I’ve been playing Thousand Sons for quite a while now in Epic: Armageddon, alternately using the NetEA list and the EpicUK one. One unit stands out for me in both as a bit of an enigma, and that’s the Rubric Terminators. Terminators are usually the linebreakers of a Marine army, with stronger armour, better abilities and their Teleport special rule. But, given that so many of the features that usually make Terminators unique are prevalent on our regular Rubric formations, are Terminators really that stellar in a pure Thousand Sons force?
To start on a positive note, Terminators do retain their superior characteristics and fighting abilities. The Thick Rear Armour special rule reduces their vulnerability to crossfire – something which can be deadly against the (relative) lack of mobility in the army.
Additionally, in the NetEA list, their Firefight value enjoys a significant boost to 3+, while their Close Combat attacks gain an extra attack 4+ (Macro) when in base-to-base. This makes them a surprisingly versatile unit, able to deal out damage in close quarters as well as in firefight. The EpicUK list increases their Close Combat to 3+ while leaving their Firefight at 4+, but they gain an extra Firefight attack as well as an extra attack 4+ (Macro). In both lists they enjoy significant advantages over regular Thousand Sons, making them a more well-rounded versatile unit as opposed to the more ‘specialist’ nature the rest of the army tends to have.
They also stand out from the rest of the army in that their Teleport rule gives them much more versatility than most Thousand Sons enjoy. I personally find that they work well either Teleport-ing in to support (or even join) a large assault, or by dropping in behind the enemy lines to wreak havoc on artillery and the like. I do like the latter since the Thousand Sons typically have very few units that can get behind enemy lines due to their slow speed, but since the Terminators cost so much they do need to do a lot of damage to make their points back – and they can only move 30cm a turn…
The problem with Rubric Terminators, in my opinion, is that they’re an elite unit in an already elite army. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem as they’d still be better than the basic Rubric troopers, but in Epic everything’s in a much smaller scale stats-wise as well as size. One of the main draws for Terminators in regular Space Marine or Chaos armies is their Reinforced armour save, since most other infantry don’t have it. Thousand Sons, on the other hand, do have Reinforced Armour in abundance on the most basic infantry, which cost 75pts less per bare-bones formation and come with more stands. This is surely only a good thing in an army where it’s hard to field a decent number of units as it is, and where the differences between the elite Terminators and the regular Rubrics is far less pronounced than in other similar armies.
I do think that Rubric Terminators are a good, effective unit in both Thousand Sons lists. The problem is that they need to be used very well to really get their value out of them – as mentioned before, Teleport-ing them in as a support or assassination formation helps to cover one of the main weaknesses of the Thousand Sons army as a whole, but even then they’re such a pricey unit that I often feel like I don’t get as much bang for my buck as I should. If I’m going to run a formation, it’ll usually be in a game of at least 4000pts, so that their high points cost doesn’t take up such a large percentage of my army and they have more viable options by way of targets.
Of course, as always with Tactica Tuesday, this is only my own experiences and opinions! Feel free to chime in below in the comments section with your own thoughts, I’d love to hear them.