Thousand Sons Tactics Warhammer 40k: Ritual of the Damned

Thousand Sons Tactics

Ritual Of The Damned is the upcoming release for Psychic Awakening, rife with rules for the Thousand Sons, Dark Angels, and Grey Knights. With book in hand, we’re going to be taking a look at everything the Thousand Sons received in Psychic Awakening along with giving it a grade, going over some tips and tricks on how to use the updated Thousand Sons along with a sample army list.  There’s a lot to unpack, but first we need to talk about how things will be graded. Every entry will be scored on a 10 point scale.

Grading Your Thousand Sons Tactics List

1- Completely misses the mark. Essentially unplayable or unfunctional from a Rules As Written perspective.

3- Definitely for Narrative Play only, or at best a series of Matched Play games as part of a Narrative Campaign.

5-  Middle of the road. Not a competitive choice by any means, but it pulls its weight. Fine for a pick up Matched Play game.

7- Very good, on the cusp of being a competitive option. Some competitive lists might feature or use this, but for your regular games it’s a very powerful choice. Great for local events.

9- Extremely competitive. Probably too strong of an option for regular pick up games, and will be a regular mainstay in competitive lists.

10- Broken.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin! Thousand Sons have gained the option to select a Cult for every Thousand Sons Detachment. All units except for named characters, Cultists, and any Tzaangor units will gain the relevant Cult keyword (E.G. if you pick Cult of Time, all of your Thousand Sons units will gain the CULT OF TIME keyword). Every Cult has a unique Psychic Power, Warlord Trait, and Relic available to them. 

Interestingly, the Psychic Power that each Cult gets is known automatically by all Cult Psykers in addition to their other powers and Smite. That’s an important detail to recall when evaluating the powers and Cults in general. Finally, in addition to the various Cults, Thousand Sons have received 7 new Stratagems to supplement the Stratagems in their Codex.

Thousand Sons Tactics



Divine The Future– Warp Charge 5, if manifested you get to roll a D6 and record the result. Until the start of your next Psychic Phase, you can replace a dice roll with the dice rolled for this power for any hit, wound, advance, charge, psychic test, or morale roll. This will give you some extra consistency and allow you to pass a critical roll successfully when you really need it. It’s not super competitive since it is only a single roll, but it’s more than playable.  6/10

Guided By The Whispers: After your Warlord fires Overwatch, he gets to make a free 6” move. In Tau, this would be more than reasonable. In Thousand Sons, you have way too many other good options. 3/10
Pythic Brazier: This Relic allows the bearer to broadcast an aura that allows all friendly units within 6” to re-roll one hit, wound, OR damage roll. Not nearly as good as Master Artisans, but still a perfectly reasonable option for a Relic. Interestingly, this affects any friendly models, so RAW this affects friendly units from other Codex’s. Might have played with Chaos Knights. 5/10

Overall, the Cult of Prophecy have some ways to manipulate dice between Divine The Future and Pythic Brazier which will make for smoother games. The overall power level for these options is a little on the low side, but not so low that you should avoid this Cult if consistency is what you’re looking for. Overall: 5/10

Time –

Time Flux:  Warp Charge 5, lets you return a slain model from a CULT OF TIME unit at full Wounds. On a result of 9+, you instead return D3 models. Combined with the new Sorcerous Infusion Stratagem, you could recover 4 Scarab Occult Terminators to a unit in one turn, which would be pretty brutal. In general, this power will just make your army grind a bit better. 5/10

Immaterial Echo:
If you Warlord gets a 9+ on a Psychic Test, he can cast an extra power for free. This can only trigger once per phase. You could go all in and use a Warlord with this and have him keep casting Time Flux boosted by Cabalistic Focus, but it’s still pretty inconsistent and it costs a lot of CP over the course of a game. Still, you’ll probably get a couple free Smites or other powers off this Warlord trait over a game, but it’s nothing to call home about. 6/10

Hourglass of Manat:
 If the bearer of this Relic is slain, they recover D3 Wounds and are placed as close to their old position as possible while also staying 1” outside of enemy models. Being able to cheat death on your Warlord or other key Psyker is nothing to sneeze at. The model only recovers D3 Wounds, but in an army with Temporal Manipulation getting a second shot at life with a Demon Prince could swing a game. Again, coupled with Sorcerous Infusion, and you can theoretically get a Demon Prince from being slain to full health in one turn. 7/10

