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I've been playing Daemons for most of my Warhammer experience. I've got some Necrons which I've played a bit, but I wanted something different so I went with Chaos Space Marines. Now I haven't been playing them for a long time (all of three weeks), but I've had about 7 games played now. CSM have a quite a few Psyker choices and the other armies I've played simply didn't have them. In playing them against newer codex armies such as Tyranids, Blood Angels, Space Marines and Space Wolves, I can tell you that they aren't worth taking. Shadow of the Warp, Librarian hoods, Wolf Fang thingies to nullify the powers or give you Perils of the Warp more often. I'm wondering as a CSM army, why would I take a Psyker against such armies when a plasma pistol always fires (that is to say, nothing keeps it from firing in the first place)? Is GW simply making too many rules to make Psykers not worth taking? Lets face it, to use my Psychic powers, it costs a lot of points; Daemon Prince, Aspiring Sorcerer and Chaos Sorcerer have to pay points for their powers and they aren't cheap. If they have a 50/50 chance of working (leadership vs leadership), what's the point of taking a Psyker? I've never played the Eldar with a player using a Psyker, but I imagine they have the same problem. Or is this just a CSM problem because for all their Psyker choices, they have nothing that can screw with other Psykers? For now, I'm sticking with a Chaos Lord. At least his plasma pistol works.
This is a typical result of GW's 'Oh crap!' method of dealing with things. For a good example we can head back to 4th edition where rending happened on the to hit roll and the Assault Cannon first became Heavy 4 Rending. Now read Codex: Dark Angels. My point should be apparent.
For psykers we need to head back further; to 2nd edition. The days when there was a psychic phase and every Imperial assassin could be a Callidus in Terminator Armour with a Vortex Grenade. In normal point level games. Think Mephiston or Njal are game breaking army slaughtering models? You have no idea.
Naturally psykers got hit with the depower bat like everything else come 3rd edition. Unfortunately for them where most things got a double or triple, psykers got a Grand Slam, an act which forced non-Farseer psykers into the 'not a Chaplain pile' alongside everything that wasn't a Chaplain, Warboss, or Daemon Prince (Oddly enough the 3 successor chapters were somewhat successful in dodging this). Come 3.5 we started to see more useful psykers and minor psyker powers were introduced in Chapter Approved in an attempt to counteract 'Chaplain syndrome' This continued through 4th edition with psykers generally gaining ground as useful (or at least not useless) choices. Then came late 4th and early 5th editions. Lashes of Slaanesh, Pavane, Bolt of Change, Rune Priests, Psyker Battle Squads, Warp Blasts and Doom of Malantai. Suddenly almost everyone has access to some pretty sweet psykers, so everyone needs a way to counteract their awesome powers.
In a few years psykers may well be hanging out in the 'leave at home' heap again while Chaplains hit things and some anti-psyker defense hangs out blocking any powers from going off. But at least that will be better than psykers not having useful abilities like in 3rd, any opponent that fails to plan for psykers will run into warp fueled trouble, and every so often a psychic ability will go through and smack the opponent silly.
If that made no sense keep in mind that I've been drinking and had to walk a pair of dogs midway through. So just ask what I meant when my point got lost.
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Powers still work well, it's just psychic defence (PD) is actually worth taking now. Psychic hoods will only nullify 50% of their powers (and have been around since the dawn of time) and if you kill the bearer, the problem goes away. Same will the Eldar and 'Nid defences. To get that hood, you need to buy a 100pt librarian - who also relies on powers to be useful, so any PD you have nullifies his powers. Sadly you don't have any at the moment, but come a new codex I'd put money on that changing.
