Warhammer 40k 8th edition Thousand Sons – Traits, Psychic Powers and Stratagems

By | 25th July 2018

Over on Reddit there is a sub called r/ThousandSons, which I am a regular visitor to. One of the mods, called Alizarium, has a wonderful Thousand Sons guide. They have allowed me to post it up here for general consumption. I will be breaking it into two parts due to its size. Please do note, there is a lot of reading to this but very much worth it.

For a complete Thousand Sons unit guide click here.

Now over to Alizarium:
This section will use a modified version of the rating system used for units. Terms like auto-include do not necessarily work for warlord traits, etc. With that in mind, here is the system for this section.

  1. You will rarely use this, either it is not good or it is so situational that it is not worth it.
  2. You can use this, but your list will probably suffer against high competition. It also could just be very situational.
  3. Not bad at all, you can use this and you will be ok. It may be useful in a lot of games.
  4. Very good, and a fine choice in any list. You will probably use this in most of your games.
  5. Amazing, you should probably put it in your list. You will probably find this useful in nearly every game.

WARLORD TRAITS

Otherworldly Presence – 5
Improve your Warlord’s invulnerable save by 1 (up to 3++). Note that if you take Ahriman as your Warlord, he must take this. Good for Ahriman, because this is amazing. Nearly every mission has slay the warlord, making your warlord harder to kill (on top of being untargetable) is always welcome. A 3++ is really nice to have, especially if you cannot be targeted by shooting. A Daemon Prince will also thank you, though there is another good one for him…

Lord of Forbidden Lore – 3
Your Warlord knows one additional power. This would be a 4 if you could choose from outside the Disciplines you already can chose from. If Magnus is your Warlord, he must take this. This warlord trait is not the worst choice, as we have a lot of powers to choose from and this can help you have the right tool for the right job and save you a command point.

Arrogance of Aeons – 3
Reroll failed Deny the Witch Tests for your Warlord. The rating of this stratagem goes up the more psykers are in your meta, and the more psychic powers are used in combos in your meta. There are very few armies that have no psykers, and most armies that do, rarely do not include at least one psyker. This further bolsters our prowess (esp. Magnus and Ahriman

) at denying, making it even more difficult to get off key powers near your Warlord. Given that we have a lot of good denies already in the army (with bonuses), it may be better to use another trait. However, for example, if you know a lot of people deep strike with a lot of powers in a combo, this may be a good choice for you.

Aetherstride – 5
Your Warlord can advance and charge, in addition, they reroll failed charge rolls. Khorne eat your heart out. Put this on a Daemon Prince and be happy. That is all I have to say really…

High Magister – 5
Add 1 to any psychic tests for your Warlord. In most of my test games this was my go-to Warlord and Trait. As always make sure to put your warlord in the safest position possible (use the 9″ range of Warptime to your advantage). Anytime you can push the odds of a successful cast in your favor that is always wanted. I was using Warptime and Doombolt. (Magnus

has Warptime too, just have to use judgement on what is the best course of action). This allows the sorcerer to cast Smite and Doombolt if Warptime is not needed

Undying Form – 3
Reduce the damage taken by your Warlord by 1 (to a minimum of 1). Not a bad choice on a Daemon Prince

as well, I just think the other options are better.

RELICS

Dark Matter Crystal – 5
Once per game, remove the bearer or a unit of infantry within 12” and redeploy via deep strike. Amazing. The name of the game in 40k for most missions is mobility. Most of our units are relatively slow, and this gives us a chance to get them across the table rapidly, either as part of an alpha strike early game, or, probably a better choice, claiming an objective either early or late in a game. I would need a very good reason to not include this in my lists. With the change to deep strike, this is now the only way we have to deep strike something into the opponent’s face turn 1.

