Thoughts on the Grey Knights

Hello Internets, it’s been awhile… My apologies.

I’ve been thinking about the Grey Knights lately, and between building lists and running numbers I have come to a few conclusions.  Remember, these are just my opinion so if you don’t like it, too bad.

I’m going to come out and say it.  I don’t like the new GK book.  For me, it’s very limiting when you compare it to other marine books, especially the wolves.  Between the very pricey units and over-the-top CC potential I’d put this army at a mid-tier level, sitting below the power 3 (BA, SW, IG) and here’s why:

The biggest drawback is the cost for the actual grey knight models (barring a few which I’ll talk about later).  When you factor in the halberds EVERYONE is taking with psybolt ammo, etc you’re looking at marines that are 30+ points.  Shit for that much you could be buying space wolf/Chaos Termies with combi-weapons.  Getting 2 grey hunters for 1 grey knight seems pretty good… For my wolves.  So what’s the problem with high point cost marines?  They die exactly the same as regular marines to bolters, lasguns, (insert run of the mill gun that every unit has here) except when you lose one it’s going to hurt twice as much.  “But I’ve got rhinos/chimeras/stormravens to get me there!”  While true and I’m sure many marine players can tell you about that time his Rhino survived 20 lascannons and kept on trucking, realistically your rhino gets you 12″ up the table and takes a few shots that could have been going into your marines before spilling you out onto the table.  Rhinos are worth it, don’t get me wrong but don’t be fooled into thinking your safe from small arms fire.  They can and WILL kill you.  One of the reasons BA armies do so well is the FNP coupled with power armour really helps against torrent of fire.

There are a few units in the GK book that I feel are good bargains.  I see Coteaz being a must just to get bodies on the field.  6 man warrior units in razorbacks is a decent firebase while remaining relatively inexpensive and scoring.  The terminator troops are not a bad choice with their brotherhood banner and 4++ in close from the force weapon.  Throw a libby in to give them I10.  Donate your henchmen’s chimera to them and have a good time. The libby will see its way into quite a few list with his excellent selection of spells.   Personally I see good synergy with “the shrouding” (any power that can be used in your opponents turn is useful and a 3+ smoke save on a chimera full of termies is a thing of beauty), “The quickening” (as 5 points for the power is cheaper than buying a unit all halberds, and the JoTWW type power for the instant pen vs vehicles.   With the lack of meltas in the army you’re gonna need a way to deal with Land Raiders.  I also think the Grand Masters are a good choice with an interesting set of special rules to hand out.  I see him being more useful in scouting stormraven lists or making the odd choice in your army a scoring unit in 5 obj. games.  Finally my favourite unit is the Rifleman dread with the psybolt ammo upgrade.  For 10 points more than a standard Rifleman, you are getting str 8 shots and near immunity to stunned/shaken.  It really makes the dreadknight (ugly model) irrelevant as a firing platform as well.

Purifiers are a great model and cost pretty much on par for what they can do.  They get cheap halberds and have an additional attack in addition to their cleansing power (which essentially is a 3rd attack and higher I).  I, along with many others, love the purifier.  However, they are not troops.  I see many people picking up Crowe and running purifier armies.  I just can’t see this, Crowe is terrible.  Worse than terrible, he makes your opponents army stronger.  Taking Crowe is essentially playing a 1500 point game with 1350 points.  He raises the cost of a purifier by 6-7 points putting them into the TOO expensive category.  Do yourself a favour and just take the 1 unit as an elite choice and use a Grand Master.

When Paladins were first rumoured even I thought they would be OP.  Sadly with their VERY high point cost and lack of Storm Shields I just can’t see them being viable.  Having 1-2 units of them in an army leaves you VERY little for anything else and while the 2 wounds in TDA with FNP is pretty good, its those damn str 8 ap 1 shots that are fairly common (see meltas) which will do you in.  This leads to another point, the lack of meltas and storm shields in the army is frustrating.  I see what GW was trying to do with the meltas but it gives the GK’s problems against everything better than a rhino.  The storm shields I can sorta see as well (give 1 hand for force weapon and 1 for storm bolter) but you think the emperors greatest soldiers would have a few shields kicking around.

What I would have rather had would be cheaper GK infantry.  Drop some of the special rules, drop the force weapons and make them WS5.  Cost them at 18 points each.  Then give me the option to give models the force weapons, halberds, etc at point totals that would put them at the price they are now.  I’d rather have 3 halberds and a deamonhammer in a unit and have it be cheaper than all force weapons but pay out the nose.

To conclude I think the GK book is very fluffy and has potential to make some great inquisitorial themed armies but overall I think it suffers from point cost.  I realize its suppose to be an elite army but I would have rather had cheaper units which I could then upgrade as I see fit to make them elite.  The power of marine armies lies in fielding seas of power armour in rhinos and overwhelming your opponent by the shear resilience of it. I don’t see this in the book as EVERY loss is going to sting.  The book will still give people a good game but 1 piss-poor round of rolling and it could easily be over for the GK player.

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About Crimzzen

Plays X Wing! (And sometimes Warmachine...)
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9 Responses to Thoughts on the Grey Knights

  1. Zachary Brayman says:

    I really agree with you on all points except the dreadknight, Even if it is holding a baby in its chest I like the look of it, but id convert a cover for the man and not have him facing the elements (fuck bolters, a god damn hot or cold day would do him in), but besidessss that, I see the strength in SM armies like you said, drowning them in resilant models, i know its what I have trouble with against SM is that when the dust clears, i just coudln’t take out enough of them. Doesnt look like we will have this same trouble with GK. good summary.

