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An Open Letter Re: Grey Knights to the GW Rules Team

Grey Knights FaQ Rules

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#76
Zamtro

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I finally send my feedback letter. It contains almost everything I already said on the forum. Added a part about Psychic focus beta and asked about Brimstone > Poxwaker combo and double statagem usage (like veterans of the long war). My part is done, let's wait now. If nothing change in March, I will really give up. 

Would you mind posting a copy of your letter so others may send it too? 



#77
Corvus Fortis

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Greetings to WH40k rule team!

I am active 40k player and often take part in local club games and tournaments. Since the and of 7th and beginning of 8th edition of Warhammer 40k I play as Grey Knights. I avoid using allies so far and encountered several issues regarding overall performance of Grey Knights on the table. In this letter I want to let you know about this issues.

 

Here is the list. I rarely play Narrative, so this is based mostly on Matched play experience.

 

1.Point costs

 

Most units in the army costs much more points than their Space Marine counterparts.

Grandmaster – 45 points more for 2 Psychic powers.

Chaplain – 29 points more for Psychic power and +1 BS.

Librarian – 17 points more for +1 BS and 1 more power deny.

Techmarine – 46 points more for Psychic power and must take Servo-Arms.

Terminators – 15 points for Psychic power.

Twin Heavy Plasma Cannon also costs 26 more points for Grey Knights for some reason.

While Grey Knights have access to different psychic powers, this is limited by Psychic Focus rule in Matched play. And Space Marines characters has way more weapon options to take. While I do not think, that GK character have to be cheap, the cost difference is drastic.

Most special weapons also cost a lot but not much better than a basic Storm Bolter (I will cover the issue below).

 

2.Lack of Command Points

 

Grey Knights are an elite army which means a small amount of units in every Grey Knight list. High point costs mean that Grey Knights are unable to field a Brigade detachment, unless taking the cheapest units which is usually hurts performance, in 2000 point games limiting Grey Knights with 7 CP at best. Unlike other armies Grey Knights do not have access to warlord traits or relics which return command points upon stratagem use. Neither they have cheap Troops choices to fill requirements for multiple battalion detachment. Considering that most important stratagems like Psybolt Ammunition, Psychic Onslaught and Heed the Prognosticars cost 2 CP, this limits Grey Knights to keep CP only for them making other nice but not as important ones, like Wisdom of Ancitents, Finest Hour or Orbital Bombardment not worthy enough to spend CP on.

In larger format (2000 pts+) games I am able to use only 3-4 stratagems per game. For 1000 pts games I can use only 1-3 stratagems and then go out of CP. Most of times they are Psychic Onslaught and Psybolt Ammunition because GK lack good anti-vehicle and anti-heavy armor shooting, so I almost forced to use these two stratagems every game to deal with vehicles and heavy infantry. As a result, I am unable to use most of the wide range stratagems presented in the Codex.

 

3.Relics

 

Let’s start with Domina Liber Demonica. It is a relic that reduce leadership of daemonic units close to the bearer. Reduction of leadership characteristics by 1 means that during morale tests a daemon unit will lose 1 more model than usual. It also means that Grey Knight psychic power 'Purge Soul' would kill one more model than usual. This makes Liber Demonica very situational Relic. Even in situations when it is useful (a match vs Daemons of Chaos), it has too low impact. Effect of Cuirass of Sacrifice, for example, will be triggered every time the bearer loses a wound which is a common situation against any army. Or let’s look at a situation where a model with Fury of Deimos shoot a unit of Pink Horrors. In perfect conditions, bearer is in Rapid-Fire range, all rolls for hit and wound are successful and no saving throws taken. This will deal 6 wounds. This is three times more wounds than horrors would suffer from Liber Demonica if perfect conditions (bearer within 6'' from target, Purge Soul was cast). In other words, Liber Demonica is never worth taking compared to other Relics of Titan even in friendly or narrative games.

 

4.Castellan Crowe

 

Lack of AP value on his weapon makes him struggle in close combat against units with high armor save characteristics and toughness. If mediocre strength of 4 can be mitigated by warlord trait or Hammerhand psychic power, no AP value seriously hurts his effectiveness. Compared to the Brotherhood champion, who has AP -3 base and ability to increase either to-wound roll result or invulnerable save result, Castellan Crowe is not an attractive choice. Potentially, he can make more attacks because of special abilities, but in fact it doesn’t matter because these attacks probably will not hurt targets with high toughness/armor save. And against the horde-type units with a lot of models and low saving throw, a 5-man strike squad will deal more damage with just storm bolters. Without bonuses from Warlord Traits, Psychic Powers or Character abilities, Crowe can make, in best case, 10 attacks (all hits and wounds). Strike squad always does at least 10 attacks with Strom Bolters (usually 20, because of Rapid Fire). So taking Crowe to use him against hordes also meaningless. The only thing that leaves Crowe superior to other units is purifying flame. I will talk about it below.

