The Psychic Awakening is the name of a cash grab by GW in the Warhammer 40k timeline taking place during the Age of the Dark Imperium. The Galaxy, split asunder by the Great Rift, sees basically every faction in the galaxy affected in some way, either by a sudden influx of new, powerful psykers or by political and cultural changes as the events of the Age of the Dark Imperium causes shakeups in the status quo.
Yes, that's right, GW seems to be Advancing the Storyline, with Psychic Awakening following a similar narrative event that occurred earlier in 2019, the War of Beasts (aka Vigilus Defiant / Vigilus Ablaze).
Content-wise, each PA book focuses on 2 or more factions or sub-factions in Warhammer 40k, giving new rules and fluff updates focused around a different war zone. Some of the matchups were long coming - the Tyranids' assault on Baal, for example - while others were pleasant surprises, like when two very different Xenos cults both compete to corrupt an Imperial world at the same time, only to get called out by the Guard... via artillery. GW has further clarified at Open Day 2019 that the general plan is to add one "reborn, reimagined, (or) brand-new" character for each book (or faction), which they have generally stuck to so far.
This style of narrative updates and a somewhat stable core set of rules with updating codexes would put 40k roughly similar to the model that GW is using for AoS, for good and bad. (Mostly good.)
Psychic Awakening is followed by Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition, which is compatible with all existing rules (except for those from Forge World), and will have Codexes that include the PA rules and fluff eventually. This matches a longstanding rumor about PA, namely that it would be followed by "8.5e" and "codex 2.0."
The updated Race Icons sheet lists 24 factions. As of Saga of the Beasts' release (Mar 2020), 14 factions have seen PA updates, with 6 having known upcoming PA books (War of the Spider / Engine War), and 4 factions remaining for new books - The Harlequins, Deathwatch, Necrons, Death Guard, Sisters of Battle, and Talons of the Emperor. But War of the Spider seems to be breaking the rules a bit having been announced to include Death Guard, Talons of the Emperor, Imperial Assassins and a Fabius Bile-themed subfaction for Chaos marines, meaning it's added a faction that didn't appear among the original 24 and has included a faction which has already received extra rules in a previous book. GW have now dropped that Sisters of Battle and Necrons will be the topic of the book 'Pariah' whereas Harlequins and Deathwatch will have rules released in a White Dwarf issue.
- Phoenix Rising
- Craftworld Aeldari
- Faith and Fury
- Space Marines
- Chaos Space Marines
- Blood of Baal
- Blood Angels
- Ritual of the Damned
- Grey Knights
- Thousand Sons
- Dark Angels
- The Greater Good
- Genestealer Cults
- Astra Militarum
- Saga of the Beast
- Space Wolves
- White Dwarf
- Engine War
- Adeptus Mechanicus
- Imperial Knights
- Chaos Daemons
- Chaos Knights
- War of the Spider
- Talons of the Emperor (Confirmed to not just be Custodes -- Sisters of Silence are back! )
- Death Guard
- Sisters of Battle
Factions that were not in the official image but were nonetheless added:
- Imperial Guard: 'Militarum Tempestus' (The Greater Good)
- Chaos Space Marines: 'Agents of Bile' (War of the Spider)
- Officio Assassinorum (War of the Spider)
- Inquisition (Pariah)
The Aeldari are a psychically sensitive race, and the fragile balance between these disparate cultures has been disturbed by the Psychic Awakening. These factions have become embroiled in a full-scale internecine war for the future of their people.
Phoenix Rising is the first event listed as part of the Psychic Awakening and focuses on how the Great Rift has made things harder for the Aeldari - the Asuryani, the Drukhari, the Harlequins, and the Ynnari. Among other events, we have Drazhar deciding that a Phoenix Lord's head would look good in his trophy room and settling on Jain Zar to be the lucky donor, but the main focus is on the Ynnari as Slaanesh moves to thwart their attempts to awaken the God of the Dead. Yvraine learns that the final Cronesword is in Slaanesh's clutches and just barely survives a confrontation with the Keeper of Secrets Shalaxi Helbane, only to learn that the daemon was holding back just to fuck with her. The Eldar, especially the Ynnari, took a big hit during this campaign, with a lot of Eldar dying for seemingly no reason; it could even be argued that this has set the entire Ynnari story back to square one. The biggest achievement of this first entry into the series, was setting the tone, that each PA narrative will be insulting to the players of the concerned armies.