Athenaean Scrolls – 3
If you roll a double for a psychic test, the power cannot be denied. Not bad, but a little too random to be useful in every game. It is also possible that your opponent may have any psykers. Most tournaments require you to put the extra relics from the stratagem in your list, so that is not helpful either. Not the worst choice, but you can do better for sure.

Helm of the Third Eye – 5
Each time your opponent uses a stratagem, if you Warlord is on the table, on a 5+ you gain a Command Point. Well, any chance to get extra CPs is always welcome. Granted, there is a possibility for this to do nothing, but chances are you will get at least 1 CP from it with the chance for more than that. Against most armies, you will have at least 3 chances to use it. Even against armies that use most of their command points during deployment, if you put your Warlord down first (not that risky if you are going to bubble wrap him anyways but it does give away positioning info), you can still use this.
This is still a welcome thing to have (I know I was always jealous of Imperium players rolling a dice to get CPs back) and it is seriously worth considering spending a CP to take an extra relic to take this one, as you will likely get that point back and have a chance to earn more. Command points (and the stratagems that use them) are the defining feature of 8th edition, gaining as many as you can is almost a must in most lists.

Prismatic Staff – 2
Force staff (replaces the bearers staff) that grants the ability to shoot and charge in a turn in which you fall back. I wish it upped the AP some, but that is a powerful effect. Force staves just are not the best weapon around (STR 6 is the worst thing you can be really), so this effect is somewhat wasted.

Seer’s Bane – 2
Force Sword

that doubles the bearer’s STR against psykers or any unit with LD of 9 or higher. Obviously this is good against armies with a lot of psykers or high leadership. If you are facing an army like that and you can take a relic with the stratagem during the game (remember most tournaments require this to be on the list itself), it is a very solid choice.

The Coruscator – 1
Cheeky, but just pass on it unless you have a narrative reason for it.

PSYCHIC POWERS

Note that our legion trait adds 6” to all psychic powers, which is amazing by the way. In the description of each power after the range I will add the 6 inches in a parenthesis. We will have an advantage over other armies because we have so many mortal wound powers to offset the lost casts with. Brotherhood of Sorcerers means we can still hit Smite pretty hard.

DARK HERETICUS

Infernal Gaze (WC5) – 4
Pick an enemy unit within 18” (24”) and roll 3 dice. Each 4+ is a mortal wound. While this is statistically slightly worse than Smite for mortal wound output, it has a couple of things going for it. The other thing going for this is that it does not cast on the nearest enemy unit. You can, for example, target a key enemy character with it since the character rule only applies for shooting attacks.

Warptime (WC6) – 5
You know what it is…Pick a friendly Heretic Astartes unit within 3” (9”), it moves as if it were the movement phase. Still one of the best powers in the game. I have pointed out many times how important mobility is in this game. This power essentially allows you to double the movement of a unit (the higher the movement value the more you get out of this power). The FAQ removed the ability to use this on a unit entering from deep strike (sad face). Still, there is little reason to not to use this in every game.

Prescience (WC7) – 5

Add 1 to the hit rolls of a friendly Heretic Astartes unit. Adding 1 to the hit rolls of a unit is powerful for any unit. Doubly so if that unit has an effect that triggers on a 6+ to hit (cough, Skyfires

). Rewards taking larger sized units (cough, Tzaangors

). Also it is great on a unit that is good at shooting and melee (cough, Scarab Occult

). It is awesome, you need a very good reason not to include it in your list. As a side note, you get a larger gain in output on higher BS/WS models, i.e. you get a better statistical increase in offensive output when you put this on a BS4 model as opposed to a BS3 model. That does not mean that that dictates the best target for this power. It all depends on the situation in the game.

Death Hex (WC8) – 5 Chose an enemy unit within 12” (18”), that unit cannot take invulnerable saves. Make no mistake, this is one of the best powers in the entire game. While there may be a game where there is no great target for it, those will probably be rare. You have a choice, either put it in your list and swap it out with the stratagem if it is not useful, or you can not include it and swap to it if it is needed. I prefer to have it in my list and swap out of it (Magnus is a good choice, or Ahriman

), as more often than not it is useful in every game.

