2000 Point Battle — Tactical Report

I recently played a 2000 point game at my local store and thought I’d break down my list, what worked, what did not work, and how I would revise my forces and tactics going forward, based on what happened in this battle:

 First off, my list. I took three Detachments (one Astra Militarum Battalion, one Ultramarine Spearhead, and one Grey Knight Vanguard) for a total of 8 CPs and 9 “drops,” based on how I deployed in the game.

 —Astra Militarum Battalion—

HQ

*Tempestor Prime with Rod of Command

*Tempestor Prime with Rod of Command

 

TROOPS

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

 

DEDICATED TRANSPORT

*Chimera with Multi-laser, Heavy Flamer

*Chimera with Multi-laser, Heavy Flamer

  

—Ultramarine Spearhead—

HQ

*Sergeant Chronos

 

HEAVY SUPPORT

*Predator with Twin Lascannon, 2 x Heavy Bolter

*Predator with Twin Lascannon, 2 x Heavy Bolter

*Predator with Twin Lascannon, 2 x Heavy Bolter

 

 —Grey Knight Vanguard—

HQ

*Castellan Crowe

 

ELITES

*Brotherhood Ancient (Warlord, with “First to the Fray” WL Trait, and GK Relic Banner)

*GK Apothecary

*10 x GK Paladins (3 x pair of Falchions, 3 x Halberds, 3 x NDHs, Paragon with Sword)

  

Overall, the plan for the AM Battalion was for each Chimera to load up with two Scion squads and a Tempestor Prime, providing me mobility/protection for the Plasmas, plus a source of Orders to re-roll 1s when I overcharged them, as well as “generalist” fire support from the AM Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) in the form of their Multi-lasers and Heavy Flamers. Importantly, despite being made up of 8 separate units, this only accounted for two “drops” during deployment, giving me a solid chance of going first.

 For the UM Spearhead detachment, Chronos was there as a cheap HQ who also made one Predator always shoot at BS2+, no matter what damage it takes, unless there are -1 modifiers like from moving, enemy fliers being “hard to hit,” Raven Guard chapter tactics, etc. etc. The Predators themselves were included to give me the option to use the new KILLSHOT stratagem (for 1 CP it gives them +1 to Wound and +1 damage if they are all within 6” of one another and shoot at either an enemy Vehicle or Monster), but also provide versatile fire support due to their mix of Lascannons and Heavy Bolters.

 Finally, for the GK Vanguard detachment, the idea was for everyone to start in Reserve except Crowe (who can’t, unless you use the special GK stratagem to override that for him), them bring them in Turn 1 to overwhelm a particular portion of the enemy battle line and then “roll up” his forces from their with the powerful psychic, shooting, and close combat potential. Crowe himself was deployed near one of my Predators, out of LOS, as a counter-assault unit who also had the “Gate of Infinity” power to bounce himself around the battlefield and either support other units in close combat or, if necessary, grab objectives later in the game.

 My opponent was a veteran 40K player and a great guy who I enjoyed playing against and talking with the entire game. He brought his all-infantry, Primaris heavy Ultramarine army, with a small Grey Knight contingent in support, so thematically it was a bit of a “civil war” type game between our forces. If I remember correctly, he ran something like the following:

 

—UM “Primaris” Battalion—

HQ

-Primaris Captain in Gravis Armor (his Warlord, with the UM “uber Iron Halo” relic)

-Primaris Librarian

-Primaris Chaplain

 

ELITES

-Primaris Apothecary

-Primaris Ancient

 

TROOPS

-5 x Intercessors with Bolt Rifles

-5 x Intercessors with Bolt Rifles

-5 x Intercessors with Bolt Rifles

 

 HEAVY SUPPORT

-5x Devastator Centurions (3 with Twin Heavy Bolters and Hurricane Bolters, 2 with Lascannons and Centurion Missile Launchers)

 

—Grey Knight Vanguard—

HQ

*Grand-Master in TDA (with NDH)

 

ELITES

*Paladin Ancient

*GK Apothecary

*3 x GK Paladins (all with pair of Falchions)

 

This gave him 7 CPs and his WL Trait (which we forgot to use all game long) was the UM one that enabled him to “regain” expended CPs on a roll of 5+.