In terms of crunch, the book includes some campaign missions, new "Successor Chapter"-like rules that let you piecemeal together new properties for custom Craftworlds, Kabals, Wych Cults, and Covens, new Exarch Powers for Craftworld aspect warriors, a new psychic discipline called Runes of Fortune for craftworlders and lastly a reprinting of the Ynnari rules first published through White Dwarf.
The accompanying Box Set Blood of the Phoenix provides new Plastic Howling Banshees, including both masked and unmasked variants depending on if you want them to represent the Ynnari, "for they walk a very different path to their Craftworld cousins". Jain Zar also takes the stage as the first Phoenix Lord to get a new plastic kit. New Drukhari models and rules in the form of the Incubi along with Drazhar accompany their Craftworld cousins, though they don't seem to have any new wargear or rules for the Klaivex. Also included are a Vyper, some Hellions and Scourges, as well as two transports: a Falcon and a Venom.
Faith & Fury
As part of GW's reminder that Sisters of Battle exist, Faith and Fury sees Kor Phaeron of the Word Bearers, alongside members of 5 other Chaos Space Marine legions, attacking the Talledus system, a region of great importance to the Ecclesiarchy on account of its ties to Sebastian Thor. Defending Talledus is the Sisters of Battle, the Black Templars, the Salamanders, the White Scars, and the Imperial Guard, although this is not the Imperial Guard's book.
Content includes updates for the Black Templars (who were not included in the Imperial Fists Supplement of the 8.5 Marines Codex), "Chapter Litanies" and updates to Space Marine "Heroes" (such as Chaplains or Librarians) allowing them to take new relics and warlord traits with the use of a specific Stratagem, as well as updated rules for the Word Bearers, Night Lords, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Emperor's Children, and World Eaters. New model releases include a new Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer.
What is notably absent are PA rules for the Sisters of Battle, which GW has confirmed will still be getting in the future, presumably this means that Faith and Fury is not, in fact, the SoB PA book after all.
Fluff updates include the Word Bearers trying to corrupt the Imperial Cults of an Imperial world by creating a massive ritual to flood the world with the chaotic energies of the Warp, only to see the Great Rift's energies causing weird shit like Flocks of Golden Eagles or Pillars of Golden Flame to appear, which restore faith in the Emperor when they're seen - basically, Chaos doesn't have a monopoly on warp fuckery, now pious Imperials can do it too. This culminates during the battle of Talledus when "golden faced spirits" are summoned out of the Sisters of Battle's tombs, creating a shield that instantly burns any demon that touches it to ash while also repairing the walls of the immaterium (de-Chaosifying the area, like a Blank) and generally screwing Kor Phaeron over, leaving him looking stupid and calling for reinforcements.
This is further expanded upon in a collector's edition exclusive chapter that covers the Alpha legion turning an entire planet of normal humans instantly into Psykers, except their faith causes them to summon the aforementioned "good warp stuff" like flocks of golden eagles and the like as well as the Emperor Angelic, a psychic manifestation of the Emperor that promptly fucks the Alpha Legion up. Regular humans on the planet are also turned into anti-daemon power houses called the "Humble Saints" which can nuke the Alpha Legion's psykers and daemons with a wave of their fingers. But because it's still Grimdark, the Iron Hands demand these new Imperial Saint-like humans be purged and call in the Sisters of Silence and Inquisition to do so when the Sisters of Battle refuse to let them.
The Iron Hands are proven right to be wary of these humble Saints, as very soon after they manifested they started to explode in spectacular fashion. The Sisters of Battle quickly changed their minds when the saints, being transported off planet, started to explode, destroying the ships and all the lives onboard with them. All the Saints were slaughtered in the ensuing cleansing.
tl;dr: The Word Bearers discover that, unfortunately for them, through their ritual the Imperial Faith was able to hijack their hard work, by summoning their own warp entities - Golden Eagles, Pillars of Golden Flame, Golden Faced Saints, and a psychic manifestation of the Emperor himself. The Alpha Legion now has the know-how to replicate this ritual that can turn normal humans into Anti-Daemon time bombs en masse. Chaos no longer has a monopoly on Warp fuckery.
