Goatboy’s 40K: Perfecting the Psychic Phase


With the rumors of a new edition looming it’s time to roll up our sleeves and fix the broken psychic phase.

Goatboy here again and with the rumors of a new edition looming on the horizon it has me thinking of some of the big “issues” currently with 40k right now. Of course I don’t think any new edition is going to fix everything but hopefully due to the normal nature of their game edition upgrades – will most likely see some very specific changes to a set of rules.  Every edition has had some big changes to the psychic phase.  Sometimes the changes are just in the spells themselves and other times its base on how the army gets to utilize their psychic might.  Each edition seems to try and “fix” it in hopes of creating something that is unique, fun, and powerful.

zoanthrope crop

The Big Problem Now

The current iteration is unique and powerful but I think it leaves a lot of the fun sitting at the wayside.  This is in how the phase interacts with both players turns.  Sure if you are the Psychic player – this turn is full of “excitement”.  You get to use your dice, throw mighty spells, and cause all kinds of issues to your opponents army.  If the other player has access to a decent amount of dice they might even have a chance to stop a blessing. But most of the time you don’t stop the spells, the opponent powers up, and the game is left in a lurch as this phase became a game of Magic goldfish.  Heck most of the time the one player throws all their dice, deals with the “weak” perils, and moves on as you are left wondering why did you even have this phase.

This brings in the thought of what should we do? First of all – the phase needs to be useful to both players.  There has to be some sort of rules interaction that isn’t just one player going whole hog and wrecking the game.  Now this could happen with either methods for every phase to be useful to the player – whether it is a chance to dispel blessings/maledictions even if you don’t have any psychics that are there to harness the powers of the warp.  There could be a one shot way to dispel a power – thus eliminating a turn of broken rules interactions and thus making such all in investments of powers less powerful.

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Some Psychic Solutions

Let’s build a list of what this new system needs.

  1. Perils need to be worse and more damaging to your army.  This is a big one as while we need psychics to bring some excitement to the game – we also need to have some kind of threat or limitation that makes throwing all your dice at a spell dangerous.  The old fantasy system had a pretty rough perils chart.  From getting removed from play on a 4+ on a d6 to giant blasts of doom killing yourself and your teammates.  Complete shut downs of the phase and losing more then just a single spells is important to keep some of these powers at bay.  These sorts of things are needed to help bring some balance.
  2. Limitations on total dice usable.  This is me thinking about how to control the amount of powers available a turn.  Sure some armies need to have a ton of dice to throw as that is the only way their armies work (Daemons, Nids, Grey Knights).  This means creating a system that would allow low level dice casts but still not make it feel like a turn is full of tiny pinks of damage.
  3. If you fail to cast a spell (not by being counter, but by not generating enough dice successes) you can’t cast anymore.  The warp doesn’t like you, your can’t feel the power, or you just suck at what you are doing.  This makes people have to burn a bit more dice to get a spell off.
  4. Dispelling needs to be better.  Whether it is creating an item that lets you get one free dispel or allowing the player during their phase to try and turn off a blessing/malediction.  There could even be a way to allow for a guaranteed dispel like there is a guaranteed casting (utilize perils to both auto cast and if you roll double 6’s you auto dispel).  That phase needs to be usable by both sides of the table.
  5. The power level of spells need to be looked at.  I think there are only a few spells that are problems – with one getting nerfed in the format I play in and the other having some answers in rough maledictions and other armies abilities to ignore it.
  6. Some kind of enforced limit on how many dice you can use per Psychic Spell.  There are times where the chances to dispel is just too hard because your opponent threw 15 dice at a power.  A limit would help curtail all or nothing throws and let opponents actually have a chance to stop something.  With more deadly perils you could see a drop in this but I think a limit might be helpful.


Fantasy Had Some Good Ideas

I keep going back to the old Fantasy system as while it wasn’t perfect – it did feel like a true phase that both players had a chance to fight in.  For those not knowing it – you basically rolled 2 d6’s plus a number of channel dice to get up to a maximum of 12 dice.  The opponent got to channel as well as use the larger number of the dice rolled on the 2d6.  From there you would throw dice plus your Casting level to try and get to or over a set number for the spell.  These ranged from low powers like 6 or 7 all the way up to 16+.  If you rolled a double 6 on the dice rolled to try and succeed a spell – your spell automatically went off and could not be countered – but you had a really rough perils chart to go against.  Any total roll of under 2 is an automatic fail (if you roll a 2d6 and get a 2 for the total when trying to cast it auto failed) and that caster couldn’t cast anymore for the turn.  An opponent would also throw dice at your spell as well – with a double 6 causing an automatic dispel of the spell unless they rolled a double 6.  This gave you a back and forth as you had to really plan your spells, bait your opponent, and still tried to win the game with magic.

Now of course this exact format doesn’t always work.  You couldn’t have duplicate spells and there are too many armies with duplicated powers to really get to work well.  The other big issue is having to rework all the spells in each book with a formation that isn’t just WC 1,2,3 – and instead now a Spell level of 6, 10, 15.  It would also take a great deal of “tweaking” to make sure some things are right – reprinting or FAQ’ing books etc.  This leads me to think will most likely see a completely different version of the psychic phase that utilizes what they have printed in a new and different way.


Think of the Possibilities

Could you imaging if your had the ability to stop spells the same way you have to cast spells targeting you?  Would having just a random Librarian running around to at least give you a 5+ to stop some kind of mind war be worth it?  Would that open up armies that while devastated by a few powerful spells now – would be much better suited when they might actually have a chance to stop a spell if they have an Admantium Will piece of wargear?

I play Daemons so in a lot of ways I am part of the problem.  Most of the time I run big fat monsters who plan it is to be a pain in the ass to get rid of and surrounded by a ton of buffs, abilities, and other big fat jerks.  While I do play with them I do feel there needs to be a better way to help keep things in check.

~What do you guys think would help fix this?

