Mini Tactica: Librarians

4th Edition

Note: This tactica is now old and needs an update. Many facts will not be correct for current 6th Edition game. However the general gist is pitched right.

Librarians are one of the Space Marines biggest gainers in the 4th Edition game — becoming nearly as dominating as they were back in the 2nd Edition. They are an effective (if expensive) first choice HQ for many armies looking for a flexible all-round powerhouse.

1. So why use a Librarian

Librarians are the only psykers that the Adeptus Astartes have access to and as such form an important offensive tool against many foes as well as a defensive one against incoming psychic attacks. In game terms they are an expensive and complicated purchase and this puts many people off using them, prefering instead a Chaplain with or without a jumppack or a Captain (Dark Angel's Master) or a Master (Dark Angel's Grand Master) kitted out for close combat. But where the Librarian scores over both these options is the many ways he can be kitted out to fulfil a variety of roles with lethal efficiency.

What does he comes with?

Let's examine the basic kit-out of our Librarian. He is an Independent Character equipped with power armour; a psychic hood — the means by which enemy psychic powers are nullified; a force weapon — capable of killing outright; and the built-in psychic power Storm of the Emperor's Wrath. The Librarian may also be given a Command squad. I'll be discussing each of these items in more detail later in the Tactica. You do not get any other weapon or wargear as standard but of course additional items may be purchased from the Space Marine Armoury.

Epistolary or Codicier?

The first choice you need to consider is whether to go for the three-wound two-power Epistolary or the two-wound single-power Codicier. It's not just a points issue at stake here. Remember that the main role of the Librarian is either in psychic defense or attack, both of which require the passing of a psychic test to enable anything to happen at all. The higher Leadership value of the Epistolary means that he has roughly a 92% (11 in 12) chance of passing this test, the lower Codicier a 83.3% (5 in 6) chance. So allowing for the maximum of one psychic activity per turn the Codicier looks a less certain bet — failing one test per game, probably just when you most need to pass!

In addition the extra wound is useful on Librarians fielded without a Command squad, or for a Librarian tasked with heavy close combat duties, or in a Terminator Command squad where wounds are scarce.

My recommendation would be to go for the more expensive Epistolary, just make sure you take advantage of that extra Leadership and wound. Remember that if points are at a premium then it's still worth taking the Epistolary for the Leadership advantage alone, just economise by not taking his optional additional power.

2. Psychic Powers

This is why we use this guy right? But which to take and in what combination? At first glance many of these powers might seem similar, but each is subtly different and offers distinct advantages. But to use each power a psychic test must be passed first, and only one power may be used per turn.

Th other issue surrounding psychic powers is working out the costs. Actually it's very simple for Codiciers but if you're using an Epistolary it's worth carefully considering the order powers are taken as point savings can be made. For example let's look at my Deathwing Epistolary Raziel. I want to equip him with say, Fury of the Ancients (FotA) and Might of Heroes (MoH), if I take FotA as the first and then MoH as the second power I will pay a total of 18 points, but, if I take MoH as the first and FotA as the second power I will only pay 14 points so saving 4. See where I'm coming from? The same occurs with other power combinations too so take the time to get this little detail sorted out.

So let's have a look and see what's on offer:

The Force Weapon

Type: Close combat weapon used during the assault phase.

This is not a psychic power per se but requires a psychic test to kill outright once a wound has been inflicted. It is awesome as it will kill anything no matter how many wounds the target has remaining. But what's often overlooked is that the psychic ability of this weapon cannot be used in a turn that another psychic power has been used, so don't get carried away prior to the close combat. If you have already used a power, then the force weapon reverts back to a power weapon — still good, but nowhere near as good.

Storm of the Emperor's Wrath

Type: Shooting power used in the shooting phase.

