Start Competing: Grey Knights Tactics

How do you feel about an unyielding line of glorious, silver-armoured Paladins cutting a swathe through the enemy with blade, mind and bolt? Sounds pretty cool right? Well, I mean it’s obviously pretty cool, but if you have sufficiently good taste to think it sounds really cool then the Grey Knights might be for you.

For a long time we might have had to follow that initial endorsement with a note of caution, but what a difference a book can make. Having laboured for most of the edition under the curse of an early codex, Ritual of the Damned has provided the Grey Knights with a spectacular boost, finally giving them the kinds of tools needed to properly take the fight to enemies of all stripes.

In this article we’ll take a deep dive into the tools available in both the original Grey Knight Codex and the new abilities from their Psychic Awakening entry, and highlight what we think are the best options if you want to succeed on the table. As with any of these articles the opinions within will reflect the time it was put together – this was written in early 2020, a few weeks after the release of Ritual of the Damned.

Author’s Note: This has been updated as of the Ritual of the Damned FAQ.

Army Strengths

  • Excellent Damage Output: With the advent of Ritual of the Damned, Grey Knights can outdo even Thousand Sons in the psychic phase and throw out a tonne of good shooting once they’ve closed to their ideal range.
  • Great Characters: Every character is a psyker and a killing machine.
  • Powerful Tricks: Grey Knights have an array of tools to confound the opponent, and get a large number of Deep Strike abilities, letting you exploit any mistakes your opponents make.

Army Weaknesses

  • Fragile: While their lot has gotten better with consecutive buffs and cost reductions, Grey Knights ultimately still have to put a decent number of power-armoured 1W models on the table. If you have a bad turn or get the wrong matchup you can crumble fast.
  • Short Ranged: Most of your best damage dealers operate at 24″ or less, letting a long-ranged opponent that can screen you out give you a hard time.
  • Poor Screening: Grey Knights need to go “pure” to get access to their best ability, leaving them with no cheap, expendable units to screen with. This can lead to serious challenges against other armies with powerful deep strike elements, particularly turn 1 redeploys.

Competitive Rating

Medium…with space to grow. Grey Knights are currently in somewhat unproven territory – they’ve just received an extremely powerful upgrade via Ritual of the Damned (RoD), but there hasn’t been time for people to fully explore just how powerful it is. On paper it looks excellent, but Grey Knights do still have some serious weaknesses that might hold them back from the top tables. We’re comfortable that they’re no longer in the garbage tier that they once held dominion over, but will have to wait and see whether they’ve leaped all the way to good.

Special Rules

Grey Knights Credit: Lungboy

Grey Knights Brother-Captain. Credit: Lungboy

And They Shall Know No Fear

Grey Knights can re-roll failed Morale tests, unlike other Space Marines that re-roll any Morale test. Even so this means 5 model squads are extremely unlikely to lose models to morale thanks to Ld 8 sergeants, which is handy as going wide with a lot of small units is the play for GK most of the time.

Daemon Hunters

If this unit attacks any DAEMONS in the Fight phase, you can re-roll failed wound rolls for those attacks. This is pretty cool if you end up against Chaos, as a lot of their popular stuff has this keyword, but the fact that you’ll be melting the selfsame units with four damage Smites means it’s kind of win-more.

Teleport Strike

Codified as a shared rule just because so many units have it – teleport strike is your bog-standard deep strike, and applies to all INFANTRY except Purifiers, Purgation Squads and non-Terminator characters. Most of these, however, can also deep strike via a stratagem, and even Nemesis Dreadknights can buy a teleporter to gain it.

The challenge with Grey Knights has always been working out how much of your list you can afford to start deployed off the board and which units should do so. While you can buy them teleporters, Dreadknights often get the nod for starting down because they’re very tough, especially with Tide of Shadows. For similar reasons, setting up a big squad of Paladins down can be the right choice if you can hide them from the heaviest firepower – they cover a lot of the points you need on the board, can screen characters, and can always redeploy with Gate of Infinity later on. Interceptors have also frequently been used for this because of their ability to redeploy once per game.

Being able to clown-car a couple of units in a Land Raider or Stormraven can help too, and wanting some stuff down adds to the attraction of bringing a Venerable Dreadnought and Techmarine to hide behind a big ruin. There might even be a use case for Rhinos here – they’re tough to shift with Tide of Shadows up, and provide good ablative protection for a couple of Strike Squads.

With the addition of Tide of Escalation you can land a big hammer blow with a coordinated Deep Strike of a large number of units, so you want to make sure you’re setting up to maximise this. Just the sheer number of storm bolters you can bring in will have an impact on a lot of armies as well, and until people adjust to the new reality of Grey Knights, expect to absolutely demolish people on deep strike turns.

Rites of Banishment

This rule is shared by all Grey Knight psykers except PURIFIERS, Castellan Crowe and Brother Captain Stern. When this unit manifests the Smite psychic power, it has a range of 12″ instead of 18″, and only does 1 mortal wound regardless of the Psychic test result. However, if the target is a DAEMON, it automatically does 3 mortal wounds. This makes a reasonable amount of sense on non-CHARACTER units, but it’s always been a bit of a bugbear that it means Grey Knight Librarians are, uh, less good at smiting than other Marines. It has still historically let GK armies rack up a decent clip of mortal wound output, and has just got a spectacular upgrade with the addition of Tide of Escalation, allowing you to up this to 2MW per unit, which will absolutely demolish any high-quality units who’ve strayed into range (and remember, against DAEMONS that becomes 4MW – say goodbye to Plaguebearer blobs or the newly-popular Possessed bomb).

Brotherhood of Psykers

If your army is Battle-forged, all PSYKERS in GREY KNIGHTS Detachments gain this ability. You can add 1 to Psychic tests and Deny the Witch tests for such a unit. Additionally, following the changes to Smite in various FAQs, Grey Knights always cast Smite at Warp Charge 5 (so effectively a target number of four with their +1) rather than increasing in difficulty with each successive cast. This is a vital rule on the offence, actually letting you benefit from the huge number of psykers you can put up, and making all your utility powers very reliable. It’s also a big upside if you come up against an army that leans heavily on psychic, as they’ll usually be trying to push every power through a deny with +1, which is a huge pain.

Knights of Titan

The Grey Knights version of objective secured, letting Troops hold objectives above other units. Always useful, and there’s likely scope for a dual battalion list as of RoD, which will give a decent number of bodies to put onto objectives.

Bolter Discipline and Shock Assault

Grey Knights share these with core Marines, and we are huge fans of both abilities. In an army full of storm bolters, there’s frequently going to be some value to be had from double tapping at range, and Paladins and characters do even better out of it.

Meanwhile in melee, Grey Knights used to suffer from having weirdly low attack characteristics, and adding one to that helps to make the regular units a bit more of a threat and the characters super nasty. It’s obviously excellent on bigger stuff like Paladins and Dreadknights as well.

Nemesis, Bolt and Psi Weapons

Grey Knights have various rules keying off these three weapon types.

Nemesis weapons are those with “nemesis” in their name, or pretty much all melee relics.

Psi weapons are psilencers, psycannons and any heavy/twin/gatling versions of those, plus weapons under the effect of Psybolt Ammunition.

Bolt weapons are those with “bolt” in their name plus a relic storm bolter.

Weapon Options

Grey Knights Justicar

Grey Knights Justicar. Credit: Pendulin

A huge number of units in the army can pick freely between five melee weapon options:

  • Nemesis force sword: 1pt, S User, AP-3, d3 damage
  • Nemesis force halberd: 1pt, S+1, AP-2, d3 damage
  • Nemesis Daemon hammer: 13pts, Sx2, -1 to hit, AP-3, 3 damage
  • Nemesis falchions: 2pts, +1A, S User, AP-2, d3 damage
  • Nemesis warding stave: 1pt, S+2, AP-1, d3 damage, grants a 5++ in the fight phase or +1 to invulns if you already have one.

For basic units, falchions are almost always the correct choice. Basic Grey Knight Marines only have one attack, but combining the extra attack from these with shock assault gets them to a respectable three, allowing them to do some actual damage in the fight phase.

Characters will often want to go for the hammer if they can – among the Grey Knights even Apothecaries can come equipped to smash heads (as I have personally experienced), and this is especially true as unlike thunder hammers, these don’t get pricier on characters.

Finally, on Paladins (or any other unit you’re planning on using as a general purpose “bomb”) the halberds get the nod. For units that already have plenty of attacks, getting to S5 is super important as it means there’s then no target they’ll completely bounce from. You do want to mix in a couple of warding staves too, as you’re likely planning to buff any such unit with Sanctuary and being able to have some ablative wounds with a 3++ in melee is very, very helpful if they end up tangling with something equivalently horrible like Assault Centurions.

Masters of the Warp

The spicy new army-side hotness from RoD. All Grey Knights units have this ability, and as long as every unit in your army (except Servitors and Inquisitors using their Authority of the Inquisition) does, all PSYKER units gain a benefit from it. At the start of the first Battle Round, you can choose one of four effects to be active, and you can change which one is active in your Psychic Phase using the Warp Shaping power. Note that the PSYKER-only rider was added via the FAQ for the book, and means that sadly Tide of Shadows doesn’t apply to the “basic” Marine vehicles that Grey Knights have access to.

