So I've been playing quite a few games with Grey Knights and I have some vital battlefield experience to share. This will be a semi-battle report in addition to a full blown analysis of the units I've played with lately.
I played a game with a all termie list last night and I wasn't too happy with their performance. Small model count and terminator armies always suffer from bad rolling. Not saying that my rolling was terribad, but it was mediocre. Mediocre is not allowed in army with only 27 models. As most of you know, 40K is a wound saturation game. You shoot something enough, force enough armor saves and no matter how amazing you are, you will die. Terminators suffer from this problem.
Last night's game was against CSM and I was playing with 2x 10x units of Terminators and a unit of 7x Paladins. The task force was led by a Grand Master w/ Psycannon and a Librarian with a bunch of skulls scattered around the battlefield. At the end of the game, I drew a pretty conclusive analysis of the battle:
- Low model count and average rolls is NOT OK. You might make 7 armor saves one round and think you're pretty badass, but when you fail 4 on each squad of Termies in 1 round of enemy shooting you'll quickly think overwise.
- Grey Knight Terminators are very badass indeed, but when you're looking at ~50ppm (due to upgrades) with 5+ invuls and nothing better, this forces one strict policy: Be in cover or die. A squad of enemy CSM Termies let loose with a crap-ton of Combi-Plasma and I lost 6 guys, just like that.
- Cover is needed to keep Terminators alive from shooting, but cover also drastically reduce their ability to move around the battlefield and help score.
- DS is good, but it should not be relied on. The fact that my Paladins arrived on the bottom of Turn 5 is testament to this: I rolled a 3 on 2nd turn, a 2 on 3rd, 1 on 4th and spewed tears on 5th. Sure, you can argue that the GM should of been on board to call down his Paladins, but how do you determine which squad he's attached to comes down in time? Ideally, there would of been a building located somewhere towards the middle that blocked all LoS and I could of used Psychic Communion to call down his battle-brothers. This is good strategy, but definitely not guaranteed that the battlefield will be setup this way (and it was not).
- It's not cool when the only units you have come down in piecemeal, giving your opponent the opportunity to saturate one unit at a time. This results in a lot of dead heroes.
- The elite of the elite suffer from all kinds of bad rolls. It doesn't matter if you're rolling to aim, wound or assault, if you roll subpar, you will suffer greatly next round because there's just not enough targets/bodies.
- Although the game ended in a draw, I can definitely say that Terminator lists suffer at objective-based missions where you simply don't have enough bodies at the end of the game.
Even though my Terminators didn't impress me, one thing's for damn sure:
The game changed when the Paladins hit the field, again. Saturation of damage was neutralized by having 2W with FNP and my Paladins soaked up entire turns of damage while remaining intact. Wound allocation played a big part because I wasn't afraid to allocate stray wounds onto my GM and Libby just to reduce wounds on the squad. When the Paladins charged units, enemy units died. When enemy units charged them, they fell like water on rock. My shots remained true from MC Psycannons and enemy walkers and vehicles were smashed asunder by faithful Daemonhammers.
But enough about Terminators and Paladins, let's talk about PGK in general:
Rifleman Dreads with Psybolt Ammo help fill a huge gap in the PGK army, just like your faithful TLLC/ML Dreads from 3rd. The reason is simple: Between the ranges of 24" and 48", you have virtually nothing that can silence enemy guns. That means Razorbacks, Defilers, Leman Russ or any kind of long range firepower can tear through your expensive models without fear or retaliation. DSing into the enemy line with Terminators can be viable, but bad reserve rolls and scatters can play a huge factor in how you can execute the strategy. With that said, I highly recommend Rifleman Dreads w/ Psybolts in most GK army lists.
PAGK will continue to be the workhorse of your army. This can be either in the form of Purifiers made troops, Interceptors made scoring or standard GKSS. If you have a unit of 10 guys, Psybolt Ammo is preferred. If you don't, you don't need it at all. Purifiers can go either aggressive with Incinerators, defensive with Psycannons or cheap mid-field with just Halberds and Psybolts. Interceptors can be good at dealing damage and putting out wounds, but their cost is still prohibitive in where they'll go in most army lists. Last but surely not least, GKSS will be the driving force of most GK lists imo. 10 dudes with 2 Psycannons in a Rhino with Psybolts and a Justicar with a MC DH costs 295 points. Sure, they're definitely expensive compared to most troop choices in the game, but this unit is perfectly capable of tackling anything in the game. This includes big MCs, AV14, GEQ, MEQ and everything else.
Keep in mind one thing though, and this is something that EVERY player should keep in mind everytime you play with/against Grey Knights. No matter what, aside from the Paladins, PAGK and GKT are just regular Marines. GKT play exactly the same as standard Terminators (the ones w/ fists and stormbolters) and therefore, they are subject to the same weakness. The same applies to PAGK (Purifiers, Interceptors, GKSS) because underneath all that beautifully decorated silver armor is the same Marine you've been killing for ages.
With that in mind, here are the facts:
- A balanced list will always be better than a list focused on one thing. This can be Purifier spam lists, Draigowings, Terminator heavy lists, it doesn't matter. You want everything in your army to stay truly effective because it broadens the strengths of your army while scattering your weaknesses. Imagine your army as a toolbox containing rock, paper and scissors. It will be a hell of a lot more effective than a stack of paper vs. your opponent's scissor [unit].
- Including weapons of all different calibers: Rifleman Dreads that can shoot out from 48" and touch things with TL S8, 24" threat from Psycannon with S7 Rending, and a plentiful amount of Storm Bolters that can force wounds and chew up hordes.
- Paladins is one of those units that will demand your opponent's respect. Terminators will to a degree, but they don't really compare to 2W FNP models that can be outfitted and equipped to your heart's desire. The only thing keeping these guys back from running the entire game is their points. I think I'll run a unit of 5-10 in every list I make from here on after. I have been impressed with their performance time and time again and I think these guys will single-handily change the way the game is played vs. Grey Knights, kinda like Orks and their Nob Bikers. Can I kill Paladins? Yes, then you've got yourself a competitive army. If you can't, don't even bother competing.
More to come later...