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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grey Knight Grenades

For my Grey Knights I've lately been toying with a counter-assault unit in Death Cult Assassins. The list has a lot of dakka against both infantry and tanks but suffers when there is a good string of dice for the opponent on tough units (i.e. FNP/2+/3+ save units). Add in I cannot rely on the Strike Squads in combat and a counter-assault unit which can completely ignore good saves/FNP in combat, and a counter-assault unit might be a good idea. Unfortunately I only have a set amount of points to work with them so most likely will end up with a unit of five in a Razorback + an Inquisitor whilst still having some points to spare. The question becomes, do I want to change the Razorback to a Rhino and lose a heavy weapon or a Chimera and lose side hatches (which are really important for setting up charges) and up the squad count or use force multipliers - i.e. grenades.

There are obvious pros and cons to this situation. More bodies means the unit is more survivable and makes up for the lack of force multipliers through sheer weight of attacks. The grenades allow the unit to stay smaller but effective and therefore fit in a Razorback, limit the impact upon my pocket book but they feel every loss more keenly. Let's look at the Grey Knight grenades then and see how effective they really are and what options we have to gain access to them. Before we begin, each DCA I add with no modifiers adds 1.33 MEQ kills.

Rad Grenades

-1 Toughness. This negative modifier affects the instant death threshold for the model as well which is really amazing against T3 models as they now become T2 and even basic MEQ attacks instant death them (hello Farseers not named Eldrad!). Even T4 models become more susceptible to instant death with multiple hammerhands upping strength to six. Beyond all of this of course is the charging unit more easily wounds the target (an extra 16.6% of hits will generate wounds) which is particularly important against high T targets like Wraithlords (S4 wounds you now dawg!) and Tyranid MCs. On a squad of five DCA this is an extra 2.22 wounds.

Psykotroke Grenades

Random D6 effect against each unit an assault is launched against with most effects obviously being beneficial. Due to their random nature they are less effective than Rad grenades but their effects can be just as good. Let's look at each.

1 - nothing and thus sucks!

2 - Minimum 1 Attack per opposing model and opposing unit is automatically hit (missed this first time around!). This is great against units with multiple attacks such as Grey Hunters or Orks which could normally bring down a unit through weight of attacks. Auto-hitting is...well it's pretty awesome. For units with a small number of attacks like Strike Squads this can really help whilst units with high killing power normally such as Paladins/DCA, well it goes through the rough now.

3 - Re-roll hits in combat. Awesome! This can really increase the effectiveness of any given unit in combat and we could often wish this was the result everytime. In a squad of five DCA without Rad grenades this is a 2.22 extra wounds against MEQs.

4 - Reduce opponent to Ld2 for remainder of assault phase. This is great if you can just win combat and thus really good when used with so-so combat units on the charge such as Grey Knight Strike Squads. Even though they are just winning combat, they can easily force an opponent to flee. For DCA who often win against their opponent by large numbers, this is less necessary but nice to ensure that Ld2 is guaranteed.

5 - Reduce opponent to initiative 1. Useful for everything as you can ensure you strike first or at least simultaneously when charging through cover without frags (obviously important for DCA). Ensuring you get all your strikes before your opponent swings can greatly impact on your unit's survivability.

6 - Any model which fails an initiative test fights against it's own unit. Against low I units this can be murderous (think Orks). Even against larger units of high or average initiative models will have some models which fail and this means less attacks against you. The problem here of course is that your opponent can take these models off before they strike if you are striking before them and this reduces the impact of this effect.

So all in all some nice effects but unreliable in actually raising the kill total of a given unit and a lot more situational. They are a great force multiplier, especially on more mediocre combat units, but less reliable.

Empryean Brain Mines

This grenade is much less far ranging than the others we've looked at above as it only affects one opposing model. Said model has to pass an initiative test or cannot participate in that specific assault phase. The good thing about this grenade is it happens all assault phases rather than just the turn the assault is initiated. This is great to stop specific models from attacking such as leaders with special weapons or special characters but is unreliable based on a single initiative test.

Blind Grenades

I didn't mention these originally so they have been added in. Blind Grenades are defensive grenades which stops charging units from gaining a bonus attack when they charge. For 5 points this is an excellent buy as it can greatly reduce the incoming damage to a unit. Combine with other abilities like Sanctuary and Halberds and assaulting Grey Knights can become very annoying. Only Grandmasters, Brother-Captains and Techmarines can take these though so they are not as easily widespread but for 5 points are a bargain.

Models which can take Grenades

Those are the main grenades you will see used by Grey Knights, Rad and Psykotroke above all others. The question then is which units can take them and how do they interact with the other Grey Knight units around them? There are a lot of options and most of them in HQ with Grand Masters, Brother-Captains, Xenos Inquisitors and Techmarines able to take the aggressive grenades and Brotherhood Champion, Ordus Mallus Inquisitor and Librarian able to take just Brain Mines.

Of the four which can take Rad and Psykotroke Grenades, the Xenos Inquisitor and Techmarine are the most flexible. The Grand Master and Brother-Captain wear Terminator armor so cannot hand out their grenades easily to units unless they are on foot, Terminators/Paladins or in a Land Raider/Storm Raven/Chimera. The Xenos Inquisitor and Techmarine however can fit inside transports very easily. So the question becomes - which one do you want? The Xenos Inquisitor is going to be cheaper (starting at 25 points base), is Stubborn and you have more options in terms of giving it wargear. You have to pay for Hammerhand however. The Xenos Inquisitor does have three wounds though which can make it more durable against basic dakka and pleb attacks. The Techmarine is more expensive but gets Rad Grenades cheaper (10 points), can take Nemesis Weapons, has Hammerhand standard (at Ld8) and importantly hands has ATSKNF. This is highly important for henchmen units (the only units in Grey Knights without ATSKNF) as they gain this benefit when a Techmarine is with them. The Techmarine is ultimately more expensive and just a single wound whilst the Xenos Inquisitor is cheaper and can be more durable with three wounds.


Rad Grenades for assault units are really a must if you can take them. They allow a unit to more reliably wound things and lower the instant death threshold. Both are amazingly useful and will benefit larger squads of assault models greatly. Psykotroke grenades have less applicability being more random but are probably best used on so-so combat units where those effects will come into play more often (i.e. Ld2). Brain Mines are nice on ICs to avoid sniping in combat but less of a force multiplier and more of combat utility.

For a DCA unit I would obviously go with Rad Grenades but less immediate with Psykotroke grenades. They are good no doubt, but I would rather have Hammerhand to be wounding MEQs on a 2+ over their random effect.

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