Grey Knights: First Look

A Teleport Homer, duh.

Wait, what?

Yep, the codex is leaked in its entirety already. Normally this would be a bit tricky, because it would take time to scan all of the pages, etc… except that with the new GK book, there’s hardly anything in there to scan. So yeah, let’s the steaming pile of garbage that we’ve been served up.

Oh, and before everyone gets all whiney about how I’m just being negative because of the new codex and blah, blah blah: I had three different GK armies that I fielded previously; two of them are now illegal and one is completely untenable. So yes, I am a little bit bitter about the things they did to the codex, just like how they screwed over Sisters of Battle with their new book by essentially pulling all of the options and flavor out.

With that out of the way, it’s not wholly doom and gloom- there’s a few neat tricks in here and there are at least some builds that appear to be functional, although just how good they are is still up in the air. But the book at least has some kind of niche, which is more than a few others can say right now.

Combat Squads, Preferred Enemy (Daemons), and The Aegis are still the same and still pretty universal across (non-vehicle) units. Psychic Pilot, however, is gone and dead.

The Grey Knight unique detachment is easily the best thing about the codex- it’s 1-2 HQs, 0-4 Elites, 1-4 Troops, 0-3 Fast Attack, and 0-2 Heavy Support; a neat little twist that lets you take more fancy guys. Like all of the other ones, it lets you reroll your warlord trait as long as you roll on the GK table (yawn) and lets Deep Striking begin rolling for arrival on the first turn of the game. Holy shit! Also you can shoot + run (in either order) when you arrive, so you’re essentially guaranteed to come down where you want to and to come in with most of your stuff (presuming you use a Comms Relay or other reserve enhancement.) The ability to do a Drop Pod-style alpha strike is amazing and essentially the entire codex lives on this bonus; you can assume anytime during this article I talk about the relative worth of units, I’m assuming the use of this special detachment when I do so.

The warlord traits are a lot less impressive- Hatred (Daemons) and improved casting of Banishment; Hammer of Wrath for the warlord and unit; Stubborn within 12″ of the warlord; automatic arrival and reroll scatter when DSing the warlord’s unit; Counterattack for the warlord’s unit; and one extra Sanctic power (hilarious with the relic that does the same- know five powers plus the Primaris!) Given how good Command and Strategic can be, I don’t see this getting used much at all.

Melee weapons are now the same cost for everyone (unless you start with an “upgraded” one, like the Librarian.) Swords are the default and just have the basic AP3, Force, and Daemonbane (reroll misses and wounds against Daemons when Force is active.) Halberds are 2pts and are +1Str AP3. Falchions are 4pts and are +1A AP3. Warding Stave is 5pts and +2Str AP4 and Adamantium Will. Daemonhammer is 10pts and identical to before.

Special weapons are likewise flat costs across all similar units, with Incinerators being 5/10, Psilencers being 10/15, and Psycannons 15/20 (for power armor and Terminator armor respectively.) Psycannons, as expected, are Salvo 2/4, which is a HUGE downgrade from their previous statline- shooting at 12″ on the move is pretty balls. Psilencers gained the Force rule, which is neat and kinda unique but not actually all that useful 95% of the time. Incinerators are kinda bizarrely expensive for Terminators, since they are the only gun that doesn’t benefit from Relentless, but it is what it is I suppose.

Psyk-Out Grenades deserve special note; while Mindstrike Missiles are gone, Psyk-Out Grenades take their place. They are functionally Defensive Grenades when charged by psykers and if thrown during shooting, they act as S2 Frag Grenades that cause a single Perils check on one psyker in the unit (if there are any.) The other kooky grenades are gone over to the Inquisition codex exclusively now.

The relics are mostly kinda meh, but they aren’t bad and they tend to be on the cheap side. Bone Shard of Solor is 10pts and gives you a 3++ if there’s Daemons nearby, improving to 2++ and Hatred against Khorne. Fury of Deimos is a Storm Bolter with more range, an extra shot, Precision, and Master-Crafted, but for 10pts that’s not actually a huge improvement. Cuirass of Sacrifice is Terminator armor with IWND and FNP built in, and at 15pts it’s quite affordable. The Soul Glaive is a Halberd that lets you reroll failed tests to cast Force and rerolls all hits, wounds, and penetrations while it is active. Domina Liber Daemonica gives you one extra Sanctic power and lets anyone within 6″ reroll 1s when casting Daemonology powers- at 25pts, not an awful deal.

