The Thousand Sons are an elite army with a smattering of lighter units, with a focus on culling their enemies from mid to short range with Psychic powers and anti-infantry firepower.
Thousand Sons | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- One of the best, if not outright the best, Mortal Wound generators in the game
- Great short ranged firepower for clearing all manner of infantry
- Decent defenses, ranging from widespread invulnerables to more esoteric abilities
- Good array of movement and survivability tricks
- A flexible spread of abilities for all manner of situations
- Expensive pretty much across the board, you won’t be outnumbering many armies
- Not much in the way of melee prowess, with even their good melee units not having the meat to deal with much beyond mid-level units
- Heavily reliant on the Psychic Phase for buffs, debuffs and damage, so a bad turn can really put you on the back fence
- Quite complex in terms of interlocking parts and rules, needing a fair bit of practice to understand the best uses and timings, making them tricky to get the most out of initially
- Low model range makes for some fairly homogenous armies
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so some basic things may not be explained here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to THOUSAND SONS models with the same <GREAT CULT > Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no CULT OF MAGIC Auras or powers affecting CULT OF DUPLICITY units, for example). There are occasional exceptions that will affect all THOUSAND SONSunits, these will be called out.
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First turn of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Deep Strike’ essentially means the unit can be placed into Reinforcements and arrive more than 9” away from enemy units.
- ‘Infiltrate’, “Scout” or similar, means the unit can be deployed anywhere on the table over 9” away from enemy models and the enemy deployment zone, instead of deploying normally.
- Some abilities interact with certain types of Psychic Powers, be they Witchfires, Blessings or Maledictions. Psychic Powers are marked with their corresponding letter to identify them (so Witchfires are W, Blessings are B and Maledictions are M).
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies) and only has THOUSAND SONS units in it.
- Objective Secured on your RUBRIC MARINES, BRAY and SCARAB OCCULT units. The first two are fairly standard, but giving you ObSec Terminators makes the Thousand Sons great for the Primary missions, letting them steal Objectives from even other elite units.
- Brotherhood of Sorcerers – All your PSYKERS get +1 to Cast, which is fantastic for reliability in the all important Psychic Phase. On top of that, everything barring CULTISTS and SPAWN gets a 5++, a crucial survivability boost, granting you a save in most situations, which in today’s age of lethality is fantastic, and makes your Vehicles always have at least a chance of sticking around in the face of fire.
- Mere Servants – You can’t have more than one of each CULTIST and BRAY than RUBRICS or SCARABS, which is fine as those are some of your best units, and Cultists…aren’t. Being limited on BRAY is fine, as you probably weren’t looking to spam those anyways.
- Jealous Tyrant – 1 DAEMON PRINCE per Detachment. Pretty standard, and whilst they are great, taking more than 1 would already be a significant chunk in points, let alone the extra Detachment cost.
- Cults of the Legion – A selection of rules depending on what Keyword you give a Detachment, described below.
Every GREAT CULT unit gains a Cult, depending on the Detachment they are in, granting them a unique Psychic Power they all know, as well as access to their Warlord Trait. Should your WARLORD have the associated Cult (or it’s MAGNUS), you are also eligible to have the Relic too. Any Cult specific rules can only affect their corresponding Cult, so no benefits to the special characters or Tzaangor units. Psychic Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
Psychic Power- Warp Reality* (WC 6) (M)
A visible terrain feature within 24” turns into a mass of tentacles, making a single enemy unit within 3” halve their Mv, and -1 to Advance and Charge rolls. A powerful ability to slow down a key unit and protect your lines from assaults, but don’t neglect its use in hemming in an army by using on a screen, or forcing a unit to advance if they want to get to an Objective.
Warlord Trait- Touch of Vicissitude
6s to Hit in melee do a Mortal Wound in addition. Its fine, nothing special, can be fun if you have ways to increase your attacks via Relics, but its mostly not that useful, especially since melee is not really where a Thousand Sons Character wants to be if they can help it, and this will net maybe 1 Mortal per Fight.
Relic- Exalted Mutation
+1 Str, T and A is a nice stat boost to a SORCEROR is nice, but its not EXALTED SORCEROR, making it slightly less appealing in the grand scheme of things, given their already lesser stats.
Psychic Power- Divine the Future* (WC 6) (B)
If cast, roll a single D6 and you can use that in the place of a single Hit, Wound, Advance, Charge, Cast, Deny or Morale test. A pseudo Act of Faith ala the Sisters of Battle, though this one specifically states replace a roll, letting you see the roll before determining if the Divine roll is useful in that instance. Obviously dependent on what the D6 is, this could be incredible or next to useless.
Warlord Trait- Guided by the Whispers
Make a Normal Move of 6” once per turn after being declared the target of a charge. A useful ability to ensure a key Character avoids combat on the opponents terms, though can be offset by being charged by multiple units, or if already in combat. Note this is done before knowing the charge roll, so you can’t “save” it in case someone fails, but likewise if this moves you out of a possible range roll, you can force the charge to auto fail- especially useful if they declared on multiple targets, causing them to fail on other units as well.
Relic- Oracular Brazier
One CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6” is chosen to get to reroll a Hit, Wound and Damage roll each time they Shoot or Fight, until your next turn. Solid reliability boost, though a bit all over the place, with some units not having to roll for Damage, or only rolling for it in certain phases. It’s good, and offers good support, but by no means essential given its limitations.
Psychic Power- Time Flux (WC 6) (B)
An INFANTRY unit within 6” has a slain model returned to life fully healed. A great power for attrition, and incredibly potent on SCARABS but useful whenever it might come up, especially since everyone will know this power. Obviously not useful for Characters, but gives them the option to heal units around them should they have more important powers to cast.
Warlord Trait- Immaterial Echo
Once per Psychic Phase, if a test is passed on a 9+, the WARLORD can attempt to manifest an additional power that turn that cannot be denied if successful. A good trait to help get off an extra Smite, or freeing up a slot for Time Flux, and if against armies with Denys can be used to “fish” for the anti-deny portion on a crucial power like Twist of Fate. It’s not always useful, but is a good choice even if it nets an extra Smite every so often.
Relic- Hourglass of Manat
The first time the bearer dies, they revive with D3 Wounds at the end of the Phase. Automatic revival is very powerful, and whilst this does take up a crucial Relic, it is very powerful on a Prince or a key Exalted Sorcerer to keep them around. Can sometimes be negated by a canny opponent, ie killing you in the Shooting Phase and just cutting them down in the subsequent Fight phase, but it still means they have to divert attention if needed.
Psychic Power- Seeded Strategy (WC 7) (B)
A CORE unit within 24” can Shoot and Charge even if they Fell Back. A great ability given the strength of you guns (and melee for SCARABS), though slightly let down by the unit themselves being unable to cast it on themselves (falling back precluding casting), but with its long range someone somewhere will likely be able to cast it on them, giving your units good flexibility to pick their preferred targets and to avoid being tagged as much.
Warlord Trait- Grand Schemer
Units within 3” get ObSec, or count as two models if already ObSec. The Character alone getting it is good. ObSec tanks or Spawn are great. Double ObSec SCARABS and RUBRICS are fantastic. A powerful ability to let you play the Objective game even better, despite its short ranged aura.
Relic- Cha’Qi’Thl’s Theorem
…Not even gonna try to pronounce that. Once per game, a single Thousand Sons Stratagem costs 0CP for a phase. A strong ability with of course greater returns on more expensive Stratagems, though don’t neglect it’s use on a key Stratagem if you need it, and whilst TSons do have easy access to CP regeneration via Rituals, sometimes it’s just not enough. Can’t be used on any pregame type Stratagems as it explicitly says to use it during a Phase.
Psychic Power- Astral Blast (WC 6) (W)
A 12” Smite that does a Mortal Wound to all other units within 3” of the target. Good for just unleashing further damage on a unit, or cascading some automatic wounds across a battleline via a big screen, just be careful of any backlash your own units might suffer if they’re too close.
Warlord Trait- Devastating Sorcery
Reroll a Psychic Test made for a Smite or Witchfire power once per phase. It’s fine, these powers are generally low enough in WC that your +1 should help cover any lower rolls in the first place though. Handy to have on a Witchfire battery type Character just to help cover any duff rolls, or to try and fish for a Super Smite.
Relic- Arcane Focus
In each of your Psychic Phases, one unit within 6” lowers the cost of any Rituals they use that phase by 1. Good in most circumstances, especially on a Character that can use two via the Arrogance of Aeons Warlord Trait. However you should be anticipating the Rituals you are going to use going into each turn, so it may not often result in enough of a saving to use an extra high cost ability. Handy to have, but not a necessity.
Psychic Power- Empyric Trespass* (WC 6) (M)
Army wide reroll 1s to Wound against a single enemy unit within 24”. Pretty much the only way to get rerolling wounds with Thousand Sons, and whilst it is only on one unit a turn, it can really help turn the tide against a key enemy unit, especially given it affects all your Knowledge units.
Warlord Trait- Ardent Scholar
Reroll any 1s for Psychic Tests. Handy reliability to avoid Perils, or those annoying 1s mixed up with a 5 or 6 for a Test, but overall will only help out in niche situations.
Relic- Incaladion’s Cry
A powered up Warpflame Pistol with Str 6 and Ap -3. That’s it. It’s fine, but there’s better Relics.
Psychic Power- Dysmanifestation* (WC 6) (M)
An enemy unit within 18” is -1 A and Ld. A strong anti melee debuff, and the Ld reduction can occasionally be handy too. The main issue is melee units will either still have enough attacks to cause significant damage, or the unit’s goal isn’t to damage you but to tie you up. It’s good, but can be match up dependent and sometimes just won’t do enough compared to either being able to not worry about being tied up, or not being engaged in melee at all.
