The Greater Good: Psychic Awakening Book Review
The latest Warhammer 40,000 Psychic Awakening book is now on the shelves, and in the hands of gamers up and down the country.
‘The Greater Good’ continues the storyline of the Psychic Awakening, which is shaking the very foundations of the 41st Millennium. The armies this book focuses on are the T’au, Genestealer Cultists and Astra Militarum (in particular the Militarum Tempestus).
In this article we are going to review the contents of the book, and highlight some of my favourite bits, before wrapping all this up in a summary.
Without further ado, let us delve in.
Overview of the Book
The T’au Empire are now on their Fifth Sphere expansion, and it has brought them head-first into the forces of the Imperium and an uprising Genestealer Cults force.
With lots of additional lore for all three forces, as well as the general state of the galaxy in this particular area of space, the Chalnath Expanse. The book also contains new rules for the T’au, Genestealer Cults and Astra Militarum. We also get the addition of one new narrative mission. Overall we have 79 pages of text and imagery.
I won’t go into too much detail here, as I don’t want to discuss any spoilers. One of the best things about these supplements is the progressing lore. The book does feature some fun lore, which includes more information about the Startide Nexus, which is basically a stargate created by the T’au, of which was introduced in the 8th edition Codex. The Death Guard also make an appearance, although they do not feature in the rest of the book.
The Chalnath Expanse is explained in detail, along with a star map showing the key locations from this conflict. What then follows is a series of conflicts explained in detail, giving you a flavour of all three key armies from this book, hopefully firing your imagination for your armies. In total we have 16 pages of lore.
I enjoyed reading this section, although I didn’t feel it ties into any of the previous books. This of course makes sense, the galaxy is huge, and the point of the Awakening series is to tell tales across the different planets. I shouldn’t, but I can’t help to compare the Psychic Awakening series to the updated lore over in the Age of Sigmar system. I feel as though Games Workshop are doing a better job at expanding the lore in the Mortal Realms compared to 40k, however I have to remember what this series of books is leading to, the coming of 9th Edition.
If you have an interest in any or all of the three key armies, in particular the T’au, then you’ll enjoy reading this book.
Missions and Theatre of War
The Greater Good brings us a new Theatre of War to battle in, Caverns!
Cavern Warfare presents rules for fighting within deep caverns which includes having no flyers in your army, which makes sense and adding one to random damage rolls.
Only one new mission is in this book, and it is called ‘The Taking of Iglesor Magna’. A narrative battle which is an easy set-up and pits the Astra Militarum, the defenders against the T’au Empire, the attackers.
A set of stratagems are included, which are in keeping with the mission. It is quite a straight forward, but fun looking mission, which I wouldn’t mind trying out.
General New Stuff for the Armies
All three of the main armies in this book have name generators, which is fun! All three also get brand new stratagems and ways to create your own Septs, Cults and Regiments.
We’ll now go into each army in detail.
New Rules! T’au Empire
Let us be honest, the new rules are what we are really here for, so let us start with the T’au Empire!
How is Shadowsun Different Compared to The Codex?
She’s gone through a fair amount of changes. Her stat line however is identical to the one in the Codex.
Her XV22 Stalker Battlesuit has had some key upgrades. For starters she has three extra weapons, a simple pulse pistol, light missile pod and flechette launcher. More dakka is always welcome.
Her basic two fusion blasters have gone, and instead you get a choice of firepower.
- Dispersed Fusion Blaster: 2 shots, -4 AP and D3 damage for killing those pesky Primaris size models.
- High-Energy Fusion Blaster: An extra bit of strength, but only one shot. Also -4 AP but doing D6 damage. Perfect for annihilating those tanks.
Both weapons, like normal fusion, get to roll twice and pick the highest for damage outcome within half range. You can either take a pair of those guns, or for those who are very indecisive, take one of each!
