1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari: Surround and Destroy
I'm going to forego the typical short vignette I write before these things in the interest of time and also because I can just now think of anything super cool to include. Maybe next time.
I managed to get together with my old friend McComas and his Eldar, once my perennial foe, though now it's been some years since last I faced them. I wanted to give the new Thousand Sons a try, as I always do when they get a new book, to see if my beloved ghost marines and wizards are halfway decent in a new edition. I'm usually
disappointed, thanks to the unpredictability of the psychic phase and the realities of the game forcing me to field armies that are more daemons than sorcerers. Let's see how they fare this time around.Cult of Duplicity BattalionHQ
Exalted Sorcerer on Disc (Rehati) w/Athenaean Scrolls, Warlord: Master Misinformator, Psychic Powers: Tzeentch's Firestorm, Baleful Devolution, Sorcerous Facade
Exalted Sorcerer on Disc w/Sorcerous Arcana: Coruscator, High Acolyte: Undying Form, Psychic Powers: Doombolt, Swelled by the Warp, Sorcerous Facade
Infernal Master: Fires of the Abyss, Malefic Maelstrom, Sorcerous Arcana: Helm of the Daemon's Eye, Psychic Powers: Presage, Sorcerous Facade
Thrall Sorcerer: Loyal Thrall, Plasma Pistol, Psychic Powers: Temporal Manipulation, Glamour of Tzeentch, Sorcerous FacadeTroops
5 Rubric Marines w/2x Warpflamers, Warpflame Pistol, Psychic Powers: Pyric Flux, Sorcerous Facade
5 Rubric Marines w/2x Warpflamers, Warpflame Pistol, Psychic Powers: Twist of Fate, Sorcerous Facade
5 Rubric Marines w/Soulreaper Cannon, Psychic Powers: Empyric Guidance, Sorcerous FacadeElites
5 Scarab Occult Terminators w/Hellfyre Missile Rack, Rites of Coalescence, Psychic Powers: Temporal Surge, Sorcerous Facade
Hellbrute w/Plasma Cannon, Fist, Inferno Combi-bolterHeavy Support
Mutalith Vortex BeastTransports
Chaos Rhino w/Havoc Launcher
Chaos Rhino w/Havoc LauncherCraftworld Anaris BattalionCustom Craftworld: Mobile Fighters, Students of VaulHQ
Skyrunner Farseer: Warlord (Seer of the Shifting Vector), Psychic Powers: Doom, Executioner
Spiritseer w/ Kurnous' Bow, Psychic Powers: Protect/JinxTroops
10 Guardian Defenders
10 Guardian Defenders
6 Fire Dragons (Exarch w/Swiftstep)Fast Attack
7 Warp Spiders (Exarch w/Surprise Assault, 2x Deathspinners)Heavy Support
Falcon w/Brightlance, Spirit StonesTransports
Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones
Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones
Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit StonesTerrain, Mission and Deployment
The map we set up was a cityscape. I know technically the game calls for terrain to be laid out after the mission is revealed, but we find it more interesting to have the map exist first and then the mission follows, that way we don't really know where we'll be deploying. Since I set the map up ahead of time to save time, this makes things even (also, my opponent is entitled edit the map however they like after they arrive and see it, but before mission is revealed).
Anyway, it was dense terrain with a bunch of buildings and ruins in the center of the board and two main streets going from the SW corner to the NE. For Mission, we rolled Surround and Destroy, which put 6 objectives on the board (marked below with the little shield icons). Then our secondary objectives were as follows:
Thousand Sons: Wrath of Magnus, Warp Ritual, Behind Enemy Lines
Eldar: Assassinate, Engage on All Fronts, Raise the Banners
The Eldar won the deployment roll-off and chose the southern edge. They basically placed all their grav tanks pretty far back, the Guardians and Wraithguard going in Serpents and the Dragons going in the Falcon. The Rangers squatted on the SW objective in a trench while the Warp Spiders lurked in the webway, ready to pounce.
