Hey everybody, Danny as always with your weekly Know-A-Formation, and today, we are going to look at the newest hotness to grace the game: Magnus the Daemon Primarch!
The Formation: Rehati War Sect
Magnus the Red
3-9 of the following in any combination:
This must be a Thousand Sons Detachment (all must have mark of Tzeentch as well as other restrictions that are not applicable to this formation). All Princes and Sorcerers must be upgraded to Mastery Level 3.
Court of the Crimson King: Princes and Sorcerers from this formation harness Warp Charge points on a 3+ as long as they are within 18 inches of Magnus. In addition, while within 18 inches of Magnus, for psychic powers, they have Line of Sight to all units on the board.
Favoured of Tzeentch: If this formation contains the maximum number of units, all units in the formation reroll any failed save of 1.
Wow, this is just all about bringing the spell-chuckers, isn’t it? Stock standard at the bare minimum, you are looking at a whopping 14 mastery levels from this formation, and assuming you are playing 3,000 points or more, it could be 32 mastery levels when fully charged. Wow. Giving Sorcerers and Princes the ability to cast on a 3+ is a really nice bonus that suddenly makes each of them far more dice efficient, and if you are playing a game large enough to have a maxed out formation, giving them all reroll 1s on any save is damn nice.
Wow, so Magnus is like, a stone-cold killer, yah?
Yes. Yes, he is. While this isn’t the cheapest way to get Magnus in your army (that would be a bare-bones CAD), you get Magnus plus Warp Charge factories! Let’s just dive into the real reason you take this formation, you want a D-slinging, Mastery Level 5 casting, Hard-fighting, Hard-farting Son of a Gun. Magnus is a model that you can build an army around with an inherent 4++ rerolling 1s (~58% save rate) that easily goes to 3++ rerolling 1s (~77% save rate) when he casts a blessing on himself like Force or Siphon Magic, with 16 known spells (including Force) that harness on 2+, with a LoS to any model on the table for powers, with an immunity to Perils of the Warp, with the Flying Monstrous Creature rules, and finally, one of his powers is an 18 inch Beam D hit (that means every model hit by the beam takes a D hit. Think about that over 18 inches). Yes, he is 650 points, but he is well worth it if you build your army around him.
Let’s not forget the other aspect here: 3 level 3 psykers that also harness warp charge on 3+, and more importantly, they have far more variation in their powers, so you can easily fish for Invisibility, Shrouding, Enfeeble, or better yet, Malefic Daemonology for summoning. That is really what you want these side-kicks to be doing: this is an expensive formation, so having them summon in daemons is huge. Being able to summon on 3+ means they don’t eat as much dice and because they need fewer dice to hit Warp Charge 2 or 3 powers, they are less likely to die via Perils.
You can very much feasibly run an entire army up to about 3K points that is just this formation, and while it may be at most 10 models, all of them have the ability to summon in reinforcements, and 9 of them get malefic summoning for every flavor of that daemon rainbow. Hell. Yah. This is actually relatively fluffy as it is pretty epic to have a Daemon Primarch enter the fray with just his most trusted advisors against a horde of Imperials, and within a few moments, the board is flooded with lesser daemons.
From a competitive standpoint, this formation is not the ideal way to get Magnus as you can do it for about 400 points cheaper by just using a barebones CAD, but oh my, this could still be a fun competitive army when coupled with either a Daemon CAD for some more warp charge or even with the Fateweaver formation for a super flying circus of psychic ass-kicking. You could even do this formation and a less-kitted Riptide Wing if you have no soul.
Wow, so Magnus is just, wow. What do I do against such Reckless Hate?
Well, for starters, this formation is at its very cheapest going to cost someone 1205 points, and that’s just for 3 sorcerers who are walking around with no other upgrades other than the mandatory level 3. In a standard 1850 game, that’s 65% of their army in 4 models. So, this formation brings Big Red to the party, but not much else. This means you can really, really focus fire on Magnus as once he goes down, so goes a lot of pop.
Magnus isn’t the easiest nut to crack, but he is not un-killable, especially any turn that he is on the ground. D-Weapons rolling a 6 still put a huge dent into him (in ITC. In other formats, it just kills him). Drop Grav can still do a whole hell of a lot of work against him. Any massed S7 shooting or higher is going to put on some pain, and since he is just a monstrous creature, he doesn’t have Feel No Pain or any real way to access it. Magnus really hates not going first as he needs to fly into the air to be really safe, and even then, Crimson Hunters or other dedicated Anti-Air flyers will be able to blast him, and according to the new GW FAQ, Beam weapons cannot hit flyers, so he can’t use his best weapon against them.
Any Alpha Strike list will give this formation (really, army) fits as if Magnus doesn’t go first, he has to go into reserve and wait a turn or two (or three) before getting into the meat of it, and that means that really, he’s not doing much at all. Drop Pod Marines, Genestealer Cult, super-shooty Tau, etc will really mess with his day. If he doesn’t go first, suddenly all the momentum is on your side.
That’s the trick of it: Magnus is a meta-shift, and because you will see him, you need ways to hurt flyers. He is Toughness 7, meaning you need S7 or above to consistently wound, so perhaps those Hydras on the shelf or the Hive Crone in the basement have some more use. Because he exists, people will bring more flyers to hurt him, and because there are more flyers, you need more flyer defense, and thus the meta has shifted.
The sorcerers or princes are nowhere near as hard to kill, so the same that works on Magnus will work on them, just way more effectively. Anyone running this formation will need at least two turns to really get their magic going and their army summoned, so you have two turns to really wail on them before you have to worry about drowning in a sea of summoned models.
So there it is, a fun formation that can easily be its own army (I may do it just for an excuse to buy Magnus and use my Primarchs from 30K as Daemon Princes), but with a few clear answers for most. As always, check out the TFG Patreon as well as while the prize may be gone, our gratitude is eternal.