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Caledonian Deathwatch Network

The Top 10 Psychic Powers in 40k

It’s time for another top 10 list! This time we are delving into the mystical world of Psykers and their assorted bag(s) of tricks (or just downright hideousness). This page is probably not going to hold much for Tau , Necron or Space Marines players – except perhaps toe curling dread or fist shaking rage!

I have to say that when I was compiling this list, it was a tough, tough cut. There are many psychic powers in the game, and believe me when I say that it was neck and neck between many powers on this list, as well as those among the honorable mentions. As is the norm for these sorts of lists, I suspect that the order (or even inclusion) of some powers will make many of you spit out your coffee in disgust! Stick with us though, and let us know your thoughts as to whether or not you agree, and what you’d have in here instead.

For the benefit of those who may read this article at a later time, this is just before the release of the Genestealer Cults codex, so at the time of writing these are (at least I think so anyway) reasonable opinions about which powers are the psychic veritable Mac Daddy!

Remember, this order is subjective to one man’s opinions, and I apologize greatly if your favorite units have not made the cut!  As before with the top 10 units, there are NO forgeworld powers in this list – not because they aren’t good, but because I didn’t have all the FW books to hand.

 

10 – Twilight Pathways / Warptime

 

  • Faction: Harlequins / Heretic Astartes (Various)
  • Casting Units: Shadowseer / Various (e.g Daemon Princes, Chaos Sorcerers)
  • Warp Charge:  6
  • Range: Friendly Harlequin / Heretic Astartes unit within 3″
  • Effect: Target unit may move now, as if it were its Movement phase.

This is a really great utility power, and is super useful for both of these armies. Taking Harlequins first, this power can be great for boosting your flavor of death into the enemy base as quickly as possible, whether this is a big unit of haywire cannons (even scarier potentially if they are also Ynarri Skyweavers), or a Troupe looking to perform some sort of LRFDB (Long Range Fusion Drive By – acronym stolen from our resident killer clown himself Dave Calder)! With an army already notorious for it’s blistering speed, this just enhances that particular attribute even further.

For Heretic Astartes armies, the effects are very fearsome indeed. You perhaps don’t see the “Big Guys” as much as you used to (such as Mortarion and the Lord of Skulls) – although Magnus still crops up in Thousand Sons lists from time to time. Double moving one of these units is a big threat, especially considering how much firepower it can take to put them down.

9 – Might From Beyond

  • Faction: Genestealer Cults
  • Casting Units: Magus, Patriarch
  • Warp Charge:  7
  • Range: Friendly GSC unit within 18″
  • Effect: Until the start of your next Psychic phase, target unit has +1 Strength and Attack.

This is a truly great “buff” power (considering that it’s also from an index currently as well). At range 18″, it allows your squishy caster (in the case of the Magus) to hang back and do his thing, while he sends in his associates to beat the holy hell out of you in combat. It’s great on the Patriarch as well, because he can use it on another unit within range to greatly improve their terror rating, while he take a gang of genestealers elsewhere to kick even more ass!

A strength and attacks buff is so great here, especially when you consider the options it gives you. Slap this on a big squad of Acolyte Hybrids with knives, and they go up to S5 4 attacks per model! Alternatively cast it on a unit of Aberrants with Power hammers (bonus points for a nearby Abominant) and youve got a unit which literally liquidates enemy units.

This is probably the best “buff” power in the game, given its range and double stat boost – and it’s also not earth shatteringly difficult to cast either.

 

8 – Quicken/Restrain

  • Faction: Craftworlds
  • Casting Units: Warlock, Warlock Skyrunner, Hemlock Wraithfighter
  • Warp Charge:  7
  • Range: Friendly Asuryani (Biker and Infantry) Units / Enemy Unit within 18″
  • Effect: Target unit can immediately move as if it were the Movement phase. You cannot use Quicken
    on a single unit more than once per Psychic phase / Until the start of your next Psychic phase, target unit must halve their Move characteristic

Before the FAQ which changed how deep strike and reinforcements dropped, this power would have comfortably broken the top 5 in this list. make no mistake though, this is still a great power. One of the most common applications that you’ll see of this power, is to deliver a huge (also likely Ynarri) Shining Spear unit across the table at an insanely fast pace. This can be absolutely game changing in itself, as delivering such a deadly unit can be the deathblow in any game. The Quicken power also has other utility, such as a last gasp objective dash or linebreaker grab – its a fantastic utility spell for any Craftworlds commander.

