Space Marine Formation Review: Librarius Conclave

Hey everybody SaltyJohn from TFGRadio here to review a unit that makes people Salty as me! The Space Marine Librarius Conclave. For more reviews, bat reps and analysis, check out the Tactics Corner!

The Librarius of a Space Marine Chapter is the repository of Psychic knowledge and power for the Chapter. Some Chapters will have a Librarius that focuses on, or excels at, specific psychic disciplines; while others will be masters of them all. Chapters like the Blood Ravens, Ultramarines, Space Wolves, and Blood Angels are renowned for their psykers abilities, feats of psychic strength, mastery of the tides of the Immaterium, and resistance to chaos. One Librarian deployed in a theater of war in the 41st millennium can often turn the tide of battle for a Space Marine strike force but when a Chapter Master deems it necessary to deploy members of the Librarius collectively, in a Conclave, the power wielded is terrible to behold. Able to convene with one another psychically the Conclave can sift through the chaotic threads of time; protecting and guiding their battle brothers, searing flesh from the bone of an enemy, creating protective shields of psychic energy, enhancing their own personal prowess to rival that of the greatest of Chaos’ champions, or even summon vile creatures of the warp and bend chaos to their will in the most dire of circumstances. The Librarius Conclave is one of those units in Warhammer 40,000 that lives up to their fluff hype on the table top. Let’s explore how this is so.

old school tiggy

Overview: The Librarius Conclave, or Conclave, is an extremely popular unit in 7th edition 40k. It is a versatile unit with amazing special rules, and access to a load of psychic dice. The conclave is capable of a wide and varied arrangement of load outs, meaning you can build it to go with any conceivable list. If a list can include a conclave, it probably should. As a boon to Ultramarine players, as if they need it, your Librarius Conclave can include one of the best psykers in the game: Tigurius. The Conclave fills a Command slot in a Gladius Strikeforce, imagine how many more you’d see if it filled an Auxiliary slot instead!


From JoAzzz2 on Deviant Art!

Formation Rules:

  • 3-5 Librarians
  • Chief Librarian Tigurius may be taken in place of a Librarian
  • No Restrictions


Special Rules:

  • Empyric Channeling: At the start of the psychic phase you can chose a single librarian from this Formation. This librarian has access to all the powers known by the other librarians from this formation within 12 inches until the end of the phase; other librarians from this formation within 12 inches are not allowed to manifest powers that phase. When nominated the librarian manifests powers on a 3+ not 4+ if there is one other librarian from the formation within 12, and if there are two or more librarians within 12 the nominated librarian passes on a 2+.


Credit to The Lonely Havocs.

Credit to The Lonely Havocs.

Tactics: With all these options available to build a Librarius Conclave, to meet the need of whatever list a player has designed, can make the topic of tactics for a conclave long. I’m going to focus on the three most common build factors, meaning wargear load outs, and the two most common uses of the Conclave. First though let’s look at two important options, Force Weapons and Tigurius.

Force Weapons: I know it is part of the Librarian basic wargear but you really need to pay attention to which Force Weapons you’re choosing to load out your Conclave with.  You can choose between a Force Sword, Axe, or Staff and I highly suggest modeling your librarians WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). If you’re more talented with magnets than I am it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to just magnetize your Librarians melee arm(s). I am a big proponent of never taking the sword, AP3 in CC sucks, and no addition to strength is also piss poor. Personally I like to go all Axes. I can see mixing in 1 Staff if you know you’ll need to roll on Biomancy every game with 1 of the librarians or if there are a lot of AV10/11 vehicles running around your meta. In general the AP2, +1 Str, Unwieldy Axe is the better choice because of Force. Don’t forget to activate Force! AP2 means you’re more likely to cause an unsaved wound and Force will make those wounds Instant Death.


Be honest. Which one would you take into battle?

95d2086880c44792b8cd12505753442b 1168122-battle_axe

Tigurius: I have a simple mantra I live my Space Marine centered part of my life by. If you can Tigurius, you Tigurius. In a conclave that can pass tests on a 2+ why pay an extra 100 points over a regular lvl 1 Librarian? Simple. Tigurius can re-roll to see what powers he manifests for the battle, he re-rolls failed psychic tests, and he is the only Lvl 3 librarian in Codex: Space Marines. He gives you insurance to manifest that one key power you absolutely have to have. If you are playing a Super Friends list, you probably need Veil of Time and/or Invisibility. If your other 3-4 Librarians failed to roll one of those, Tigurius probably will. Insurance in a game based on die rolls is never bad.


So those basics are out of the way now what? Well, here are the two “standard” Conclaves. Foot Conclaves, Bike Conclaves.

Foot Conclave: This is the conclave you typically see fielded with Demi Battle Company or Battle Company Gladius builds.  Gladius builds have a lot of models but they get expensive fast so you don’t have a lot of points to spend on a ton of bells and whistles. When a player actually can fit in a Conclave it will normally be on foot and a minimum 3 man conclave with 1-2 Mastery Level 2 and then Level 1 stock Librarians to round out the Conclave. The most common way I’ve seen, and run this myself, is with 2 Librarians going for Invisibility, (now Veil + Forewarning is arguably better) and some other unit wide buff like Endurance or Forewarning. This way you can put them with a Command Squad or a beefy little tactical squad with the obligatory Captain/Chaplain and make a little Stealth Star. You remembered to give those Librarians Axes right? The 3rd librarian is usually dropped in, or driven in, with some Grav totting Devastators or Dev Centurions for Prescience. This is the most basic, and obviously least beat stick, way to use a Conclave.