This is the base power that all Librarians come with which means it's the most cost-effective if points are a premium. The main problems are that it has a very limited range meaning it will be largely useless until the second or third turn; and can only shoot at one target per turn. In addition, the blast template will only net one or two casualties at best. The upside is that at AP2 it will ignore many armour saves and force inv saves too which can be very useful against heavily armoured infantry like Terminators for instance.

Although nearly always overlooked, this power isn't actually that bad for free — the thing is that many other powers are simply more useable. I'll rate this power as 6/10.

Fury of the Ancients

Type: Shooting power used in the shooting phase.

This has many resemblences to the Salamander's power Fury of the Salamander. For me this is the power Librarians should take as standard as it creates havoc no matter what army you are facing. This power has unlimited range as it can go all the way across the battlefield to a table edge. Not only that, but it can strike at multiple units too and has the ability to pin any unit it runs over. This power works best in very large games or when a lot of enemy units are on the table.

The disadvantage of this power is that it dissipates when it comes across a friendly unit, or one locked in close combat, so you have to aim carefully. In addition some Fearless armies or those with other special rules (Tyranids) will not be pinnable. Also don't expect it to decimate vast swathes of the enemy, you will average only two hits per unit and saves can br taken. For this reason you must maximise the opportunities of this power by deploying the Librarian on the table from the outset so not a useful one to take if you intend to deespstrike as you might only get to use it once.

There are a couple of interesting issues arising with this power:

  • Line of Sight: Does Fury require line of sight? No. This has been cleared up in the recently released Codex: Space Marines FAQ.
  • Command Squad: If the Libby is accompanied by a Command squad or is attached to a squad is the squad required to shoot in the same direction that the Fury construct was sent as normal shooting rules for units indicate? Yes. They must fire upon one the units that the construct hits, providing of course it is in range of their weapons and in line of sight. This is turn means that this targetted unit becomes the one that is charged if within assault range.

This is one of the better powers and works well in combination with other close-combat orientated powers. Its advantages outweigh minor disadvantages and it's cheap too. I'll rate this power as 9/10 — I'd give it top marks if it were able to pin all armies.

Fear of the Darkness

Type: Shooting power used in the shooting phase.

Now this is a very interesting power which is very similar to the old Dark Angels power Weaken Resolve. Against the right enemies it can be devastating, forcing units to take a morale check with –2 modifier or fall back. It is even better when you consider that ALL enemy units within 12" are potential targets (provided they are not in combat). Imagine your Librarian leaping from his drop pod and using this, pushing all before him, hell he might never get into combat! It is particularly useful against the Tau, Eldar, Imperial Guard.

The downside of this power is that Fearless units and others with special rules will not be effected by this and forces with high Leadership will usually ride the storm. The other factor is that it doesn't actually kill anything. Yes it can break units and disrupt the opposing forces tactics but they can rally and you are back to square one. The other thing to point out is that vehicles will be uneffected.

Nevertheless this is a great power to take if you know who you are playing — particularly when used with an aggressive cc-orientated Librarian pushing right into the lines of the enemy.

So a bit of a heads or tails power in that you will never be in full control it's effectiveness as it is largely reliant on your enemy army's Leadership. Because of this I will rate it as 7/10.

Might of Heroes

Type: An assault power used during the assault phase.

Now here is something special, anybody familiar with Blood Angels will recognise this power as what was The Quickenig. Geared entirely to close combat, the Librarian is able to gain either for himself or confer on someone in his Command/attached squad up to 3 extra attacks. There isn't actually that much more to say about this power, it will work against any foe and is easy to use and understand.

But there is an interesting tactical trick to try with this. Under the new assault rules Indepedent Characters MUST now be within base-to-base contact with an enemy model to be able to assault it or be assaulted by it. It is therefore possible to safely hang back the Librarian and confer any extra attacks on say his accompanying squad sergeant then the Librarian simply mops up what's left next turn. Alternatively place the Libby at one end of the assault line and the confered-powered model at the other and simply work your way to the centre from both ends.

