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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Purgy's Reply to 2000 Acolyte-spam Grey Knights


The ever loved and thoughtful Purgy sent me an email with his reply in relation to my post on moving my Grey Knights to 2000 points. He also posted it on his blog. Purgy doesn't like long comments apparently =D! Anywho, here's his reply for those of you who have not seen it on his blog and I'll add my thoughts in along the way in blue (after each paragraph). Hopefully this will shed some light for some people and otherwise provide interesting discussion.

Here’s the thing with the psykers… I think they are useful and add an element of “keeping them honest” but their utility is far higher against clustered up infantry than against vehicles. Also, investing more in them does not increase their chances of working, it only increases their impact if they DO work. Therefore, I would suggest limiting them to four or five psykers, and using them for anti-MEQ duty. Again, they might not kill much, but fourty points is not a lot to invest in keeping your opponent honest. As such a short-ranged army, you need to be able to concentrate your forces on a single section of your opponent’s forces, and it is difficult to do if they can simply concentrate right back. Four psykers gives you a S6, AP3 blast, which is as good as you NEED it to be against Marines – you are wounding on 2’s and ignoring their armor. Anything else is over-investing. An argument could be made for the fifth psyker to mess with Feel No Pain models, but the truth is that ignoring their armor is already putting a huge dent in their survivability. It’s a list dependent choice I suppose. The point being, I think you’ve over-invested in the Psykers.

Agree but some counter-points and reiterations. Psykers are really there to provide some blasts to an army which otherwise relies on mass firepower - this generally works but sometimes being able to get 8-9 wounds off on a recently disembarked squad is just very, very nice. The issue is of course reliability (Ld8 psychic power) but as Purgy says, it keeps the opponent honest and is going to be far more effective against infantry than tanks.
Now in terms of squad size, nearly each step up in terms of number increases has an advantage and it becomes a scale of opportunity costs really. Four of them (forty points) nets you a S6 AP3 blasts and does nearly everything you could want in terms of wounding infantry and denying saves except for FNP/2+. 10 points more allows us to deny FNP to all models and force cover saves on 2+ save units. 10 points more allows us to instant death a lot of common multi-wound models/characters out there (anything T4 based) and gives us AP1 (so some extra utility against tanks). 10 points more here doesn't do much but if we take it to 20 points (two more Psykers) we get a S10 AP1 blast which increases the effectiveness against tanks (but is still low) and allows instant death of T5 models (Necrons and Thunderwolves jump to mind).

The question is - how high do we want to go but we must also consider squad losses. If we go the bare minimum here and just get the S6 AP3 blast, one squad member dying (quite likely in an explosion) drops that to S5 AP4 - far less frightening. If you have the full squad for S10 AP1 however, you still have an effective weapon as the squad steps down in size. Is it then worth it to say run a squad for a S8 AP1 blast? You still have most of the benefits minus instant-deathing T5 models and you have less stepping stones when the unit takes damage but you save 40 points. That's the hammers on the Purifiers and 30 points of extras - dozer blades? upgrading the Rhinos to Chimeras? Stormbolters for Acolytes? Possibilities.

Also, I don’t think that the Psyker squads need vehicles if you reduce their threat profile sufficiently (as I suggested above). They can simply be in your backfield, moving and (maybe) popping off anti-infantry blasts. Don't forget you have LOADS of infantry models on the table, so it's not like they are going to be the only target for your opponent (or the most threatening). If they come under torrent of fire, simply go to ground (another advantage of investing less in them – you lose less if you need to GtG.

Not sure about this - this list, unlike many other Acolyte lists I like, doesn't have mass stormbolter Acolytes so there are a lot less infantry on the table. Really only the Paladins + Coteaz and the Purifiers are the main infantry on the table and the Purifiers should generally be well out of LoS by using the Passback hulls. Certainly the Acolytes can jump out en masse for extra firepower (hence the bolters) but unlike the other lists, it's more mech focused. This would expose these infantry to early firepower then and whilst a relatively cheap backfield scoring unit going to ground isn't a huge deal, I think they pose more offensive threat inside the vehicle (though the explosion can cause a lot of damage). 

It's certainly an option but if I went that route I think I'd want a bunch of Acolyte bodies in there as well to provide some extra Dakka at range and the Psykers are more of an addition to the squad.

Paladins have the cool factor going for them, but I think they do little that more Purifiers can’t do. Yes, Paladins compete for shots with your Razorbacks, but Purifiers compete for shots with your Acolytes. Let your Mech take care of themselves and worry about protecting your troops, imo.

The Purifiers do everything the Paladins do more efficiently except as a counter-assault/combat unit - and that's the only reason they've ever been in (same as GKT). Whilst relentless MC psycannons are great, they are really there to provide a nice punch in combat if needed. One could certainly replace them with another Purifier + Razorback combination and use the extra points elsewhere but I like having the counter-assault ability. With WS5 + halberds it gives me me a nice way to take a chunk out of most scary assault units which allows the MSU shooting approach to handle such units a lot easier.

I have put this list together several times in a few variations, but your list helped me to tweak it a bit more in a way that I like. I don’t have the book in front of me so check my points value memory:

Purifiers x 10, Psycannons x 4, Hammers x 2, Razorback w/TL Assault Cannon, Psybolt
Purifiers x 10, Psycannons x 4, Hammers x 2, Razorback w/TL Assault Cannon, Psybolt
Purifiers x 5, Psycannons x 2, Hammer x 2, Razorback w/TL Assault Cannon, Psybolt
Acolytes x 5, Stormbolters x 5, Razorback w/TL Assault Cannon, Psybolt
Acolytes x 5, Stormbolters x 5, Razorback w/TL Assault Cannon, Psybolt
Acolytes x 5, Stormbolters x 5, Razorback w/TL Assault Cannon, Psybolt
Acolytes x 5, Stormbolters x 5, Razorback w/TL Assault Cannon, Psybolt
Mystics x 4, Warriors x 5
Mystics x 4, Warriors x 5
Psyfleman Dread
Psyfleman Dread
Psyfleman Dread

So you have five combat squads of Purifiers, which are scary to a lot of different things, and lend a lot of firepower and a legitimate close combat threat. You have seven TL Assault Cannon R-Backs, and three Dreads, so one less vehicle, but one more with a gun. The Purifiers get their hammers back (needed). The mystics are ideal rear-objective holders, contributing their firepower from 36” away, able to drop blasts on deep strikers and otherwise not too terribly threatening (helpful, resilient ENOUGH and not threatening ENOUGH are a great combo for your backfield, imo).

Anyways, those are my thoughts.

I like the concept of the 10x Purifiers but without the spare transports to carry them around (i.e. two RBacks/Rhinos/Chimeras from your backfield scorers), I see less point to them. If you were able to work that in somehow (which jumps the vehicle number back to 11), I'd like to list a lot. I did something similar but used Jokearo + Acolyte backfield units and mostly Psybacks instead of Passbacks which obviously detracts from your firepower quite a bit but with 25-30 Purifiers running around in groups of five with double Psycannons, there is some make-up obviously.

I guess my biggest issue with the list here is the backfield units - what Purgy says is absolutely true, you don't want backfield units which are scoring to be super threatening to your opponent but you'd like them to contribute something. I just feel they aren't contributing enough and aren't resilient enough beyond being infantry going to ground for 3+ cover for me to want to include - does that make sense? Again, adding in something as simple as Rhinos for me would make their inclusion a lot more sensible as the Purifiers can now combat squad and all have a ride (and you have the added benefit of weakened units being able to hide and use the top-hatch).

So let's hear some more thoughts ^^. Discussions are good!

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