Death Stars…

Bike Conclave: Here’s the Super Friends/Death Star enabling baddy of Librarius Conclaves. The basic premise here is that Super Friends, and all Marine based Death Stars, are built around fast assault units. A lot of the time these are on Bikes/Wolves so putting your Librarians on Bikes is a must. Also due to the Assault oriented nature of these lists the Axes, and maybe 1 Staff, mix for Force Weapons becomes really important. When using the Conclave with this type of list it is best to have 4 Bike librarians. 4 Level 2s give you a lot of chances to get the powers you need. Note, I didn’t say powers you want. In a list relying on the psychic phase to boost a unit so it performs better, or in most cases is harder to kill, you need insurance. While Tigurius is on foot you can have him riding behind in a Rhino as a last resort or running behind. A lot of the psychic powers you may want can be cast on units that the psyker isn’t part of.

Power “selection” is the most important part of playing a Librarius Conclave to it’s full efficacy. Whether you’re playing a foot Conclave as a support to your Battle Company or a bike Conclave to buff your death star you need to clearly think through your pregame psychic strategy. Believe it or not this is the place I’ve seen, and myself made, the biggest mistakes of Conclave players. We all know every unit in our list fills a role. That shouldn’t come as a revelatory shock to people reading this article but whereas the role a Tactical Squad or Storm Surge fills is patently obvious the role the Conclave fills is a bit more nuanced.


Tzeentch only thinks he owns the Psychic Phase.

When you’re including the Conclave think about what you want it to do reliably from one game to the next. This is generally going to mean there’s 1-3 powers you feel you must manifest in order for the Conclave to not be a points sink.  Once you’ve identified those powers, and their disciplines, try it out a few games and make sure those are indeed the powers. Then make a list of other powers you rolled those games and found were also useful. See if any of those powers would be more effective game to game than your original 3 primary powers. Play some more. Once you’ve had a good 4-8 practice games with the Conclave sit back down with the Psychic powers. Write down your 1-3 Primary powers and their Disciplines. Then 1-3 Secondary powers and their Disciplines. If you have any third tier powers include them too, marked clearly as of tertiary importance. Then organize them by Discipline with your #1 pick first, and any other powers from that Discipline below it. Then do that for the 2nd and 3rd primary powers. When you’re finished you now have the rolling priority for your psychic powers worked out for every game. Your primary concern now is not to fall prey to temptation and then deviate.

Here is an example of a Psychic Power priority list.

Primary powers I need: 1. Veil of Time 2. Forewarning 3. Prescience

Secondary: 1. Misfortune 2. Endurance 3. Iron Arm

Tertiary: 1. Invisibility 2. Psychic Shriek

So my Rolling order would be:

  1. Librarius- Veil of Time
  2. Diviniation- Forewarning, Prescience, Misfortune
  3. Biomancy- Endurance, Iron Arm
  4. Telepathy- Invisibility, Psychic Shriek

In that order. The vital part will be to stay strong and trust your priority list. Especially in those few game you get where it takes you three psykers just to finally roll that number 1 power. The temptation, and panic, might begin to overwhelm your better judgement and you could find yourself wanting to stray from the priority list. I speak from experience when I say this: don’t do it. If it’s a pick up game, who cares. If it’s a competitive environment then trust your practice, trust your first instincts, and stay the course. Second guess it all you want after the event is over but in the moment, whether it is a 3 round local or 7 round Major, trust the priority you set out during your practice games. Resisting the panic and temptation to “fish wildly for that one power that could save you” is like chasing the white rabbit. Don’t do it.

This is what happens if you lack discipline with Psychic Powers. Don't be like Magnus, be like Russ!

This is what happens if you lack discipline with Psychic Powers. Don’t be like Magnus, be like Russ!

It really is unsurprising that the Librarius Conclave is as popular a unit as it’s become. The potential to dominate the Psychic phase and buff your units into god like stature pulls at the very essence of 40k. It fits so nicely with both the fluff behind psykers in 40k; and translates so well to the table top that the Librarius Conclave is almost the perfect 40k formation. I love playing mine and if you can be smart and disciplined when rolling for powers I know you will find the unit pays you dividends far beyond the points you paid for it!

As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.


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72 Responses to “Space Marine Formation Review: Librarius Conclave”

  1. Beau July 21, 2016 7:05 am

    I have been thinking about running a space marine librarius conclave on bikes attached to my ravenwing strike force black knights (with apothecary and chaplain). Think black knights would be a good bodyguard with their rerolls jinks? I figure the fnp on the librarians would help too with perils. But what chapter would be best for the conclave?

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:07 am

      They work great with Black Knights. Until the GW FAQ makes them lose their CT I would suggest White Scars. Personally I use Ultramarines because I also take Tigurius in my Conclave.

  2. Blight1 July 21, 2016 7:05 am

    Important to point out that if you use the formation’s special rule then you can only cast the your ML worth of powers. So you either cast 2(3 with tight) ,powers very reliably or just use them as normal for a lot more powers with worse chances at success. Makes relying on more than 2 powers going off an issue.

    Also suppose it won’t matter much for ITC for awhile but the super friends lose any chapter tactic abilities.
    Rarely an issue for the super friends but still something of an issue for the libbies themselves. Iron hands sorely miss FNP.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:06 am

      Splitting the Conclave up helps deal with the inability to cast past your Mastery Level. For example I keep 3 bike Librarians with my Thunderwolf Cavalry so they can manifest 2 powers a turn on a 2+. I put Tigurius and another bike Librarian with my Wolftide, over 12 inches away form the other Conclave members, so they can cast normally to buff the Wolfkin even when the Thunderstar librarians use their Channeling ability. So I get 2 powers on a 2+ for the Thunderstar. Then I get 2 powers on a 4+ and 3 powers on a re-rollable 4+ for the Wolftide.

