Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some Grey Knights Ramblings

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.

Purgation Squad

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.


  1. excelent article. really gave me some food for thought, thanks!

  2. I enjoyed this article. Funny and informative. Almost like reading a
    WD article of old circa 2000. Thanks for also letting us see what the
    Gk are capable of. Units to watch out for and standard lists.

  3. Haha thanks, glad to see some responses. Keep in mind though that the "standard list" would probably fall into four broad categories, two of which would be popularized by blogs:

    1) The "HERO build" -> Librarian, GKSS, Paladins, Psyfles

    2) The "Kirby build" -> Coteaz-based, somewhat interesting build.

    3) Draigowing, because people can.

    4) Purifier spam, because Purifiers really are pretty efficient.

    The lists I have in my head are slightly different but then again my lists are usually not run-of-the-mill.

    enrgie: Hopefully you bring down your figs in April, and hopefully my new GK purchases would be here by then at least assembled XD

    And, hopefully, I can make a trip down to Singapore in July. Hope to play with your friends too haha

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Quote of the day: "Firstly, I like men"

  6. Hallo Joash!

    I am starting a GK army~
    I would like your advice please!

    Firstly, I like infanty with mobility. However, I really dislike the Rhino.
    Can you advise alternative (efficient) methods to move the men?

    Basically I would like to use Librarian and/or Crowe as HQ.
    Purifiers as Troops.
    With my favorite unit the Interceptors as Fast.

    For Heavies, I am torn between the Dreadknight, which can sort out its own movement, and the PsyfleDreads which the web seems to be hyping about alot recently.

    I like to play fast and mobile armies, but I don't like the Rhino. Can you please advise?

    Thank you!

  7. By the way, can I put GK men in the Chimera?

  8. Yes there is nothing forbidding GKs (even Terminators!) from going into Chimera's for as long as they don't errata it. However, given that you can only get Chimera's from Henchmen, you'd have to buy the Henchmen, then buy the Chimera, then deploy the GKs and the Chimera next to each other, then on turn 1 your GKs can enter the Chimera. A little involved.

    Regarding the earlier question, I've been doing a lot of thinking regarding mobility myself, and I maintain thats possibly the biggest issue the GKs have.

    I've given it some thought and have posted on the B&C in numerous discussions, including ones regarding this and there doesn't seem to be a consensus. Forumitis would have you believe Razorbacks are awesome, and while it may be true (I'm not entirely discounting Razorbacks), Razors do have terrible transport capacity, and my many years of playing Space Marines of all sorts tells me that small squads of Marines don't do jack unless they have high firepower saturation (i.e. many special guns) or are somehow restricted in many ways (e.g. Terminators).

    The Purifiers in a sense can pull the Razorspam off; two special guns per five men and Fearless, as can Purgation Squads, with their four weapon options.

    If you hate Rhinos and by extension Razorbacks, will have some difficulties. I'm personally a jump pack person, but I'm not against transports. Your only other options are Deep Striking (risky), LRs and SRs (bloody expensive). Or Scout with a GK GM. They are all viable options and once I get the time I do plan to experiment with the other alternative forms, but they all have significant drawbacks, more so than Rhinos.

    I risk sounding cruel when I say what I'm about to say, but trust me as I'm just going to be honest here, and I in no way want to disuade you from playing GKs. Play what you want to play, and the GK models are frankly IMO the finest GW has offered (I'm biased though, I love power armor with a burning passion). Neither is this meant as a personal attack or insult.

    The GKs, like Space Marines, are oddly not for everyone. If you like fast and mobile armies then it may actually be in your greater interest to not play them, because even though theres that whole hype about them, people will eventually gravitate away from them as they learn that the GK playstyle is not their cup of tea, and the codex IMO lacks the sheer cheese of say, Space Wolves, that keeps the cheesy players playing them. Unless, I guess, someone spams Deathcult Assassins (theory yet to be tested), but then its no longer really a "Grey Knight" army.

    I've played with other armies that I loved the aesthetics of but totally hated their gameplay, like the Tau. They've never brought me great joy as although I wasn't bad with them, I just couldn't get a significant sense of satisfaction from playing them. I personally love elite armies, and the more melee-orientated the better, which somewhat suits the GKs. The BA's will always be my first love game-wise though :P

    Anyway it is just something to consider. I understand and respect your decision if you want to play them because say, you like the models. But keep in mind if you like fast mobile armies and dislike the Rhino, you may be spending money, time and effort on something that would give you little joy in return.

  9. I love the discussion!

    LOL "forumitis"

    As always, Joash does give the lowdown as it is.

    My only other suggestion is that if you really dislike the Rhinos, why not consider converting your own buggy/dune rover kinda transport. Make them about the same size as a Rhino but almost open topped kind. Make it something you like and you'll have problem solved!

  10. Ah yeah if its just the model thats an issue that is an option. I wasn't entirely certain if Ethan didn't like the model or the gameplay of the Rhino :P

    One other option I forgot to mention is you could do mass teleporters (Interceptors/Dreadknights) but I personally don't think its necessarily the best way to go because they (particularly the Dreadknights after the super expensive upgrade) have poor "firepower saturation" (i.e. they aren't very killy nor survivable for their points and number of models).

  11. Hi Joash!

    Thank you so much for your long post! Thanks for your precious time! I really do appreciate it!

    OK, so the Chimera is out. (sending my Chimera back to the motor pool! Lol).
    And the Razorback may not be good because of small unit capacity.
    And SR, LR are too expensive.
    DS is too risky.
    So…. Rhino is still the best. HAHA!! So if I want to be competitive, use this. Roger!

