The GK roller coaster ride continues, plus more whispers about Tomb Kings

The up and down reaction to Codex: Grey Knights continues. Every time I find something that makes me like the Grey Knights, something else pops up to reignite the fire in my belly. And the book still isn’t out for another… 4 days. I actually had to count my fingers there. Forgive me, I’m eating allergy medicine like it’s candy.

I had a great conversation with TJ at the local GW about Grey Knights, restoring a lot of my faith in the new army book over the weekend. And then today I head over to Facebook and wander into another massive discussion about the new Codex: Crowe, my favorite of the special characters from the book, making Purifiers Troops. These are the GK Veterans, so they are Fearless, have 2A and a bonus psychic power compared to the regular ones. For a miserable couple of points you get these awesome bonuses, and on top of it all their equipment options are a fraction of the cost.

So, when fully equipped, these bastards are Troops, have twice as many special weapons as regular squads, have better stats, and actually cost considerably fewer points. Fully kitted out squads of 10 with 4 incinerators and upgraded Force Weapons (ie. halberds/falchions/thunder hammers) cost around 270pts, where a squad of 10 regular GK’s with the same upgrades would be more like 340. Same equipment, better stats, extra psychic power and special rules … for significantly cheaper. Why wouldn’t you take Crowe and make this list?

Team Grey Knights -- f@#% yeah -- Metagame Police.

I would be doing you a disservice by skipping over that conversation with TJ. He envisions Grey Knights as the saviours of the metagame. What does he mean by that? Simply put, Grey Knights are an elite army that specializes in beating down other elite armies. Nob Biker lists, Loganwing, the elite Blood Angels builds, etc. will really have a tough time dealing with them because they lack the one thing that Grey Knights truly fear: numbers. The Grey Knights army might actually be enough of a threat to these lame-ass 40k builds that people will consider taking more reasonable armies, especially in competitive environments.

With only one attack each, Grey Knights will truly struggle to thin down ranks of cheap troops, and Nemesis Force weapons are simply overkill against armies that have crappy armor saves or little/no multi wound creatures. Pit the Grey Knights against something like an Ork army based entirely around Nob Squads in Battlewagons, on the other hand, and it’s a different story altogether. Having a crapload of models with 2W, FNP and unique equipment that forces you to allocate all of your wounds separately doesn’t mean a goddamn thing against Grey Knights. An entire army of Force Weapons = dead Nobz. No armor saves, no FNP, and a much better chance of instant death in combat. Considering the fact that almost every Ork army that played at the OOTB tournament last year used a variant on this build, I’d say this is a big deal.

So, will an army like Grey Knights be a big enough threat to power-gamer builds to skew the metagame back towards balanced, reasonable army lists, circa 3rd and 4th edition? Or will the crazy game of one-upsmanship continue as people simply try to out-Goatboy each other with every new release? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I just found out that Robin Cruddace wrote the Khemri book that is going to be coming out in ~1 month’s time. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t very, very nervous all of a sudden. Are they going to be like the Imperial Guard, full of viable unit options and a million special characters, or the Tyranids, whose book was a confusing mess special rules that needed a ton of FAQ’s right from day one? With him, it could go either way.


5 comments on “The GK roller coaster ride continues, plus more whispers about Tomb Kings

  1. I hear what you are saying. I remember how there was a similar outcry back when the high Elves all got ASF. At the end of the day after all of the ‘dust’ had settled, it turned out that it was actually a GOOD thing.

    I haven’t managed to score a copy of the GK codex yet so I couldn’t really wax lyrical about what I think, let alone have play tested and experienced first hand so I have to withhold judgement for the time being. One thing is for sure though, it seems that the landscape of 40K is changing, I just hope that with the rumored 6th ed, on the horizon things are straightened out in the core rules, just as 8th ed did with fantasy.

    I hope we are just seeing the pre 8th ed vampire counts and Daemons fantasy army effect in play here – those armies have been nicely leveled by the 8th ed core rules release which quite frankly is nothing short of a work of genius – I don’t think anyone thought that it was possible for GW ‘to bring balance to the force’ like they did.

    • I definitely agree about the 8th edition effect. Mat Ward wrote an incredibly broken army book for 7th, because it was designed for 8th.

