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40k: All is Dust – Pre Heresy – Thousand Sons Themed Army

5 Minute Read
Oct 19 2010
… All is Dust…  Part 1 by Michael Walsh
The beginnings of a Pre Heresy Thousand Sons Army


(TPM here taking a bit of a departure from the talk about Dark Eldar to bring you an article from Michael Walsh.  Mike is a long time Space Wolf player – he is one black carapace away from being an actual Space Wolf.  He is a fierce competitor in every aspect of the game – this guy can paint, play and build a mean army list)
Recently I finished reading the newest Warhammer 40k Horus Heresy Era novel A Thousand Sons by Graham Mcneill. After completing the novel I found myself with a new found affinity for the Thousand Sons that was never there before. I found the story moving and it painted a very different picture of the Thousand Sons than has ever been portrayed before. No longer would Ahriman be seen as merely an evil sorcerer hell bent on gaining access into the Black Library of the Eldar with no motive other than to become more powerful. No longer would the Thousand Sons be seen as uncaring warlocks who abandoned the Emperor for Horus and his Chaos Gods. In the galaxy’s darkest hour it was the Thousand Sons who stood alone against the crisis only they knew was coming. Ultimately making choices that would destroy their Legion forever. They believed they could control power older and more powerful than themselves. They believed they could use this power to help and save humanity. Unfortunately actions taken with even the best of intentions, can sometimes have unforeseen and very dire consequences.
The tale of the Thousand Sons is one of pain and loss. It is one of honor and betrayal. It is one of faith and self belief. It is one of truth and lies. But most importantly it is one of love. The tale of the Thousand Sons is one of a father’s love for his son and in return that of a son’s love for his father.
So… I found myself moved and inspired. But, how does a long time Space Wolf player go about doing justice to his army of choice’s long time arch rivals. He calls his buddy Paul Murphy (tpm) and starts working on an army list. That’s what he does!
Unfortunately, I think the first conversation went something like this “Hey Murphy, I want to make a Heresy Era Thousand Sons army!” in which Murphy responds with “mmm, k” “Good luck!” “HaHa!”
That didn’t go as expected so I tried posting on the Wrecking Crew forums. That was met with comments like “Mike you do know that THOUSAND SONS ARMIES SUCK RIGHT and can’t be competitive against good armies with good generals!”  Well that’s two strikes.
After spending some time thinking about it I came to the conclusion that maybe all these other guys are just missing something. Maybe they are just thinking it’s bad because no one else is winning with it.
Before talking to anyone else about the idea I decided to jump on Army Builder [<3 you Lone Wolf] and make an army list. Then go from there.
Uh-oh! Big Problem. Which army to use?
The goal of this whole experiment is to make a righteous Heresy Era Thousand Sons army. I’m not super worried about having to use the Chaos Codex or anything, because for all intents and purposes I can make this a “counts as” army and use anything I want.
First question: What armies have cool pyskers?
1.      Chaos … Well everyone says Ahriman is bad. And a lot of people only use lash. But, I don’t really want to run double lash. K next, but maybe we’ll come back to this one.
2.      Space Marines … Hmm, well Null Zone is cool, but it doesn’t really line up with any of the powers the Thousand Sons used in the book. Plus I do see anything for use for the different elements of the army I want to try and use.
3.      Space Wolves … K, NO! PEACE! Not happening. I am not making a “counts as” Thousand Sons army from the Space Wolves Codex. That’s a new breed of heresy!
4.      Blood Angels … Well they have cool Librarians. They can take Librarian Dreadnoughts! But, I don’t really like the idea of using the Librarian Dreadnoughts in this army. Wish they could take Librarians as an Elite choice then that would own.
Back to square one.
Guess I’ll try using the Chaos Codex. I mean, like, it has to have different things in it than just “Double Lash with Nurgle Marines!” Right?
So before I start picking things in Army Builder I need to decide on what exactly I want to take from the book and have it represented in the army.
Lets make a list:
1.      Ahriman. He was great in the book.
2.      Khalophis. The scene where he goes to battle on Shrike with the nine automations that he controls with his mind was bad ass. Something about that just screams OBLITERATORS to me!
3.      Need something that blows people away. In the novel the Thousand Sons used freaking lightning, fire, jedi-mind tricks, and pretty much every cool power you could think of to fight as a unit.
4.      Flesh change. Need something to represent this on the display tray. Poor Thousand Sons! 🙁
5.      Sorcerers! Well at least Chaos can have a lot of them. Especially if you take Thousand Sons.
With those five things in mind I started with the army list.
I ran through a number of different variations then called Murphy back. He was like “You know, man I think you might be on to something. Why don’t you try this though?” Well I reworked it and over the next day or two went back and forth with him, my friend Mike M, and the one and only BBF. And we came up with something that was pretty gnarly
I’ll save you all the trouble of reading through the different variations of the list in its various stages and will simply point out a few things that we did toss around that ultimately didn’t make the final cut.
Honorable Mentions:
1.      Greater Daemon. We really thought about putting one in to represent the Thousand Son who flesh changes on the planet Shrike, but ultimately decided that the Aspiring Champions in the army were just to important to throw away on a GD.
2.      At first I went all Thousand Sons, kSon spam all over the place. We changed our minds on this. Deciding that since this is Heresy Era we in fact do have some flexibility and liberty to use different units.
3.      Terminators. I thought about putting the Scarab Guard in, but decided not to. Mainly because I don’t like the way that the Chaos Terminators work in comparison to say Wolf Guard Terminators or Space Marine Assault Terminators with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield.
To be continued in … All is Dust … Part 2
(Next week check back for part two where the army list and tactics are explained. What do you guys think of it so far? Is chaos the best choice to base the list off of?)

Paul Murphy
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