Last night I played my tenth game at club using the new Grey Knights codex, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to share the few nuggets of wisdom I have learnt whilst using them.
As background, 90% of the games I’ve played with the Grey Knights have been at tournaments (a mix of 1250, 1500 and 1750 point games), and out of those ten games, I’ve won six and lost four. Of the four games I lost, two were against Orks, one game was against Space Wolves, and one game was against a competitive Blood Angels list with three Land Raiders.
It might seem obvious but it needs to be said, playing Grey Knights you will be outnumbered. To make matters worse, no Grey Knight is more survivable than a normal space marine. This means that when you start taking causalities, it hurts. It hurts a lot.
While your basic Grey Knight is fantastic value for the points, they are lacking in one or two areas. Firstly is the number of attacks. Force weapons are nice but don’t count on a five man Grey Knight strike squad walking through a five man marine squad, it rarely happens.
The second area is leadership. Yes leadership 8 is the same as your advantage marine, but having less causalities to absorb before taking tests makes Grey Knight units surprisingly fragile.
While I’m on the general subject, I think the Grey Knight HQs should also be mentioned. At ASMOH I took a Grand Master, however at a 225 points, he is a huge points sink although he has some nice strategic abilities.
Where did that come from?
OK, its not all bad news. The ability to deep strike troops, and the potential to use teleport homers (on the Stormraven) and servo-skulls, means your troops can arrive exactly where required. Combined with psychic communion, they can also arrive when needed.
Also the humble storm bolter should not be underestimated, it is an excellent weapon with a high rate of fire. Psycannons also rock, especially against light vehicle where four shots at strength 7 is perfect.
Having a force weapon and strength 5 (after a psychic test) is just the icing on the cake, adding a combat edge to essentially shooty units.
Other surprises have included my Inquisitor. His statline might not look impressive, however five attacks on the charge, whilst using rad grenades to reduce his foe’s toughness, has caught a few people out; and in my last game won the mission for me. Oh, and he is also really cheap for an HQ choice.
Lean not mean
They are some obvious nasty units in the codex, including death cult assassins. I’ve seen some horrible lists with lots of these girlies, however my unit of just three has been remarkably successful, especially at a mere 45 points.
Pretty much every time I’ve tasked them to remove a small five/six marine squad they have done the job. At Compliance, they slaughtered eight Dire Avengers in one round of combat.
Anything more would be overkill.
The Big Guns
This is the one area my Grey Knights lack. While dreadnoughts with strength 8 autocannons look very nice on paper, my lascannon/missile launcher dreads have performed very well in every game. This is just as well because these guys have my only long ranged firepower.
The Stormraven and Land Raider Crusader, while being an essential assault elements in the army, have also been important fire bases filling, anti-infantry and close anti-armour roles, as well as distracting people from the dreads.
The Stormraven in particular draws a huge amount firepower. Couldn’t imagine why….
Speaking of which, while it looks weaker than the Blood Angels’ Stormraven at first glance, the Grey Knight’s version can put out four blast templates in one turn; ideal for thinning troops or targeting monstrous psykers.
And then there is Fortitude, one of the best vehicle abilities in the game. This ignores Stunned and Shaken damage results after a psychic test. Suffice to say, that has the potential to annoy.
And this brings me nicely to my latest addition, the Purifier squad. These guys are simply incredible, especially for the points cost. By adding a point of weapon skill and an attack, these guys consistently outperform marines in combat. Better still, they are actually cheaper than a Strike Squad with the same weapons!
I have yet to decide if a second incinerator should replace a force halberd. I suspect not because these guys do their work in combat, not by shooting.
Actually, the biggest problem is normally getting this unit into fray, especially as their Stormraven tends to get targeted as a matter of priority.
Grey Knights, well my Grey Knights at least, seem to be an all or nothing army. When they win, they win big. In ten games I’ve tabled or very almost tabled five opponents. That’s quite impressive.
However on the flip side, they tend to lose big as well, and objective based games tend to struggle.
However do I enjoy playing them? Yes, I think so.
They can be a finesse army at times, however they can be played in a few different ways and as a small very elite army, they are tactically demanding.
Suffice to say, Grey Knights punish your mistakes as a player, but when they work, they work!