Unit Review, Grey Knights: Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight

Hello fans of Frontline Gaming and TFGRadio, SaltyJohn  here to bring you a review of the new 8th edition Grey Knights rules for Grand Masters who hang out in Dreadknights! For more reviews, bat reps, tactics discussions, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!

The Grey Knights, dubbed Chapter 666 of the Adeptus Astartes, are some of the rarest and most powerful Space Marines in the Imperium of Man. Calling the moon of Titan their home these warriors of peerless psychic power do battle with the most dangerous of mankind’s foes, the daemons of the warp. Having been through the most arduous of trials, both physically and psychically, and armed with the most forbidden of knowledge about the denizens of the warp these warriors stand as a bulwark against the demonic incursions that constantly threaten the fabric of not only the Imperium of Man, but of the galaxy itself. The leaders of these mighty warriors are the Grand Masters, normally numbering 8 in all, they lead brotherhoods of Grey Knights against the most dangerous Chaos incursions in the Galaxy. They are warriors of unmatched abilities when it comes to the defeat and banishment of the greatest Daemons in the panoply of the Chaos gods. Sometimes when the foe is particularly strong a Grand Master might wear a suit of Nemesis Dreadknight armor in order to do battle with their deadly foe and banish it back to the warp.

The Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight is a truly powerful unit in 40k. Resilient, with powerful shooting attacks, close combat punch that can deal massive damage, and access to powerful psychic powers the Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight is not only versatile it is a near auto include in many Grey Knight lists in 8th edition. With the ability to take more than one, even as many as 5 in a Supreme Command detachment (!?) they can be a big problem for your opponent. However, as with any unit in 8th edition 40k, they aren’t going to win you the game on their own but they are a big piece of the puzzle to winning with Grey Knights.


  • Nemesis Dreadknight
  • Two Dreadfists
  • May take up to two DIFFERENT weapons: Heavy Incinerator, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon
  • May replace one Dreadfist with Nemesis Daemon Greathammer or a Nemesis Greatsword.
  • May take a Dreadknight Teleporter: If this model has a Dreadknight teleporter, then during deployment, you can set it up in a teleportarium chamber instead of placing it on the battlefield. At the end of any of your Movement phases this model can teleport into battle–set it up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9″ away from any enemy models.

Special Rules:

  • And they Shall Know No Fear, Daemon Hunters, Rites of Banishment
  • Force Shielding and Iron Halo: 4+ Invul save
  • Rites of Battle: You can re-roll hit rolls of 1 for friendly GREY KNIGHTS units within 6″ of this model.
  • Psyker: This model can attempt to manifest two psychic powers in each friendly Psychic phase, and attempt to deny one psychic power in each enemy Psychic phase. It knows the Smite psychic power and one psychic power from the Sanctic discipline.


Grand Masters in Nemesis Dreadknights are great units to field in a Grey Knight army/detachment. They have versatility in both shooting and close combat weapons plus they can cast two powers each Psychic phase making them great at utilizing Smite spam and buffing themselves or units around them. With Dreadknight Teleporters for only 10 points you get access to the ability to set them up in Reserves and drop them in.

A general load out that is good for dropping in from reserves would be GMDK with Doomfist, Greathammer, Teleporter, and Incinerator at 245 points. Using this load out you can then take a Relic, the Destroyer of Crys’yllix if you want (ACTUALLY YOU CAN’T TAKE THAT RELIC -S.J.), and for Psychic powers I would probably take either Gate of Infinity or Sanctuary. The best part about this you can take more than one of these guys! 2-3 GMDK loaded out in different ways with different powers can become very versatile. Drop them in with Draigo in tow and their withering firepower can now re-roll all failed to hit rolls! NOTE: As some commenters pointed out their Aura allows them full re-rolls to hit however that is only while they are at full strength and not degraded; I am also assuming you’ll be dropping other units in alongside the Dreadknights to assist in rolling up a flank of the board which would benefit from Draigo. Most competitive style GK lists feature Draigo or Voldus plus GMDKs. Speaking of their fire power.

