Wrath of Magnus: Scarab Occult Terminators Tactics

Hey guys, Chandler here to give you a rundown on the Scarab Occult Terminators for Thousand Sons.  

For more reviews, analysis, and strategy check out the Tactics Corner.

In the days before the heresy the Scarab Occult Terminators served as the most elite of Magnus’s forces.  Also known as the Sekhmet they were composed of the greatest warriors in the legion.  Like their Rubric brothers, they would suffer a harsh fate after Ahriman’s disastrous Rubric ritual.  Turned to dust they became little more than automatons commanded at will by the legion’s remaining sorcerers.  Wielding powerful inferno rounds in their combi-bolters and provided with the Blessing of Tzeentch they make for powerful warriors of the changer of ways on the battlefield.  Each squad led by a capable Sorcerer they are able to wreak havoc against the enemies of the legion.


Coming in at a whopping 250 points, the Scarab Occult Terminators are quite pricey, but still capable of dishing out a ton of damage under the right circumstances.  They have the normal statline of a Terminator squad, but dish out devastating firepower to anything with a 3+ armor save or worse.  Each unit is led by a Mastery Level 2 Sorcerer with 2 wounds who has a variety of disciplines to choose from, including Divination, unlike the normal Chaos Space Marine Sorcerers.


Scarab Occult Terminators are, of course, equipped with terminator armor granting them a 2+ save and a 5+ invulnerable base (which is improved to 4+ because of the Mark of Tzeentch).  Each is equipped with an Inferno Combi-Bolter, which is a twin-linked boltgun firing AP 3 rounds.  Each Terminator comes with a power sword with no way to upgrade which while nice against most units, means they are effectively useless against vehicles and tough units you might see in battle with a high toughness or good armor save.  The Sorcerer that leads the squad comes with an Inferno combi-bolter like his brothers, but also carries a Force Stave, again, with no way to upgrade or switch out his melee weapon.  He can swap out his combi-bolter for a power sword for 5 points, giving him the ability to get an extra attack in combat.

You can add up to 5 additional Scarab Occult Terminators for 40 points per model.  For every five models one can replace his combi-bolter with either a Heavy Warpflamer or a Soulreaper Cannon, which while cool options, are not really worth their points investment.  Additionally one in five can be equipped with a Hellfyre Missile Rack which shoots 2 Strength 8 AP3 missiles.  A nice upgrade for 20 points that gives them some options against light vehicles and high toughness targets.

Special Rules:

These guys come equipped with quite a few special rules including Fearless, Mark of Tzeentch and Veterans of the Long War.  Additionally the Sorcerer is a Mastery Level 2 psyker capable of choosing powers from a ton of disciplines including all the standard Big Rule Book disciplines except Daemonology (Sanctic), as well as the new powers in Traitor Legions and Wrath of Magnus.  Naturally being Mark of Tzeentch he has to take at least one power off that tree, as well as the Primaris for free, leaving him one roll on the other charts.  Still not a terrible option.

If they are taken in a Thousand Sons detachment they can bump their invulnerable save to a 3++ when the Sorcerer casts Force, or some other blessing power that targets the unit via the Blessing of Tzeentch special rule, which gives them a lot of durability.  And of course, like all Chaos Space Marine units, the Sorcerer has the Champions of Chaos rule which requires him to issue and accept challenges when possible.


So are these guys worth taking? I’d say yes, quite possibly, but only in a War Cabal Formation (where they are a requirement.)  Typically you want to take either an extra Sorcerer or an Exalted Sorcerer with the Astral Grimoire to make them jump during movement, which really makes them quite a capable threat on the table.  The biggest drawback to using this unit is the price point per damage output. In general they are slow, and thus have trouble escaping units that will either tarpit them or outright kill them. The Astral Grimoire mitigates this weakness making them super fast for terminators and giving you more flexibility in picking and choosing your targets.  When given this sort of speed it makes picking out those weak or light infantry units much easier, which is what you want to do with them.

