Sunday, April 24, 2011

Grey Knight Analysis! What you need to know to win, GUARANTEED at 1500 pts!!

by Spaguatyrine


To first get some validation and credibility to you the reader.  I am a very competitive player that has had very good success with Space Wolves, Daemonhunters, Space Marines, Tyranids-last edition, and Guard. 

DISCLAIMER: My play style is assault oriented.  I prefer and like to devise strategies to get in your face and beat you in assault.  So for all the people that prefer gun lines and shooting, this analysis may not be for you. They shoot well, but that is not the staple of the grey knights.  Read the fluff! There is a reason they all have power weapons. Shooting is secondary to close combat for grey knights.

Games Played: 13
Wins:                12 (To include a 26 man tournament win)
Losses:              0
Ties:                  1

Armies Played against:

Salamanders x 3  (2 wins 1 tie)
Blood Angels x 3
Space Wolves
Guard x 2
Chaos Daemons x 2

Best units of the game by FOC:

#1 Librarian-190 pts. (MVP OF THE CODEX). Due to the psychic abilities to boost your army, the librarian is the best model in the actual codex.  I play my librarian with the following psychic powers:
     Shrouding- Stealth or +1 Cover saves for everyone within 6"
     Summoning-I combine this with a teleport homer. Moving units around is a superb technique
     Warp Rift-The main reason for this power is the auto-pen vehicle. A Jaws template is great also.
     Might of Titan-Makes units +1 Str and monstrous creatures for punching vehicles.
     Sanctuary-Anti horde and anti assault psychic power

#2 Xenos Inquisitor-65 points.  For assault armies this is a cheaper version of a grandmaster that is better due to the stubborn rule he bestows on the unit he is with. I run him with Psychotroke and Rad grenades, a bolt pistol, power weapon.  He is easy to hide with terminators so he never gets into assault with nasty stuff , and his 5 attacks on the charge that benefit from the Rad grenades means he often wounds on a 3+ with hammer hand and his power weapon.  Nice for a 65 point model. Also he can be run at 73 with power armor if you have the points.

Terminators-450 pts. These are the best troops when compared to the Strike squads.  Taking 1 10 man terminator squad and combat squadding them is the best option.  It is hard to beat their 3 attacks on the charge and so many 2+ saves. psycannons are a must on at least 1, but I prefer 2, splitting off both psycannons into one combat squad making it a more shooty squad while the CC squad is mostly halberds. With Halberds, hammers, and swords for free the best build I have found is:

2 hammers
2 swords
2 psycannons 1, sword, 1 halberd
4 halberds

Strike squad-105 pts. I only take 1 small to fit my second troop choice.  They are a good anti deep strike element, but poor in relation to assaults.  I added 1 halberd and a free psilencer.

Fast Attack:
Storm Raven-205 pts. For any assault based army you have to have a mode of transportation. YOU HAVE TO GET THEIR TO SMASH FACE. I know this is 205 points of "crap it might get blown up". But moving 24" towards the enemy means you will either be assaulting next turn instead of walking across the board and getting shot to pieces.  Combined with the shrouding psychic power you can gain a 3+ cover save. In addition, fortitude makes it harder to stop and the ceramite plating helps tremendously.

Dreadnought-115 pts. The base dreadnought with Muti-melta and Doom fist is best for a close combat army.  The mmelta gives the melta punch you don't have anywhere else. I tried the assault cannon with psybolts, and the 15 points I saved was better used other places.

#1 Purifiers-275 pts. 10 purifiers with 2 free incinerators, 2 psycannons, and 6 halberds.  This unit it probably the 2nd best infantry unit in the game.  splitting them into combat squads with 2 incinerators and 2 psycannons is great, or keeping them together to ride in the Storm Raven or Chimera is another great tactic. I split them and summon them where I need them most. Especially the incinerator group when playing guard or tyranids. :)  They are fearless and with 5 halberds and a hammer have a great punch. Cleansing flame does wonders against everyone, especially against horde armies.

