Sunday, July 7, 2013

Farseer Psychic Powers - Part One

It's Eldar time, and we're going to start with farseers' psychic power options. These have been revamped for 6th edition, list of randomly-generated powers and all.  Let's get moving.

0. Guide (primaris)

Guide has long been a staple Eldar power, and with this edition it's been improved dramatically: range went from 6" to 24", and it can now be cast on any allied model (not just Eldar).  It's solid, reliable, and useful, whether you're running pure Eldar or taking allies for Tau or Dark Eldar.  I don't really need to stress that twin-linking a units shooting is really good

It's worth noting that, unlike the Divination primaris power Prescience, Guide does not affect close combat.  However, the 24" vs 12" range is a significant extension, as it allows the farseer to remain in a safe position even when your army is spread out.
Nobody wants an autarch on the cover

1. Executioner

Three/two/one hits, with fleshbane, and you can pick the targets - Executioner certainly has the potential to be an excellent psychic.  But the restrictive elements of the power - unreliable target selection and damage - mean that most of the time, the power will be disappointingly weak.

Executioner is a focussed witchfire, which means that you can only select its target(s) if you roll a 5 or less on your psychic test.  On 2d6, you have a 5/18 chance of making that roll - slightly less than one-third.  If you cast Executioner seven times during the course of the game, you'll probably get to choose who it hits twice.  You have the potential to snipe out a chaos banner, special weapon, or sergeant with Executioner, granted, but your chance of doing so on any given attempt are pretty questionable.

The other limit to Executioner is how its damage works: you have to kill the first target to generate more hits. And while three fleshbane hits are decent, they're pretty weak for a psychic power.  You've got an 83% chance of killing a space marine, then a 56% chance of killing the guy next to him, and finally a 28% chance of killing a third guy, but because the power requires a to-hit roll and the target can Deny the Witch, those numbers are actually 69%, 46%, and 23%.  Rather underwhelming.

Retro lightning
True, against high toughness, low save targets the spell is somewhat more useful.  But the low chance of sniping targets, coupled with its low damage, means that Executioner probably isn't worth its warp charge cost except in a few situations.

2. Doom

Much like Guide, Doom is a solid, reliable, and enormously useful spell.  It fills a similar role in the Eldar arsenal by amplifying the damage output of your army.  This iteration of the power is especially potent because in addition to allowing re-rolls to-wound against an affected target, it can also be used on vehicles, letting your army re-roll armor penetration rolls instead.

Doom will be less effective against armies with lots of small units, but even in that situation it functions similarly to Guide.  Its main downside is the the enemy can Deny the Witch, making Guide somewhat more reliable.  However, where Guide will amplify the damage of one firing unit, Doom has the potential to boost the damage of several of your own units.  Large terminator units, Necron wraiths, monstrous creatures, and similar high-priority targets that require an enormous amount of firepower to bring down are excellent targets for Doom.  And by using Doom and multiple Guides, you can multiply your damage output to really ruin somebody's day.

"Yer a wizard, Eldrad"
Of course, Doom is not a primaris power, so while it is brutally effective, you shouldn't rely on having it every game.  But if you can pick it up, Doom is even more useful than Guide, though a little less reliable.

3. Eldritch Storm

This psychic has seen a substantial power spike from the last Eldar codex, which is compensated for by its Warp Charge 2.  You can't spin around vehicles anymore, but the power is moderately powerful and flexible.

While still S3, Eldritch Storm now has fleshbane and haywire.  High toughness units are especially vulnerable, but a large blast that always wounds on a 2+ is dangerous against any target.  The haywire rule makes the storm very effective against groups of vehicles, particularly vehicle squadrons.  The hits will most likely be glancing, but having the option of softening up or finishing off a vehicle with Eldritch Storm makes it a very solid damage dealer.

Because it's dangerous against almost any target and has an excellent (for a witchfire) 24" range, rolling Eldritch Storm will almost always be useful.  The double warp charge cost is problematic, but that's what your spirit stone is for.

Part Two     Part Three

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