Dear Grey Knights, I hate you. Signed: AV11 Cosigned: Guys on foot.

Every new codex comes with it's share of apocalyptic posts about how each particular book would spell the end of the world.  Well, Tyranids were dead on arrival. Furious Charging Blood Angels with Feel No Pain and an insane Mephiston did not take away the top spot in the competitive codex rankings from IG.  Missile Spam and Jaws of the Wolf Lord are trying hard, but I still relent that IG remained hard fast.

The Grey Knight codex was preceded by none of those doom callers.  Sure there were rumblings about army wide force weapons and Optimus Prime walkers of craziness. But no one was screaming about how GKs were going to change the game as we knew it.

Well, I think it is officially time to start.

It is time to put your Rhinos and Razorbacks on the shelf.  The marine stalwarts made a huge comback with 5th edition, spurred on in part by fast Blood Angels vehicles and the turn five tactics that I wrote about a couple years ago that turned me into a tournament threat.  The AV11 transport enjoyed a brief window of elite efficiency. "Razorspam" became the new in thing.  In addition to the aforementioned reasons, this also happened because competitors were tooling up their armies to deal with AV13 and 14.  Land Raiders were running rampant!  You were seeing armies with 15+ melta guns.  Land Raiders disappeared and since it did not matter, you started seeing armies with 6 to 10 Razorbacks/rhinos.  "Let your melta gun blast my transport, I have half a dozen more, and once the marines are on the table it will only kill one marine!"

Guard one-uped this by fielding a flood of AV12.  Chimeras became the new unstoppable wave of armor that  to this day still strikes fear/revulsion in the hearts of most tournament players.  "Oh god... another IG chimera/vet/vendetta army."

We can kiss AV11 goodbye.  AV12 you are not far behind.  STR7 Assault Cannons, STR6 Heavy Bolters and STR8 Autocannons are indeed how DOOM will be spelled.

Grey Knights, with psyblt ammo, are going to very simply obliterate any mech spam army they encounter.  6 Dreads with two STR 8 auto cannons each...  Ummm that is 24 Twin Linked Missile shots divided up between six different targets.  Top that Wolves!  And lets forget assault cannons for a second.  The mundane Heavy Bolter takes a leap from annoying into dangerous!  Dark Eldar can begin cringing. Oh, and lets not forget the PsyCannon.  Even high armor vehicles will be scrambling for cover against them.

But none of us are stupid. We all can read the numbers and do the math.  The question is, how do we deal?

I pride myself on being ahead of the trends in tournament play.  I don't always win, but I am always in contention to win.  Over the last three years my army has had a complete make over every 3-6 months. Now, I am not talking about simply swapping Melta for Plasma on some of my Vet squads in Chimeras, playing a Manticore, or changing the wargear of my wolf riders to make sure I can get maximum benefit from wound alocation.  I am talking about a complete and total revamp of my army.  I earned my first Vegas ticket using 3 Furioso Dreads in drop pods.  I won Mechanicon using no characters, razorspam and predator tanks.  I was a bad and stupid mistake away from playing for it all at The Colonial using a Land Raider and Storm Raven with Mephiston!

What do I do? I take note of what trends I am seeing at the tournaments, and what net lists are spreading around, and I play lists to beat them.

Recently we have seen a huge increase in auto cannons.  Rifleman dreads, heavy weapon teams in Chimeras, you name it.  This was to combat the torrent of Rhinobacks zooming around.  What was given up? Melta.  At The Conflict I think I encountered 7 melta guns total!  A far cry from the dozens I was seeing per game eight months earlier.  Taking note of the trend, I invested points into my Land Raider Crusader.  Aside from the lucky las cannon shot once in a while, that thing is a work horse for me. It rarely dies.  Except to Tau and Melta Vets. (Once it has delivered it's contents).

One thing I can count on, 40k players are slow to change. Not because they are not smart, but because they invest so much time and money into building their army that they simply cannot create a new one every six months.

How do I intend to deal with Grey Knights?

First of all, Grey Knights are not going to change the game. They are going to change the lists that we play. For every rock, there is a piece of paper. The more adjustable codexs are going to remain at the top.  As we see more and more GKs appearing at tournaments, we are going to see less Space Wolves.  I don't think they have the tools to evolve.  Guard will need to dig beyond what made them initially strong.  Dark Eldar will be forced to pay the points to make sure they go first.

