10th Edition Competitive Faction Focus: Thousand Sons (Updated May 31, 2024) (2024)

10th Edition Competitive Faction Focus: Thousand Sons (Updated May 31, 2024) (1)

In our Competitive Faction Focus series we look at the factions of Warhammer 40,000 through a competitive lens, talking about who they are and what they can do, and how they play competitively. In this article we’re looking at the Sons of Magnus, the Thousand Sons.


  • Update (Latest):2024-05-31 to add the army rule, updated lists
  • Update: 2024-04-30 for the Q2 2024 Points Update
  • Update: 2024-02-27 for the Q1 2024 Balance Dataslate
  • Update:2023-09-19 for the Q3 2023 Balance Dataslate
  • Published:2023-08-03

Why Should You Play This Faction?

As an army the Thousand Sons offer a massive and versatile toolbox of abilities and options and while the number of units you have to choose from is small, almost all of them have value. On top of that, there are a large number of ways to assemble those units into something that is competitively viable on the table. There are things the Thousand Sons can do which no other Chaos army can do, and they can be a challenging (in a good way) and fun army to play.

The Thousand Sons received some heavy nerfs in the Q3 2023 Dataslate which but a significant damper on the faction – one they’ve struggled to recover from as other factions have gotten buffs. This has gotten worse recently with the Q1 dataslate delivering another set of nerfs to the faction in the form of nerfing allies, increasing the costs of Chaos Knight Brigands and making it so Thousand Sons armies can no longer take the Changeling or The Blue Scribes without first taking a unit of Horrors. The Thousand Sons can still win an event and put up occasional results, but they’re firmly in the bottom half of armies competitively right now. The good news is that it’s a pretty close field.

Five Things You Need to Know

  1. Cabbalistic Rituals are the backbone of your strategy: Cabbalistic Rituals give you four of the most powerful abilities in the game to play with – double moving, free Stratagem use, putting out a buttload of mortal wounds, and turning off enemy saves. These are powerful effects that hand you tools to deal with a variety of targets and you’re going to build and play around their use each turn.
  2. Mobility is key: Between the ability to double-move units with Temporal Surge and the Umbralefic Crystal, the Thousand Sons have some powerful movement tech to play with. Whether you’re double-timing a Mutalith across the table to pick up an Ambush Token or dropping an Infernal Master in your opponent’s backfield to do an action and score Behind Enemy lines with the Crystal, there are some real options here that let you adapt to the opponent and play unpredictably. That’s really good to have, because your Rubrics are fairly slow, moving on 5”. That said, you’ve got other options as well – Tzaangor Enlightened and Chaos Spawn both have solid movement.
  3. Magnus is Back, Baby: Magnus is one of the single most powerful units in the game and a tremendous asset for Thousand Sons lists as both an option for damage output and as a force multiplier. In addition to the damage, melee threat and movement, Big Red can also boost the movement of nearby units and help some some of your movement challenges.
  4. Don’t get stuck in combat: Units like Scarab Occult Terminators aren’t necessarily bad in combat but you generally want to be shooting and in 10th edition it’s even harder to blast your way out of combat with psychic attacks. Your units generally want to avoid being stuck in melee combat, so don’t get tagged unless you have to.
  5. Warpflamers are fantastic board control tools: Warpflamers are one of the most potent board control weapons in the game. A unit of 10 models with Warpflamers (well, 9 plus a pistol on the champion) can throw out some incredible hurt. You may not be able to use Overwatch multiple times per turn anymore, but you can still murder things that cross your path pretty reliably. Most Rubric units run in groups of five now with three warpflamers, a warpflame pistol, a soulreaper cannon, and an attached character who can add some nasty fire support.


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Q2 2024 Points Update Changes

After taking a major hit in Q3 2023, the Thousand Sons walked away with a major win in Q2 2024. While there were two nerfs – both the Arcane Vortex and Lord of Forbidden Lore Enhancements saw point hikes – these were offset by a number of point drops to Scarab Occult Terminators, Cultists, Daemon Princes, Helbrutes, Maulerfiends, and Vindicators. Vindicators and Maulerfiends aren’t likely to see much play even after this, but the changes open the door for Scarabs to show up again while the scarab changes mean that lists with 10 Terminators can either ignore the update as the changes net out to more or less the same total list cost.

