Thousand Sons Competitive Battle Report: Psychic Awakening of the Cults

Greetings friends of Prospero. AKA, those who do nothing wrong. The question is, can we do anything right?

Dustier than ever before.

The following is a quick recap of a fairly competitive game. I do not know my opponent’s list before hand and we are playing CA2019 Maelstrom which has been a lot of fun since the update.

I (and my opponent actually) are using the ‘new’ Psychic Awakening supplements. I have found list writing to be extremely difficult with the mechanics of the new Thousand Sons’ rules. In this installment I decided to try the following list:

The Lists:

List 2: The King is Dead. Long Live the 3rd Cult

– Battalion 1:

– Cult of Duplicity

Ahriman on Disk

Sorc on Disk

7 Rubrics

10 Rubrics

19 Tzaangors

-Battalion 2:

– Cult of Magic

DP w/Wings

Sorc on Disk

10 Cultists x3


– Cult of Time

Termie Sorc, Familiar

Helforged Contemptor 2 Twin Lascannons

Helbrute Multimelta

10 x Scarab Occult. 2 Hellfyre missile racks, Soureaper (this squad rings it at 371 points!!!)

7 x Scarab Occult. Including 1 Hellfyre Missile, 1 Soulreaper.

Decimator Dreadnought w/ 2 Butcher Cannons

My Opponent’s Genestealer Cult list:

How do I say this politely? They all look the same to me? I should know better, but 90% of the army is a ton of plebs that come out of the darkness with an array of hardware store appliances that hit really hard.

So I’ll summarize by saying he had what we call a “Brigallion”. (Battalion + Brigade) for more command points than you can shake a stick at.

Clamivus, Icon ward, Patriarch (Warlord), the mutli armed sniper pistol dude (Man I hate that guy.) And that relic sniper dude that kills sorcs (I hate this guy even more.) and for his shooting base he had multiple Mortar Teams. 1 Leman Russ Tank, 3 Ridge Runners and squads with “mining lasers” . Let’s get on with the game.

The Game

I would pick the map, Dawn of War, and my opponent would deploy everything first, and I declined to seize the initiative. (I rarely chose to go first against GSC anyway.)

Sure enough my opponent basically deploys some well hidden Mortar squads, and a smattering of “Blips” which are basically markers for where his units can pop out. So since I can’t shoot at “blips”, I know it’s pointless to go first, since I have to get him out of hiding.

He goes first and sure enough, ‘Blips’ turn into 10 man squads, and a Leman Russ, and Ridge Runners! Fun stuff. Isn’t it amazing that you can hide a Leman Russ in plain sight? I thought I was the wizard???

Early Game Turns:

Thousand Sons, choose to read books in cover, for turn 1.

The above is my deployment. Fairly conservative. I do make a mistake here and it’s because I’m rusty against GSC, and I know better so this is pretty embarrassing. I forget how insanely powerful the GSC snipers are against Psykers. His unique one with the relic rifle, pops Ahriman right in the melon. Sure enough I’ve placed Ahriman right by a window where he is floating on a disk. So before T1 really starts, Ahriman takes 3 wounds, and this also causes an AUTOMATIC PERILS! Luckily I used the strat, for 1 CP which cancels the Perils, or I would have lost Ahriman before the game starts. GSC are so fun, and sneaky.

After movement, the GSC do their ‘real’ deploy. Little blips turn into big squads and bigger vehicles hidden in the vast plains of Hoth. A dude on a mini bike is giving +1 to hit to the Ridgerunners and laser dudes to shoot at stuff, and I take a LOT of light firepower from the Artillery. But somehow I only lose 6 cultists, 3 Rubrics, and Ahriman is once again targeted by the same relic sniping turd that put 3 wounds on him. Thankfully he missed his mark this time! It’s time to get Ahriman out of the damn windows.

The Thousand Sons slowly groan to life. Note the Helbrute waaay up in the ruins.

With my opponent getting zero point, and no “First Strike” I am feeling slightly better about how this could go.

What you can see above is my Helbrute. Thanks to Duplicity’s Sorcerous Facade Power I fling the Helbrute up in the ruins, in MultiMelta range, but in relatively good cover. He would Multimet the bejesus out of a Ridgerunner! This would force my opponent to deal with him. (He’s on loan from my Black Legion. Ahriman promised Abaddon he’d return him in one piece. We’ll see how that goes.)

What you can’t see above is I took my Cult of Magic daemon Prince and advanced/flew him up the board just within 15″ of the closest Ridgerunner, and casted, Infernal Gateway. ( I used the Cabal strat too). I roll a 13! It’s undeniable, and I get a D6 for the initial hit…. BOOM what a start right? Well I roll a 1 into a 2 from a CP re roll, but I do add 1 Mortal wound to that thanks to Cult of Magic. Every unit around gets hit pretty hard though: Leman Russ, 2 Ridge Runners, dude on bike, a squad of plebs. Not bad.

