Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Thousand Sons (9E)

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This is the current 9th Edition's Thousand Sons tactics. 8th Edition Tactics are here.

Why Play Thousand Sons?[edit]

As one of the founding Legions, the Thousand Sons have, along side their pantheon opposite the Sons of Mortarion, been promoted to full Codex Status. Alongside this there has been a small release of new models (some being shared with Age of Sigmar.) If you love Convoluted Schemes, Tzaangors, Robots, Space Wizards with Mind Bullets, or Twisting Bodies in Unnatural ways then this is the army for you!

Boasting some of the most powerful psychic powers in the game, Thousand Sons armies are for the connoisseur of Chaos Space Marine commander; encouraging play with trickery, deception, and multi-layered planning. The army allows you to manipulate the dice, the board and even your opponents units. This encourages you to play with finesse, rather than purely brute forcing your opponent into submission. Alternatively you may simply believe that Magnus Did Nothing Wrong.

Pros[edit]

  • Almost every unit has a way to cut through armour saves. As the Inferno Bolt offers a reliable AP-2.
  • As Masters of Magic you get a +1 to cast on all your powers; so you can buff/debuff/shoot mind-bullets easier.
  • Exalted Sorcerers act as a mid-way point between a Choppy Murder Lord and Flimsy Spellcaster.
  • Fairly fresh sculpt-wise and also contains the first Primarch to be introduced to Modern 40k (Magnus).
  • Invulnerable saves everywhere, even your humble Rhino.
  • Lets you take the fight to the Space Chads as you have ascended to become An Enlightened Mage Warrior Riding on a Disc of Magic.
  • Nine Sub-Factions to select from that influence your play style.
  • Stratagems, Relics and Powers with the Ability to Deep-strike pretty much everything.
  • Two BIG Psychic Disciplines, each containing 9 powers and Nine Cult powers to choose from, and multiple Psykers across the army as Sorcerers lead the rank-and file troops. The Thousand Sons are true masters of the Psychic Phase with access to a large toolkit of powers for any situation. Even Eldar, who have more psychic powers but less casters on the board, will watch in envy as you cast into the double figures.
  • You have the unique ability to modify psychic powers from giving them bonuses to casting, to increasing the range, to increasing the damage and even making them undeniable.
  • Tzaangor models (except those with Chainswords and Guns) as well as the Mutalith Vortex Beast can also be used for an Age of Sigmar Tzeentch army. Letting you eke out extra mileage for what you paid for.
  • Secondary objectives that require you to destroy units in the psychic phase or complete rituals will be a breeze for you due to how many potent psykers you have.
  • You have 2 wounds minimum on your marines. This means that suffering perils, while a problem, is less likely to remove multiple models, if any.
  • Speaking of perils, you now have a stratagem to ignore them.

Cons[edit]

  • Although the sculpts are quite good, the overall range of units to choose from is small.
  • Consistently miss out on new releases due to keywords, leaving you frustrated to see other Chaos getting new toys you can't use.
  • Magnus is a huge investment of money, time, and points. He costs a lot, and you will want to put a lot of buffs on him to make sure you make the most out of him, otherwise he's just a gigantic target for your opponent.
  • Reliance on your Psychic synergy means anti-psyker units like Sisters of Silence, Culexus Assassins, GSC unwilling orb and Tyranids (especially Hive Fleet Kronos) will give you no end of problems if not eliminated quickly.
  • Some models were ported in from Age of Sigmar in lieu of getting new stuff like the Death Guard, which is a con due to the fact that the models don't look at all like they belong in a 40k setting.
  • Your HQs are your biggest threat as well as the linchpin of your buffs, meaning most people will focus on them first. If this happens your army can take a huge hit very quickly and struggle to recover.
  • The Thousand Sons have a very limited armoury and find it hard to access plasma and melta weaponry. Also, they lack any real anti-tank outside of tanks and daemon engines, with their primary alternatives consisting of either literally just smiting them to death (which, while awesome, is not recommended) or an enmassed, Malefic Maelstrom'd Wrath of the Wronged Scarab Occult Terminator squad (which is argued to be the second strongest anti-tank in the army besides the Vindicator Laser Destroyer; thanks to swinginess of other available options).
  • You can also cripple your army on your own, as constantly casting means a high chance of rolling Perils of the Warp and blowing yourself up. Though this had been mitigated with a 1CP strat.
  • Possibly the biggest con of the Thousand Sons in 9th is a couple of the secondaries: Abhor the Witch and Assassinate are so strong against the Thousand Sons that they have been consistently described as "a free maxed-out secondary". With so many of their units being psykers, Abhor the Witch is often comically easy to score, and many of our psykers being characters (and often bringing 4+ of them) makes them both count for more points for Abhor the Witch and valid Assassinate targets (and yes, you absolutely can score both off of one model).

Getting Started[edit]

The Thousand Sons were one of the middle releases of 8th edition, and experience has shown this to have been a negative rather than a positive. Now, in 9th edition, the army has received some updates to match the other 9th edition codices. You should get your hands on the following in the listed order:

Main Books[edit]

These are your necessary books that you need to even start playing the army.

  • Codex Thousand Sons: Released in Aug 2021, this book contains the main bulk rules of your army, the faction's core book.
  • The Most Recent FAQ and Errata: For rules clarification and fixes. Here

Supplements[edit]

Should you wish for more units beyond the codex or wish to ally with other Chaos armies, these could be on your radar. Do keep in mind that allying in units from a codex other than yours takes away Cabalistic Rituals and possibly more bonuses away depending on how you build the army.

  • Imperial Armour Compendium: For all your Forge World needs, with its subsequent FAQ.
  • Codex Chaos Space Marines, Version 2: Released in April 2019. Allows you to Ally in some CSM and their toys.
  • Codex Chaos Daemons: Should you wish to add in some daemons.
  • Codex Chaos Knights: You ever want a big stompy robot to join your guys? This is the book for that.
    • Further rules for CSM, Daemons, and Chaos Knights can be found in Warzone Charadon Act 2 and Engine War.
  • Thousand Sons: Legends PDF: For 'Legacy Units' and Wargear options (eg. Combi-Plasma's and force axes on the non-terminator sorcerer.)

Boxes[edit]

Boxes, boxes, boxes! Currently there are two sets is one set that you can buy to make ok-ish savings compared to purchasing the kits individually.

  • Start Collecting: Thousand Sons: A good launching off platform for new players. Contains Ahriman (weird for a named character but there's not much else), 1 unit of 10 Rubric Marines, 1 unit of 10 Tzaangors, and 2 Tzaangor upgrade kits, in case you want them to have the chainswords and pistols (you don't). No longer in production.
  • Combat Patrol: Thousand Sons: A box containing the Infernal Master, 5 Scarab Occult Terminators and a lot of Tzaangors at 20 of them. An alright set, but you're gonna want more than just that, consider it an addition to the Star Collecting Thousand Sons box.
    • Alternate Opinion: You can take one unit of Tzaangors for each Rubric/Scarab, and no more than that; this box comes with 20, so it's only good value if you're going to max out this one unit, or devote yourself to an army of Birdmen. The Infernal Master, like a lot of the "box exclusive HQs" are kinda trash and gimmicky tricky but potent, has brutal debuffs, a Cabal/self psychic test booster, and longer ranges for the two buffs it DOES have. Buying a Demon Prince and Scarabs separately is cheaper and more useful.
    • Secondary Alternate Opinion: This is a pretty potent start for a Thousand Sons army. Infernal Masters are brutal force multipliers thanks to just having Malefic Maelstrom and Glimpse of Eternity, and Scarab Occults are the backbone of most Thousand Sons armies. While you can only use one 20 man unit of Tzaangors from this box, the Tzaangors themselves are at least usable. If you are in need of Tzaangors (especially with the Warpmeld Army of Renown for them), a unit of Scarab Occults and an Infernal Master, there's worse you can do. Besides, nothing stops you from just using the Infernal Master as a fancier Sorcerer.

Special Rules[edit]

Unit Rules[edit]

  • Malicious Volleys: ARCANA ASTARTES models using a Rapid Fire bolt weapon can take double the normal attacks (2 for bolters, 4 for combi-bolters, etc) if at least one of the following is true:
    • Target is in half range, like with any rapid fire weapon wielded by anyone.
    • If the firing model is INFANTRY and didn't move during the previous Movement Phase.
    • If the firing model is a TERMINATOR.
      • GW has removed the ability from the Helbrute via FAQ.
      • While useful for nearly every other Marine army, do remember that your infantry bolters are AP-2 by default, making you better than Fire Warriors but at worse Strength.
  • Sorcerous Master: A basic technicality that means that any powers the Sorcerer leading a unit of Rubric Marines or Scarab Terminators casts must always measure distance starting from his base rather than letting him hide behind his tin cans and cast through them.
    • This also works in reverse - any enemy ability requiring measuring distance or determining line of sight to a Psyker has to be done to the Sorcerer, not to the Rubricae. That can get tricky to police, as your opponent will be assuming you follow the normal rules for psyker units, so make sure you stay on top of it.
  • Teleport Strike: Deep Strike.
  • Thrall: This is listed on specific datasheets in the codex, even though the rule is really a detachment rule. For each <GREAT CULT> EXALTED SORCERER unit in a Detachment, one <GREAT CULT> SORCERER unit can be included in that Detachment without taking up a Battlefield Role slot.

Detachment Rules[edit]

In order to be Battle-forged, you can't mix two different <Great Cult>s in the same detachment (models without the keyword at all can't mess this up, naturally). A Battle-forged Thousand Sons detachment gains these:

  • Brotherhood of Sorcerers:
    • All of your units gain +1 to their psychic tests.
    • All of your ARCANA ASTARTES and TZAANGOR units gain a 5++ invulnerable save.
      • Note that ARCANA ASTARTES extends to all of your legion units, such as Rhinos, Vindicators, Helbrutes, and even the FW units. This basically means all of your units have 5++ or better, with the exception of Cultists and Chaos Spawn.
  • Cults of the Legion: Every THOUSAND SONS detachment can be assigned a cult. Every unit with the <GREAT CULT> keyword changes it to the appropriate Cult name, which in practice is your non-TZAANGOR non-CULTISTS units (yep, your Chaos Spawns are in the Cult!), and are not a named character. Every thousand sons <GREAT CULT> PSYKER automatically knows the cult's psychic power, in addition to the other powers they know, and every thousand sons <GREAT CULT> character can gain the cult's warlord trait when they would gain a warlord trait. The relics are a bit different: if your warlord is either Magnus or from a given cult, thousand sons <GREAT CULT> characters gain access to their relics, which means if you e.g. take a Cult of Magic detachment and a Cult of Duplicity detachment, a Cult of Magic warlord only enables the Cult of Magic relic; throwing in Magnus in a third detachment as your warlord would unlock both cult's relics, while making Ahriman the warlord would unlock neither, making him the worst warlord you can field.
    • That said, it's not like you can't take Magnus or Ahriman in any cult, as they have rules circumventing the restrictions of taking a cult. It's just that they gain nothing from using them, and Ahriman blocks relic access.
  • Jealous Tyrant: Restriction that stops you from spamming Daemon Princes. You may only include one daemon prince per Thousand Sons detachment.
  • Legion Command: So all your unnamed sorcerers of any stripe (Sorcerers in power and termie armour, Exalted Sorcerers, Aspiring Sorcerers, and Scarab Occult Sorcerers) can all buy up to one of the upgrades available to them (listed in their descriptions). You can only take each one of these upgrades once per army and they cost points/power level in order to grab them. This works like relics: having a single Thousand Sons detachment legalises these upgrades for all valid recipients in your army, not just in the qualifying detachment.
  • Mere Servants: Restrictions on the units that you can bring in your army list, same as Nurgle's lot.
    • You're not allowed to take more THOUSAND SONS CULTISTS units than RUBRIC MARINES and SCARAB OCCULT TERMINATORS in each of your THOUSAND SONS detachments.
    • You're not allowed to take more BRAY units than RUBRIC MARINES and SCARAB OCCULT TERMINATORS in each of your THOUSAND SONS detachments. Which is hilarious when you realise that the new combat patrol box will come with one scarab occult terminator unit and 20!!! Tzaangors. Guess you've gotta buy another box of rubrics, if you wanna use 2 squads of 10 tzaangors. Just as planned...
  • Objective Secured: Given to Tzaangors, Rubrics, and Scarab Occult Terminators, even though they're Elites.
  • Armor of Contempt: Each time an attack is allocated to an ADEPTUS ASTARTES, SANCTIC ASTARTES, HERETIC ASTARTES or ADEPTA SORORITAS model, worsen the Armour Penetration characteristic of that attack by 1. Although this rule does say it doesn't help with rules that worsens or reduces the AP characteristic of an attack, or help with models with storm shields, relic shields, combat shields or relics that replaces them, it does NOT call out All is Dust or how it functions. That means Rubrics and Scarab Occults just got a bit sturdier, especially against Space Marine bolters!
    • It now takes AP-3 to even shift a Scarab Occult Terminator from a 2+ save when they're in cover. Use this information as you see fit. Become as Terminator Vietcong
    • Do keep in mind that this affects units with HERETIC ASTARTES, which means that it buffs units from your humble rubrics, chaos spawn to your tanks and daemon engines and even Magnus himself. The only units that don't gain from this rule are cultists and the various Tzaangor.

Cabalistic Rituals[edit]

Each turn during your psychic phase, you gain a number of Cabal Points for each psyker (4 for Magnus, 3 for Ahriman, daemon princes, and exalted sorcerers, 2 for base sorcerers and infernal magisters, and 1 for tzaangor shamans and the sorcerers stacked with the rubricae). These are use it or lose it, so try to always use all of them. Each unit can only benefit from 1 ritual per phase, and each ritual can only be used once per phase, unless a special rule changes it. The sum of the cost of every ritual is 52, although usually you won't find a use for every ritual every turn.

  • Warp Sight: Costs 3 points after manifesting. Allows you to use the LOS of another Cabbalistic Ritual unit when targeting the manifested power. The power still originates from the psyker, so the range is unaffected. Useful for bypassing obscuring terrain and LOS blockers.
  • Echoes from the Warp: Costs 4 points before manifesting. Allows you to convert Cabal Points into Command Points. Select one psyker unit in your army, and they can take a Warp Charge 3 psychic action to gain 1 command point. Not your first choice, but if you have the extra Cabal Points and a psyker with nothing left to cast, at least you get something.
    • Bear in mind you can immediately spend the CP on a stratagem in the same phase, so you can use this on a psyker who's out of position to cast anything useful and have them do this to buy the Malefic Scroll strat for setting Smite's output to 3 wounds on someone else. Do this early if you're going to, because the strat becomes less and less useful as Smite's WC rises.
  • Imbued Manifestations: Costs 4 points after manifesting to add +6" to one power's range. If a power lists multiple ranges, this adds +6" to whichever range is mentioned first, which for the powers you have access to always means the distance from the caster to the power's target.
    • Do you miss having 24" smites? Well at least with this you can Doombolt from a safe position. TSons are kinda gimped by Abhor the Witch, so you'll always want to keep a nice healthy distance. It's not like you can relay psychic powers like some hive minded insects, thatd be weird.
  • Malevolent Charge: Costs 4 points after manifesting. If a power "inflicts" mortal wounds on enemy units, you can use this to deal an additional d3 mortal wounds to any one of those units after inflicting.
    • Note that Gaze of Hate, Dark Blessing, Tzeentch's Firestorm, and Baleful Devolution all roll for number of mortal wounds inflicted, and that number can be 0. Consider using in conjunction with smite unless you feel like wasting Cabal points.
    • This right here comes into its own big time when using Astral Blast, see that Character your opponent thought he had cozied up behind a screening unit? Astral Blast the screen then use this to smack the character for d3+1 MW. If he's close enough for Look out, Sir! He's close enough to get caught in the blast.
  • Kindred Sorcerers: Costs 5 points while manifesting, after the psychic test, to add +1 to the test. Works on powers and actions.
    • Wrath of the Immaterium: Costs 9 points while manifesting, after the psychic test, to add +2 to the test. Works on powers and actions.
  • Pact from Beyond: Costs 7 points while manifesting, before the psychic test. Auto-cast a power at the minimum required warp charge value. Crucial for those clutch moments when you need to turn off an enemy's invulnerable save. Only works on powers, not actions.
    • Could also have some value if you've been going heavy on smites: if the minimum required is 10+, it's a guaranteed super smite with no possibility of perils.
      • Note that because it's possible to use 2 rituals at once via the Arrogance of Aeons Warlord Trait, Pact from Beyond only makes sense if it happens before any additive bonuses (to prevent PfB from causing a rules paradox with Kindred Sorcerers or Wrath of the Immaterium). That's why PfB on 10+ Smite is enough for 1d6 mortals - your native +1 happens afterward. Likewise, Magnus can use this when Smite is at WC 8 to force an 11.
  • Cabbalistic Focus: Costs 8 points while manifesting, after the psychic test, to make the power or action undeniable. Use this when you're casting a vitally important power that has a low wc and your roll was bad, like if you need Temporal Surge to happen right now and you rolled the minimum possible.
  • Psychic Maelstrom: Costs 8 points, before manifesting. Allows a psyker to attempt to manifest a Witchfire that has already been attempted this phase, successfully or otherwise. In addition, the unit can try and cast the power even if it does not normally know it. Need to double up on Doombolt, there you go - it's the only Witchfire remotely worth paying this many points for.

Ways to get Cabal Points[edit]

Here's all the ways you can get Cabal Points:

  • The Seeker After Shadows Warlord Trait generates an additional cabal point from the user; remember, you can assign this using the High Acolytes strat to a non-Warlord character, or you can use the Chronus Tutorum relic for it (which can be forced onto your Warlord via the Dilettante upgrade on an Exalted Sorcerer, or you can use the Sorcerous Arcana strat in conjunction with High Acolytes or Dilettante to get it onto a non-Warlord as a second WT).
  • The Cult of Magic's relic, the Arcane Focus, discounts all rituals used on a target by 1, which is as good as +1 point normally, or +2 points if combined with the Arrogance of Aeons Warlord Trait, which as a reminder is one of Magnus'.
  • Magnus generates 4.
  • Ahriman, Exalted Sorcerers, and Thousand Sons Daemon Princes generate 3.
  • Infernal Masters generate 2 automatically, and the Diabolic Savant pact generates an additional 1 point 2/3 of the time, for an average of 2.67 points from such a Master.
  • Sorcerers (the basic HQ kind), Sorcerers in Terminator Armour, and Aspiring Sorcerers (the Rubric kind) with an Icon of Flame alive in their unit all generate 2.
  • Scarab Occult Sorcerers, Tzaangor Shamans, and Aspiring Sorcerers without an Icon of Flame in their unit all generate 1.
  • The Empyric Reservoir strat lets you pay 1 CP for +1d3 Cabal Points provided you have a Cabal Point generator within 6" of a Mutalith.
    • An Infernal Master's Glimpse of Eternity pact re-roll works on this, on average increasing your Cabal Points generated this way from 2 to 2.33 after the pact goes off, which after the 2/3 success chance comes to 2.22 net.

In ascending order of points efficiency, ignoring relics and warlord traits, using current points costs and no upgrades, in points per Cabal Point (so higher is less efficient):

  1. Exalted Sorcerer: 33.33
  2. 1 Infernal Master with Diabolic Savant: 33.75
  3. Sorcerer/Infernal Master without Diabolic Savant: 45
    • Exalted Sorcerer + Sorcerer consumes 1 HQ slot; the net efficiency is 38.
  4. Daemon Prince: 50
  5. Sorcerer in Terminator Armour: 52.5
    • Exalted Sorcerer + Sorcerer in Terminator Armour consumes 1 HQ slot; the net efficiency is 41.
  6. Ahriman: 53.33
  7. MSU Rubricae with Icon of Flame: 57.5
  8. Tzaangor Shaman: 70
  9. MSU Rubricae: 105
  10. Magnus: 112.5
  11. MSU Scarab Occult: 200
  12. Special Mention: provided you already have something in this list and it's near a Mutalith, a Mutalith is 72.5, but that ignores the cost of the CP to fuel it. Since this is stratagem-based, additional Mutaliths don't generate more Cabal Points.

Given current point costs, that means the most efficient way to generate Cabal Points is an Exalted Sorcerer from the Cult of Magic with the Arrogance of Aeons Warlord Trait and the Arcane Focus relic, along with a second Exalted Sorcerer (which is slightly more efficient than paying for Dilettante) with the Seeker After Shadows Warlord Trait. That'll cost you 1 CP for the High Acolytes strat and 200 points for the models, generate 7 cabal points per turn, and give a 1 point discount twice per turn, which amounts to 9 points per turn (assuming the Arrogance Sorcerer consumes points twice). If you want to do it without paying any CP at all, an Exalted Sorcerer with Arrogance of Aeons + Seeker After Shadows with the relics Arcane Focus and Chronus Tutorum (used to provide a second Warlord Trait, and acquired with Dilettante) costs 135 points for generating 4 points and, if allowed to consume twice, acting as if generating 6 points.

If you really want to keep going, assuming we're filling a 2000 point Battalion detachment (and using the first strategy above), a third Exalted Sorcerer will take you to 300 points and functionally 12 Cabal Points. Since you're now out of HQ slots, the next most efficient source is Sorcerers (if you had more slots, 1 Infernal Master is more efficient thanks to his Cabal Point pact), so 3 of those takes you to 570 points and 18 Cabal Points. Now you have room for 6 MSU Rubricae with Icons of Flame, so 1260 points and 30 Cabal Points. 3 Tzaangor Shamans will take you to 1470 points and 33 Cabal Points, at which point you can add Scarabs, but they're so inefficient frankly you're better off throwing in a Supreme Command detachment with Magnus in it, which won't cost you any CP. That'll take you to 1920 points and 36 Cabal Points (adding Magnus means you can't have Arrogance of Aeons on a Cult of Magic warlord, which means you lose the Cabal Point the combo provides - still more efficient than Scarabs). The other options if you backtrack to the 1470 point are adding a Mutalith - if you ignore the CP cost of the strat and assume it's always on, that takes you to 1615/35 - and/or Scarabs, which are 1870/35 with just Scarabs and 1815/36 with a Mutalith and a Scarab. You can help address CP concerns with the Helm of the Daemon's Eye to generate 1/3 of a CP whenever your opponent uses a strat, subject to the usual max of +1 per turn. If you were trying to maximise your mortal wounds dealt, you can afford the base 33 needed for the +1 ritual (5), the +2 ritual (9), the auto-cast ritual (7), the ritual that adds mortal wounds to a power (4), and either the ritual that lets you cast Doombolt a second time or the one that renders a cast undeniable (both 8), with wiggle room left over.

Armies of Renown[edit]

Warpmeld Pact[edit]

This army is a variation more focused upon the Tzaangors and gribblies than the marines. Incidentally, this makes that bafflingly pointless Start Collecting box into something actually usable as this lest you make a budget army out of the overload of birdmen.