The four tides are:

  • Tide of Fury: Re-roll 1s to wound for INFANTRY models in the Fight phase. Perfectly fine, but not exciting.
  • Tide of Convergence: Add 1 to the strength and damage of psi weapons. This makes Purgation squads and big squads using Psybolt Ammunition incredibly deadly. It probably affects the smallest proportion of your army of the Tides, but is also the biggest boost when it’s good.
  • Tide of Shadows: Units under this effect are always in cover, and if they’re entirely on or within (i.e. every model is at least touching) a terrain feature, shooting attacks against them are at -1 to hit. Note that this is considerably better than most versions of similar effects, as there’s no range limit on the first part and no “non-vehicle” rider on the second, so a Dreadnought or Dreadknight touching terrain gets the benefit.
  • Tide of Escalation: Smites from units with Rites of Banishment do +1 damage (so 2 against most things and a “don’t even go there” 4 against Daemons). This makes bringing a Brother Captain to double the smite range to 24″ extremely appealing as it lets you do a tonne of damage at range.

This ability rocks and is a massive part of why people are suddenly interested in Grey Knights again after a long time as a very weak faction. It’s a sufficiently high proportion of their power that it means you almost always want to run them as mono-faction – without this a lot of their key units don’t look nearly as good.

With it though, they’re super nasty and this deals with a lot of the army’s problems. Tide of Shadows considerably boosts their resilience, giving every unit in the army at least a 2+, and lets you be a lot more mobile without sacrificing durability, while Convergence and Escalation massively boost your damage dealing capability. Fury is fine, especially as there aren’t really many other sources of melee wound re-rolls in the army, but it isn’t nearly as much of a boost in output as the other two when used right.

So, how do you get the most out of this? Well, one of the absolute best things about the ability is that you choose the active tide at the start of the first battle round, i.e. after you know how your opponent has deployed and who’s going first. We think that gives the following broad set of decisions:

  • You are going SECOND, your opponent is going to shoot you from afar: Choose Shadows. Switch to whichever damage dealer makes sense on the first turn you’re going to be able to bring lots of firepower/smites to bear.
  • You are going SECOND and your opponent is likely to move towards your lines: If you think your opponent is going to come straight at you, there’s a good argument for starting in Escalation and using prepared positions, even if they have shooting threat. This allows you to line up a full psychic phase of powered up smites and then switch to either Shadows or Convergence at the end of the phase depending on whether you’re in position to get big value from the shooting boost or think you’re going to have to weather a storm on the next turn.
  • You are going FIRST and your opponent has deployed in Smite range: Start in Escalation, ruin them with mortals then switch to Convergence if there’s stuff you want to shoot alive and in range or Shadows if there isn’t.
  • You are going FIRST and not much is in Smite range: Probably the situation you most need to play by ear – you need to balance what’s going to let you do the most damage on turn 2, or if you need to be in Shadows for their turn 1. If you think you’re going to be able to get at least one good shooting squad in range, one option here is to start in Convergence, use Edict Imperator to get a round of boosted shots off from that squad, then switch to Escalation or Shadows depending on how confident you are about taking a round of shooting to the face, or how much you’ll have in range turn 2.

The big, big thing to remember is that you have the most flexibility when you start the psychic phase in Escalation. That allows you to fire off all your smites out at D2, and then switch to whichever Tide is most useful at the end of the phase (possibly off a Librarian buffed with the Sanctic Shard relic to make it as close to 100% reliable as possible). Doing this lets you effectively double dip on this ability for the turn, but obviously comes at the cost of not having had a different one active for the previous shooting/fight/opponent’s shooting phase. It’s also extremely good if you can line it up for the turn where most of your Deep Strikers come in. Successfully calculating when you should be investing in ending a phase in Escalation (or starting with it active) is an important part of playing this army well, and successfully landing a payoff turn where you get to use both Escalation and Convergence to full effect will swing games.

Litanies

Grey Knights get their very own set of litanies for their Chaplains, who also know two rather than one (but can still only chant one). That’s good, because while some of these effects are good they’re also pretty tricky, so flexibility is nice. Just like Marines, you activate these on a 3+ at the start of the battle round.

In many ways these defy our normal grading process – all of them have a use case but they’re all pretty fine-tuned to specific matchups and situations. With that in mind, grades won’t help – we suggest absorbing what these can do and trying to tailor to the matchup.

  • Litany of Faith: Units gain 5+ FNP against mortals within 6” of the Chaplain. This is obviously extremely good in either a mirror match or against something like Thousand Sons. Outside that, it’s eminently skippable.
  • Words of Power: Select 1 Grey Knight unit within 6”. You can re-roll damage for that unit’s weapons. This is somewhat useful for psilencer squads, although in many matchups for those you’ll get more value out of Invocation of Focus. Where this does feel handy is if you’ve brought a Land Raider, Venerable Dreadnought or Stormraven loaded up with d6 damage weapons, as this gives you a really good chance of taking out 4W models in a single shot, which is great against some current meta terrors. Using this and Astral Aim to let a Land Raider no-scope two Thunderfire Cannons turn one might, statistically, be the world’s best feeling. It is also actually relevant when you hit melee, letting big squads like Paladins eke out quite a bit of extra damage. However, lining up Chaplain buffs for melee units is tough, especially without jump Chaplains.
  • Intonement for Guidance: Select a friendly Grey Knight unit within 6”. They can ignore hit and BS modifiers when they shoot. If your opponent has planes or other negative modifiers this is obviously handy, especially on any of the aforementioned gun platforms. This can also let a Purgation squad operate on the move, and can be particularly helpful if you’re planning on diving in and out of cover with one via Edict Imperator.
  • Refrain of Convergence: When a Deny the Witch test is taken for this model, add +3. Another one that’s good against psychic armies, though probably the weakest of the lot – it will often be possible for your opponent to dodge the caster. Best against enemies like Magnus that come to you.
  • Recitation of Projection: Select a friendly Grey Knight unit within 6”. Add 6” to the range of Bolt/Psi weapons in that unit. Surprisingly useful just because it helps a lot with setting up a good first turn use of Tides. If your opponent is going to be mostly out of range for your turn one, this lets you start in Convergence, get a round of shooting off from one squad with Edict Imperator, then switch out to a different tide to set up for turn 2.
  • Invocation of Focus: Select one friendly Grey Knight unit within 6”. Improve the AP of Nemesis and psi weapons by 1. This is deceptively great – psilencers are very powerful, but their low AP can be killer against some of the stuff that’s good in the metagame. Being able to boost a unit up to a total of AP-2 (by combining with Psychic Onslaught) is tremendously important in a metagame full of stuff like Centurions and vehicles with perma-cover.

You should be able to find worthwhile choices for most matchups, which means Chaplains should always bring some value to the table, especially as they add an additional CHARACTER caster as well.

Psychic Powers

Thanks to RoD, Grey Knights have access to not one but two psychic disciplines. The first is the Sanctic discipline, available to any unit in the army (which includes getting to know a power on each basic squad) and the second is the Dominus discipline, available only to characters. For the latter, each character needs to choose to know either all of their powers from Dominus or all of their powers from Sanctic – you can’t mix and match (even with the Lore Master trait, which has been FAQed to give an extra of whichever you pick, not always a Sanctic power). In most cases, expect to see Characters taking Dominus – you potentially want one or two Sanctuary/Gate of Infinity casters among them, but there’s good enough stuff in Dominus that that’s where you’ll focus.

Sanctic Discipline

  1. Purge Soul – WC5: Pick a visible enemy unit within 12″. Both players roll a dice and add their unit’s Leadership value. If the target’s total is equal or greater to your psyker’s, nothing happens. If their total is lower, then the target unit suffers mortal wounds equal to the difference. While this is pretty short ranged, being able to affect any type of unit makes it at least fine given the pretty good Ld scores of most Grey Knight units. Because all your actual smites are locked to 1W, you’ll usually want to throw this out in most turns. B
  2. Gate of Infinity – WC6: Pick a friendly GREY KNIGHTS unit within 12″. Remove it from the battlefield and immediately set it up anywhere more than 9″ from enemy models. This is an extremely powerful ability to have in a repeatable format, and almost every army can make strong use of this. Throwing a GMNDK or some Paladins into the fray is the main use, but don’t be afraid to use it to throw a character onto an objective in a pinch, as Grey Knight characters are much more capable of looking after themselves than Ork ones, the other place this turns up. A
  3. Hammerhand – WC6: Pick a friendly GREY KNIGHTS unit within 12″. Add 1 to any wound rolls for that unit’s melee weapons until the start of your next Psychic phase. A bit tame compared to the buffs later books have given out, but still something you need and improved by Shock Assault. B
  4. Sanctuary – WC6: Pick a friendly GREY KNIGHTS unit within 12″. That units gains a 5+ invulnerable save, or +1 to its current invulnerable save if it has one, until the start of your next Psychic phase. While FAQs have removed the ability to push units all the way up to a 2++, buffing multiple GMNDKs to a 3++ or putting Paladins to a 4++ are both crucial capabilities that most Grey Knight armies need. A
  5. Astral Aim – WC5: Pick a friendly GREY KNIGHTS unit within 18″. Until your next Psychic phase, that unit can shoot at enemy units not visible to them, and those units do not gain the benefit of cover. A Venerable Dreadnought sniping from behind cover is a pretty classic inclusion in a Grey Knight army, and because they’re psykers in their own right they can just babysit themselves. The main thing holding it back is only being able to cast it once. B+
  6. Vortex of Doom – WC8: Target the nearest visible enemy model within 12″. That model’s unit, and every other unit within 3″ of that model, suffers d3 mortal wounds. If manifested on a 12+, do d6 mortal wounds. Identical to Infernal Gateway out of Tzeentch but less powerful prior to RoS because there aren’t nearly as many ways to efficiently stack up buffs to the casting roll as Tzeentch has. It’s still decent because of the inbuilt +1 to cast a pure detachment has and the ability to just demolish unsuspecting opponents, and adding Empyric Surge or the Sanctic Shard could make it even nastier. B+

Given how weak the overall codex was prior to RoS, the Sanctic discipline holds up surprisingly well. All of these have the potential to be actively useful in every game, and thanks to being able to know one on most squads you can easily have access to the whole lot, which is tremendously helpful.

