I thought I’d just depart from writing about every single option in the book because frankly I’m a little short on time (work, as usual) so I’ll just condense all my rambling into this one article for now.
In the past few years, the metagame of 40k has been shaped by the internet, namely through forums and blogs. Although I frequent forums and blogs, I recognize the issues, namely “forumitis”. Someone talks about something as if its pure gold, and everyone who doesn’t think for themselves jumps on the bandwagon, and begin spreading news about its awesome, when frankly its not always so.
I’ve always had a personal opinion on things, and often (much to my joy and unending torment to enrgie as I brag about it to him) they do get “approved” later on by the masses as a more prominent internet figure "discovers" them. My ramblings may or may not be wrong, and may or may not work depending on your mind set and playstyle. Do not let my opinions dictate the way you play, but let it just open your mind to the possibilities of this army so that you don’t get bogged down by propaganda :P
I’ve also opened several threads about some of these units on the B&C, and thus far most of them have gotten some good replies.
I’ve written a little bit about Chuck Norr….I mean, Draigo earlier, and this is one of those things that can be subject to forumitis. Some people think he sucks. Some people think that by playing him, you HAVE to play a Draigowing. Yes, he is pricey, and yes, he is somewhat restricted in his wargear, but as I mentioned; you pay 60 points for a guy with considerably better stats. Am I saying he is a bargain? Not really, but he isn’t the overcosted piece of crap some view him as either.
Regarding the Draigowing, taking Draigo opens up Paladins as a Troop choice, but one should not feel burdened to take an entire army of them. My suggestion? Take one Paladin Squad. Give it an Apothecary and Banner then shove Draigo in there. He can take those S8/9's like a man, and frankly T5, 2+/3++/4+ FNP W4 Eternal Warrior is going to take a while to remove. What about your second Troop slot? Take something simple. Maybe a small GKSS squad. Maybe, heck, a single lone Paladin if you are really low on points. Draigo has Grand Strategy, and if you need it he can give someone else scoring. I’d argue that he *could* fit in 1,500 games, although he is not necessarily the most competitive choice at below 2,000.
The internet will have you believe he sucks so bad you just shove him in a corner and hope he doesn’t die. At the same time, I see people talking about placing a considerably-softer nearly-100-point Sanguinary Priest (eg. Lightning Claw + Jump Pack) in combat simply so that you “don’t waste his two attacks”. Really?
Granted in a Kill Point game/vs Dark Eldar you may want to be careful with him, but remember; he is 150 points, and he can actually kill if given a chance. I wrote about him previously, and IMO he’s not entirely crap, as long as he’s used correctly. Again, I’m not saying he’s good, but he’s not the “150 point tax that sits in a transport hoping to never die” that some say he is. Do keep in mind you will have to use him like a recluse – keep him a little bit away from the main thrust of your force to make sure the enemy doesn’t get to charge him and another squad of yours at the same time.
Grey Knight Strike Squads
Some people would have you believing the GKSS are AWESOME because “hey, 20 point Space Marines with Force Weapons and Stormbolters!”. My issue? 20 point Space Marines that die like Space Marines. Yes, they are rather good and I’m not saying they “suck”, BUT you have to be careful with the way you look at them. Having Force Weapons doesn’t make them an “assault unit”. They are a shooting unit, and you play them like one. As I mentioned in my last article, use them as they have always been used; a mid-field unit that only fights in close combat when it absolutely has to. Although the Hammer is always a decent addition, Halberds are a poor choice due to their lack of effectiveness in close combat, and crazy price tag.
They do, admittedly, have a few plus points. First of all, they do not need a special HQ to unlock and IMHO are better than Terminators (see my discussion on Terminators in my last article). Sometimes, all you want to take for your HQ is that Librarian for psychic power defense, and I personally take Librarians with most of my army lists even from my other armies for that. Ten guys with a Psycannons/bolts will punch a decent hole in anything it points at, and you can do it all from a fairly comfortable range of 24”. If you keep the enemy at arms length there is little you can do to go wrong with them. And much like Tacticals, ten Space Marines take a decent amount of firepower to actually remove. Last but not least, they do have Warp Quake, which has some utility.
Some people are insistent on Pure Grey Knight armies, and I have no quarrel with such people as I understand the desire to play such a beautiful army in…all its beauty, and to stick with the desired theme and look of an actual Grey Knight army. However, my issue is with those who write-off Henchmen because they are apparently not-as-good-as GKs.
