Grey Knights Codex – A Review

 

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One in a million. That’s how many recruits survive Grey Knight boot camp.  And if you consider that those recruits are the top percentage of those already chosen from their home worlds as being the top specimens on their respective planets, the numbers start to get a little crazy. The entire population of Earth would probably yield barely a single Grey Knight – rounding up. That’s a whole lot of sacrifice for a single marine in silver armour, but then who else is going to remember the ever-changing names of every Daemon in the Warp and throw it in their faces?

Grey Knight Codex

The new Grey Knights Codex describes such details to give you a better understanding than ever before of lengths the Imperium has had to go to in the endless war for its soul.  On reading through the background of the frankly beautiful book, I was surprised at the number of excellent additions to their background – a stellar map showing the locations of the known daemonic  incursions and Warp storms throughout the galaxy, a detailed breakdown of the Chapter’s fighting strength, descriptions of all the Brotherhoods,  plus the names and duties of each Grandmaster and their second in command Brother Captains, a double page spread on understanding their Heraldry with examples and ideas on creating your own. It goes on and on and all works to impress upon you just how few and individual they are, and the magnitude of the task they face.

Their Chapter breakdown reads with some very specific numbers, such as 44 Purifiers and 98 Paladins – in the entire galaxy. Even when reading the same lists for marines you’re still somewhat safe in the knowledge that there are at least another thousand or so other Chapters out there to lend a hand if someone screws up. It’s all wonderfully compelling  knowing just how close humanity teeters on the edge of its doom, and the individuality the book enables you to impart on your small army of ‘man’s greatest, and fewest, heroes’ creates a firm link to the consequences should you fail.

The fantastic new artwork does a much better job of portraying their supreme fighting ability (the first double page piece is particularly impressive) and lends itself well to the idea that they are extremely proficient at killing daemons – but constantly under threat of being overwhelmed by the never-ending hordes they struggle to hold back. Usually only barely a handful of Grey Knights will be sent to deal with a potential incursion which their prognosticators can foresee (kind of like ‘Minority Report’) which enables them to show up at the right time with the minimum of force to get the job – so precious is each and every Knight – and only the greatest and most threatening of incursions warrants the mustering of a full brotherhood.

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If I’m honest, I was disappointed with the photography.  Someone got a little carried away with the lighting effects and there was no showcase of individual models which is always one of my favourite sections of an army book – I’m unsure if this is consistent across the new format Codicies but it’s not a change I’m happy with as I get a lot of inspiration from the individual efforts of the ‘Eavy Metal team.  There‘s also what look to be not one, but two non ‘Eavy Metal, and I guess ‘reader/staff submitted’, armies used in the photography and the quality just isn’t there.  They are great armies that anyone would be proud to own (although I’m not sure about the one with all the trophy racks, seems very Chaos) but in a premium book I expect premium quality throughout.

Onto the army list and there’s quite a bit of change, and you can expect a mixed reaction from existing Grey Knight players. They had a reputation as one of the stronger armies in 40k and everyone was expecting them to be toned down – and this has indeed happened.  All the Inquisitor stuff has gone completely – even down to the fluff, with only a slight link to the Inquisition being maintained. Most of the equipment and upgrades has been wiped away, no more Psycannon Bolts, or Rad grenades, or Brain Mines, it’s all gone along with all the Grey Knight specific Vehicle upgrades. It’s a bit of a shame as not only is there  still a mention of the more exotic pieces they use in the background, but it seems a lot of the army identity has now gone into the Psychic phase removing most of the choice you had in how you played with them.

Non Grey Knight players will be happy to hear the (now) Lord of War choice, Kaldor Draigo has had his wings clipped. He’s still a beast but no longer strength or toughness 5 – again, as much as this was perhaps needed, it’s still a shame to see perhaps the greatest Marine in the Galaxy reduced to a majority stat line of 4’s [I think most Space Marine players would argue that point by go on… – Ed].