  • Restrictions: You cannot take any named characters, Cultists, vehicles or daemons. Your army cannot use the Vengeance Discipline. You must take more Tzaangor units than anything else.
    • You also lose Brotherhood of Sorcerors (+1 to cast, 5++ invuln). The 5++ Invuln doesnt matter on Terminators, and with AoC, it'll take AP-4 to bring Rubrics to a 6+.
  • Benefits: Alongside the Warpmeld Pact keyword given to all units, your Tzaangors do not gain the Mere Servants ability, instead becoming Core.
    • Strength of the Brayherd: Shamans gain a new aura that lets them gain an additional Cabal Point when within 6" of at least 15 Tzaangors.
    • Touched by Tzeentch: Your HQs and gribblies gain a 5++ save and 5+++ FNP against Mortal Wounds. In addition, they get a 6" scout move at the start of the game.
      • Turns Tzaangors into Kroot for early-game Objectives. Also makes the Flesh Changed much more useable now that they have an actual invuln to fall back on. If anything, they will probably be your main unit, not Tzaangors, with their S/T 5, 4W, and dirt cheap ppm.
    • Giving Tzaangors Core only matters for Egleighens Orrery, as Generic HQs still only give rerolls to GREAT CULT CORE, which your Tzaangors still don't get.
  • Warlord Trait - Manipulator of Reality: After the scout moves, you can throw up to three Tzaangor units back into the deployment zone or into reserves so you can throw them wherever you wish.
    • Pointless. You have a pregame move, so the only advantage to this is throwing three units in reserve without CP.
  • Cabbalistic Ritual - The Braychange (6 points): You can roll an additional d6 when casting a Blessing or Malediction power. If you roll above a 10, the power can't be denied and you can restore d3 models on a nearby Tzaangor unit, doubled to 2d3 if they have the Bray unit.
  • Relics - Diamond of Distortion: Tzaangor Shaman only. Once per turn, you can make one Tzaangor unit or pack of unnameable beasts gain a 4++ save for the turn.
  • Stratagems:
  • Reality Unbound (1 CP): When one pack of Tzaangor Enlightened fights or shoots with their weapons (not using their mounts as weapons), they improve the AP of their weapons by 2.
    • Doesnt increase in CP if you take larger groups, so you may as well max out the unit. Makes Greatbows suck less, because at least they can make it through the sniped HQs saves (or force them on an invuln), but probably best saved for the Spears because of their D2.
  • Tzaangor Onslaught (1 CP): One Warpmeld Pact Bray unit can pile-in or consolidate an additional +3".
  • Gift of Change (1 CP): Once per game when you kill an enemy character during the psychic phase, you can immediately turn them into an unnamable beast.
  • Warpmeld Spawn (1 CP): You can buff one pack of Unnamable Beasts with +1 to strength and toughness.
    • The bump to S/T 6 helps against Orks, Plague Marines, Tyranid Warriors, Bikes, and Gravis. Orks and Warriors will be shredded if you give them the AP-4 attacks. But nothing stops your opponent from singling out the buffed Spawn before they make their points back.
  • Blessed Transmutations (1 CP): Pick one psyker. Any Tzaangor unit within 6" regains 1 model, with a Bray unit regaining d3+1 models.
  • Twisted Mirage (1 CP): When one psyker is about to get charged, you can move them 6" to get out of charging range.
    • It works with Rubrics and Terminators.
  • Ephemeral Existence (1 CP): Allows a Tzaangor unit to walk through terrain and models for the turn. Excellent for popping through any cover.

Tactics:

  • Pros: If you want to build a Beastmen army, this is probably your best bet. One issue with TS is their lack of bodies for board control and the lack of useful support for their Mere Servants. Warpmeld is useful if you've noticed that you're not using as much Psychic as you used to (with the much shorter cast range and the hard 1 attempt per spell rule) and need bodies on Objectives more.
    • Cons: It's an army of Tzaangors.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Arrogance of Aeons: Re-roll failed Deny the Witch tests and use a second Cabbalistic ritual each turn. When facing enemy psykers, this is great. One of Magnus' three WTs.
  2. Seeker After Shadows: Your warlord rolls 3d6 for casting Psychic Actions, dropping one of them, and adds an additional Cabal Point each turn. Niche use, but might be a good second WL trait on a Loyal Thrall Sorcerer.
    • Do note that it says drop ONE of the three dice, not the lowest. This allows you to pick which die you want to discard.
  3. Undying Form: -1 to the Damage characteristic (minimum 1) of attacks allocated to your Warlord. An alternative for your Daemon Prince if you expect to face lots of D3 and D2 weaponry. Of course, this is another of Magnus' WTs.
  4. Lord of Forbidden Lore: The warlord knows 1 additional psychic power. In most armies this would be kind of iffy, but in your case you have so many powers to choose from that this is a viable option. This is Magnus the Red's third warlord trait, and is what allows him to know every spell in both disciplines.
    • Note that the trait does not specify a lore, so you can use this for cross-access powers, but RAI likely still only applies to either Change or Vengeance (if you put this trait on a Shaman, it's particularly unclear if RAI is that they can access Vengeance or not). Otherwise it would be...insane. (Steeples fingers and cackles while looking at lores from other armies).
      • Though with how the majority of powers do include specific keywords that the Thousand Sons do not have, you will not be able to make full use of most powers even if it was intended.
        • Fuck you, I cast Gaze of Ynnead.
  5. Otherworldly Prescience: This gives your warlord a 3++ invulnerable save for one turn. Did I hear someone say "Daemon Prince with a Storm Shield"? This is Ahriman's warlord trait.
    • Sadly, 9E has nerfed this to only apply for one turn, which kinda blows, but it can save your daemon prince from a thunder hammer.
  6. Aetherstride: Your warlord can fall back and charge in the same turn, adds +3" to movement, and moves as if Flying during any Normal Move, Advance, Fall Back, or Charge. Great for a Daemon Prince focused on self-buffing, as it precludes most of the need for wings, although of course it will stack with wings if you want.

Stratagems[edit]

These help to reflect the unique (and not so unique) tactics and strategies used by the Thousand Sons on the battlefield:

  • Ensorcelled Infusion (1 CP): Pick a vehicle within 6" of a psyker during the shooting phase. That vehicle improves the AP of its guns by 1 for the phase.
    • There's a fair bit of abilities that ignore AP-1 and -2 floating around, so this might come in handy. Also, Contemptor with Volkites suddenly becomes an additional threat.
  • Fated Mutation (1 CP): Pick a unit of Chaos Spawn that are fighting. You get to pick what mutation they use as well as add +1 to the number of attacks they roll up. This makes them more of an actual threat and might make people think twice before considering your gribblies to be mere speedbumps.
  • Infernal Fusillade (1 CP): Pick one ARCANA ASTARTES INFANTRY unit army that is chosen to shoot in your shooting phase. Until the end of that phase, models in that unit can make an additional shot with their bolt weapons. This is nerfed from its previous incarnation which let you shoot twice, but your bolt weapons are AP-2 which can really fuck someone's day up, so a single extra shot for 1CP isn't a horrible deal. It also works on pistols, so don't forget to take that extra shot with your aspiring sorcerer if they're within 12".
  • Inhuman Savagery (2 CP): Pick one Tzaangor unit during your fight phase. This unit can re-roll to hit. This is pretty much here to compensate for the lack of any better re-roll auras from the Shaman.
  • Unwavering Phalanx (1/3 CP): Use this stratagem in your opponent's shooting phase, when a unit of Rubric Marines or Scarab Occult Terminators from your army is selected as the target for an attack. Until the end of the phase, each time an attack is made against that unit, subtract 1 from the Damage characteristic of that attack (to a minimum of 1). If that unit contains 5 or fewer models, this Stratagem costs 1CP, otherwise it costs 3CP.
    • This modifies the characteristic, not the damage dealt - if you're shot by a D1 weapon that on 6 to wound deals an extra point of damage, this stratagem can't do anything about it.
  • Vengeance for Prospero (1 CP): Use this stratagem before fighting. For the rest of the turn, the unit can re-roll any hit and wound rolls against SPACE WOLVES. Sadly you lack Death to the False Emperor, but this will at least guarantee that what resistance you put up is the best it can be.
  • Wrath of the Wronged (2 CP): During the Shooting Phase or the Fighting Phase select an ARCANA ASTARTES INFANTRY unit. They add 1 to all their to wound rolls for the rest of the phase.
  • Biomechanical Mutation (1 CP): Whenever a vehicle is about to suffer a mortal wound, this can help it ignore that MW on a 5+++.
  • Great Sorcerer (1 CP): One of your psykers can cast an additional time this turn. Expect to use this a lot.
  • Malignant Pact (1 CP): If an Infernal Master fails to make a pact, you can spend this and throw a wound on a nearby Thousand Sons INFANTRY/Cavalry unit to make that pact auto-pass instead.
    • The Infernal Master is himself a Thousand Sons INFANTRY model so he's an option for this. So are Scarabs and Rubrics, which can heal themselves to full if their sorcerer has Rites of Coalescence; since both happen in the command phase it's basically free real estate if the opportunity presents itself, since you can pick the order those effects will resolve.
  • Malevolent Machine Spirit (2 CP): One Thousand Sons Machine Spirit unit counts as having full wounds for the rest of the turn, which can be helpful in all the ways it would for the loyalists.
  • Masters of the Immaterium (1 CP): Use this Stratagem if a THOUSAND SONS PSYKER from your army would suffer Perils of the Warp. That unit does not suffer Perils of the Warp.
  • Metaphysical Focus (1 CP): Allows a psyker to cast after performing a psychic action.
    • Probably a better pick than the Loyal Thrall Legion Command upgrade.
      • It depends. Loyal thrall is just 15 pts, and Psyker Characters have more options for Psychic Secondaries. Plus there's a Psychic action to let you farm CP if you need it. A one time cost of 15 pts is worth a lot less than a CP you'd rather put on more casts, flat 3 MW, dam -1, or bringing a model back. If you have a plan, Loyal Thrall means you have a dedicated VP/CP farmer. MPF is for when SHTF.
    • RAW, it says that any Psyker that performed an action can cast one psychic power. RAW, an aspiring sorcerer could perform a psychic action and then cast a power, despite being able to only cast 1 normally.
  • Psychic Dominion (1 CP): Whenever one of your psykers is about to deny an enemy psyker, they can add an additional d6 to the deny test so long as there's a friendly psyker unit that can also deny within 6".
    • Magic is your wheelhouse after all, you'd do good to make sure that everyone else knows this.
  • Sorcerous Might (1 CP): A sorcerer or exalted sorcerer fighting with a non-relic force stave adds +1 to the stave's damage (so d3+1 damage). Honestly, it's just a minor insurance policy.
  • Unholy Susurrus (1 CP): Allows a psyker to hot-swap one power it knows for another during the psychic phase (the change is permanent until you use this strat again), turning you into a bit of a swiss army knife.
  • Warped Regeneration (1 CP): Triggered after a psyker casts with a successful roll of 9+. This unit can now regain d3 wounds or resurrect one model. The wounds will matter more to terminators or characters, but a risen rubric marine is nothing to scoff at either.
  • Aspiring Magister (1 CP): Aspiring Sorcerers and Scarab Occult Sorcerers can pick one of the following relics: Coruscator, Skaeloch's Talon, Incaendium, or the Stave Abominus.
    • On a Warpflamer squad, Incaendium can grant the Aspiring Sorcerer a better warpflame pistol; becoming 5 points cheaper and gaining S5 in exchange for 1 CP.
  • High Acolytes (1 CP): Typical "additional model(s) with a WT" stratagem.
  • Sorcerous Arcana (1 CP): Your standard relic stratagem.
  • Aetheric Saturation (1 CP): Pick a Psyker Character within 12" of a Mutalith during the psychic phase. They can sacrifice casting one power to regain d3 wounds. This can only be done once per turn, so it's more of a top-off than an emergency repair.
  • Coruscating Beam (3 CP): Use during the command phase while your warlord is on the field. Pick one point visible to them. On the next command phase, pick a second point that's 9" apart and visible to the warlord. Draw a line between the two points and roll a d6 for each unit the line crosses (-1 if it's a CHARACTER, +1 if the unit has 11+ models). On a 4+, deal 1d3 mortal wounds. You probably won't bother with this one, it's extremely underwhelming for its cost, even if it no longer forces your warlord to be immobile.
  • Empyric Reservoir (1 CP): During the psychic phase, pick a unit within 6" of a Mutalith. If they grant cabal points, they now contribute an additional d3 Cabal Points.
  • Implacable Guardians (1 CP): Use during the opponent's shooting phase. One ARCANA ASTARTES Character (barring Magnus cuz he's too fat) can't be targeted so long as he's next to some Rubric Marines or Scarab Occult Termies. It's their job, and it's not like they're gonna flee if they suffer casualties anyways.
  • Inescapable Forewarning (2 CP): Pick an enemy unit that's dropping in as reinforcements within 18" of an ARCANA ASTARTES Psyker. One unengaged ARCANA ASTARTES Core unit within 6" of the psyker can open fire on these new reinforcements as if it were the shooting phase. The uses for this are plenty, especially considering how plentiful the psykers are for your army.
    • Note that Scarab Occult and Rubrics are both psykers and core, which could enable them to use this stratagem even if stranded without another psyker floating around (you brought lots of warpflamer+soulreaper Rubricae, right?). This stratagem is also usable with Helbrutes and Contemptors, so if someone tries to sneak up on one your psykers, you could have good transfer student/grandpa soften them for you for 2CP.
  • Risen Rubricae (2 CP): Use this Stratagem when you set up a RUBRIC MARINES unit from your army during deployment. That unit can be set up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9" away from the enemy deployment zone and any enemy models. You can only use this Stratagem once per battle. Imagine a unit of 9 warpflamer Rubrics with a Sorcerer that has a warpflame pistol and Pyric Flux. Drop them behind cover and watch your opponent cower in fear.
  • Selfless Automata (2 CP): Use this Stratagem at the end of your opponent's Charge phase. Select one enemy unit that finished a charge move within engagement range of any ARCANA ASTARTES CHARACTER from your army that phase; one non-engaged unit of Rubric Marines or Scarab Occult Termies from your army that is within 12" of that enemy unit can perform a Heroic Intervention as if they were a CHARACTER, and when doing so can move up to 2D6" instead of up to 3". That unit from your army must end that move within 1" of that enemy unit and not within 1" of any other enemy units, otherwise it does not move.
  • Slow and Purposeful (1 CP): OH BOY! IT'S BACK! This allows for a ARCANA ASTARTES Infantry unit to move yet count as if they're stationary. What's this good for? Your base rubric marines double-tapping with their bolters of course! And...nothing else. Woo.
  • Vector Strike (1 CP): After moving your Heldrake, roll a d6 for one non-character unit or a character with more than 9 wounds it flew across. On a 2+, it deals d3 MWs (3 if that model can also fly). Nothing wrong with some off-turn mayhem, and it can definitely help nail the more irritating battlesuits.
  • Webway Infiltration (2/3 CP): Do the Eldar thing, and deep strike any THOUSAND SONS INFANTRY unit from the webway, arriving more than 9" from the enemy. Can spend three CP to deep strike two units instead.
    • Use on a Tzaangor unit with Brayhorn (+1 charge), cast Gaze of Fate, keep a CP for an additional re-roll and enjoy your turn 2 charge (GW hates turn 1 deepstrikes... unless you bought Drop Pods, apparently).
  • Arcane Smokescreen (1 CP): Use during the enemy shooting phase. A THOUSAND SONS SMOKESCREEN can pop their magical smoke grenades, making any shots against them take -1 to hit. As per FAQ change this also can be used on a Defiler.
  • Malefic Scroll (1 CP): After a psyker model that isn't Magnus casts smite but before rolling for the number of mortals dealt, pop this to deal 3 wounds instead of rolling for the amount, so pop this when you only cast high enough for 1d3 and 1 CP for 1 mortal wound right now is worth it to you.
  • Soul Reap (1 CP): Models with Soulreaper Cannons fire twice as many shots against big blobs of 11+ models.
  • Warpflame Gargoyles (1 CP): Any non-HELBRUTE ARCANA ASTARTES VEHICLE can roll a D6 for each other unit within 3" (friend or foe) at the start of a Fight Phase, subtracting two if the unit being rolled for is a VEHICLE or CHARACTER. On a result of a 4+, the unit suffers 1d3 mortal wounds.
    • Great on any of your melee vehicles, like Maulers and properly built Defilers.These both lack Arcana Astartes There's nothing like the feeling of giant demonic monstrosity burning everything around it as it rips apart your enemies.

Crusade[edit]

WIP

Secondaries[edit]

If you don't recognise the name of a secondary, make sure you check the latest set of official tournament rules (as of this posting, GT 2021) for secondaries that replace BRB secondaries.

  • Assassinate: Did somebody say Gaze of Hate and Tzeentch's Firestorm? Targeted Smites will do nicely for picking characters out of the enemy formation. If you manage to isolate one, you can also Twist of Fate away their Invulnerable save.
  • Bring it Down: Thousand Sons are not particularly good at killing tanks, and we more often have to mindbullet them to death due to our lack of plasma and melta.
  • Titan Slayers: If you're trying to bring down a knight, you're almost certainly going to have to mindbullet it to death. This is possible, and you can Twist of Fate away ion shields and pray for 6s, but it's not optimal.
  • Slay the Warlord: As with most armies, we can make more points with assassinate in almost all situations
  • Sorcerous Prowess: You score 5VP if one of your psykers slays an enemy psyker character during the psychic phase, with 3VP for any other psykers you kill. This pretty much hinges on your enemy bringing more than just an HQ psyker for this to be worthwhile, otherwise Assassinate is better-suited.
  • Abhor the Witch: "Ahriman, what the unholy fuck is one of Leman's objectives doing here? Get this out of my tower!" You can't take this, but it's basically Sorcerous Power done at the end of the game for non-psyker armies.
  • Mental Interrogation/Psychic Interrogation: One of your bread and butter secondaries. Sadly it requires a psychic character, so the rubric sorcerers can't do it, but things like this are what Tzaangor Shamans are there for.
  • Pierce the Veil: You have many ways to stick a unit (or several) in a corner of the battlefield so it can start spamming this, but make sure you bring protection - the need to have the same unit perform the same action multiple times is as crippling as it is if you play with Psychic Ritual instead of Warp Ritual, as your opponent will immediately start murdering the action-taking unit.
  • Psychic Ritual/Warp Ritual: The other bread and butter secondary for Thousand Sons, sadly we can't take both. This one is what you take if you want to spend fewer points on Shamans, or construct a death ball around the centre.
  • Mutate Landscape: Your psykers gain a new not-spell with WC 4. Cast this on an objective to win 3 VP - but you also need to add +1 to the WC of this action (for you, not your opponent) for the rest of the game. Sadly, this is a magical way of Raise the Banners High, and while you have enough psykers to try this, being an action rather than an actual power cuts you off from a lot of your support, so plan accordingly.
  • Attrition/Grind Them Down: Heavily dependent on your army. If you decide to go heavier on the rubrics, you'll be decently resilient (though not disgustingly so) particularly with defensive spells in place. However this is a bad take for Tzaangor blobs, particularly if what you're fighting has blast.
  • Thin Their Ranks/No Prisoners: Considering that our boltguns are AP-2, this can be extremely good for us (to say nothing of throwing a brayherd at the enemy). This combined with hateful volleys will make shredding enemy light infantry pathetically easy, and mindbullets can blast anything else to dust, allowing us to gather points quickly.
  • While We Stand, We Fight/To The Last: "Keep Magnus alive, the secondary". Easier said than done as the big red hen is somewhat fragile despite his overwhelming firepower. If you bring Magnus, bring this, because even if you lose him, the next two models down are more likely to survive and grant you 2/3rds of the points.
  • First StrikeNot Tourney-Legal: It's worth considering somewhat, particularly if you feel like Temporal Surge launching a few units forwards for an early strike, or using some Cabal fuckery for a bit of spell sniping. However, it maxes out at 8 VP, and you can get far more with your other secondaries. It's also not currently legal in tourneys.
  • Wrath of Magnus: Only legal if your enemy has at least one psyker in their army. You score 3 VP for every round where you deal more damage with psychic powers than your opponent does - and when has that ever been hard to achieve?
  • Engage on All Fronts: This is somewhat easier for Thousand Sons to do as most of our support comes from psychic powers rather than auras.
  • Linebreaker: This particular secondary benefits a great deal from Cult of Duplicity, as totally not DA JUMP allows you to bamf your marines into the backline with ease. Could be very useful with a unit of terminators, just be sure to give their sorcerer the defensive spells.
  • Domination: This secondary is very mediocre for the sons. We're decent at holding our ground, particularly with psychic support, but not well enough to focus this many potential points into it, particularly when we're better suited to other secondaries.
  • Raise the Banners High: Much like with Domination, we're okay at holding, but not good enough to warrant placing this many eggs in that particular basket. There are better ways to earn your points.
  • Investigate Sites: This can be an interesting one, as spells like Doombolt can easily keep the enemy back, while Temporal Surge and Sorcerous Facade can move our forces into the centre quickly, allowing us to secure the position with Rubrics and then hold while cultists dig for relics.
  • Repair Teleportation Homer: As always, a tricky one. Unlike the Death Guard, we're very well suited to getting into the enemy deployment zone with Sorcerous Facade and other tricks, but will have a hard time holding there, especially if we get there during the psychic phase, as you can only start the action at the end of the movement phase.
  • Burn Empires: Your Infantry gains a new action, spending a turn to burn an objective that isn't in your deployment zone and hasn't been burned. You can't start this action under the same conditions that stop Raise the Banners High (any non-Aircraft contesting the objective). You complete the action at the end of your next Command phase or the end of the battle, whichever comes first, unlike with Raise. Once completed, you get 4 VP right now and the objective is permanently burned (your opponent has no recourse to fix it, unlike with Banners). It at least scores more than Raise the Banners High, but you're still leaving your guys vulnerable to getting shot down.

Wargear[edit]

Weapons[edit]

The Armoury of the Thousand Sons shares a lot in common with the Chaos Space Marine and Loyalist armouries, with the Iconic Inferno Bolters and Soulreaper Cannons the stand-out exceptions.