 So, the game was somewhat “old school” in nature, with 4 Objectives (each worth 3 VPs if you held them when the game ended), plus the traditional Slay the Warlord, Line breaker, and First Blood.

 We deployed using the new “Frontline Assault” deployment type (each player is along a long edge of the board, with the deployment zones being 9” from the center point in the middle and 6” from the long board edges on the very sides, making for in essence a “wedge-shaped” DZ for each player). There was lots of cover and LOS blocking terrain overall and he deployed heavy in the center, with an Intercessor squad on each flank and his GKs in reserve. I deployed with two Predators in my center, the Chimeras (and their Scion passengers) on the right, plus the third Predator and Crowe on my far right… also, like him, I kept my entire Grey Knight TDA contingent in reserve. I finished deploying first and so got +1 to the roll to go first, which I ended up winning. He tried to seize the initiative and failed, so I went first.

 Summarizing the game, my Paladins/Apothecary/Ancient dropped in on his right flank turn 1 and completely removed his Intercessor squad using the new PSYBOLT AMMUNITION stratagem. My Predators, Chimeras, and Plasma Scions also managed to kill all his Centurions, his Apothecary, and a number of his Intercessors by the end of Turn 2. However, his “counter-drop” of Grey Knights and the rest of his Primaris shooting/close combat was able to eventually destroy all three of my Predators, both my Chimeras, and all my Scions, leaving only Crowe (who bounced to an Objective late in the game with “Gate of Infinity”), my WL Brotherhood Ancient (who also stayed back from the fight to hold an Objective, get Line Breaker, and deny him Slay the Warlord), and my Apothecary left by the end of the game.

 My GK Paladins moved slowly toward the middle of the board (where his main Primaris Battle line and one of the Objectives was) over the course of several turns, but when they finally got into close combat there, the Primaris Gravis Captain, Primaris Chaplain, Primaris Ancient, and Primaris Librarian killed them all, a bit to my surprise (they did get into combat without the benefit of +1A from my Brotherhood Ancient, since he was camping on an Objective far away and they did kind of charge in piece-meal, but they also were not able to crack the 3++ save of the Gravis Armor Captain, who survived multiple rounds of their best punches and then beat them down with his D3 damage power fist).

At the end of the game, he had several more units left than me and significantly more combat power (i.e. almost all of his GKs were still alive, plus most of his Primaris HQ options, while I only had Crowe, the Brotherhood Ancient, and the GK Apothecary), but I actually was able to squeak out a win due to VPs (we both held two objectives, but I also had Line Breaker and First Blood, while he had none of the “auxiliary” objectives).

 Evaluating how I played, here are a few things I did well and a few things I did poorly:

 

POSITIVES —

[1] I had good target priority and concentration of fire early on, I think, with the Grey Knight TDA contingent overwhelming his right flank and my strong shooting assets rapidly removing the Centurions, which were a large threat to my forces.

[2] I made good use of the Chimeras, adding their firepower to my other shooting, using them to “block” off enemy forces, and getting them to survive late into the game and absorb a lot of combat power away from the rest of his forces.

[3] I made sure I was aware of and playing for the key VP conditions all game long, even when I started losing in terms of raw numbers of troops, thereby enabling me to control as many objectives as him and gain the edge via Line Breaker/First Blood when all the dust settled.

 

 NEGATIVES –

[1] I did not use the mobility/range of the Predators very well to keep them out of harms reach, enabling him to eventually destroy them all with a combination of shooting (including a lot of close range shooting/Smiting from his Primaris forces) and assault (the Grey Knights finished off my last Predator with Chronus in it because I had backed it into a corner, rather than “dashing” it away after they deep struck nearby.

[2] I didn’t employ my GK Paladins very effectively, dropping them so far on the flank that it took them multiple turns of “foot-slogging” to get into Smite/close combat range for the rest of the battle and, when I did get there, I didn’t deploy them in a way to maximize all their shooting, psychic abilities, and close combat power (I just kind of rushed into assault as quickly as possible, assuming they would be able to “brute force” their way to victory, an assumption which cost me dearly).

[3] I didn’t use my GKs, Scions, and UM Predators very well in terms of mutual support, but pretty much deployed them in separate parts of the board and fought them as “independent” elements, which enabled my opponent to deal with them in piecemeal fashion to some degree. For example, if I had dropped some of the GKs in near the Scions, then I could have used their threat to distract his shooting/assault (keeping the Scions alive much longer) and also could have supported the GKs with the Chimeras shooting and LOS blocking. Similarly, with the Predators, if I had some of my Scions or GKs to help screen them, they would have survived much longer and been able to contribute all game long, potentially.

