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Offline Wyddr

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1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« on: October 3, 2021, 04:10:36 PM »
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 Battalion

HQ
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 Facade

Troops
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 Facade

Elites
5 Scarab Occult Terminators w/Hellfyre Missile Rack, Rites of Coalescence, Psychic Powers: Temporal Surge, Sorcerous Facade

Hellbrute w/Plasma Cannon, Fist, Inferno Combi-bolter

Heavy Support
Mutalith Vortex Beast

Transports
Chaos Rhino w/Havoc Launcher
Chaos Rhino w/Havoc Launcher

Craftworld Anaris Battalion
Custom Craftworld: Mobile Fighters, Students of Vaul

HQ
Skyrunner Farseer: Warlord (Seer of the Shifting Vector), Psychic Powers: Doom, Executioner

Spiritseer w/ Kurnous' Bow, Psychic Powers: Protect/Jinx

Troops
10 Guardian Defenders
10 Guardian Defenders
5 Rangers

Elites
5 Wraithguard
6 Fire Dragons (Exarch w/Swiftstep)

Fast Attack
7 Warp Spiders (Exarch w/Surprise Assault, 2x Deathspinners)

Heavy Support
Falcon w/Brightlance, Spirit Stones

Transports
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 Stones

Terrain, 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 DZ
Eldar DZ (please ignore my disaster of a desk in the background)
The Board

Turn 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 1


The grav tanks move up
The 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 1


Cthulhu Pukes Lightning!
Ramming Speed!
No more Wave Serpent! 

Score after Turn 1
Eldar: 0
Thousand Sons: 2

Turn 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 2


Behold! More Ghost Marines!
The layout of the center board

Score After Round 2
Eldar: 11
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! 
« Last Edit: October 3, 2021, 10:10:07 PM by Wyddr »

Offline Irisado

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #1 on: October 5, 2021, 02:21:47 PM »
Thanks for the report.  I've been waiting to see you play Thousand Sons again for what feels like an eternity.  I am glad that you finally succumbed ;).

I agree that Rubrics gaining that wound back is definitely no coincidence in terms of improving the performance of the army on the whole.  Thousand Sons now certainly seem to have the durability that they are supposed to have.  I particularly enjoyed seeing their psychic abilities make a difference.  This was a refreshing change compared to your older battle reports :D.

Regarding the Eldar, I think that the Fire Dragons just had an unlucky day, but certainly the army list did feel more like one of those fifth edition mechanised lists that used to be so dominant, but are no longer.  I don't play any more, so I've no idea about any potential solutions, but from my perspective, it was very much a one shot army in the sense that if it didn't kill almost everything after disembarking on turn two, there was no back up plan.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #2 on: October 5, 2021, 03:13:44 PM »
I agree that Rubrics gaining that wound back is definitely no coincidence in terms of improving the performance of the army on the whole.  Thousand Sons now certainly seem to have the durability that they are supposed to have.  I particularly enjoyed seeing their psychic abilities make a difference.  This was a refreshing change compared to your older battle reports :D.

They are *actual* psychic powerhouses now, which is a first. If I may run down the editions:

4th: They auto-passed psychic tests (yay!) and their psychic powers were trash (boo!)
5th: Had to roll tests with no bonuses. Psychic powers still trash (super booo!)
6th: Nice variety of psychic powers, no bonuses to use them, and Perils of the Warp blew.
7th: Very strong psychic powers but couldn't get them off reliably.
8th: Decent psychic powers, no variety, Aspiring Sorcerers were trash.
9th: No complaints--everything is pretty good.

As for rubric marines, they have legit been terrible since the George W Bush administration. The very idea of them actually being good at their job is going to be a feeling I'll need to adapt to. They needed that +1 wound so badly it wasn't funny. I don't even care that every other marine in existence got it, too--between All is Dust, the invul save, their souped-up bolters and flamers, and the +1 W/A, my god are they actually solid troops choices! 

Quote
Regarding the Eldar, I think that the Fire Dragons just had an unlucky day, but certainly the army list did feel more like one of those fifth edition mechanised lists that used to be so dominant, but are no longer.  I don't play any more, so I've no idea about any potential solutions, but from my perspective, it was very much a one shot army in the sense that if it didn't kill almost everything after disembarking on turn two, there was no back up plan.

To be fair, this isn't exactly a new problem--Wave Serpents are still incredible, but the stuff inside Wave Serpents isn't, and this has been the case for a couple editions. My opponent needs to deploy a wider variety of stuff and spend fewer points on transports, I think. War Walkers and Dark Reapers seem a good idea, along with jetbikes and other speedy things to take objectives and harass, but yeah, the CE are not my department.

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #3 on: October 5, 2021, 03:39:59 PM »
I certainly noted the improvement with the Rubric Marines just from reading the report.  I remember commenting in past editions on how they really were not durable enough and now they certainly resist fire power in a way that is much more consistent with the lore and how they are supposed to play.

The Eldar list simply lacks long ranged fire power.  Mechanised Eldar lists always had this problem, but it was less of an issue in the days of DAVU Falcons and the way the old scoring system favoured simply staying alive.  Having to dish out damage from afar is not the strength of a mechanised Eldar army and this is one of the reasons why I always ran mixed or infantry lists.  This is one of the options I was alluding to with my idea of a back up plan.

