So new edition, new series – Summary of Change. In conjunction with this Forum post, we’ll be putting together a list of the changes and their initial impact upon the game. As we get more gaming time we’ll come back and look at how they’ve really impacted everything but for now, easy to browse “what’s new / different” :)!
The biggest change of the 7th edition rulebook is the bringing back of the psychic phase.
A weird mix of the Fantasy magic system and something pulled out of somewhere, psychic powers are both more powerful and less reliable. Let’s quickly run through the psychic phase and then look at some of the math that others have already done. We’re not going to go into generating powers at this point – this is largely the same.
Before anything else is done, the Warp Charge pool is generated. The player whose turn it is rolls a D6, each player then adds this D6 to the cumulative total of their Mastery Levels (including Brotherhood / Pilot units). This is each player’s Warp Charge pool for that phase.
Example; Eldar vs Space Marines. Eldar has two Farseers (ML3); Space Marine player has Tiggy (ML3) and two allied Inquisitors (ML1). Eldar player rolls a D6 and gets a 4; Eldar player therefore has 4+3+3 = 10 Warp Charges in their pool while the Space Marine player has 4+3+1+1 = 9 Warp Charges in their pool.
The psychic phase then commences:
1) Select Psyker and Psychic Power: Unless you have zero Warp Charges remaining, select one of your Psyker units, then nominated a psychic power known to that unit you wish to manifest.
This is where two rules come into effect – only the player whose turn it is can manifest powers (so reactive powers currently don’t work in this edition) and “no unit can attempt to manifest the same psychic power more than once per Psychic phase.” You only get one chance to cast each power per unit – if they are in different units, all good. Remember, only witchfires can be cast from within transports now and only if there is a firepoint.
2) Declare target
Choose the target of the explosion of psychic goodness!
3) Take Psychic Test: The psyker must now expend Warp Charges and attempt to harness them by taking a Psychic test. If the test is failed, the psychic power fails and nothing further happens. If two or more 6s are rolled, the Psyker suffers a Perils of the Warp which is resolved immediately.
This is not a leadership test like before – this is a comparison of how many warp charges are harnessed. You must declare how many Warp Charges you are attempting to harness and immediately remove them from your pool and then roll a number of D6 equal to this (not one at a time, simultaneously).
For each 4+ on a D6, the Psyker has harnessed one Warp Charge successfully. If the total number is equal to or greater than the Warp Charge necessary for the power, the test is successful.
If two or more 6s were rolled, take a Perils of the Warp.
- Dragged into the Warp; Psyker must take a Leadership test, if the test is passed the Psyker suffers 1 Wound / glancing hit with no saves of any kind allowed. If the test is failed, the Psyker is removed as a casualty and his unit suffers D6 S6 AP1 hits.
- Mental Purge; The Psyker suffers 1 Wound / glancing hit with no saves of any kind allowed. In addition, randomly select one psychic power known to the Psyker. That power is immedidately lost and cannot be used by the Psyker for the rest of the battle.
- Power Drain; 1 Wound / glancing hit with no saves of any kind allowed. In addition, if it is currently the Psychic phase, roll a D3; both players lose a number of Warp Charges equal to the result.
- Psychic Backlash; 1 Wound / glancing hit with no saves of any kind allowed.
- Empyric Feedback; The Psyker must take a leadership test. If the test is failed, 1 Wound / glancing hit with no saves of any kind allowed. If the test is passed, the Psyker suffers no ill effects.
- Warp Surge; The Psyker must take a leadership test. If the test is failed, 1 Wound / glancing hit with no saves of any kind allowed. If the test is passed, the Psyker gains a 3+ invulnerable save as well as Fleshbane, Armourbane and Smash special rules until the start of the next friendly psychic phase.
Perils is a pretty even table with two really bad options and two options were nothing bad may happen. Most of the time though, the Psyker is suffering a wound. Wargear which impacts this could be huge (see Eldar Relics).
4) Deny the Witch: If the psychic test was passed, one of the enemy targets gets a chance to expend Warp Charge points to nullify the power by taking a Deny the Witch test. If the psychic power does not target an enemy unit, your opponent can still attempt to Deny the Witch but will not be able to use any bonuses. In either case, if the Deny the Witch test is passed, the psychic power does not manifest and nothing further happens.
