Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Astra Militarum Tactics: Wyrdvane Psykers

Next up for elites is the Wyrdvane Psykers, the renamed and changed psyker battle squad.  Oh boy these guys went from really good the kinda meh.  Not bad mind you, just a definite shadow of what they were before.  While it was no surprise that they lost unique powers and gained BRB ones, their straight utility from the old powers to the new are somewhat less.  But you can do more with them now and be flexible.

What changed is that they are now brotherhood of psykers(good), lost the overseer(good), and gained rule book psychic powers(not as good).  The points are a little more, with the same base price but with 12pts for each additional one up to 10 total.  They are ML1 and can generate powers from biomancy, divination, pyromancy, and telekinesis. Some of these are more useful than others but overall they have the ability to change tactics depedning on the opponent you are facing.  They can use daemonology as well and are your best choice if you want to go that route.  Due to brotherhood of psykers, they can fail a few perils before they go down, giving you more play time with them.

Unlike before there is no bonus for taking more, and I really don't see a reason to take more than the base squad.  They are pretty squishy no matter how many you have, with only a chimera or taurox upping their survivability but limiting their powers they can use.  The base squad will do you fine and is still pretty cheap.

As to what to take, telekinesis and divination are your better choices here.  Not necessarily for prescience, more for the other useful powers that the table has.  As a unit they are not the great for adding warp charges, as astropaths will give you the same number and are a lot cheaper if you are looking for extra warp charges.  You can use them as a back field unit to throw out a few buffing powers a game, but honestly a ML2 primaris will give you a lot more utility.

Because of their squishyness, I see them in transports being the better option, which means you want to focus on witchfires.  This means telekinesis or pyromancy.  Between the two, telekinesis is better simply because it has a better primaris power, with only one roll on the table you want to hedge your bets on something useful.  The primaris power has strikedown as well, causing enemy units to move through difficult terrian in the open, which is very useful, especially against units like gaunt squads, orks, jump pack units, really any infantry that wants to move faster towards you.  Plus if you get lucky and get the large barrage S 10 AP1 power, then you can get some serious damage.

Pyromancy is ok, the problem being its primaris is basically a heavy flamer.  So your going to need to get close, meaning even in a vehicle their is a high chance of it getting knocked out before they get anywhere.  Overall its just too unreliable to count on.  The same goes for biomancy.  It has a lot of good powers, but also a lot that only affect the unit, and they just are not good enough to be worth that.  You can make the S 5 or one of the other boons, but in they end they are still pretty squishy and have to get close to be useful.  They really don't belong anywhere in CC.

Daemonology is interesting.  They are your best choice if you want to use these powers, and their best role is using sanctic powers if you are facing off against daemons.  If you really want to summon some daemons on your side, you sure can do it.  Not saying its a reliable or effective tactic, but its an option.

There real problem is that there is no real clear role to fit them into.  They can kinda be ok at buffing, but really don't generate enough warp charges to go that route effectively these days.  They are too squishy for all the biomancy buffs to really risk taking that table.  Telekinesis is a pretty useful table and gives you access to a few good witchfires as well as buffing powers.  Its the most reliable table for these guys. Divination is good as well, but they just don't generate enough warp charges to be really good at prescience.  Keeping them as a backup prescience is not a bad option, but not really a great one either.

The two best ways I can see to play them, is either as a mobile witch fire unit or as a divination back up, helping spread your coverage and using the total warp charges to get prescience on the needed units.

Overall they are not outright bad, they just are no where near as useful as they once were.



  1. Why would a Imperial guard player what to summon demons? I don't use Psykers so I don't know the powers but I can see good things if you summon a unit of bloodletters could be useful. But I thought demons could only be with chaos that's all I'm wondering.

    1. IDK, you can if you want too, but I really don't see much of a reason too.

    2. My results with summoning: Very disappointing. It does not pay off to become Traitor Guard and meddle with daemons.

      I have tried summoning in 15 games. Usually it fails. In 12 games I have come with a single Band of Psykers and chosen summoning. The only effect is that my opponent is so scared of the potential in summoning that he tries to get rid of my Psykers as quickly as possible. Fun episode: In one game I managed to summon a unit of Pink Horrors, they scattered into impassable terrain in the deep strike and rolled '6' on the failed deep strike table and became casualties. As it turned out, this gave my opponent "First Blood".

