Tactica Tuesday: Epic Rubric Thousand Sons

Following on from last week’s Tactica Tuesday featuring Eldar Revenant Titans, I wanted to mention my other Epic army this time – the sorcerous Thousand Sons, and in particular the formations of Rubic marines that make up the core of the force.

Epic-scale Thousand Sons Rubric MarinesRubric formations form the base on a Thousand Sons force, presenting a nigh-immovable unit that takes a surprising amount of firepower to crack. Both the NetEA and EpicUK lists have essentially the same rules, bringing the impressive basic marine statline together with Reinforced Armour and Fearless. In essence, this means that Thousand Sons can survive a surprising number of hits without ever having to worry about being ‘truly’ broken – by which I mean losing stands to blast markers, rather than being broken per se – often forcing people to divert macro weapons just to put them down. This makes Thousand Sons excellent objective holders and blocking units, and given their Fearless nature plus the 1+ initiative, they will often rally even when faced with nearby enemies.

Thousand Sons balance out this staying power with a high points cost and a slight lack of firepower. None of the stands in the formation boast any actual ranged weaponary – with only a single firefight attack for each stand, Thousand Sons prefer short-range combat. While firefight 4+ across the formation with an extra macro on the sorcerer stand normally wouldn’t be that shabby, when you’ve only got six stands for 300 points that’s not a great offensive-power-to-points ratio. This does lead onto something I’d like to talk about in more depth in a later post, which is how well daemons – in particular Flamers – work with a formation, lending two extra firefight 4+ attacks at only 20pts(!). This considerably boosts the offensive power of the formation, to the point where I like to take a fairly sizeable daemon pool so as to summon them as and when they’re needed to join the fight.

I personally like to use my Thousand Sons in one of two ways. One of these focuses on a very defensive approach, taking Defilers and the like to bolster the formation’s staying power. This kind of formation tends to hang around the back of the battlefield, holding my own objectives as needed or combating any teleporters or fliers that make a move for the blitz. My other favourite units takes more of a linebreaker approach, mounting the whole formation in Rhinos with only daemonic pacts and icons as upgrades. This unit can ‘slingshot’ forward with the Rhinos, making up for the Thousand Sons’ slow movement speed and lack of ranged firepower by ensuring that they can quckly close with the enemy. The daemons ensure that they’re not slowed down on the approach, while providing additional offensive firepower to help the formation in combat. I personally consider Icons to almost be a must-have, especially on the Rhino-mounted formations as the daemons help far more by staying around – while this does expose them to enemy fire, it saves the hassle of trying to re-summon them and can help to keep the formation from breaking.

So, overall I hope this has given you an insight into the Thousand Sons in Epic. To me, they really are the backbone of the force – a unit that supports and holds the whole army together, but won’t win the game by itself. I usually take at least 3 formations (if not 4) in a 3k game, as this provides a strong solid core while still allowing points for the more elite units.

I hope this has been a good read, and I hope to see you for the next post. I’m playing Necromunda on Friday, so who knows – you might be seeing some of that next! :) And of course, next week will be another Tactica Tuesday, so it’d be great to see you again then as well.

Take care,



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