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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

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grey Knights Codex Review - Elites Part 1

Part deuce of my series on the Grey Knight Codex, will focus on some of the tastiest morsels in the GK book - their elites. I won't, however, go into henchmen, as I think they are filthy creatures of halflife who deserve flogging/beating/killing at regular intervals..... Basically I don't like henchmen, regardless of the holes they fill in our lists.

So, on to the juicy bits - the other elites choices. The GK book is actually really well structured, in regards to fluff/effective choices, when it comes to elites/troops - We have Purifiers, the elite PA GK, Paladins, the elite terminator cadre, various assassins, techmarines, venerable (commonly known as indestructible!) dreads, and... those other imperial guard style things. Plenty of variety, but what exactly does each choice bring to the table?


Every Marine codex has brethren that wander off to Mars to learn about sockets and stuff. They come back, all mystic like, and are now able to effect complex repairs... like changing tyres, n'stuff. Techmarines are a funny little item in the codex: They come standard with bolt guns, and a servo harness, as well as the generic Grey Knight bits and pieces. They are a way to include conversion beamers/orbital strike relays into a list, which are both fun items but not really competitive in any sense of the word. Conversion Beamers are great when you have mobility to use them which Techmarines in Grey Knights really cannot get and orbital strike relays are a little to random to be called effective. I know guys and girls, sometimes you will nuke 3 interlocked land raiders with a melta torpedo, but its not something you can rely upon. Techmarines still bolster defences for GK's - handy when a decent section of your army can get stealth via a psychic ability for creating immovable units within hard cover. This is only in your deployment zone however and is ruin based as ever so less applicable for a midfield army (with henchmen however...). This is all standard Techmarine fare though and whilst Grey Knight Techmarines have a psychic power allowing them to re-roll failed repair tests, Ld8 makes this less reliable though a nice bonus to have.

What sets them apart from other Techmarines? Nifty Grey Knight grenade options on a platform which doesn't use a HQ slot. Rad Grenaades reduce your opponents toughness by 1, making MEQ even easier to mow down in close combat and Psychotroke... have a random table, but its all fun, so generally give you a positive result. You could use one of these brothers to bolster a unit that you intend to assault with, on top of his tasty abilities to increase saves for your backfield support. He also brings a Powerfist which with Hammerhand is nice to have. Blind grenades are also an option here. Overall, other than being a grenade caddie and being an IC which can cast hammerhand (thus stacking with a squad's hammerhand or allowing them to activate their Force Weapons), the Techmarine is a very expensive single wound model. This needs to be weighed up against simply getting more bodies or using Inquisitors with grenades.

Venerable Dreadnoughts

A-mazing. Not only do they combine the usual resilience of a Vendread with Fortitude, they also reduce any psychic tests targeting anything friendly within 12" of the Dread by 4 Leadership pips. That's fairly substantial and coupled with a Librarian's hood (if you have one) your opponent will find it very difficult to cast offensive psychic powers with the Dreadnought placed correctly. It's important to note that regular Dreads have this ability as well but with Vendread survivability, this ability is more capable of being actively used.

I cannot stress enough how tough these guys are - I'm not a mathhammer genius, but I believe (have read elsewhere) that the odds of a vendread shrugging off any given penetratint hit are about 80% - impressive when coupled with armour 12 on the front arc. They are still pretty weak against meltaguns though so don't be too reliant on this. Psychic powers also reduce this ability to 'ignore' penetrating hits and the more aggressive the unit is, the more likely it is to be within defense range. Vendreads are probably one of the better ways to get some melta into your force - It's pricey, but accurate, and comes with a DCCW whilst bringing some reinforced aegis to your advance. They can also go the route of the Venpsyfledread. Everyone likes AV12 gun turrets, twinlinked at BS5 makes them reliable, ridiculous and probably priced accordingly. There's many other options, such as psyboltammo asscannons + DCCW and the like, but the above two are probably the most realistic - I know that some people have been advocating MM/TLAC, but to me, it seems like a waste. One weapon wants you to stay at range, the other wants you to close, seems counter-intuitive to me.


Suffice to say, assassins have always been a bit of a player's choice - everyone likes black clad ninjas of death dealing, regardless of their proficiency. The new assassins all got a 4+ invo, coupled with a 6+ quasi FNP - a bit of a nod to torrenting with small arms fire but nothing to be relied upon. However, they also got smacked in individual ways with the nerf bat. I'm not going to dwell on the Eversor or Culexus - both are fluffier choices, so are more up to player discretion. The Callidus copped probably the biggest nerf. No more "Word in your ear," no more assaulting on deployment and no more C'tan ignores invulns save. Instead, she gets D6 S4 AP2 auto-hits on the unit she pops out near and the C'tan sword causes instant death; shame the GK army in general is pretty good at inflicting this. Now while she can still put some reasonable hurt on infantry based heavy support (Longfangs/Broadsides), she is now far less likely to tie that unit up in any serious fashion. She's more likely to pop up, nuke a small backfield unit and then get shot to death next turn. The loss of Word in your Ear is probably the biggest setback, as being able to re-position enemy units to get at tasty rear armour with Psyfledreads would have been great.

The Vindicare, however, got buffed. His shiny new rifle doesn't run out of awesome amunition and has some excellent anti-armor abilities - 4D6 for pen at AP1 with 36" range is pretty boss. Unfortunately this has a huge standard deviation which detracts from his reliability. Add in his ability to pick off individual troopers, destroy invuln saves on models and generally hurt whatever he targets, makes him a great asset in what is effectively a majority short ranged army. However, this has a set back. He is still a 2 wound, T4 model, with a 4+ save (which should always be 3+, as you will be in cover). This makes him susceptible to torrented fire and instant death with barrages of missiles. A lot of players have been either buying him a Rhino via another squad and mounting him up 1st turn - you lose a turn of shooting, but gain a resilient bunker to keep him alive and 12" movement to reposition him. The second option is the Techmarine from above, fortifying a ruin  with solid LoS - 2+ saving in cover is fairly hard to torrent away, particularly when it's not instant death. Both of these options involve spending more points on your handy dandy landraider-killin mandy but he can fill a long range anti-tank role in your army which importantly has AP1 attached to it. It's only range 36" though so don't get too comfy in the backfield!

Thats the start of the elites section, part II will focus on the elite infantry of the GK Codex - Paladins and Purifiers. Stay tuned, sports fans!

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