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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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How To: Grey Knight Acolyte-spam Part 1

I've had several questions about this list type so today we're going to take a look at not only building the list but how to break it. First, we must establish the premise! Coteaz. Small acolyte squads in Razorbacks. That was easy. Let's explain. By using Coteaz and small acolyte squads to make scoring Razorbacks you are applying minimal points to get six scoring units, a good HQ and six Razorbacks with Fortitude (LasPlas is preference for being able to sit in backfield). What this gives you is a bucket load of points to spend on goodies in the rest of the Grey Knight list, something that Grey Knights rarely have due to their increased point cost across the board. The obvious downside is weak scoring whenever you break open one of their tanks and bleeding Kill Points in Kill Point missions. Let's look at this concept more in-depth, do a list building exercise and then how you might tackle it not only as the general but the opposing player as well.

I'm going to split this post up into major sub-headings so you can skip as you see fit. It's pretty long. I'll first expand the Premise concept and look at Acolyte options. I'll then look at unit options (briefly) to put around them. Following that will be an example list of my own with some links from others I've found and liked. This will explain a bit on playstyle/deployment/etc. Finally we'll take a look at how one can defeat an army like this when it deploys across from you on the tabletop. Edit: This was split into two posts. Part 2 will be the next post! Got too long sorry.

List Premise:

We obviously need to start with Coteaz to get scoring henchmen. He's 100 points of pure goodness and not only allows you to take henchmen as Troops but comes with some pretty good upgrades himself (namely being able to shoot at reserves out of sequence, re-rolling steal the initiative for both sides and Sanctuary). 100 points gone.

Inquisitor Coteaz

We then need to get our cheap arse but pretty powerful scoring units down. The smallest and cheapest henchmen squad is three Acolytes and costs a paltry 12 points. What do we want to make scoring? Rhinos? No, you take them for transport capacity, Fortitude and two fire points, none of which are going to benefit the Acolytes. Chimeras? Potential with two heavy weapons and AV12 but no Fortitude and five fire points you're not taking use of seems a bit wasteful. Razorbacks? Well now we're talking! Fortitude is a yay as it makes them hard to suppress and there are plenty of weapon upgrade options to impact the field of battle. With no firepoints we're not losing anything by having our 12 point units hiding inside and never, ever considering getting out.

So what weapons? By and large Grey Knights do best with Heavy Bolters + Psybolt Ammunition for cheap S6 firepower but that's not really what we want here. The Psyback works great to compliment midfield Grey Knights and our Acolytes don't want to get anywhere near midfield as they expose themselves to more firepower. It's certainly viable and a cheaper option but if we did this, we'd probably be looking to buff the Acolyte numbers at the same time (and give them Storm Bolters for more pewpew). This is certainly viable and I will explain about it later but for the moment, let's assume we are running the 12 point Acolyte squads.

The Assault Cannon + Psybolt Ammunition variant is, as we know, expensive and limited in scope due to 24" range so again pushes the unit towards midfield. Not where we want to be. Same with the Heavy Flamer + Psyflame (IncinBack?) combination (which is also expensive for what you get). This leaves us with TLLC and LasPlas for ranged warfare. We'll go with LasPlas primarily for the extra firepower we get at 12-24" and the two weapon systems. Whilst we don't want to move to midfield, the opponent is surely going to move towards us and that extra firepower at the 12-24" range will become useful whilst still having a S9 shot up to 48". Add in Fortitude and it's hard to suppress. Each of these is going to cost 80 points plus the 12 from each Acolyte squad for 92 total. Six of them rounds out at 552.

3x Acolytes w/LasPlas Razorback
3x Acolytes w/LasPlas Razorback
3x Acolytes w/LasPlas Razorback
3x Acolytes w/LasPlas Razorback
3x Acolytes w/LasPlas Razorback
3x Acolytes w/LasPlas Razorback

So we've got six scoring LasPlas Razorbacks with Fortitude and a great utility HQ for 652 points. That's insanely cheap whilst not exactly durable once those tanks pop. We now have nearly 1400 points to spend on anything we could possibly imagine for the rest of our army and this is where the strength of Aco-spam lies. Those expensive units? Much more affordable now. Before we go on, let's go back to what I was saying before in regards to Psybacks and Acolyte numbers. You certainly don't have to take LasPlas or minimal Acolyte squads - this is the extreme of minimising points whilst not exposing yourself to unnecessary return fure. As MVB shows in this post, you can get 6x5 Acolytes with Storm Bolters + Psybacks + Psyfledreads + Coteaz for a paltry 1015 points. More reliable scoring but your scoring is quite often going to be on foot (Libby for 3+ cover?) so trade-off there. However, when you are putting a potential 24 targets on the table, are the five-man Acolyte squads with no Psycannons

