New Warhammer 40,000 – Psychic Phase


The following comes from the Warhammer Community Page.

The Psychic phase for the new Warhammer 40,000 has changed a fair bit.

Previously, each of your psykers would generate warp charge for your pool. This worked pretty well in most games, but in very psyker-heavy armies, it often meant that some psykers sat around not doing a whole bunch, while one or two mega-psykers (we’re looking at you, Magnus – you big warp charge hog) had all the fun.

In the new system, the Psychic phase has been re-worked from the ground up.

Each time you pick a psyker, you can cast as many spells as their datasheet states (which would previously be the same as their Mastery Level) and there’s a simpler, two-dice mechanic for casting, you just need to beat the warp charge value. The more potent the power, the harder it will be to cast.


Enemy psykers will then have a chance to block these powers if they are within 24″, and again, the mastery of the psyker will dictate how often they can block a power each turn.

The new system is much more scalable – meaning that the phase works well at any size of game, with any number of psykers running around.

Perils of the Warp is still there of course. It wouldn’t be Warhammer 40,000 without the chance of accidentally having your mind eaten by a Daemon and your soul sucked into the psychic oblivion of the Warp while your body exploded in a multifaceted explosion of etheric ichor…

Every faction will have its own psychic lore with a range of thematic powers. In addition, every psyker knows the Smite power:


Mortal Wounds are a new mechanic too – these cannot be saved by any means and punch straight through thick armour and even invulnerable saves! Ouch.

That’s the basics on the Psychic phase.

We’ll be back tomorrow with news on one of the updated war zones from the new Warhammer 40,000, and on Sunday, we’ll be looking at the Shooting phase.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

64 Responses to “New Warhammer 40,000 – Psychic Phase”

  1. Cephalobeard April 28, 2017 6:54 am #

    Well… I, for one, am totally fine with all of my horrors, heralds and other gibbins knowing this spell as a primaris instead of flickering fire.

    Excited to see more.

    • Reecius April 28, 2017 7:24 am #

      Same, same. Mortal wounds help to bypass any potential mega defensive buffs such as the notorious 2++ reroll saves. They’re a nice equalizer if not too abundant in the game.

    • SharpDeadFace April 28, 2017 4:14 pm #

      Until you find the 3 rules of 1 are ported over from AOS into matched play games as well…

  2. Threllen April 28, 2017 6:55 am #

    See ya warp charge pool, don’t let the door hit ya where our good lord and savior GW split ya. Possibly the worst addition to psychic powers in a long time.

    Also glad it sounds like there are no more book powers (everyone has their own unique table) and it did not mention anything about needing to roll for your powers.

    • Reecius April 28, 2017 7:23 am #

      I’m with you on this, I seriously do not like the current psychic phase at all. Too complex for too little added to the game.

      • Threllen April 28, 2017 7:29 am #

        It just seems like they designed the current psychic phase only thinking about your “usual” armies that might include a couple psykers. It was such a mess when you had lots of them.

        So I’m really glad they specifically called out “scaling” in this post.

        • Reecius April 28, 2017 7:34 am #

          Yeah, agreed. They took the magic phase from Fantasy but without the spell dice limitations….weird. The psychic phase is so monstrously powerful right now that it can dominate the game when it should compliment the game (IMO). I am happy for a move to simplification.

        • Anggul April 28, 2017 8:56 am #

          Yeah, they’re point about having a lot of psykers just sat around being batteries for the big ones is what I’ve always disliked about 7th. Psykers should be able to operate on their own power.

          So happy about this change!

        • WestRider April 28, 2017 11:51 am #

          And then they went and gave us a bunch of Formations that made taking tons of Psykers a really attractive option in other ways, too.

  3. CWDub April 28, 2017 6:56 am #

    Little disappointing that they haven’t said what they’re going to do with summoning (my guess is that it’s going away entirely or will be similar to AoS) or how powers will be picked. Rolling for powers is a BIG part of the clunky pregame setup that takes fuh-ever.

    Still, this is going to be a lot faster than one guy having 50 warp dice and the other guy having 4.

    • Reecius April 28, 2017 7:26 am #

      Both good points, we’ll have to wait to see what they say!

    • James Thomas April 28, 2017 8:09 am #

      If you check their FB page, they occasionally answer questions like these. So far, they’ve hinted that summoning won’t be easy/free(probably similar to AoS), and that FW will have updated rules on launch day as well.

      Reece and Co., I know you guys can’t answer many questions, and I totally understand if you can’t answer, but are you allowed to say if you guys playtested FW stuff as well?

      • Reecius April 28, 2017 11:01 am #

        I will refrain from answering that one just yet, but probably can in the weeks to come.