#2 Psykers-95 pts.  These 4 psykers with a Chimera have won me a few games.  A str 6 ap 3 large blast from 36" away for only 40 pts!  The Chimera is used to transport terminators or other grey knights. Since I prefer close combat they often get loaded with the shooty terminators and move 12" popping smoke to get close to the Raven to benefit from the shrouding cover save.  There are other henchmen that can work well with an assault based army.  I will be trying crusaders eventually.

This is the 1500 point list I played with in a tournament this past weekend.  I believe these are the best units in the codex. 

When play testing through these 13 games, I have used the following units and found them just not meeting the criteria I look for in my armies:

Grandmaster-Too expensive at 1500-The Grand Strategy is ok, but not a game changer.
Psyfelman dread-Strength 8 shots are great, but for at 135 pts of a 1500 pt list, more scoring units are needed.
Castellan Crowe-Yes purifiers are troops, but he is never better than the libby, and 65 or 73 points for the Inquisitor has proven better and more efficient.  The Grenades are better than Crowe. Plus Crowe is stuck alone......
Paladins-I have tried them twice and they do ok..but if you don't have a grandmaster to make them scoring, at 1500 they are too much of a point sink.  They can be more viable at higher point games.
Other choices-I don't even find many other choices viable.  The brotherhood champion seems ok, but I would rather have an Inquisitor.  The Dreadnight is just a big terminator.  Landraiders aren't viable until 1750 or 2000 due to the cost of units. Assassins...blah! 

*I have only 41 infantry models in this list.  Before I added the purifiers I only had 30.  I removed the psyfelman dread and changed around some points. 
*I only have 2 transport vehicles.  If my transports get blasted turn 1 or 2 I could be screwed.
*I only have 2 or 3 troop choices.
* I don't have much anti-tank.
* I am too psychic dependant.

To address these issues read below:
*I have only 41 infantry models in this list. Before I added the purifiers I only had 30. I removed the psyfelman dread and changed around some points.   41 is not that bad in a 1500 point list.  30 is horrible.  Grey Knights die just as fast as regular marines. This small model count ensures you have to be tactically correct in almost every move you make when considering movement and strategy. 2 mistakes can cost you the game.  Hugging cover is a necessary with a low model count.

*I only have 2 transport vehicles. If my transports get blasted turn 1 or 2 I could be screwed. (This is the reason I added Summoning and a teleport homer to the Libby.  If you don't have 1st turn, try and put or deploy the Raven at a back corner or behind cover to benefit from a 3+ cover save with shrouding. If you go first, your fist action should be to move flat out, shoot the multi melta or assault cannon at something.  On turn 2, you can summon a foot slogging terminator squad, a purifier squad, strike squad etc. to withing 6" of the librarian, who just happens to be in a gigantic flying tank.  (Great for flaming tyranids, guard, scouts, etc.) You can in subsequent turns summon units that have gotten whittled down to keep them safe where you are..  With 2 storm ravens, one can get a cover save from the other one.(Which is where I will probably go with 1750)

*I only have 2 or 3 troop choices. This is a problem with seize ground only if there are more than 3 objectives.  Other models can easily contest anything, but with only having a 3 5 man squads to hold objectives being cautious as noted in low model count is vital.  So far, this hasn't been an issue in the 13 games.

* I don't have much anti-tank. With only 2 meltas, tanks could be an issue, but I have found that the psycannon does a great job at stunning vehicles.  This works similar to missiles from long fangs. You might not wreck or destroy them, but stunning them is just as good so you can get to them and move around the board with less shots, or even better to cause your opponent to get out of their transport vehicles.  Having the Libby around to cast Might of Titan is even more important in cracking armor which adds to his value as the MVP of the codex.

* I am too psychic dependant. This is unfortunately a fact.  Eldar runes of warding cause major issues against Grey Knights. I predict an influx of Eldar armies and Librarians hitting the tables. You can also expect more bloodthirsters with a blessing against force weapons from Chaos Daemon players.  This army is still good without psychic powers, but becomes very powerful with the inclusion of them.

