Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Tactics

So Im not the best tactician - in fact i think half the time I win by pure luck!

But in the past I've come across some pretty nice tactical articles in forums and etc so I figure im going to replicate some of the interesting ones ive read.

Im going to keep the theme to grey knights for the next few articles. The 1st one is about Purgation squads by Hero of Coffee on the Heresy online forums Purgation Squads .

It got me thinking and infact ive re-arrganged my 1200 point list to included these guys 16 Str 7 shots a turn?  Me thinks its worth it !

Im thinking an incinerator/psycannon combo with a land raider for higher points.

Anyway here is the article enjoy:

When I first got back into 40K, I was standing in my FLGS waiting to place my advance order for the GK codex and a couple boxes of GK marines for launch day. A local veteran and tournament organizer engaged me in a conversation about my return to the hobby and the soon-to-be released Grey Knights codex.

The topic turned eventually to Purgation Squads and I jumped into the familiar Internet lines about how bad they were going to be, requiring a psychic test to fill their role, giving an automatic cover save. The reply I got was filled with skepticism. Every unit has a role, he asserted, if you can just find it. He then went on to describe some unconventional Ork unit he was fielding to great success.

This little casual exchange stuck with me. And come around to the present with the GK all released and in the tournament scene and Purgation Squads still receiving a bad name around the forums, I wanted to take this time to dispel some rumors about my Astral Aiming friends and to respectfully disagree with the concept that they are utter garbage.


Rumor #1: Purgation Squads are too expensive to use.

This rumor is misleading and in principle false. Grey Knight Purgation Squads cost the same for a five-man unit as a regular old Strike Squad. You can even outfit them with four Incinerators for zero additional cost, which is one way people build them to get around the automatic cover save when using Astral Aim and it's the cheapest way to get four Incinerators in a unit in the entire codex.

It's only when Purgation Squads are equipped with Psycannons that they begin to cost more than the regular GK marine. Many people will argue too that Purgation Squads need a DT to get them safely into range, increasing their "inherent" cost further. However, I'd argue that the transports will provide a tactical advantage to your Purgation unit and you'll want to take them with somebody anyway.

Rumor #2: The Heavy Support slots are too vital to be spent on more marines.

I'm not here knocking the awesome power of Psyfilemen Dreads. They're great against lightly armored transports and have the desperately needed more-than-24" range that the GK army lacks in massive numbers. But - certainly in smaller sized games - unless you're overloading mech it's not every list that will lock up all its Support slots to Dreadnoughts and Dreadknights every game.

Psycannons are versatile and powerful weapons, capable of penetrating even AV 14 tanks and mowing through ranks of large horde-y squads. And the power to hide in complete cover and still be able to threaten a 24" circle on the board is not to be passed over lightly, even if it could fail 25% of the time.

Rumor #3: Astral Aim is a bad Psychic ability because it gives the enemy a 4+ cover save and if the Purgation squad fails it they're useless for a turn.

Think about it in chess terms. That Knight sitting behind a row of pawns may not be threatening any enemy pieces in any given turn. That doesn't mean he's wasted or being useless. He's threatening a number of spaces around his position. Maybe you won't attack with him if the opponent moves within range. His psychic test "fails" because your king is in check (okay, now I'm straining the metaphor).

The point is, your Purgation Squad is lording dangerously with their Psycannons (if you've equipped them in such a way) over a 24" circle on the board. And because Psycannons can theoretically damage nearly any type of unit and because the Purgation knights are able to threaten in complete impunity out of LOS of any enemy, your opponent will have to think twice before approaching. They will definitely play a psychological factor in your game. Then there's the fact that you can equip them with a teleport homer....

On the topic of the automatic cover save: while in my experience, 4+ cover saves are everywhere and most players in my area are moving their units from one covered position (whether behind a friendly unit or terrain) to another, this obviously can't and won't hold true in every game. What does hold true is the fact that the 4+ cover save means nothing to an MEQ and isn't going to do much to prevent the swift destruction of a vehicle that has upwards of 15 Rending shots screaming down on it.


Tactic #1: I may not be able to see you, but my Incinerator can go through walls.

This is the widely accepted "if-you-must" tactic with Purgation Squads, largely and begrudgingly encouraged because template weapons cannot cover any cover save. It has its merits, being able to roll up to a big LOS blocking wall and lay down a wave of holy fire on whatever unsuspecting unit your opponent thought was hiding safely behind it.

Tactic #2: Bring your own "terrain."

In the rumors section, I mentioned the tactical advantage that Dedicated Transports conferred. The idea is to use the tanks both to get the Purgation units into firing range quickly and to set up wall of LOS blocking terrain anywhere you want it to go with the aid of the broad side of a Rhino. Having at least two DTs is best for this. Think of it sort of like a flying V. Drive your Purgation sqaud unit and some other into the desired spot within threatening range of most of the field and unload the Purgs behind your tank line. Does your opponent waste valuable shots blowing the transports away? Probably not. Instead they're running the long way around... which leads me to my next point.

Tactic #3: Bring a friend.

Purgation Squads are one of the only other units besides librarians who can confer the Deep Striking bonuses of a teleport homer. So while your rolling up to mid-field and laying Astral Aimed psycannon fire down on any unit with 24" around you, you can drop in some terminators to strengthen your position, have a semi-protected scatter-less drop-point, or intercept any melee units rushing around to try and wreck your Purgation squad's day. Considering how costly a Deep Strike mishap can be to your army, the 5 points it takes to equip your Justicar with a teleport homer is a bargain. Just don't forget that if your squad suffers Perils of the Warp, your Justicar and his Teleport Homer will be taking the hit.

Tactic #4: Psycannon blast, meet face.

Though you're paying the same for a standard issue GK model as you are for the gun itself, four Psycannons is my favorite way to outfit a Purgation squad. But when you're using Astral Aim, pick your targets intelligently (and concurrently pick the games, when possible, in which you're fielding Purgs intelligently as well). Anything with a 3+ armor save or better is gaining no advantage from the automatic cover that Astral Aim confers to your would-be targets. MEQ units are your favorite targets to pick off, laughing, from behind a wall of ruins or tanks.

With a full squad against enemy mechs, you're laying down such a hail of fire (16 if your unit didn't move that turn), that even giving the 4+ save to a vehicle, you'll more than likely still get several shots through. And with Rending you'll be able to glance all the way up to a theoretical AV 16.

Keep in mind as well, if you're going for a list that's trying to be "psycannon spam," Purgation Squads are the only way to get 4 Psycannons into a unit that is only 5 models big.

Tactic #5: Just because you have it doesn't mean you have to use it.

Despite every advantage and tactic that I've listed about it, don't feel chained to sitting in absolute cover taking psychic tests to blast at your enemy. Especially once the battle is under way, feel free to drive the tanks apart or come running out from behind your cover to straight up blast into some units face.

Since Purgs are no more expensive than a Strike Squad, taking a unit of 10 will add to the effectiveness of this "screw-cover" tactic. You can always Combat Squad them as well, getting a heavy support unit of 4 Psycannons and a roaming (albeit Warp Quake-less) five-man "strike squad" when the mission or the enemy build calls for such a thing.


Hopefully, this will dispel some of the pure negativity surrounding Grey Knight Purgation Squads and open up some players eyes to a different types of viable strategies that can be taken with the Grey Knight army.

Certainly, Purgation squads wouldn't fit into a Deep Strike or shunting list. But with other options, including a tank rush or even just a mostly ground gunline force, a roaming Psycannon battery can add a depth of strategy and board control (re: chess metaphor) to your army.

Good luck, fellow Brother-Captains. And happy purging.