[4} I didn’t use the ORBITAL BOMBARDMENT stratagem to drop a massive dose of Mortal Wounds in the center of his very clumped up Primaris Marine battle-line… if I had remembered to do that when I still had 3 CPs left, I think I could have massively softened up his forces, potentially to the point of critically wounding them, and when my GK Paladins finally assaulted, the combat in the center might have gone quite differently.

  

So, based on all that, going forward, what would I do differently in terms of list construction and tactical employment of my troops?

 Well, right now I think I will keep the Scion and Astra Militarum portions of my army, with the exception of potentially trading Chronus out for Marneus Calgar… not only does Calgar give me an additional 2 CPs (so up to 10 total for my army; I blew through CPs pretty quickly, especially using PSYBOLT AMMUNITION twice, which while very effective, cost me 4 CPs right there), but he also provides re-rolls to Hit for all my Predators if they stay close together (another thing I will do differently, deploy them all near one another), gives me a VERY powerful counter-assault element to protect them, and, finally, as my new Warlord, he is tough to kill and lets me regenerate expended CPs on a 5+.

 Now, of course, Calgar is much more expensive than Chronus, so I have to recoup points somewhere else… well, I think my GK contingent, while powerful, is a very heavy points investment with less than optimal return… instead of a Vanguard of Paladins and “supporting cast” detachment, I think I might opt for an Outrider detachment with three Interceptor squads (two 5 man units and one 10 man unit) and GM Voldus as the HQ… this gives me highly mobile infantry that can get around the battlefield all game long with their 12” movement (and special Shunt move), still shoot very well with their massed Stormbolters (and can use PSYBOLT AMMUNITION still), can grab Objectives late game, and also give me a range of Psychic powers to use still.

 As for Voldus, with the ability to cast/deny three psychic powers a turn, he can be an incredible “toolbox” to support the Interceptors, plus he can use Gates of Infinity all game long to go anywhere on the battlefield (i.e. like back to help Marneus and Predators, or over to support the Scions if need be) and he is no slouch in close combat either (5 x S8 AP-3 D3 attacks, all hitting on 2+s with re-rolls to Wound!). Finally, if I had enough leftover points, I would probably invest an UM Thunderfire Cannon, since its fire support can help at range, it can use the TREMOR SHELLS stratagem to slow enemy forces down, and the Techmarine Gunner can help repair my Predators if they are damaged.

 

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Codex Grey Knights: Unit Analysis — Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight

One of the most significant additions to the Grey Knights codex that was just released is a new HQ option, the Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight (abbreviated as GM-NDK from here on). Let’s take a look at his stats, how he compares to existing units (i.e. the “vanilla” Dreadknight), and how GK commanders can maximize its abilities in their army.

First off, the GM-NDK, without any damage, has M8 WS2+ BS2+ S6 T6 W12 A5 Ld9 Sv2+/4++… compared to a “normal” NDK, which has M8 WS3+ BS 3+ S6 T6 W12 A4 Ld8 Sv 2+/5++, the GM-NDK has the same degrading profile (Movement, BS, and Attacks all degrade, based on the number of wounds taken), but has superior WS, BS, A, Ld, and Invul save. Additionally, while the GM-NDK has the same close combat weapon, shooting weapon, and teleporter upgrade options as its “vanilla” NDK, it also comes with the “Character” keyword (so it can be your WL and even take one of the new GK relics), the ability to cast/deny two Psychic Powers (vice just one each for a normal NDK), and the signature Grand Master ability, “Rites of Battle,” which gives all friendly GK units within 6″ the ability to re-roll 1s to Hit.

So, that is a significant set of upgrades over a normal NDK, but what about the cost? Well, the GM-NDK takes a HQ slot, vice a Heavy Support slot, which is generally superior since for almost every kind of detachment you have to take at least one HQ, thus alleviating that “tax” with a very solid HQ choice. Points-wise, without any Wargear costs included, a GM-NDK costs 38 MBs, compared to  26 MBs for a “vanilla” NDK, so it is almost 50% more expensive… that said, if you take into account its superior offensive capabilities, durability, psychic options, and buffing capacity for the rest of your army, I actually think the GM-NDK is almost a steal for its points cost.

