Monday, September 6, 2010

Tactics: Guns and Psykers Just Don’t Mix…


Hey everyone,

So I got a game of 40k in this weekend against a friend of mine who plays Orks. He wanted to get a 1k game going, so I pulled out my 1k list from BoLScon and tried it out again, with a couple of tweaks. Instead of a Valkyrie, one of the Veteran squads had a Ministorum Priest, and rode around in a Chimera. However, despite winning that game, I’ve discovered why I like and don’t like my Psykers in the Guard Codex. Lets approach this just like the Ogryn post.

Primaris Psyker


  • A Force Weapons means any squad he’s attached to can really do some damage!
  • His Lightning Arc ability means your enemy is going to take an average of 7 S6 shots to the face!
  • Ld9 means that he won’t be running very often, or staring down the muzzle of a Bolt Pistol, for that matter!
  • Refractor Fields means that he can possibly negate the Perils of the Warp when it comes up!


  • T3 means anything more than a Heavy Bolter will turn him into a nice squishy pile on the ground.
  • Its a Refractor Field, not a Rosarius.
  • Does anyone actually use Nightshroud? With Fearless units and so many MEQ running around, its pretty much useless…
  • Flak armour? Really? Give him Carapace!
  • He’s 70 Points, switch him out for a Company Command or, hell, even a Lord Commissar!

Everytime I run him, he somehow manages to get himself with Perils of the Warp. I don’t think I’ve EVER gotten through a game where I didn’t suffer it at least once…and rolling a 2 or 12 is pretty hard in its own right. While I did pass my 5++, its still frustrating to watch my guy’s head nearly blow up…The only real benefit to the Primaris Psyker is his Lightning Arc ability. Sure its ap5, but as I said in my last post, S6 weapons are truly powerful in today’s metagame, especially as its dominated by MEQ and tons of tanks. Your Primaris Psyker will be laughing at the Rhino and the Marines inside after he’s pumped that many S6 shots into it.

Now to everyone’s favorite unit in the Guard…

Psyker Battle Squad


  • Soulstorm can be the bane of nearly any unit in the game, as long as you roll low enough on AP roll.
  • Weakened Resolve can break units like Lysander or Abbadon just before you drop a Battle Cannon on their asses….
  • Psychic Choir means only one model is truly using the Large Blast shot out of the top, allowing for a couple extra Las-shot if needed.
  • They can take an armoured Bunker in the form of a Chimera and still stay reasonably cheap.
  • Ld 9 on an entire squad rocks!


  • You’re S2…..really?
  • Your trigger-happy Overseer will probably pick off a couple of Psykers every game…
  • Once again, t3 means almost any weapon will turn them gooey quickly….
  • A 5+ armour save? I’ll pay another 5 points per model for Carapace!
  • No Invulnerable Save means Perils of the Warp will eat their face if the Overseer is killed…

When the codex came out, everyone jumped on these guys for their Soulstorm ability. While the ability to drop a S9 ap1 large template is tempting, it never seems to come up; I’m always rolling 5s and 6s for AP, meaning even Guardsmen are getting their saves in most cases. In most of my games, these guys don’t survive; the enemy is expecting the horrors they can unleash and really unload their firepower into them. I’ve actually seen another Guard player unload 3 Earthshaker shots into the squad and decimate them utterly by turn 2. As I also said, I almost ALWAYS get a Perils of the Warp, so not only is my own guy killing them off, but they’re only getting the power off two or three times a game!

Despite all my criticisms, I really like the Psykers in the Guard book. Sure they aren’t quite as good as the tanks and men running around, but they usually draw fire, and the Primaris Psyker adds a Power Weapon and a ton of shots to any infantry unit.

Lets hear your comments then! Do you run these squads? How do they do for you?



  1. Two things:
    One - remember that Fearless units ignore *Morale* checks, not all *Leadership* checks. Morale checks are a type of leadership check, but they aren't interchangeable.

    Two - remember that you have to reroll successful Inv saves vs. Perils. So if you do roll a lot of them, yeah the Primaris might not be for you!

  2. Oh right Taurus, I forgot both of those. As for Perils of the Warp, they don't cause instadeath, right? So I guess for 2 wounds, its not quite as bad...

  3. Yeah, just "a wound" now. Used to be S6 IIRC which really sucked for non-Eldrad farseers.

  4. Well that's always good, no one wants to see Tigerius cooked off in an instant...nor their Primaris Psyker!

  5. Battle Squads really need to be inside of a Chimera to do their thing properly; otherwise, as you note, they just get eaten up. They do have a 36" range, though, which means they can sit outside of most people's range. They can also move and shoot, which is very nice.

    The Primaris is such trash, it's not even funny. If Nightshroud had been something used on the enemy's turn (a la Shield of Sanguinous) he might be worthwhile but as-is, he just wishes he were a couple Autocannons. (Don't get me wrong Autocannons are pro, but HQs need to bring something special to the table, like orders or Ld/Stubborn bubbles.)

  6. True on both angles AbusePuppy, Psykers are so squishy that without their Chimera, you might as well not deploy them! The Primaris isn't total trash, he's more of a fun unit to run, and he just happened to be fluffy in my Team army. The S6 is pretty nice, and I actually had my Primaris Psyker beat out Mephiston's Psychic Hood at BoLScon (Still didn't help).
    I do want to try out the Lord Commissar at some point, though, and see if his uses are much better!

  7. I tried three Primaris Psykers in an apocalypse game last year. The first one took a str D shot to the face before he could even get his coat on. The second (in a 50 man mob with Yarrick, trying to give them nightshroud) got Perils... bye bye. The third (in a 50 man squad with a commissar lord trying to give them Nightshroud) got - and I KID YOU NOT - perils and was duly executed. I know in 5000 a side 210 points aint all that much but to see it go so rapidly with so little effect was a little disappointing :oP And yes, both the perils were on double 6, so neither even got the power off before they died!

    On the bright side I do plan to use one again in the future in a tournament army I'm building... he's there for fluff reasons though, not for any competitive reason.

    As for Psyker Battle Squad, ALWAYS put them in a chimera. And I never really use Soulstorm, as there are so many things you can weaken the resolve of. That is a far mroe effective use of their time. Guarnatee your enemys best unit runs away. For starters, it isn't a shooting power, so your chimera can barrel along at full pelt to protect itself from assault. This gives the power an effective range of 48" Place yourself where you have a couple of good targets, go through your shooting phase, and if you manage to force a 25% casualties morale check on any enemy units, pick the one you want most emphatically gone and whack it's LD down to 1. I found this to be particularly effective against my Black Templar friend - his men take morale checks for even one casualty! With a valkyrie turbo boosting over to escort the terminator squad off the board once they start running (which the PBS ensures they will) you've got rid of a potent threat for very little effort.