Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Grey Knights - First Battle Report

Well, I obviously did not get any posts in yesterday during the Test of Khaine tournament - with 32 participants and 3 hard hitting games, I really didn't have the time!  I was extremely wrung out after a grueling slugging match with DFG's own Chris Vinton round one, and a heartbreaking draw round three against an Ultramarines player that ended a round before it should have due to us mis-counting the rounds fought.

But I told SeerK I wanted a game with him, and the Grey Knight codex beckoned.  So rather than posting my thoughts on the codex, we have our first local Battle Report using the codex.  Let's face it - we can talk about our impressions of the codex (people have been doing so for a week and a half now), but it doesn't really mean anything until we see how it performs on the table.  So let's see how the Daemonslayers can perform against Eldrad's Eldar.  Warning - this is going to be a LONG post!

Well, the first thing I noticed is that I'm going to have to get used to MUCH less on the table than my IG.  Before the tournament, I started writing up a list, adding all the things I wanted to try out, and before I even finished I had 2,170 points of stuff.  Some judicious trimming got it down to 2,000 (had to drop the squad of purifiers I wanted to test), and after the post-tourney bull sessions, I got SeerK to agree to play that level.  When I told him my 2,000 point army consisted of 27 models, the look on his face was priceless.

So, my list consisted of:
Grand Master w/ Master-crafted Nemesis Force Sword, Digital Weapons, Rad and Psykotrope Grenades
Librarian w/ MC Falchions, Digital Weapons, Quicksilver, Sanctuary, Shrouding, Might of Titan
10 man Strike Squad w/ 2 Psycannons, MC Daemonhammer on the Justicar, Rhino
5 man Terminator squad w/ Incinerator, MC Sword on Justicar, Nemesis Warding staff
5 Paladins - 2 Psycannons, 2 MC Halberds, Nemesis Warding staff - all unique wargear
Dreadnaught w/ Assault Cannon, Psybolts
LR Crusader w/ Pintle Multi-melta
Stormraven w/ TL Assault Cannon, TL Multi-melta
Vindicare assassin

My basic plan was - Roll the LR slightly behind the flat-outing Stormraven, using smoke and shrouding to give them both a 3+ cover.  Then charge everything in the world.  The GK Strike Squad would play mobile reserve/home objective camper while the Vindicare provided fire support (I just want one shield-breaker on Eldrad's squad - just one).  So let's see how it goes.

We start by randomly rolling mission/deployment - and get Annihilation / Dawn of War.  I have a absurdly small number of total kill points compared to my Guard armies - 10.  It turns out Josh has the same number.  He is running:
Eldrad w/ the usual Seer council in a Wave Serpent (EML top)
15 man guardian squad, conceal Warlock, Shuricat
10 man Wraithguard squad, conceal Spiritseer
3 War Walker squadron, outflanking
Dark Reaper squad, including Exarch with EML, Crack shot, Fast shot
D-cannon support weapon platform
Swooping Hawks, including a Exarch w/ Intercept (he specifically says this is here to Haywire my Stormraven)

So, Dawn of war is bad for my Vindicare, but also for his Dark Reapers and Support platform, and we should be on a fairly even footing on the difficulty of getting KPs.  He wins the roll for first turn, and elects to go 2nd.  I throw the GKSS and their Rhino right up on the 24" line and he puts the Avatar, Wraithguard, and Guardians all pretty much exactly 18" away.  He attempts to seize, fails, and we begin.

 Turn one, my stuff rolls on, Storm raven leading the Land Raider as planned.  Grand Master and Paladins, along with Dread, in the Stormraven, Libby and Termies in the LRC.  The Vindicare comes on and tries to run into cover terrain, but rolls a one for his run move.  Oh well.  The GK Strike Squad (GKSS) and their Rhino shuffles back a bit to make sure I'll be out of range of the Avatar and Wraithguard. Shooting takes out 3-4 guardians, and maybe a Wraithguard.  His turn, the Dark Reapers come on right behind a hill, planning run up on top of it, but also get a 1 for their run move.  Support D-cannon comes on behind the Wraithguard/Guardians, Swooping hawks move along one flank, next to the hill the Dark Reapers are behind, and Eldrad's serpent comes in over by himself where it probably won't be shot at.  Wraithguard and Avatar move up, then run to move closer, the wave Serpent and guardians try to fire at my Stormraven but roll epically low for night fight.  However, my librarian does take a wound from perils when trying to invoke Shrouding (Triple 6 - ouch).

