Grey Knights and Allied Skyhammer

One of the combinations I have used in the past, to good effect, is allying a Grey Knight Nemesis Strike Force with the infamous Skyhammer Annihilation Force formation from the Space Marines faction (usually I go Ultramarines with this, for the “free” rerolls via the UM Chapter Tactics). Generally, I found that these two elements synergize quite well, especially if the GKs use the Nemesis Strike Force, which combines quite well with the Skyhammer Annihilation Force’s ability to choose what turn it will arrive on.

Here is the “foundation” of the list I used:

—Nemesis Strike Force—

[1] GK Librarian with PML(3)

[2] 5 man GK Terminator squad (with one Daemonhammer and one Psycannon)

[3] 2 x Nemesis Dreadknight (both with PT, Heavy Psycannon, Heavy Incinerator, and Daemonhammer)

 

—Ultramarines Skyhammer Annihilation Force—

[1] 2 x 10 man Devastator squads (both with Drop Pods and 4 Grav Cannons each)

[2] 2 x 5 man Assault squads (no upgrades)

 

The idea with these two lists is to maximize the Alpha Strike potential, especially with the potential for all units to come in from Reserve Turn 1 (or in the case of the Dreadknights, more often than not, start the game on the table and shunt 30″ upfield on Turn 1 to provide threat overload alongside the arriving Skyhammer units.

In terms of synergy, the Grey Knights bring the following to the army:

[1] Psychic Powers/Dice — Even this small force generates 6 WCs a turn and, between the automatic powers on the Terminators/Dreadknights and the wide-range of powers to choose from on the PML(3) Librarian, you can have tools to deal with any situation. You can even buff the Skyhammer units with power such as Prescience, Invisibility, and Phase Form, or alternately you can “debuff” the enemy with powers like Misfortune, Null Zone, and Subvert Machine.

[2] Anti-horde shooting — With Psycannons, Heavy Psycannons, Heavy Incinerators, and Storm Bolters, plus strong close combat abilities across the board, the Grey Knight half of this force can deal with hordes of light infantry that the Grav-heavy Skyhammer units might otherwise struggle against.

[3] Close Combat Power — The Librarian and Terminators hit solidly in the Assault phase by themselves, especially with guaranteed access to Hammerhand and Force Weapons, but the real threat here is the two Nemesis Dreadknights, who on the charge can generate 10 x S10 AP2 Force weapon attacks at I4 and WS5. Combine this with their superior mobility (from the Personal Teleporters) and strong durability (4W T6 protected by 2+/5++, which can bump up to a 4++ with successful casting of Sanctuary) and you have a close combat threat that can handle even the toughest units in the game, which is a strong compliment to the Grav shooting prowess of the Skyhammer Devastators.

As for the Ultramarine Skyhammer units, they bring to the army the following:

[1] Massed Grav-Shooting — With 40 Grav Shots a turn (including coming out of their Drop Pods, since they are Relentless), with re-rolls to Hit from Devastator Doctrine, and re-rolls to Wound/to Penetrate due to Grav Amps, all of which can be targeted at up to four different units a turn (thanks to Combat Squads), the Skyhammer Annihilation Force provides a threat that can be devastating to medium/heavy infantry, Monstrous Creatures, and even vehicles all game long.

[2] Mobile Skirmishers/Objective Grabbers — The two “bare bones” ASM squads have the ability to charge the same turn they arrive, making them an excellent “bully” unit for tying up enemy shooty unit or even a “sacrificial lamb” unit to assault powerful enemy combatants that you need to occupy for a turn or two while the rest of your Devastators and Grey Knights do their work. Additionally, with their inherent mobility, you can use the ASM to grab far-flung objectives all game long.

[3] Synergy Enhancers — You can also use the special rules of the Skyhammer formation to effectively “suppress” enemy units before they are charged simply by shooting at them; either they are forced to Go to Ground if they fail a 3D6 leadership check or, if they pass it, then they still cannot fire overwatch, making even Bolter armed Devastator Combat Squads quite solid at neutralizing key enemy units for a turn. Additionally, the ASM can be used as cheap skirmisher type units, screening other elements of your force from enemy assault and/or harassing your opponent’s plans with their maneuvering.

As you can see, the Skyhammer Annihilation Force is already a potent formation (one of the best in the game), but combined with these elements of a Nemesis Strike Force, they can make for quite a competitive Imperial “task force.”

Custodes Tactica

With GW releasing 40K rules for the new Custodes models (albeit without a way to field them quite yet, aside from Unbound; I am going off the assumption that that will be corrected soon), I think they have solid potential for competitive play. Looking at their stats/rules, they have the following:

-WS5 BS5 S5 T5 W2 I4 A3 Ld 10 Sv2+

-Guardian Spear (Shoots just like a Bolter and, in close combat, has the following profile: S: +1 AP2, Two-Handed, Block — Gives a chance to block one enemy attack per turn, if you roll higher than their To Hit roll) and Power Knife

Custodes can trade the Guardian Spear for Sentinel Blade (Power Sword with 12″ S4 AP5 Assault 2 shooting profile built in, which also can make Snap Shots at BS2) for free, which means you go down to S5 AP3 and lose AP2 (and the Block special rule), but gain +1A (since the sword is not Two-handed and combines with the Power Knife for two close combat weapons) and the ability to shoot and assault the same turn (unlike the Guardian Spear, which cannot assault after shooting, since it is a Rapid Fire weapon).  More importantly, if you do NOT have a Guardian Spear, each Custodes can take a Storm Shield, giving them a 3++ and counter-acting a critical vulnerability, namely the lack of any Invul Save in their “natural” state.

Special Rules wise, the whole squad is Bulky, can Deep Strike, has Adamantium Will, is Fearless, and (most importantly) has Eternal Warrior! GK Paladins are dying with envy for these kind of stats! 😉 Seriously, though, this makes them quite flexible and reliable, with the option to deploy by Deep Strike or ride in Land Raiders, no danger of every failing a Morale check, and insurance that they will never lose both their wounds to a single attack (except it is a Destroyer attack, of course). One small interesting note is that all Custodes are Characters, not just their “sergeant,” meaning you can choose any of them to take a challenge (great for saving attached ICs) and also any of them can try and Look Out Sir! on a 4+ to preserve their wounds.