  • Master Avoghai

    Or maybe just allow blessings to the psyker itself?
    There you’ll get only malediction and psychic shoots (which should automatically hit if cast succeed btw) that would be easier to dispell thanks to artefact (presence of the psyker, psychic hood, admantiul will, psychic artefacts granting + 1 to dispell…)

    The problem here is mostly that the psychic phase turns around blessings => gives outrageous bonus to an entire squad AND can be dispell only by rolling 6s.

    Also, i’d like to have a simplified version of the psychic phase for big games… I’ve recently played a battle of 10000pts facing chaos and Tzeenthc in particular… Having to roll for 12 spells at the beginning of the game, then cast them with 32 powerdices and genrate tzentch herald that need to roll on the spell table too starts to be fun breaking

    • Grimjuc

      I like the idea of blessings only affecting the psyker, that would make powers like invisibility or endurance not as game breaking.

      Right now blessings are the number 1 issue in the game right now, the second biggest issue is maledictions. It is never really one power that ruins the game it is normally stacking multiple physic powers with abilities; like grimoire with invisibility, or dark angels rerolling cover saves with invisibility.

      I used to play in a lot of tournaments at a high level of competitive play but the game ceases to be fun when there is nothing you can do to stop something. Every list design ether had to have a high number of psychic dice to create a deathstar or run a culexus assassin to defend against such shenanigans.

      1) Give psykers the ability to dispell since they are not spells maybe we should call it psychic nullification where this could be done during the psychic phase. If a psyker is a higher level than the caster he should have an easier time dispelling. A level 2 psyker successfully cast invisibility on his unit during his turn, the enemy level 3 psyker could use his warp charges dice to nullify invisibility by casting on the enemy unit it requiring a 4+ to cancel. Ideally the same principal would apply if it is a two warp charge power it would require a minimum of two successes. If they were both the same level it would require a 5+ and a lower level would require a 6+.

      The only issue I would see with something like this is the buildup of more and more psykers being required to compete. Armies that don’t have psykers or are super limited on the number they can take would have natural disadvantages but as of now they already have the same disadvantages.

      2) Successful deny the witch rolls of 6+ should subtract from the number of successful warp charge rolls. So if someone is trying to summon demons and successfully rolls just enough warp charge dice to pass (which is three) then the opposing player would only have to successfully roll one 6+ deny the witch roll to prevent the spell from going off.

      Outside of that, the psychic phase needs some major revisions.

    • Karru

      I think that either we go back to the way 5th edition handled Psychic Powers, IE not broken or useless just supporting and mixed things up, which is very unlikely or they do some heavy rework.

      One solution might be this. Remove RNG when choosing Psychic Powers, but make them all unique. Only exception is the Signature Power. Then make it so that the Warp Charge cost the powers have are “points” that your Psyker has to spend. The Masterly level has to be equal or less than the total amount of Warp Charges. Also, there should be a major rework on the Warp Charge costs on most powers.

      It would work like this:

      I take a Level 2 Psyker that has access to Telepathy. The powers available are the following Dominate, Mental Fortitude, Terrify and Shrouding for 1 point, Hallucination for 2 points and Invisibility for 3 points. He can either choose 2 of the 1 point powers or Hallucination but he can’t take Invisibility, since it will require him to be at least power level 3. He also gets the Signature Power, Psychic Shriek, for free.

      Now, if I take another Psyker, he cannot take the same powers, outside the Signature one, that the first one took. This way people cannot stack powers or attempt the same power multiple times. They are also not able to keep the same power in the army due to reckless dice rolling or minor mistakes like bad model placement.

      This rule can be different with models that have the Brotherhood of Psykers special rule, IE they can have the same power already present on the battlefield.

      Next up, the way manifesting these powers would work. One way would be to take the old Fantasy System that was pointed out. You roll 2D6 and you can attempt to “channel” more dice (1 dice, on a roll of a 6 you manifest another one up to maximum of 12 dice) with all of your models with the Psyker special rule. Your opponent gets the highest of the two dice as his/her block dice, he/she can also attempt to “channel” more (same ruling as stated before).

      All powers have a set value, for example 8 or 10. This is the amount you want to get with the dice you roll. You can roll as many as you want, but if you roll any double 1’s you peril and your power is an automatic failure or double 6’s you pass but still peril. You roll the amount of dice you want and add your mastery level on it. Let’s say attempt to cast Terrify that has a manifest value of 7 with my Mastery Level 2 Psyker. I choose to roll 2 dice. I roll 3 and a 2. I have a total of 5 but with the Mastery Level I have 7 which I needed. Now my opponent will attempt to stop my power. He/she picks a Psyker on the battlefield who wants to attempt to stop it. He/she picks a Mastery Level 3 model. He/she rolls 1 dice for it and rolls a 5. The total is now 8 and he/she successfully blocks the power. I can now attempt another power with same model but I cannot use the same power again this turn.

      Speaking from experience, this system isn’t as time consuming or one sided as the system we currently have. Most players can just pick their power while they make their list and when the phase starts, you can just roll those two dice plus all the “channellings” and you are good to go with your phase.

      Of course, they would have to make the Perils table extremely devastating. All results should at all times go from bad to worse. Other option would be to make them even more devastating depending on the amount of dice you rolled. For example, if you rolled 8 dice to get your Invisibility off and now rolled those Double 6’s or 1’s, you have to roll on the table. All results could scale to the point where if your roll more than 4 dice to a single power and suffer Perils, you’ll most likely kick the bucket, decimate your entire unit or JUST lose the power you attempted to cast.

      Suddenly spamming Psykers and creating deathstars with stacked blessings isn’t such a good idea. Also summoning would be a lot less powerful but still not useless due to the Summoning being a Signature power which you can attempt to cast multiple times, with every model that has it of course. This system would also make Psychic Powers way more fun to use and there is even the chance of seeing something else outside Telepathy and Divination! This way, even if I bring a humble level 2 Psyker against someone who brought three Mastery Level 2 Psykers led by a Level 3, I have hope in cancelling even one or possibly even two of their powers while I can try to get something off!

