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.
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!
- 3-5 Librarians
- Chief Librarian Tigurius may be taken in place of a Librarian
- No Restrictions
- 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+.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Librarius- Veil of Time
- Diviniation- Forewarning, Prescience, Misfortune
- Biomancy- Endurance, Iron Arm
- 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.
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!
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