Unit Review, Grey Knights, Troop Choice: Strike Squad.

Hello fans of Frontline Gaming and TFGRadio, SaltyJohn  here to bring you a review of the new 8th edition Grey Knights bread and butter troops choice, the Strike Squad! For more reviews, bat reps, tactics discussions, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!

The warriors of the Adeptus Astartes are the most elite soldiers mankind has ever produced, and the Grey Knights are the elite of the elite. With even more intensive screening processes for their initiates than other chapters the Grey Knights are incorruptible to Chaos. Among these most elite Space Marines the “rank and file” members of their chapter, if you can use the term rank and file in reference to Space Marines, are the Grey Knight Strike Squad. While all chapters have squads for their most basic marines the Grey Knight Strike Squad has access to the most exotic weaponry of any of them. With every member of the Grey Knights being a powerful Psyker and their primary purpose being the destruction of Daemons of Chaos it makes sense these warriors would be armed with weapons to match such a purpose.

 

In game terms the Grey Knight Strike Squad both lives up to, and falls short of, their fluff description. If you’re going to run a pure Grey Knight army then you’ll definitely be including some of these in a Battalion. Luckily they aren’t a terrible unit. While they lack the ability to be spammed in high numbers as bubble wrapping, the thing most players look for in a Battalion troop choice these days, they have a versatility that can make up for it when a player uses them intelligently.

 

Wargear:

  • Frag/Krak/Psyk-out Grenades
  • Storm Bolter
  • Nemesis Force Sword (NFS)
  • NFS may be replaces with an item from the melee list, so Halberd, Hammer, Falchions.
  • For every five models 1 model may replace their Storm Bolter and NFS with a Psycannon, Incinerator, or Psilencer

Special Rules:

  • ATSKNF
  • Knights of Titan: Objective Control!
  • Daemon Hunters
  • Rites of Banishment
  • Teleport Strike “During deployment, you can set up this unit in a teleportarium chamber instead of placing it on the battlefield. At the end of any of your Movement phases this unit can teleport into battle – set it up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9″ away from any enemy models.”
  • Combat Squads

Faction Key Words:

  • Imperium
  • Adeptus Astartes
  • Grey Knights

Keywords:

  • Infantry
  • Psyker
  • Strike Squad

Tactics:

The obvious place to start with these guys is discussing the “best” basic load out for them. With Storm Bolters, and Force Weapons, galore it’s good to remember that they can put out some withering fire at close range and potentially pack a punch in Close Combat. This firepower can be bolstered via stratagem and the proximity of Draigo. If you use the Psybolt Ammunition stratagem on a unit, with Draigo near by, you have a unit that now fires a massive number of Storm Bolter shots, re-rolling misses to hit, and with an increased Strength and AP stat (S5 AP-1). If you’re in 12 inch range with 8 storm bolters (remember you probably have 2 Psilencers, Incinerators, or Psycannons in your unit of 10) that’s 32 Strength 5 AP -1 shots that re-roll to hit. That is going to kill a lot of Cultists, Poxwalkers, Brimstones, Conscripts, Ork Boys etc. If you need to clear out some enemy bubble wrap then a 10 man Strike Squad with Draigo hanging around is probably the cheapest way to do it in a pure Grey Knight list. This Stratagem/Draigo boost even makes them decent at killing off other MEQ (Marine Equivalent) units.

With their shooting potential unlocked, it’s important to not forget that a Strike Squad, like all Grey Knights, are Psykers. You can give them one additional power than Smite. Normally I take Gate of Infinity to give them some late game mobility. Your mileage may vary, but I’ve found that when I use Strike Squads I rarely find myself wishing they’d had a power other than Gate. If I am not Smiting with them, I normally want to re-position them. During deployment you have the option of putting them into the Teleportarium to deepstrike later on. This is a neat trick to use for a few of your strike squads. If they don’t form the back bone of your force, probably because you’ve allied in a cheaper screening unit via another Battalion etc, then having a few 5 man squads, or a big 10 man squad in reserve to drop with Draigo and some Grand Master Nemesis Dreadknights isn’t a bad option. Once on the board though they will be slow, like all marines, so make sure when dropping them in you really think their placement through. This is another reason why I like to have Gate as my Psychic power for Strike Squads. When you couple their ability to redeploy via Gate with their Objective Control rule it can be a clutch move in the late game.

