Saturday, April 16, 2011

[Collaboration] Codex: Grey Knights Review: HQ, Part One

Welcome to a new series, brought to you by Marcus, and myself, Martin. Combined brainpower for the win!
Don't let Obama here tell ya' any different...
Over the next month or so, we'll be taking you through Codex: Grey Knights, with an in-depth look at every entry. No matter whether you're one of many enthusiastic new Grey Knights novices, or anxious about facing off against the Heralds of Titan in a tournament; we hope these article are 'the droids you're looking for...'

To start the ball rolling, without further yapping, let's look at HQs. We decided that the book's massive 14 HQs was simply too many to pack into a single post, so we're splitting them into proper 'Grey Knights', and 'Ordos Inquisitors'. Today, I'm tackling the Grey Knights, and shortly, Marcus will take care of the Ordos Inquisitors.

Named Grey Knights HQs

Lord Kaldor Draigo

Martin: Make way, make way! Matt Ward's badass, warp-wandering, daemon-smacking, Terminator-armoured rendition of Schwarzenegger has entered the building.

Kaldor Draigo unlocks Paladins as Troops, allowing you to build a suitably mean looking Draigowing List. I should know; I did. Testing it was a bomb. They're just so tough!  Not only are Paladins troops, he has Grand Strategy so some could also scout, get counter attack, or reroll wounds.

With a meaty statline - WS7, S5, T5, W4, 2+/3++ - Draigo is *almost* as much of a monster as Ward thinks he is. He's also Fearless, and an Eternal Character.

He's geared, as you might expect, towards Daemons; the Titansword causes ID leadership tests on them, and his Sanctified Flame power wounds them on 2+. The Titansword also hits psykers at S10.  As if he wasn't nasty enough already!

Marcus: I think Draigo will bring two things to the game.  A big smile on the face of your opponent when they kill him, and the ability to field a 1750 point army for under $200 by just using paladins.  Otherwise, he really is a classic example of the Matt Ward point sink.

Grand Master Mordrak 

Martin: Mordrak is a toned-down version of Draigo. Don't be too quick to write him off; if you're not fielding Paladins, then perhaps he has as much worth - if not more - as Draigo himself!

The points difference could bag you a tooled Inquisitor, with Power Armour, Probes, a Daemon Blade, and Psychotroke 'Nades; a proper boost to any hitty unit.

He also has his Ghost Knights, and the First to the Fray special rule. It means that he, and any unit he has joined, can arrive automatically by Deep Strike on T1, without any scatter. This is a major bonus to a Deep Striking army. To that end, I'd be very tempted to join him up with a Terminator Squad led by Justicar Anval Thawn; a neat, named Justicar to lead them for an additional 75 points. More on him later. I'd also chuck an Incinerator in for good measure; being sure it won't scatter means you can line it up perfectly, to catch a bunch of guys, and then roast them!

However, all in all... I'm not sure about him. Part of me thinks that if you're not taking Draigo, by the time you've downgraded to Mordrak, you may as well go generic, with Nemesis Falchions and Psychotroke Grenades. However, First to the Fray swings the pendulum the other way; he'd be real neat to have in any Terminator/Paladin List.

Marcus: The Ghost Knights thing seems a little odd. For one, no eternal warrior so if something S8+ hits him you'll only get one as he'll always bring in a Ghost Knight the turn he dies. Taking more than one and you risk them not all showing up. Better off just buying extra terminators. Mordrak is another one with Grand Strategy for those after a bit of Dreadknight shunt punch.

Brother-Captain Stern 

Martin: Not impressed with Stern. He's, quite straightforwardly, a weaker alternative to Mordrak. Strands of Fate is mediocre, and Zone of Banishment will screw anything you happen to have nearby; makes Stern either a lone wolf, or a waste of points.

Furthermore, having him run across the table as a lone wolf... is a waste of points. He's not a hard KP for the enemy to pick off, as he meanders across the table, waste-of-space Mordrak impersonator that he is. "But, but, but, have him deep strike and then Zone of Banishment!" you say? For 200 points? No chance. That won't even... wait a minute. What happens if he attempts to banish something with no strength? Say, a Chimera? Since it can't roll under its strength, is it automatically taken out of play? Marcus?