Diabolic Strength (WC6) – 4
Choose a friendly Heretic Astartes

MODEL within 18” (24”), that unit gets +2 STR and +1 Attack. Put it on a Daemon Prince and be happy. Also nice on a Maulerfiend. Less useful on Magnus as he already wounds nearly everything on 2s, though the extra attack is nice. Ideally though, Daemon Princes are where this power shines.

Gift of Chaos (WC6) – 3
Choose an enemy model within 6” (12”). Roll a die, if the result is higher than the model’s toughness, that model (and rules as written the rest roll over to its unit) suffers d3 + 3 mortal wounds. Note that this power can target enemy characters. This power is either frustrating or the best thing in your list if you can get it to work. Against most armies you will need at least a 5+ on the roll for it to work. When it does, and you get that sweet 6 mortal wounds, it feels like the best power we have. However, that is rare. Our legion trait pushing the range to 12” helps a lot. Overall, I have never been the biggest fan of this power but your mileage may vary. However, against any T3 army, use the stratagem to swap this in and profit…

Thousand Sons Forgefiend

DISCIPLINE OF CHANGE

Tzeentch’s Firestorm (WC7) – 4
Pick and enemy unit within 18” (24”), roll 9 dice and every 6 is a mortal wound. A lot of work for 1.5 mortal wounds but it is fun at least. This is a 4 for much of the same reasons as Infernal Gaze above. Do note that this is harder to cast though, but at least our Rubric Sorcerers can take this. If you have to pick, take Infernal Gaze as it is easier to cast. If you are trying to use the psychic phase for mortal wound output, these types of spells will help to maximize it. If not, this power can easily be cut.

Boon of Mutation (WC7) – 2
Choose a friendly Tzeentch Character (non-daemon), it rolls on the Boon Table. Given that everything except double 1s on the table is a benefit, and this saves you a command point to roll on the table, this is not the worst power ever. It is not necessary though, as its overall usefulness in a game is probably negligible.

Glamour of Tzeentch (WC7) – 5
Select a friendly Tzeentch

unit within 12” (18”), all attacks that target this unit subtract 1 from their hit rolls. Obviously this is great. Making a key unit -1 to be hit is welcome, to be sure. The only time you may not have a use for this power is if you are running an MSU (Multiple Small Units) list. If you are not sure what that is, just run this power and cast it on the highest point value unit you have…

Doombolt (WC9) – 4
Choose an enemy unit within 18” (24”). The target suffers d3 mortal wounds. In addition, its movement is cut in half and it cannot advance. This could easily be a 5, but its expensive nature and the fact that against a static gun line this is less useful (though even then they need some mobile units to claim objectives) drop it to a 4. This is certainly an expensive power, but it is devastating when it goes off. Best to put on a character that has +2 to cast, or at least +1. This could keep a powerful enemy unit away from you or strand a unit that was hoping to charge you out of range or with a difficult charge. May help to cast Gaze of Fate first for a free reroll. In Part 6 of this guide, I will discuss casting orders for our powers.

Temporal Manipulation (WC6) – 4
Choose a friendly Model within 12” (18”), it heals d3 wounds. Praise be to Tzeentch, a heal spell. The obvious target is of course Magnus, but any character or even a Rhino

or Predator will work. To a lesser extent it can also heal a Scarab Occult with 1 wound on it. It probably would be a 5 but sometimes you just will not have a good target for it because you just don’t have one in your list or the only viable targets died (cough, Magnus). Even so, this is a welcome addition to our psychic arsenal.

Weaver of Fates (WC6) – 5
Choose a friendly unit within 18” (24”), add 1 to its invulnerable save (grants a 5++ if they don’t already have one). We have had this one for a while, it is still awesome. Pretty much everything I said about Glamour of Tzeentch applies here. If you go first, Magnus with this and Glamour is awesome obviously. But really any large unit is a good target.