Dominus Discipline

  1. Warp Shaping – WC5: Select a tide of the warp that isn’t dominant. That becomes the current dominant tide of the warp. A must have – bring at least two casters of this in every game, as being able to switch is extremely important and you don’t want to lose your caster and be stuck. If you’re planning to swap from Tide of Escalation to Tide of Convergence, make sure to cast all your smites first! A
  2. Armoured Resilience – WC6: Select one GK INFANTRY unit within 12” of the psyker. Until your next psychic phase, when resolving an attack that targets that unit, subtract 1 from the wound roll. A nice power with a few caveats. The problem with defensive buffs you have to pre-cast is that sometimes your opponent can just change targets, and you also can’t have them up if you go second, but both of these are less of a problem for Grey Knights than most armies, as they have powerful units that demand to be dealt with, and can bring them out of Deep Strike and buff straight away. This is potentially super good on a big Paladin squad, and maybe on a large Purifier squad if that turns out to be viable. The only other caveat on this is that it doesn’t stack the way you probably want it to with Transhuman Physiology – because the wording of that only cares about unmodified rolls, something that would normally wound on a three against a unit with both this and Transhuman on wounds on a four, not a five as you’d really like. That means stacking both is only really relevant against S8+ stuff – but that’s basically fine because it means a power cast is saving you 2CP most of the time, which is big and clever, and you have the stratagem as a fallback if you miss the casting roll. B+
  3. Ethereal Manipulation – WC7: Select one friendly GK unit within 6” of the psyker. Until the start of your next psychic phase, when resolving an attack made by a model in that unit in the Shooting phase within half range, you can re-roll the hit roll. While most competitive Grey Knight lists probably bring Draigo, this is a useful way to get full rerolls onto something outside his aura, and is powerful if you need to fight back against something with hit modifiers (or use on a Purgation squad on the move) because it uses the new re-roll wording rather than the old one. Also works on vehicles, so can be handy for buffing up a Land Raider or Stormraven if you’ve brought one along. B
  4. Edict Imperator – WC7: Select one friendly GK unit within 12” of this psyker. That unit can shoot as if it were your Shooting phase and then make a move as if it was your movement phase. (it cannot advance as part of this move.) That unit can not shoot again or charge this turn. The power that will probably launch a million FAQs. We’re currently rating this on the assumption that it doesn’t let you pull off anything funky in terms of what you would normally be allowed to do – so if you’ve fallen back this doesn’t then let you shoot, and it only lets you shoot pistols (which Grey Knights don’t have anyway) if you’re in combat. What that leaves is a power that is basically Fire and Fade in a single action – you can shoot and then move again. Luckily, as any Eldar player will tell you (hi) that’s really good! The main use of this is to allow you to shoot and then cower back behind terrain, which in Grey Knights can be great on Purgation Squads or a big Paladin squad (as you can use Psybolt Ammunition when you fire with this). That’s basically fine and would be an auto-take by itself unless you were sure you were playing on terrible tables. The second use of it is to up your mobility in getting up the field, which I think has real value here – getting something like a Dreadknight 8″ further up the board in a turn where they aren’t going to make melee anyway is useful. The third, sneaky use is to allow you to squeeze in a round of shooting buffed with Tide of Convergence before you shift across to Tide of Escalation. That’s tremendously helpful for squeezing the most value out of your Purgation squads. Having multiple valid uses brings this together to an A.                                 (Shane: So for the real sauce on Edict Imperator. You use this power on a shooty unit, maybe combined with Astral Aim to shoot out of LoS, to kill a screening unit of your opponents. Then you move that shooty unit as needed. Now you have a perfect gap in your opponents screen, waiting for you to Gate of Infinity another unit into. It’s like that screen was never there! This should be a familiar tactic for those GSC players out there. A+++)
  5. Empyrean Domination – WC7: If you manifest this power, gain a CP. Yes, cast this every turn, next question. A
  6. Inner Fire – WC5: Select one enemy unit within 1” of this psyker and roll a number of D6 equal to the result of this psychic test. For each roll of a 1 the psyker sufferers one mortal wound and each roll of 3+ inflicts one mortal wound on the enemy unit. A completely hilarious power that’s one of the most powerful MW sources in the game but also extremely challenging to set up. It can be done, and we expect this to most commonly be seen in conjunction with the Powerful Adept stratagem to boost the range. It might thus be worth keeping around, but bear in mind that a character power slot is a real cost to this army. There’s also a hilarious combo you can set up, which we discuss more in the Stratagem section. B

There is some fantastic stuff here, and in particular Warp Shaping and Empyrean Domination are must-haves in every army. The presence of these powerful tools introduces a real use case for Librarians and Master Voldus, as they can tick several of your boxes in one go (and in the case of the former, also benefit from the Sanctic Shard).

