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BREAKING NEWS: 8th Edition Psychic Phase and Mortal Wounds Analysis!

Hooray! The Psychic phase is good, and is going to be really good for Psyker heavy armies. The Sons of Magnus will now be able to fling their magic around like no tomorrow, and the standard unit of Rubricae has become a very versatile unit!

Image and information from Warhammer Community

The quick and simple mechanic from Age of Sigmar has been brought into 40K, where each power is cast on a roll of two dice and meeting the warp charge cost.

I'm very happy about this. With my Three Musketeer army. D'Artagnan, the level 1 Sorcerer, was often left at the back lines as a warp charge battery. Now, he can run up to the front and start laying down firepower. Or mind power.

What's good in the new system is that it looks like some, if not all powers will have two versions based on how well you roll. This makes the psychic phase a little more tense for people, and in combination with the new mortal wound mechanic, could mean a pair of humble Librarians laying waste to even Guilliman!

Each psyker will be able to cast as many spells as their data sheet states. Whether or not this means they can cast the same spell twice remains to be seen, as previously only Ahriman with his Black Staff could pull that trick.

Looking at the Smite ability above, it looks as though the Warpfire variants have simply been removed. This is good... having a chance to fail a psychic test, get the power denied by the enemy, miss the shot, or simply fail to wound people made things like Smite too unreliable. It also meant 4 sets of dice rolls to see if it works, which slowed down everything.

Deny the Witch rolls are now reserved for Psykers, which is as it should be (barring any special rules). It's a clear pivot away from the buffing psyker to the mind-bullet artillery. I like this, as battlefield magicians should be all about their big flashy Fireballs!

Perils of the Warp is still there, but no information about how it works has been presented. It may be as simple as "Roll a double 1 and take a mortal wound." I doubt there will be an external look up table, as there was in previous editions. Part of me would be sad to see this go, but frankly using abilities in games should be focused on when they go right, rather than when they go wrong... as funny as it is to see a vortex open up where the psyker used to be dragging everyone kicking and screaming to hell.

Everyone gets the above Smite power, which means that everyone has a bit of mental bombardment in addition to their other powers. This is good, as it means there are no useless Psykers on the field (such as the Thousand Son Aspiring Sorcerer that rolled Gift of Mutation...).

This coincides with the reveal of the Mortal Wound mechanic, which bypasses all saves, including Invulnerable ones! Whether this will be affected by certain shields, as in AoS, remains to be seen. But it means that any psyker is capable of slaughtering monstrous creatures or blasting apart tanks. It's essentially Psychic Shriek and Doombolt rolled into one spell!

Which brings us to the Thousand Son Rubricae! Now there Scorcerer has some great utility in the unit, turning that iconic Thousand Son troop choice into a proper bodyguard unit for a special anti-everything cannon. Points costs will definitely play a part in showing how competitive this will be, but it certainly is a step in the right direction.

Is there any downside to the new phase? Well it certainly got harder to block powers. Armies like the Tau are going to be very hard pressed, as they will have absolutely no defence against such an etheric onslaught.

It also means that the complexity of the Psychic phase has been removed. I don't think anyone will miss it though. At the end of the day, most people rolled Divination or Telepathy. The complexity was largely stripped out by simple market forces choosing the best general use powers. It does mean that flexibility for casters is reduced, but that's somewhat mitigated by the usefulness of the Smite spell.

Finally one more possible issue. How long until someone says that D-Strength weapons are now just Mortal Wound weapons? Wouldn't that just make them the same thing as before, with a different name? I doubt it would be a Game breaking thing, but I'd rather see the old Wraith cannons just being multi-wound weapons.

Overall, a positive step, and one that makes me want to go out and buy that box of Rubric Marines!

Until next time.

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  1. This should probably be updated based on the leaks/viewing your FLGS advance copy.

    Perils are both snakes and box cars.

    In matched play, you can only cast each power once per turn.

    So while you can pick whatever powers you want, you don't get unlimited buffs, debuffs, or mind blasts

    1. Thanks, I'll put up a quick post with those updates!


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