As mentioned earlier, the GM-NDK has the same weapons options as other NDKs, including a Gatling Psilencer, a Heavy Incinerator, and a Heavy Psycannon for ranged weapons and either two Dreadfists, a Dreadfist and a Nemesis Greatsword, or a Dreadfist and a Nemesis Daemon Greathammer for close combat weapons. Combined with WS2+/BS2+ and innate re-rolls of 1s to Hit, this make them very dangerous in both the shooting and close combat phases, even when a GM-NDK has moved and so suffers -1 to Hit for shooting Heavy Weapons. Additionally, due to its extra attack over normal NDKs, the GM-NDK has more overall threat potential in assault and can also take more damage back, thanks to its built-in 4++ save.

Now, that we have looked at all that, how can a savvy GK commander maximize the GM-NDK’s effectiveness on the battlefield? Thanks to the new codex, Grey Knights get access to new Relics, new Stratagems, new WL Traits, and an expanded “Sanctic” psychic powers discipline. For the GM-NDK, even though he is a character, there is actually only one Relic that it has access to… the Fury of Deimos, Destroyer of Crys’yllix, Soul Glaive, and Banner of Refining Flame all replace Wargear that the GM-NDK does not have access to and the Cuirass of Sacrifice is “Infantry models only.” This leaves only the Domina Liber Daemonica relic, which forces enemy Daemon units within 6″ to lower their Ld by -1… solid against Chaos Daemon armies, but not spectacular and very situational.

So, if Relics are not really going to enhance a GM-NDK in competitive play, what about Psychic powers? “Smite,” “Purge Soul” and “Vortex of Doom” all give solid abilities to generate Mortal on the enemy and can supplement the GM-NDK’s other shooting options, “Astral Aim,” while a good power for certain uses (such as on friendly GK Land Raiders, Purgation squads with max Psilencers, etc.), is going to be rarely useful on a GM-NDK, which does not want to be hiding behind LOS blocking terrain and instead should be close to enemy lines and/or in melee as much as possible. That leaves “Hammerhand,” “Sanctuary,” and “Gates of Infinity,” all if which are exceptional force multipliers for the GM-NDK. “Hammerhand” adds +1 to Wound rolls for any melee weapons, meaning that, against those high T7/8/9 opponents that it would normally wound on a 3+, the GM-NDK is now wounding on a 2+ in close combat. “Sanctuary” is another obvious buff, giving the GM-NDK in essence a storm shield for a 2+/3++  overall level of protection. Finally, “Gates of Infinity” makes a GM-NDK hyper mobile, with the  potential to redeploy almost anywhere on the table every turn if it needs to (and also to escape from close combat and still shoot/charge again that same turn, since it does not have to Fall Back in the movement phase when using this power). The beauty of these three powers is that they all can either be cast on the GM-NDK by itself or cast on it by another nearby GK Psyker (which is almost all the units in the Grey Knight army!)… this means that, potentially, the GM-NDK could make use of all three of these powers in the same turn, greatly enhancing its mobility, protection, and close combat ability all at once.

Aside from Psychic powers from the Sanctic discipline, the GM-NDK can benefit tremendously from some of the new GK Stratagems. Here are a few that can be used to enhance its prowess/effectiveness on the tabletop:

[1]  Truesilver Armour (1 CP) — When a GK vehicle suffers a Mortal Wound, activate this power. For that Mortal Wound and any other Mortal Wounds it suffers for the rest of that phase, on a roll of 5+ they are ignored. Since GM-NDK and NDKs are classified as vehicles, this stratagems gives them the ability to basically ignore 33% of any Mortal Wounds they suffer, which is especially useful in the enemy Psychic phase against opponents that can put out lots of Mortal Wounds via psychic powers (i.e. Tzeentch armies, enemy Grey Knights, etc.).

[2] Only in Death Does Duty End (1 CP) — This stratagem can be used after the GM-NDK is slain and allows it to shoot or fight one last time for “free” before being removed. While not the best ability ever (the fact that it only works when you are already losing the GM-NDK is a negative), when you REALLY need to take that enemy Warlord with you or shoot to finish off the last man in a unit holding a critical objective, it can make a difference with your GM-NDK.

