With the release of Angels of Death, everyone is curious to know about the new psychic powers. Now, the only rules in the book that are apparently usable by non-vanilla marines are the psychic powers, I swung by my local GW to pick up the psychic cards to have a whirl and figured doing a write-up couldn’t hurt.
Overall, the discipline is great if you plan to take a lot of armoured units, or are facing off against a significantly armoured force. The one thing that really interests me is that you are allowed to cast the three blessings from inside a transport as long as the target is the transport itself; which really makes running a Deathstar in a Land Raider with a Librarian tempting…
Primaris – Subvert Machine (malediction): The power allows you to take control of a single weapon on an enemy vehicle, or cause it to fire snap shots. While being relatively short ranged, it does have its uses as it means you could potentially turn the nasty heavy weapons on an Imperial Knight against your enemy.
1 – Blessing of the Machine (blessing): The power allows a vehicle to ignore the first four results on the vehicle damage table while also giving it Power of the Machine Spirit. Helpful for the times when you really need a vehicle to be at its full effectiveness. For a #1 spell, it’s not terrible.
2 – Machine Curse (focused witchfire): Hit an enemy unit with a random number of Haywire attacks. How can you not like that?
3 – Reforge (blessing): Effectively, the vehicle is treated as if a Techmarine successfully repaired it while also granting It Will Not Die. Again, a great power to have for a transport with a strong combat unit inside that you want to ensure makes it to combat.
4 – Warpmetal Armour (blessing): Increase the armour value to a vehicle unit. Because you know what a Land Raider needs? To be harder to kill! Absolutely fantastic power if you have any vehicles what so ever!
5 – Fury of Mars (Witchfire): A beam haywire attack. Fairly straight forward, but the short range will make this very situational.
6 – Machine Flense (focused witchfire}: This power is actually fantastic if you are facing Guard armies that like to bubblewrap their tanks. The vehicle loses a random number of hull points, and you can choose a unit per hullpoint lost to take a number of Rending hits.
Overall, the discipline is very tempting if you plan on running a lot of armour as the blessings are all beneficial in some way, while the offensive potential is quite strong as well. I’d rate the discipline as a solid B+.
Fulmination is a discipline that really beefs up the capabilities of the Librarian. The focus is either on witchfires giving defensive and offensive bonuses. It also allows for some pretty wonky movement.
Primaris – Electrosurge (witchfire): A power that effectively is double-tapping a Heavy Bolter, but with shorter range. Nothing really special to write home about, but it is a pretty effective witchfire when you compare to most.
1 – Electroshield (blessing): This power can be summed up in two words – Storm Shield.
2 – Electropulse (nova): A Haywire nova, which I don’t think I really have to explain how good that is when you drop it amongst a group of vehicles.
3 – Lightning Arc (witchfire): Similar stats to Electrosurge, but with a random number of shots and it can also jump to surrounding enemy units. I would say it is great if you find yourself facing off against multiple small units.
4 – Fists of Lightning (blessing): You want your Librarian to go Mano-e-mano with a squad of infantry on his own? This is the power that will do it for you! It increases his strength and number of attacks, but adds in to additional hits with a different stat line for every one he lands. Your Librarian just became a wood chipper… congratulations!
5 – Magnetokinesis (blessing): Allows a unit within range to move a specific distance, ignoring everything in between, but you can’t charge afterwards. Great for the last minute objective grab or if you want to swing around to a specific armour facing on a vehicle.
6 – Electrodisplacement (blessing): This is the power that has everyone up in arms. While the rules for how it works out are rather convoluted and I won’t get into them, it effectively allows the psykers and his unit to swap places with another unit within range. Not too shabby on its own right there, but it does allow you to charge after the swap has taken place. There are so many ways you can utilize this power, it’s kind of scary. Want your nasty combat unit guaranteed to make a charge? Have a unit come down in a drop pod and just swap places. Want that charge to be done on the first turn? Done! Want to make Tau cry? Do that on turn one as a Dark Angel player and have a Darkshroud nearby so they can’t overwatch. The tears of my enemies feed my hate machine with such power… such power…
Overall, the only power I am not entirely sold on is Electropulse, and that is because it only has one use for it. Beyond that, everything else can be utilized in every game that this may be one of the disciplines that all marine players should look at taking as their default. A solid A+ rating from me.
Librarius is the discipline that brings back variations of the old psychic powers marines had. A lot of the names are reused, with abilities similar to what they were, but with changes to bring them into the current edition.
Primaris – The Emperor’s Wrath (witchfire): A short ranged, marine killing, blast. Theoretically good, but the short range on it is going to make it very situational.
1 – Veil of Time (blessing): Allows a unit to reroll saves. Very rarely are you going to find this to be a bad power. I’m picturing a unit of 10 Terminators walking across an open field with relative immunity.
2 – Fury of the Ancients (beam): I’ve never really been a huge fan of beam powers. They generally have a short range and aren’t very strong. That being said, this power seems to be a bit of an exception. It has a decent range to it, and if you can work out a good angle to get enough hits in a unit, it may do some damage. While it is Pinning, I wouldn’t rely on that aspect of the power.