Q1 2024 Dataslate Changes

The first Dataslate update of 10th edition made a number of changes to the game, and several of those hit the Thousand Sons directly – and pretty hard. The more recent Q1 dataslate had a more indirect impact, but still hurt. With the Q1 Dataslate, Daemon allies have been changed – you can no longer take a non-Battleline daemons unit without taking a battleline unit, meaning if you want to include the Blue Scribes or the Changeling as a cheap, protected action-doer unit, you have to pay a tax by taking a unit of horrors. That’s pretty rough for an army where points are very tight and you need all the Cabal units you can get.

To compound issues, Custodes got a buff in the form of a 4+ Feel No Pain against Devastating wounds, and coupled with their point drops, this puts them back near the top of the meta. That’s always bad news for the Thousand Sons, who largely depend on playing against armies who don’t suddenly have 100% more wounds when they fight. The only upside is that they haven’t gone back to units of 10 models.

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Army Rule: Cabal of Sorcerers

At the end of your Command phase, each model from your army with this ability that is on the battlefield (excluding Battle-shocked models) generates you a number of Cabal points based on their Cabal of Sorcerers ability. During the battle round, you can spend these points on Rituals from the list below. You can only use each Ritual once per phase. Your unspent points disappear at the start of your next Command phase. Each Ritual must come from one of the PSYKER units in your army.

  • Weaver of Fates (Psychic, 2 Cabal Points) –Use this at the start of any phase. Once during that phase, when a saving throw is failed for a friendly unit within 18″ of this PSYKER, you can re-roll the save. Note that you have to use this at the start of the phase, so you have to plan ahead for who’s going to get the re-roll, but having an 18″ bubble around one psyker can help mitigate that. Note that you have to fail a save to use this, so it won’t help you avoid Devastating or Mortal Wounds, as those bypass your save.
  • Temporal Surge (Psychic, 5 Cabal Points) – Use at the start of your Shooting phase. Pick one friendly unit within 18″ of this PSYKER. Unless they’re within Engagement range of an enemy unit, they can make a Normal move. If they do, they can’t charge this turn. This is huge – it’s one of the most useful abilities in the game, able to help your (otherwise pretty slow) units get to where they need to be. The “can’t charge” rider doesn’t matter all that much here because your units generally don’t want to be in melee – this is much more about getting in position to absolutely roast an enemy unit, to steal an objective, or get in position for an action. Note that while you can use this to move back to safety after tossing out a Doombolt, you can’t do this once you start shooting, so it can’t act as a pseudo-Fire and Fade.
  • Echoes from the Warp (Psychic, 6 Cabal Points) – Use this ritual at the start of any phase. Once this phase, you can pick this Psyker’s unit as the target of a Stratagem for 0 CP, even if you already use that Stratagem this phase. This one is tough to plan around. There is only one Battle Tactic in the Thousand Sons Stratagems –Devastating Sorcery –although that’s a very solid Stratagem to use this on, and your other option is Command Re-roll. As with Weaver of Fates, you’ll need to plan for this to be useful, though often you’ll find Magnus about to take a bunch of incoming fire and having Echoes and Weaver up to get three re-rolls can be a huge deal.
  • Doombolt (Psychic, 7 Cabal Points) – Use at the start of your Shooting phase. Pick a visible enemy unit within 18″ and roll a D6; on a 1 they take D3 mortal wounds, on a 2-5 they take D3+3, and on a 6 they take D3+6. This is one of the most devastating effects in the entire game and your offensive gameplan will revolve around not only using it but doubling up on it with Lord of Forbidden Lore. Together they’ll account for 14 Cabal Points per turn, so it’s more an early game tactic for when you’re hitting 21+, though this will often be Ahriman’s free cast as well.
  • Twist of Fate (Psychic, 9 Cabal Points) – Use at the start of any phase. Pick a visible enemy unit within 18″. Until the end of the phase they can’t make armour saving throws (they still get to make invulnerable saves and feel no pain rolls). The Thousand Sons don’t have a ton of heavy AP firepower or anti-tank and so using this to bury bigger targets in heavy weight of fire from something like Scarab Occult Terminators or Warpflamer Rubrics can be huge. That said, it’s not necessarily better than just throwing out a Doombolt a lot of the time and most of the big targets you’ll take on will have an invulnerable save. Though it’s great for say, Land Raiders and units which rely heavily on “just” having a 2+ armour save.