The HQ slot easily blows away any other for total number of choices, although that’s as much because of the slimness of the codex as anything; Brother-Captains are now essentially identical to SM Captains (but with ML1 and Terminator Armor for 150pts.) Grand Masters are 35pts extra for +1A, and +1ML, so not a terribly impressive deal in either case now that they have no unique abilities. The Librarian goes down to 110pts and is otherwise the same as before, but no longer plays a Special Unique Snowflake game for generating his powers; he can bump up to ML3 for 25pts extra. Interestingly, the Librarian can get a Combi-Weapon when virtually no one else can. Techmarines work as they do in other codices, coming as a “bonus” unit for 90pts- they can’t get Orbital Strike Relays anymore, but can still get the Conversion Beamer. Brotherhood Champions finally picked up that second wound they’ve always wanted and their stances now give either Smash or reroll failed saves while in a challenge. They lost Zealot and their special sword (although theirs is master-crafted), and Heroic Sacrifice just lets them make a free swing when they die.

For the named characters, Stern is pretty identical except that he has fixed powers (Hammerhand, Sanctuary, Banishment) and when he does Banishment, it hits all Daemons within 12″ of him. He gets Stubborn as a fixed warlord trait as well. Crowe is ML2 and has all the Purifier powers, but his sword is still derpy. He gets Hammer of Wrath as a fixed warlord trait and can use both stances while in a challenge. Draigo is 30pts cheaper and his sword is S8 AP2 now, but he also has Hatred (Daemons) as a fixed trait and knows Gate of Infinity and Purge Soul as powers above and beyond the usual; that’s actually pretty fancy as a trick, although his failure to fill the HQ slot (he’s a Lord of War) is actually a huge problem given his cost.

Strike Squads, with the above amendments to cost on weapons and such, are 10pts more expensive but otherwise identical. Given that Psycannons got significantly worse, this leaves them without a really good role in most armies, although the possibility exists for some kind of mechanized force using Rhinos and Combat Squad shenanigans to play the Objective Secured game (this being the only time you wouldn’t take their special detachment.) On the whole, though, I don’t think GKSS impress much in the new book, as you can’t get that mass of S5 shots to bring down light tanks anymore and Terminators do essentially everything they do at a better price point.

Speaking of which, Grey Knight Terminators: they don’t suck. Finally. At 33pts per model they actually compare rather well with a lot of things and Relentless means a lot with the way GK’s special weapons work now. Although you have to pay for melee weapons now, which may mean a lot of remodeling for some folks, they are solid hitters even without any combat upgrades and with Hammerhand up they will butcher most units pretty badly, even MCs and even Dreadnoughts in a pinch. I think these are the go-to Troop option (at least insomuch as you need that singular Troop squad) with the new book.

Paladins are an interesting comparison to Terminators- with the same price as before and the same statline, they come out of things looking fairly okay, though Solodins are a thing of the past. However, you still get two Psycannons in a 5man squad and the Apothecary is just a 20pt upgrade rather than the insane price it was previously. If you aren’t expecting to see a lot of S8+ shots, they can be a very strong choice to throw in someone’s face.

Purifiers still do what they do, although an increase to ML2 and keeping Cleansing Flame can both be regarded as major boons. Probably a good complement for the “in Rhinos” army, but less so for the teleporting one.

Dreadnoughts got moved over to Elites and are the only psyker vehicles in the codex. (I guess everyone in a tank just forgot how to cast spells.) However, at 125pts- and 25 more for the Venerable- they are pretty intensely overpriced, especially since they don’t even come with a Force Weapon of any kind. Don’t expect to be seeing any of these around anytime soon.

Rhinos are exactly as they are in every other book, which ends up being alright. Razorbacks are, too, which ends up being garbage. 55pts is not a good price for one Heavy Bolter, sorry.

Interceptors are slightly cheaper per model (2pts) but are the same base price because of the sergeant tax. They benefit a lot from cheaper Incinerators, but the loss of Psybolt hurts them quite a bit, so it’s probably a wash.

