Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grey Knights At 1500: Pure and Balanced

by SandWyrm

Ok, I'm getting really tired of seeing nothing but GK Razor-Spam lists out there. Sure, it's an option. But wouldn't you rather do something a little more exciting with Grey Knights than the exact same thing that everyone's already doing with Space Wolves and Blood Angels?

Stelek's recent list, for instance, is all about running your Razorbacks up into mid-field and... parking. The idea being that you sit there, chew up targets with your psycannons, and just dare anyone to assault you.

Space Wolves pound you with split-firing Long Fangs while they run Wolves up to cover their Rhinos and Razorbacks. Cool!

Blood Angels zoom their tanks up faster than you can take them all out. Then they assault you. Cool!

Grey Knights park in midfield and call your mother a hamster! Um... yeah... I'll pass on that.

On the other hand, all of the fun lists I've seen so far are horribly unbalanced competitively. In that they don't have any long-range anti-tank fire, or a real plan on what to do to the enemy. They just throw in the cool new toys and hope for the best.

So here ya go. My take on a competitively balanced, yet fun list.

150    Crowe

190    5-Man Purifier Squad w/2 x Psycannon, NF Halberds, Rhino
190    5-Man Purifier Squad w/2 x Psycannon, NF Halberds, Rhino
190    5-Man Purifier Squad w/2 x Psycannon, NF Halberds, Rhino
180    5-Man Purifier Squad w/2 x Incinerator, NF Halberds, Razorback (Psybolt Ammo)
    Fast Attack
205    Storm Raven w/TL Assault Cannon, TL Multi-Melta

    Heavy Support
125    Drednought w/Multi-Melta, Doomfist, Heavy Flamer
135    Drednought w/2 x TL Autocannon, Psybolt Ammo
135    Drednought w/2 x TL Autocannon, Psybolt Ammo

Total: 1500

Crowe steals the Razorback from the 4th Purifier squad and they get in the Storm Raven instead.

The idea with this list is simple.

You run 2 of the Purifier Rhinos, plus Crowe's Rhino, up into mid-field and park with Crowe's Shrouding up to give you decent cover saves. Their job is to tie up and kill as much of the enemy as you can.

Meanwhile, the Storm Raven will zoom over to one flank and drop off both the Purifiers with Incinerators and the Multi-Melta/Heavy Flamer Drednought. The Raven and the Dred kill the enemy's bubble wrappers and pop their armor from the side, while the Purifiers clean up.

The Psi-Rifleman Dreds lend as much support as they can, while the last Purifier squad hangs back to cover the objective.



After writing this, I decided to figure out what this list would cost me if I built it from scratch. Here's the components and the total:
16.50    Castellan Crowe
132.00    4 Grey Knight Boxes
35.00    1 Razorback
66.00    1 Storm Raven
133.50    3 Space Marine Dreadnoughts
45.00    2 Aegis Defense Line Kits
428.00    Total
Call it $342.40 with a 20% discount from an online retailer.

About average for Marines at 1500. I'm tempted, but do I really want another elite army?


  1. Very nice list, the first that feels right to me. It's scary without feeling gimmicky. I think I'm trying this one out.

  2. I disagree.


    *Crowe doesnt have shrouding.
    *Isn't this just the same thing as you described but with Rhino's instead of Razorbacks with psycannons shooting out the top?

    How was my list not balanced? If you are going to have a strom raven, in my opinion you should have terminators in them.

  3. Ok, lets cut some costs.
    Since you're converting the two rifle dreads, you can get just the bodies for like 12$ each online. and Multimelta is the black reach dread, so that's 15$ online.
    Rhinos chassis are like 15$ so two cheap, and razorback and rhino box should give you enough bits for all the dressings or I'm sure someone has extra.

    As for the psycannons, who are almost a 100 by themselves.... hmm. wait till second wave plastics, or find some way to convert them...
    maybe I'm mistaken, but take another look at the sprues on their website, looks like they come with two plastic guns that look like psycannons to me. So you're getting two per 5 man.

    That should cut you down by ...almost $200 ?

    $300 for a 1500 isn't that bad. far better than around $500

  4. Hmmnn... wonder where I picked up the idea he had shrouding. Must be going blind from studying the bad scans in the PDF. :)

    Yes, it's Marines in Rhinos, but at least there's a Stormraven in the list and some more interesting tactics at work.

    I'm not dissing the list you're using, but it just doesn't feel right yet. The parts just don't gel for me.

