I’ve spoken about various units in the Thousand Sons Epic: Armageddon lists before, but I recently realised that I’ve never talked about Flamers of Tzeentch. They’re a staple in the majority of my list, and they’re certainly one of the strongest choices in both the NetEA and the EpicUK lists. So, let’s take a look at what makes Flamers such a stand-out unit.
First off, for clarification, since the profile is the same in both lists I won’t differentiate between EpicUK Flamers and NetEA Flamers. The only difference is in the points cost, which I’ll cover later. Their stat lines are pretty middle-of-the-road for Epic, and at a glance can look a little weak next to the Reinforced power-armoured Thousand Sons who make up the majority of the force. They’re certainly not weak, with a 5+ armour and decent 4+ firefight, and have the eponymous Invulnerable Save rule for being daemons. That extra 6+ save isn’t amazing, but it’s something and is a nice little surprise when it actually comes through.
Their true strength lies in their firefight ability, and how well they complement the firefight-oriented Thousand Sons. Thanks to their firefight weapons having Extra Attack (+1), each stand brings two more firefight 4+ attacks to the combat, and given their low cost it’s pretty easy to fit a decent amount into your list. Since the Thousand Sons also excel in firefight, they pair really well together – the Thousand Sons can be deployed up front to soak up the first hits on their Reinforced power armour, and the Flamers behind can sling an often-ungodly number of attacks into the enemy. In this way I’ve had formations overwhelm various enemies through sheer weight of fire, racking up enough wounds to cut through hordes and force heavily-armoured stands to re-roll their amour saves too many times to survive. Since all your attacks are hitting on a 4+ (and I apologise now for the upcoming MathHammer!), you’ll be averaging 1 hit per Flamer stand and 0.5 per Thousand Sons, which is pretty darn good when twinned with the survivability of the formation.
On the downside, Flamers aren’t as reliable as non-daemonic formations when it comes to staying around. Since they automatically return to the summoning pool at the end of the turn I tend to invest 50pts in an Icon to keep them around, but even with the icon they’ll still be destroyed if the formation loses a combat. Usually losing a combat isn’t such a big problem as it should be since Thousand Sons are Fearless, but all daemons are automatically destroyed when a combat is lost. To be fair, though, I’m never sure how much of a downside this really is since, in an ideal world, you won’t lose the combat. It does limit the effectiveness of Flamers to be dependent in all situations, though, and encourages careful use in an army that otherwise can take a bit of a beating and still be effective.
Finally, we come to the cost. Flamers clock in at only 20pts in the NetEA list, and are even cheaper in EpicUK at 15pts. Since they’re so affordable, they fit in well as points fillers if need be, though I tend to take at least ten (usually more), since their effectiveness is proportionate to their numbers. Overall, in my experience at least, they’re a pretty fantastic unit who can really help to turn the tide and provide the support that a pure Thousand Sons army needs.
Do leave a comment with your own thoughts on Flamers – are they slightly too good for their cost, or do the instability rules balance this out? Thank you as ever for reading, and take care,