Stratagems

Credit: Lungboy

  • Tactical Flexibility – 1CP: Use at the start of any of your Movement phases. Select a friendly GREY KNIGHTS unit with the Combat Squads ability that has 10 models. That unit immediately splits into two separate units of 5 models each. Extraordinarily unlikely to ever come up here – the only unit you’re ever likely to take in a squad big enough to use this is Paladins, and on those you want the force multiplier from stacking buffs on a big unit. D
  • Truesilver Armour – 1CP: Use when a GREY KNIGHTS VEHICLE suffers a mortal wound. You have a 5+ FNP against mortal wounds until the end of the phase. Mortal wounds are one of the better tools opponent’s have to get round the 3++ you can put on a GMNDK, so being able to reduce their impact is great, and reasonably priced too. B
  • Only in Death Does Duty End – 1CP: When a GREY KNIGHTS CHARACTER is slain, it can immediately shoot as if it were the Shooting phase or fight as if it were the Fight phase. Cannot be used on BROTHERHOOD CHAMPIONS (which already get to fight on death). Grey Knight characters are one of their real high points, so having this at 1CP is super useful and something you’ll get a tonne of benefit out of. A
  • Honour the Chapter – 3CP: Use at the end of any Fight phase. A GREY KNIGHTS INFANTRY unit can immediately fight for a second time. Pricey, but when you want it you really want it A
  • Wisdom of the Ancients – 1CP: Use at the start of any phase. Select a friendly GREY KNIGHTS DREADNOUGHT; until the end of the phase you can re-roll hit rolls of 1 for friendly GREY KNIGHTS units within 6″ of that Dreadnought. Unlikely to be a super useful spend of your CP most of the time – Grey Knights are usually packing various re-roll auras and getting re-roll 1s on a lone backline dread isn’t super helpful. C
  • Teleportarium – 1CP: Use during deployment. A GREY KNIGHTS INFANTRY unit or GREY KNIGHTS DREADNOUGHT can deep strike. Obviously quite a bit of stuff in the army can already Deep Strike, but this still has value, letting you bring in Purifiers, Purgation Squads or Vendreads from safety. B
  • Mental Focus – 1CP: Use in your Psychic phase. One GREY KNIGHTS PSYKER can cast one additional power this phase. This is now pretty handy with the addition of a second discipline, adding either an extra useful cast or sometimes just letting you squeeze out an extra D2 smite. B+
  • Teleportation Boost – 1CP: Use in your Movement phase. An Interceptor unit which has already used its teleport shunt can do so again. Interceptors are a good unit, so having a reasonably priced option to improve them in an emergency is nice. B
  • Psychic Channelling – 1CP: Use when casting a Psychic power with a GREY KNIGHTS PSYKER. Roll 3d6 and drop lowest. This is OK but you’d probably rather have a flat cast boost instead. Still can be worth using on a key cast or when fishing for a souped up Vortex of DoomB
  • The Aegis – 2CP: Use after an enemy PSYKER has manifested a power within 24″ of a GREY KNIGHTS PSYKER or VEHICLE from your army. Your unit can immediately attempt to Deny the Witch and rolls 3d6 drop lowest to do so. You have so many deny the witch attempts in a Grey Knight army and already get +1 to them, so spending 2 whole CP on this is really hard to justify. Would be worth considering at 1, but as it is should only be used in critical emergencies. This should absolutely just be the now-standard “deny on a 4+” to be worthwhile. C
  • Heed the Prognosticars – 2CP: Use at the start of your turn. Add 1 to invulnerable saves for a GREY KNIGHTS CHARACTER until the start of your next turn. It’s expensive and you need to take a turn before you can use it, but 3++ GMNDKs are tough to shift and you probably will use this. B+
  • Armoury of Titan – 1CP/3CP: The Grey Knights version of the regular relic stratagem, 1CP for an extra relic or 3CP for two more. Got a bit better with the addition of more tools from RoD, but there still aren’t tonnes of slam dunk takes B
  • Orbital Bombardment – 3CP: Use once per battle, in the Shooting phase, if you have a GREY KNIGHTS Warlord that did not move during your Movement phase. Instead of shooting with your Warlord’s weapons, select a visible point on the battlefield and roll a D6 for every unit within D6″ of that point. On a 4+ that unit suffers d3 mortal wounds (5+ for CHARACTERS). Like all such abilities, this is occasionally great but usually terrible. C
  • Psychic Onslaught – 2CP: Use before a GREY KNIGHTS unit shoots. Increase the Strength and AP of any gatling psilencers, heavy psycannons, psilencers, or psycannons by 1 for this phase. Even after the RoD buffs this could reasonably only cost 1CP, but with Tide of Convergence up this will let a Purgation squad do some real damage, the AP gain in particular being extremely helpful for psilencers. It is expensive, but if you’re racking up a CP a turn with Empyrean Domination and have brought a decent detachment setup you can hopefully be pressing the button on this most turns. It’s also fine on Grandmaster Dreadknights, but because they don’t benefit from the Tide you should be aiming to save this for the Purgation squads. B+.
  • Psybolt Ammunition – 2CP: Use before a GREY KNIGHTS unit shoots. Increase the Strength and AP of any boltguns, storm bolters, heavy bolters, and hurricane bolters by 1 for this phase. We wrote the first draft of some of this prior to RoD and had this down as a C+, but the fact that it makes weapons Psi, allowing them to benefit from Tide of Convergence, does a specatular 180 on the value here and pushes it all the way to an A. With the right tide up, this makes your bolt weapons S6 AP-1 D2, which is pretty good off a 5 model squad and fantastic if you’ve brought a full Paladin unit (where it may prove a reason to not even bother with special weapons). This lets a big unit put out such an appalling amount of damage (especially if you add in Bring Down the Beast) that you really, really want to be using it. A
  • Finest Hour – 2CP: Use at the start of your turn. Pick a GREY KNIGHTS CHARACTER and double the range of any aura abilities on its datasheet to 12″ for this turn. This is niche but occasionally useful on Brother Captains or Draigo. C+.
  • Transhuman Physiology – 2CP: For a phase, one non-VEHICLE or SERVITOR unit can never be wounded by an unmodified roll of 3 or less. Yes. Yesssssss. This has proven to be one of the most powerful stratagems in the Space Marine codex, and Grey Knight players love to see it. It’s obviously most useful dropped onto a big Paladin squad, but can be good dropped onto any Infantry unit in a pinch (or a CHARACTER that’s accidentally tangled with a knight), and is generally just fantastic here. A
  • Masters of Combat – 2CP: Use in the fight phase when Grey Knights Paladin unit is targeted by an attack that has not yet been chosen to fight. Until the end of the phase, any models destroyed in the unit may fight. Not always relevant, but in matchups where your opponent is leaning on melee damage dealers it’s wild, as it makes profitably shifting the Paladins real tricky. B+
  • Vengeance of the Machine Spirit – 2CP: A LAND RAIDER or STORMRAVEN gets to either auto-explode, shoot one weapon at top profile or fight (lol) on death. Our extensive network of sources (i.e. tipsy people we chat to at events) suggests that an Astral Aim Land Raider might actually get there with the new book, and if it does this will be part of it, as an extra round of shooting is always welcome. B
  • Overwhelming Assault – 1CP: Use in the Fight phase. Select one NEMESIS DREADKNIGHT from your army. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of that unit. In addition, when resolving an attack made by a model in that unit, you can re-roll a wound roll of 1 and a damage roll of 1. Niiice. This takes an already great unit and makes it even better, which is always good to see. If you’re going after big vehicles with one of the nasty weapons, this lets you take a much bigger chunk out of them, but don’t neglect how good it is buffing a Dreadfist against 2/3 wound models – it makes you much more likely to kill a model per unsaved wound. Really, this is just great. A
  • Dynamic Insertion – 1CP: Use when a Grey Knight unit is set up on the battlefield using the Teleport Strike ability. You can set up within 3” of enemy models instead of 9”. If you did this you cannot charge with that unit in this turn. In theory this is aimed at Purgation Squads with Incinerators, but in practice these aren’t cost effective and don’t get used. The galaxy brain thing you can do with this is bring in a cheapo character and use Powerful Adept and Inner Fire and try to melt the heck out of an enemy character or vital asset. It won’t always be what you want, but you’ll almost always have a character you could set this up with, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your matchups to see if this is a worthwhile trick. B
  • Bring Down The Beast – 2CP: Use in the shooting phase after shooting a Grey Knights unit from your army. Select one Vehicle or Monster unit that was chosen as a target for that unit’s attacks. Until the end of the phase, when resolving an attack made by a model in a friendly Grey Knights unit against that enemy unit, you can re-roll the wound roll. It’s Doom – but this time in stratagem form! This is (obviously) absurdly great, letting you both amp your Purgation squads up to 11 for killing stuff, and also letting a bunch of storm bolters punch up when needed. Remember that since there’s no requirement for the shooting that triggers this to inflict any damage, you can set it up with a random storm bolter off a character or something, which you absolutely should do. A
  • Big Guns Never Tire – 1CP: A VEHICLE can move and shoot heavy weapons with no penalty. Probably less good than for most Marines as you have fewer mobile vehicles that you actually want to take (and some of them are Land Raiders which don’t need this), but sniper Venerable Dreads will still see use and this can help them re-position in a pinch. B
  • Fury of the Proven– 1CP: Add 1 to hit for a GREY KNIGHTS TERMINATOR unit for a phase. Very handy here – it’s good on Paladins (especially if they’re opening up with storm bolters and Psybolt Ammunition) but can also be useful on characters waving around Nemesis Hammers to offset the -1 to hit. It’s cheap and effective. B+
  • Powerful Adept – 1CP: Use in the psychic phase. Select one GREY KNIGHTS PSYKER unit from your army with the Rites of Banishment ability. Until the end of the phase increase the range of it’s psychic powers by 6”. Cute in the aforementioned combo with Inner Fire, and also always handy to have access to, as a lot of powers in the Sanctic Discipline are pretty limited in range. B+
  • Fight On The Move – 1CP: Use at the end of the movement phase. Select one Grey Knights Interceptor Squad from your army. Until the end of the turn that unit can shoot and charge even if it fell back this turn. Now that Strike squads are quite cheap and you want to maximise the number of them in your army we expect to see Interceptors less, but they are still decent and if you have them in your army there will be times when this is very helpful. B
  • Empyric Surge – 1CP: Use in your psychic phase after a Grey Knight psyker has manifested a psychic power. Until the end of the phase, when a psychic test is taken for a friendly Grey Knight Psyker unit within 6” of that unit, add 1 to the total. Grey Knights will very often end up with a large number of units in the same place, and when they do this will often be worth activating. If you’re just using a bunch of Smites it might be worth skipping (since with the built-in +1 that Grey Knights have it’ll already go off on a 4), but as soon as you have any more substantial stuff you need to land it can be very worthwhile (and is especially so if you’re trying to land a Vortex of Doom for the big hit). B+
  • Redoutable Defence – 1/2CP: Use this in your opponent’s Shooting phase, when a Grey Knight Terminator unit from your army is chosen as the target for an attack. Until the end of the phase, subtract 1 damage (to a min of 1). This costs 1 to affect 5 or less models or 2 points if 6 or more. Yum. Used on a full squad of Paladins this can make your opponent’s life a complete nightmare. We’ve already seen that this same effect in Tyranids has put Warriors back on the table, and Paladins are considerably tougher to deal with than those and already one of the best units in the army, and this takes them to the next level. A
  • Steady Advance – 1CP: Use when a Grey Knight Infantry unit is chosen to shoot with, until the end of the phrase for the purposes of Bolter Discipline the unit is treated as stationary even if you moved in the previous Movement phase. Imported from the Marine book. Sometimes fine if you need an extra 10 bolter shots, but totally skippable and probably not where you want the CP going in this army. C+
  • Untainted and Unbowed – 1CP: Use when a Grey Knight Purifier Squad unit from your army is chosen as the target for an attack. Until the end of the turn, models in that unit have a 4+ inv save. When a morale test is taken for the unit they auto pass. Purifiers are in a slightly odd place now that Strike Squads can get access to D2 smites, and this pushes you into a quite specific direction with them, which is to take a full unit of 10 to maximise the impact of that stratagem. That might be OK? The main issue I have with it is that it really doesn’t help at all with your power armoured guys getting mowed down by Thunderfires and Whirlwinds. Ultimately though, I think there are use cases where this is good and it helps its unit reach for viability, so it gets a B
  • Preternatural Senses – 1CP: Use this Stratagem when a Grey Knight Purgation Squad unit fires overwatch. Until the end of the phase, you hit on a 4-6. The rate of fire on Psilencers makes this no joke, especially if Draigo is nearby. B+