Restrain is probably much less used than Quicken – but played at the right time, it can be an absolute joy to behold. That Krast Gallant threatening to squish stuff in your deployment zone? Slap Restrain on him and sit 2″ outside of his maximum charge range. More situational, but definitely useful.

This power slightly edges Warptime and Twilight Pathways for me, because of the longer range and the added functionality of Restrain – but it’s super close!

7 – Guide

  • Faction: Craftworlds
  • Casting Units: Farseer, Farseer Skyrunner, Eldrad
  • Warp Charge:  7
  • Range: Friendly Asuryani units within 24″
  • Effect: Until the start of your next Psychic phase, target unit can re-roll failed ranged weapon hit rolls.

Getting tired of seeing Aeldari powers? That feeling is not going to subside unfortunately….

Guide is the classic “re-roll” to hit power. Full re-rolls to hit are an absolutely devastating weapon when used in the right hands. Dark Reapers boast an impressive unmodifiable 3+ to hit, made even more fearsome when all of those Reaper Launchers are re-rolling misses. Shining spears can also greatly benefit from this power, re-rolling both their dakkatastic twin shuriken catapults AND Laser Lances if they are in range.

This power is no slouch on other units too – a Guided Guardian blob can put out an impressive amount of damage too as another example. This power is made even better when you consider the combos possible with Jinx, and another Aeldari power which appears later in this list (i’m sure you’ll know the one that I mean).

One final trick, is the ability to retain your re-rolls to hit if you are charged in your opponent’s subsequent turn – which also stack with the other powers that were mentioned above. It’s been around for ages, and it still remains one of the best powers in the game.

6 – Mass Hypnosis

  • Faction: Genestealer Cults
  • Casting Units: Magus, Patriarch
  • Warp Charge:  7
  • Range: Visible Enemy unit within 18″
  • Effect: Until the start of your next Psychic phase, target unit cannot fire Overwatch, fights last in the Fight phase even if it charged, and must subtract 1 from hit rolls.

This time for GSC we’ve gone from a buff to a de-buff. Might from Beyond is a really impressive buff power, but Mass Hypnosis is possibly an even better de-buff. What makes it so great is its sheer versatility – you can deny overwatch on something scary that gets a lot of automatic hits such as a Knight Valiant, make that super scary Talos unit fight last (and at -1 to hit), or really annoy that unit of Tau Broadsides, by denying their overwatch AND imposing a hit penalty.

This is great as a defensive power, or for leveling the playing field if you need to send a squad into the metaphorical meat grinder. It synergises well with allied Tyranids too, if they want to send some Genestealers of their own (or a Hive Tyrant) into a risky combat or overwatch.

What’s more, I feel that this will be a power you will see more when the new codex comes out – lots of players will likely want access to the Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor stratagem even in Tyranid lists, and having a Magus as part of a battalion will be a nice addition to that type of army.

5 – Protect/Jinx

  • Faction: Craftworlds
  • Casting Units: Warlock, Warlock Skyrunner, Hemlock Wraithfighter
  • Warp Charge:  7
  • Range: Friendly Asuryani (Biker and Infantry) Units / Enemy Unit within 18″
  • Effect: Until the start of your next Psychic phase, target has +1/-1 to their saving throws.

We alluded to cross faction combos in the last entry – but now we’re getting to some of the better synergistic powers. The absolute beauty of this power, is that it does not only benefit Craftworld units, but instead ALL allied Aeldari units. That means for example if you’ve got a Void Raven shooting an Jinxed Imperial Knight (and he’s fresh out of command points) he’s only saving those shots on a 6+. That is an absolutely massive difference. When you cast a power such as Jinx on an expensive unit such as a Knight, or a unit of Talos, you’re getting such a huge return for your investment. Every subsequent unit which attacks that target is essentially getting -1AP for free – AND that also worsens invulnerable saves if applicable.

Protect is restricted to friendly Asuryani units only, but it’s still amazing. This is a power (when paired with Fortune) that can make a huge unit of Shining Spears an absolute anvil. They would gain a 2+ Armour save, a 3+ Invulnerable against shooting, and (if Fortuned) would also have a 5+ Feel No Pain. That’s just one example, but it’s probably ine of the best applications of the Protect power.

