Thousand Sons Artillery Options

Army Building, May 13, 2018

Think Thousand Sons don’t have any options for bringing artillery to the battlefield? Think again!

What counts as artillery?

The 40K universe has a wide range of options that could be considered “artillery.” For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll be examining options that meet the following criteria:

Now, even with these guidelines, there’s plenty of variations and roles for the different artillery in the game. To help compare apples to apples, we’ll also be breaking these down by a few different types.


Mortars are intended for firing at large groups of infantry with a heavy amount of shots but with low AP. We’ll classify these as follows:

Bunker Busters

Bunker Busters are heavy artillery, typically fired from vehicles, with an intended role of taking out enemy vehicles, fortifications, or heavily armored units such as monsters or beasts. How we classify these:


Hybrids sit in a gray zone between Mortars and Bunker Busters - designed for units with multi-wound models. They typically have the following profiles:

What artillery options does Thousand Sons have access to?

Unfortunately, there’s no out-of-the-box artillery options for Thousand Sons. To get them, we either need to crack into the Forgeworld rules or bring some Renegades & Heretics as allies.

Here’s how the tree shakes out:

Unit Available by Type Shots Str AP Dmg Points Notes
Hellforged Land Raider AchillesForgeworldBunker Buster2D3-01453Mortal Wounds
Hellforged ScorpiusForgeworldHybrid3D36-22217Can fire twice
BasiliskRenegadesBunker BusterD69-3D3108
Colossus BombardRenegadesHybrid2D66-2D3158Ignores cover
Earthshaker BatteryRenegadesBunker BusterD69-3D3115
Heavy Mortar BatteryRenegadesHybridD66-1D372
Heavy Quad Launcher BatteryRenegadesMortar4D650197
WyvernRenegadesMortar4D6401103Re-roll failed wounds
Renegade Militia Weapon TeamRenegadesMortar2D640162
Renegade Militia Heavy Weapon TeamRenegadesMortar6D640148
Minotaur Artillery TankRenegadesBunker Buster2D69-2D3280


When it comes to getting mortars into a Thousand Sons army, the only way you’re going to do it is with Renegade allies. Thankfully some of these options end up being really cheap and easy to fit into something like a Spearhead.

Target: Cultists

Unit Shots BS Hits Wounds Unsaved Wounds Total Damage Dead Models ROI
Renegade Militia Heavy Weapon Team215+
Heavy Quad Launcher Battery144+
Renegade Militia Weapon Team74+

Winner: Renegade Militia Heavy Weapon Team

Hands down the most efficient Mortar option available are the heavy weapon teams. For just 48 points you can put a squad on the table. That means for just 169 points with a Renegade Commander, you can field a spearhead of these guys. That means on average you should be able to take out an entire 10-man Cultist squad. In competition terms, many ITC lists will run 19 Cultists to deny secondary points for Reaper. In those cases you’ve either wiped a small squad or cut into their morale.

Wyverns come in a distant second to the Heavy Weapon Team, where you’re paying extra for the heavy armor to protect your mortar asset. Even though the Wyvern is re-rolling all failed wounds, and indeed is more efficient once it hits, you’re just not getting the value back on the points you invested in it.

Bunker Busters

Bunker Busters are next up and these are not units you’re bringing to kill swaths of cultists with. These units are designed to sit back and break through the enemy fortifications.

Target: Rhino

Unit Shots BS Hits Wounds Unsaved Wounds Total Damage ROI
Earthshaker Battery4.44+
Minotaur Artillery Tank8.94+
Hellforged Land Raider Achilles43+

For this, we will only be calculating Roi based on the wounds dealt rather than the models killed. Because of this, Roi% will appear artificially higher than compared to how we calculated in Mortars. You should not attempt to compare Roi for these units to the Roi for Mortars or Hybrids

Winner: Basilisk

The Bunker Busters are an odd group. Right now in the meta, they don’t really have a spot where they make sense to take. Consider the winner here, the Basilisk, and that you’re going to just dent a Rhino with a few wounds on average. It’s really tough to justify putting those kind of points into something like this.

The Land Raider Achilles also is a weird unit, meant as a transport but can only fit 6 models The bombard fits our criteria as “artillery” but I think most of us would skip on the 400+ price tag to take one of these guys.

Lastly, you may want to note that the Minotaur is a super-heavy, which makes it even less likely to see the field coupled with it’s relative inefficiency.


Last, but not least, we come to the Hybrids. Not enough shots to really be good for mass infantry removal and not strong enough to be efficient at vehicle destruction. That puts them into a weird zone of taking on tough “elite” units such as Terminators.

Target: Primaris Space Marine

Unit Shots BS Hits Wounds Unsaved Wounds Total Damage Dead Models ROI
Hellforged Scorpius123+
Colossus Bombard74+
Heavy Mortar Battery3.54+3.51.751.10.51.10%

Winner: Hellforged Scorpius

As expected, being mediocre leaders to mediocre results. The Scorpius is by far, the best option here for a couple reasons.

  1. It can take the Legion trait, which means it can benefit from “re-roll 1s to hit”
  2. It can be targeted by psychic powers, since it has the Heretic Astartes keyword
  3. It’s the most efficient at getting damage through, as seen in it’s ROI

If we apply the re-roll 1s, the ROI jumps to 33% and get you an additional dead marine. Still, you’re tasked with having to not move in order to get these results and losing just 3 marines in a round of shooting from one of these isn’t enough to really strike fear in the heart of your opponent.

The other options here suffer from a lack of BS, where hitting on 4s with a not-so-great number of shots leaves them in the do not take bucket.


If you’re playing Thousand Sons and you want some indirect fire in your army, you’ve got a couple options depending on what you want to target.

  1. Infantry? Take some Renegade Heavy Weapon Teams
  2. MEQs? Take a Hellforged Scorpius or two

Want something to take on vehicles and heavy armor? Well, sadly, the Bunker Busters just aren’t going to solve that problem for you.


When I originally ran this article I incorrectly calculated Renegade mortar teams with a BS of 4+, where they have an actual BS of 5+. This did not have an effect on the overall results but does deflate a bit of their efficiency. The article has been updated with the correct values.