Finally, one Custodes in your army can trade his Guardian Spear out for a Custodes Vexilla Banner, giving Fearless to any friendly Imperium units within 12″ and +1A to any friendly Imperium. Combine all this with the Shield Captain “squad sergeant” (who is mandatory and has +1WS, I, and A above normal Custodes) and the option to add up to 5 more Custodes, at 10 MBs per model, and you have an expensive but potent unit, especially in close combat.

OK, now that we have gone over the basics, how do we get the most out of these expensive models? I think their primary weaknesses are lack of an Invul save (unless they drop Guardian Spears for Sentinel Blades and Stormshields), their lower mobility (Deep Striking aside), and their mediocre shooting (basically just Bolter shots at BS5). On the other hand, they strike at S6 AP2 with I4 and WS5, with 4A per model on the charge (5A if the unit has the Custodes Vexilla banner), they are T5 with 2W and Eternal Warrior to make them VERY survivable against anything that is not AP2/1, and they can mix up Guardian Spears/Sentinel Blade + Storm Shield combos to give them both hitting power and durability in the same unit.

Here are some ways I think to “force-multiply” them right out the gate and take them to the next level in terms of competitive game play:

[1] Azrael — Attaching the Dark Angel Chapter Master gives them all a 4++ (even with Guardian Spear), making them MUCH more durable without sacrificing their S6 AP2 attacks at full initiative. Additionally, if they are riding in a transport with him (say a LR Redeemer or a Spartan Assault Tank), then his 4++ is conferred to the transport, making it more 50% more survivable and thus more likely to deliver them to combat successfully. Finally, if Azrael your WL, then he can choose his trait, ranging from adding +3″ to the unit’s Run and Charge moves to giving the squad Furious Charge (so all the Guardian Spear Custodes are hitting at S7 on the charge, making them a real threat to most vehicles) to FNP for the unit if they are close to an Objective.

[2] Brother-Captain Stern — With guaranteed access to both Hammerhand and Sanctuary, he can make the already dangerous Custodes into almost invincible Close Combat monsters. Hammerhand makes their Guardian Spears strike at S8 AP2 (at I4 still) and even models with Sentinel Blades attack at S7 AP3. Better yet, Sanctuary ups any Custodes with Storm Shields to a 2++, allowing them to “shrug off” an average of  83% of all enemy AP2/1 attacks for the rest of the squad. Finally, he adds his own close combat power, especially his Force Weapon, into the mix and also gives the whole unit Preferred Enemy (Daemons) and enhanced Deny the Witch (which synergizes well with the Adamantium Will of the Custodes).

[3] Sevrin Loth — With guaranteed access to Endurance, Enfeeble, and Life Leech (in the Biomancy Discipline), he can double the survivability of the Custodes against anything that is not S10 (or has Instant Death inherently) via FNP(4+), he can reduce enemy Toughness by -1 (so S6 Guardian Spears “double out” T3 Space Marine, for example), and he can restore lost wounds to Custodes via Life Leech. Alternately, he can go Telepathy instead, with guaranteed access to Invisibility, again making the whole unit vastly more difficult to hurt via shooting or close combat. Finally, he is very solid Close Combat fighter himself, especially with his ability to have a 2++ save using the Armor of Selket.

[4] Ulrik the Slayer — While not as dramatic as some of the HQs already mentioned, he gives the entire squad of Custodes he is attached to Preferred Enemy, without any requirement to pass any Psychic Tests, and he also gives them FNP(6+), for a small buff in durability. Ulrik is not amazing as a fighter, but does have a BS5 Plasma Pistol and 5 x S6 AP4 attacks at WS6 and I5 on the charge, so he can add a little more “uummpphh” to the Custodes, especially against vehicles and units with 4+ armor or worse. Finally, if he is the WL, he also gives the unit Monster Hunter, which is quite solid for dealing with enemy MCs and GMCs that are more and more common in the game these days.

[5] Sanguinary Priest with The Angel’s Wing relic — A cheap way to give the Custodes FNP, without any need to roll for Psychic Powers or pass Psychic Tests. Additionally, the Angels Wing allows the entire unit to Deep Strike more safely/accurately and also makes it much less vulnerable to enemy Interceptor fire (mainly thinking of Tau here).

[6] Deathwatch TDA Librarian with Dominus Aegis relic — The DW Librarian can move normally with the Custodes or Deep Strike in with them, depending on the circumstances, and can also use any Psychic Powers he rolls to enhance them (imagine if he got Warpmetal Armor and cast on the Custodes squad, making the entire unit majority T6!). The Dominus Aegis gives the whole unit a 4++ if it does not move, which also activates on the second round of any combat (since they cannot move, by default, if they are stuck in combat), making the entire squad much more durable at a bargain points cost.

[7] Ordos Xenos Inquisitor with Rad Grenades, Ulumeathi Plasma Syphon, and Liber Heresius relic — The Rad Grenades reduce enemy Toughness by -1 on the first round of any combat, making the Custodes more potent in combat than they already are, the Plasma Syphon reduces the threat of Rapid Fire Plasma Weapons significantly, and the Liber Heresius relic allows the squad to Scout at the beginning of the game and gain Counter-attack and Hatred for one turn each later in the game, which can be quite useful in the right circumstances.

 

[8] Two Adepta Sororitas Ministorum Priests, one with the Litanies of Faith relic — The Priests gives the Custodes Hatred for re-rolls to Hit in the first round of combat (the Custodes already have the Fearless portion of Zealot), which is a solid buff in and of itself. More importantly, the Litanies of Faith allows both Priests to auto-pass their War Hymns tests, meaning that as long as they are alive, the whole unit AUTOMATICALLY gains Shred for its close combat attacks and AUTOMATICALLY re-rolls any saving throws (both Armor and Invul) in close combat… taken together, especially with a few Custodes with Storm Shields up front for “tanking” purposes, and you should be able to tear through even the most deadly opponents like Wulfen, Ork War bosses in Mega Armor, Hive Tyrants, GMCs, Iron Hands Chapter Masters with the Gorgon’s Chain relic, etc. etc.

