1500 Thousand Sons Vs Orks - No Mercy
No fluff intro this time around for two reasons: one, I'm writing this from a hotel room in Helsinki and there's other stuff I should be doing and, two, this game doesn't make any fluffy sense in any reasonable way (why would the Ksons be engaging in open battle with an Ork Horde? How many stupid mistakes did they have to make for this to happen? Do I want to portray the Thousand Sons as stupid? Answers: pretty stupid, a hell of a lot, and no.).
Last batrep I posted, I got a lot of requests to see the Thousand Sons take the field again. I've played Thousand Sons since 4th edition. Since that time, they have only ever actually been a *good* army in the last few months of 7th Edition. In 4th and 6th they were "barely playable." In 5th edition, they were incredibly awful to the point where I put them on a shelf and almost sold them. Let's see how they fare in 8th, eh?Thousand Sons PatrolHQ
Ahriman the Sorcerer (Warlord: Inspiring Leader)Troops
9 Rubric Marines (Sorcerer w/Force Staff, Hand Warpflamer)
--in Rhino w/Havoc Launcher, Combi-bolter
9 Rubric Marines w/3x Warpflamers (Sorcerer w/Force Sword, Hand Warpflamer)
--in Rhino w/Havoc Launcher, Combi-bolterElites
5 Scarab Occult Terminators w/Hellfyre Missile Rack, Sorcerer w/Force StaffHeavy Support
Defiler w/Twin Lascannon, Twin Heavy Flamer
Forgefiend w/2x Hades Autocannons, Daemon JawsOrk "Patrol"HQ
Weirdboy (Da Jump)
Big Mek on Bike w/Kustom Force Field (Warlord: Tenacious Survivor)Troops
30 Shoota Boyz w/Nob (Big Choppa)
30 Shoota Boyz w/Nob (Big Choppa)Elites
--in Trukk w/Big Shoota
15 Stormboyz w/Nob (Power Klaw)Heavy Support
5 Killa Kanz w/Kustom Mega Blastas
5 Kustom Mega KannonsMission, Terrain, and Deployment
The board was set up to look like an ancient, abandoned temple--a pyramid at the west end, two smaller buildings on the north/south side of the center board, and two walls on the north and south (respectively), all of them running away from the pyramid. Add in some streams, some forests, and some fallen statues and rocks, and you've got a board with a lot of LOS-denying terrain. This should serve to keep my guys alive, but it will also make it harder to bring my own firepower to bear, so it should even out a bit.
The mission is kill points, which sort of works to my advantage (more potential points for me), but also means I need to kill a lot of orks to win, something I'm not confident this army can do.
We get the Spearhead Assault deployment, which means (paradoxically) that we'll probably wind up pretty far apart. I know that I'm probably going first, so I deploy as refused a flank as I can manage, clustering in the SW corner of the board, mostly behind the pyramid--the Daemon engines go up front, the Terminators will Teleport in. Of course, thanks to the new deployment rules, there is just about no way I can *really* refuse his flank. He holds back his Mega Kannons until I'm on the board and then drops them and the Tankbustas in spots where they can shoot my Daemon Engines all they like without much reprisal. Hopefully their dice won't hold up and I can shrug off the damage.
The rest of the orks deploy with the two 30 shoota mobz in the extreme NE with the Weirdboy between them (one guess what they
are going to be doing). The Stormboyz and Kans deploy behind the ruin in the north-center. The Mek backs up the artillery while the Big Mek follows up the Trukk.
DeploymentThe Ksons Castle UpDamn, that's a lotta green (or, in this case, gray)Turn 1
The Orks fail to seize the initiative. My prediction for this game was as follows: I would be stuck in my deployment zone, trying to kill the orks as they hit me in waves, and *hopefully* I can kill more of them than they can of me.
Ahriman disembarks from his Rhino and the Defiler shuffles slightly to the west to try and get a little cover from Ork shooting. Ahriman seeks to cast Prescience on the Forgefiend and fails (I even spent a CP--nothing!). The Defiler tries to take out two mek gunz--one with the two lascannons, one with the battlecannon. I fail to wound with the lascannon and the battlecannon does 5 wounds--not enough. The Forgefiend also mostly chokes, trying to damage the Trukk but doing nothing. My Havoc Launchers manage to strip another 3 wounds off the Trukk, but it's not enough to matter.
I opt to hold my terminators in reserve another turn, as any amount of damage they might do on this first round of combat is counteracted by the fact that I would lose them immediately thereafter unless I dropped them in my deployment zone, where I feel they would do the least good.
