Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back in Business!

A friend of mine and I fought a battle a few days ago. I wanted to test out my potential tournament list, but I did him a favor instead. He's going to face a Draigowing army in the near future and I wanted to prepare him so he knew what he was getting into- so I proxied a Draigowing force out of my regular Terminators. He used Plasma Angels... Which is to say, Blood Angels stacked with a ton of plasma weaponry. His upcoming game is Annihilation rules, so that's what we did.

Grey Knights: Grey Knights (2011)

I brought 15 Paladins, squad of 10 and squad of 5, with the maximum amount of Psycannons. The melee weapons were kitted out for maximum wound allocation shenanigans. The large squad had Psybolts, Apothecary, and a Brotherhood Banner. And, of course, Lord Kaldor Draigo to make the list legal.

He had:

Captain with Powerfist and Combi-Plasma
Tactical squad with Plasma Cannon, Plasma gun, Combi-Plasma, Powerfist
10 Sternguard with 2 Plasma Cannons and 8 Combi-Plasmas, Powerfist in a Land Raider Crusader
5 Sternguard with 2 Plasma Cannons and 3 Combi-Plasmas, Powerfist in a Drop Pod
5 Scouts, Locator Beacon
Baal Predator

I reserved everything for Deep Striking and he deployed everything but the Pod and Land Raider. He seized the initiative and went first; the pod came in and deployed its 5 man squad, and he did absolutely nothing else because I wasn't on the table yet. On his turn 2, his Land Raider failed to come in, and he... did absolutely nothing since I still wasn't on the table.

Unfortunately for me, only my 5 man squad showed up from reserves. The 5 Paladins promptly destroyed his Scouts squad and removed his Locator Beacon from the table to prevent his Land Raider from coming in with no scatter on the following turn.

Which it did- and it nearly suffered a mishap, but he got lucky and the scatter was just an inch less than what would have gotten him in trouble. He fired everything but his Combi-Plasmas at my Paladins and, though it took him literally every shot in his army, he wiped them out.

On my next turn, my 10 man squad and Draigo showed up. To keep things short, I'll sum up:

When the game ended on turn 6, all he had left on the board was his Land Raider, Baal Predator, and Drop Pod. Kill points were- Grey Knights 5, Plasma Angels 2.

Grey Knight victory!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Revised Tournament List

After some corrected math and discussion on the best 40k Marine forum, this is what the potential tournament list has become:

HQ: 615
Mordrak, 5x Ghost Knights, Hammer, 4x Falchions - 420
Librarian, Quick, Might, Sanctuary, Shrouding, Rift, Summoning, 3x Skulls - 195

Troops: 500
10 SS, Hammer, Psycannon x2, Psybolts - 250
10 SS, Hammer, Psycannon x2, Psybolts - 250

Fast Attack: 620
10 Interceptors, Hammer, Psycannon x2, Psybolts - 310
10 Interceptors, Hammer, Psycannon x2, Psybolts - 310

But I still have 15 leftover points, and I'm not sure where to put them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Grey Knight Terminators

Today I'm getting to the other Grey Knights Troop choice, the Terminator squad.

You'll notice that they're obviously bulkier than the Strike Squads; their name is a reference to their armor, Terminator Armor, which is heavier than the Strike Squad's Power Armor. This makes them a little bit slower, but much more resilient and also more capable at shooting, due to the Terminator Armor's ability to stabilize heavy weapons, even while on the move.

First off, I'll come right out and say that for me personally, Terminators are typically not worth the cost. They fill a couple of roles that I find I don't need in most of my forces. They're one of the best units in close combat, with a solid statline including a decent number of attacks. They don't  match the toughest assault units in the game (such as Codex: Space Marines' Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators), but with the right gear they can hold their own against the majority. The other role is that of the Deep Striked or "footslogging" fire support unit that enemies don't want to assault. Footslogging refers to simply marching across the board... Slowly. This is a role they do very well in, due to their ability to fire heavy weapons even when moving, but in my opinion they are at risk of being shot to pieces when doing this; there are plenty of ranged weapons that ignore even Terminator Armor so letting these guys be a big, fat slow moving target is not a good idea in my mind.

Aside from armor, their gear is exactly the same as the Strike Squad, right down to the grenades. They lose out on the Warp Quake ability and also can't embark in Rhino or Razorback transports. If you want to buy these gents a ride, it has to be a Land Raider or Stormraven, both about as expensive as a half squad of Terminators.

So why am I paying twice as much for these grunts, aside from the armor? Well, they do get discounts on the melee weapon prices- two of them are free, even. If you really need the armor, and you really need the cheaper melee kit, these are the guys for you.