Tactical “Buddy Team” — Dreadknights and DW Kill Teams

I saw this mentioned on a 40K forum, and I think the poster was exactly right: what Codex Deathwatch is missing in terms of a “critical, competitive capability” is something like a Nemesis Dreadknight i.e. a mobile, durable, hard-hitting Monstrous Creature that can economically threaten enemy forces and draw attention away from the potent, but very fragile and low in numbers, Deathwatch units. This would fill in several “tactical gaps” in the codex and also would take a lot of pressure off the Deathwatch units, making them more effective and more survivable.

Since there is no way that the Deathwatch are actually going to get a Monstrous Creature of their own (at least not until a new version of the codex comes out, probably several years from now, and even then pretty unlikely), the next best thing is to take allied Grey Knights and bring Nemesis Dreadknights into your army via that route. This of course involves a pretty substantial “tax,” given that Grey Knights (like Deathwatch) is one of the most expensive points-per-unit factions in the game.

With an allied GK Nemesis Strike Force, you have to take one HQ and one Troops choice and that “opens up” two Nemesis Dreadknights. Taking a Brother-Captain (HQ) with Psycannon and a 5 man GK Terminator squad (Troops) with Psycannon/MB on Justicar meets the “tax” and gives you a solid little unit with two Relentless Psycannons, eight 2+/5++ wounds, and access to host of Psychic Powers for the Grand Master, plus the ability to Deep Strike starting Turn 1. This plus two Dreadknights (with Heavy Psycannons, Heavy Incinerators, Personal Teleporters, and Daemon Hammers) comes in at 800 points, leaving you with 120 points for your primary Deathwatch detachment in a 2000 point army.

In terms of “pairing up” with Nemesis Dreadknights, I think a DW CAD with lots of MSU Veteran squads is the best way to go. Imagine the following battle group:

-Dreadknight with Heavy Psycannon, Heavy Incinerator, Personal Teleporter, and Daemonhammer

-Veteran Squad with 2 DW Frag Cannons, Rhino

-Veteran Squad with 2 DW Frag Cannons, Rhino

 

Since you have two Dreadknights from the NSF, you can create two of these battle groups in your army. The idea is to have the entire force advance together, with the DW Veterans using the Dreadknight for cover and also to absorb enemy attention, all while firing their Frag Cannons from the Firing Points of their Rhinos as they get closer and closer. At the same time, the Dreadknight moves forward and engages with its shooting weapons, while serving as “counter-charge” deterrent against enemy assault units (or an assault threat of its own, if the enemy is more shooting focused). This battle group also has four Objective Secured units (two Rhinos, two DW Veteran squads) and is mobile enough to “dash” out and get where it needs to be (i.e. 12″ move + 6″ Flat Out for Rhinos, 12″ move or 30″ Shunt for Dreadknights).

With this as the backbone of your army, you still have to take at least one Deathwatch HQ (probably a Librarian with the Beacon Angelis relic) and multiple options for Elite, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support. You can go “ultimate MSU” here, with one man squads of DW Bikers (with Power Axes) and DW Terminators (with CMLs and Chainfists), which play like Space Wolf Lone Wolves (except they have alternate options and can take objectives). You can take up to three DW Bikers and three DW Terminators in a CAD, giving you even more options for grabbing objectives and further ways to diffuse enemy combat power (i.e. if they ignore these single man units and concentrate on the Veterans/Dreadknights, then the DW Bikers and Terminators are free to grab objectives, shoot, and even charge/tie up enemy units. If they focus on eliminating these units, then they are committing combat power against them that is not directed against the advancing Veteran/Dreadknight battle groups.

While this will require a skilled player to use to maximum ability, I think it provides a unique and potentially very flexible (and dangerous) army that will have a solid chance of competing on the table top.

 

Wulfen and Grey Knight Deathstar

While there are many other ways to build a deathstar battle group these days, especially among Imperial Armies that are Battle Brothers with one another, I think a very potent combination is something like this:

-Lord Kaldor Draigo

-Brother-Captain Stern

-Wulfen Pack (9 TH/SS, Pack Leader with Frost Claws and Stormfrag Auto Launcher)

-Ulrik the Slayer

The key to this force, of course, is guaranteed Gates of Infinity from Draigo, guaranteed Sanctuary from Stern, and Hammerhand on both of them. For Mobility, use Gates of Infinity to “bounce” the unit anywhere on the board starting turn 1 to set up a solid turn 2 charge.

Then, use Sanctuary to increase Draigo and the Wulfen Storm Shields up to a 2++ save (and Stern and Ulrik up to a 3++ save). Between this, FNP on all the Wulfen, and lots of T4 wounds across the entire unit, plus good use of Look Out Sir, you should be able to absorb a ton of enemy firepower between turn 1 and turn 2 (even Tau/Eldar levels of shooting) and be in solid shape to charge in wreak general havoc on your turn 2. Just to illustrate the point, in order to kill a single Wulfen with Sanctuary cast, it would take:

-54 x BS4 Bolter shots or BS3 Pulse Rifle shots

-36 x BS4 Grav Cannon/Amp shots

-32 x BS4 Plasma Gun shots

-28 x BS3 High-Yield Missile Pod shots

-11 x BS4 Lascannon or Krak Missile or Bright/Dark Lance shots

And that is just ONE Wulfen in the squad… short of your opponent having a power like Null Zone to drop their Invul save from a 2++ down to a 4++, it will be VERY hard to defeat this battle group with shooting, even highly concentrated shooting.