Ranged[edit]

A large, but not exhaustive, list of the various types of weaponry used by the the forces of the Thousand Sons:

  • Autogun - Now comes standard on Cultists, 24" Rapid Fire 1 S3 D1.
  • Autopistol - The other cultist option, 12" Pistol 1 S3 D1. Everything that can take this also has a chainsword or equivalent.
  • Baleflamer - 18" Assault 2D3 S6 AP-2 2D auto-hits, so roughly the same as Torrent range.
  • Bolt pistol Legends - Your standard sidearm for most troops. Boltgun profile with halved range and Pistol 1 instead of Rapid Fire.
  • Boltgun: The standard 40k infantry weapon, 24" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP0 D1. Almost nothing you can field can actually wield one of these, outside of some forge world models (like a Chaos Rapier Carrier).
  • Combi-weapons: Many, if not all, of your Forge World vehicles can/must take these.
    • Combi-bolter - Literally 2 bolters in one, gaining Rapid Fire 2 rather than 1.
    • Combi-flamer - Being a combi-weapon means it can fire both modes in the same phase, but at -1 to hit. The flamer automatically hits. You work it out. Fantastic because you lose nothing over the Bolter but simply gain a lot of shots once you're in flamer range.
    • Combi-melta - The combi with the most different weapons. The melta is the star of the show, so just think it as that plus some anti-light ability. It's worth firing both parts against MEQ out of cover and lighter, but hit some big targets with it or it's a waste.
    • Combi-plasma - Can be fired safely, or overcharge,; the latter of which should never be done on most units without the ability to reroll 1s somehow. The bolter part actually does less work than on a combi-melta, it doesn't do anything the plasma gun can't. A plasma gun that hits light infantry harder.
  • Defiler Cannon - The Defiler's old battle cannon gets an upgrade. a 72" Heavy D6 S8 AP-2 D3 Blast profile. Since you will likely only have one of these, namely on your centerpiece Defiler, consider focusing your command rerolls onto its D6 shots.
  • Demolisher cannon - Your big-boom tank weaponry, sadly finds itself in a bit of a bad spot: Offering d6 shots and a very random d6 damage, this gun might be able to go after heavy infantry thanks to the Blast rule, but can also be good enough to hunt vehicles with a good roll.
  • Ectoplasma cannon - 36" Heavy 1d3 S7 AP-3 AP D3, Blast. Considering Forgefiends have three of these babies and don't immediately kill themselves on a single 1 to hit, these are plenty scary. Arguably another way to bring Plasma into your army. However the Heavy Hades Autocannons are mathematically equal or superior (i.e. score more unsaved wounds) against every combination of toughness/save up to 8/2+. On top of that they have more range. Take this in place of the daemon jaws where it's your only ranged option. It should be mentioned that three of these are cheaper (though only by 5pts) than jaws and two Hades autocannon and they have a solid range of 36", not to mention blast, which actually enables it to fire a full 9 shots at any unit that has 6+ models.
  • Fatecaster Greatbow - “Bows? In my 40k?” It’s more likely than you think. 30" Assault 1 S5 AP-1 D1 but ignores Look Out Sir! and always hits on an unmodified 2+.
  • Flamer: D6 autohits at S4 for your cultists.
  • Hades autocannon - 36" Heavy 4 S8 AP-2 D2, competes for the ranged weapon option on the Heldrake with the Baleflamer. It's had a hard time proving itself useful in comparison.
    • Heavy Hades autocannon - 48" Heavy 4 S8 AP-2 D2, higher range, strength, and average damage than the Ectoplasma cannons at the cost of slightly lower AP. A slightly better choice than the ectoplasma cannons, as they equal or outperform the ectoplasma cannons vs every combination of toughness/save up to 8/2+ except in fairly few scenarios when targeting units with 6+ models due to the Blast rule on the Ectoplasma Cannons.
  • Havoc launcher - It's a frag only missile launcher at +1S. A bit unreliable, but it makes your Rhinos into something resembling a battle tank.
  • Heavy bolter - 36" Heavy 3 S5 AP-1 D2. Will now finally be worth taking. Plus, they're good for one-shotting all those 2W marines.
  • Heavy flamer - It's a flamer with +1S and -1AP. See Flamer.
  • Heavy stubber - Marginally useful for an objective-camping or deepstrike meatshield cultist squad.
  • Heavy warpflamer - AP-2 heavy flamer. Carried by Scarab Occult Terminators. Mutually exclusive with the superior soulreaper cannon, so you'll never actually use this.
  • Helbrute plasma cannon - 36" Heavy D3 S8 AP-3 D2, each hit roll of 1 causes a mortal wound after all other shots have been resolved; you're generally better off taking the twin lascannon for the Helbrute, as it has longer range, consistent shots, higher strength, and much higher potential damage output.
  • Hellfyre missile rack - Only available to Scarab Occult Terminators, 36" Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 D1d3, solid addition for 10pts.
  • Inferno bolt pistol - An AP-2 bolt pistol that is for Exalted Sorcerers and Aspiring Sorcerers.
  • Inferno boltgun: The Rubrics' standard gun, an AP-2 bolter. Cost is baked into the unit and is exclusive to them. AP-2 is surprisingly effective.
    • Inferno combi-bolter: An AP-2 combi-bolter, popular on many of your vehicles, sorcerers in terminator armour, and scarab occult terminators. Literally twice as nice as an AP-2 bolter. Commonly found on Scarab Occult Terminators, Sorcerers in Terminator Armor, Helbrutes, Rhinos, Defilers, Predators, Vindicators, and Land Raiders.
    • Inferno combi-flamer: A flamer (not a warpflamer, because GW hates you) strapped to an inferno bolter, where you can (and literally always will) fire both at -1 to hit, meaning the flamer profile won't notice (and on overwatch, neither will the bolter). Your Rhinos, Defilers, Predators, Vindicators, and Land Raiders can all take this, although be aware Forge World variants typically can't.
    • Inferno combi-melta: A meltagun strapped to an inferno bolter, where you can fire both at -1 to hit. Because the bolter profile has such an excellent AP, you'll usually find yourself firing both at lighter targets - both together is optimal against GEQ, MEQ, and TEQ, for example - but the melta alone at anything with the wounds to absorb the melta's damage. Found on sorcerers in terminator armor, as well as the same vehicles that can take inferno combi-flamers.
  • Lascannon - 48" Heavy 1 S9 AP-3 D1d6. It has the chance to output a redonkulous amount of damage with really high AP. That said, you'll fume for every damage roll of 1 you make. But that's what all the Glimpse of Eternity is for, isn't it?
  • Magma cutter - Interestingly Magma cutters have now become a 6" Assault 2 at S8 AP-4 D1d6+2, meaning they have a tiny bit of range and can be used while your Maulerfiends are munching on tasty vehicles.
  • Missile launcher - Your Helbrute's only off-arm ranged option. Choose between Heavy D6 S4 AP0 D1 and Heavy 1 S8 AP-2 D1d6, both at 48" range.
  • Multi-melta: It's a Heavy Meltagun with double the shots and range at 24", same profile as above. Anything that can take this (which is rare - usually the only models you actually stand a chance of fielding with these are Helbrutes and Contemptors) usually should, unless it has another absolutely incredible gun (which Contemptors do and Helbrutes don't), as they're criminally undercosted in every faction in 9E.
  • Plasma pistol - Same as the Plasma gun except 12" pistol 1 instead of 24" rapid fire 1. Also has the ability to OVERCHARGE for +1 S and D but with the same risk of instant death. Since you can use them in melee and they're only 5 points, they might finally be worth taking now.
    • When deciding whether or not you want to up-gun your sorcerer, you'll be choosing between this and the warpflame pistol. What it really comes down to is if you value the overcharge shot or not. But on average the warpflame pistol does way more damage unless the plasma pistol is being fired at a 2+ wound model, so keep that in mind.
  • Predator autocannon - Thankfully much improved. Similar to the Autocannon except Heavy2D3 and an extra 1 Damage. That means on average double the fire rate and triple the total damage. Comes stock on the Predator Destructor.
  • Reaper autocannon - 36" heavy 4 S7 AP-2D1, Deffy comes stock with one of these, usually used after the Battle cannon to try and pick off any survivors. Note the reaper version of the autocannon only does 1 damage per wound and is really just a glorified 4 shot Hv-Bolter without the extra damage given how the strength and toughness chart works in this edition. it's also free on the units that can take it.
  • Shotgun: 12" assault 2 S3 AP0 D1, carried only by cultist champions.
  • Soulreaper cannon - Exclusive to Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators, this bad boy is a 24" Heavy 5 S6 AP-3 D1 dakka cannon. Since the only two units that can bring it ignore the penalties to moving and shooting with heavy weapons, it's essentially an assault cannon with one less shot but two more AP that you can walk (not run, since you can't advance and shoot it) up the field to your heart's content with. It's cheaper by five points for Scarab Occults, it's also a steal.
  • Twin heavy bolter - 36" Heavy 6 S5 AP-1 D2. Mathematically, twice as good as a regular heavy bolter for less than twice the price.
  • Twin heavy flamer - Still has some of the issues of the standard flamer, but the extra dakka (2d6 hits) does come a long way to upping the hoard mulching potential for these.
  • Twin lascannon - Take 1 Lascannon and double-up on them, Heavy 2 instead of Heavy 1 but otherwise identical to regular lascannons.
  • Warpflame pistol - Flamer Pistol with massive AP, meaning you can inflict a bunch of auto-hits even in melee. Costs as much as the plasma pistol. Always take one when taking a squad of warpflamer rubrics, Pyric Flux will push this pistol from S3 to S4.
  • Warpflamer - An AP-2 Flamer exclusive to Rubric Marines. The last word in overwatch scenarios. Costs 6pts, and you'll always either give the entire unit (minus the sorcerer and Soulreaper carrier, if you have one) these or none at all. Murderous in Narrative play, though, where wargear has no cost.

Melee[edit]

A large, but not exhaustive, list of the various types of melee weaponry used by the the Thousand Sons:

  • Blade of Magnus - Magnus's big beatstick. Gives big red X2 strength, AP-4 and 3 damage, as well as dealing d3 MW if your target doesn't die, just in case.
  • Brutal assault weapon - Cultist melee weapon that gives them an additional close combat attack; free sidegrade to make classic choppy cultists.
  • Chainsword - Now a bit more than just a close combat weapon, gives an additional attack using its profile if you have one on you. Not bad for dual wielding. If you have two, you do indeed get two extra attacks.
  • Daemon jaws - The dino-head of the Forgefiend if you don't have the Plasma-Head. AP-1, D2.
  • Daemon Prince Weapons - Malefic Talons are stock, You can trade out a set of claws for either option for 10pts.
    • Daemonic axe - S+2 AP-2 D3.
    • Hellforged sword - S+1 AP-3 D3.
    • Malefic talons - SUser AP-1 D2, makes 1 additional attack; your Daemon Prince comes with one stock for free.
      • Thousand Sons 9e has shaken up the Daemon Prince weapons considerably. The nerf to the Talons and buffs on the other two options push each into a niche. That said, the Hellforged Sword likely takes the spot as the best TAC option.
  • Defiler claws - Deffy doesn't suffer -1 to hit when he give you 6 wounds to the face.
  • Defiler scourge - Deffy DOES get 3 extra attacks with this if he's got one. This will get you 3x S12 AP-2 3Dam on top of his 3 claw attacks.
  • Disc of Tzeentch's blades - 1 additional S4 attack.
  • Divining Spear - S+1 AP-1 D2. Maybe not impressive with the low number of attacks that enlightened birdgoats get but it makes them a perfectly good harassment unit for the price.
  • Force weapons - Effectively the same as a power weapon but with D3 damage. And all that without having to forego using other powers.
  • Helbrute fist - S:x2 AP:-3 D:3 just like a Thunder Hammer, but you don't have -1 to the attack roll.
  • Helbrute hammer - The other Helbrute option, Sx2 AP-4 and d6 damage, but imposes a -1 to hit penalty. Overall, the fist is much more reliable.
  • Heldrake claws - S:User with AP-1 and d3 damage and +1 to hit against flyers. You have to take them on your 'drakes. Use them to shred through some hapless character in the enemy backline.
  • Hideous mutations - The Spawn's claws and tentacles. Very respectable at AP-2 and 2 damage.
  • Lasher tendrils - The Maulerfiend's other option. Gives 6 extra attacks at AP-2 D1 to shred your way through any infantry you encounter.
  • Maulerfiend fists - Powerfist without the -1 to hit and with a d3+3 damage. Nasty.
  • Power scourge - Grants 3 additional attacks with this weapon, which hits at AP-2 and 2 damage. Helbrute with a Power Fist + Power Scourge? 5 Fist attacks, 3 Scourge attacks.
  • Power weapons - Got a general reshuffling this edition, with each option getting changed to make it generally more balanced.
    • Power maulLegends - S+3 AP-1. Packs a punch in general, but is especially effective against GEQs, these also do well against armies like Harlequins who have an army-wide invulnerable save yet are still terribly squishy.
    • Power axeLegends - S+2, AP-2. Lost the unwieldy rule and is all the better for it, even if these are slightly more expensive than the other 2. These are now a jack of all trades and make a good fit for "take all comers" armies.
    • Power swordLegends - S+1, AP-3. Focused mostly on armour penetration, these are good at facing MEQs and completely strip armour from GEQs, however these become a terrible choice against invulnerable saves.
    • Power fistLegends - Sx2, AP-3, D3 damage. Lost the unwieldy rule like the axe, however it has a -1 to hit now. However it still packs a solid punch of d3 damage. Helbrute Power Fist ignores the -1 to hit and does a flat 3 damage per swing.
  • Prosperine Khopesh - A fancy curved Egyptian sword that your Terminators come with by default and your Exalted Sorcerers can take for a mere 5 points. It's +1S AP-3 D2. Carve through marines to your hearts content.
  • Tzaangor blades - Chainswords with AP-1. Amazing.

Relics[edit]

Despite ten millennia of conflict the Thousand Sons aren't keen to let loose their entire armouries of rare and powerful artifacts onto the battle field. Those relics that do get to leave the halls of Tizca can be found here:


  • Athenaean Scrolls: Exalted Sorcerer only. Once per game you can trigger this and select one power the bearer knows that isn't Smite or a Cult power. For the rest of the game, the bearer can cast this spell by rolling an additional d6 and dropping one of them.
    • Note the wording here, it says you can drop ONE of the dice, not the lowest. Could help you potentially avoid perils should you roll double sixes.
    • 3d6 drop lowest radically spikes your casting reliability. WC 5 goes from 83.33% to 94.91% and WC 9 goes from 27.78% to 52.31%. Combine with other buffs like Witch-Warrior and/or the Cult of Time's Warlord Trait that lets you cast another power if you cast on a 9+ for major shenanigans.
  • Change-Wrought Chalice: Tzaangor Shamans only. This allows the beastman to learn an additional power from either the Vengeance or Change discipline.
    • Still can only cast one without a stratagem, so dubiously useful.
  • Chronos Tutorum: Model with a Warlord Trait only. Once per game in the command phase you can use this and gain an additional Warlord Trait, so long as nobody else is using it.
  • Conniving Plate: Arcana Astartes only. Grants the bearer a Termie-tough 2+ save as well as a debuff that forces enemies to allocate only half of their total attacks (rounding up as per FAQ) on the bearer - which can infuriate beatsticks who rely on chainswords or other extra-attack shenanigans in order to try and overwhelm you. As spelled out in the FAQ, excess attacks are lost if they can't be allocated to another model.
  • Egleighen's Orrery: Each command phase, you can mark an enemy unit that the bearer can see. Until your next command phase, the bearer gains an aura that lets Thousand Sons Core units within 6" of them ignore any modifiers to hit or wound the targeted unit as well as punch past any damage-mitigation abilities like the Death Guard's. Very good if you can stack up on a CORE unit and mark a hard target.
  • Helm of the Third Daemon's Eye: Whenever the enemy uses a stratagem and the bearer is on the field, you gain a CP on a 5+. This has the potential to be extremely useful, but also has the chance to do absolutely nothing. As long as you manage to keep the bearer alive, chances are high you will get at least 1 free CP from it. Also very useful against armies like Imperial Guard who love to throw out stratagem after stratagem.
  • Paradoxical Chatterfowl: Infantry only. Each fight phase, roll a d3 for one enemy model within 3" of the bearer. This enemy suffers a penalty to WS, BS, and Psychic tests equal to that number. Another useful setback for your enemies, especially for Grey Knights spamming Hammerhand or other elite beatsticks. That said, it only works when they're right next to you, so you'd best have something to kill them with or else waste the relic.
  • Pentakairic Armour: Infernal Masters only. The bearer learns an additional pact and can negate the damage done by the first attack made on them each turn. The pact is plenty handy, as these guys are the only ones who can use them, and the damage-nullification can help you shut down the potential las-fusil eliminator or lascannon from across the board.
  • Prism of Echoes: The bearer doubles the first range (as per FAQ) of all Blessing powers they cast.
  • Seer's Bane: Replaces a force sword or khopesh with an S+2 AP-4 Dd3 super force weapon. What makes it even deadlier is when you swing this beast on an enemy psyker, where that Strength becomes x2 instead of +2 and the damage increases to Dd6 - enough to probably make those grey knights eat constantly-mutating shit. Against anyone else, though, it's at best saved for a stratagem.
    • Deceptively powerful, even against non-psykers this will comfortably out-damage any other weapon you have against hard targets (3+/2+).
  • Thrydderghyre: Replaces a Disc of Tzeentch (so Exalted Sorcerers, Tzaangor Shamans, and Legendary Sorcerers). This steadfast steed allows its rider to cast after falling back and charge after advancing, allowing a bit of flexibility. On top of this, the rider can consolidate 6" and isn't forced to jump to the nearest foe, which can make you a massive nuisance if you want to ignore their big heroes or DISTRACTION CARNIFEXES.
  • Umbralefic Crystal: Once ever in your command phase, you can re-deploy the bearer or one friendly thousand sons infantry unit within 6" of the bearer and drop them anywhere on the field as long as they're 9" away from an enemy unit. Of course, the Cult of Duplicity won't see much need in such a thing, but it's at least a guaranteed drop. Note that a Daemon Prince can use this on himself - the bearer doesn't need to satisfy any keywords to use it on themselves, only on others.
  • Warpweave Mantle: A psychic booster and overall delayer. While this model is wounded, they gain +1 to their psychic tests. Also, any enemies that roll an unmodified 9 or higher when trying to charge the bearer will always fail, meaning that your opponent's charge range is now shrunk to a minuscule 9" (and even within that range, if they roll too high, they bounce off).
    • This can and will stop most enemies from charging you when they arrive via reinforcements. It won't protect units around your sorcerer, though.

These relics can be assigned using the Aspiring Magister stratagem (1CP; Requisition) to an Aspiring Sorcerer or Scarab Occult Sorcerer. They are otherwise just like all other relics.

  • Coruscator: Replaces an inferno bolt pistol, meaning it can only be taken by a Sorcerer, Exalted Sorcerer, Aspiring Sorcerer, or Infernal Master. The pistol triples its rate of fire and improves its strength and damage by 1 and its range by 6: Pistol 3 18" S5 AP-2 D2; as with most pistol relics, it's seldom worth it, but it's notably the best weapon you can get with Aspiring Magister for an Aspiring Sorcerer(more on this below). It's unquestionably strictly better than the stock weapon because of the tripled rate of fire, but that's three times better than a weapon that started out pretty worthless, so it faces pretty strong competition; the Helm of the Third Eye and the Umbralefic Crystal are both usually better, so for almost any army and almost any matchup, this is worth neither your free relic slot nor the CP it would cost to bring it as an additional. Still, it's easier to find a spot for it than the Seer's Bane.
    • Give it to an Aspiring Sorcerer if you somehow feel like you have CP to spare. It does scale with Infernal Fusillade after all.
    • For an Aspiring Sorcerer, your gun choices are an inferno bolt pistol, a warpflame pistol, the Incandaeum plus a pistol, or this. As discussed above, it's legitimately radically better than an inferno bolt pistol. A warpflame pistol will land 3.5 A*D at S3. The Incandaeum will land 3.5 A*D at S5, and you should slap yourself if you think it's worth a CP to save 5 points and go from S3 to S5. The Coruscator will land 4 A*D after accounting for accuracy, more than any other gun the Aspiring Sorcerer can take. And it does it at the same S5 as the Incandaeum and the same AP-2 as all the gun options being discussed here.
      • The Stave Abominus doesn't upgrade you at all against any target with 3 or more Wounds, and Skaeloch's Talon is only, under even very optimal conditions, like fighting a Dark Eldar Haemonculus (T4 W6 Sv6+/6++/5+++, so the improved S and D both help to their full extent and the loss of AP is meaningless), around 2.5 times as good as the staff it replaces, and most of the time it will be worse than that. The Coruscator is always at least 3 times better than the pistol it replaces. That's what makes this the only relic remotely worth considering if you're going to use the Aspiring Magister stratagem on an Aspiring Sorcerer.
  • Incaendeum: Replaces a force stave with a multi-purpose tool. As a melee weapon, it's no different, but as a gun it's a heavy warpflamer that's been changed to Assault: 12" Assault d6 S5 AP-2 D1 that auto-hits. While overwatch was never going to be a thing with a loner hero, it does give you the means to handle a herd without wasting a valuable power on them and risking Perils for it.
    • This is the best option here for using Aspiring Magister on a Scarab Occult Sorcerer, because the Assault profile means it can be fired simultaneously with your combi-bolter, giving you purely additional damage. For similar reasons it's ok on a Tzaangor Shaman or Sorcerer in Terminator Armor (in both cases it will be purely additional damage, as opposed to anyone else who can take it, where it overlaps a gun they already have, reducing the benefit of taking it), but they can just access the rest of the relic list, and there are better choices on there. It can be funny on a Warpflamer Rubric squad, especially if you're already giving them Pyric Flux.
  • Skaeloch's Talon: Replaces a force stave with Sx2 AP0 D2d3, i.e. +1S, +1AP, x2D. While this sounds absolutely devilish, that lack of AP will hobble you severely against anything wearing power armor. Hell, it might screw you over even with anything that has a 4+ save. The only blessing is that you'll usually be able to wound things on a 4+ or better. Will genuinely hurt the vast majority of targets more effectively than the stave it replaces, but this is a relic, not a mere weapon to be bought with points.
    • Remember, trading a point of AP for a point of S is a nerf against most targets - treat this as a double-damage force stave but worse.
  • The Stave Abominus: Replaces a force stave. It is stuck at D1 rather than Dd3, but it lets the sorcerer double the number of attacks he can make, meaning his output goes up against W2 and W1 targets and otherwise remains the same. If you plan on grabbing one of the combat-focused upgrades for your sorcerers this is the worst option in this list. Would be absolutely horrific if Sorcerous Might applied to relics, but alas. Still good on someone that wants to wade into a horde.

Psychic Powers[edit]

Being the premier Sorcerers of 40K, the Thousand Sons get two large disciplines to use (plus an additional power based on their Cult). Though we lost access to the Discipline of Tzeentch and all of the synergy with daemons, we gained 6 powers in both of the two disciplines, and now both of them are useable by all our psykers except for the Tzaangor Shaman, who is limited to Change. Whether you want to shit out mindbullets, buff allies, debuff enemies, or any combination of the above, the Thousand Sons will have it covered. Listed based on your random generation rolls.

A note on powers that deal mortal wounds: competing with Smite is difficult for most powers under ordinary circumstances, but you have easy access to an array of buffs that buff Smite more than other powers. For example, your flat +1 to all casts raises Smite's output from 1.7917 to 2.0833 mortal wounds - a larger benefit than most powers will get - but you can use a Cabbalistic ritual to add +1 or +2 to the cast (or +3 with the Warlord trait for 2 rituals at once), which will continue to emphasize Smite more than other powers, and since you can use any of your multiple ways to re-roll a cast to re-roll a successful Smite to fish for a bigger one (e.g. with just a base +1 modifier and a re-roll, you can re-roll 9 or less to try again for the 10+ you need for a bigger Smite), those buffs also encourage Smite more. To keep things simple, mortal wound analysis below will only assume you have +1 to the cast and you're working with the base WC of the power.

An obvious fact is that there is nothing stopping you from doubling up on using Smite and other mortal wounds dealing psychic powers since most of the psykers in this faction can cast more than once, should you feel the need for even more mortal wounds. Sometimes the correct answer is both.

