The good, the bad and the meh – tweaking my Thousand Sons

So the games last weekend gave me valuable experience on what works and what doesn’t in my list. As I mentioned briefly in the Recap post my Rhinos are basically deadweight in the list and the Scarab Occult Terminators cannot carry themselves properly. I need to tweak my list but before that I thought I break it down (see the list over here). Hold on to your hats as we run down the good, the bad and the meh of the list:

+++ +++ +++

The good

Psychic domination – With 11 casters and 17 spells I have what it takes to both buff units and deal damage. It felt good going though the list casting spell after spell after spell. And Ahriman is of course a boss. What I could use is a bit more mobility from the good casters, like a Exalted Sorcerer on a disc.

Tzaangors in the webway – I really liked to bring the Tzaangor in the game a few turns in. They have enough presence to shift the flow of the game in a good way. But they are too alone, I’d like another unit for a one two punch (or rather two three punch having them both in the webway).

Rubric Marines – They don’t cost too much, they are hard to shift and the Aspiring Sorcerer is pure gold for his points. The Warpflamer ones are maybe too costly for what they do but the ones with Bolter are ace.

Command Points – The list have 14 Command Points which was enough in the games. I’m mostly using the CP for re-rolls, Veterans of the long war, Psychic buffs and other cheap stratagems.

+++ +++ +++

The bad

Rhinos – They look awesome. I’m very proud of the paint job especially the freehand but man, in the game they don’t do anything. I can protect my characters with the character targeting rule and five man units of Rubric Marines are easy to hide. While their movement is good and they are surprisingly sturdy they are a point sink and give up easy ITC points. Tried, tested and now discarded.

Lack of range – My army is short ranged. Damage is dealt within 24″. I tried to compensate this by having the Scarab Occult in deepstrike. It isn’t enough. I need something that can put wounds on stuff at range, early in the game. I don’t think I need a whole lot but something would be great.

Board control – Before the Tzaangors drop I don’t have any good board control, while my Rubric Marines hold their ground good, there are only four units of them in the list. In the games I felt it as my options to act, even to deep strike stuff was greatly reduced as the enemy took control early on.

+++ +++ +++

The meh

Scarab Occult Terminators – In many respects they are the ultimate meh unit – they have decent survivability, decent shooting, decent mobility, decent psychic presence, decent melee and a decent price. Clocking in at 189 points they aren’t horrible, they just don’t do enough. A single unit will probably do. They can disrupt the backfield, roadblock advancing units and wipe small units.

The common Sorcerer – Cheap and throw-away which is good but I think I will try and upgrade him to either a Terminator Sorcerer or an Exalted Sorcerer on Disc. But it’s not urgent, he is ok after all.

High Magister Warlord – My Warlord was the Terminator Sorcerer and I gave him the High Magister Warlord Trait (+1 to cast). While nothing wrong I think I will try out some different traits in the future, as I didn’t found this one useful enough.

+++ +++ +++

Where to go from here?

I have some ideas on how to tweak my army. First of all, I have bought another Contemptor. This one is equipped with two C-beam cannons. Yes, the same load out pioneered by Jim Vesal, so a bit of netlisting going on here. I think this will give me some of that ranged presence that I need. The C-Beam Contemptor is pretty awesome after all with its sturdy Contemptor frame and stats (hitting on 2+, t7, 10w, Invulnerable Saves) and the C-Beam is just brutal. Two shots, 72″ range, stronger the further away the target is and if you remove a model the rest of the unit suffers an additional 2d6 auto hits. Aim for weaker units for grabbing those important kill points.

I’ve also been looking at the Hellforged Deredeo from Forge World. It is such a cool model and it really packs a punch with its three weapon systems. Especially important is the Greater Havoc Launcher that can dig out units without having LoS to them. I really missed having long ranged, indirect fire. But I don’t have that unit (yet … hahaha).

Another unit the could help out when it comes to reaching out across the board is the Hellforged Dreadclaw Drop pod. I don’t have that model either but I do have a normal Drop Pod that I don’t use and I have some skill when it comes to converting and building stuff. I think it would be a cool project. The Dreadclaw is a weird unit. It is a drop pod, you can deep strike it and stuff disembark when it drops down. Unlike a normal drop pod it can continue to move (15″ movement!) and even transport units again. On top of that it isn’t bad in melee. It’s much like a half decent Helbrute flying around the table for only 115 points. Pretty good. I could have it deliver my close combat Contemptor up the pitch and it then I would have two distraction Carnifexes running around. Conversion project leading up to a underused, hipsteresque unit, well I might just have to go down this route.

