Monday, May 9, 2011

[Collaboration] Codex: Grey Knights Review: Elites - Part 1

The Grey Knight Elites was another section we decided to break in two because of the range of choices provided. This part of the review will cover the Assassins and Inquisitorial Henchmen.  You have a huge range of options here as well as a lot of low cost choices that will help to fill in gaps in your lists.  Like the HQ and Heavy sections, Elites are going to fill out fast for Grey Knights.

There are a couple of limitations.  For one, Assassins are all unique.  So while you can have more than one type, you can only ever have one of any given type.  For henchmen, you only get to pick a henchmen unit if you have an inquisitor in an HQ slot.  With most inquisitors, henchmen come as elites but don't take up slots (its more that they aren't scoring).  With Inquisitor Coteaz, henchmen come as troops and are limited by the FOC instead of the number of inquisitors.

All 4 choices have the exact same stat line, and a phenomenal stat line it is.  The only weak spot is the 4 toughness and 4++ save means you’ll probably be seeing a few of these lost to instant death.  They don’t have a normal save so whenever they take a hit you stand a 50/50 chance of losing a wound.  While they do have feel no pain it is only on a 6 so it will be a nice, occasional bonus rather than something to rely on.  All are Fearless, Fleet, and have Move Through Cover so they’ll be getting around the battlefield quickly.  What differentiates them is their special abilities so I’ll break out the review to cover each.

The Callidus
Is a top choice.  A scatterless deep strike that lands you within 3 inches of an enemy unit.  That unit takes D6 Str 4 AP 2 hits, and then you’ll be shooting them with a Str 8 (vs Leadership) AP1 template.  If you do well enough to cause a leadership check you’ll hopefully be chasing the unit off the table.  The C’tan phase sword is a great weapon as well, handing out Instant Death regardless of toughness.  Dropping near enough to something you can use it on could be risky though as you arrive by deep strike and so won’t be able to assault on the first turn.

The Culexus
Sounds fun but will be very hard to position to make good use of.  They’ll likely survive shooting as you have to pass leadership on 3D6 to target them.  Their main attack is boosted by the presence of psykers.  It’s pistol attack, Strength 5, AP1, Assault 2+the number of psykers in the area.  Before you get excited though, grey knight squads count as a single psyker.  It’ll only get good if you have a chimera full of henchmen psykers next to you.   Personally I have another issue with the Culexus.  Boy, that has to be the dumbest looking model ever.

The Eversor
Is the close combat machine.  If you get the charge with this guy, and you have a 13”-18” threat range, you are looking at 4+D6 WS 8 Str 5 I 8 lightning claw attacks.  As a bonus, his pistol will take someone down before the fight even starts, being an AP2 poisoned weapon that wounds on a 2+.  No special defenses with this guy so you’ll need to be careful moving him in and make good use of cover.

The Vindicare
With a sniper pistol and heavy sniper rifle.  He has a choice of ammo and the choices are all great.  Hellfire for wound on a 2+, Turbo-Penetrator for 2 wounds or 4D6 vehicle penetration (If it's also rending Str 3 as the sniper rule states is up for debate), or Shield Breaker which removes wargear based invulnerable saves for the rest of the game.  This last one is huge when fighting some of the  HQ units that are dependent on their saves.  And being such a good sniper, the Vindicare gets to nominate targets in a squad.  Bye bye Ork Nobs and power fists.  Of course the vindicare will get eaten by mobs, but if you can position him well should easily make his points back.

Of the four assassins, 3 are really strong choices.  Only the Culexus doesn't look easy to use out the box.  These can drop nicely into a Knight army, great for keeping your opponent on their toes.

Martin: Assassins... where to begin? The vicious Eversor, the deadly Callidus, the lethal Vindicare... I'd be tempted to put together an "Assassins" List, and run all three!

Personally, I reckon you can't beat a Callidus. D6 S4 AP2, followed by a S8 AP1 Flamer Template? Yes. Please. From there, it's a win-win situation. If they dakka away at the Callidus... you win, because she's successfully screwed a unit, at the same time grabbing the attention, making life easier for the rest of your army. If they ignore the Callidus... then you get to throw out another S8 AP1 Template, and then assault with the C'tan Phase Sword, at I8.

More to the point, there's a real 'intimidation' element to any Assassin. Your opponent is almost forced to consider playing a little more defensively, knowing that you're about to set a Vindicare on their case, or let an Eversor loose in their ranks.
Henchmen will fit into your army pretty easily once you've chosen you Inquisitor. The henchmen are great for filling in gaps and can run you as little as 12 points for a potentially scoring unit.  Additionally, they can take dedicated transports so, if you want to mech up, can provide a few chimeras to for the core of your tank line.  
Arco Flagellant
Only I 3, but WS 5 and Str 5 with A 4 so it'll eat through a decent chunk of your opponents.  No save, but it does have feel no pain.  Not a bad combat option, but there are two more useful choices for the same cost. 