Meanwhile the White Scars engage in a series of battles across asteroids with a Night Lords warband who Kor Phareon promised could get some nice loot and cause some seer terror. The White Scars are very badly damaged by the Night Lords who deployed a bunch of Deamon Engines on Asteroids and use Warp Talons to fucking ambush patrols of White Scars. In the end the mission is inconclusive.
Iron Warriors deployed massive fuck off daemon engines which harvested planets for resources and destruction against them. The Black Templars breached on with a boarding torpedo and sacrifice themselves to destroy the daemon engines. They boarded daemon engines. And won. Just, let that sink in.
Blood of Baal
In these dark and desperate times, far from the guiding light of the Astronomican, only heroes such as Commander Dante, Mephiston and Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers were able to hold the defenders of Baal together.
Blood Angels vs. Tyranids 2: Biomass Boogaloo. Hive Fleet Leviathan may have been sent reeling with the Great Rift's opening, but they still held a great many key locations that the sons of Sanguinius need. Even more troubling is that there are an increasing number of psykers appearing within the local region and their interaction with the Shadow in the Warp is triggering strange psychic phenomena that appear to be strengthening the Tyranids. Dante and (now Primaris) Mephiston lead the chapter to the funeral world of Kheru to oust the 'nids from there before they eat up everything; Seth and his chapter go to the industrial world of Ashallon and get reamed until they slay the psychic beacon on the planet.
Rules-wise, this grants the Blood Angels the tools that the 8.5 Marine codex has, making them even more of a chapter of walking blenders, with the Flesh Tearers gaining a few tools as well. The Tyranids, on the other hand, get to ride the "Custom Hive Fleet Rules" train that proved wildly popular elsewhere alongside a bundle of other rules to keep up with everyone else and a new "Adaptive Physiology" ability that lets them add a Warlord Trait equivalent to a generic infantry squad or monster. Model-wise, a new Primaris Mephiston accompanies this release.
Ritual of the Damned
From the boiling bowels of the warp, the Planet of Sorcerers has vomited forth into realspace. [...] Magnus the Red, Sorcerer King of Prospero, seeks to bring about the ruination of Mankind. [...] We must halt this ritual of the damned.
Thousand Sons, Dark Angels, and Grey Knights. Magnus is back from his trip to the Webway and gathering tons of psykers for a ritual to rapidly accelerate the rate at which humans are becoming psychic, thereby giving the event title Psychic Awakening some direct meaning. Dark Angels and Grey Knights are sent to foil the ritual. Ends on an ambiguous note, with the Imperial forces breeching Magnus's psychic disruptions in order to call down Orbital Bombardment but unable to tell for the time being whether the ritual was halted, stunted, or potentially completed. In the meantime the survivors have their hands full as the Thousand Sons' attacks on the Imperium have grown even more intense. The action takes place around Sortiarius, with the trailer showing a massive Imperial fleet going towards the Planet of Sorcerers. This time, the new model is Master Lazarus - previously a Dark Angels Sergeant, he's been promoted to Captain of the 5th Company and undergone the Rubicon Primaris after the events of Wrath of Magnus, incidentally making him the first Primaris to become part of the Inner Circle.
Rules-wise, this book grants the Dark Angels the new shiny Primaris toys from the 8.5 Edition Space Marine Codex, as well as rules for the Deathwing and Ravenwing, while the Grey Knights gain a new ability - Masters of the Warp - if they take a dedicated army of Grey Knights. Will this see the Grey Knights actually fixed? Unlikely, but faith in the Emperor is its own reward (Spoiler Alert: It worked waaaay too well). As for the Thousand Sons, they can now dedicate their army towards one of nine Cults of the Legion in a move reminiscent of their Horus Heresy equivalent.
The Greater Good
This is O’Shaserra speaking. I hope this message arrives in time for you to be warned. In time for you to act.
The Tau, facing the wormhole they accidentally created in the Fourth Sphere Expansion alongside the human-hating, xenophobic Fourth Sphere remnants, continue to expand into the Chalnath Expanse. It isn't long until the Fifth Sphere's expansion is interrupted by reports of something they weren't aware of - corrupted, mutated Gue’ron’sha swarming the Startide Nexus, beating the Fifth Sphere navy back. Calling themselves the Death Guard, the Tau have no idea what they are facing, although they're learning very quickly indeed. The Death Guard nearly push through the Startide Nexus but suddenly retreat just as their victory seems certain, leaving the Tau panicked about their potential return and confused about what their goals really were.