Warlord Trait- Fickle Nature
Rerolling Charges, as well as being able to Shoot and Charge when Falling Back is a solid utility trait, particularly on a Prince who wants to ensure he is fighting the units he is best suited to. You will be giving up casting with that Character should you choose to utilise this however, so bear that in mind, and weigh up the costs of casting vs being able to act elsewhere.
Relic- Capricious Crest
Once per Battle Round you can select a PSYKER within 18”, changing a 1 on a Psychic Test to a 6 if it’s a friendly PSYKER, or changing a 6 to a 1 if it’s an enemy PSYKER. These happen after rerolls, so it will only ever affect the final dice roll, and offers an interesting spread of options, be it to help cast, ensure a fail, or even avoid or cause Perils. The once per Round limitation can be frustrating as you might not use it to save it for the subsequent phase, or vice versa. Useful just often enough to make it worth considering, though has greater value vs other Psykers as well so you have a bit more utility.
Psychic Power- Sorcerous Facade (WC 8) (B)
Tied for most expensive power in the book, but an instant redeploy for any INFANTRY or MONSTER unit within 6” is incredibly strong. Annoyingly it doesn’t work on CAVALRY so you can’t fling your Disc mounted Characters around, but still, the utility this provides is second to none. Objective grabbing, offensive pushes, use to get out of combat, set up Secondaries, get better Line of Sight, and more. Useful on almost every turn, the only downside will be picking who to use it on.
Warlord Trait- Master Misinformator
Lets you redeploy the Warlord and D3 non-VEHICLES at the start of the first Battle Round. Anything that lets you redeploy is of course fantastic. Unlike other similar rules this does not allow you to put units into Strategic Reserve, but regardless being able to shift part of your army around depending to cover weaknesses or a counter deploy, or allow your to deploy for second but still capitalise on first turn.
Relic- Perfidious Tome
In your Command Phase, roll a D6, gaining a CP on a 4+, or giving your opponent a CP on 1. Will on average net you 2 to 3 CP a game, and give one to an opponent every other game. But you have one of the best ways to get CP in the game via Rituals, without needing to risk giving your opponent a bonus CP. And it will happen during a really clutch moment to let them do something game changing like interrupt or something…Best to pass, there’s better Relics to look at.
Psychic Power- Attempted Possession* (WC 5) (M)
An enemy unit within 18” takes a Mortal Wound and suffers -2 to cast. Cheap, and doesn’t need line of sight, but overall fairly middling. Low damage output, though it can combine nicely with Malevolent Charge, and the casting debuff whilst good shouldn’t be too necessary given your mass Denies anyways. It’s certainly not a bad power, but by no means one of the better ones.
Warlord Trait- Beguiling Influence
Hit, Wound and Damage rolls against the WARLORD cannot be rerolled. A strong defensive ability to help escape a buffed up unit or a Character looking to use a reroll to offset an unlucky streak of rolls.
Relic- Sorthis’ Mirror
Instead of Fighting normally, an INFANTRY model with Ld 9 or less that is within Engagement Range immediately attacks their own unit. It’s certainly fun, but it will be dependent on the match up and timings. A Klaivex attacking their own unit will likely do more damage than your stave, but if you’ve been charged, not so much. Likewise, fighting a bunch of Gaunts effectively means wasting your Relic slot. It is however helpful against Infantry Characters with a stronger melee profile than yours, provided they fit the Ld criteria. It’s fine, and can lead to some funny situations of someone murdering their friends, but there’s more generally useful Relics.
Your “Paid Upgrade” section, letting you enhance certain Astartes Psykers with varying abilities. As ever, these are all one per army, and one per unit, and are restricted depending on unit type.
- Rehati- Cast an extra Power for 25pts. Effectively letting you cast a Smite or your Cult power, it’s a solid upgrade, if a slightly expensive one. Good to have for the option, but will generally be dependent on how much either of those powers will be useful to you. Provided you can get a third power off at least 3 or 4 times, it becomes well worth its cost.
- Paradigm of Change- For 15pts become a mini Daemon Prince with +1 W and A. The issue with this is, presuming you had a Disc as well, for about 40pts more just be a Daemon Prince. Exalted Sorcerers should only really be going for melee when absolutely necessary, and as rule try to avoid it, making this a bit of a waste.
- Dilettante- The most expensive upgrade at 35pts, this gives you a Relic, even if you already have one, which can lead to some fairly powerful combos on your Sorcerer, be it giving extra utility piece like the Scrolls or Orrery, or making a particularly defensive footslogger with the Conniving Plate and Chatterfowl.
- Loyal Thrall- Enable the Sorcerer to cast a Psychic Action in place of one Power, not all Powers, letting them be a great battery for CP regeneration or Secondaries without sacrificing all their powers, and for 15pts is nicely costed.
- Witch-warrior- 15pts lets you reroll any single dice used to determine if, or how many, Mortal Wounds are inflicted with a Smite or Witchfire power. Roll a 1 on that Super Smite, here you go. Know that you only need a single 6 on Firestorm to kill the model holding that objective but Tzeentch is being fickle, have no fear! Obviously it has better returns on a Sorcerer with all damage dealing powers, and the reliability is useful to have.
- Battle-psyker- Upgrades the Sorcerer to WS/BS 2 and 5A, for a mere 10pts. The issue is for the same points they could then become an Exalted Sorcerer, with more wounds, a reroll aura and a better Invulnerable…So unless you’re really hurting for HQ slots, this is effectively worthless.
- Ardent Automata- 20pts makes this a fairly costly upgrade, but letting the unit perform Actions and still Shoot is a solid upgrade. Whilst it does preclude Psychic Powers, being able to do Secondaries and still contribute their usually not inconsiderable firepower to the battle lets you operate at top efficiency. Will of course be unit dependent – a 5 man unit whose task is to hold the backfield, not so much. A unit of 10 Warpflamer Rubrics looking to be teleporting around the battlefield, much more useful.
- Protege- Knowing an extra power is useful, though you can still only cast one with these levels of Sorcerers. Utility and options are good, and 10pts isn’t a massive ask, but you will generally find that you have enough Psykers to cast pretty much any power you want to, without needing one lone Aspiring Sorcerer knowing an additional one as well.
- Rites of Coalescence- 15pts lets you fully heal a wounded model in this unit in each of your Command Phases. Great on SCARABS given their already tougher frames, this is useful to keep a unit topped up a little longer in the face of lighter firepower. Note this only heals, not revives, and it explicitly states another model in this unit, so you can’t heal the Sorcerer themselves.
In 9th there are now sub-categories of Stratagems, essentially giving them a Keyword that has interactions with certain rules. It won’t come up all that often, just something to look out for.
Thousand Sons have a variety of Stratagems, with a solid mix of offensive and defensive abilities, alongside a number of ploys useful for movement and tactical shenanigans.
- Fated Mutation- A CHAOS SPAWN unit gets to pick their Mutated Beyond Reason ability, and get +1 Attack for a Fight Phase. For 1 CP it’s handy if there’s a particular ability you want, but in general Spawn are cheap and should be treated as such, spending too many CP on them can make them inefficient. Use sparingly, but remember you have it if running Spawn.
- Ensorcelled Infusion- A VEHICLE within 6” of an ASTARTES PSYKER gets -1 AP on all its guns for a Shooting Phase. A strong offensive boost for only 1CP, letting your weapons bypass most armour, or at least become a lot more effective, especially on units that pack a lot of weaponry.
- Unwavering Phalanx- In your opponent’s Shooting Phase, a RUBRIC or SCARAB unit targeted can use this to reduce all Damage by 1 for the rest of the Phase. This will trigger All Is Dust on Dmg 2 weapons, and of course is exceptionally useful on D3 or D6 weapons, especially on SCARABS, giving them a big jump in survivability. If used on a unit of 6 or more models, the CP cost skyrockets from 1 to 3CP however, so either use sparingly or on smaller units to help increase their survivability when needed. This will generally always be useful, but careful use is needed lest your opponent bait it out early, so consider who would benefit the most in any given situation.
- Wrath of the Wronged- Veterans of the Long War reskinned, giving an ASTARTES INFANTRY unit +1 to Wound in a Shooting or Fight phase. An always strong offensive boost, and costing a flat 2CP regardless of user, so whilst no longer spammable, is still very efficient on big units.
- Infernal Fusillade- An INFANTRY unit’s Bolt weapons shoot 1 extra shot. As this is 1 flat shot, not increasing their profile, this makes no difference whether you are in half range or able to use Malicious Volleys, so bear that in mind. It’s not exactly game changing to fire a few extra boltgun shots, though it is relative depending on other buffs. A unit of Rubrics with 5 extra shots is sort of meh. A unit of Rubrics loaded with +1 to Hit, +1 Str and +1 to Wound from various sources, and it becomes a lot scarier. Don’t go overboard on investment though, as whilst it’s only 1CP, it’s also still only Boltguns.
- Inhuman Savagery- A TZAANGOR unit can reroll all Hits in the Fight Phase. Costly at 2CP, especially given their fairly middling stats, but this can be useful to shift another light unit off an Objective, or to help pile on damage to force saves on an opponent’s key unit. Given you likely won’t be running big units of Tzaangor, it’s not quite as efficient as it could be, and not really worth the CP outlay on smaller units.
- Vengeance for Prospero- Your usual fluffy melee Stratagem of “reroll everything vs your hated foe”, this time being the Space Wolves, for obvious reasons. Amazing against Space Wolves (provided you use it on something good in melee already), and worse than useless vs everything else. Silly Stratagem.
