Thursday, May 19, 2011

[Collaboration] Grey Knight Psychic Powers

Marcus here with some more thoughts on the codex de jour, Grey Knights, with both excellent and herbal commentary provided by David.  This time we will look at how the knights mess with your mind.

One of the big things that Grey Knights bring to the table is some psychic powers.  You get access to a lot of strong power but there are tactics in deciding which is best and when.  If you ever remember to roll for hammerhand that is.  I tend to untactically forget.  With that in mind, I thought a quick summary of the powers would be good.  But here, grouped by when you will be using it, and who will be carrying it.  And remember, you only get 1 power per turn for each level you are.  Better be sure which one to pick as all your squads and a lot of your characters are just level 1.

David: Agreed. The general rule in my mind is hammerhand against tough, single-wound models (Plague Marines for instance) , and use your force weapon against weaker, multi-wound guys (IC's and the like). Of course there are grey areas, but that's where you use stormbolters.

In your movement phase

The Librarian can bring Quicksilver and Summoning.  Quicksilver will help you in assault so you need to plan ahead and roll for it now.  Summoning will bring his friends over as a deep strike.  Remember though, if you used deep strike to arrive that was your movement so Summoning will have to wait for next turn.
David: Quicksilver when combined with something like Might of Titan or stacked Hammerhands is lethal, especially in a large squad of Falchions. I'd never use it on it's own though. The Summoning just adds so many options to the game it's awesome. It's not clear whether teleport homers or servo-skulls affect this brand of Deep-Strike, but even so it's an amazing power to have.

Quite a few of the HQ units can come with Psychic Communion. Just remember to roll for it before you make your reserve rolls.
David: If this can be used from reserve, this is so much better. But even so, it's so brilliant to take two guys with it, and have 2+ reserve rolls on Turn 2, especially with Deep-Striking Termy's, Paladins, Dreadknights...

Fortitude is what is going to annoy the crap out of your opponent as those rifle dreads sitting in the back field keep on firing.  But only if you remember now, in the movement phase, to see if they can get back in the game.
David: It also comes standard on all transports, Stormravens and Land Raiders. Yeah, you pay 5 points more than the average SM codex, but this power is easily worth 5 points to carry on as if nothing happened.

Warp Quake will see early game action.  If your Strike or Interceptor squads aren't going to be hitting things and your opponent has anything that they'd like to deep strike then this is a given.  Once the game is underway though other abilities will probably become more important.  The ability lasts a game turn so while you cast it in your turn it affects your opponents turn.
David: This power is only really useful against drop pod lists, Daemons (duh!), Deathwing Assault etc., but then it becomes practically essential as a first turn battlefield denial tactic (Grand Master give scout to Interceptors, Interceptors combat-squad, shunt in scout move and cast Warp Quake). It will mean that you won't get the charge off with a Strike Squad, but you should be able to with an Interceptor squad.

In your shooting phase
Now our Librarian is rolling with Warp Rift (Template attack. Initiative test or die.  Vehicles take a penetrating hit), Smite (12" Range Str 4 AP2 Assault 4) and Vortex of Doom (12" Range Str 10 AP1 Heavy 1 Blast).  Some warp rifty fun seems nice, particularly with the 'Or Die!!!!' part.
David: Just remember, Vortex of Doom, if it fails, is centered on the Librarian casting it. So, goodbye Libby. I'm also siding with the Warp Rift here, especially as it penetrates vehicles automatically. Deep-strike alongside a Rhino-wall, and watch 2 or 3 of them disappear! Smite is also good, but I just don't think it has the same multi-purpose utility.

If you are a Paladin pal and picked Draigo he has a bit of fun with Sanctified Flame (Template attack.  Str 5 AP- Assault 1) although its not that great, there are better things he can probably do.  Like shoot his stormbolter.
David: Draigo's psychic power is dissapointing. Yes, he wounds Daemons on 2+, but how often are you going to face daemons? Essentially it's a flamer with one higher strength, no AP and with a chance of gimping back on him. Hmph.

Oh and those Paladins have Holocaust (12" Range, Str 5 AP- Assault 1 Large Blast) to out perform their bosses template version.  Paladins are only level 1 psychers though and this means no hammerhand or instant death weapons this player turn.
David: It's nice, but quite honestly you'll want to save it for the Hammerhand or Force weapons. In combat is where they belong.