At the same time, Grezum, a planet the Tau are infiltrating with their Greater Good indoctrination, has a Genestealer cult called the Mindchord rebelling at the same time. And let's not forget the Imperial Guard trying to fend off both the Tau and the Genestealers and trying to desperately keep the region under control.
Part of the fun of the fluff released so far is the Tau's complete cluelessness about the danger that this strange "Nurg'hel" creature and his Gue’ron’sha army represent; let's also not forget that the Tau have intentionally infested one of their own worlds with a Genestealer Cult infestation to see what would happen, which may have infected an Ethereal. The new model this time around is Commander Shadowsun, equipped with a newer variant of her battlesuit. It looks like the Tau empire might be heading a similar way of the Eldar soon with these layered shitstorms brewing, with Septs instead of Craftworlds - which would be pretty cool if the Farsight Enclaves are anything to go by.
But none of that really matters. Instead, the book focuses on the conflict around the Chalnath Expanse, a region that was already in bad shape even before the Tau arrived due to all manner of Xenos invaders - from Ork Freebooters to Tyranid Hive Fleet elements raiding the system. The Genestealer Cults in the region begin their uprising at about the same time, due to the increased numbers of Psykers being born being seen as an expression of displeasure from their Star-Gods. Also, the Tau get to experience the newfangled Imperial miracles from Faith & Fury firsthand as flying Priests do battle with Tau Battlesuits and summon lights to blind Fire Warriors before carving them up in hand-to-hand combat. Witnessing these same miracles also cause some units of Gue'Vesa to seek repentance by fighting the Tau.
In the end, the system is in a worse state than it started in. The T'au manage to secure a foothold on the system's cardinal world, but Imperial forces continue to fight them relentlessly despite Shadowsun's attempts to break their will (lol, breaking the Guard's will, good luck with that). Another planet has its Genestealer Cult destroyed by Imperial forces, but the Tau are set to invade the planet after the Governor refused to allow the Tau to help them with the Genestealer Cult infestation, and a third and final planet remains in a three-way stalemate between the GSC, Tau and Imperial forces.
Rules-wise, the Imperial Guard, Tau and Genestealer Cults all received new stratagems, wargear and got to join the custom Guard Regiment/Tau Sept/Cult Creed club. It also included rules for several Militarum Tempestus regiments, including new relics, stratagems and even regimental doctrines for six of the most famous regiments, essentially making them their own faction within a faction.
You might have noticed that despite being featured in their promo material and background lore, the Death Guard are notably absent from the rules since their appearance was limited to a series of space battles and that's not covered by 40k rules. They would later be included in War of the Spider as one of the factions working against Fabius Bile.
Space Wolves and Orks. The Orks are starting to act with a lot more co-ordination and purpose not seen in many millennia. With Imperial forces stretched fighting the Tau, Tyranids and Chaos, the Space Wolves take it upon themselves to hunt and slay the Warboss of this massive Waaagh!. Ragnar Blackmane is able to decapitate Ghazghkull but is badly wounded himself.
Headlessness Bodilessness turns out to be only a minor setback for the Warboss as Mad Dok Grotsnik somehow manages to revive him with a new, better body. Frankly, we've heard both that an ork could theoretically survive having their head transplanted onto a new body and that Grotsnik had been working on a giant stitched together 'franken-ork' for a while now, so it was cool to see those two lore points come together.
Ragnar of course survives and is transformed into his new glorious Primaris form, bigger, faster and better in every way. Upon becoming a Primaris Marine Ragnar simply drops a space station upon Ghaz's head, with the ending being ambiguous as to whether Ghaz actually survives.
The new models this time around are Makari, who apparently got better after being sat on (Permenant 2+ save will do that). Oh, and his big green friend too, as well as Ragnar Blackmane, now in Primaris flavour following his duel with Ghazghkull.
