Skitarii are the newest Imperium codex on the block, which opens up significant allying opportunities across the board.
GK STRENGTHS – Anti-horde firepower (mass access to SBs, Incinerators, Cleaning Flame), solid close combat abilities (i.e. Hammerhand, Halberds, mass force weapons), Psychic phase dominance, first-turn deep-striking (Nemesis Strike Force detachment), cost-effective Terminators in the Troops slot, and highly potent Monstrous Creatures in the Heavy Support slot.
GK WEAKNESSES – Low model count/difficulty in objective games, lack of anti-air (outside of Stormravens), expensive Power Armor units, lack of anti-armor options (outside of Psycannons/close combat), lack of long-range support, and lack of fast-moving close combat units.
Now, if you take a look at what the new Skitarii force brings to the fight, it is almost a mirror image of the Grey Knight strengths and weaknesses:
SKITARII STRENGTHS – Relatively cheap, cost-effective infantry (i.e. Rangers and Vanguard), close combat troops that force-multiply units around them (i.e. Infilitrators with their -1 WS/BS/I/Ld aura), excellent long-range fire-support options (i.e. Onager in all its derivations, Ironstriders), great anti-air (Onager with Icarus Array), and fast moving “skirmisher” units (i.e. Sydonian Dragoons, plus troops gets Scout with the Maniple Detachment).
SKITARII WEAKNESSES – Lack of tough close-combat units, no psychic support, no ICs to lead squads/provide force-multipliers, lack of transports, no flyers of any kind, and only moderate ability to deal with horde opponents.
As you can see, these two armies are, in many ways, perfect battle brothers, with each providing exactly what the other lacks. This leads to numerous opportunities for synergy in a Grey Knights/Skitarii joint task force. The following are some examples:
1 – Skitarii Infiltrators, GK Librarian, and Grey Knight Terminators – Infilitrators Infiltrate in and GKTs/Librarian deep strike on the first turn. Infilitrators reduce enemy BS with their unique aura, making both them and GKs more survivable against enemy shooting. Turn 2, Librarian joins Infilitrators, buffing them with Psychic powers (i.e. Hammerhand, Prescience, etc.) and both Infilitrators/GKTs charge in, all of them benefiting from the -1 WS/I/Ld inflicted by the Infiltrator’s aura. This means that 5 GK Terminators with Hammerhand on are striking before other MEQs, hitting on 3+s, wounding on 2+s, and ignoring armor saves of 3+ or worse with a total of 15 attacks, resulting in about 8-9 dead enemy MEQs on the charge.
2 – Grey Knight Rhinos and Skitarii Infantry – Vanguard and rangers are excellent, especially when equipped with Arc Rifles for Rapid Fire Haywire shooting (something that is a tremendous benefit to GKs, who lack melta weapons of their own), but they don’t have organic transports to get them to the fight. Enter the Fast Attack Rhinos from the GK codex. Skitarii Vanguard can hitch a ride on these cheap transport and, with Flat Out moves, be 18” across the table turn 1, ready to light up enemy targets turn 2+. Alternately, with Gates of Infinity and Levitation powers available to GK Psyker ICs, they can “bounce” Skitarii infantry rapidly across the board in the Psychic Phase, removing the need for any transports to begin with.
3 – Dreadknights and Skitarii Vanguard — If you can get both of these units to charge an enemy MC in the same phase, then the Vanguard’s special rule makes any unit in base contact with them have -1T. For almost all MCs, this reduces them to T5, which means that Dreadknights, with their S10 AP2 attacks at initiative, are causing instant death without even having to activate their Nemesis Force Weapons. Riptides, Hive Tyrants, enemy Dreadknights, Chaos Daemons, Tomb Spyders, and Talos/Chronus all hate this combo.
4 – Sydonian Dragoons with Divination Support (GK Librarians) – Since they can easily get to PML(3), GK Libbys are ideal to use with Divination and, depending on the powers they roll up, support a squadron of Sydonian Dragoons. A squadron of 6 x Dragoons already get 24 S8 I6 attacks (with the Taser rule, for potentially generating even more hits) on the charge. Throw in Prescience to increase their To Hit chances by 50% and Forewarning to give the Squadron a 4++ save (both in and out of combat) and they go from dangerous to outright devastating. Alternately, if you roll up Shrouding or Invisibility on the Telepathy discipline, these abilities can greatly increase the Dragoons’ survivability, enabling them to get across the table and successfully charge their target.
5 – Ruststalkers with attached Castellan Crowe – Ruststalkers are already solid combatants (especially when they get to round 2 of combat and make all their weapons AP2), but they become significantly better when they have Crowe attached. First, he can use Cleansing Flame before charging to greatly reduce enemy hordes. Second, he can challenge enemy characters (he excels in Challenges) to free the Ruststalkers to focus on the enemy. Finally, he can cast Hammerhand, increasing the whole unit’s strength by +2, in turn making Ruststalkers MUCH more deadly across the board.
6 – Onagers and Purifiers – Purifiers are excellent infantry, some of the best in the game for their points, but they are still MEQs and are expensive point’s wise. Also, they lack long-range anti-tank and are vulnerable until they get relatively close. Enter the Onager with their S10 AP2 48” Small Blasts. These pair perfectly with Purifiers as they advance (or ride Stormravens in from reserve), bombarding the enemy with highly potent long range shooting and drawing firepower away from the Purifiers. In turn, once they get close, the Purifiers can deal with enemy infantry and draw attention away from the Onagers, allowing them to continue to maneuver and engage unimpeded.