    • David Metcalfe

      good idea, i thought maybe not as big a nerf, but reduce the range to 6″

    • LordKrungharr

      Wouldn’t allowing an enemy to dispell Blessings the same way as Maledictions upon him/herself be just as balancing as limiting Blessings to the psyker itself?

  • DrLove42

    I disliked the Fantasy Magic system so much it stopped me from playing the game. So i really dont want tha to come to 40K

    • Muninwing

      is this before or after 8th? because the two systems were actually different enough to matter…

      and it’s one of the reasons why some people hated 8th, and others thought it was the first step in the right direction

      • DrLove42

        Not sure which edition…the one woth High Elves in the starter box? Think that was 8th.

        TBH i am old school and just liked the old 5th edition 40K….number of powers equal to mastery level, pass a Ld test, fail and get the perils.

        • silashand

          8th Edition broke magic. It was the game of removing whole units with the uber no-save-of-any-kind spells. Worst effing edition ever for magic and one of the main reasons I hated it.

        • Ryan Kelly

          Ld tests are a joke, just like fear tests, only effects armies with poor Lds

  • sethmo

    Yeah the issue is the phase slows things down a ton. If you play an army without it, games are drastically faster.

    Random generation is dumb, go back to paying in points for powers please, that way the cards and still useful and me and my opponent dont need ten minutes to figure out what bull crap is going on.

    Warp charge should subtract from your perils roll so higher powers are riskier, go back to 2d6, this warp charge pool nonsense is annoying.

    Finally the denial system does not really use you models stats, it needs to be some kind of init or leadership check with mastery thrown in…..and area denials not this nonsense we have now.

    • Muninwing

      random generation is usually dumb. hasn’t stopped GW from trying hard to push it.

      stop trying to make random happen.

      • Carey_Mahoney

        … which could result in less appealing powers being thrown out of the list, since nobody would select them deliberately. This, on the other hand, could be fixed by just having to buy spells via points, so the cheaper ones (ahem, Pyromancy…) would require more synergy between your units to be used efficiently, which actually sounds kinda cool to me.

        • Muninwing

          if a power is less appealing because it’s just not good, then perhaps that needs to be addressed too.

          i actually would love to go back to the idea that every Librarian was assumed to know one starting power, even if it was chosen from a list. and if you wanted a second one or to trade in the one you have, you need to exchange or upgrade. thus, you in theory get out what you put in.

    • TenDM

      I like the idea of the Psychic Phase but you’re right that time is it’s biggest enemy. I think the solution to that is in the Assault Phase. I mean compare the four phases. Assault stands out as the bottleneck phase while Psychic is relatively short and easy.
      Once you’ve got a few units in combat it drags. You’ve got a bunch of movement, overwatch, charge distance, pile in, 10 initiative stages, more rolls than any other phase, combat resolution and consolidation.
      It’s worth it because it’s all major stuff but I can do my entire Psychic Phase before you even reach Hammer of Wrath rolls. If that phase can be sped up somehow it’ll easily create room for the Psychic Phase. They just have to figure out how to do make the Psychic Phase deep enough/important enough to justify streamlining the Assault Phase.

      • nurglitch

        I feel like rolling assault and shooting into a single action, like the Epic Armageddon Engage action would work best, particularly if you set a 12″ participation range (equivalent to the 15cm participation range for Epic: Armageddon).

        • euansmith

          That sounds neat, as it would make close range shooting reactive; with the target getting to shoot back.

          • nurglitch

            I don’t know if you’ve played Epic: Armageddon, but there is provision for certain units attacking first in an engagement. Essentially the attacking detachment gets to move, and then attacks are resolved with units in base contact using their Close Combat score to attack, and units within 15cm using their Firefight score to attack. All detachments with units within 15cm of the attacker/defender can attack. Casualty removal is done per 5th edition 40k rules whereby a unit in the targeted detachment is selected, takes a save, and is removed if failed.

          • euansmith

            I just played Adeptus Titanicus until all of my arms got shot off. 😉

            I was thinking of something like 40k Close Combat, where both sides get to fight.

          • nurglitch

            Yes, both attacker and defender get to fight, as well as friendly or antagonistic bystanders. Notably you could engage with one unit, use nearby friendly units to negate any numerical advantage the target detachment had, and then presuming you won the engagement, push to engage with one of those nearby friendly units.

          • euansmith


          • nurglitch

            It’s a fantastic game.

  • Inian

    How about diminishing returns on warp charges available? If the total mastery level (tma) is 0 you get 0+D6 warp charges (for deny the witch since obviously you can’t cast anything).
    tma 1-3 = 1 + D6 warp charges
    tma 4-6 = 2 + D6 warp charges
    tma 6-12 = 3 + D6 warp charges
    tma 13+ = 4 + D6 warp charges

    Opponent rolls his dice, any sixes means you lose one warp charge.

    Then no rolling to manifest the charges, instead just use them and cast the spell. This would require the removal of all totally OP psychic powers though. Sure your psyker will get hit by psychics more often since he’s just as bad as denying as everyone else, but on the plus side he can put his own buff on himself to counter the malediction.

    Two new base powers could be added (just like force), one is disspell (spelling?) that can be used to remove an active malediction/blessing, the other is psychic shield that prevents a unit to be affected by psychics altogether (including blessings) for one game turn.

    That became a wall of text instead of a comment, sorry. But that would be my “wishlist”-type fix for the psychic phase.

  • euansmith

    I’ve not player 40k since the end of 5th, so I don;t know the ins and outs of the current system, but reading Gaotboy’s thoughts about, how about having each players generating a Psychic Dice Pool at the start of the game turn. These are then used up to cast and block powers over the rest of the game turn.

    So, in their player turn, Player 1 has the option to burn up some or all of their dice to cast powers, and Player 2 can chose how many of their dice they will use to defend against them.

    Then, in Player 2’s turn, Player 2 can use their remaining dice to try to cast powers, and Player 1 can use whatever dice they have left to try to block them?

    Of course, if GW drop I-Go-U-Go for 8th, the issue of a player being able to unleash a super destructive Psychic Phase of Death would be mitigated against; along with the equally horrible Tsumani of Bullets Shooting Phase issue.

