Winners and Losers Chapter Approved 2018

Competition, December 09, 2018

An early look at the winners and losers for Thousand Sons in Chapter Approved

Chapter Approved Leaks

Over the past couple days a ton of information has leaked out about Chapter Approved for 2018 and what it has in store for Thousand Sons. We’re about a week away from the book coming out but if you want an early look, head over to the Thousand Sons Reddit.

Since all the points are known at this time, it’s fair to take an early look at what units will get the best boost in use as a result. I’ve looked at everything for Thousand Sons, including Forgeworld, and gathered a list of the 5 best winners and losers.

Keep in mind, there could be other changes headed our way in the erratas

The Winners

5. Rubric Marines

You wanted it, you asked for, now you’ve got it. Cheaper Rubrics are coming in Chapter Approved and will bring our boys in dust down to just about 20pts more than your standard Tzaangor squad with a Brayhorn. While this likely won’t have a huge effect on most army compositions, the price now makes these guys a little more compelling. Not many armies have access to -2 AP weaponry on their troops, which makes them an attractive choice.

Tzaangors are still hanging around and aren’t likely to lose their spot in our Thousand Sons lists. There are still a couple wild cards here that we won’t know about until next weekend:

  1. Do they get a full smite?
  2. Do they get the ability to take a Soulreaper cannon in a 5-man squad?

4. Maulerfiend

Across the board, daemon engines are going to come out of Chapter Approved as major winners. Maulerfiends are probably the biggest winner of the bunch, as they are just downright nasty on the table right now at their current price. Cut that down about 20pts and now you have a really compelling reason to take one.

The only issue here that keeps these guys from topping the Vortex Beast at 3 is that they don’t really have the synergies. You can really have a lot of fun with these guys throwing Weaver of Fates and Temporal Mutation on one to make them super durable. They are certainly more killy than the Beast and could see a lot more play in the coming days.

3. Mutalith Vortex Beast

If the Maulerfiend was the only one to receive the point reduction there’d be no reason to have the Vortex Beast here at 3. You get such great support from this guys when you use him with your Tzaangors and now that he’s coming in at just over 120 pts, it’s easy to take him over the Maulerfiend to get those mortal wounds and assault bonuses.

You also get the same tanking ability with Weaver of Fates and Temporal Mutation, making the Vortex Beast pretty much able to do everything a Maulerfiend does but better. You could argue the damage output from a Mauler is much higher, and you’d be right, but the bonuses you get to your Tzaangors and the mortal wounds you can put out from it make the Vortex Beast a better option here in most situations.

2. Hellforged Contemptor with Butcher Cannons

Let’s take a little detour here into the land of Forgeworld. If you asked most people their thoughts on what GW would do to Forgeworld models in Chapter Approved, the overwhelming answer you’d get is “leave them alone”. Well, thats not going to be the case.

While there are some interesting changes that were made across the board to the Plasma weapons, my eyes on the Butcher Cannon point reductions coupled with the Hellforged Contemptor. Consider that today, if you want a gun platform (like a dreadnought) you have a few solid options - Helbrute, Predator, Contemptor, Decimator, and Renegade Armigers. Your Helbrute doesn’t really put out as much firepower as the others. The Predator is a solid choice, but expensive if you start loading up those Lascannons. Your Decimator and Contemptor have just a couple differences but would come out to be about the same price as an Armiger. Yet, with the Armiger you got a hell of a lot more fire power and some better staying power with the wounds it has.

Now, things get interesting. With the new points, the Hellforged Contemptor has come down a good bit along with one of it’s main gun options being reduced as well - the Butcher Cannon. You can down field one with two of those guns for under 140pts. This becomes hugely compelling when you consider the fact that you have a guaranteed 8 shots, at strength 8, hitting on 2+ if you don’t move. I’m not going to start harping on this being a good anti-tank option but the flexibility of this load out is fantastic. Not only do you get a 5++, which you can buff, you also get a 4++ in close combat.

So, I think it’s safe to say if you were considering some of those beautiful Forgeworld Thousand Sons Contemptors, now may be the time to jump on them and add them to your army.

1. Sorcerer in Terminator Armor

Ladies and gentlemen of the brotherhood of dust, I present to you your new auto-include for Thousand Sons in 2019. I did a double take when looking at the new points for these guys in Chapter Approved. You’re now looking at, all in, the same cost as an Exalted Sorcerer when you include a familiar on the Terminator - which means you now get a +1 to cast for your first power. The only other way to get this kind of bonus is by taking Ahriman or by taking the High Magister warlord trait.

So, let’s say you want to deep strike your sorcerer to support some Tzaangors, it now costs your nearly 10pts less to do that, as the Jump Pack Sorcerer was the only way to do this currently without spending another 2CPs.