AdMech, Daemons, and both flavors of Knights. Tech-Priest Dominus Kroll and his reclamation fleet have been drawn to Ordex-Thaag by a mysterious signal of unknown origin. Upon arriving there, he finds that the planet - once a vassal Forge World of Mars - has been corrupted by Chaos and thus decides the only sensible course of action is to scourge and purge the place. Things may not be as straightforward as they seem however, as Kroll is going to great lengths to protect something called the Varlian Device. Oddly, the loyalist Knights involved appear to be House Terryn as opposed to a Mechanicum aligned house like House Taranis.
Instead of getting a new character, Engine War has seen fit to gift AdMech players with new units. These include the Serberys Cavalry, cyber-horse riding cowboys promoted from the ranks of the Skitarii Vanguard and Rangers to join either the Serberys Raiders (fast scouts and harassers) or Serberys Sulphurhounds (shock cavalry); the Archaeopter, an ornithopter-like vehicle (with Close Air Support, bomber and transport variants); and the Pteraxii, modified Sicarians equipped for flight and armed with Fletchette Carbines (Skystalkers) or Flamers (Sterylizors). Of course, this is in conjunction with the custom doctrines for the AdMech (as is the case with almost all armies) custom houses for Imperial Knights, and actual Houses for the Traitor Knights, each with new stratagems and relics.
Engine War was originally planned for an April 2020 release, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would shut down, well, everything, including GW. Thanks, Grandfather Nurgle. Since then though the Games Workshop webstore has started taking online orders again from 1st May 2020, and therefore the launch date was moved to June 6, 2020. As of August 2020, the set has launched.
War of the Spider
Talons of the Emperor (Custodes and Sisters of Silence, together in 40K at last!) and the Officio Assassinorum face off against the Death Guard and Fabulous Bill's own horrors, a new Chaos Sub-faction called the Creations of Bile. It's a three-way conflict where the Death Guard and Fabius Bile are also fighting each other no thanks to Bile stealing a particularly valuable relic of theirs. Turns out that Bile wants to turn the entire Cadian sector into his personal laboratory, and the forces hounding him are his new test subjects... and judging from the preview video for the book, the source of research material. (
DUDE LEGIT GETS HIS HANDS ON SOME LIVING CUSTODES AND A COUPLE OF SISTERS OF SILENCE, and a couple Primarus to boot). Given his desires, the irony is that if he succeeds he'll probably end up being vital to humanity's survival at the end of the End Times. Doesn't that just grate something awful? Of course, it's been long established that Fabius Bile's main goal was to evolve humanity to be capable of surviving what's ahead. It's just that like many other "good" things about Chaos, it ends up being done in the most horrific twisted way possible. Doesn't change the fact that such a monster being loyal to humanity hurts and that he might actually be right is vomit-inducing to contemplate.
New rules include finally bringing the Adeptus Custodes (including rules for each of the Shield Hosts) and Sisters of Silence together as one faction, the introduction of Bile's new Sub-Faction, and rules for the seven Plague Companies of the Death Guard, following in similar footsteps to their cousins from Prospero. Needless to say, Fabius Bile is the one getting a new model this time. Due to Nurgle's influence, the release was postponed to 20 June 2020.
This update was controversial because of how powerful this book was in comparison to others. Creations of Bile was incredibly powerful buff along with having more rules than many of the standard chaos subfactions including some of the traitor legions. The Talons of the Emperor were always strong with the blending of Custodes and Sisters of Silence. The Death Guard were buff to what they needed but it was not much in comparison to others, and would stay mediocre until their codex was release only a few months later, making this book irrelevant fast for Death Guard.
The final chapter of the whole event was given a release date of July 4, 2020 and features Sisters of Battle, Inquisition and Necrons. The models this time are Ephrael Stern, Kyganil, Illuminor Szeras and Lord Inquisitor Kyria Draxus. The Inquisition rules from White Dwarf will be featured here along with Draxus' datasheet. Sisters are a featured faction, but despite Kyganil being here, Harlequins are in a White Dwarf rather than the Pariah book. As a fun fact, this means Sisters of Battle have more named Harlequins characters than Harlequins do.
It will also contain some theatre of war rules for playing on hive worlds, tomb worlds, daemon worlds, in the webway, etc. No stratagems, warlord traits, relics, custom faction traits or anything for Sisters or Necrons, however. Gratifying in a way since 9th edition is right around the corner and Sisters and Necrons will be getting the first codices after Space Marines, but frustrating that every other faction gets something and they get nothing. Doubly so for the Sisters considering how Faith and Fire passed them over before because of the codex rewrite.
