Faction Focus: Thousand Sons

Here’s the Thousand Sons faction focus article, courtesy of the Warhammer-community team, showing us what to expect from them in 9th ed 40k!

All may be dust – but that shouldn’t get in the way of righteously kicking face in the name of Tzeentch, Magnus and the Long War! If you’re a true follower of Tzeentch, you’ll know that all change is good – indeed, playtester Justin Curtis has all sorts of good news and tactical tips for you!

Who Are They?

The Thousand Sons are the chosen Chaos Space Marines of Tzeentch, the God of Magic and Change. Once, they were a learned brethren of sorcerers and psykers, every man a scholar and a warrior both. However, in an attempt to reverse the rampant mutations that blighted their Legion, the mage known as Ahriman damned his kin forever, transforming all but the most potent psykers into mindless dust trapped in power armour. Now, across the galaxy, ancient Thousand Sons Sorcerers lead warbands of automata-like Rubric Marines in search of knowledge and revenge, unleashing sanity-shattering powers and annihilating their foes in hails of warp-blessed ammunition. 

How They Play in the New Edition

You may remember Justin from our Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus; to refresh your memory, he’s both a playtester who helps balance the game and a top-tier tournament player. 

Justin: I was asked to help shed some light on how things will be changing for Thousand Sons in the new edition, so here are some highlights for my fellow Sorcerers to look forward to.

First off, they’ve designed a whole new secondary objective archetype just for us! Though the Aeldari, Tyranids and even certain Librarians may disagree with this statement, we’re definitely one of the best-positioned armies to make use of the new psychic actions mechanic. 

Traditionally, our models interact with the game almost entirely by shooting or punching (or Smiting) each other – the actions mechanic has been introduced to allow a more thematic means for armies to interact with each other or with the battlefield itself. 

In game terms, this is usually expressed as a secondary objective – an action that can be performed to achieve victory points. Psychic actions can only be performed by Psykers, and this means there’s a direct means for Thousand Sons players to influence the outcome of the game via their mastery of the Psychic phase.

Psychic Actions and Secondary Objectives

 While we’re here, now’s a great time to check in on psychic actions and how they interact with your battles. Justin was right to be very excited about these – Psyker-heavy armies have three rather excellent secondary objectives to choose from in their matched play battles, giving you plenty of ways to score some all-important victory points. Take Mental Interrogation – your front-line Psykers will be able to score you points, presumably representing knowledge torn from the minds of the unwilling! Even if it doesn’t secure you victory, it is a great excuse to do an extremely evil laugh. 

Cool, eh? Back to Justin for more tips…

 Justin: Here’s another big one! Have you ever watched our dear Primarch get blasted off the table before he even gets an opportunity to protect himself? Well, the return of the Strategic Reserves mechanic ensures that you can keep Magnus safe when necessary and be certain he’ll get a chance to act before anyone gets to point any heavy weaponry in his direction. While there is a price to be paid for making use of Strategic Reserves, I think we can agree that it’ll be well worth it in cases where it helps Magnus live.

Justin: This edition presents some new challenges and opportunities now that Psykers can no longer manifest powers after Falling Back. While not as concerning to us as it may be to some – after all, a Daemon Prince can handle itself in combat, and the Black Staff of Ahriman isn’t just for show – it’s important to know that you’ll need to properly protect your Characters when the need for their powers outweighs their ability to scrap. If you don’t think your Sorcerers are up for the fight, you’ll want them safely behind a line of devoted bodyguards to ensure your Psychic phase isn’t disrupted.

Key Units

Justin has a few units he’d recommend (as do we!), starting with…

Scarab Occult Terminators

Justin: Speaking of bodyguards – the way Characters are protected in the Shooting phase is changing, and you’ll need to respond to enemy attempts to punch through your lines and attack your Psykers. As mobility isn’t exactly a strength of the Rubricae, I’d highly recommend a unit or two of Rubric Marines or Scarab Occult Terminators from the Cult of Duplicity. Sorcerous Façade is a great means to reposition these slow-moving but resilient minions to protect your own Characters… or make an attempt at assassinating your foe’s favourite hero.

Magnus the Red

Of course, every Thousand Sons army will want to at least consider taking Magnus – but what if you don’t want to pay the Command points for an Auxiliary Detachment? Well, good news – thanks to the Supreme Command Detachment, you won’t have to!

The Supreme Command Detachment ensures that adding some of the 41st Millennium’s most legendary commanders to your army doesn’t penalise you on Command points – after all, Roboute Guilliman, Mortarion and Magnus the Red were all supreme tacticians! This Detachment is the perfect way to add Magnus to a Thousand Sons force, refunding you for a single Brigade, Battalion or Patrol Detachment. 

Will YOU be playing Thousand Sons in the new edition? Excited by psychic actions? Give us your thoughts on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and check back soon for even more Faction Focuses!