Relics

  • Fury of Deimos: Replaces a storm bolter. Range 30″ Rapid Fire 3, S5 AP-1 D1. Oh dear. Early in the edition GW didn’t really have a handle on how good relic weapons needed to be to compete with utility relics, and this is very much a victim of that. Do not take this. D
  • Destroyer of Crys’yllix: Replaces a Nemesis Daemon hammer. Melee weapon with Sx2, AP-3, damage 4, -1 to hit. See previous. D
  • Banner of Refining Flame: Paladin Ancient or Brotherhood Ancient only. The banner bearer loses the Rites of Banishment ability; instead when they cast Smite, it only has a range of 6″, but inflicts d6 wounds no matter what the result of the Psychic test is. This is a reasonable option – you can build a pretty nasty castle of smites around a Brother Captain, and being able to add another d6 damage one is useful. B
  • Soul Glaive: Replaces a Nemesis force halberd. Melee weapon with S+1, AP-3, Damage d3. You can re-roll failed hits and wounds with the Soul Glaive. See, this one is actually kind of OK – S5 with re-roll wounds lets you meaningfully attack anything you like and do real damage, so this is totally fine. B
  • Domina Liber Daemonica: All enemy DAEMON units must subtract 1 from their Leadership when within 6″ of the bearer. Yikes. F
  • Cuirass of Sacrifice: INFANTRY model only. 5+ FNP. In this army, if your opponent has chewed through to having a real crack at your infantry characters you’ve probably already lost, so you’d rather have things that make them more dangerous than tougher. C
  • Blade of the Forsworn: Replaces Nemesis force sword. S +1 AP -3 D3. Models with the Daemon keyword cannot take invulnerable saves against attacks from this weapon. An OK add against Daemons, but the Soul Glaive is a lot better as a general purpose weapon. C+
  • Sanctic Shard: When a Psychic test is taken for a model with this Relic, you can re-roll the result. Add 1 to the total for psychic tests taken for a model with this relic. This is probably the new default relic pick, as it’s super good buffing up really any caster. A Librarian with this is a decent utility platform (probably spamming Empyrean Domination and Warp Shaping at high reliability) but even just ensuring that your Dreadknight Grand Master will make his casts is nice. A
  • Augurium Scrolls: When resolving an attack with a Nemesis weapon by a model in a friendly Grey Knights unit within 6” of a model with this Relic, an unmodified hit roll of a 6 scores 1 additional hit. I think this is at least OK, but doesn’t get much higher than that, and isn’t massively helping solve problems that Grey Knights can’t already deal with. C+
  • Stave of Supremacy: Model with Nemesis warding stave only . When a Psychic test is taken for an enemy model within 18” of a model with this relic, that enemy model suffers Perils of the Warp on any roll of a double. Funny but extremely avoidable. C
  • Artisan Nullifier Matrix: Librarian model only. Once per turn, when a Psychic test is taken for a friendly Grey Knights unit within 6” of a model with this Relic, you can increase or decrease by 1 the value shown on one of the dice. This is clearly meant to protect you against Perils and it’s a really cute effect but having to go on a Librarian probably kills it, as at the point you’ve included one I’d be very surprised if you weren’t just taking the Sanctic Shard. C+
  • Aetheric Conduit: Techmarine model only. When using a model with this Relics’ Blessing of the Omnissiah ability, the target model regains up to 2D3 wounds instead of up to D3. So I joked about this in our review but I’ve actually come around on it potentially being useful. A single sniper Land Raider in GK lists seems like it might be real, and you could definitely do worse than handing this to a cheapo Techmarine to apply Astral Aim and keep the tank in good health with this. B

The biggest winner here is probably the Sanctic Shard, and it’s potent enough that it will often be your first choice. The Banner of Refining Flame, Soul Glaive and Aetheric Conduit all have their uses if you feel you have CP to spare – but you probably won’t.

Warlord Traits

  1. Daemon-Slayer: If your Warlord wounds a DAEMON in the Fight phase, your opponent takes invulnerable saves at -1. Ahahaha. No. D
  2. Hammer of Righteousness: +1 to wound rolls for your Warlord in the Fight phase if he successfully charged this turn. Not terrible, but you’re more interested in making sure you land the charge than killing stuff once you get there. B
  3. Unyielding Anvil: Friendly Grey Knights units within 6″ of your Warlord automatically pass Morale tests. Lol ok. Never take this. F
  4. First to the Fray: Re-roll failed charge rolls for your Warlord and friendly GREY KNIGHTS units that are within 6″ of him at the start of the Charge phase. The only real way Grey Knights have to boost charges out of Deep Strike, and thus very often the correct choice, especially on Nemesis Dreadknights. A
  5. Nemesis Lord: +1 Damage to your Warlord’s melee weapons, except Relics of Titan. This is totally fine, and even quite good on a Dreadknight, but especially with access to the Overwhelming Onslaught stratagem they don’t super need the help to blend stuff once they’re in. Still, it does let you build a very, very murderous character, and if you are up against an army full of 3W models adding it to Dreadfists is actually pretty spicy. B
  6. Lore Master: Your Warlord knows one extra power from whichever discipline they select (note that this isn’t what the trait says, but is what it’s been clarified to do in the FAQ). This gets something of a lease of life with the advent of the Dominus discipline, as it allows a Librarian (or Voldus) to load up with a lot of options. It’s also handy on units like Dreadknights that have two casts but only know one power. Also useful when you’re a bit short on characters, or need to bring a redundant Warp Shaping caster against someone like Raven Guard. B

Warlord traits in Grey Knights used to basically only have one answer, which was First to the Fray on a Dreadknight. That’s still often going to be the case, but there’s a bit more of a case for the others now. Notably, Nemesis Lord stacks with some other buffs to make a very nasty fighter, and Lore Master can be handy to provide lots of psychic coverage.

Units

HQ

Lord Kaldor Draigo

The Grey Knight chapter master doesn’t disappoint, rocking a powerful statline (both offensively and defensively), two casts/known powers and the all important full re-roll aura (sadly still lumbered with the old wording). He’s not cheap but he’s good value for his cost and brings enough to the table to warrant inclusion in a lot of lists. He isn’t especially complicated in why he’s good – you basically just want him rolling around with the main body of your force amplifying them and rocking into any combat where a bunch of S8 AP-4 D3 attacks will help, which is most of them!

With a 2+/3++ he’s extremely resilient to most forms of attack, but don’t let him get stuck out in the open against enemies like Marines that can lay down a lot of AP-1 firepower (or anything that can mortal him to death past his two denies) as those are his only real weaknesses.

Grand Master Voldus

Voldus is a big winner from RoD – he now has a serious use case and early indications are that he’s getting into a lot of lists, pushing out Draigo as the special character of choice (though some bring both). Voldus is the Grey Knights’ Chief Librarian, but because Grey Knights are the coolest kids in the room he’s also packing most of the abilities of a Captain.

Psychic is where he’s focused though, packing a mighty three known powers/casts, and that’s why RoD is such a boon to him. Previously, there just weren’t enough powers to go around to make his three casts actually useful, but now you can use him to cover off your bases in the Dominus discipline and free up your one-cast characters to lob smites when you’re in Escalation.

He has a potent statline as well, being nearly as deadly as Kaldor in a fight and pretty crunchy on the defence (although missing Kaldor’s 3++). He also has a captain bubble (re-roll 1s to hit) which is nothing to sniff at.

Overall, he’s a good package, and though he has a hefty price tag he often does enough to be worth it. Sometimes if you want an expensive character to lead your bubble, it’s going to be worth springing the extra 27pts for Draigo, and sometimes you might want to go a bit cheaper on your utility caster and take a Librarian (though you want enough powers that both is defensible), but Voldus is sitting in a really great spot at the moment.

Grand Master

Basic Grand Masters are your captain equivalent that also gets two casts (though only one known power). While their Terminator statline is fine, they are close enough in cost to the named character options in this slot to be eclipsed most of the time, and these are rarely used. The same is not true, however, of their notorious other flavour the…

Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight

Credit: Lungboy

The infamous baby carrier of doom, why walk into battle when you could be carried by a gigantic mecha suit meant for fighting Greater Daemons? The Grey Knights haven’t come up with a good answer to this, so that’s what a pretty large proportion of un-named Grand Masters in the field do.

These have always been one of the anchors on which Grey Knight armies have been built, with two or even three being commonly seen. They’re not indestructible, but they’re at least reasonably tough to kill on their baseline stats, and can be buffed up to a 3++ with either Sanctuary or Heed the Prognosticars, after which they’re a real challenge to kill (though the old combos that got them to a 2++ have been removed). They’re not just tough either – they also throw out a decent clip of firepower at range (though not getting to benefit from Tide of Convergence isn’t fantastic) and are absurdly dangerous in melee. Thanks to the addition of Overwhelming Assault from RoD, anything foolish enough to challenge them to a Fist/Hammer/Sword fight is going to be in a world of hurt. As a CHARACTER they can even fight on death, and Overwhelming Assault carries through to that (though be aware their attack stat degrades), giving them a chance to get even in the unlikely event that they do lose a fight. Finally, they’re a cast 2/know 1 psyker, adding another source of psychic firepower to the army (in this case they’ll often want to either be self casting Sanctuary or Gate of Infinity).

So how should you equip these? With all the point cuts they got in Chapter Approved it’s difficult to go massively wrong but the preference tends to be for the longer ranged guns and one of the big melee weapons. You’ll often have these walking up the board, so getting them active early via having the big guns is better than leaning on the flamer (and both can benefit from Psychic Onslaught) – especially as anything in range of the latter is likely about to get charged and have a very bad time anyway! As for melee weapons, while the basic fists are perfectly adequate for squashing Marines the step up to the big weapons is massive if you’re going after armour, and the premium on them isn’t huge. The hammer works out as the best (despite the -1 to hit) but it’s pretty close, especially as Overwhelming Assault helps even the playing field, so you can basically take whichever you think is cooler and be happy.

