Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The Librarian is my default choice for an HQ. Of the choices available, he’s the best at supporting the rest of the army. He’s our cheapest option when correctly equipped, and several of his powers provide tremendous utility for the rest of our units.

Generally, I give my Librarian a jump pack, and that’s it. A special pistol can be handy for him, but only if you have some extra points lying around. The Epistolary upgrade can be handy if you want a seriously dangerous Librarian in assault, but it’s expensive. As we’ll see, you can have a standard Librarian that can use both of his powers to the fullest extent.

Blood Boil
This power puts an automatic wound on an enemy unit within 12”, and allows you to pick what model takes the wound if you roll a 5 or less for your psychic test. This would be really handy, but there’s only a 27.77% chance of rolling that low. This limitation combined with its short range means that you should leave this power alone. We have better shooting powers, one of which is…

Fear of the Darkness
This is a shooting attack that forces an enemy unit within 24” to take a morale check with a -2 LD modifier. If they fail, they immediately fall back. This power has a decent range and is great for forcing enemy units off objectives, out of cover, or away from good firing positions. With the -2 modifier, even LD 9 troops (which I find to be the most common) will fail this test around 40% of the time. It just gets better if you’re facing enemies with lower leadership. However, it is limited because it doesn’t affect fearless units. This makes it pretty much worthless against most Ork, Tyranid, and Chaos armies.

Might of Heroes
This power gives the Librarian or another model is his unit +D3 attacks. It’s nothing flashy, but it is handy. It’s probably the weakest of our assault powers, but it is flexible as you can choose what model gets the extra attacks, meaning you can get extra Librarian attacks against infantry but extra power fist attacks from a sergeant against walkers and monstrous creatures. It’s also handy in that you can cast it during your opponent’s turn too.

Shackle Soul
This is another shooting attack with a 12” range. It forces an enemy unit to take a leadership test each time it wishes to move, shoot, or assault. Even taking three tests a turn, most units that you really want to slow down have high enough leadership that they will pass most of them. Combined with the short range, this is another power to avoid.

Shield of Sanguinius
This is one of my favorite powers. It gives every unit within 6” of the Librarian a 5+ cover save. This is great for deep striking units, as they usually end up dropping into the open. It also works great in mechanized armies, because it allows you to give your tanks cover even when out in the open. Finally, the best thing about this power is that you cast it during your opponent’s turn. Since you can cast a power each player turn, you can cast this power in your opponent’s turn and any of our other powers in your turn, using both of the Librarian’s powers without needing an Epistolary upgrade. 

This is the same as the Codex Marine version. It’s a short ranged, relatively weak assault 4 shooting attack with excellent AP. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either.

The Blood Lance
This is our other excellent shooting power. It hits every unit on a 4D6” long line with a single S8 AP1 Lance hit. It’s relatively short ranged, averaging 14”, but it reliably put wounds on any enemy unit and is our only shooting power that threatens vehicles. In addition, its ability to hit multiple units is great for breaking up castling opponents. It’s our best shooting power, and is particularly good for deep striking armies, as you can deploy the Librarian in a position to hit multiple enemy tanks.

The Sanguine Sword
This is an excellent assault power. It gives the Librarian S10 attacks. While the Librarian doesn’t have too many attacks, the boost in strength makes him dangerous against enemy vehicles and characters. It’s particularly useful for destroying walkers, which often cause lots of problems for jump pack heavy lists. While it doesn’t increase the squad’s damage as much as the next power, it does allow the Librarian to damage any target and is a very good choice. Also, remember you can cast this during your opponent’s turn as well.

Unleash Rage
This gives the Librarian and his entire unit Preferred Enemy. When attached to a large Assault squad, this power really increases their hitting power. This is my favorite assault power, edging out Sanguine Sword because it helps an entire squad. Also, it can be used in every assault phase, making it better than the Chaplain’s Litany of Blood, which only works on the charge.

Wings of Sanguinius
This power gives the model a jump pack. It’s great for Librarian Dreadnoughts and Mephiston, but don’t bother with it on a normal Librarian. Pay the points for a jump pack and take more useful powers instead.

For almost any army, my preferred Librarian has Shield of Sanguinius and either Blood Lance, Unleash Rage, or Sanguine Sword. If you’re taking the Epistolary, then I would suggest combining Sanguine Sword with either Unleash Rage or Might of Heroes to produce a very dangerous Librarian.

It’s worth noting that the Librarian is the most vulnerable of our HQ choices. With only 2 wounds and no invulnerable save, he’s really easy to kill in assault. This is one reason that I dislike the Epistolary upgrade. It adds a lot of cost to the Librarian but doesn’t make him any more survivable.

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