Clearly in order to work the Librarian or his unit must get into close combat so it is useful for a deep striking / drop podding Librarian and his Command squad. It is for this reason an all-or-nothing power as it is not a certainty that your Librarian will get into cc. Despite this once in cc it will keep working for you (providing you keep passing your Psychic Test of coures) and net you results. As such I will rate this power as 8/10.

Veil of Time

Type: A truly awesome power that is used throughout the Librarian's turn.

Based on the old Librarian assault power Storm of Destruction but now extended into all phases of the turn. This is the joint most expensive power in the Librarians armoury and rightly so as it allows him to reroll practically everything during his turn, creating an unstopable combat monster.

It's actually a very simple power to use and considered by many players to be the best available. Maybe it is with power-armoured Librarians but on his Terminator-armoured brother things start getting very expensive. In my view it works well when teamed with Might of Heroes and where you can get into cc quickly. It suits a solitary HQ keeping him alive and punching well above his weight, in this instance coupled with MoH or FotA.

A nice little additional benefit of Veil is allowing you to reroll the the dreaded Perils of the Warp wounding score of 2 as the power is then in force, but not 12 as the power is not activated.

The drawback is cost. Twice the cost of Might and Fear and over three times Fury you will need to carefully consider whether it's really for you. If you take it you can afford be ultra aggressive with your Libby getting him into combat as soon as possible — there is no point in being shy here. But Veil can be used in the shooting phase too so it is never really wasted no matter what situation he finds himself in. All-in-all I will rate this power as 9/10.

Vortex of Doom

Type: Shooting power used in the shooting phase.

At first glance this seems very powerful — a blast marker over any unit within 12" of the Libby, test for scatter, and any fully covered models will be destroyed if they roll above their Initiative characteristic with no armour or inv saves allowed.

Seems to have the potential of creating havoc in large units and/or multiple adjacent units packed closely together. And as it is the joint-top expensive power you would expect it to perform as well and as effectively as Veil. In fact it is devastating and can cause incredible damage — as all template weapons can — being feared by all types of infantry units and HQs, unfortunately Monstrous Creatures and vehicles are uneffected.

But for me there are just too many variables. Rolling above your I gives most Space Marines and Chaos marines a 33% chance of being sucked into the Warp, with most Orks and Tau it's 66% so in this respect it's rather like Might of Heroes as it rather depends on your enemy's characteristics. The real roblem is with scatter. 6" scatter on a 12" range weapon makes it very inaccurate, not only that but throwing a 12 on his Psychic test means not only does he lose an automatic wound as normal but the blast marker is placed on him too forcing him to throw equal or below his I to survive, so your expensive Codicier could end up very dead without any enemy activity having taken place against him.

So the downsides outweigh the upsides on this power, and adding its expense I'll rate Vortex as only 6/10.

3. Combining psychic powers and wargear

To get most from your Librarian it is worth considering which powers work well in combination with one another and with what wargear. I shan't dwell too long on this as I shall be concentrating only on the top four choices: Fury of the Ancients, Fear of the Dark, Might of Heros and Veil of Time. I have divided Librarians into broadly two types — Close Combat and Tactical, and have also listed weapons and wargear ranked as being most effective for each role. Close Combat Librarians are those that deep srike, jumppack or get transported into the enemy lines as soon as poss whilst Tactical Librarians are those that foot slog it across the battlefield shooting as they go.

For close combat Librarians

Powers:
Might with Veil,
Fear with Veil,
Might with Fear,
or any one of above for a Codicier.

For tactical Librarians

Powers:
Fury with Fear,
Fury with Might,
Fury or Fear for a Codicier.

Extra weapon

In each above combinations if you have points you should seriously consider giving your Librarian a second weapon granting him an additional attack. This would be (cheapest option) a bolt pistol for a power-armoured Libby or a power sword on a Terminator Librarian, maximising his close combat potential. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but for a Terminator-armoured Libby the cheapest option is a power sword relegated to just giving the added attack — an expensive luxury — but one worth it when combined with either Might or Veil.