The biggest thing to remember with Rituals is that they’re used at the start of phases – once you start shooting or fighting, it’s too late to fire them off. This means you need to plan carefully for their use and get into the habit of stopping and checking your Rituals at the start of the Shooting phase each turn. Playing Thousand Sons takes careful planning.

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What Are the Must-Have Units to Start This Faction?

Ten Warpflamer Rubrics and Magnus the Red. You need Magnus, even at his increased cost. He just brings too much power to the table as a force multiplier and damage dealer. Keep him from getting shot off the board turn 1 and you’ll hve a great time. You also need Rubrics, though you may not be running them as a unit of 10 anymore – thanks to the point hikes, current lists often run them more as 5-model units with 3 warpflamers, a warpflame pistol, and a soulreaper cannon, though one unit of 10 in an army isn’t rare. Warpflamers are particularly nasty thanks to their ability to re-roll all wound rolls against targets on an objective you don’t control. It pairs well with psychic attacks on their sorcerer and attached characters, particularly when you have Devastating Wounds up for the army.

Post-points increase Ahriman is a bit less necessary, though he’s still one of the army’s most powerful units and his ability to fire off a ritual for free once per game is incredible for delivering a powerful alpha strike with either Doombolt or Twist of Fate. He’s also a great add to a unit of Warpflamers as he gives them +1 to their wound rolls.


From there you’ll want to figure out whether you want a 10-model unit of Scarab Occult Terminators, how many Rubrics you’re going to want, and what you want your support package to look like in terms of both characters and vehicles/monsters.

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Rubrics are one option for the backbone of your army. You’ll want at least 15 of these guys as 3×5 units, and going 4×5 can work well too.Warpflamer Rubrics are great for board control and short-range skirmishing, while bolter Rubrics give you more range and in a pinch can sub in for terminators when you need a target for Ensorcelled Infusion to do its work. Bolter Rubrics also act as a better bodyguard for an Infernal Master, though you can easily get by just not attaching your master(s) to a unit at all. While somewhat durable, Rubrics tend to need a little protection when going up against the likes of Desolators and you’ll typically want at least one rhino to transport them in, if only to protect Ahriman. They’re also just fine with an Exalted Sorcerer to give them a 4+ invulnerable save and bring models back, though regular Sorcerers are arguably better in this regard, trading off the ability to rez models for just being unshootable at 18″ instead and reducing your reliance on transports/Strategic Reserves to avoid indirect fire.

You probably want 2-4 squads of Rubrics (10-40 models with a mix of warpflamers and icons and soulreaper cannons) on hand for different build options, and I’m going to level with you: That’s a lot of gold trim and it sucks to paint it. You’ll also want at least one Rhino to cart them around and protect them.

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Scarab Occult Terminators are a very tough unit thanks to both their defensive profile and the Implacable Guardians ability, which gives incoming attacks -1 to wound if they have Strength higher than the unit’s Toughness. Their primary value however is in their damage output – their combi-bolters can give them an insane amount of shots, and when you combine that with Ensorcelled Infusion to make them S5 and Psychic, they can suddenly benefit from both Magnus’ aura and the Devastating Sorcery Stratagem. Throwing out 36 S5 Psychic Bolter shots which hit on 2s, re-rolling 1s with SUSTAINED HITS 1 and get +1 to wound, re-rolling everything at a target that has had its save removed with Twist of Fate is a good way to take down almost any target in the game. If you’re taking Scarabs, it’s partly to hold the middle of the table and partly to work in concert with Magnus to tear down bigger targets.