As of Chapter Approved, the base build is now cheap enough that it’s probably at least worth looking at just running one bare bones – while having the guns early on is nice they do rack up a pretty hefty price tag, and one of these just going full distraction Carnifex and running straight at the enemy has a certain appeal.

You can pay some extra points to give these a teleporter and deep strike, but as it stands you’re quite likely to want them on the board to fill up your deployed points quota, as they’re harder to kill with shooting than a lot of stuff. You can also always redeploy one with Gate.

Where you might diverge from that is if you make one your warlord, as dropping one in with First to the Fray can help stick a big turn. Be aware, however, that they give up full Kingslayer in ITC (which is true of most of the characters here, but they can’t be shot at range).

Grand Master Dreadknights are great and have been a fixture of most successful Grey Knight lists up till now, and while still very powerful they’re no longer as mandatory as they once were. It is worth bearing in mind that if you pack them as your only big target you’re giving your opponent’s proper anti-tank something profitable to do, and a heavily INFANTRY focused list is much more feasible post RoD. Definitely still competitive, but don’t be afraid to try lists without as well

Castellan Crowe

Castellan Crowe is a weird unit that ends up looking good just because he’s spectacularly cheap. For only 80pts you get a cast 2/know 1 psyker with the purifier version of Smite (only 3″ range, but always d6 damage), good defences (2+/4++) and unfortunately compared to other GK units, terrible melee capabilities. In a codex full of good melee weapons, he is the only unit to not have one (for fluff reasons – the Black Blade of Antwyr is a daemon weapon he just chooses not to use, which is pretty metal).

His melee is bad because it is basically a chainsword, so entirely based on weight of attacks and therefore only truly only good on chaff – he has 5 base (so 6 on the charge) but can re-roll all hits and wounds and whenever he wounds something he can make another attack (though those can’t generate any more). That makes him somewhat dangerous against chaff, and completely useless against anything with a 2+. He also automatically gets to fight on death.

At only 80pts he’s a fine HQ slot filler that can usually do a decent amount of damage (be aware that he doesn’t get built in Deep Strike unlike a lot of stuff), but has probably gotten less attractive with RoD – Purifier smite is less impressive when Banishment smite can be D2, and you’re much more interested in spending some extra points on a Chaplain, Librarian or Brother-Captain than you used to be. (Corrode: I don’t totally agree here. Crowe is a fine choice for your “sit back on an objective and cast Warp Shaping” guy, especially if you’re trying to squeeze in a double Battalion).

Brother-Captain/Brother-Captain Stern

We’ll lump these two together as the main reason you want either is for their aura. This doubles the range of the Smite power when cast by any GREY KNIGHT unit within 6″. That’s a huge deal now that Tide of Escalation exists, as pushing the range of a bunch of D2 smites out to 24″ lets you realistically open up with them turn one, whereas otherwise you’d usually be holding on till at least two. The price tag on these isn’t cheap, but it’s such a powerful effect to attach to your main bubble that you want one in most lists. It also helps any Purifier type units get a bit more range on their abilities, and can be nasty with the Banner of Refining Flame. These guys are also potentially a good shout for using Finest Hour on in a turn where you’ve got Escalation up, as every unit you catch in the extra range is worth most of a MW.

Outside of that, these are nothing to write home about. The vanilla version is a standard Terminator character statline with a single cast, and the ability to pick which weapon to take from the wargear options. Stern is cheaper and gets an extra cast, but is locked in to a nemesis sword (the worst weapon) and has a weird version of smite that makes his extra cast kind of irrelevant. Rather than having Rites of Banishment (so no extra Escalation damage for him either) his smite has 6″ range (doubled to 12″ by his own aura) and only does a single wound – unless it hits a Daemon in which case it does 3MW and a MW to every other Daemon model within 6″ of him. This is, bluntly, terrible – even against Daemons you’d probably rather just have the basic Rites of Banishment at this point, and it’s hopeless against everyone else.

Stern does have one final ability but it’s a hilarious trap that is almost always an actively bad idea to use. Once per your turn, you can re-roll a hit, wound or save for him – but if you do your opponent gets to re-roll a hit, wound or save for any model in their army in their next turn. Bluntly, there is absolutely nothing you can be re-rolling with him that’s going to be as good as the best thing in your opponent’s army, so handing them this option is a terrible idea.

All things considered, it’s usually worth the extra points for a basic Brother-captain here, especially as you then at least have the option to upgrade them to have a Daemon Hammer.

Librarian

Just like Voldus, the advent of the Dominus discipline gives these guys a new lease on life, and the ability to grab the Sanctic Shard is an extra bonus. Any Grey Knight army is going to want a reliable caster for Warp Shaping and Empyrean Dominance every turn, and a Librarian with both of those and the Shard is a neat way to tick a lot of boxes that should make it into armies. They’re also one of the very, very few worthwhile units that don’t give you full Kingslayer in ITC, so making one your warlord is potentially a good plan if you don’t want to go down the First to the Fray route.

They’re not super flashy, but the utility caster package is good enough that these probably do see play.

Techmarine

Techmarines feel weirdly out of place in Grey Knights, but they have their potential uses. They’re the cheapest HQ option in the book, still get to be a one cast psyker and (if you’re planning on bringing a Land Raider) are a perfectly decent unit to sit back and load one up with Astral Aim, especially if you buy the Aetheric Conduit to let them double repair.

If you aren’t bringing the Land Raider you probably have other stuff you want to use your HQ slots with, but even then if you find yourself short of points one of these with the relic running after a Dreadknight buffing the wounds out isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Not exciting, but probably fine in some builds.

Chaplain

Realistically, for a review of the Chaplain look at the Litanies section. There are some very nice abilities in there, and the Chaplain also brings another caster and combat character to the table. The built-in Litany of Hate (which they still get) is also super useful as a back-up plan to having Draigo for the army.

However, they aren’t cheap, are a bit weaker than your other fighters in a straight up fight, and have less reliable payoff via Litanies than some of the other buff characters. They’ll definitely see experimentation and might eke out a use, but I could also believe they’ll be tried and not quite get there.

Brotherhood Champion

Our final entry here is a bit of a whimper – the Brotherhood Champion is a combat dork who is locked in to taking a force sword (the worst weapon, beside Crowe’s) and doesn’t really have any force multiplying effects. Given that he costs as many points as an entire falchion Strike Squad, this leaves him with no real place in the army, especially as if you were going to take something like this you’d just pick Crowe for 10 fewer points.

Troops

Strike Squad

Grey Knight Kill Team

Credit: Pendulin

Strike squads are your bread and butter, and a pretty decent core unit with the RoD buffs. They aren’t cheap, weighing in at 85pts with halberds/swords or 90pts with the more likely option of falchions, but especially if you take the latter you get a unit that’s active in every phase and gets you towards a battalion.

Post-RoD lists are still shaking out, but there seems to be a gap for a proper go-wide lists leaning on how good Tide of Escalation is that fills out with two battalions worth of these. That gives you a lot of presence on the board, plenty of CP and is at least moderately tough to shift with Tide of Shadows up.

Something I haven’t seen tried yet, but feels at least worth considering in any list planning to swap to Tide of Convergence at any point, is just to swap out the falchions for a psilencer on one model in every squad. Because you don’t pay for the storm bolter the model still costs the same, and it lets you substantially add to the weight of Convergence-buffed firepower in any turn where you do choose to activate it. These will often be on the move, but thanks to the number of shots they have there isn’t really any situation where it makes them worse at shooting, and losing one model’s worth of melee attacks feels like a reasonable trade.

That’s probably the only swap I’d make though – paying for one of the pricier special weapons doesn’t feel worth it, and you’ve got better things to spend your points on than buying the sergeant a hammer.

Terminator Squad

Terminators as troops! Novelty aside, these are a lot less useful to the army than basic Strike Squads – they’re obviously much tougher, but rock in at twice the price and aren’t really much deadlier, only gaining +1 attack compared to their power armoured brethren. In Grey Knights you either want to be going as wide as possible with small units or putting the minimum possible points into troops to save them for cooler stuff. With that in mind, probably build the kit for these as Paladins instead!

Elites

Apothecary

Ah yes, “medicine”. That’s what hitting people with hammers is called right?

Now don’t get me wrong, the Apothecary’s healing ability is pretty useful in Grey Knights – slapping a Paladin back on their feet or healing some wounds on one of your nails characters is really good. However, in addition to this, Grey Knight Apothecaries happen to have a full melee character statline (getting four attacks to the Chaplain’s three for…reasons?), the ability to bring a Nemesis Daemonhammer (i.e. cheapo Thunder Hammer) into battle and are one-cast psykers. All of this including the hammer comes in at only 88pts, which is a ridiculous bargain and they’re still pretty good if you can only afford the halberd (the clear second choice). It does mean you’re putting points into a character that isn’t providing any force multiplying auras, but it adds another Smite or Dominus cast, and provides a legitimate threat you can hold in deep strike to pick off some stragglers if needed. They probably can’t claim to be the best Apothecaries in the game any more thanks to the Marine buffs in Faith and Fury, but are a great addition to lists when you can spare the points. I wouldn’t rule out there being a viable Brigade option post RoD, and these would be a good way to fill Elite slots in that too.