The general premise is that during the Indomitus Crusade, an imperial battlegroup (which contained, among others, Inquisitor Draxus and Ephrael, who was looking for her elf boytoy) runs into the eerily silent Nephilim subsector. What they do find is a shitton of Blackstone Pylons organized in such a manner that it fucks with psykers, owing up to the name of the "Pariah Nexus". Also not helping matters is that the sub-sector is also being run by the Nihilakh Dynasty.
Meanwhile, Szeras is looking at the human resistance to the network, especially that of the bolter babes, with interest. They would finally clash when Draxus decides to go studying the structures. They manage to surprise Szeras by actually ignoring the Illuminor's shock factor and figured out some key clues to the entire sub-sector's organization so they could break into the tombs and steal some of their intelligence. She then sets a c'tan shard loose, raising all the hells and giving the imperial forces time to escape.
From what little her Xenarite allies could decode of the Necron data, Draxus discovers that there are actually dozens of Pariah Nexuses being constructed across the galaxy. It is currently believed that this is part of the Silent King's plan to seal off the Warp from realspace and restore the Necron Empire of old.
Pariah is particularly important from a narrative point of view because it will directly lead into 9th edition's initial narrative. And while these models aren't directly connected to the Psychic Awakening, Necrons will be receiving a slew of new models, including updated Warriors, Monoliths, Canoptek Scarabs and Destroyers, brand new units such as the Skorpekh Destroyers and Lords, new Tripod-looking mfs that are called Canoptek Reanimators/Doomstalkers, a new C'tan Shard, and most impressively, the debut of the Silent King on the tabletop!
The online preview from April 4th confirmed that Deathwatch and Harlequins are getting plopped in White Dwarf. Based on the Deathwatch Preview, the Deathwatch are getting Combat Doctrines and the other doodads the other Loyalist Chapters got on May 2, 2020 so they're not left behind, except for Vanguard Primaris Marines. The Harlequin characters will be receiving new "Pivotal Role" abilities that function like the Craftworlder's Exarch Powers; they may replace their default abilities for another or use a stratagem to pair a new one with the original. A host of additional stratagems and relics will also be added, but it doesn't seem like they'll be receiving any custom attributes or psychic powers. The new rules for Harlequins were released on June 27, 2020.
For the most part, the entire Psychic Awakening event has been met with mixed results. In regards to the stories that they each tell, for the most part they come off with the same old "status quo" storytelling that GW used to tell, with there being no clear winner in most books and no groundbreaking changes for the factions involved within them. (Part of this is because GW has started taking a "no exact dates" policy with the lore; to wit, none of the PA books state any specific date, and current lore is that thanks to the Great Rift endlessly fucking with time there's no way to know for sure when anything happens. It's hinted that PA events happened before/during/after the Indomitus Crusade, depending on the exact book and events.)
Complaints have come about the quality of the writing: for example, the lead up to the Tau PA book had a lot of mention of Death Guard, but they were suspiciously absent from the book. Ghaz vs Ragnar were talked up as the greatest of rivals, forgetting Ghaz's famous rivalry with Yarrick. In the end it felt less like these books were written in respect to existing lore and more to fall in line with the release schedule GW wanted to put out.
From general discussion the books which received most of the praise for the best tales and story were
- War of the Spider
- Faith and Fury
- Ritual of Damned
The ones that were consider least popular for story were
- Saga of the Beast
- Blood of the Phoenix
For many, War of the Spider was popular as it took several unlikely groups and has them battling it out in the Cadian System. Ritual of Damned was also praised for its less classical match-up, opting to instead bring in the Dark Angels and Grey Knights against the Thousand Sons.
As for army updates, while every faction has walked out of it better off then they did going into it, for the most part, there is clear and obvious disparity between who got more love from GW's game designers.
- Grey Knights and Genestealer Cults. For the latter, the Grey Knights were effectively brought back from the dead: they received such a boon in terms of buffs and new mechanics that they can now hold their own against most anyone, not just daemons. Are they competitive? Not really, but they're in a far better place than they were before (excepting the Psi-Bolts Bolter Discipline cheese).
