Thursday, November 3, 2011

Anti-Grey Knight tactics with Space Wolves

By: Spaguatyrine 

As Grey Knights continue to increase as a strong army, do the Space Wolves have what it takes to beat the Grey Knights? 

As I play both Grey Knights and Space Wolves this is a conundrum to me.  I am more polished with my space wolves but want to play my Grey Knights more because of all the cool tricks and power weapons the grey knights posses.  But after I play them in a tournament I miss the flexibility of my space wolves and say...."Man I wish I had my space wolves"  Ala the Final Round of Ardz boys! My space wolves would have done much better in almost all the rounds.

Anyways how do Space Wolves beat grey knights? I have played against grey knights 6 times with my space wolves and gotten smashed once in the final game of the Nova Invitational by Nick Navanti.  All the other games I have won with 1 loss by a tertiary objective and 33 victory points!! I lost this last game because I was too conservative and had the game in the bag.  Argh!!!!!!

Before we get into tactics there are 4 basic types of grey knights lists I have seen and played against that are strong builds:

Draigowing - Very strong list with a giant rock bigger than my thunderwolves that depend on the ability of the paladin's to survive in cover and decimate everything.

Purifier Spam - Combined with psyrazorbacks and lot's of fearless models to include tons of pyscannons and halberds

Deathcult/Crusader Henchman lists - These can either have landraiders and stormravens as transports with lots of psyrazorbacks

Psyker heavy henchman lists - with lots of Strength 10 large blasts in Lots of chimera's.

All 4 of these normally come with psyflemen dreads and either strike squads or other components to make them stronger.

How have I lost with my grey knights?  Massive shooting before I could get to my opponent. 

How have I beat other grey knight players with space wolves?

Tactic #1-Psychic Defense

So Psychic defense is vital to your success in defeating grey knight armies that depend on them which is 3 out of 4 above.  The best abilities the grey knights posses is their ability to boost their units to do more than they already can. 

Grey knights can:
Might of titan: Make any model a monstrous creature when assaulting vehicles and walkers
Hammerhand: Can make a unit add up to +4 to their strength in close combat! (And they have power wpns)
Shrouding: Provide a 3+ cover save to multiple units to increase survivability.
Warp Quake:  Ensure large areas of the table are mishaps for deepstrikes.
Force Weapon: Turn all of their weapons into force weapons.
Psyker henchman: Up to strength 10 ap 2 large blasts
Purifiers-Cleansing Flame-wounds models on a 4+ before combat starts.

These powers can be shut down by great psychic defense.  The best defense in Njal in runic power armor in a Rhino within 24".  On a 3+ he shuts down all psychic powers.  This is better than a psychic hood as there is no roll off, and therefore a tie goes to the caster scenario.  You simply shut down the power.  Njal is expensive, but gives you a much needed boost against grey knights and every time I have played him against grey knights I have won.  A runepriest is also a good choice, but you only cancel the powers on a 4+. 

In addition to Njal or Rune priests, you can add wolftail talismans to your HQ's for only 5 points each.  What do these do?  If a psychic power is successfully cast against a unit with a wolftail talisman, the psychic power is nullified on a 5+.  Yes that is right!! So you effectively get a 3+ or 4+ save to cancel the casting of the power by your runepriest, and a 5+ to nullify the power if you fail with the runic weapon. 

So yes the runic weapon is a weapon all by itself against Grey Knights.

Tactic #2-Removing Grey Knights Psychic protection. (Aegis and Reinforced Aegis)

The Aegis of a Grey Knight reduces the leadership of the caster by -1 when targeting a Grey Knight Unit.  If a dreadnought is within 12" of the target grey knight unit the leadership is reduced by -4. 

By removing dreadnoughts within 12" you can use psychic powers such as Jaws of the World wolf, Murderous hurricane, Living Lightning, etc against them.  Jaws is the best way to remove paladins, librarians, techmarines, and regular grey knights by passing their armor and involuntary saves.  You effectively remove every 3rd marine model that has an initiative of 4.  Very much worth shooting this down the line of a paladins!  

