Saturday, 30 July 2011

Grey Knights - Evaluating my options

So I guess it wouldn't match the theme of this week if I didn't chip in on Grey Knights. Like Venerable and Killswitch I have also been working on my Grey Knights. First off though, this is not the end of the Deathwing for me. Over my past couple of games I felt myself really wanting to put the terminators back on the table, plus since Brighton I've really been working hard to figure out the mistakes I made and get the balance of aggressiveness and defensive play right. With this it has changed up the way I'll go forward with my armies. Originally planning to do Sisters and Grey Knights side by side, I can't see myself doing Sisters, so simply I will play Deathwing and GK's together, giving me one army I have a ton of experience with and honestly feel I know inside out, and the other army to work with to get that experience.

On the hobby side of things, the Grey Knights look like a "tester" project for me. I decided to stay with the same colour scheme as my deathwing/marines, simply as it saves me buying a ton more vehicles and I can use them for my Blood Angels/Space Wolves/Sisters and so on. But this time around I will be trying air brushing for the models. Hopefully this gives me a consistent look over 30+ models, and maybe gives me another tool in the paint chest. Plus it in theory is a great way to pump out an army to table top quality quickly, though I do plan to take time to use washes, low/high lights and detailing to try and push it above TTQ. More on this later though, I'll be sure to post pictures of the process. Would people be interested in a stage by stage / documentation of its difficulties? Has anyone else had experience airbrushing armies?

Anyway, back to the issue at hand the Grey Knights.


We've seen a good bit of back and forth this week in various discussion's over Venerable's and Killswitches Coteaz based lists, and lets throw in Atreides article from a couple of weeks back on the issue. We also see a lot of this discussion take place in Ven's The Core  series of articles. So we are not short on coverage on that.

Likewise, we've had a couple of posts recently on Crowe based armies, essentially stating very similar things, both from Killswitch and Venerable.

So really there isn't much point trying to talk about the two lists independently, but rather I'd like to talk about some of my thoughts, especially with  Killswitch's recent article on building an army with objectives/missions in mind.

I've managed to get a few games in with variations of both lists, though not so much variation on the Crowe list for obvious reasons, but the Coteaz based version has swung from mixing GKSS and Henchmen in various ways, to simply henchmen heavy. On top of this I have played a couple of different lists, which don't include special characters at all, and thats something else I want to compare with here.


Well not so much as a straight up comparison, but some of what is driving me to creating my final list that I'll get started on painting this weekend.

I've gotten a bit of game time in with the Crowe list, this was initially my first reaction of a list to go with. Partly because it was pure Grey Knight, but also the Purifiers are a great unit, and in many ways it plays into my wheelhouse having used Deathwing for so long. We are looking at fearless troops that have dual potential (shooting and combat), though the potency is "reversed" as it were, in comparison to Deathwing. It does however, suffer from one of the big flaws that afflicts Deathwing ... in that the Purifiers are expected to achieve and do everything to accomplish the win. The models are by far and away less expendable than most other armies heavy lifters. Like Deathwing, when you lose a purifier, your getting closer to not only lose the potency of that unit (with that said, Purifiers like Deathwing are always potent, even with 1 model you either have a H4 S7 rending cannon, a I6 force weapon or a potential S10 weapon, all of which that can lay some hurt on hordes in combat as well). So while they are excellent units, due to the very nature of being your only unit type, and being your heavy lifter and scorers, there is sometimes a balance trying to be created that can't quite be established - reaching objective markers for example, or getting prime firing/charing lanes due to board position. Its something I am used to with Deathwing, and Purifiers do have it a little easier as there are 6xRazorbacks on the table to help you get places, but it still is an ever apparent risk. By the nature of being troops, they become less expendable, much like Deathwing, each loss stings that little bit more.

So this is certainly an advantage in my mind with the Coteaz list. The purifiers are there to establish the heavy lifting, but are far more expendable, but also, by being both fearless and MEQ, not to mention not troops, it adds another bit of cover to them, because while they are a threat - they present the opponent a far harder choice of target priority. Go for the troops (be it to deny objective grabbing, or the softer KP in the henchmen and even GKSS) or go for the biggest threat - the purifiers.

This is not to say the Coteaz list for me doesn't have its negatives. Purifiers being allowed to do their heavy lifting and be expendable is huge, but I am still not a fan of the henchmen as troops (or rather the 3x 4 Point dudes "minimum scoring box"). I appreciate the idea of the incredibly low scoring tanks, I don't quite like the vulnerability of them. The GKSS certainly help matters (in the Killswitch version of the list, the one I personally lean closer towards), as they do provide a slightly hardier scoring unit.

So, is comes down to, do I lean towards an army, once again, that can do everything, but in that sense, its weakness is that it can do everything, and that push and pull sometimes can be brutal. Or, go towards the army that has the tools to deal with everything, but much more clear cut and defined roles for the units, and, with this much more utility.

Well I want to throw one other idea out there, and see what you guys think.