- Great Sorcerer- A PSYKER can attempt to manifest an additional Power in your Psychic Phase. Fantastic utility for only 1CP, letting you try for a key Smite or Cult power when you need it most. Note you can’t use this to go back to a Psyker that has already finished casting this turn, but it can be done before you move on, if you know you’ll need to cast it there and then, so make sure to consider the use of this before casting with the next Psyker.
- Malignant Pact- Should an INFERNAL MASTER fail to make a Pact, he can pick an INFANTRY or CAVALRY model within 6” to take a Mortal Wound, and succeed on the Pact instead. Whilst damaging yourself is less than ideal, nor is spending a CP, the Pacts are usually very potent and well worth trying to get if you can. Given this is only done if you fail does give you the chance to roll first without needing to invest the CP or Wound until you need to, and you’ll know whether you need the Pact to go off for your plans and so can make the decision accordingly. Add to that the ways Thousand Sons have to heal models, and the damage can end up being moot as well.
- Warped Regeneration- Speaking of healing, should you cast a Power on an unmodified 9+, you can use this to either heal the Psykers unit for D3, or fully revive a model if no-one in the unit is injured. Useful on any unit, whilst unmodified is somewhat annoying in that the healing cannot be relied on, it’s still useful to have up your sleeve, especially to heal an unfortunate Perils- note you cannot heal before you Perils, as the heal occurs after the manifestation, so gamble at your own risk if already injured.
- Unholy Susurrus- At the start of your Psychic Phase, a PSYKER swaps one of their known Powers for another Power they could have access to. Fantastic utility, allowing you to always have access to any power you might need, albeit at a cost. Certain powers act well when “in reserve”, as they may not always be useful, such as Twist of Fate, but now you never need to think about “what if I did have it”.
- Biomechanical Mutation- Grants a VEHICLE a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds for a Phase. Unlike most other armies you have fairly robust defenses against the common causes of Mortal Wounds (ie Psychic Powers), so whilst not quite as useful for you as it is for them, it’s still good to have in a pinch, especially if there are abilities to cause Mortals outside of the Psychic Phase.
- Metaphysical Focus- An ASTARTES PSYKER can perform a Psychic Action and still attempt to manifest a Power. Good flexibility for your Characters, or even your units in conjunction with the Great Sorcerer, letting you still work on Actions for Secondaries without giving up on the output or buffs you need from your Powers.
- Psychic Dominion- When a PSYKER attempts to Deny an enemy power, provided there is another PSYKER within 6” that also could attempt to Deny (ie is within range of the enemy Psyker and still has Deny attempts), you can roll 3D6 on that Deny attempt. This isn’t pick the highest either, so that’s an average of 11 on a Deny, albut guaranteeing it. Doesn’t prevent the Psyker that helped you from Denying either, so you’ve still got another Deny in that area for subsequent powers. Situational of course, but powerful to shut down powerful abilities that might mess with your plans.
- Malevolent Machine Spirit- A MACHINE SPIRIT acts on its top profile until your next Command Phase. Good given the significant degradation Land Raiders can take, but its 2CP, and reliant on you having a Land Raider to use it on, which you may very well won’t. Fine if that’s your aim, as it keeps it trucking for longer, but it likely won’t see great use.
- Masters of the Immaterium- For 1CP, don’t suffer a Perils when it inevitably happens. Great for keeping a wounded Psyker safe and just avoiding the damage outright. Can be critical on a double 6 roll for a crucial power, all but guaranteeing the power goes off, and with no downside.
- Sorcerous Might- A SORCERER or EXALTED SORCERER gets +1Dmg with a non-Relic Force Stave for a CP. It’s fine, and useful should you need that bit of reliability, but combat is already verging on a last resort for these Characters, so use it if you absolutely need to, rather than because you can.
- High Acolytes- The usual “give a Character a Warlord Trait”. This is specifically for ASTARTES CHARACTERS (no Shamans here), which is usually not an issue. The Thousand Sons Warlord Traits are generally just ok, so whilst one somewhere might be appealing for a particular goal in the army, going for more than one extra is often fairly pointless.
- Sorcerous Arcana- More Relics, fairly standard. Thousand Sons Relics are pretty good all round, particularly the defensive and utility based ones, so taking an extra one or two is usually not a bad thing. As always, don’t go overboard with pregame CP, as whilst you can regenerate them fairly easily, you want to ensure you start with a decent amount, so take extra Relics that fit your plan, not just because you can.
- Aspiring Magister- Gives an Aspiring or Scarab Sorcerer a Relic, all of them being weapons- either the Coruscator, or one of the Stave Relics. Most of these aren’t that appealing in the first place, let alone on a unit champion, so you’ll often be skipping this, though the Incandeum can have a place in a Warpflamer Rubric squad for a bit more robust cooking over a Warpflame Pistol.
- Schemes of Change- After revealing your Secondaries, you can spend a CP to change one of yours, following the usual rules on categories etc. Can be done multiple times, though realistically you should have 1, maybe 2 in mind as a backup. Won’t always be useful, especially since you should generally be choosing Objectives that you can achieve independently of what your opponent might choose, but at least you have the option for those niche instances.
- Risen Rubricae- For 2CP you can set up one RUBRIC unit via Infiltration. Once per game, but powerful depending on match up, especially on a big squad of 10, and particularly if you win the roll off for turn 1 where you can leverage their short ranged firepower effectively and then look at charging units to tie them up. The threat of them alone lets you dictate the opponents game plan, and combos incredibly well with Cult of Duplicity and their redeploy Warlord Trait, as you can use it to redeploy a unit forward with this, eliminating any risk should you lose the roll off as they will be safer in your lines as normal.
- Webway Infiltration- Lets an INFANTRY unit arrive via Deep Strike for 2CP, or 2 units for 3CP. Good if you want your Rubrics or small units of Tzaangor to be performing Actions, or to act as a second wave, and though costly it is relative- 2CP to bring in a unit of 5 Rubrics that shoots at a unit and kills a few Guardsmen, not so hot. That same unit arriving to score Retrieve Octarius Data and edge you to victory, well worth the cost.
- Implacable Guardians- At the start of the enemy Shooting Phase, pick an ASTARTES CHARACTER (except MAGNUS), and whilst they are within 3” of any RUBRIC or SCARAB unit, they cannot be targeted. Great if facing down the barrel of any Snipers, or if caught out of position for any reason where Look Out Sir won’t apply. Also consider that most Thousand Sons units are often quite small, so this can be useful to protect a key Character should you start losing too many models in a unit and potentially lose your Look Out Sir protection too quickly.
- Coruscating Beam- The “Bombardment” type Stratagem, where for a hefty 3CP your WARLORD, if on the battlefield, picks a point in your Command Phase, to then pick a second point within 9” of the first in your subsequent Command Phase. Anything under a line between those two points takes D3 Mortals on a 4+, with a -1 to roll for CHARACTERS and +1 to the roll for 11+ size units. I mean, sure, it’s fun, and can help dictate a bit of movement or threaten heavily weakened units, but the output isn’t exactly big, and you have plenty of ways to do Mortals anyways.
- Vector Strike- When a HELDRAKE makes a Normal Move, pick a unit it passed over (except CHARACTERS with less than 10W), inflicting D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, or flat 3 if the enemy unit can FLY. It’s only 1CP and fairly reliable, mostly targetable damage, but you usually have better things to spend the CP on, and plenty of Mortal Wound output already.
- Inescapable Forewarning- At the end of the Reinforcement Step, if an enemy unit arrived within 18” of an ASTARTES PSYKER, an ASTARTES CORE unit within 6” of the PSYKER and not in Engagement Range can shoot at the arriving unit. A good deterrent, especially given the fairly long 18” range (and tons of Pyskers), this is great on units of SCARABS with their massed guns, but also useful on things like HELBRUTES should they be equipped with appropriate weaponry. Not cheap at 2CP, but can stymie an enemy’s plan if used well.
- Selfless Automata- If an ASTARTES CHARACTER is charged, a RUBRIC or SCARAB unit within 12” can Heroically Intervene one enemy unit that charged the CHARACTER, moving 2D6” when they do. They can only finish within Engagement Range of one of the units though, meaning clever multi-charges can shut this down by preventing you from making it to only one regardless of positioning, and 2D6” isn’t always reliable. At 2CP this can make a big difference in a combat should you make it, or be a big outlay for nothing on a fail, so be cautious on the distance.
- Empyric Reservoir- A model that generates Cabal Points generates an additional D3 if within 6” of a MUTALITH. Not always going to come up, and often not needed, but useful in later turns as your Cabal Points start to fade away with casualties.
- Slow and Purposeful- When an ASTARTES INFANTRY unit makes a Normal Move, they count as Remaining Stationary. Only really useful for triggering Malicious Volleys on RUBRICS, so it probably won’t come up all that often.
- Aetheric Saturation- A CHARACTER within 12” of a MUTALITH can sacrifice casting one of their powers to heal D3 wounds. Useful if you really need to heal up and aren’t keen on relying on Warped Regeneration, or don’t have access to Temporal Manipulation, so despite its overall requirements it’s another heal to spread around if needed, albeit one unlikely to be used as often.
- Soul Reap- Makes all Soulreaper Cannons in a unit make 2 attacks instead of 1, when attacking a unit with 11+ models. Useful to really thin out hordes, especially if you’re running a blob of 10 SCARABS with 2 Cannons (as this applies to both), but even on a unit only running one this can really help ramp up the firepower. Obviously the model requirement limits it somewhat, but it’s still a useful ability to have up your sleeve.
- Warpflame Gargoyles- A non-HELBRUTE ASTARTES VEHICLE breathes fire on all units within Engagement Range at the start of the Fight Phase, doing D3 Mortals on a 4+ to them, or on a 6 if they’re a CHARACTER or VEHICLE. Given this only applies to your tanks, its fairly limited, and chances are if they’re in melee a few Mortals won’t be helping them get clear in following turns. It can be useful as a Hail Mary type attack with a charging Rhino perhaps on a single wound unit holding an Objective, but those scenarios are few and far between, and realistically if you’re relying on that to help, something else has gone wrong.