[3] Heed the Prognosticars (2 CPs) — While pretty expensive CP-wise, this ability improves a GK Character’s Invul save by +1, so on a GM-NDK it gives it a 3++ (or, in conjunction with a “Sanctuary,” he can have a 2++ which, along with T6 and 12W, makes it VERY survivable against anything but Mortal Wounds).

[4] Psychic Onslaught (2 CPs) — Another expensive stratagem, but being able to improve the Strength and AP by +1 and -1 respectively for all of a GM-NDK’s Gatling Psilencer and Heavy Psycannon shots for a shooting phase can lead to some VERY potent damage output (i.e. the Heavy Psycannon becomes Heavy 6 S8 AP- Dmg 2 and the Gatling Psilencer becomes Heavy 12 S5 AP-1 Dmg D3)

[5] Finest Hour (1 CP) — Doubles the range of “Rites of Battle” for the GM-NDK for a turn. Given that the GM-NDK  already has a large base (and so a bigger than usual radius for its “Rites of Battle” aura), this stratagem can make it buff most or even all of your army for a turn, if you really need to make sure as many units in your army as possible are re-rolling 1s to Hit.

[6] Psychic Channeling (1 CP) / The Aegis (2 CP) — I grouped these together because they all either buff the GM-NDK’s ability to cast powers (Psychic Channeling) or deny enemy powers, which are both useful in certain situations, especially when you ABSOLUTELY have to either get a power off or make sure your opponent does not get his power off (don’t forget, you get +1 to casting and deny the witch naturally, thanks to the “Brotherhood of Psykers” rule, so combined with these stratagems you have a very solid chance of “winning the fight” in the psychic phase).

Finally, in addition to Psychic powers and Stratagems, GM-NDK can be chosen as your army WL and take one of the six new unique GK Warlord Traits. Of the WL Traits available, I think the best ones to use on a GM-NDK warlord are as follows:

[1] Hammer of Righteousness — When the WL charges, he adds +1 to Wound rolls in the Fight phase. If you don’t want to use Hammerhand on the GM-NDK  (i.e. to save it for use on other units that turn, or to let the GM-NDK take “Sanctuary” or “Gates of Infinity” as its other “non-Smite” power, then this can be a useful power to give him, though being limited to only after charging has some limitations.

[2] Lore Master –This allows the GM-NDK Warlord to know one more power from the Sanctic discipline, so basically it can now know Smite and two Sanctic powers. Given that it can cast two powers a turn, this WL Trait gives it the ability to use, say, “Gates of Infinity” and “Sanctuary,” or “Hammerhand” and “Sanctuary” together without outside help, which can be a great addition to your flexibility and combat power for the GM-NDK (if the GM-NDK  is running “solo” away from the rest of your army for some reason, then I think the value of this WL Trait goes up significantly).

[3] Nemesis Lord — Add +1 to the Damage characteristic of your GM-NDK warlord’s melee weapons. This can be a massive boost to your close combat abilities, with Dreadfists now having a damage of D3 +1, Greatswords having a damage of D6 +1, and the Daemon Greathammer having a damage of between 4 and 7. Of all these options, if you are running a GM-NDK with the Nemesis Daemon Greathammer, then I would serious consider this WL Trait, since a minimum damage of 4 (and max of 7) is VERY good and will allow your Warlord to cut through everything from Baneblades to Wraithknights and Imperial Knights with ease.

[4] First to the Fray — The GM-NDK and all friendly GK units within 6″ get to re-roll failed charges. Given Grey Knight’s proficiency in close combat and the importance of making charges throughout the course of an average game, this is probably the best overall WL Trait and one that most people will use on their GM-NDK, since it provides massive utility not only for your Warlord himself, but also for the units around him as well (using this in conjunction with the “Gates of Infinity” power to escape from combat, then immediately land 9.1″ away from another enemy and then shoot and charge back into combat that same turn will be a very effective use of this WL Trait, I think).

Finally, one thing more thing to remember about the GM-NDK is that it can benefit from certain buffs/support of other nearby characters, such as re-rolls of ALL to Hits if Draigo is nearby, increased Smite range from adjacent Brother-Captains, re-rolls of ALL to Hits in combat from a nearby Chaplain, etc. Perhaps one of the most significant “force-multipliers” for a GM-NDK is actually a Techmarine, since (somewhat surprisingly), all Dreadknights are now classified as vehicles in 8th edition, meaning that they can have D3 of their lost wounds automatically restored each turn by a GK Techmarine within 1″ of them.

