7th Edition Warhammer 40k Psychic Phase
7th Edition Warhammer 40k has brought some minor tweaks to the game, and a few major changes. Perhaps the largest change to the structure of the game is the addition of a new Psychic Phase! Akin to the magic phase of Warhammer Fantasy, the new Psychic Phase will bring a tactical exchange between active and defensive player. Situated between the Movement and Shooting Phases, the active player will have to weigh risk and reward to successfully manifest his or her powers.
If you haven't read my overview of 7th Edition 40k Rules, check out that article by clicking here: 7th Edition Warhammer 40k Rules
Or my article about Unbound and Battle-forged Armies.
This article will look at the mechanics of the Psychic Phase and offer some tactical advice based on experiences with Warhammer Fantasy's magic phase (to which this is related). Let's read on!
7th Edition Psychic Phase Rules
As mentioned above, the new Psychic Phase takes place between the Movement Phase and the Shooting Phase. Already, this adjusts some of the old rules. For instance, in 6th Edition 40k, Blessing had to be cast at the start of your Movement Phase. If your psyker was out of range or if you moved him before you remembered to cast a bless, then you were out of luck. Also, if you also had a Witchfire power to cast, you had to wait until the Shooting Phase to do so.
Now all psychic powers will be performed in the Psychic Phase, so it will be easier to remember and organize your psychic offense. So how does it work?
At the start of your Psychic Phase you will generate a pool of dice, called the Warp Pool, that you will use to attempt to manifest powers. This pool is equal to 1d6 plus the total of all your psykers' master levels. If you have a level 3 psyker and a level 1 psyker in your army, then your Warp Pool would be 1d6 + 4.
A Leadership test is no longer required to manifest powers. Instead, you taking dice from the Warp Pool and trying to achieve a number of successes equal to a power's Warp Charge. A roll of 4+ on a die is a success.
Example: The Biomancy power, Endurance, is a Warp Charge 1 power, meaning it will require a single 4+ rolled to be successful. I choose to take 2 dice from my Warp Pool and roll each. I roll a 3 and a 5. The 5 is a success, so I have successfully cast Biomancy.
It's important to note that Perils of the Warp is still here! Any roll of double 6's will still invoke a Perils of the Warp. The Perils of the Warp is now a d6 roll on a special chart. If you suffer a Perils and still rolled enough successes to manifest the power, then the power is still cast . . . even if your psyker dies as a result of the perils!
There might be bonuses or alterations to these rules for special characters, wargear, or armies. For instance, currently Daemons of Tzeentch receive a +3 LD when manifesting psychic powers. This makes Pink Horrors turn from unreliable LD 7 psykers to powerful LD 10 psykers. However, if Leadership is no longer used, then what special rule do Tzeentch Daemons get? We will find out when the FAQ's update!
I mentioned that the new Psychic Phase is a back and forth exchange between players. So what is your opponent doing while you are madly rolling dice, buffing your troops, or blasting his army? Why, he's trying to Deny the Witch, of course!
Deny the Witch
Your opponent also will get a pool of dice at the start of the Psychic Phase, similar to the active player. It uses the same d6 roll as the active player uses, and the defensive player will add Deny dice equal to the total of all his own Mastery Levels. A Deny the Witch roll is only successful on roll of a 6. However, there are some bonuses that modify the Deny dice roll.
- The target unit has a Psyker in it (or psychic pilot/brotherhood, etc) +1
- Target psyker has a higher Mastery Level +1
- Has Adamantium Will special rule +1
- A psyker with a psychic hood can "lend" himself to a unit within 12" of him.
So if your level 1 pskyer is targeting a unit that has been joined by a level 2 pskyer . . . the defending player will cancel your successes on a 4+ instead of a 6+.
It's important to note that to be successful in a Deny the Witch roll, the player must cancel ALL of the successes that the active player rolled. It's all or nothing. Example: a player tries to manifest a Warp Charge 1 power, but uses 3 dice and gets 3 successes (each a 4+)!. In order to Deny the power, the opposing player would have to roll 3 successes (at a 6+ or modified lower). If the opposing player only rolls 2 successes, then the power is still manifested!
This rule adds another level of strategy when choosing how many dice to roll. If you are manifesting a Warp Charge 1 power, you may only want to roll a few dice so you can save dice for other powers... or you may want to roll more dice because more successes will make it harder for your opponent to Deny.
On the defensive side, it also brings a choice. If your opponent only rolls a single success to manifest (and that's enough for Warp Charge 1 powers), you might throw a few dice to Deny it because you only need 1 success to Deny it. However, if your opponent scores 3 successes, you might just let the power through rather than waste dice on a very small chance of Denying it.
Daemonology Psychic Discipline
There are two new psychic disciplines added to the core of 7th Edition Warhammer 40k. Sanctic and Malefic Daemonology. Players selecting Daemonology for one of their psykers can freely choose between the Sanctic and Malefic power sets, mixing and matching... but they only get the free primaris power if they select all the powers from one or the other.
All armies except Grey Knights suffer a Perils of the Warp on rolls of any doubles, rather than just double 6's. Grey Knights may not generate powers from the Malefic discipline.
Primaris Power: Banishment - Warp Charge 1 - Effects a single unit of Daemons within 24" and decreases their invulnerable save by 1... so a 5+ becomes a 6+ invulnerable save. Yikes!
- Gate of Infinity - Warp Charge 1 - Targets the psyker; immediately deep strike the psyker elsewhere on the board. Doesn't work if psyker is currently zooming or swooping.