That said, I still think that Thousand Sons are a much tougher proposition now, especially because they psychic powers can actually do something.  I also could not help but notice that Tzeentch's Firestorm finally killed some opponents.  Is that a first?
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #4 on: October 6, 2021, 06:32:36 AM »
Tzeentch's Firestorm works much differently, now. Witchfire powers just do mortal wounds, which is just direct damage.

In previous editions, to cause damage w/psychic powers, you needed to pass several levels of uncertainty:
1) roll psychic test
2) roll number of shots
3) roll to hit
4) roll to wound
5) saving throws

The odds of you choking on even one of those steps was pretty good, hence witchfire was a bad plan to base an army around. NOW you just have to pass 2 steps, usually--psychic test + something that determines number of wounds done. Vastly better, especially considering Ksons got better at psychic tests.

Offline Roboknee77

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #5 on: October 6, 2021, 09:44:37 AM »
Glad to see you're happier with the KSons this edition than last edition, Wyddr. 

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #6 on: October 6, 2021, 09:30:08 PM »
Great game, always thematic when the Thousand Sons and Craftworlds face off!

Glad to see the Thousand Sons got a more durable coat of polish with the new codex, the sound pretty sinister now!

Not a fortunate day for the Aeldari sadly... one day they shall avenge themselves  ;D.

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Offline Wyddr

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #7 on: October 6, 2021, 10:05:48 PM »
K-Sons Sorcerers are nothing to mess with!

Finally! I've been waiting 14 years!

Offline Lord of Winter and War

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #8 on: October 7, 2021, 06:33:01 AM »
Looks like the start of a very exciting game, too bad you didn't have time to finished. Hopefully next time you can play out all the turns.

Wrath of Magnus, is such an amazing secondary for Thousand Sons, and makes me almost not want to take any psychers in my army-lists, incase I run into Thousand sons, as that can (basically) automatically give the Thousand Sons player 15pt for doing what they are doing anyway.

I'm glad you like the army. A buddy in my club plays them, and I played a few games against him at the end of 8th edition, and they were no joke. I am not looking forward to fighting them now with 2 wounds a piece!

I hope you have a chance to try them out more, and get some full games in.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #9 on: October 7, 2021, 10:44:13 AM »
Yeah, I tried them a bit in early 8th Edition, but they struggled a LOT against my regular opponent (Orks) to the point where it wasn't too much fun. I just couldn't put enough firepower on the board to keep from being overwhelmed, and my psychics always melted their own brains. Things are much better now.

Yeah, that would have been a fun game to finish. Wrath of Magnus is a really good one. I haven't quite figured out what other secondary objectives I like for them. During this game I totally forgot that my Thrall Sorcerer could do a psychic action and cast a psychic power. I don't think he was ever close enough to board center to get off the Ritual, anyway, but I need to remember all the bells and whistles.

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #10 on: October 8, 2021, 08:54:30 AM »
I find all of the universal psychic secondary's are a trap (besides Abhor the Witch). I usually like ones like Engage on all fronts, To the Last, Grind them Down, No Prisoners, retrieve Occarius Data Assassinate and Stranglehold. Again, depends what I'm up against. Most mission specific secondaries are terrible.

Usually I always take Engage on all fronts regardless of army, as it's very easy to get 3pts a turn for that, but there is a conversation to make for Stranglehold as well, depending on your opponent and mission. No Prisoners is an increasingly good objective, as there are a lot of 2 and 3 wound models out there. I play against Necrons a lot, and scarabs and Wraiths bleed No Prisoner points. Marines area good target for that objective too, as everything is 2 or 3 wounds, so if you're killing stuff, every 5 marines is 1pt. 

After that, your book objective is an easy second pick, and then the third objective depends on your opponent and mission. retrieve Occarius Data is pretty easy, assassinate is good these days, as there are lots of characters in the game (but very mission dependent). Takes practice to learn which objectives are best for your army, and it can change game to game.

Usually I go into every game knowing I'm always taking two specific objectives, and then choosing the third after seeing my opponents army and the mission. You also have to sort of build your army with choosing secondary missions in mind.
« Last Edit: October 8, 2021, 08:59:49 AM by Lord of Winter and War »
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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #11 on: October 9, 2021, 09:36:19 AM »
My major problem with the various "action" based secondaries is that they force a unit to do essentially nothing that turn, and given how few units the Thousand Sons are fielding, that is often untenable as a solution. I could take Ardent Automata for one of my Rubric units and let them perform actions and shoot (which is tempting), and is something I'm willing to try.

I chose Warp Ritual mostly because I'd bought Loyal Thrall, but in retrospect I was never really going to be in a good position to use most psychic actions, so it was a waste.

Engage on All Fronts ask that I split my army up a lot, which is something I'm generally reluctant to do, but given the usefulness of Sorcerous Facade, it is certainly achievable.   

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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #12 on: October 9, 2021, 10:59:20 AM »
You sort of need to build your army for engade. I usually take a few cheap fast throw away units to throw around the board to help score that. For you, the rhinos or some cheap small units of chaos spawn could be useful in that.

Stranglehold is a good alternative, as it works towards the primary anyway.

I agree, actions are tough, unless you take small units just for doing actions.
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Re: 1500 Thousand Sons Vs Craftworld Aeldari
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2021, 12:02:24 PM »
There's certainly an argument to be made for a few throw-away units of 1 spawn apiece to be teleported around the board using Sorcerous Facade and just leaving them there. Something like a 50-point investment for 10+ secondary points.

Of course, to do that I gotta free up the 50 points. Trivial at 2000 points, but a lot tighter at 1500. 

 


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