Dallas Open Aftermath

Competition, June 18, 2018

Last May I rolled out my Thousand Sons for their first Major of 2018. This past weekend I took another stab at it in Dallas - how did they do?

Looking back to Alamo

I know we want to get to the point but I think it’s important to know what went wrong at Alamo back in May. I finished 72nd overall - which hurt because I ended up losing every game after my first. I gambled on the effectiveness of MVBs and I wasn’t running Magnus. I had no way to effectively take on tough flyers like Fire Raptors and Tiger Sharks. In May, I faced a list with 2 Tiger Sharks and (spoiler alert) we had a rematch on day 2 this past weekend.

What I changed going into Dallas

  1. Magnus is back
  2. MVBs dropped
  3. 3 Daemon Princes with Talons
  4. Cultists in place of one of the Tzaangor squads

Also, to be open about it, this list was put together rather quickly knowing some of the changes I wanted but in a hurry because I had waited until the last moment to submit my list. I don’t think that hurt me too bad but taking some extra time to play test and tune your list can make a huge different on the viability.

The List [ 1996 pts ]

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [ 1011 pts ]

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [445 pts]

Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [540 pts]

Pre-Game Mechanics and Deployment Strategy

With this list I’m typically putting the Tzaangors into Reserve, taking the DMC on the Daemon Prince, and saving Magnus for last. Deploy the Shaman and Enlightened together to ensure you get your bonuses. Have them close to something that also gets you re-rolls of 1.

Cultists are typically deployed as either a screen (as I did against Blood Angels), on an objective in the back, or out on the Flank to run out and cap and objective.

Magnus is tough to hide, typically don’t even try so, you either set him up for the alpha-strike (as close as possible) or you wrap him to shield from smites (like I did in my mirror match).

General Strategy

In general, this list is pretty straight forward. Magnus is there to alpha-strike along with a heavy dose of Smite and speed (Discs and Warptime). Enlightened will typically try to take out Vehicles using their (auto-wound on 6+) ability, which is always buffed with a Shaman and sometimes Prescience. Finally, Tzaangors may look like they are there for screening but actually they get deployed your opponent’s backfield to hunt down characters and take objectives from chaff infantry that is holding them - this works really good against Tau (as I’ll show).

Match 1 - Tau

Outrider Detachment (Tau - Bork’an Sept) [1423 pts]

Battalion Detachment (Tau - Sa’cea Sept) [573 pts]


I deployed my Cultists up front in a screening line along the front edge of my zone. Everything else was positioned to the middle immediately behind them, Tzaangors in reserve.

How it Played Out

Turn 1 he jumped his Y’varhras off the board and proceeded to move his Battlesuits up a bit. He took some shots at my Enlightened, Magnus, and Cultists. He was able to eliminate a unit of Enlightened and do some good damage to Magnus and took off a few cultists. In response, I moved up the board quickly, healed and buffed Magnus, and then proceed to begin to score. The critical things I did were:

  1. DMC’d my daemon prince behind him
  2. Took 4 objectives
  3. Elimited the two battlesuits

The goal of the mission was to control 5/6 objectives for the bonus - which I messed up on early. If I took out his chaff units sitting in the back on one of them, I’m putting him in a tough spot and I had been able to survive his first punch from the commanders. This is why I sent the DP to the back. I then made my charge into the ruins where his chaff was and proceeded to go to work.

When the Y’varhras came back on in turn 2, he had no marker lights and Magnus was -1 to hit and 3++. The tiger shark did a little bit more damage but ultimately it ended up just not being enough by the end of his turn, and then I proceeded to smite one of the Y’varhras gone. The other was now out of reach from a Magnus charge but I had brought my Tzaangors in and made the charge. They brought down the 2nd one while my DP cleaned up in the Ruins.

He called it on turn 3 when it was apparent he would have no ground units on the board by the end of the round.

Match 2 - Thousand Sons Mirror Match

Battalion Detachment (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [1438 pts]

Supreme Command Detachment (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [558 pts]


How it Played Out

Starting with deployment, I knew smites would get a bit ridiculous this game so, my strategy was to screen with my cultists. I also had to wait and see what he did with his 2x Tzaangor blobs, which concerned me. When he dropped them on the board as screens, I placed mine into reserve and used my cultists up front. Magnus was placed front and center along with the DPs and Enlightened flanking them - it was pretty obvious I was setting up for the alpha strike and I’m sure he knew I would finish drops first.

He did a great job countering that with deploying out to hold his objectives and hiding his units, like the enlightened, where possible. His cultists sat in ruins off in the corner and his Contemptors were lined up to hit Magnus no matter where he went.

Turn 1 I moved forward, my cultists took the initiative to advance up one side of the board to get an objective while the bulk of my force with Magnus, Cultists, and Daemon Princes moved up the opposite side. I lined my Enlightened up in the middle to shoot at the Tzaangors, as that was my best way to kill his screens. What made this tough is I really had no way to get to his Contemptors, which were about to really mess me up.

His Turn 1 he fired the Butcher Cannons on Magnus along with the Enlightened shooting at my Enlightened, countering me exactly where he needed to. He followed up with a charge with the Enlightened on the cultists and really did a good job stalling the advance. But ultimately, Magnus, the Daemon Princes, my Shaman, and both Ahriman and the Exalted Sorcerer were still alive at the end of the wave. Most of my Enlightened were dead after his volley, along with the Cultists on the left flank where the action was.

Turn 2 went heavily into my favor when I moved Magnus up front and went to town along with my Daemon Princes moving up in support. My Tzaangors were able to squeeze in behind all his casters and he knew what was coming when the other DP used DMC to move back there in support.

