Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Let's Be Friends! - Grey Knights

Ah the Grey Knights, the scourge of that final year of 5th edition. The fluff was atrocious, the rules felt overbearing, and the army was monetarily cheap to boot. But then 6th edition came in and changed all that. Suddenly, the shoebox army wasn't feasible. And thus, did the most hateful and suspicious of the Imperium decide that having friends might not be a bad idea. In fact, they decided it was such a good idea that they would work with just about anyone. Odd.

But just how badly do the Grey Knights need allies? That's a matter entirely up for debate. Up front, the old builds that redefined the power and potency of the shoebox army (Paladins, Purifiers) seem to desperately need ally support in order to cope with such power armor annihilating foes as the ignores cover Riptide, or the baleflaming Heldrake. Both of these foes will decimate your 20+ ppm dudes with extreme prejudice. Not just that, but paladins took a big hit when they lost the ability to null deploy and deep strike right into their enemy's lines. So, what's a Knight to do? Well, the first suggestion would be to bring Coteaz, either as part of the codex proper, or as an inquisitorial detachment. Never minding the innate strength of his kit, Coteaz also brings us the latest fad of 4 ppm cannon fodder. But what if we din't want to do that for whatever reason? Then we'll want the same cheap troop options, with options for anti-tank fire.

Ah, the familiar first step: Black Templar. Their blob is certainly an option, but I'm not entirely sure it's cheap enough, especially considering that all the stuff that kills your dudes will kill these. Yes, there's more of these than there would be of your precious purifiers, but that means these guys will likely be ignored for the higher points efficiency to be gained by shooting your other dudes, leaving me to wonder why you spent so many points here instead of saving points here and spending them over there. Nevertheless, it's an option, if one that isn't quite as optimal.

Things stay angry for the emperor as we continue to consult Blood Angels. Yes, there's anti-tank firepower here but there's not really anything cheap in this codex, so we'll move along rather quickly.

If you were expecting to read about Dark Angels as allies, I'm sorry. Not even a language update will make the Knights want to make friends here.

Now that we're out of the woods with those first three choices, we can take a look at Eldar. These guys can offer two solid troops that are worth considering. The first is a massive 20 man clot of guardians. Cheaper than what the Templar blob would cost, and brings some real firepower with support platforms. Not just that, but a squad of jetbikes for rapid support and objective control is awfully hard to argue with. That said, I'm not sure I'd consult these guys unless I already have the models.

And the big reason I wouldn't bring Eldar is the fault of the Imperial Guard. Sure they've got a new book that's in the process of dropping, but honestly, I don't think anyone is expecting massive, sweeping changes. Cheap dudes (platoon), durable tanks (Leeman Russ), and the firepower to cope with Heldrakes (Vandetta, Hydra). If you don't want to recruit henchmen directly, why not shanghai some guard into service. You'll be glad you did.

Our newest army slides in after the Guard, Imperial Knights. And quite frankly, they're not that impressive to consider when the Grey Knights are your primary. Certainly, they're durable scoring models, but ultimately their biggest draw is D in CC, which for an army of force weapons is less than impressive.

Progressing from there we find Necrons. The big draw here by far is anti-tank firepower, and a large blob of Warriors with attached Resurrection Orb, though about as expensive as the Templar squad, will certainly be harder to dislodge. There's not a lot of point efficiency to be gained here, but there is durability for what points you do spend. It's close between these guys and Eldar for runner up, but neither come quite close enough to Guard.

Then we have the other militant arm of the Inquisition, the Sisters of Battle. These make for some fun and fluffy options (especially if you're playing Apocalypse and bring the Deathwatch formation), but ultimately if you want power armored models that cope with tanks, Salamanders will probably end up a stronger option, both in terms of power level, as well as in terms of not being old, expensive metal models.

Speaking of the Salamanders, they're one of the stronger options for Space Marine allies, even if they do require bringing Vulkan to master craft the metla. Though they're not the cheapest, the melta outlet is sorely needed, especially if your area is saturated with Guard and Necrons. Nevertheless, they're probably the most "middle of the road" option available.

Next, we've got Space Wolves. See all that stuff about Salamanders? Imagine doing all that, but instead of master crafted meltaguns, you just bring two. Not just that, but you can attach a Rune Priest to Long Fangs and bunker them up in a Firestorm Redoubt, from the safety of which you can decree "If it flies, it dies," and down the unholy fury of the Heldrake. This is really appealing, and definitely makes top 4 behind the other big ones mentioned earlier, if only because the troops aren't super cheap or able to be taken in such numbers that they become all but impossible to remove.

The last option sees us staring down Tau. Fire Warriors, though not as numerous as Guardians, are more durable and more potent. Combine this with the suit options which provide efficient anti-tank (and flyer) power and Tau are absolutely worth looking at for an ally. Just know that you've been warned, Inquisitors view interaction with the Tau as highly suspect. Make sure you stay on the right side of things.

There we have it, an analysis of who the Grey Knights are willing to conscript into servitude before cleansing for the sake of saving their lesser souls. Remember kids, if exposed to the taint of Chaos, better purgation than the fall! See you next week as we catch up with the new allies for the Guard.


  1. Just a note about Imperial Knights and Salamanders as allies, since it appears you are only considering them in context of GK primary. Knights are only scoring if primary, and Vulkan only twin-links melta if he is the warlord.
    Not likely to change your assessment much, but worth noting.

  2. Correct on all counts, and very much worth noting when considering Knights, though somewhat less so for Salamanders. Sallies were middle of the road strictly on their master melta, making them much less appetizing than the Wolves.