Psychic Powers of the Thousand Sons
Discipline Name D33 Type Warp Charge Range Description
Change Tzeentch's Firestorm 11 Witchfire 6 18" Select a visible enemy unit within 18″ of the psyker. Roll 9 dice, the enemy unit takes a Mortal Wound for each roll of a 6. But if you roll an unmodified 9+ on the psychic test, the mortal wounds go off on a 5+.
  • Doombolt always does 3 mortals, but this power does 1.5 and increases to 3 on a 9+. You sacrifice mortal wound output for the ability to pick your target.
  • One last note on this power. It lets you make something of a psychic assassin when combined with the Athenaean Scrolls and Devastating Sorcery. 3d6 drop 1 with a re-roll gives you a very reliable way to make that 9+ and zap the bejesus out of someone from behind their screen unit. Couple with Malevolent Charge for an extra d3 MW.
Glamour of Tzeentch 12 Blessing 6 18" Target a friendly Thousand Sons unit within 18"; enemies have -1 to hit that unit. Great for keeping a valuable unit (e.g. Magnus) alive.
Doombolt 13 Witchfire 6 18" Deals 3 Mortal Wounds to the closest visible target within 18" of the psyker. Smite without the chance of rolling a 1 or getting lucky with a 6.
  • Finally, a power worth casting. This beats Smite, by a lot - it deals 2.5 mortal wounds on average, thanks to your +1 to cast. Definitely worth considering.
  • If you're taking powers for a Witch-Warrior Sorcerer, this is still better - being able to re-roll Smite's mortal wounds spikes its output to 2.46 mortals, still less than 2.5 - but that's silly. Just give this power to some other psyker in your army and let the Witch-Warrior cast Smite.
Temporal Manipulation 21 Blessing 5 12" Select a friendly Thousand Sons non-vehicle model within 12" of the psyker, that model immediately heals D3 wounds. Each model can only be healed once per turn.
  • Expected healing after your +1 to cast is 0.92 for a target missing 1 wound, 1.53 for a target missing 2 wounds, and 1.83 for a target missing 3 wounds.
    • As a result, the usually optimal choices for targets of this spell are a Mutalith or Magnus, to help uncripple their statline.
Weaver of Fates 22 Blessing 7 18" A friendly Thousand Sons unit within 18" gets a 4++ invulnerable save.
  • Since everything you have is already at a 5++ and 7 is more than 6, Glamour of Tzeentch is a significantly more reliable spell for keeping a unit alive.
  • While it is a shame that you cannot use it to push your big sorcerers to 3++ anymore, 4++ is nothing to scoff at on any squad from 10 scarabs to even a squad of 5 spawn.
Baleful Devolution 23 Witchfire 8 18" Select a visible enemy unit within 18" of the psyker that contains 6+ models and roll D6s equal to the test's result. Every 6 deals 1d3 mortal wounds to the unit, which means you deal 1/3 of your result to the target, provided your result was 8 or more (i.e. you see a 7 or more, thanks to your +1).
  • Worse than Smite, but better than Firestorm, at 1.88 mortal wounds normally.
Cacodaemonic Curse 31 Malediction 6 18" Select an enemy unit within 18" and until your next psychic phase it gets -1S on its ranged weapons.
Pyric Flux 32 Blessing 5 12" Select a friendly Arcana Astartes (rubrics, scarab occults, sorcerers, and exalted sorcerers are the only relevant targets, though) unit within 12" of the psyker and add +1S to their warpflame pistols, warpflamers, and heavy warpflamers (these are listed by name, not by type like how malicious volleys works with all bolt weapons, so this spell does not work on warpflame relics like Incandaeum or Incaladion's Cry Wrong, dumbass. The codex literally states that it affects any relics that replace one of those weapons. So yes, it will affect shit like Incaladion's Cry) until the end of the turn (although it's nearly impossible for this to come up in more than one phase, expiring at the end of the turn ensures you don't have this up for Overwatch). Never let your Warpflamer Rubrics leave home without this.
  • Stacks with an Infernal Master's Malefic Maelstrom for S5 pistol flamers, S6 assault flamers, and S7 heavy flamers, not that S7 is useful. Since either power can work in tandem with the other failing, you can also bring both for reliability on your +1S.
Perplex 33 Malediction 7 24" Select one enemy unit within 24" of the psyker and until your next psychic phase that unit cannot shoot at targets more than 24" away. Nice for stopping snipers from attacking your backline.
Vengeance Gaze of Hate 11 Witchfire 5 18" Pick an enemy unit within 18" to have a staring contest with and roll 3 dice; any results of a 4+ cause a mortal wound, so you cause 1.5 mortal wounds on average after succeeding (unbuffed Smite causes 2.15 on average after succeeding; with a +1 to the cast, it's 2.27), and normal casters deal 1.375 net mortal wounds on average.
  • You need to be on your fifth cast of Smite for this to be better - i.e. you need to have already attempted Smite 4 times. Hard pass except for Ahriman on a disc trying to put as many mortals as possible on a target with chaff in the way.
  • Strictly worse than Tzeentch's Firestorm, in general.
Twist of Fate 12 Malediction 8 12" Target an enemy unit within 12" - they cannot take invulnerable saves until your next psychic phase.
  • There is a very crucial difference between Twist of Fate and Null Zone; Null Zone is a 6" bubble around the psyker that can affect your allies, whereas Twist of Fate has a longer range and can choose a specific target, which arguably makes it much more flexible. Since you're only unable to target characters in the Shooting phase without the discbirds, you can strip Girlyman or Cawl or Celestine of their invuln save and then rip them to pieces in close combat.
Dark Blessing 13 Witchfire 6 6" Targets a visible enemy model within 6". Roll a die. If you roll higher than the target's toughness, it suffers d3+3 mortal wounds.
  • Ties with your Smite against T3, is worse against T4+, and is better against T2 or less - in other words, a waste of your time. Hard pass. The range is too low and the number of targets for whom the number of mortal wounds is credible is too low to bother.
Presage 21 Blessing 7 18" Pick a friendly Thousand Sons unit within 18"; that unit adds 1 to their hit rolls (shooting and melee) until the next psychic phase. Good old reliable, now easier to pull off because of the innate +1 to cast.
Swelled by the Warp 22 Blessing 6 12" Targeted friendly Thousand Sons model within 12" of the caster gains +2S and +1A. Magnus the Red can cast this, and is nasty as hell when he's under its effects.
Temporal Surge 23 Blessing 7 6" Pick a friendly Thousand Sons Infantry/Cavalry/Beasts unit within 6" of the psyker; that unit can immediately move as though it were the movement phase.
  • Cannot be used on Magnus, as he hasn't got the right keywords.
Empyric Guidance 31 Blessing 4 6" Pick one friendly Thousand Sons unit within 6" of the psyker; until your next psychic phase, that unit adds 6" to the range of rapid fire and heavy weapons.
  • Ideal on your shortest range heavy weapons, like a Leviathan's Cyclonic Melta Lance, but don't assume that a short range heavy weapon is necessarily worth taking with this power to "fix" it - for example, on SOTs, the Soulreaper Cannon is still a better choice than the heavy warpflamer.
Psychic Stalk 32 Witchfire 5 18" Pick a visible enemy unit within 18" of the psyker that isn't a character, monster, or vehicle and roll 2d6; if the roll exceeds the unmodified Leadership of that unit (which is defined as the highest unmodified Leadership characteristic of any model in it), one model dies.
  • Unfathomably bad, because you need to succeed on the test (and doing better on the test is of no benefit, so +X to the cast is of marginal utility) and then you need to beat, not just meet, target Leadership on a roll you have no way to add bonuses to. This is so awful it's only slightly better than half as good as Smite against Meganobz, for example. Don't take this.
  • While hilariously outclassed by every other power, if you see a player bringing the primaris ATV (T5 W8 Ld7), use this power and pop one whole model for shits and giggles.
Desecration of Worlds 33 Malediction 7 24" Pick one visible enemy unit within 24" of the psyker; until your next psychic phase, any time that unit moves or charges, roll a d6 for every model in that unit. On a 6 the unit suffers 1 mortal wound. Force your enemy to be scared of moving, but don't expect to deal much damage. And who knows? You may get lucky and watch a horde grind itself into dust trying to get to you.
  • You need this power to try to kill something 18 times to beat Smite, which could be an 18+ member unit that only moves or charges, or a 9+ member unit that does both. Of course, your target can choose not to move to opt out of risking the mortal wounds, which is the real point of this power, to get a large unit to hold still.

The Nine Cults[edit]

So with the introduction of Psychic Awakening: Ritual of the Damned and in the 9th edition codex, the Thousand Sons have received expanded rules and details on how to dedicate your detachments to one of the nine cults of the legion, with each cult granting a psychic power that is automatically known by every psyker who isn't named or a birdman in addition to the other powers he already knows, a warlord trait and a relic. Note that you can only take the relic if your warlord is Magnus or from the same cult as the relic.

Because the individual Cult entries below are all collapsed by default and the information in them is very spread out, the actual Cult rules are compiled into one table below for ease of comparison. Check individual Cult entries for tactical advice and commentary.

Cult Abilities of the Thousand Sons
Cult Ability Type Warp Charge Range Description
Cult of Change Dysmanifestation Malediction 6 18" Select one enemy unit within 18" of the caster. -1 Ld and A until your next Psychic phase.
Fickle Nature Warlord Trait - Self This Warlord can re-roll charges and shoot and charge in a turn in which it Falls Back.
Capricious Crest Relic - 18" Once per turn, when a Psychic test is taken for a model that is within 18" of a model with this Relic, you can change the result of that Psychic test as follows. If that model is from your army, you can change any roll of 1 to a roll of 6. If that model is from your opponent's army, you can change any roll of 6 to a roll of 1. This happens after re-rolls, as per the FAQ.
Cult of Duplicity Sorcerous Facade Blessing 7 6" Select a friendly Cult of Duplicity Infantry/Monster unit within 6" of this psyker. Remove that unit from the battlefield, then set it up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9" away from any enemy model. That unit is treated as having moved this turn.
Master Misinformator Warlord Trait - At the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins, select up to D3 non-VEHICLE CULT OF DUPLICITY units from your army. Remove these units and this Warlord from the battlefield and then set them up again following the normal deployment rules for those units and the mission being played.
Perfidious Tome Relic - In your command phase, roll one D6 if a model with this relic is on the battlefield. On a roll of 1 your opponent gains 1 Command Point. On a roll of 4+ you gain 1 Command Point.
Cult of Knowledge Empyric Trespass Malediction 6 24" Select one enemy unit with 24" of the caster. Re-roll wound rolls of 1 for Cult of Knowledge units against it.
Ardent Scholar Warlord Trait - Self When a psychic test is taken for this model, you can re-roll dice rolls of 1.
Incaladion's Cry Relic - 12" Model with a warpflame pistol only. Incaladion's Cry replaces a warpflame pistol and has the following profile: 12" Pistol 1d6 S6 AP-3 D1, automatically hits.
  • I.e. it's a warpflame pistol with +3S, -1AP, and Pyric Flux doesn't work on it.
Cult of Magic Astral Blast Witchfire 6 12" Closest enemy unit within 12" suffers 1d3 mortals and each unit (friendly fire is on) within 3" of the target unit suffers 1 mortal.
Devastating Sorcery Warlord Trait - Self Once per phase when this Warlord manifests either Smite or a witchfire power, the warlord can re-roll the psychic test.
Arcane Focus Relic - 6" At the start of the psychic phase, select one friendly cult of magic psyker within 6". Until the end of the phase, Cabbalistic Rituals targeting that psyker have their cost discounted by 1.
Cult of Manipulation Attempted Possession Malediction 6 18" Select one enemy unit within 18" of the caster to suffer 1 mortal wound and -2 to psychic tests unit your next Psychic phase.
Beguiling Influence Warlord Trait - Self Attacks made against the warlord cannot re-roll their hits, wounds, or damage.
Sorthis' Mirror Relic - Engagement Instead of fighting, the bearer can select an enemy INFANTRY model with Leadership 9 or less that is engaged with the bearer to resolve its attacks against its own unit (meaning it will 100% punch itself to death).
Cult of Mutation Warp Reality Malediction 6 24" Select a piece of terrain within 24" of the caster and an enemy unit within 3" of the terrain. Halve the Move characteristic and -1 to advance and charge rolls of the target until your next Psychic phase.
Touch of Vicissitude Warlord Trait - Engagement When resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by this Warlord, an unmodified hit roll of 6 inflicts 1 mortal wound in addition to any other damage.
Exalted Mutation Relic - Self SORCERER model (so sorcerer or sorcerer in terminator armour) only. +1S, +1T, +1A. Makes a very tough and killy Terminator Sorcerer if you're inclined to do so.
Cult of Prophecy Divine the Future Blessing 6 Roll 1d6 and set it aside. Until your next Psychic phase, you may replace a single rolled die from a hit, wound, advance, charge, psychic, morale, or Deny the Witch roll for a friendly Cult of Prophecy unit.
Guided by the Whispers Warlord Trait - Self Once per turn, after this warlord is selected as a charge target (before the charge roll and after any Overwatch), it can immediately move up to 6" as if it were your Movement Phase.
Pythic Brazier Relic - 6" In your Command phase, select one CULT OF PROPHECY CORE/character unit within 6" of the bearer. Until the start of your next Command phase, each time that unit is selected to shoot or fight, you can re-roll one hit roll, one wound roll, and one damage roll.
Cult of Scheming Seeded Strategy Blessing 7 24" Select one friendly Cult of Scheming unit within 24" of the caster. The unit can shoot and/or charge after it Falls Back.
Grand Schemer Warlord Trait - 3" Whilst they are within 3", friendly CULT OF SCHEMING units gain the Objective Secured ability; if such a unit already has the Objective Secured ability, each model in that unit counts as two models for the purposes of determining who controls an objective marker.
Cha'qi'thl's Theorem Relic - Once per battle, in any phase, you can use Cha'qi'thl's Theorem if a model with this Relic is on the battlefield. If you do, select one Stratagem. Until the end of the phase or until after that Stratagem is used by a model with this Relic's controlling player (whichever comes sooner), reduce the Command Point cost of that Stratagem to 0.
Cult of Time Time Flux Blessing 6 6" A Cult of time infantry unit within 6" of the caster has a lost model revived with all its wounds restored.
Immaterial Echo Warlord Trait - Self In your Psychic phase, if this Warlord casts a psychic power with a Psychic Test result of 9+, this Warlord can attempt to manifest one additional psychic power that phase which can't be denied. Only one additional psychic power can be manifested as a result of this Warlord Trait per phase.
Hourglass of Manat Relic - Self The first time a model with this Relic is destroyed, at the end of the phase return that model to play with 1d3 wounds remaining, placing it as close as possible to its previous location and more than 1" away from any enemy models.

Cult of Change[edit]

CultOfChange.jpg

The Cult of Change is anathema to order. They are the great unravellers, launching their armies wherever civilisation and reason exist. Similarly, in places of utter anarchy, the cult appears to impose their ever-shifting will.

Thematically the Cult represents the Fickle Whims of Tzeentch, ensuring that no one direction is fully travelled as the great plans of Tzeentch unfold; leading entire worlds to fall into anarchy before waiting till the last minute to decide the status quo was fine all along.

Mechanically the Cult is focused on debuffing your opponents units and interfering with their psychic phase, whilst simultaneously buffing your Warlord and own psychic abilities.

  • Psychic Power - Dysmanifestation (Warp Charge 6): Select one enemy unit within 18" of the caster. -1 Ld and A until your next Psychic phase.
  • Warlord Trait - Fickle Nature: You can re-roll charge rolls made for this Warlord. This Warlord can shoot and charge in a turn in which it Falls Back.
  • Relic - Capricious Crest: Once per turn, when a Psychic test is taken for a model that is within 18" of a model with this Relic, you can change the result of that Psychic test as follows. If that model is from your army, you can change any roll of 1 to a roll of 6. If that model is from your opponent's army, you can change any roll of 6 to a roll of 1. This happens after re-rolls, as per the FAQ.

Cult of Duplicity[edit]

CultOfDuplicity.jpg

The Cult of Duplicity is unique within the Legion in that it both is and is not guided by a unified desire. The Sorcerers of this cult are by their very nature deceivers, at once appearing fractured and singular in their purpose. As such, it is impossible to know whether the sects within the cult are acting independently or as part of a singular, terrifying plan.

Thematically the Cult represents all the loner space-wizards who think they know better than each other, banding together to prove that working alone is the best way to get things done as a group.

Mechanically the Cult provides a great deal of pre-game and in-game manipulation of units whilst recharging your own or your opponent's command points.

  • Psychic Power - Sorcerous Facade (Warp Charge 8): Select a friendly Cult of Duplicity Infantry or Monster unit within 6" of this psyker. Remove that unit from the battlefield, then set it up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9" away from any enemy model. That unit is treated as having moved this turn.
    • The Mutalith Vortex Beast is a Monster, one with short-range MIND BULLETS and explodes on a 4+. A strong argument can be made to bring them now as exploding warp-beasts.
  • Warlord Trait - Master Misinformator: At the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins, select up to D3 CULT OF DUPLICITY units (excluding VEHICLES) from your army. Remove these units and this Warlord from the battlefield and then set them up again following the normal deployment rules for those units and the mission being played.
  • Relic - Perfidious Tome: In your command phase, roll one D6 if a model with this relic is on the battlefield. On a roll of 1 your opponent gains 1 Command Point. On a roll of 4+ you gain 1 Command Point. It's something that has tactical applications (even if you and your opponent are all out of Command Points you have a 4+ of getting a CP) but at the same time might have devastating consequences; your opponent just might be one command point short of achieving his strategy to win the game and "Oh, fuck, I just rolled a 1!"

Cult of Knowledge[edit]

CultOfKnowledge.jpg

The Cult of Knowledge are drawn to the many curios hidden throughout the galaxy, particularly tomes of eldritch learnings, dark secrets and paradoxical logics. Through such lore, the cult is able to extrapolate the weaknesses in their enemies and in the fabric of reality itself.

Thematically the Cult represents the librarian and collector aspects of the Old Legion. Searching far and wide for the most obscure tomes and treatises that will give them a greater understanding of the universe, to provide an edge against their opponents. They then use this knowledge to change the tide of battle in Deus Ex-Machina ways.

Mechanically the Cult provides minor re-rolling buffs and fails to show how ultimate knowledge of everything can help you win.

  • Psychic Power - Empyric Trespass (Warp Charge 6): Select one enemy unit with 24" of the caster. Re-roll wound rolls of 1 for Cult of Knowledge units against it.
  • Warlord Trait - Ardent Scholar: When a psychic test is taken for this model, you can re-roll dice rolls of 1.
  • Relic - Incaladion's Cry: Model with warpflame pistol only. Incaladion's Cry replaces a warpflame pistol and has the following profile: 12" Pistol 1d6 S6 AP-3 D1, automatically hits.
    • I.e. it's a warpflame pistol with +3S, -1AP. This is VERY bad; you'd be better off with a Coruscator, which is a) available outside of the Cult, b) one of the weakest relics available, and c) cheaper, because the replaced pistol costs fewer points. The only time this relic is worth the effort is you abuse that "automatically hits" against enemies that stack a lot of -'s to hit but even so that is a very niche situation that call for more then JUST D6 pistol shots to deal with.

Cult of Magic[edit]

CultOfMagic.jpg

The Cult of Magic is dedicated to the pure and unfettered use of sorcery. Their bloody campaigns are launched to secure arcane objects held by Imperial, xenos and other Chaos forces. These artefacts are then used as foci in the weaving of devastating spells.

Thematically the Cult represents the raw power of the warp tamed and manifested by the most powerful Sorcerers in the Army.

Mechanically the Cult is, unsurprisingly, based around boosting the psychic capability of your army, adding in an extra smite-like power and helping with casting.

  • Psychic Power - Astral Blast (Warp Charge 6): Closest enemy unit within 12" suffers 1d3 mortals and each unit within 3" of the target unit suffers 1 mortal.
  • Warlord Trait - Devastating Sorcery: Once per phase when this Warlord manifests either Smite or a witchfire power, the warlord can re-roll the psychic test. Not quite as powerful as before, but it can help with guaranteeing psychic firepower.
  • Relic - Arcane Focus: At the start of the psychic phase, select one friendly cult of magic psyker within 6". Until the end of the phase, Cabbalistic Rituals targeting that psyker have their cost discounted by 1.

Cult of Manipulation[edit]

CultOfManipulation.jpg

The Cult of Manipulation is deceptive, using its tendril web of influence to sway the actions of its enemies. Vast networks of mortal and daemonic spies allow the cult to oversee their plots as they unfold through assassination, possession and the wreaking of pure havoc.

Thematically the Cult represents the lies and deceptions of Tzeentch to steal victory at the last moment.

Mechanically the Cult provides some close-combat manipulation and the ability to steal the models of your opponent for a round.

  • Psychic Power - Attempted Possession (Warp Charge 6): Select one enemy unit within 18" of the caster to suffer 1 mortal wound and -2 to psychic tests unit your next Psychic phase.
  • Warlord Trait - Beguiling Influence: Attacks made against the warlord cannot re-roll their hits, wounds, or damage.
  • Relic - Sorthis' Mirror: Instead of fighting, the bearer can select an enemy INFANTRY model with Leadership 9 or less that is engaged with the bearer to resolve its attacks against its own unit (meaning it will 100% punch itself to death). This one really depends on who you're mixing it up with. Making a nob pinch some of his own boys would be funny but you'll have to consider if you could do more damage just swinging.
    • Ya ever hate it when your enemy has a squad with a storm shield and a thunder hammer in it? Well, maybe you'd like it if one of them killed some of his friends for you, but that's a niche situation.

Cult of Mutation[edit]

CultOfMutation.jpg

The Cult of Mutation embodies the transfiguring aspect of Tzeentch. Not only do they embrace the warping of flesh, but also the warping of reality itself. By their hand civilized planets are transformed into Daemon worlds and entire populations moulded into grotesque abominations.

Thematically this Cult represents the guys who aren't afraid of letting Tzeentch Gift them freely with multiple appendages and orifices.

Mechanically the Cult gives you some terrain manipulation and boost the Close-Combat ability of your Warlord to be more powerful than a Chaos Lord.

  • Psychic Power - Warp Reality (Warp Charge 6): Select a piece of terrain within 24" of the caster and an enemy unit within 3" of the terrain. Halve the Move characteristic and -1 to advance and charge rolls of the target until your next Psychic phase.
    • If you aren't against a little inter-god mingling, this can combo very impressively with the Chaos Daemon Fortifications, both of which count as terrain after being set up. Skull Altars have Daemonic Ritual and a very reasonable Power Level, and so can be dropped in wherever would would need them, though they do muck with Psychic Powers, which might not be your cup of warp juice. Feculent Gnarlmaws, meanwhile, while a bit tasteless fluff-wise, combine beautifully with this Power. It helps keep enemy units nice and close, so that they can eat up the Mortal Wounds caused by the Gnarlmaw's Sickness Blossoms ability. Send Mr. Slimux out to plant some gardens and make sure the enemy sticks around to properly... appreciate them.
  • Warlord Trait - Touch of Vicissitude: When resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by this Warlord, an unmodified hit roll of 6 inflicts 1 mortal wound in addition to any other damage.
    • Unless you take the Stave Abominus, you don't have enough attacks to make this worthwhile. That being said, taking the Stave Abominus on a Battle-Psyker Sorcerer gets you A10 WS2+ S7 AP-1 D1 with 1 in 5 hits adding a mortal wound. On average that comes to +1.67 mortal wounds dealt (plus 8.33 damage at S7 AP-1), but you might just get lucky enough to obliterate a character in 1 combat phase. Since Exalted Sorcerers aren't sorcerers, you can't combine this cult's relic with the Stave.
  • Relic - Exalted Mutation: SORCERER model (so sorcerer or sorcerer in terminator armour) only. +1S, +1T, +1A. Makes a very tough and killy Terminator Sorcerer if you're inclined to do so.

Cult of Prophecy[edit]

CultOfProphecy.jpg

The Cult of Prophecy is guided by incessant whispers that bleed from the warp. From these they divine the outcomes of multiple futures, and seek out events that can be twisted to their own purpose.

Thematically the Cult represents Manipulation of the future with all the uncertainty of Tzeentch thrown in for good measure.

Mechanically the Cult adds a little more dice manipulation shenanigans and the ability to infuriate your opponent trying to charge your Warlord by walking away after overwatch.

