Codex: Grey Knights – a Review

Managed to purloin myself a copy of Codex: Grey Knights this morning. There have been a lot of rumours flyng around about this book and, as a Grey Knight player myself (must get some piccies sorted of the army!), I was somewhat intrigued to see what has happened to them. The previous Codex was nice enough but the new edition of the rules meant it needed some proper clearing up.

cover

The cover has excited some comment, with some people saying they don’t like it. I can take it or leave it – I prefer the cover of my Dark Angels book, but this works.

 

Background

There is, of course, lots of background chapters. I haven’t had a chance to go through it yet, so I don’t know what major secrets are lurking there (they did a good job with this section in the Dark Angels book, certainly). However, the art is new to this book and attractive, and the text covers the Founding of the chapter, the Citadel of Titan, and chapter organisation – I like the books that go into this for Space Marines because, with a thousand-odd guys in each chapter, it almost gives you hope that you will complete the entire chapter one day… Anyway, if you already have 5-6 Terminator squads, you will find you are well on your way to completing an entire Brotherhood (ignore the 1st Brotherhood, you will need 20 Land Raiders, 21 Stormravens and 18 Dreadknights).

background

There is a nice write up of the heraldry of the Grand Masters, followed by an article on how the Grey Knights fight, the personalities of the chapter and some major actions where they have fought. The truth will be in the reading of this section but, skimming through, I get the sense there will be some ‘reveals’ of the 40k universe here.

 

Hobby Section

As always, the hopbby section is filled with pictures of lovely painted models.

hobby

All very nice and a favourite will be the photo of two ‘rifleman’ Dreadnoughts (armed with two twin-linked Autocannon, a reference to the old Battletech game) next to one another.

 

Army List

I am guessing a good number of you have skipped to this section – in which case, welcome to this post, it is a review of the new Grey Knights Codex!

First up is the Wargear List, and a few things are immediately apparent. No Psychotroke Grenades. And no, no Storm Shields. In fact, apart fvrom the Relics, nothing new. Halberds are a bit cheaper, Dreadnoughts get just the standard Dreadnought choices for heavy weapons.

The units are laid out in the new format pioneered by Codex: Orks, and I kinda like it. Everything you need on one page, so no flipping too and from different parts of the book. The downside is a lot more flipping between units – works for me though.

armylist

Now, I have not gone through this with a fine toothcomb yet, especially on the special characters (rarely use them myself – nothing against them, just like doing my own characters). However, I have found the following;

  • Halberds now add Strength rather than Initiative – Dark Eldar Wyches now have a (very good) chance against Grey Knights.
  • The Warding Stave gives +2 Strength and Adamantium Will, but no longer gives an Invulnerable save.
  • Nemesis Doomfists are now Power Fosts without the Force rule. Dreadknights are cheaper but, contrary to rumours, cannot have two identical heavy weapons.
  • All Grey Knights use Daemonology (Sanctic), though the characters have a wider choice of the base disciplines, so if you were hoping for Grey Knight specific powers, you are out of luck. They don’t suffer from Perils of the Warp very often though.
  • Psykers top out at Level 2 (Brother-Captain, Stern, Crowe, Draigo and Librarian). Rhinos, Razorbacks and Land Raiders are no longer pskyers. Oh and nor are Stormravens. Dreadnoughts are.
  • Is it my imagination, or are Strike Squads more expensive now? 110 points for five guys.
  • Most squads automatically have the Banishment and Hammerhand powers. Purifiers get Cleansing Flame too, Dreadnoughts and Dreadknights get Sanctuary instead of Hammerhand.
  • No Psybolt ammunition. None. I kinda took this to be a major thing for the Grey Knights and will be mourning its loss…
  • Interceptors on Stormravens no longer get a precision drop. That is a shame.
  • Purgation Squads get Night Vision. Nice, but considering their maximum range is 24″, not brilliant.
  • I mentioned Dreadknights are cheaper – mine dropped by nearly a third in points. I predict there will be a lot of Dreadknights appearing in armies, except…
  • … the Grey Knight detachment only has 2 Heavy Support slots. It also has only 2 Fast Attack and 4 Troops (that could hurt with Terminators being Troops), but you do get 4 Elites. The other benefit is that Deep Strike units start rolling from Reserves in Turn One and, when they appear, they can both Run and Shoot. Would have been nice if they could also Assault, but I accept that would have been sick.

Many people were hoping for awesome Relics. The best I can see at a glance is the Cuirass of Sacrifice, a Terminator Suit that grants Feel No Pain and It Will Not Die, which will be interesting on a Brother-Captain. The others are nice enough but there is nothing really ‘sexy.’ A Storm Bolter with Assault 3, a few things that bugger up daemons, and a close combat Glaive that re-rolls just about all of its dice.

As for army global rules, well you have you the standard Combat Squad rule (gives you more dice for the Psychic Phase, but your units are more fragile), you get to re-roll results of 1 on Deny the Witch, and with Santic powers you only suffer Perils of the Warp on two or more 6s.

 

Conclusion

The army list needs playing in anger, and the background section needs reading thoroughly. But, for now… I am not a completely happy bunny with this book. The Grey Knights have lost a fair deal (you will likely have heard the Inquisitors and Assassins have gone – which is fine in itself, I think) and gained… well, not a great deal. I can see they will make for a nice Allied force, though the suggested formation in this book will need a big army to ally with. But on their own?

The problem is that Grey Knights die just as easily as any other Marines when the high AP shots start flying, and I cannot yet see they have a decent answer to that. Against fragile armies, the Psybolt ammo was always just enough to allow them to engage in shoot outs on an even keel. They were and are still good in close combat, but there have been a few edges filed off the Nemesis weapons that troubles me.

So, overall I would say needs playing to see how the new army list flies but I am somewhat less excited about this book than I was, say, Codex: Orks.

Keep your eyes peeled for a first battle report.

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3 Responses to “Codex: Grey Knights – a Review”

  1. Gaius Bonus Says:

    Great review. As a GK player I feel violated.

    The only reason this codex might even be worth the paper it is printed on is due to the “oooh shiny new codex!” syndrome that makes people buy it.

    As for the content itself, blech.

  2. altsain Says:

    I have just seen something that made me think, ‘oh, that’s nice…’ The Psilencer is now a Heavy 6 _Force_ weapon. A ranged Force weapon. That has… potential…

  3. Growing Armies | A Tabletop Gamer's Diary Says:

    […] can pretty much ignore my initial review of the new Codex: Grey Knights as after several games with them now, I am officially designating […]


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