Brotherhood/Paladin Ancient

These models are extremely similar, differing only in that the Paladin version pays 9 more points for slightly better stats and being valid for an extra stratagem. That’s probably not worth it, because when you’re taking one of these you’re paying for the aura effect (+1Ld to units within 6″, +1A to INFANTRY models within 6″) and maybe the Banner of Refining Flame. That relic swaps the Ancient’s smite to be 6″ range and damage d6 rather than Rites of Banishment (which you’ll obviously want to boost to 12″ with a Brotherhood Captain).

The buff aura is pretty decent but very short ranged (Finest Hour can be a good call here on a turn you hit melee) and the banner is cool but diminishes in value a fair bit with the advent of Tide of Escalation.

Unlike a lot of the characters here, these guys can also only take a single falchion, meaning they can’t double duty as full on killing machines.

The Ancients certainly aren’t terrible, but there are lots of things you want to squeeze into your army and they probably won’t quite make the cut.

Paladin Squad

Credit: Lungboy

WIth the set of defensive abilities you can stack on them, Paladins are now one of the nastiest, toughest “bomb” units out there. They were already one of the units propping up attempts at competitive Grey Knight lists, and they’ve gained several new tricks, most notably being the best target for the damage reduction of Redoubtable Defence. With three wounds apiece, there’s almost nothing in the game that consistently one-shots a model once the strat is up, especially since things shooting them will usually be going through a 2+/4++ (always put Sanctuary on these) and either Transhuman Physiology or Armoured Resilience to get damage through. There’s stuff that will chew them up moderately efficiently (anything S5 AP-1/2 is pretty good at it) but even that’s a slog, making these extraordinarily good at holding ground.

They’re also good damage dealers, packing a tonne of storm bolter shots you can amp up with Psybolt Ammunition and 3 attacks a piece (four on the charge) that can make very good use of halberds. You can also buy up to four of them a psycannon/psilencer or incinerator in a full squad. Both the psi options are potentially valid, but post-RoD I’d suggest either going all in on four special weapons or taking none, as you want to be able to maximise either the value of Psybolt or Psychic Onslaught (although the latter is strictly optional). Melee weapon wise, you want halberds on most and a few warding saves to give them some ablative 3++ models when Sanctuary is up.

Thanks to RoD, these even now have a very powerful option when facing a melee-focused enemy in Masters of Combat. This lets them fight on death, which will be tremendously valuable in some games. Even before adding re-rolls, a Halberd squad that gets wiped by a unit of Assault Centurions will take half the Cents with them, and adding in any sort of buffs only makes that number better, and anything squishier than Cents they’ll pretty trivially take with them.

The fact that the whole army is putting out way more damage is a low key general buff to these as well – holding the line gets better when the rest of your army can blow stuff apart with mind bullets!

Paladins have always been great, and there’s a strong chance that if Grey Knights make it to higher tiers of the metagame they’ll be leading the charge.

Purifier Squad

Purifiers are a bit of an odd duck, but having racked my brains I think there is a place for them. Purifiers have the same cost and statline as basic Strike Squads, but lose Teleport Strike in exchange for being able to take two special weapons per five models, and getting a different flavour of Smite. This is range 3″ but always does d6 damage, which can be a nasty surprise for anything coming in close.

That’s fine but much less exciting in a world of Escalation. The real use that might exist for these is thanks to the Untainted and Unbowed stratagem. This gives the unit a 4++ for a turn, as well as making them fearless, and you can obviously buff that up to a 3++ with Sanctuary. Given that you can use the Teleportarium stratagem to deep strike them anyway, that lets you drop in a full squad that’s real hard to shift and much, much cheaper than something like a full Paladin squad. The days of the Deathwatch Kill Team dominating the meta are behind us, but dropping a unit of these in with Sanctuary up does feel kind of comparable, is cheaper, and is much deadlier in melee (and unlike similar strats the invulnerable save lasts for both phases).

Given that a full squad or one loaded down with special weapons is also a pretty good general purpose damage dealer with the right buffs, I can definitely see running a squad of these as a “backup” bomb unit in a list that can’t spring for more Paladins, or wants to go wide enough that it can’t afford the 400+pts they run to.

Dreadnought

Take a Venerable instead.

Venerable Dreadnought

Credit: Lungboy

Ye olde box dreads are extremely tiny and easy to hide, which means that a Venerable Dreadnought armed with a missile launcher and lascannon spamming Astral Aim on itself can sit nonchalantly behind a ruin blasting at stuff. This army is near completely bereft of good long-range firepower options, and while one Dread won’t necessarily do much it provides you with something that can put out some damage at range. In the current metagame, it’s also specifically quite good for popping off enemy Thunderfire Cannons, as once it’s ignoring cover with Astral Aim it has a decent chance of blowing one off the board outright. Since those things are problematically good at killing your Strike Squads, this is a pretty decent option to have access to. It’s also a relatively low-risk add – it’s only 145pts, and you can Teleportarium it in if you end up on a board with no easy place to hide it.

It isn’t a super flashy choice, and isn’t mandatory, but it’s a fine way to get a bit of firepower going.

Servitors

Eh. If, for some reason, you’re desperate to fill an elites slot then sure, but Grey Knights have way better ways to do that. The most likely use of this is for the aforementioned attempt at a Brigade.

Fast Attack

Interceptor Squad

Interceptors are the army’s lone Fast Attack choice, and have long been a staple of people trying to make the faction work because they can start on the board relatively risk free. That’s thanks to their personal teleporters – they have a 12″ (effectively) fly speed, and once per game each squad can redeploy on the board (and can do it a second time via Teleportation Boost). Unlike a lot of stuff, therefore, the loss of flexibility from starting down is minimal, allowing you to rack up a few deployed units to offset the rest into Deep Strike.

Other than the mobility these are identical to Strike Marines, and all the same stuff that applies there is true here – you probably want falchions, and to keep the squad lean and mean.

Not filling a mandatory force organisation slot is a blow, but these are pretty handy, and we expect to see them continue to turn up in lists.

Heavy Support

Purgation Squad

Grey Knight Gunner

Credit: Pendulin

Purgation squads loaded up with psilencers show up in many successful Grey Knight lists, and that will only be more true now Tide of Convergence is available and they’re dirt cheap. They’re not a complicated unit, but at only 90pts a psilencer squad throws out a veritable wall of multi-damage shots, and they’re the most cost efficient way to get a lot of psi weaponry onto the table.

These aren’t super complicated (although a Chaplain babysitting them with a mixture of Edict Imperator and Litanies can let them do some tricky stuff), they’re just super efficient, and it’s unlikely you’ll regret adding three squads to your army. The price is just right.

Nemesis Dreadknight

It turns out that being put into a Dreadknight instantly levels you up to being a Grand Master. Magic. Take the Grand Master version instead of these – the substantial stat boosts (and in particular the improved invulnerable save) just make them a way better package, and they can fill a useful battlefield roles slot as well.

If there’s any use case for these it’s most probably an absolutely bare bones one with two fists just sprinting at the enemy and threatening to punch them unless dealt with, but even then I’m thoroughly unconvinced.

Land Raider

Maaaaybe? Land Raiders still have a bunch of inherent issues in the 8th edition ruleset, but Grey Knights have answers to enough of them that they might see some play (and in fact already have seen some success with one visionary infamously taking an army with two of them to a big win at last year’s Briscon).

Sadly, the answer is probably not – initial excitement over these has been crushed by the FAQ changing Tides to not affect them. Losing their 1+ save and -1 to hit kicks them straight back to being the same Land Raiders everyone else gets – deeply medicore. You can use Astral Aim and Words of Power to give you a unit that can amusingly snipe the hell out of some Thunderfire Cannons, but I’m grasping at straws here. The only other big upside is that putting some units inside them helps tick off the drops you need on the board, but if you want that Rhinos are a better bet. I guess don’t forget that if you’re, I don’t know, bored or something you can straight up teleport one into your opponent’s face and start ramming them.

Realistically, with how massively improved all the INFANTRY and PSYKER vehicle stuff is there’s just no reason to go in on these – you have better choices.

Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer

If the vanilla Land Raider doesn’t get there these definitely don’t.

Dedicated Transports

Razorback

You don’t really want any configuration of what the Razorback brings to the table in Grey Knights. Corrode: for those of us who suffered 5th ed Grey Knights, the death of Razorbacks is well-deserved.

Rhino

Author’s Note: I wrote a lovely mini-Hear Me Out about how Rhinos might actually be a secret sauce in Grey Knights and then the FAQ ruined it by taking Tide of Shadows away. I still don’t think they’re awful here, but the level of enthusiasm in this entry is almost certainly now unwarranted. I’m leaving it anyway.

Now.

Hear me out.

Rhinos, right – I think Rhinos might actually be OK in Grey Knights maybe even good. That’s right. Got your hot take right here.

Look, at this point in writing a Start Competing (we tend to write the big unit rundown last) the delirium really starts to set in and you wish you could be thinking about literally any other faction so I could just be losing my mind, but I sort of feel like two or three of these could work well in this army.

The reasoning behind this is:

  1. Being able to start two units of Strikes mounted up is really, really helpful. While your opponent can blast at them with anti-tank, even basic Strike Marines are pricey enough that your opponent would happily point lascannons at them if they weren’t in the Rhino, so them having to kill it first is good.
  2. Against armies like Raven Guard, empty Rhinos might actually be your most cost-efficient screen.