DISCIPLINE OF TZEENTCH (for Magnus and Daemon Princes)

Thousand Sons Demon Prince

Boon of Change (WC7) – 2
Choose a friendly Tzeentch Daemon unit within 18” (24”), it gets either +1 attack, strength, or toughness. Not a bad power, but randomness will always let you down it seems (at least with me…). The other problem is that the best targets for this are melee Tzeentch Daemon units which limits its targets, granted Magnus and DPs are the only ones who can take this without an ally detachment, and they do make a good target for this (especially Magnus, and pray you don’t get the STR one). This is a 4+ rating in a list with a high point Tzeentch Daemon melee unit… but other than that I usually skip it. Magnus is a pretty good target, but anything getting +1 Toughness is always a plus. It would be low on my list to pick as a power over many of the others we have access too.

Bolt of Change (WC9, note I expect it to be FAQed back to 8) – 4
Basically a targeted Smite. Good for the same reasons I said for Infernal Gaze. Expensive to cast though, but at least it is d3 wounds straight up. Again, if you are using the psychic phase for mortal wound output, you will need these kinds of spells after the Smite change.

Gaze of Fate (WC6) – 5
You get a free die reroll this turn. I think it should be obvious how getting a free 1CP Reroll stratagem for the rest of your turn is amazing. Cast this first in the psychic phase and you can have it for perils if you need to or to help an expensive power go off. If you have Magnus or a Daemon Prince

(you should have at least one Daemon Prince really…), you should probably run this power. Granted, if you have a limited number of psychic powers in your list, you can cut this one.

Treason of Tzeentch (WC8) – 2
Pick an enemy character within 18” (24”), take control of that character for the turn if you can beat their leadership on 2d6. Expensive, then you need to roll way above average on 2d6….I still don’t like it, but the thought of rolling that 9+ on a knight character (note that it cannot be their warlord) is too funny to pass up with all of these knights being allied in with a relic…

Flickering Flames (WC5) – 3
Add 1 to the shooting wound rolls of a friendly Tzeentch Daemon unit within 18” (24”). Limited targets holds this one back. Skyfires would really be the best target but a lot of their attacks are wounding for free anyways. Good on Defilers and Forgefiends

too. If you have a good target for this in your list, it is certainly a fine power to pick though.

Infernal Gateway (WC8) – 3
Choose an enemy MODEL within 12” (18”). Enemy and friendly units within 3” of that model suffer d3 mortal wounds (d6 on a 12+). OK, this power is actually great. BUT, it is very hard to use and can be situational. Against a foe that is packing into a ball (cough, Girlyman), it can be devastating if you can line it up right. However, this will regularly get 2 units (the one with the targeted model and one next to it). This is a great power for Magnus

to have as he can position himself like no other, and he has the plus to his cast rolls to get it off consistently. If you are not confident, then feel free to take another power and just swap to this with the stratagem if your opponent balls up.

STRATAGEMS

Note that every stratagem refers to Thousand Sons units if they affect a friendly unit, so I will only say if it as exception to this.

Linebreaker Bombardment (1CP) – 1
3 Vindicators blow up an area. If they make Vindicators better then, maybe this will be better. You would have to have 3 Vindicators in your list to use this. Don’t have 3 Vindicators

in your list…..

Great Sorcerer (1CP) – 3
Cast an additional power. Sometimes you just have to use that extra power you have, for example casting the power you know but you need to cast smite as well to put out some mortal wounds on an almost dead target.

Fire Frenzy (1CP) – 2
Helbrute can fire twice, but only at the nearest target. Not bad on paper, just situational and your opponent can easily play around it. Shooty Helbrutes

are good, and this can put them over the top in the right circumstance.