  3. Dakkath July 21, 2016 8:06 am

    Just a thought, but for the build-a-deathstar conclave one libby should probably have a jump pack, not a bike. When the faqs finally get accepted into ITC that will allow for rerolls on charge distance for the whole star.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:03 am

      That’s true. I have a 4 man conclave built with Jump Packs as well as bikes. For my tactics articles I like to only deal with the game as it actually is rather than extemporize on an extrapolated scenario. It is definitely something Conclave players should keep an eye out for in the FAQ rounds and subsequent ITC rulings.

    • punchymango July 21, 2016 9:34 am

      I really want someone to model a single guy with a jump pack joining hands with a bunch of bikers and making them all fly through the air.

      Nothing constructive to contribute, I just found that mental image amusing.

      • SaltyJohn
        SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:57 am

        That’s brilliant, and hilarious. Hilariously brilliant one might say!

      • firewaspuk July 21, 2016 1:31 pm

        You could model one as ET. 🙂

  4. Hiveminded July 21, 2016 8:40 am

    Personally, I’d like to see librarius conclaves banned or modified. Manifesting powers on a 2+ is too strong. Most deathstar lists I see somehow involve a conclave.

    Maybe cap the benefit to manifesting on a 3+.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:01 am

      That’s a bit of an over reaction. Even with Tigurius casting as part of the Conclave you’re still only casting 3 powers a turn. If you split him off like I suggest you cast 2 powers on a 2+ with the Conclave and then 3 powers on a 4+ with a re-roll for Tiggy. Nerfs should be applied sparingly and in a conservative manner. 2+ re-rollable saves being balanced to the re-roll passing on a 4+ makes sense. You’re not casting that many powers with the Conclave to warrant a nerf to the casting.

      • Heldericht July 21, 2016 9:37 am

        It’s not an over reaction at all. Librarius conclave is one of the most imbalanced things in the game currently. The main issue is the ability to practically guarantee manifesting even 3 warp charge powers because of the ability to succeed on a 2+.

        They can get off the 2-3 powers they need and there’s practically nothing you can do about it. You really don’t need more than that per turn to change the game. It’s a lot better to be able to guarantee fewer powers, than to be able to cast more powers but have more randomness influencing the outcome.

        • Ryan July 21, 2016 5:35 pm

          Totally agree its to good. 2+ to cast is insane, can reliably cast 1 charge powers on one dice is amazing.

      • Threllen July 21, 2016 10:01 am

        I wouldn’t call it an overreaction when the Librarian conclave is one of the things literally dominating the deathstar meta right now. The ability to use already-overpowered psychic powers on already-tough deathstears is not fun. I play Daemons myself and an invisibility deathstar or 2++ grimoire deathstar is stupidly strong. And those only go off on 4+ and 3+, respectively. You see “perfect 40k formation” I see the ability to eliminate all downside from a phase of the game whose power is usually held in check by its randomness and unreliability.

        • Threllen July 21, 2016 10:03 am

          Not to mention, at least 2++ grim units or invsibility units generally relied on crafting your entire army around that entire interaction and ensuring it succeeds. The Librarian Conclave? It’s one formation taking exactly the units you need and it can be put into any imperium army with little commitment or downside.

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 10:26 am

          All downsides? The unit still suffers Perils of the Warp. The number of dice being rolled increases the chances of Perils and their lack of a natural Invulnerable save means they are far more susceptible to wounds from Perils of the Warp.

          In the end it is a unit of T4 or 5, 2 wound, non eternal warriors, with a 3+ armor save, no Invulnerable Save, that costs a lot of points and takes up a formation slot and in many cases a detachment slot. There are downsides. The fact those downsides can be mitigated by the potential upside of rolling the right powers, and then casting them more reliably than other psyker/units doesn’t take the downsides away entirely. They are still very easy to kill models, especially if the player using the Conclave does not get the first turn.

          • Threllen July 21, 2016 1:57 pm

            Good thing I don’t need to throw a million warp dice at a power when I’m passing it on a 2+. That tends to mitigate one of the most significant drawbacks of psykers in that they don’t fail and don’t need to throw enough dice to have a high perils chance. As well as the fact I can just straight-up take 3-5 of them to put alongside any other detachment/formation. Any other army? That’s multiple CADs/formations worth of guys and means you need to take additional tax units just to unlock them.

          • westrider July 21, 2016 2:14 pm

            The ability to Harness WC on 2+ cuts down on the risk of Perils immensely. Dig back through and look at VarianceHammer’s guest post on how bonuses to Harness like this change the odds. It’s a ridiculously powerful bonus, all out of proportion to the downsides, and with no Tax Units in the Formation at all.

          • westrider July 23, 2016 10:52 am

            Oops, that was actually DeeJay’s post, not Variance Hammer’s. The point still stands tho.

  5. Duh_Ruckus July 21, 2016 8:54 am

    The problem with the conclave and the psychic phase is there are barely any counters to psychic buffs which makes units overly effecient, the only hard counter is the culexus which is a large tax that most armies don’t have the option to even take. Psychic buffs are so good when was the last time anyone was excited about rolling a witch fire? Tiggy makes the conclave go from crazy good to straight bonkers.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 8:59 am

      There is a lot in 40k that’s good. The idea that every unit and every faction has to be perfectly balanced is a pipe dream. Is the Conclave good? Yes. Is it OP? No. Even with Tigurius casting as part of the Conclave you’re still only casting 3 powers a turn. If you split him off like I suggest you cast 2 powers on a 2+ with the Conclave and then 3 powers on a 4+ with a re-roll for Tiggy. It’s good, but it isn’t game shattering OP.

