Kirb your enthusiasm!


"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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Some thoughts on Grey Knights - Inquisitors, Purifiers, Dreadnoughts and Dreadknights

I've been thinking and talking about GK's a lot the last weeks. I absolutely love the book. It's a codex where they went all-out in my opinion. They could have left out Purifiers, Paladins and Interceptor squads and it would still be a workable codex. It's basically the Chaos codex, but the other way around: Having a decent core and working from there, adding more options for variation and flavour. Balance wise it's okay it seems. No Blood Claws or BA Tactical Marines in this one for example, which rarely see any use. Actually this codex might be one of the most internally balanced codexes ever; but people said that about DE too and...well I'm drifting away. As always, HQ's changing things FOC-wise are appreciated. Now I'm simply going to say something about different units or wargear, adding my thoughts which are (I think) overall different from the 'general' opinion.

No, not you Coteaz. No, not you Inquisitor-with-psycannon-in-TDA either.

I think that in the end a bog standard Inquisitor in Carapace or Power armour will see quite some use in competitive lists. 34 points gives you 1 with 3 skulls. That's the 'base' Inquisitor, granting his stubborn Ld10 to a squad. From there on add some little things which you find necessary, I'm thinking mostly the Communion psychic power.

Why an inquisitor? Well simple: More points for other units and he can hide with a squad in a rhino/razor. So yes, when I mean that they will see a lot of use then I hint at Mechanized lists. Having the option to take weapons like an Incinerator and/or combi-melta is sweet too. You generally want to stick Psycannons on every GK squad and this way you can still add an Incinerator if you want (and if you need it) on an unit you already take (the inquisitor that is).
You can even double up on this choice. Most boards provide the ability to hide 2 small models, making you able to do a full reserve list coming in on a 2+ in where 6 skulls help for more accurate deepstriking of course. It's an option at least though basing your entire list on it is risky of course.

Purifiers (as troops) and GKSS
The good thing about Kirby is that he appreciates alternative views to his own and in this case I disagree heavily with him. On what exactly? His use of Purifiers. See, he talks about this setup:

8 Purifiers; 2x psycannon, 5x halberds, 1x hammer, rhino.

It's inefficient. What's the deal: Is this a shooty unit with good combat abilities or the other way around? The answer of this question isn't important. Thing is: You'll get de-Meched and you will get shot at yourself too. What is going to die? Exactly; expensive models. Each model is 26 points at least. You can't just keep putting upgrades on a model while it doesn't get any increase in survivability (to shooting), that doesn't work and especially not when you often can't do both things (combat and shooting) at the same time.
How I look at it: Strike squads are shooty units and are fairly priced for that. Purifiers are... well what exactly? A strike squad on steroids basically, but does that necessarily make them better? People like to list the things you gain compared to another model to show how that unit is 'totally worth it'. Again: that's not how it works.

When the unit doesn't get shot at themselves, then it's alright: either you pump out a lot of firepower with 2 psycannons (and maybe stormbolters) or it will reach combat and hit home with quite some quality attacks. But is this always the case? No, of course not.

What do I suggest? No combat upgrades. There I said it. Yes that sounds odd when you only pay 2 points for each guy to give him a halberd. And a Hammer is only 5 points! Thing is that doesn't work on a 5 man squad: that ain't a combat unit and will overall rarely get to use it. Bigger squads? Shooting becomes less efficient again. Focus people.

5 man; 2 psycannons in either a Razorback or a Rhino. 180 points minimum.

That's it. Just utilise the fact that they carry twice the amount of psycannons. And guess what? You're still okay in combat as your 3 other guys carrying Forceweapons with 2 base attacks and have Cleansing flame. (okay for such a shooty squad that is, without carrying the burden of extra combat upgrades)

Alternatively go all-out assault and use them as glorified Berzerkers, but I'm not too enthusiastic about this for obvious reasons. I'm missing the melta option here; the same thing which kinda kills Berzerkers as a unit. GH's and BA Assault Marines get this better.
Overall I'm not as impressed with Purifiers as most people seem to be. You basically have very expensive models acting as extra wounds for your Psycannons, not to mention the fact that psycannons can get killed themselves rather easily too due to wound allocation.