The Henchman squad is by far one of the most variable squads in the game, and as such it almost requires its own article. However, to keep things short I’ll just go about it in point forms:
1) Mystics for the win. Deep Striking something? Please, please take them. Servo Skulls are awesome, but Mystics are just better for this purpose.
2) Crusaders and Death Cult Assassins. There was some talk about them during early rumors, but then they faded into obscurity. For their points, I really love these guys. The trick IMO is to take more Crusaders than DCA’s; I’m leaning towards, say, 7 Crusaders and 2 DCAs. DCAs are extremely killy but die to small arms fire, so you really want some beef to help soak up the shots. T3 isn’t very beefy, but 3++ is pretty reliable. Note that I’m not advocating a pure-Henchmen army; I expect that you will still have a good bunch of Grey Knights, so you could use these guys as support, or as sacrifices/bait – they are cheap enough (cheaper than GKs at least) for the duty.
3) Acolytes. I like them as they are cheap Guardsmen and make good cannon fodder, but frankly when I see them, I see Flamers. BS 3 is pretty bad and a Meltagun, although tempting, is pretty costly for its inaccuracy. The Flamer mitigates the issue but is (for some reason) not something everyone talks about. Might be worth splashing one or two into an assault Henchmen unit.
4) The “Inquisitorial Devastator Squad”. People complain about the lack of long ranged guns, and some complain about how many of our guns don’t have AP 3 or less. Enter the 20 point Plasma Cannon Servitor. Three of those combined with (say) a pair of Jokaero, and a Hellrifle-totting Inquisitor and maybe some Acolytes as cannon fodder. I’d take them if I had the HQ slot to spare for the babysitter-Inquisitor. And much like DCA’s, monkeys are to be used lightly and sparingly, just like herbs and spices during cooking.
5) Coteaz makes them Troops, and he isn’t too bad. He is a cheap HQ choice, and although he will die to anything that wants him dead rather easily, he does bring to the table his Level 2 Psyker powers, permitting him to cast both Hammerhand and the (very nice) Sanctuary, on the same turn. Combine this with a Henchmen melee squad, and you have a very well-priced, efficient squad. He also drops the cost of your core by quite a bit as even the most expensive non-monkey Henchmen are still cheaper than GKs.
I wrote quite a bit about them in my last article, but really, please consider them. They are really points efficient and a good addition to any army as long as you have the HQ slot to spare. In small’ish games (say, below 2,000), its hard to go wrong with a Librarian and one of these. It is sometimes amazing why so many people talk about Librarians and GMs but fail to give these guys some credit. Recap from my last article:
1) Support HQ. Just as you would take, say, a Warrior Priest in a WHFB Empire army, you can take one of these, stick them to a squad, and let the squad benefit from his buffs; be it a mere Stubborn, or those sexy Rad Grenades, or because you actually paid for Hammerhand. He *can* fight, but don’t count on it. Keep him simple and cheap, don’t go buying toys for him.
2) Shooty HQ. Conversion Beamers are fun, but can be difficult to use. I’m a bigger fan of the Hellrifle, as it is also very conveniently the same range as a Plasma Cannon.
3) Generalist HQ. Terminator Armor, Psycannon and the (obligatory) Daemonhammer. Makes for a very reasonably-priced all-rounded HQ perfect for small games. T3 and I1 means that he can still easily die, but his Terminator Armor, S6 close combat attacks and Relentless Psycannon means he is still a pretty good bargain for his points. Just don’t expect him to be a Grandmaster-equivalent in combat….
I wanted to put this under Henchmen, but I figured it warrants is own slot. Now, I love Razorbacks. The concept of having a transport vehicle with a gun strapped on it is very appealing to me. However, I don’t really understand the concept of shoving a tiny squad of Henchmen into a single Razorback in the hopes of it being a “scoring unit in a shooty transport”. Small squads of Henchmen (anything less than 10) will die and give free points/pain tokens to people.
My biggest gripe however is the sheer fixation some have on Razorbacks. Again, they are good and I do like/use them, but sometimes I feel like people expect them to act like a main battle tank that happens to be able to carry troops. The Razorback dies like any other AV 11 vehicle, and the second it even gets a Weapon Destroyed it rapidly loses its purpose. It is easy to go to town on upgrades, but that 85-points Psybolt-Assault Cannon Razorbacks feels like a whole lot to pay for something that can immediately be stripped of its power from random smallish/medium arms fire. The Razorback also forces you to use small squads, but not all units function well when small.