This is where we (i) ultimately played Infernal Gateway wrong and killed a bit too much in 1 spell. We had a chat about it the next morning and it would have probably strung the game out a bit longer, but the game was decidedly going one way. By the bottom of turn 2, most of his casters were gone and he had a couple Daemon princes left and I was able to score the bonus points for controlling all 4 objectives.

The game closed out after a little more play in round 3 but it was ultimately won by Magnus and the Tzaangors + DP flanking behind his lines. It’s tough to go up against the big guy in the Psychic phase.

Match 3 - Druhkari (vs Alamo GT Champ)

Drukhari Battalion (Kabal of the Blackheart) [1119 pts]

Craftworlds Battalion (Alaitoc) [882 pts]


How it Played Out

This one went really rough. Setting up for an alpha strike with everything pushed up front and then getting seized on, yea that hurt. What made it worse was on his first turn, just two shots from bright lances took Magnus to 6 wounds left. Yikes.

At the end of turn 1, pretty much all my Cultists, all my Enlightened, and Magnus were dead. I guess the silver lining is I didn’t give up an objective?

This was over before my turn began, sadly. I did drop my Tzaangors in and had a chance to get them in on his Archon. I used DMC to relocate the DP and go after his casters that were out in the open behind his mob of Ravagers, Venoms, and Razor Wings. I was able to take out th Farseer and Archon, and my Tzaangors tried to beat their way to the Archon.

Ultimately, I did get that second Archon and scored 3/4 HH points but, that was doing just about everything I could. Sometimes you just get handed lemons and you do the best you can with it.

Match 4 - Blood Angles

Vanguard Detachment (Blood Angels) [666 pts]

Battalion Detachment (Blood Angels) [808 pts]

Outrider Detachment (Blood Angels) [524 pts]


How it Played Out

This was a rough way to start day 2. Not only was I worried about the fact that they are devastating in close combat, which is what most of my army did well, he seized on me, making it the second game in a row that I would have to wait it out turn 1.

Thankfully, I deployed defensively for this with one squad of cultists strung out along my front and another in front of Magnus. I expected to have to move across the table and let him come to me.

Turn 1 his Death Company and one of the Sanguinary Guard units were through my cultists and into my Enlightened. One of my Daemon Princes took some wounds and a good chunk of the Enlightened ended up dead. I used Counter Attack with my Daemon Prince to try and cut down the Death Company a big before they swung. Always remember your Death to the False Emperor.

Minimizing the first assault as best I could, I moved to consolidate Magnus behind as much of my forces as possible. With smite and combat I was able to eliminate the remaining Death Company and Sanguinary Guard that were in battle with me. I popped DMC to move my DP into his back objective and was able to eliminate all of his scouts sitting on the objective.

Turn 2, his next wave of Sanguinary Guard arrived and he moved his scouts up to hit me harder. He left the last unit of Guard and Lemartes in reserve. He was able to assault Magnus with his scout bikes as well as getting the next round of Sanguinary Guard into my Daemon Princes and Ahriman with the Exalted Sorcerer. After swinging back, there wasn’t all that much left on the table and after some surveying of the map, I realized I had the game won.

He left too much in reserve and I was able to clean up the remaining units on the board for win number 3.

Match 4 - Tau (Alamo Rematch)

Battalion Detachment (Tau - Sa’cea Sept)

Vanguard Detachment (Tau - Farsight Enclaves)

Outrider Detachment (Tau - Farsight Enclaves)


How it Played Out

This was a rematch of our day 1 match up in San Antonio just 1 month ago. I was setup for the alpha strike and knew I needed to take his Tiger Sharks out turn 1. He knew what I was doing and did his best to make it as hard as possible to get there easily. Obviously, his Tiger Sharks were at the back to start but it was reachable if a couple reasonable things were done.

Unfortunately, that plan went out the window when he rolled a 6, practically seizing on me. He went first and proceeded to land both Tiger Sharks right next to my main force. Magnus, the Enlightened, and an entire squad of cultists were dead on turn 1. It was pretty much over that fast.

On my turn I set myself as best I could to bring down the Tiger Sharks but I kept rolling 1s on a couple D6 smites I was able to get off - even with the re-roll. I did my best to do some tricks with line of sight and assaults to max out the points I could get.


So, overall I was happy with how the event went. I placed 16th overall and my losses came to players that finished 3rd and 4th respectively out of 71 entries. This was an improvement over how I did last time and things are certainly looking better for Houston coming up in July. I’ve already got some ideas I’m kicking around to shake things up a bit. Before I close out I want to present some thoughts I have.

1. My List

I think the way I look at the list I ran is that it’s a great entry-level tournament list for Thousand Sons. It’s geared to go first, hit hard, and take on other elite armies like Eldar, Blood Angels, Custodes, etc - all of which are strong in the meta right now. What it’s not designed to do is go 2nd, as I’ve documented in how my matches went.

There’s an evolution that will be happening to my list now going forward, where my goal is to have it become a bit more mature and able to handle situations a bit better than it does now.

2. Tzaangors

One of the best things I see out of Tzaangors is that they are fantastic when put behind the enemy’s line and then used to assault characters and chaff infantry sitting on objectives. I see moving to MSU Tzaangors as a better use than the big mob that I ran here.

3. Dark Matter Crystal

Also used like the Tzaangors, it’s great on a Daemon Prince that you can relocate to the back lines or to try and assassinate enemy characters. It’s great because we can use it turn 1 to get in their zone.

4. Magnus

He rocks and he’s a great center piece to the army. But he’s also easily countered, targeted, and destroyed turn 1. You’re also giving up Kingslayer on him and you know your opponent needs to target him. As I mentioned above, he’s a great starting point but I’m questioning if he makes the list too one-dimensional.