  • Psychic Power - Divine the Future (Warp Charge 6): Roll 1d6 and set it aside. Until your next Psychic phase, you may replace a single rolled die from a hit, wound, advance, charge, psychic, morale, or Deny the Witch roll for a friendly Cult of Prophecy unit.
    • Don't cast this with your warlord. Since all psykers with the Cult of Prophecy keyword can cast it, it is best used by a backline Aspiring Sorcerer. You should mainly focus on using it to make crucial morale tests if you roll low, or to make a long charge if you roll high. Combine this with gaze of fate to highly increase your chance of making a charge even from over 9" away.
  • Warlord Trait - Guided by the Whispers: Once per turn, after this warlord is selected as a charge target (before the charge roll and after any Overwatch), it can immediately move up to 6" as if it were your Movement Phase.
  • Relic - Pythic Brazier: In your Command phase, select one CULT OF PROPHECY CORE/character unit within 6" of the bearer. Until the start of your next Command phase, each time that unit is selected to shoot or fight, you can re-roll one hit roll, one wound roll, and one damage roll.

Cult of Scheming[edit]

CultOfScheming.jpg

The Cult of Scheming is perhaps the most insidious of the cults, for the creation of convoluted plots is to them a form of profane worship. Every conquest and withdrawal is a perfectly planned manoeuvre, a single step that leads towards some unseen master stroke.

Thematically the Cult represents the Just As Planned aspect of Tzeentch embracing the idea that win or lose you won in your own way (and participation medals all round).

Mechanically the Cult offers some niche objective control and minor command point manipulation, thoroughly failing to deliver the above theme.

  • Psychic Power - Seeded Strategy (Warp Charge 7): Select one friendly Cult of Scheming unit within 24" of the caster. The unit can shoot and/or charge after it Falls Back.
  • Warlord Trait - Grand Schemer: Whilst they are within 3", friendly CULT OF SCHEMING units gain the Objective Secured ability; if such a unit already has the Objective Secured ability, each model in that unit counts as two models for the purposes of determining who controls an objective marker.
    • In an edition where objectives are more crucial than ever, any extra ability to steal or secure them is nothing to scoff at.
  • Relic - Cha'qi'thl's Theorem: Once per battle, in any phase, you can use Cha'qi'thl's Theorem if a model with this Relic is on the battlefield. If you do, select one Stratagem. Until the end of the phase or until after that Stratagem is used by a model with this Relic's controlling player (whichever comes sooner), reduce the Command Point cost of that Stratagem to 0.
    • For obvious reasons, use only on 2-3 cp strats, like Unwavering Phalanx on a big unit. Strictly worse than a relic that simply generates CP, but by the same token, intrinsically worth spending CP on, since you'll always make back the 1CP cost to add this relic to your army.

Cult of Time[edit]

CultOfTime.jpg

The Cult of Time is similarly enthralled by the future, as well as the present and past. They view the flow of time as an unwrought resource that can be shaped into a weapon. By their victories, ripples are sent both forwards and backwards in time, so that their enemies may be defeated before they are even engaged.

Thematically the Cult are masters of manipulation of Temporal Realm, re-writing events and history to more favourable outcomes of their goals.

Mechanically the Cult allows you to restore lost models to units, cast more powers per turn, and squeeze an extra turn out of a character.

  • Psychic Power - Time Flux (Warp Charge 6): A Cult of time infantry unit within 6" of the caster has a lost model revived with all its wounds restored.
  • Warlord Trait - Immaterial Echo: In your Psychic phase, if this Warlord casts a psychic power with a Psychic Test result of 9+, this Warlord can attempt to manifest one additional psychic power that phase which can't be denied. Only one additional psychic power can be manifested as a result of this Warlord Trait per phase.
  • Relic - Hourglass of Manat: The first time a model with this Relic is destroyed, at the end of the phase return that model to play with 1d3 wounds remaining, placing it as close as possible to its previous location and more than 1" away from any enemy models.
    • Bear in mind this means that your opponent can harvest points off you for assassinate, but it still makes an excellent relic for a distraction Daemon Prince

Unit Analysis[edit]

The common keywords for this army are Chaos, Heretic Astartes, Tzeentch, Arcana Astartes, and Thousand Sons.

HQ[edit]

  • Daemon Prince of Tzeentch: No longer the one man army he used to be, though his melee is still rather powerful. Use him to support other units with his 6" bubble and psychic powers. 8 wounds means he can't be targeted by shooting if he's not the closest unit, so keep him behind another unit that can match his 8" move speed. As a psyker, he knows Smite and two powers, and you have quite the options to pick from.
    • It should be mentioned that Daemon Princes don't have standard equipment, which means that they can't be given all of the relics since some of them require a weapon to be exchanged.
    • With the reshuffling of keywords and buff auras, you now need to use the TS Prince datasheet because you cannot replace <LEGION> with THOUSAND SONS.
  • Exalted Sorcerer: The strongest sorcerers, and likely your go-to choice for Warlords. Knows two psychic powers from the Discipline of Change or Vengeance. Can cast two powers and deny one. Their main strength is that they have the combat stats (not necessarily equipment, but not far off) of a Chaos Lord with the Psychic power of a Sorcerer. Like Ahriman and the DP they get a native 4++ and Lord of the Thousand Sons which provides re-rolls of 1s to hit to <GREAT CULT> CORE units (Rubricae, Scarabs, Helbrutes, and Contemptors) within 6", which more than makes up for it in most circumstances. Ahriman is a better version of an Exalted Sorcerer and will therefore likely see a lot more use than they will.
    • Can take a Disc of Tzeentch for mobility, gaining M12, fly, and cavalry while losing infantry.
    • Starts off with a Force Staff for melee, but you can buy him a khopesh, which is a master-crafted power sword (i.e. a force sword but better, as it doesn't roll for damage), and if you buy him a disc, he gets an extra attack at S4 AP0 D1. The khopesh doesn't replace the staff, so you can still use it when it would be better (which is at its most common against daemons).
    • Starts off with an inferno bolt pistol, but you can buy him a warpflame or plasma pistol instead. Remember, he doesn't re-roll 1s to hit.

Want to be even more of a super-wizard? Grab this upgrade for an immodest 20 points/+1 PL to let him cast an additional power. Expect to be bullied even harder because you are now in control of the whole magic phase.

10 points/+1 PL grants another wound and attack to the exalted lord, which can help if you intend on making him more of a beatstick.

This is an ABSURD upgrade. 30 points/+2 PL lets you grab a second relic, something that you used to be able to grab back in the vaguer days of 8E. That said, this is an incredibly costly addition and the points taken could have given you an additional couple tzaangors or a couple guns for your rubricae. Just in case there was any doubt, the FAQ says the relic is also paid for with this upgrade and doesn't cost you an extra CP. Thousand Sons are absolutely spoiled for good relics, and this is a good way to ensure that you bring what you need for as few CP spent as possible.

  • Infernal Master: It's a unit that uses the pact forging mechanic, which is just priestly prayer, but he has difficulty admitting he's religious - you pick one he knows and it goes off on a 3+ in the Command Phase (so no riding transports if you want the pacting to happen). They're not considered psychic powers, so they cannot be denied. He has access to 6 Infernal Pacts when you add him to your list, picking 2 of them to know. He also knows 1 psychic power from the Discipline of Change or Vengeance on top of Smite and his Cult power. Unlike his CSM cousins, he has no access to Dark Disciples to make the roll easier, and unlike his loyalist cousins, he has no access to a command upgrade to get better at it, either. He has an inferno bolt pistol, a force staff, and frag and krak grenades.
    • Bladed Maelstrom: Pick a visible enemy unit within 30; that unit takes 1MW if it has 6+ models, and subtracts 2 from Advancing and Charging till your next command phase.
    • Fires of the Abyss: Nearest visible enemy unit within 15" takes 1d3 MW. Like another Smite!
      • Less range than Smite and fewer expected mortal wounds (1.67 is less than Smite from a normal psyker, let alone from a TSons psyker with +1 to the cast).
    • Capering Imps: Pick one visible enemy unit within 24"; that unit cannot gain cover (of any of the the three types), Overwatch, or Set to Defend until your next command phase.
    • Diabolic Savant: Gain 1 cabal point and re-roll psychic tests for the caster in your next psychic phase.
    • Glimpse of Eternity: Gives you a single die re-roll that you can use on anything other than mission-related rolls until your next command phase. Like Command Re-roll, but better.
    • Malefic Maelstrom: One visible friendly Thousand Sons unit within 24" adds +1 to their shooting attacks' strength until your next command phase. S5 Inferno Bolters anyone?
      • If you're trying to buff a unit's warpflamers, this is less likely to go off than Pyric Flux, but you can do both, nearly (94.44%) guaranteeing one of the +1s happens, and since you'll know when you get to the Psychic Phase if you succeeded or not, you can dynamically decide to cast the power on the same unit to gun for +2S, spread out to a second unit, or swap to Smite or your Cult power. Don't forget about Wrath of the Wronged if you really want to ruin some light vehicles or Death Guard units' days.
    • You have no way to give this guy any toys - you can't upgrade his gun from his shitty inferno bolt pistol, you can't upgrade his melee from his shitty force stave, you can't give him a disc or terminator armour, and so on - he also has no Legion Command upgrades available. That means he'll struggle to keep up with whatever you wanted him to support unless both are footslogging (remember, he pacts in the command phase, so if he rides a transport, he can't pact). That means his three offensive pacts are usually a waste of your time - you have no way of getting them where you need to be - and his +1S to ranged shooting buff is only useful on something you intend to either sit in one spot all game or move very slowly, perfect for a large unit of Scarab Occults. His other two buffing pacts functionally have infinite range, except that if you take the one that generates a cabal point and lets him re-roll psychic, unless you're Cult of Prophecy he'll have to be in range of something to cast on it (he has to be anyway, but that Pact is a terrible choice if you're not casting anything with your re-roll). That gives a very finite set of useful Infernal Masters:
      • Cult of Prophecy Only: Diabolic Savant + Glimpse of Eternity + Divine the Future is nothing but infinite range buffs, so you can pick between Savant and Glimpse depending on how badly you need a Cabal Point vs. a greater chance of useful roll manipulation.
      • General Use: Choose any two of Diabolic Savant, Glimpse of Eternity, and Malefic Maelstrom, then for his power pick a buff you're going to put on something that shouldn't be intended to get very far from him: Glamour of Tzeentch (-1 to be hit), Weaver of Fates (4++), Empyric Guidance (+6" range to Rapid Fire and Heavy, ideal on multi-meltas or a cyclonic melta leviathan), or Presage (+1 to hit). Temporal Manipulation (heal 1d3) can also work, provided what he's supporting isn't a Vehicle, and Pyric Flux (+1s to warpflame) can work for foorslogging warpflamer rubricae. Temporal Surge (infantry/cavalry/beasts can move right now) is a special case: you can Malefic Maelstrom whatever you're support before the psychic power goes off, so no worries there, but leaning into this makes it harder and harder for your Pact Master to keep up, so think your plans through beforehand.
        • Swelled by the Warp is terrible for this, as it only buffs melee and nothing melee wants to be static.
  • Sorcerer: Your basic heroes, and likely the ones to pick for budget armies. They have the rule Thrall, which basically means if you have an Exalted Sorcerer from the same great cult, you can take one of these guys without using a slot from your detachment. The future Exalted Sorcerers, they can cast two powers and deny one. They're as good at casting as Exalted Sorcerers, but have fewer wounds, worse combat stats overall, and, vitally, no re-roll 1s to hit aura. Perhaps most importantly (since the aura only works on a total of 4 units you can field anyway, only 2 of which even have access to plasma and 1 of which loves spamming flamers), they generate fewer Cabal Points as well. However, they do make a good option for a 2nd psyker character and might be useful if you don't need a 2nd aura. They also have no access to discs of Tzeentch, which paired with their lack of access to jump packs means their mobility is much less than an Exalted Sorcerer's or Demon Prince's. On the other hand, the Terminator option can deep strike, which is your only way to field an HQ with deep strike baked in (as opposed to burning CP on the Webway Infiltration strat or the like). With Legends, you can swap out your pistol for any normal combi weapon or any normal melee (the free lightning claw might actually be useful, maybe). You also gain access to having a force axe rather than a stave or sword, and most importantly, you can spend a lot of points on having a jump pack, letting you deep strike and move faster and all that jazz.
    • Combat stats: your BS gets worse from 2+ to 3+, which doesn't matter if you're packing warpflame anyway. Your WS gets worse from 2+ to 3+ and your A gets worse from 5 to 4, which is a big deal, and you can't take a khopesh, but you can choose between a force sword and a force stave, which is better, because taking a force sword is nearly as good as having a khopesh to begin with, and you don't lose your gun to do it. You also drop from W5 to W4.
    • Loyal Thrall is a really good upgrade for him, since he's the cheaper of the two options that can take it.

Heavy duty Sorcerer, and a distinct datasheet, it should be noted. This guy costs 15pts more than the vanilla one, but if you fear for his safety this is good investment. The main reason to take this guy is to accompany Scarab Occults or units making use of the Deep Strike stratagem. He also has radically improved wargear: his ranged weapon starts off as an inferno combi-bolter (he gets Malicious Volleys, too), and he can swap it for a khopesh (which is a waste of time, as you'll see in a moment) or an inferno combi-melta, which is the real pro move. His melee is sidegraded, because he loses force sword access but gains force axe access, and while they have different optimal targets both have common use-cases, unlike the stave; point is, you'll always take the axe, at which point the benefit of the khopesh over the combi-bolter is essentially 0 and not remotely worth losing the ability to shoot bitches.

  • Alternative opinion: There's no Sorcerous Arcana for a Force Axe; but there are multiple for Force Staves and Seer's Bane for a khopesh. Incandaeum can replace the need for an Inferno Combi Bolter (as it's effectively a Pyris Flux'd Warpflamer, the Stave Abominus can make for a nasty swarm clearer, and Skaeloch's Talon... okay, that's kinda terrible thanks to its lack of AP. Seer's Bane might make for a psyker-hunting weapon. When comparing the standard Force Stave/Incandaeum to the khopesh, the khopesh does better against (non Death Guard) Marines thanks to its automatic damage 2 and AP -3, while the Force Stave/Incandeaum's +3 S does nothing better to wound, and has random damage. The Stave Abominus is very strictly a swarm/Death Guard vs character/elite option. Additionally, the force axe does a somewhat worse job at both roles of the staff and khopesh; with weaker strength than the staff and weaker AP and less consistent damage than the khopesh. With Legends, he gains access to a force sword for his force weapon, and for his inferno combi-bolter gains access to standard combi-weapons as well as a chainfist, power fist, or lightning claw.

Its own datasheet, like all legendary variants, but this one is insanely expensive, and is in every way the legendary sorcerer only on an Exalted's disc and without the ability to buy a jump pack.

Interestingly, this upgrade actually makes the base sorcerer more like a beatstick. For 5 points/+1 PL, they get BS/WS2+ and A5, making them more powerful than Exalted Sorcerers offensively, per point, both because the Sorcerer is cheaper and because of his superior wargear options. However, the only Sorcerer really worth putting this on is a Terminator Sorcerer with Combi-Melta and Force Axe or khopesh and relic staff, and bear in mind a Daemon Prince's melee still can't be beaten.

For 10 points/+1 PL, this allows your sorcerer to re-roll one of the dice to determine how many MWs he inflicts with Smite or any other Witchfire power he casts. Considering that you'll be spamming Smite a lot, you'll probably want that assurance that your spells can actually be of use rather than just tickling the enemy. This takes Smite from dealing a base 2.08 mortals (accounting for your +1 to cast) to 2.45 (+.375 mortals, or +3/8). Because it explicitly works for Firestorm, if you use it on Baleful Devolution you should be able to either re-roll a die that determines if a target suffers mortals or a die that determines number of mortals, as you like, but in either case the ability has terrible scaling with the power, because it only works on one die. The only other non-cult mortal wounds power you have access to without rolling a lot of dice is Dark Blessing, where again, the only possible conclusion from the text assuring you that it works on Firestorm is that it must work on your choice of the Toughness test or the total inflicted after passing the Toughness test. That's actually interesting, because the Toughness test is half of what cripples Dark Blessing down to unusability. Dark Blessing with this goes from the same 2.08 as Smite vs T3 (where the problem is the cripplingly short range of the spell) or 1.39 vs T4 to 3.26 vs T3 and 2.41 vs T4. Dark Blessing is still a bad spell even with Witch-Warrior due to the Toughness test and bad range, but at least use-cases for it exist, unlike with the base spell.

For 10 points/+1 PL, this allows your sorcerer to sacrifice only one spell to perform an action during the psychic phase. This makes Mutate Landscape and Psychic Interrogation more enticing (the former especially if you're taking Cult of Duplicity) and can be used if you find yourself glutted on Cabal Points and want to spend them on the action for making Command Points.

Special Characters[edit]

  • Ahriman Ahriman is one of the best HQ options that the Chaos faction has to offer, never mind the Thousand Sons. He has three psychic powers known, three manifests, three denials, and re-rolls on all Psychic tests. He also has the Lord of the Thousand Sons aura, but rather than giving re-rolls to core cult units, he gives re-rolls to all Thousand Sons CORE units and a D3 force stave. If he is your Warlord he has to take the Otherworldly Prescience Warlord Trait, but this is actually pretty good given it puts him at 3++ for one turn; still, you should never take him as your Warlord without a very good reason, as he cuts off access to your cult relics. Despite being good in melee, you are best off keeping him back so that he can pull the strings of your Rubrics with his aura, psychic dominance, and ability to reinforce if required. Give him a Disc of Tzeentch, as the mobility is crucial and you'll almost never want him hiding in a transport, plus losing the infantry keyword makes it harder for attacks to specifically hurt him (like how Vindicare attacks wound infantry specifically on a 2+).
    • He can also be used like the machine gun he was always meant to be, traveling on a disc with 1-3 hit squads of Tzaangor Enlightened. Give him the sniping Psychic Powers (Gaze of Hate (1.49 mortal wounds base for Ahriman) and Tzeentch's Firestorm (2.04 base for him)) and Twist of Fate, and laugh as enemy characters flee from your ranged assassin. Use 4 Cabal Points on Malevolent Charge to deal an extra D3 MW with one of those powers, just to make sure the enemy character dies.
      • Bear in mind both of these mortal wound powers can deal 0 mortals even after a successful cast, and even if you could cast both 100% of the time and re-roll, which is relevant for Firestorm, your average mortal wounds dealt would still only be 1.5 for Gaze of Hate and 2.22 for Firestorm, 3.72 total.
      • Because Ahriman is so good at rolling high thanks to his re-roll (not as good as Magnus, but pretty good), if you want him to be a machine gun, he's a lot better with spells where rolling high is better: Smite and Baleful Devolution are better with a higher modified test and Firestorm relies on unmodified. If you give him those three to cast, he takes Smite from 2.08 to 2.32, Firestorm from 1.67 to 2.04, and Devolution from 1.88 to 2.66, which is genuinely credible. He's also good at Twist of Fate, for denying invulns: he succeeds at it 82.63% of the time, up from 58.33% for a non-re-rolling normie.
    • Unlike Magnus, Ahriman did plenty wrong. He's one of the most evil fuckers in all of 40k/loving leaders who only wants to right his wrongs and his rules really make you feel like a cackling villain/hero - enjoy!
    • Great news! Ahriman is now available on the new SC! 1K Sons kit. He comes with 10 Rubrics and 10 Tzaangors!

Elites[edit]

  • Scarab Occult Terminators: Revenge is a dish best served cold. Terminators are now some of the strongest units a Chaos army can take, and these guys? They hit harder, and they're even more durable. Only M5", but Teleport Strike counters this a bit. Every unit member comes base with an inferno combi-bolter for 20 shots at 24" with S4 AP-2; add in Wrath of the Wronged and you have an infantry shredding salvo which can threaten light vehicles. The Rubrics ship with Prosperine Khopeshes, which are Master-Crafted (i.e. D2) Power Swords, and the Sorcerer has a noticeably worse Force Staff he can't swap out - he can swap out his inferno combi-bolter for a khopesh of his own, but that's deeply stupid, since anything you're going to charge you can shoot first. The unit can have 1 rubric swap his combi-bolter out for a heavy warpflamer (which is just an AP-2 heavy flamer) or a soulreaper cannon - at 24" Heavy 5 S6 AP-3 D1 this is mandatory, since you won't take a movement penalty when shooting it, and can have 1 rubric (which can be the same one) take a hellfyre missile rack, also practically mandatory at 36" Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 D1d3. You can have a second of each heavy weapon if you take a full 10-man squad, but don't forget, that's in direct competition with two 5-man squads for a second Sorcerer instead. The Sorcerer has the standard cast 1, deny 1, and knows Smite, his Cult power, and 1 from Change/Vengeance.
    • Looking back now from the derptastic release of CSM's vanilla terminators, the Scarabs came out the clear winner, having much better weapons (D2 blades!), stats, and abilities. While their melee is nothing compared to Blightlords and whatever the World Eaters will get, they're still undoubtedly better than the shitty “Accursed Weapons” that vanilla gets.
    • Don't forget, All is Dust applies to the whole unit, including the Sorcerer.
    • Sorcerous Facade from the Cult of Duplicity is a great power for this unit, as it effectively allows it to redeploy every psychic phase. This lets the unit drop in, mulch some infantry, then warp away next turn to hit another flank. Also, since it doesn't prevent you using it if you get bogged down in melee, it's a lot harder for the opponent to tie up the terminators.
      • With bolters and SRC+HMR, this unit is more efficient dakka from >12" than a Rubric squad (and the melee output is no contest at all), and both units have Objective Secured, so this unit right here should be your default choice for building the basic army from. The only things a Rubric squad does better are generate Cabal points (with an Icon), shoot warpflame dakka, and sling psychic powers.

If your unit is carrying out any actions, you can also have them shoot as well. For 15 points/+1 PL, this is way too situational to even consider. Even if it were half the price, that just goes to a "maybe".

The sorcerer knows an additional power. This is pretty neat, and 5 points/+1 PL you might as well take it. For example, if you use this to let the Sorcerer know both Empyric Guidance and Doombolt, you can swap between the two depending on the range to your target.

One of your rubricae regain all their wounds each command phase. With that extra wound 9E blessed us with, your terminators are now pretty short of unkillable with traditional weaponry. Plasma guns can now be laughed off (short of grabbing Hellblasters) and snipers are now something of an inconvenience with a bad roll. Literally, short of melta or firing tanks at these fuckers, you can just fix 'em up without a care in the world! And for 10 points/+1 PL? Why the hell not? It also works really well with the Warped Regeneration strat, since it requires all remaining models in the unit to have full wounds before resurrecting a model.