Daemonforge (1CP) – 4
Reroll all failed hit and wound rolls for a phase with a Daemon Vehicle. If you are running a Maulerfiend, Forgefiend, or Defiler

, you could probably use this every turn they are alive. It turns a Maulerfiend into a true engine of destruction, and makes up for the fact that they hit on 4s. I think more useful on a Maulerfiend or Forgefiend than a Defiler since the defiler wants it in 2 phases, forcing you to use it twice, while the Fiends are focused on one phase so you only have to use it once.

Coruscating Beam (3CP) – 1
No, just no….too expensive……I don’t even want to think of a scenario where this is worth it, though I am sure it exists. Moving on….

Cabalistic Focus (1CP) – 4
Add 2 to the psychic test for one power for a psyker that is within 6” of two other psykers. I wish it let you cast an additional power as well like the marine one, but eh, it is still very welcome. We have a lot of expensive powers, and sometimes, you just want to make sure you get that power off. Or sometimes you just want to roll average to trigger Magnus’ big Smite. A lot of uses here for a 1CP stratagem for us.

Relics of the Thousand Sons (1/3CP) – 4
Take an extra relic or two. Well considering we have two good relics, and one will most likely replace the cost of this stratagem and has a fair chance to gain some more CP on top, I will probably use this every game in which I have 2 characters that can take relics. If you don’t have those 2 characters that can take relics, obviously pass on this…

Killshot (1CP) – 3
If you have 3 Predators near each other, all 3 add one to their wound rolls if they target a Monster or a Vehicle. Well, if you have 3 Predators you should definitely use this. Whether or not you should have 3 Predators

in your list is a different story. 3 Las Predators is a fair amount of points to be sure, but are a long range heavy option that we lack a lot of choices for. Personally I would run Helbrutes instead as their BS does not degrade, but I would not fault anyone for running this.

Blasphemous Machines (1CP) – 2
A Daemon Vehicle ignores the penalty for shooting with heavy and assault weapons. Very situational, but it can be useful since most targets for this would be hitting on 5+ without this. Use it if you need to reposition a Forgefiend for example.

Warpflame Gargoyles (1CP) – 3
A vehicle (not a Helbrute or Heldrake) farts warpflame to all units (friend or foe) 3” around it. Boy do I love everything about this stratagem. It brings back some old equipment. It might make me actually take a rhino. It makes Maulerfiends even better. It makes Defilers cheeky. Not useful every game but when it hits a lot of stuff (I had a Maulerfiend

run into a ball and roll hot and cause like 8 mortal wounds), it feels great. Keep it in your back pocket and use it when the time is right. If you take rhinos, use this and cackle at your opponent.

Chaos Familiar (1CP) – 4
Swap a power out for a different one. You may have notice that I mentioned this one a lot in the psychic powers section. This one is so useful and we should be thankful to have it, as it is FAR more valuable to us than it is in the CSM book. As already mentioned, some of our powers are great, but situational. This stratagem allows you to keep those situational powers out of your list and swap to them if needed (or take the situational power that is often used like, Death Hex, and swap it out if it is not needed). An often overlooked part is that it lets you pick from ANY tree, regardless of whether you can normally take powers from it or not. Pretty nice bonus there. Note that you can swap the Rubricae Smite for another regular power with this as well. You may not use this every game, but having access to it is incredible for us.

Thousand Sons predators and rhinos

Sorcerous Pact (1CP) – 2
Use 4 dice instead of 3 to summon, and you don’t suffer mortal wounds on rolls that would cause them. I will tell you that a while back, I did about 4 playtest games to test summoning daemons for us. It was actually pretty useful to be honest and I think I need to revisit it. For example, leave 280 points available. Need to tarpit? Summon Horrors. Need more anti-heavy? Exalted Flamers. Need more anti-horde? Flamers. I could go on. Tzeentch Daemons

actually have are a great toolbox. I may need to revisit that, but for now you can give it a try if you want and if you do, this power is great.