In conclusion, an assault based force such as the list above has:

Mobility-Chimera, Storm Raven, Summoning

Fire power-4 psycanons, 2 multi meltas, 1 assault cannon, Multi Laser, Heavy Flamer, Str 6 Ap3 Large Blast, Auto Penetrating Flame template, 2 incinerators, 4 Mindstrike Missles, 20 storm bolters, 1 psilencer

Close combat ability-Psyk-out, Rad, Psychotroke, and Frag grenades, 31 force weapons, 1 power weapon, 1 Doom fist, (Ability to counter Space Marine armor of 3+ with wounding on 2's if psychic test are made).

Defensive Capability- Anti-Deepstrike powers, Stealth, Sanctuary, Cleansing Flame, Fortitude, Terminator Armor, Summoning, Rad and Psychotroke grenades.

This type of list played aggressively and carefully will beat most Space Marine Armies because of the power weapons, psychic powers, psycannons, and storm bolters. It will have difficulty against guard and eldar. 

If you don't know what each wargear option does, please read the codex. Discussing that information will make this longer than it already is.

What are your thoughts?


  1. I hope you've been playing Warp Rift correctly. It's an auto-Penetrate, but it rolls at -1 on the chart.

    More like a Glance from an AP1 weapon than an actual Penetrate, since it halves your chances of killing anything and doubles your chance of Shaken.

  2. Why the teleport homer on the libby? It doesn't work on Summoning. Only a locator beacon would work for that. At least that's the RAW and generally followed most places I've played ruling on them.

    As for the list....Not my style honestly in any way but if it's working for you let it ride :)

  3. Summoning states the unit is removed from the table top and immediately placed anywhere within 6" of the Librarian using the deepstrike special rule.

    Only drop pods have locater beacons and grey knights don't have locater beacons.

    Yes on the warp rift. Still is a great ability.

  4. I have seen the teleport homer ruled differently as well. This could use an FAQ.

  5. I honestly think you're winning because of skill as a player, rather than because of the list. It's very battle-force - there's little redundancy, so someone who knows what they're doing can take out a particular aspect of your list and deny you that advantage. Example: against a gunline, for instance, the Stormraven is getting shot at until it is immobilized or destroyed. Then, the Chimera full of Purifiers or other terminators. This means now you're walking, and I can use firepower to pick off the units at my leisure, sacrificing delaying units if need be.

    Maybe 1500 points is simply imbalanced, but I really think that this list is simply bad. Clearly you're winning with it, so either you're good or your opponents aren't (and I give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the former), but in terms of being a solid list, this somewhat fails.

  6. How many places are ruling that the teleport homer works for the summoning power? I think it would be a silly thing to include in the codex for the Librarian if it does not, but I can see it being ruled either way... :-) Playing GK, I'm rather hoping the 'port homer works for the summoning, would make a LOT of my stuff a whole lot more mobile, or at least reliably mobile...

  7. @Tzeentchling,

    The funny thing is I have never bought into the whole redundancy thing. It doesn't always work. I never play 3 and 4 of the same thing. In fact I very seldom play 2 of the same thing. Yes, I am skilled player. These test games have been against a mix of players. I can state that half of these games are against equal level competition. The thing with list building is, that some people take the approach of how everything has to be in multiples so if 1 get's blown up, big deal you have another. But if every unit is awesome in it's own right, then, then it doesn't matter.

    Take my 2nd game against space wolves. I am a self proclaimed expert of space wolves and I was a little worried when I saw my opponent had 3 units of 5 longfangs. I rolled to go first and deployed for a 1st turn flat out move and wipe out 30% on turn 2, but he stole the initiative. He also destroyed my Chimera turn 1 as well. I still won due to the fact that on foot Grey Knights can survive. I used cover and psycannons, and the pieces I had to win an objective based game where he had the advantage.

    I do appreciate your comments. It is funny that the "redundancy police" (Not meaning you) tend to dislike my list, but I tend to beat their redundant armies all the time.