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Overall, as many players have already figured out on their own looking through the new Codex, I think the Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight will be a very competitive, popular, and effective choice in 8th edition, especially when in conjunction with some of the buffs/enhancements discussed above… not only is the GM-NDK a very strong combatant in its own right, but it is a strong force-multiplier to the rest of your army as well, thereby making the entire Grey Knight battle group more effective than the sum of its parts, I think.

Codex Grey Knights: Some tactics out the gate (of infinity) with the boys in grey

As I said, there is so much new stuff with 8th edition, it has been hard for me to know where to start.

With the Grey Knights Codex about to be released, however, and the Knights of Titan being my first 40K army when I started the hobby, I am quite excited about the rumors for their book and thought I’d start here by talking about some potential tactical combinations they can use:

 

[1] “Smite Storm” Battle Group — Take Crowe, two 5 man Purifier squads, a Brotherhood Ancient (with the new Relic Banner), and Brother-Captain Stern and load the whole shooting match into a Land Raider Crusader (which is now MUCH more survivable than in past editions, with T8, 16W, and a 2+ save, meaning that it is very likely to get across the battlefield successfully and deliver all of its passengers, compared to the past where Grav and Melta could easily kill it in a single turn).

Turn 1, cast Gates of Infinity on the LRC and teleport it 9″ away from enemy lines (yes, believe it or not, the wording of Gates of Infinity means you can use it on vehicles… it only says “GK unit,” not “GK infantry”… hence, teleporting Land Raiders), then unleash up to 28 bolter shots (Hurricane Bolters plus SB upgrade) and 12 assault cannon shots (plus a MM if you took that upgrade), all firing at full BS, thanks to POTMS. Turn 2, disembark all the passengers 3″, then move them up another 5-6″, putting Purifiers/Crowe/Stern/BH Ancient all within at least 6” of the enemy(s) unit you want to “nuke” (i.e. say it is an enemy Imperial Knight or Guilliman or a Stormsurge or some other kind of very tough LOW unit).

In the Psychic Phase, Crowe and both Purifier squads can unleash their “Cleansing Flame” version of Smite (with a range of 6″, thanks to “doubling” effect of Stern’s Psychic Focus ability). Additionally, the BH Ancient can use his Relic Banner to cast his enhanced, D6 Mortal Wounds version of Smite as well, Brother-Captain Stern can cast “regular” (i.e. only one Mortal Wound for GKs, due to Rites of Banishment) Smite, Crowe can use his second power to cast Vortex of Doom, and Stern can use his second power to cast Purge Soul (using his Ld9 +1 from the Ancient’s Banner, for a total of Ld 10).

The new “Brotherhood of Psykers” rule gives all of these GK units +1 to their Psychic tests, meaning that for all the variations of Smite they only need to roll a 4, for Purge Soul Stern only needs a 4, and for Vortex of Doom Crowe only needs a 7, all of which are quite achievable with average rolling. Against opponents without any Psyker support (like Tau or Dark Eldar or pure Imperial Knights, plus lots of other armies these days, now that the Psychic phase is no longer so dominant and many armies run without any Psykers in their ranks), there is no way to reliably stop all of these GK powers if they are cast successfully.

What all this means is that, given that all these powers go off, they cause 4D6 +1 Mortals Wounds from all the different Smites/Cleansing Flames, another D3 Mortal Wounds from Vortex of Doom, and then potentially even more Mortal Wounds if Stern wins the Leadership test against the target with his Purge Soul. Using a Tau Stormsurge as an example (which has 20W at T7/3+/4++ with the mandatory Shield Generator and has Ld8), the combination of all of these powers going off in a single Psychic phase would strip an average of 17 Mortal Wounds, leaving it with 3W remaining and only able to shoot at BS6+. Throw in the 52 Storm Bolter shots from all of these GK models and you should be able to strip off those remaining three wounds with average rolling, thus leaving the five different GK units free to assault other elements of the Tau gun-line, if necessary (and this of course doesn’t count the shooting from the LRC either).