      • Duh_Ruckus July 21, 2016 9:10 am

        Of course there won’t be balance, but there should be some form of counter play, reliable form of counter play, the game has gotten to a point that avoid the Death Star is neither a fun or feasible counter mechanic especially when we have these fast bike conclaves, recently I played against a huge blob of conscripts with azrael and tiggy conclave, and was only able to kill 1-2 conscripts a turn through all the psychic buffs. This was a unit that blanketed the board and was obsec

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:18 am

          So you tie it up all game and claim the other objectives. Even if it blankets the board it can’t claim/contest more than one objective. Something being difficult to counter isn’t an argument to nerf it. Something being boring to play against is not an argument to nerf it. Something being almost impossible to counter is. The perfect example is the 2+ re-rollable save; it was mathematically and game mechanic wise broken. Also not fun to play against but it was near impossible to counter under most circumstances.

          • Heldericht July 21, 2016 9:40 am

            You can’t tie up a deathstar with a regular list, unless you tailor for it or play battle company. It’s not going to happen.

            Something that takes away interactivity in the game is absolutely a reason to nerf it. It’s the same reason Warp Spiders were nerfed in the ITC faq from infinite jumps to 1 jump (although the GW FAQ now shows us that was the intent all along), because when you can never catch the warp spiders, there is no interaction and it’s not fun.

            When the enemy conclave can practically guarantee 2-3 strong powers every turn, with essentially no recourse, it’s not fun.

          • SaltyJohn
            SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:56 am

            I wasn’t lying in the first line of the article. “Hey everybody SaltyJohn from TFGRadio here to review a unit that makes people Salty as me! The Space Marine Librarius Conclave.”

          • Heldericht July 21, 2016 10:08 am

            I’m over the salt with the conclave, I actually own 3 librarians on a bike. GW is not going to suddenly get rid of it and we have a while for the next ITC vote if it even gets touched.

            The reason I’m posting is because you’re claiming it’s not OP and that’s misleading for players who don’t know any better. If you’re going to write an analysis at least be objective about it.

          • SaltyJohn
            SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 10:21 am

            Not writing the article according to your view point does not mean the article lacked objectivity.

          • Heldericht July 21, 2016 10:39 am

            The great thing about facts is that opinions don’t change them.

            Enjoy your deathstar.

          • SaltyJohn
            SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 10:48 am

            How exactly, in your opinion, should I have written the article more objectively? I clearly stated the unit was strong and spoke about how it is included in many lists and why. If I had called the unit completely OP and in need of banning that would have made it Objective? Because it fit with your already preconceived prejudices? That’s objective?

            Please, provide me with the facts. Non-anecdotal, double blinded, control tested, longitudinal study, based facts. My not writing the article from your personal perspective on the “facts” of the unit does not mean it lacks objectivity. It means my objective opinion doesn’t fit your objective opinion.

          • Danny Ruiz
            Lemurking July 21, 2016 10:58 am

            You can’t say that Conclave is in actual fact OP. There is no math, wide-spread tournament data, or even consistent deductive argument to support that it is over-powered. A 2++ rerollable is mathematically too good. Full powered invis is mathematically too good. Being able to cast 2 or 3 powers on a 2+ is not.

            Conclave is damn good (which the article clearly states), but it is also paying anywhere from 300-500 points to guarantee at most 3 powers per turn, not including chances of being dispelled. It is also 3 KPs on t4 or t5, 2W characters that like to perils and die.

            You may not like it, and it may be good, but it is not objectively broken, so your opinion is certainly yours to maintain, but you can’t simply decide it is “fact” that it is too good.

            You can also certainly tie up a deathstar in many lists. If you are canny with model placement, you can control where they can move and force them to assault chump units on their turn. Unless you have a massive fearless blob, you don’t charge them.

            In short, Conclave is good, but it has major weaknesses, and if you want to play in a tournament environment, you need to expect it.

          • Heldericht July 21, 2016 12:13 pm

            Math doesn’t factor in unit interaction. You’re both being disingenuous by convenienty listing out the stats of the Librarius Conclave in a vacuum when that is not how you measure how strong something is in 40k.

            First off all, lets look at what the formation has: 3-5 librarians, with a librarian character as a replacement for one of them… that’s it. No tax, just exactly what you need. Already much better than the average formation, but not broken yet.

            3+ save, t5 (assuming bike), 2w models, that can move 12″ and jink is already above average. On top of that they have force weapons. Instant death… But not broken yet.

            Ok, next. no invuln save? Right. But they are ICs… You will pretty much never get to the Librarian with the bodies attached to them unless you have mass barrage, and even then the odds are stacked against you with Look out Sirs on a 2+. With Imperium having the best allies matrix, the possibilities are endless. Be it 50 Fenrisian Wolves, rerollable jink Ravenwing command squads, Tough as hell wolfguard battle leaders… the list goes on. This is already very strong.

            So now we’ve established they are next to impossible to kill when attached (which is always) and completely points efficient.

            Lastly, we look at their ability to cast psychic powers. I’m having a hard time understanding the mental gymnastics you guys are doing to downplay GUARANTEED 2-3 high warp charge psychic powers per turn. It’s not just that it goes off, it goes off on so many dice on a 2+ you physically cannot deny it unless you have a something equally absurd like a psychic heavy Daemon army and even then it’s not guaranteed. On top of that, with a 2+ manifest, you don’t need to throw as many dice on high warp charge spells, so less chances of perils. What’s the point of having 2-3 warp charge spells when you can just manifest them on 3-4 dice? These spells were supposed to be high risk high reward. Now there’s barely any risk.

            Let me reiterate, this costs zero tax units. You can pay for 3 individual librarians, or get them in a conclave with this absurd bonus. It costs the same.