For me playing Daemons, Daemon Prince is the unit that bothers me in the whole anti-psyker crusade that GW is on. Daemon vs CSM Prince has the Daemon Prince the way I deck him out: with the mark of Tzeentch and having iron hide, Bolt of Tzeentch and Breath of Chaos vs the CSM Prince decked out with: mark of Tzeentch, Bolt of Change and Winds of Chaos. Same powers, statline is similar, points are close to the same. If my Daemon is in a fight, he will shoot 100% of the time. If my CSM Prince is up against said anti-psyker(s), he shoots 50% of the time. It is a big difference. You see, I've never played a psyker before 3 weeks ago and then to play them against these armies who all had anti-psyker abilities where I had none; it was a real shock and a let down. I wanted to have fun with my newly converted Sorcerer model (the metal Fantasy Sorcerer modeled with a bolt pistol and wings) and the Daemon Prince, but it really wasn't fun at all. I found my tactics having to change to killing the anti-psyker units first instead of more strategic targets. As for the Space Wolves, it was my first time playing them ever and I had no idea they had anti-psyker abilities. Surprise! I think if GW wants to keep Psyker abilities, they need to ease up a bit on how easy it is to nullify powers.
Just look at the old 3rd ed powers - hammerhand (S6-8 depending on user, take saves as normal) vs 5th ed - Sanguine Sword (S10, combines with power/force weapons).
Or perhaps scourging (S5, AP5, Assault D6) vs smite (S4, AP2, Assault 4)
Psychic hoods used to be unlimited range, shadow in the warp used to be unlimited range(IIRC), wolves used to have hoods(as staves), three of the four 3rd ed forces can get army-wide psychic saves (GK units can actually get two 'saves' and use both), null rods, various pariahs (amusing the old anti-psyker assassins arn't protected from psychic powers), psychic-power removing bombardments with 2d6" radius per turn and various other anti-psyker weaponry and wards and equipment and more.
GW is not on an anti-psyker crusade - I mean seriously they just released psychic flying dreadnoughts...
You can't have everything.
-Space Wolf Rune priests get 50/50 within 24"
-Vanilla marines and BT librarians get 40/60 within 24".
-Dark Angel librarians about 1 in 4 at any range (Ld9 hoods)
-Inquisition can buy unlimited range hoods for Ld8-10 (though Ld8 is about 16.6%)
-Eldar can buy runes on the farseer (3d6 rolls), Nids have their area affect disruption.
That's pretty much it off the top of my head, though there are units with saves against direct targetting (Kharn's immunity for instance) and various Ld reducing auras and abilities.
I like Sithjack's post, and see the overall point of the OP.
Yes, psykers are indeed powerful right now, but psychic defense is simply more powerful. With psychic powers like blood lance, warp lance, and jaws of the world wolf, having psychic protection is pivotal now, and for Space Marines, Imperial Guard, and Tyranids, it's not that difficult to get it. Hell, good old Njall of the Space Wolves negates psychic powers used near him on a 3+!
I agree with Sithjack. This is all a part of the balancing act between psychic powers and psychic defenses. In a way, it's not that different from the magic phase in Warhammer fantasy. (That's still in the 'offense' swing, with 8th edition first swinging it towards defense, but the new focus on intentionally casting with IF/Misscast swings things back in favor of offense)
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I agree in most of what A.T. has said and his point of view is a good one. The one thing that I really do not agree with is "You can't have everything". Some codexes do have just about everything. Look at the Guard, Space Marine Chapters and Space Marines; they all have a bit of everything in my opinion. It is my belief that other codexes should have a bit of everything, with having strengths and weakness in the whole codex. If you have a little defense, you can at least use it. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see all the codexes be too similar, but I don't think it is fair that some codexes are very well rounded and other aren't. After all variety is the spice of life and I think the well rounded codexes are the most popular in the game right now.
The grass is always greener, isn't it? ... Guard doesn't have everything...no matter what you do with them, they're still S3/T3/WS3 in melee, and all but the most expensive models have 5+ armor saves, with an expensive option for 4+, so forget about melee, which is 1/3 of the game! ...Space marine chapters have everything? I don't have time to unpack the weak points of every single chapter, but BA and SW, being the most recent recipients of codex creep are probably the ones you're thinking of...DA and BT certainly don't come close to being the cheeseness that you describe. C:UM might have options for almost anything (hordes being the exception...you just can't get around the base cost per model for 4s across the statline, boltguns standard, and power armor), but there's no way to pull off the "all things to all people" thing with C:UM. You have to sacrifice some options to get others.Some codexes do have just about everything. Look at the Guard, Space Marine Chapters and Space Marines; they all have a bit of everything in my opinion.
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