List Options:

Okay with that out of the way, the question is, what do you want to do with the list? Whether you're running the absolute cheapest (3x Aco in Psyback), cheap firepower (3x Aco in LasPlas) or a more offensive loaded unit (Acos with Stormbolters in Psybacks), you've got a lot of points to fiddle with now. This ranges from 1528 to around 900 dependent upon the Acolyte + Razorback setup you want and distinctly influences your other choices. The options are...well there are a lot and this post is going to become far too long if I go through them in a usual list building exercise, particularly since simply taking a different Razorback gun is going to alter your choices a lot. Rather I will go through some of the key units/concepts you can apply to use those juicy points.

Dreadnoughts - Whether Venerable, normal, Psyfle, MM or a mix (MM/AC), Dreadnoughts give every Grey Knight list something valuable. A hard to suppress platform which brings S8 firepower on the move and often at range. Add in reinforced Aegis and w00t! With Aco-LasPlas spam the Psyfledread isn't as important (you've already got lots of ranged shooting) and certainly more useful when you go the Psyback route. However, even with LasPlas spam they are an excellent unit being very efficient and decently cheap. Consider strongly.

Grand Master - Scoring is an issue you say? Well enter Grand Strategy to help shore that up. There are a ton of uses here for the Grand Master beyond this in objective based games (hopefully VT2 will cover this shortly in his review) but suffice to say if you are worried about scoring, grab a Grandmaster and some large units (Interceptors, Purifiers, Paladins), combat squad them and go. The GM is going to find more use the smaller you go with your Acolytes but even when running 6x6 or 6x5, the tactical flexibility he brings to lists is always worth consideration.

Librarian - The Libby is going to find excellent use if you up your Acolyte count and give them Storm Bolters. They are outside their transports so more vulnerable to fire so having a 3+ cover save (2+ if you go to ground) is going to annoy your opponents to hell and back. All those tanks are getting a 3+ cover save as well (or a 6+ in the open) which is going to annoy your opponent even more. Not as good as pre-FAQ where you could cast it twice to ensure it went off, but pretty damn good. Add in non-passive psychic defenses, a second Sanctuary and other goodies and the Librarian is certainly a good option.

Paladins/Grey Knight Terminators - Again, if you're worried about scoring grab a large unit of GKT to give you a unit which is not only good at combat and shooting but pretty hard to shift from midfield. Same goes for Paladins but without the scoring aspect (though a Grandmaster can make them score). You've got the points to sink into these units you don't otherwise have so even taking multiples is an option one simply did not consider before. Both of these units are also great places for big HQs like Karadread, Grandmasters, TDA Inquisitors and Libbies to hang out with.

Purifiers - What's not to love about Purifiers? You can keep these cheap and work on spamming units into the army (Psyback + 2x Psycannon) or buff them out a bit and play them as a midfield deterrent. I'd rather see a Paladin/GKT unit run this role however and leave the Purifiers as small units which bring psycannons, a Psyback and horde control to the army. If you do go for the large squads however, they are a good way to get more Storm Bolters in the army since you don't have any Strike Squads. Large squads go well with Grandmaster obviously with combat squadding.

Interceptors - Nearly the same as the Purifiers here except mildly different role and no transport to go with them. Psybolt Ammunition is good to help penetrate side armor along with psycannons. Their speed can help put pressure on opponents/get into side arcs and their 30" shunt move is going to be great in objective games. Again, combines very well with a Grandmaster, particularly large squads. Brings more Stormbolters and Psycannons to the table as well.

Purgation Squad - If you're not taking Dreadnoughts, these guys should get a look, particularly with LasPlas based armies. Not only do they bring a lot of heavy weapons to the floor, but they can push midfield alongside other units (Purifier, Paladins, GKT, Interceptors) and hide behind Mech and still shoot effectively. Pushing aggressively with other units will draw fire away from the LasPlas Acotanks helping them score more appropriately.

There are of course other units (Vindicare, Land Raiders and Storm Ravens) but I think you'll get the most mileage out of these units. Inquisitors + Karadread are also options but I don't think I need to explain them too much (I will if you want).

Part Two

I've split this in two as it is ~4000 words all up. In part two we'll look at my example list and some others from around the net, how to play the list and how to win against it.

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