Their combi-bolters are all twin-linked which means you’ll get those re-rolls to hit no matter what which in short range can be pretty devastating to anything with 3+ armor or higher. I personally like to run one with the Hellfyre Missile rack for some versatility against light tanks and monstrous creatures.  The fact that they carry power swords really limits how effective they can be in combat, and with only Strength 4, they can get bogged down pretty easily.  The possible 3++ makes them incredibly hard to kill however, so your opponent might not be eager to throw in things like Wraithknights into them for fear of being bogged down the entire game. That said, this is not a unit that you should use to tarpit things unless absolutely necessary. There are better units for that than Scarab Occult Terminators.  For 250 points base, you’re going to want these guys to be able to do some damage in battle.

Effectively these guys serve as great meatshields for your Exalted Sorcerers. The Sorcerer in the unit can focus on casting the blessing (like Force) allowing your Exalted Sorcerer to really make the most of his ability to throw down nasty witchfires or maledictions.  Avoid charging most things except those you can very easily kill in combat with the power swords.  Typically I use them as a mid-field or backfield defender.  They are generally a great counter for pesky drop pod units that want to threaten your side of the board and are quite capable of murdering those tactical or devastator squads that pop out.

If you do find yourself facing down an unfavorable combat, let the Scarab Occult Sorcerer soak up the challenge, so your Exalted Sorcerer can throw down his attacks on the unit. With Instant Death cast, and wounding most things on 2s with Strength 6 he is capable of dishing out a ton of damage on a unit.  In a War Cabal it’s even better as you’re re-rolling 1s to-hit in combat if you cast a psychic power that turn.  The Sorcerer can usually hold up in a challenge fairly well slinging a Force Stave of his own with usually a 3++ to boot and 2 wounds.

Taking a basic Sorcerer as opposed to the Exalted version to go along with these guys is also a nice option, especially if you can get Gate of Infinity as it allows you to deep strike them around the board and get out of combat if you find yourself in a tarpit.  Throwing Hammerhand on them also makes them quite deadly as suddenly those AP3 power swords are swinging at Strength 6.  Unfortunately the Sanctic discipline is only available to the basic Sorcerer, which limits the unit quite a bit, but still a decent, and even cheaper option with the right powers.

In general, while this kit features some gorgeous models, you’ll probably rarely find yourself fielding the unit, unless you’re running a War Cabal as part of a Grand Coven where at least one unit is a requirement. In my experience, the unit is pretty decent given the right circumstances, but you have to be very cautious with how you play them to maximize their ability to damage the opponent’s army.  For 250 points, the price point is just too high generally to include them in anything more than fun games for the most part.


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  • Henri Vuorenmaa

    Remember that the unit does not have Slow And Purposeful. Which makes ut a little hard for them to use Heavy weapons while moving as jump infantry.

    • Charon

      Terminator armor…

      • YetAnotherFacelessMan

        Tartaros-Pattern Terminator Armor. ^_^

    • Peter B

      They don’t have S&P, but they do get Relentless by default from the Terminator armor – so they can move and fire Heavy weapons.

      • Henri Vuorenmaa

        Ah, that explains it. I was having this discussion with my friend, and it seemed weird to me that they don’t have SaP. Thanks!

  • Christie Bryden

    heres hoping in 8th they come down in price.

    • ZeeLobby

      I doubt we’ll ever see prices go down. That said, they might be lumped into a discount side-game box at some point.

      • Charon

        I guess he means “points”

        • ZeeLobby

          Ah. that would make sense.

    • orionburn

      Says every Dark Angels player as well for Deathwing Termies. Mine are all collecting dust at the moment.

  • Charon

    Scarab Occult Terminators are sadly suffering from the same issues a lot of units suffer.
    Great idea but sloppy execution.

    Most of the time you want to use them as Sekhmet conclave as it has everything you want from them. Terminators, another Sorc/DP/Magnus and neat boni.

    The toughness bonus is nice, but this promotes clustering up (having 2 units within 6″ of everyone is kind of hard to execute and it rules out jumping via the Grimoire)

    So you basically have a 250 points unit, that is not better in terms of durabbility than an ordinary 182 points CMS terminator squad with MoT.

    So let us focus on the plus sides:


    Im a bit torn on the weapon options as they are extremely expensive and make them really awkward.
    The helfyre launcher ist basically the only AT this unit gets but if you shoot at a vehicle all your AP3 Kombi Bolters become suddenly useless.
    That leaves us with the Soulreaper which is also quite expensive but adds up a bit anti infanty (yes you can shoot it at vehicles too, but it has the same issue as the helfyre… you are wasting shots and hope for that rending to come into effect)

    While AP3 is nice to have, horde armies are just gonna shrug it off, as well as vehicle based armies.
    Same goes for the melee option. Power weapon.

