There has been quite the buzz going on about the latest Grey Knight codex. I tried to stick my head in the sand as long as I could, but I couldn’t help myself. One of the common list build ideas I’ve seen floating around revolves around using Lord Draigo some squads of Paladins inside of a storm raven transport.
My question is why is the storm raven needed?
Don’t get me wrong, I have played against Storm Ravens fielded by Blood Angels and they can be effective for that army, but blood angels don’t have a hammer unit like the Paladins.
The storm raven works well for blood angels because it is one of many vehicles fielded in a mechanized BA list. While the storm raven typically gets the highest target priority, the number of other vehicles including razorbacks, preds, etc are able to spread out the targets. That way your eggs are not all in one basket.
Using the storm raven for a lower model count army such as grey knights puts your eggs into an armor 12 basket. While it does have quite a few rules making it very survivable, it is still only armor 12 and very vulnerable if there aren’t any other targets for the enemy. If the storm raven can deliver the hammer unit to the enemy, it’s very effective, but if the raven gets immobilized or destroyed, then your forces have a long day.
- First attempted use of a Storm Raven…
Some have the view that “If I go flat out and get close to the enemy, then they destroy the raven, my guys get out of the wreck and are close to assault the enemy.”
Well here are some problems with that plan:
1 – Not being fearless. Grey Knights are not fearless, and having your squad failing a pinning test from a wrecked vehicle is a game wrecker. It either gives the enemy a free turn to shoot you without fear of reprisal or an additional turn to escape your hammer unit.
2 – You just paid the cost of a Storm Raven to do exactly what a deep strike can do for free (put your guys close to the enemy.)
The alternative would be to forgo the Storm Raven and use those points to buy more Paladins for the squad. Storm Ravens can run 205-250 points depending on the weapon and equipment loadout you choose. For that cost, you can either get 4 additional Paladins running the default loadout or get 3 that are equipped differently with better weapons and for wound allocation purposes.
Having 3-4 more Paladins to soak up damage gives added durability that the storm raven cannot match. The usual answer to dealing with most models in the game is torrent of fire (force enough armor saves and the unit will eventually die.) That is really tough to pull off against Paladins as they are designed utterly to survive torrents of fire. With wound allocation to every single model, 2+ armor, Feel no pain, 2 wounds/model, they have every tool needed to withstand torrent of fire better than any other unit in the game.
- The only person Paladins can’t match in survivability.
Imagine instead of that 5-6 man unit in that storm raven, now it’s a 9-10 man unit to have to whittle down before they wipe out everything in their path. Short of running into IG with 18 melta guns immediately at the spot where you land, they don’t have much to worry about from enemy action. Even if you’re charged by the enemy, you have a massive advantage in close combat. Enemy hordes will bounce off your armor, you’ll be hitting before TH/SS termies with a high number of power weapon attacks, and nearly every guy has a force weapon to deal with Thunderwolves.
Deep strike approximately 10-12 inches away from your opponent and on the turn you land, run to spread out as well as close with the enemy. It forces the opponent into a painful dilemma. They can stay and shoot, or they can move away. If they stay and shoot, unless die rolls go horrific or they have a massive amount of melta, you’ll survive just fine and then wipe out whatever shot you. If they move away, then they aren’t shooting as much and giving up position (which can mean losing an objective to this potential troop unit).
If you’re worried about deep strike scattering, you can pay the points for Grand Master Madrak. He’s expensive but effective and automatically puts your hammer unit where you want on turn 1 without any risk of scatter.
How you build your list specifically is up to you, but when you’re thinking about your next game, put away the french fry basket and just deep strike the Paladins…like a MAN!