3 – Psychic Fortress (blessing): This power is great if you are facing off against an army that is bringing a lot of witchfire powers to bear. Units within range gain an invulnerable save against witchfires, while also getting Fearless and Adamantine Will. It’s cute, but the majority of the time they are just benefiting from the special rules when I would much rather have the invulnerable save. The upside is that it is all units within range, not just a single unit.
4 – Might of Heroes (blessing): Your Librarian goes super sayan. Improved strength, toughness, initiative, and attacks. Not too shabby if you want him going into combat, and more suited for taking on big things than Fists of Lightning. Although, if you are facing swarms, I’d rather have the Fists.
5 – Psychic Scourge (malediction): As weird as it sounds, this is a psychic power that will aid in psychic defence. You roll off against the enemy psyker, and if you equal their result then their chance of harnessing warp charge is reduced significantly. If you exceed their result by a certain amount, they also lose a random power. If you are able to get this power off, the odds are heavily in your favour that they will be losing a power as you are rolling more dice than they are. In my opinion, this is a great way to say “beslubber you, Bel’akor!”
6 – Null Zone (malediction): Simply put, reduce an enemy unit’s invulnerable save. No more frustration of trying to get through Storm Shields. Cast this, then go to town with low ap weapons. This power alone makes me seriously consider this discipline when facing off against marine players.
Overall, the powers in this discipline are interesting. While there are some strong contenders, they are all situational in their use. Rolling Psychic Fortress or Psychic Scourge against Tau and Necrons is going to make you wish you went with something else. Because there are powers that are so situational, I leave this one at a solid B.
I’m going to beslubber you up with rocks, baby! This discipline is right up there with Fulmination in terms of its usefulness. Where Fulmination was useful for beefing up your Librarian, this will have a greater impact on the battlefield in general.
Primaris – Chasm: No, I didn’t make a mistake by not listing the power type. There is no listed power type, which is odd considering it really reads as a malediction. Anyways, this power forces Dangerous Terrain tests on a unit with no armour. The no armour save is cute, but the Warp Charge cost to cast it, and how unreliable Dangerous Terrain tests are really makes me question the worthiness of this power.
1 – Earth Blood (blessing): Allows you to heal a wounded character and grants the unit It Will Not Die. If there is anything this power is going to encourage, it is Centurion Deathstars, as they are the only ones who will benefit from It Will Not Die. Otherwise, healing a character and giving him It Will Not Die is also pretty good.
2 – Scorched Earth (malediction): When you look at this compared to Chasm, this is a power where it makes no sense to call it a malediction as you don’t target enemy units. You pick a point on the table that is within range, then units within a radius of that point suffer a single randomly allocated hit. Probably the biggest benefit is that all terrain within that radius is considered dangerous. This could allow you to shut down vehicle movement or help to prevent an enemy charge.
3 – Landquake (malediction): Difficult terrain for all units within range, and no additional movements. I could actually see this being very useful against a mobile Eldar army. You want to stop Eldar bikes from being ridiculously mobile, drop a Librarian in a pod into the middle of them and pretty much grab their belts with this power (if you can get it off).
4 – Phase Form (blessing): I may have just made a mess in my pants while reading this power. Move Through Cover is good, but not needing line of sight to shoot and ignoring cover is even better. That squadron of three vindicators wants to drop three templates on a unit to maximise hits instead of going for the massive blast to ignore cover? Why not have the best of both worlds!
5 – Warp Quake (witchfire): While it can potentially cause damage to buildings, I think the biggest benefit is when you target ruins and have the potential to rain debris down on their heads. The interesting thing that may be open for interpretation is that because you are not targeting the units, you may be able to circumvent any bonuses they have towards Deny the Witch. I’d have to take a close look at the psychic rules to verify that, but it is something to look at. Regardless, the best part about this damage is that it is randomly allocated, so you may be able to snipe out that heavy weapon if you get lucky enough.
6 – Shifting Worldscape: The other power that is making people upset. Pick a piece of terrain within range and move it, bringing along units that are fully within it as well. The initial thought is that you can slingshot your own units forward to allow them to charge, but the more I looked at it, the more I saw the reverse. One of the popular ideas with Monstrous Creatures is to have the edge of the base just barely in terrain to get a cover save. Drag that terrain piece closer to your heavy hitting assault unit and remove the option for a cover save entirely. The power is difficult to get off, but if you do succeed in casting it, then that means it is also going to be difficult for your opponent to deny.
Overall, my view on this discipline is that it is good. There are some powers that are very good, and some that are meh. For just generally influencing the battlefield, I do really enjoy it, but would probably go for Fulmination as the top discipline to come out of this supplement. That’s why this discipline ranks at an A for me.
My general view on these new disciplines is that they finally give marines something to go for that is more than just the rule books disciplines. Telepathy and Divination are all well and good, but sometimes you want something with more flavour. As a Dark Angel player, I am going to be hard pressed to decide between these and Interromancy. I love how Interromancy has the potential to mess with a units stats for the rest of the game, but the overall impact from these lores (especially Fulmination) make them really tempting.