The last thing I think I need is more Tzaangors. I’m currently looking into a way of building some from leftover parts and green stuff. Hopefully it will pan out good and then I’ll be able to add ten or so at no cost at all. I’ll document the experiments once I get cracking. But I think I need around 45-50 Tzaangors to give me both board presence and good punch.

A complete different idea I have been toying with are either allies (like some Chaos Space Marines) or summoning Daemons. But I think I’ll keep it pure Thousand Sons for now.

So a new list could look something like this:

+ Battalion


Seer’s Bane Exalted Sorcerer

3*5 Rubric Marines

+ Battalion

Daemon Prince

Exalted on disc

5 Rubric Marines

20 Tzaangors

25 Tzaangors

+ Vanguard

Terminator Sorcerer

5 Scarab Occult

Contemptor (close combat)

Contemptor (c-beams)


I hope you like the breakdown. Any thoughts and tips are most welcome.

Keep on keeping on!

9 thoughts on “The good, the bad and the meh – tweaking my Thousand Sons

  1. Overall I think the list just needs practice. A lot of what we see with Thousand Sons success is offensively: Smite, and defensively the list is a ‘denial’ type. In your list I agree Rhino’s don’t do a lot. I’d almost rather see a Crystal in action with Tzaangors or Rubrics than a Dreadclaw. I think getting punch out of Forgeworld Dreads (of any type) is a solid idea! (I use Decimators with my Chaos/Thousand Sons).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I agree, the base of the list is viable and have what it takes, and practice is much needed. It had some room for improvement and tweaks. I think the Dreadclaw is underestimated and can provide a lot of utility to the list. I mean it’s not that expensive but it is a bit too fragile and might just end up being just another Rhino. I want to try it out and see what happens. I think I need to see it on the tabletop to understand it.

      Dark Matter Tzaangors turn 1 is a bit of a trap as far as I am concerned. If you want them to be anything but a roadblock you need somewhere around 20 at least. You also need to start them on the table, risking that they will be decimated it you don’t get first turn. Hiding 20 32mm bases isn’t something you can expect to do. While a powerful option, I think the risk is too great for its potential reward. But teleporting a small squad of Rubric Marines up the pitch to exploit the Target Character rule is something completely different and very effective and viable. I actually build for that.


    1. Cheers!

      Unfortunately the Terminators aren’t as good as I want them to be. I wish I could build a list on the back of them but they aren’t strong enough. I mean I have 15 Scarab Occult built and painted.

      They aren’t bad and can hold their own but not much more. I still have an unit left in the reiterated list because they have utility. But two units just costed me too many points.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So for Rhino’s I packed in ten Rubics, which kept them extra safe on the first turn and an extra three inch move. Then had havoc launchers for plinking away a few wounds as they denied deepstrike and road blocked stuff.

    For scarab occult I think ten of them is the way to go and abuse the bolter rule. Don’t take the soul reaper cannon at all. Fly someone over to them for rerolls, use veterans of the long war and they well shred things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ten Scarab are good, especially with the Bolter drill. The problem i have with that build is the huge amount of points you need to invest to bring the unit. Being so expensive they will draw a lot of attention from the opponent. They will be the number one target for the opponent. Sure they aren’t easy to shift but not hard enough in my experience.

      They melt away against multi wound weapons with at least a little bit of Ap and they drown in a torrent of dice. If you bring a unit like this you need to support them properly. All the spells, and all the command points (and you need to save the Dark Matter Crystal too so that you can escape the inevitable tar pit). But I don’t think they are good enough for that role. Unfortunately.

      Personally I prefer cheaper units and more of them. The general idea is to force the enemy to work with target priority by not presenting an obvious high point lynchpin unit that need to be removed. More choices you force the opponent to make the more mistakes will be made. But that’s just my general idea.

      If you can make big Scarab Occult units and Rhinos to work I am in awe. I want this to happen.


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