The GK Stormraven has been brought in line with the others in all respects now. It’s your only source of AA, but since you don’t have a good reason to transport a Dread and can’t get Psybolt, there’s no a strong reason to take it.

Purgators also get hit with the sergeant tax; changes to weapon prices are a bit less clearly beneficial or detrimental to them. Teleporting in five of them with four Incinerators can be pretty hilarious against enemy infantry, but since they fight for space with the Dreadknight that may be a bit much to ask of them.

The Dreadknight itself is quite a beast; Personal Teleporter is a ton cheaper, but with the ability to DS it in turn 1 that may not be needed so much anymore. All of the weapons got cheaper and most of them got better as well- the Heavy Psycannon can fire on Salvo 3/6 mode and the Psilencer gets force just like its smaller cousin. Its stock loadout is just two Power Fists now (with 5pts to grab Force/Concussive with a Daemonhammer or 10pts for Force/MCed with a Greatsword), but the real gem here is its psychic powers- Sanctuary and Banishment means it can get a consistent 4++ in addition to T6 and 2+. Drop in, blast some infantry to pieces, and then go for some big assaults- the Dreadknight is no joke.

The Land Raider and its brethren are the same, minus Psychic Pilot and the small cost bump that came with it. No real reason to pay a ton of points for them when you can just teleport in for free.

Overall Thoughts
Hmm. Well, the unit selections are crap- you have one, maybe two units even available in most slots, so your useable pile is even smaller. And your options across different units are very same-y; the entire book is basically S4 and S7 shooting and S6 melee now. So mechanically, it’s an amazingly bland book that I doubt is going to hold up well under the press of time. However, the ability to cram a bunch of Terminator-quality models into an alpha strike is pretty significant, so it may have some competitive legs under it.

All in all, though, I’m extremely disappointed with the half-assed job GW did here. A lot of people aren’t happy with the Ork or SW codices, and perhaps that’s fair- their is a certain lack of je ne sais quoi about them, especially when it comes to the fluff and picture sections. But the Grey Knights codex takes this leaps and bounds further, pulling almost all of the interesting parts of an already-borderline codex and giving them almost nothing in return. If this is the direction they are taking the game, I am not impressed or enthused.

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240 Responses to “Grey Knights: First Look”

  1. chumbalaya says:

    Just please keep them away from my Necrons for as long as possible.

  2. SomeCallMeTim says:

    Draigo is S/T4 now, so S7/(9 with HH).

    Personal teleporter for dreadknight feels mandatory. Even deep-striking, the extra movement is great for catching fast stuff, like those pesky riptides. Or shunting away to contest/claim an objective.

    Purgators have no deep-strike. Night vision is totally the future though 😐

  3. WestRider says:

    The Ork Dex came across as kind of "meh" to me, and I quite like the SW one, but GK just got hammered here. They really needed a couple more kits added if they were going to hold up as a solo Dex.

    And, well, more flexible options 😛

  4. No Remorse says:

    "Purgators also get hit with the sergeant tax; changes to weapon prices are a bit less clearly beneficial or detrimental to them. Teleporting in five of them with four Incinerators can be pretty hilarious against enemy infantry, but since they fight for space with the Dreadknight that may be a bit much to ask of them."

    Sadly Purgators don't have the Deep Strike rule.

    Totally agree on the rest :(((

  5. Kirby says:

    Deep strike + Drop Pods ally list?

  6. CKuno says:

    Personally I'm completely and utterly baffled at the removal of psybolt ammo. Can't fathom why considering that it was one of the few things that really added to the "elite" feel of the codex.

    The more I read the changes though, the more I'm thinking that the best army composition will be a libby HQ, termie troops, NDK Heavy supports, at least one Stormraven, and then after that maybe interceptors and purifiers. Paladins I'm on the fence about, but can see them making more appearances than the past, especially with cheaper apothecaries. I also see Warding Staves becoming a thing (hello 4+ DtW that re-rolls ones).

    I don't know, I'm not wholly disappointed in the book, but I'm not exactly happy with the changes. It's obvious that the decision was made that GKs would become a mini-dex along the lines of Militarum Tempestus. They'll be great with allies, but without enough tricks to be good on their own.

  7. M.Ward says:

    NDKs are the new grey knight riptides – a-a-a-autoinclude!