You’ll be kept busy re-learning the points costs of the basic elements of the army as there’s ups and downs all over the place.  Some changes of note are Grand Masters have gone up slightly and trade-off their Grand Strategy for psychic level 2, whereas Librarians have gone down by a whopping 40 points – and a further 25 less for a level 3!  Strike squads have gone up but their equipment options have gone down so you’re still better off, and Terminators have gone down significantly but lose out on the changes to the Nemesis weapons – which is swords now have no benefit beyond being a Nemesis Force weapon and Halberds are +1 Strength instead of +2 Initiative – so the Terminators are now either less durable in combat or a lot slower. Purifiers went up slightly and the Apothecary for the Paladins is now a massive 55 points less – which equates to a free Paladin! Other highlights include special weapons now being consistently priced, which actually makes equipping one on your HQ a feasible option, and the Dreadknight has been given the sales boost treatment as you can now take a tooled up teleporting monstrosity for, on average, 70 points less!  The Vehicles are largely unchanged.

Generally the list seems to be pushing you to take more from the troops choices which is a good thing as there were some big errors in the last codex which made taking Purifiers over Strike Squads a no brainer. And with Terminators getting worse but cheaper, it’s now a harder decision to choose between the two troops choices.  However, the adjusted force organisation means you only need one as a compulsory choice and gives you an extra Elite slot at a cost of one less Heavy and Fast Attack – go figure.  I said before, it’s a shame to lose all the toys and although the Relics are some consolation, it’s taken away some of the individuality from the HQ’s that the background did such a job of adding to them.

With less being spent on your HQ and generally cheaper units overall you’re army should be larger but will rely even more on the Psychic phase to assert itself with a number of units now having access to multiple powers – and a Librarian should still be the first name on the team sheet.  Beyond him and perhaps the Dreadknight, the army balance is a lot better with more of the choices being just that, rather than easy hits and misses, and I’m looking forward to getting some more models on the table – but man am I going to miss those Rad Grenades.

-Lee

That New Army Feel

I got my hands on the new Codex Orks earlier in the week (review coming very soon) and I’ve been reading it every chance I get and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. So much so I’m considering collecting an army of them. I don’t have much luck collecting enemies of the Imperium but the Orks I’m feeling particularly jazzed about.

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The issue I have is that I’m also planning a Lizardmen army once I (finally) finish my Warriors of Chaos army which has stalled somewhat of late. 

The reality is that I’ll probably end up doing both. Much to my wife’s dismay. Because there’s something fundamentally magic about finding an army that you really like to the extent that you want to part with hard earned cash to collect it. It’s a bit like a new relationship. Lots of excitement and trying to learn as much about them as possible. Occasionally a friend might advise caution or tell you all the bad bits that you don’t want to hear like they’re high maintenance.

But ultimately you don’t care because they’re so shiny and new and they’ll let you do stuff that your other armies won’t let you do. And if you’re really lucky you can field them at the same time…

Okay enough of that metaphor.

But the point remains, there’s nothing quite like that new army feel. The excitement of reading the army book, learning their place within the world and the first tentative thoughts around army formations.

Pouring over the model range, the eternal struggle between what’s shiny or characterful verses what will actually win you games. The latter rarely wins for me. And of course the ultimate question – once you’ve settled on your first purchases – what colour are you going to paint them? I never worry about the last one because I get too carried away with the collecting bit to actually apply brush to model. But I always have very high minded ideas and that has to count for something.

There’s obviously the trap of new army syndrome. The waves of shiny models, the new or updated rules and the hype is hard to ignore. I’ve fallen into the trap a couple of times. The Grey Knights stick in my mind the most. I bought the codex, worked out a 3,000 point army list then I realised I found them utterly boring. Just my opinion mind, please don’t fan rage me. I guess the moral of the story is: buy the book, read the book. If you’re agonising over what to take rather than struggling to find inspiration for your army list then they’re probably a keeper.