    • Inian

      The dice are not carried over, they are regenerated each psychic phase. Other than that you got it right.

      • euansmith

        But if the dice did carry over, both players would have choices to make in each Psychic Phase.

        • Inian

          Oops, I misread, I thought that was more a question/interpretation of the current system, not a suggestion on how to have it instead. My bad!

          • euansmith

            No worries 😀

  • Thomas Gardiner

    Easy enough to fix psychic powers: make it 2d6 vs Ld again, but just tone down the actual psychic powers. One of the things I actually think AoS got right was stripping back magic to a simple “roll two dice” system.

    Magic and armour piercing are the two systems from AoS that I actually think are superior to 40k.

    • euansmith

      I really like the Hero Phase in AoS.

      • Thomas Gardiner

        Yeah, I’m obviously known for being critical of AoS but the Hero phase stuff, armour piercing and leadership systems are pretty solid and I’d happily have them in 40k.

        If they brought those systems into 8th ed 40k, but didn’t adopt the fixed To Hit and To Wound rolls, I’d be a happy camper!

        • Muninwing

          i’d give that a try…

          i really think the fixed numbers are foolish, the move toward skirmish systems is antithetical to why many people bought in (to 40k as well as whf), and the tendency toward a messy undefined scrum in the center (and lack of rules to make play more varied) make it a non-play game in my book.

          porting those mistakes over to 40k would be a huge mistake in the name of simplicity, when in reality just making sure the rules are better-written and more unified would achieve the same.

          but that does not mean that they should just throw out eve the good ideas.

          my hope is that as soon as GW is done bringing new books into the fold, they will sit down as a creative team and review actual findings — get feedback from players, trawl the sewers of comment sections, dredge up email complaints, ask their store employees about the common issues, however they need to do it. and they will sit down with a unified vision.

          maybe Hero Phase in some form will be the way to work it. maybe cal it the “leadership” phase and give everyone’s HQs something to do then, for or against. defensive armies might use a power in their opponent’s hero phase to buff up or sabotage. some HQ might have a one-use power, others might have a choice between three minor things, some Leadership Traits might be useable in that phase, and psychic channeling might be used then…

          but i’m a fan of psychic powers not being randomly generated fail-or-nuke crap. i’d much rather see the powers themselves toned down a bit, but become more utilitarian in other ways.

          and personally, i’d rather that channeling was a heavy action (no movement, etc), but the dice pool stayed until used (but keeping ice added to the chance of Perils). and using a psychic power would ruin infiltrating or invisibility or the like. and maybe powers can be used whenever (let a witchfire count amongst the wounds during shooting for routing the enemy, let movement powers be used next turn in the movement phase, or just before the assault phase).

          the psychic phase as is just isn’t good.

          • Aezeal

            Just so you know.. that scrum in the middle is just BS or terrible players playing. And in my opinion the fixed to hit/wound is ofset by the wounds and armor in this system so it hardly matters in the end (the overall effect) however I see why you could be against it.

          • Muninwing

            yeah, i wouldn’t be surprised. AoS died pretty fast out here, so even if i wanted to play there’d be nobody to play with. so while i’ve tried to keep up with the game, it’s likely that the game is tons better than i think it is out of lack of experience.

            i’m still annoyed that GW shafted me by forcing the change, but there’s not anything i can do about that.

            what i suppose bothers me a bit still, and with some suggested changes in 40k that get batted around the danger is there… is that unless a system is definitively better, it all seems like change for the sake of change. offsetting by wounds means that suddenly there’s a new system and a new metric and new interactions… and with 40k only recently being better at updating books who knows if it will be a comprehensive move or just favor some?

            really, as with so many other things, i really wish that we (and by that i mean GW) would fix the obvious flaws before trying to redo everything for the look of progress.

            fixing the books, rebalancing the points, and FAQ-changing everything that’s broken or not playing as intended would make the game far more playable and less fun for those who are not currently in the good graces of the cheez-god. and i bet it would play like a totally different game…

          • Aezeal

            Well simplicity is a good think in itself (at least… when you’re dealing with 100 of rules it’s preferable they are simple rules and not complicated).
            The problem for most changes is the fact that there have been recent book releases. A lot of rules cannot be changed without changing the units.

          • Muninwing

            how much more simply is AoS, really, when each warscroll has specific unique rules? it’s changing the impression but possibly making it even more complicated and less unified.

            as far as 40k is concerned…

            the big issue with their product has always been the speed of codex releases and rules. their old model, of one new book every so often, was always going to favor the more recent ones. eventually they grew in such a way that it just didn;t work. but they changed that — they decided to release a deluge of product in a short time.

            what they probably should have done was to release 6th, get people on board with some of the ideas, and then release every new codex. including some of the recent new factions. then, codify 7th and use some of the space in 7th to reframe the rules of the units, and FAQs to do the rest.

            but 8th is coming. and the points-values are still as random as pickups at last call, and just as prone to avoidable issues. without a proper and successful overhaul of certain parts of the game (but not all of them, we don’t need to burn it to the ground), we aren’t actually any better off…

          • Aezeal

            This is very true.
            The basics are simple though so you can start small or with limited scrolls and the game is relatively easy. Once you add lots of characters there are a lot of rules, but they are on the warscrolls you are using anyway and not throughout a 200 page book.

          • Muninwing

            personally, i’ve found that one rulebook and some post-it notes (and, if so inclined, highlighting the important stuff) is much faster and easier to look through than shuffling through various papers or cards.

            but i guess that’s just personal preference.

            still, it does look more frustrating when you see that people who tended to like the cards and individual models gravitated toward other games, while a lot of people who liked the structure of GW product gravitated toward them… meaning that gutting what they did well and leaving a vacuum was a pretty severe business decision.

  • Ciaphas Cain

    Some good ideas, but all of them at once would be a bad idea.

    I think a combination of 1 and 6 is the answer.

    make the perils table a 2D6+ system if you perils the number of dice you rolled after 1 is added to the roll so the more you pump the more you risk.