The Cult of Time makes Thousand Sons into a fairly grindy army. They already have access to some of the best saves in the game and a variety of damage mitigation options, and being able to recover slain models and even cheat death on a Demon Prince or Exalted Sorcerer makes them even better at shrugging off damage. They aren’t competitive, but they’re certainly playable. 6/10

Thousand Sons Tactics


Warp Reality:  Warp Charge 6, if successfully manifested you can pick a terrain piece within 18”, and then pick an enemy unit within 3” of that terrain piece. The unit that you select halves it’s movement and subtracts 1 from Advance and Charge rolls. These effects last until the beginning of your next Psychic Phase. Against static gunline lists that don’t move much, this power won’t be very impactful. But when you’re fighting almost anyone else, Warp Reality is a total powerhouse.

The ability to steer your opponent away from terrain to shoot them in the open or punish them for seeking cover is a brutal lose-lose situation. Unfortunately, we live  in a world where static Space Marine gun lines are everywhere, which knocks this power down a peg. 7/10

Touch of Vicissitude:
This causes your Warlord to deal a Mortal Wound on a hit roll of 6.  This is a very weak Warlord Trait, especially in Thousand Sons. There’s simply a variety of better options available to you. 3/10

Exalted Mutation:
Gives the bearer +1 Strength, Toughness, and Attack. SORCERER only. This Relic would be incredibly potent on a Demon Prince, but when it’s stuck on SORCERER models only it’s just not quite good enough. 4/10

The Cult of Mutation have an incredible Psychic Power, but they’re held down by a lackluster Warlord Trait and Relic. If the competitive scene shifts to being a little more melee focused, Mutation could become a viable competitive choice. As it is, it’s perfectly reasonable for your regular games. 6/10


Seeded Strategy:  Warp Charge Value 6, if manifested you can select one CULT OF SCHEMINGunit and allow them to shoot and charge even if they fell back this turn. If this power could be used on Tzaangors, this would have a lot of play. As it is,  this power is limited in application. 4/10

Grand Schemer:
This Relic makes your Warlord broadcast a 3” aura that gives all of your CULT OF SCHEMING units the Disciples of Tzeentch ability, and if they already have it they count as 2 models instead of 1.  For the most part, the power of this Relic is extremely low. However, it could steal a game with sharp play. 4/10

Cha’Qi’Thl’s Theorem: 
Essentially, this Relic lets you avoid paying the CP for a Stratagem once per game, with no cost or check involved. At first glance, this sounds like a really useful Relic. However, when you sit down and do the math the Theorem quickly falls apart. Best case scenario,  assume that it’s your second Relic and you use it to to use a 2 CP Stratagem for free. You spent a CP to use a 2CP for free, which means you end up saving 1CP, which isn’t bad.

However, this means you saved a CP instead of taking either the Dark Matter Crystal or the Helm Of The Third Eye, which are significantly more useful than saving 1CP. And if you take the Theorem as a third Relic, there’s no way to even get CP back and at best you can break even. The only way to really come ahead in CPis to use it on Coruscating Beam, but that’s a very weak Stratagem. No matter how you cut from a numbers perspective, the Theorem isn’t good unless it’s your only Relic that you take, which means no Dark Matter Crystal. 2/10

Overall, the Cult of Scheming doesn’t really bring a lot of options to the table that are seriously worth looking at. There are simply a variety of better Cult’s available to Thousand Sons. 3/10

Thousand Sons Tactics


Astral Blast:  Warp Charge 6, if manifested it causes D3 Mortal Wounds to the closest visible enemy unit. Then, all enemy units within 3” suffer 1 Mortal Wound. On its own, this power is effectively an improved Smite which is already a step up. But coupled with the Warlord Trait Devastating Sorcery, you can get to some really incredibly high damage output.  7/10

Devastating Sorcery:
If your Warlord manifests a Psychic Power that causes Mortal Wounds, they deal 1 additional Mortal Wound.  Couple this with as many Psychic Powers that you can cram onto a single model, and you can really lay down some damage in a single Psychic Phase, especially if your opponent has castled up. 7/10

Arcane Focus:
The bearer adds 1 to all Psychic Tests they take. This is simply a potent Relic. An extra +1 to cast makes all of your powers more likely to resolve. Coupled with Cabalistic Focus, you can actually somewhat consistently threaten to land a D6 Smite. 7/10

The Cult of Magic is clearly one of the most competitive options available to Thousand Sons, and to some degree this Cult is greater than the sum of its parts. Each individual component is more than reasonable on it’s own, and they also combine together nicely. The only downsides are that many armies can play around Astral Blast and that this Cult doesn’t offer much for a full army of Thousand Sons, which keeps this Cult in check. 7/10, 8/10 if you just want to dip into Thousand Sons instead of play an army out of them.