You can potentially run a second set of Scarabs but at that point you’re putting too much into one basket, or just shortchanging the rest of your army. You can’t really afford 20 scarabs and Magnus, and a unit of 5 scarabs doesn’t have the punch to be worth it, and you can get more out of your vehicle/monster options instead. That said, 10 Scarabs are pretty nasty, and more durable than they used to be following the changes to Devastating Wounds. Scarabs aren’t the preferred way to run Thousand Sons right now – they’re a little slow and you’re already taking a bunch of Rubric infantry – but they are viable.

When it comes to Tzaangors well, the battleline version are just kind of whatever. They are good for filling out your final few points. On the other hand Tzaangor Enlightened have a ton of play as relatively fast, cheap action doers and objection holders. And while you could add a Tzaangor Shaman for extra durability and damage output, it’s not really worth it – keep them cheap and make them a pain to waste firepower on.

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On the character side you’ve got a lot of options to play with, as pretty much every character option available to the Thousand Sons is worth using.

Generally you’ll want at least one Infernal Master – he’s an incredibly useful character and you can run him either bland or in his “powered up” mode with the Arcane Vortex Enhancement. Doing this makes his focused Screamer Invocation S7, AP-2, 2 damage and turns it into a real nightmare weapon when you are running DEVASTATING WOUNDS on your psychic attacks and re-rolling all wound rolls thanks to the attached Rubric Squad’s Bringers of Change ability (don’t forget you can turn one wound result into a 6 result with the Glimpse of Eternity ability). Infernal Masters are also fun solo operatives, able to use Glimpse and Destined by Fate to tank some damage while sitting in your opponent’s backfield doing actions and being annoying.

After that, there are several characters who offer different value. Note that while many of these are leaders, you will oftennotwant them joining units and instead acting as fast, easy-to-hide solo operatives who can do actions and harass enemy units. Note that your Disc characters do not have the GRENADES keyword.

  • Exalted Sorcerer on Disc of Tzeentch –These guys give you fast solo operatives who can slow enemy units with theirBinding TendrilsPsychic ability. Their Arcane Fire Psychic attack is also a pretty nasty torrent weapon. The big combo here is that Binding Tendrils happens at the end of your Movement phase, so you can move out with the Exalted Sorcerer, slow a unit down, and then use Temporal Surge to fly back behind cover.
  • Thousand Sons Sorcerer –These guysdowant to be added to units, as they protect their unit by making it untargetable by ranged attacks outside of 18″. That allows Thousand Sons to get away with taking fewer Rhinos, as you won’t need to protect a backfield unit from indirect fire if it has a Sorcerer attached to it. They’ve also got a really nasty ranged attack, and that Sustained Hits 3 can be brutal if you roll hot.
  • Thousand Sons Sorcerer in Terminator Armour –If you’re taking Scarabs, you need to pair them with one of these guys. He gives the unit a big damage output buff and allows you to pair them with an Umbralefic Crystal.
  • Exalted Sorcerer– These guys are more for boosting the firepower and durability of large Rubric units, and can bring models back.

You can also go without these – Thousand Sons are perfectly capable of running a good army just using Magnus and marines. There’s room for Tzaangors – the base unit are good for filling out a final slot cheaply, while Enlightened and Chaos Spawn can give you fast moving objective control. But where’s the fun in just taking little guys? The army has a number of large units you can add to your list as well, and most of them are worth consideration.

The big winner for the faction in the Q4 dataslate was the Thousand Sons Daemon Prince,who dropped 30 points in the last points update (to 180), to the point where it’s a pretty solid model to consider in a competitive list. There are a few solid reasons to take a Daemon Prince, the first of which is to give friendly models within 6″ theStealthability, which is just a solid buff to have on your Scarabs and Magnus, especially if you end up going second. His second big benefit is having the[PSYCHIC]tag on his melee attacks, which means he can gain Sustained Hits or Devastating Wounds on his melee attacksandbenefit from Magnus’ ability to re-roll, giving him a very nasty damage output and the ability to occasionally spike for some wounds that can’t be saved. As an added bonus he’s got the ability to once per game give a unit of Rubrics or Scarabs within 6″ [PRECISION] which can make for some nasty character hunting when you drop a unit’s save with Twist of Fate and then proceed to unload on them with a full unit of 10 Scarabs, wiping out the unit’s character first. If you’re taking the Prince, you’re going to want a unit of Scarabs to go with him.