For a follow up the Daemon Prince casts Astral Blast and does D3 mortals to the Ridge runner, then 2 flat mortal wounds to all units surrounding the Ridge Runner.

Just to be super sassy about it, Ahriman casts Warp Time to pull the Daemon Prince back out of Line of Sight (LoS).

My shooting from the Contemptor, Helbrute, and Decimator are respectable. I still only kill 2 vehicles, but the others are severely wounded. I’m still in this and I pull out of the gate with a 4-0 point lead.

Turn 2, and it’s getting hot on Hoth!

I tried to be defensive in my movement but I admit I probably extended my forces a bit too much. Normally I would create a defensive shell until GSC expose their units, but I wanted to test some of the Cult powers in action early.

The penalty for this was severe. The Patriarch and a billion Plebs came out of hiding, including psykers, and icons, and some sassy strats that allow him to come out within 3″ of me, and let loose bombs and flamers on my characters! (Above picture, left of center.)

Oh and to add insult to injury I forgot to mention that I healed up Ahriman in my Psychic phase and guess what? I forgot about that window, and the GSC relic rifle does a number on Ahriman’s face again. I have to use another CP to cancel the perils which would have surely caused his head to explode.

It didn’t matter anyway…. the Plebs in the upper left came in within 3″ of me, and flamed the heck out of Cultists, and Rubrics, and threw bombs at my Daemon Prince, a Sorc on Disk, AND killed Ahriman. ( a moment of silence please. This is both embarrassing, and equally hilarious at the same time. The master of prescience didn’t see this coming.)

Remember that Helbrute I teleported to the ruins? Well he would end up tanking 2 Ridge Runners, a squad of Laser Plebs, and a Leman Russ before dying. That’s exactly what I hoped to get out of him. That took heat off of my Decimator and Contemptor.

Here’s the funny thing… my opponent didn’t realize until after this turn he FORGOT to use Perfect Ambush. The important thing here is my opponent failed 3 charges, even with a reroll… miserably. In fact I don’t know if he would have made it even if he remembered his Perfect Ambush. Plus I was deployed rather stupidly (as I made mention of earlier). I could have done better there as well (As Ahriman!)

The GSC have a good turn. I lose some Cultists, and some more Rubrics, but the army is holding together…. but thinning.

Nothing like a good plan falling apart at the seams.

Well my turn 2 is looking scary. I lost Ahriman, and a few wounds off of some characters. I forgot something important to note: the GSC Psychic phase was very good… I failed to successfully deny a single power and I’m certainly glad he never made it into close combat because my Rubrics were “Hypnotized”. (I go last, and hit at -1). As well his thugs were powered up by another power.

Back to the Thousand Sons, the Terminators roll in with the Termie Sorc lord and they outright kill the Relic Psychic Sniper dude. That felt good. The rest of the squad rips apart a squad of plebs with lasers, and proceeds to kill off another Ridge Runner.

In my Psychic phase everything goes poorly. I position myself (See pic above) to get off a mother load of Astral Blast, Infernal Gateway, and a Smite from the DP alone. Never mind the plethora of characters with regular smite.

Well I get my Buffs out of the way (Glamour, etc) and everything goes down the ol’ Warp Toilet. I fail Gateway. My Astral Blast required a CP re roll… he cancels it. I do get off smite, he cancels it. I get off another smite with a Sorc, he cancels it… seeing a trend here? Yup, that’s right this turn’s Psychic Phase is officially non existent. (My Termie Sorc got off Prescience and that’s about it). For those that don’t know, GSC have access to a character who gives a ‘deny aura’ to anyone within 6″ of him.

Not only my Termies came in; I brought in the Tzaangors and they failed horrendously. GSC had so many models on the table I had a slot between two large squads I took, but failed the charge so they just stood there…. eating grass like the goats they are.

The good news is the Contemptor finishes off the Leman Russ, finally. I get rid of a truck I haven’t mentioned… it’s kind of a transport with a flamer. So my Dreads are still functional. My attempt at psychics are so bad, I decide NOT to assault the GSC Patriarch and friends. I shot the heck out of them though and the crowd is getting smaller.

Mid to Late Game:

The GSC come in with more reserves! They are shooting at Termies because they see the threat of them coming in and wiping the back line…. which is pretty much what the Termies did. I lose two, but would “heal” them back next turn with Cult of Time!!!

The big Rubric Squad gets squashed though. Not to mention he gets all his Psychics off again, and I can’t deny a single one.

The shooting kills off most of my Cultists now, and my Contemptor is down to 2 wounds! The Termies shrug off a lot though.