Just a word here on using shooting weapons with tactical Librarians. With Fury of the Ancients and a lesser degree Might of Heroes, you don't actually need a ranged shooting weapon as the power shoots for you. So instead of a storm bolter for your Deathwing Libby — give him a storm shield instead. However, I always kit my Libby with a shooting weapon so I can reserve his psychic capacity to use the force weapon during the subsequent assault phase.

Another popular ranged weapon useful for a 'general purpose' power-armoured Libby is a plasma pistol — though for me these are nowhere nearly as effective as they were in the 3rd edition game.

Master-crafted force weapon

The main offensive weapon of the Librarian is the force weapon. In order to take advantage of ignoring armour saves you have to have at least one hit on your opponent so master-crafting offers you that safety net. At 15 points, you are almost guaranteed to make the points back at some point during the game.

Familiar / Furious Charge

Another must for power armoured-Libbys is the Familiar granting him an Initiative boost as well as effectively an extra wound and with the bonus that the Familiar has an attack too. These little fellas make good modelling features — really giving your character 'character'.

For Terminator-armoured Librarians Familiars are not allowed so use the Furious Charge skill instead (the Libby MUST have a Command squad to utilise this skill). This not only boosts his I but also Str too (but ONLY on the turn he charges) and is cheap.

Command squad/attached squad

I've never been a fan of lonely Space Marine HQs and feel they need to operate with a unit to be most effective — if only to keep them safe from shooting or unwanted close combat. Another benefit for us Dark Angels is that the Librarian confers his mandatory Stubborn ability on his Command/attached squad, a useful little perk.

Command squads

This is not the place for a Tactica on Command squads, save to say that the extra assault weapon can be a real boon as for course is the ability to field an Apothecary, Standard Bearer or Company Champion should you wish.

For the Deathwing a Command squad's benefits are minimal as currently they cannot use any specialists, however, more importantly, our Librarian and his Command squad count as one HQ choice so need only role one dice to teleport in and will arrive together.

With all Command squads they are able to confer any Special Skills they might have upon their accompanying character.

One other thing to mention here is the ability to attach another IC to the Libby's Command squad. It is quite possible to attach another Librarian. A Librarian with Might and/or Veil and another with Fear and/or Fury in one unit — expensive yes but deadly effective at range and in cc depending on configuration. A Chaplain would be a cheaper option geared entirely to close combat. The Librarian, his Command squad and any other attached IC are classified as being one HQ choice which means for the Deathwing they can deepstrike together.

Attached squads

These provide similar protection and backup to the Librarian but of course cannot field the specialists. Currently attached squads are the only option for a Ravenwing Librarian; and a Deathwing Librarian and any attached Deathwing squad count as separate units for deep striking purposes so there is a high chance of them not turning up together or scattering widely apart. So if deep striking is your tactic, or even if you want the flexibility of using it, then a proper Command squad for your Libby is a must have.

A Librarian with a jump pack can run with an assault squad to devastating effect (providing you have the points to spend), expect it to be a gigantic fire magnet. The other important point here is that our Libby has the option to leave one squad and join another so in many ways offers greater tactical flexibility for both attack and defense, pitching up where he is needed most. Although in practice I have never seen much swapping and changing meaning this ability is wasted — but it is an option.

For me, I would recommend a Command squad over an attached squad any day.

Artificer armour

An excellent option as it will increase his chance of survival by 33% to that of a Terminator and the compulsory Terminator Honours effectively turns him in to one, but the combination is more expensive than straight Terminator armour and for Dark Angel characters Stubborn must still be purchased (unless the Librarian is in a Ravenwing army).