            So now you have strong, nigh unkillable, zero tax units that will get their powers off but also minimize the risk that is generally associated with psykers.

            All the upsides, none of the downsides. This is just as bad as Riptide Wing or Aspect Host with Warp Spiders. In-fact it’s worse, because at least those units can’t join others to become unkillable while making the whole unit unkillable as well with their powers.

            Possible solution? Don’t let them join squads. Make them a unit of their own of 3-5 librarians that can’t be joined by any other ICs. Then they’ll actually have a weakness. Or nerf their ability to manifest on a 2+. Before you latch on to these suggestions, these are just examples. The point is, they need to be toned down.

            I’m not even saying anything controversial, this has been widely discussed already. Even Frankie and Reece have stated as much in Signal from the Frontline several times that it is too strong. Everyone else in the thread seems to be agreeing as well, while you vehemently try to deny it. Why? Just because you use it in your list?

            I’m sorry that you guys are in denial. If you still don’t see it, I’m not going to waste my time spelling it out for you. Like I said, enjoy your deathstar.

          • Danny Ruiz
            Lemurking July 21, 2016 12:49 pm

            1. No tax unit makes something good, not broken. Seeing as a conclave requires 3 to 5 librarians where chances are only 1 is actually casting means that you are paying points for something that exists only to support one part of the formation. Now if each could cast on a 2+ independently, sure, we have broken, but that is not the case. Also, important to identify for ITC: conclave counts as a source unless you are taking battle company, which limits how many deathstar type units you can create with it.

            2. Assuming bikes, T5, 2W, 3+ armor, 4+ jink is good, but yes, not broken. They still get insta-killed by strength 10, they lack an invul, and with the amount of ignore cover in the game, jinking is not a perfect defense (just ask Tyranids how great cover saves are). They have power weapons, but either str 6, AP4, Str 5, AP 2 at I1, or Str 4, AP 3. On a model with WS 4 and 3 attacks. Remember: force is a spell, so unless you use one of your own conclave powers to turn on force or you have another pysker in the unit to do it, they are not instant death. Again, all of this for 115 points each. With hammerhand or other buffs can this get crazy? Of course, but then you are using all of your powers to turn the librarians into combat monsters, not providing defense to themselves or the unit. They only can cast at most 3 powers with Tiggy, so you cannot assume that have every buff up at all times. Good? Yes. Broken? No.

            3. You can certainly get to the librarians through position. Barrage is one way. Where you choose to assault the unit is another. Where you choose to focus fire on the unit is another. Positioning is key to dealing with deathstars, and a savvy player will get to them. Yes, LoS gives them a 2+ to shunt, but if they are grouped too closely together, then they are shunting on to each other, and you are still putting wounds on them, and again, they only have 2.

            4. Riptide Wing and Aspect Host are strong, but oddly enough, Conclave deathstars are a counter to these. These formations are good, better than 99% of what is out there, but that doesn’t make them broken. A healthy meta has a variety of these power builds as they keep each other in check. If you weaken deathstars, you just give more power to MSU or even Riptide Wing/Warp Spider Spam/Flyrant Spam, etc.

            5. Deathstars are unbeatable is not at all true, especially in ITC where maelstrom is constant. Can they be insanely difficult to kill for most lists? Sure, but killing models is not the only way to win this game. Reece put up a pretty interesting article on how to counter deathstars, which is worth a read. Just because something is a deathstar does not mean it necessarily breaks the game, and yes, Conclave is built to make imperium deathstars run, but that’s also an army build that is quite vulnerable to losing on mission. In NOVA, that’s a different story, but that’s NOVA.

            It is not mental gymnastics to justify conclave is powerful (no one denies this) but not game breaking. It causes a meta shift for sure, but a game without meta shifts is a boring, boring game.

          • SaltyJohn
            SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 1:28 pm

            A game without meta shifts is Warmahordes at the end of Mark 2. Which as we all know was a death knell for Warmahordes. 😀

            Stagnation kills games. New units that are powerful enough to shift the meta and force players to interact differently with their lists and the game are necessary for a healthy game.

  6. Duh_Ruckus July 21, 2016 9:39 am

    You bring up the example that the 2+ rerollable save was broken and unfun, but the conclave exemplifies the same problem but affects the game on a much wider scale, the conclave is very easy to splash into any imperium force, where as getting a 2++ required very specific conditions to be met. The reason the 2++ rerollable is strong is the consistency, where the conclave is just as consistent making a unit nigh unkillable using a 2+ reroll cast but the buffs can be applied to any unit in the imperium. The casting is so easy and over the top it prevents any interactive play between players during the psychic phase since statistically it will be near impossible to deny the spells going off. This the problem with the conclave it removes all the risk of psychic phase and just gives you the reward. Locking the unit down all game is not viable as most stars have easy access to hit and run or simply hit hard. the General concensus from the community from my understanding is they don’t enjoy going against a conclave and in the end shouldn’t that be what the game is about fun and interactivity between 2 players?

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 9:53 am

      Players are free to agree to play things however they like. If we’re talking about what is good for the game as a collective whole, particularly competitively, than the Conclave needs to remain unchanged as it allows for a counter to Eldar and Tau, which on their own, represent a far larger problem than Conclave. Nerfing conclave would only increase the already heavily titled power scale in favor of Eldar, Tau, and Daemons. The entire reason for the increased number of un-killable hordes, many of which utilize conclaves, and artillery heavy lists is the dominance of the Eldar Warp Spider lists.

      • gvcolor July 21, 2016 10:23 am

        I can see that point for competition. I don’t play in tournaments, and the few games I’ve had against this unit were stupid. If the unit wasn’t buffed up on turn one it certainly was on turn two, as I’m informed of Invisibility bal bla bla. With the only option I saw being to try to keep away from it and score objectives – it was completely stupid, ranking up there with 500 free pts for Battlecompany.

