Time for my 1500 pts Imperial Knights list's final battle of the tournament. Round three saw me facing a very nicely converted and painted Thousand Sons list that were taking advantage of their brand-new rules for the first time. The mission was a straightforward as it gets: good old Seize Ground.
Round Three: Seize Ground vs. Thousand SonsMy opponent was using the new Grand Coven super-Detachment from Wrath of Magnus, so I'm a bit sketchy on the details, but his list included:
Two Exalted Sorcerers
Thousand Sons Terminator squad
Thousand Sons Rubric squad
Tzaangor Herd with Sorcerer and three squads
All the psykers rolled on the new Heretech discipline to get some powers that could hurt Knights. I can't remember the specifics (I generally don't bother when my opponent is generating eleventy billion powers) but Ahriman and one Exalted Sorcerer got some power that just strips D3 HP from a vehicle, no saves allowed. Sadface.
My opponent won the roll to choose who goes first, and he gave me first turn, saying he wanted my Knights to have to come to him (very understandable for a ranged list). Then he used Ahriman's fixed Warlord trait to infiltrate him and the Terminators closer to my Lancer, then Seized the Initiative and started advancing on my Knights... I was confused.
The Thousand Sons generated some ridiculous number of Warp Charge (16 dice?) and started going down to psyker town on my Knights. Ahriman tried to hijack my Lancer's shooting attack but I successfully Denied the Witch with all my dice (lol). He then proceeded to use some Haywire power plus the auto-strip D3 HP no-saves fuck-you power to take the Lancer down to just 2 HP remaining. The Rules version 1.2 then bit him in the ass since the Terminator squad's built-in Sorcerer found himself unable to cast any powers—sorry, you have the same powers as Ahriman, and you can only cast each on once-per-squad now.
An Exalted Sorcerers tried the same shenanigans on the Castigator and took one of its HP too. In the shooting phase, one of the Thousand Sons special assault cannons got lucky Rends and my poor old Lancer was down to his last HP before I'd even made a move.
Ok, time to fight back. The Castigator flubbed its difficult terrain roll and inched towards the enemy, whilst the Acheron made good speed towards the Tzaangors on my right flank. Both blazed away and killed a lot of space-goats and a handful of Rubric marines. The Acheron then charged in and killed the rest of the goats.
Meanwhile on my left flank, since Ahriman and his boys had so conveniently advanced so far into midfield, I obliged their obvious desired to duel my charging straight in with my nearly-dead Lancer. Thankfully it did not die to Overwatch! My Astra also moved up, dismounted, and blew away the Tzaangors on this side.
Since the Lord Baron Knight Lancer is a character fully capable of issuing challenges in close combat, and since Chaos Space Marines are so much more honourable than their loyalist brethren and cannot refuse, the Lancer promptly splatted the Terminator Sorcerer, killed off a few of his buddies, and then Stomped Ahriman's face... but alas, no 6 was rolled, and so the combat continued.
It turns out that the lose D3 HP psychic power is a Malediction, not a Witchfire, and can therefore be cast whilst locked in close combat, at targets locked in close combat. Marvellous bullshit! Unsurprisingly, the Lancer lost its last HP and exploded... it did not scatter and I placed a D blast over Ahriman and his remaining three bodyguards... but the fiend and one other survived. Luckily, my other two Knights survived the psychic phase—and therefore the turn—relatively unscathed.
With Ahriman looking rather exposed, and two Knights close to my opponent's last two squads, I went for the throat. The Astra drove closer to Ahriman and melta'd his last Terminator bodyguard. The Castigator and Acheron shot dead more Rubric marines, and the Acheron made its charge to kill the rest, leaving only the Exalted Sorcerer alive.
Ahriman and the remaining Tzaangor squad joined up, and we proceeded to the psychic phase. Ahriman threw 7D6 at the HP-stripping power and rolled four successes, also taking a wound to Perils in the process. I threw my full 6D6 to Deny... and got four successes! Bullshit rolls for the win!
That was almost the last straw for my poor opponent but he still had one more chance to nuke a Knight and he took it. The Exalted Sorcerer also threw 7D6 at the HP-stripping power... and failed.
We called the game there.
ConclusionThis was another short, brutal game, but I actually thought it would go against me for most of it! If that last psychic phase had gone differently then I would have lost a second Knight, and while I probably would have just managed to finish off the enemy with my last Knight, it would have been very, very close.
I don't know why my opponent was so aggressive with Ahriman and the Terminators; if he had stood back and (psychically) shot then I probably would have lost two Knights by mid-game and it could have gone very differently.
The new Thousand Sons played much as I expected them to from my brief look at Wrath of Magnus; sure they have some cool new gimmicks, but they are still fundamentally slow, over-costed, not really very killy marines. They literally did nothing outside the shooting phase. Sure they might be (typically) hard-to-kill, but 40k is full of hard-to-kill units and armies that are not successful because they are bad at killing the enemy and getting around grabbing Objectives. Oh well, at least they look cool.
Once I shook off my cautious Astra tactics from the first game, my Knights performed very well—aggression really pays off. Sure you're going to lose some, but you really need to take out as much of the enemy as possible, as early as possible, because you really just can't win an attrition and board control game with a primary Knights list.