Librarians offer a Grey Knight army much more than any other unit in the codex, and without costing a massive number of points, either. Starting out as a Level 2 Psyker (2 powers per player turn, that is) with the Hammerhand power, Terminator armour, a Psychic Hood, and only paying 5 points per power, he seems quite good right off the bat, even before looking at each power for his cost. A codex Space Marine player pays 150 points for a Epistolary Librarian, without Terminator armour or the +1 Invulnerable save in close combat due to the Nemesis Force Sword.
However, the real gem is the psychic powers the Librarian has. I'll go through them, in order of personal preference.
- The Shrouding: A psychic test used in your opponent's shooting phase which gives all units within 6" the Stealth special rule or a 6+ cover save, whichever is better.
- Might of Titan: At the start of your (and only your) assault phase, you can give one unit within 6" both +1 Strength and roll an additional D6 for armour penetration. Cumulative with Hammerhand.
- Sanctuary: Used at the start of your opponent's assault phase, this power causes all enemies assaulting Grey Knights within 12" of your Librarian to count as moving through both difficult and dangerous terrain.
- The Summoning: At the start of your movement phase, you may teleport any non-vehicle unit not locked in combat to a position within 6" of the Librarian, scattering as per the Deep Strike rules.
- Warp Rift: A template weapon with an AP value of - which causes target unit to take an Initiative test for every model hit, killing one model with no saving throws allowed for each failed test. Vehicles are automatically penetrated (but suffer -1 on damage roll due to AP -).
- Quicksilver: Used at the start of your movement phase, a unit within 6" counts as Initiative 10 for the rest of the turn.
- Smite: Same as Codex: Space Marines, an assault 4, Strength 4, AP 2, 12" range weapon.
- Vortex of Doom: Same as Codex: Space Marines, a heavy 1, 12" range blast with a Strength of 10 and AP of 1. Failure of the psychic test causes it to be placed on top of your Librarian, instead.
- Dark Excommunication: Removes Daemonic Gifts from models from a unit in base contact with the Librarian for the rest of the turn, used in the assault phase.
Might of Titan is simply a very powerful ability, and if used in conjunction with two Hammerhands (seeing how they stack upon each other, giving a total bonus of +3 Strength), turns any unit into a very threatening close-combat unit capable of destroying tanks with ease. Plus, you can use it on any friendly unit within 6", so perhaps a nearby Strike Squad without a Daemonhammer needs help killing a walker, and there they have it.
The Summoning is simply a nice utility power, especially when combined with Servo-skulls, to move units around to where they are needed, possibly capturing objectives you would otherwise miss out on. Especially nice for armies when you don't plan on having your Librarian move with a Troops choice as he immediately becomes somewhat scoring. Not needed for more shooting based armies, for the most part.
Warp Rift is just powerful. What else is there the say? Just keep in mind it isn't completely amazing at killing vehicles, but good for keeping them locked down.
Quicksilver is good, but not incredible. When you have Halberds, you don't really need this power, but if you take Nemesis Force Swords on a Paladin or Terminator Squad and want them to strike early, this is nice.
Smite and Vortex are just not too exciting. Both have short ranges and while Vortex is devastating, it can easily scatter onto you or end up swallowing your entire unit.
Dark Excommunication requires you to be fighting the forces of Chaos, and even then it isn't terribly exciting. More of a 'fluff' power than an actual one.
So, when should you take a Librarian in your force? Well, there are a lot of times when.
If you want to play a pure Grey Knight force, especially one mostly focused on shooting, and you have a Terminator squad or a Land Raider, Librarians are amazing. You could even put a Librarian on a power armour squad as long as they are foot moving it around. Librarians just add so much utility with his Psychic Hood and support to your army, it's tough not to take one. Taking a Grand Master and a Librarian is tough points wise, and generally I would say a Librarian is a better choice. Grand Strategy barely holds a candle to what a Librarian can do, and even though a Librarian isn't as strong as a close-combat HQ, I feel that's not what most armies need. Just be sure your Librarian isn't walking around by himself, or he'll get shot down early and quickly.
Let's look at some options you have.
Close-combat WeaponsWell, let's look at some possible builds for a Librarian I would consider good.
Nemesis Force Halberd: While I love extra initiative, I don't feel like you really need it on a Librarian because I don't want him in the thick of close combat. Plus you lose your +1 Invulnerable save in close-combat, which you'll really need if you want to survive against a good unit.
Nemesis Daemonhammer and Falchions: Same as the Halberd, really, but suffering a bit more as the extra initiative is better than both of these.
Nemesis Warding Stave: Having a 2+ Invulnerable save in close-combat is amazing on a unit you want to keep around for as long as possible, but I feel it is too expensive to always take it. If you have the points and want that extra protection, I would take it over, say, Servo-skulls and a couple random weapons.
Psychic Mastery Level 3: Very costly, but if you really want to be a psychic power slinger, this is a great upgrade. I just don't know if you ever really need it, to be honest. I only really see 2 powers per turn necessary, and while 3 is nice it is just expensive.
Psybolt Ammunition: Cheap, but not needed. I would rather have another psychic power.
Digital Weapon: As I wouldn't want this guy in close-combat often, I wouldn't take this.
Empyrean Brain Mines: Same as digital weapons, but it isn't terrible as you can actually stop models from slaughtering you.
Teleport Homer: Nice upgrade for Deep Strike armies, but seeing how it doesn't affect the Summoning, it's not as amazing as it could be.
Servo-Skulls: Same as Grand Master. You can take up to three of these for a low point cost. Good if you have a lot of Conversion Beamers or other blast templates or if you plan on attempting Deep Strikes often. They do offer scout/infiltration defense, too, so a good left-over point spending, but they don't make you more combat effective.
Master-crafted Weapons: Kind of meh on a Librarian. Again, you are taking him for psychic powers, not to shoot and whack things with a sword.
Support Librarian - 175
Psychic Powers: Shrouding, Sanctuary, and Might of Titan
Overall a good build. Applicable with almost any army lists, but if you are completely shooting perhaps drop Might of Titan for something else or only take two powers.
Deepstriker's Librarian - 190
Psychic Powers: Shrouding, the Summoning, Might of Titan or Warp Rift
Wargear: 3 x Servo-Skulls
If you are building a list around deep striking (something I haven't really seen) this is very nice. Combine it with an Inquisitor to add in Psychic Communion and I think you're set.
Close-Combat Librarian - 175 (180)
Psychic Powers: Might of Titan, Quickening, Warp Rift
Wargear: Nemesis Force Sword or Halberd
This Librarian is meant to stick with Terminators and charge at the enemy. With both Might of Titan and Quickening, you use both or Might with Hammerhand, depending on if you need the initiative boost or not. Plus, you have Warp Rift to take down groups of enemy units before a charge and kill some vehicles.
So that's it for the Librarian. I hope you enjoyed and found it useful. I'll be back soon with a review of the Brotherhood Champion.