    Don't worry, I play an army for these 3 main reasons -> Model Aesthetics, Background Story or Fighting Style.

    For GK, I like the Model Aesthetics, that they are every elite, and that you can do so many things with the codex. I figure it would be fun to collect. If they are not mobile, I guess I’ll have to find a way. And I don’t like the Rhino only because of the appearance. So if it really comes to it, I’ll still use the Rhino.

    Incidentally, the Rhino kit and the RZ kit cost exactly the same. So I can buy the RZ kit and unmount the turret if I want to use it as a Rhino. And strangely, I like the Razorback a lot (I have a very warped 3rd ed RZ with warped FW reinforced armor … haha)

    However, I really like Enrgie’s Idea of making my own Rhino! 3rd Ed, I had a Russian APC BTR-80 because I like wheeled transports. What would be acceptable for 40k I wonder?

    I think every army is playable, regardless of cheese level. An army wins partially by the list, and partially by the general. I enjoy tweaking strategies to make an army work. So, a low cheese army is fine. I prefer liking an army and learning to play it than playing a powerful army I don’t like.

    I’ll stick with the GK! After a few slaps, I’ll find out how to play. Thank you Joash!

  12. Oh so sorry, its Ethanc. I had to post anonymous as Google locked me out.

    And I thought about the mass teleport options. But after looking at the codex, I realised the Interceptors are not very hitty. And it seems like people dont like the Dreadknight. (Though I do. The idea of a flying giant robo with boostable S and big hammer is very exciting!)

    I'll build up the basic troops try them out (with and without the shoeboxes) and see how it goes.


  13. Haha glad to be of help :D

    I'm magnetizing all my plastic power armored GKs so they can swap backpacks, I'll probably playtest them quite a bit.

    By the way I assume you are Singaporean Ethan? There is a small chance (but not entirely too tiny) that I'll make a trip down in July assuming I finish my work on time, so we could get a game together! I'll tell you in advance what kind of crazy things I'll be testing, feel free to test some crazy stuff against me too. Like say, Draigowing vs massed Teleporters :X

  14. Beautiful! Magnetizing the backpacks is a smart move. However GK being a small army will allow you access to all choices so you could technically buy all the models in multiples. Hehe!

    Ethan: go with those models you like the look of. You are not planning to go into tournaments so it doesn't matter.

  15. @Joash: Yes I am Sporean~

    Great! I look forward to haveing a game with you! I'll share with you my idea in a later comment~ Please let me know what you think!

    And, I have the same idea as you! To magnetise the backpacks too!!Awesome!

    However, I wont be magnetising the arms because many are 2 handed... quite challenging.

  16. @enrgie

    Haha! ok! I'll just use what I like then. Predators count as Razorbacks. HAHAHA.

  17. Army Idea:
    Concept: I like Interceptors and the Ghost Knights.

    Occifer1: Ghost Commander (Free Termies) + some Termies
    Elite1: Vindicare
    Troop1: 8man Purifier in Rhino (wonder if I can squeeze in another squad of this)
    Troop2: 5man GK in RB
    Troop3: 5man GK in RB
    Fast1: 10man Interceptors.
    Heavy1: Flying Knight. (Hooty version)

    Ghost Occifer can get free Termi if lucky.
    Grand Strategy can give Interceptors (and maybe) Flying Knight Scout.
    1st turn Scouters go in and tie up shooties.
    GK and RB go for midfield suppress and for late game objectives; covering Purifiers to advance and go in.
    The Occifer just run and try to catch up... silly.
    Vindicare go for Opportunity vs Hero or Vehicles.

    What do you think?

  18. Sorry, this is repost. I should use proper terminologies.... Sorry everyone! And changed the mistakes in typing!

    Army Idea:
    Concept: I like Interceptors and the Ghost Knights.

    HQ: Ghost Commander (I forgot his name) with some Terminators.
    Elite1: Vindicare
    Elite2: 8man Purifier in Rhino (I wonder if I can squeeze in another squad of this)
    Troop1: 5man GK in Razorback
    Troop2: 5man GK in Razorback
    Fast: 10man Interceptors.
    Heavy: Dread Knight with Teleporter.

    The Ghost Commander (forgot the name) is able to get free Terminators if lucky.
    His Grand Strategy can give Interceptors (and maybe) Dread Knight Scout.
    Or to give Scoring to them. (scoring to Interceptors for tactical advantage)

    1st Turn Scouters will go in and tie up enemy shooters.
    GK and Razorbacks will attempt midfield suppression, to cover Purifiers' advance.
    The Ghost Commander just tries run and try to catch up.
    Vindicare will go for opportunity shots vs Enemy Key Personnel or Vehicles.

    What do you think?

    Only thing that makes me uncomfortable is the minimum Troop Choice count. I always try to have a large Troop Choice count. But in this case I want to try to fill the fun stuff...

  19. To be honest its radically different from what I'd play, I cannot comment much about it short of telling you to play a different list haha. I'm not necessarily a competitive player and don't generally run max-cheese in my lists, but my lists tend to be very optimized to my playstyle and after much deliberation (side effect of having little time to play but much time to think and research as I do my work :X).

    I'm only more casual in terms of how I conduct myself while playing :P

    At a glance though, there isn't enough anti-armor, and as you said, I think two min Troops is not necessarily a good thing. Although, Mordrak does have Grand Strategy, so if need be he can easily make some of the other things scoring.



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