- As for Genestealer Cults, they ostensibly received the same treatment that other factions got - custom cult abilities, new psychic powers, and stratagems - but theirs were of such lower quality that they were practically unusable in comparison to the options found in their main codex.
- The Dark Eldar fared even worse with no usable custom obsessions, no psychic powers (not that they had any anyways) and no stratagems at all, only receiving a slight tweak to Drazhar's profile and a weapon option for the Klaivex which already existed in the Index.
- The Deathwatch and Harlequins also got shafted, since GW decided they weren't worth making an actual book for (or even a single new model between them, unless you count a Harlequins character given to Sisters of Battle) and had their respective rules shunted to two separate White Dwarf articles in what legitimately feels like an afterthought addendum. To be fair, 9th edition is around the corner, and GW has stated that this edition will focus on humanity vs xenos, so they are probably going to get a decent update anyway. Still doesn't justify keeping the combat doctrines' update away from the Deathwatch until the very end of 8th Ed., though.
- Orks received a big boon to their army with the inclusion of a new Ghaz statblock, Makari, and Big Mek with KFF being brought back from Legends limbo. Additionally the stratagems gave new life to some models, such as Da Biggest Boss which gives the Warboss a much needed Invul Save. But the Custom Mob rules didn't match up to the custom sub faction rules of other armies as you couldn't mix or match to create your own Clan.
- Craftworld Eldar received some long overdue updates to their ageing range, what with new Howling Banshees and, hopefully, the First update for the ancient Phoenix lord models. Rules wise the Craftworlds experienced a mostly lateral power movement, what with most of their new rules having to be swapped in/out for pre-existing ones, unless you use up command points.
- Space Marines fared very well, despite most flavours of Marines only getting very little content with this series of books. Iron Hands, an already absurdly strong army already, got a solid boost by letting them go from 6+ FNP to 5+ FNP by upgrading an Apothecary with a new Stratagem. Psychic Awakening served to bring Dark Angels and Blood Angels up to the new absurd level of power that Codex Marines 2.0 brought and once again brought Blood Angels up as one of the armies to watch out for and removed Dark Angels from the very bottom of the 40k tier list and gave the Wolves some more play.
- Chaos Space Marines received more warlord traits, relics and stratagems than any other army from Psychic Awakening, existing disparities between Legions due to balance issues from Legion Traits meant that despite armies like Word Bearers and Night Lords getting some very strong Stratagems they still could not compete with Alpha Legion. Non-Legion warbands got absolutely nothing though so there was still something to be salty about for Chaos players.
- Talons of the Emprah share the same update flavour of the Death Guard or the Thousand sons, with a relic-warlord trait-stratagem per sub-faction. Nice new universal stratagems, but no new universal rules. Maybe they have gifted them to the Space marines.
- The Tau recieved new stratagems and custom sept tenets like other factions as well as prototype weapon systems that can be picked instead of relics and often affect entire units. Some, like the Magna Rail Rifle, seem to represent what some weapons should have looked like from the start. The big winners though were Farsight Enclaves: They received a new abilities, the option to take more commanders and got a host of dedicated stratagems that made a more aggressive playstyle actually possible although still not great.
- Necrons and Sisters of battle got... nothing. Not one thing. This is because they will probably be amongst the earliest 3 codices of 9th edition along with Space Marines, but considering that Space Marines got their Psychic Awakening goodies 3 months after the release of their updated 8th edition codex that seems a poor excuse.
In regards to new/updated model releases, GW also hasn't exactly been equally considerate of each faction. Outside of Phoenix Rising, Saga of the Beast, Engine War and Pariah, most Psychic Awakenings only released a single new model per entry, most of which are simply updated versions of existing named characters (a welcome change but still a touch lackluster). Thus far, the only faction to actually get anything strictly new is the Adeptus Mechanicus, who will be receiving three kits split into seven brand new units for their army. Contrast this with factions like the Imperial Guard, Tyranids, Genestealer Cults, Death Guard, Deathwatch and Thousand Sons who received diddly squat and it's not hard to feel left out (especially Imperial Guard, losing their rough riders to Legends only for the AdMech of all factions to suddenly get two cavalry options). Especially when some of these aforementioned factions had mediocre-at-best army updates to begin with.