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Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader Psyker Build Guide

Wield the powers of the warp with our Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader Psyker guide.

Being a Psyker in the WH40K universe is both one of the coolest and most dangerous professions. Rogue Trader channels that fantasy superbly. There are multiple exciting archetypes and powers. Let’s dive into our Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader Psyker build guide for more tips.

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Tips and Tricks for Building the Best Psyker in Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader

In WH40K Rogue Trader you can play as powerful Psykers as your main character or recruit various Psyker companions, such as Idira and Heinrix. In both cases, Willpower should be your highest priority, as it affects your effectiveness when wielding Psychic Powers and resisting them.

With this in mind, you should pick between Voidborn (+5 WP), Imperial World (+10 WP), or Fortress World (+5 WP) as your homeworld. Furthermore, to play a Psyker at all, you must select the Sanctioned Psyker origin in the next panel. This will grant you the option to play the five psionic archetypes we’ll cover below.

The neat part is that being a Psyker is an origin trait and not your Archetype (Class). This means you can play one and still specialize in different weapons, armor, and combat styles with your Archetype. Where this gets really interesting is that Psyker powers count as weapon attacks for the purposes of interacting with abilities that boost attacks.

That’s why, I highly recommend the Soldier for their Run and Gun ability. You’ll be able to use two Psyker powers in the same turn. Likewise, any ability such as the Operative’s Exploits via their Analyse Enemy increases the damage of Psyker powers since they act as weapon attacks. This makes Soldier and Operative excellent choices for your Psyker’s Archetype.

Best Psyker Types and Unique Talents

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During character creation and later on, you’ll be able to specialize into unique Psyker subclasses, which affect your abilities and combat role. They’ll also grant you unique Talents, some of which I’ll recommend below:

  • Biomancer: A melee damage-focused Psyker with the Iron Arm power, which boosts health and melee damage. Adrenaline Surge is crucial here for reducing psychic power costs early in the battle so you can swing Momentum in your favor
  • Diviner: This is Idira’s ability kit that is focused on ranged support and buffing your allies. I recommend the Predicted Downfall as a general go-to and Fatebringer for that extra Armor Penetration on your Forewarning ally targets.
  • Pyromancer: A ranged damage Psyker that utilizes Armor Penetration and damage-over-time effects. Blazing Inferno is amazing here for extra crit chance on those DoT procs, and Backdraft will add some AoE to your powers, which is excellent.
  • Sanctic: A melee support Psyker focused on buffing allies and increasing your Momentum for multiple Heroic Acts per combat. Pick up Destined as soon as possible and find some Heavy Armor for your Sanctic Psyker. Combine your tanky presence on the battlefield in melee combat with Edge of Dawn’s damage boost, and your enemies won’t like standing next to you.
  • Telepath: A ranged CC and damage Psyker that Idira also specializes in. Useful Talents include Aftershock and Pain Channeling for a single target and AoE damage boost on your Psychic Shriek, respectively.

To sum up, if you’re going for a melee combat Psyker, I would choose the Biomancer or the Sanctic. On the other hand, if ranged is more your goal, then I recommend the Pyromancer and Telepath because they deal excellent ranged damage and the Diviner offers some neat support options.

Best General Talents for your Psyker Build

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Besides always aiming for the best Psyker Staff you can find that boosts both your powers and your Psyker type, you’ll want to focus on optimal Talents. I’ve outlined the best ones above for each type, but there are some general ones you should pick up that are accessible to any type of Psyker.

You start at Psy Rating 0, and that value increases as you level up and pick up higher Psy Rating Talents. New ranks will unlock better powers and Talents you can take. I recommend picking up the following:

  • Sacred Rituals: This is an amazing Talent for your action economy as it’ll grant you additional action points on every fourth power you activate on average.
  • Still Mind: Drastically boosts your Momentum gain based on your Willpower. Momentum is the core feature of combat that allows you to activate Heroic Act ultimate abilities and swing the tide of battle in your favor.
  • Stabilizing Factor: This will reduce the chances of Psychic Phenomena and Perils of the Warp happening. These are negative consequences of your powers that we’ll cover below.
  • Blade of Light/Subtle Manipulation (Melee): These are essential Talents for a melee-focused Psyker. Blade of Light boosts your damage while Subtle Manipulation allows you to avoid Attacks of Opportunity when using powers in melee.
  • Psychic Barrage/Second Sight (Ranged): Likewise, these are core Talents for a ranged Psyker. Psychic Barrage allows you to utilize your Ballistic Skill effectively while Second Sight enforces playing around cover, which you should generally always do with ranged characters.

Furthermore, based on your type, make sure to prioritize Weapon Skill, Strength, and Agility for melee builds and Ballistic Skill and Perception for ranged ones. This is, of course, secondary to maximizing your Willpower.

Note that Psyker upgrades are Talents as we mentioned, meaning that you’ll have to choose whether to receive a Psyker Talent or one from your Archetype with each Level Up. Essentially, you’re choosing whether to progress Class abilities or Psyker powers. This creates a dynamic of how deep you want to dive into your psychic abilities at the expense of class effectiveness. Check out my best Psyker Talents guide for even more.

What is Veil Degradation and How to Use It

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The most crucial mechanic for Psykers in this CRPG is the Veil Degradation bar opposite the Momentum bar. Flavor-wise, it showcases how your powers reach into the Warp and tear at the boundaries between the material and the daemonic immaterial. Mechanically, the more Psyker powers you use, the more dangerous the battlefield becomes as Chaotic negative effects begin to appear.

Each minor Psyker power (small buffs like Forewarning) and major one (Impactful damage powers like Chain Lightning) increases Veil Degradation. Until you reach V.D. 10, powers have a small chance to trigger Psychic Phenomena, which are minor debuffs like:

  • Reducing Momentum.
  • Lowering Resolve.
  • Inflicting minor penalties to rolls.

This is the “safe zone” for powers, but once V.D. reaches 15, the chance for Psychic Phenomena doubles and Perils of the Warp can trigger. These are usually major negative effects like:

  • Pushing characters.
  • Damaging them.
  • Summoning Daemon enemies to the battlefield.

Try to use Psyker powers sparingly past V.D. 15 or manage them with the general talents we mentioned above since Veil effects are always negative for you. Once that 15 hits, each major power that doesn’t trigger Perils triggers Psychic Phenomena. The chance for PotW to trigger is (10+Psy Rating+Veil Degradation value)% on each power.

Sanctioned Psykers like your character or the companion Heinrix have a 20% chance reduction to trigger negative effects. However, Unsanctioned Psykers like Idira have a higher chance of triggering these debuffs at the cost of an increased Psy Rating (+1).

As you can see, playing Psykers is incredibly exciting and offers that high-risk, high-reward system of play with the Veil Degradation system. I hope this Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader Psyker guide has been useful to you. For more articles like this, check out our WH40K Rogue Trader guides library.

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Gordan Perisic
From playing RPGs and dungeon mastering for his D&D group to reading novels and scribbling about his fantasy setting, Gordan is a full-time nerd and devoted writer for GameSkinny. He loves to overshare and discuss literature, music, animation, and trees with fellow geeks. Also, he may or may not cook too much food for his friends. Cholesterol is one hell of a drug.