Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Grey Knights - building an army list in two halves

You call that a Dreadknight?...
Having finally got my hands on the new Grey Knights codex I have been thinking about how to construct a 1750 point army.  Having played and thought about little else but Guard for a very long time, it has been interesting thinking about how to play GK's, as the two are just about as fundamentally different as it gets. So, being fed up of the same boring lists being repeated across the interwebz I got to thinking about how they might be done a little differently.  Being a firm believer in learning from the past, I thought about a time when guard could do something different. 

Back in 3rd and 4th editions I ran an extremely successful drop troop guard list.  It comprised literally of two halves.  The first half started on the table.  It included a mixture of very hard to shift troops (infantry with lascannons and cameleoline (stealth)) and hard hitting units that could not be ignored (Basilisks, they were good then, I promise).  These units did enough damage and were hard enough to kill that by the time the other half of my force arrived, the enemy was usually damaged and/or strung out in an attempt to reach my lines.  The second half was veteran squads, command squads, and infantry squads with a crazy number of melta and plasma guns.  They would drop in, kill a unit far more valuable than themselves, cause major disruption, and then even if they died to a counter attack they had fulfilled their purpose.  This army was so successful that only Ven and two others managed to beat it at all.

Now I don't claim it was a perfect list by any stretch, because it really wasn't. If I played it today, it would get destroyed in short order.  However, I believe the concept of an army in two halves is a sound one, with a single caveat.  You must have reliable reserve manipulation. 

In my opinion there are two armies which have the potential to run a list in this manner.  The first is the Blood Angels, which I will be testing later this week, and the second is the new Grey Knights. 

So lets go through the first half of the army then, the one that will start on the table (or roll on turn one, damn DoW).  We need to have units which are both hard hitting and durable, and we need reserve manipulation.

The later is easy.

Ordo Xenos Inquisitor - Psyker with Psychic Communion, combi-melta, power armour, two servo skulls, rad grenades - 94 points.

If we take two of these, we have a pretty reliable chance of all our reserves coming in on turn two, or if we don't want them then, we can stop them as well.  awesome.

Now we need some durable and hard hitting unit to stay on objectives or move into midfield to support our reserves when they arrive.

I decided on two units of purifiers (Crowe can go shoot himself in the face, I'll take them as elites) and one large Strike Squad.

5 Purifiers - 2 psycannons, hammer, 2 halberds, psyback - 199 points
5 Purifiers - 2 psycannons, hammer, 2 halberds, psyback - 199 points

10 Grey Knights - 2 psycannons, psychic ammo, rhino - 280 points

Now the two inquisitors can go with the Purifiers, lending their rad grenades and slightly dubious melta to the mix.  These units will not wound almost anything on a 2+, and even big monsters on a 4+. 

In addition to this, we cant really fail to take the best units in the dex can we.

2 Rifleman Dreads with Psychic Ammo - 135 points each.

This gives us a pretty nice base of 22 marines and 5 vehicles.

Now for the second half.  Deep striking in on turn two with the help of a few servo skulls.

Since these units wont be able to charge we need them to be able to do some damage, and to survive some shooting and/or assaults. I decided on:

5 Grey Knight Terminators - 1 Psycannon, 1 hammer, 3 force swords - 225
5 Grey Knight Terminators - 1 Psycannon, 1 hammer, 3 force swords - 225
Dreadknight - Heavy Incinerator -  160 points

10 terminators and another massive scary terminator on top of the above, and right in your face, has got to be at least a little bit of a problem for most armies right? right...?

So to recap, here is the full list:

Ordo Xenos Inquisitor - Psychic Communion, combi-melta, power armour, two servo skulls, rad grenades - 94 points.
Ordo Xenos Inquisitor - Psychic Communion, combi-melta, power armour, two servo skulls, rad grenades - 94 points.
5 Purifiers - 2 psycannons, hammer, 2 halberds, psyback - 199 points
5 Purifiers - 2 psycannons, hammer, 2 halberds, psyback - 199 points
10 Grey Knights - 2 psycannons, psychic ammo, rhino - 280 points
5 Grey Knight Terminators - 1 Psycannon, 1 hammer, 3 force swords - 225
5 Grey Knight Terminators - 1 Psycannon, 1 hammer, 3 force swords - 225
Dreadknight - Heavy Incinerator -  160 points
Rifleman Dread with Psychic Ammo - 135 points 
Rifleman Dread with Psychic Ammo - 135 points 

Total 1746 points

There are of course, options.  for example, with a little tweaking, for the price of the termies i can get a full squad of PAGK's, which are a very shooty.  I am also aware of a condition known as 'Dreadknight hate' but since i built the damn thing, i want to use it!

Now comes the part where i ask you guys to rip this idea apart.  I implore you to tell me the glaring stupid shit I have missed, and explain very slowly and carefully why this entire concept is never going to work. 

--Atreides out--


  1. I just spent the best part of 20 minutes over morning tea and bagel writing a really in depth, thoughtful response to this..

    Blogger says no.

    Fucking computers.

    I will retype later when I have the time! Fuck sake.