- Arcane Smokescreen- Smokescreen, but with magic and warp trickery! A -1 to Hit in the enemy Shooting Phase when a SMOKESCREEN unit is targeted, lasting for the rest of the Phase, is a good defensive boost, especially if combined with things like Weaver of Fates, or Glamour on other units.
- Malefic Scroll- When a unit other than MAGNUS manifests Smite, just do 3 Mortal Wounds. Reliable damage is fantastic, and given that virtually any Psyker can use this it will always be something you can access. Best used when you know you need to do at least 2 or 3 Wounds, or to help push through Mortals on a low wound unit with a shrug.
- Arrogance of Aeons- The Warlord can reroll Denys, and can use 2 Cabbalistic Rituals each turn. Both parts are fairly army dependent, both on what you’re facing and what you can generate respectively. With only 1 Deny per Character, a reroll can be useful for reliability, and there are some particularly nasty combos available to a Character using 2 Rituals (boosting a Smite into a Super with some pluses and then adding on a further D3 comes to mind), though you’ll burn through those Cabal points quickly if you do. Magnus has this, what with it being part of his whole character arc.
- Seeker After Shadows- Roll 3D6 picking 2 for Psychic Actions, and generate +1 Cabal point when on the battlefield. Thousand Sons have a fair few decent Psychic Actions, be it Secondaries or via Rituals for CP regeneration, so this is a great pick on a support oriented Character, letting them add to the battle in a number of ways. Combines nicely with a Loyal Thrall Sorcerer to make their Actions reliable, their Ritual generation better, whilst still contributing a power.
- Undying Form- A flat -1 to all Damage is a decent survivability upgrade, but realistically most Characters are already in a bit of trouble should they find themselves in situations where they can be shot or chopped up. More useful on a Prince who tend to seek out those situations themselves however. Magnus also has this, given he’s basically pure warp stuff now.
- Lord of Forbidden Lore- Knowing an additional Power is fine for flexibility, though you’ve generally got enough powers scattered throughout to have all your bases covered. On Magnus however, who has this as his third trait, it’s much more interesting as it lets him know all the powers. Yes, all 18 of them. This gives him unparalleled flexibility, with a power for all occasions and lets him compliment what might be missing elsewhere.
- Otherworldly Prescience- Once per game the Warlord gets a 3++ before making a Save, lasting until the end of the turn. A handy once per game survivability boost, but lasting only for the turn does mean timing is crucial, and oftentimes this will only be delaying the inevitable. Ahriman has this, the elusive guy that he is.
- Aetherstride- The Warlord gets +3” Mv, can Charge and Fall Back, and when they make a Normal Move/Advance/Fall Back/Charge they do so with FLY. Good for getting into better positions or having a bit more freedom with combat, though remember no Fall Back and Cast, so consider what you’re giving up. The 3rd benefit is an odd one given most Thousand Sons Characters will have FLY already, at least the big hitters, but can of course be useful on Infantry.
An INFERNAL MASTER knows two of these, and each one can be attempted once per turn, being successful on a 3+ on a D6 in the Command Phase. Pacts marked with a * last until the start of your next Command Phase.
- Bladed Maelstrom*- Call forth a bunch of adorable Baby Screamers, then fling them into a visible enemy 30” away, making the enemy -2” to Advance and Charge rolls, and also doing a Mortal Wound if there is 6+ models there. The wound is neither here nor there, but the movement penalty can be key, especially on armies with the ability to Advance and Charge, or are looking to make some long daisy chain style charges to tie up units. Somewhat restricted by visibility and often the units able to threaten you are fast in the first place, so this may not make as much of a difference as desired.
- Fires of the Abyss- A Smite with a 15” range. It’s nothing fancy, and more Mortal Wounds is always nice, but you can generate plenty of them already.
- Capering Imps*- A visible enemy within 24” loses Cover, and cannot Overwatch or Set to Defend. A good disruption ability for offense as well as to mitigate return fire to you, the main issue will be needing to decide who to use it on if you have a scenario where you want both aspects.
- Diabolic Savant- Generate +1 Cabal point, and the Master can reroll Psychic tests. A nice utility bonus, especially if the Master is attempting a vital but high cost power, however with only one power being castable, it’s not quite as useful as it could be. Can combine nicely with the Mutate Landscape Secondary in later turns to try and help ensure it goes off with the higher costs, but there are other ways to mitigate that without relying on a 3+ roll.
- Glimpse of Eternity*- An old school CP reroll, letting you reroll any single dice. Got a 1 on a Super Smite? Reroll it. A 5 and a 1 on an 8+ cast power, reroll the 1 but keep the 5. Even outside of those useful instances to reroll a single die, another reroll in the bank is always good to have.
- Malefic Maelstrom*- A visible friendly unit within 24” gets +1 Str on their Ranged Attacks. Str 5 Inferno Boltguns, Str 5 Warpflamers, Str 8 Ectoplasma etc, makes this a very solid choice, with a great return on bigger units able to leverage more firepower. Use with Wrath of the Wronged on the same unit for maximum carnage.
Relics marked with a * can be given to an Aspiring or Scarab Occult Sorcerer via the Aspiring Sorcerer Stratagem.
- Seer’s Bane- A Force Sword or Prosperine Khopesh that gets +1 Str and AP, for D3 Dmg (a sidegrade in the case of the Khopesh). On top of that, if fighting a PSYKER, it’s x2 Str instead with D6 Dmg. The basic stat boost alone is nice, with the anti-Psyker bit making it a great choice…if facing them. Otherwise, it’s not really worth the Relic, and even then there are better choices.
- Umbralefic Crystal- Once per game you can redeploy either the bearer or an INFANTRY unit within 6” in the Command Phase. Needs to be set up given it happens in the Command Phase, but anything that allows you to redeploy on the fly is a fantastic ability to have, whether it’s defensively to get out of a dangerous position or combat, or offensively to set up line of sight or charges, and of course the utility it brings with Objective play. Serious contender for auto take just for the options it grants.
- Helm of the Daemon’s Eye- Whenever your opponent uses a Stratagem, you gain a CP on a 5+. Its fine, but with the addition of Cabbalistic Rituals you have a very reliable source of CP regeneration, so this is useful as a backup but certainly not a mainstay.
- Coruscator*- An Inferno Pistol with 18” range, +2 shots and +1 Str and Dmg. It’s not awful as far as Pistol Relics go, but nothing exciting. Can be useful to add a bit more punch to a RUBRIC squad on their Sorcerer should you need to, but generally not needed.
- Athenaean Scrolls- Once per game, pick one of the bearers Powers (except Smite) in the Command Phase, and for the rest of the game you cast that power on 3D6 picking 2. For EXALTED SORCERERS only, letting them pick a high cost or important power and give it an extra layer of reliability. Works particularly nicely with powers like Tzeentch’s Firestorm and Baleful Devolution that want high dice rolls for more Mortal Wound output, but don’t discount it on a crucial power like Twist of Fate to ensure it goes off. Will generally always be useful, though better on Sorcerers with higher to cast powers to get the most mileage.
- Thrydderghyre- The Rider Ghyre? Thyroid Grrr? Frikadellisupp? Freddy. Freddy works. A Relic Disc of Tzeentch that grants you Fall Back and Cast, Advance and Charge, and when you Consolidate you can move 6” in any direction, even out of combat. An all round great Relic for a Disc rider, letting them avoid being pinned in combat and still maintain Psychic potency, as well as having the Advance and Charge trick up your sleeve should you need it. Worth considering to give your Exalted Sorcerer an extra layer of melee defense should you fear being tied up (though of course it does little to stop you being killed in the first place).
- Egleighen’s Orrery- A visible enemy unit at the start of your Command Phase is targeted, and then all CORE units within 6” ignore all Hit, Wound and Damage modifiers vs them. A powerful ability to bypass all manner of special rules and stratagems etc…let down slightly by being CORE only. You have 3 things which can benefit from this, though admittedly they do tend to make up the bulk of your lists. This will find a use in most lists, even if it’s just to bypass Dense, but remember it offers nothing to CHARACTERS and non-CORE, and being only one visible unit per turn means your target priority needs to be solid.
- The Chrono’s Tutorum- Get a new Warlord Trait in your Command Phase for the rest of the game. Stacks with your existing one, and indeed can only be taken by those with a Warlord Trait. It’s ok, and offers a nice bit of flexibility, but it’s a rare Character that would benefit from 2 of the Warlord Traits over say a Trait and another Relic.
- Skaeloch’s Talon*- A Force Stave made of Lord of Change’s claw, losing it’s AP for x2 Str and 2D3 Dmg. Wounding is easier, and the damage done a lot more potent, but the AP does make sticking the wounds trickier, and as mentioned before melee is not ideal for Thousand Sons Characters. Could be useful as a surprise on a Scarab Sorcerer who has AP backup via his minions, but otherwise pass.
- Conniving Plate- An ASTARTES gets a 2+ Sv, and any model in Engagement Range can only allocate half of their attacks (rounded up). A very powerful survivability boost, neutering lots of combat characters and even some elite units. Weirdly the ones attacking from behind their friends are unaffected, Tzeentch is fickle I guess. The remaining attacks can be allocated to other models (if in range), and this does count for the total number of attacks (so mounts, weapons, special rules etc). Basically, anyone fighting you has a good chance of half their attacks being wasted or forced to go elsewhere, giving you a big boost against lots of units. A Knight might still cause you a headache, but you’ll at least make it harder to do so.