Marcus: I consulted The Collective and the thought is you can't fail a test you can't take and vehicles can't take strength tests.  Personally I think it would be better to have a vehicles fail on a 6 thing, but basically they auto pass until it shows up in and FAQ ruling.

Castellan Crowe

Martin: The head Purifier... he's basically a tax on having Purifiers as troops. He's not an independent character, so you can't have him lead his Purifier cronies - we suspect this is because of his sword, which we'll get to in a moment - nor can he take a transport.

Well, not without some serious fiddling. You could, in theory, buy an Inquisitor and 3 Warrior Acolytes, and then buy them a Razorback. T1, the Acolytes pop out of their Razorback, and Crowe hops in. This gives him some hope of getting forward and into combat. However, in the process, you concede 2 easy KPs; the Inquisitor and the Acolytes who are now standing around...

Why, oh why, isn't the Blade of Antwyr a Daemon Blade? If you haven't read the rules for the Daemon Blade, go do so. Now. It has 2 random boons, chosen on a table of 2D6, which are generated before deployment. These boons... Poisoned 2+, +3S, +3A... the best is undoubtedly Vampyre. In the same way Giga Drain rocks in Pokemon... whenever Crowe deals an unsaved wound, he immediately gains a wound himself, to a maximum of... wait for it... 10! Can you imagine? 10-wound Crowe? He can also pick up FNP and Eternal Warrior. Imagine, 10-wound, FNP, Eternal Warrior Crowe!

But no. It's a CCW. It's "too dangerous!" for its possession to be harnessed... Crowe, you pussy!

I have nothing more to say. ... too... disgusted...

*I may look into house-ruling this for friendlies at the local club. I don't think anyone will object. Not if I add a few points to him.

Marcus: The Blade of Aunty Weird is a liability at best. A unit attacking you gets furious charge and re-rolls to hit.  Goddamn. No wonder you don't want to put this guy with a unit. I think people should suck it up, accept Purifiers are elites, and leave this guy way the hell alone.

Generic Grey Knights HQs 

Grey Knight Grand Master

Martin: Respectable choice; the best of the generic HQs. Makes me sad that he can't take a Daemon Blade - yah, I'm a fanboy - but he does have access to all the usual Terminator goodies. He also has Grand Strategy, again very handy for boosting your scoring units - scoring Psyflemans come to mind, but more on them in a future post - or for dishing out Scout to people - here, Dreadknights come to mind, but again, that's another story.

He has access to all the neat grenades - he comes with Psyk-outs, and can buy Rads and Psychotrokes for 15pts respectively. Personally, I'd never leave home without Psychotrokes; all the boons are pretty huge in combat. Some are practically an auto-win button for the combat in question.

The Grand Master is best paired up with some friends, in the form of a Paladin or Terminator Squad; he can drop in with them, and then start ripping things up. The squad benefit as much from the GM's Psychotrokes as the Master himself, so they're a great combination for taking out tougher units; Ork Nobz, Deldar Incubi... you name it, when they're hit with Psychotrokes, they're much less scary!

Marcus: Draigo, but 100 points cheaper and with better grenades and options. Pretty strong choice that I think will get a lot of use. Plus, Grand Strategy has the possibility of unlocking scoring troops the same way Draigo would have anyway.

Oh and one slight aside. Page 22 of the codex, do Grand Masters have some disease that makes their head that small? 

Brother Captain

Martin: He's a Grand Master... without Grand Strategy. End of.

Marcus: Interesting they did that.  It's almost like making Grand Strategy a 25 point option.

Brotherhood Champion

Martin: The generic version of Crowe. His Perfect Warrior special rule lets him adopt a 'battle stance', all named in a very 'Final Fantasy' fashion; Sword Storm, Blade Shield, and Rapier Strike. All are pretty neat. Furthermore, he and his squad re-roll to hit when they charge.

The drawback, however, is the very limited wargear available to him. He's stuck with his Anointed Sword - a Force Sword which re-rolls to wound - and Storm Bolter. He has access to Digital Weapons, but this is a fail on GW's part; he already re-rolls! So they do nothing. Brain Mines are so-so for the points, and Psybolt Ammunition is a waste on a single model.