Storm Shield

Useful added protection and cheap but it ties up an arm that could otherwise be holding an extra weapon so a balance will need to be struck here — max attacks v useful inv save. I'd err on the side of the extra weapon but with Might of Heroes giving you the extra attacks the 4+ Inv save might prove a lifesaver. And as noted above, this is a good choice for a tactical Terminator Libby without a shooting weapon. A note on the storm shield. Another reason why I opt for the storm shield over the other choices is because the librarian needs to survive to get his force weapon hits in against multi-wound critters. Often they're going to go before the Librarian, and they'll typically ignore armour saves, so the storm shield gives him that added level of protection over the normal 5+ Inv save.

Iron Halo

Useful on Librarians with or without Artificer Armour as it confers a 4+ Inv save and can be used both in cc and against ranged weapons suiting a tactical Libby. But for me this is very expensive for what it does.

Combat Shield

I've never used one but can see it would be useful on a power-armoured cc Libby. A 5+ Inv save is useful but the Combat Shield is not as good as an Iron Halo in that the save is worse and it only works in close combat, but at under half the price is a useful piece of kit if the points are tight. On the upside, unlike it's bigger cousin the Storm Shield, it leaves the hand free for an extra weapon.

Adamantine Mantle

Only really useful in certain situations when facing really big nasty weapons or creatures. Problem is how often do you come up against 8+ Str weapons? and why haven't they been decimated by gunfire before cc? And on a character with one wound left anyhow he's still a goner. It might be worth it on a solo Libby, but if he is accompanied by a command squad then they should act to protect him. But it does work so it must be considered — though for me I think it's way too expensive, hence it is last on the list.

Terminator armour

Obviously a Deathwing Libby must wear Terminator armour. But is it a valid choice for a Libby within a normal battleforce? Well there is the cost to consider, the already expensive Epistolary will find himself very easily costing in excess of 140 points with quite minimal additional wargear. And as I have previously alluded to, in my opinion Librarians work best with a Terminator Command squad or an attached Terminator squad, meaning we need at least a 4-man Command squad with two assault cannons, or an attached 5-man Tactical squad (again with two assault cannons), or a Terminator Assault sqaud (twin lightning claws, storm shields and thunder hammers). Things are starting to look pricey in context of a 1500 point game.

Bikes

I am not advocating the use of a bike for a Librarian due to the high and perhaps more importantly the fact that if he turbo-boosts he cannot use any of his shooting psychic powers. However, in a Ravenwing army you have little option. So the only advice is think ahead before turbo-boosting.

4. Examples of "battlefield-ready" Librarians

Let's have a look at a few Librarians to see how all that we have discussed can be combined. Not that I am specifically recommending these options — much of this is personal choice — this is purely illustrative.

Deathwing Librarian builds

Epistolary (close combat)
TDA, Might, Veil, force weapon, power weapon, Stubborn.

Epistolary (counter assault)
TDA, Fury, Might, force weapon, power weapon, Stubborn.

Epistolary (tactical)
TDA, Fear, Fury, force weapon, storm shield, Stubborn.

Codicier (tactical)
TDA, Fury or Fear, force weapon, storm bolter, Stubborn.

Ravenwing Librarian builds

Epistolary (close combat)
Bike, Familiar, Artificier armour, Might, Veil, force weapon, thunder hammer, Termi hons.

Codicier (close combat)
Bike, Familiar, Artificer armour, Fury or Fear, combat shield, plasma pistol, master-crafted force weapon, Termi hons.

Codicier (tactical)
Bike, Storm of the Emperor's Wrath, force weapon, bolt pistol, Termi hons.

Battle company Librarian builds

Epistolary (close combat)
Familiar, Might, Veil, Artificier armour, force weapon, bolt pistol, Termi hons, Stubborn.

Epistolary (close combat)
Familiar, Fear, Might, iron halo, force weapon, bolt pistol, Termi hons, Stubborn.