  • Gatling Psilencer 24in range Heavy 12 S4 AP0 D d3
    • While 12 shots is nice at 24 inches, especially if you drop the DK in, at S4 and AP0 it’s not scaring too many units in the game. Unless you know you’re running up against a horde of weak models it might be best to leave at home. Even if you’re willing to spend 2CP in situational circumstances to boost the by 1 to S5 AP-1 it still isn’t going to be worth it most of the time.
  • Heavy Incinerator 12in range Heavy d6 S6 AP-1 D2
    • With 12 inch range you can get this sucker into range even when having to drop 9in from the enemy. Heavy d6 isn’t too great as on average you’re looking to get 3.5 over the long term with plenty of ones and twos in there to frustrate you. I personally don’t like the random number of shot/hit weapons but your mileage may vary.
  • Heavy Psycannon 24in range Heavy 6 S7 AP-1 D2
    • This is the work horse, go to ranged weapon of the Dreadknight. With high strength, decent damage, and a fixed number of shots it is both versatile and effective without having to spend valuable CPs to boost it.

The GMDK is also a beast in close combat when used correctly. With WS 2+, S6 (usually higher thanks to DK weapons), T6, and 12 wounds it can mix it up in close combat. If you position Draigo well you can also be getting a re-roll of failed to hits in combat because we all know rolling ones more than statistically probable is a thing for units that do things on a 2+. Just like for shooting, you have 3 basic options for assault weapons.

  • Dreadfist Sx2 AP-3 D d3
    • Two of these are the default load out for any Dreadknight. With a high str characteristic it’s alos decent enough at AP-3 but with only d3 damage it is the worst of the 3 options.
  • Nemesis Daemon Greathammer Sx2 AP-4 D d6
    • High str, great AP modifier and d6 damage make this easily the best choice of the 3.
  • Nemesis Greatsword S+4 AP-3 D d6
    • With only +4 to Str and AP-3 what makes this better than the Dreadfists is the potential damage output. D6 > D3.

As far as Grey Knight Stratagems go the GMDK is a good unit in that it won’t require you to use precious CPs to make it work. You don’t need to expend them to move quickly, deploy via teleportation, increase damage output, etc. You may want to use some CP to allow the Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight to shoot again, or fight again, before removing it from play. For only 1CP it could be one additional shooting, or fighting, phase that turns the tide of battle in your favor.

As with a lot of units in the Grey Knights codex the Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight is a great unit that meshes well with the rest of the army when used properly. Grey Knights work the best when you focus on a part of the battlefield and enemy army, destroy it and move on. Usually a flank. Through use of faster units like the Dreadknight, and re-positioning through things like Gate of Infinity it is possible to use the big units like GMDK, Draigo, and smaller units like Strike Squads and Terminators in concert with one another to focus down the enemy one portion at a time through efficient and withering mid range firepower. Winning with Grey Knights, particularly pure Grey Knight lists can be a challenge but through use of Stratagems, key Psychic phases, smart play and a few great units like the Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight it is possible to do well, even in a matched play environment.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About SaltyJohn

John has been playing Warhammer 40k since the 3rd edition box set with Space Marines, Dark Eldar, and weird green palm trees were in the set. He is currently a 40k Head Judge for the Las Vegas Open, the largest 40k tournament in the world. An avid board gamer, a huge fan of video games, and a guest spot on Geek and Sundry as a "Historian" during an episode of "Game the Game" round out his geek credentials. You can catch "Salty" John on TFG Radio's Twitch Show, and Podcast, as well as find him streaming video games on Twitch on the TFG Radio Twitch page from time to time.

28 Responses to “Unit Review, Grey Knights: Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight”

  1. Avatar
    abusepuppy December 7, 2017 12:38 pm #

    The Nemesis Greathammer that a Dreadknight can equip is distinct from the Nemesis Daemonhammer. A Dreadknight cannot take the Destroyer of Crys’yllix, or indeed any of the relics apart from the Dominer Libra Daemonica.

    Of the shooting weapons, the Gattling Psilencer is easily the best of the three. Although S4 AP0 may not impress much, the d3 damage per hit actually means that it is shockingly dangerous to targets with less than T8 and/or 2+ armor. It consistently outperforms the other two guns against most targets. The Heavy Psycannon is a good second weapon, since it also has significant reach and deal 2dmg per hit, enough to put fear into big targets and scythe through heavy troops like Terminators, Primaris, or Bikes.