The hardest part of starting a new army is not going crazy. Resisting the urge to buy stuff before you’ve written an army list, or buying loads of stuff at once so you can get that first game in. I do it every time. 500 points isn’t manly enough so I collect the first 1,000 points. Which is just too many models to be a manageable new painting project so then it becomes a mountain to climb. Unless it was like my Covenant fleet which was black with a bit of copper and wood…

The point is this – be sensible. Don’t be envious of other people’s armies or feel like you need to race to get to 3,000 points because you want to play a proper sized game. Basically don’t do what I’ve been doing for 25 years. I’ve only ever completed one 40k army. And that was my Ultramarines when they were 2,000 points. The models to take them to 3,000 were partially painted. My Ultramarines are now 9,500 points… So…yeah…

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Starter sets, battle force and battalion boxes are a good jumping off point. They’re not as crammed as they use to be and you don’t always get everything you want but with a thriving second hand market there’s always a buyer for the units you don’t want. And chances are it’ll still work out cheaper anyway.

So to return to my earlier metaphor, starting a new army is a lot like starting a new relationship. There’s lots of temptation to go too fast too quickly. Too get too invested only to discover that there’s just no love there. And there’s always that one friend who can’t resist saying ‘I told you so’. But get it right and it’s a joy. It’s effortless and everything evolves naturally. 

Now, how many Stegadons can I take again…

The Lord Inquisitor Grey Knights Teaser

The Lord Inquisitor has been in development for a loooooooooong time. Mainly because Games Workshop agreed to let the fan based project live but only with Aaron Demski-Bowden writing the script. So having thrown out the old script so it went back to a blank piece of paper.

So here’s the new trailer with no odd artefact and shaky voice over.

The Storm Falcon

Followers on Twitter and regular readers will know that I had the very great pleasure of writing the rules for a conversion that Hugo over at Ichiban Painting was putting together for Games Day Japan.

The original concept was a Storm Eagle MkII but having had a Facetime conversation with Hugo and seeing the work in progress I realised it was so much more than that and deserved it’s very own classification. And so the Storm Falcon was born.

Hugo has worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to convert and paint a truly awesome looking model. And it paid of as he won Best 40k vehicle which is simply an incredible achievement.

So, for your pleasure I not only have a lovely snap of the best painted 40k vehicle in Japan, if not the world, but the rules which went some tiny way towards winning it. At the very bottom is a link to download the PDF version so, should the mood take you, you can build a Storm Falcon and use the rules.

STORM FALCON HEAVY GUNSHIP

Update on Project Storm Falcon

Hugo over at Ichiban Painting has put up the final update on the Storm Eagle conversion, dubbed the Storm Falcon, he’s working on for Games Day Japan. It’s probably about 85-90% done now so there won’t be another update before the big day.

I was lucky enough to be asked to write the rules for the conversion so Hugo has promised me a couple of photos when it’s all finished to go up alongside the rules, which I’ll also add to the gaming resources part of the site as a PDF so, should the mood take you, you can use it in your games of 40k.

@DrakePoldragon Talks Grey Knights

Whilst on Twitter the other day I spotted a couple of photos being put up by a good loyal #warmonger – Jamie aka @DrakePoldragon – of his Samurai Grey Knights. So struck was I by their look and all round awesomeness that I asked Jamie to write a guest post about them.

Phil has kindly asked me to write a little bit about how I’ve been going about building my ‘Giant Samurai Gery Knights’. They’ve been a fantastic learning experience for me, already as I work my way through Marine three I am much more confident and capable with Green Stuff. With only 14 more to go for the complete force I had better learn quickly if I want the HQ to look good. 

Inspiration for the army came from a series of sources in a short period of time. First I saw Kromlech Cyber Samurai kits, but these were not enough on their own. I then found an Armorcast mould in my local hobby shop and realised that combined I could make some awesome Samurai Marines. This was followed by some searching online for a method to make them as awesome as I could. I found the Master of the Forge tutorial on Artscale Marines

 

To create my version of these I got a box of the Terminators and a box of the Strike Squad and did a little adjusting to my Armorcast mould. This allowed me to create two separate plates of armour from each piece. It was also invaluable to get hold of a set of decent silicone tipped sculpting tools.

 

This is what is needed for each Grey Knight, plus Greenstuff and Plasticard

Each section is built up and sculpted too in separate pieces. First the legs and then torso built on to that, the arms and backpack are bulked up first and then attached. The Kromlech helmet I add last to create a sense of direction to the figure and bases will be made separately.