Me personally, I'll stick to the Strike Squads, but here's a couple sample loadouts for a Terminator squad:

10 Grey Knight Terminators
1 Master-Crafted Nemesis Daemon Hammer
2 Psycannons
= 475 points

10 Grey Knight Terminators
1 Master-Crafted Nemesis Daemon Hammer
1 Nemesis Warding Stave
4 Nemesis Halberds
4 Nemesis Falchions
2 Psycannons
= 495 points

Grey Knight forces that include Terminators will suffer an even greater disadvantage when it comes to numbers on the field. They can be frighteningly effective when used properly, but for me, I prefer more boots on the ground.

Space Marines: Stormraven Gunship (2011)Grey Knights: Grey Knights (2011)Space Marine Land Raider Redeemer Crusader Tank

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Future Tournament List

I don't own any Grey Knights models yet, but I have a goal to get this 1750 army bought, assembled, and painted by the October tournaments, when the points limit goes from 1500 to 1750. 

HQ: 600 points
Grey Knight TerminatorsMordrak, 5x Ghost Knights, 5x Falchions - 425
Librarian, Quick, Might, Sanctuary, Shrouding, Rift - 175

Troops: 500 points
10x Strike Squad, Hammer, Psybolts - 250
10x Strike Squad, Hammer, Psybolts - 250

Fast Attack: 620 points
10x Interceptors, Hammer, Psycannon x2, Psybolts - 310
10x Interceptors, Hammer, Psycannon x2, Psybolts - 310

As of now, I have 30 points left over. I'm considering adding Falchions to the Interceptors and/or skulls to the Libby or...?

I want some serious criticism on this list. I want you to bring up tournament army builds that I might have trouble with and suggestions for how the list might change to counter them.

General tactica: I can put 3 units right in the enemy's face on turn 1- Mordrak's Ghosts and the Libby as a unit and both Interceptors. Libby will Warp Rift high value targets. I can choose to give the Interceptors Scout- 12" scout move, 12" 1st turn move, 12" for pitched battle deployment zones. This would save their Shunt for later in the game. Or make them scoring. Or give them Counter Attack if I'm faced with an army that likes to assault (and not hop them quite so close to the enemy's lines to begin with).

I could also give one of the Strike Squads Scout and Outflank them, or Deep Strike them if I take some Skulls. But in general, one or both will keep my home objective safe, and I might move/run one upfield for some more Psycannon loving on the enemy.

So, have at it. Rip it apart please :D I'd rather address weaknesses now, before I've bought the models, than after I leave a tournament in shame!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Grey Knight Strike Squads

For this post I'm going to jump right in to the meat of the Grey Knights' army: the Strike Squad.

These guys are one of two Troops choices in the army list- the other being Terminators, which while more heavily armored, also weigh in at twice the points cost. As far as having more boots on the ground that are able to capture objectives, Strike Squads are your bread and butter (unless you're making an entirely Terminator army) and will fill the role that Tactical Squads do in a typical Marine army.

As far as stats go, Strike Squads have the universal Marine stat line- no surprises there. What they do have that is out of the ordinary is a Storm Bolter, Nemesis Force Sword, and Psykout Grenades as standard kit. Every single one of these guys has a ranged weapon twice as good as a Tactical Marine's Bolter- twice the shots at max range, and you can still assault after firing it. This obviates the need for a Bolt Pistol, and then it gets paired with a Nemesis Force Sword- so not only do these guys ignore your fancy armor in close combat, but they can also instantly kill you if you have more than one wound.

Needless to say, the kit they're given more than covers the 4-5 points more these guys cost than similar units in other codices. I'm a longtime Marine player, and playing Grey Knights just feels right because of this unit. To me, this is what a Tactical Squad should be like.

And that doesn't even take into account the upgrades. You can upgrade every model in this squad to have a special melee weapon, and you get your choice from all the weapons available to every Grey Knight- Halberd, Daemon Hammer, and paired Falchions. That's right, you can (for considerable cost) make your basic Troops into fearsome melee fighters. Halberds make you strike before all but the fastest enemies, the Hammer strikes last but makes them strike twice as hard, and Falchions add either 1 or 2 attacks in melee (this is under serious debate currently). Even if it only adds 1 attack, that still doubles the base attacks they get, and puts them on par with mid-grade assault troops.

The ranged upgrades for the squad are also the same as every other Grey Knight specialist unit- Psilencers, Incinerators, and Psycannons, as well as Psybolts to improve their Storm Bolters. I'm not too fond of Psilencers- they're Heavy weapons, so you cannot move and fire them. They get 50% more shots than the Psycannons, but don't have the Strength or Armor Penetration that the Psycannons do. Psycannons also have Rending to help them cut through armor and vehicles alike, and can be fired at half the number of shots on the move. Psybolts are almost a must on any full size squad, as they dramatically improve the performance of their Storm Bolters by increasing the Strength of the weapon. Incinerators are a real bonus- they're just like a Heavy Flamer, but at +1 Strength, and are Assault instead of Heavy, so they can be fired on the move as well, and will definitely put a hurt on all kinds of infantry.

