Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Decisions, Decisions... (Thoughts on Grey Knights)

Well, when you are broke like me it takes a while to gather together model resources to build an army. Thankfully, when that army is a space mareen army it's really a matter of "gather rhino hulls, figure out list later." Heh.

So I have been working in that direction for some time now, and am up to five Rhino/Razorbacks and 2 Dreadnoughts. And of course assloads of Chaos Space Marines, Dark Angel Robed Veterans, Space Wolves, and various and sundry other crappola.

Oh, that reminds me, I need to send SinSynn his BRAND NEW PIRANHA!!!

Anyways, so I've well on my way to having a playable force. The question now is, what codex, what list, what fluff/theme/hobbying direction.

Well, I've talked it through with my clostest 40k confidante, (hur) and decided I'm going to go with Grey Knights.

Why fight it?

The internets have me.

Anyways, if I'm going to go with Grey Knights as a codex, I think I will just continue down the path of the Guardians of the Covenant, which are very Grey Knight-esque and plus they look hawt. And I have a bunch of the models painted already and looking good. So good stuff all around. Plus Chappy says they look good, so I'll go with it. I really would like to do a Chaos army at some point, but I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope that Chaos gets updated for 6th.

So now that we have narrowed in to a specific codex and a specific theme/hobby/paint scheme, let's talk lists.

Like I said, I've been working towards 6 Rhino hulls, which is a great start. I also have two Psyfleman Dreadnoughts already built and mostly painted. So really, I've got a lot of useful progress towards transforming this from a "fun" army to a "fun kicking your ass" army.

So, Mike Brandt has done a brilliant of defining what exactly constitutes the "go to" competitive core for a Grey Knights army. You can read his analysis here. To repeat, Mike states that the following forms a competitive "core" for any Grey Knight army:

6 units of 5 Acolytes with Stormbolters, Razorbacks with Psybolt Ammo
3 Dreadnoughts with TL Autocannons and Psybolt Ammo.

You get your mandatory HQ (and a pretty useful one at that), you get 6 scoring units which put out decent anti-light vehicle and quite respectable anti-infantry, and you get 9 vehicles. That's not a bad start at all.

Now, that's only 1015 points.

The main thrust of Mike's article, and what I really like about this basic setup, is that where you go from here is really up in the air. You have all of your bases covered here (with the possible exception of anti-heavy armor). You have scoring. You have vehicle saturation. You have long-ranged anti-tank. You have anti-infantry. Since your basics are covered, you can kind of do... whatever the hell you want. And you have the points to actually do pretty much whatever the hell you want. That means that rather than Grey Knight armies being uncreative and unfluffy, you can stick in some pretty whacky stuff into that second 1000 points and have an army that's both interesting and effective.

Horse dead yet? Beaten sufficiently?

Ok, so what do *I* personally find intriguing about Grey Knights? Well, frankly I think the thoughtof Stormravens zooming around with 3++ cover saves to be pretty spectacular. Lol. I also find psycannons in general to be fairly appealing (I model them as Assault Cannons, which I find to be visually spectacular but in-game ineffective without being Strength 7). 

So I need a Librarian with Shrouding, and I need a couple of Stormravens. Keep them cheap, relying on Fortitude to keep them moving (yeah, risky, but not worth 30 points for what is a largely redundant ability), and give them TL Multimeltas and TL Plasmacannons (not 100% sold on the Plasma, but think that with them being twin-linked it might be helpful. Plus if I'm just trying to do as many wounds as possible I like the idea of flying 12" and popping off 5 small blasts at one infantry target and a twin linked Multimelta at another (defensive weapons ftw?).

Ok, so what to put in my Storm-Ravens-O-Doom? Well, my troops slots are full, and I've used up my Heavies and two of my Fast Attack choices. So I could take a unit of Interceptors and combat squad them into the Stormravens, but I don't think they really bring what I need to the army. Namely, I need something that can hang out in midfield, hold its own in close combat, lend some decent shooting pressure and have some resilience. I think I need to look to my Elites slots to fill this role for me.

Now, I have two options which are both pretty tempting. Purifiers and Paladins.

Purifiers are going to be more resilient vs. heavy weapons (remember I have a Librarian with the Shrouding cruising around nearby), but less resilient versus small arms fire. 10 man squads of Purifiers pack the same number of Psycannon shots when moving, but twice as many if stationary. Purifiers have NO protection against power weapons in close combat, but do have a nice "wound you before you do jack" power and cheap halberds in larger quantities (and just plain more attacks in general).

Now, to fit in two 10 man Purifier squads or 2 five man Paladin squads with the gear they need, I need to cut some points somewhere. Cutting two troops is a no-go. Cutting a Dreadnought seems reasonable given that we are adding in a bunch of Psycannon shots and some firepower from the Stormravens (as well as two more vehicle targets).

So the big question is which choice does more for the army overall? I'm tempted to say the Paladins, even though they are more expensive. They are really, really resilient versus small arms fire, which is actually a good thing. They are vulnerable to S8 plus firepower, which again, is a blessing in disguise. I can use my Librarian to ensure that the Paladins have 3++ cover saves, and suck up oodles of anti-tank firepower while the rest of my army trundles around in their metal boxes relatively unmolested.

But I'm open to being convinced that having 20 Veterans with Halberds and Hammers (as well as 3+ cover saves) in midfield is superior.

SO that's what I've been pondering. Purifiers? Paladins? Or some other solution I have yet to see?

I'm also working on some ideas for how to appropriately represent the Acolytes. Depending upon points restrictions they may have Stormbolters or just Bolters. Final list will develop during testing.

At the end of the day, however, 10 vehicles, good firepower, plenty of scoring and some decent combat elements make this list, I think, pretty solid as a general concept. Here's one way that it might come together:

Librarian, Shrouding, Might of Titan, Warp Rift, Servoskull

Purifiers x 10, Psycannon x 4, Halberds x 4, Daemonhammer x 2
Purifiers x 10, Psycannon x 4, Halberds x 4, Daemonhammer x 2

Acolytes x 5, Bolters x 5, Razorback, Psybolt Ammo
Acolytes x 5, Bolters x 5, Razorback, Psybolt Ammo
Acolytes x 5, Bolters x 5, Razorback, Psybolt Ammo
Acolytes x 5, Bolters x 5, Razorback, Psybolt Ammo
Acolytes x 5, Bolters x 5, Razorback, Psybolt Ammo
Acolytes x 5, Bolters x 5, Razorback, Psybolt Ammo

Stormraven, TL Plasma cannon, TL Multimelta
Stormraven, TL Plasma cannon, TL Multimelta

Dreadnought, TL Autocannons x 2, Psybolt Ammo
Dreadnought, TL Autocannons x 2, Psybolt Ammo

Still a rough draft, but enough to get the brain juices flowing.

Thoughts welcome.