- Warpweave Mantle- Any unit that charges the bearer and rolls an unmodified 9+ auto fails the charge, and you also get +1 to Cast if you’ve lost any wounds. A strange mix of rules, but good ones, with the bonus to cast helping you eke out a bit more from an injured hero, whilst the charge protection makes you practically immune to reserve charges (watch out for pluses, its unmodified remember), and even those right next to you could fail if they roll high. A decent deterrent type Relic, fun for the trolling and quite powerful if positioned in your lines well enough to possibly cause charges to fail at key moments.
- Paradoxical Chatterfowl- An INFANTRY model picks an enemy model within 3” and reduces their WS and BS by D3 at the start of the Fight Phase. A good anti character and monster ability, able to several mitigate their offensive strength on a good roll. Useful at other times, though the short range makes it a tricky prospect to pull off, and against units with sheer numbers or quality of attacks, it’s not as useful.
- The Change-wrought Chalice- A TZAANGOR SHAMAN knows another spell. Fine, and gives them a little bit of flexibility, but overall not really worth the Relic slot.
- Incandaeum*- A Force Stave made of fire, acting like a normal Stave in melee, but packing a Str 5 Warpflamer at range. Grants some nice extra ranged punch, but will really only be useful for a turn or 2. Helps round out a Warpflamer Rubric Squad with even more fire, but it’s by no means necessary on top of their already potent output.
- Pentakairic Armour- An INFERNAL MASTER knows an additional Pact, and the first save they fail each turn is reduced to 0 Dmg. The Pacts are all good so knowing an additional adds more tools to your kit which is always good, though being able to use them all, or having times where you’d want to use them all, can make for a bit of decision paralysis. Reducing the first failed save of a turn to 0 Dmg is a good survivability boost, especially given they aren’t the toughest of Characters, but be wary of it being baited out by lighter firepower before something big hits them.
- The Prism of Echoes- Blessing powers get double range on who they target. Most of the Blessings have decent ranges anyways, and are often on units with either high Mv to get to where they need to, or on units anchoring a battleline. Having this does effectively give you more maneuvering room however, as well as the ability to buff a unit on the other end of the battlefield. Not a bad choice, if perhaps not a first choice.
- The Stave Abominus*- A Force Stave made of tentacles, going down to Dmg1, but has double attacks. Will average around the same as a normal Stave against your usual Marine-esque units, whilst being better vs 1W Infantry and anything that reduces Damage. Can help if expecting to fight light infantry, though really that’s what your guns shine at, and whilst can be put on a Sergeant-level Sorcerer their lower number of Attacks makes it less appealing.
With two Psychic Disciplines each with 9 Powers, you have tons of choice for Powers. You can generally look at this as one big Psychic Discipline as anything that knows more more than one Power can mix and match from both Disciplines. Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Tzeentch’s Firestorm (WC 6) (W)- Pick a visible enemy unit within 18” and roll 9D6, doing 1 Mortal Wound for each 6. If you cast it on an unmodified 9+, it does the mortals on 5+ instead. A cheap mortal wound blaster, made better by its ability to target, so even Characters aren’t safe. On average will do around 2 Mortals, but this makes it a good trigger for Malevolent Charge to add on another D3, letting you nuke through most low level Characters, and have a chance at popping others as well. Even if just on some RUBRICS, it will add some damage over the game.
- Glamour of Tzeentch* (WC 6) (B)- A friendly unit within 18” gets -1 to be Hit. Great defensive power that will generally always be useful, and should target your most valuable assets at any given time. Can be used on any type of unit, so feel free to pop it onto a tank that’s staring down a Lascannon barrel if needed.
- Doombolt (WC 6) (W)- A Smite that does always does 3 Mortal Wounds. Reliable and cheap to cast, this is especially useful on small units of RUBRICS, letting them punch a bit higher above their weight with more reliability, especially if combined with Great Sorcerer to Smite again and Malevolent Charge to add more on- for 2 low casting costs, a CP and 4 Cabal points, you can reliably slam a unit with 2D3+3 Mortal Wounds, a great amount of damage for a reasonably low investment.
- Temporal Manipulation (WC 5) (B)- Heals a non-VEHICLE model within 12” for D3. Good on MAGNUS or MUTALITHS (it does stack with their own healing, albeit not with any other healing abilities like Warped Regeneration), and even on a HQ level Character to keep them around in a pinch. Its handy to have, however it will depend on your army make up, as without any MONSTERS or CHARACTERS liable to take damage and survive, it’s only really going to heal the occasional SCARAB, where it might be better preventing the damage in the first place via other powers, or inflicting damage first.
- Weaver of Fates* (WC 7) (B)- A friendly unit within 18” gets a 4++. Obviously better than their built in 5++, similar to Glamour you’ll want this on a high priority target to keep them around, though try and calculate where it will be best on rather than “defaulting”. A unit of Rubrics facing down against AP 2 will benefit from this far greater than a unit of Scarabs facing AP 3 Dmg 1 Weapons, for example. Works well with Spawn as they don’t have the innate Invulnerable, so this can make them a tough nut to crack for their cost.
- Baleful Devotion (WC 8) (W)- Tied for the highest casting cost, and this is a weird one. First it can only target a visible enemy within 18” that has 6+ models in it. Then you roll XD6, where X is what you cast it on (lets say you cast it on a 10 total, so it’d be 10D6). Then for each 6 you rolled, you do D3 Mortal Wounds. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through here, for something quite random. On average, you will cast this on an 8 (7 on 2D6, +1), you’ll then roll 1, maybe 2 6s, and so you’ll get out about 2-4 Mortals. It can be absolutely devastating, it can also do nothing. Despite the potential this is not an anti horde power (leave that to your Boltguns). Instead this is quite good on elite units that meet the 6+ threshold, as they will suffer more given the way it works, and it can scale quite well if you’re willing to invest in it- Characters with rerolls, modifiers from things like Rituals, MAGNUS, all make it a bit more reliable, though perhaps not something to build around.
- Cacodaemonic Curse* (WC 6) (M)- An enemy within 18” is -1 Str with their Ranged Weapons. A good defense ability, particularly on Str 3, 4, 5 and 8 weapons, as it pushes them to the next bracket down for wounding the majority of your units. Doesn’t need line of sight either so it’s useful to support units regardless of terrain, or help mitigate artillery type units a bit.
- Pyric Flux* (WC 5) (B)- Grants +1Str to a unit’s Warpflame weapons within 12”. Best used on a unit of flamer toting RUBRICS as they’ll get the most bang for their buck due to multiple weapons, making them that tasty Str 5 for dealing with all many of units. Less useful on CHARACTERS or SCARABS due to their much more limited access to flame weapons, but can still be useful in a pinch. Great alongside a Maelstrom using INFERNAL MASTER to bump a unit into Str 6 territory, or to have multiple units with strength boosts running around.
- Perplex* (WC 7) (M)- An enemy unit within 24” can only target units within 24”. At first glance this is a high cost for minimal gain, as the unit using this power will gain no benefit, but for protecting units elsewhere it’s a fantastic power, and without needing line of sight and range boosts from Cabal Rituals, this can affect most things on the board. Which does lead to the downside, namely that the small board sizes means often units can just move into 24” anyways. It has its uses, and can swing a game in the late stages if it protects a unit on one end of the battlefield holding an Objective, but it may not always come up.
- Gaze of Hate (WC 5) (W)- Roll 3D6 for a visible enemy unit within 18”, inflicting 1 Mortal Wound for each 4+. A good little “sniper” spell, combined with Malevolent Charge, as well as to just tack on more Mortal Wounds to a unit of your choice. A Smite is more reliable, but of course can’t target and gets more expensive, so this shouldn’t be your first choice of power for dealing with units up close, unless a Smite is just unfeasible in WC cost.
- Twist of Fate* (WC 8) (M)- An enemy unit within 12” loses their Invulnerables. Expensive but quite literally game changing, stripping defensive layers from tough units, combined with the high AP of your basic weapons, means this can ensure their destruction. The short range can be mitigated with fast moving units or Rituals, and for some armies this might not be as useful as against others, but with Unholy Susurrus you can always swap this in and out should you need, making it a powerful trump card to have.
- Dark Blessing (WC 6) (W)- A visible unit within 6” takes 3+D3 Mortal Wounds if you exceed their Toughness on a D6. Short range and a not insignificant chance of failing (even T3 Characters are only taking wounds half the time), so this is not a go to power. The potential threat can often do more than the power itself however, as most Characters cannot survive an average of 5 MW, even if it’s a 50 or 33% chance. Don’t neglect using it units as well of course, but in general you’re better off with the more reliable, if less damaging Smite. Not bad on a unit expecting to get stuck in the thick of it, but likely not your first pick
- Presage* (WC 7) (B)- A flat +1 to Hit to a friendly unit within 18” is a fantastic offensive buff, be it to all but guarantee hitting or to offset negatives that are floating around. Best on a unit expecting to use both Ranged and Melee combat over the coming turns for maximum efficiency, or on larger units (including VEHICLES), but using it every turn in some capacity will serve you well.
- Swelled by the Warp* (WC 6) (B)- Gives a friendly model within 12” +2 Str and +1A. Only affecting one model is a shame (though if it was unit wide it’d be ludicrously busted), so pick wisely, be it a SCARAB or some form of melee MONSTER or VEHICLE for best returns. Useful of course on CHARACTERS too, though as always that’s not necessarily the best place for your HQs to be, aside from the Prince. A good buff, but don’t launch someone into melee with this just because you can.