For myself, I put my Rhinos full of flamer-toting Rubrics on my west flank with the Hellbrute and backed up by the Infernal Master and Thrall Sorcerer nearby. The Soulreaper Rubrics went on foot at about board center beside the Vortex Beast (proxied in this game by a truly enormous model of Cthulhu that I had sitting around and that I think, once painted, would work pretty well in the role). The Rehati and Exalted sorcerer backed up the Vortex Beast, using him for cover. The Scarab Occult Terminators would teleport in later. I had the ability to redeploy a couple units, but forgot to. Not sure I would have done so in any case--given how fast the Eldar are, they could be wherever they needed to be, regardless of where I started.
Deployment:Thousand Sons DZEldar DZ (please ignore my disaster of a desk in the background)The BoardTurn 1
My opponent also
wins the roll-off for first turn, so at this point it looks like I'm outgunned, out-maneuvered, and also outnumbered. My primary concern is, essentially, it taking me so long to crack those incredibly durable transports that he has plenty of time to skate around the board, picking up points. Instead of skating, however, he comes right at me--all transports advance, taking up strategic positions mid-field with the idea of peppering me with shuriken fire and softening me up. It becomes apparent, early on, that he had underestimated just how durable the Thousand Sons are. In the psychic phase, I deny his attempt to Doom the Soulreaper Rubrics and the Farseer then uses Executioner and Smite on the Vortex Beast, doing 4 wounds total. A rain of shuriken pelts the Soulreaper Rubrics again, doing a grand total of 1 wound (on something like 27 shots!). The Falcon shoots at the Vortex Beast and chokes. He earns no points this round, though the Rangers raise a banner on their objective.
Top of Turn 1The grav tanks move upThe rangers wave around a flag
In my half of the turn, the idea is to rush the Vortex Beast at the oncoming Wave Serpents and, ideally, take one or two out so that my Exalted Sorcerers can feast on the tasty innards. Meanwhile, my west flank is going to advance and hopefully disrupt their assault.
I move the Vortex Beast (who heals 2 wounds from last round) as far up as he'll go, squeezing through a narrow alley, at one end of which is the Wave Serpent full of Wraithguard and right next to another Wave Serpent full of Guardians that's landed atop a building. The two sorcerers on discs follow him up. In the psychic phase, the Soulreaper Rubrics get Presage from the Infernal Master and then use Sorcerous Facade to teleport to the very SW corner of the board, right by the rangers, who then drop to concentrated, psychically guided inferno fire in the shooting phase.
The Vortex Beast gets glamoured up by Tzeentch (from the thrall sorcerer) and the two exalted lay down such a huge amount of psychic devastation that they cripple the Wave Serpent atop the building, running roughshod over the Farseer's poor attempt at defense (they even use Tzeentch's Firestorm to take 2 wounds off the Farseer!). The Wave Serpent is then taken out by the Vortex powers from the Vortex Beast, dumping out the Guardians, who are summarily slaughtered by a combination of Havoc Launchers, Plasma Cannons, Combibolters, and the Coruscator in the hands of the Exalted Sorcerer. The Vortex Beast then fails its modest charge (6" or so) to get at the Wraithguard Wave Serpent, leaving him out there to get shot up next turn, alas.
On the west flank, one Rhino charges the closest Wave Serpent in an effort to disrupt its shooting or at least force it to move off a bit (which only sort of worked, thanks to that Eldar stratagem that lets you shoot after retreating).
This turn, all I earn is 2 points for Behind Enemy Lines, thanks to the Soulreaper Rubrics.
Bottom of Turn 1Cthulhu Pukes Lightning!Ramming Speed!No more Wave Serpent! Score after Turn 1
Thousand Sons: 2Turn 2
Here is the moment of truth. I know in this turn I'm going to get hit with all the firepower my opponent can muster. How well I weather it will determine the rest of the game - such is the way with a mobile Eldar list like this.
In the west, Fire Dragons and Guardians disembark and head towards the Chaos Rhino. We all basically assume that the Fire Dragons will make short work of the Rhino, but I spend a CP on the Arcane Smokescreen. An Aspiring Sorcerer in a top hat pops out of the hatch, plays "The Final Countdown" and does a little stage show where the Rhino DISAPPEARS behind a velvet curtain and a strobe light. The Fire Dragons, dazzled by the Vegas-quality performance, TOTALLY CHOKE, scoring only 2 hits and doing only 4 wounds total. All other firepower devoted to the Rhino does nothing, and I'm still sitting pretty. The Fire Dragons charge the Rhino to tie it up and it uses Warpflame Gargoyles to kill one of the dragons before he can do anything.
