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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Inquisitor Karazamov (Karadread) - Yay or Nay?

People have nutted out the roles of most of the Grey Knight special characters so far. Coteaz is good. Draigo, Mordak and Crowe are usable but not OMGWTFudgemuffins. Thawne has some merit but is pretty expensive. The rest (Valeria) suck. Karadread though is a bit of an enigma. He has some uses but are they really needed? When do they come in handy and is he worth his points for those uses? If so in what armies? These questions we shall look to answer or at least give some insight into.

First off let's do a crash course review in what Karadread actually is. He's a mini-MC for 200 points with Strength and Toughness 5 and wounds 4 though everything else is pretty standard. He does have a 2+ save but no invulnerable which is pretty suck. He's got nearly every grenade under the sun including the important Rad but not the ever awesome psykotroke and comes with a frigging relentless twin-linked Multi-melta (Gatling MM!). That's pretty cool on an unshakeable platform which, thanks to Independent Character status, can hide in squads. He can't jump into vehicles though which is kinda annoying and only has your basic old power weapon in combat (three attacks base). Not a bad line-up of wargear and statline but not 200 points worth. Let's look at his special abilities then.

By Any Means Necessary

One thing I didn't mention above is Karadread has Orbital Strike Relay (wooo). OSR has some nice options (Barrage + lance) but can be really unreliable due to scattering the full 2D6 at all times (jury's out on whether or not servo skulls reduce this) and having to not move the unit in the previous turn. Karadread has no bonuses in relation to the movement restrictions. This is actually rather annoying for him since he can move and shoot to full effect. Karadread does however deal with the full scatter issue rather nicely.

Rather than firing as normal Karadread has the option to fire the OSR onto one of the controlling player's own models; it can even be in close combat (Crowe/Brotherhood Champion anyone? lol). The OSR doesn't scatter when this happens which can make for a very accurate and deadly barrage for the general cost of one model (use 2" coherency to ensure only one of your models is hit). Being able to target this in combat also opens up a lot of options, particularly when you are out numbered (again, Crowe/BHC) or are happy to potentially lose said unit.

Once again Barrage and Lance are the useful ones here. Barrage can cause a lot of damage in combat or can split off from the initial blast placement whilst Lance just has to clip a vehicle (very possible to get multiple vehicles if you position right) for a full S10 AP1 hit. Overall pretty decent and has some uses but is more of a utility bonus than a reason to take him.

Dread Reputation

This ability with OSR is nice and can really cause some headaches for your opponent but still isn't really a reason for taking Karadread for his cost. Dread Reputation however, well if you're taking him you better be looking to gain from this. Karadread has the ability to improve Leadership reliability of the army but at the cost of some flexibility. Any squad he joins can choose to pass or fail any morale test they are required to made which is obviously very useful for ensuring a unit sticks around or buggers off when needed. Karadread also provides a 12" re-roll bubble to all failed morale checks. Although the vast majority of the Grey Knight army is Ld9 (i.e. everything but Henchmen or if Justicars start dying), the reliability this option brings to the army on the table-top is very  nice to have.

As MVB has pointed out, this is particularly important for an army which is semi-vulnerable to tank shocks due to the lack of melta in their basic GK units. Although if you had melta failing your Ld wouldn't really matter, it could make your opponent more aggressive and therefore more likely to tank shock you. After repeated shocks, units will fail. The flip side of this is of course ATSKNF. You may fail and run away but it's unlikely you'll be within 6" of the enemy or close to the board edge. If you are you keep running and can keep shooting but if you aren't you auto-rally and get a free 3" move. Not the end of the world and if you have a lot of little units (MSU), even having one unit out of action for a while isn't terrible.

Unfortunately though, you have to re-roll if you fail the first time. This loses tactical flexibility when it might be better to flee at the cost of making you much more unlikely to flee when you don't wish to.

Viability in Army?

So with all of this in mind, when do we want to use Karadread? I do think he's usable but isn't an easy plug into any army list. Let's look at his major pros and see what are options to ensure we maximise these and whether or not this is a viable army.

  • Ld re-rolls + ultimate flexible unit
  • relentless and reliable MM
  • T5 can absorb S8/9 hits without fear of ID
  • not too shabby in combat (though lacks invulnerable)
The Ld re-rolls are still obviously the reason you'd primarily take Karadread and again with Ld9 across the army not to mention ATSKNF, this is a very pricey HQ to just get that extra reliability. It's plausible and not a terrible choice but there are better ways to spend your points. If you're running any sort of MSU based list I wouldn't bother. Although MSU armies generally have to take more Ld tests, they generally don't care when units start disappearing; there's more to take their place. Mixed MSU or armies with larger units which you don't want to run away for any reason might benefit more from Karadread, particularly if they there are any henchmen units around. That being said, henchmen based armies (Ld8) would greatly benefit from these re-rolls or any army using henchmen units such as meltabubblewrap. Stelek has done a full henchmen list which uses Karadread to help anchor the army whilst providing an MM as well. 

Whilst there is nothing too flash with Karadread something does jump out besides the Ld re-rolls: T5. One of the biggest arguments against Paladins has been the proliferation of S8+ shots which makes their W2 status basically useless. If you add in their lack of a good invulnerable save (5++ or potential 4++ in combat), this can be a huge weakness against some armies. Karadread would be able to absorb quite a lot of those shots (particularly if they are spread out over an army like Dark Eldar darklight weaponry) and even make units like Meltavets far less effective against Paladin units. The ability to move and fire his MM also goes well with the relentless nature of the Paladins and makes the unit very durable. It's still not going to go toe-to-toe with a TH/SS squad but it will be very scary to a lot of things out there both in terms of shooting and combat. A unit using this 'combo' would look something like this:

Karazamov - 200 points
5x Paladins w/2x MC Psycannons, MC Hammer - 330 points

It's 530 points total which is a massive chunk of any army but gives the army a very solid and scary midfield unit which can move and shoot very effectively and punch things in combat quite well and isn't going anywhere based on Ld failings. Karadread also anchors the whole army with Ld re-rolls which can be built around or just be a bonus. I've played around and around with this unit though and it's really hard to make an army which benefits from Karadreads Ld re-rolls and makes that unit viable. In the end for Karadreads cost you could just get four more Paladins. If I think of something regarding this unit I'll put a post up about it but for now you can check out MVBs thoughts on Karadread and check out some lists he's put together. 


In the end I think Karadread is too pricey and whilst he gives reliability to the army, he takes away from flexibility as you are forced to re-roll fails. Sometimes you want to fail. The relentless/twin-linked MM is nice as is the combo with Paladins (but expensive) but is it worth building an army around? Probably not. If your list was using extensive henchmen units or screens Karadread might see more use there but overall I think he's just too pricey and too vulnerable in combat whilst not providing enough for the army or individual output himself. 

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