Top of Turn 1
The Orks begin by jumping the Stormboyz over the ruin to about halfway up the board. The Kanz stumble up the side of the ruins, hoping to get range for a shot, but don't (even while advancing). The Kustom Mega Kannons pound on the Defiler really hard, stripping away all but 6 of its wounds. The Tankbustas advance in their trukk and shoot up the Forgefiend, doing 6 wounds to it. Finally (and most unsurprisingly) the Weirdboy uses Da Jump to teleport 30 shoota boyz to my east flank, where they shoot and charge the Defiler. They take off 3 wounds in shooting and then knock it down in assault pretty quickly. So there's 300 points of my army that didn't pull its weight.
Bottom of Turn 1One of these days, the damned orks will miss a charge. One of these days...Turn 2
My opponent has made a mistake! His weirdboy is the unit furthest east
in his army. There is plenty of room for my Scarab Occult Terminators to drop in an assassinate him--which they do pretty easily with a pair of Hellfyre missiles and a Mini-smite. Their combi bolters are able to kill about 9 of the other Shoota Boyz up there, too. Hopefully the Terminators will be tough enough to endure the counter-strike, but even as a sacrifice, I've taken out his ability to teleport units (HUGE) and will draw the Shoota Boyz up there and hopefully the Kanz away from my main lines, which will overall help things.
In the south, Ahriman smites and Infernal Gazes the shoota boyz, killing 5, and shoots another one dead with his bolt pistol. He also uses Prescience to boost up the Flamer-Rubrics, which have disembarked and are getting ready to mess up some orks. They lead off with their Sorcerer trying his mini-smite, and...
Boxcars. Perils of the Warp. My Sorcerer dies. He takes 2 Rubrics with him. Ahriman takes 2 wounds. The nearest Rhino? 2 wounds. The Forgefiend--2 wounds, you guys. You guys, you paying attention here? In exchange for a (potential) 1-3 mortal wounds, I JUST TOOK 9! beslubbering beslubberity beslubber beslubber beslubber! beslubber you, GW, and YOUR STUPID PERILS OF THE WARP BULLamphetamine parrot.
Anyway, the 6 remaining Rubrics shoot like gangbusters and kill a LOT of orks (the flamers accounted for 6, the inferno bolters killed another 4-5) and they are joined by both combibolters from both Rhinos, which gun down another couple. Finally, the rubrics and closest Rhino charges, slay a couple more orks (thanks Prescience!) and lose only one (thanks to All is Dust), though I believe the Rhino took a few wounds from a Big Choppa. The remainder of the orks run for their lives thanks to morale.
Elsewhere, my other rubrics had already disembarked and their bolter fire combined with the Havoc Launchers knock out about 10 stormboyz and my opponent is forced to spend 2CP for Insane Bravery to keep them around. Finally, the Forgefiend does 6 wounds to the Trukk, but it's probably too little, too late.
Top of Turn 2That's 1 KP!Alllmost 2 KPBehold, my Wizard-Assassins!
Okay, okay--a pretty solid second turn for me, though I'm nowhere near out of the woods. The Orks respond by using their artillery to nuke the Rhino the flamer rubrics had been riding in. The Tankbustas split their fire between that Rhino and the Forgefiend, doing a few wounds to the Forgefiend. The Stormboyz charge the other Rhino, doing 2 wounds of damage, but losing a boy to overwatch.
Finally, in the North, the Killa Kanz and shoota boyz swarm towards my lone terminators. Lots of ork plasma knocks out two Terminators and lots of orky bullets and a charge kills another 1.5 termies, leaving me with the Sorcerer and one wounded guy left. I believe a took a few of them out in overwatch and combat, but not enough to substantively matter.
Bottom of Turn 2Well, I guess I saw this coming...The stormboyz scratch the paintTurn 3
Okay, okay--time to take out the next wave. I pull my Rhino out of combat (though, in retrospect I really could have kept it there, since the entire plan was to smite the Stormboyz out of existence, which would free it up to shoot--ah, well, probably a more costly mistake than it seems, given my limited resources). Anyway, Ahriman scores the magic 11 on his smite and wipes the remaining stormboyz away. The rest of my firepower (including Ahriman's Infernal Gaze and the mini-smite of the Aspiring Sorcerer) was devoted to killing the Tankbusta's trukk, which thanks to the Forgefiend and one unit of Rubric Marines, they just barely manage. The remaining Rubric Marines (the flamer guys) manage to gun down about 2 of the Tankbustas, while another 3 die in the wreck of the Trukk.
In the north, and perhaps predictably, the ork mob crushes the remaining terminators, though the sorcerer there smites one to death on the way down. The score is currently 4-3, with the Orks leading thanks to their First Blood point.