Once the unit does get into combat, it hits like a Mack Truck. With Hammerhand cast successfully, that is 5 x S9 AP2 I5 attacks (Draigo), 4 x S6 AP3 I5 attacks (Stern), 5 x S8 AP4 I5 attacks (Ulrik), 45 x S10 AP2 I1 attacks (TH/SS Wulfen), and 7 x S8 AP2 I5 Shred attacks (Wulfen Pack Leader) on the charge. Throw in Preferred Enemy for EVERYONE, thanks to Ulrik, and Monster Hunter (also from Ulrik, if he is your Warlord) and you should be able to “buzz saw” through multiple enemy units a turn, including even GMCs, Super-Heavies, and enemy death stars (this is still very a very deadly unit even if you have a Disordered Charge with less attacks, due to multi-charging). Successfully casting Sanctuary before you charge means that you whole squad (except the Wulfen Pack Leader) has a 3++ or 2++ save in combat, which again synergizes with the FNP(5+) on the Wulfen and FNP(6+) on everyone else (thanks to Ulrik’s Healing Balms) to let the unit absorb a ton of opposing “counter-punches,” if anything does survive long enough to hit back.

If you are not comfortable relying on Gates of Infinity, then you can use the Escape Hatch trick from a friendly building to “sling shot” the unit across the board turn 1. Alternately, you can go all in with the Deathstar concept and load the battle group in a friendly Spartan Assault Tank (with Ceramite Armor, of course) and dash it 18″ across the battle-field turn 1 to set up a turn 2 charge.

Of course, like most Deathstars, this is very pricey points-wise, so you really have to build your entire army around this unit, but even in spite of this I think this battle group can be quite competitive if you want to field a deadly, durable force focused almost exclusively on assault 😉

Grey Knights and the Lucifer Armoured Task Force

Since I have a soft spot in my heart for Grey Knights, I continue to look for ways to run them competitively, especially so they can have an option besides “cram as many Dreadknights into the list as you can and pray for the best.”

Based on this, and looking back at the new Angel’s Blade supplement for Blood Angels faction, I think a potentially solid ally for a Grey Knight army is the new Lucifer Armoured Task Force Formation. This formation requires the following:

-1 Techmarine

-3-5 squadrons of Predators or Baal Predators

-1-3 Land Raider/LR Crusader/LR Redeemer

In exchange for taking these units, all vehicles in the formation get Scout and become Fast Vehicles for free (even including Land Raiders!). This is obviously a very significant bonus, even when this formation is operating alone, but used alongside a Grey Knights force I think it really brings some tremendous benefits. Specifically, consider the following Lucifer Armoured Task Force:

-Techmarine with Servo Harness

-3 x individual Predators with triple Lascannons

-Land Raider Redeemer with Extra Armor

I think this formation provides several things to a Grey Knight primary detachment: first, Grey Knights generally lack long-range anti-tank/anti-MC shooting, outside of Razorbacks, shooty Dreadnoughts, and Land Raiders with Lascannons. This Predators in this formation not only have Scout, giving them a free 12″ move before the game to get into firing position, but being Fast Vehicles, they can move 6″ and shoot all their weapons at full BS (or move 12″ and shoot two of their Lascannons at full BS), which makes them excellent, affordable “Lascannon gunboats” in support of a Grey Knight force. With a 6″ move and a 48″ range on the Lascannons, plus the pre-Game Scout move, they can threaten almost any enemy unit turn 1. This is especially useful for taking on enemy Wraithknights, Stormsurges, TWC, Hive Tyrants, not to mention tanks/transports, at long-range, before they can deal much damage to your Grey Knights. Finally, this synergizes quite well with the shooting/close combat threat of Dreadknights shunting up-field Turn 1 and infantry from a Nemesis Strike Force DSing in turn 1.

Secondly, the LR Redeemer (with Techmarine riding inside for repairs) provides an excellent “taxi” for a squad of Purifiers armed with massed Incinerators. While the Purifiers cannot start the game inside the LRR (and thus cannot benefit from the Scout move), they can load up turn 1, then have the LRR move 12″ and Flat Out another 12″ for a net movement of 24″ before the end of the first game turn. This sets them up for a very reliable turn 2 disembark, Cleansing Flame in the Psychic Phase, Incinerator/Flamestorm Cannon templates and the TLed Assault Cannon in the shooting phase, and charge in the Assault Phase with NFW/Hammerhand, which should be pretty devastating to many opposing armies due to how many mass wounds this can generate, especially against large enemy units. The ability to displace 24″ a turn, and then move 12″ and still shoot all of its weapons (Fast Vehicle status means it can shoot two weapons at full BS and POTMS means it can shoot a third weapon at full BS as well)  makes the LRR from the Lucifer Armoured Task Force significantly superior to a “normal” LRR available to the Grey Knights army. Finally, if you don’t want to use it as a transport for GK infantry, then you can have the LRR Scout up 12″, then move another 12″ and hit units in the enemy DZ with dual S6 AP3 templates on turn 1, which also synergizes quite well with the “in your face” approach of many Grey Knight armies.

 

Angel’s Blade Tactica: Orbital Intervention Force

I have been taking a closer look at the Orbital Intervention Force (OIF) from the new Angels Blade Supplement and I think there are actually lots of tactical applications for this formation. First, let’s take a look the two different options within the formation itself, Tactical Terminators and Assault Terminators:

I – Tactical Terminators – While most would agree that Tactical Terminators are not the most competitive right now, if used properly, I think they still have a place in the game. The Orbital Intervention Force provides a significant bonus for them, allowing each Tactical Terminator to shoot twice on the turn that they arrive by Deep Strike. This is particularly effective with the Terminator Heavy Weapons, allowing a 5 man squad to shoot its Heavy Flamer, Assault Cannon, or CML twice. Alternately, you can max out the squad with 10 Terminators and 2 Heavy Weapons… combine that with Misfortune from the Divination discipline and a Tactical Terminator squad can put out 32 Storm Bolter shots and either 4 Heavy Flamer Templates, 16 Assault Cannon Shots, or 8 CML shots (either Krak or Frag missiles), all with Rending against a specified target on the turn they arrive. Obviously, in subsequent turns, they revert back to “normal” Terminators, but in that initial arrival strike, they can potentially make a decisive impact on the game if target against the right unit.