My first test game with Grey Knights was against Necrons, and the Incinerators were knocking down their heavy infantry (Immortals) like nobody's business- just from getting so many hits and wounds. They got right back up again, of course, but the Incinerator kept them down until the Strike Squad could run up and finish them off in assault.

However, Incinerators are not ideal weapons for Strike Squads. They lack the mobility to use them at peak effectiveness, and Grey Knights need as much anti-tank weaponry as they can get. The current 40k metagame is very heavily mechanized, and Grey Knights do not get plasma or melta weaponry outside of an Inquisitor and his retinue of Henchmen. Psycannons with their Rending rule are the best anti-tank weapon on Grey Knights, aside from Daemon Hammers, so every squad that can take Psycannons really should for that reason alone. Add in their general purpose effectiveness and they're a must have. The one drawback to all the Grey Knight's weaponry is range. No weapon you'll find on a Grey Knight will exceed 24", so you must have mobility to use their weapons effectively.

You could do what everyone else does in 40k, and that is to buy them a transport. Either keep the Strike Squad small and put them in an armed Razorback (with the Psybolts upgrade to improve the strength on its Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter) or flesh out the squad size and stick them in a Rhino, where the two Psycannons can shoot out of the top hatch. Alternatively, Strike Squads can do what no other unit in Power Armor (that I'm aware of) can do, and that's Deep Strike via teleportation. You can start them off the board and later on place them anywhere you want to, with a little bit of scatter- though you can take leaders with wargear that reduce or eliminate this scatter. Sure, other units in Power Armor can Deep Strike via Jump Packs and vehicles, but they don't get the benefit of wargear like a Teleport Homer.

Another ability that sets Strike Squads apart is Warp Quake. You can cause a 12" area around the unit to be anathema to enemy Deep Strikers, causing an automatic mishap and preventing items like Teleport Homers from working in that area. This should get used every turn if your opponent's army includes units held in Reserves that are going to Deep Strike, and spread out the unit a bit to maximize that 12" range around every model in the squad.

And like all Grey Knights, the Strike Squad has the Hammerhand ability, allowing them to strike even harder in melee. It is really effective, but keep in mind you can't use it the same turn you use Warp Quake, so you'll have to strategize which one is more important. Strike Squads should generally avoid melee (there are much better assault units at your disposal) unless you're charging them into a depleted squad to finish them off, and in that case you won't need Hammerhand.

Strike Squads, for all their fancy wargear, are still Astartes. They still die just like other Astartes, so you need to protect them in some way. Use your Rhino transport as a mobile bunker, hide them in cover, or make other units around them more threatening to draw fire away from them, and they'll survive longer to do the job you want them to do. Their prime location is either on your home objective in cover to keep it secured (or nearby in their transport), waiting in Reserves to Deep Strike onto the enemy and pour support fire onto them, or quickly transported to midfield. Around the middle of the board, their short ranged weaponry isn't a hindrance and you can pour firepower down field.

Me personally, I don't like Rhinos or Razorbacks- especially since my opponent will have anti-light armor specifically to take out vehicles like them- so my Strike Squads will either be walking around my home objective or deploying via Deep Strike to support the fast-moving elements of my army. With that said, here's my ideal, general-purpose set up for a Strike Squad:

10 Grey Knights
1 Nemesis Daemon Hammer (on the Justicar of the squad for the extra attack with it)
2 Psycannons
= 250 points.

Not too bad at all, especially considering that a "basic" Tactical Squad out of Codex: Space Marines with an upgrade or two and a Rhino costs about 230. That helps to solve one of the primary weaknesses of the Grey Knights- numbers. Grey Knights will almost always be outnumbered, unless you strive to keep the units you buy inexpensive like the Strike Squad outlined above.

Grey Knights: Grey Knights (2011)Grey Knights Codex (2011)

Thursday, May 5, 2011


As a proud new Grey Knights player (admittedly, without the models- I've been using my Astartes as proxy until I can get them) I decided I'd make a blog about everything Grey Knights, with a little bit of regular 40k thrown in from time to time for flavor.

For the uninitiated, "40k" refers to Warhammer 40,000, the best sci-fi miniature wargame in existence. Not opinion, that's fact ;)

Really, its just my crack of choice.

Here's an example, the leader of the Grey Knights:

That's all for now, I'll be back soon with some discussion on the Grey Knights themselves. I've been diving headfirst into their tactica and will be happy to share what I've found.

(Images, logos, etc ad infinitum are property of Games Workshop, used without permission.)