Epistolary (close combat)
Familiar, Veil, Might, Force weapon, bolt pistol, iron halo, bionics, frags, Termi hons, Stubborn.
Command squad: close combat weapons x 7 / plasma guns x 2
Drop Pod

Epistolary (tactical)
Force weapon, Fury, Might, plasma pistol, Termi hons, Stubborn.

Codicier (close combat)
Familiar, Veil, force weapon, bolt pistol, iron halo (optional), jump pack (if you have an Assault squad), Termi hons, Stubborn.

This concludes the Librarian's Tactica, I hope you enjoyed it.

Isiah

Feedback and comments

Also, consider this varient:
Epistolary
Terminator Armour
Thunder Hammer
Force Weapon
Adamantine Mantle
Veil of Time
Fury of the Ancients.
Ludicrously tough if used right, a horrendous points sink otherwise.

Fury of the Ancients is an allround-useful power, because when you take it as your second power, it's CHEAP.

That, and I once had the joy of getting one on the flank of a Tau static Fire Warrior line.

It gives you a "reach out and touch someone" ability for only a few pts, a real bargain, take it as your second power, you won't regret it.

Fear of the Darkness is less useful on a jump pack Libby (how I use it), so I took VoT and my god that power kicks unholy amounts of ass, rerolling to hit is one thing, rerolling everything is downright mean.

Having tried out Veil of Time for the first time yesterday, I must say it is ==My== new favorite power.

Termie Libby and Command Squad teleport in front of some 'nids. Genestealers charge and kill retinue in one round. Libby casts VoT in ==My== turn and begins dispensing justice while taking only one wound. His turn, VoT wears off but his 'stealers can't get anything done.

This goes on for two more game turns as the Libby wipes out a full brood of stealers.

Nice tactica.
The real benefit to Furious Charge is the boost to the Str for the force weapon. On tough, multi-wound nasties like a lot of Tyranid critters, a STR 5 force weapon is a LOT better than a Str4 force weapon.

Good points, all. Just a few comments. You have to make a distinct difference between Librarians that have a squad and ones that are running solo. Personally, I think Veil is really only useful for a solo Librarian, and as that Librarian's only power. It's actually a pretty limited power. It does not allow you to re-roll all tests the Librarian makes. The tests are very specific. Secondly, it only works during your turn, so the power is negated when the enemy shoots at you. Hence why having the librarian running solo is so important. You can use his IC status to force the enemy to shoot at something else. I should also note, though, that I couldn't imagine running a Veil Librarian without a 2+ armour save and some kind of invul save. That means either Terminator armour or artificer armour and either an iron halo or storm shield.

Lastly, for the shooting phase at least, you don't really get much out of the power unless the Librarian is toting a plasma pistol or combi-weapon of some kind. Re-roll storm bolter shots? Enh, not so much. Re-roll plasma or melta shots? Ok, now we're talking. The problem with the combi-weapon is that you get one shot out of it, and it's really only usful for Terminators who can fire it and move. And the problem with the plasma pistol is that Terminators can't carry it. So while I pretty much exclusively play Deathwing, I can theoretically see a use for Veil on a solo jump pack Librarian. Lot of mobility, strong shooting with a plasma pistol and decent in close combat. Gets very expensive though, as I'd probably throw arti armor and an iron halo on him, too.

Close combat takes us to Might of Heroes. I have a rule with might of heros: never on a solo Librarian. It's simply overkill. Use the power on a squad member, preferably a squad sgt in a Terminator squad to benefit from his initiative. Turn him into a second killing machine that can work over models the Librarian can't attack.

Fury: Standard power. Every Epistolary should have this one. And every Epistolary that does have it should not be carrying a storm bolter. Use the extra weapon slot for either a storm shield or some kind of close combat weapon. Fury is the Librarian's default ranged attack. Use it early, use it often.

A note on thunderhammers. I can't see them being useful for Librarians, except to give the Librarian an option to wound something he can't normally with his Str4. If that's the case, you shouldn't be in close combat with a beasty like that to begin with. Secondly, that's not something I worry about since my librarian is usually surrounded by three power fists.

