DarkLink is here with an article on the new psychic phase! Check out the Tactics Corner for more great content!
Since 7th came out, the new psychic phase has been a big cause of contention in the community. Talk
of the rise of uber-psychic armies and capping warp charges has cropped up left and right. So, being an
engineer with some understanding of statistics, and after being told my Grey Knights were now da bestest
eva!, I decided to actually crunch some numbers.
So I broke down the psychic phase in a couple of ways. I’ll address each from the assumption of
imbalance, that is, one psychic heavy army vs a psychically weak one. Say, GKs with 15+ warp charges
versus a SM player with a single ML2 psyker.
1. Casting powers
First, how many powers will the uber psychic army cast? Really, it doesn’t matter. Most powers are either
relatively unchanged, or very similar to what was available last edition. However, last edition you could
reliably cast one psychic power per mastery level. Now, though, a WC1 power will cost 3 dice, a WC2
power will cost 5-6, and a WC3 power will cost 8+. Stop to think about that. Last edition, a Seer Council
with two Farseers and 10 Warlocks could cast ~15 powers, each with a 70% or better chance of success.
Now, they’ll generate 19.5 dice on average, which will drop them from 15 powers to… about 5. Fortune
and Prescience will eat up 10 dice, and with 9 dice left that’s only three or four more powers. So the ”uber’
psychic army just took a huge nerf compared to last edition. You now need to make a huge investment in
psykers just to get even the basic powers off.
Now, is the Seer Council still good? Well, you can still get the 2+ reroll, but overall it’s unquestionably
weaker. GKs can cast lots of powers, but nothing they couldn’t already do with the exception of gaining
Invisibility. So GKs haven’t taken as much of a hit as Eldar, but they haven’t gotten any better than they
were last edition so I don’t see how GKs powers would be an issue.
2. Broken powers
Which brings us to Invisibility, and to a lesser extent summoning. This power is kinda broken. But
that’s got nothing to do with the psychic phase. Stopping invisibility by limiting warp charges would be
like nerfing Riptides by saying Tau can only shoot half their units. Tau players will just not shoot their
devilfish and keep firing off ion accelerators and heavy burst cannons. Problem not solved. So why do
people think that we should try to limit warp charges? That’s irrelevant to the issue at hand, and fails to
address the actual issue.
The new Deny system is, in my opinion, pretty clunky. But I’ve heard a lot of complaints that the uber
psychic armies shut down everyone else. So I did the math. I started by calculating the odds of stopping
a WC1 power with 3 casting dice. Turns out, to have a 5p% chance of blocking it, you need 9 Deny
dice. That held pretty true for other situations as well. To have a 50% chance of blocking a power, you
need about 3 times as many dice as your opponent does. Emphasis on the 50% part. More dice.had only
So, sure, an uber psyker army can block a couple of powers, maybe. A single Librarian at ML2 can on
average cast about 2 WC1 powers with 3 dice each. That takes 18 dice for a 50% chance to deny per
power. That means my uber GK army only blocks both powers about 25% of the time (assuming they’re
blessings). I wouldn’t call that completely shut down. And, what, you lose a psychic power? That might
make your librarian less useful, but it’s a fairly small chunk of your army. I do not see that as a balance
So if psyker spam is significantly weaker than last edition, capping warp charge dice does nothing to stop,
say, Invisibility, and psychic heavy armies don’t shut down lone psykers quite as heavily as some claim
(and even when they do, it doesn’t have that significant of an impact of the non-psyker army), why is
there so much pressure to cap psychic dice. Psykers just took a huge nerf, not a buff. Yes, there are still
some powerful psychic abilities out there, but don’t miss the forest for the trees. Ban invisibility and/or
summoning if you feel the need, but don’t freak out over warp charge spam.