So Crowe is a unit that doesn’t fulfill any role in army. There is nothing Crowe can do better than other units.  

 

5.Terminator Squad

 

Terminator Squad is twice as more expensive as another Troops choice - Strike Knight squad. Compared to 10-man Strike Squad, one 5-man Terminator Squad has twice less Strom bolter shots (10 compared to 20), same number of attacks and same number of wounds. Terminators has better armor save and invulnerable save, but with new AP rules this is not as important as in previous edition. Terminators withstand small-arms fire better, but are much more vulnerable for multi-damage weapons. Most importantly, to fulfill a battalion detachment requirement, more than twice more points needed to do it with Terminators than with Strike squads. Compared to Paladins, 5-man Terminator squad has 4 less attacks and 5 less wounds. The latter is critical against multi-damage weapons, especially ones with 2 damage value. And difference between their point costs is just 12 points.

Both Strikes and Paladins are preferable to Terminators depending on the role on the battlefield you prefer them to use as. Strikes Squads are does more shots with Strom Bolters and way cheaper. Paladins can take more and deal more damage in close combat. So there is no point in taking Terminator Squad in matched play games. I see no reason to take them other Strikes while they cost twice as much or more. 

 

 

6.Purifier Squad

 

Strike Squad is better than a Purifier squad in every possible way. Purifiers about 50% more expensive, do not have teleport strike, cannot compete for objectives with other armies’ Troops, does not fill troop slot. Purifiers has higher leadership, which is rarely decisive because of And They Shall know no Fear special rule. They also can take 1 more special weapon per 5 models, but this is situational too, because a force weapon is exchanged for special weapon (usually it is better to leave Strike Squads with Strom Bolters and give all special weapons to Purgation Squads). Finally, Purifying Flame - ability that makes Purifiers deal d6 mortal wounds with smite. In fact, because of range 3" of Purifying Flame, single Strike Squad with Rites of banishment can deal more mortal wounds per battle than a purifier squad. Purifiers can never cast Smite on turn 1, unless something charged them or came out of reserves near them (and it is hard to me to imagine in which situation it is possible, because no one will go near such a squad by their own will).  But Strike Squad can. If Purifiers are in range of Smite on turn 2, they will deal 3-4 mortal wounds on average. After they kill their target, they will be most likely out of range again. It will take one or two more turns to get to another target. Strike Squad will most likely do one mortal wound on every turn (especially with Brotherhood Captain nearby).

Now Purifiers are too similar to Strike Squads but cost almost 1.5 times more. In my games, one purifier squad usually casts Smite once or twice. Then they are taken down or out of range of Smite and even Brother-Captain does not help. My opponents always easily avoid them.

 

7.Psycannon

 

Psycannon was a weapon effective against light vehicles in 7th edition because of how armor penetration worked. In 8th edition, however, it ceased to be anti-vehicle because most of them has 10+ wounds. With damage characteristics of 1 it takes too much shots to destroy a vehicle.  It is also not very good against infantry - not enough shots to threaten numerous light infantry and too low AP to deal with heavy infantry. Compared to assault cannon, Psycannon has 1 more strength point, 2 less shots and only 2 points cheaper. Two more shots are a very big difference, much better than +1 strength. Psycannon better only at wounding t7 and t12-13 (the letter I've never seen in unit datasheets) than assault cannon. So Assault Cannon only 2 points more expensive than Psycannon but way better.

Actually, taking Psilencer is almost always better than a Psycannon. Most vehicles are t6-8. So Psilencer wound them on a roll of 5+ and has no rend at all. But Psilencer has two more shots and each deals d3 damage instead of just one. Adding Psychic Onslaught gives Psilencer +1 rend and it wounds t8 on 5+ too. On top of that, Psilencer costs twice less points.