Want some better Wargear? Yup, the Terminator has a much wider selection and comes with a Rapid Fire 2, AP-2 Inferno combi-bolter over the standard Inferno Bolt Pistol, giving a little bit more ranged shooting.

We should see this guy in just about every list this year.

The Losers

5. Cultists

It may only be 1pt but it’s a 25% increase in cost, which means you feel those impacts in armies that were taking them in big blobs. Fortunately, Thousand Sons is not one of those armies. We typically see these taken in their 10-man squads to help fill out Battalion requirements as cheap as possible.

This is likely not going to change as you’re still saving 20pts over the next best option (Tzaangors). These guys are still very useful in a Thousand Sons army and haven’t lost any of their punch in game, remaining one of the best chaff infantry choices of any army.

4. Scarab Occult Terminators

Since Wrath of Magnus came out a couple years ago, we always wanted to see these guys hit the table and live up to their reputation. In Chapter Approved we’ll see them drop about 15pts for the squad. You’ll also see a little bit more of a reduction if you take a Soulreaper Cannon or Hellfyre missile rack.

While these point reductions are nice, they’ll ultimately come up short. The real issue with Terminators across the board is that there’s really no demand for them. They’re elite infantry, designed to eliminate other elite infantry. The problem is with how good “chaff” infantry is in the game across the board. You never really have any armies taking elite infantry because they are too expensive and thus, eliminates the demand for you to take any of them to counter.

Until we see these points get much lower, we’re going to continue to see these guys sidelined to casual games.

3. Chaos Land Raiders

So wait a second, they throw us a bone with about a 75 point reduction and these things are still on the Losers list? This ties into the same issue you have with Terminators (see above). The Land Raider is your elite transport however, the units they would be transporting (Terminators) don’t really need to be transported. This leaves you really only taking these for how tough and durable they are.

One of the big issues for Chaos Land Raiders is that you’re locked into only one load out - 2x Twin Lascannons, which is an incredibly expensive and inefficient option. If, however, you could take something like 2x Quad Heavy bolters, you’d be looking at something a lot more compelling for the price. Unfortunately, this is something we’re unlikely to see when the erratas are unveiled next weekend.

2. Magnus the Red

Sometimes not having anything happen to a unit can be a boon, but not here. Already suffering from his extreme point cost and relatively vulnerable stats, Magnus is likely going to remain on the side line for most situations. Costing almost 450pts he’s a huge investment anyone makes that decides to bring him. With the prevalence of Knights and cheap efficient firepower, he’s tough to keep alive beyond turn 1 in competitive situations.

When the Codex came out earlier this year, he had his points adjusted upwards and his ability to survive downwards. These two changes had the effect of hindering big red in competitive situations. It’s hard to put 25% of your army on a platter for your opponents, especially in ITC where they have easy scoring scenarios designed just for guys like Magnus and Mortarion.

You may still see this guy show up in armies here and there but overall he’ll continue to wait on the sidelines for the time when he gets a point reduction. I do think there’s an opportunity here to figure out how to make him worth it in Thousand Sons armies but less worth it in Soup scenarios.

1. Exalted Sorcerers

Every time there’s an update to points for the Thousand Sons, Exalted Sorcerers just seem to get less and less viable. Let’s go back to the Index time last year and remember that these guys were once cheaper than regular sorcerers. Obviously this wasn’t the intent but we learned a couple things at the time when their points were equal. Despite their slightly better stats and a re-roll 1’s to hit aura, there were still reasons to take a regular Sorcerer depending on the wargear you wanted.

In Chapter Approved last year, they jumped to 112pts, over 20pts more than a regular Sorcerer. At that point you have to start making serious decisions of if a -1 to hit aura is worth those points. So, for the past year we’ve had that choice and in most competitive situations you’ve seen Sorcerers on the table over their Exalted brothers.

This year, we see the Terminator Sorcerer drop to just above 100pts and when you factor in wargear (with a familiar) you’re now at the exact same price as an Exalted Sorcerer today. So, now you have the option of taking a Sorcerer cheaply, who has the same two casts as your Exalted sorcerer and frees up over 20pts to be used elsewhere in your list. Or, you can take a Terminator Sorcerer, with +1 to cast from his familiar, better armor, better gear, and the ability to deep strike for free - for the same price as an Exalted sorcerer.

On of top all that, two the best units in Thousand Sons have undoubtedly been Daemon Princes and Ahriman - who both give you the same re-roll aura you get from an Exalted Sorcerer. So, the demand for you to have more re-roll aura is really low and begs the question - what role do Exalted Sorcerers really have in a Thousand Sons army?