Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rock Paper Scissors

First things first, I grabbed this photo from almightydad.  I wanted to write some thoughts on the new Grey Knights and their effect on the meta game and stumbled across this blog when looking for a suitable picture for my post.  For what its worth, as a father of two very young children, I dig this blog and glad that I found it.

With that aside, as far as I'm concerned Grey Knights are off the table.  I almost let my weakness for new shiny toys overwhelm me and start into another army.  This is not to say I don't like the book (I do).  In fact I really like the book and what it means for current 5th edition meta game.  It is not over powered and you cannot build an all comers list with it.  But it does slide into the meta game with certain strengths and weaknesses that in my opinion creates more diversity for the game of 40K as a whole.

Now I'm not a seasoned vet with scores of tournament victories under my belt but I do love theory hammer and I do follow the major tournament results, various interweb opinions and listen to a plethora of weekly podcasts.  The way I see it the Grey Knights are part of a trend of GW to make sure every list has a counter. For example, the Grey Knights certainly will effect how top tier books will produce their armies from now on. I'm thinking first and foremost about Blood Angels.  Grey Knights will change the way these lists are built from now on.  One just has to look at the Grey Knights abilities to shut down decent of angels, furious charge, feel no pain and mephiston.  Grey Knights are arguable more mobile than Blood Angels with the ability to deep strike their troop choices, more durable storm ravens, give scout status to various troops and teleport units around the field with the librarian.  In hand to hand, the Grey Knights will eat Blood Angels up with initiative 7 power weapon attacks, combined with rad grenades and multiple strength boosts.  Say good by to mephiston spam with the multitudes of force weapons on the table.

But inversely the Grey Knights also have inherent weaknesses as well.  Namely expensive troops that do not get a reliable invul save.  Two armies come to mind that I think will give the Grey Knights considerable trouble.  IG with melta vet spam and Eldar.  IG is a no brainer but Eldar... thats right Eldar.  Eldar have access to the best anti-psychic war gear in the game: runes of warding.  Every time the Grey Knights wish to use a power table wide (and every unit has a psychic power) they have a good chance of taking a wound/glancing hit.  Now the Grey Knights is the elite of elite books and certainly pays a premium to be able to dole out all there psycic powers but the Eldar effectively neuters this strength with a simple and cheep upgrade.  Now the Eldar also have access to cheap melta spam which is the bane of Grey Knights as well in the form of Fire Dragons.  In addition the Grey Knights do not have access to storm shields which also gives Banshees an edge in combat.  The initative bonus of the quickening and nemesis halberds is negated by the banshee strikes first rule.  The lack of reliable storm shield saves also means that when any given Knight is forced to take a perils check they are more likely to take a wound.

I've been looking at my Eldar book again and envision a competitive list including farseers bunkered in DAVU falcons with holo fields, stones, star engines.  Two maxed out squads of Dragons and a maxed out squad of banshees at its core.  Throw in a night spinner to deal with the mobility of the Grey Knights and I think you have an effective counter to their book.  The Eldar will still have trouble with hordes (ie orcs) and massed strength 8 fire power (ie wolves and guard) and feel no pain marines (blood angels) but those armies, in large part are now countered by the Grey Knights (perhaps not so much wolves and IG).

In any event, like I said earlier, I'm not a vet.  But I do believe the meta has shifted and that tournament results in the future will reflect this.  As a parting thought, I think that an element of randomness has been injected into the game that in my opinion was needed.

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