Psychic Delve: Warp Charge 6, if manifested you can select one enemy unit. All CULT OF KNOWLEDGE units re-roll 1’s to wound against that enemy unit. Thousand Sons don’t have access to many ways to re-roll 1’s to Wound, so this power has a lot of traction. In addition, there are no checks or ranges (other than the initial 18”, 24” with the trait) so this is a very consistent damage boost for your army. 7/10

Ardent Scholar:
Your Warlord re-rolls 1’s to cast. This makes you far more likely to pass most of your powers. In a game like 40K, any option to improve your consistency is welcome. 6/10

Incaldion’s Cry:
Replaces a Warpflame Pistol, it’s a Pistol D6, 12” Range, Strength 6, AP-2, Damagre 1 gun.  Relic guns have never been very impressive in 40K 8th edition, but even by that metric this Pistol is pretty lackluster. Warpflame Pistol’s are fine if you have a few extra points, but don’t spend the CP on this. 3/10

The Cult of Knowledge has a very useful Psychic Power and a decent Warlord Trait which makes this more than playable. The Relic it has is pretty lackluster, but that’s a small price to pay. 6/10

Thousand Sons Tactics


Disturb Reality:  Warp Charge 6, if manifested you can lower the leadership and attacks of one unit within 12”. Not a bad power persay, but it’s not going to be applicable in a lot of your games. 5/10 overall, 2/10 when your opponent brings guns and a 7/10 when your opponent brings melee.

Fickle Nature:
Your Warlord re-rolls charges and can charge/shoot in a turn he falls back. Thousand Sons are not a faction known for their close combat characters, but a Demon Prince with this could do some work. The real issue is that you don’t have a potent melee relic to pair this with. Would be a 7, maybe even a 8 in the right army, but for Thousand Sons it’s a 6/10.

Thousand Sons Tactics

Capricious Crest: This lets the bearer turn a 1 into a 6, or a 6 into a one for a Psychic Test taken within 18” of him. Although it is once per turn, this Relic is still potent. You can combine this with some of the other bonuses to cast that Thousand Sons have and dig for some really high casting values for D6 Smites, turn a Perils into a passed power, and if you get in range you can even heavily manipulate important powers for your opponents.

This is an all around excellent relic even without the ability to manipulate your opponent, and with that occasionally coming up it’s one of the best Relics in Ritual Of The Damned. It should be noted that it can be used on other lores, so if you ally in some Chaos Demons or Death Guard, you can use this to force those powers to resolve as well. 8/10

All in all, the Cult of Change come off as an excellent Cult to dip into for access to the Capricious Crest primarily, and access to a bit of melee options as a secondary. You might see some competitive lists dip into this just for the Capricious Crest and the melee options. 7/10


Sorcerous Facade: Warp Charge 7, allows you to pick a CULT OF DUPLICITY unit off the board and place it anywhere outside of 9” of your opponent. While this power is a little high on the difficulty scale, it’s also easily the best power out of the 9 Cult powers, hands down. You can use this to escape wraps, take objectives, redeploy forces across the board at a moment’s notice, the list is almost endless. It’s limited a bit by the fact that it can’t be used on TZAANGOR units or Named Characters, but that’s a small limitation. You won’t see this used much in armies that dip into Thousand Sons for a couple Demon Princes and Ahriman, but for anyone looking to play primarily out of Thousand Sons this is going to be one of your main go to’s. 8/10.

Thousand Sons Tactics

Duplicitous Tactician: Re-deploy D3 CULT OF DUPLICITY units. This is an extraordinarily strong Warlord Trait for anyone looking to build an army strictly out of Thousand Sons. Just like their Psychic Power, the usefulness of this Warlord Trait rises as more and more of your army comes from the Cult of Duplicity. The ability to move units to safety after you see if your opponent has seized or not is a game changing adjustment, and since this thing is always just 1CP away thanks to Magister, you can have it on hand any game you think you might need it. 8/10

Perfidious Tome: At the beginning of every Battle Round, if the bearer is on the board, roll a D6. On a 4+, you get a CP. On a roll of a 1, your opponent gets a CP.  This is one of those really polarizing Relics. Some people will swear they always get 4 or 5 CP off this thing, and other people will swear they just give their opponent 3 with it. On average, you’ll get 2-3 CP over the course of a game and give your opponent 1CP about 2 in every 3 games you play. Is that worth paying 1 CP for? Not really.  3/10, but this thing shoots up to a 7 or 8/10 if you’re a very lucky player and a 1/10 if you’re a rather unlucky player.