Veterans of the Long War (1CP) – 5
Add 1 to the wound rolls of an infantry unit. After playing against a Blood Angels friend for a while I know the power of adding 1 to wound rolls. Use this on Rubric Marines, Scarab Occult, Tzaangors, or Cultists when needed and profit. Obviously the bigger the unit, the bigger the effect. Wound anything in the game on a 5+. Wound most vehicles on a 4+, and most units in the game on a 3+. Win all around here. Combined with our high AP standard guns, this can cause a threat to anything really, especially when combined with rerolls to hit and Prescience on a high priority target.

Boon of Tzeentch (1CP) – 1
If a non-daemon character kills an enemy character, vehicle, or Monster, roll on a Tzeentch themed Boon Table. We have a psychic power that lets you just roll without doing anything…..pass.

Webway Infiltration (1/3CP) – 5
Deep strike up to two infantry units. Amazing. For a slower army like ours this is amazing obviously. Deep striking 60 Tzaangors will be common for me. **Unfortunately less of an alpha strike move now after the FAQ. It is still a very useful stratagem even in for the mobility. Also, Tzaangors are just as dangerous from turn 2 on…**I am done talking about it, at least use the 1CP every game, even if it is just to claim an out of reach progressive scoring objective turn 1 or whatever.

Soul Flare (1CP) – 2
Causes your dead Aspiring Sorcerer

or Scarab Occult Sorcerer to explode, causing a mortal wound on a 4+ (6+ to vehicles and characters) in a 6” radius. Definitely cute, and when it works will be funny.

Fated Mutation (1CP) – 3
Pick the random effect and reroll the attacks of a unit of Spawn. It makes Spawn actually pretty reliable once they get into combat. This is good to have and a welcome addition. I am going to stop before Tzeentch realizes I am talking about Spawn again…

Vengeance for Prospero (1CP) – 2
Trigger Death to the False Emperor on a 4+ versus Space Wolves

. Fluffy awesomeness. Obviously situational, but a 5 rating against Space Wolves…

The Flesh-Change (1CP) – 2
Kill one of your non-daemon characters, it turns into a spawn. One of the rare ways to add a model to your army without paying for it, but you pay for it by killing your character. Note that until this is FAQed, you can create the spawn directly into combat (within 1”). If you have a character that you know is about to die, this could be mildly useful I guess.

Inferno Bolts (1CP) – 2
Pick a bolter weapon on a vehicle, it becomes AP -2. Oh how I wish this applied to all bolters on the vehicle. It is cute to be sure, and would rate a lot higher if it applied to all bolters. Up to 4 inferno bolt shots from a Rhino is pretty nice though. You don’t gain as much benefit on a Heavy Bolter. It is not worth the 1CP to me, let me know if I am wrong in the comments.

Baleful Vortex (1CP) – 3
Get an extra power (auto succeeds) for a Mutalith Vortex Beast. If you are running a Vortex Beast and you have a few good melee units in your list, this is a very nice stratagem. Pretty much all of the Vortex Beast’s powers are good if a melee unit is nearby so this is a win win.

Cycle of Slaughter (2CP) – 5
Pick a unit of Tzaangors

, they fight again. This effect for 2 CP is a steal (Khorne lost his schtick, haha). Whether people like it or not, Tzaangors gain a lot from our codex, turning an already good unit into a great one. A max unit of Tzaangors with Veterans of the Long War (note it lasts until the end of the phase) and this will melt a lot of stuff. I am gonna stop talking about this one too…if you are running some Tzaangors (spoiler alert, you should be), you hopefully will be using this

Whew, that was a lot. As you can see, we have 2 great relics, some good Warlord traits that are nearly all useful, 3 trees of useful psychic powers, and a bunch of cheap, good stratagems. This, along with some of the new units and unit changes, put us in a good position moving forward.

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Thousand Eyes: Well what did folks think? Personally I got a lot of of the guide and r/ThousandSons in generally.