II – Assault Terminators – This is the real gem of this formation, I think. and probably the reason most people take it. Whether using dual LCs, with S5 on the charge (and I5, if they are part of a Detachment with the Red Thirst), or using the classic TH/SS “Hammernator” load-out, (which still competes for the gold standard of assault units in terms of durability and hitting power) the ability to assault on the same turn as they Deep Strike takes them from “solid” to “outstanding,” even if they have a Disordered Charge when they do this. Not only can they contribute to the fight as early as Turn 2, unlike a lot of other close combat focused units, but they are overall quite survivable and effective once they do get into combat. Alternately, Assault Terminators from this formation can make for a tremendous “counter-assault” unit to protect your more shooty units from enemy charges. Finally, you can enhance their abilities even more if you Drop Pod in Corbulo nearby (for +1WS to all hands and +1I for the Dual LC TDA models) and/or bring in Sanguinor for +1A to all hands, which helps make up for the penalty of having to do a Disordered Charge.

In terms of synergy potential, here are some ways I think the Orbital Strike Force can be effectively combined with other allied units to make a solid battle group:

 

[1] GK Interceptor Squads – With the ability to make a 30” Shunt move (+D6” Run) Turn 1, plus take a Teleporter Homer on the mandatory Justicar, GK Interceptors can make for an ideal “pathfinder” unit to get exactly where you need them and then bring in the OIF Terminators in on Turn 2 for massed shooting and/or assault.

[2] Inquisitorial Henchmen Warbands – With the ability to take a Mystic in each and every squad (basically a 2 MB cost Locator Beacon), plus access to a wide variety of Dedicated Transports, a Henchman Warband can, for example, load up in a DT Land Raider Redeemer and attach an Inquisitor with the Relic that grants a free Scout move if the pass a Ld test successfully. This gives them a 12” Scout move before the game begins, then another 12” move and 6” Flat Out Turn 1, setting up a Turn 2 arrival with no scatter/charge deep in the enemy DZ by up to 3 squads of Assault Terminators, which can obviously be extremely potent (not to mention any supporting fire from the Henchman themselves and their LRR’s Flamestorm Cannons).

[3] Ravenwing Black Knights/Darkshrouds – While obviously designed to bring in Deathwing, the fact that every Ravenwing Biker/Black Knight has a Teleporter Homer built into his Bike makes them exceptional for vectoring in an Archangel OIF. This is especially true of Black Knights combined with a nearby Dark Shroud, since they all have Scout (for a free 12” move before the game even starts) and can get a re-rollable 2++ cover save to survive enemy shooting Turn 1 (i.e. Jink + Skilled Rider + Stealth from the Dark Shroud + re-rolls to Jink saves because of the Ravenwing special rule). Black Knights are already highly effective shooting and close combat units in their own right, but combined with the ability to precisely bring in three squads of Tactical Terminators/Assault Terminators on Turn 2+ (all of whom can either shoot twice or charge that same turn) takes them from a serious threat to an absolutely un-ignorable one for almost any enemy force.

[4] Blackmane Great Pack with massed Drop Pods – With access to free Drop Pods and guaranteed Turn 1 arrival for all of them, the Blackmanes can saturate the table like almost no other force (except maybe a Space Marine Battle Company or an AM mechanized infantry force). More importantly with regard to the OIF, every one of these Drop Pods can be equipped with Locator Beacons, allowing you to bring in the Archangel Terminators anywhere within 6” of these Pods with no scatter before they shoot or charge. This should combine very effectively with all the combat power (both shooting and in assault) that the Blackmanes can bring to the fight in and of themselves, putting the enemy on the horns of a dilemma on how to counter this.

[5] Astra Militarum/Militarum Tempestus Mechanized Armies – As I discussed in the earlier article about the Golden Host formation, basically all AM vehicles (and MT vehicles too) except Flyers can upgrade with an Augur Array, which is basically this faction’s version of a Locator Beacon. Given that both AM and MT tend to focus heavily on shooting and are vulnerable to enemy assault, having the ability to precisely bring in a “counter-assault” force in the form of the OIF, using the Augur Arrays on their vehicles, improves the survivability and shooting efficiency of both of these factions significantly, as well as potentially surprising your opponent with the psychological “shock” of having their assault forces charged before they can even get to your battle lines.

[6] Khan/White Scar Mechanized Battle Company – The Khan list using lots of Scouting Rhinos/Razorbacks, all carrying MSU Tactical, Devastator, and Assault squads with max Grav Cannons and Flamers is already pretty well known for its success on the tournament scene. One of the few weaknesses of this list is typically dealing with powerful enemy close combat units that can come to grips with lots of its units in the Assault Phase. Since Tactical Squads can take Teleporter Homers on the Sergeants/Veteran Sergeants (for only a MB a piece), you can have up to 6 mobile, AV11/11/10 bunkers projecting 6” No Scatter bubbles around them throughout the entire battle space, giving you LOTS of options for bringing in the OIF Terminators with no scatter exactly where you need them to “reinforce the line” against critical enemy threats. All of this combines quite well with the massed Grav and Flamer shooting of Khan’s Battle Company I think, creating for a balanced and dangerous overall task force.

[7] Raven Guard 10th Company Task Force – The 10th Company Task Force formation obviously combines very well with the Archangels Orbital Intervention Force, with its ability to Infiltrate multiple units equipped with either Teleporter Homers or Locator Beacons. Raven Guard Chapter tactics make this even more effective, with added durability in the early game via free Shrouding Turn 1 on any units that don’t start the game in a transport. Whether using Infiltrating Scouts on foot, Infiltrating Scout Bikers (with a 2+ Cover save in the open from Jink + Shrouding), or even Scouts in a LS Storm moving 30” across the tabletop from Move + Flat Out (obviously they don’t get access to free Shrouding), this formation provides multiple ways to efficiently bring in the OIF exactly where it needs to be for shooting and/or charging on Turn 2+.