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Even at the higher cost it’s worth considering at least one Mutalith Vortex Beast. The Mutalith offers a fairly tough monster profile with T10 and 13 wounds and a 5+ Feel No Pain, but on a fast body – 10” movement and the ability to double move with Temporal Surge from a nearby Psyker. The Mutalith is also decent in melee and great for boosting Rituals – rituals done within 6” of the Mutalith double their range, allowing you to pop off 36” Doombolts and Twists of Fate. The Mutalith is very, very good and while it’s too expensive now to take two, there’s some value in taking a single one, particularly if you’re running a list without Scarabs.

While the Mutalith is the unit you’re most likely to consider, there’s also a place for Helbrutes and Forgefiends. The former can act as a melee counter-threat and win you back Cabal Points, scoring you 1 for each Ritual performed within 9”, while the latter has some decent shot volume and the ability to make your opponent’s elite threats a bit less accurate. Having dodged a points hike, the Thousand Sons Forgefiend in particular merits a second look, though note that it lacks the raw damage output and Devastating Wounds overcharge ability of its Chaos Space Marines cousin. This makes it more of a utility piece, picking targets to drop their WS/BS by 1 – particularly helpful for protecting a unit about to be charged.

Allied Units

Following the Q1 dataslate, it’s not really worth taking daemons in competitive lists anymore. Flamers are still too expensive to take as action goobers and you can’t take them or the character options without spending 125 points on a unit of blue horrors. Blue Horrors aren’t terrible, but they don’t give you cabal points and are generally much worse than Tzaangors.

How Does This Faction Secure Objectives?

Typically with Rubrics, though if you’re running Tzaangors/Enlightened/Chaos Spawn you’ll use those to move quickly around the sides of the table and capture objectives early. The Scarabs are your “hold the middle” unit and will help deliver alpha strikes with support from Magnus. The Umbralefic Crystal is a big piece of this puzzle, and goes in every Thousand Sons list. Whether you put it on a lone character or embed it in a unit, it allows you to be anywhere you need to be once per game, and that will often either be in place to secure or complete an objective, or to take an enemy off one.

Your biggest concern when doing this will be staying out of combat, but that’s where Warpflamers come in, punishing your opponent for having the audacity to come within 12” of you. Scarabs are also OK at brawling, and Magnus can handle himself just fine and shoot out as a monster.

For your Action objectives, you’ll generally want to use either Tzaangor Enlightened or your solo characters on discs.

How Does This Faction Handle Enemy Hordes?

Hordes are easy to handle when you have warpflamers, and inferno bolters aren’t too shabby for the job, either. You’ve got great volumes of S4 AP-1 shooting to work with before you start adding in buffs on top of it.

How Does This Faction Handle Enemy Tanks and Monsters?

This is a tougher one – the Thousand Sons have very few anti-tank weapons, only one of which are is their Infantry, and most of their guns and psychic attacks top out at 24” range, meaning that larger units with heavy weapons can usually sit back in their deployment zone and take shots at you while you’re unable to respond without walking into a nasty killzone. Mutaliths can help extend the range on your rituals to hit that distance, while the Warp Sight Stratagem can add 9” to your psychic attacks, and combos with Ensorcelled Infusion.

Often the playbook will be one of two options for taking down big threats:

  • Double Doombolt to weaken, finish off with Magnus/Infernal Master + whatever. This is for targets with a great invulnerable save that are very susceptible to mortal/devastating wounds. You put your army into DEVASTATING WOUNDS mode, pull a pair of Cabal Psykers within 18” of the target, and fire off two doombolts, one normally and one via the Lord of Forbidden Lore Enhancement. That’ll give you an average of 10 mortal wounds, and you push through the rest either with Magnus or the Infernal Master looking for 6s and whatever other fire support you can get.
  • Twist of Fate to remove the save, massive amounts of firepower to kill. This is for targets which don’t have an invulnerable save or otherwise have a 4+ feel no pain against your mortal/devastating wounds. You put your army into SUSTAINED HITS 1 mode for psychic attacks and use Twist of Fate to take away their armour save (against Custodes this puts them on their 4+ invuln, which is as good as you’re going to get). Then you just go to town on the target with high volumes of firepower. If you’ve got Scarabs or bolter Rubrics this is where you use Ensorcelled Infusion and usually Echoes of the Warp to fire off Devastating Sorcery to make their combi-bolters PSYCHIC and Strength 5. If you have Magnus around, this gives you +1 to hit and wound with them, plus full re-rolls on both, and every 6 you roll to hit gives you another hit. Commit enough and there aren’t many targets you can’t take down this way. Your biggest challenge will be getting your targets into 18″ range for your effects.

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What Combos Should You Build Around?

There are a few specific things to consider but I’ve already talked about the major tricks.

The Scarab Brick

  • 10 Scarab occult Terminators – 8 Inferno Combi-Bolters, 2 Hellfyre Missile Racks, 2 Soulreaper Cannons, Champion with combi-bolter and staff
  • Sorcerer in Terminator Armour with combi-bolter and staff

Also straightforward, though not mentioned up there is Magnus to buff the unit when it’s doing Ensorcelled Infusion. The Terminator Sorcerer gives the unit LETHAL HITS and lets you pick a target for the whole army to re-roll 1s to hit against, giving you a rare buff for Magnus. You can go bolter or sword on the champion; his psychic power is [PISTOL] but there will often be times when it’s better to take four bolter shots than use his Warpsmite. I like to give the Terminator Sorcerer the Umbralefic Crystal to give the Terminators late-game mobility and to let them teleport out of combat as well as help mitigate their slow movement, but you’ll want to keep them near Magnus if you can.

Add a Daemon Prince to this for the added [PRECISION] buff and Stealth to keep them alive longer.

The Infernal Master

  • An Infernal Master and Arcane Vortex
  • Rubrics with Inferno Bolters

What a great little combo: The Infernal Master gives his unit SUSTAINED HITS 1 and in return they give him the ability to re-roll 1s to wound, or all wounds if he’s shooting an enemy unit on an objective you don’t control. That gives you the great ability to fish for 6s easily on his 2D6 Torrent Psychic attack which hits at S7 AP-2 D2 when upgraded with the Arcane Vortex Enhancement. Throw in Devastating Sorcery and his ability to automatically generate a 6 off one of his results and you have some solid damage output to work with.

Ahriman’s Rubrics

  • Ahriman
  • Rubrics with Warpflamers

This one’s pretty straightforward – Ahriman gives his unit +1 to wound, making Warpflamers even more deadly and letting them punch up a big against tougher targets. You’ll often want to put this unit in a Rhino to protect them early on. Note: Always take the Warpflame pistol on the Aspiring Sorcerer.

Sorcerer Rubrics

  • Thousand Sons Sorcerer
  • Rubrics with Warpflamers

Your ideal backfield objective holder unit is a unit of 5 rubrics – either 4 warpflamers or 3 warpflamers + soulreaper cannon and a warpflame pistol on the champion – plus a Thousand Sons Sorcerer with a warpflame pistol. The Sorcerer prevents the unit from being targeted outside of 18″, while the five flamers makes it difficult to drop in and charge them out of deep strike.

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Army Lists

Let’s close things out by looking at some recently successful lists for the faction. We have a few solid options to choose from, and with different builds, though ultimately many of the combos/interactions are the same with these.

Noah Neundorfer’s List – 1st Place, Rock Top Rumble 2024

Noah took this list to a 7-0, first-place finish at the 2024 Rocky Top Rumble. Along the way he beat Death Guard, T’au, Adepta Sororitas twice, Grey Knights, and Orks twice, beating both Bully Boyz and a War Horde. That’s a hell of a run, and shows just what Thousand Sons are capable of.