- Temporal Surge (WC 7) (B)- An INFANTRY, BEAST, or CAVALRY unit within 6” immediately makes a Normal Move. A fantastic positioning tool, be it offensively for range or charges, defensively to move away, moving into range to unleash some Psychic Powers before pulling back to safety, and of course the ability to move onto Objectives or in position for Secondaries. No more Magnus or Princes double flapping, but still usable on Disc Sorcerers for moving around into more advantageous places. As it’s a Normal Move, you can’t do this on the turn you arrive via Deep Strike, or Fall Back, so don’t waste on them.
- Empyric Guidance* (WC 4) (B)- A unit within 12” adds +6” to the Range of Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons. Very cheap, and whilst not always useful given board sizes and line of sight, the ability to do this can be useful for protecting key assets from retaliation whilst still contributing firepower.
- Psychic Stalk (WC 5) (W)- Roll 2D6 for a visible, non-CHARACTER/VEHICLE/MONSTER enemy unit within 18”, outright destroying a model in that unit if you beat the unit’s highest Ld. Pretty narrow in scope, especially since the main sort of targets you’ll want to use this on are elite multi wound units, which usually have a high Ld, making your chances slim. Outright destroying is good however, as no shrug type abilities can be used, so there is that, but this will rarely be better than just another Smite into the target.
- Desecration of Worlds* (WC 7) (M)- A visible enemy within 24” is cursed, and everytime they make a Normal Move, Advance, Fall Back or Charge, roll a D6 for every model in the unit, doing a Mortal Wound on each 6. Potentially very damaging, or at least crippling, causing large units to perhaps think twice about moving, and even on smaller units that are looking to melee, two chances to inflict Mortals can add up should you roll well. Quite expensive for what it does however, but the longest range of any of the damage type powers so it does give you some earlier threat and board control potential.
The following are available if you have a THOUSAND SONS WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions (namely no using two from the same category), and you can only take one Thousand Sons Secondary per game regardless of its category.
Warpcraft - Mutate Landscape
One PSYKER within range of a non-Mutated Objective Marker can perform a WC4 Psychic Action, netting 3VP on a success and making the Objective Mutated. The WC goes up +1 each time, but this is a fantastically reliable Secondary. Even if there’s an enemy unit within range you can do the Action, meaning the only way to stop it is to totally block you out. Great on most missions except for the rare 4 Objective ones, and of course better on those with 3 Objectives near your lines. Only one Action per turn means you will need to plan out what Objective is Mutated when, but this can comfortably net 9-12VP by game’s end with relative ease.
No Mercy, No Respite - Wrath of Magnus
Can only be chosen if the opponent has a PSYKER in their army, but nets you 3VP at the end of each Battle Round if more enemy models were killed in your Psychic Phases than friendlies were killed in the enemy Psychic Phase. Fantastic against any army with a lone Psyker, as you are all but guaranteed to do this just by sheer virtue of the number of Smites you can leverage. Less useful vs other Psyker heavy armies like Grey Knights, but against anything with one or two Psykers this is a great choice, letting you rack up a relatively easy 9-12VP, unless you totally whiff.
Shadow Operations - Burn Empires
One or more INFANTRY units that are within range of an Objective Marker not in your Deployment Zone, not within range of any enemy units, and not already Burned, can perform this Action at the end of you Movement, completing at the start of your next Command Phase or at the end of the battle. When completed the Objective is Burned and you score 4VP. A fair few limitations on this in terms of positioning and timing, and it puts your units out of action for a fair bit of time whilst doing it. Given these Objectives will all be in the midboard or the enemy’s Deployment, being near an empty one to start the Action will sometimes prove tricky, as will surviving long enough to complete it. Can be used for some late game grabs when there’s less units on the board, but remember you’ll have less as well, so this is no guarantee.
Purge The Enemy - Sorcerous Prowess
Old school Abhor the Witch, netting you 3VP for killing a PSYKER unit, or 5VP for a PSYKER CHARACTER. Match up dependent of course, and generally Wrath will be better, but good vs Grey Knights, other Thousand Sons, Daemons and Tyranids which will likely bring you over the threshold in terms of units to kill whilst also often having enough Psyker output to make Wrath trickier.
These are rules that will be commonly found across multiple, if not all, units in the Thousand Sons Codex.
Chaos flavoured Bolter Discipline, letting your INFANTRY double tap if they Remained Stationary, and your TERMINATORS do it all the time. Inferno Boltguns are a solid anti Infantry weapon with their innate AP, so you get a bit more mileage from this than other Marines.
Your standard Deep Strike style rule.
Line of Sight and measuring goes both to and from the Aspiring/Scarab Sorcerer in their units, despite the unit being a PSYKER. This means positioning them is important as hiding them behind a wall means no Smites, for example. Likewise it does allow a modicum of defense from abilities like Shadow in the Warp, as a Rubricae in range doesn’t impose the -1 to the Sorcerer. Has no impact on Perils either, so blow up your automata first as required.
Your main army rule, needing every model to be THOUSAND SONS. You generate Cabal Points at the start of your Psychic Phase, with unit Sorcerers and SHAMANS netting you 1, SORCERERS and INFERNAL MASTERS giving your 2, PRINCES, EXALTED SORCERERS and AHIRIMAN granting 3, and MAGNUS giving a mighty 4. These all go into a pool that can be spent throughout the Psychic Phase for various buffs and enhancements to your powers, with any excess points lost at the end of the Phase. The same Ritual cannot be done twice in the same Phase, and the same PSYKER cannot use two Rituals in the same Phase (unless they have the Arrogance of Aeons Warlord Trait)
- Imbued Manifestation (4 Points)- +6” Range to a Power after successfully manifesting. Let’s you account for those powers with shorter ranges, as well as those times you might find yourself a little out of position or needing to split your forces a bit further apart than you’d like. Works nicely with Twist of Fate for extra threat range, or on Perplex to prevent some units shooting at all unless they move into range, something they might not want to do.
- Malevolent Charge (4 Points)- After manifesting a Power, use this to inflict an additional D3 Mortal Wounds, provided it inflicts any in the first place. A reliable source of extra damage, great for adding on further potency to a Smite or Doombolt, and can be used alongside targettable Powers to act as a pseudo Sniper weapon. Be wary of this one however, as this must be declared after manifesting but before resolving, and per the wording only does the extra D3 if you inflict any Mortal Wounds, so if used on something like Tzeentch’s Firestorm and then you don’t do any damage, this will be wasted.
- Kindred Sorcerers (5 Points)- Add +1 to a Psychic Test. Used after the initial roll, so you’ll know whether you need to use it or not, be it to reach a casting value or get to a Super Smite. Can’t be used to counter a Deny, but can force an opponent’s hand by making it harder to cast. A great all round ability to have.
- Warp Sight (3 Points)- After manifesting a Power, you can use the Line of Sight from another unit with Caballistic Rituals (so another PSYKER) when declaring the target. Note it specifies selecting a target, not when resolving the power, so things that don’t explicitly say “select” such as Smite or Astral Blast, you can’t use this on as they just resolve their effects on the nearest visible. Still, it’s good to have for your other damage dealing powers that do target enemies that thought they might have been safe via terrain.
- Echoes from the Warp (4 Points)- Use this to give the selected unit a Psychic Action, giving you a Command Point on WC 3. Literally impossible to fail due to your +1, this is one of the most reliable CP regens in the game, however sacrificing a power as well as some Cabal Points needs to be weighed up. Thousand Sons are quite Stratagem hungry, so expect to use this alot, but fortunately anyone can use this, with RUBRICS in your backline being a prime choice.
- Pact from Beyond (7 Points)- Before rolling for a Psychic Test, you can use this to autopass at the minimum required value. Doesn’t add your +1 to it (as no Test is taken), but great for key powers you just don’t want to risk failing on, like a Twist of Fate or crucial Weaver. Does interact with things like Super Smites, provided you were casting them on your 7 or more times (making it 11+, which is what the minimum value becomes).
- Cabbalistic Focus (8 Points)- After a successful Psychic Test, use this to make it undeniable. Facing off against Grey Knights with auto denys on 8+?. Sisters? Stratagems which just Deny on a 4+?. Say not today and do that power. Obviously match up dependent, as well as whatever the casting value was, but for those times when you absolutely must get a power off, this is worth its weight in gold. Particularly useful on things like Mutate Landscape if cast on a low roll, using this to guarantee you the VP.
- Psychic Maelstrom (8 Points)- Use when selecting a unit to cast powers, letting them cast a Witchfire power someone else has already cast this Phase, even if you don’t know it. Double Doombolt, double Firestorm, double Astral Blast etc. This can allow some significant damage piling on to a unit, or spreading it elsewhere, but it’s an expensive outlay for what will generally amount to doing some more Mortal Wounds, so generally you’ll want to use it when you need them, not just because you can.
- Wrath of the Immaterium (9 Points)- Gives +2 to a Psychic Test. Everything that applies to Kindred Sorcerers applies here, but it’s just a bigger modifier. It is mighty costly however, so this should be one of those “dire circumstances” abilities, and rarely worth using on anything other than an utterly crucial Super Smite or failed Twist of Fate – things that can cost you a game if not successful.
All told Cabal Rituals are a flexible and useful system, great for ensuring reliability and utility in the Psychic Phase, but they are not without their limitations. First and foremost, as the game goes on you will lose units, which will lose you Cabal Points to spend, so this will have diminishing returns as the battle progresses. Secondly is knowing what you need to use and when. A good rule of thumb is to presume using 2 abilities every turn, with 1-2 “back ups” to use if you have the points. Now of course that doesn’t always work – assuming you’ll use Malevolent Charge on your first Smite to all but ensure heavy damage, and you roll a 3…At that point do you abandon the plan to use Charge elsewhere, or use Kindred Sorcerers for more Cabal Points than you’d anticipated but for lesser damage. These sorts of scenarios will come up, and really it’s only by encountering them can you determine what’s best to do in that given situation, hence plan to use 2 “main” ones, but have a back up plan in mind. A good starting figure for Cabal Points will be dependent on what you want to get out of them, but aiming for 12 or so to start with will let you play around with some of the lower value ones whilst having a high cost one in the bank, at least to start with.