    So the solution to most of these problems would be “hey! you got a sorceror, he is the living weapon plattform that makes the unit dishing out enough damage to make it worthwhile”

    But sadly, this is where bad design comes into play.

    You want to bless your squad. And ideally this should be a worthwhile blessing too as just activating your power weapon for 1WC (you have to roll off 3 dice to get it done reliable) doesnt have any added benefit.
    So your to go Discipline will probably be Divination as it has the most blessings of all available lores.
    This does make the Terminators considerably harder to kill but doesnt do a lot for their damage.
    Also you are forced into Tzeentch lore which is… quite bad.
    So now you sit there with a minor Tzeentch blast of variable S, another Tzeentch power that also doesnt do much and ond divination spell that is hopefully a blessing.

    Far away from beeing a mobile fire platform.
    I could see them beeing a lot more useful if their bonus triggers from just having cast a spell (so you also reinforce the need to protect their sorc), so your sorcs can blast things and up the damage potential of the unit.
    Because as it is, they do not need their durability a nobody shoots them anyways. They are slow, have no ObjSec and dont deal a lot of damage (on average they kill ONE marine a turn after cover, 2,2 marines with the Soulreaper upgrade). There is no reason to actually shoot them.

    • 4clSnapshot

      Good comment, almost right about everything except Divination. Primary is a bit expensive to reroll hits as you have sync bolters anyways. The 4+ invulnerable blessing has no effect – well the same as any other blessing which have an additional effect. The rest of divination only affects the psyker himself. But who would make them more durable? As you said noone will shoot them. One of the worst units in game, close to regular Rubric Marines. With Exalted Sorcerers we have 3 TS units in the bottom 10 I guess.

      • stinkoman

        But i want to play TS. this makes me rethink.

        • Charon

          Still possible in a friendly meta.
          I would mix with Tzeentch daemons through and max in a bit of summoning,
          Sekmeth with a DP (summon) and a CD cad (2x Horrors, 2x Screamers and LoC -> primary for Warpstorm) makes the majority of your points still TS but can also help out quite a bit with damage and sustainable troops.
          Scarab occult together with Pink horrors did really annoy my freind here as nothing ever wanted to die 😀

        • 4clSnapshot

          I have them because as many other people i like the minis, love the lore and so on. Tzeentch is my thing. But really. The formations are pathetic and the army is so bad that my comment would be banned if i told you how bad they are. I only won a single game. Was against Nurgle daemons. So basically a dream coming true beating the archenemy. As we analysed the game afterwards we knew why i won. We simply misunderstood each other and i fielded 1500 points against 1000. And really that wasn´t obvious as the armies were on the table.

      • Charon

        My reasoning to pick divination is basically “it has a lot of blessing and you can always fall back to the primaris which grants your soulreaper TL”

        As you have only one pick (one is already wasted on Tzeentch lore) you need to have a high chance of getting a somewhat ok-ish blessing.

        Alone the fact that Tzeentch lore contains not a single unit blessing is cringeworthy.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    I hate that you cannot change their weapons.

    • Adam Poultney

      As Tzeentch my-indecisive-self I agree…

  • uatu13

    Awesome looking models, but they really should have given you some decent CC choices. Making their unique swords just be power swords is really lazy, and is just asking for these guys to get eaten by pretty much everything out there.

  • MechBattler

    If you tried to build a comparable unit out of the codex with an HQ Sorceror and 4 terminators, It would cost over 300 points. Even equipping the Scarabs with missiles and the soulreaper still leaves them cheaper than the codex units.

    The sorceror in particular is a steal. If you subtract the 160 points for the terminators, the scarab sorceror is 90 points. He also has access to more Psychic disciplines than the codex version. A codex sorceror built to the same specs would cost 130 points. The scarab occult sorceror is basically an HQ sorceror hidden in a squad.

    If you want a terminator unit dedicated to anti-infantry, the scarab occults are a better and far more point efficient choice than regular terminators.