In board center, I far less well. Wraithguard + Doom + Executioner + Smite takes the Vortex Beast down to 1 wound. The Spiritseer's fancy Shuriken Pistol finishes him off, and of course he EXPLODES (note: do not stand so close to a Vortex beast!), doing only 1 wound to Eldar targets, but doing 2 and 3 wounds to my sorcerers.
The Warp Spider drop in and rain their deadly silly-string all over the Rehati (my warlord), but he still manages to skate through with one wound. The Wraithguard charge the Exalted Sorcerer and smash him flat in close combat. Finally the Falcon, pulling back from my push in the west, blocks the Soulreaper Rubrics from securing the SW objective. It shoots at the Rubrics, too, killing one guy.
This round, my opponent earned 5 points for holding one objective in the command phase (East Center), 1 for raising a banner, 3 for killing a character, and 2 for Engage on all fronts, since they were in 3 table quarters (though the map makes it look like 4--I think there was nobody in the NW quadrant for the Eldar, in reality).
Top of Turn 2 Fire Dragons, closing in!Warp Spiders Ambush!A Very Rude Parking Job
Okay, so I'm bloodied but still standing, here. Let's see how hard I can counterpunch.
The two teams Flamer Rubrics disembark from their Rhinos and close in to turn the east flank. A MASSIVE smite from one of the Aspiring sorcerers wipes out the Fire Dragons in one fell swoop and the flamers from the other squad plus another smite PLUS havoc launchers and combibolters from a Rhino wipe out the Guardians in the ruins. The other squad turns its flamers on the Wave Serpent on that flank, doing a bunch of wounds.
In the SW corner, the Rubrics there fail their smite but shoot/charge the Falcon, doing a little bit of damage, but not much.
In the center, the Rehati gets healed back up to 4 wounds by the Thrall Sorcerer and then uses psychic might plus back-up firepower from the Hellbrute and caterwauling imps from the Infernal Master to wipe out the Wraithguard. The Spirit Seer is also slain, but from what I don't quite remember.
In the NE, the Scarabs teleport in and use a Cabalite Ritual to automatically pass their Temporal Surge and get in real close to the Warp Spiders. Their guns take down all but 2 of the aspect warriors, but they chose their (again MODEST) charge and the Spiders live another day.
This turn, I earn 5 at the start of the round for holding one objective (the NW), plus 3 for killing more stuff with psychic powers than my opponent plus another 2 for still having guys behind the lines.
Bottom of Turn 2Behold! More Ghost Marines!The layout of the center boardScore After Round 2
Thousand Sons: 12
At this point, it was (1) getting really late and (2) seemed as though I'd just about
broken the Eldar to the point where they couldn't stop me. Though we wanted to keep playing, we called it here--a near draw, with me narrowly holding the lead. Of course, I had position to claim 3 objectives (maybe 4) without realistic reprisal in the next turn, which would put me firmly in the lead. Yeah, seemed downhill from there. I think (though we'll never know) that I had this one. Post Mortem
Well, it was only two turns of a game, but I really enjoyed playing Thousand Sons for the first time since...well, since a LONG time. I'm so used to my sorcerer's brains exploding from stupid Perils checks or their psychic powers being useless or having to lean on things like Lords of Change and Screamers to do all the heavy lifting that this was really refreshing. The army seemed to work in the way I've always wanted it to. All those years of holding on to this army in the hopes that someday they'd be fun again have paid off. I don't think it's coincidental that it's when they again gave Rubrics 2 wounds.
Anyway, this test list (with a bunch of proxied models) is good enough proof of concept. The list needs tweaking, for sure, but Cult of Duplicity is very solid and all models basically pulled their weight. I mostly can see myself taking a different array of powers next time--I'll need to find the right balance.
As for my opponent, he slapped this list together (I've played against lists like this for ages) and it seems that it just doesn't have enough teeth to do what it used to. Not sure what he can do with it--I haven't been keeping up with Eldar stuff of late--but it definitely needs something.
There you have it! Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!