Tactical Review: Wrath of Magnus Formations

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PeteyPab lays down the conventional wisdom on the new 40k Wrath of Magnus formations and formation based detachments.

 Check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

Before I go onto the review I would like to say that there is a lot of interesting, new units and dataslates in the book and if you want to know what those are first check out Reece’s review here. He is also going to go over Magnus in all his glory (lucky…) so if you haven’t already I would suggest reading that article first, I will be waiting right here after you recollect your jaw.

Also, this review is based on a first reading of the book, so take it was a grain of salt! I may miss something and my initial opinions may change. Let me know if you disagree with me on any points in the comments section!

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Welcome! Or welcome back, the Wrath of Magnus book is going to set the entire 40k world on fire. It is exciting for every player of the 40k community not only because it is giving the Chaos Space Marine faction a much needed boost, but also because of the precedent it sets. I do not honestly think Magnus will be the only new primarch revealed and this book is indicative of GW’s desire to advance the storyline and give us smashing new models and rules in the process. So without further ado, here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly formations and detachments in The Wrath of Magnus.

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The Good (WahaWuaaaaaaa)

  • Thousand Sons Grand Coven: The Formation Based Detachment (FBD) for the new Thousand Sons faction is not particularly amazing rules-wise. It’s command benefits let you reroll your warlord trait, let you reroll perils, and let each of your psykers cast an additional spell beyond their mastery level. That is solid, but not amazing. What makes the FBD good is it’s options. It has a cheap Core choice (550 points minimum) and allows you to take Magnus by himself as a command choice, and a single Heldrake as an auxiliary choice. You also have other single standalone options, but I think the Heldrake is the best choice.
  • War Cabal: The superior core choice, it comes with the Favoured of Tzeentch rule (more on that later) and if a psyker successfully manifests a power in a War Cabal unit then it lets the unit reroll all 1’s to hit until the start of your next psychic phase. This can make your already lethal models more lethal and makes the Thousand Sons lethal in all three phases of the game. The cheapest way to kit it out is with 2x Sorcerors, 1 unit of Occult Terminators, and 1 unit of Rubric Marines.
  • Tzangor Warherd: The best Auxiliary formation in the Thousand Sons FBD, the warherd makes your cheap Tzangor units better by giving them the ability to run and charge in the same turn. They also get +1 strength and Initiative if they roll a 9 or better for a charge. This is also the easiest formation to activate the Favoured of Tzeentch rule. It also allows you to take 0-6 chaos spawn if you want to spice things up a bit.
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  • The War Coven/Ahriman’s Exiled: I was tempted to put these two formations in the “Ugly” section because they are just so plain, but I realized these formations are just another version of the Cyclopia Cabal and Librarius Conclave. Both formations allow up to 10 individual pskers, with amazing wargear options, and the ability to harness powers on a 3+. The Coven do so for one psychic discipline from the BRB, and the Exiled allow it as long as the model is within 18′ of Ahriman. Expect these formations to become all the rage because all of the models have access to some amazing options. Think Traitor’s Hate powers, with level 4 psykers, riding on jet bikes (discs of Tzeentch).
  • Brimstone Conflagration: Not only is the name great, but the formation isn’t terrible. With a cheap 1 exalted flamer tax, and 3-9 brimstone horror units it is a cheap formation with some explosive play. Literally. The formation lets your brimstone horror models (not units) “consume themselves with flame” and do D3 str 4 ap4 hits to a unit in close combat, at the cost of a lowly 3 point model to EACH unit in close combat with the horrors. Thats pretty hot.
  • Omniscient Oracles: This formation allows you to bring Fateweaver, and 1-3 Lords of Change to give you the ability to reroll the seize the initiative roll, as well as any reserve rolls. Oh, and there is that business about letting you reroll 1s for all your to hit, and to wound rolls as well as all of your psychic test. But who’s gonna use that?
  • Heralds Anarchic: Chaos Daemons finally get their own broken psyker formation in the form of 3-9 Heralds of Tzeentch which generate one additional warp dice in each psychic phase per model in this formation on the battlefield. Which can be really helpful when you’re trying to manifest 20 powers a turn.
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The Bad (WuaaWaahWuaaaaaaa)

  • The Favoured of Tzeentch Special Rule: I am so sorry Tzeentch enthusiasts. I wanted to love this rule, I really did. It allows the formation to reroll all failed saving throws of 1. Not bad right? There is a caveat though. You need to take the maximum number of units in the formation. This can get really expensive, really quickly. Since a lot of the Thousand Sons models in the book are really expensive, and Tzeentch’s favorite number is 9. The rule is good, but when you have to spend 2250 points on Terminators to get it, it can be a bit lackluster. The cheapest way to get access to it in the book is the Tzangor Warherd where it actually is pretty amazing.
  • Sekhmet Conclave: Speaking of terminators, this formation lets you take any of the HQ choices, plus magnus, and 3-9 Occult terminators for +1 toughness to units that are within 6′ of 2 other units fom this formation. At 50 points a model, the Terminators are the equivalent of Grey Knights. Both in power level, and cost. One unit might make a good base for a deathstar, especially with the new Traitor’s Hate powers, but I don’t see people wanting to run 3.
  • Pandemonium of Tzeentch: The Chaos FBD is underwhelming. There isn’t much to say here it has a cheap core choice but the Daemonic Incursion FBD from the Curse of the Wulfen book is superior. The command benefits let you reroll your warlord trait, or the result on the Tzeentch Warp Storm Table (which is ok), but that is what you would expect. The real dissapointment is the Ephemeral form rule. Which gives the models in the formation +1 invuln save (up to a maximum of 3+) but at the cost of the Daemon of Tzeentch ability to reroll failed saving throws of 1. Which is, what I think, really makes units in the army shine. Especially because the Grimoire, and going to ground in ruins are still a thing.
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The Ugly (WaaaWahWahWuaaa)

  • Lorestealer Host: A cheap core choice for the Pandemonium of Tzeentch FBD with the blue scribes and 3-9 blue horrors. It can be kind of cheeky, and gives Tzeentch a bit of an anti-psyker element, which is nice. But what essentially amounts to preferred enemy psykers, and +1 strength to witchfires if you are within 9 inches of an enemy psyker is nothing to write home about. The real saving grace for this formation is that it is cumulative with other strength boosting abilities like the Locus of Conjuration for some terrifying Flicker Fire shots.
  • Rehati War Sect: This formation would be awesome if you didn’t compare it to some of the other psychic formations in the book. It lets you bring Magnus and 3-9 Exalted Sorcerors/Deamon Princes. These units have line of sight to everything on the battlefield (not infinite range) when determining targets for psychic powers and harness on a 3+ if within 18 inches of Magnus.
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So that’s my review. Tune in next week for a special episode of Chapter Tactics where I will be going over the effect the Wrath of Magnus book will have on the tabletop, and at events.

~Which of these formations are you most excited about?



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  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    At least Rehati doesn’t objectively suck, which was all I wanted to know.

  • Tirelion

    The war sect is actually pretty awesome…

  • Harthelion

    Actually the new “decurion” has a pretty good buff of +1 invul. The reroll is what makes shine the deathstars only not the army as a faction and if you are playing the “decurion”, you want to play horde after all and having a horde with invul 4 is no joke specially combined with the new split rule of the pink horrors, even with kairos or lords of change so you don’t have to spend lots of points on daemonology to try to seize cursed earth or use points on the grimoire.