Idle Musings: Grey Knights army ideas

I have been looking at the Grey Knights Codex since Nommern, not to start my own army or rather my second version of a Grey Knights army as I sold mine off a couple of years ago when I felt bored by them. Admittedly at that time it was also difficult to find opponents as this was the height of 5th Edition when Grey Knights were the bogeyman that everyone hated and probably rightly so. But then things calmed down and the boys in silver got passed down until they reached a position in the middle of the pack or even below. When the new codex came out, it was rather lost in the shuffle, coming out a week or two after the Space Wolves book and without any new models, only a repackaging of the old ones. In fact, the book lost nearly half its units, as all Inquisitors and their retinues were removed, as well as the four Imperial Assassins that went with them. Both now have their own books, though you can of course combine them because they are all Imperials and we all know that Imperials stick together. None the less, I found it a bit strange that their codex release met with very little fanfare, though admittedly that also meant less nerd rage than usual. But I saw a Grey Knight army in Nommern (unfortunately, I didn’t get to play it) that looked quite nice and also have a lot of things going for it on the table, so I got intrigued. It didn’t hurt that it casually managed to pulverise a Tyranid army, including blowing a Flyrant out of the sky with a Land Raider that could and quadruple 6ed its twin-linked assault cannon (‘Skyfire my ass!’). However, I was not really convinced by the built of the army, so I thought I would explore some of the options and see what sticks. I did not write a list, as I feel that this would be difficult without practical input, but here are some general ideas. As usual, I welcome all comments. Really, could someone please think of the children and comment?

So here goes:

The librarian really seems to be the only worthwhile HQ option or at least the first one

Looking at the HQ section, there are a few options, but most of them are rather expensive for what they do, which in essence is not much beyond being reasonably good at melee, provided the opponent does not have 2+ armour or T6. Granted, a Brother-Captain or Grand Master can carry a Psycannon or other heavy gun, but the points quickly add up and you get a 200+ points model with T4 and a 4++, so not the best defensive stats in the game.

A Librarian on the other hand is not tied down to simply being a melee beater, but can support a wide range of units each turn, as well as being cheap(ish) for Grey Knights standards.

Some ideas on how to equip him:

Always get Mastery Level 3. Those 25 points are always worth it.

The Purifier: ML3, Domina Liber Daemonica: This gives you a total of 5 powers from the Sanctic discipline (or 4 if you mix disciplines) and lets you re-roll all ones on Warp Tests for Sanctic powers in 6″. Stick this guy near some Purifiers and watch the world burn as they dish out multiple S5 novas per turn.

The Master Caster: ML3, Cuirass of Sacrifice: The Cuirass replaces his Terminator Armour and gives It Will Not Die and Feel No Pain, giving you two ways of saving wounds from Perils of the Warp or regenerating them at the end of the turn. This means that you can fling more warp charge dice per power as you are less prone to take wounds on a double 6. This guy should either work as a re-roll and save factory with Divination or supply Shrouding and Invisibility from the Telepathy discipline. I would choose the second one as Telepathy is just bananas for a small elite army.

As both builds cost around 150 points each, you could feasibly run both in a 2000 points army and use one as battery and one as caster each turn, switching if necessary.

You could do a viable 2+ armour army

Just a thought, but a Terminator unit with a Psycannon and conservative weapon upgrades is under 200 points, so you could fill a list with some of those units, add a Paladin unit and some Dreadknights and see the opponent cry as his AP3 guns bounce off. Speaking of Knights…

Dreadknights are stupidly underpriced

A Dreadknight with Personal Teleporter and Nemesis Greatsword is 170 points. That’s a bargain. There is of course a potential to waste points by buying too many guns for them, but the guns all work well at targeting infantry and monsters, so it might be worth running two guns per Knight. The Heavy Psycannon is the best in my opinion, as it can either drop 6 S7 rending shots on tanks or a fat template into a pile of troopers. The Heavy Psilencer is decidedly Meh! in my book, having Force is a nice effect, but only really worth it against Nidzilla-type armies. It is not that great even against Flying Monstrous Creatures, but might provoke a panic Jink, so I guess that’s something. The Incinerator is an infantry killer, but lacks the AP3 to really convince. So I’d go with a Heavy Psycannon and then see how many points there are left. Still, I think the Dreadknight is an amazing unit in an often lacklustre codex (especially in the Heavy Support part), so there is no excuse not fielding them.  I think three might be asking for funny looks from your opponent, but that’s between you and your playgroup.

Purifiers are ML2?