        For casual games I am finding that a real discussion on what is being put on the table has become a must. Pass the salt please.

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn July 21, 2016 10:28 am

          From a non-competitive and non-ITC stand point I can definitely see where you’re coming from on this. Sorry, I used all the salt already.

        • Vercingatorix July 21, 2016 11:51 am

          Yeah, you should talk about what kind of game you want before every game regardless of tournament player or casual player status. Whenever you interact with another human in a game I think you should set some baseline understanding. It doesn’t have to be a big deal just show up with an easy list and a hard list. As an FYI I really hate the term “fun list” as every list can be fun. My favorite games are always dependent on close games and fun opponents. Whether its beer and pretzel hammer or round 5 of adepticon you can have a blast.

  7. AngryPanda July 21, 2016 11:45 am

    Librarius Conclave, also known as the thing that makes the conceot of level 2 or 3 powers meaningless. Everything works all the time guys! ’cause we’re Space Marines!

    • Kevin Lantz July 21, 2016 3:58 pm

      it’s crazy when you realise they are better at being psykers than eldar are at this point… cuz the emperor said so.

      • Jim Bogensberger July 22, 2016 8:25 am

        You do realize that to get a level 2 librarian is 90pts and a level 3 psyker for elder with built in stones and ghost helm is 100pts. Elder are super good at psychic phase but wraith everything, aspect host, and doom of mymera are way better and efficient and don’t need psychic powers to be good. Vs conclave is 195 for 3 warp charge and no extra gear aka foot slogging. Please look at points cost and meta analysis before making claims

        • westrider July 22, 2016 6:08 pm

          It’s once you get to the 2+ Harnessing with the Conclave that it surpasses the Eldar. The WC efficiency you hit at that point is just ludicrous, and makes Perils even less of a risk than they are for Eldar, since the SM just avoid them, while the Eldar can still get nailed by the effects other than Wounds.

      • punchymango July 22, 2016 11:18 am

        “Ah, fuck the fluff, SPESS MEHREENS” is a time-honored GW tradition.

  8. Happy_Inquisitor July 21, 2016 11:58 am

    Conclave is obviously good.

    It is not good for the game though. The thing is that its only real weak point is in generating the right powers – before the game starts and where there is no interaction with the opponent. If it generates the right powers then most opponents are in for a futile uphill struggle and would probably have more fun just packing their models away and having a beer instead. It is the very essence of non-interaction.

    Now if you do away with the guaranteed LOS blocking terrain on every table then there is more risk in the Conclave and the opponent does at least get to roll a dice to try to get that one shot at denting the deathstar before it powers up. Unfortunately I think the cure in this case would be worse than the problem – planet bowling ball is generally a pretty boring place for table-top battles.

    • Vercingatorix July 21, 2016 12:05 pm

      We have several NOVA prep tournaments in the area. They don’t have the same kind of terrain that NOVA has with its 12 by 12 LOS blocking L shaped ruins. However they usually have those ruins with blown out windows in the center. I usually ask my opponent to count them as LOS blocking because we’re prepping for NOVA. They rarely go for it and its nuts to me. Especially when its on a map that means I can’t hide a single pink horror anywhere on the map from anywhere in their deployment zone. I mean, really?

    • punchymango July 22, 2016 11:19 am

      Imo, if that much of the game hinges on who goes first, we have a different and even larger problem. Just throwing that out there.

      • westrider July 22, 2016 12:04 pm

        40K has several very large problems at the moment, yes.

      • Happy_Inquisitor July 23, 2016 12:31 am

        Most games it is not that big a deal, there are still advantages to going either first or second.

        In deathstar games it is – once they get their powers up you cannot interact with them except to take your models off the table. If they get the right powers there is next to no chance of them failing to activate them every turn so you are in a futile position.

        • Dakkath July 23, 2016 3:01 am

          I remember hearing rhetoric about how 7th ed fantasy matches would be determined by who rolled better on their magic at the start of the turn. Sounds awfully familiar now.

        • punchymango July 23, 2016 5:15 pm

          I’ve also fought various white scar lists that will just blow you off the board if they win first turn.

          They have, you see, mastered the delicate art of “so, like, what if we drove a little further forward, see? And then we shot them until they die.”

  9. jesper77 July 21, 2016 2:29 pm

    Without any hesitation the most powerful codex today is SM. They got the best BB, formations, weapons and psychers. The conclave is bonkers, you throwing spells on a 2+, things like wc3 is not even a problem and you can even get em on bikes and have Tigirius in it.

    To me personally it is a relief, now I can scream, cry and moan every time someone wants to play a game of 40k and they play SM, just like people have done for the past year when they have played my Eldar. And they dont even look at my list. Becuase the crown of cheesiness has gone from Eldar to Space marines. It’s not even debatable 😉

  10. C-Stock July 21, 2016 5:03 pm

    Nerfing the Conclave would be fantastic for the game. The Conclave is the root of most of the death star problems in the game.

    For some reason instead of going after the root of the problem the ITC is running around perpetually scrambling to nerf individual powers.

  11. Hiveminded July 21, 2016 5:19 pm

    I’m making my ’17 LVO list and can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t just slap in an allied librarius conclave. It’s a no-brainer.

    It’s frustrating….I like list variety and don’t want to use a conclave. However, I feel like I need to include it in my list just to compete with all those other players that will be bringing one.

    Conclave is too good and it’s bad for the game. Please, consider an ITC vote to nerf or ban.

    • Happy_Inquisitor July 23, 2016 12:28 am

      The essence of a unit that is bad for the game is the feeling that you have to bring one to a tournament because other players will be bringing it to the tournament.