Unlike Crowe, he's an independent character - *glares at Crowe* - so the best use for him, IMO, is to bundle him into a Rhino with 9 Purifiers, with Halberds. He adds a little killy power, but he gives the squad re-rolls to hit, which is a pretty handy boon.

Marcus: Makes you wonder what their testing was that they missed the digital weapons thing.  Like you said, this guy includes a lot of points for so-so upgrades. Plus, 100 points for a 1W model. Probably won't see him out too much.


Martin: Grey Knights also have access to the trusty Librarian. However, they come in Termiantor Armour only, and with Mastery Level 2 - the equivalent of a Terminator Epistolary from Codex: Space Marines. The options are good; all of the Terminator wargear is available to him. Warding Stave might be the best option here. Failing that, a Falchion-wielding Ninja-Librarian would suffice.

Obviously, the key here is his access to a number of Psychic Powers, which we'll take a look through now. He can take any/all of these for 5 points a piece, but bear in mind he can only use 2/3 per turn, depending on whether you see fit to shell out 50 points to up him to Mastery Level 3.

Marcus: A really solid unit. Lots of utility and lots of ways to support. I think we'll be seeing these introducing their enemies to the Dewey Decimal system. I've got the old GK Librarian mini so it'll be showing up when I first roll out some Grey Knights.

Psychic Powers

Hammer Hand: Common power which bestows +1S. Unfortunately, multiple casts don't stack; you can't have Draigo, your Librarian, and your Paladins cast it, and end up with a S7 unit! Thus, it's a bit of a waste on a Librarian.

Dark Excommunication: Disables Daemonic Gifts. Which is fine... if your opponent has any.

Might of Titan: It's Hammerhand, only it does stack with any other Hammerhand. *This* is what you want to take on your Librarian, for sure. Potential for S6 Paladins here! They also roll 2D6 for armour penetration. Smack! There goes your Land Raider. This is why I intend to run a Librarian in my Draigowing at 2,000 points; boy, is MoT schmexy.

Quicksilver: He and his unit go to I10.

Sanctuary: Makes it difficult for enemies to assault. Anything attempting to assault your guys, so long as they are within 12", treat open terrain as difficult and dangerous for the duration of the phase. Handy; means you can snag the charge the following turn, and get the bonus attacks for it.

The Shrouding: Bestows Stealth to any friendlies within 6". Kinda handy, if you're holding an objective in cover, perhaps. Note that, if not in cover, they get a 6++. Meh.

Smite: Mediocre shooting attack.

The Summoning: Pulls a friendly unit through the warp, towards you. Very neat. The unit can be anywhere on the table, and it's simply lifted, and deep struck within 6" of the Librarian.

Vortex of Doom: S10 AP1 Large Blast. If you manage to fail, he gets it right on his head. And it doesn't scatter. Doom indeed. This is even worse if he's attached to a unit. I.e. my Paladins. For that reason, I'd never risk it, unless he was on his own.

Warp Rift: Flamer template, whereby enemies have to roll under their Initiative, or get... rifted.

Thats all for now folks, be sure to check back in the next day or 2 for part 2!


  1. Crowe is as close as it comes to 40k porn. That model is so damn sexy.

  2. wow. I was on the fence about these. I still have a bunch of older models, but now I am definetely going to add some more HQ choices.

    And two opinions on each model helped me to eliminate the opinion only content filter I have

  3. I feel the need to point out that Mordrak is not an IC, so he can't join squads. Mordrak is a single model unit, that other ICs cannot join, just like Mephiston (and Crowe).

    However, with even a single Ghost Knight, he becomes an upgrade character, meaning he can't be picked out (which is doubly good as once he dies, so do the other Ghost Knights).

    This also means that he (and his ghostly friends) can now be joined by ICs. So, if you want to, say, have a first turn no scatter Librarian come in and Summoning/Teleport Homer other DSing guys into place, you need at least one bought Ghost Knight.

    A cool concept, overall. I just wish his Ghost Knights could take Incinerators or Psycannons...