      In 3 games I have bet heavily on summoning: 2 lvl 2 sanctioned psykers with useful powers and 2 summoning brotherhoods. In one game one of them got "sacrifice" so I could summon a Herald, of Tzeentch, with extra psyker level. And this is where this list gets interesting: For every psyker phase you get 2-3 more dice with loads of Heralds and Pink Horrors popping up. With ordinary luck your Sanctioned Psykers will wield immense power in Turn 4+. However, in this game, my opponent always managed to block my Sacrifice, so no unstoppable flood of daemons in that game.

      In another game with lots of psychic dice I rolled really bad and figured in Turn 4 that Possession was the way to go and summoned a Bloodthirster. He killed my opponents Warlord in turn 6, which was kind of fun, but not a very good return on an investment for 270 points in summoning.

      In a third game with lots of psychic dice I managed to summon loads of daemons. That ended up costing me the victory as the game was based on kill points and I served up a lot of juicy targets.

      In theory Summoning should be a very effective use of Wyrdwane Psykers but my practice has so far given me disappointing results. But I will not give up!

  2. I'm still confused about the best way to use Wyrdvane Psykers. Even though they are only ML1, they do have 5 Wounds, and can create a much larger threat range because of the Brotherhood special rule. Also, since most powers need LoS to operate (even Blessings), WPs are more likely to be able to see what they need to target.

  3. The daemonology thing might work out well with them. Usually you have to throw lots of dice around to summon demons, increasing the risk of perils, but with 5 wounds, who cares?

    Even if you don't take psykers at all, this could be a cheap way to use the (otherwise wasted) warp charges and try to summon more distraction/speedbump units, or serve as a distraction themselves. For the rough points cost of a squad of guardsmen, you could try to summon more units each turn (even with bad chances), as you won't die from perils before round 5, unless you roll really really bad. They're still squishy, but that's what LOS-blocking terrain is for.

  4. I think Wyrdvane Psykers would be great with Daemonlogy. You only need to have one successful primaris power summoning cast to surpass the 65 pt investment. I mean, 10 bloodletters are 100 pts IIRC. Sure, they aren't the best troop choices in the world, but can make for some nice "oh crap" moments from your opponent. Perils isn't such a big deal when you have five dudes taking the damage one at a time.

  5. Do not forget they get 2 powers not just one least i forget taking all the same powers from 1 tree meens you get the primarus for free :D so taking daemonolgy and getting possession + summoning that meens cast summoning first to get 10 bloodletters then mass sacrfice themselfs to summon a bloodthrasher :D

  6. So if I read the rules correctly the squad can learn up to 9 powers. 4 from focus, 5 from each psyker learning potentially a different power. Is this true and if so that makes them a very versatile squad. Not saying trying to get 9 powers is a good idea, I wouldn't do it but is it possible?

    1. Nope not true. They are brotherhood of psykers. So they are ML 1, and get one power plus the primaris power from the table they roll on. Thats it, I wish they could know a power for each psyker in the squad but sadly that is not the case.

  7. Note: I don't play astra militarium. this is just a brainstorm

    Cool fun idea: Daemon Psychic Bomber

    What you need
    A Shit ton of Daemons (any kind. but pink horrors of tzeetch work best because they have that OP Flamer power)
    A Dedicated transport (Anything fast really. Vendetta's should work best since fliers are hard to hit and fast.)
    Some Wyrdvane Psykers in said dedicated transport

    This is what you do. On your movement phase drive your Psykers right infront of the enemies face. and this is where the "Daemon" And "Bomb" part comes in. Summon Daemons right in front of their face and laugh when you utterly annihilate the enemy.

  8. Use the formation "pyskana division"

    Squad 1
    1x primanis psyker
    1x commissar
    8x wyrdvane psyker
    1x chimera

    Squad 2
    1x commissar
    9x wyrdvane paykers
    1x chimera

    Squad 3
    1x commissar
    9x wyrdvane psykers
    1x chimera

    wyrdvane psykers Succeed casts on 2+.
    If all units are with in the 12" bubble of the primaris you get a total of 10 warp charges.
    If you add 3x primeris psykers and an astropath to your command squad that is a total of 17 warp charges.
    Use 4d6 to cast each summoning and it still leaves you 5 warp charges for other psykers and your adding an extra 300pt of daemon troops to your army each turn. If you can keep them alive this works 15/18 times that's an extra 1500pt of Desmond on the table assuming you don't cast possession and other summoning spiels with your other psykers.
    And they have the speed to deposit Deamons 24" in the first turn.
    It's roughly 660 points. You can add upgrades to that though if you wish.