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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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grey Knight Terminators


I have a love/hate relationship with these guys. In terms of asthetics they look awesome and aren't crap on the table-top. On the other hand, when you compare them to a boring old Grey Knight, well the extra 20 points seems excessive. Consider that for those extra 20 points you gain one attack, 2+ save (from 3+), 5++ and 4++ in combat, free halberds and hammers (which are more useful with A2), more expensive psycannons but relentless and a few other options besides (Brotherhood Banner for example). Now this seems a lot but one of the main advantages for taking basic Terminators in non-Grey Knight lists is getting a bunch of stormbolters + relentless heavy weapons. For Grey Knights your basic guys have stormbolters already and this dilutes your firepower by taking more expensive models with the same basic gun.

There is another upgrade of course with Grey Knight Terminators going to Paladins. For 15 points you get WS5, two weapons per five guys, two wounds and more options besides (Apothecary, master-crafting, etc.). Both jumps in terms of points seem okay, they aren't "OMG MUST BUY THESE" obvious choices and not "why would I ever buy these" over-costed choices. Yay in terms of codex design but it does end up being quite annoying for army list design.

We looked earlier at putting Paladins in Grey Knight lists and small squads being around 330 points, this is a lot easier than a larger Paladin or Grey Knight Terminator squad. For example, a full Grey Knight Terminator squad with psybolt ammo, Bro Banner and two psycannons costs a staggering 495 points. At the same time it's a great place for a Terminator commander (Libby, Ordus Mallus Inquisitors with Psycannons or Grand Masters), is pretty durable, scores, has good firepower on the move, can combat squad and importantly adds quite a bit of combat punch to a Grey Knight army. WS4 is still a limitation but free halberd/hammer upgrades from the sword makes them pretty damn decent and much more capable in combat than your general run of the mill Grey Knight. They still aren't combat specialists but rather thrive in midfield and have greater capacity in that regard.

495 points is a lot though. For a 2000 point army that's 1/4 of your points all tied up and Grey Knights aren't exactly cheap. You can combine with Coteaz and Acolyte spam based lists to still have lots of scoring options and points to spend elsewhere such as...

10x GKT w/2x Psycannons, BroBanner, Psybolt Ammo, 6x Halberds, 2x Hammers
5x3x Acolytes w/LasPlas Razorback
3x Psyfledreads

1460 points leaving 540 for Elites/Fast Attack - close to enough for 3x Purifiers in Psybacks/Interceptors or 2x Squads + another HQ to stick with the Grey Knight Terminators. One could combine the same principle with Draigo, Paladins and Coteaz as well. Conversely, running small Grey Knight squads as support can still get the model/firepower count up as well. For example running MSU GKSS and Purifiers + Psyfledreads could get us:

Inquisitor w/TDA, Psycannon
2x5x Purifiers w/2x Psycannons, Psyback
10x GKT w/2x Psycannons, BroBanner, Psybolt Ammo, 6x Halberds, 2x Hammers
4x5x GKSS w/Psycannon, Psyback
3x Psyfledread

That's still 41 models, 11 psycannons, 3 Dreads, 6 Psybacks and 30 stormbolters at 2000 points. Not bad with a solid amount of units for flexibility and a sort of bunker unit which can protect your army in midfield. It's still a lot of points to invest in a single unit which is really just a very good specialist unit. The list obviously plays very simply however in having minimal disruption ability, no blasts/templates, etc.

Using a smaller GKT list and not Paladins can still give us a more competent counter-assault unit without breaking the bank. A bare-bones GKT squad with five models, three halberds, hammer, sword and psycannon costs a measly 225 points. This still gives you places for Terminator armed HQs, a decent midfield-counter assault unit (much better than Strike Squads obviously) and doesn't break the bank. For example using the same principle above:

2x5x Purifiers w/2x Psycannons, Hammer, Psyback
5x GKT w/Psycannon, 3x Halberds, Hammer
4x5x GKSS w/Psycannon, Psyback
3x Psyfledread

totals 1670 points with 230 points to play around with for 2000 - not bad and compared to the 2000 point list above we've only lost two psycannons and four stormbolters. Even a simple 1750 list is an easy upgrade with an Inquisitor in TDA for 1750 bang on. At 2000 points though you have a lot more options. Grandmaster + Inquisitor gives you two more psycannons and the army flexibility the Grandmaster gives you - not to mention potential grenades for that GKT squad which is seven strong with the two HQs attached. Dropping a GKSS squad and adding Coteaz gives you some Troop options such as Psyker squads in Rhinos for some large blasts (+ token acolyte) or cheaper Razorback squads (discussed before). Even a simple Inquisitor with TDA + Psycannon and some points tweaking can get you another small Grey Knight squad to make up those Psycannon/Stormbolter numbers.

In this sense, Grey Knight Terminators are adding improved combat ability to the army - specifically counter-assault, an excellent place for some of the more difficult to place Grey Knight HQs to chill, mobile firepower (especially if you add in HQs with psycannons) and extra defense in midfield. Whilst they do seem an expensive buy over Strike Squads, they do provide you with a more capable combat unit that isn't a Marine statline (Purifiers) who have more ability at shooting (two weapons per five guys).

Furthermore, since Grey Knight mech often plays in a very hybrid style, starting a small Terminator unit on the board isn't going to get them blasted to bits early. Obviously larger squads are more resistant to this and provide even more combat ability and durability to an army, but are conversely more expensive. Small Paladin squads can be useful to save points whilst still having pretty high durability/firepower though the smaller GKT squads are obviously cheaper and less vulnerable to S8 firepower. If you're looking for more combat firepower in the army and places to stick many of the Grey Knight HQs, Terminators are an excellent option without the wheelings and dealings you encounter with Paladins.

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