  4. Ytook April 28, 2017 7:03 am #

    Something worth noting I think is that Smite effects the nearest visible enemy unit, you don’t get to choose, that’s very interesting.

    Judging by Smite vs. Arcane Bolt in AoS, the increased dispell range and the inclusion of perils it looks like psychic powers will be more powerful than magic in AoS but trickier and riskier to use well.

    • Reecius April 28, 2017 7:27 am #

      Yeah, good catch! Makes it harder to smite snipe.

      • Ytook April 28, 2017 9:09 am #

        A change suggested by someone who has had their Free Guild General Arcane Bolt sniped perhaps…

        You couldn’t possibly comment 😛

        (But seriously I think this is a great mechanic, in built counter play and positioning importance!)

  5. Requizen April 28, 2017 7:07 am #

    I am fully expecting a Rule of One style thing for 40k Matched Play.

    For those of you who don’t know, in AoS Matched Play you can only cast each spell one time, no matter how many Wizards know it. I feel like 40k will have the same thing to prevent every unit of Horrors on the table from blasting off Smite and tabling the opponent on turn 2.

    • Threllen April 28, 2017 7:09 am #

      Considering all those Horrors need to be within 18″ of an enemy, pass their test, and then get a total of D3 wounds from it – I don’t think you’re at risk of getting tabled unless you bring one model.

      • Requizen April 28, 2017 7:15 am #

        Casting on a 5 on two dice isn’t that hard, but I may have been exaggerating a bit 😛

        • Threllen April 28, 2017 7:23 am #

          Yeah, it’s a pretty easy one to get off. But you’re probably averaging about 2 wounds from it. Since some will fail and some will get the super pass (10+).

          Honestly, I loved Flickering Flames even though a lot of people didn’t like it. 2D6 Heavy bolter shots wasn’t that bad… and they could be upgraded to autocannon shots with the formation + icon. If you’ve got a few extra warp charges at the end of the phase, why not throw some at the power? Chances are your opponent already used their warp dice to deny more important stuff anyways.

      • Cephalobeard April 28, 2017 7:24 am #

        Agreed. Especially considering, as it stands, horrors in -40k- specifically, still won’t have any guns, etc. If you limit them to “rule of one” then, functionally, units will be useless. They need a little more freedom, imo.

        • Ytook April 28, 2017 7:35 am #

          This is such a big change I think it’s a fair bet that units will be changing a lot, using new rules with current 40K stuff isn’t going to work, I think looking to AoS makes more sense.

          • Cephalobeard April 28, 2017 7:55 am

            I agree. Things will change. I just think a “rule of one” would be… slightly too massive for Tzeentch armies, specifically. We’ll wait and see!

          • Fulcrum April 28, 2017 8:37 am

            Consider that daemons may not all be psykers this go round. Like they used to be. Horrors may just get a shooting attack.

          • Cephalobeard April 28, 2017 8:38 am

            Could be! Can’t wait to find out.

  6. Davis Centis April 28, 2017 7:29 am #

    So it’s the AoS, but I’m not complaining! I really like how this hits the closest enemy, but is guaranteed to do something. It’s cool that this power will lead to a lot of interesting positions between psykers depending on how defending against psychic powers works.

    Only thing about this is that I was hoping for something more in line with Battleshock; Difficulty + D6 minus Ld and get 0 or lower.

    Also VERY happy to see that having your brains get scrambled is going to stay!

    • Threllen April 28, 2017 7:32 am #

      Now if only they made it a Chaos Daemons special rule that if an enemy psyker dies to Perils you get to summon a herald or something out of their corpse. Now that’s fluffy 🙂

      • Reecius April 28, 2017 7:36 am #


      • Requizen April 28, 2017 7:55 am #

        It was that way for Deep Strike back in… 2nd? If you used a teleporter like Terminators to Deep Strike, and you were playing against Daemons, instead of just dying on a 1 you straight up turned into a Daemon. Would be funny to see a return!

        • Reecius April 28, 2017 8:07 am #

          Hahaha, maybe not for matched play, though… =p

        • WestRider April 28, 2017 11:55 am #

          IIRC, it wasn’t free, tho. The Chaos Player still had to have paid for the Daemons, but they could show up that way instead of waiting around until they built up enough Summoning Points.

    • Anggul April 28, 2017 8:58 am #

      I love the idea of power just arcing off from them, blasting the nearest unfortunate to ash

  7. AngryPanda April 28, 2017 8:22 am #

    With the talk about different phases I guess that means we stay with the old “You go, I go.”
    Also known as “You go, I go do my taxes or something equally riveting and time consuming”.

    • Anggul April 28, 2017 8:59 am #

      At least the turns are going to be a lot quicker and less cluttered, so you won’t be waiting around as much. Especially true with command points where you’ll be taking an active part in each other’s turns.