    And hey! How has "redundancy" ever been fun anyways? ;)

    A Pehappel, I agree with you. I will get with my rules guys to try and hammer this out.

  8. Hey Spag,
    Great game again. Instead of talking about the article I have a couple things I'd like to request. The blue type is a pain in the but and really bright but that could just be me.

    Also could you go over in another post or play test death cult assassins? After playing your list and studying your battle reports all last week in preperation I noticed you love assaulting and be very in your face. What are your thoughts on deathcults? Are they worth it when really you need to drop the psykers or take another inquisitor which you can't.

    Lastly what other assault units would you suggest? I wasn't very impressed when i played against dred knights so they're out. Your thought on interceptors?

    My thought was at 2k take 2 interceptor squads and 10 termis, a grand master and a libby. Grand mast gives 2 storm ravens scout (grandmaster) libby in one. Libby turn 1 uses summoning for the termies and interceptors jump for the libbies tele homer. I have a very passive aggressive tyranid army but i'd like a balls to the walls marine army and liked the combination of ranged relentless shooting and strong assaults.

    (removed first post forgot to proof read >_<)

  9. How do you have 41 Infantry? I can only count 31.
    2 HQ, 4 Henchmen, 10 Terminators, 5 Strikes, 10 Purifiers.

    So long as you can get your powers off the Libby is the best HQ. Otherwise you are just paying points for the Hood that might have been better spent giving your other units Transports. With two Inquisitors you could get all your Terminators into Chimera.

  10. It's a Teleport Homer on the Librarians?

    I thought it WAS a Locator Beacon.

    Teleport Homers definitely won't work for Summoning. They specificially say what they work for, and that they won't work for types of Deep Strike other than what is mentioned.

  11. As I read the entry again in the Grey Knight Codex which is different than the Space Marine codex the Grey Knight codex states, "If grey knight strike squads, intercepter squads, or models in terminator armor wish to teleport onto the battlefield via deepstrike and choose to do so within 6" of a model carrying a homer, then they won't scatter."

    @ lots of numbers guy

    So as I also read the 40k rulebook and the space marine codex we could say..

    Terminator squads, strike squads, and interceptor squads can use the teleport homer because the Grey Knight codex states for summoning that,

    "The chosen unit is removed from the tabletop and immediately placed anywhere within 6" of the Librarian using the deepstrike special rules."

    I hate RAW vs RAI but after your writings I am questioning my thoughts.

    We need more debate on this.

    @Lyracian, My error in counting. Yes it is 31. Thank you for pointing that out.

    At Rionnay, I am planning on putting together at 1750 a henchman assault unit that has approximately 4 crusaders, 4 deathcult assasins, and 2 arco-flagellents. This is a 150 point unit of death in close combat. I am going to attempt to playtest it with a 1750 build and a second Storm Raven. The idea is to put the Librarian with these guys and the Inquisitor with the Terminators.

  12. Good post Spag. I was curious what you ran. How did it end anyway?

    The DCA are great, probably one of the best units in the codex...except they have no grenades so a Land Raider/Stormraven is required. Try 8 DCA, Banisher (w/ Evis), 3 Meltagun Acolytes, Xenos Inq (as above) Stormraven would fit you, I like the you a little more punch and versatility.

  13. @Sandman,
    Thanks and it was great to finally meet you. I was hoping I wouldn't have to play you. Your army looked great and would have been tough. Uberdark is going to post the reults. I don't want to spoil anything. ;)

  14. Difficulty against Eldar huh?

    I was watching your game vs Rionnay in the finals in Kokomo, I was the sole Eldar player there. I barely lost to Rionnay (by a dice roll), so if you ever want to play a game vs Eldar sometime this summer, we could set something up.

  15. Meister Kai, I do believe that grey knights will have difficulty with eldar who bring runes of warding. They are still viable because of the psycannons, power weapons, etc, but trying to get off psychic powers will be tough with the 3d6 roll. Not so much against the regular squads because I can just loose a guy, but if I have to loose my libby then I will be a little weary.