    At 2K, I'd be putting Termies in the Raven, but I can't justify the points for them at 1500.

  5. @TheGraveMind

    Where are you picking up Rhinos for $15?

    I can't identify the Psycannons on the sprue pics, but the description says there's 2 in every box. So that simplifies things quite a bit.

  6. Based on your points, you must be doing the Halberds wrong.

    You can't buy five Halberds for those units. You have to trade in your Force Sword to get a special weapon.

    With two Psycannons/Incinerators in each unit, you'll only have three models capable of buying Halberds.

  7. I see your point. I am still working with them meshing together. The problem with your list at the moment as I see it is you only 1 person who can pop AV14 easily. That would be the dreadnought with the CCW and multimelta and the Raven, which is yes you guessed it 24" range. The Librarian who can bring might of titan gives the +1 Str and 2d6 armor penetration that makes the hammers so awesome.

  8. @Spag, I hate to say this but I'm jumping on your boat with you for this one. Damnit hate when you're right ;-)

    @Sandwyrm- I hate to say it but I do believe steleks list is better. I HATE Stelek I think he is rude to the people that post on his forum, biting the hand that feeds if you will. However I have 3 major areas I believe your list is lacking.
    -Body count
    -Vehicle count
    -Target priority

    Sandwyrm is the first person to always tell me that something may look bad on paper but can be ran well .ie on paper the emo wing looks meh but can be ran in the hands of a great player. However with these two lists (steleks/sandys) they require roughly the same amount of skill. So we are going to rule out player skill and all that sort of thing and go strictly on the lists themselves.

    Body Count- Stelek/Sandy
    Dreds 2rilflemen/2riflemen + a MMdred. Sandy has the leg up on this, also he brings along a storm raven for that third dred. Here's my question. . . What are enemy meltas going to shoot at? The dred, why? because well you did just put it in their face and give them an obvious target. I know the SR has C-plating however STR8 AP1 will still be sent your way at 12" since people wont be getting the melta rule anyways. So that third dred is useless if anything it soaked up 4 melta guns that weren't in range of anything anyways.

    Troop marines 25/20 This one is a tough call, 25 and 20 isn't a great difference when it comes to marines, what little difference their is Sandy makes up for with 2 Psycannons more than Stelek. However Sandy is losing one more "action." Also All of Steleks guys are in razorbacks pumping out STR6 TL shots So that's 20STR6 attacks. Back to that action thing I was talking about for sandy he has 3 squads+ 1 in a SR (+1)= 5. Stelek on the other hand has 5 squads getting out with 5 razor backs for 10 actions. I played a 4 raider list against the Emo Wing and after the game I found out why I lost. Sandwyrm told me I lost "because he has more actions per turn." If that still holds true I believe steleks list the victor.

  9. Something I forgot in the troop section. Stelek does have 2 relentless psycanons in smaller squads so the psycannon count comes out the same, however in steleks favor because he can still move and shoot all his shots. (It's not looking too good Sandwyrm I'm sorry)

    Vehicle count-
    I hinted at this one already. Sandy's rhinos aren't doing anything but being bunkers where Steleks are threatening light armor and infantry. The StormRaven does give Sandy quite a few tactical decisions however which is a leg up on the opponent. Often if you can send something their way that's bigger than their models they freak out and think they have to deal with it ASAP.

    Target Priority-
    Also something I just lead the readers into. The Stormraven and Third dred become easy targets and honestly aren't that hard to shut down. They're going to be in your face and by turn 3 dealt with or the games pretty much over for the other person. The problem I'm seeing is the SR+dred+squad is 450+ points. . . that's almost 1/3 of your points that will be easily picked out and dealt with early game. What are you banking on saving you from CC after that? Do you believe 6 psycannons will make up the 400+ point deficit you're forced into?

    Steleks list however spams MSU (SURPRISE there) that are all exactly. . . mirror images of each other. I could throw in how that's not fun to play and a waste, however fun doesn't win games. Which as we all know is all Stelek cares about. However his lists is the same across the board providing no obvious targets to draw fire. Making it tactically more difficult for the opponent.

    Overall I believe Stelek's list is better, but I agree with Sandwyrm 100%-
    "Space wolves and Blood angels do it better." A very true and straight forward response. Also with an elite army like GK why would you want to run them like you would vanilla marines, BA, or SW? The balancing act is trying to find a way to run this elite army without running a razor spam list, win games, yet still enjoy playing it.

