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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reply: Purifiers/Grey Knights in combat

Bringer of Victory

Some got the point, some didn't. I will readily admit it was an angrypants post so the message may have been lost. Let's clarify. Apparently my comment in the comments section was also more enlightening so I'll be taking heavily from that.

There is an overriding fallacy out there that Purifiers are a good assault unit and in general Grey Knights are good in combat. The previous post was addressing this. We've discussed quite often about Grey Knights in combat and their similar survivability to Marines and highlighted that Grey Knights use their combat as a counter-assault tool. There are units in the codex which are quite scary as combat units (Death Cult Assassins and Paladins for example) with other units like Dreadknights, Grey Knight Terminators and Purifiers being good as well. The book as a whole though prefers to play on their 24" shooting supremacy. They are their most efficient here whilst armies often gain bigger and better advantages under 12" than Grey Knights. This is not to say against certain armies (i.e. Tau or IG) they aren't going to play more aggressively and look to get into combat but here their advantage isn't really that much greater than a Marine army. Against other generalist armies they certainly have the edge in combat (i.e. Tactical Marines) but this is generally off-set by their lesser numbers.

What this all boils down to in regards to the post on Purifiers is not to say they are crap or terrible in combat, by no means are they not. Remember, I have a great fondness of the unit and regardless of perceived competitiveness, will be making a whole list around them. Rather, the mathammer and examples given were to show two things. First, and this was probably what was lost in translation due to nerdrage, they are a very good all-round unit (though they do pay for it). When the book first came out SirBiscuit and I joked they didn't have duality but quadality or the ability to take on infantry and tanks both at range and in combat. In general they are the ultimate swiss army knife and when I reviewed the unit, this was highlighted.

The second point which I nerdraged all over was that less expensive but more specific units (i.e. run of the mill assault units) were coming very close if not better than the Purifiers output in combat when things went their way (i.e. they got the charge). This was meant to highlight that Purifiers shouldn't be heading into combat headstrong right off the bat. They certainly have the ability to fight in combat and their combat upgrades aren't all that expensive (2 point halberds, 5 point hammers). Combine this with Cleansing Flame and Hammerhand and they really can deal with anything in combat. They are however expensive and as the mathammer examples showed, they aren't rolling over units (unlike say DCA, Paladins, TH/SS, Tyranid Warriors, etc.).

This was the ultimate point of the article and what we've been saying about Grey Knights in general for a long time. Grey Knights and Purifiers in particular can do well in combat and can generate situations where they are going to easily win. Running forward and engaging in combat is generally not the way to do this and as the mathammer examples demonstrated, doing this isn't going to have you sweeping your opponents before you. Remember, whilst the mathammer isn't that bad against run of the mill units such as Wyches and ASM, if you aren't maximising your shooting you are more likely to run into full squads of these guys and there are going to be more of them than you, particularly if you are running a Purifier army.

With this in mind, Grey Knights and Purifiers specifically, want to combine their shooting and follow-up with assaults as necessary. Trimming down an ASM squad or engaging a Sanguinary Guard squad with Halberd-wielding Purifier squad is a whole different ball-game as those Halberds can wipe the squad before they can get hits in against you. This is how you want to use Grey Knight combat, as a follow-up to your shooting. This is particularly beneficial when you have high I (i.e. halberds, DCA) as you can wipe out weakened squads before they strike you.

Grey Knights are expensive yet their survivability is in-line with Marines. Grey Knights have more offensive potential than your regular Tactical Marine thanks to Storm Bolters and Force Weapons but they are still based on a T4/3+. This means if you aren't killing your opponent at a faster rate than the Marines, you're going to take as many losses as they would normally yet each loss means more to the Grey Knights player than the Marine player. You therefore need to maximise everything you have at hand and that means using your superior shooting within the 24" bubble for as long as possible and when necessary, follow-up with assaults which are superior to your basic Marine thanks to Force Weapons. This is heightened in both senses for Purifiers who are even more expensive but also have cheaper combat options and A2 base (+ cleansing flame).

So in case it hasn't sunk in yet.

Grey Knights like to shoot, shoot and shoot some more and then follow-up with assaults as necessary. Grey Knights would much rather engage in shooting wars for as long as possible then get engaged in combat. 

And specifically with Purifiers.

They are the ultimate generalist unit but they are not an assault unit and by no means bad or terrible. They are expensive and die like your standard Tactical Marine when hit with weapons but can punch back pretty heftily as well. You must maximise their abilities of both shooting and assault and do not consider them an assault unit. This means shooting lots and follow-up with assaults.

There. Clear? Sweden?

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