      There are a few others in the game that are just as bad but Libby Conclave is definitely on the list of things that reduce the variety and fun of the game.

  12. hillshire July 22, 2016 6:11 am

    The main complaint against Librarius Conclave seems to be unstoppable (or at least difficult to stop) buffs. Lets see . . . who else gets unstoppable buffs . . .

    Maybe Tau? Who wouldn’t want Interceptor on powerful, shooty models for 5 pts? And/or Skyfire for 20 (while pricier, it’s still a comparatively cheap upgrade compared to most Skyfire options)? Precision Shot for 3? Ignores Cover and improved BS via Markerlights (granted, that often requires another unit to provide Markerlight support but at least those are pretty cheap). Not to mention a number of ways of doubling the firepower of already shooty units.

    Imperial Guard orders. Guard still seems below average but the right combination of units and orders can be devastating. Artillery carriages + Ignores Cover = Destruction

    KDK blood tithes. Although you can prevent those if nothing dies. Ever.

    Cult Mechanicus Canticles. These can be highly effective and applied as the situation needs. +3 Strength to all units? Done. Stealth and Shrouded? Got it. Re-rolls to hit in shooting or combat? No problem.

    Skitarii. Doctrina Imperatives. Dial your BS and WS up and down as needed. Pretty handy.

    AdMech War Convocation. Canticles and Doctrina Imperatives at the same time!

    I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone but I’ve got to get back on the road. Five more hours to Chattanooga and the ATC! Whoot!

    My point isn’t that Tau and the rest are “bad”. Neither is Librarius Conclave (which I don’t use because it saps too many points out of my style of play but I’ve fought against it plenty of times). They are simply very good and can feel overpowering when you don’t have the right tools or tactics to counter them.

    I don’t think nerfs are a good solution for people who are concerned that it’s too effective. May as well nerf Stormsurges, Wraithknights, Draigo, and whatever else is bothering people while you’re at it.

    But I do have a suggestion for reigning in psychic powers, specifically buffs. A dispel scroll. Should be a unique item that works once per game. Will cancel one blessing or malediction. Just long enough to get in a solid counter if you plan well. That would be enough make relying on a key psychic power risky for any army and doesn’t require nerfing anyone’s army or units.

    • punchymango July 22, 2016 11:12 am

      I like that idea. Just a one-use, “nope, those guys don’t have veil of time/invis this turn” thing any character can carry.

      Imo this would generate more counter-play for both players. You could always try to kill the character before he can use it, or keep your deathstar out of his range. It might add more reason to bring flying transports to guarantee delivery, but that’s also a gamble, and so on.

      • hillshire July 22, 2016 1:49 pm


        You’re quite right about the counter-play aspect. Range is an area to test out to make the dispel scroll more or less effective.

        Timing too. I’m thinking it should be used before the player casting powers rolls for success. Adds more drama. And the spell caster could try to sucker the dispel scroll into canceling one scary power while holding the one they really need for last.

      • Heldericht July 22, 2016 2:07 pm

        I think the Culexus fills that role currently. You can ally them in by themselves relatively easily, and they just blanket counter psychic buffs on a unit. You have to plan correctly for them to be in the right place at the right time when you are ready to take apart the deathstar. Turn off the powers and turn on the firepower.

    • abusepuppy July 22, 2016 3:49 pm

      The abilities that a Conclave has access to are far and away more powerful and more flexible than any of those you mentioned. They are not conditional like KDK, they have a much broader range of options than Tau (nine psychic disciplines of six powers each vs four Markerlight abilities), and they are superior to IG orders in virtually every single measure- range, power, and flexibility.

      The complaint isn’t just that they’re unstoppable- it’s that they are essentially impossible to shut down (because of how psychic powers work), are largely contingent on a pre-game roll (so if the enemy gets what they want, there’s nothing you can do), cheap for what they do, and extremely difficult to get rid of the source (since they are hiding inside another unit.)

      If there was some sort of limited-use anti-psyker gear available that would be a huge boon for anyone looking to combat deathstars, but realistically there is no such option- the Culexus just isn’t enough and isn’t an option for a lot of forces. I’m not advocating banning or changing the Conclave, but denying that it’s problematic is just putting on blinders.

      • hillshire July 22, 2016 7:09 pm

        I certainly agree that Librarians have the widest variety of powers to choose from, particularly now that Angels of Death has added 4 new disciplines. And they have access to some of the most effective powers in the game (Invisibility, Phase Form, Veil of Time, Daemon summoning in all its various flavors, etcetera). Some of which have been adjusted by the ATC.

        Librarians, and Librarius Conclave by extension, are some of the best list tailoring units in the game. Very easy to pick disciplines best suited for a given opponent.

        But I disagree that KDK is conditional. Stuff will die. They will get Blood Tithe points which they can spend on buffs or creating new units at no additional cost. They can summon multiple D-Thirsters in some games! Daemon summoning is a top tier power and shouldn’t be dismissed. I will certainly agree that KDK has no where near the diversity to work with though.

        Tau has more than just marker lights. They also have Support Systems and Signature Systems which are mostly cheap and highly effective. The Buffmander didn’t get his moniker from lifting weights! 😉 Tau has quite a diverse spectrum of abilities to draw from. Librarians do have more to choose but they will be able to use two in most armies and top out at three. Tau are not nearly so limited. I think it’s fair to say that Librarians have more to choose from but Tau have more that they can apply.

        IG are more susceptible to failing a leadership check passing on orders and also suffer from being dead a lot. Poor sods.