[8] Lias Issodon and Centurion Battle Group – Another powerful build in its own right, Issodon’s ability to Infiltrate himself and three other units is very potent and can overwhelm your opponent quickly. Combine this with the Locator Beacon that is part of his War Gear and any Teleporter Homers that the Infiltrated units are carrying and you have a very solid task force that can both pressure the enemy with shooting (especially if using multiple Grav Centurion squads) and still provide a real close combat threat via the OIF Terminators.

[9] Deathwatch Veteran Squad – Since every Watch Sergeant (who himself is a free upgrade) can take a DW Teleporter Homer, the Deathwatch are already well-equipped for vectoring in the Archangel OIF reinforcements. On top of this, DW Veteran squads can easily get in position via their Rhino, Razorback, Drop Pod, or Corvus Blackstar DTs (the last two can take Locator Beacons of their own, if you want). DW Veterans can also bring more firepower, “pound for pound,” than almost any other unit in the game, but they are also somewhat fragile for their points cost and can be vulnerable in close combat, so they combine very well with Assault Terminators coming in from DS and charging enemy units to take the pressure off them while they continue to employ their remarkable firepower to its maximum potential.

[10] Shadowstrike Kill Team – If you really want to double-down on the whole “assault from Deep Strike” concept, then you can take an allied Shadowstrike Kill Team. The mandatory Scouts can deploy forward with Teleporter Beacons turn 1, then Turn 2 you can bring in both the Vanguard Vets and OIF Assault Terminators with no scatter, potentially overwhelming the enemy battle lines with multiple powerful assault units getting stuck into combat simultaneously. Alternately, you can use the Vanguard Veterans for assault and take Tactical Terminators with Heavy Weapons to support them with lots of Flamer Templates, Assault Cannons Shots, or CML volleys as required.

The “Titurion,” or a Decurion for Grey Knights

Here is how I would “modernize” the current codex to give Grey Knights their own Decurion and bring their units in line with other Astartes armies:

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OVERALL CHANGES

1 — Dreads/Venerable Dreads gain 4A base, the ability to squadron 1-3, and Psy-amplifiers (makes them “project” Sanctuary to all friendly units within 6″ when successfully cast)

2 — Purgation Squads lose Night Vision, gain Astral Aim rule (add 12″ to the range of all their shooting weapons; if the weapon is a Template weapon, then it becomes a Torrent (6″) weapon instead)

3 — Strike Squads gain the Scout rule

4 — Paladins gain “Indomitable” rule (enemy units must re-roll successful to Wound rolls against Paladins; if the enemy targeting the Paladins has Shred or some other rule that grants re-rolls to Wound, then these two rules cancel each other out)

5 — Brotherhood Champs and Crowe gain the Herald of Titan rule (grants their squad, but not them, +1WS)

6 — Techmarines upgraded to 2W, 2A, BS5, and Ld9 base (just like C:SM Techmarines). May also take up to 3 Servo-Skulls at +5 points each

7 — Grand Masters gain +1W, but cost +10 points

8 — Brother-Captains cost -10 points, may exchange TDA for artificer armor for free, and, if wearing artificer armor, may take a Personal Teleporter for +20 Points

9 — Stern gains a unique Brotherhood Banner for free in addition to his other Wargear (“Banner of the 3rd Brotherhood” — Normal Brotherhood Banner, except that it gives Stern’s unit +1A AND Furious Charge)

10 — Crowe may use ONE stance in normal close combat and BOTH stances when in a challenge

11 — All GK vehicles that have/can take Assault Cannons lose them, but get Psycannons in their place (replace for free or, if an upgrade, same cost as the old Assault Cannon upgrade)

12 — All GK vehicles that have/can take Heavy Flamers lose them, but get Incinerators in their place (replace for free or, if an upgrade, same cost as the old Heavy Flamer upgrade)

13 — GK Teleporter Homers remove DS scatter for friendly Grey Knight Strike Squads, Nemesis Dreadknights, Nemesis Dreadmages, and any unit with a Personal Teleporter, as well as any friendly units in Terminator armor

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NEW FOC

HQ
-Grandmaster
-Brother-Captain
-Librarian
-Brotherhood Champion
-Techmarine
-Grandmaster Mordrak
-Brother-Captain Stern
-Chief Librarian Verithar
-Castellan Crowe

TROOPS
-GK Terminators (Justicar Thrawn)
-GK Strike Squad

ELITES
-GK Paladin Squad
-GK Purifier Squad
-Nemesis Dreadmage
-Dreadnought/Venerable Dreadnought Squadron

FAST ATTACK
-GK Interceptor Squad
-Stormraven Gunship

-Stormshadow Dropship
-Xiphon Interceptor

-Rhino

-Razorback

HEAVY SUPPORT
-GK Purgation Squad
-Nemesis Dreadknight
-Land Raider
-Land Raider Crusader
-Land Raider Redeemer

LORD OF WAR
-Lord Kaldor Draigo
-Nemesis Dreadknight Furion

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NEW UNITS
***Grand Master Mordrak — Infantry, Character, Unique — (HQ choice) — 210 points
WS6 BS5 S4 T4 W4 I5 A4 Ld10 Sv2+/4++
*WL Trait: First to the Fray

*Wargear:
-TDA
-Frag/Krak/Psykout Grenades
-Teleporter Homer
-Iron Halo
-SB
-Ghost Hammer — MCed Nemesis Daemonhammer that forces enemies who suffer wounds from it to re-roll successful Invulnerable Saves

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-IC
-PE (Daemons)
-PML(2)
-Purity of Spirit
-Eternal Warrior
-Ghostly Bodyguard — At the end of each phase, for each unsaved wound that Mordrak suffers, one “Ghost Paladin” (with baseline Paladin Wargear/Rules/Stats and the Shrouded USR) immediately joins Mordrak (these Paladins count as Wargear, just like Space Wolf Fenrisian Wolves, so Mordrak may still join other units due to being an IC). If Mordrak is slain, then all Ghost Paladins summoned in this manner immediately are removed as casualties as well.