That Valkyrie is actually a Stormraven - which is why
those terminators and a dreadnought fell out and charged.
Turn two:  The stormraven disgorges it's cargo - the Dread hops out and heads for the Wraithguard, then the Raven flies over and drops the Paladins and Grand Master in the pocket between the Avatar and Guardian squad.  The GKSS and their Rhino scoot over to draw LOS to the Wave Serpent, and the LRC rolls forward to support shooting against anything but the Wave Serpent.  The Vindicare decides to rock from the open this game, and shoots the Swooping Hawk Exarch in the head.  Shooting from the Stormraven kills the D-Cannon and one crewman, and the LRC kills most of the remaining Hawks.  Psycannon fire against the Wave Serpent is mostly ineffectual - one glance manages to Shake it.  The Paladin squad, however, manages to put 2 wounds on the Avatar with shooting.  In assaults, the Dread charges in the Wraithguard, neutralizing the biggest threat to my Termies, and the Paladins multicharge into the Avatar and Guardians (GKGM and 3 Pallies into Guardians, 2 onto the Avatar).  Psykotrope grenades drop the Guardians to I1, and Psyk-out does the same for the avatar.  Wanting to make sure I wound, the Grand Master invokes Hammerhands, and makes it even through Runes.  I do put 3 wounds on the Avatar, and he fails 2 invuls - no need to activate Force Weapons, thank goodness.  7-8 Guardians also die, but the few that manage to swing back cause 3 wounds, one of which gets through my armor.  One wound on a guy.  The Dread manages to kill 3 Wraithguard, gets stunned by the Spiritseer, and Fearless saves drop another Wraith.  The guardians break, and are below half - the fall back move, plus the one in his turn takes them off the board.

Eldar turn two: War Walkers come in, shoot the Vindicare to painful death.  The Dark Reapers, due to their poor run move, don't have LOS to much and have to move again.  Eldrad zooms up the board in his fortuned Wave Serpent, ending over next to the GKSS Rhino.  The two surviving Swooping Hawks assault the Stormraven - but lacking Intercept, they both miss.  The Warlock and surviving crewman from the D-cannon charge my Paladins, which causes me to wonder about Josh's sanity.  I guess he was hoping to tie them up a turn with the Warlock, but both die before even getting to swing.  I consolidate closer to the Wraithguard, who stun my Dread again without me managing to him them in return.

Turn 3: The GKSS Rhino tries to scoot past Eldrad's ride, but immobilizes itself in the ruins, and when the psycannons inside shoot, all 4 miss.  Bad turn for Power Armor dudes.  I move the Land Raider within hood range of Eldrad, then the LRC and Stormraven shoot up the War Walkers, destroying all 3.  The Paladins charge into the Wraithguard, managing to get off Hammerhands again, and despite Psykotrope doing nothing (rolled a 1), Rad grenades and Hammerhands means I'm wounding on 4s, and all but 2 die (Warlock, 1 Wraithguard).  Both die to the Dreadnought, and the Paladins consolidate towards the Dark Reapers, while the Dread consolidates towards Eldrad.
The center falls apart - at least for the Eldar

Eldrad manages to get Fortune past the hood, and finally gets out of his ride, moving to within 3-4 inches of the GKSS Rhino.  The Serpent hops past, and fires a missile up the tailpipe of the Stormraven, wrecking it (Josh's words: "Now, no more missiles" - someone had just finished telling him that getting out was a bad idea due to the anti-psyker missiles on the Stormraven).  The Seer council chucks a set of singing spears at the Rhino, glancing it twice - and wrecking it with a pair of weapon destroyed/immobilized results due to my failed dangerous terrain check.  The Strike Squad piles out the back, out of assault range from Eldrad and crew.  The Reapers light up my Paladins, but are unable to get any wounds past their 2+ armor ("Starcannons," Josh mumbles.  "Need Starcannons")

Turn 4: The Paladins charge the Reapers, and they all die.  The Strike Squad, getting out of the way for the Land Raider, spread out into a line around the Wave Serpent, immobilize it with their Psycannons, and destroy it with Krak grenades.  The LRC drives directly through the wrecked Rhino, disgorging it's Terminators in front of Eldrad, and the Dreadnought crashes through the wall of the ruins like Kool-Aid Man. Shooting from all 3 takes out 2-3 Warlocks, and the Libby gets off Quicksilver, even through Runes.  The Termies heroically charge into Eldrad's squad - managing to kill only 1 model (but that was the Embolden warlock, which would soon be important).  In retrospect, Quickening was worthless - Psyk-out grenades were going to drop the Eldar to I1, and Hammerhands would have been tremendously useful, given the number of 2s to wound that I rolled.  In return, Eldrad kills off the Librarian, and 2 Termies fail their armor saves.  I pass my LD check to not flee, though.  On his turn, he casts Fortune, and tried to Doom the Termies, but it is stopped by the Reinforced Aegis provided by my Dreadnought - Eldrad isn't used to failing on a 7.  This time, things go much better - I kill someone, and I make all my saves, including the one invul I'm forced to take due to Eldrad (which I took on a Sword - I had forgetten that I had bought the Warding Staff in this squad).  He rolls an 11 for his LD test, and has lost Embolden so cannot re-roll.  With the Strike Squad, Termies, LRC, and Dreadnaught ready to shoot into Eldrad and his last 2-3 Warlocks, followed by the Dread, Termies and Strike squad all charging, we decide to call it and shake hands.
Formerly standing in front of the surviving Terminators -
Eldrad and a falling back squad of Warlocks

