit D6 S5 attacks are good, but they can also shoot in melee because their flaming shots are Pistol D6. Alternately you could mix in the more durable Burning Chariots for 110pts each. Mine are magnetized so I can field them in any of the three configurations (the HQ version also dropped 20pts, Fateskimmers are now 130pts).

    If you want to go big – Kairos Fateweaver dropped 85pts and the Lord of Change dropped 50pts. I am completely excited about my army at this point in the meta. Our troops are expensive, but we have lots of great options available to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers!
      I’m under the impression that the full Smite rumour didn’t pan out. I must have missed it if it did get changed. There are no rules changes or additional rules for Thousand Sons in Chapter Approved, only some very good and needed points adjustments.

      Hopefully we’ll get some cool Specialist Detachments and new Stratagems in the next Virgilius book and some rules changes in the next FAQ. But this is just me wishlisting here.

      But I’m pretty sure that the play testers and GW both acknowledge the fact that Astartes units are underperforming across the board. Power Armour and t4 just isn’t what it used to be due to the AP and to wound changes. One wound, one attack, one Bolter shot just doesn’t do the most iconic 40k unit justice. But recognising this fact and finding a good solution are two different things.


      1. Okay – I was assuming the rumors were correct. Maybe it will be in an errata for the Grey Knights/Thousand Sons books. New specialist detachments will be great. I am excited about seeing what’s in store for Chaos. We know Wrath & Rapture is on the way, so hopefully we’ll see full lists for both of those armies in the future. I am really excited about the evolving state of the game where they are consistently balancing the armies. 40k is probably the best it has ever been,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised if GK and TS get an Errata but it would still be quite a big change so it’s not given. But I do think that Astartes are up for a buff. Maybe when Space Marines get a new Codex which seems to be in the works. New units, Primaris with Power Fists and more. If they change in that Codex you could imagine the changes trickledown across the different Codex.

        I agree, the game is in a great state right now.


  2. The Big FAQ changed Smite to where 1k sons and Grey Knights don’t suffer from the +1 to manifest each time a psyker attempts to manifest smite. They also increased the damage of smite back to D3 and D6 if the manifest attempt is 10+. For us as 1k sons. we could possible wipe out several units off the board in just our Psychic phase. Which is what we are meant to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the Smite change was and is great. It gives GK and TS a bit of edge. Especially TS with the added range.

      A lot of people (including I) were hoping for full Smite of the Aspiring Sorcerers too. That would have helped them a bit more. I think the points drop is great but Rubric Marines still struggle with the same issues that all Astartes do, one wound, one attack and one Bolter shot just doesn’t cut it. Astartes need a buff.


    1. The hipster thing is just me having a bit of laugh.

      But the birdgoats are growing on me. I think I might add flock for that extra board control and assault punch.


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