Not a day goes by without some blog forum ranting somewhere talks about the greatness/divisiveness that is the Grey Knight. With the simple scribblings of Wardian hands the 40k Internet has enough fuel to run a small country. So as we wait to see if Grey Knights (like Nob Bikers of pre-5th) keep us cowering under our beds after 6th edition, it is time to wonder exactly how we got to this point.
I’ve and many other have noticed that the sheer number of Grey Knights in tournaments has exploded. Very similar to the release of the Imperial Guard when every basement hiding tread head allowed back into the sunlight. The Grey Knight phenomenon like any comparison has to end somewhere and so I find distinct differences with those other dominate codices from times past. A big difference is the ease of entrance into the army. Grey Knights are the easiest army to buy, assemble, paint, and club seals with impunity.
For under 300 bucks you can put together a Draigo Wing. Assembly only requires about 30 models and the typical boring paint schemes require only minimal effort and skill to complete. If you are willing to start spending a bit more the possibilities are endless with Crowe and Coteaz armies. This makes a clear distinction between Grey Knights and the Imperial Guard: the variety of “competitive” builds. With Imperial Guard we had the Leaf Blower with little tweaking around the edges instead Grey Knights make skinning a cat beautiful vivisection. In fact, four major tournaments of the last six months had Grey Knights either win or come in second with four (Draigo, Strike Spam, Purifiers, MSU Razorback Coteaz spam) distinct and different Grey Knight armies.
Multiple strong builds is typically a great sign for any codex, but it is a problem when most books don’t have the multitudes of options. Even with the examples above Grey Knight prevalence can largely be attributed to virtue of just being the most recent Space Marine release. Add in a little Internet self-perpetuating force and you now have the perfect storm to generate the hate, loathing, and tedium found in the current competitive scene. With most disgust aimed at Matt Ward.
Nothing is wrong with playing Grey Knights, but for the average non GK player if they continue to see a field of metallic paint and magnetized quad guns everywhere he isn’t going to care about the finer style points between a Draigo Wing or Purifier list. If this goes on does the average player join the bandwagon or just head to nearest Red Cross to wait it out?
So how long does is take before the Grey Knight runaway train comes to an end?
Who knows really, but I will go out on limb and say Adepticon 2012 will be the top of the mountain. I remember the great IG invasion of 2010 were we saw 60 out of 220 players (27%) playing the Leaf Blower– what will be the number be for Grey Knights this year?
Adepticon will have 256 players in the championships is 90-100 Grey Knights out of the realm of possibility?
Will the biggest blow come if a miracle happens and none make it to the final 16 and championship Sunday?
Well start placing your bets because either way we will be in for quite a show in the Windy City starting April 19th.
hmm I wonder… will there be more Psyriflmen Dreads than total players…