Pressure casting dies are subjected to a large number of thermal as well as mechanical load cycles, which are leading to a characteristic thermally induced crack network on the die surface. As a typical representative for a die material the cyclic thermo-mechanical behavior of the hot work tool steel grade 1.2343 (X38CrMoV5-1) is investigated both experimentally as well as numerically. On the one hand the information from isothermal compression-tension tests is used in a subsequent analysis to calibrate a constitutive model that takes into account the characteristic combined isotropic-kinematic hardening/softening of the material. On the other hand the non-isothermal mechanical response of the material to thermal cycles is characterized by means of a periodic laser pulse applied to a small plate-like specimen which is cooled on the back. The residual stresses developing at the surface of the irradiated region of the specimen are determined ex-situ by means of X-ray diffraction. The obtained values agree well with the results of an accompanying finite-element study. This information is used to verify the calibrated constitutive model. The material law is finally used for the prediction of stresses and strains in a die.