The GSC shoot down 15 of the 20 Tzaangors, and charge to easily kill some more. I lost the rest to Morale.

Finally he charges, and and with Glamour of Tzeentch and invulns I somehow stonewall him with 6 out of 7 Invuln saves of 5+! I still have 3 Rubrics left on the table, providing a thin line of cover for the characters. Next turn could be ugly.

The Daemon Prince retreats.

Sure enough, I get out of heat with the Daemon Prince, but yet again….. all his major powers fail or are denied! I couldn’t believe it. I ran out of Command Points and the circle is closing in. My Termie Lord gets off Prescience and the Cult of Time resurrection.

The Scarab Occult. 90% dust, 100% kick ass.

The Scarab Occult relieve some serious pressure. They are walking through the backfield of the GSC gun lines, and plebs and at full strength again. It feels good to have Terminators functional in 40K sometimes, and this happens to be a good role for them in this game. They fire a pail of Inferno guns into 3 different squads, assault a 4th (a character on a bike) and kill all of it with the help of Prescience.

As good as that’s going, it’s worth noting my daemon Prince and remaining characters failed so many psychic tests (or were denied) that I (again) cannot dare charge his Warlord Patriarch and guards. He still has a character pack hiding in the runis behind this mess which is giving him extra denials.

I end my turn catching up on points, but we are tied again, and although the Terminators did a LOT of work, the HQ’s did miserably.

End Game:

This turn is relatively short, but important.

My Termies are rampant in his back lines, but he still has a decent body count even with all that clean up from the Scarab Occult. The Thousand Sons management team however is in real trouble.

The Partriarch still gets all his powers off (for three turns I’ve not denied a single thing, but he’s denied my passed powers for 2 turns.)

The Patriarch again rushes in, and kills the last Rubrics…. barely, and he wisely decides not to consolidate into my Daemon Prince.

He shoots, and destroys the Contemptor Dread. My Decimator still lives untouched. My Terminators take some shots, but don’t suffer casualties. His Mortar teams pelt the last of the cultists off the table. It’s getting pretty dusty on this planet right about now.

Thousand Sons turn 4 becomes another ‘hail Mary’ moment.

The Daemon Prince, 2 characters, and 1 Rubric marine enclose the patriarch and his last 2(?) Acolyte guards. Since he can (and has many times) off loaded wounds onto his Pleb guards from the Patriarch I make to get rid of the guard first in the Psychic phase.

Here’s the thing… I don’t care about dying at this point. My psychic phase is so bad the last two turns, I just know the Patriarch MUST die or I lose.

So I try with a character and smite his pistol shooting sniper character (I forgot to mention him much, but he almost single handedly wiped a Rubric squad from one round of shooting.) I Smite him to death.

The other character tries to smite the last Acoloyte guards off of the protection of the Patriarch, but it is denied!!!

This is the “I don’t care anymore” part. The Daemon Prince targets the Patriarch with Astral Blast (knowing I will hit my own stuff as well). I get it off, half kill a bunch of stuff. I then Smite to finish the Patriarch. Finally he is dead! Melted by a cruddy smite.

The Daemon Prince lives. A smoldering pit shows where the Patriarch stood, while everyone else took wounds for their troubles.

With his Warlord slain, and the bonus points from my ensuing shooting phase, the Thousand Sons get to play clean up. The Decimator pounds the character in the ruins.

The Scarab Occult kill another squad or two, and kill 2 of 3 Mortar teams.

That is the end game. With 2 injured Sorcs, a Daemon Prince, the Decimator, and Scarab Occult left, the Thousand Sons pull of a 1 point victory.

Post Game:

With such a tight game it’s easy to pick out all the “I shoulda done” moments, and things you miss.

Was it my opponent’s missed Perfect Ambush Strat? Perhaps all his failed Turn 2 Charges? Was it my lethargic Turn 2 and Turn 3 Psychic phase? My deployment. All of these were small things that could have made a big difference in such a tight game.

The good news is I saw cult of Magic in turn 1, and my opponent agreed it was scary. But how fickle the Psychic Phase is, and dangerous against GSC with all their anti-psyker abilities and Snipers.

I think GSC is a very tough match up for Thousand Sons. They excel at pulling part areas of the map and can melt elite infantry heavy armies like this.

Cult of Magic was so good that game. Bringing back multiple termies was huge or the game was lost for certain. The GSC could not contain the rearguard breach and that probably turned the game just enough to make the difference.

The lack of Magnus was different for me. Was it better? Hard to say in this game. The addition of a Contemptor, Decimator, and Helbrute that could be juggled across the board is a good tool to have.

At any rate, if you’ve read this far, thanks for checking it out.

Stay dusty,



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