Last week I was greeted by a strange visitor claiming to be from the future and he told me that he had to me he was sent back in time so he could write for Blood of Kittens. This is just the beginning of his story…
I won’t go into the vagaries of non-linear trans-dimensional time shunt technology. Needless to say it’s complex. As the fabric of my own universe collapses hundreds of us have been implanted in your world to prepare you to receive our mass evacuations. Don’t worry, that doesn’t even happen for another five thousand years (in your time line). Right now my job is to get you all to stop whining so much.
Coming from the year 2022 is pretty convenient. Our worlds are very different, but apparently my own hobby hasn’t changed. I know all the tricks and turns for the next decade or so and man it’s fun to watch people go crazy about rumors. So when I went to my favorite cooking site, only to find it is a 40k blog, I was stunned. I guess Overlord Stewarts Macramé Death Camps never forced the poor denizens of this timeline to develop such tastes. Even crazier, it’s run by my alternate self. Well, I thought, “Self… lets get to work stopping the whining.” I mean really… “Living” magazine? Where is her trademark eyepatch? She even has both hands! It’s like the Pokezombies never happened here!
A quick look around the blog-o-sphere shows a pretty knee jerk reaction to the current (to you) Grey Knight rumours. Luckily cooler heads have already started to tone back the misinformation. So instead, today, I’ll discuss how we kill Grey Knights where I am from. Some thing to note: I’m on 7th edition, I know you guys don’t have super heavies in the core book like we got in 7th, or fliers like we got in 6th, so I’ll try to not to act like plastic Warhounds are widely available, or that Thunderhawk spam is something you deal with at every tournament.
Grey Knights do one thing extremely well, Kill other Marines. The shift this will cause in many current Space Marine lists is staggering. With the popularity of Grey Knights, Las/Plas Razorspam becomes far more common among the Wolves, but most notably the Blood Angels. This is fundamental, as Imperial Guard still has plenty of tools to deal, and until the Necrons make Mech-spam pointless, the game is going to feel very odd. Fear not, there are tricks!
Three Weakness of the Grey Knights:
Low Model Count: The Grey Knights have to work hard to put 60 models on the table at 1850 (why is this the tournament number here?). If you can kill 10 Grey Knights on your turn you’re on your way to a wipe out. As the Grey Knights lose models they also lose their offensive power. By eliminating models early you can create an advantage. This also means that old units that appear sub-optimal are now more viable. With so few models, Rhino’s are cheap! They only cost as much as 2 Grey Knights and can protect a squad and get them into optimal range, which ups the armies Kill Points and provides some easy to achieve victory conditions.
Low AP Shooting: Your army will be very resilient to the Grey Knight early game. You might not lose more than one unit before Turn 3. This allows your army to throw all its heavy weapons into eliminating targets of opportunity early, thus diminishing the Grey Knight late game power.
Short Range: If you have range, and can keep the Grey Knights back, you’re in good shape. A buffer unit, or resilient counter assault unit, can really turn the tides for you. Here, fearless or stubborn is more important. Walkers are fantastic for this.
So let’s just run down the codex list!
Blood Angels: It’s no secret that Blood Angels will have it rough. The army wide Force Weapons and high strength Storm Bolters make the feel no pain “heavy hitters” of the Blood Angels pause. Even Mephiston dies to a simple Grey Knight Strike Squad. So how does the Blood Angel play cope? By dropping the over-kill units. By taking more units with fewer upgrades, you negate the strength of the Power Weapon to eliminate elite models. Having more units also increases your chance at the black rage. This way you can increase your initiative on the charge, helping you eliminate attacks before they can strike you. Las/Plas Razorbacks also give you additional striking power. The low AP and short-range of Grey Knight shooting gives you an advantage in the early game and you need to push that advantage as much as possible by eliminating high point value (and powerful) units early on. This way your Assault/Tactical squads can gang up 2 vs 1 on Grey Knight units.