Blood Angels?  They may have it.  Certainly not in assault.  The one thing that has made BA shine is the Sanguinary Priest granting FNP and FC.  Well that won't matter squat assaulting a squad of GK terminators with Halbreds.  (They go at I6)  Goatboy wrote that GKs are not an assault army. Well, I disagree.  Five GK terminators with a Librarian might not be able to deliver the 20+ Power Weapon wounds on Initiative 5 that my Terminators can, but that does not matter when they can deal 10+ Force Weapon wounds at Initiative 6.

No they won't be able to overwhelm Orks on the charge... Who can?  But most of the elite assault squads in the current tournament meta are now outclassed, Charge or Charged, GKs have the ability to stand strong.  Not army wide though!  At least not while fielding more than 15 models.

Any way, my answer to the impending doom of the GK razor spam lists? (Yes, I know this article is about the end of AV11 and here I am saying that GKs will have razor spam.)  They will be the only ones able to pull it off and still very suspect to getting blasted themselves.  My answer is the Land Raider. Welcome back!  The Blood Angels can perhaps do it best because they can field them as dedicated transports at a huge discount.

So my friends, yes the Gks are going to blast your rhinos off the table.  Then they are going to obliterate your MSU squads in a hail of STR 6+ shots.  Expect it, and plan for it.  You won't face them every time, but odds are that over the summer GT season, and leading up to The Nova, we will see more and more.  And they will be making people cry.

It is time to dust off your Land raiders. Blast those GK razorbacks off the table from inside your God Hammers, and avoid the huge Paladin squads. There is no little need to deal with them at all.  Just kill the rest of the army.  What about IG with their 6 Chimeras full of melta vets and Vendettas? Don't worry about them. The GKs will thin their ranks.  Plus Las Cannons hurt them too. Wolves? Gone. Dark Eldar? Unless they take  the guy who gives them Steal the Initiative tricks, they are a 50/50 threat at best.  Lance Weapons still need a 5+ to be a real threat.

I will post my new list this weekend after I play it at The Battle for Salvation RTT.  I am hoping to face some GK. We shall see.



Nikkin said...

Partially disagree with you Jawaballs. Competitive GK don't base their list on razor/dread/psybolt spam. Instead they spam inquisitorial henchmen. Seriously: 14 point for a walking melta, 15 for a mini-terminator with PW and SS,a death cult assassin is identical to a GK terminator with halbred for only 15 points... and last but not the least the space monkey, basically a retarded obliterator for half the price and a potentially 36" range multimelta, 60" range laser or a 48" range plasma cannon. All wrapped in a delicious inquisitorial chimera for only 55 points.

Fill the entire field with land raiders maybe is not a good idea

Jawaballs said...

You are right about that, but it is just another reason why AV11 is dead! :)

Dave said...

I love your article, but I have a few questions about the use of land raiders. I assume your tactic will be to take multiple godhammer land raiders and shoot from distance greater than 24". That seems to handle the problem of a psycannon initially, but how do you handle a more aggressive army that actively moves into 24" range against your land raiders.

Also, I have noticed quite a few lists including the Vindicare assassin. Though you can only take a single Vindicare, he is quite nasty and depsite your interpretation of the ruling for his guns, can reliably handle most heavy armor with the turbo pentrator round (and AP1).

These two things together make me shy away from taking land raiders and instead want to take a list that provides target saturation.

I am not arguing with your estimation of how to deal with GK, but I am curious as to how you would handle these 2 situations.

Venerable Brother said...

I read this eagerly and was not let down. I agree that GK are NOT the new doom and will not change the game, but will change the lists.

We all need to assess our lists and make, sometimes, wide scale changes to address the threat of the new toys...but in doing so we must cast a wary eye back on the old stalwarts - they will simply go quietly into the night! No, they will fight on! And we must all make sur we can still deal with Av11/12 en masse...whilst realising that some choices are more favourable in the new, evolved environment of play...

or something like that...

Jawaballs said...

Thats a great question Dave, and the answer is, I don't know. I will still have my terminators in a Crusader, and like all armies, the biggest threat to my Land Raiders will be the biggest targets. I will simply stick to my experience. There will be nothing new, just different. Using the tried and true tactics as a base is what I have always done.

What do I think I will do? Well they will certainly be a target for Mephiston to take care of. He absolutely will NOT be assaulting termies. :)

TheGraveMind said...

