-Spartan Battle Manual
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Tonight we're going to look at paladins first their strengths and then we will try to pervert common wisdom to understand how to exploit how some paladin armies their strengths and point out how those strengths could be better exploited. I know some of you may think that people who play paladin armies or whatever 'cheese' army is standing tall don't need any help in improving their play, but increasing the skill level of players in a community could lead to a more amiable community by making games less lopsided.
So, let's begin with the basics of what paladins are: they are two wound models in terminator armor with the generic marine veteran stat line, except that they are weapon skill five. Paladins are available from one to ten models per squad and have many of the standard grey knight special rules including And They Shall Know No Fear (ATSKNF) and Combat Squads. As far as wargear goes, they have access to all of the nemesis force weapons (nfws) and the three grey knight special weapons (i.e. psilencer, psycannon, incinerator) as well as items like psybolts, the brotherhood banner and one may be an apothecary. Paladins have access to two special weapons per five models in the squad, like purifiers, but must have the full increment of five models to access those weapons. Now we have begun to know our enemy in theory.
Knowing your enemy in practice means understanding how those rules lead to how the unit is constructed and played. Probably the most influential part of paladins is their second wound, as it gives each model more durability and it invokes the Instant Death rules and wound allocation rules. The relatively high per model price of paladins makes grey knight players want to keep them alive as long as possible, and the wound allocation system in fifth edition allows the grey knight player to do so through precise wargear application. The only way a paladin player can ensure that each model is uniquely equipped is by mixing the nfws each carries. Used properly, this means that a paladin unit should have twenty wounds protected by terminator armor and the Feel No Pain USR, without the ability for unsaved wounds to roll over to other models, which is made more frustrating when their fearless leader Draigo is attached to one squad and a librarian to the other.
The support powers of the librarian and apothecary mean that when the paladins stay near each other they can have the benefits of Stealth and Feel No Pain, but lose these if they move too far away from the librarian or combat squad and are not in the combat squad with the apothecary. So we can expect that the smart player will do neither of these, so we can expect for the army to stay close together and as any paladin squads will not combat squad. This allows potentially all models in the army to benefit from the librarian's shrouding and all ten paladins to benefit from the apothecary's feel no pain rule.
There is no doubt that the paladins are a very strong unit choice, made more so when Drago is present and they are a troop unit. Common wisdom would lead one to believe they could make the strongest possible army by bringing only the strongest units, but this leaves us as paladin-opponents, opportunities to exploit. Next article, we will try to mark ourselves as a great conspiracy and examine how to exploit those opportunities.
"Perverting common wisdom, Nephew, is a mark of all great conspiracies. "
-Baron Vladimir Harkonnen