Hello Internet! I'm Creed and I have been playing Warhammer 40k for about 6 months. In that time I've spent countless hours lurking in forums, watching the hobby/tactics channels on YouTube, and building my Space Wolves Great Company as well as my 3rd Company of Iron Knights Space Marines. Like many of you, I have just gotten my hands on the new Space Marine codex and dove right in to see what cool new updates we have. While I was studying the new codex and re-reading my rulebook, a thought occurred to me; what if there are better ways to use psykers in general and Librarians in particular in 6th edition?
Despite what some might say, Librarians are a more powerful force multiplier now than they ever were in 5th edition. Psychic Powers used to be simply selected from a short list of powerful abilities in your codex and that was the end of it. Whole lists were built around a psychic power or two. To use Space Marines as the example, Gate of Infinity was used to teleport assault terminators into the opponent's back field. Rune Priests were used to spam out Jaws and Living Lightning to maximize long range damage output. In this way, armies were static, they did pretty much the same thing every game that you played with them and this reflects the biggest complaint I have heard about 5th edition 40k which was that it got very stale due to the same couple of builds dominating the tournament scene and very little variation.
In current codexes, psykers are significantly cheaper and have access to three or four lists of different psychic powers that are rolled for 'randomly'. It is no longer as effective to build lists around a 6th edition psyker. You can, however, build your psyker around your opponent's list. You can do this right before you play them in a tournament. In 6th edition you get several wild cards to play before the game even starts, regardless of your list. You get to choose your warlord, you get to roll for a warlord trait (a perspective that I like about warlord traits can be found here) and you get to roll for a set of psychic powers if you have any psykers in your list. The thing is, psychic powers are not really random. Each table is themed and will give you that little something extra against whatever list you are about to face. If you are going to play a Wild Card psyker it is up to you to determine which chart is going to have the most beneficial powers for your situation.
So let’s talk about building our Librarian. One of the popular builds from the 5th edition codex was to give him terminator armor and a storm shield to make him nice and survivable. This rang in at 165 points. We can still do that now, and boy is it a lot cheaper! This same guy is now 100 points! Let’s make him better. Give him mastery level 2, drop the storm shield, and give him the Shield Eternal chapter relic instead. Now we are back up to 165 points but our little dude is now twice as awesome! Let me explain why. You want this guy to be survivable, especially if he is going to be your warlord and you are going to potentially be changing his role after each match. He has the best armor/invulnerable save your codex will now provide and he is also Eternal Warrior. You get to cast all the psychic powers that you could roll, and should you happen to roll the one Heavy psychic power in the deck, he can cast that bad boy on the move because he is relentless. Note: If you are running a bike army, of course you could run him with a bike for synergy and that sweet sweet T5. You also get a 6 inch bubble with your psychic hood that lets you Deny the Witch on a 4+. Here’s how it works. Because you are a Librarian, your Psychic Hood lets you Deny for a friendly unit within 6 inches of you that is targeted by an enemy psychic power. Normal rolls to Deny are a 6+ but because you are at least mastery level 1 the roll is a 5+. That neat little shield that we took gives us this special rule called Adamantium Will that grants an additional +1 to the Librarian (and his unit's) Deny the Witch roll. So there is your 4+. Taking this further, if your Librarian is a higher mastery level than the enemy psyker that cast the power, you get another +1 putting you at a 3+ denial. If that's not a darn good force multiplier, I don't know what is!
Well, that's your dose of Tactical Genius for the day! I will be following this article up with a more in depth look at the Psychic Powers and how you can use them to your benefit.