Gamer, painter and member of the Warhammer Community team, Eddie Eccles sold his soul to Tzeentch years ago in exchange for a big pile of Thousand Sons models. With the Legion’s very first Warhammer 40,000 codex on the way, he is writing a series of articles about making the most of the new rules. Previously, he covered Rubric Marines. Now it’s the turn of their bestial allies, the Tzaangors:
Greetings, fellow seekers of knowledge. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of Tzeentch’s most feral and humble servants – the bestial Tzaangors.
I’m a big fan of Tzaangors. Plentiful, savage and durable, they fill several battlefield roles that the Thousand Sons would otherwise struggle with.
Let’s start with your basic Tzaangor.
The stat line is nothing to sniff at – aside from an average Ballistic Skill (which you were never really going to use much anyway, so don’t worry) and a lack of power armour, in combat terms you have a Space Marine. That lack of durability is immediately addressed with a 5+ invulnerable save combined with the fact that you will usually outnumber any power-armoured foes two or three times over.
Your out-of-the-box Tzaangors come in two flavours of weapon option – chainsword and autopistol OR Tzaangor blades. Both are fine, though I personally prefer the increased AP of the blade over the extra shooting attack of the pistol against most foes. Equipped thus, and with bonuses to their charge available on their datasheet, a flerd* of Tzaangors is a capable combat horde unit that already matches some of the best in Warhammer 40,000. Where they truly get deadly is with other Tzaangor-related synergies (more of which we’ll get to later).
Tzaangor Enlightened are another thing entirely. These disc-mounted warriors can either fill the role of light assault troops or fire support, depending on how you equip them.
Enlightened wielding fatecaster greatbows are a really interesting unit – high manoeuvrability and decent range gives them a 36″ threat radius, which turns out to be surprisingly useful against a range of foes. With a lot of shots and the ability to effectively bypass Toughness, they can strip wounds off pretty much any type of enemy – from light infantry to the toughest vehicles. Deploy these at the back of your battle lines, and then move forward once the enemy has committed – staying just within 24″ of the foe – and these guys will serve you well. And if they do get caught in combat by some sort of “shenanigans” charge, the ever helpful Fly keyword means that (provided they survive) they can leave combat and still fire into their attackers!
Close combat Enlightened are a very different unit – fast and very killy, but also potentially fragile. I think there are two ways to use this unit that work particularly well. Option one is to hold them back as a counter-charge unit. This works well if you’re building a force around a core of Rubric Marines, who might need help if they get caught up in a protracted combat. Option two is to use them more aggressively to put pressure on your foe. This one is risky, but rewarding, and will work best if the rest of your army is built aggressively also, such as multiple teleport-striking Scarab Occult Terminators, a charging Mutalith Vortex Beast, or Magnus himself.
However you equip your Enlightened, deploy them with a Tzaangor Shaman. Not only is it a Character, a Psyker and a capable (if fragile) fighter, but it has an ability which stacks perfectly with your Enlightened, and has the manoeuvrability to utilise it.
One of the really powerful things about Tzaangors in the new codex is the sheer number of bonuses potently available to them from the army. Here are some of my favourites.
1) Tzaangor and the Beast
For this combo, you’ll need 1 Command Point, a Mutalith Vortex Beast, and the biggest unit of Tzaangors you have.
To my mind, a Mutalith Vortex Beast is the perfect companion to a Tzaangor horde – they’re big and scary, have some great force multiplying abilities, and most importantly, they have tentacles for a face – what’s not to love? This combo is about tying up your opponent’s army while your battlefield schemes can come to fruition elsewhere…
Deploy your Tzaangor off the board using the Webway Infiltration Stratagem, and deploy your Vortex Beast as far forward in your deployment zone as possible. On your first turn, drop your Tzaangors down in a line in front of the enemy army, just over 9″ away, and advance the Vortex Beast forward at full speed (he doesn’t have a gun anyway, so why not?). In your Shooting phase, use the Vortex Beast’s Temporal Flux ability to gift your Tzaangors the ability to re-roll charges. With +1 to charge already native to their datasheet, and a re-roll, there are good odds that your Tzaangors will make it to the front lines of the foe on the first turn. Charge against a single unit if necessary, to minimise your opponent’s Overwatch attacks, but spread out to pile into others and tie up as much of the enemy battleline as you can. Most foes will then have to spend a valuable early turn clearing out your Tzaangors, while the rest of your army closes in for the kill. Even better, if any are still alive come the second turn, they’ll be joined by a charging Vortex Beast!
2) Right on Tzaarget
For this combo, you’ll need 0 Command Points, a unit of Tzaangor Enlightened with fatecaster greatbows, a Tzaangor Shaman, and an Exalted Sorcerer on a Disc of Tzeentch.
This combo is about optimising your Enlightened shooting. A big unit of 9 Enlightened works best.
Fly this unit around as you usually would and have your Characters stay close, using their own Disc’s speed to keep pace. The Shaman provides a natural +1 to hit, and the Exalted Sorcerer not only lets you re-roll 1s to hit, he can also provide Prescience to give a further +1 to hit, meaning that, on the odds, each time this unit fires, you can reasonably expect at least 9 shots to punch past Toughness and straight to saves at AP -1. Simple, but effective.
3) The Charge of Change
For this combo, you’ll want 2 Command Points, a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Wings, a unit of Tzaangor Enlightened with divining spears, and a Tzaangor Shaman.
This combo is about hitting hard with your fast-moving Enlightened and optimising the impact.
Move your Enlightened, Shaman and Daemon Prince up together in a group. The Shaman again is providing his native +1 to hit, and the Daemon Prince this time is bringing the Prescience (you can use an Exalted Sorcerer, but we’re about to hit combat, and things are going to get messy, so I prefer something a little tougher).
The unit is very mobile, with a 12″ move, but you can, if you like, take the Warptime psychic power on the Daemon Prince to further guarantee making an early-game charge. The Shaman can also take Glamour of Tzeentch for the Enlightened – which means enemies will have a harder time hitting them, both on the approach and in combat.
When the Enlightened make a charge, they are going to rip through almost anything – 2 attacks each, hitting on a 2+, re-rolling 1s, and with any hits of a 4+ jumping straight to an AP -1, 2 Damage wound.
Then, if the enemy still isn’t dead, use the Cycle of Slaughter Stratagem, to do it all again!
With nine of these guys charging, you’ll deliver dozens of wounds, and they’re especially effective against either 2 Wound Troops (looking at you, Primaris Space Marines) or Vehicles and Monsters with multiple Wounds.
Just as a last thought: while most of these tactics are presented with the idea that you’d be using Tzaangors to support a wider Thousand Sons army, it is quite possible to create an army only of beasts of Tzeentch – hordes of Tzaangors, backed up by fast-moving Enlightened, lumbering Chaos Spawn and Mutalith Vortex Beasts, and led by covens of Shamans and Daemon Princes. I actually think this would both look pretty awesome and be surprisingly competitive… something to think about.
Thanks, Eddie, for these beastly ideas on how to use Tzaangors. You can pick up your own Tzaangors – and pre-order the new Codex: Thousand Sons – from Games Workshop now. If you’d prefer a digital edition of the codex, check out Warhammer Digital or pick up the enhanced iBooks edition. And join Eddie again next week, as he looks at the Thousand Sons’ Primarch, Magnus the Red, and what he brings to the army.
* I couldn’t decide on “flock” or “herd”, so I went with “flerd”. Such is the will of Tzeentch.
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