Another meaty attack is brought by the Inquisitorial Henchmen Psykers.  Well, meaty if you brought 8 of them.  Then their Psychic Barrage makes Vindicators feel inadequate ( 36" range, Str 10, AP1 Assault 1 Large Blast.  IF you have 8 of them).  Only sad part is watching them all melt when you roll a double 6.
David: 70 points for a blast like that? It's OK, but that Perils will kill the entire unit. I'd just say OK and walk away.
Lastly, the Purgation squad have Astral Aim so Line-of-Sight is not required, but targets do gain 4+ cover.  Not bad to have as they are unlikely to be wanting to assault after they use it.
David: Only really useful for Psycannons at extreme range, or Incinerators firing through a wall (especially since flames ignore cover... :D)

In your assault phase
The Librarian is kept busy with Might of Titan granting a unit within 6" +1 Strength and +D6 vehicle penetration.  The key thing here being that unlike hammer hand you can't use this one on your opponents turn.
David: Might of Titan is the best one here, in my own not-so-humble opinion. This gives anti-transport punch to the likes of halberds and falchions, and makes Daemonhammers a real menace.

A couple of characters also have assault phase powers.  Stern has Zone of Banishment where all models within 6" take Str test or die.  Hopefully we can get an FAQ on how that affects vehicles.
David: I was disappointed by Sterns profile. This power will likely hurt you as much as the enemy. You could choose to run him as a deep-striking suicide unit, but really? That many points for that usage?
Lastly Crowe and the Brotherhood Champion have Heroic Sacrifice.  A nice ability but remember you'll have to not use anything else if you ever want to opportunity to use it as both these guys are level 1 only.  Heroic sacrifice is the very fluffy when character is killed, make an attack against any model in base-to-base.  If the attack hits it dies, no saves of any kind allowed.
David: Interestingly, it doesn't specify that it has to be the model that killed him. So, you could park him in base-contact with a Land-Raider and when the guys inside come out and stomp him, he takes the Land Raider with him! Well... maybe. That's the only real use I can find for it as any smart player will swamp him in cheap-o models.

In either assault phase
The Librarian and Dreadknight  get to use Dark Excommunication.  Ohh, scary.  A target in base-to-base loses Daemonic Gifts.  Well sign me up, this will get used all the damn time./Sarcasm
David: How many Daemon players do you know in YOUR area?

Everyone that matters has Hammerhand and with it they have +1 strength and will be handing out 16% more wounds.  This is the ability that is going to get the most use and is very useful so try not to forget it as much as I do.
David: Remember that EVERY SINGLE GREY KNIGHT SQUAD HAS THIS POWER. This will be useful against particularly Marine equivalents, but really, no-one is safe... no-one... *creepy music* O.o
And everyone is also packing Nemesis Force Weapons.   Turn it on, hand out enough wounds to make the opponent allocate one to his power klaw nob.  Giggle with glee.
David: Exceedingly useful against wound allocation trickery Nob Squads, Tyranid Warriors etc.
Purifiers and all their eliteness bring the Cleansing Flame.  All enemies in combat take a wound on a 4+ with armor saves allowed,  before combat even starts (although what you kill does count for combat resolution).  If you are up against 5 space marines, probably want to avoid this.  Against hoards though, watch as half the ork mob vanishes.  Pity you won't then be able to instant death the power klaw nob.
David: Watch as half the mob disappears! This is definitely the choice against large swarm armies like Tyranids or Orks.

In your opponents shooting phase
The Librarian gets to whip out his Shrouding.  Units within 6" get stealth or a 6+ cover save if they are in the open.
David: Hello, Vindicare Assas... oh wait, he already has Stealth. Hmm, I don't see much utility in this, unless you intend to play a gunline style army. I'm not, so I haven't looked that hard. Still, if it's out in the open, it's a 1 in 6 chance of surviving ANYTHING.

In your opponents assault phase
And lastly, the Librarian has Sanctuary.  Enemy units assaulting within 12" count as being in difficult and dangerous terrain.  So they get a D6" assault range and then have to roll D6 for each unit and put a wound on any that roll a 1.  That could be 5 of those Orks gone before they even have the Purifiers use cleansing flame to take out another 8 or 9.  Mwa ha ha haaa.
David: Originally I didn't see much purpose in this, but now It's a pretty good charge denier. The enemy may not reach you, and still take casualties. Then you charge him with the aforementioned Purifiers and cause even MORE casualties! Yay!

And before you throw psychic powers around all willy nilly.  Remember, 1 in 18 chance of perils of the warp.  While the librarian may be able to survive a bit worse for wear (hey, his invulnerable save may even protect him) it will be fatal for a lot of the troops out there.
David: The best way to avoid these is with either a Nemesis Force Sword, or a Warding Stave, and stick the dude in close combat (best with expensive models that use lots of powers, like the Librarian). Alternatively, keep the model as cheap as possible (I'm looking at you, Justicars).

Hope this helped.  Now just remember when you need to roll.  Quicksilver is no use unless you remember when to take the test.

Marcus and David.


  1. Nice read, good look at GK powers. I find I almost need a cheat sheet, otherwise I forget some or don't remember certain combos.

    Honestly, GK's feel like I'm playing WarmaHordes. That's probably heresy O.o

  2. Funny you should say that. I was thinking tokens for unused powers may be a good idea.