5 man GKSS; 1 psycannon 110
5 man Purifier; 2 psycannons 140

See I don't really mind the fact that GKSS only get 1 psycannon, it's not that big of a deal because of the wound allocation. 1 weapon per 5 man has always been fine and it is now too. That 30 point gap is actually a pretty huge gap and I don't think Purifiers can justify that gap in the end, not when including Crowe into the equation that is.
I also appreciate Warpquake and the ability to deepstrike a lot, probably more than Cleansing flame and Fearless. Ld9 and ATSKNF is still pretty damn good and when your whole army has loads of torrent and alright combat ability then Cleansing flame isn't much of a deal anymore.

Summary: I accept 20 points for a Marine with increased shooting and minor assault ability, I don't accept 24 points for a shooty/assaulty marine with increased shooting/assault ability as easily. Don't forget we are comparing a troop choice with an elite choice here... Elite choices should be a clear winner unless you can take them as troops without much effort. Crowe however is a big effort. Note: I don't say Purifiers are necessarily inferior to GKSS, it's just not a clear case. I think I like them as Elites and that's it. Damn Crowe.

Dreadknights and Venerable Dreadnoughts

"Ven Psyfleman don't utilize their BS5 and WS5 enough, regular Psyfleman are much more efficient!"
Oh really? Well maybe, it depends on how you look at it and what you want. Let's see:

2x Venerable Psyfleman 390
3x regular Psyfleman 405

Some numbers because we like them, damage output:
Venerables: 7,78 hits a turn on 2 different targets.
Regulars: 10,67 hits a turn on 3 different targets.

My gawd, Venerable Dreads are horrible! Meh, not yet, that's not the whole deal. Resistant to wrecked/destroyed results by non-ap1 weaponry:

Venerables: Die 1/9 times to a penetrating hit. That's 18 penetrating hits 'on average' to kill them both.
Regulars: Die 1/3 of the times. That's 9 penetrating hits 'on average' to kill all three.

To Ap1:
Venerables: 1/4, that's 8 for both.
Regulars: 1/2, that's 6 for all three.

So.... Yay? A little, yes. I know I like those numbers. Venerable Dreads still have a decent output and when they can do it for a long time, then I know I like them. Better or worse compared to normal Psyfleman? Undecided. Additional bonuses is that it's easier to run the Venerables behind your other units into midfield as they are more resistant to damage; giving you a 'count-as psychic Hood'. This is sweet.

In the end both are valid choices in my opinion. Venerables aren't bad enough to say that they shouldn't be taken, which leaves the option to use the Heavy Support slot for other units, let's say:

Dreadknights! My gawd, how I hated and loved these during the times of the 'playtest codex'. T7 and 4++? Oh momma... Would have been auto-include for me and many more people. The latter part being the reason I hated them: I don't like obvious choices with which n00bs can win against other n00bs (examples: IG and wolves in general, Mephy, but also things from the past like Nob Bikers and Lash + Oblits. Noobslayers deluxe).

Then came the codex: T6 and 5++. That's a big hit. Things are at ease again and I'm able to look at them with an objective view again. And I think I still like them. 130 points for their statline is far from bad and what you do is adding another stand-alone target into your list. A unit which requires pretty much armour ignoring weaponry/attacks to be dealt efficiently with. What about the teleporter then? 75 points is a lot and using it early in the game (which you want as you don't want to play with a 205 point handicap for several turns) means you'll end up in front of an enemy and within melta range. Yes, in melta/plasma range while the rest of your force is busy making it to midfield. No thanks. To be clear: I think it's good, obviously the mobility it grants is very awesome but at 75 points price tag less so. When do I see more use for it? In a more aggressive list. Stelek did a post on them in which he took 3 of them with shunting Interceptors and a midfield firebase as support. Interesting for sure, although I'm not convinced on it. (mostly because of the vulnerability of interceptors)

Summary: In the end I just like Dreadknighs on Foot as CC support for you infantry who aren't all that hot in CC or as a deepstriking threat to certain armies... Both ways work and I think they are competitive because of their statline in combination with their price.

Thoughts? Hatemail? Hatemail because I do naughty things to the English language now and then? ;)

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