Where is the love for these poor guys? I started a thread on these guys on the B&C back when no one even cast a glance at them. Quite literally, I may have been the first person to want to brainstorm about their uses. For 26 points a pop they aren’t cheap, but think about it; if you consider Jump Packs to cost “2 points” (the difference between a Tactical and Assault Marine in the BA codex), then you are paying 4 points per model for the very powerful ability to instantly relocate 30” without risk once a game.
Although some talk about putting Psycannons on these guys, I’m a bigger fan of giving them Incinerators as they, above all units in the game, can choose where to place that nice template at their whim and fancy. The Psycannon/Psybolt squads is still pretty good, and combined with their 12” move permits them to function like a very mobile shooty GKSS. My only issue with them is that you may need to take a decent number of them (or somehow get the rest of your army up there fast) because sending them in piecemeal for suicide runs is a sure way to lose points.
Not many talk about these guys, possibly due to the PsyfleDread (still the most terrible name ever but practical :P) which is nearly as good as people would have you believe. Second on my list for the Heavy Support choices would be a small Purgation Squad, because FREE (FREE!) Incinerators en-masse is a very terrifying thing to behold. Even if the small Purgation Squad is gunned down before reaching the enemy, it is only 140 points+ depending on the transport. Not a big loss and if they reach the enemy, things WILL die.
To be honest I’m not the biggest fan of the Dreadknight simply because there are better options. IMHO, the Nemesis Dreadknight suffers from a very large “flaw” – it has an unusual role that’s kind of neither here-nor-there and if you want it to do something properly, you have to pay for it. The GK army as a whole has very little issues dealing with large targets due to the severe overabundance of Force Weapons (and Hammers), assuming that large target isn’t an Eternal Warrior. Even then those Hammers would slow it down and Hammerhand can make them easier to kill. Vehicles on the other hand already fall victim to Psyfle’s, Psycannons and the random Hammer-to-hull. The unupgraded Dreadknight also lacks sheer weight of firepower to kill hordes, so all things considered its just there to kill (mostly) vehicles that ideally have higher armor, or just to make sure that big nasty is completely dead.
This means that if you want to take the Dreadknight, you have to choose a role for it. IMO, the Dreadknight is a melee unit. Don’t let its gun options fool you – its primary purpose is to walk to your opponent’s face and beat it in. Save those points, and at most spend it on the Greatsword (I’ve always been a fan of things that help mitigate bad dice without costing too much, same reason I like Lightning Claws) and *maybe* the Teletubby antenna. My issue with the teleporter is its extravagant points, and the 30” shift loses its “shine” a little if you don’t take a gun with it, although it is not entirely useless. A scoring Dreadknight (via the GM) can still last-minute teleport to a table quarter (if it survived till the end, unlikely though) or you can use the Dreadknight(s) as a bait, then redeploy turn 1, and make sure you reach melee by turn 2 – easily achieved, and rather scary when pulled off. A basic, unupgraded Dreadknight (or two!) is also a pretty decent choice in smaller (<1,000 point) games.
The other option is to play a shooty Dreadknight. With a Heavy Psycannon and Heavy Incinerator it becomes a whooping 200 points – 65 points more than a Psyfle and still more expensive than a Venerable Psyfle. That is a lot of points for a Psycannon pie plate and a long-ranged Incinerator. I personally don’t like the shooty Dreadknight because it’s a whole lot of points for something that isn’t actually all that tough and doesn’t do what the rest of your army can already do. The “hybrid” Dreadknight tends to be overcosted if you went for the works, or if you strapped on one gun to an otherwise melee Dreadknight its not as bad, but…..I’m not jumping with excitement. I can see a use for it, I can see it working, and I would eventually own one because I like robots, but it is not very high on my to-buy list. In fact I just made an order of the new stuff and the only thing I didn’t buy was the Dreadknight.
Although not a vehicle, much like many vehicles, you often want more than one for redundancy, and if you go for the teleporter, couple them with Interceptors. This gives you an army with borderline insane mobility and permits you to pick your fights at will. It costs a lot and your army will be tinier than usual, but I believe in the hands of a good player it can be dangerous.
So that’s the end of my rambling for now, I hope this has given you readers some stuff to think about and discuss. Do comment!
Disclaimer: None of the pictures are mine, just stuff I Google'd.