Introduction: As anyone who is following Warhammer 40k knows, big things are afoot in the storyline! One of those big things was a rather impressive assault by the Thousand Sons on the Fenris system, home system of the Space Wolves chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. I refer you to the Wrath of Magnus for details. It's pretty awesome.
Along with the book some great new Thousand Sons (I call them 1k Sons for short)models were released, and I could not resist starting up an army. I have been a fan of the 1k Sons for a long time, but their rules had, until now, been bad! now that they are a lot more interesting, and given the current story arc, I wanted to play a Space Wolves/1k Sons game. Scott recently started collecting Space Wolves and, like me, paints fast. So having motivated each other to get enough stuff painted, we got together for a 1200 point game.
The 1K Sons are very expensive points-wise. I took a 1k Sons Combined Arms Detachment as follows:
Demon Prince of Tzeentch (the original Lord of Change model) w lv 2 psychic mastery and wings
Scarab Occult Terminators with Exalted Sorcerer and Soul Reaper Cannon
2 units of 4 Rubric Marines w/ Sorcerer
1 unit of 10 Tzaangors
1 Heldrake w Baleflamer
IIRC, Scott took a Space Wolves Combined Arms Detachment of:
1 Rune Priest (lv 2 psychic mastery)
3 units of 6 Space wolves, w 1 melta gun per squad
1 unit of 5 Space Wolves
1 Unit of Wolf Rider cavalry
3 Vindicator tanks(!)
We played the Maelstrom of War Mission "Escalation" where we have a hand of 3 objective cards at all times. Also VPs are awarded for Slay the Warlord, First Blood, and Linebreaker conditions.
Turn 1: The game started with Night Fighting in effect. My Heldrake and Terminators were in reserve. Scott got the first turn and advanced. His fire was not too effective; he killed a Rubric Marine or two and several Tzaangors, whose job is to die after all. In my first turn my awesome psykers did absolutely nothing, although my shooting almost wiped out a squad of Space Wolves thanks to AP3 Inferno bolter shots.
Turn 2: Space Wolves on Wolves advance to overrun my Rubrics. First Blood to Scott! Shooting takes a heavy toll on my other Rubric squad and my Tzaangors take casualties as well. Since their job is to die, that last doesn't bother me too much! In the psychic phase the Rune Priest goes hog wild, almost eliminating my Rubric squad, leaving a very stubborn sorcerer, and wounding my flying demon prince. My psychic powers do little again. So many machine curse fail or are rebuffed by the cursed Rune Priest! However, the Heldrake eats most of a squad with fire, and the Terminators summon some Pink Horrors to pad my numbers and my magic.
Turns 3-4: The Fenris wolf cavalry put paid to the last Chaos Sorcerer as Scott racks up more objective VPs. Scott now has 11 Vps to my 5 at this point thanks to holding objectives. I can't seem to get good objective cards nor meet the missions I have! The Maulerfiend, which luckily survived a Vindicator cannon and melta shot, finally eats a Vindicator tank. The Heldrake eats another squad with fire and the Demon Prince realizes he can smash tanks, so he goes and gets one. The Terminators summon Flamers of Tzeentch but lose an objective to a lone wolf(!) who has "objective secured". The Horrors melt a couple of the wolves on my left flank with a Bolt of Change, and the Heldrake takes more. The demon prince kills the last vindicator while the Scarab Occult disintegrate the Wolf Priest, and later the lone wolf, with inferno bolts. This gets me the Kill the Warlord VP. But Scott snags more victory points with his random objectives, but he has lost all but about 10 models. I will need to table him (kill all his forces) to win! Can the Legion of Change pull it off?
Turns 4-5: The remaining Wolf Cavalry charge my last poor Tzaangor, hiding in a corner. All his fellows were wiped out by the Space Wolves on my left flank and the last one does not survive this assault! Shooting from the Terminators brings down one more Wolf cavalryman in my turn. My Maulerfiend charges the Wolf cavalry and ends up eating a thunder hammer to the face! Whoa! The Heldrake and Pink horrors finish off the last tactical space wolves, leaving one wolf cavalryman remaining. As the VP score stands at 11-6 or so I need a turn 6 or I lose the game...but Scott rolls a 5 and one more turn arrives....Just As Planned!! (TM Tzeentch).
Turn 6: Scott desperately runs the last wolf cavalry away, but before the Heldrake can bathe him in fire the Pink Horrors cast coruscating fire of Tzeentch for 3 Warp charges, rolling a staggering 16 shots and finally bringing the big wolf rider down! Victory to the Thousand Sons!
Result: Despite being ahead by a hefty margin in Victory Points, the Space Wolves fall prey to the fires of Tzeentch, both demonic and infernal! I was certain the game was going against me but my terminators, summoned units, and especially the Heldrake turned the tide.
Conclusion: We both enjoyed a very tight game of 40k. The 1k Sons snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with superior firepower. I know Scott will be planning on dealing with flyers in the future. Although he found a Skyfire Nexus on one of his objectives, he could not bring down the Heldrake and as he said "it eats a squad a turn" if left unchecked. Summoning in demons was also very helpful, both because it bolstered the low numbers of the Sons and helped my psychic phase by giving another dice and more powers to play with. Both Scott and I have a lot to learn about these armies, so I am sure we will see more epic clashes between these two ancient enemies soon!