Top of Turn 3My Advancing Gunline
In the bottom of Turn 3, the tankbustas kill off the Forgefiend with a volley of rokkits and a few of the Mek Gunz and the Kanz (who are advancing south as fast as their stubby legs can carry them) manage to kill off the Flamer Rubrics. The remaining Mek Gunz blow away about half of the all-bolter Rubric squad. The Shoota Boyz, way, waaay out of position, Advance my direction as fast as they can.
Bottom of Turn 3 Turns 4-5
I occurs to me that there is sort of a "missing" turn here, in that I moved my rubrics into the last Rhino this turn and used its guns to kill the tankbustas down to 2-3 guys, I think. Anyway, the tankbustas then failed to do anything, the Kanz got closer, and the few Mega Kannons with LOS knock that Rhino down to its last few wounds. I don't have map of that, but I do have this picture
Anywho, coming into turn 5, I have precious few options for victory here. I am down 6-3 and only have 6 models to my name, one of which is a transport. *However,* the Big Mek (the enemy warlord) is exposed because if I kill those last two tankbustas, I'll be able to gun him down. The Kanz, though, are close to running me over and there isn't much I can do about it. My best plan is essentially to throw a "Hail Mary" pass by warptiming Ahriman into combat with them and hope he scores enough wounds to kill a few of them to keep himself from dying. So, I disembark the Rubrics and head towards the Tankbustas. Ahriman's smites do too poorly to take out all the tankbustas--there's still the nob with 1 wound left, which sucks since I'm not not going to be able to take out the Big Mek. I still need to tie up the Kanz, though, so I attempt Warptime.
Double 1s. Ahriman has 3 wounds left, so he *of course* suffers 3 wounds and dies from the Perils. He also kills 3 of 5 remaining Rubric Marines. He also takes 2 wounds off the Rhino. beslubber that bullamphetamine parrot.
At this point, I concede. Winning the game was a sliver-thin option before, and now it's basically impossible. I have 2 infantry and 1 transport with 3-4 wounds left.
Top of Turn 5 (Kanz and Big Mek would be closer in this picture, but it's otherwise accurate) My ignominious endFinal Score
Thousand Sons: 3Post Mortem
Here's my problem with the Thousand Sons (and it has *always* been my problem with the Thousand Sons): they pay too many points for too little. At the same cost as an Intercessor, each individual Rubric Marine is pretty much fairly priced, I think. The Sorcerers that I need to take in each unit are wildly *overpriced,* however. I drop approximately 50-ish points for each Aspiring Sorcerer just so they get the dubious benefit of a crappy toned-down Smite attack. The Sorcerer in the Scarab Occult Terminators is even more egregious of a rip-off. Warpflamers? Highway robbery unless you happen to be facing marines. The Forgefiend is right on the edge of being a good value, leaning a bit towards not being worth it. The Defiler is tremendously overpriced in any configuration *unless* your opponent happens to be fielding a bunch of vehicles it can get into combat with.
The Thousand Sons have mediocre firepower, their psychic powers are largely a joke (Warptime has limited utility for them, Prescience is unreliable, and the smites are so-so), and they have no close combat punch. They are slow. They cost a lot of points. In a word, they suck.
You can probably use them in a mixed force fairly effectively, and sure they can pull their weight against MEQs. Anybody else will eat them for lunch. On the whole, I'd rather have Intercessors, who are almost exactly as durable, but are also faster, have better close combat stats, and don't have to pay extra for a worthless sorcerer.
No Ork, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard, AdMech, Tyranid, or Genestealer Cult army need fear them at all. Against Chaos/Necrons/Marines? Well, maybe, though it's still an uphill battle for the Sons of Magnus.
In this battle, my opponent brought what I would characterize as a "tailored but friendly" list--he obviously stacked his list to reflect the armor saves he'd be facing, but he also brought a patrol (when there was no godly reason he needed to) and the heart of his army was really quite fragile. Had I anything that could lay down decent firepower or speed or assault, I could have broken that army's back. As it stands, I struggled to kill 5 orks wallowing in a river.
The thing that made it the worst, though, was Perils of the Warp. I have *always* hated that rule - I understand it belongs in the fluff, but the idea that my psykers have their heads exploding left and right is simply demoralizing. At least in 7th edition, the risk was counterbalanced by the increased power of the psychic phase - you got something for your risk. Here? It's just not worth it to even use the mini-smites on my Aspiring Sorcerers since the odds of me doing *severe* damage to my own guys is way too high to justify doing very little damage to the enemy. And Ahriman? The idea that his head melts off every 1/18 psychic power attempts (i.e. "once per game") is ridiculous. I'm not paying to field the galaxy's most powerful mortal sorcerer just to watch him trip over his own shoelaces.
Overall, the Thousand Sons go back on the shelf, where they've lived most of their lives at this point. I'll wait until the codex comes out. I'm fully expecting to be disappointed. With the singular exception of that 7th Edition codex, I always am.
Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!