    • Ytook April 28, 2017 9:05 am #

      It would seem that the game is much faster so turns are shorter and command points give you options to break the usual turn flow.

      You may now make your usual snarky, passive aggressive reply.

      • AngryPanda April 28, 2017 9:15 am #

        I am active aggressive thank you very much.
        Unfortunately there’s no chance for that here. If command points, give you the chance to interrupt your opponents actions in some way then you suddenly have every reason to stay engged during the turn even if you don’t end up using that option. So that would be pretty cool.

        • Ytook April 28, 2017 9:21 am #

          I’m shocked! 😛

          They have already confirmed counter charging and combat activation in your opponents turn with command points. Hopefully there’s more like that.

          • AngryPanda April 28, 2017 9:28 am

            Mate, I know this is the internet and we all have to be absolutes but I don’t want to dislike GW. They worked for it. Hard. For a long long time.
            I hope they do this right. I want 40k to be awesome. Liking 40k and liking GW are two entirely different things.
            I ordered me something like 4k points of Sister from Raging Heroes a while back and believe you me I’d kinda like them to be fun to play.
            Also I have a giant army of Necrons and while they need a repaint (got an airbrush now, the old messy job just doesn’t cut it anymore) I’d like to play those again too.
            I’m just not ready to jump on the hype train. 20 or so years have taught me that if something they do looks bad, it is bad.
            If command points work that way though and it proves to be a good mechanic then nobody (well somebody, probably because they can rub it in my face) will be happier they broke that pattern.

          • Ytook April 28, 2017 9:38 am

            Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be serious or harsh.

  8. Anggul April 28, 2017 9:00 am #

    So, so happy with this change.

    The one reason I preferred 6th to 7th was the superior psychic mechanics. All of the pointless dice-rolling and lesser psykers just becoming batteries for the big ones was so dumb. This is great!

    • AngryPanda April 28, 2017 9:19 am #

      It seems way less clunky. And while I can’t say it sounds especially exciting to me this way I’ll happily settle for playable. Neither my Necrons nor my Sisters care too much about the system behind the psychic powers as long as it’s fast so we can get back to disintegrating the living/burn the heretics.

    • Threllen April 28, 2017 9:28 am #

      While I did appreciate a psychic phase because it made it a lot easier to keep track of everything when it was done at once… they messed it up so bad with 7th. The difficulty in getting spells off combined with the warp pooling made for “warp batteries” which was never, ever a good concept. And a myriad of poorly balanced tables that you had to randomly roll on only compounded the issues.

      • AngryPanda April 28, 2017 9:30 am #

        If the utter mess that was 7th (and probably the dead start of AOS) turn out to be what made them change things and remember they have “Games” in their name then I’ll say it was worth it. What’s one bad edition? Those things don’t even last that long anymore 😉

  9. LunaWolf April 28, 2017 9:41 am #

    So in essence the Mortal Wound mechanic is just D by another name, except every psyker has access to a bit of it?

    Honestly I’m pretty cool with the mechanic, but I need to see more about who has access to what and how things cap before I can form a solid opinion. Mass Brimstone Horrors all dumping out D shots is pretty scary, even if they aren’t super targetable. And I’m really hoping that games no longer swing on “did you roll the right power y/n?”

    • Ytook April 28, 2017 9:46 am #

      Judging on what we’ve seen so far I think it’s fair to guess (or at least hope) that you won’t have to roll for psychic powers but you’ll be able to pick them like in AoS, with more choices if your army is entirely a specific faction.

    • Threllen April 28, 2017 10:56 am #

      It’s possible that things like Horrors are no longer psykers as well. Maybe they’ll just get a shooting attack that represents their psychic prowess even though it’s not technically a psychic power. We’ll have to wait and see.

      It would make them pretty strong if they did have the power, but at the end of the day it’s still just an average of 1.9 wounds per unit (assuming they’re in range). Lots of stuff we still don’t know.

    • Reecius April 28, 2017 11:03 am #

      It seems to be a lot different than D, don’t you think? It does not appear to be “roll a 6 and pick up a unit” like D does now. The Smite example can do 3 mortal wounds, total. That does not appears to be too crazy to me.

      • Threllen April 28, 2017 12:12 pm #

        I agree with this. It’s similar to D weapons in that it ignores saves, but people seem to forget a roll of 6 was D6 + 6 wounds. You want a model obliterated? That model was obliterated. This causes an average of 1.91 wounds (just going off the chance to pass + average wounds when passing) and has some severe limitations. It only has medium range, can be denied, and must target closest unit. Also it seems like a lot of models are getting more wounds in the new edition given the increase Girlyman and Terminators saw. There are obviously still a lot of unknowns for those of us who haven’t gotten to playtest 😉 but it seems like a reasonably strong power so far to me.