  • You have 4 ways of recovering wounds (Temporal Manipulation, RoC) and models (Warped Regeneration, Time Flux), but this method requires no other input and happens automatically in the command phase. As mentioned above, this pairs well with WR, but in order for the strat to go off, you need to cast a spell at an unmodified psychic test of 9+ AND have no wounded models. If you're going to rely on regenerating Scarabs, take this and Cult of Time, since Time Flux brings back a model no questions asked, and pray to Tzeentch for a high roll to proc WR. This will make your Scarabs a massive target, so it will be most efficient to take one large squad of Scarabs. You can put HMRs and SRCs on the same model, so a full unit of 10 has 7 Terminators (21 wounds) that the opponent must chew through before they can put a real dent in your firepower. Realistically, you're only going to be reliably recovering a wounded model back to full wounds plus a whole model each turn, so pick your deployments and targets well (say an objective on your opponents flanks, lightly guarded by infantry or shooty vehicles lacking obsec)
  • Chaos Contemptor DreadnoughtForge World,Martial Legacy,core - M8 A4 WS3+ S7 BS3+ T7 W9 Sv3+/5++, the Contemptor remains as good as it ever was. It has the same loadout as the loyalist one, but sports the Hellforged word before every weapon except the volkite and graviton ones. It has a 5++ innately, though the legion trait gives everything 5++ anyways; also has the same -1D to incoming hits and the same explodes rule as your Helbrute, but lacks Frenzy entirely. A solid choice that is a natural step up from your standard Helbrutes.
    • Arm options (take any 2):
      • Melee options come with a gun, and there is no excuse for taking 2 of them. Both melee options are Sx2(14).
        • Dreadnought Combat Weapon: AP-3 D3, free. You have no excuse for taking this - take the other melee arm or a gun.
        • Dreadnought Chainfist: AP-4 D2d3, jumps to D6 against vehicles. At only 5 points, this is mandatory, because either you want to be in melee (so this is the superior choice) or you don't (so a gun is the superior choice).
        • Combi-Bolter: Free. If you genuinely just want a melee arm, take this to keep the arm cheaper - the other melee attachment guns all cost more and none can compete with a proper gun arm.
        • Graviton Blaster: 18" Assault 2 S5 AP-3 D1, goes up to D2 against Sv3+ or better. The best choice if you're not willing to overcharge plasma and you want maximum ranged output on your melee arm.
        • Heavy Flamer: 12" Heavy 1d6 S5 AP-1 D1. The worst gun your arm can take, most of the time.
        • Plasma Blaster: 18" Assault 2 S7 AP-3 D1, can be overcharged for S8 D2 but unmodified rolls of 1 cause a mortal wound on the dread. If you're willing to risk the mortal wounds, better than a graviton blaster because they're the same cost, but that's a big risk. The whole dread is only W9, and in melee you're going to get beat up. Bear in mind this model is core, so an Exalted Sorcerer's re-roll 1s to hit aura works on it just fine.
      • Good Guns: Twin Volkite (45" Heavy 8 S6 AP0 D2, with every unmodified wound roll of 6 inflicting an extra mortal wound), Multi-melta (24" Heavy 2 S8 AP-4 D1d6, D1d6+2 at half range).
      • Bad Guns: Kheres Assault Cannon (24" heavy 6 S7 AP-1 D1), Twin Autocannon (48" Heavy 4 S7 AP-1 D2), Heavy Plasma Cannon (36" heavy d3 S7 AP-3 D2, Blast, which can be overcharged for S8 D3 but you risk taking a single mortal wound for every time you roll a 1 to hit with it), Conversion Beam Cannon (3 firing modes that can be fired from different ranges, doing Heavy D3 (Blast), from 0"-24" S6 AP-1 D2 OR 24"-48" S7 AP-2 D3 OR 48"-72" S8 AP-3 D3), Twin Lascannon (48" Heavy 2 S9 AP-3 D1d6, but simply costs too much compared to the multi-melta), Twin Heavy Bolter (36" Heavy 6 S5 AP-1 D2, where again the only problem is the cost).
    • Hat: Cyclone missile launcher! Fires two krak missiles or two frag missiles.
  • DecimatorForge World - 9th edition has shown our favourite pseudo-dreadnought some real love. Movement is 9/7/5" with WS3/4/5+ BS 3/4/5+, S7 T7 W12 A5 Sv3+/5++, and you regenerate a wound at the start of each of your turns. Stock Claw is Sx2 (14) AP-3 D3 with a Hellflamer doing 12" Heavy 1d6 S5 AP-1 D2 Auto-Hits; if you take 0 or 1 you're A5, and if you take two you're A6. The Decimator Storm Laser is as you would expect from last edition, 24" Assault 6 S6 AP-2 D1. The once horrible Soulburner Petard now has some real use with 24" Assault 2D3 S1 AP0 D1, causing auto MORTAL wounds on wound rolls of 2+, while to-hit rolls of 1 cause mortal wounds to the Decimator. The Butcher Cannon is still reliable with 36" Heavy 4 S7 AP-2 D2. C-beam Cannon has also gotten some new life, gaining three firing modes that can be fired from different ranges, doing Heavy D3, from 0"-24" S6 AP-1 D2 OR 24"-48" S7 AP-2 D3 OR 48"-72" S8 AP-3 D3 while also having the Blast rule on all profiles.
    • The reality is that this will do similar work to a Helbrute or Forgefiend for more points, making this a waste of points. Bear in mind that if you do take one, some of the guns are simply bad - the only interesting weapon arms are the soulburner petard and the hellflamer + claw. The conversion beamer and storm laser are just bad and never worth taking, and the butcher cannon turns the Decimator into a Forgefiend but worse.
  • Chaos Deredeo DreadnoughtForge World,Martial Legacy - Chaos finally got the Dorito Dreadnought! A lot of people have wanted this for a while and rightfully so, it kicks ass. It has the common -1 damage and an innate 5++ (which is redundant for you)
    • Arm weapons: Sorted from worst to best.
      1. Arachnus Lascannons: 2 lascannon shots at D3+3, reliably worse than the Autocannons.
      2. Anvillus Autocannons: 36" Heavy 8 S7 AP-2 D2, reliably worse than the Volkite.
      3. Volkite Falconets: 36" Heavy 6 S8 AP-2 D2, unmodified wound rolls of 6 deal an additional 2 mortal wounds. The best gun you can take unless you overcharge your plasma.
      4. Hellfire Plasma: 36" Heavy 6 S7 AP-3 D2, can overcharge for S8 and D3 and unmodified hit rolls of 1 deal this model a mortal wound. When not overcharged, always worse than the Volkite, but if you overcharge, it will outperform it against many targets. You don't have an easy way to give it re-rolling 1s, though.
    • Hull weapons: Twin heavy bolters or heavy flamers, so you'll pick the bolters every time, like a smart person.
    • Top weapons: You get to choose to add a top weapon (which you should, this thing costs too much to be half-assed), which can be an Aiolos Missile Launcher (48" Heavy 3d3 S6 AP-1 D1 Blast) or Boreas Air Defence Missiles (48" Heavy 1 S9 AP-3 D1d6, but it's +2 to hit and deals D3+1d3 vs Aircraft). Against non-Aircraft, this is a toss-up - the Aiolos is better against lighter targets and the Boreas is better against heavier ones.
  • Helbrutecore: - A good DISTRACTION CARNIFEX, rocking M6 A5 WS3+ S6 BS3+ T7 W8 Sv3+ (5++ with Brotherhood of Sorcerers, of course). A Helbrute requires a decent amount of applied firepower to be put down, thanks to their rule that subtracts 1 from the D characteristic of any profile shooting them (to a minimum of 1). While below full health, they re-roll 1s to wound, too, and when they die, on a 6 all units within 3" suffer 1 mortal wound. Most importantly, they're core, so the Exalted Sorcerer aura works on them for re-rolling 1s to hit. Has two arms - the default options are missile launcher and a twin heavy bolter (that's right, the default is a gun that costs points, not a free one), and their options need to be discussed separately. Critically, this is your only core unit (out of 4 total) that both is able to take anti-tank weapons and doesn't cost a CP to field.
    • THB arm: The Reaper Autocannon is terrible. Barring some radical points changes, there's no reason to ever take it - the Helbrute Plasma Cannon is better for 0 points. A 5-point multi-melta is excellent although there are valid excuses for a 10-point THB. Avoid the Reaper Autocannon so long as anything else is free and avoid the TLC if it continues to be radically more expensive than the multi-melta.
      • You don't want a melee arm for the ranged option - the built-in guns are deeply inferior to your real gun options - and since you also don't want 2 melee arms and this arm's guns are better than the other arms, this arm should always be a gun.
    • Missile Launcher Arm: For a Dakkabrute, keep the missile arm - the melee arms all rock worse guns than a missile launcher. If you want melee support, see below.
      • The hammer is worse than useless - same cost as a fist, but the accuracy debuff means that the only way for the hammer to do better is for the target to be both W5+ and for the AP difference to matter (so Sv2+7++, 2+/6++, or 3+/7++). That's just too rare to worry about - stick with the fist.
      • Whether you take a scourge (A8 S7 AP-2 D2) or a fist (A5 S12 AP-3 D3) depends on what you plan on fighting, but the answer should be a fist - the rest of your army can shred lighter targets, so you need to worry about fighting heavies.
      • If you take a fist, never take an inferno combi-bolter, but do strongly consider mounting a heavy flamer in it.
  • Chaos Leviathan DreadnoughtForge World,Martial Legacy - Whatever was sacrificed in the name of Chaos to make these available... it was worth it. This super dreadnought is a monster and priced very well for what it does. Has M8/6/4 A4 WS3/4/5+ S7 BS3/4/5+ T7 W14 Sv2+/5++ with the standard -1D and explodes. Has to take 2 arm weapons and 2 nipple weapons, and can take an optional hat weapon loadout.
    • Nipples: 2 heavy flamers which you'll never take or the substantially superior set of 2 twin volkite culverin which sum up to 30" Heavy 8 S5 AP0 D2, unmodified wound rolls of 6 deal +1 mortal wound.
    • Gun Arms:
      • The Storm Cannons are your worst choice; each is 36" Heavy 8 S7 AP-1 D2.
      • The Grav-Flux Bombards are each 24" Heavy 2d3 (Blast) S8 AP-3 D2, D3 against targets with a 3+ Sv or better, and your best choice against TEQ or lighter, with very decent scaling against heavier targets.
      • The Cyclonic Melta Lance is absurdly good: 18" Heavy 1d6 (Blast) S9 AP-4 D1d6, D1d6+2 at half range. The single most compelling reason to take a Leviathan - you should either take 2 of this arm or 1 and a Siege Drill if you're going to pay the astronomical cost for one of these dreads.
    • Melee arms are both WS3+ Sx2(14), and both come with a built-in meltagun; never take 2 of them, even though it's legal:
      • Siege Claw: A5 AP-3 D3 is worse than the drill against heavier targets but better against anything without many wounds, like GEQ, MEQ, and TEQ. Stick with the Drill - anything the Claw is better against the rest of your army can deal with.
      • Siege Drill: A4 AP-4 D2d3, jumps to D6 against vehicles. The patrician choice for tearing things in half in melee.
    • Hat Weapons: Can take 0-3 hunter killer missiles, which are one-use-only 48" Heavy 1 S10 AP-2 D1d6. They're 5 points each and you should take 0 or 3, don't half-ass it: 0 keeps the dread cheaper by ignoring one-shot weapons, while 3 is for alpha striking, because you can unload all three missiles the first time the model shoots.
  • Tzaangor Shaman - Comes in at 70 pts including force stave, BS3+/WS3+/S4/A3/T4/W4/Ld8/Sv6+ (5++ with Brotherhood of Sorcerers). They hover about on a disk which gives them a useless bonus melee attack. Uses powers from the change discipline, casting 1 and denying 1, and are worth 1 Cabal Point. They can buff Bray or Enlightened units (which in practice is all Tzaangors except for Shamans) within 6" with a +1 to all their hit rolls. Because this +1-to-hit aura affects all hit rolls made by Tzaangors, this means that your base Tzaangor auto pistols become slightly better, but still can't compete with the blades in terms of effective damage output. Aside from in melee with ground Tzaangors, this aura also really shines with Tzaangor Enlightened, as it makes them hit with their divining spears on 2+.

Troops[edit]

  • Chaos Cultists: Your cheap choice. Cultists can be set for melee or range without paying extra points, which is nice. Flamers make them somewhat more reliable, while Heavy Stubbers are a cheap and useful upgrade if you plan to camp objectives with them. They have some problems though, with poor leadership and the ability to die to a stray fart. They're doing best when the opponent forgets they exist, so try not to mention them. Also, Games Workshop tacitly approved the use of Age of Sigmar's Tzeentch Arcanites as flavourful Thousand Sons Cultists with some art in the codex (just base them on a 25mm base, or use them as Tzaangors). Use these if you want them to look more like someone who might have come from Sortiarius. Cultists no longer gain Objective Secured for Thousand Sons so their use is dramatically diminished, but they are still the cheapest troop choice you can take if you're looking to save points.
    • RAW, also gains benefits from AoC, so put them in cover and watch them shrug Heavy Bolters. It makes sense, trust me.
    • Can be used to wrap enemy vehicles into position, but Tzaangors have bigger bases (so need fewer models to do it) and are much better at getting stuck in.
    • Frankly outmatched by Tzaangors in almost every way except raw point price. They completely lack an invul save, are worse in melee, and have worse toughness. Unless your thought is to somehow utilize their autoguns and range, just take a Tzaangor unless you can only afford 50 points and not 70 points.
  • Rubric Marines: Once unusable, these guys have become pretty good. They have their usual loadout of Inferno Boltguns (AP-2 bolters) which they can replace with Warpflamers (AP-2 flamers) for maximum hurt at worse range, and the Aspiring Sorcerer has a Force Staff and an Inferno Bolt Pistol (AP-2 bolt pistol), Plasma Pistol, or Warpflame Pistol (AP-2 hand flamer). One Rubric can take a Soulreaper Cannon (24" Heavy 5 S6 AP-3 D1, no penalty to hit for moving and shooting cos you're a Rubric), and one (which can be the same one) can take an Icon of Flame for making 1 more Cabal Point. The Aspiring Sorcerer is a fully fledged Psyker (normal Smites!) who knows one spell from the Discipline of Change or Vengeance on top of the Cult spell he knows, giving him a massive list of spells to choose from when you add him to your army (on the the table he only has 1 cast). If you take a few 5 man squads (or even 10 man and some Scarabs), you're going to find yourself casting a lot of psychic powers - which is exactly how it should be!
    • As of the 06.22 Points changes, Icons of Flame are free, and Warpflamers are even cheaper at 3 points. The free additional Cabal Point on each of your rubric squads is a god send, because Cabal Points make you less reliant on Command Points.
    • Their "All is Dust" rule gives them (including the Sorcerer) +1 to armour saves if the attack's characteristic is D1 (does nothing against d3, or Mortals) , giving them a 2+ save against small arms fire; combined with armor of contempt, that it'll take AP-3 to start denting your armor. Of course, since your opponent can fix this with either AP or D2, staying in cover is still a very good idea.
    • You generally want the soulreaper cannon, which is an auto-include at 5 points for 24" Heavy 5 S6 AP-3 D1, since All is Dust means you'll take no penalty for moving and shooting.
    • Do remember that you will still need to be stationary (or spend 1CP) to double tap with your bolters when at distances greater than 12", but if you're going full warpflamer squad, always advance with the rubrics since they will auto-hit, and you weren't going to charge into melee anyways. The only reason not to advance with a full flamer unit is if you gave the sorcerer a warpflame pistol, as he can't shoot it after advancing. If you do grab a warpflame pistol (and you should, as it's far and away the sorcerer's most efficient gun on top of being free), consider a soulreaper cannon despite the flamer spam - it'll outshoot the flamers against pretty much everything in the game.
    • Compared to Scarab Occult Terminators, the Rubrics have worse melee output per point, slightly worse bolter output per point (although both units have garbage output per point just using their (unbuffed) inferno bolters), no ability to deep strike innately, and worse wounds per model (more wounds per point, though) and a worse armor save (same invuln save, though). However, they are able to generate more cabal points in both absolute and relative terms with the icon of flame, can steal objectives from other troops more easily due to being cheaper, and can bring warpflamers in large numbers which the Scarabs can't (in fact, the only way to have Scarabs out-shoot Rubricae is to make the contest happen outside of 12" - 3 warpflamers, a warpflame pistol/Incandaeum, and an SrC simply outshoots Scarabs against anything in range). Scarabs are better in a fair number of situations, but don't let that make you think it invalidates Rubricae.

If your unit is carrying out any objective actions, you can also have them fire as well. For 15 points/+1 PL, this is way too situational to even consider. Even if it were half the price, that just goes to a "maybe".

The sorcerer knows an additional power. This is pretty neat, and 5 points/+1 PL you might as well take it. Keep in mind that he'll have 3 by default (Smite, Cult, and chosen) and can still only cast 1, so be careful to not dump a bunch of points on him that you can't make use of. May be better used on a Scarab Occult Sorcerer.

One of your rubricae regains all his wounds each command phase for 10 points/+1 PL. Significantly better on a Scarab Occult Sorcerer.

  • Tzaangors - 70 points for a unit of 10 close combat chaff that are just as tough as Space Marines, have a 5++ invulnerable save, 2A (3 on the Twistbray) with either AP-1 on the melee attacks or an autopistol, a 10 point instrument that adds 1 to their Advance and Charge rolls, and a 5 point banner for re-rolling Morale Tests on their Ld of 7. These guys are alright for Thousand Sons armies that need lots of fodder to protect their big guns in the back. Pistols/Chainswords look cool but are inferior to Tzaangor Blades, as AP-1 makes them dangerous to almost everything in the game (apart from Daemons).
    • These guys are 1/3 the cost of Rubrics, but you get no armour save, half the wounds, and no morale immunity, and non-existent ranged output. On the other hand, they have better melee output. If literally all you need is something to sit on a backfield objective and obstinately exist, these guys can handle it ok.
    • May or may not be getting better with the upcoming Army of Renown built explicitly around Tzaangor hordes.

Dedicated Transports[edit]

  • Chaos Rhino - With Webway Strike and the numerous ways to slingshot units, sadly these aren't very useful for Thousand Sons. At 80 points they're expensive in an army that is already struggling to fit things in. Their main use is to get assault troops safely forward. Meanwhile, you want your tanky Rubrics on the field so that their Sorcerers can cast their psychic powers, though they do gain 5++ from the legion trait.
    • If you do take one, then add on a Havoc Launcher and Inferno Combi-Bolter. This at least puts out a decent amount of small arms fire, to make the price of the METAL BOX feel a bit better.
    • For some players, 80 points apiece is a decent price to protect your expensive rubric squads from a harsh Alpha Strike, as any opponent worth their salt (or dust) will know they are going to have to throw a hefty amount of firepower at them. Due to this, think of the Rhino as a disposable bunker; if it dies, so be it, and if it doesn't it still served its purpose, considering it moves twice as fast as the rubrics.
  • Chaos Terrax-pattern TermiteForge World: It's a neither a drop pod nor a rhino, but something of both. Like a drop pod, the Termite can Deep Strike (but it has no special rules for doing it turn 1, nor any for ignoring point limits). Once deployed, however, the termite acts like a slow rhino. At 8/5/3 inches, this thing isn't going anywhere quickly. So why bother? Well, the termite has some neat little things going for it. First is the transport capacity. At 12 <Legion> models (no Terminators), this little drill is quite the metal box. And then there is the subject of the incredible guns, which should never be a pair of combi-bolters but should be either a pair of heavy flamers for free or a pair of 20" twin volkite chargers for 10 points (the chargers will wreck an enemy heavy, but this is a slow transport, not a main battle tank - driving costs up isn't always a good idea). It comes with a mandatory 5-shot heavy meltagun and a Termite Drill, which is an A3/1d3/1 WS4+ Sx2 (14) AP-4 D1d3+3 (D1d3+6 vs Vehicles) melee weapon. The 5-shot meltagun combined with the volkite will wreck absolute face when you deep strike, but after that you are likely to have trouble keeping the thing in range to shoot.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • Chaos Spawn: The Flesh Change sufferers you know and love. Movement 7", 2d3 attacks at -2 AP. Has a chance to be -4 AP, or re-roll failed wounds, or get +d3 attacks. S5 T5, 5+ save, leadership 9 due to being a mindless pile of flesh and 4 wounds. 5+ save means they're pretty squishy, but they can hit fairly hard. Pretty much the same as before, but there is a Stratagem that can give you one without having to pay for reinforcement points and another one that lets you re-roll their attack number while also picking their bonus effect. For 23pts a model, you might want to throw in a few gribblies in your list if you need a speed bump or meat shield for the Daemon Princes.
  • Dreadclaw Drop PodForge World: - This flyer/drop pod/thing is a ball of spiked sex! It can transport 10 Infantry (Terminators count as 2) or a single Helbrute or Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought and comes in via Drop Pod Assault (it can always come in turn 1, even if another rule says it can't, and it likewise ignores unit limits for both itself and what's inside it in terms of what can and can't be put into Reserves - see below for more). M12" S6 T6 W9 Sv3+ with Blade struts for melee (WS4+ A4 Sx2 AP-4 D3) and Thermal Jets, which hit one unit you move over for mortal wounds (1.92 to a non-Character, 1 to a Character on average). The Dreadclaw hits you in the groin with a cost of 115 points on top of needing a Fast Attack slot rather than a Dedicated Transport slot, which could be a benefit if you're trying to fill out a detachment.
    • The standing rule in matched play is that your reserves must total no more than half your units and strictly less than half your points. The Pod simply does nothing to impact the latter rule, which means its ability is primarily useful when you put numerous cheap units in reserves, so you hit your unit cap before you hit your point cap. This is hard for you to do, as you don't have a plethora of cheap units that can deep strike, but just be aware that that's how it works.
  • Tzaangor Enlightened: Birds on discs. They have 3 different weapon options: Autopistol and Chainsword, Fatecaster Greatbow, or a Divining Spear. In addition, when using the bows (30" Assault 1 S5 AP-1 D1), they auto hit on every roll of 2+, including Overwatch (meaning you can advance and shoot them and still hit on 2+), and can ignore Look Out, Sir, making them slightly like snipers. By comparison, their spears are D2 and swing twice (3 times for the leader), meaning they hit harder in practice but are harder to deliver. Easy to pass over at first glance, but they have a saving grace: speed. With a move of 12", they can add some much needed mobility to your list in a way that doesn't rely on psychic powers or command points. They are also dirt cheap in terms of points/power-level.
    • All of their attacks except for the single S4 AP0 D1 attack from their mount auto-wound on a natural 6 to hit, even if you use the autopistol and chainsword. For the bow, that means 1 in 5 of your hits don't need to roll to wound - for the other weapons, it's 1 in 4 of your hits unless a Shaman buffs them.
    • Since all of their wargear choices have the same cost, these birbs are relatively ideal snipers and should usually carry their greatbows (which also means they have no need for a Shaman): 43-48" (since you'll always Advance with them) of ignoring Look Out, Sir threat on a weapon that hits on 2+ and doesn't need to roll to wound on a 6+ means that e.g. if you're trying to murder a MEQ HQ (T4/3+) each birb deals 11/36 of a wound, so 17 of them is enough to usually kill one in one go - and you can bring an 18th as insurance.
    • Since this makes the Shaman utterly useless, the only support you need to consider giving them is an Exalted Sorcerer (or Ahriman) on Disc to slap them with Temporal Surge, but they don't really need more mobility. The only Cult power that's particularly good on them is Scheming's for shooting (and charging, if you want) after Falling Back, in case they get tarpitted, but they're so cheap it might not be worth it. If Thousand Sons ever get a way to give these guys full re-rolls to hit, that's when they'll begin looking for support, because if ever a unit wanted the ability to re-roll successful hits to try for a 6, it's these guys.

Flyers[edit]

  • Heldrake: Charizard is back, better than ever. Much improved since 8e, as it is now AIRCRAFT again. That means it has -1 to hit (Hard to Hit), Airborne (can't be charged unless they can fly), and the extended flight range of other Aircraft. Unlike other flyers, it can switch to Hover Jet mode like the IG's Valkyrie, bringing it back down to 20" of movement, but allowing you to charge ground targets again. It keeps Infernal Regeneration to recover a wound each turn, and Hunter in the Skies for a +1 to hit against FLY targets. This is good, because while Heldrake claws are now a flat 2, they jump to 4!! against flyers so you can fuck up Necron Scythes or Stormravens that dare to try and challenge aerial superiority over you.
    • It now also has a 3+ WS/BS (Degrading), so you're only going to worry about hitting on 5s when you're down on your last 3 wounds, but since your 5 attacks no longer degrade, you're not really going to worry about it too much, either. The Baleflamer is still an autotake, as it's now Assault 2d3 STR 6 AP-2 D2, you can fly to your opponent's backline and fry those MEQs without a care in the world. The Hades autocannon is now AP-2, but why even bother.


