Wednesday, May 25, 2011

After Action Review: Fighting Grey Knights

I had the pleasure of playing against a couple of Grey Knight armies this weekend, both played by very capable gamers who are experimenting with their lists. Both of the two lists I had the opportunity to play were dramatically different and yet kinda similar. One game was a win, the other a loss. Both games offered some great insights into how the Grey Knights work. Below are some of my general observations about the games and what I learned about Grey Knights during them.

Let me preface by saying I don’t pay attention to names for units, I categorize them in my head by what they carry and what they do so my descriptions of them won’t be by what they are called in the codex. Some weird way my brain categorizes and stores information apparently, well here we go.

Infantry squads: Both players used a couple of 10 man ‘tactical squads’ in Rhinos, each of these squads had 2x psycannons in them. Both players used these Rhinos as bunkers for shooting the psycannons. If the Rhino’s don’t move then they fire 4 shots each, total of 8 shots for the squad, and they had some weird ammo thing going on that boosted their strength to 7. So these guys were glancing my Chimera front armor on a 5 and penetrating on a 6, not cool. Basically an 8 shot autocannon punching holes in your armor each turn. If the Rhino’s move then they are reduced to 2 shots each instead of 4. My advice is to shoot those idiots as quick as possible and get them out of the safety of the Rhino’s. I screwed up the second game and focused too much on the terminators (more on them later) and those ridiculous psycannons tore up my armor.

Oh and just be prepared, when you finally pop those transports you are going to have 8 dudes with power weapons very angry about the thought of having to walk around. In my first game I had a well positioned squad of Veterans waiting and the squad died as it exited the Rhino. In game two I didn’t do so well despite having an entire kitchen sink waiting and they proceeded to eat my kitchen sink with an absolute deluge of power weapon hits in rapid succession. Oh, and their halberds are initiative 6, so even your uber Straken squad will get cut down like corn at harvest. Keep them at arm’s length and shoot them - alot.

Dreadnoughts: Twinlinked auto cannons with ridiculous ammo containing the Emperor’s tears, or some other equally ridiculous garbage. These fools are packing strength 8 ammo thanks to the Emperor’s tears and will shred your Russ armor. I made the mistake of thinking it was just normal autocannon fire and paid the price with two demolishers in my second game. Keep those God forsaken shambling monstrosities away from your tanks, oh and by the way their ridiculous librarians can use some teleporty thing to move them all over the place each turn. So good luck keeping your flanks covered cause the book guy will deep strike in your back field and the dreadnought that was in front of you will suddenly be directly behind you.

Terminators: Here is the good news. Grey Knights love their Death Stars and they are expensive as hell. In both games I faced uber soldat squads of 2+ save goodness. Terminator apothecary, check. Terminator banner dude, check. Terminator librarian, checkety check check. Terminator chef and drum major, double check. So here is the heads up, when you play Grey Knights you need to expect and plan for them to deep strike something horrendous into your back field. Shooting at it will do nothing, those guys have so many saves and wounds it’s not even funny and even if you do kill something it will just be a halberd or some poor meat shield that he wanted you to kill anyway. So do what I did, feed them squads to keep them busy and get everything the hell away from them. Seriously, I pounded one of those squads nonstop for 3 turns with autocannons, demolishers, hell strike missiles, tactical nukes, smart bombs, knives, sharp sticks and I think two dudes with halberds died. Take my advice and keep them at arm’s length while you move to the other side of the board.

Librarians: As soon as you figure out where he is you need to grab that God forsaken harbinger of death and cover it in red spray paint with a giant warning sign that reads, ‘stay away’. He has some psyker power that uses a flamer template and any vehicle under the template takes a penetrating hit. I had two Hydra in squadron and dude popped both of them in one shot. Mech IG parking lot at the start of the battle? Good luck when Mr. Wizard pops up. Dude popped a Demolisher by farting on it. If that’s not bad enough he can ‘summon’ dudes from across the table to be near him. So 'el jeffe' drops in, summons the mortis dread into your back field and then begins what can only be described as a full on anal intrusion, oh by the way he’s got a full bucket of hate that teleported in with him.

Grey Knights have the potential to be brutal, but they cost a grip of points to get on the table and as a result will bring fewer models to the fight. Working out how to counteract their unique abilities with your current army list and negate their ‘trump cards’ will go a long way toward giving them the pummeling they deserve when they try their tricksey little shenanigans against you.

still practicing_


  1. this post amused me greatly. it pretty much sums up my thoughts on GK's as well. incidentally, the 'tactical squads' are Strike squads, and the uber-termies are Paladins.

  2. My experience was, start with a spread out parking lot, to attempt to cover your whole deployment zone to avoid having a backfield. Target their troops transports and then the squishy contents as they have similar firepower to everything else and die slightly easier, once these are dead you can close on their dreads and melta them up. Units that can side/rear armour their dreads like a vendetta can go do that, suicide melta vets in them shouldn't have much trouble making their points back.

    Ignore their paladin uber termies and do your best to stay out of their way. They cost 800pts its going to be tough for them to make that back, if they are in a storm raven you need to kill that and then run away, in the mid to late game you can shoot the paladins with 'spare' battle cannons,demolisher cannons and instant death stuff but otherfirepower will be shrugged off.

    If their Deep striking use it to your advantage, use your speed to suddenly completely change tactics and race up the field, stranding their unit while killing anything that could give them mobility. If a paladin unit starts to spread out to multi claim objectives then gradually feed it units. because once they're in place they're really hard to shift!

    Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks for this, gave me a little insight to what I shall most likely be facing in my first battle or two.

  4. Tallarn my friend, you never cease to bring a smile to my face at the time I most need it. I'd give you 'REP' or 'Kharma' but that is a thing long past both of us.

    We aren't picking out curtains together so don't get the wrong idea! :P

    Let me jsut say thank you for this article, the humor, and the insight.

    I'll be lurking in some corner if you need something... I'll probably be crashing that durn helicopter some more on video!


  5. I was in a dark place when I wrote that, a dark place filed with the ghosts of my poor demolishers...

    Seriously great games with great players, outstanding fun and I learned a ton. Grey Knights are a very tricksey army indeed.