So, my final thoughts on the game:
1.  Man, are these guys expensive.  I had 500 points of Grand Master plus Paladins riding in that Stormraven, plus a 130 point Dreadnought.  They killed everything they hit, but I'm terrified of seeing them eating Melta shots, Demolisher blasts and the like.

2.  I completely forgot about my Grand Master's "Grand Strategy" ability.  I definately could have used the ability to re-roll 1s to wound, and Counter-attack would have been good, even if it wouldn't have been much use this game.

3.  Very impressed with Paladin/Terminator shooting ability - Relentless Psycannons are SO much better than without.  Pumping 8 Psycannon shots into the Avatar really softened him up for me.

4.  Was not very impressed with the Strike squad in the Rhino.  I think I may have been better off combat squading and putting the Psycannons in that center ruin as a fire base, rather than always loosing 2 shots each when the Rhino was scooting about.  Or even just taking a small squad in a Razorback (same number of shots, but cheaper).

5.  Runes of Warding didn't really do too much to me this game, but they did make me nervous about using Hammerhands and such more than I absolutely needed to.  I still hates them, though, just in case you were curious, Josh.

6.  The key moment of this game in my mind was the Turn 2 assault - killing the Avatar and locking up his Wraithguard (along with the shooting death of the D-Cannon) removed the majority of his AP2 firepower.  AP1 and 2 shooting, along with power weapons, are going to be the counter needed to slow down this army, and the shooting is the best option, as almost nobody has better than a 5+ invul against it - they can have improved saves in CC.

Next time, I hope to try out some of the "alternate troop" lists - first up is going to be Supreme Grand Master Kaldor Draigo and his Troop paladins, probably in a foot slog list.  And I want to try Castellan Crowe and Purifiers in the near future as well, but I don't have any idea when I'll be in next to get a game (hopefully Wednesday, definately by next Saturday).  So stay tuned for future battle reports - you can't test a new codex on Theoryhammer, after all.

And remember, Innocence Proves Nothing.


  1. sort of a misc question
    I noticed you move the strike squad back, yet the strike squad is armed with power weapons, Why not let the eldar charge and die?

  2. First turn? I wasn't worried about assault, I was worried about the Wraithguard's AP 2 guns. Against the Seer Council, well, they all have invul saves (re-rollable invul saves).

    Grey Knights pay a premium for excellent assault weapons (storm bolters). Unless you think it will deny you the charge by killing too much, being able to shoot the enemy to soften them up is going to be much needed equalizer.

  3. I was thinking turn 3 but i need to go back and review eldrad's toys. Been a while since I played with Eldar.

  4. I saw one big inherent weakness with the Knights, they are an assault army. I should have held the wraithguard back and just shot you to death. lesson learned.

    The grenades are pretty out there. The Grand master really makes that paladin unit beefy in terms of the charge and such. I am kind of interested to see how they will do against the Dark Eldar though. I think an Archon with embedded in a squad of hekatrix blood brides would do the job nicely, with a haemonculus as well. Still less points too :-)

  5. Thanks for the battle report, the GKs sure are an elite army.

    It's just that turn 1 move with the storm raven and landraider and then waiting for the enemies shooting phase and hoping the storm raven and landraider survive. It's nice the termies having assault weapons, but they aren't going to do to well if they don't make combat.

    It was an excellent idea throwing the dread into the wraithguard, but how do you think the grey knight terminators and paladins would have faired against an army with alot of str 8+ ap1 or 2 firepower that was spread out throughout the army rather than concentrated in the same place ?


  6. It's going to be tough, that's for sure. Cover+Shrouding I think is going to be the key to saving termies and paladins from Melta fire and it's kin.

    I hope to get a game against Mech IG in the future - that's my current army, and it seems like one well suited to counter the Grey Knights. On the other hand, they lack Psychic defense, so at least my enhancements will be running unimpeded.

  7. We should get a second game in at the same points. I want to try the Dark Eldar and see if they do better. I now know the capabilities somewhat so I could probably do better with the Craftworlders in a second game, but I want to try the Dark Kin.
    Just brace for some Funky wargear.

  8. Crucible of Malediction? Anyway, would love to try the GK myself, Vogrin, so I officially call dibs after the Dark Kin get done with you.