    • Crimzzen says:

      Heh, to each their own. I would probably model the dreadknight into a psyfledread. Yeah, the reason why Grey Hunters are argueably the best troop in the game is their point cost. For 15 points you get a cheap 3+ armour save with all 3 weapons (bolter, bolt pistol, chainsword) and a special rule (counter-attack) that brings it all together. From there you can start adding additional power weapons, power fists, banners, wulfen, guns, etc. So now you have a unit with a couple of cheap bodies (wounds) for your special gear vs having a unit full of special gear but no sacrificial pawns. It makes target priority a lot easier as well when you know killing a GK will yield great returns.

  2. Seferoth says:

    While I agree that crowe is a costly for what he does I think he is a good balance to what you get in return. I would always try to break him away from your other units asap and send him into a horde (Cleansing fire, shield stance), light armor (hammerhands str 5 +roll +rend on 4+ for up to 14 armor pen) ICs or big targets (heroic sacrifice). And then to be able to have base 2att int6 power weapon marines for 26 points and cleansing flame aint to bad. One thing that is interesting is with the the GW general FAQ is this:

    Q: What is meant when the term ʻturnʼ is used? (p9)
    A: Whenever the word turn is used it means player turn.
    Otherwise it will clearly state game turn. In a complete
    game turn both players get a player turn. Hence one game
    turn will comprise two player turns.

    now read the rule on Brotherhood of Psykers

    “A Grey Knights unit can use one psychic power each turn.”

    So both on my turn and my opponents turn I’m using cleansing flame before you get to swing. This will devastate swarm armies with bad saves and really annoy everyone else.

    • Crimzzen says:

      Yeah, in my eyes, Crowes only redeem quality is that he is a brotherhood champion with the heroic sacrifice… Although I’d still rather just have the champion and save 100 points. You’ll just need to be careful with him, he becomes exponentially bad in KP games due to his nature. I would really consider just getting troops normally and using a GM to make the purifiers troops with his abilities. Granted its hard to do @ 1500 points. I think the GK book gets much better as you expand into the 2000 point range and you’re not pigeonholed into taking stuff like Crowe.

      They actually FAQ’d that eh? It says the same thing in the book but I guess too many people were missing it. It’s what makes emergency disembark so cheesy as you’re only pinned for the turn and good to go on your turn again. But yeah, as I said in my post, I like the purifiers and cleansing flame essentially makes them 3 attacks.

      Some things to note though, don’t get reliance on psychic powers, nearly every army out there has anti-psyker stuff (hoods, staffs, runes, shadows, talismans, etc) so you’re really only going to be using half your powers. It’s actually worse against the wolves as they also have those 5 points talismans that give them an additional 5+ invuln vs psychic abilities. Another crazy thing to watch out for is that DE Crucible of Malediction (I may have the wrong name) that makes EVERY psyker within 24″ take a LD test (it may be on 3 dice). Any failed test results in removal of the psyker. Considering each unit/vehicle in the GK army is a psyker, a few unlucky rolls and you could lose a couple units.

      • seferoth says:

        While items like “Crucible of Malediction” is mean it only effects one model in the unit:

        Brotherhood of Psykers – bullet point two

        “If the Grey Knights unit suffers the Perils of the Warp, or any attack that specifically targets psykers, it is resolved against the Justicar or Knight of the Flame (if he is alive) or against a random non-character model in the squad.”

        The only issue I am currently having with GM over crowe is the termy armor denies him the ability to ride in a rhino or razorback.

        I did look at your idea of swapping the henchmens chimeras but due to being Dedicated Id have to start all the units outside the vehicles they want to swap to then embark first turn. This leave me far to open to nasty plate weapons and pot shot deaths.

      • Crimzzen says:

        Unfortunately I think crucible of malediction removes the entire unit still dude. The GK rule says it needs to target them while crucible doesn’t specifically target anyone. On the plus side its only 3d6″ range so as long as you don’t get suckered into bunching up for it.

        I do like your new list a lot more though.

  3. Marshall says:

    I’m pretty sure only the Justicar would be removed. I know it doesn’t say the Crucible “Targets” the psyker, but it does say any Psyker (Implying that it is targetting a psyker)… and the Grey Knight codex makes it pretty clear that abilities that target Psykers only hit the sergeant, etc.

    In other words, i’d look at the Crucible as an attack that specifically targets psykers, ergo only the Justicar.

    • Marshall says:

      You know, just readying the GK codex over… it DOES say that the unit counts as a SINGLE psyker (i’m sure this point is why Ryan is arguing that the unit is removed)
      Rules as written, Ryan may have a point. But i’d still argue that the the Crucible targets psykers (despite the lack of the word “Target” in the codex, I still think that is what it is doing), and thus only the sergeant would die.

      • Crimzzen says:

        I disagree (obviously) both on a rules as written point and a fluff point. Like Marshall said, the unit counts as a single psyker and the crucible specifically does not say target. I would be the first to agree that GW has some sloppy rule writing but they are actually pretty good when it comes to added specific key words to rules. Target is a big one for them and the lack of it in crucible makes me think that its not suppose to be specific. Also, the DE codex was the last to be written, its not like this is some old hidden obscure item. I would be fairly confident in that GW wrote the GK psyker rules with consideration given to this item.

        On the fluff side it doesn’t really make that just the justicar would be affected. Each guy would be wracking his head, falling over, etc. I makes sense for target spells as it could be imagined that the justicar is leaping out in front to protect his fellas.

        I mean you probably won’t see the item that often. Its expensive and could be entirely useless against some armies.

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