The only other key change to her particular datasheet is that she can now be taken by other septs. Until the arrival of this book you could only take her if you played the T’au Sept, limiting her use. Whilst she retains the T’au Sept keyword (meaning she does not benefit from other Sept Tenets) she can be selected in other Septs. She still counts as a Commander for the purposes of selecting a detachment however, which for those who don’t know limits you to 1 Commander model per detachment.
That is unless you are playing Farsight Enclaves, but more on that in a moment!
In the Codex, you could either pay the points for Shadowsun on her own, or you could add on some drones. She could take a Command-Link Drone and/or up to 2 Shield Drones.
In the Greater Good her profile comes complete with the Command-Link Drone and a Advanced Guardian Drone. Whilst the Command-Link Drone still gives you re-rolls of 1 on a selected unit, the Guardian Drone is new. It is basically a shield drone with a 4+ invulnerable save whilst also having an ignore wounds on a 6 within 3” of it.
The new profile for Shadowsun is the same points cost as the old Shadowsun with one of each of her previous drones. She now has a brand new plastic model, which looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to add one to my army.
For those who want to create their own Sept, you now have rules to do so! From a list of 11 rules you can choose two to give you army wide abilities. Some are stronger than others, and whereas before some of the set Septs, such as T’au (5+ Overwatch) were auto choices competitively, a couple of these could have people trying out different lists.
I’ve decided to pick out a couple of the strong choices:
- Stablisation Systems: All Battlesuits with this tenet ignore the penalty of moving and firing heavy weapons. Simple, but brilliant! Having this saves you from taking Target Lock, giving you an additional slot on your suits for either another weapon or support system, like Advanced Targeting (ATS).
- Hardened Warheads: An extra -1 AP on all Missile Pods, High-Yield Pods and Smart Missile Systems. Very powerful.
- Sophisticated Command Net: Re-roll wound rolls of 1 for Vehicles shooting an enemy unit that has at least 1 markerlight counter.
The ones above, plus a couple of additional rules, make choosing a Sept a real puzzling choice. I for one, may not continue to just play as the T’au Sept. I’m looking forward to seeing how some of these rules reflect the performance of the army on the battlefield.
Prototype Weapon Systems & Stratagems
In the main Codex you have a choice of Relics. Psychic Awakening takes it up to 11. Some of the weapon systems in this book can be put onto units, not just one single model. Again I’m going to highlight a couple, however there are so many good choices:
- Magna Rail Rifles: Replaces your Broadside units Rail Rifles with a Strength 9, Heavy 2, -4 AP and D6 Damage Magna Rail Rifle. Ouch! More like the Rail Rifle of old!
- Cross-Linked Stablisier Jets: Commanders or Crisis Battlesuits can take these, which gives the given model/unit the ability to re-roll hits AND wounds of 1.
15 brand new stratagems are featured in this book, again some are strong whilst others aren’t so great. This opens up so many tactical options when you add all of these to the ones in the main Codex. You’ve got stratagems to change random weapon shots to their maximum, ones for improving the speed of Kroot and my personal favourite, Coordinated Engagement, which you use on a Crisis unit to give them 5 markerlight counters on a chosen enemy unit.
Farsight Enclaves and The Eight
To put it simply, Farsight Enclaves have had a number of buffs!
Remember earlier when I said T’au detachments can only have 1 Commander per detachment. Well…not if you go Farsight Enclaves! You can have 2 Commanders per detachment!
Your Farsight army also gains the Aggressive Footing special rule, which allows any of your units within 12” that are shooting the enemy to count the enemy unit as having one more markerlight on them. This means you’re going to be re-rolling ones on every shot within 12”s.
The book also grants Farsight players 5 exclusive stratagems, 3 Relics, 3 different Warlord Traits and their own Tactical Objectives.
The rules for fielding the Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment, The Eight, in your Matched Play Games. They are basically suits with set loadouts, with some including relics from the Codex, including the Puretide Neurochip and Repulsor Impact Field.
It’s a cool option to have if you have all of the models, but I’m not sure how great they would be in a game. I’d love to give them a run out at some point!