        I agree that there’s more to this than just being unstoppable. The fact that Psychic powers can just be renewed each turn for the entire game does make them hard to deal with. Hence my idea (not just mine really, I’m sure other people have brought it up before) of creating dispel scrolls.

        I kind of agree and disagree that Librarius Conclave is cheap. In most lists (3 Level 2 Librarians on Bikes) your spending 330 pts to reliably (2+) cast 2 powers from a choice of up to 6 (there could be duplicates if the fishing didn’t go well). 330 pts for 2 Psychic Powers is not a good deal. Tigurius can cast 3 and has a better chance of actually getting what you need. Or Loth can just pick the 3 you want but are limited to a single discipline.

        So what are the extra points used for? Well, extra wounds and warp dice are obvious but I don’t think that’s the real reason for taking Librarius Conclave in most lists. High reliability is part of it, certainly. But I think the main two reasons players are willing to pay the extra points cost is LibCon is it’s the only way to take Librarians in a Strike Force (along with juicy benefits) and it’s the best way to get the needed powers onto bikes. Without mobility, the Death Star gets shot to death before closing in and/or can’t chase down its targets. If Tigurius and/or Loth could hop on a bike, I bet there’d be a lot less Librarius Conclaves.

        I guess I’d say that LibCon isn’t cheap but for a lot of Death Star lists it’s an accepted cost.

        I definitely agree that Culexus isn’t a hard counter anymore. Particularly once the FAQs go into effect. Can’t start in friendly transports and even if he did, his aura doesn’t extend anymore. I’m not really one for adding stuff to GWs game but if the ITC created a dispel scroll available to all factions, that could really help balance the game.

        Anyways, good points AP. Always nice to have a reasoned discussion!

        • westrider July 23, 2016 11:02 am

          KDK can’t Summon D-Thirsters. Only the basic BloodThirster can come in from the Blood Tithe. You also have to sacrifice another Character for the ‘Thirster to Possess, and with a Ld Test involved, Cultie Champions are risky, and just about everyone else is a big sacrifice.

          On the other point, yes, the Conclave gets spendy, but their ability to mitigate, to an incredible extent, all three of the “balancing” factors relating to Psychic Powers is also very powerful. Far more so than anything DK can do with the Blood Tithe.

  13. Bryan July 22, 2016 6:39 am

    Can you run the conclave effectively, without going deathstar? I like the idea of bringing a conclave, in a supportive role, rather then going full Tarkin.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn July 22, 2016 1:27 pm

      Absolutely. I’ve run it effectively that way on multiple occasions. It works as great support unit to Battle Company or lists with a single Demi-Company. It can work wonders as support to a White Scars CAD. It’s a great buffing unit even when not deployed as a part of a death star.

      A point I didn’t even touch on was that it can be used to reliably summon daemons.

      • Hiveminded July 22, 2016 1:56 pm

        Imperial armies reliably summoning daemons is just another symptom of the balance issues with this formation.

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn July 22, 2016 2:23 pm

          Fluff and rules balance have nothing to do with one another. If that were the case the fact 10 Space Marines can’t roll through 100 guardsmen would be considered indicative of major balance issues.

          • Hiveminded July 22, 2016 2:31 pm

            My comment wasn’t based on fluff. From a rules standpoint, the daemonology discipline is supposed to be:
            1) dice expensive, and
            2) risky for non daemons…perils on any double.

            The libby conclave gets around both of these rules issues. It’s super dice efficient, allowing you to still cast other lvl2/lvl3 powers while minimizing the chance of doubles.

            When I run my Daemons army, I need to throw 6-7 dice to reliably summon something. With a conclave, imperials summon daemons more efficiently than daemons players!

          • SaltyJohn
            SaltyJohn July 22, 2016 2:37 pm

            That’s not how it read to me. Plus your last statement certainly seems like you’re basing this at least partially in fluff. “When I run my Daemons army, I need to throw 6-7 dice to reliably summon something. With a conclave, imperials summon daemons more efficiently than daemons players!”

            Your point made this way seems quite valid. I disagree given the number of other buffs in the game that come with little to no risk/reward but appreciate you have a legitimate issue framed this way.

            As far as I’m concerned as long as Eldar can get Level 3 ghost helm equipped psykers for 105 and Tau get EWO for a measly 5 points per model, just two among many examples, than I am not going to view Conclave as OP or in need of a nerf.

          • Hiveminded July 22, 2016 5:02 pm

            The problem is that librarian conclaves are a core enabler of deathstars. Other things in the game may be OP, but that is different than being part of a deathstar.

            Deathstars are a special thing that completely suck the fun out the game for most players.

      • Bryan July 23, 2016 9:12 am

        Thanks! My only concern in the pure support role is, last time I did not cast invisibility on the unit, they became target priority number one and ran out of ablative bodies before the opponent ran out of shots! ^^

        Do you recommend keeping them in one unit and using one casting slot on invisibility, or spreading them out into multiple units (within 12 of each other)?

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn July 25, 2016 6:30 am

          That’s really a situational decision game to game. Against armies with a lot of firepower like Tau, Eldar, Renegades you’ll want to put them together in a unit that’s already tough to kill and then buff it. If you need to have mutliple powers being cast across the army then you’ll want to split them up so you can access Emphyric Channeling for 2-3 Librarians and still be able to cast with another 1-2.

  14. Ryan July 22, 2016 5:45 pm

    Salty john, are t3 foot farseers for the 105 pts u mention dominating your or anymeta?

    Ive never evenseen a footseer in years

  15. Alex R October 3, 2016 9:33 pm

    Im going to say in ITC with all the crap you can throw out deathstars is a rock paper scissors. I lost against an eldar list purely because he put played me. Cool you have a unit thats untouchable except when that stomp comes. But the rest of your army dies exactly the same way