  • Viper666

    Here what could be done:

    – A psyker can generate 1 psychic power per ML per game turn and can try to generate any power of any of his available Disciplines (as per their profile) as long as he has enough warp
    charges, unless it is stated in his profile that that he can generate certain fixed powers only. However, a psyker can try to generate a power only once for the entire game, except for the Primaris Powers, the Force Power and any fixed psychic powers in its profile.
    -All psykers can generate any one known Primaris Power OR the Force Discipline for free each turn (the power doesn’t count in the total of power he can generate each turn).

    – Psykers ML1 can generate Warp Charge 1 Psychic Powers on 4+ but can generate Warp Charge 2 and 3 powers on 5+ only. The same goes for ML2 Psykers with WC3 powers. The exception to this is for Primaris Powers or any fixed Powers, which are always generated on 4+ whatever their WC value.

    – A ML1 psyker only know 1 Discipline (known as Primary Discipline), chosen at the beginning of the game.

    Furthermore, a psyker with ML2 or more can choose the following:
    Have access to an extra Discipline (known as an Secondary Discipline) per ML past the first (as permitted in their profile)
    or he can have a Psychic Focus once per ML past the first

    -Psychic Focus: The psyker can try to generate each power of any of his known Disciplines one extra time during the game.

    -Deny the Witch: each successful Deny the Witch dice removes a successful Psychic Test dice.

    -Witchfire Powers always counts as automatic hits unless it also have the Blast Special Rule (which is rolled as a normal Blast shooting attack minus the BS of the Firer in case of scatter) Any “extra” successful roll after the minimum needed on a psychic test grants a +1BS for a Blast Witchfire Power. Focussed Witchfire however can become “focussed” only on a successful BS roll.

    • Ciaphas Cain

      ” A psyker can generate 1 psychic power per ML per game turn and can try to generate any power of any of his available Disciplines (as per their profile) as long as he has enough warp
      charges, unless it is stated in his profile that that he can generate certain fixed powers only. However, a psyker can try to generate a power only once for the entire game, except for the Primaris Powers, the Force Power and any fixed psychic powers in its profile.”

      This just helps the power gamers, the fact that you can’t count on getting a power makes it hard or involves a massive points sink to build around that power.

      You know how folks scream about invis? Imagine if every army that could use Telepathy has it?

      • Viper666

        They’ll be at best able to try to generate 1-2 times per game per psyker…..and ML1 psykers will have hard time doing it correctly….and the opponent will surely keep his Deny the Witch to reduce the success dice.

  • Ciaphas Cain

    ” This leads me to think will most likely see a completely different version of the psychic phase that utilizes what they have printed in a new and different way.”

    That’s a big jump, whats more likely is more of teh same with a tweek.

  • David Metcalfe

    the phase seems to work well when there are not too many psykers. like 40k in general when there come a lot of one thing it generally breaks down. a 1500pt marine list with a single level 2 lib the phase works well. necrons V 22level daemon list then yes it probably does break down.

    1. yes agreed. could include sucked into warp leaving a vortex, opponents gets a greater daemon, S10 large blast etc
    2. the problem is armies “pay” for their abilities and this limits them. would they get a discount on things they can’t use, unlikely. not using army choice as a metric for generating dice would help.
    3. sort of yes, make you spend more dice, and thus more risk of perils
    4. not sure. its pretty hard to cast something and if adding more risk there has to be a suitable reward. but yes more items that help nullify powers in range would help.
    5. the only one i hear people banging on about is invisibility. it is a natural counter to the big stuff in the game. i think the range of blessing is the issue (someone below mentioned it) reducing it to 12″ or even 6″ may be a better nerf
    6. as you use more dice, yes you have more chance of getting it off, but you have more risk of perils. that is the trade off

    i really like the fantasy 4/5th edition magic phase with cards. again it had problems but that was more to do with easy availability of level 4 wizards and some really tough magic items

  • TenDM

    I dunno, some of these suggestions sound ok but it feels like they’re all reactionary ideas. You’re taking what’s there and making it harder or softer based on how hard you’re getting hit. Nerfs and buffs are good for systems that work, but the Psychic Phase has problems that can’t be tweaked out like this.
    The powers themselves are busted up. They vary wildly in not just power but utility. Perils is a relic. The structural side of the phase is very basic. Even the core purpose of the phase is sort of vague. It’s not very strong tactically since you can’t truly interact with your opponent beyond attacking their Psykers and defending your own.
    It’s a tough one because it needs depth to be worth implementing yet it’s competing for time with three well established phases.

    I think if I were to write a Psychic Phase I’d try something closer to Shooting. Psyker units can cast one power each Psychic Phase. They don’t roll to get the shot off but each power has three range values and three To Hit values. You pick the one based on the Psykers Mastery Level, declare the shot, then fire.
    Certain units get a Deny the Witch Psychic Power which can be used in their opponents Psychic Phase (non-Psyker units that get it would get would be told which ML to use for it). Again it has a three stage range and Deny roll value. A Psyker who doesn’t use any powers on their turn gets double range and +1 to their Deny roll.
    I’d probably tone Perils down, but I’ll admit I just don’t the idea of gambling on psychic powers. Finally I’d take the powers and try to normalise them a little. Maybe add a little icon to the cards showing what type of power it is and which power types it’s allowed to stack with. There’s not enough space to insert a whole card game but I think games like Magic have a lot of ideas that could make resolutions during the phase quicker and clearer while setting boundaries to keep phase effectiveness in check.

  • Arthfael

    “the phase needs to be useful to both players”

    No. If you have a shooting phase, then you don’t expect it to be useful to the other player, except in a few rare occasions like Gets Hot. You are paying good points for that shooting phase, if your opponents wanted one, he should’ve brought psyker. It may need fixing, powers are definitely too random, some are way too strong while others are useless or too situational, but making the psychic phase more dangerous to the psyker is not the way to go.