There’s a lot of Psykers in the army, duh. To reduce typing a little, units have X/Y notations, referring to the number of powers known and castable, and how many they can deny- for example, a 2/1 Psyker Knows 2, Casts 2, and Denies 1. Everyone knows Smite, obviously, and can take powers from either Discipline (except the SHAMAN who is locked to Change only).
Note a lot of these datasheets actually have the Prefix “Thousand Sons”, or “Chaos” such as “Thousand Sons Daemon Prince”, or “Chaos Spawn”. This is to differentiate them from the similar units found in other Codexes, which whilst similar will of course be different due to the various stat and rules changes between them. Needless to say, they still count as the same type of Datasheet for Rule of 3 purposes if you’re looking at souping, and I’m not going to bother typing them out verbatim each time because you’re in the Thousand Sons article, who are a Chaos army, and if you’ve gotten this far and need help with that aspect, it’s too late for you.
Expensive but the top beatstick of the HQ choices. A 2/1 PSYKER who is killy in melee, tough with their T6 8W and 3+/4++, and grants reroll 1s to hit for CORE. Weapon wise the Sword is the best all round choice, as Str 8 is usually sufficient for most things, and the Axes’ Str 9 being wasted against everything barring T8+ models whilst its AP 2 makes it worse. The Wings are a pricey upgrade but +4” Move and FLY is very useful. An all round great choice for both offense and support, though should be used with a bit of caution lest you throw away your investment. Use to deter against attacks on your lines, and pick off units where needed,
A 1/1 PSYKER who also knows 2 Infernal Pacts, so whilst they cast less than other HQs they make up for it with the power the Pacts offer. A great support piece precisely because of the Pacts, they are cheap at 90pts for what they offer, though they aren’t the toughest things around so keep them protected as best as you can so they can leverage their boosts for as long as possible.
Sorcerer- With a fairly standard “low level HQ” Marine profile, you get a 2/1 PSYKER that doesn’t take up a slot if included in the same Detachment as an EXALTED SORCERER from the same CULT (so not with AHIRIMAN), and that’s about it. For a few pts more you can make them an EXALTED with their various stat boosts, or look at an INFERNAL MASTER for some alternative buffs, but if you’re looking to keep it cheaper or running out of HQ slots, they aren’t a bad choice, just not really the first one.
Cheap enough at 90pts, they come with either a Force Sword or Stave, and a choice of Inferno, Warpflame or Plasma Pistol. Good for shoring up a battleline with a bit more psychic prowess, but you’ll often find the points better spent elsewhere.
A little more interesting for 15pts more, giving you the standard benefits of Terminator Armour (-1” Mv, +1W, 2+ Sv, Teleport Strike), as well as some slightly different wargear options (an Axe instead of a Sword, and a choice of Inferno Combi-bolter, Inferno Combi-melta, or a Prosperine Khopesh), though easier to just keep them cheaper. Makes a decent enough escort for a unit of SCARABS teleporting in, or a unit of RUBRICS looking to use the Webway or other teleportation shenanigans, it’s still but a lowly Sorcerer, so be wary of combat, and support outside of his powers are non-existent.
A combination between a Chaos Lord and a Sorcerer, upgrading the basic Sorcerer with +1 to WS, BS, W and A, as well as getting a 4++ and reroll 1s for CORE Aura (not to mention the extra Cabal Point), all for a mere 10pts. Still a 2/1 PSYKER but now with their other improvements makes them a no-brainer. The same Pistol options as the Sorcerer, but locked to a Stave, though they can take a Khopesh for an extra 5pts if you want some flexibility in combat. Otherwise they’re a solid and dependable choice for supporting your lines and blasting your foes.
On Disc- For a not insignificant 25pts, you get +6”Mv and FLY, as well as an extra Str 4 Attack (yay?), though you become CAVALRY rather than INFANTRY. Most rules interact with them regarding that last bit though it does weirdly exclude you from certain things like Wrath of the Wronged. I guess soaring on a magic carpet disc puts things into a calmer perspective? Generally a good upgrade for the speed, allowing you to get into position and line of sight easier.
Take an Exalted Sorcerer, make him a 3/3, +1W, let him reroll all his Psychic Tests, and make his Force Stave flat Dmg 3. He’s also a whopping 60pts more, or 55 when Discs are included. However he’s often well worth that upgrade. Consider a Rehati upgrade is 25pts to cast an extra power, Ahriman is effectively 35pts more for an additional power, 2 more denys, rerolls and the stat boosts. Whilst he is pricey, he brings a lot to the table, and often worth squeezing in if you have the points spare just for his reliability and extra casts alone, though you’ll want to look at Relics and Warlord Traits for someone else. The W is fine, though won’t help him against dedicated damage, and the Dmg3 Stave looks tasty but he’s still a Thousand Sons Sorcerer and so should be avoiding combat unless absolutely necessary.
For 5pts you get one of the most basic Infantry in the game, with average stats, a 6+ Sv, and that’s about it. No ObSec, no real rules interactions, and pitiful weaponry. It’s a big ask when Tzaangor exist for a few more points. Whilst Cultists can be run in units of 30 and ranged attacks, it offers little, with Actions being about the only worthwhile thing they can do, freeing up more important units. Not really worth taking unless you have very specific plans.
Take a Cultist and make him a goatman for 2pts more, giving him +1S, T and Ld, a 5++ and Obsec. Yes, just use these really. Can be geared with Chainswords and Autopistols, or Blades for an extra pip of AP in melee (the blades generally being better than a single Str 3 shot), and can take a Banner and Horn for reroll Morale and +1 Advance and Charge respectively. Regardless of loadout, they are a useful screening unit and Action caddy, taking a little bit more firepower than you’d expect to shift whilst they guard flanks and backlines. You might not want to go too heavy on them as they don’t do a massive amount in the grand scheme of things, but are cheap enough to compliment your more elite units.
Your mainstay unit, with a standard Marine statline, as well as autopassing Morale, +1 to Armour Saves vs Dmg1 weapons, ignoring the -1 to Hit for Heavy Weapons, and of course the Aspiring Sorcerer being a 1/1 PSYKER, packing a Force Stave and an Inferno, Warpflame or Plasma Pistol. Each of the Rubrics comes with an Inferno Bolter for some tasty AP 2 action, with the option to trade it out for a Warpflamer for a fairly chunky 6pts more, but the reliability and potential they offer makes it more than worth the cost. One model can have a Soulreaper for even more ranged anti Infantry goodness at a meaty Heavy 5 Str 6 Ap-3 D1, at a reasonable 10pts. Depending on what else in the list, the Icon of Flame is worth considering, generating an additional Cabal Point each turn whilst alive for 10pts. A solid and dependable Troop ideal for holding the backline and supporting other units with buffs, or being used aggressively to lay down firepower and psychic damage, they can fill most roles well. They do of course struggle with combat, with little in the way of melee damage, and you’re paying a premium for their shooting prowess which is mainly anti-Infantry. Can take a good beating from light fire, but higher damage weapons will of course be a big problem, forcing you to rely on your 5++ much of the time. Cheap enough for what they do at 21pts base, but don’t over invest at the risk of losing out on heavier hitting firepower elsewhere.
With a number of different options Helbrutes can fill a few different roles, be it a combat threat, a shooting platform or a mix of the two. Decently tough, and leaving them alive but wounded makes them more reliable thanks to Frenzy granting them reroll 1s to Wound. All their Melee weapons are free so it’s up to you whether you want balance with the Fists, raw power with the Hammer or more attacks with the Scourge. They offer good support for your lines for melee or ranged, and the 5++ afforded by Brotherhood of Sorcerers can make them stick around a bit longer than first assumed to keep their threat up through the game a bit longer, though dedicated fire will shift them eventually.
This is the good stuff. Take a Rubric Squad, and for the frankly low cost of 19pts and -1” mv, give them +1W, A, a 2+, Teleport Strike, upgrade their Inferno Bolter to Rapid Fire 2, and give them a Str 5 Ap-3 D2 melee attack. All whilst keeping their other rules, including ObSec. Yes. Whilst they can’t run flamers outside of the 1 per 5 Heavy Warpflamer, they can still pack in a discounted Soulreaper Cannon, as well as a Hellfyre Missle Rack for a bit of extra ranged punch for only 10pts. A fantastic unit, be it in 5 man units for flexibility or big 10 man blocks for sheer brutality and rules benefits, Scarabs will always be useful in both offensive output and battlefield presence. Each one lost is a blow however, and whilst tough they aren’t that tough (they’re no Blightlords), and their speed can be a little detrimental, so be sure to have a plan in mind for things like Temporal Surge or bringing them in via Deep Strike.
The BRAY leader, a 1/1 PSYKER who always comes with a Disc, and grants +1 to Hit to other TZAANGORS within 6”. If you’re running lots of Tzaangors and Enlightened, he’s a must take really, but otherwise you can probably leave him at home. With only 1 power and no interactions with non-goat units, he doesn’t bring much to the table other HQs can’t do, outside his speed, but that is generally not reason enough to run him over say an Infernal Master, unless you really need to save the points somehow.