Forge World[edit]

  • Fire Raptor Gunship (Martial Legacy) - A very powerful flyer that looks immense and fits right into the lore of the Thousand Sons. It particularly benefits from the psychic buffs on a Thousand Sons army, too. Keep Presage, Glamour of Tzeentch (though do remember you are capped at a total to-hit mod of -1) and Weaver of Fates cast upon it to maximise survivability and firepower.
    • Main: It comes stock with a nose-mounted marine-decimating Twin Avenger Bolt Cannon (10 shots of S6 AP-2 Damage 2).
    • Side: As for the side weapons, you have a choice of two quad heavy bolters or two twin autocannons.
    • Wings: For the wings you have a choice of two twin lascannons or two twin hellstrike launchers (72" Heavy 2 S8 AP-3 Damage 3, +1 to hit and Damage D3+3 vs Aircraft).
      • If you take this monstrosity then expect all of the DAKKA to target it on turn one. You might want to take Magnus as well so that one of them gets to survive, but be careful as this might cause an unsuspecting opponent to have a stress seizure and turn into a Chaos Spawn (though only if he/she have the appropriate reinforcement points).
  • Chaos Storm Eagle Gunship (Martial Legacy) - Less useful for Thousand Sons as the transport aspect isn't too helpful. Umbralefic Crystal, Deep Strike Stratagem and the lack of melee capacity of Rubrics takes away the urgency for flying transport.
    • Main: You have the choice of a storm eagle multi-melta (read: twin multi-melta), twin heavy bolters or a hellforged typhoon missile launcher (two krak missiles or frag missiles)
    • Top: Vengeance Launcher (48" Heavy 2d6 S6 AP-1 D1 blast)
    • Wings: Two twin hellstrike launchers or two twin lascannons, same as the fire raptor.
  • Hell Blade - Courtesy of the Dark Mechanicus's warped minds comes a fast solid flyer. Only 135 points with two twin autocannons, with a 3+/5++ (like most things in your arsenal) and Hard to Hit. Can swap its two autocannons for two Lascannons. With a 20"-60" movement that doesn't degrade as you take damage.
    • Nothing really to say about it, it's like a flying predator without sponson guns.
  • Hell Talon - Expensive at 210 points, but considerably tougher than its baby brother the Hell Blade with 14 wounds and T7 as well as its 3+/5++. In addition to the autocannon (which can be replaced with a havoc launcher) and twin Lascannon, you get two sets of Infernal Bombs, which are used after you fly this thing over and pick a point on the table, all units within 6" of that unit take D3 MW on a 4-5, and D6 MWs on a roll of a 6, subtract -1 from characters that aren't vehicles or monsters.
  • Xiphon Interceptor (Martial Legacy) - A flyer that the Thousand Sons loved to pieces during the Heresy-Era, to the point that they replaced all of their other Interceptor-Fighters with it. A solid anti-air option. Comes with two twin lascannons and a Xiphon missile battery (60" Heavy 3 S7 AP-2 Damage 3 +1 to hit vs aircrafts). A costly option at 235.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • Chaos Land Raider - Make sure to make use of its transport capability, or you'd get more out of a pair of las-Predators or one of the numerous other lascannon platforms. The 5++ from being ARCANA ASTARTES doesn't really do anything to address the problems the land raider has always had, which is a shame.
    • NOTE: Land raiders are fairly useful for the Thousand Sons as their large footprint allows them to cover a lot of space when used in conjunction with the warpflame gargoyles stratagem.
    • Achilles (Forge World): Your land raider on steroids with 2 twin multi-meltas or two twin volkite culverins (45" Heavy 8 S8 AP0 D2 with every wound roll of 6 dishing out an extra 1MW) and a Quad Launcher (shatter shell for 24" Heavy 4 S8 AP-3 Damage 3 or thunderfire shells for 60" Heavy 4D3 frags that have Blast and ignore LoS). It has a 5++ by default but everything in your army has that so whatever. It can also take a Hunter-Killer missile. The only downsides are its increased cost and very limited transport capacity (6 infantry models).
    • Proteus (Forge World, Martial Legacy):For a few less points and 1CP you get a LR with a few more options. By default it's like a standard LR but without the hull twin heavy bolters, but can take a single hull mounted heavy bolter, twin heavy bolters, a multi-melta or twin heavy flamers. It can also take Heavy Armour for a 5++ (never take that when you have it by default) or an Explorator augury web that denies deep striking within 12" of it but reduces the transport capacity to 6 models. It can also take a hunter-killer missile.
  • Chaos Predator - It does Predator things. You're better off taking a Forgefiend with heavy hades autocannons; it's more efficient both offensively and defensively. If you're going with tanks there are two major roles that a Predator can fill: anti-tank or anti-infantry (or to a lesser degree, both).
    • Annihilator: Starting at 155 points, you can grab a las-pred armed with 4 lascannons. You can give it an inferno combi gun of your choice and/or a havoc launcher if you have the spare points, but it is totally fine as-is without them, too - the havoc launcher makes it more efficient against all possible targets, but not radically so against the targets you want to bring the lascannons to bear against.
      • Worse than a Forgefiend at killing literally any target in the game, for the points. Do not take.
    • Destructor: Costs 160 points; you can have the Dakka-pred armed with the "predator autocannon" (48" Heavy 2d3 S7 AP-1 D3) and Heavy Bolters sponsons, and you probably want a Havoc Launcher.
      • Worse than a Forgefiend at killing literally any target in the game, for the points. Do not take.
  • Chaos Vindicator - For 130pts you get T8 and 24" Heavy 1d6 S10 AP-3 D1d6, which is incredible - the only problem is the 24" range (other than that, this is a quadruple-lascannon Predator but better, for the points) - it's better than a Forgefiend against heavy targets and worse against light ones. Take it if you want something to spearhead a vehicular assault; the close-range firepower will serve you well, and with a siege shield for Sv2+ against attacks, the tank will survive much longer than it should.
    • Laser Destroyer (Forge World) - The datasheet is in the Imperial Armour Compendium FAQ. This glorious dakka-thrower can't take any wargear options other than a shitty hellforged hunter-killer missile you don't need, but the base gun is an absolute steal by TSons standards. It has two firing modes, but you're not here for the weaker mode. The stronger mode out-dakkas a normal Vindicator against heavy targets, which was why you were considering these tanks to begin with. If you can field one of these, you should choose it over the base Vindicator, despite the lack of access to a siege shield.
      • 36" Heavy 3 S9 AP-3 D3+1d3
      • 36" Heavy 3 S10 AP-4 D6; if the shooter didn't remain stationary, each unmodified 1 to hit results in a mortal wound for the shooter after all shots resolve.
  • Daemon Engines
    • Defiler: Here's the deal, the Defiler is exactly what you expect him to be, he's a big, stompy, killy daemon engine that will inevitably draw in a lot of enemy fire because of how dangerous he is. 14 wounds, T7, 5++ invuln, Strength 16 melee attacks. Long and short-range firepower with the Battle cannon, Reaper autocannon/Twin heavy bolter and Twin heavy flamer. Smoke launchers for defence and regenerates 1 wound at the beginning of each of your turns. Effective at range and close up but with options to suit your need. Replace the Twin heavy flamer and Reaper autocannon with a Twin Lascannon and havoc launcher and ruin some vehicle's day or bring a Defiler scourge and trounce any units that try to jump you.
      • The plethora of psychic powers that can make the fiends scarier can also be used on the defiler, making the Giant Enemy Crab Engine even MORE deadly and less susceptible taking massive damage in a weak spot.
    • Fiends - They're durable (12 wounds, 3+/5++ and they regenerate one lost wound at the start of each of your turns) and very effective point-wise. Another fun thing the thousand sons can do is use the fiends (or defilers) to play mad doctor due to the number of spells that can be used on them.
      • Forgefiend - Or Dakkafiend. Comes standard with 2 Heavy Hades autocannons and a reinforced jaw to chomp harder on anything close-by. Can replace everything (including the jaw) with Ectoplasma cannons that have better AP, damage and blast rule for fewer shots. Bring a pack of 2 of these things and watch them output a ridiculous amount of firepower on a target.
        • Never replace the heavy hades autocannons with the ectoplasma. The hades autocannons statistically equal or beat the ectoplasma against every combination of toughness/save up to 8/2+. Plus, they have higher range for an extra 10pts per gun. Replacing the jaw is fine, however, as it's your only ranged option.
      • Maulerfiend - Or Choppafiend. They're fast (10" base movement) and come standard with power fists that deal d3+3 and Magma Cutters. Magma Cutters are considered Assault 2 with 6" of range now (S8, AP-3 D6+2!), so the Fiend can start putting the hurt on a target right before they get into base to base contact and still shoot them in close quarters should they start the turn in combat. Pure win. They can also replace the pair of cutters with Lasher Tendrils for 1 damage each and 6 extra melee attacks, trading punch against heavy targets for more attacks to mulch through infantry a bit quicker. Like the Forgefiends they work better in pairs and tag-teaming a target.
        • This beast is basically a giant, well-disguised can-opener. It can and will crack ANY tank open in melee and eat it for breakfast, and the tendrils threaten infantry as well. On the downside, It gets slower and weaker as it takes damage, so it stops being as scary at low wounds(though regeneration helps ALOT as the turns go by). It's FAST and WILL eat even dreadnoughts with relative ease, and it has Weapon Skill of 3+ and with the MASSIVE attention it will draw from any opponent who prefers their tanks unmolested. Overall - a respectable choice.
  • Mutalith Vortex Beast - Another import from Age of Sigmar, the MVB seems like a weird addition at first glance, since it's just as fast a Maulerfiend, attacks 5 times like a Forgefiend, but has a 4+ armour save and 2 more wounds than either. But it brings a variety of ways to deal mortal wounds for something so ugly.
    • Stats: M 10/8/6, WS 3/4/5, S/T 7, 14 wounds, 5 A and a 4+/5++. It casts 2 powers at top bracket, 1 from 4-6 wounds, and 0 on its last 3 wounds. It recovers D3 wounds in your command phase, but due to the instability of its Warp vortex, it will explode on a 4+ for D3 damage. It can attack with its tentacles at S7 AP-1 D1, but make 3 hit rolls for every attack, or attack with its claws, at S8 AP-2 3 Damage.
    • Healing: The MVB is your only Heavy Support option that you can reliably heal. While Thousand Sons have lots of ways to recover infantry wounds, you have no way to repair vehicles outside of their native regeneration (you don't have a Warpsmith). Temporal Manipulation specifically locks out VEHICLES, but guess what, the Vortex Beast is a MONSTER, so combined with its native D3 regen, you could potentially recover 2D3 wounds a turn, which should be enough to bring it up a bracket.
    • Cabal Points: With a strat, your MVB can provide you with D3 more Cabal Points, which can be very helpful once you start losing sorcerers.
    • Mobility: Sorcerous Facade only works on Infantry or Monsters; that means Rubrics or this guy, again locking out vehicles, and even dudes on Discs.
    • "Shooting": Unlike last ed, you do not roll to use the Vortex Powers, only have 4, and they are all meant to do damage, removing the +1 S and -1 Ap options you had previously. Each power can only be used once a turn, regardless of how many you MVBs you have, so plan accordingly. That being said, the number of casts degrade and the powers do tend to be situational, so position them well.
    • Powers:
      • Immmaterial Flare: Select one visible enemy unit within 18", roll 1d6 per model and deal 1 mortal wound for every 6 you roll.
        • Against a 12-member unit, ties with Turbulent Discharge, and past that just deals more.
      • Turbulent Discharge: Pick the closest enemy unit within 18" that's visible, on 2-4 that unit suffers 1d3 mortal wounds, and on a 5+ it suffers 3 Mortal Wounds.
        • Net MWs inflicted on average: 2.
      • Maelstrom of Madness: Roll 1d6 per enemy unit within 9", each takes a single mortal wound on a 2+.
        • Net MWs inflicted on average: 5/6 per unit (3 units gets you 2.5, the minimum to beat Turbulent Discharge).
      • Beam of Unreality: Pick a visible enemy unit that has wounds of 10+ that's within 24". Roll 1d6, -1 from the result for Aircraft and +1 for Titanic. On a 3-4 the unit takes 1d3 Mortal Wounds and on a 5+ it takes 1d6.
        • Net MWs inflicted on average: 1+5/6 base (worse than Turbulent Discharge), 2+5/12 when buffed, 1+1/4 when nerfed.

Forge World[edit]

  • Chaos Rapier Carrier: This baby is the absolute business - it has several weapons options, but the only ones you need to care about are the quad heavy bolter, which is exactly what it sounds like: you get 4 heavy bolters (and a regular bolter, which doesn't matter) for the low low cost of 85 points, and the laser destroyer for 35 points more (120 total). That's 21.25 points per heavy bolter, which is the most efficient dakka you can field, period. You can also replace the quad heavy bolters with a graviton cannon (36" Heavy D6 S8 AP-3 2D Blast, which increases the damage to 3 vs units with sv3+) for no additional cost, or for an additional 35pts you can take a laser destroyer (36" Heavy 3 S10 AP-4 D3+3) or also for 35pts a Quad Launcher (Shatter shell for 24" Heavy 4 S8 AP-3 Damage 3 OR Thunderfire shells for 60" Heavy 4D3 frags that has Blast and ignore LoS).
    • The Graviton Cannon is worse against all possible targets than the Quad Heavy Bolter, and the Quad Launcher is worse per point against all possible targets than the Quad Heavy Bolter. Never take them.
    • The Laser Destroyer is better than the QHB against the targets you'd expect - generally speaking, targets with W5+ and the toughness and/or saves to notice how hard it hits. The QHB is better against TEQ, MEQ, and GEQ. Since the targets you'll have the most trouble killing are the hard ones - all of your troops can massacre hordes with reasonable ease - the laser destroyer might be your best bet.
    • A QHB or LD Rapier Carrier is your most efficient murder machine available.
  • Chaos Sicaran (Martial Legacy):
    • Battle Tank: Spend 1 CP for something worse than a triple-ectoplasma Forgefiend; 165 points for 48" Heavy 6 S7 AP-2 D3 would be bad even if you didn't have to spend a CP on it. Hard pass.
    • Punisher: 36" Heavy 18 S6 AP-1 D1 is a horde-killer, and 155 points isn't bad, but you just don't need more anti-chaff dakka in a TSons army, especially for a 1 CP price tag.
    • Venator: The Sicaran Laser Cannon on this thing is 48" Heavy 3 S12 AP-3 D1d6, and if the shooter remained stationary, its D goes up to straight 6 - all for 170 points and 1 CP. On the move, this can't possibly compete with a Vindicator Laser Destroyer, which doesn't even have to pay a CP to exist, and being forced to Remain Stationary all the time is just too steep a cost for something that can't ignore LOS. Skip this.
  • Chaos Whirlwind Scorpius (Martial Legacy):Chaos finally gets a Whirlwind! The Scorpius Multi-Launcher is going to do work at 48" Heavy 3d3 S6 AP-2 D2, Blast, Ignores LOS. Can also get a combi-bolter, but you aren't going to do that since you want it hiding all game and shooting - at 170 points it costs too much for just its output, and instead you want to abuse its incredible defensive value letting it hide in a corner, immune to being shot back at.

Lord of War[edit]

  • Magnus the Red - Magnus is definitely a beast, there is no doubt about that: M18/16/14(Fly) A8/7/6 Ws2+ S8(16) T7 Sv3+/4++ W18. He also has a degrading +2/+1 to Psychic and Deny the Witch tests (he doesn't degrade that third one when he's down to 1/4 wounds), and his Blade of Magnus is WS2+ A6-8 Sx2(16) AP-4 D3 and deals an additional d3 mortal wounds to one of the models that survived his beating. His Gaze of Magnus now buffs up his smites to 1d6 mortal wounds or 3d3 mortal wounds if you get a result higher than 10, spiking his base Smite output to 4.63 - but he should always have Brotherhood of Sorcerers up, meaning he can't fail the Smite due to his +3 modifier, bringing his average mortal wounds with Smite to 5.15, because he also re-rolls all Psychic Tests. He also spreads a re-roll hits of 1 to friendly Thousand Sons Core units (all 4 of them) within 6" of him, as well as letting one Thousand Sons Core or Character re-roll all hit rolls each turn. Expect people to dump a lot of firepower into him very early to try and bring him down, as he is truly a terror if allowed to go unanswered and even worse if he gets a chance to buff himself up first.
    • Don't feel bad about using his re-roll ability on himself - you won't have a good target for it on the table unless you brought Contemptors, and even then forcing Magnus to be near your dreads is plain unnecessary.
    • He knows Smite and 3 powers base from the Discipline of Change and/or the Discipline of Vengeance, but if he's your Warlord (and he nearly has to be - your only current way out is allying in Mortarion to take over) then he knows all 9 from both, bringing his total powers known to 19. He also has Cast 3 and Deny 3.
    • If he's your Warlord, he also re-rolls Deny the Witch tests, can benefit from a second Ritual each turn, and reduces all Damage taken by 1, to a minimum of 1.
    • Whether he knows 4 powers or 19, his ability to roll very high on Psychic tests is best on powers that care about the test. You have 3 of these:
      • As mentioned above, Smite in Magnus' hands deals an average of 5.15 mortal wounds. A normal caster of yours casts it for 2.08.
      • Baleful Devolution in Magnus' hands deals an average of 3.51 mortal wounds. A normal caster of yours casts it for 1.88.
      • Tzeentch's Firestorm in Magnus' hands deals an average of 2.19 mortal wounds. A normal caster of yours casts it for 1.67.
        • Firestorm ignores casting modifiers for calculating how many mortal wounds to deal, so your +3 only helps you cast it, but your re-roll raises the expected output. If you bring along someone else with a re-roll, like Ahriman, you can hand this power off without concern.
      • For reference, Magnus' version of Doombolt (which doesn't reward higher test rolls) deals about 3 mortal wounds (the odds of failing the cast are negligible).
        • As a corollary, while Magnus is a decent target for Swelled by the Warp, the jump from S16 to S18 will almost never help you, and the jump from A8 to A9 usually deals as much damage as a power would - for example, even against a T4- W3+ Sv3+ target (e.g. a Space Marine Apothecary) for optimal output, the additional attack will only be worth an extra 2.083 points of damage - less than just casting a mortal wound power. If you're going to throw Swelled by the Warp on Magnus, you usually want to have someone else do it - don't waste Magnus' excellent casting on it.
    • Don't let that force your hand, though - Magnus' odds of casting all of your powers are better than normal, so you can use him to cast any power you desperately want up, like Twist of Fate. Here are Magnus's odds of casting the powers you have, assuming a full +3 modifier:
      • WC4 (Empyric Guidance): 100%
      • WC5 (Smite, Gaze of Hate, Psychic Stalk, Temporal Manipulation, Pyric Flux): 100%
        • This means you should re-roll Smite rolls of less than 8 on the dice - you can't fail the cast, and on an 8+ you get the upgraded output.
      • WC6 (Dark Blessing, Swelled by the Warp, Tzeentch's Firestorm, Glamour of Tzeentch, Doombolt, Cacodaemonic Curse): 99.92%
        • For Firestorm, re-roll dice results of 8 or less - the odds of you dropping from 1.5 mortal wounds to 0 are negligible, and you might re-roll into 3 mortal wounds. That drops your odds to 98.00%.
      • WC7 (Presage, Temporal Surge, Desecration of Worlds, Weaver of Fates, Perplex): 99.31%
      • WC8 (Twist of Fate, Baleful Devolution): 97.22%
    • Surround him with Scarab Terminators or Rubric Marines and he's an amazing force multiplier. On the other hand, that's a waste of his close combat potential and you have plenty of other psykers to put on buffing duty. If you're using that setup, have him fly in first and then use him as an anchor for the Terminators so he can still contribute to the battle directly, as opposed to sitting on his crimson ass half the game.

Forge World[edit]

  • Chaos Sokar Pattern Stormbird Gunship (Martial Legacy) - Pretty much the largest flyer/transport/model Forge World offers next to titans. Damn expensive in points and tangible money alike, it can ferry the entire army onto the battlefield. Has like 8 lascannons, a host of various missiles and bombs, void shields, and a few heavy bolters here and there for flavor. Has 40 wounds, T9, a 5++ after the void shields.
  • Chaos Thunderhawk Assault Gunship - The iconic astartes transport, comes with T8 30 wounds and a 2+ save. This behemoth comes equipped with 2 lascannons, Thunderhawk Heavy Cannon, 4 twin heavy bolters, and cluster bombs. The heavy cannon (48" Heavy 2D6 S8 AP-2 D3+2 damage and blast) can be swapped for a Turbo-laser destructor (96" Heavy 3 S16 AP-5 6 Damage) should you feel like focusing on vehicle killing. Once per battle you can open the hangers and drop the bombs, targeting one unit you've moved over, rolling a dice per model (6 instead for every vehicle and monster in said unit) up to a maximum of 18 dice, with each roll of 4+ dealing a single mortal wound. As for transportation, it can pick 30 infantry models for a ride, each terminator model counting as 2 models.
  • Chaos Cerberus (Martial Legacy) - Jesus, this thing is decently costy but decently killy. So this beast sports T8, 20 wounds, a 2+ save. It also hits at S8 with its Crushing Tracks (SUser AP-3 Damage D3). It can take two heavy bolters or lascannons for sponsons and a heavy hull weapon or combi-weapon for the pintle blah blah blah - let's talk about that FUCKHUEG gun sticking out of the front of it. It slings 4 shots down a 4 foot range with S14 AP-4 and dealing a painful 2d3 (but full 6 damage if you've not moved this model).
  • Chaos Fellblade (Martial Legacy) - Incredibly expensive, but still the Baneblade's exponentially meaner cousin, main cannon fires shells in 2 flavors, AE (your anti-everything shell), 2 shots strength 14 AP -4 and a flat rate of 6 damage per wound whatever you hit with this shell type will die. HE is anti-light/anti-MEQ with 2d6 shots strength 8 ap -3, two damage per shot makes it very effective at annihilating MEQs, 8 lascannons, 1 demolisher cannon and a twin heavy bolter round the arsenal out (not including your choice of combi-weapon or heavy hull weapon of your choice), all-in all, keep this beast at around 48" range to get the most use out of at least half its weapons, good take for non-apocalypse games just don't expect to be having the room for any other expensive units.
  • Chaos Falchion (Martial Legacy) - Also expensive, but appears to be one of the best units in the game for deleting titanic targets (I imagine daemon primarchs too, before they're able to buff themselves, should you get first turn). 2d3 strength 14 shots, -5 AP, 6 damage. It'll wound anything T7 or lower on 2's, and the few T9 targets out there on 3's. Have a Sorc buff it with Presage. 2 quad lascannons = 8 lascannon shots, plus a hull twin heavy bolter add to its already impressive firepower.
  • Chaos Mastodon (Martial Legacy) - Have you ever wanted to transport 40 Marines (or a maximum of 2 helbrutes/contemptors, each taking 10 slots) at once while trashing flyers and generally being nigh-indestructible? Then the Mastodon is the LoW for you! With 30 wounds and a 5+ void shield, the Mastodon is a fucking tough nut to crack, made even more killy with its 24" range siege melta array.
  • Chaos Spartan (Martial Legacy) - Your super LR sadly got moved to the LOW slot, however it's not letting that get it down! T8, W20, Sv2+ and holding 25 Infantry it's going to deliver a lot of paint hurt. Between 12-20w it moves 10", dumping down to 5" at 6-11 and 3" at 1-5... it will likely delivery the payload without fail. Has Quad Lascannons or Two Laser Destroyers (you will want the Lascannons) and Twin heavy bolters. Can crush things in melee and on a 5+.
    • You're playing Thousand Sons here, this thing's not really worth your time if you want it for transportation since you can just slingshot infantry across the table with more ways than you can remember. It IS a cool big tank though.
  • Chaos Typhon (Martial Legacy) - Your tank for when you absolutely need 1 unit dead. It comes stock with the infamous Dreadhammer Siege Cannon that dishes out 2d6 S10 AP -4 shots that each do 3 wounds. The randomness of the number of shots makes it ok at best for dealing with squads that are 10 man or more, but that shouldn't be your priority with this thing. You want to be shooting and those special prize units of 5 or fewer models or rival tanks. This brings us to our next point, wargear. It may also bring Heavy Bolter or Lascannon sponsons. Its no slouch defensively either T8, 20 wounds, and a 2+ save will keep it on the board far longer than your enemy will be comfortable with.
  • Kharybdis Assault Claw - Dreadclaw not have enough spikes? Ever wanted to field a model that weighs as much as its point cost? Well here you go! Seriously, it's like Forge World mails you a giant block of resin and you chisel it out and glue some pointy parts on (so that they know it's supposed to be Chaos). Having almost the same stats as a Dreadclaw (except BS4+, T8, and W20) but with more weapons/troop capacity/model weight and of course SPIKES. 400pts gives you a flyer/drop pod that can carry 20 infantry/1 Contemptor/1 Helbrute into battle by either drop pod assault (which can disembark 9" away from the enemy on the same turn) or like a normal transport after you deep strike it. A fat 20 wounds. In addition to the blade struts and thermal jet array that the Dreadclaw has, you also can use ONE (and only one!) additional Melta array melee attack, S8 AP-4 D6+2. Additionally, to soften whatever you're​ about to forcefully-blade-sodomise, it's equipped with 5 Storm Launchers (Heavy 2d6 S4 ap-1 1D Blast OR heavy 2 S8 AP-3 Damage D6).
    • Maybe throw it at your opponent. The weight and extending spikes will bring about guaranteed victory! (And assault charges)

Counterplay[edit]

Imperium[edit]

Space Marines[edit]

Probably the most versatile faction in the game, able to be ran for shooting or melee, massed infantry or a handful of tanks, Generally speaking, Space Marines will have all flavors of weapons and psychic bullshit that can screw with you. If your opponent doesn't bring a Chaplain or a librarian, they're practically handing you the win. Notable subfaction specific stuff shall be listed below, though it would not hurt to go to their tactics page and get an idea of the chapters, generally speaking.

