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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Early Grey Knight Thoughts

So some of you have seen copies of the new Grey Knight stuff and I imagine most of you have read the rumors. I won't be confirming anything or adding to the rumor mill but rather look at some broad discussion and thought topics before we are given pre-release prints and the actual Grey Knight launch in April.

The FoC isn't fixed. This is a hallmark of good books lately as it instantly opens up new builds. Whilst there is a little less FoC moving than we've seen in the past (i.e. Dark Eldar), a special ability of Grand Masters allows certain units to become scoring (so no FoC movement but you can increase your scoring potential; always nice). One issue with the FoC however is there is only one Fast Attack option as the book stands currently (three guesses what). This is severely limiting in army options so whilst the FoC/scoring movements help, the lack of FA choices hurts.

The army will be small but not as small as most people think. I know most people expect this of Space Marine armies but unlike Space Marines/Space Wolves/Blood Angels there are no super cheap options in all of the slots to fill out your force (see Space Marine Mech). This is mainly due to the lack of cheap mech outside of their transports (Rhinos, Razorbacks and Chimeras) and super cheap units (i.e. Fast Attack). Henchmen squads (which can become Troops) can help fill out the army in terms of numbers and combat squads + transports will allow Grey Knight armies to put lots of targets on the table. There are units which can get very expensive very quickly however and I foresee a lot of armies built around single rocks and people crying with every new release.

Grey Knights will be hard to suppress. Each Grey Knight vehicle pays a point premium for a psychic power which is basically EA on steroids (Chimera doesn't get it). This makes Grey Knight mech very hard to shut down and whilst psychic defenses really help here (Runes of Warding is loving it), Grey Knight armor basically has a 50% chance on average of saying "I'm still shooting and moving. Bugger off." For armies that rely a lot on suppression this can be quite annoying and may force players into bad moves like trying to kill tanks off rather than spreading your fire and forcing your opponent to beat your psychic defenses. If you don't have any though...

As touched on before, psychic defenses will be very handy against Grey Knights as basically everything in the book has some sort of psychic power or ability. Not only that but they have their own psychic defenses with most units forcing psychic tests which target them to be at -1Ld + any Hoods they may have. Building Grey Knight armies you must ensure you balance your psychic ability so that you have the spells to punch through psychic defenses but don't have a huge reliance on these. I imagine a lot of people will however to go with their single rocks.

In terms of shooting and combat options they've got excellent options for both with options in all FoC (except FA) for both. Most lists I imagine will  have a mix of both (think Thunderbubble style for shooty lists) without handicapping themselves in the opposing department. Their shooting isn't one to go toe-to-toe with Tau or IG but certainly has the basis of firepower to be very deadly at range.

There is also a serious lack of true anti-tank in the GK book. Whilst the stats for the Psycannon are quite awesome, those guns are very good and designed for suppression fire. Outside of Henchmen (combi meltas or meltaguns on Warriors), Dreadnoughts and the Stormraven there is a huge reliance on psycannons or combat to defeat enemy armor. This could prove troubling against lists with lots of AV14 (though rending on psycannon helps) or having those extra shots with a higher likelihood of destroying a tank in a pinch. It feels like not taking those units (much like not taking Reavers or Scourges in Dark Eldar lists with Heat Lances) has a high opportunity cost which must be considered.

All in all like most new books, keep your head about you. A lot of people will try for all the new toys or dump lots of points into options on shiny units and end up with the 20 model armies people are talking about. These lists won't work. As the rules and points are finalised and released we'll get some more info and ideas on how everything fits together but these are some basic thoughts to mull over and discuss. Obviously if you have anything to add please do so as we all eagerly await plastic Grey Knights (come one; who wanted to buy the metal Grey Knights when they came out but wouldn't because of their cost?).

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