        • Reecius April 28, 2017 1:14 pm #

          Agreed. And the cool balancing factor is that if by some means something like a 2++ reroll save does pop up, somehow, here is the answer to it.

    • Blight April 28, 2017 4:54 pm #

      Current rumor floating around has the contents of the new army books and a release date. In the rumor they said that warlord trait and psy powers are choose by default but option to roll. Just like AoS.

  10. WrentheFaceless April 28, 2017 9:48 am #

    The article mentioned “each faction”

    Tau, Necron, Ad Mech casters incoming?

    • AngryPanda April 28, 2017 10:04 am #

      Maybe they get something “like” psychic powers. The Tau Etherals could work in that phase. And maybe Necrons can get some artificial way like Dwarfs did in old WHFB with their runes. Some counter psy thing.

    • David Hayden April 28, 2017 10:11 am #

      We can hope. I’ve always thought it massively unfair to leave several factions out of an entire facet of the game. I get the fluff reasons, but think there are ways you could give them psychic powers that aren’t psychic powers. Omnissiah abilities, Tau Etheral inspiring political speeches, Necron Antivirus bloatware installs…

      • Threllen April 28, 2017 10:48 am #

        I mean Tau are also pretty much left out of assault and they still do alright 🙂

        • David Hayden April 28, 2017 11:27 am #

          Ha! I’d never thought about it, but Tau are not completely out of the psychic phase but basically out of assault as well. Aside from the occasional Riptide charge or a unit of Crisis Suits needing to get rid of a single marine on the last turn.

          • Threllen April 28, 2017 11:53 am

            Again, I concur that it’s a bit different because they at least have the *option* to do most of these things, but I don’t think certain factions have limited-to-no capabilities in a certain phase is necessarily a bad thing. I don’t play Chaos Daemons because I want to make a static gunline army. And I wouldn’t play Astra Militarium because I want to build a melee deathstar. Every army is more suited to one thing vs another.

      • Fagerlund April 28, 2017 1:47 pm #

        I actually really like that there’s some factions that doesn’t have access to some stuff in 40K, it’s one of the things that makes the factions feel fundamentally different. Where many other games have factions that basically just feel like different visual skins of the same faction. A nightmare to balance obviously, but a lot more fun!

    • crispy86 April 28, 2017 2:22 pm #

      I think they mean the larger factions. Like Xenos, Imperium and chaos

    • Blight April 28, 2017 4:56 pm #

      The Facebook team confirmed that they didn’t mean non-psychic factions like Tau or dark eldar.
      In all likelihood they will work like non magical factions in AoS. Have a select character or relic that allows you to deny the witch like a psyker.

  11. Quinn April 28, 2017 12:37 pm #

    The ‘closest target’ thing is really a key here. Assuming there are units that shrug off Psychic attacks (Culexus, Sisters of Silence, etc) but are still considered legal ‘targets’ then massed mortal wounds won’t be much of a problem. However, a bunch of measuring to figure it out might be a problem with speeding up play. I think Buffs and Malediction type stuff will still be the main thing here as before..I just hope there are reliable ways to shut that stuff down like in AoS. They are rare and not easily duplicated in lists but certain abilities guarantee your opponent is not getting off a power. I never liked Magic/psycher heavy armies in WHFB, 40k or AoS so I’m biased a bit.

    • Cephalobeard April 28, 2017 1:16 pm #

      I’m the opposite. I LOVE Psychic armies! I am also in complete agreement that things with psychic abomination (here’s looking at your potential, Pariahs!) give some real tactical ability due to these “closest unit” rules.

      Very exciting! Can’t wait to read more!

  12. Beau April 28, 2017 1:59 pm #

    I like psychic armies but boy do they play poorly for me in 7th. You guys think my new thousand son army might actually pull it’s first win with 8th??

    • Threllen April 28, 2017 3:11 pm #

      1k sons were a whole ‘nother issue in 7th. Not only did they succumb to the randomness of generating powers and the innately weakness of the warp dice pool, they were forced to generate at least one power on their own table. Meaning, if you wanted access to a different table (like Divination or Telepathy) you lost the ability to generate psychic focus and only got 1 or 2 attempts at fishing out powers from that table.

      That should get better with the ability for every psyker to cast powers and, hopefully, with the ability to simply pick powers from your table rather than roll.

      Additionally, the invulnerable save they paid a lot for was not always useful and the fact that EVERYTHING was AP3 was extremely costly to them when there were a lot of units it didn’t do much against. If all their guns are rending -1 or -2 instead that’s an instant buff making them useful against all sorts of foes.

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