The Strike Squad has access to Psilencers, Incinerators, and PsyCannons. These three weapons, beside the Storm Bolter, form the back bone of GK fire power and are what can really give the army flexibility. The Psilencer is generally considered the best choice due to it’s higher volume of fire and general versatility. The Incinerator is generally considered the worst option as it suffers from the same problem all “flamer” types weapons have on units that can deep strike in, which is short range. The Psycannon is a good option for specific circumstances and metas. The higher strength is quite important in certain circumstances in 8th edition. While everything can hurt everything now it is nice to have a few higher strength shooting options. Generally in a Grey Knight Battalion, because you need those CPs, I will take about 4 Strike Squads and load at least one of them with a Psycannon, for versatility. I like a diverse tool box of weapons when I play so keep that in mind. Many players still adhere to the “spam the best” mentality and if that’s you then you’ll want to take as many Psilencers as you can.

For close combat you really can’t beat the Falchions. With 1 additional attack, because you have a pair, plus the ability to get Hammerhand you really can generate a high number of S5 -2AP D3 Damage attacks from a unit of just 5. Again, I am a player who likes a differentiated approach to my units but even here I have to admit that other than perhaps 1 Hammer in a few squads the Falchions are overall the best option. The Halberd was king in 5th edition GK lists so you might find a lot of GK models modeled with those on them, but it is a sub par choice in 8th. While their weapons won’t make them a super unit in Close Combat when you combine the potential for withering firepower via Stratagems and Characters buffs with decent Assault potential you can, through smart play, lay down a nice one two punch with a 5 or 10 man Strike Squad via shooting and assault.

If you’re looking to play Grey Knights as a pure force you’ll be fielding Strike Squads. Grey Knight lists need a lot of CPs to take advantage of their stratagems, the best way to get a lot of CPs is through the Battalion detachment and that will require either Strike Squads or Terminator Squads. Overall the Strike Squad is the superior choice as they cost less for 5 and 10 man units, and points are very limited commodity in a Grey Knight army. Keep in mind the Strike Squads strengths and weaknesses through out the game and during deployment and you can get a lot of mileage out of them.

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

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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.

14 Responses to “Unit Review, Grey Knights, Troop Choice: Strike Squad.”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius January 2, 2018 2:10 pm #

    Nice article, John.

    I think Strike Squads are one of the best troops in the game. They have so much to offer you it’s crazy.

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn January 2, 2018 2:23 pm #

      Thanks! They’re good, I just wish they didn’t suffer from the same problem all MEQ troops do, they die too easily! 😀

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 2, 2018 3:05 pm #

        They do die easily but man they’re good.They have their own delivery mechanism built in, shoot great, fight well, have psychic defense and offense…not much more you can ask for! I think they’re incredibly good but work best with allies to bulk them out a bit.

  2. gt January 2, 2018 3:42 pm #

    More Grey Knights articles please!

  3. Akaiyou January 2, 2018 4:14 pm #

    I would also appreciate more articles on Grey Knights. Even better if you do a unit overview with the ‘competitive, situational, useful’ rating system seen in other reviews.

    • Shas’O January 2, 2018 7:23 pm #

      I second this! Could you please do paladins next?

  4. TB January 2, 2018 6:33 pm #

    Do you think the beta psychic rules are bad for grey knights?

    • abusepuppy January 3, 2018 5:50 am #

      It does hurt them, but with an excellent psychic table and bonuses to casting when in a “pure” GK detachment, they come out of it better than most psychic factions do. And since it makes Smite as a whole weaker overall, they actually benefit a fair bit from it thanks to their Denial bonuses (which combined with the stacking penalty can make it very hard to cast) and low model count (which makes Smite very effective against them.)

      • Greyknight12 January 8, 2018 8:44 pm #

        It leaves GK units in general overcosted, and the only “psyker army” with no real way to deal out mortal wounds since they only have a nerfed smite (even on their HQs). Every unit pays to be a psyker, but with psychic focus you can only cast a few times. They could already attempt to deny essentially every smite that came at them (with a bonus no less) but now the vast majority of units might as well not be psykers on any given turn.