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***Chief Librarian Verithar — Infantry, Character, Unique — (HQ choice) — 175 points
WS5 BS4 S4 T4 W3 I4 A3 Ld10 Sv2+/5++
*WL Trait: Lore Master

*Wargear:
-TDA
-Frag/Krak/Psykout Grenades
-SB
-MCed Nemesis Warding Stave
-Hood of Malcador — Psychic Hood that allows Verithar to harness WCs on a 3+ for casting Powers and a 5+ for Denying the Witch

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-IC
-PE (Daemons)
-PML(3)
-Purity of Spirit
-Master of the Librarium — Verithar may choose one of his powers instead of rolling for it before the beginning of each game.

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***Justicar Thrawn — Infantry, Character, Unique — (Upgrade option for a single GK Terminator Justicar) — 40 points
WS5 BS4 S4 T4 W2 I4 A3 Ld10 Sv2+/5++
*WL Trait: Locus of Power

*Wargear:
-TDA
-Frag/Krak/Psykout Grenades
-SB
-Halberd of Justice — NF Halberd with Swiftstrike rule (grants bearer +2 Initiative in close combat)

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-PE (Daemons)
-Brotherhood of Psykers
-Purity of Spirit
-The Undying Knight — Thrawn has FNP(2+). Additionally, Instant Death attacks directed against Thrawn are treated as normal attacks (i.e. they cannot remove all his wounds at once, they do not cancel out FNP, etc.).

————
***Nemesis Dreadknight Furion — Gargantuan Creature, Character, Unique — (LOW choice) — 350 points
WS6 BS5 S6 T6 W6 I5 A5 Ld10 Sv2+/4++
*WL Trait: Unyielding Anvil

*Wargear:
-Personal Teleporter
-2 x Gatling Psilencers
-Emperor’s Justice — SD AP1 Nemesis Greatsword

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-Deep Strike
-PE (Daemons)
-PML(2) — Always knows Banishment, Sanctuary, Vortex of Doom powers
-Enhanced Force Shielding — Gives 4++ save

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***Nemesis Dreadmage — Monstrous Creature, Character — (Elite choice) — 170 points
WS4 BS4 S6 T6 W3 I4 A2 Ld10 Sv2+/5++

*Wargear:
-Truesilver Gauntlet — S: User AP-, Warpbane (causes ID to any Psykers and Daemons)

-Aegis Great Shield — Gives Dreadmage a 5++ save and gives the Dreadmage and all friendly GK units within 12″ re-rolls to any Deny the Witch Rolls
-May take a Personal Teleporter for +30 points

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-Deep Strike
-PE (Daemons)
-Purity of Spirit
-PML(3) — Always knows the “Warp Quake” (WC2 malediction that causes enemy units DSing within 18″ to scatter 4D6″ and re-roll any “Hit” results), the “Summoning” (WC1 blessing that causes one friendly non-vehicle units in reserve with The Aegis rule to instantly Deep Strike onto the table within 12″ of the Dreadmage with no scatter), and “Warp Rift” (WC3 witchfire power that is S: D AP1 Template) powers.

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***Xiphon Interceptor — Vehicle, Flyer — (Fast Attack choice) — 150 points
BS4 AV11/11/11 HP 3

*Wargear:
-2 x TLed Lascannons (may replace with 2 x Heavy Psycannons for +20 Points)
-Xiphon Rotary Missile Launcher — 60″ S8 AP2 Heavy 2, Twin-Linked, Cluster Warhead (if it causes a Penetrating Hit, then it removes D3 HPs instead of 1 HP), Terminal Tracking (target must re-roll successful Jink saves)
-Armoured Ceramite

*Special Rules:
-Deep Strike
-Supersonic
-Agile — Add +1 to Jink Saves

————

***Stormspectre Dropship — Vehicle, Flyer, Hover, Transport — (Fast Attack choice) — 160 points

BS4 AV12/12/12 HP3

*Wargear:

-2 x Psystrike Missiles (48″ S6 AP4, Large Blast, One Use, Psyshock)

-Ceramite Plating

-Extra Armor

-Locator Beacon

-Shrouding Generators — Grants Shrouded rule to Stormspectre

*Special Rules:

-Transport — Can carry 20 models and/or up to 2 Dreadnoughts/Venerable Dreadnoughts

-Assault Vehicle

-Skies of Fury

-Deep Strike

-Precision Arrival — Stormspectres may always choose to roll to enter from reserves starting turn 1, even if they are part of a detachment that does not normally allow this. If they do not choose this option, then they roll to enter from reserves normally starting turn 2. If they choose to arrive via Deep Strike, they only scatter D6″.

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WL TRAITS:
1 – Daemon-slayer — WL and all friendly GK units within 12″ gain Hatred (Daemons) and harness WCs for Banishment on a 2+ (Draigo has this)
2 – Hammer of Righteousness — WL and his unit have Hammer of Wrath and Fleet (Crowe has this)
3 – Unyielding Anvil — WL and all friendly GK units within 12″ gain Stubborn and Counterattack (Stern and Furion have this)
4 – First to the Fray — WL and his unit automatically pass their reserve rolls and scatter D6 less inches than normal if they DS (Mordrak has this)
5 – Lore Master — WL gains +1 PML and must roll for one more power on the Sanctic table. This does not affect Psychic Focus (Verithar has this)
6 – Locus of Power — WL and his unit harness WCs to activate Force power on a 2+ and, if the Force Power is activated, the WL gains Shred for his melee attacks (Thrawn has this)