Whilst I haven’t completely decided how I will be painting them I have base coated the first one so as to see how it will turn out and I’m very pleased.  Here is Grey Knight 1 standing over his Bonsai tree.

As I make further progress I’ll be recording it on my own blog http://inquisitordrake.blogspot.no/ alongside some discussions of my army list and how I will be using these all as Terminators and enhancing the ‘Scaled up Marine’ idea. Feel free to ask any questions or make suggestions, this has been a great leap forward in my hobby skills already.

Inquisitor Drake

Jamie Searle

Representative APRmour

Whilst out to lunch with Lee of The Chaps yesterday we got talking about a game I hosted between Jeremy and Neil, also of The Chaps, at the weekend.

Jeremy was pitting his Crimson Fists against Neil’s vile Orks. During the course of the game, Jeremy made a daring deep strike with his Terminators into the middle of the board to hold up a unit of Killa Kans and thwart Neil’s breakthrough. Although eventually wrecking both Kans, the cost to the Crimson Fist veterans was indeed steep, 4 of the 5 falling to the Kans crude close combat weaponry. Now although Killa Kans are pretty tough the thought occurred to us both that Terminators just aren’t hard enough.

Our reasoning was this; Terminator armour was designed to be used when breaching the hulls of space hulks/starships and can withstand meteor strikes in such conditions. With that in mind, ever since third edition the finest of the Emperor’s finest just weren’t as hard as they should be. In second edition a Terminator’s armour save was 3+ on 2D6. In those days weapons had negative modifiers ala Necromunda. A lascannon had a -6 save modifier. This meant that a Terminator would survive on a 9+ on 2D6. Probability wise it’s 2/6 to 10/36 when compared to their invulnerable save in the current edition. However, against basic weaponry a Terminator had a 35/36 chance of success meaning that a Terminator’s survival was almost assured until powerful anti-tank weapons were brought to bear. And even then, coming out the other side was still a possibility.

Now those days are long long gone but the point still stands – Terminators aren’t resilient enough. With a 1/6 chance of failing a save against small arms fire, thwarting Terminators isn’t hard, you just fire lots of guns at them and, eventually a save will be failed. The rationale is a lucky hit pierces an eye piece or finds a weakness in the armour, but this just doesn’t make sense. Really think about that argument. A lasbolt can punch through an eye piece but a meteor can’t. Really? I’ll concede that it is possible in so much as almost anything is possible. But 1/6 possible?

So what’s the alternative? With Codex Grey Knights released and written to sixth edition rules there isn’t a lot of scope for Terminators in the upcoming rules to be much different which is a crying shame as compared to the likes of mega armoured Nobz they are grossly under powered. The only thing I can think of happening is Terminators are granted two wounds to represent damage to their armour initially, rather than themselves and maybe making them immune to instant kill weapons.

Perhaps a tad pie in the sky but my 2 wounds idea is based around the following principle (and please don’t send abusive comments; it’s just an idea): Grey Knight terminators aren’t Grey Knight terminators, as such. They’re Grey Knights in terminator armour. Standard blokes (or as standard as you can be in the Grey Knights) in terminator armour, rather than veterans. Although incredibly skilled and deadly warriors, they aren’t necessarily soldiers of hundreds of campaigns like 1st company veterans of their brother chapters invariably are. The Grey Knights have an abundance of terminator armour because it is required for daemonic arse kickery, not because they’re veterans and have worked their way up the ranks. Again, I’m not detracting from their martial prowess. Paladins, on the other hand are double hard bastards who have slain the foulest creatures of the warp and, therefore are ninja scary and have 2 wounds. Which, I think, gives the idea of multiple wounds traction to my mind.

Ultimately it’s all down to the developers but right now, for the points, Terminators just aren’t tough enough to take on who they should and be comfortable enough for the win. I know it needs to be balanced but I would argue there’s plenty out there that would make it a fair fight.

Why not discuss the idea on The Shell Case forum.