    • abusepuppy January 3, 2018 5:57 am #

      Strike Squads are for sure one of the most versatile troop choices around- they shoot well, they fight well, and they have excellent mobility options, and they are psykers, which gives you a plethora of phases in which to deal damage. Although they aren’t exceptional at anything they do, they can present a very well-rounded threat (and one that drops in from reserve to give opponents a headache.)

      With Falchions being free and the Psilencer a 2pt upgrade over the normal gear, I think you’re hard-pressed to take anything else. A multi-damage weapon with six shots is pretty brutal, and its effectiveness against both infantry and heavier targets is pretty surprisingly good. The Psilencer just doesn’t cut it as an anti-vehicle/monster weapon anymore due to only dealing one damage (it really needed to take more after the Autocannon than Assault Cannon in that respect), and the Incinerator is an acceptable weapon, but not for an army that reserves essentially everything every game.

  5. Shane January 2, 2018 10:44 pm #

    I run a fair number of interceptors in my army, different slot (FA) but same strengths and weakness at the end of the day.

    The Psilencer may be the best of the ranged weapon options, but that trade off involves also tossing away a force weapon and a stormbolter… both of which aide the aggressive play they can utilize. Besides that, same thoughts on the matter, falchions and a hammer on the sgt.

    Then again I get my anti tank from lass-cannon razorbacks and autocannon dreads chilling with Draigo.

  6. Rasmus January 3, 2018 1:17 am #

    As a Grey Knight player I usually field at least two units of strike squads:

    One 5 man unit protecting back field objective in turn 1 and catapulting forward other units such as purgation squads (see below), assault cannon razorbacks, sometimes even land raiders, using gate of infinity. Later in the game they gate themselves forward for some strategic purpose.

    Another 10 man unit of strike squads is deep striking to deliver 40 shots of storm bolter fire, with or without the psybolt ammo. Kaldor Draigo supervise this with his reroll to hit buff and it is rare that there are any targets left to charge within 9-10 inch range when the dust settles. Astral aim can be useful if you want to keep these alive, but it is rare that you get the chance to both hide completely from the enemy and be within 12″ range to activate the rapid fire storm bolters.

    My psilencer models are typically grouped together in a purgation squad that i gate/deep strike in turn one to some position in complete hiding from the enemy. From this sneaky position they shoot 24 shots from their silencers, buffed by astral aim to negate cover and LOS requirements, and with the psychic onslaught strategem this can be very brutal. These guys are often forgotten by the enemy whi will be busy dealing with deep striking dreadknights, teleporting land raiders and all the other good stuff that are stepping on their toes.

    Grey Knights is a really fun army taking part in all phases of the game and with some of the greatest characters of the game they can be awesome. bubble wrapped artillery is a big challenge for them though.

  7. IK VIper January 3, 2018 11:30 am #

    Not sure what GW was wanting to achieve with the Pscycannon this edition. With the change to the wound chart, S7 AP-1 1D is almost the same a a S5 Ap-1 D1 heavy bolter. There are some differences in range and number of shots, but in an army that is loaded down with small arms fire, what GK need badly is a ranged anti-tank option. What GW intended that option to be I do not know, because at the current price, Psycannons are way to expensive to function well.

    My fear is that GW does not actually consider things like “what tools does this army need in order to meet threats A, B, and C.” But instead simply look at the model line and just try to make rules that seem like they fit the models.

    That is a lazy design method that ends up leaving large gaps in some armies tool box of possible units and builds… GK are good and alphastrike well from reserves, but dont have the ranged AT to deal with any sort of vehicle centered army…

    That said, stormravens are my answer to the AT issue. Just wish someone at GW had the good sense to realize how bad Psycannons are now as an option and would fix them. Honestly every competitive player I know that played GK all regard Psycannons as over costed and under effective. Why could GW not catch that obvious error?

    • Anggul January 5, 2018 12:14 am #

      I figure that’s what vehicle-mounted lascannons and multi-meltas are for. You need enough vehicles to make it worth taking them though, otherwise you’re just validating the enemy’s anti-tank investments.

      Hitting things with hammers can also work.

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