Possibly the most versatile power in the game.

4 – Da Jump

  • Faction: Orks
  • Casting Units: Weirdboy
  • Warp Charge:  7
  • Range: Friendly Ork Infantry unit within 12″
  • Effect: Remove target unit from the battlefield, then set it up anywhere on the battlefield more than 9″ from any enemy models. The unit counts as having moved.

See that big 30 boy strong Ork unit that’s 60″ away from you in Hammer and Anvil? That’s now in your base, trying to charge you. This is a super reliable method of delivering a truckload of boyz really quickly. Also, Orks are super likely to be able to get the charge off on you. With the ‘Ere we Go rule, Orks can re-roll one or both dice when making the charge. Additionally, if they only re-roll one of these dice, they can command re-roll the other if it’s not to their liking. This means that every turn, the Ork player has a high chance of slamming 30 boyz into your base. This is a scary prospect, as not only can they target you with sluggas / shootas before hand, they are going to deal an impressive amount of damage when they get into combat (especially if they have been prepared with the Warpath power for extra attacks).

This power has other utilities too. Mobbed up Lootas are also a common component of competitive Ork armies, and if they aren’t going first it’s often advantageous for them to hide out of sight. The Ork player can then Da Jump them, and pop the More Dakka stratagem to ignore their movement penalty, and generate additional hits – all while being totally safe on turn 1.

3 – Death Hex

  • Faction: Heretic Astartes (Various)
  • Casting Units: Various (e.g Daemon Princes, Chaos Sorcerers)
  • Warp Charge:  8
  • Range: Visible Enemy Units within 12″
  • Effect: Until the start of your next Psychic phase, the target unit cannot take invulnerable saves.

Death Hex is a power that if was accessible by Aeldari Psykers, would allow them dominate the competitive 40k scene forevermore. The ability to flat out REMOVE an enemy unit’s invulnerable save is crushing. Whether you’re taking on an Imperial Knight, or trying to thin out some Talos, this power is the one that can help you do that job. As with other powers discussed above, the bigger the target for this power, the bigger the potential reward. Tough, durable units pay a big premium for their impressive invulnerable saves, and with Death Hex you can feast on the tears of such units.

This works particularly well if you’re able to bring some powerful shooting or melee immediately afterwards – whether its from an allied Traitor Knight, or Obliterator dakka, you will make an absolute mess of whatever you take on. This is also a great answer to units that use powers such as Protect to improve their saves, or use stratagems such as Prismatic Blur to gain a huge (3+ in that case) invulnerable save.

The only thing keeping this power off the top spots is the class of shooting available to Chaos Space Marine armies – if this was closer in stature to Aeldari firepower, this power might find itself even higher on this list. As an additional note, I did consider the Adeptus Astartes power Null Zone for this list. However, I felt that with its shorter range and the general lack of marine armies competitively at the moment, it didn’t justify inclusion on this list.

 

2 – Word of the Phoenix

  • Faction: Ynarri
  • Casting Units: Yvraine
  • Warp Charge:  8
  • Range: Friendly Ynarri Infantry or Biker Unit (or the Yncarne) within 18″ that has not already made a Soulburst action this turn
  • Effect:Target unit can immediately make a Soulburst action

Narrowly missing out on the top spot is perhaps the psychic power that makes Aeldari armies public enemy number one among all other players! The Soulburst mechanic is one of the most powerful in the game when it’s coordinated correctly. The ability to move, shoot or fight for a second time that turn is absolutely unparalleled. What makes this power so insanely good is that normally a unit needs to be within 7″ of a destroyed unit to gain the bonus Soulburst action  – not so with Word of the Phoenix. This power is singlehandedly what makes Dark Reapers one of the most dangerous units in Warhammer 40,000. The ability to Guide them, then shoot them once in your own psychic phase, again in your own shooting phase, and then use Fire and Fade to shield them from return fire is devastatingly powerful.

That’s just one example though – combine Word of the Phoenix with Quicken, and watch that cadre of Shining Spears sail across the table and charge a unit that started the turn around 50″ away. You could also double shoot a huge unit of Skyweavers (or move them for a second time if you include Twilight Pathways). Another amazingly versatile power, and one key reason why Ynarri are still one of the toughest dogs in the yard.