Another problem of Psycannon is how Grey Knights army work. They are always on move.  They must come from reserves or transports and charge. After they destroy one target they must move to get another charge. This means always -1 penalty on heavy weapons for moving. And this is why storm bolter is often preferable to special weapons. Let’s compare Storm Bolter and Psycannon. Storm Bolter is 3+ to hit for most Grey Knight units. Psycannon is 4+ to hit, because must be on move. Storm Bolter is 3+ to-wound against t3 (very common), 4+ to-wound against t4 (very common), 5+ to wound against t5-7 (t7 is common for vehicles), 6+ to-wound against t8+ (common for super-heavy vehicles). Psycannon is 2+ to-wound against t3, 3+ against t4-6, 4+ against t7, 5+ against t8+. So, generally, Psycannon is +1 to-wounds. So here is a trade-off - -1 to-hit and +1 to-wound compared to Storm Bolter. Psycannon is also has better AP (-1). But it costs 10 times more. Grey Knights want to be close to the enemy, so Storm Bolter often does 4 shots too. In the end, we pay 18 points just for getting +1 AP. Psycannon is very strange weapon rule-wise right now and even Storm Bolter does better against most targets for its cost.

At the same time, Heavy Psycannon is the best special weapon of the Codex. With 2 more shots and straight 2 damage, it really hurts vehicles. It is often mounted on Grand Master in Nemesis Dread Knight, so hits on 3+ even when it moves.

 

8.Incinerator

 

It is a good weapon but still it costs too much. The main issue is, however, is that is cannot fire when unit comes from reserves. So it is out of synergy with other Grey Knights weapons. It never reaches target on turn one. While, unlike Psycannon, it is not a strange weapon and good against infantry, it struggles to reach its target (problem similar to Purifying Flame). Unfortunately, because of this, it is still not worth its points. Psilencers can do more damage simply because they are in range of fire from the turn 1.

Heavy Incinerator, on the other hand, is probably the worst weapon right now.  It costs 10 points more than heavy Psycannon, has 1 less strength and d6 damage. On a Nemesis Dread Knight even on movement on average both H.Incinerator and H.Psycannon scores 3-4 hits per phase. If it is a Grand Master in Nemesis Dread Knight, H.Psycannon is way better (I usually get 5 out of 6 hits).

Again, heavy incinerator is too expensive for what it does.

 

9.Psychic focus beta

 

New psychic focus beta rules will hurt Grey Knights a lot. Smite is the only way Grey Knights can reliably deal with high toughness/save targets out of close combat. Even with Psychic Brotherhood rule casting Smite in larger games will become much harder leaving Grey Knights without only tool to deal with tough enemies.

Please, reconsider either the new Psychic Focus rule or current Rites of Banishment rule.

 

These are the main issues regarding Grey Knights I encountered so far. I also want to ask some questions about other game aspects and factions.

  1. Can you please confirm, that it is intended to convert Brimstone Horrors to Poxwalkers via the stratagem “The dead walk again” for no point cost in Matched Play? This combination became very popular lately, making some lists almost unkillable.
  2. If a Chaos army includes Heretic Astartes detachment and Death Guard detachment, is it possible to use both Heretic Astartes stratagem “Veterans of the Long War” and Death Guard stratagem “Veterans of the Long War” on the same Heretic Astartes or Death Guard unit on the same turn?

 

That’s it. Thank you for your attention and your effort in making WH40k better!

With best regards!

 

 

Here it is. I wrote more about personal concerns, but if anyone wants to use it as a template - feel free. Also note, that there are probably mistakes, as English is not my native language.  


Edited by Corvus Fortis, 07 January 2018 - 06:18 PM.

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#78
Reclusiarch Darius

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Keep comments on topic guys :)

 

/modvoice

 

@ Corvis Fortis: That sounds like a good letter. Highlights most of the common concerns.

 

Any others people can think of?


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#79
Grandmaster Rich

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I finally got around to writing up a bit of feedback on the beta smite changes that I've sent to GW.  Rather than whine about the overall weaknesses of the army, I decided to focus on our lack of unique psychic powers and how this forces us to utilize smites, which our units pay a points premium for.

 

 

"Dear Design Team Members,

 

Thank you for giving your players and customers the opportunity to provide feedback on the new beta rules for 40k 8th Edition.  Since their announcement I have played over a dozen competitive matched play games with the new rules and would like to offer my thoughts on the smite changes (the character targeting rule change is perfectly fine).  These games of 40k testing the new rules were played at 1,500 and 2,000 pts at Coliseum of Comics (Kissimmee) in Florida among a ground of competitive players involving Grey Knights, Blood Angels, Tyranids, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Necrons, Chaos, Craftworlds Eldar, Orks, and Adeptus Mechanicus. As the resident Grey Knight player I was most interested in testing how the smite change would impact my army. 