The last point is something that Grey Knights can get away with that most armies can’t – normally screening with Rhinos would be asking for a wrap, but anything that tries that against this army is opening itself up to get melted in the Psychic phase and dunked by a whole army that can participate in the Fight phase.

Look, I’ve been writing this whole review thinking “right, they’re cool but what the heck can they do about Raven Guard?” and I think this might be a possible answer. Were I a Grey Knight player struggling with Deep Strike heavy armies in particular, I’d certainly consider trying it.

Flyers

Stormraven Gunship

Without Tide of Shadows (as of the FAQ) there’s no reason to take these here.

Stormhawk Interceptor/Stormtalon Gunship

These are still languishing on the older versions of their datasheets, which is a blow for the Stormhawk in particular, as that got a lot better in Codex Marines. There isn’t really much of a place for these – they don’t lean in to the army’s unique options, and are weaker here than they are with other Marine options.

 

Army Lists

Normally we like to finish these with a couple of successful lists from past events, but unfortunately it’s still too early to have many winning lists with the new tools available. Luckily, one of the world’s more experienced tournament Grey Knight playersm Tabletop Tactics‘ Lawrence Baker, has dived straight in to the new book and given us a 6-0 list to talk about at one of the first majors with the rules available

Lawrence Baker’s Double Paladin Bomb

Army List - Click to Expand

 ++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Grey Knights) [39 PL, 486pts, 2CP] ++	 	 
+ No Force Org Slot [2CP] +	 	 
Armoury of Titan [-1CP]: 1 Additional Relic [-1CP]	 	 
Battle-forged CP [3CP]	 	 
Pre Game Enforcement
	 	 
+ HQ [18 PL, 216pts] +	 	 
Brother-Captain [9 PL, 113pts]: Blade of the Forsworn, Edict Imperator, Storm Bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Force Sword [1pts]: Nemesis Force Sword [1pts]	 
	 
Librarian [9 PL, 103pts]: Empyrean Domination, Sanctic Shard, Storm Bolter [2pts], Warp Shaping	 	 
Nemesis Warding Stave [1pts]: Nemesis Warding Stave [1pts]	 	 

+ Troops [21 PL, 270pts] +	 	 
Strike Squad [7 PL, 90pts]: Gate of Infinity	 	 
4x Grey Knight (Falchions) [72pts]: 8x Nemesis Falchion [8pts], 4x Storm Bolter [8pts]	 	 
Grey Knight Justicar [18pts]: Storm bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Falchion [2pts]: 2x Nemesis Falchion [2pts]	 	 
Strike Squad [7 PL, 90pts]: Gate of Infinity	 	 
4x Grey Knight (Falchions) [72pts]: 8x Nemesis Falchion [8pts], 4x Storm Bolter [8pts]	 	 
Grey Knight Justicar [18pts]: Storm bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Falchion [2pts]: 2x Nemesis Falchion [2pts]	 	 
Strike Squad [7 PL, 90pts]: Gate of Infinity	 	 
4x Grey Knight (Falchions) [72pts]: 8x Nemesis Falchion [8pts], 4x Storm Bolter [8pts]	 	 
Grey Knight Justicar [18pts]: Storm bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Falchion [2pts]: 2x Nemesis Falchion [2pts]	 	 

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Grey Knights) [108 PL, 1,506pts] ++	 	 
+ HQ [18 PL, 260pts] +	 	 
Chaplain [8 PL, 107pts]: 3. Intonement for Guidance, 6. Invocation of Focus, Astral Aim, Storm bolter [2pts]	 	 
Grand Master Voldus [10 PL, 153pts]: 6: Lore Master, Armoured Resilience, Ethereal Manipulation, Gate of Infinity, Inner Fire, Warlord	 	 

+ Troops [21 PL, 270pts] +	 	 
Strike Squad [7 PL, 90pts]: Vortex of Doom	 	 
4x Grey Knight (Falchions) [72pts]: 8x Nemesis Falchion [8pts], 4x Storm Bolter [8pts]	 	 
Grey Knight Justicar [18pts]: Storm bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Falchion [2pts]: 2x Nemesis Falchion [2pts]	 	 
Strike Squad [7 PL, 90pts]: Vortex of Doom	 	 
4x Grey Knight (Falchions) [72pts]: 8x Nemesis Falchion [8pts], 4x Storm Bolter [8pts]	 	 
Grey Knight Justicar [18pts]: Storm bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Falchion [2pts]: 2x Nemesis Falchion [2pts]	 	 
Strike Squad [7 PL, 90pts]: Vortex of Doom	 	 
4x Grey Knight (Falchions) [72pts]: 8x Nemesis Falchion [8pts], 4x Storm Bolter [8pts]	 	 
Grey Knight Justicar [18pts]: Storm bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Falchion [2pts]: 2x Nemesis Falchion [2pts]	 	 

+ Elites [69 PL, 976pts] +	 	 
Apothecary [5 PL, 76pts]: Sanctuary	 	 
Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]: Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]	 	 

Paladin Squad [32 PL, 440pts]: Hammerhand	 	 
9x Paladin (Halberd) [396pts]: 9x Nemesis Force Halberd [9pts], 9x Storm Bolter [18pts]	 	 
Paragon [44pts]: Storm Bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Warding Stave [1pts]: Nemesis Warding Stave [1pts]	 	 

Paladin Squad [32 PL, 460pts]: Hammerhand	 	 
5x Paladin (Halberd) [220pts]: 5x Nemesis Force Halberd [5pts], 5x Storm Bolter [10pts]	 	 
Paladin (Psycannon) [49pts]: Psycannon (Terminator) [7pts]	 	 
Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]: Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]	 	 
Paladin (Psycannon) [49pts]: Psycannon (Terminator) [7pts]	 	 
Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]: Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]	 	 
Paladin (Psycannon) [49pts]: Psycannon (Terminator) [7pts]	 	 
Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]: Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]	 	 
Paladin (Psycannon) [49pts]: Psycannon (Terminator) [7pts]	 	 
Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]: Nemesis Force Halberd [1pts]	 	 
Paragon [44pts]: Storm Bolter [2pts]	 	 
Nemesis Warding Stave [1pts]: Nemesis Warding Stave [1pts]	 	 
++ Total: [147 PL, 1,992pts, 2CP] ++	 	 

Note: Obviously Voldus mixing Sanctic and Dominus powers no longer works, but was legal at the time the list was run.

Paladin bombs are great, but what if you took two of them? Lawrence’s list asks that question, and it turns out that the answer is that you go 6-0 at an ITC major. Good job Lawrence!

Thanks to all of the discounts, the army can still squeeze in two battalions along with the Paladins, giving plenty of CP to keep them fueled. I assume the plan is to wave them in on consecutive turns, or even start one unit on the board, planning to bring the other in later, as the only risk with doubling up on units like these is that you can only activate each defensive strat once (though here the non-overlap between Armoured Resilience and Transhuman Physiology actually helps). Note that he’s also clearly got one unit specced to benefit from Psybolt and the other is loaded for Psychic Onslaught – a good choice rather than hedging and going half-and-half.

Even the nastiest army will generally need to throw everything into taking out a Paladin squad, buying the rest of the army lots of time to blast away with Smites and contest the board. If an opponent stumbles and fails to wipe a full squad then they’re in huge trouble, as the first unit will be properly amongst them as the second comes in, overwhelming all but the toughest defences. By dint of winning early and big, this list sets a benchmark for strong lists with the new rules, and look to see plenty of imitators and evolutions.

Wings – The Charge of the Knight Brigade

Army List - Click to Expand


HQ
Voldus
Brother Captain w/hammer
Chaplain
Troops
6x 5 Strike Squad w/falchions, 1x psilencer
Elites
Apothecary w/Hammer
1x 10 Purifiers w/falchions
Servitors
Fast Attack
3x 5 Interceptor Squads w/falchions
Heavy Support
3x 5 Purgation Squads w/psilencers
Dedicated Transport
3x Rhino

Author’s Note: Obviously this list is another casualty of the Tide changes, as Rhinos get quite a bit worse. We will likely replace this with a different style of top performing list once more results are in.

The goal here is obviously to lean into the big discounts from Chapter Approved and the buffs to Smite and psi weaponry from Ritual of the Damned to overwhelm the opponent by going wide. With three Rhinos, you can deploy your Purgation squads in relative safety and have some strike teams and Interceptors down on the board as well. That sets you up with enough on-board power that if your opponent isn’t cautious enough or underestimates the threat you present you can absolutely pile damage on turn one, but even if not your losses should be minimised. You can keep the rest of the Strike Squads in deep strike, and stick the Purifiers in there as well with the stratagem, ready to act as a proper hammer on turn 2, popping out of teleport to unleash a full Psybolt Ammunition powered volley and buff up to a 3++ on defence.

The sheer number of smites and power armoured bodies you can throw out aims to overwhelm the opponent, and unlike a lot of Grey Knight lists it isn’t completely trivial to max secondaries against. While your opponent can take either Marked for Death or Reaper and either Kingslayer (as you probably make Voldus your warlord) or Headhunter, your opponent can’t lock in maxed out secondaries early on.

Wrap Up

The Grey Knights are back and looking shinier than ever, and we hope this guide has been helpful to anyone coming back to them after a long break! If you have any comments, questions or suggestions for the article, and in this case especially if you want to report a big win with the updated faction and tell us about your list, give us a shout at contact@goonhammer.com or via our Facebook page.