    We are having a tournament on May 14th if you want to come down. I will be most likely playing my space wolves to get ready for Nova. I would be glad to play you.

  16. The wording for Teleport Homers has always been intentionally strict.

    They essentially introduce a new mode of deployment into the game, with "Teleport" being a very specific form of Deep Strike that only Terminators (and now Strike Squads/Interceptors) can perform.

    One of those units being pulled by The Summoning is not the same as the Teleport move they use to enter the game. That argument could be made (but you have to ignore the "teleporting onto the battlefield" bit as a clear reference to entering the game from Reserve) but it's clearly not was intended, and simultaneously it's 100% clear that it ABSOLUTELY can not even be argued in favor of anything except those three units.

  17. And this is Dodger3. Saw you tried to call me earlier, I assume it was about this.

    Aside from eating posts that are longer than a couple of paragraphs, the Blogspot system seems to have lost the ability to interpret AIM logins for the comments, and it's just spitting out this string of numbers whenever I post.

  18. @dodger3, so then you are saying that it can be argued either way but only the three units that it states that can teleport in would be a viable argument? Strike squads, terminators, and intercepter squads.

  19. I'm glad the army is working out for you, but your whole list hinges on a 3+ cover save. If I where to build a list like that, I'd fail that roll every game and get tabled.

    Imagine taking that list against Tau. Your cover save will get marker lighted down to nil, and your SR will get show down by 3-4 rail gun shots. Then the unit inside will get shot to death by rapid firing plasma guns. You could loose half your army to one round of average shooting.

    I think the GK's are still in the new codex grace period before people figure out how to play them.

  20. I don't think it's a VIABLE argument, it's just those three squads are the only ones that can make the argument at all.

    The book makes a distinction between "Teleport" and all other forms of Deep Strike.

    For instance, if a unit of Terminators with a Librarian (in Terminator Armor) in the normal Marine Codex wanted to use Gate of Infinity, I wouldn't be okay with THEM using a Teleport Homer either. They're clearly not using the "Teleport" Deep Strike granted by Terminator Armor, they're using Gate of Infinity.

  21. Exactly why I never use homers.

  22. hay spaguatyrine this is dave the spacepup player you played at the k-town turny this last week just whanted to holla at ya good game i have a new found respect for the gryknights im hopeing to say you in the up comeing turnys ; )

  23. GK libbys are good, esp. as a force multiplier. He makes GK termies go from decent to good, and gives them options.
    I think the Vindicare is pretty sweet.

    As much as I was troubled about taking a Land Raider rather than a Storm Raven, I didn't notice much. Sure, it's slower, but it also never got killed in any of my games.

    I'll do a writeup of my analysis. I'd have been playing you last round rather than Rhionnay if I'd checked time better and not let Master Kai take an extra turn (getting to go 1st and last).
    or if I'd rolled higher than a 2 on a run roll.

  24. @wolflord,
    It was great to play you. You are a strong opponent. Way to seize the initiative and almost wipe me out before I could do anything! Talk with John about coming down with him for the May 14th tournament.

    Uberdark, there are only a few spots left, get your guys signed up asap.

  25. spag: put down will bennett, and eric t. south

  26. @caulyndarr,

    My raven got wrecked or immobilized every game except 1. Would a Landraider been better. Probably, but it would have been slag in the third game where I needed the Raven more than anything. I won the final game because I was able to get close, fast. It is a toss up, but a 3+ is pretty good. It is kind of funny that I failed both 3+ cover saves I needed to make.

  27. Hey Spag: I will be in Madison IN for a tourney May 14th. I already promised I'd be there a 2 months ago I apologize wont be able to make it to yours :-(

  28. I are SCARED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL! Just kidding, I will be at GP North this Wednesday. Anyone want a game? Looking for 2000 practice for Nova!

  29. wait. there's 40K in MADISON?!?!

    man, I've gotta find that for the weekends I get stuck down at the river with not much to do but watch the drunk folks crash golf carts into parked cars. at 10:30am.


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