RELICS
1 – Curaiss of Sacrifice — TDA that grants +1T and FNP(4+)
2 – Fury of Deimos — SB that is S4 AP5 Assault 3, Purge — On 6+ to hit, automatically inflicts an AP2 wound, regardless of toughness, and is a Precision Shot
3 – Soul Glaive — NF Halberd with AP2, Master-crafted
4 – Domina Liber Daemonica — (Librarian only) Reroll one failed Psychic test per turn
5 – Bone Shard of Solor — Bearer must re-roll failed Invul saves. If bearer is within 12″ of a model with the Daemon USR, then he also gains +1 to his Invul save (to a max of 2++)
6 – Nemesis Banner — All friendly GK units within 12″ gain Fearless and +1A

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NEMESIS STRIKE FORCE DETACHMENT
-Has 1-2 Core, 0-3 HQ, and 1-10 Auxiliary options
-Grey Knight Commander — If WL is in this detachment, he may reroll his WL trait
-Rites of Teleportation — May roll for units in DS reserve starting turn 1. Units from this detachment may run/shoot or shoot/run on the turn they DS.
-Might of the Brotherhood — If you take two Demi-Brotherhoods, one with a Brother-Captain and one with a Brotherhood Champion, then you have a full Brotherhood and all units in the Brotherhood only scatter D6″ when deep striking and harness WCs for Hammerhand on a 3+.

DEMI-BROTHERHOOD (CORE)
-1 Brother-Captain (or Stern) or Brotherhood Champion, 0-1 Dread/VD squadron, 3 Strike Squads or GK Terminator squads, 1-2 Interceptor squads or Purgation squads, 0-1 Nemesis Dreadknight
-Objective Secured
-Psybolts — The SBs, Psilencers, and Gatling Psilencers on units from this formation gain the Shred USR

COUNCIL OF THE GRANDMASTER (HQ)
-1 Grand Master (or Mordrak), 0-1 Brother-Captain (or Stern), 0-1 Brotherhood Champion (or Crowe), 0-1 Librarian (or Verithar), 0-1 Techmarine
-Grand Strategy — May select 3 friendly GK units before the game begins. All three units gain either Scout, Objective Secured, or Preferred Enemy (must all get the same rule)

LORDS OF JUSTICE (HQ)
-1 Supreme Grand Master Draigo or Nemesis Dreadknight Furion

CONCLAVE OF SANCTITY (HQ)
-2-4 Librarians (may replace one Librarian with Chief Librarian Verithar)
-Each Psyker from this formation may re-roll ONE result when rolling for powers and may harness WCs for any Sanctic powers on a 2+ if within 12″ of another Librarian from this formation

CHAMPIONS OF TITAN (AUX)
-1 Grand Master (or Mordrak/Draigo), 1-2 squads of Paladins, 0-2 Nemesis Dreadknights or Nemesis Dreadmages (may replace one of these with Nemesis Dreadknight Furion)
-Heroes of Legend — All units in this formation gain Eternal Warrior
-Uncanny Precision — Units from this formation may re-roll the scatter dice if they arrive by Deep Strike

ORDER OF PURITY (AUX)
-Castellan Crowe, 2-4 Purifier Squads
-Azure Flame — Cleansing Flame cast by units from this formation cause 6 +D6 hits (instead of the normal 2D6 hits)
-Implacable Purity — All units in this formation gain Adamantium Will and Zealot as long as Crowe is alive

ANCIENTS OF TITAN (AUX)
-1 Dreadnought/Venerable Dreadnought Squadron, 1 Techmarine
-Adepts of Mars — Techmarine gains +2 to his Blessing of the Omnissiah rolls when attempting to repair a Dreadnought from this formation
-Machine Fervor — The Techmarine from this formation may grant one of the following rules to the Dreadnought unit from this formation, as long as it is within 12″ of him, at the beginning of each friendly Movement Phase until the beginning of the next friendly turn: Interceptor, Skyfire, Fleet, Rampage, or IWND.

WARPGATE INTERDICTION FORCE (AUX)
-1-3 Interceptor Squads, 0-2 Nemesis Dreadmages (Dreadmages must take the Personal Teleporter upgrade)
-Storm from the Skies — Units from this formation may charge on the same turn they arrive by DS, but they may only charge D6″
-Rites of Interdiction — As long as at least one Interceptor Squad from this formation is still alive and present on the battlefield, enemy forces suffer -1 to all their Reserve rolls. Range of the Warp Quake power is increased by 6″ for the Dreadmages from this formation.

BRIMSTONE STRIKE GROUP (AUX)
-1-2 Purgation Squads, 1-2 Stormraven (Purgation squads must start the game in a Stormraven; must take equal number of Purgation Squads and Storm Ravens)
-Vanguard Arrival — Stormravens from this formation gain Deep Strike. All units in this formation must start in Reserve and all units from this formation come in together on a single successful Reserve roll
-Storm of Retribution — Purgation squads from this formation gain the Relentless USR any turn they disembark from a Stormraven from this formation

WAYFINDER COHORT (AUX)
-1 Brother-Captain (must be in Artificer Armour and cannot take a Personal Teleporter), 2-4 Strike Squads (Justicars must take Teleporter Homers)
-Wayfinders — Units from this formation have Infiltrate and Acute Senses
-Cloak of Secrecy — Brother-Captain from this formation always has The Shrouding power automatically (he does not roll for any other powers)

EMPERORS JUDGEMENT STRIKE GROUP (AUX)
-1-3 Land Raiders (any type), 1-3 GK Terminator squads
-Blessed Artifacts — Land Raiders of any type from this formation only have their armor reduced to AV13 by Lance weapons and melta weapons only gain +D3 to their penetration rolls when used against vehicles from this formation.
-Relentless Assault — GK Terminators from this formation gain Furious Charge on the turn they disembark from a vehicle from this formation

SIGILITE ATTACK WING (AUX)
-1-3 Xiphon Fighters
-Abomination Slayers — All Xiphons in this formation have +1BS when shooting at a Monstrous Creature, Flying Monstrous Creature, Gargantuan Creature, or Flying Gargantuan Creature
-Monster Hunter USR

SPEARHEAD OF MALCADOR (AUX)

-1 Stormraven Gunship or Stormspectre Dropship