  2. Copy and Paste is your friend Ven, I have learned this the hard way too. I feel your pain bro.

  3. Thinking the concept is good for sure, I think reserve manipulation is something that GK's can do well.

    Starting with decent amount of AV on the table for saturation, should be ok, and reliable and hefty reserves - going 1st I cant see being an issue, ploughing forward and getting 20 marines into midfield + then the armour saturation on top of that.

    I am sure I'll get to see it closely enough soon - I'll be taking note as terminator/DS/Reserve list is something I quite fancy (as you know)

  4. yay, a response. and here i was thinking i had floored you all with my brilliance... just noticed that force swords only grant a 4++ in combat so i'm thinking maybe halberds are better, since they are free for termies.

  5. Great concept mate, I’m sure the idea can work, but as you say the starting half needs to be very durable.
    My thoughts revolve around swapping the troop halves around.
    Is there a case for the Terminators to be more survivable than the 10 GKSS and their Rhino?
    I think there is.
    If you doubled up the termies into one squad (with 2 cannons, 8 Halberds, 1 Sword and 1 Hammer?) and attached a single Xenos Inquisitor (XInq) and then make one real change.. lose the second XInq and buy a Librarian with Shrouding. Add the plasma siphon to the the XInq and psychotroke grenades and voila!
    You have a very mean, incredibly durable hammer unit.
    That is scoring.
    And relentless with stealth. Get them marching upfield and bombing away with Psycannons.
    Now, I know you have lost a threat vector, but I truly believe these boys are more survivable.

    Cost increase? 94 point XInq up to 175 point Libbie, stick to shrouding and warp rift for lol’s, then whack in a teleport homer for deep striking the second wave right next to the termies.

    The Libbie and Xinq can soak up small arms fire, and taking advantage of cover means the boys will have a 3++ cover most of the time…when needed.

    You probably can’t rock double purifiers and the 10 man SS too, unless of course you drop the dreadknight………. and replace with something slightly smaller… maybe 100 to play with rather than 160…

    Big drawbacks to my interpretation? Less reliable reserves, no scratchbuilt dreadknight.
    Still only 2 troops squads, no matter how tough one may be, or how ‘in reserve’ the other.
    Only 30 marines.
    Shit, that’s not bad actually.
    Still the same 5 vehicles, but these can use cover and shrouding where possible to increase their survivability.

    Although a side note on lack of saturation vs fortitude/shrouding etc… watching a few games here and there, and BOD/Steve’s game vs Justin’s Dark Elder last night…you still need to play extremely cleverly/efficiently or get more hulls on table!!

  6. Ven. Stolen.

    Bam thats the terminator list I was looking for. Now to make them as pretty as possible. lalalalal.

    Btw anyone got advice/tutorial links on how to reposition terminator legs?

  7. I don't think it's the best list out there for termies in GK context.
    Just a suggestion... not the defintitive list mate.
    Still not enough shots for my liking, nor enough bodies or vehicles...not enough scoring units really either...

  8. What about Paladins? Durable hammer, can be scoring through Grand Master? Still keep one Inq...

  9. I am just playing around with numbers now around that @ 1750 not quite getting the bodies I want, I am looking back towards Atr list again, think its a good base to work off.

    I think Paladins can work, maybe in tandem with that other GKT dropping?

    Ven are you also meaning bring in the GKSS/Purifiers from reserve in that list? I think that's a good idea when combining it with a GKM giving units scout (outflank) - and he still has psy communication.

  10. I think that is an option. but more points sunk into hQ...As I saod...the switching of Atreides second half and first half was just s suggestion, I think the termies are more survivable at range for first couple of turns..

  11. interesting thoughts.

    i suppose instead of taking purfiers you could take 4 or 5 squads of 5 GK's with a PsyC each and drop those in with a dreadknight.

    i am not sure i like the idea of having power armoured dudes dropping in and then not running. marines tend to die quite badly when that happens. of course, unlike termies, you dont really want those marines getting in combat so you could deep strike at a safer distance and shoot.

    something about a big unit of termies just doesnt sit right with me though. its too vulnerable to bad luck maybe. or perhaps too inflexible?

  12. And not fearelss... Fear the Darkness vs Grey Knights for the win!!

  13. that's true as well, though with an inquisitor you are Ld10 and stubborn, so you ignore the -2.

  14. Was speaking generally...as a tool. Or a danger. bugger all being fearless for an elite army = danger will robinson!

    Its only Purifiers that are fearless right? Not even Paladins..

    the dying from not running with power armour typically only happens vs IG with demo vets, artillery, BA with fast vindicators or um...plasma cannons if someone decides its a good idea to run one of those?!? so, whilst I can see your point, I'm not sure its that likely.

    You know what, I'm just not sure you want half on and half off.

    Simple as that.

    Too much firepower to be concentrated on half a force. Even with toys, they are just marines. They die like marines, to weight of fire. And plasma. And chuffin' lasguns. And whatever shoots at them....."33% of the time, they die every time!" to quote Brian Fantana...

  15. Ooh and Daemons with Breath! (in reference to small clumps of marines dying in one go)

    If going second would you man up and try for Shrouding and cover from terrain? or all reserves and roll on shooting? Use Reserves denial for a turn?