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12 Responses to “Faction Focus: Thousand Sons”

  1. Zweischneid July 1, 2020 8:15 am #


    Here’s a cool idea, how about we make Detachments cost CP.

    Also, here’s a gazillion ways to get around the costs for Detachments with your WL, Knights, Primarchs, Patrols, etc.., etc.. , etc…

    Starting to get an 8th-ed. leadership rules-vibe here, where the concept of “you pay CP for your detachment” largely exists to fill paper with exceptions to ignore the concept for everyone and their dog.

    • BluejayJunior July 1, 2020 8:37 am #

      Yeah they should just make those factions/units unplayable instead of giving them a way around it.
      Screw Knights, Drukhari, and Primarchs.

      • Zweischneid July 1, 2020 10:52 am #

        Or, you know, just have everyone start at 12 and leave it at that.

        If paying for Detachments makes factions “unplayable” forcing you to undo the rule, just don’t have the rule.

        Would also probably saves a Forest the size of a smaller US state over the course of 9th just printing exceptions to a “core rule” that makes stuff unplayable, lol.

        • Cormroc July 1, 2020 11:22 am #

          The rule seems to be everyone gets 1 detachment free, if you want more than 1 you have to pay. The only exception that has been revealed is Drukhari, and given they are one of the more uniquely structured codices that seems fine in my opinion. All these other “exceptions” are just to include the corner cases of Knights and Lord of War warlords in the “everyone gets 1” rule.

          • Cormroc July 1, 2020 12:01 pm

            I apologize for the double post. Don’t comment often and I am guessing the moderation system caught me off guard.

        • Drythelm July 1, 2020 3:45 pm #

          Then that wouldn’t do anything to curtail soup. This rule just doesn’t punish you for bringing Magnus, or Guilliman besides forcing them to be your warlord (which is still a massive hindrance).

          So far, I think they’ve written these exceptions quite well. It allows anyone to take a normal army composition detachment, and still get max CP, and in the few cases where you have a centerpiece model, you are allowed to take it without a massive CP cost, but you have to make your biggest target also an even more valuable kill for your opponent. At the same time, souping is dealt with in a reasonable way.

          I’m sure it will be broken later in the edition when they start releasing more ways around following army composition, or more CP generation, but right now it looks like it works.

        • abusepuppy July 1, 2020 10:05 pm #

          Except that “everyone starts at 12” just encourages people to go back to triple-souping Vanguard/Outrider/Spearhead detachments, which don’t give back CP in 9th. GW has intentionally crafted a system that allows you to build a wide variety of different armies- including all-bike, or all-vehicle, or other unique compositions- but charges a price for doing so. I know that soup gets your underwear in a huge twist, so the fact that you’re now arguing that we should make it easier to soup is pretty comical. Sorry if one sentence each in half of the detachments is such a tremendous burden of rules that it shatters your ability to play the game.

    • Cormroc July 1, 2020 9:34 am #

      To me it seems pretty obvious the intent is everyone gets 1 detachment free. If you want more you have to pay. The only exception we’ve seen to that rule is Drukhari. Everything else has just been to handle the corner cases of Knights and other Super-Heavy warlords.

  2. Venkarel July 1, 2020 8:27 am #

    Well we now know a Brigade is 4 CP. Not being able to cast powers after falling back is a good change, I think as falling back needed more consequences than existed in 8th. I do not like that the opponent can try to “deny” my psychic action without cost, it should cost them a “deny the witch” not just happen, I might be reading it wrong but that is how it appears to me.
    The supreme commander detachment seems odd to me as it seems limited to certain factions by the phrase “can only include a Primarch…”. Although, I could be reading the sentence incorrectly and it could mean limited to a max of one Primarch etc., not only have those types of units in the detachment. Also I don’t know what a supreme commander is, has that been defined?

    • Ehlex July 1, 2020 1:35 pm #

      It looks like the nature of the old ‘Supreme Command’ detachment has changed. rather then being 3-5HQ plus a bit, it now is *only* 1 model either an HQ or a LOW that is explicitly a primarch class model *and* it must be the warlord *and* it refunds the cost of one brigade/batallion/patrol.
      Gone are the days of supreme command = 3 lords discordant. Now the only reason to take one is to use a primarch.

      • Zweischneid July 2, 2020 2:43 am #

        Well, good riddance to Thousand Sons Supreme Commands.

        That said, I don’t think there currently is an HQ-Slot model atm that has the Supreme Commander keyword.

        Maybe they’ll FAQ it in for Ghaz, Swarmy & co.?

        • Faitherun July 2, 2020 7:32 am #

          Good, glad I was not the only one trying to figure out the Supreme Commander keyword…

          *Crosses fingers for Vect*

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