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, July 26, 2011

Using Paladins within a 'normal' army

This isn't a Draigowing post or looking at solodins - VT2 is doing that and better get it done soon. Rather, this is looking at Paladins within a standard Grey Knight army. Are they a viable choice and if so how should they be used? Do they help an army's competitiveness or should they just be left at home? These are the types of questions this post is going to look at and hopefully give you some more information on Paladins if you feel like you want to use them as a squad rather than a basis for the army list.

First things first - Paladins are Terminators which cost 15 points more for an extra Wound and WS5. Both of these are awesome upgrades as Paladins hit harder in combat and are a lot more durable. They also come with more options such as two specials per five guys and the ability to master-craft anything for five points. However, they are amazingly weak to S8+ firepower considering their points cost. Now they are still going to get a 4+ cover save in general against these weapons, so it's not like mass S8+ firepower vaporises them, but it is certainly a deterrent in terms of basing a whole list around these guys. As a singular squad though? Less of an issue though if you can mitigate this vulnerability in some way (T5/immune to instant death character), it's not a bad option. They can also get an Apothecary to give them FNP but with two wounds each + wound allocation, this isn't always necessary as it's quite expensive at 75 points and doesn't help against the firepower which Paladins are weak against. If you want to take an Apothecary, only do so on full squads.

What role is this unit then going to take? It's pretty durable against small arms fire, takes significant anti-tank firepower to drop (assuming S8 AP2 BS4 shots and cover it will require 18 of these weapons to wipe a 5-man squad), will explode most things it touches in combat and has excellent mobile firepower. But it costs a lot of points being roughly 330+ points for a five-man squad so the question becomes - is it worth getting this unit? Against some armies it will simply evaporate (hello Dark Eldar) but at the same time, that firepower isn't going into your tanks. This saturation is very useful and with a fair amount of attacks + WS5, the army now has a very decent combat unit with which to counter-assault/be aggressive with. Again, it will still explode against certain units (i.e. anything with mass S8+ attacks such as TH/SS) but for most units, it is very difficult to deal with in combat. It's not something you can throw against everything and expect to win or at least stick around but it will give most units fits. It's important to identify those units and focus on them with Paladins and not sending them against their wet paper (aka S8+).

Taking this unit as a forward element of your mech/hybrid army is therefore a logical idea. Most Grey Knight mech armies operate very much like a Hybrid force thanks to all those stormbolters so the Paladins aren't going to be taking all the anti-infantry firepower. With tanks around as well,  your opponent has to decide whether to focus fire on the Paladins, attempt to suppress Fortitude tanks (psychic defenses actually make target priority harder here as vehicles can be more reliably suppressed), do a little bit of both or rely on more conventional means to drop them. This will depend a lot upon your opponent (i.e. Dark Eldar will very likely aim to wipe out the Paladins quickly and early with anti-tank aimed around suppression and no psychic defenses) but will present a conundrum for the majority of armies. Again though, is this worth it? Against some armies it's not as useful as we identified with Dark Eldar whilst potentially much more annoying against others. This depends a lot upon the rest of your list.

We've already identified Paladins work well within the Mech - Hybrid concept of Grey Knights but determining whether or not their damage potential is worth their points cost is harder to determine. We know they are going to fiddle with your opponent's target priority and have great combat potential but we don't want to throw the unit forward whilst the rest of the army sits in midfield and shoots. We also know there are much cheaper and more efficient counter-assault options such as Death Cult Assassins. The shooting firepower of the unit is pretty good for 330+ points (eight S7 rending shots at 24", BS4 with a potential two re-rolls to hit) but not amazing - this is a case of paying for durability. The problem then is Paladins really aren't that awesome or amazing to put into any old list. Sure they'll give poor generals or armies fits as they don't have the tools for the job and they are going to give you more 2+ save wounds than normal GKT whilst better firepower for the points but that weakness to S8+ firepower will come back at some point. So when, if ever, should one consider taking them?

To babysit

One of the biggest issues and a very important balancing factor of the Grey Knights codex, is most of the Grey Knight HQs we want to use are in Terminator armor and thus cannot ride Rhinos or Razorbacks. This means one has to wiggle other transports into the army (Chimeras, Land Raiders or Storm Ravens) or run the model on foot. When going for this second option Paladins are a great choice as they will offer the character excellent durability, a place to affect the battlefield and the character can often help the Paladins against S8+ firepower as well. For example, Draigo and Karadread can absorb S8+ shots and against armies like Dark Eldar who plink out a lot of S8 single shots, this is amazing. Librarians can improve the cover saves of the Paladins (now requiring 27 S8 AP2 BS4 shots) whilst also improving their combat ability. Grandmasters can bring in that swiss army knife appeal but don't really help improve the survivability of Paladins. With the GM attached, this can often make them a bigger target so is not recommended. Draigo, whilst more expensive, has the same options, automatically makes them scoring and can absorb some of those S8+ shots but then we come along to the whole concept of developing a Draigowing styled list which can be a deterrent. We'll leave this for VT2's post of futureness and focus rather on the Librarian and Karadread.

With the Librarian and/or Karadread providing extra durability to the unit, you can then see how the unit itself is going to fit within your list. The Librarian is a pretty much "goes in any list" character assuming you can find a place for him - not too hard then to put him + a squad of Paladins into an army assuming you can afford the 500 point price tag of course. The Librarian is an excellent buffing unit and the Paladins a great and durable pivot point for your army which brings more combat ability to the army than normal. Karadread on the other hand, well he takes a bit more thought. If we recall the review of him, his leadership re-roll is nice but only really important in Henchmen based lists with their Ld8 and against tank shocks for normal Grey Knights (and in reality, their own tanks should be protecting them there). The T5 is obviously huge in Paladin squads against S8/9 firepower and having a twin-linked and mobile MM cannot be sneered at. All this being said, I would probably only take him + a Paladin squad in an Acolyte-spam list. Not only do you have the points available for this unit combination but Karadreads Leadership rolls will greatly benefit the Acolyte squads.

Finally, you have to compare the option of taking the Paladin squad compared to Grey Knight Terminators however. The GKT are going to be cheaper for a smaller squad but less powerful without two specials, two wounds or WS5 but you can take a full squad without breaking your army. If you are looking to run a smaller squad and are solid on the scoring front, Paladins are a pretty good choice but if you have the extra 150+ points to get a full GKT squad, they are an excellent unit as well and don't need to worry about a weakness to S8+ firepower.


Including a smaller Paladin squad in your army isn't bad assuming it's got a good mix of infantry which want to be on foot and tanks to generate target priority issues. The unit itself is pretty durable and provides good firepower for their points and is also going to be your close combat anchor against the majority of opponents. To make it even more viable, the Paladin squad works great as a babysitter for a character which can improve its durability against S8+ firepower whilst still maintaining it's previous role. The unit + character combination is expensive so you really want the character to benefit the army in some way which most Grey Knights HQs do regardless. If you're looking for a place to 'hide' a character and some better combat ability than your run of the mill Grey Knights, a Paladin squad is a good but expensive place to look. I would highly recommend not taking more than a single squad and would only take full squads when around a Grandmaster. Multiple squads, particularly of Solodins, are a lot more viable with Draigo around but this will be covered in a different post.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...