Really wish I’d painted my T’au red!
New Rules! Astra Militarum
The old Imperial Guard has had a bit of a refresh in this book.
Like the Sept Tenets, you can now create your own Regiment. You have 12 choices, and you get to again pick two to create your own army-wide abilities. Again I’m just going to pick out a couple I think are worth mentioning:
- Fire from The Hip: All Infantry models can shoot when advancing. They just suffer a -1 to hit penalty
- Gunnery Experts: Re-roll one of the dice when determining the amount of shots a Vehicle model weapon fires.
- Combined Auspex: 5+ on Overwatch when within 3” of a friendly unit
Whilst not amazingly strong, I think there are some real contenders in this list for creating your own regiment and not having to rely on the ones from the Codex, such as Cadia.
My favourite addition for Astra Militarum players is the inclusion of Tank Ace abilities. These are basically warlord traits, but for tanks. You have two methods to create Tank Aces:
- By not giving your Warlord a Warlord Trait
- By spending 1CP before battle
You have three tables of different abilities depending on what sort of vehicle your giving the Tank Ace upgrade to, ranging from gaining an extra -1 AP on your turret weapons for Lemon Russes to gaining cover in the first turn for your Super-Heavy tanks.
The Imperial Guard have two pages of stratagems, again ranging in usefulness. A number of these are unique to some lesser seen units on the battlefield, including Sentinels, Wyverns and the Master of Ordnance. Good job Astra Militarum armies normally have plenty of CP to play around with!
New Rules! Militarum Tempestus
It is only right that I give the Scions their own segment in this review, as, similar to the Farsight Enclaves, they’ve been fleshed out a lot more and are a force in their own right.
6 new set Regiments (adding to the Storm Trooper regiment from the Codex) are included in this book, each with their own special rule. The 32nd Thetoid Eagles for example score an extra hit when rolling an unmodified 6 within half range.
Each of the 6 new regiments gains an exclusive relic and Warlord trait too. Not forgetting 2 pages of exclusive Militarum Tempestus stratagems!
New Rules! Genestealer Cultists
Whilst being one of the newer Warhammer 40,000 armies, the Genestealer Cultists have also got additional tools for waging war.
They’ve been hit with a few Errantas since the Codex dropped, all of which are included within this book which is handy.
Keeping up the popular ‘build-your-own-army’ theme you can now create your own Cult. You get the idea by now, you have a list of abilities of which you can choose two of. I’ve listed a couple of examples below:
- Seasoned Enforcers: Infantry models do not suffer a penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons
- Armour-Piercing Ammunition: When shooting with an auto pistol, heavy stubber or autogun within half range of your target, get -1AP
Again, some very strong choices in here, and for when I go back to project Cultists I’ll definitely be delving into these rather than choosing the ones from the Codex.
2 pages of extra stratagems give the CP hungry Genestealer Cult players even more choice, again with a number of them being exclusive to models you may not auto include in your lists. The Hybrid Metamorphs for example now have a 1CP strat that gives a unit 1 extra attack for each model in the unit.
Finally, to round off the rules each of the Cults detailed in the main Codex have an exclusive Psychic power each. Cult of the Four Armed Emperor for example, has a psychic power which when manifested halves the movement, advances and charges of a selected Infantry unit within 18”.
I think the additions to the three armies this book focuses on are very much welcome, and add further contemplation when it comes to list building. I’m really looking forward to the next installment, Saga of The Beast, if only to see the brand new plastic Ghaz!
Must Buy if…. You own, or have any interest in the T’au, Genestealer Cultists, Astra Militarum or Militarum Tempestus.
Maybe Buy if… You’d like to continue reading the lore as the Psychic Awakening progresses.
Don’t Buy if… You have zero interest in the lore or featured armies.
We’ll also be talking about The Greater Good on this weeks podcast. Make sure you check out our weekly podcast, which is available on Spotify, Apple Music and Anchor. Check out this link to see all of our available podcast episodes.