  10. Dealing with heavy armor is a weakness, but it always has been for GKs. I don't see the body count issue as one that can be avoided in any GK list. To address the Heavy armor issue henchmen are the only other alternative I can think of.

  11. @StringOfNumbers

    Yep, it looks like I did the Halberds wrong. So I now have 16 points to play with.

  12. @Spag

    I know the list has a weakness against Raiders. But without easy access to GK meltas, whattaya gonna do? At least all the Psycannons can do something to AV14. The odds aren't uber, but they're at least 2-3 more times likely to do something than a lascannon would.

    If I could, I would prefer to bring a Librarian, but at 1500 Crowe eats all the HQ points that are available. I'm not crazy about the idea of dropping the Purifiers down to Strike Squads to get the Libby in, as I lose both Psycannons and close combat attacks that way.

    As it is, my SangGuard would be afraid of a Purifier squad with 2 Psycannons or Incinerators. Both in shooting and close combat. Drop those down to a Strike squad with one special weapon and I'm not so afraid of them. Because I can move up, kill a couple with my squad's shooting, and then weather the 2-3 power weapon attacks they'll get in before I put them down.

    I can lose 1-2 guys from a SangGuard squad and still function. But Purifiers would be taking down 2-4 and that's a big problem.

  13. @Rionnay

    I'm not saying that the list is more competitive than Stelek's in an absolute sense. I can't determine that without testing them both.

    But I think that it would be more fun to play than a simple Rhino/Razor rush. More importantly, it's balanced (not saying his isn't) while still including some trademark GK choices in the mix. That's something the "fun" players keep getting wrong.

    In a tactical sense, I also see it as having some advantages in terms of movement and the ability to jump over obstacles to get to objectives and whatnot.

    Stelek's advantage is firepower. But I know from experience that firepower alone doesn't win games. So I don't put a huge amount of weight on that one difference.

    As to your points:

    The idea with the Dred, Raven, and Squad is that all 3 will be melta bait. Which one do you choose?

    Obviously popping the Raven on turn one would cause me fits. But redundancy isn't an option given the points. I will say though that after fighting a Storm Raven on Wednesday that they're quite a bit more durable than I used to give them credit for.

    As for bodies, well this is the Grey Knights we're talking about. There won't be very many. My Sang Guard commonly win games with only 2-3 infantry left, so...

  14. For the points I really like the culexus assasin. Since all of your vehicles are psykers well most of them anyway and all your units are psykers he gets an incredible amount of shots @ S5 AP1 and BS8.

    This codex has so many variable list builds all of which can be very well rounded. I like it a lot. The other thing is when I first read the PDF I thought it would be a good army and find its place with ease but after reading the codex the past few days I think it could easily be a game changer as in the way people build lists and play the game similar to the guard and wolves codecies. I don't think any of these books are broken but they are game changers and I like it. Keeps the game interesting and no one army stands above all others like in some of the older editions.

  15. The warstore sells rhinos for 16$, you just don't get storm bolters with it, but you don't use them on razorbacks so you should have some left over.
    and Dread bodies are like 15-18 depending on which body you want. still cheaper since you're not really using any of the arms.

  16. Got the chance at my first game in like 2 months so I stole this list as a starting point and swapped in some Interceptors and terminators just to see how they would work and had some good fun! Things I learned:

    I can't remember the new rules for crap. Case-in-point, I let my Interceptors get 'Redeemered' because I forgot the 30" shunt...duh.

    Librarians w/ Warp Rift are darned entertaining.

    Purifiers make an outstanding troop choice. 26 (28) points per may sound prohibitive, but cheap I6 power weapons (or a nice hammer or 2), 4 special weapons, and 2 standard attacks is great fun.

    Last note, don't worry too much about the lack of melta. Those psycannons can (and DO) pen just about anything (math-hammer be damned...)

  17. Ooops - points listed wrong. 24(26) is what I meant...

  18. @Rionnay - The comment about "more actions per turn" is a valid view. Let's say you have a squad with two lascannons and I have a squad I've split with one lascannon each. By mathhammer, there is no difference between our squads as far as shooting any one target. Same chances to hit, wound (penetrate) and kill. Against AV 14, not so hot, but...if my first combat squad gets the golden BB award, then I can select another target with the second one.

    Now, downshift to Rhinos for targets. I have the potential to shake/stir/damage/kill twice as many as you do and if I miss with the first shot, I simply shoot the second one and have the same odds you did with your one shot.


Recent Favorites

All-Time Favorites