You need to nullify all of the Warp Charge points that were successfully harnessed by the Psyker.
Select one unit that was targeted by the enemy’s psychic power (so for beam / nova effects, pick ONE). Declare how many Warp Charge points you will spend and remove them from your pool and roll this many D6. For every roll of 6, you have nullified ONE harnessed Warp Charge.
You gain bonuses to this if you are a psyker (including pilot / brotherhood), have a mastery level higher than the opponent’s psyker or have the Adamantin Will special rule. Furthermore, Psychic hood wearers can attempt to Deny the Witch in place of the targeted unit if within 12″.
If the total number of 6s is equal to or greater than the number of harnessed Warp Charges, the Deny the Witch Test has been successful and the psychic power does not manifest. The same process takes place to Deny the Witch against blessings and / or conjurations however; there are currently no bonuses against these powers.
For example; The Farseer (ML3) attempts to cast Misfortune (WC2) on the Space Marine Tactical squad. The Farseer elects to utilise six Warp Charges and rolls, 1,1,4,6,6,6. The Farseer immediately suffers a Perils of the Warp (rolling a 4 and thereby suffering a wound) but the power still goes off with four Warp Charges successfully harnessed. The Space Marine Tactical squad is within 12″ of Tiggy (ML3) who has a Psychic Hood and elects to utilise seven Warp Charges to Deny the Witch. They need to roll four or more Denys to successfully stop Misfortune given the Farseer successfully harnessed four Warp Charges even though the power is WC2. The Space Marines roll 1,2,3,4,4,5,5 which does not Deny any Warp Charges however; since they are within 12″ of Tiggy, they add +1 to each roll (being a psyker with a psychic hood) to give them an effective 2,3,4,5,5,6,6. This equates to two Warp Charges denied and therefore, Misfortune goes off as all four that were successfully harnessed were not negated. The Eldar player now has four Warp Charges left in their pool (10-6) and the Space Marine player also has two (9-7).
5) Resolve the Psychic Power: Assuming the Psychic test was passed and the power was not successfully negated by Deny the Witch, the power is now resolved.
Place any effects into play.
Repeat steps 1-5 until there are no more Warp Charges left or no powers can be further cast. No Warp Charges are carried over between psychic phases.
What’s quickly obvious is that there is a lot of educated and calculated risks needed to cast powers however; it’s very easy to cast a power through Deny the Witch if you throw lots of Warp Charges at a power. You’ll suffer Perils likely but if you have lots of Warp Charges, the Perils table isn’t that scary assuming you have back-ups (i.e. 10 Warlocks, 4 ML3 Heralds, etc.) for those “must have” type of powers. What’s really important though is having a strong defense – and they just don’t exist currently. We have no idea how Shadows in the Warp is going to interact with this new Psychic Phase and we know Rune Priests will get nullified quite quickly. Beyond that, having a Psyker with a high mastery level and a Hood is a solid option for defense against offensive powers.
The main issue here of course is that the majority of really important powers are non-attack based and thus passive defenses do nothing there. So we head back to… Rune Priests. If no FAQ happens around them, expect to see them in lots of competitive lists to make casting that much harder.
And speaking of casting, Chip has gone and down some lovely math over at ToF. Let’s take look:
|Number of Warp Charges||Chance of Success – WC1||Chance of Success – WC2||Chance of Success – WC3||Chance of Perils|
We can quickly see that trying to spam any type of power is going to be difficult if you want to be successful – there aren’t going to be many Fireball throwing armies out there as for even a 90%+ chance of success, you need 4D6 on WC1; 7D6 on WC2 and 9D6 for WC3. Any higher WC spells are going to be very difficult to cast consistently and then throw in chances of denying (albeit, minimal if they are Blessings / Conjurations) and you’re not going to be spamming spells at a high rate successfully. Throw in the increasing chances of perils and the diminishing returns on each attempted WC die and I can see two general strategies coming to the fore – having a large psychic pool to throw out one or two big spells and suffer through the perils through simple psyker numbers (attrition) or having a handful of lower WC spells you would like to cast (i.e. Prescience). Whether or not this is how it unfolds remains to be seen but there are still some very obvious combinations out there with which there is little defense against and could continue the trend of silly deathstars we have been seeing (i.e. Invisibility).