The Cult of Duplicity will be a mainstay for competitive Thousand Sons players looking to play an army strictly out of Thousand Sons. If you’re just taking a Supreme Command for some Demon Princes and Ahriman, this Cult is a pass. But if you really want to make Thousand Sons work as an army, this is a great Cult to build the core out of your army from. 7/10


Attempted Possession: Warp Charge 6, if manifested you deal 1 Mortal Wound to an enemy CHARACTER within 18”, and they reduce their Psychic Tests by 2. This power could theoretically be really damaging to an opponent that’s also reliant on Psychic Tests,  but given enemy Psykers tend to be so far back you’re going to have a hard time landing this. There’s also a lot of games where this power is functionally blank. 3/10

Beguiling Influence:
Subtract 1 from the Attacks characteristic of any enemy units within 1” of your Warlord. This is actually a solid Warlord trait against melee focused armies, and since you can access it with Magister for games it’s relevant it has some play. 5/10

Sorthis Reflector:
Basically, the Relic bearer can replace all of their melee weapons with one melee weapon from an enemy MODEL (not unit, MODEL) within 1” that has a Leadership of 9 or less. Also, you can’t reroll any hit or wound rolls when using this Relic to swap weapons. This is easily one of the worst Relic’s ever printed. Most of your Characters that you already want in Combat have acceptable melee weapons, so the only time this thing is even really attractive is if your opponent brings some crazy melee Relic. Even then, the application on this is pretty narrow as you have to make a charge against exactly that model. Just save your CP or take a better Relic. 1/10

Unfortunately, the Cult of Manipulation just don’t have much going for them. Their Psychic Power and Relic have some pretty unique effects, but they just aren’t good effects. Their Warlord Trait is situationally useful, but that’s not enough to justify looking at the Cult of Manipulation for anything other then laid back games to try them out. 3/10

Thousand Sons Tactics

For most competitive players, there are two clear cut choices in Cults. One for if you want to dip into Thousand Sons for some Psykers (a common choice in competitive Chaos lists) in the Cult of Magic, and one for people who want to play with mostly Thousand Sons in the Cult of Duplicity. For everyone else, there’s a variety of reasonable Cults to pick from. Although Manipulation and Scheming are pretty weak, that still leaves 5 more Cults that you can pick that are at least reasonable. Overall, Games Workshop did a really good job here balancing out the various Cults by giving Thousand Sons Players a lot of cool options while also giving clear bone throws to the competitive players. Next, we’re going to be looking at the various Stratagems that Thousand Sons received in Ritual Of The Damned. They only got 7, but they’re a pretty potent 7 so it’s hard to complain.


Magister: 1CP, one Thousand Sons Character gets a Warlord Trait. Can only be used once per game. Simple, sweet, really powerful. You have a lot of good Warlord Traits, and many of the Cult ones are also useful. 8/10

Infernal Fusillade:
1CP, if a unit of Rubric Marines or Scarab Occult Terminators stood still, they may shoot twice with their Rapid Fire Weapons. This is an excellent Stratagem that you can really bust wide open in conjunction with Risen Rubricae. 7/10

Yoked Automata:
2CP, basically this lets you Charge with one of your Rubric Marine or Scarab Occult Terminator  units that are within 12” of an enemy unit that charged one of your non-TZAANGOR Characters. This is a hard Stratagem to really properly evaluate, since a lot of the time it just won’t be that applicable but every now and then you’ll land a charge off some Scarab Occult Terminators and save the day. It should be noted that technically the unit makes a 2d6 Heroic Intervention, which is basically a charge but the unit doesn’t get to swing at the same speed that Charging units get to. So, you won’t be able to save your Character most of the time unless you also pay 2CP to interrupt and they don’t kill your Character on their first activation. But, you’ll most likely murder the other unit so it’s not all bad. 5/10

Thousand Sons Tactics

Risen Rubricae: Once per game, for 1CP you can deploy a unit of Rubric Marines anywhere on the battlefield as long as they are more than 9” from any enemy units or the enemy deployment zone. This is a Stratagem that you have to plan around, but it has some serious potential and combinations. We’ll get into this more in the Combos section. 8/10