    • TenDM

      Yeah. I think this is a bit of an image problem for the Psychic Phase. When it first started out nothing was priced for it properly so it felt like a bunch of free shots at your opponent with nothing you could do against it, and that mental image stuck with players. Now it’s getting to the point where to dominate the Psychic Phase you’ve got to cut back in other areas. As long as you’re paying for it there’s nothing wrong with dominating the phase. I mean nobody complains if a close combat heavy army dominates the Assault Phase as long as they’re paying their points to do so.
      There’s a bit of work to go before the Psychic Phase gets there but it’s on track to reach that goal.

      • Arthfael

        Hear! Hear!

  • mathhammer

    my simple fix is assign a faction to the dice generated by a caster, so a Hive tyrant generates 2 Tyranid faction dice. And then depending on who is casting the spell those dice from the other factions have a higher target number. ( the d6 rolled is the faction of your warlord)

  • Painjunky

    The real problem is GW can’t be trusted to keep the psychic powers balanced.
    They will always include a handful of powers sooooo terrible they are nothing but filler AND a handful that are sooooo OP they eclipse the entire psychic pantheon.
    Until this problem is confronted we’re just p-ssin in the wind.

    • petrow84

      IMO they should just leave out the whole discipline+random generating issue, and return to the bought powers, like in 5th ed. There’s enough gameplay experience to sort out, which works, and which is garbage; price it accordingly, and there we go.
      Invisibility: 50 points
      Daemon summoning: 40 points

      They could even sync it with the mastery levels; ML1 can buy 1 power, ML2 two and so on.

  • Rurik Von Elenor Neologik

    I am not agree with any of your points.
    I am a GK player. And i find this system just perfect.
    Perils is already bad. Dont need to be worse.

    You need to dispell? I think you forgott psychic hoods.

    • Admiral Raptor

      There’s almost no real danger to perils. A one in six chance of death is no meaningful deterrent to players throwing handfuls of dice at powers.

      Psychic hoods do nothing against blessings, which are the most potent powers in the game. No one is going to be dumb enough to throw a witchfire at grey knights instead of just casting invisibility on there most powerful unit.

  • Simon Chatterley

    So the solution is to make it like Warhammer 8th edition magic but with fairer “spells”?

    Tbh whilst you had the 8 lores it was pretty fair…then they super powered the Elda…..the High Elves magic which carried through to the Lizardmen And then Dark & Wood Elves. The poor old 8 original loves were suddenly a bit mundane and near impossible to get off against said High Elves.

    So what was fair (ish) to begin with was soon obliterated by GW and the search for more money.

    I actually felt the pain of Eldar players as I was a High Elves player and we suddenly became near unbeatable and they ceased to be fun to play and I could never get a game with them after that.

  • Admiral Raptor

    Let’s put the Psychic phase where it belongs. In the Hero phase at the start of each player turn. AoS is the only GW system to ever get magic/psychic powers right. Why bother trying to fix 7th edition when the whole thing is going to be scrapped in few months anyway?

  • José Monteagudo Ibarreta

    The big difference with 40k was that in Fantasy every army had casters and if not they had dedicated means of stopping casters. Tipically every army would either have a lot or very powerfully caster to use a lot of spells or have a few to try to defend yourself and try to cast a few usefull spell here and there. Magic was a crucial part of every army, both in the play and in the background. That is not the case of 40k. There psychic powers were always more a special skill of a specific individual. While I like a lot many of the powers,turning it into space magics felt wrong with me.

  • lionheart0161

    have it so you don’t have to negate all the casting dice on a 6+, if you have a ML 2 power going off with 2 dice on a 4+ (so a 4 and a 6) and the dispel dice rolls one 6, that has negated one of the required 4+ dice rolls so the power does not go off???

  • David Pitre

    Ok, I never respond to posts. So here goes. I like the way psychic powers works right now. Making them less reliable will take from the strategy of the game. They are currently random enough. In fact psychic powers should just have a cost, and you pay for what you want as part of the army list. Makes the set up for the game simpler, and takes some of the randomness out. It’s listed in the army list and everybody knows what kind of game they’re in for.

    I agree that perils is not very perilous, they need to fix that.

    Here is where I think it is broken: there should be no psychic phase. It should be done during the shooting phase. If a psyker wants to “shoot” at something with his psychic power separate from his unit, he needs to grow a pair and separate from the unit during the movement phase. This business of a unit shooting at 2 or even 3 other things with witchfire, and then shooting at a 3rd or 4th thing in the shooting phase needs to end with the rare exception of splitfire units.

  • wibbling

    Roll 2d6 and add mastery level. Double 1 causes an unsaveable wound. You can add dice up to and equal your psyker level to the casting roll. You opponent can do the same to stop the casting going off. Scrap perils, double 1 causes an automatic wound but the power still goes off if it meets/exceeds the target number.

  • benn grimm

    How about psychic powers which are weaker, bought as wargear and go off if you can pass a leadership test, fail if you fail. Sound familiar?

    • petrow84

      Minor and major powers, that is. However, I’d roll with the priced, wargear-equivalent stuffs. There is already way too much randomness in the system.

    • Djbz

      Far too reliable as almost every psyker is Ld 9/10

      • jeff white

        exactly. like buying a plasma pistol and expecting it to work most of the time…

        • Nameless

          Except it doesn’t, in fact it only works a little over half the time. a plasma pistol works 20/36 times on a BS4 model hitting T5 or less model. The chance to pass a Ld 10 test is 33/36 making it 5 times less likely to fail.

          a Ld 7 model would pass a Ld test more often than a space marine Sargent would hit and wound with his plasma pistol.

          • jeff white

            once redone, not now, but once done simply and correctly, like plasma pistols…

      • benn grimm

        Nothing wrong with a little reliability if, as was the case before 6th, psychic powers aren’t as OP/impactful. There are also further ways to vary power/reliability, such as a roll to hit, characteristic tests etc included in the text of the power (as was the case from 3rd through 5th).

        This isn’t fantasy, we don’t need a bloated magic phase, especially when there are quite a few armies that don’t have psykers at all.