Tactic #3-Reduce the amount of power weapons in smaller squads then assault.  Only assault after you have reduced the number of grey knights left in the unit.  Most grey knight players will not remove the psycannons leaving models left that do not have power weapons. If you can reduce even 1 model out of a combat squad of 5 you dramatically increase your ability to survive.   

Example: 5 man Purifier squad-1 psycannon and 4 power weapon halberds.  If you kill 1 model before assaulting and then assault with 8 Grey Hunters.

The Purifiers can cast cleansing flame which will wound 3 or 4, which would mean you would loose 1 model statistically.  The purifiers then would have 3 halberds or 6 attacks at initiative 6 scoring 3 hits and 1 or 2 wounds.  He would then have 2 attacks at initiative 4 which would not cause a lost wound.  So at this point you have at the higher average, lost 3 at initiative 6. you then have 14 attacks at initiative 4 resulting in 7 hits 3 or 4 wounds and 1 or 2 lost grey knights. If he removes the power weapon then you have the advantage of numbers by having 5 models to his 3. 

If this was a strike squad you were assaulting the numbers are highly in your favor as they only have 1 attack each.  That being said, pay attention to strike squads vs purifiers. 

More to come!! 


  1. As another one who plays both armies... How best to defend against the Deathcult/Crusader lists? Other than the Long Fangs as AA, or ? Have to admit that's the one I have the hardest time dealing with...

  2. Hey Spag, if you don't remember we played day one of the NOVA open. #1 you need an editor :) Also, I wanted to ask about your ideas on psy defense. Do you think Njal is worth it under 2500? I do not. What about under 2000, like 1850? Also, like you said it is important to stay out of that 24 inch range and beat GKs up for as long as possible. How do you balance that against driving a RP within 24 inches? Thanks a lot and post more! I enjoyed your 11th company interview!


  3. S-Low,

    There were supposed to tell me when that came out! I believe that Njal is worth it at 2000 and up. At 1850 you are asking for some trouble. You can still do Njal if you aren't taking Thunderwolves like Kopac did with just base Grey Hunters. If you are going to use a variety of wolguards with cyclones, thunderwolves, etc then not at 1850. With Njal at Ard Boys, I kept him in a Rhino behind another Rhino filled with GH that was always in front of his. I screened him from assaults and shooting for as long as possbile. With the thunderwolves, I have closing range in 2 turns. He only got in close combat because I wanted him to with the other units clogging the middle. Space Wolves need to clog the middle anyways. Seth!!!!! You the man!!!!


    I played the owner of spikey bits who ran 2 giant units of those in the invitational and my final game was against a large blob with 6 psydreads. In the first game he had crusaders x 2 with techmarines with psycho and rads in each, coteaz in 1 and a libby in the other. I blew up 1 on the drop with my drop melta + combi melta grey hunters. I then moved 12, jumped, pivoted and should have blow up the 2nd one but rolled two 1's on penetrating hits. But the idea against them for me and thunderwolves is to make them move thru terrain. If you have Njal, murderous hurricane on the unit will ensure they go last. As space wolf players we can pop or stun most transports in the game with ease. The landraiders are a different story.

  4. @ Pchappel, sit in cover then boltgun them as tghey get out. Or use your own Hulls to box in your melta squads when you go to explode tanks. It isn't difficult to deal with deathcult/crussaders. Just not many people know the simple tricks.

  5. Nice article. Nice screenshot from the DK starting area of WoW, too. Dancing Rune Weapon, heh.

    Also - psychic powers are fine with me. In moderation. Too much of them, like the GK codex, just makes the game seem more about imaginary whatever than the cool visuals you get with models and weapons on the table top. *shrug*

  6. You're killing me with the Space Wolf hero worship. How about an article about beating grey knights that does not revolve around yer favorite army?

  7. I am giving strategic advice for space wolves Warboss. I have to be able to beat them with other armies to write a post about it. I believe the dark eldar I am building have a shot.

  8. Hi, just wondering if you had any thoughts or suggested lists on a 1500 point army split 750/750 Grey Knights and Space Wolves? My friend and I have a tournie in April and we'll be playing this combination together. Any comments would be really helpful! Thanks, Scott.


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