  • Black Templars:Worse than Grey Knights in some ways, with a flat 5+++ against mortal wounds, meaning they'll be getting plenty out of it against you and are fans of massed infantry that wanna run up and melee you. Grimaldus has a built in +1 deny the witch, and they have a Warlord trait that allows them to do that as well on a separate character. They have relics and squad upgrades that can reduce your +1 to cast or screw with your psychic tests. In short, they live up to their hatred of Psykers. You're in for a slog, but keeping the Templars at a distance is solid advice, as your shooting tends to be better. Remember that Templars rely on tons of buffs to otherwise weak weapons like Chainswords to snowball into giant death blobs. However, keep in mind that those Chainswords will be less effective against you thanks to All is Dust.
  • Dark Angels: Similar to above, minus that they have ways of outright denying psychic powers once per game. Bear this in mind when making a critical roll. Their Deathwing Knights justly deserve their reputation for being utterly terrifying in melee, but in general you'll outshoot anything in the Deathwing. Ravenwing and Greenwing will give you the most trouble, as they are able to bring as many invuln saves as you with Ravenwing while being faster. Oh, and Greenwing can be faster, but also bring tons of highly accurate Plasma weapons to negate all is dust on your Rubricae.
  • Blood Angels: Utterly insane melee, and standard marine pros and cons. However, Blood Angels rely on several psychic powers to go off in order to use flying librarian suicide Dreadnoughts of doom to rip your line a new asshole early game. The one benefit to being an army of psykers is you can deny with everything. Death company of any flavor are fat nopes in melee, and are also incredibly resilient to damage of any kind, though mortals will chew through them like a drill through wood. Don't stay in melee too long either; most Blood Angels players worth their salt will pack Inferno Pistols as canned "fuck you" for anything stupid enough to charge them and not kill them.
  • Space Wolves: Those fucking furries are ferocious in melee, with +1 to hit on the charge and exploding 6's in the assault doctrine. What they lack is shooting, but they make up for this by bringing Bjorn/venerable dreadnoughts with Blizzard shields. Generally speaking, you'll outshoot them, but the challenge will be keeping them out of melee with you. All is dust will protect you early game from Blood claw chainsword spam, but don't stick around for their thunderhammers to laugh at your rules. Wulfen are tough, but thankfully we have psychic powers, so they aren't as much of a death sentence to armies like Sisters or Tau.
  • Grey Knights: Technically they have their own codex but they're still space marines for the most part, and are something akin to your loyalist counterpart. You are simply not having fun. Period. That being said, you do slightly outcast them, but they have slightly better melee options and powers that work well for getting stuck in, something our Scarabs don't enjoy. Psycannons will fuck you over because everything is a Psyker.
  • Astra Militarum: The good news is you will always dominate the Imperial Guard in the Psychic Phase. The bad news is they've got a new codex on the horizon and it looks scary. This army tends to favor shooting-focused hordes and tanks, with... questionable accuracy. However, they can throw a nasty number of shots downrange and outgun you through sheer numbers alone. They've also got pretty damn poor leadership so hit the support characters, deepstrike what you can and also maybe throw something into melee at them. They tend to come up short in melee and you've got some pretty decent options, though tzaangors and cultists can probably handle them pretty damn easily.
  • Adepta Sororitas: An army that wants to get in close to mess with you - bolters, flamers and meltas tend to be their big three ranged options but they're more than happy to close the distance proper and get into melee. The Nuns learned well from the Templars, having an inbuilt deny the witch in most of their army on a 1d6. It only really matters if they roll a 6, which automatically denies the power, though combined with Valorous Heart this can present a challenge. The Condemnor Boltgun can deal mortal wounds to your basic Infantry, and can be found on most Squad leaders. However, their main weakness comes in the fact that they're ultimately squishy T3 single-wound bodies in power armour, meaning that your standard guns are more than equipped to chew on through them. They also don't have much in the way of bodies much like marines, meaning you can wreak havoc on 'em with mortal wounds too.
  • Imperial Knights: Big mechs that tend to pack a lot of firepower, meaning you can't really outshoot them. They are however, quite large and your opponent won't have many models on the board. Abusing Terrain will help a lot, and throwing psychic powers at them is the most efficient way to get around their invuln saves. Remember the invuln only works against gunfire, so a Maulerfiend that is blessed enough to get into melee will fight toe to toe with a knight, assuming it lives that long. Play the objective and you'll be fine.

Chaos[edit]

  • Chaos Space Marines: These guys play similarly to regular Space Marines, albeit with a bit more of melee flavor. Many of the same tactics that apply to them apply here as well. Have some rules that overlap, tend to also quite like flamers. Specific matchups will depend on their legion, much like their loyalist counterparts.
  • Death Guard:Slow and hard to kill, though in a different way to you. They've got a good amount of rerolls they can access, a high toughness characteristic and reduce all the damage they take by 1, along with debuffing anything that gets too close to them. They lack high AP shooting on any of their infantry, with anything remotely good loaded onto their vehicles. Your mortal wound output should help versus their marines and terminators, though if they close the gap then expect your own marines to fold in melee. Having something to screen charges is never an awful idea but it is pretty damn essential versus them.
  • Thousand Sons: Scroll back up, read the article and you should have an idea when it comes to strengths and weaknesses. Your ranged weapons are pretty mediocre versus other rubric marines so save those for any chaff that they might've brought instead, try and get some units into melee with their gunlines and save your denies for any sort of buffs or important powers rather than just smites.
  • Chaos Daemons: A general rule of thumb with Chaos daemons is that they don't give a crap about AP. Instead of typical invuln saves, Daemons have two values for their Armour saves that cannot be ignored or modified in any way (barring mortal wounds, funnily enough) This is exacerbated by their generally lower toughness (T3 infantry on average, Chaos God dependent). To this end, you should prioritize maximizing the number of shots rather than strength. Coincidentally, your Rubrics can also take flamers which put out a good amount of shots. Your mortal wound output is also a blessing to get around their Daemon Saves and you can easily mess with their psychic shenanigans (particularly against Tzeentch, imagine that). Be warned, there are now little if any penalties for souping Daemons together with the new Codex. Each god tends to have a bit of a different theme
    • Khorne - Notably the only daemon faction without Psykers (given how Khorne hates them, this is unsurprising), Khorne daemons are particularly vulnerable to your psykers and mortal wound spam in general. As an army entirely focused on melee units, they are also very vulnerable to being picked off at range, albeit your best option for deleting their hordes requires you to get into charging distance all the same. Do be aware of their AP, even though you've got army-wide invuln saves they're not much better than the standard -3 that they've got almost across the board.
    • Nurgle - Their painfully slow movement speed will ensure you will have no trouble playing keep away the entire game. With the update, their Plaguebearers are now T5 with two wounds but are insanely pricey for what they do. Their nurglings lack ObSec, but their improved Beasts of Nurgle will automatically heal back to full wounds unless they're outright destroyed. Like necrons, wiping them in one go is your best bet.
    • Tzeentch - A buff to their Daemon save means most of their standard units benefit from a 3+ versus ranged, which is a pain since they don't care about AP at all. However, they'll fold in melee with their pitiful 5+ saves instead. Do keep in mind that their troop daemons can split into smaller ones and can be an absolute pain in the ass to chew through. Focus on their bigger, scary units first. They're much more keen on shooting than the other factions and have more abundant psykers too. Funny how you've both got that in common, isn't it?
    • Slaanesh - Much like Khorne, Slaanesh daemons are dedicated melee combatants, but with a heightened emphasis on speed over power. They'll typically throw out more attacks with less AP and damage. This is actually a good thing, as most of those attacks will have less than 2 AP and also do 1 damage, meaning that your marines have a good chance when it comes to standing up to them in combat. Now, they probably won't survive multiple rounds of melee, so still try to dispatch them before they get too close.
  • Chaos Knights - Evil Knights that individually are more flexible in their loadout than their imperial counterparts. Similarly, their invulns only apply to ranged attacks and your mortal wound output is going to be a good option versus them.

Xenos[edit]

Eldar[edit]

  • Craftworld Eldar/Aeldari: A fast, psyker-heavy army that can be deceptively versatile - ranged and melee are both valid options for them and they tend to rely on units that have a designated purpose that they excel in, though they can also be built in other ways. Jetbikes that will cross the board in a turn with little effort, or the very durable Wraith units that are just as slow-moving as you are, to (smallish) hordes of guardians wielding shuriken catapults supported by a compliment of artillery and tanks. However, one universal thing about them is that they will be quite reliant on psykers to make their units shine. You've still got a decent chance to out-cast them, given all their psykers are either classified as HQs or their very contested Elites section. However, unlike your own sorcerers, their big boy psykers get two denies a piece and are immune to perils by default.

Add on top of that the fact that they will easily outrun you, aspect warriors that can carve through your marines with little difficulty, and a myriad of other shenanigans and you might be in for a rough one.

However, their infantry are universally a squishy T3 with an average save of 4+ that need to get relatively close to do their damage. Their aspect warriors also tend to perform poorly outside of their designated roles. If you can force them into unfavorable positions, massed boltguns and flamers will make short work of their forces. Their psyker support is also very much not built to take fights, catch one in melee with a squad of basic rubrics and it's very much probable they'll die. They very much aren't hurting for AP which is what typically lets them carve their way through MEQs, your army-wide invuln and the prevalence of D1 weapons on their infantry units means that you'll actually be able to still stand up to 'em when they do close the gap much better than your vanilla CSM counterparts.

  • Dark Eldar/Drukhari: Edgy, spiky elves that are three factions in one. No, really. You've got shooty kabals, fast and stabby cults and the tough (by elf standards) covens. Much the same applies to these guys as it does craftworlds - they are faster than you and have little trouble killing more elite units. Compared to their cousins, they are somewhat quicker, a bit more frail and also a bit cheaper and also gain power the longer the battle goes on.

Generally speaking, these guys tend to ride into combat amassed on relatively frail skimmer transports that go pretty damn fast, which they can also shoot out of. Popping these first will be the big step to defeating them, as once you get past that hull the squishy bodies inside will have to book it to cover to not get liquefied by your shots - the same statline of T3 bodies and 4+ saves still applies here. Counterplay does depend on what they play, though typically they'll wanna get into melee with you.

  • Kabals are gonna typically hang back and pepper you with poisoned shots - meaning they wound on 4+ against anything that isn't a vehicle regardless of toughness. Not that this is scary to your marines at all, as they have no AP and do a single point of damage and cultists aren't worth crying over. No, these guys will be the biggest threat to your vehicles and daemon engines, firing a myriad of blasters, dark lances and other anti-tank weaponry that'll make short work of them. Sure, they can pack disintegrator cannons along which are very much an anti-elite choice but more often than not, they'll rely on the other subfactions or their incubi mercenaries to do that for them in melee. Watch out for those ones, they're scary good at their job and also get power armour for a 3+ save
  • Cults will ruin your day, with their basic Wyches moving a staggering 8" and their other units going much quicker than that, all while crapping out a bunch of melee attacks. They also shoot up drugs before combat to make things... interesting. These can do a myriad of things; make them tougher, hit harder, go faster, or shoot a little better. They have absolutely crap armour, charging into battle almost naked and relying on their superior reflexes to dodge instead. As you might imagine, it's easier to dodge a blade than a bullet, meaning that these mostly-ladies are even more fucked than any of their other kin if they're caught out in the open to be shot at. Pop their transports with your big guns first and foremost, put your other shots into their jetbikes and hoverboard riders as much as you can. That will buy you some time to then shoot their rank and file (hopefully) before they can close in on you.
  • Covens are also melee focused, though they'll have a much better time shrugging your attacks off with their basic infantry being T4 and a faction-wide feel no pain that will give them a shot versus your psychic damage. The scary things are their pain engines though, relatively quick flying scorpions that are mostly gonna wanna get close so they can butcher their way through your stuff, though they can also be kitted out for shooting things too. They are only T6 however, meaning that heavy weapons can still cut through them efficiently. Hell, a buffed squad of terminators can probably punch them back just fine too.
  • Harlequins: Are you scared of clowns? Odds are, you should be. An uncommon faction to come across (though competitively they've actually been doing well so maybe not as much as it was in years past) that is not forgiving for new players to pick up. If your opponent is playing them, they'll almost certainly have a good idea of what they're doing. Much like the other eldar, they are blisteringly fast and rely on an army-wide 4++ to protect their squishy T3 bodies (noticing a pattern yet?) to survive. They rely on the sheer amount of trickery they can pull off to win. Did you think your character was safe because there was a 10-man squad of terminators in front of him? Tough shit, they can jump over models with ease in their move phase and land on the other side for an easy charge where they'll proceed to blend him into paste with their melee damage. They've got numerous stratagems that'll let them get anywhere on the board, shut off rerolls against them and more.

Your best bet is to keep your distance as best you can. Unlike dark eldar, popping their transports will be much harder and you're better served on waiting until they get out to shoot the elves inside. They've limited defence against mortal wounds though, take out their Shadowseers and they'll lose any sort of denies or auras that'll save them from smites. Once they start taking losses, they lose steam big time and their turns become quite anemic. If you're alive at this point, you can easily snag victory.

Tyranids[edit]

  • Tyranids: Hordes or big and tough monsters are the big two ways to play them, either way they tend to be pretty adept at melee and are surprisingly fast. Focus on killing any Synapse creatures that you can, be mindful of Shadow in the Warp which can interfere with your own casting.
  • Genestealer Cults: Expect a lot of positioning tricks, this faction is also potent when it comes to both shooting and melee. However, they are highly reliant on buffs to make their shooting any good and aren't particularly tough, with nothing available to them tougher than a Rhino. Do keep in mind that they technically can ally Imperial Guard, along with Tyranids but the latter will completely break their Crossfire rule, while the former can only make up 25% of their total point value and not break it.

Misc[edit]

  • Necrons: Robot skeletons that are good at not dying thanks to their ability to just stand back up after being shot. They're also thematically similar to you in the sense that they are also space Egyptians, though not quite to the same extent. Primarily geared towards shooting with a respectable amount of AP, they still have a decent amount of options for melee damage output and, while slow on foot, do have some movement tricks to rocket their stuff up the board.

They are particularly vulnerable to your vast array of psychic powers as the only way they can deny the witch is to upgrade their canoptek vehicles with Gloom Prisms, and get a bit of defence through a specific subfaction. Drowning their units with mortal wounds in the psychic phase does deny them their reanimation, as it specifies that it has to be the result of an attack rather than just any source of damage they want. You'll also wanna focus on taking out one unit at a time, as once a squad's wiped, they aren't coming back any more.

  • Orks: A tough, slow melee horde that kinda sucks at shooting. Don't underestimate that though, even though they're not accurate shots they still have volume of fire. All the same they'll do their damn hardest to get up close to beat the shit out of you. With how tough your rubrics and especially your terminators are, you can actually last a round with 'em in melee, though two is questionable.

Orks tend to fold easily, due to their poor morale and their 6+ saves. Their high AP tends to belong to a select few squads only as well. Stock up on blast weapons, have a few units that can act as speedbumps for their mobs of boyz and pick them off before they can get to you as best you can.

  • Tau: All shooting, all the time. Space gundam enthusiasts that can go pretty fast thanks to an abundance of the fly keyword and have absolutely no melee presence outside of some of their alien auxiliaries. They've also got a myriad of ways to deflect wounds with their drones which can make their stuff surprisingly durable. Their basic infantry weapon is one of, if not the best in the game thanks to its range and high AP, though you'll still deflect some of that since it is single damage still.

The Tau, again have no melee presence and thus are going to hit like wet noodles in melee combat and will easily be punched to death by cultists if they somehow survive long enough to get up there. Combine that with their lack of psykers and if you can survive the first couple rounds of shooting and close the gap with literally anything, you can easily just slug them to death. Do be aware some of their battlesuits can fire into melee though, much like vehicles can with Big Guns Never Tire. If you can get up there though, it should be easy pickings. As they are all T3, melting their infantry with massed flamers is also a solid option.

  • Leagues of Votann: Space dwarves. Similar to sisters of battle, they wanna get close to fuck your shit up. They are slow, have special void armor (reduces AP by 1 and stops rerolling of wounds or damage), along with pretty damn good shooting. Oh, they've also got a mechanic that lets them auto-wound stuff on up to a 4+ to hit. However, they've only got one psyker unit with a single deny which means that they're very vulnerable to mortal wound spam you can do. In addition, while their armour isn't bad, their base save is still a 4+ and you've got enough AP on your standard weaponry to make that a 5+, meaning that they will feel any shots that go through. Their melee output isn't exactly great either, outside of a couple dedicated units so sending in terminators to chop 'em up will spark dividends.

Tactics[edit]

The Scarab Meme Team[edit]

A list basically revolving around blobs of Scarabs, when making your list, you gotta ask yourself: 20 or 30 Scarabs?3 Blobs of 10, or a Block of 10 with two MSU squads to stay cheap,both points and CP-wise? With Armour of Contempt, they need AP-2(-3 in cover, -4 with all is dust) to even begin denting your save. Of course, no one will willingly use D1 against you, which is why you have a 1 CP (3 for 6+ model units) strat to bring damage down by 1. 30 models costs 1305 pts, and 20 costs 875. Always give them the shooty options, and upgrade one 10 man squad with Rites.

Regardless, you can take 2 exalted sorcerors and an Infernal Master (switching out the ES for a DP/Ahriman being your choice), but always kit the Infernal Master for support: Malefic Maelstrom and Glimpse of Eternity, Empyric Guidance for extra range, and a support Relic like Umbralefic or the Orerry. The Orerry works best for a Terminator firebase, letting them ignore any modifiers and abilities that reduce damage.

Cult of Duplicity for mobility, but Time players should always go for 30 Scarabs. While Cults are mutually exclusive now, Duplicity and Time can situationally access each other's shenanigans at least once a battle: Umbralefic for teleporting once, and Rites + Warped Regeneration for bringing models back. The Cults are just surer ways to do them.

The Crimson King[edit]

The short and sweet of this tactic is easily summed up in these two words, BUFF MAGNUS!!! So take Magnus and take Ahriman on disc and either a daemon prince or exalted sorcerer of disc. Then give Magnus all the buffs possible from powers: -1 to be hit (Glamour of Tzeentch), +2S/+1A (Swelled by the Warp, which you're only casting for the +1A, as it takes Magnus to hitting at S18 A9, and S16->18 doesn't matter), healing if hurt (Temporal Manipulation), then give +2 to Magnus' already +3/+2 from Cabalistic Rituals and throw smite up the board at the nearest unit and then fly him up the board and have him also cast as many mortal wounds as possible and then charge what's still standing. Wash, rinse, repeat till either Magnus is dead or you've won. If your casters can keep up well enough to target what Magnus plans on charging, you can include debuffs on his target, too, the most important of which is Twist of Fate to let him ignore invuln saves once he gets into melee.

The Teleporting Mutator[edit]

This simple tactic relies on having a Cult of Duplicity Sorcerer in Terminator Armour with the Loyal Thrall upgrade (psychic actions cost one cast rather than taking all of your casting!) and the Umbralefic Crystal. Drop this psyker in the second round via teleport strike and have him perform the Mutate Landscape secondary objective (remember, you get +1 to those as well!), then use Sorcerous Facade to escape or move to another objective or back to the safety of your backlines, then perform this again using the Umbralefic Crystal next turn. You aren't likely to be able to mutate the objectives in your opponent's deployment zone as they will most certainly try to protect them, but this will allow you to steal a few objectives that would normally be out of reach. Do keep in mind that this will redirect some of the attention back to your sorcerer, so position him properly. If you're lucky, you might even be able to force your opponent to expend a teleport strike while you escape freely with your endless amount of redeployment powers.

  • Don't forget, Loyal Thrall doesn't let you ignore the standing rule that no psyker can perform more one psychic action per psychic phase.

The Dice Master[edit]

Bring a Cult of Prophecy Infernal Master whose entire job is to perform the pact Glimpse of Eternity and the Cult Psychic Power Divine the Future and the Oraculae Brazier relic. This gives you a character who's dedicated to providing re-rolls and guaranteed dice rolls. I don't need to tell you how good those are, right?

The Psychic Phase Belongs to me and me Alone![edit]

If you want to prove to all of your (former)friends that the Thousand Sons are the undisputed masters of the psychic phase, then take 2 Thousand Sons detachments, make one of them Cult of Change for the Capricious Crest relic, make the other Cult of Mutation for the Attempted Possession psychic power, take a small detachment of Tzeentch Demons and squeeze in the blue scribes... The net result is -1 to psychic tests while within 12" of the scribes, another -2 to a psyker of your choice via attempted possession for a total of -3, change any 6s they get to 1s via Capricious Crest (which is no more than 1/round, don't forget, so you're not using it to buff your casting, you're committed to messing with theirs) and to top things off they lose access to any powers they fail while within range of the scribes for the duration of the battle, since you've unlocked chaos demon stratagems by including a Chaos Demons detachment... Sprinkle demonic possession and the Psychic Dominion stratagem (roll one extra D6 for deny tests) as desired.

If you don't mind going multi-god, Fiends of Slaanesh have another -1 to enemy Psychic tests, on top of locking enemy units in melee, and the Burning Chariot can take Chanting Horrors, giving you a total of -3 to cast from Daemons alone, -5 on the chosen character. But you should mind.