        • Djbz

          I just always found psykers to be dull back then.
          Easy to cast with but doing nothing significant, it was boring so I’d never use them.
          I prefer the bigger risk for the bigger reward we get now,
          The part I don’t like is the psychic defenses don’t work properly and certain formations that return it to being far too easy to cast (Librarius conclave in particular)
          Warp charge needed for certain powers need adjusting (many of the Angel of death powers need to require more, and witchfire and focused witchfire need to require less)

          • Karru

            What big risk, big reward? There is no such thing right now. You either roll with 9-12 mastery levels worth of models that all should have access to Divination and/or Telepathy. You then roll 8+ dice to get Invisibility off on your Deathstar and maybe lose a wound while your opponent can’t do anything to stop you. So I ask again, where is the risk here?

            Also, there is literally no point in taking only a single Psyker, unless it is Eldrad or Tigurius. You don’t want to waste your points on a very RNG heavy Psychic Discipline that has a heavy chance of being completely worthless, so you’d rather spend those points on more reliable killing power.

            The saying that fits the current system isn’t “Bigger Risk, Bigger Reward”, it’s “Go Big or Go Home”.

          • benn grimm

            Fair play. TBH it seems pretty doubtful we’ll see a return to the good old ways anyway.

          • Carey_Mahoney

            The easy inclusion of a Librarius Conclave in many armies is certainly part of the problem, albeit not being a mechanic of the psy phase.

        • Karru

          Exactly. During 5th edition, Psykers were support characters. You took one or two to mix things up and provide you with some interesting combos. Only power that was broken was the Lash of Submission, but only because all you saw was 2x Slaanesh Daemon Prince with wings hopping about with 9 Obliterators trembling with excitement to shoot their Plasma Cannons to group hugging Space Marines.

          • benn grimm

            Jaws of the world wolf was pretty broken also, I’m sure there were a few, but it was nowhere near the state we’re in today.

          • Kevin Buesse

            Once Jaws got clarified to a thin line instead of a tape measures width it got better. Also it mostly screwed Nids orcs and necrons. Which TBF were hurting until their new dexes.

          • benn grimm

            True, but it was that over-effectiveness against dexes like Ork and Nids who weren’t awful, but certainly weren’t top tier, that made it so broken, to my mind anyway. It’s not like they needed extra help against those armies.

      • petrow84

        But finally, Ld penalizing stuffs, like Shadow in the Warp would have some meaning again.

        • benn grimm

          Leadership as a stat would begin to have meaning again…

          • Carey_Mahoney


      • Karru

        Have you ever gotten familiar with armies like Tyranids or models like the Culexus? They have these interesting abilities that reduce the LD of these said Psykers. There are also powers that reduce LD which are pointless right now since most units either have ATSKNF or Fearless.

        Those negative effects on Psychic Powers currently only effect the Peril table that is mediocre at best when it comes to damage done to a psyker that has to roll on it or even fails the LD check.

    • ZeeLobby

      Sounds good to me. They should provide incentives to take psykers without being able to swing games.

      • Karru

        That system would also provide reasons to take other disciplines outside Telepathy and Divination.

      • benn grimm

        It should just be an option, just like everything else, not the brain painingly obvious auto include (if you have access) it is now.

    • TenDM

      I think there are better options than just rolling back to the old system. I mean if we’re going to go back to that dull system why not just get rid of Psykers altogether and give fluff appropriate special rules?
      Adding a new phase is always going to be tricky but I think the Psychic Phase (done right) has the potential to really add something to the game.

      • benn grimm

        Getting rid of psykers altogether sounds good to me…;)

  • Gabriel De-Vere

    While I’m open to new ideas, instilling all the above in the Physic phase would render it as useless as a Ratling waiving Drach’nyen in a tank fight…

  • jeff white

    the “phase” needs – for the most part at least – to disappear imo.

  • Grand_Master_Raziel

    My group has a house rule that states that a psyker can only use his own power dice and those from the harness the warp roll. That way psykers don’t get an unreasonable amount of dice to throw at a single power, and a single psyker stays relevant against an army full of psykers.

  • Benderisgreat

    “this phase became a game of Magic goldfish.”

    Magic goldfish?

    • Nameless

      not 100% sure this is what he means but:

      In Magic the Gathering, test playing your deck without an opponent to make sure it works as you intended is called Goldfishing

  • Skye Larman

    Simply make the perils table harsh, I play corsairs and having a chance for my psyker to removed from play and be replaced with daemon puts me off throwing a handful of dice pretty much every time

  • Runefyre

    A bunch of your suggestions are outright igorned by Eldar, what with their ghosthelm bs. Those need to go.

    • Defenestratus

      And once again the Eldar haters line up….


      • Runefyre

        I ain’t an Eldar hater, I just dislike overpowered rulesets.

        Even for armies I play. Which is why I refrain from things like superfriend thunderwolf cavalry deathstars and all that bs.

        I also don’t believe that DC’s should get free of anything, that Necrons shouldn’t get unstoppable FnP, and that Tau shouldn’t have underpriced and overpowered guns.

  • Defenestratus

    I’m glad to see that my initial criticisms of the psychic phase are finally being realized. The old system was so much better.

    People have already wised up to the idiocy that is the Allies system.

    Damn it hurts to be so right all of the time.

    • Karru

      Just you wait, I’m sure there is someone who is going to be so angry with you trying to defend this mess of a system.

      Psychic Phase was a mistake from the start. It had no place in 40k and only served to complicate the game. It’s also so badly balanced, the powers and disciplines I mean, that it’s not even funny. When was the last time someone took Pyromancy or Telekinesis? When was the last time someone jumped with joy that they rolled Mental Fortitude instead of Invisibility?

      Then there is the problem that there is no counter to them. GW pretends there is with the Deny the Witch rolls, which is 99% of the utterly useless. Oh, you roll 8 dice to get Invisibility off and got five 4+? HAHA! You have fallen into my trap! You see, I have mastered the skill of rolling five 6’s with 4 dice from the ancient monks that live in the Himalayas! Prepare to face your doom!

      • Kevin Buesse

        One small easy fix would be if 6’s subtracted a success rather than needing to counter everything.

