Sunday, 9 August 2020

Tales from Titan: First Grey Knights 9th Edition List

 Welcome to back to the Vault fellow Grand Masters! The weather this week has been glorious but detrimental to painting; i.e. far too hot! Undaunted however I have played another "Learning 9th edition" game with Dave G, and I decided to bring the Grey Knights out for a spin across the table top.

This will be something of a rambling post as it will give me an opportunity to capture some thoughts and good ideas for future games. I hope you might get some benefit from the thoughts as well.

The first task of course was to write a list; I spent a fun hour or so pulling my Grey Knight models out of storage and pointing them up using the 9th edition costs. Turns out I have almost four and a half thousand points, most of which is painted. That gives quite a lot of choice for army building!

We had agreed on a 1500 point Strike Force game, and I had a few objectives in mind:

  • I wanted to try as many of the new Dominus psychic powers as possible.
  • I was going to use Terminator Squads; they are my favourite models looks wise, and on paper they seem good for some of the new missions (multi wound Objective Secured with a bunch of ways to boost their durability). The critical question is whether to use a 10 man "blob" to leverage key powers and stratagems; for this game I decided to use 4 smaller units.
  • I also wanted to see how the Grand Master Dread Knight and Astral Aiming hidden Dreadnought could fare.
This led nicely onto the following list. Grey Knights Battalion:

HQ: Voldus (Warlord): Armoured Resilience, Ethereal Manipulation, Edict Imperator, Inner Fire.
HQ: Librarian: Warp Shaping, Empyrian Domination plus Sanctic Shard Relic
HQ: GM Dread Knight, Heavy Psycannon, Heavy Incinerator, Great Sword, Sanctuary

Troops: 5 Terminators, 4 Storm Bolters, 1 Psycannon, 4 Halberds, 1 Daemon Hammer, Gate of Infinity
Troops: 5 Terminators, 4 Storm Bolters, 1 Psycannon, 4 Halberds, 1 Daemon Hammer, Gate of Infinity
Troops: 5 Terminators, 4 Storm Bolters, 1 Psycannon, 4 Halberds, 1 Daemon Hammer, Hammer Hand
Troops: 5 Terminators, 4 Storm Bolters, 1 Psycannon, 4 Halberds, 1 Daemon Hammer, Hammer Hand

Elite: Dreadnought: Twin Lascannon, Missile Launcher, Astral Aim

24 models at 1500 points. Does not look like a lot!
There were some things I just couldn't afford to squeeze in that I'll try out in future games:
  • Grey Knight Apothecary; Healing Perils damage or using him as an Inner Fire Bomb seems quite fun.
  • Venerable Dreadnought; It's only a measly 15 points to upgrade a Dreadnought but I couldn't find the points to squeeze the Venerable status in.
  • Interceptors: Teleporting Units in an objective grabbing game is very useful, but they are very expensive! In essence they give additional Gate of Infinities but they are very fragile and don't have ObSec; definitely need testing.
So what about the game? We played "The Scouring" where players score points based on controlling Objectives at the end of each of their second and subsequent Command Phases compared to how many their opponent controls; hence the need for durable units to sit on the board.

Dave played a Word Bearers list consisting of 2 Daemon Engines (a Lord Discordant and Venom Crawler), 4 units of cheap troops (Chaos Marines and Cultists), 2 very killy squads of Possessed in Rhinos and a throng of supporting Characters (Dark Apostle, Sorceror and Master of Possession).

Having swapped lists we then had to choose Secondary Objectives; these are other means of achieving Victory Points in addition to the mission Primary. This looks like it will be an important element of 9th edition since choosing the wrong secondaries can seriously muck up your chance of earning points!

An interesting twist is that some secondaries require units to take "actions" (i.e. do something instead of fight, shoot, etc.) The Scouring has a unique secondary where units can "scan" objectives each turn, and the player earns points depending on how many different objectives he has scanned at the end of the game.  

I'd  discussed my list with a fellow player since he'd played some 9th ed games and he'd advised not taking Psychic action secondaries since the Grey Knights need to be casting powers.  For an elite army like my selection I think most action based secondaries are a trap; those 200 point units need to be casting, shooting and fighting not pulling levers or raising banners! 

The Word Bearers could afford to choose such secondaries given the inclusion of cheap Troops units; it's going to be interesting to see how army lists will influence people's secondary selections and vice versa.

For the record I chose:
  • Assassination: VPs for killing Characters and the Word Bearers had 4 senior heretics for me to bump off.
  • Domination: For a mission based around Objective Control having another means to score VP for board control seemed to play into my game aims anyway.
  • Grind Them Down: Or "Kill More" as I suspect it will become known. Given my small number of hard to crack units and the Chaos force supported by a number of squishy units I felt this would suit the Grey Knights well.
If I recall correctly the Word Bearers chose Domination, Cut off the Head (aka Slay the Warlord), and Investigate Sites (an Infantry unit takes an action within 6" of the centre of the board provided no enemy units are within 6" of the centre). With hindsight that was probably a poor choice as we squabbled over the centre of the board for most of the game! 

The game resulted in a win for the Grey Knights; the Word Bearers made an early start on Primaries, but the Sons of Titans cut through the supporting Troops and Daemon Engines and whilst the Possessed ripped apart a squad of Terminators and the Dread Knight, Damage 4 Smites(!) made short work of them, leaving the field for the Grey Knights.

 Learning points for future games; 
  • Having 12 Command Points for a Grey Knights force is amazing, but it's still sensible to ration them; the codex Stratagems are pricey.
  • Psycannons on the Terminators seem lacklustre; the -1 to hit for moving is meh. However these are on the models I own so they will remain.
  • Voldus didn't need to be Warlord; the 4th power (Inner Fire) was redundant. With Slay The Warlord now being a secondary (and hence not necessarily an auto take), there's more mileage in giving it say to the Grand Master Dread Knight.
  • Every Terminator unit needs Gate of Infinity to improve redundancy.
  • Dynamic Insertion (reducing the required deep strike distance to 3" away from enemy models) is really good; it can punish poorly placed enemy units. A lot.
  • It isn't necessary to cast every power every turn. I caught myself using Edict Imperator (shoot then additional move) even when I didn't intend to move the unit after. Doh. It could be used to mitigate the -1 to hit on Psycannons in a pinch.
  • I like using the Dreadnought to finish units off; the range of the Anti Tank Weapons plus Astral Aim give a lot of board coverage the other Grey Knights units lack.
That's it for today; back with more Grey Knights musings next time!

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