- Hammerhand - Warp Charge 1 - Psyker and unit gain +2 strength.
- Sanctuary - Warp Charge 1 - Psyker and unit gain a +1 to their invulnerable save (or gain a 6+ invuln). Also, all daemon models (friend and foe) treat all terrain within 12" as dangerous terrain (which is also difficult).
- Purge Soul - Warp Charge 1, focused witchfire - psyker and target model roll d6 + LD. If psyker ties or beats the target, the target suffers 1 wound with no armor or cover saves allowed.
- Cleansing Flame - Warp Charge 2 - Nova - Range 9" Str 5 AP4 assault 2d6 (each unit within range of nova) with Ignore Cover and Soul Blaze.
- Vortex of Doom - Warp Charge 3 - Witchfire - 12" Strength D AP1, Assault 1, Blast, Vortex.
All psykers without the Daemon special rule with suffer a Perils on rolls of any doubles, rather than just double 6's. Psykers that are Daemons cannot generate powers from the Sanctic discipline.
Primaris Power: Summoning - Warp Charge 3 - Create a unit of 10 Bloodletters, Plague Bearers, Pink Horrors, or Daemonettes, or 5 Fleshhounds, 5 Seekers, or 3 Flamers or Nurgling swarms within 12" of the psyker.
- Cursed Earth - Warp Charge 1 - Improves the Invulnerable Save of all Daemons within 12" by +1 and any Deep Striking Daemons within 12" of psyker will not scatter.
- Dark Flame - Warp Charge 1 - Witchfire, Template Str 4 AP 5, with Soul Blaze and Torrent.
- Infernal Gaze - Warp Charge 1 - Beam, 18" Str 5 AP 4 with Armourbane and Fleshbane.
- Sacrifice - Warp Charge 2 - Conjuration (new!) Deal 1 wound to a friendly model within 6" of psyker and summon a daemon Herald with 30 points of options (your choice of what chaos god).
- Incursion - Warp Charge 3 - Conjuration. Within 12" of psyker, summon a unit of 3 Bloodcrushers, Screamers, Plague Drones, or Fiends of Slaanesh.
- Possession - Warp Charge 3 - Conjuration. Remove your psyker from the table (dead!) and replace it with a greater daemon of your choice! No options to buy for it, though.
Wow! So the suggested tactic is to summon pink horrors, who can choose the Daemonology discipline and can then summon MORE daemons. Or, if you have your psyker possessed by a greater daemon, choose a Lord of Change (who can choose Daemonology) to start summoning more daemons!
My question is . . . can you start with a Lord of Change in a Daemon army, then as it is getting low on wounds, cast Possession to turn in to another Lord of Change? Can you keep doing this?! Thank goodness for Deny the Witch rolls, right?
Psychic Phase Tactics
It's obvious that the new Psychic Phase borrows rules from Warhammer Fantasy's Magic Phase, but with a 40k twist. First, I am really impressed with the "successes" rule, where you must roll a number of 4+ equal to the Warp Charge rating. This will likely mean that most powers will keep the same format that we are used to, Warp Charge 1, 2, and now 3. Otherwise, they'd have to re-write every power to have a casting level like Fantasy's Spells, which might be harder to balance. It's a similar, but different set of rules.
But what can we learn from Warhammer Fantasy that can be applied to 40k's Psychic Phase? Here are a few tips.
Bluff - If you have multiple power option, get your opponent to waste Deny the Witch dice on powers you don't need. By mixing up the order that you prioritize your powers, it will constantly throw him off. If you attempt your important spell first in the round, but then switch it to last in the next turn, it might throw your opponent off. If you over-emphasis how important a roll will be for you, it might goad your opponent into wasting dice on an inconsequential power. Just be fair, don't overdo the dramatization!
Be Cautious Early - With the new rules, any roll of double 6's will mean a Perils of the Warp. The more dice you roll, the greater change this has of happening. If you suffer a wound early in the battle, you may not have a "spare" wound in later rounds when you need it! There has been no mention of an 'irresistible force' rule like there is in Fantasy, so you could suffer a Perils and still have your power dispelled!
Bring More Psykers - This is a big one. A single, level 1 psyker with a single power is about useless. Why? You will be unable to bluff your opponent because you will only have a single option every round: one power. Your opponent will throw every Deny the Witch dice he has available to him to try to deny your power. He will have no reason to gamble with his Deny dice because he knows no other powers are coming. Be safe, bring at lease a Level 2 psyker so you have options, or bring more than 1 pskyer!
Psychic Power Phase - 7th Edition
How do you like the changes to Psychic Powers?
Psychic Phase Conclusion
That's the rundown on the new Psychic Phase for Warhammer 40k 7th edition. What do you think? Why not take the poll to the right and then leave a comment down below? I always reply back and readers have always given addition insight that I've overlooked. Feedback is welcome!
Personally, I'm excited about the new Psychic Phase, but also a little nervous. The Magic Phase in Warhammer Fantasy is widely panned as exciting, but unpredictable. You simply can't depend on Magic, but it's also necessary to tip the scale of battle towards your favor. It's rough! That excitement will be welcome in 40k, but it might be frustrating for armies that have previously relied upon successful psychic powers (Daemons and Eldar, mostly!). We will see how it turns out and I may write some articles for these specific armies once the rules are out!
Thanks for reading. Feel free to check out my other 40k articles. They are found on my user profile or listed below the comments section. Murphy out!