    The Nemesis Greatsword is typically the default weapon for the Dreadknight; it wounds anything bike size or smaller on 2s and all vehicles/monsters on 3s, which suffices in most situations. The Greathammer does have the advantage of minimum damage 3, but the -1 to hit can be annoying and S12 rather than S10 very rarely makes a difference.

    Your first GMDK should always be toting Sanctuary, because a 3++ is brutal. Gate of Infinity is usually the right pick for the second one to allow some mobility and the ability to start on the table as needed. Two casts but only one GK power known means that they are typically “wasting” one of them on a baby Smite, but it’s still better than not getting to do it (and will fuck up Mortarion or Magnus right quick.)

    One important thing to remember on the GMDK is that they are only Toughness 6, lower than almost all other monsters out there and on the low end for a vehicle. It won’t mean anything against Lascannons or Meltaguns, but stuff like Autocannons, Shuriken Cannons, and other “midrange” weapons will be a lot more effective against you; the occasional S12 weapon (such as Eldar D weaponry) will also have a noticable advantage.

    The GMDK is a huge upgrade over a regular DK because you get so many bonuses- a reroll aura (mounted on a large base, no less), better ability to move and shoot its guns, more accuracy, an extra attack, character status (for activating certain stratagems such as the “shoot once before you die” one), and an improved invulnerable save. They make a fantastic second HQ choice in a battalion alongside Draigo/Voldus and, as some players have already demonstrated at tournaments, can be quite scary when taken in a Supreme Command detachment with multiples of them- though I generally don’t favor the multiples due to the inability to get Sanctuary on more than one of them.

    • Avatar
      Ollanius December 7, 2017 4:41 pm #

      Thank you, AP. Also, looking forward to see the rest of your eldar articles!

    • Avatar
      Akaiyou December 7, 2017 6:47 pm #

      I’m so glad I looked at the comment section on this one. Your comment was a lot better than the actual post.

      You should post some tactica articles sir.

      • Avatar
        Ollanius December 7, 2017 8:36 pm #

        I agree, but tried to be subtle about it. But Jesus, the parts about draigo and the parts about the hammer made me say wtf?

        I REALLY don’t know if it’s a case of lowest common denominator or it is that really it’s hard to know what works…

        • SaltyJohn
          SaltyJohn December 7, 2017 10:05 pm #

          I am FLGs lowest common denominator. Only dragged out of the pit of despair and ineptitude when they’re desperate for articles. It’s like a team of monkeys slamming away at a keyboard over here.

          • Avatar
            Ollanius December 8, 2017 6:12 am

            Hahaha! Shakespeare will (eventually) be surpassed!

            Now, the question about knowing what works was a true question. Didn’t meant to be rude or condescending, sorry if it came out that way. Mistakes happens.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn December 7, 2017 10:01 pm #

      AP good point on the Relic, I just completely misread it. I have to say I am much more in favor of the Heavy Psycannon, but we don’t play in the same meta, and there are a lot of high toughness targets in the meta where I play so the Psilencer just isn’t going to pull it’s weight. I could see it having more versatility in a more diverse meta, like the LVO, BAO, or So Cal Open. The baby smite spam is quite disappointing compared to the big boys Smite Spam, but there are an awful lot of Magnus and Mortarion models running around the table top these days.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy December 8, 2017 4:20 am #

        No worries, man- I had to look it up myself to make sure that you weren’t right; it’s a really easy mistake to make, since they’re such similar weapons.

        I find that the Psilencer is fine against anything below T8; the sheer number of shots (and the new to-wound table) make up for any deficiencies it has otherwise. That d3 damage is just brutal. That said, I still rank the H.Psycannon pretty high, and the two of them pair up very well.

        And yeah, GK Smite definitely feels like it’s kinda weak… until suddenly you’re hitting daemons with it, and suddenly you are the Strongest Man on Earth.

  2. Avatar
    Dakkath December 7, 2017 12:53 pm #

    Why would you need Draigo near them for rerolls? They benefit from their own Rites of Battle.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 7, 2017 2:41 pm #

      Full re-roll vs. re-roll 1’s.