The fact is that if you are fighting something multi-wound that the librarian can do damage to, you want to kill it with the force weapon in the first combat phase rather than stun it and try to kill it in the second combat phase. Otherwise you're wasting the potential of the force weapon. Go for the instant kill from the get go. Save the tough stuff for the power fists.

My obvious bias towards Terminators in this post is because I play Deathwing, surely. But I also can't see a better way to field a Librarian. The Terminators handle whatever the Librarian can't. The provide him with a squad that allows him to deep strike. The armour gives him a 2+/5+ save. You get to pack two assault cannons and no less than three power fists (or chainfists, for that matter.) A Terminator Command squad is also one of the most efficient ways to get assault cannons onto the tabletop.

And so we come to the final analysis. 4-man Terminator Command squad, with two assault cannons, one chainfist and furious charge. Throw in a Fury/Fear Librarian or Fury/Might, add in a storm shield and go to town. There's nothing that squad can't handle, and it's the ultimate in flexibility. The Fear Librarian is particularly sick on a deep strike. Personally I think it's the best way you can spend points in a marine list.

The Command squad is indeed priceless, though I agree that Veil does not complement the squad. If you give the Libby a combi-weapon, it could be useful, but I typically stick with MoH. The storm shield is a huge benefit for the termie Librarian. I recently bumped ==My== Captain down to a combat shield from an iron halo, and the difference between a 4+ inv and a 5+ inv is staggering, I highly reccomend the storm shield on your fighty Librarian in termie armor.

Do you have so much trouble keeping your bodyguard alive that it warrants spending the points on Veil? I just can't see it being that good. It looks good on paper, but in practice it just pales in my opinion. I'm not so worried about losing my Librarian or Command squad. They're meant to be the hammer of my Deathwing force, not a scoring unit. I play very aggressively with them, usually trying to get them into hand to hand quickly. That means getting close, so Fear or Might really pays off. It also makes them a pretty big fire magnet, which takes the pressure off my other squads. I suppose I could see a use for it in that case, but it's chancey. Usually if that squad takes a tremendous number of casualties it's due to shooting and bad placement by yours truly. Since Veil won't help against the shooting, I guess I just don't see the use. I'm open to ideas, though.

Just as a follow up Adamantine Mantle. There's not enough insta-kill close combat out there to warrant it, in my opinion. The primary threats are power fists used by marines, Wraithlords and Carnifex. C'Tan and a truly amped Demon Prince can get there, too, but neither of these really warrant it. Assaulting a C'Tan is not a great idea to begin with, and even if the Librarian does, he's got even odds since his initiative is good enough to get a hit off. The Princes are better handled with assault cannons anyways, and the configuration to get it to Str8 is less common than the Dreadaxe/stature prince.

As for the others, the Librarian beats the Carni in initiative, and that's if it hasn't been shreded by assault cannons already. Wraithlords are a pain to deal with if they come in groups, but singly they can be safely ignored. Also I'll have the advantage of deployment with my HQ versus Heavy Support choice.

The hidden powerfists are the biggest threat, but aren't they always? Likewise with a faith using, eviscerator wielding Sister. Again, the best thing to do is probably shoot up and avoid those units as best one can. This does, however, make me want to run some numbers on Assault squads with hidden fists vs Terminators.

The high strength ranged attacks don't really worry me that much. That's what the rest of the squad is for. Mantle might be good for a solo Librarian, but I don't think for a competitive one in a squad.

I've never seen a use for the Mantle other than on ICs with powerfists/thunder hammers, it's too expensive. If you need to avoid a powerfist, it's all about placement. When charging, engage a few enemies you are assured to kill to prevent any return attacks, try to "snipe" the powerfist, etc. A little bit of adept movement can save you 35 points and your Libby.