Chaos Daemons: Don’t worry it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Ok… yes it is. The key to success here is Tzeentch. The improved invulnerable saves and ability to strike first with mid-range shooting really seals the deal. Only the Grey Knight Strike Squads can psychically force mishaps, and that range is fairly limited. Unless an opponent has several spread across the board and all quake’in then you should be able to land and strike. Flamers of Tzeentch become paramount, as they can remove high value units early, such as Terminators.
Chaos Space Marines: HELLO THOUSAND SONS. I LOVE YOU TOO. Sorry, that can’t be stressed enough. A single unit of Thousand Sons in a Rhino can really ruin a Grey Knights day. A rapid fire can kill 5 or 6. Give the in-squad sorcerer a flame template psychic power and BAM… dead Grey Knights. Many Grey Knight players also run their Strike Squads on foot, this is a huge advantage for the Defiler, which is far more effective in your heavy support slots than the Obliterators. At two feet the Psycannon isn’t much threat to the Defiler as it marches forward laying battle cannon rounds down.
Dark Eldar: Wyches are the only hand to hand troops that can really hold up to the Grey Knights in the assault. High initiative, an invulnerable save, and tons of attacks lets them go point for point (or even unit for unit) against Grey Knights. Watch out for Purifier spam lists though, they can whip out witches pretty quickly. Raiders or portals are required to get you into the assault, and if you can get your hands on enough pain tokens for Furious Assault then all the better. A note on Raiders, turbo-boost every turn. The sheer volume of Str 5 shots the GK’s can put out make them very vulnerable. Get into range and try to stick to cover so that your Wyches have some protection if they are forced to disembark a wrecked vehicle.
Eldar: Fire Dragons are, as always, fantastic. Farseer heavy hitting squads are also very potent, as hitting Grey Knights psychic potential is useful. Anything to make Hammerhand less reliable. Re-rolls for Invulnerable saves is also a must. You can even multi-assault Strike Squads and Terminators.
Imperial Guard: You’re in pretty good shape (for now) with Mech Guard. You can eliminate vehicles early and do some very serious damage to the Grey Knights. Blob Squads are right out (or less useful), however. Try more lascannons and plasma. A Devastator cannon also won’t hurt, and will help you deal with paladins (just hold it in reserve). The Lemun Russ really shines against Grey Knights, so bring those templates!
Necrons: Lets just not worry about the Necrons right now. Your day is coming soon enough.
Orks: Kill the Purifiers first! Then the Vindicares. If he doesn’t have either of those, then just throw everything you can into one unit, then move on to the next unit. You will lose a good number of boys to the short-range shooting, but remember… you have more boyz! It can be tough, but you can overwhelm them. If your opponent is running PureWing… then I don’t know what to tell you frankly. I hope you have a lot of shooting!
Space Marines: You have to play a long-range game against the Grey Knights. Once they close to within two feet you’re going to be losing the shooting game before you get assaulted to death. Assault Terminators and Sternguard really make a big difference here. Eliminating units early on, or having a 3+ invulnerable save, really is the difference between victory and defeat. Drop Pod armies will want to deploy their units (except dreadnoughts) and use the Drop Pods empty… as terrain. You have to play a smart game and stall the assault as long as possible.
Space Wolves: Oh Long Fangs, what problem DON’T you solve? Blood Claws also don’t hurt, as you need massed attacks and more bodies. Although getting in the assault with Grey Knights as a MEQ army is usually a very bad idea.
Tau Empire: I’ve seen games where the Grey Knights never get to assault the Tau. If you focus your fire and bring everything to bear on one flank, you’ll do just fine… well… you won’t get obliterated… ok you’ll at least kill some of his knights.
Tyranids: This can be tricky, as Grey Knights do very well against Monstrous Creatures. Hordes of Hormagaunts become viable here, as well as Gargoyles. Shadows in the Warp make Grey Knight psychic powers considerably less reliable as well. Genestealers high Initiative and Rending also makes quick work of both Terminators (even Paladins) and Strike Squads. Close the gap, kill the Purifiers with all your shooting.
Witch Hunters: We’ll come back to them later as well… again… your time is coming… sort of… ok not so much… but its great… you know what never mind, you’ll see.
Next time I’ll go over the strengths of the Grey Knights and see if I can prevent Crusader-Spam.