  8. Crynn says:

    Totally agree, I think what 7th ed adds is just crap and every codex release so far has just sucked all the life, interesting builds and fun out of the respective armies. GW Are now doing a half assed job on everything and after 18 years of playing this game and many of those as a highly competitive player who enjoyed every facet of the hobby, spending ours and converting every model in my army and almost as many painting I am leaving the hobby, at least for now. It saddens me the state of the game, how dull it is, how paper scissor rock it is becoming and quite frankly GW deserve to go out of business for the absolute crap they put out while other companies are striving to write fantastic material and rules. I love GW's models but that is no longer enough to keep me in this. Perhaps in time things will change, I hope so.

  9. Nomeny says:

    I really dig the changes made to the Space Wolf and Grey Knight codicies to make them live options rather than one-note OP ponies.

  10. CaptainA says:

    One thing to remember is going to be the supplements that will come out and might make GK more playable as they have been doing with other codexes.

  11. Scuzgob says:

    oh wow of course an imperium army gets a useful unique FOC. sure give the orks a billion slots of what they dont need and the ogre kingdom's ogre charge rule from fantasy, but then make the grey knight one worth using.

    as for everything else, its worrying how quickly GW is shoving the remaining codexes out. i assume theyll take a bit more time with dark eldar since they really need plastic wracks/grotesques, but blood angels and necrons will probably get the same treatment that space wolves and grey knights did

  12. IndigoJack says:

    I reach most of the same conclusions you did. You mentioned mechanized strikes, what advantage would they have over mechanized marines? There's a significant point gap between the two (>50 points), and I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how to make something that costs so much do anything effectively (especially given the severe lack of AT GKs now have).

  13. Ramer says:

    It was about fucking time. GK where horrendously overpowered.

    Their Terminators still retain grenades, their librarian in TDA are much cheaper than vanilla one with a better gear, you don't have to pay a premium for sarge, you have HEAVY TWELVE force weapon, that means Instant Death (and with the dice pool a GK army will have, it will be easy to pull out) and boy do you know how much regular marines would have to pay for a squad full of power swords (regular, not force) and storm bolter ? TWO HUNDRED POINTS ONLY FOR THE WEAPONS, so please, just please, shut the fuck up. Compare purifiers to Vanguard Veteran. As I said, it was about time.

    It's funny to see you GK players cry, this army has been dominating the scene since it went while us vanilla player had NO CHANCE (except for bikers builds maybe) to hold our own against GK. Outgunned, outpowered in CQC, out-psyked. Now, please feel how is it to play with an army that is not utterly broken. They are still very very powerful, and not the very special snowflake Ward crapped out of his ass.

    I see people threatening to leave because of their army was nerfed. Do you know how many quit WH40K because of GK in the past years ? Yeah. Right.

  14. MidnightSun says:

    The funny bit is when they all Deep Strike down in the shape of an Ion Accelerator blast with an EWO.

  15. Ish says:

    Wait… If I’m reading this right Grey Knight Terminators are available as Troops, get a Deep Strike++, can mix shooting and assault special weapons in one squad, and cost SIGNIFICANTLY less than Deathwing Terminators!?

    (Insert incoherent raged-fueled stream on obscenities here.)

  16. clever handle says:

    1) the loss of psybolt is baffling
    2) the change to psycannons as salvo was expected by anyone with half a brain – refer to sonic weaponry for precedent
    3) the loss of the inquisitorial forces isn't really a loss – they've been shuffled into their new codex. This should have been expected. They're available as allies, or a separate CAD, not GONE.
    4) change to melee weapons is odd. I expected a change to halberds, but not the one we saw…. I expected either an I10 on the charge, or upon being charged, not functioning as 1/2-axes…
    5) loss of grenades? meh. these always came across as a silly add-on after the fact.
    6) loss of mindstrike missiles? sucks, they made sense in context of the army, but having a S8 AP1 missile is generally more effective than having a small blast effective against psykers

    I'll have to actually read the leaked codex for more..

  17. slaede says:

    Variety is a moot point because you are only restricted by limitations we place on ourselves. In reality, you have the entirety of the Imperium at your disposal as battle brothers.