 

The Problem

 

As you well know Grey Knight units, even powerful characters like Kaldor Draigo, have a restricted version of smite (reduced range and only one mortal wound to non-Daemon units) and the smite change would further reduce the effectiveness of repeated casts by introducing a stacking -1 penalty for each subsequent attempt to cast it.  The chief issue with this change for Grey Knights is that the faction only has access to 6 unique psychic powers (which you can only attempt to cast once per psychic phase and two of which are very situational).  Thus you are forced to use smite with your remaining casting attempts simply because you run out of powers.  In my standard Grey Knight list at 2,000 points, I have two Grandmasters in Dreadknight armor, Kaldor Draigo, 3 apothecaries, 3 strike squads, and four razorbacks.  At most I can attempt to cast 12 powers in a turn.  Even if I successfully cast all 6 unique GK powers, my only option with the 6 other attempts is smite.  Moreover, Grey Knight units pay a premium in points cost for the ability to cast a power/smite and reducing the effectiveness of an already weakened smite may involve points adjustments.

 

Solutions for Grey Knights

 

Simplest Solution: If the design team does not want to alter Grey Knight smite itself, in place of the -1 penalty for subsequent casts of smite you could change rulebook smite itself from d3 mortal wounds to 1 mortal wound and d6 on a 10+ to d3.  This would allow Grey Knights and Thousand Sons to remain at their current effectiveness (which is hardly taking the tournament scene by storm) and reduce the overall effectiveness of spamming smite.  This solution has the added bonus of removing the extra accounting work one would have to do to keep track of the negative penalty for each smite cast.

 

Solution #2: Keep the -1 penalty beta rule, but eliminate the Rites of Banishment restriction from Grey Knight units.  Thus, each Grey Knight unit would have full access to smite, but it would take a -1 penalty for each subsequent attempt to cast that power.  This would increase the offensive effectiveness of the first two casts of Grey Knight smite, but provide diminishing returns to further casts.

 

Solution #3: I don’t particularly enjoy casting smite as it is a completely one-sided interaction with the opponent.  Instead, I think the most fun solution would be to increase the amount of unique Grey Knight powers in an errata.  An example of what powers could be useful in a Grey Knight army:

  1. The Shrouding: Casting value of 6.  Select a Grey Knight unit within 18 inches.  When an enemy unit selects that Grey Knight unit as a target, they must subtract one from all rolls to hit.  This power would last until the beginning of the player's next psychic phase. (this would increase the survivability of one Grey Knight unit)
  2. True Grit: Casting value of 6. Select a Grey Knight unit within 18 inches.  The target unit can use its stormbolters as pistols until the player's next psychic phase.  Change the profile of the unit’s stormbolters from rapid fire 2 to pistol 4.  (This would help Strike Squads and Terminator squads within an inch of enemy units still shoot in order to clear large units of chaff, such as units of 40 cultists).
  3. Titan’s Wrath: Casting value of 6.  Select a Grey Knight unit within 18 inches.  The target unit can fire overwatch at its normal ballistic skill until the player's next psychic phase.  (In many of my games, my opponents tend to throw large units with many bodies into my army in the hopes of stopping me from shooting the following turn, crippling my offensive capability.  This power would make chaff units think twice before assaulting into a razorback or strike squad).

I have many more ideas for unique Grey Knight psychic powers that I would be happy to share (please freely use them if you prefer this option), but these three are sufficient in pointing out holes in the Grey Knight psychic arsenal and providing solutions that would be more fun to use than simply smite.

 

I know many other Grey Knight players have been providing feedback to you and on the 40k forums across the internet so I hope that you might find this feedback useful for coming to a decision on the smite beta rules and overall Grey Knight effectiveness in the current edition of 40k.

 

Thank you for your time and patience in reading my feedback."



#80
Gentlemanloser

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Only 1 issue. There are multiple GK units with Smite that don't have rites of banishment.

Purifiers, crowe, relic banner, Stern and index Librarian. Might have missed a couple.
QUOTE (Seahawk @ Jul 30 2011, 05:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We all feel different ways about different rules, but if you're traveling between different gaming groups or to tournaments, the only commonality is the rules as they are written. If you can get your opponent to agree with you on house-ruling something then that changes things, but until then all we can do is go by how things are written.

#81
Grandmaster Rich

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Only 1 issue. There are multiple GK units with Smite that don't have rites of banishment.

Purifiers, crowe, relic banner, Stern and index Librarian. Might have missed a couple.

Yeah you're right about that, I forgot to add that exception since I never take any of those units.  I really find smite incredibly boring.  I would like to have access to more powers, but I think it would be the easiest solution to simply change the damage of smite itself rather than adding more modifiers.


Edited by Grandmaster Rich, 12 January 2018 - 06:05 PM.