      • Avatar
        Jonathan Sleigh-Johnson December 7, 2017 2:49 pm #

        But they hit on 2s so they allready have full rerolls.

      • Avatar
        Jonathan Sleigh-Johnson December 7, 2017 2:50 pm #

        They hit on 2s so rerolling 1s is full reroll

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 7, 2017 2:52 pm #


          • SaltyJohn
            SaltyJohn December 7, 2017 9:57 pm

            Keeping Draigo near them is useful for a few reasons. I am assuming most GK players will be using more units than just GMDK and Draigo, in which case the other units that drop in alongside them to help roll up a flank would benefit more from Draigo than the aura of the GMDK. The GMDK being such large targets for enemy firepower, and being more survivable if you cast Sanctuary on one, could conceivably be around in a degraded form, in which case Draigo will give them full re-rolls which would be better than their own aura re-roll in their degraded state. Perhaps I made too many assumptions in the article. I will add a few notes to clear it up.

    • Avatar
      Shas’O December 7, 2017 2:49 pm #

      They may hit on 2s, but if they move or have other modifiers for to hit, full rerolls become useful.

      • Avatar
        RauPow December 7, 2017 3:28 pm #

        But the 2s don’t reroll when you get the -1 penalty, so they are good enough on their own.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 7, 2017 6:04 pm #

          That is true, although as the GMDK degrades it loses Ballistic Skill and thus Draigo’s aura does start to be useful for it.

          That wasn’t really my point, though.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 7, 2017 6:03 pm #

      You wouldn’t need Draigo nearby them; the implication was that he would merely feature in the same list, as they are both good HQ choices. Draigo and Voldus are largely just superior versions of the generic GK HQs in most cases, and although they cost a bit more they tend to be well worth that additional investment. Competitive GK lists tend to feature some combination of those two characters and GMDKs are their HQ choices.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn December 7, 2017 10:02 pm #

      Once they begin to degrade, and to buff the other units you’ll be using alongside them who benefit more from Draigo than from the GMDK. I should have spelled that line of thought out more clearly.

  3. Avatar
    Shas’O December 7, 2017 2:39 pm #

    Great review. More GK reviews please!

  4. Avatar
    anon December 7, 2017 6:07 pm #

    yeah there are several pieces of misinformation in this article

  5. Avatar
    Beau December 7, 2017 7:03 pm #

    A friend is letting me use his 5 GMNDK’s… What is another imperium detachment that would help complement them? Will be fighting eldar.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 7, 2017 9:44 pm #

      You’re gonna want to bring some bodies to fill out that list, since it doesn’t really have many to start. Also, you will want command points for popping off some of the GK stratagems; IG is very good for both of those things. SoB could also match well by providing additional aggressive threats to keep the enemy on their toes.

  6. Avatar
    Gman December 8, 2017 6:04 am #

    Does sanctuary stack with the stratagem to give them a 2++?

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 8, 2017 9:50 am #

      It does not, you explicitly can’t get better than a 3++ by using it.

  7. Avatar
    Kruso December 8, 2017 3:12 pm #

    GMNDK hits on 3s when he deepstrikes. His weapons are heavy and he counts as having moved. It sucks to roll a bunch of 2s. But yeah, abusepuppy is right about the weapons.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 8, 2017 3:27 pm #

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Dreadknight stand still for a turn to shoot; they are basically always moving or Gating around the field, so the Heavy penalty applies pretty much all the time. That’s one of the big reasons the GMDK is better than the normal DK- it hits on 3s rerolling 1s, rather than on 4s.

  8. Avatar
    La Agrado December 13, 2017 11:06 pm #

    So, as a dedicated GK player I do have two cents to add here that everyone missed:

    GMDKs do actually benefit from use of stratagems- specifically Psychic Onslaught (CP 2) which adds both strength and better AP to their usual shooting weapons (the Gatling Psilencer and Heavy Psycannon). This can turn them from “eh” to “please remove that unit I am staring down at”. Heavy 6 S 8 AP -2 D 2 and Heavy 12 S 5 AP -1 D3 is terrifying.

    While relic choices are super lack luster for GMDK, the warlord trait “First to the Fray” is amazing. Re-rolling charges on that thing is just more threat. And everything else around him.

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