Inquistor - 2xServo Skulls

3x 5man Purifiers (2xHalb 2xPsyc 1xDH) Psyback

2x 10man GKSS (2xPsyC, 1xDH, Psybolt) Rhino
1x 5man GKSS (1xPsyC) Psyback
 3xPsyfleman Dreads

So in a sense its a sort of compromise. I've looked to lose the squishy troops, but in an attempt to compensate for the blandness of the GKSS I've pushed their numbers up and given them S5 stormbolters. I still maintain the same number of chasis's as the Crowe list, but gain 10 more bodies at a cost of 5 scorers (though I "can" combat squad, if I ever needed to). The small GKSS squad is pretty much with KS's post in mind. Its a cheap scorer (at 160 points) that can get out of the tank and throw 4 S7 rending shots at tanks, backed up by SB/HB shots into incoming infantry. The inqusitor probably rocks with these boys as well to give them stubborn just to make them that bit harder to go away (plus another 3 wounds)

I am not 100% convinced on the actual list, I am pretty sure I'll get some tweaks in here. GKSS are distinctly bland, but 10 of the buggers with S5 and a couple of psycannons can lay some hurt, and even as average as they are in combat, with a decent round of shooting could certainly perform a couple of roles.

This list still has that 15xPurifiers to help achieve the heavy lifting - it also still lays down some good quality fire, but to steal BroLo's though, is it maybe to much high AP fire? Certainly is a reliance on rending and S10 hammers (of which there are 5 in this list) to get the job done versus the big tanks.

Certainly something I'll look to test.

This is actually quite similar to the original GK list I started out with, which fielded terminators/paladins with a Libby and OMI for relentless psycannon spam. It may well evolve back into that along the way.


Well its obviously safe to say that paint and assembly wise I can work on 15 purifiers and 3 dreads, and work on some rhino chassis's! I think in reality I do prefer the Coteaz list(s), they just have so many tools in the box, between warp quake, I've been expecting you, the seize mechanic, and throw in the various different unit types to support.

Plus on the expansion/changing unit size, its a bit easier to modify when it comes to the Coteaz list I think. A couple of henchmen will take a lot less time (plus a lot less monotonous) to paint.

As a note. I am still working on my deathwing. I have a little mini GK army that I am going to use my Deathwing models for (gotta love magnets) that myself and Atreides joked about. Its a "fun/joke" army but will mess with people at my LGS when I can't be faffed to use a "proper" list.

Next up from me is the Deathwing articles. Like I say, post Brighton I've had a lot of thinking done over the army and its strengths and weaknesses (again), and certainly feel much stronger about the list despite my "poor" showing. Actually looking forward to the next time I have the boys on the table.


  1. Venerable Brother's mighty back rug31 July 2011 at 08:01

    With regard to the 'cheap scorer' - use a servo skull to deep strike a combat squaded SS onto it? Leave the double cannons and Hammer with the other half, that way all of your Cannons are engaged and you are not wasting ANY of the points youve spent out for..that is for games where you a) don't need to stop alpha's and b) where you wont miss 5 bodies too much in the early stages of the game, primarily where there is a good amount of Cannon work to be done - av11/12 mech.

    Regarding Crowe lists. I really rate them and as you say, its all GK, fearless, good shooting, decent cc. Low body count though.

    Coteaz list has over half of the same ingredients... 3xPurifiers, the other 3 Razors, the 3 Dreads... And alot of different tools.

    Remember, I fit Terminators into mine and Alex has it's not all about the little guys..

    Question: What would be your thoughts on a Coteaz list where the Purifiers scored too?

    ^ This is my latest tweak to the Coteaz spam that I put up and I have only tested it once now, but really liked it.. Certainly changed the dynamic of the game.

    Plus, tailored an IG force to beat the Coteaz spam...AV12 is annoying. Sometimes, despite the weight of fire, you just will not penetrate..Mind you , I lost 2/3 Dreads turn 2 (DoW dep otherwise it'd be T1...).
    Coteaz still won. 10-9 KPs.
    Point is, definately need something higher strength around..

    All GK list: Simples that's for sure. Good, but no killer edge in any phase. You really want to dominate at least 2 phases of the game and I'm not sure this does either.. ?

    Last point: Yes to air-brush tutorial/experiences..

  2. Interesting thought about the skulls, never thought off that - thats a really cool way of multiplying the force.

    Crowe / Coteaz list. Interesting. I'd love to see how you make that up.

    Guessing you drop 3x Purifiers, which free's up 597 points, take 100 off for Coteaz, 497 - thats plenty of pointage for henchmen - and maybe some more stuff (think you could actually shove a venerable dread in there with those points)

  3. Venerable Brother's fetid breath31 July 2011 at 09:33 keep guessing bra'h..

    The DS 1D6 with Skulls can be useful, I've done it midfield with Termies to get them into side armour and to really change up the pressure balance across the board.. not to be used all the time mind..

  4. Yeah.

    Guess I'll have to wait for the article lol ;D

    I still do like the idea of terminators/paladins, but like I say I have a mini-project on that part, and since I'll use my DW terminators with magnets I can just fit them in so easy - its just a case of painting 20 or so arms.