 A weak option, the only positive being the ability to bring an eviscerator.  30 points with that option and a weak stat line though.  Definitely a choice to avoid.  Pity as they have some nice models.

This is going to be a popular choice.  Limited stat line only helped by the WS 4.  But, brings a power weapon and most importantly a Storm Shield for some 3++ love.  These guys will be used for one reason, to eat wounds.

Daemon Host - An average choice with a bit of unpredictability from its random effect each turn.  Only 10 though points so putting one in for entertainment value may happen.  Not ever something to rely on though.

Death Cult Assassin
Another good choice with her WS 5 I 6 and 3 power weapon attacks.  Only a 5++ save so she won't last long but that is why they'll be hanging out near some Crusaders.  Throw an Inquisitor into the squad, dish out some hammerhand and those attacks just became S 5 too.  A decent size squad of Death Cult Assassins and Crusaders would also be a good reason to put a Land Raider in your heavy slots.  Something like this in an assault transport could really hurt.

Inquisitorial Servitor
10 points and free multimelta option.  These things will be dime a dozen on battlefields with Inquisitor HQs.  There are other options but with a free multimelta nobody will ever take them.  Instead you'll end up with a bunch of these firing out the top hatch of a chimera.  They do have mindlock, the normal servitor limit, so you'll need to keep the inquisitor close by.

Jokaero Weaponsmith
It's Donkey Kong time!  Another unit everyone should have one of just because they exist.  Weak stat line but the only ones that matter are BS 3 and a 5++ save.  Otherwise it's nice to know there is something that grots could take in close combat.  What you pay your 35 points for is that it comes with a lascannon, multi melta and a heavy flamer.  It also has the ability to make other weapons in the unit better.  Including things like 12" extra range or better armor.  Put him with some power armor acolytes and watch as with a lucky couple of rolls they all gain a 2+/5++ save.

I don't know why anyone would spend 10 points on a mystic when they could get 3 skull probes for 9 points that have the same function and others beyond.  I guess you can drive the mystic around a bit and then have their help deep strike in next to them.

A useful unit if you take 7 of them.  With 7 you have an oh so sweet 36" range Str 10 AP1 Large Blast.  Not bad for 70 points.  Just remember, Perils of the Warp takes out the whole squad.  Throw an acolyte with them so that doesn't also mean you give up a kill point when the squad explodes.

Warrior Acolyte
And last but not least the acolytes.  People complained about losing the option for inquisitorial Storm Troopers.  Well fine, you can make them here.  They lost a point of BS, gain a point of leadership.  More importantly, equipped the same as IG stormtroopers (carapace and hotshots) they cost about 1/3 less.  You can get pretty stupid with the upgrades.  Should I take an acolyte with power sword and storm shield for 39 points?  Oh wait, I can just take a crusader for 15 and he's got better stats.  Give them a power fist, power armor, and storm shield and your acolytes cost as much as a paladin.

Martin: Henchmen are... a mixed bag.

Servitors are damn good, opening the door to all the Melta and Plasma you want and need. The issue - and it's a big'un - is Mindlock. The Servitors - being mindless automatons - need a 4+ every game turn, to continue functioning. I'd run them as 4 Servitors and a Jokearo - for the boons - in a Chimera. Your choice of weaponry; depends what you're lacking. In all likelihood, Melta.

Warrior Acolytes make nice bubble wrap for your Dakkaknight - that is, your Dreadknight with a Heavy Psycannon and Heavy Incinerator (Marcus: With the incinerator I'm calling mine the Burninator) . Just walk them up around its feet, and, bam! Nothing can get into assault without first taking a turn to swat the Acolytes. "Warrior Acolytes - keeping your Dreadknights shooting since 942.M41!" Alternatively, swap 2 Servitors from the above unit for Warrior Acolytes with Meltaguns. Means that *something* can keep shooting, and with the boons from the Jokearo - +12" range comes promptly to mind - they're not at all bad.

On the other end of the spectrum, a mixture of Death Cult Assassins, Crusaders, and Banishers with Eviscerators - for me, it's always in a 3:2:1 ratio, or as close as possible - in a Chimera, or a Land Raider if you happen to have the points, makes for a fantastic killy unit. Throw in a Inquisitor with Rad Grenades (and Hammerhand) and you're looking at a proper death star.

Next up, Part 2 of the Elite choices. If its got Power Armor, its in!

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