 

[2] “Fire Base” Land Raider — As in previous editions, it appears that one of the weaknesses of Grey Knights is their lack of long-range firepower, especially against high toughness Vehicles and Monsters. One possible way to mitigate this is to take a Void Shield Generator,  a GK Land Raider (standard pattern with four Lascannons, two HBs), and a GK Grand Master with the new Sanctuary and Astral Aim powers.

Hide the Land Raider and Grand Master behind the Void Shield Generator to block LOS from enemy shooting and then cast both Sanctuary and Astral Aim on the Land Raider… this gives the tank a 2+ Armor save and 4++ Invul save against any units that are able to gain LOS on it (or that are able to maneuver into LOS via Deep Striking, such as Tau Commanders, MT Scions, Drop Podding Sternguard with combi-Meltas, etc.) and then also allows the Land Raider to shoot at enemy units within range (48″ for Lascannons, 36″ for Heavy Bolters) without actually having to have LOS to them.

Finally, the Land Raider shooting also ignores any enemy Cover saves, thanks to Astral Aim, and gets to re-roll 1s to hit, due to the Grand Master’s Rites of Battle aura, making it more accurate/reliable (the Grand Master also provides some solid “counter-assault” capabilities, should enemy assault forces get too close to the Land Raider). Good enemy targets for this tactic likely include multi-wound, durable squads (like Tau Battle Suits, Primaris Infantry, Craftworld Wraith units, Drukhari Grotesques, Necron Destroyers, Space Marine Terminators, Mega Nobz, etc.) and light/medium vehicles, which the 4 Lascannon and 6 HB shots a turn can all do solid work against.

 

[3] Draigo/Stormraven “Dakkaboat” Tactics — Take Kaldor Draigo and a GK Stormraven with Twin Heavy Bolter, Twin Assault Cannon, two Hurricane Bolters, and two Stormstrike Missile Launchers. Turn 1, “dash” the Stormraven up to 45″ forward to get it within 12″ of the enemy battle line and then, at the end of the Movement Phase, Deep Strike Draigo in so that he is within 6″ of the Stormraven (and also so that the Stormraven is closer to the enemy units than he is, meaning they can’t shoot at him except with Sniper weapons).

Use Draigo to cast Sanctuary on the Stormraven (giving it a 3+/5++) and then, at the beginning of your shooting phase, use the new “Psybolt Ammo” Stratagem to power up the Stormraven’s shooting (‘i.e. all Bolters, Heavy Bolters, Storm Bolters, and Hurricane Bolters get +1S/-1 AP for the phase). This gives you a total of 24 x S5 AP-1 Hurricane Bolter shots, 12 x S6 AP-1 Assault Cannon Shots, 6 x S6 AP-2 Heavy Bolter shots, and 2 x S8 AP-3 D3 shots at an enemy unit/units within 12″.

Combined with POTMS (so no penalty to shooting Heavy Weapons because the Stormraven moved) and Draigo’s “Chapter Master” aura granting re-rolls to all to Hit, this gives the GK army the ability to put out some serious damage against massed infantry and even light vehicles. For example, against the current “conscript spam” found in many competitive AM lists, a Stormraven using this tactic would average about 20 unsaved wounds on a conscript blob. Add in Draigo’s Storm Bolter, Smite, and Vortex of Doom powers and you can realistically kill up to 26 conscripts in a single go … if Draigo then successfully charges the 4 remaining conscripts, he should easily wipe them out, thereby completely removing your opponent’s “bubble wrap” in a single turn and opening the way up for more GK units to Deep Strike/teleport in and get into assault with the rest of his army.

Alternately, if you apply this tactic to the following units, here is “average” casualties:

-30 Ork Boyz — 29 Unsaved Wounds

-20 Necron Warriors – 22 Unsaved Wounds

-6 Devastator Centurions – 12 Unsaved Wounds

-10 Craftworld Wraithguard – 16 Unsaved Wounds

-10 Primaris Intercessors — 18 Unsaved Wounds

As you can see, against a whole variety of infantry targets, this tactic can put out a very significant amount of damage and take a large chunk out of your opponent’s combat power in a single turn of Psychic abilities/shooting.

OK, well, enough for now, but I will continue to look at Grey Knight abilities and synergies, especially once the new book comes out later this week, and in the future we will see what other ways the “boys in grey” can win the day for the Emperor on the table-top.