Noah's List - Click to expand

“My Tzaangor ascended to princehood and all I got was a lousy +1 OC”

++ Army Roster (Chaos – Thousand Sons) [18Cabal Points, 1,995pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size: 2. Strike Force (2000 Point limit)

Detachment Choice: Cult of Magic

+ Epic Hero +

Ahriman on Disc of Tzeentch [3Cabal Points, 140pts]: Black Staff of Ahriman, Inferno bolt pistol, Psychic Stalk

Magnus the Red [4Cabal Points, 440pts]: Blade of Magnus, Gaze of Magnus, Tzeentch’s Firestorm, Warlord

+ Character +

Exalted Sorcerer [2Cabal Points, 120pts]: Astral Blast, Force weapon, Prosperine khopesh, Umbralefic Crystal, Warpflame pistol

Exalted Sorcerer on Disc of Tzeentch [2Cabal Points, 150pts]: Arcane Fire, Force weapon, Lord of Forbidden Lore, Prosperine khopesh, Warpflame pistol

Infernal Master [2Cabal Points, 115pts]: Arcane Vortex, Force weapon, Inferno bolt pistol, Screamer Invocation

Thousand Sons Daemon Prince with wings [2Cabal Points, 180pts]: Hellforged weapons, Infernal cannon

+ Battleline +

Rubric Marines [1Cabal Points, 210pts]: Icon of Flame
. Aspiring Sorcerer: Force weapon, Warpflame pistol, Warpsmite
. 9x Rubric Marine w/ warpflamer: 9x Close combat weapon, 9x Warpflamer

Rubric Marines [1Cabal Points, 210pts]: Icon of Flame
. Aspiring Sorcerer: Force weapon, Warpflame pistol, Warpsmite
. 9x Rubric Marine w/ warpflamer: 9x Close combat weapon, 9x Warpflamer

Rubric Marines [1Cabal Points, 105pts]: Icon of Flame
. Aspiring Sorcerer: Force weapon, Warpflame pistol, Warpsmite
. 4x Rubric Marine w/ warpflamer: 4x Close combat weapon, 4x Warpflamer

Tzaangors [65pts]: Brayhorn, Herd banner
. Pistol and chainsword: Autopistol, Chainsword
. 9x Tzaangor blades: 9x Tzaangor blades

Tzaangors [65pts]: Brayhorn, Herd banner
. Pistol and chainsword: Autopistol, Chainsword
. 9x Tzaangor blades: 9x Tzaangor blades

+ Beast +

Thousand Sons Chaos Spawn [65pts]
. Chaos Spawn: Hideous Mutations
. Chaos Spawn: Hideous Mutations

Thousand Sons Chaos Spawn [65pts]
. Chaos Spawn: Hideous Mutations
. Chaos Spawn: Hideous Mutations

Thousand Sons Chaos Spawn [65pts]
. Chaos Spawn: Hideous Mutations
. Chaos Spawn: Hideous Mutations

++ Total: [18Cabal Points, 1,995pts] ++

Noah’s list is emblematic of the current trend for Thousand Sons lists, which is to run heavy on Rubrics – Noah’s got 25 here, running two units of ten and another of five, going full Warpflamers on each. They’re joined by Ahriman and an Exalted Sorcerer with the Umbralefic Crystal, while the five-model unit likely gets the Infernal Master, though depending on the matchup they may swap as the five-man unit is easier to Deep Strike. The Exalted Sorcerer on Disc is more of a solo play, able to range around the table and drop movement penalties on units before using Temporal Surge to duck back behind cover. There are two units of Tzaangors for holding rear objectives and helping generate extra Cabal Points, while the Chaos Spawn can range out wide and do actions and screen out Deep Striking threats.

10th Edition Competitive Faction Focus: Thousand Sons (Updated May 31, 2024) (11)

Alfonso Delgado’s List – 3rd Place, IX GT VALENCIA 40K

Alfonso went 5-0 with this list, finishing third behind another 5-0 Thousand Sons list at an event which definitely needed a sixth round of play. Alfonso beat Necrons, Astra Militarum twice, Death Guard, and Aeldari in round 5 to secure his undefeated finish. His list is included here over the 2nd place list as it includes a unit of Scarabs.

