Alright everyone. This next installment of Outnumbered! is about The Daemonhunters codex specifically a Grey Knights army. Now I'm not talking about a radical army with daemonhosts and I'm not talking about inquisitorial armies with some grey knights in it. I mean pure Grey Knights (including dreadnoughts and Landraiders). I wont go into any fluff detail really but these guys are the elite of the elite. They fight Daemons and even though they are in desperate need of an update they are still rather good at it.
If you haven't seen many or any armies of these guys do not be surprised. They are like the Witchhunters in that the kits made for these armies are entirely metal. Pricey, heavy and in my opinion annoying to work with. I am not going to talk about the rumors of a new codex for the inquisition or anything in this either.
The Grey Knights are great I am a huge fan of them and if they get plastic models in the future I will make an army of them in a heart beat. I will do a little post about my views on metal models later on.
So onto the heart of the matter. Grey Knights have special rules including fearless, true grit for there storm bolters, and essentially a psychic hood type rule. They have other rules some of which do not matter anymore and regardless I wont be going into detail about the special rules but I will mention the ones I said.
Fearless: Being they are a small army with squad sizes that on average will be small (even though they can have average squad size) the fearless rule is great. The last thing you want to do is fail a leadership check due to shooting or something at range nor do you want to be pinned.
True Grit: its only special here because its for storm bolters and not bolters. All Grey Knights have the Storm bolter as there standard weapon which is great. True grit lets them be dangerous after the charge by giving them an extra attack each. This is handy because the Grey Knights are good assaulters.
The Aegis: This is the psychic hood like rule. Basically works the same. can resist a psychic power by rolling a d6 and adding leadership. You can also have a psychic hood in your army so you have to choose which you will use. You cannot use both. A nice little rule here.
Oh and one more important rule. The Shrouding: Its essentially a weaker version of night fight for Grey Knights. You roll 3d6 time 3 to see if you can see them squad for purposes of targeting them to shoot at. If your in a night fight scenario the night fight rules overrule this. This rule is great. As you are a small force this can be of help. It is 3d6 but still that hurts weapons with long ranges. Granted your troops effective range as a whole is 24 but this can let you close range unmolested on foot for a bit or lets you sit on an objective and force them to get close to be able to shoot you.
Alright so what are the strengths of these units then? Well aside from the special rules these units are strong in the assault. True Grit, Fearless (Which is a good special rule especially for smaller units) are part of their assault specialty. There troops are weapon skill 5 and there Close combat weapon (The Nemesis Force weapon) adds 2 to there space marine strength. So strength 6 for everyone with the weapon. This is what allows them to eek it out against larger units. They are super Space Marines essentially. They are also good at range which I will get to momentarily.
Nemesis Force Weapons: Firstly they are not Force Weapons. Only the Grandmasters counts as a force weapon. These weapons tap into the fluff of the grey knights. basically the weapon gets better in higher ranking hands. basic troops just add 2 to strength. Justicars (Vet sergeants) Terminators and Brother Captains add 2 to there strength and its a power weapon. Grand Masters have a +2 to strength force weapon.
Range combat. Grey Knights are no slouches at this either. With a Stormbolter as standard weaponry they can chew into lightly armored infantry. They can do what Deathwing shooting armies do which is to goad the enemy closer. Basically you move to get your storm bolters in range and fire. Either they stand still and fire once or try and get closer to rapid fire or get into assault. Then your next turn you move away and keep 24 inches and fire again. You basically lead assault armies where you want and this can frustrate the shooty opponents to reposition themselves. It takes some practice but this style of shooting is key. Now there troop squad can have 2 models exchange there weapons for a psycannon or incinerator. Now these are good weapons but you have to think about how you are going to play. Remember these models no longer have a nemesis weapon. The incinerator is a heavy flamer that also ignores invulnerability saves. This is a nice weapon against daemons. It also is great in 5th where cover became so much more important and easy to get. With strength 5 it means youll be wounding more often. The psycannon is an auto cannon can be fired while moving up to 18" or if you do not move it can fire 36". Now it fires 3 time either way but its strength is 6 as opposed to 7 for normal auto cannons. its ap is the same. This weapon also ignore invulnerability saves. I would suggest one squad have incinerators and that squad to be put in a land raider. Ill explain more later on.
So how outnumbered are these guys? Well the basic Grey Knight costs 25 points per model. And the Grey Knight Squad must have a Justicar which is 50 points and at least 4 Grey Knights. So 150 points for 5 guys at least. Keep in mind if you want grenades they cost extra. Also Justicars have access to war gear which could increase the point cost. (I wont go into there wargear. They have a decent amount and what you pick is up to you and your armies style). I will say this it appears Justicars can take targeters. I haven't found anything to refute this so that can be a big help to make sure you'll always be in range.