Goats on Discs of Tzeentch, getting +6” Mv, +1 WS, BS, W and A, alongside the ability to auto-wound with any 6 to Hit (excluding their Disc attacks). With a choice of either Spears or Bows (yes you could look at Chainswords and Pistols, but don’t bother), they can offer some cheap distraction at 18pts. Spears give them a decent melee punch at Str 5 -1 D2, whilst Bows offer them a sort of Sniper role, letting them ignore Look Out Sir with their 30” Assault 1 Str 5 -1 D1 shots that always hit on 2s. But they are flimsy, and don’t actually kick out a huge amount of damage. Melee is done better by Scarabs, and you have various Psychic Powers to deal with Characters if needed. Fine to fill some points and be a distraction, and their speed does offer some utility for tying things up or certain Objectives, but don’t expect them to contribute much in the way of damage.
Cheap masses of flesh and teeth that are quite tough for their fairly meagre 23pts, though with only a 5+ they can’t stand up to focused attacks. However with a decent, albeit random melee punch, they can be used as a fire and forget distraction, used to absorb firepower that might have gone elsewhere. If they die, they don’t cost you much, whilst if they stick around they can cause some mayhem in combat or tie things up. They do synergise well with various Psychic powers such as Weaver or Temporal Surge, making a unit of 5 actually quite a cost efficient unit to act as a spearhead for some melee threat.
A big gnarly gribbly with a Warp Portal backpack, it has a decently tough profile with 14 W at T7 and 4+/5++, as well as haling D3 Wounds in your Command Phase, and is decently quick to act as a spearhead. Offensively it has a choice of 2 melee profiles, anti big things with 5A at Str 8 -2 Dmg3, or anti horde with 15A at Str 7 -1 D1, and the swirling maelstrom of energy on its back unleashes various Mortal Wound powers in your Shooting Phase, depending on how injured it is. You can’t use the same power twice a turn, even if from another Mutalith, and they include a big blast that does a Mortal to each enemy within 9”, an anti horde power that rolls a D6 for each model in a unit within 18” doing a Mortal on a 6, a pseudo-Smite on a 2+ (or flat 3 on a 5+), and an anti big thing blast that can only target models with 10+ Wounds, doing D3 Mortals on a 3+, or D6 on a 5+ (though with a -1/+1 to the roll for AIRCRAFT and TITANIC respectively). Pretty flexible and makes a good frontline offensive piece, and is cheap enough at 145pts, but that 5++ will only go so far, and exploding on a 4+ for D3 within 6” means you’ll want to be careful how you position it, lest he do nothing but hurt your own things. Chuck forward as fast as you can so it can wreak havoc with Mortals and melee.
A big gun that masquerades as a tank, relatively cost-effective for it’s output, albeit short ranged and beholden to the whims of multiple D6. Susceptible to being tied up due to that short range, and the Demolisher being Blast means it will be shut down pretty much for the rest of the game if tagged, so be sure to accept that loss or screen out if you can, but otherwise can be useful as a nasty threat down a firing lane or to provide support to units that can deal with infantry and protect its flanks.
An expensive battle tank/transport hybrid that degrades badly and dies quickly for its cost. Land Raiders need to be transporting something with its average 10/5 Capacity (Infantry/Terminators and Possessed respectively) given you’re paying a large amount of points for the privilege, and indeed if you want your heavier infantry to be carted around this is the only option, but then you get an “all your eggs in one basket” issue. Add to that it’s armaments of a Twin Heavy Bolter and two Twin Lascannons , it doesn’t contribute a huge amount of firepower that couldn’t be gained cheaper elsewhere. Whilst it’s transport protection is nice it’s often not necessary- consider you could bring a Land Raider to protect 5 Terminators, or just bring around 7 more Terminators.
Straight from a Heavy Metal Album Cover, the Daemon Spider Tank is in a strange being. With a good profile, solid shooting and hefty combat punch, some flexible wargear options plus decent survivability with 14W and a 3+/5++ and healing a wound a turn, on paper they are good. However, you’re paying a fair bit for this “Jack of All Trades” flexibility compared to the cheaper, more focused Daemon Engines, and add to that it’s relatively slow speed, harsh degradation, and massive footprint making it difficult to move around and hide. It’s by no means a bad choice, but similar to the Land Raider, in trying to do a bit of everything it suffers by merely being ok at them all, whilst paying the points to do them all despite being unable to do them all at once.
The first of the Dinobots, with guns for arms and optional gun face. With T7 12W, a 3+/5++ and healing a wound in your Command Phase, it’s reasonably cheap, and packs either 2 Hades Autocannons for 8 Str 8 -2 D2 shots, or 2 Ectoplasma Cannons for 2D3 Str 7 -3 Dmg 3 Shots. Either is a good option and offers some much needed long range support to the rest of the army, be it for anti heavy infantry or anti tank. It has some melee bite (giddit) with its Jaws, with 4A at Str 7 -1 D2, but it is not a melee machine, and you can swap the Jaws for another Ectoplasma Cannon for 15pts. At 160 for the Autocannons, or 140 for the Ectoplasma, it offers a cheap and relatively reliable source of fire support to help chip away at heavier units that your other forces may struggle with. Be wary of being tagged though, as it needs support to get out, and with its 8” degrading move it’s not getting away from much, so screen if you can, or have units nearby to support.
The second Dinobot, being predominantly melee. The same defensive stats as the Forgefiend, it trades its guns for a 12” base Move, that ignores Charge modifiers, and has 6A at Str 14 -3 D3+3 Dmg, making it a top notch melee monster capable of ripping apart most things with consummate ease should it make contact, all for a fairly reasonable 140pts. It also comes with 2 Magma Cutters (6” Range, always-on Meltaguns), which it can swap for Lasher Tendrils for 10pts, giving it an additional 6A at Str 7 -2 D1 for some extra horde clearance, either of which is down to personal preference, though really it doesn’t struggle that much with big things at that range whilst Infantry can bog it down a bit, so the Tendrils are a good extra to have for those scenarios, if you have the points. Little point in keeping these things back, so similar to the Mutalith you want to get them as far forward as possible as quick as possible to cause as much damage before they inevitably get shot down.
Technically two different Datasheets, but with enough similarities to talk about them together. Both variants of Predator can take the same sponsons, be it two Heavy Bolters or 2 Lascannons (or nothing, but that’s rare), it’s the main armament that’s different. A relatively standard Vehicle profile (T7, 11W, 3+), they won’t hold up to truly potent anti tank outside of some lucky 5++ saves, but can still withstand lighter damage weapons to a degree.
The anti-infantry version of the Predator…sort of. Packing a Dmg 3 Autocannon with 2D3 Shots, the Destructor is pretty good against most vehicles and heavy infantry. It won’t be clearing hordes any time soon, and the AP -1 is a downside, but the good amount of shots means it can chip away with that reliable flat 3 damage. It pales somewhat in comparison to the Forgefiend due to the Plasma being better AP for the same cost, with the only real advantage being slightly faster and longer range (not really necessary on the small board sizes).
The anti-tank version with a Twin Lascannon, which suffers like most anti-tank things in that it has a low number of shots and our old friend the unreliable D6 Damage. Thousand Sons do struggle a bit with good anti tank, so it’s not a bad choice if really required, but being the best of a bad bunch isn’t exactly high praise, and similar to the Destructor it just falls a little by the wayside compared to the Forgefiend due to its consistency for similar cost, even with the lower Str or damage potential.
Cheap and effective, the Rhino (and to an extent Dedicated Transports as a whole in 9th) provides ablative protection for your Infantry, ways to get them up the board, as well as something you don’t mind keeping back or moving around to hold Objectives. It doesn’t add much firepower to the army so don’t be afraid to Advance to hold or contest those objectives, or charge it into units to tie them up., and with your 5++, a little bit tougher than most.
A Daemonic Dragon Pterosaur thing (look it’s pretty sweet) that zips around the battlefield causing trouble. With the same statline as the Fiends above, it’s fairly tough as far as AIRCRAFT go, alongside all the usual Flyer type rules of Hard to Hit etc. It can go into Hover mode, and can charge other planes even when in the sky. It always gets +1 to Hit vs units with FLY, for both it’s 5 Str 7 -2 D2 Melee Attacks (which become D4 vs AIRCRAFT), or it’s Hades Autocannon, though that is less likely to see use when you can have a Baleflamer instead, for 18” 2D3 Str 6 -2 D2 autohitting shots. And really, if you’re taking the giant metal warp dragon that doesn’t breathe fire, are you even doing it right? At 165pts it’s not that expensive as far as Aircraft goes, and provides some good anti heavy infantry output, as well as the ability to swoop on enemy Aircraft and position for Turn 2 charges to tie things up unless dealt with.
He who did Nothing Wrong™, the big red boy packs a decently tough profile of T7 18W and a 3+/4++, alongside a massive 16” Mv base and 8/7/6 Attacks at Str 16 -4 Dmg 3, which also inflicts a further D3 Mortals to a model wounded but killed by him at the end of the Fight Phase (once per phase, no splitting those attacks across multiple units). On top of that he has the usual reroll 1s to Hit for CORE, and offers full reroll Hits to a CORE or CHARACTER in your Command Phase. But let’s talk about the real reason you’re looking at him- MIND BULLETS. A 3/3 PSYKER who knows all the Powers (as he must be the WARLORD), he never Perils, rerolls Psychic Tests, adds +1 to all Tests, or +2 if on 10+ Wounds, and when he Smites he always does D6, or 3D3 on a Super Smite. He is incredibly reliable and zappy with his powers, though still limited to 3, and whilst he does have a robust statline, is relatively fragile for his hefty 465pt price tag, and with his massive wingspan and 18W, basically impossible to hide. As such he will often be in danger Turn 1, and so whilst has scary output, can’t take the hits in return, making him a risky prospect to deploy, expensive to Strategic Reserve, as well as absorbing a lot of defensive abilities like heals and Glamour. As he takes away a big chunk of your army, losing him can create a massive uphill battle. Not a choice for every game, but can be potent in those where you can utilise him for a few turns.