 

Honorable Mentions

As I said at the start of the article, there were so many powers which could have made this list – it truly was difficult to cut them to ten. Here are some of the best of the rest.

Fortune/Catalyst – 5+ Feel No Pain on a friendly unit is strong, which gives lots of defensive options

Smite – Smite remains a solid power, easy to cast and also easy to source it a few times in your army. Especially good when used with Thousand Sons. Always offers you an option of casting something if you have no other options too

Nightshroud (And other -1 to hit powers) – Reliable and another strong defensive power

Warpath – A great power, which while strong is best used when combined with Da Jump (as listed above). Makes that special Orky delivery even more horrifying!

 

1 – Doom

  • Faction: Craftworlds
  • Casting Units: Farseer, Farseer Skyrunner, Eldrad
  • Warp Charge:  7
  • Range: Enemy units within 24″
  • Effect: Until the start of your next Psychic phase, you can re-roll failed wounds against target unit.

This is (in my opinion anyway) the absolute best power in the game right now. At Warp Charge 7 (with a reroll) its an absolute skoosh to cast, plus it’s usually found on a Farseer Skyrunner who can move and advance before casting, giving this power an effective range of at least 40″.  As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can greatly improve the efficiency of units such as Shining Spears or Dark Reapers by conferring re-rolls to hit, or by debuffing enemy saves. Now if we add re-roll to wound into that mix, it becomes a thing of absolute nightmare (for your opponents). With the full spectrum of the Asuryani arsenal able to re-roll to wound against a specific target, this couldn’t be better could it?

Well…. see those Skyweavers or Talos that have those shiny haywire guns? Yeah, they can all re-roll to wound too. All three Aeldari factions can benefit from this power – from Chainflails, to Harelquins Kisses, to Reaper launchers – the full pantheon of Aeldari toys gets to enjoy the happy fun times that Doom provides. It is the most cost effective power in the game, as well as the one which benefits most from allied contributions. It’s why you’ll see that in even the most dedicated Flesh Cult lists, a small detachment (likely a supreme command with at least one Warlock) that squeezes in a Doomseer. It’s the best power in the game, and when paired with Guide, Word of the Phoenix or Jinx – it enters the efficiency stratosphere, and blows the competition away.

 

 

So that’s it! Do you agree or disagree? We’d be keen to hear your thoughts! Thanks for reading!

6 Responses to “The Top 10 Psychic Powers in 40k”

  • Joshua Martin says:

    This list is Biased. You have #9 Genestealers that do +1A and +1Str warp charge 7 but yet Space Marines have one that is warp charge 6… +1 Str, +1T, and +1A. It’s cheaper to cast and does more. Put that on a smash captain and watch what it does. What do you have against imperial? Might of heroes is CLEARLY better than Might from Beyond. That’s not an opinion..that’s a fact.

    • Jeremy Chesser says:

      Diabolical Strength and Might of Heros effect 1 model, Might from beyond is absurd it effects the entire unit of 20 Genestealers. It’s what we use to kill T8 prior to Hammerants. It’s insanely good and probably one of the best. On the Contrary you can give Abby one more attack and the Strength boost only affects Aggressors, Custodies, and Bikes.

    • Liam OShea says:

      I did consider Might of Heroes – but IMO Smash Captains can do well without this power. Casting MFB on a big GSC unit is a more terrifying prospect in my opinion – you get more bang for your buck with this power.

    • John Stowe says:

      I think the point that was being made is some powers are also good but seldom seen on the table. This article is focussing on what is in action now.

  • John Stowe says:

    Great article mate, with access to a whole 3 disciplines it saddens me my poor TS only get 1.5/10 LOL. Plus when you analyse the points value for them to cast you see they may master the warp in the fluff but they struggle to cast even with their bonuses because they have the most expensive powers despite Doom being bang on the statistical average of casting. Man if we had that Eldar shite, c’mon Ahriman, STEAL IT. Technically Word of the Phoenix is really 7 coz its always Yvraine casting it.

  • John Stowe says:

    And Eldar factions get 5.5/10, man just as well such a weak Codex got such a boost!

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