So for troops how large a squad? Well 5 is too small really. I think 8 man squads are a safe size. You can put 1 or two weapon upgrades per squad and be alright. These squads will cost about as much as Deathwing squads (around 250 points with upgrades). Now these troop choices can be fielded as a fast attack choice. If you do they are kept in reserve and teleport in just like terminators via deep strike. This could be an interesting tactic to think about if you had the points.
What about HQ? Well as we are talking about pure Greyknights that limits you to a Brother Captain or Grand Master. The Grand Master is more then double the brother captains points but he has 3 wounds where the brother captain only has 1. The Grand master has 4 attacks as well as opposed to 3. So who to go for? Well I like having my HQ with more then 1 wound so I personally would bite the bullet and go with a Grand Master. However I have seen viable lists with Brother Captain as an HQ just have to be careful especially if you dump upgrades on him. Now they are only in Terminator Armor and nothing else so I would always take a Land Raider Crusader to put them in. There weapons strike at initiative and are strength 6 that ignore armor saves. You want that striking at there initiative. Now both HQ units can have a retinue of Grey Knight Terminators. Here is where I suggest you get your terminator squad. Just add 4 terminators to the HQ and you have your terminator squad without taking an elite choice up. One thing to point out with Terminator squads in general with Grey Knights is that they can take a psychic power called Holocaust. These uses the ordnance template ( which should be the large template) which can be placed anywhere in contact with the Brother captain or Grand Master as they are focal point. Anyone friend or foe touched takes a str 5 hit normal saves allowed at I 1. This is done in assault phase. It doesn't say anywhere that it takes up his attacks so he can do this in addition to attacking normally. I suggest taking this upgrade as this can really help your squad out. with 2+ saves you will be pretty safe and this can help trim down large horde units. This ability can allow you to assault very large units and come out on top. It does require a psychic test. Also 1 terminator can upgrade there stormbolter to a incinerator or psycannon I would suggest the psycannon because they can always fire the heavy 3 option 36" range one because they have relentless due to the armor.
Now there are two other units for pure Grey Knights. There Dreadnought (Which is a heavy support choice for them) and The Purgation squad which is like a devastator squad. If you go with a dreadnought I would field it with a Lascannon and its CCW. The psycannon is a nice option for it but the army lacks long range anti tank punch so the twin linked Lascannon is in my opinion better.
The purgation squad is an interesting squad. it can be as small as 3 models. They are like devastators in that they can exchange there weapons for others. up to 4 grey knights can exchange there weapons for Psycannons or Incinerators. This unit I like but I do not know if I would field one. Its points heavy but can be really effective. With 4 psycannons you can lay down good covering fire and still move and shoot it if necessary. With 4 incinerators you can potentially wipe even space marine squads if they are bunched up. If you try them out Do not mix the weapons. I mean you could and that could work on a highly mobile unit but keeping it purely one or the other will maximize the weapons.
So what do you do? Well I suggest regardless of what HQ you take a 4 terminator retinue. Now take 2 squads of 8 Grey Knights for troop choices. Now take 2 Land Raiders one of which is a Crusader and give them smoke. This small force will run you just about 1500 points. Now this is a viable force its just much harder to use. You could drop a land Raider for another troop choice but if you do I would suggest dropping the crusader because you need those Lascannons to deal with armor. I personally would field both Land Raiders.
You would play this force conservatively with your HQ squad in or near the crusader and the incinerator squad in or near the land raider. Always move your forces. Depending on the mission keep the psycannon equipped unit on an objective or in cover near one and give cover fire. But dont be afraid to move them back if need be. Keep the Land Raiders near the Grey Knights so in a pinch you can mount up and drive away or towards an objective. In this style of play the Land Raiders also need to shoot as much as possible especially the regular land raider. That is your only source of long range anti vehicle. The key here is really to maximize your shooting and to wipe whole squads out. The assault phase is where the Knights excel but you should not rush there. This is of course not set in stone. For example against Tau you should still shoot a lot but while trying to get into assault as they out range and can quickly outgun your small force due to less targets for marker lights.
Now 1750 is becoming very popular so in this case i would add a 3rd troop squad. If you did this in 1500 then i would add the second land raider now.
This is my view on a pure Grey Knights force. Its small but if you maximize shooting and make full use of all there gear you will be able to overcome your very small size. I would say that the Grey Knights are probably one of the smallest forces you can field aside from deathwing. And I would say these two armies are essentially tied for smallest army as depending on how you build them one would be slightly smaller then the other.
Up next in this series will probably be Codex Space Marines Bike armies as they are different enough from Ravenwing to warrant some attention.