The heading says it all. Purifiers join Zoanthropes as a Brotherhood of Psykers unit with Mastery Level 2. Moreover, you can Combat Squad them and have two Brotherhoods for a still reasonable price. Toss them in a Rhino,which Combat Squads can now share, and add two heavy weapons, preferably Psycannons because you need to get close anyway.  They could take four, but you wish to remain in the Rhino for as long as possible, so there is no point in taking four and they are quite expensive. Shove some Terminators with a Land Raider Redeemer in between two such units to have a transport for the Librarian with the Domina Liber Daemonica and light up some heretics. As Novas are Witchfires, they can be dropped out of a hatch and 4 combat squads of Purifiers can generate 8 Warp Charge, so that’s half of what you need for 4 Cleansing Flames, generating 2d6 S5 Ap4 Ignore Cover hits each. Everything within 9″ of those Rhinos will be charred.

We got a great deal on Land Raiders

Admittedly, they got a worse deal than Blood Angels, who can give every unit of Infantry their own pimpmobile, but as Grey Knights have Terminators as Troops choices, they can field quite a few Land Raiders and many armies today are no longer prepared for them, relying on mass S6 and S7 shooting to kill tanks. So it might be worth a laugh dropping a couple of them on the field for your local Eldar player.

So, these are some of my thoughts on Grey Knights. I played around with it on Armybuilder and you could actually field two Librarians, some Dreadknights, Terminators in a Land Raider and the Purifiers in a 2000 points list, so why no?

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3 thoughts on “Idle Musings: Grey Knights army ideas

  1. Roland says:

    Hi there, for the kids a comment 🙂
    I play 40k only rarely so my gaps of knowledge become quite apparent while reading your article.
    The first librarian built (with 5 sanctic powers) is something I tried out, together with a terminator squad and a Landraider (I don’t have a Landraider Redeemer, is that setup better than a standard Landraider?) In a game that worked quite fine. Especially the spell to improve an invulnerable save seemed terrific.
    The 2nd librarian built you mentioned is something I totally overlooked 🙂 Thanks for that.
    The 2 Nemesis Dreadknights are kind of a must if you want to play competitively, I think. They were the true damagedealers for me. As for weaponupgrades: You mention the psycannon and 6 strength 7 rending shots? I must have missed that completely as I thought the weapon only allowed for the template. That is big news, thx. The psilencer proved as worthless as before, the flaming weapon was nice however. For close combat I have gone with hammers. And now that the pointcost got reduced the teleporter is huge.
    Most of all I thought it great that you have the ability to improve the invulnerable save through a psychic power, hugely improves their survivability.
    Though they got weaker, I still love my forgeworld psycannons on my dreadnoughts. But with your mentioning the 6 strength 7 shots on the nemesis’ psycannon, that looks kind of nice as a combination of firepower.
    I totally did not get the Psi-level 2 on the purifiers, thanks for that, I will look them up.
    In my 2000 points I had some 20 strike squads with autocannon upgrades. They worked fine as bait but 10 of them never even saw combat or a worthwhile target. What is better? Strikesquads for bodies or terminators for endurance (or almost instant deaths if something with plasma comes along?)? I tried a mix of both choices and I was happy with my 5 terminators, I was also happy to feed 2 units of 5 strikesquads so my opponent didn’t concentrate too much on anything else, but for the rest those strike squads just felt like sitting ducks.
    Again, thx, useful information here.

    • The new codex has added a second firing mode to the Heavy Psycannon. It is Salvo 3/6, but Monsters are relentless, so it always uses the six-shot mode.

      The Redeemer is better because the Librarian can actually fit in it. A regular Land Raider only has 5 seats for Terminators, so once you put in a regular unit, there is no seat left for the Librarian. You can either get a Crusader for 6 twin-linked Bolters to ping away or the Redeemer with its S6 AP3 flamers, but this might not be the best set-up if you try to drop 4 Cleansing Flames as there should not be much left for the Flamestorm Cannons. More importantly, they both replace the twin-linked Heavy Bolter with a twin-linked Assault Cannon and that is a huge bonus.

      I would not really run too many Strike Squads, but one or two 5-men units with Incinerators who deep strike or a Psycannon to camp on objectives don’t break the bank and are your cheapest Troops.

      The Hammer is not that great now that all three weapons are S10 AP2. It adds Concussive which is rather pointless if you whale on people with that kind of weapon, especially as you can add Force if you really need it. The Greatsword is only 5 points more and has Master-crafted. As I keep preaching, rerolls are good.

  2. Roland says:

    thx, I ll try to keep this in mind when making my next army list. But those Nemesis Knights? 6 str7 shots? Wow, that upgrade got good.

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