Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Librarian vs. Reclusiarch... FIGHT!!!

I'm currently testing 1000pt lists for the Berks Spring Assault and I was considering which would be the better HQ choice.  Using a big point character like Dante or Mephiston is difficult in this small a list so I wanted something more cost effective.   Actually, Dante may still be a good choice if you use Sanguinary Guard with him (they become troops and can deep strike without scattering).  But it limits your other options in such a small list size.  Also, Terminators are more resilient than Sanguinary Guard (no invul save!).

I was reading Jawaballs' recent posts for his latest build and he seems to really like Lightening Claw Termies which get rerolls to wound.  He then gives them rerolls to hit with either a Librarian (Unleash Rage) or Reclusiarch (Liturgies of blood).  I think this is a great synergy for the Termies, which could dominate a field at such a small point size list.    I forget offhand what HQ he used to buff them for his big 1850-2000 list but I was gonna compare the two HQs here in this post.   So lets take a look...

Librarian pros:
- Psychic hood: Psychic defense.  With all the Grey Knights out there (I heard Mechanicon had a ton of them... it's a jump the shark army already?), Psychic defense is pretty indispensable for an all comers list.
- Psychic power options:  I generally use my Librarian to buff my Lightening Claw Termies with Unleash Rage (Preferred Enemy-reroll hits), and also give him Sanguine Sword which makes his Attacks S10 and AP1 (but still keeps his initiative! unlike thunderhammers)... great for popping pretty much any transport out there.   But even if you don't like those two options, you have multiple other psychic powers to chose from. Again, more options to customize to your needs.
- Scalable: You can upgrade Librarian to an Epistolary to let him use both his powers in one turn
- Force weapon: Instant Death!  If your model comes up against a tough Independent Character (without Eternal Warrior), you can kill them with one wound regardless of how many they may have!  Clutch!  Even if you don't use the Force Weapon power, he still has a Power Weapon just like the Reclusiarch.
- Can get Terminator armor and a Storm Shield.   2+ armor and 3+ invulnerable saves are very nice! Reclusiarch can use Terminator armor but he CAN'T get a Storm Shield.  Again, its nice to have options and I generally give my Librarian both Terminator Armor and Storm Shield.

Librarian cons:
- Weaker attack, initiative, ballistic skill and wound stats than Reclusiarch (see below)
- With failed psychic tests, the Librarian can wound/kill himself!
- Enemy psykers can negate his abilities

Reclusiarch pros:
- Reclusiarch has 3 base attacks versus Librarian's 2 attacks
- Reclusiarch has Initiative 5, Librarian is only I4
- Reclusiarch has BS5 versus Librarian's BS4
- Reclusiarch has 3 wounds to Librarian's 2 wounds
- Don't need to pass Psychic test for rerolls to hit, also can't be negated by enemy psykers

Reclusiarch cons:
- Some may argue, but getting Fearless is not a bonus in my book especially with a unit leader who has Ld10.  And they shall know no fear is MUCH better in my opinion...
- Offers no psychic defense, leaving you vulnerable to psykers.

So, comparing the two, unless you are building a list custom against an army that uses no psykers, the Librarian seems to be the clear winner.   Even in cases when you're not up against psykers I think the Librarian still wins.  Since the Reclusiarch only has a regular Power Weapon, the Librarian's ability to have a S10 AP1 weapon against tanks or his Force Weapon to use against multi wound models make him the more versatile option.  That and his base cost is 30pts cheaper than the Reclusiarch!   I guess the only way I would go would go with the Reclusiarch is if I were going up against a major Psyker army where I knew my Librarian's psychic powers would be constantly negated.... something like a psyker heavy Eldar army.    With the over saturation of Grey Knights in today's game and the need for the ability to negate those powers, the Librarian is the clear winner.


What do you think?   Did I miss anything?  Am I totally off base comparing these two?  Let me know in the comments.


  1. Sanguin sword isn't ap 1 - its just a str 10 power weapon - it actually does make a big difference and isn't a nit picky thing.

    AP1 would make it do +1 on the damage charts.

    I have the same debate most of the time. The bottom line is this. The Librarian has his uses as a support character. He however cannot be relied upon to be used in combat. In order to kit him out with all the bells and whistles (terminator armor, epistolary, shield) he ends up costing and arm and a leg. Almost as much as mephiston (who is FAR better). So, yeah I like normal libby for the hood, shield of sanguinius and unleash rage, but that is it. He literally dies to a strong breeze.

    The Reclusiarch however, is a really solid combat character. You forget to mention he has a 4+ invuln all the time. He also can take a powerfist for cheap giving him the str 10 if you want on the charge (with furious charge)and has a lot more attacks than the libby at all strength levels which greatly increases his chances of being effective. He also retains his power weapon so you can choose which weapon to use. He can also take an infernus pistol if you want, so he retains his attacks and has a meltagun that hits on 2s. (far better than bloodlance)

    Overall, I think you're wrong in saying that the Librarian is the "clear winner". In certain lists yes, the librarian is good, and imo only for the hood and shield of sanguinius. Other than that, I would pick the Reclus. I think you are severely underestimating how powerful the Reclusiarch really is.

  2. Change that str 9 for the fist on the reclus, my bad.

  3. Sorry for the Sanguine Sword typo... you're right its only Strength 10... but its still Strength 10 at regular initiative (which can be 5 with a sanguinary priest nearby, not bad!)

    CC wise you're right, the reclusiarch is a pure CC beast compared to an equivalently kitted librarian. But in the points list I'm testing right now (1000pt) I can really only choose one or the other, I want to have as many troop choices out there as I can.

    With the annoying flood of Grey Knights Armies out there in the tournament scene, that psychic hood the Librarian is THE major deciding factor for me. When I have my Librarian surrounded by 3 Lightening Claw and 2 Thunderhammer/Stormshields, I'd say I'm set in the close combat department heheh. Again, I don't really depend on that Librarian for combat necessarily (I leave that to the assault terminators).

    Overall, they both have their uses and weaknesses. And in armies using Death Company, the Reclusiarch is the clear winner. But for my stated 1000pt needs, the Librarian is still the clear winner in my eyes...

  4. Wouldn't you guys be screwed if I banned "named" characters from Berks Spring Assault. LOL. However, I can attest that Mechanicon saw 8 Grey Knight armies out of 44. Calculate out of that 44 armies that 59% of them (25) were some form of space marine or marine variant with power armor (including Chaos marines).

    Both characters hazev their uses. Fluff wise for them, either choice Librarian or Chaplain make sense as 1000 points represents a small strike force. Librarian offeres more options in my opinion as the chaplian is one dimensional, but he does exceedingly well at what he does do. Just going to come down to a matter of taste for your style. Do you want options or do you want to be in your opponent's face and hitting them hard?

  5. Seeing that my Blood Angels are behind Space Wolves and Grey Knights in the close combat department these days, I have to rely more on speed and ... wilyness heheh. If I'm going up against one of those armies (a very real likelihood in most tournaments), I can't really rely on just going straight up close combat against them... because Blood Angels just don't match up well against them. I can't have all power weapons and termies that can claim objectives like Grey knights and Space Wolves counterattack is brutal not to mention Long Fangs.

    I really like the options a Librarian gives me and the fact that he makes my Assault Terminators something that CAN take on those two armies. But again, when I feel like rockin some Death Company the Reclusiarch is the clear choice!

  6. The Librarian is my HQ of choice with terminators and Sanguinary Guard (when I don't want to spring for Dante). He has a lot of support options.