Sorcerous Infusion: 1 CP, when any THOUSAND SONS unit manifests a Psychic Power on a 9+ you can then heal an injured model from that unit that  unit for D3 Wounds or add a slain model back to that unit if there are no injured models in that unit. Not bad on it’s own, combos nicely with the Cult of Time. 6/10

Indomitable Foes: 1CP, give a unit of Rubric Marines or Scarab Occult Terminators +1 to their Invulnerable Saves. Couple this with Weaver of Fates and you can give any random Rubric or Terminator unit a 3+ Invulnerable Save, which is absolutely tough as nails. 8/10

Adepts of the Immaterium: 1CP, when you would Perils of the Warp for a Thousand Sons Psyker, you don’t. This is the difference between your Warlord killing himself randomly or you securing your game winning buff from that boxcar roll you had on a Psychic Test. Won’t come up most games, but when it does it’s an easy 9/10.

7 stratagems is not a lot to work with, but luckily almost every Stratagem that Thousand Sons got is extremely good. Most importantly, these things pair nicely with two of the namesake units that make Thousand Sons unique, Rubric Marines and Scarab Occult Terminators. There’s now a reason to start playing with these models a lot, especially with the adjustments that CA2019 gave to this army.


Thousand Sons only received a few new Stratagems, and most of them are tied to a small unit selection. In addition, the nature of how Cult choices work mean that you are limited in how much you have to pull from. This being said, there are a few noteworthy combos and interactions that are worth taking a look at, especially for someone that really just wants to play Thousand Sons as a standalone army.


The thing about the Cult of Prophecy is that you can easily get everything that you would want from it on a single Character, since you really just want the Power and the Relic. You could take a small Battalion or other detachment for Prophecy and then base the core of your army out of Knowledge. This way your whole army will re-roll 1’s to Hit and Wound just normally between Psychic Delve and your Character auras while your Prophecy Character buys you extra free re-rolls and dice substitution. In conjunction, you can get an extraordinarily consistent army that can really push luck in any way that it needs it. Also the fact that Knowledge has a weak Relic and Prophecy has a weak Warlord Trait means they also naturally compliment each others weaknesses.


Anyone looking to play the meanest strictly Thousand Sons list possible will want to look at this combination.  The Cult of Magic lends itself naturally to making one extremely loaded caster between it’s Relic and Warlord Trait, and Duplicity is simply the best overall Cult to play a Thousand Sons list out of. Being built out of Duplicity allows you to redeploy your units both before the game begins and as the game develops, so you can theoretically threaten any objective with any unit at any time. As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, you can also bring a one man Mortal Wound Army throwing out a Smite and Astral Blast.

On average, he’ll deal 6 Mortal Wounds to a unit and 2 Mortals to every unit within 3” of the unit you hit with Astral Blast. This is in addition to the slew of Mortals that you will be handing out from the rest of your army and Characters, and you can push this damage through the roof from Infernal Gateway. This will cost you some CP but the damage you get here is unreal, and in conjunction with how difficult it will be for your opponent to control the board against you, you’ve got a brutal combination here.


The Cult of Time lends itself to a very grindy playstyle, since you can return multiple slain models every single turn. Couple this with the relatively high defenses that Thousand Sons have, and you have the beginning of a Necron-esque playstyle where your opponent is really trying to completely kill every unit one at a time. You can push this into overdrive with the Capricious Crest to make it far more likely you’ll land that 9+ psychic test which will then trigger Sorcerous Infusion.  Just watch the look on your opponent’s face when you heal an injured Terminator with Temporal Manipulation, and then pick up another 3-4 Terminators from a unit he thought he had almost finished off. And then you do that again, turn after turn. Extra bonus points if you also dip into the Cult of Prophecy and substitute a dice roll of a 1 that you got on Divine The Future into a 6 for a test. Since none of these are re-rolls, just swaps, it’s currently legal. The future FAQ for Ritual Of The Damned might put a stop to this one however.

Risen Rubricae+ Infernal Fusillade

There’s a lot of ways you can spice this up depending on which Cults you want to run with, but the core of the idea is the same. 328 points buys you a giant 20man blob of Rubrics that you then deploy somewhere in the middle of the board while respecting the deployment rules on Risen Rubricae. If anyone walks within 24” of your giant fortress of Rubrics, they eat 80 Strength 4 AP-2 shots at +1 to Wound from Veterans Of The Long War. You’ll struggle to harm Toughness 8+ models, but anything lighter will get evaporated. It’s also a troops choice and although it’s a little invasive points wise, it secures you the middle of the table from the get go. Thousand Sons are a grindy, midrange kind of army and this positions a giant threat at just the distance they want to be.