I personally think Blood angels can do razor spam well by doing a front line of av13. AV13 still requires the psycannon to rend with out having such a huge price tag on them. They are fast and allow for great mobility keeping the majority of your army out of range.

I have been running a list at tournaments recently and have been having great success. At the most recent one I changed out my landraider and assault squad for two razorbacks with assault squads. I'm not sure how much of a difference it has led to. I'm going to give this new version a few more tests and then decide.

Jawaballs said...

Well said on the AV13. BA have the unique ability to field preds as Fast Attack. And with the inability to assault GKs, lots and lots of Dakka might be just what the doctor ordered. Baals might just find their niche in the new BA Codex.

Robert said...

Very interesting, and it's funny to think that competitive armies might come around full circle again (and you might run into someone's older melta heavy list)

Black Matt said...

I played Danny with a optimized gk list and his fire power just bounced off my 3 land raiders. I've played 3 games and three have died. I still think anything but godhammers are dead. My 3 raiders can shoot 6 different targets and withstand all but lucky shots and melta that has to go through a wall of th/ss termies firing missiles

Trent said...

I've found that a mixed Thunder bubble Layzorspam hybrid works remarkably well against Grey Knights too.

Psyfle-dreads don't do squat to 2+ Terms and the cover save they confer to the Razorbacks deflects most of the damage. The sheer torrent of fire from massed Storm Bolters is mitigated by FNP.

If the Termies get assaulted their Storm Shields halt most of the damage and the Librarian granting them Preferred Enemy insures they'll dish out more damage than the Knights.

Student Teacher said...

Does this mean people will finally stop rolling their eyes when I pull out my Space Wolves?

Mahu said...

I played a game recently against a Crowe Purifier Spam list, and as a Blood Angels player, I realized that our biggest advantage is our ability to spam AV 13 and 14. Grey Knights actually struggle a little on those Armor points because at best, from half to long range, they need a 5+ to do anything.

And because of their light armor spamming nature themselves, our move and fire Lascannons can actually do a lot of stalling against them.

I also think we still have better close combat abilities as them as well. Blood Talons own Grey Knight squads, even certain terminator configurations.

I am not saying it is a walk in the part, but I am very comfortable with the Blood Angel, Grey Knight match-up.

ServvsUmbrarum said...

I'm very interested in seeing how this develops. I was thinking about an Armored Column list that would have 3 Baal Preds, 3 Normal Preds and as many Las / Plas Razorbacks as I could afford. Might work well against them?

"The Initiate" -

steveNspace said...

Blood Angels AV13 wall with a LR center (with Shield of Sang) is how I have been playing for a while now.

HERO said...

I don't see how this changes anything with what we've been seeing with 5th Ed. Before 5th Ed. Mech killed everything not in transports, we had dual Lash and max Oblits doing the same thing. Foots been dead for like 3 years+ man.

Grimnar Angband said...

I've been playing razor/pred spam and I have to say that razorbacks need to go.

I am buying a 30 GK terminator wing and the razorbacks just roll over and die. The preds do alright but I have lost 2 of the 3 test games and was only able to draw once against the GKs as every time the razorbacks just couldn't take the firepower.

Landraiders might see a comeback for me as well. We only get them as transports...might as well use them.

Tordeck said...

Vect(4+ steal) has just been added to all lists from now on. Maybe even The Baron (+1 to going first)as well

phelanwl said...

I really miss when foot troops were a viable option.

Aus-Rotten said...

Wasn't the top 3 at the BFS RTT GK, SW and IG; all of which were filled with AV 11-12?

Jawaballs said...

Umm exactlly, GKs won. With a list that would have destroyed any AV11 heavy list he played.

Crosser Modelling said...

Land raider lists tend to have trouble with a few small units these days, have you thought about running a small vanguard vet/sternguard/honor guard suicide drop to take out things like vindicare's/ravagers/other landraiders or even a rhino/chimera that has alot of melta in?

Mordrak said...

Land Raiders die horribly to the power of the Psycannon and I run pure Draigowing...I know a lot of people don't rate it but seriously it hit 100x harder than what most people expect it too and that is just with 8 psycannons in 2 squads so GK razorspam armies such as (@ 1750pts roughly) 3 Psyrazors + 3 squads holding 4 psycannons gives you 60 s7ap4 rending shots...12 of which are re-rolling...

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