      Anyway, considering how the rules have barely changed since 3rd, I hope to God they get to redo all the 4th edition army books lurking around 40k long before they consider a 6th edition.

      Back to the GK, my problem with the Crowe situation is simply that we have yet another army book with a unit combo that you would almost be crazy not to take advantage of. Purifiers are a fantastic unit that helps to mitigate many of the weaknesses of the army for a minimal points cost. By giving them an insane discount on extra wargear, you have almost no incentive to ever buy a basic 20pt Grey Knight. Armies that have no-brainer choices like this bug the crap out of my because they remove a lot of variety from the game. It’s like Hellpit Abominations in Fantasy. When was the last time you played against a Skaven player who didn’t take at least one of these damn things? They are simply too cheap for what they do.

      All that being said, I know the book isn’t “unbeatable” or anything. Any templates with AP2 or AP3 will make them cry, as they have greatly restricted access to Stormshields and they can rarely afford to slog it through cover/difficult terrain for very long. I just hate “lazy writing” where they don’t fully consider the consequences of things.

  2. I think the notion of them being meta game police is interesting. My problem is that it is VERY narrow in scope for what it can actually police.

    Loganwing will still annihilate it on account of the rocket spam those lists have (30+ Krak rockets a turn = VERY dead Grey Knights). Guard don’t change anything as a smaller Marine army becomes even more susceptible to mech-vet melta spam (shame the Guard book only has 3 unit entries). Vulkan Marine lists have nothing to fear.

    Basically, the only hard meta-lists that have to change are the non Marine and Guard ones. My reserve bomb Tyranids list is auto-lose on account of Warp Quake and my lists reliance on Monstrous Creatures to get the job done. Nob lists are going to have an uphill battle. The ONLY competitive demon build of 5 MCs and Bloodcrushers is auto-lose vs them.

    The Grey Knights book feels more like GWs attempt to move those 10-15% of players who don’t play Marines into the Marine camp and sell them a whole new Marine army.

    Maybe they just don’t bother play testing vs anything that isn’t Marines. It sure feels that way.

  3. I think the balance for grey knights is just about right. You pay the points for everything. 150pts for a just god-fucking awful character is not cheap in an already elite army. Purifiers are 4pts more expensive than strike knights and an elite choice otherwise. The extra points your paying for purifiers in terms of the character required makes them balanced. If you complain about their shooting prowess then you’ve just turned what should be a close combat unit into a shooting unit that purgators do so much better. “just combat squad them!” you cry. Damn now I’ve got 5 guys running at me at 25+ pts a model that is just as easy to kill as a normal space marine with shooting? What will I do? Fearless is also a botch to deal with. Loss of tactical options hurts. They are NOT the no-brainer choice in the grey knights book because Crowe gives me a headache, they are so damn expensive and SLOW.

    The book isn’t even out yet, and all i read are knee jerk reactions everywhere. I think you have a bias against 40k there Dan, you might’ve been listening to tom and brian a little too much. There is a balance being developed, and tons of variety.

    Every book that has come out since 5th edition has had it’s hard builds. Tyranids might be the exception. They’ve all had their fluff builds to.

    The uk 40k gt took place this past weekend. Arguably the most competitive non ard boys tournament out there. Not a single space marine army placed better than 8th (blood angels). 3 imperial guard, 3 dark eldar, nids, and orks. Every army apart from csm, bt and dark angels was represented in the top 25.

    Let’s all just calm down, stop nerd raging and enjoy a game with toy soldiers.

    • Oh, I’m definitely biased against 40k! It was the game that got me hooked on the hobby, and it bears almost zero resemblance to the game I remember. Mechanics are similar, but the style is waaay different and I really struggle to wrap my head around it. The problem lies with me and my expectations as much as it lies with the game designers, and I do realize that.

      Anyway, I have been trying to temper my nerd rage with as much cautious optimism as possible. I’ve been saying all along that for everything I don’t like, there’s something that makes me happy in the book. I am looking forward to picking it up tomorrow, it’ll be the first 40k army book I’ve bought in a long time.

      I’m curious to see some more info on the UK GT, I’ll have to do some forum digging.

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