    As for the power level, it is improved. You have S7 jump infantry with meltabombs, teleporting Draigowing, now with FNP for only 20 points. You can practically be guaranteed to teleport Grav Centurions around the board with ignores cover from Tigurius now. You have a sick nasty MC. You have the top two flyer, which will be the best flyer once the Night Scythe gets fixed. There is litte to complain about here.

  18. Prometheus says:

    Could be just because I'm about the "kngihts" proper, but I am OK with this. The only thing I'm really pissed about is losing psybolts (though that was always kinda a dumb concept, wasn't it)?

    33 Pt Termies are AWESOME, especially considering these are troops and have a lot of special abilities besides.

    Yeah, psycannons on PAGK are kinda useless. But conversely, Incinerators are kinda awesome. 5 pts? I will roast you. GKSS are definitely a bit less useful, but I think the ability to DS and flame is still pretty good, and you can alwasy just use them as purifiers.

    I like the idea of psilencers being force weapon. Yeah, probably never useful on infantry, but not bad against MCs, hell yeah.

    Kinda pissed about mindstriek missiles. But yeah, I'll take the psyout grenade upgrade, and the stormstikes or whatever are pretty boss for vehicle hunting. Or riptide hunting. Or even centurions.

    Don't really see myself using paladins anymore, though they're not awful.

    I liked landraiders before, still like them now. AV14 still rules, the GK let you keep it form getting melta'd. Being a dedicated transport is a little meaningless since there's less competition for heavy slots. But whatever.

  19. akornd2r says:

    i think this is gw saying, well use the ally system hell im going to abuse the living shit out of it now to help grey knights. i feel now they are their fluff small elite force mostly assisting other imperial armies

  20. Prometheus says:

    Y'know, if they are going to rebalance all the codexes downward, that's fine really, but they need to start with Tau and eldar.

  21. Prometheus says:

    BTW, might as well admit here that I bought the collectors edition, it was just so damn pretty. This after I ordered a fake Imperial Knight from Chinese forgers specifically to avoid giving GW money. (great quality, btw, couldn't be happier) Maybe I'm just filling the hole left by a lack of 7th ed collectors edition (I've always gotten those), I dunno.

  22. Marecki says:

    Moar Terminators that are better and cheaper than Deathwing ones… Great job GW…

  23. N.I.B. says:

    Ahhahahahahaaa! / Tyranids.

    GKs down to level, next up – DE Splinter Cannons and Necron Tesla/MSS/Quantum Shielding.

  24. lords2001 says:

    It seems like GW got all the complaints about 5th ed GK's and decided to change it based on that. Psybolts, Dreads, razorbacks and psycannon spam were rather, rather nasty. 2 editions ago, at least. GK foot stopped being competitive once smash Tau hit their straps, and Eldar and SM just piled on the hurt there.

    I'm thinking 4 units of purifiers deep striking and psychic bombing a large part of the army could work, especially if they are in combat squads for additional ML. Add in 2 dreadknights and a Brother Captain and call it a day.

    Though 33 point terminators are good – lets home those centurion gravs stay at home huh?

  25. rexscarlet says:

    This is how convoluted (and expensive) 40k has become, now go devote your life to it, because in a very short time 8e will drop and GW can re-sell all the same stuff all over again.
    What I found most disturbing was GW selling books at stores to little Johnny (and to flgs) that will become obsolete within 30-60 days, big Skaven Bells there.

  26. Nomeny says:

    On an unrelated note, where did those claws on those UM Terminators come from? I've done something similar with the Combi-Bolter, but the claws elude me.

  27. Russ says:

    Well when you have "non-gamers" writing codex's and the company being run by marketers, this is what happens. No play testing and put out a book to produce sales. It is interesting what the CEO said about their input by the people who play their game. No wonder why many of my friends are going to Warmachine and Flames of War. Sad state of affairs.

  28. Prometheus says:

    BTW, why do incinerators cost 5 pts on a PAGK, but 10 pts on a termie, when they can both use them the same?

  29. Marshall says:

    Because for GK squad you lost a force wenpon, while the terminator still keep the force weapon.

  30. Gromuk says:

    so no more brotherhood banner on my terminators ? 🙁

  31. wolfdevil says:

    main rules book detachment is viable . gives obj secured as well as 3 hvy sup choices thats 3 ndk …. yes please 🙂

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