Everyday* there are forum posts and threads bemoaning the state of the Psyker class. For those that need a reminder, the complaints are some combination of the following points:
- Brain Burst (BB) is pointless at Heresy+ difficulty!
- Too many talents tie into BB (which is itself useless)!
- I can’t kill anything! Everyone else steals my kills!
- Psyker is too squishy and I die all the time to ranged enemies!
- Peril builds up too fast!
- No build variety in the feats! Soulblaze is worthless!
- Psyker needs a total redo! A complete rework must be done!
- I don’t “feel” like a space wizard!!
- Wah, wah, wah!!!
It’s getting really tiresome.
I’ve played 60+ hours on Psyker, and I feel that people making claims like those above are falling prey to some combination of the following mental traps:
- Complainers have a preconceived notion of how the Psyker is “supposed to play” (Space Wizard - WhateverTF that means?) and don’t recognize that the class is designed differently - and so they miss it strengths.
- Complainers are overly focused on using BBs and trying to maintain max warp charges all of the time. This is an important part of the Psyker’s kit but isn’t the only part.
- Complainers are trying to play from the backline and aren’t playing aggressively enough to take advantage of the class’s potential.
- Complainers just need to play better. This is an FPS action game, not an ActionRPG. The psyker’s kit comes alive when you can multi-task your abilities (e.g. charging BB while dodging).
- Complainers are bandwagoning onto the above talking points without actually trying to play the psyker differently on Heresy+. In short, they don’t know first hand what they are talking about.
The Psyker class is by no means “perfect”, and it may need more attention than other classes as it has a fair amount of underwhelming feats**. HOWEVER, the class is certainly not broken and has strong builds and play
styles. For me, with the right build setup, it’s a joyous class to play and my favorite by far in the game.
My WORRY is that all of the complainers might prompt Fatshark to change the class to suit their ill-conceived, misguided notions, and in doing so ruin something that myself and other non-complaining Psykers currently love about the class.
What is it that makes the Psyker powerful and fun to play at Heresy+ difficulty?
There are a number of key cornerstones of both playstyle and build/kit that makes Psyker an incredible jack-of-all-trades class with powerful options for dealing with nearly any situation. What are these you ask?
- Aggressive playstyle. The Psyker needs to be on the front line, playing aggressively, and regularly switching between melee, ranged, and BB as the immediate situation demands. It can do this because of all of the below points:
- Tankiness: The Psyker can be one of the toughest classes in the game and can clutch revives in the worst situations. Taking a Force Sword with Deflector and Kinetic Deflection Feat (plus some +stamina and block efficiency sprinkled in) they can tank hits for a long time. You can tank Demonhosts almost as well as a shielded Ogryn. You can revive teammates in the densest horde. You can walk out into open gun fire and close distance. It’s incredible. Did I mention that the force sword has infinite dodges? Not dying and taking damage is #1, and psyker can excel at this.
- Brain Burst is an awesome clutch utility - and even stronger on Heresy+ for turning around bad situations. People that claim otherwise, “because it doesn’t kill like it did on Malice”, clearly don’t actually play on Heresy. BB may not kill a Bulwark in one hit like on Malice or whatever. But do you know what it does do? It staggers them horrendously and breaks their shield block so your team can kill it. And half the time, if you start a second BB that will be the killing blow anyway. Also, not enough people seem to realize the power of using Kinetic Barrage preemptively to quickly multi-BB a hard target before it’s even alerted. BB also retains tremendous utility for killing specials that like to run away, killing ranged threats from behind cover. Did you know you can dodge while charging BB? Take Essence Harvest and a BB will quickly replenish toughness, letting you whittle down groups of ranged enemies when your team is getting pinned. Did you also know that you still get a warp charge if someone else kills your BB target as long as it was 50% charged?
- The Force Sword is the best melee weapon - change my mind. This is somewhat kit dependent, but Force Sword with Slaughter (and deflector of course) is a horde cleaving monster. It has the strongest single target push attack stagger to my knowledge (it will knock over a crusher in one push-attack), which can be paired with the special attack for the ultimate knock-down and soul drain combo. The Psyker laughs at Maulers and maniacs alike. It’s faster and does more single target damage than chainswords. It’s an incredible weapon. Oh yeah, and it has infinite dodges.
- Warp Charge & High Peril Synergy. Too many people seem to freak out about having high peril and struggle to maintain warp charges. Take Psykentic’s Wrath (+15% damage - which IS calculated correctly despite the rumors - at max peril), Psychic Communion, and Kinetic Flayer. The combination, supplemented with a BB or two to get going, means you’re doing upwards of +27% damage (not even accounting for +damage effects on your items). Maintaining high warp charges during long fights requires very little effort with these feats. Playstyle wise, look for opportunities to mix in a BB or a quick switch to a force staff attack (or force sword special attack) to keep your peril up and the damage flowing. If you don’t like the risk, don’t play the game.
- Voidstrike Staff is the psyker’s most versatile staff. Pair the staff with Transfer Peril and enjoy nearly unlimited partially charged, infinitely penetrating, force bolts that refunds your peril cost. You can hold off a horde at range single handedly by lining up headshots. A full charge can decapitate specials/elites in many situations. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also pretend it’s a quake-style rocket launcher and “aim at the feet” of a clump of enemies, catching them in the blast radius and doing a decent stagger. This is also glorious for dealing with packs of ranged enemies. The charged projectile has a large hit box and getting headshots is easy with it. Surge and Purgatus staves are also solid, but frankly I find the horde clear of Purgatus unnecessary (dealing with just a horde is the easiest combat challenge IMHO), and while Surge is nice for crowd control, I’d rather just kill the threats outright. You can’t clutch well with a surge staff without your team to deal the actual damage.
The result of all of the above is that psykers have a solution for nearly any situation. They can clutch, kill elites/specials up close or at range, tank a tough situation, revive like a BAMF, and manage a horde. They are not broken or underpowered. They don’t need a rework**. Psykers are awesome and if you don’t think so you’re doing it wrong.
'* Slight exaggeration
** There are some poor feat picks IMHO. Soulblaze feels a bit weak unless paired with Purgatus build, and going for 6 warp charges feels like a trap compared to the other feats. But there are still good picks at every level.