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#82
skarn

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I think the solutions for gk are super easy. Make all of the gk powers multiple use with the culmative -1 penalty, make the power armour special weps free (since the lose a force wep), termy specials half price, and allow all gk to use stormbolters as pistols in combat.
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#83
Capt. Mytre

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I think the solutions for gk are super easy. Make all of the gk powers multiple use with the culmative -1 penalty, make the power armour special weps free (since the lose a force wep), termy specials half price, and allow all gk to use stormbolters as pistols in combat.

 

Still doesn't fix numerous other issues, such as role overlap, overcosted units to the point of uselessness, inability to deal with armour / high toughness etc.

 

We need a rework.



#84
Gentlemanloser

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Played 6k yesterday, all my minis.

Versus 3k IG and 3k Eldar.

One highlight.

It took the IG player two whole turns of shooting and a cc from a knight to kill most of a 10 man Paladin unit.

It took the Eldar player two units to do the sane to another 10 man Paladin squad.

A void raven dropping a bomb on them. And a dark reaper squad. Oh and The last couple of wounds finished by a shadow spectre squad.

We need a rework.

Edited by Gentlemanloser, 14 January 2018 - 01:57 PM.

QUOTE (Seahawk @ Jul 30 2011, 05:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We all feel different ways about different rules, but if you're traveling between different gaming groups or to tournaments, the only commonality is the rules as they are written. If you can get your opponent to agree with you on house-ruling something then that changes things, but until then all we can do is go by how things are written.

#85
Corvus Fortis

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What were the lists? And looks like you had a lot of luck. My 5 Paladins last game ended in a phase of shooting of pack of Hellblasters and Intercessor bolter drill (one died previously trying to charge laspred).



#86
Gentlemanloser

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Creed and three infantry squads using FRFSRF. with mortar teams. Two special weapon squads. And 1 or 2 ratling snipers. And a Knight Palafin in cc. My Hammer paladin missed 6 attacks against it...

But The big take away was how easy the Eldar dismantled me.

Heck The ynarri Reapers did 12 wounds to my Knight in the psychic phase, with Rotate Ion Shields up. And that was the turn after the Eldar player got jinx off in it out of deny range due to warlock conclave.

Eldar are jokers. Reapers are beyond broken.

Edited by Gentlemanloser, 14 January 2018 - 05:50 PM.

QUOTE (Seahawk @ Jul 30 2011, 05:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We all feel different ways about different rules, but if you're traveling between different gaming groups or to tournaments, the only commonality is the rules as they are written. If you can get your opponent to agree with you on house-ruling something then that changes things, but until then all we can do is go by how things are written.

#87
Corvus Fortis

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IG list doesn't seem to be strongest one. But eldar - yeah - 10 reapers can potentially take down a Knight even without spells or stratagems. 30 of them will take down whatever their master point to. I heard about eldar taking down IG brigade with tanks spam and Baneblade in 2 turns. I do not think GK have any chances against competitive Eldar list. I'd be glad if someone prove me wrong, but for now we just do not have tools to deal with them. And they have tools to deal with everything and do it good. 



#88
Gentlemanloser

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Oh That was just what was shooting at them.

IG player bought two baneblades, 1 shadowsword just to kill my knight and his own knight. Plus That one per game missile. A bassilisk and other stuff.

Edited by Gentlemanloser, 14 January 2018 - 08:58 PM.

QUOTE (Seahawk @ Jul 30 2011, 05:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We all feel different ways about different rules, but if you're traveling between different gaming groups or to tournaments, the only commonality is the rules as they are written. If you can get your opponent to agree with you on house-ruling something then that changes things, but until then all we can do is go by how things are written.

#89
Corvus Fortis

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IG player bought two baneblades, 1 shadowsword just to kill my knight and his own knight. Plus That one per game missile. A bassilisk and other stuff.

 

Shadowsword is 1 hit-kill any one model unit, unless it is Titans. Deathstrike usually useless. It fires only turn 3 IIRC and can be killed easily beforehand. Even if it fires, it is not that devastative. 



#90
Gentlemanloser

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It did 7 Mortal Wounds to a Land Raider, and a spattering of MW to units around it.

 

Underwhelming, but still ok.


QUOTE (Seahawk @ Jul 30 2011, 05:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We all feel different ways about different rules, but if you're traveling between different gaming groups or to tournaments, the only commonality is the rules as they are written. If you can get your opponent to agree with you on house-ruling something then that changes things, but until then all we can do is go by how things are written.

#91
Beams

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The deathstrike, if the strategem is used and is Catachan, should be relatively okay, and can fire at turn 2+, but isn't likely to fire until 3-4. It's mostly a scare unit.





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