        Instead the limiting factor would be the WC cost. Sure you rolled 6 dice and got 4 of them. But I rolled and got 2 6’s. So now you can’t cast that WC3 power.

        Then at least the onus of defense isn’t so ridiculously high, also things like Adamantium Will could modify this or add an extra dice when rolling. Idk it all needs some work but the whole counter it all or fail really messes up the defense end.

  • Witch Beatrice

    Shadow in the Warp – you cannot even make a galactic phone call for help due to trillions of chittering voices in the warp casting a psychic shadow…

    …but Tyranids still deny on a 6+ if theres no psyker in the giant blob squad being overseen by a nearby synapse creature. And how are these librarians and weirdboyz still able to cast psychic powers thriugh the shadow it makes no sense.

    Lack of psychic defense makes the psychic phase overpowered and broken.

    • Andrew Thomas

      Agreed. SitW should make it harder to harness WC, rather than make it easier to Perils. Culexus should be the model for psychic defense, not a rare but mandatory example.

      • Drpx

        “If we get a crappy psychic phase, everybody does!”


  • silashand

    Three words: random power generation. Worst friggin’ mechanic idea ever IMO. I don’t care what GW thinks, randomness for the sake of being random does not equal fun.

  • David

    For me the problem with psychic powers are time, dispelling and balance.

    Time in a mono psycher army no problem but in a tzentch summon list randomising 16 spells takes time – Solution fixed spells (appropriately costed better spells cost more – saves time and balance.) I can turn up to the game with the spells assigned fluff wise it also helps your librarian maintain his knowledge in a campaign. It also let’s people use the spells they want and not get stuck with something rubbish for their list

    Perils adds nothing to the phase aside from adds a layer of complexity taking time and occasionally damaging a psyker Delete it.

    Random casting loads of spells leads to an extremely variable impact on the game it also requires a lot more thinking time how will I divide my 32 +dice and is the main reason people want to limit dice pools. This is a stupid fix because if you set an arbitrary number then psycker heavy armies function up to the points value that fills it and then shut down thereafter- Solution one spell per ml level auto-cast all picked from one psychic table. Saves a load of time and spell pts cost can be balanced for ability power, basically treat as equipment. In addition witchfires are basically weapons so can be costed as such and like any weapon can miss. buffs only effect the game on a dice roll of the buffed stat so their is still randomness just more consistency but this can be balanced cost wise. Sure autocasting is better but if I’m paying for my spells I’m investing more points.

    Dispelling right now doesn’t work and nerfs the mono psycker approach. So how about when your autocasting your spell your opponent may pick one psycker within 24″ of your caster and role their ml in dice any 6 and the spell is countered. Suddenly that lone ml2 librarian becomes quite effective and buffs become counterable but still castable and detracts from the overall effectiveness of psychic powers considerably

    Finnally invisibility needs to be completely rewritten so it lowers bs by 1 that or made 200pts.

  • Dan

    One of the problems with the psychic design in 40K is that it’s supposed to be unreliable and counter-able. If it’s unreliable it needs to be powerful and the only way it becomes worth it is if the effect is huge. This screws up balance because you just build your army to ensure it’s successful and you now have these super powers that have no downside. But if you make them MORE unreliable they either become irrelevent or, again, need to become more OP when they succeed.

    The better solution is to bring them back in line and make them a bit more reliable, and find a more interesting niche for them.

    One simple fix that would change a lot of problems is to have it so that each malediction or blessing contributes to “psychic interference” such that each status effect you try to stack on a target unit is harder than the last. (though maledictions and blessing would be mutually exclusive for this purpose)

    IE: The first blessing targeting a unit perils’ on two 6’s. The second on two 5/6’s. the third perils on any pair of 3/4/5/6’s. The fourth auto-perils.

    Or the second malediction could require an extra warp charge, the third malediction might require three additional warp charges. The fourth malediction might require five or seven additional warp charges.

    Or some combination of the two wherein additional stacks of curse or blessings incur more perils and are also more expensive.

    A more interesting approach for psychic points might also be each player rolls two dice to generate psychic points and have powers re-costed a la Fantasy. Then psykers casting value is equal to Ld + Mastery Level + however many psychic points you want to kick in. Dispell takes away from that.

    Such that player Angela has a Librarian with Ld 9 and ML 2. Her Librarian can cast 11 warp charge of spells be default.

    She rolls her 2d6 and has 7 extra warp charge to spread around. She dumps all of it into her Librarian to let him wast WC 18 worth of spell(s). Neato she has a WC 17 huge blast nova power available to her Librarian!.

    Sadie rolls 1d6 dispell dice and gets 3. She can lower the Librarian’s WC available to 15- Not enough for that huge Nova Power oh no!

    Then it’s fairly reliable at first blush but you can adjust the order of operations for dispelling to make it more of a bidding process, or a fake-out game, or any number of resource manipulation/psychology games. You have a lot more freedom in buffing psykers and dealing with anti-psyker powers as well. (bubbles of +1 WC to all psykers / -1 WC. Fear could be relevant. Global bonuses of +1 dispell dice or +1 power dice…etc.). Also you dont get a million psykers all adding up WC and acting as force multipliers (though if implemented better that could be interesting. One thing I think psychics SHOULD do is be advantageous in terms of power projection across the board. it at least gives a tradeoff for being expensive and unreliable)

  • Drew_Da_Destroya

    Remove the Librarius Conclave, nerf Invisibility and the crazier Astartes powers, call it a day.

  • Ryan Kelly

    A simple fix would an opposed roll of: Psyker mastery plus 2d6 vs target number =10+warp charge cost of power. Opponent can counter with 2d6 plus mastery level of target Psyker+rules like adimantine will, etc. defender wins on ties or greater. A psyker can only cast his mastery level of powers (mastery 1 can only attempt one power, mastery 2 can only cast 2 powers, etc). Perils on double 6s and double 1s. It’s reminiscent of old school without changing all those power cards people spent money on. Sure your mastery 1s have 4 powers, but which one will you cast?