Thousand Sons Tactics


The very nature of how Thousand Sons are constructed leads them to be a little on the malleable side. You have a lot of powers to pick from, and now a lot of Cults to select from as well. We will briefly go over some ways that various Cults might modify this list and how you might take Relics or spend your CP, but the core of the list will be the same regardless of which Cult you select.

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [92 PL, 1,506pts] ++

+ HQ +

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [9 PL, 195pts]: Malefic talon, Wings

Exalted Sorcerer [7 PL, 120pts]: Force stave, Inferno Bolt Pistol

+ Troops +

Rubric Marines [27 PL, 328pts]

. Aspiring Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Bolt Pistol

. 19x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun

Rubric Marines [7 PL, 88pts]

. Aspiring Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Bolt Pistol

. 4x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun

Tzaangors [10 PL, 250pts]: Brayhorn

. Twistbray: Tzaangor blades

. 29x Tzaangor w/ Tzaangor Blades

Tzaangors [10 PL, 250pts]: Brayhorn

. Twistbray: Tzaangor blades

. 29x Tzaangor w/ Tzaangor Blades

+ Elites +

Scarab Occult Terminators [22 PL, 275pts]

. Scarab Occult Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Combi-bolter

. 6x Terminator: 6x Inferno Combi-bolter, 6x Powersword

. Terminator w/ Heavy Weapon: Power sword, Soulreaper cannon

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [29 PL, 494pts] ++

+ HQ +

Ahriman [7 PL, 131pts]

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [9 PL, 195pts]: Malefic talon, Wings

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]

. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun

. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]

. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun

. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Rubric Marines [7 PL, 88pts]

. Aspiring Sorcerer: Force stave, Inferno Bolt Pistol

. 4x Rubric Marine w/ Inferno Boltgun

++ Total: [121 PL, 2,000pts] ++

So, there we have our list. We place one unit of Tzaangors into Reserves along with our  Terminators and everyone else is placed on the board. We pay 1 CP for Webway Infiltration and 1CP for Risen Rubricae to place our Tzaangors in Reserves and our giant 20 man blob of Rubrics up the board.

From there, our gameplan is simple. Turn 1 we use the Dark Matter Crystal to throw the 30 man blob that we deploy across the table and into our opponent’s frontlines. On Turn 2, your second unit of Tzaangors and your Terminators drop onto the table and ramp up the pressure. Between Gaze of Fate and the Instruments for +1 to Charge, you should fairly reliably be getting into close combat.

While your opponent deal with the hordes of Tzaangors coming in, you pelt your opponent with Bolterfire from your Rubrics and Terminators while your Characters run up the board. Once they get in, you can start adding lots of Mortal Wounds to the rest of your attacks. For objective play, you have two squads of Cultists and a 5 man Rubric Squad to help ensure you can score Victory Points.

It’s a very straightforward list, but it can be spiced up with various Cults. For example, with Duplicity you can throw an Exalted Sorcerer up the board and then use your 20man Rubric unit and that Sorcerer to buff your Tzaangors up fully.

Or you can use the Cult of Knowledge and apply a re-roll 1’s to Wound effect against a priority unit to get your Damage up even higher.

If you really want to grind your opponent out you could cut a few Tzaangors and a DP for aSorcerer in Terminator Armor and raise the Terminators up to 10. Now combine that with the Time and Change Cults  and you have two large bricks (the Terminators and the Rubrics) that your opponent is going to struggle to damage while he drowns in Tzaangors, and what damage he does deal you simply heal back. There’s a lot of ways to modify or adjust this list based on what Cults you take, but no matter how you cut it the Thousand Sons have some fangs.


Overall, Ritual of the Damned has given Thousand Sons players a reasonable power boost without busting them for the competitive scene. They will still frequently show up in competitive lists as a Supreme Command for their Psychic abilities, but for those who just want to enjoy the Sons of Prospero for what they are, there’s a lot to be excited about here.

As far as the Thousand Sons go, overall this update moves them to a 7/10. You have some strong options that are bordering on being genuinely competitive and a slew of fun choices that are fine for regular games. There’s a lot to unpack here, and Games Workshop have again successfully updated an army just enough to make playing it a blast without breaking it and making it over powered. If you have some Rubrics and Scarab Occult Terminators laying around, now is the time to try them out again.

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