Q3 Update:The points in this list are no longer valid with the Q2 2024 points update. That said, the list gains 30 points from the drop to Scarabs, another 10 from the Daemon Prince, and 5 on its cultists, while spending 20 more on Arcane Vortex and Lord of Forbidden Lore. The net result is the list gains 25 points, which it kind of has no way to spend but can drop the Spawn to free up 90 points and drop Ahriman’s disc for another 10, giving it a bit more to work with but frustratingly 5 short of another unit of Rubrics. With a bit of finagling, it can likely fit another unit.

Alfonso’s List - click to expand

Magnuuuuuuuus!!!! (2000 points)

Thousand Sons
Strike Force (2000 points)
Cult of Magic


Ahriman on Disc of Tzeentch (140 points)
• 1x Black Staff of Ahriman
1x Inferno bolt pistol
1x Psychic Stalk

Infernal Master (105 points)
• 1x Force weapon
1x Inferno bolt pistol
1x Screamer Invocation
• Enhancement: Arcane Vortex

Magnus the Red (440 points)
• Warlord
• 1x Blade of Magnus
1x Gaze of Magnus
1x Tzeentch’s Firestorm

Thousand Sons Daemon Prince (205 points)
• 1x Hellforged weapons
1x Infernal cannon
• Enhancement: Lord of Forbidden Lore

Thousand Sons Sorcerer in Terminator Armour (135 points)
• 1x Coruscating Flames
1x Force weapon
1x Inferno combi-bolter
• Enhancement: Umbralefic Crystal


Rubric Marines (210 points)
• 1x Aspiring Sorcerer
• 1x Force weapon
1x Warpflame pistol
1x Warpsmite
• 9x Rubric Marine
• 9x Close combat weapon
1x Icon of Flame
1x Soulreaper cannon
8x Warpflamer

Rubric Marines (105 points)
• 1x Aspiring Sorcerer
• 1x Force weapon
1x Warpflame pistol
1x Warpsmite
• 4x Rubric Marine
• 4x Close combat weapon
1x Icon of Flame
1x Soulreaper cannon
3x Warpflamer

Rubric Marines (105 points)
• 1x Aspiring Sorcerer
• 1x Force weapon
1x Warpflame pistol
1x Warpsmite
• 4x Rubric Marine
• 4x Close combat weapon
1x Icon of Flame
1x Soulreaper cannon
3x Warpflamer


Scarab Occult Terminators (430 points)
• 1x Scarab Occult Sorcerer
• 1x Force weapon
1x Inferno combi-bolter
1x Warpsmite
• 9x Scarab Occult Terminator
• 2x Hellfyre missile rack
7x Inferno combi-bolter
9x Prosperine khopesh
2x Soulreaper cannon

Thousand Sons Chaos Spawn (65 points)
• 2x Chaos Spawn
• 2x Hideous mutations

Thousand Sons Cultists (60 points)
• 1x Thousand Sons Cultist Champion
• 1x Brutal assault weapon
1x Cultist firearm
• 9x Thousand Sons Cultist
• 9x Brutal assault weapon
6x Cultist firearm
1x Flamer
1x Grenade launcher
1x Heavy stubber

Alfonso’s list runs a brick of 10 Scarabs supported by an umbralefic crystal terminator sorcerer and a Daemon Prince to create one of the game’s most durable infantry units. The list also features Ahriman and 10 warpflamer Scarabs, an Infernal Master with Arcane Vortex, and some Chaos Spawn and Cultists to move around the table doing actions and holding backfield objectives. It’s a list with razor-thin margins for error but that scarab brick will some work if it gets the chance.

Final Thoughts

Thousand Sons are worse after the dataslate but not unplayably so.The army’s basic units are still very strong, and even if you don’t want to paint 30-40 Rubrics you have plenty of alternatives which can still amount to a solid army. The recent changes drop them about a tier, but it’s not as much as some other competitors. Either way, with GSC and Custodes, and possibly Aeldari getting large nerfs, the army has a bit more plan than you’d expect as their natural predators have diminished.

That wraps up our look at Thousand Sons but we’ve got more faction focus articles coming up so stay tuned over the coming weeks. And if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.


10th Edition Competitive Faction Focus: Thousand Sons (Updated May 31, 2024) (2024)
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