40K: Return of the Grey Knights?

With a new Grand Master on the way are the Grey Knights going to come back to the tabletop in force?

Grey Knights were considered by many to be the Kings of 5th Edition (or the nail in the coffin to others). With their plethora of high strength shooting, Space Marine-like saves, and devastating close-combat options they were a powerhouse army. However, over time they have fallen from that top-tier spot and have landed somewhere in the malleable middle-tier. This is very noticeable if you look at the faction breakdown from LVO:

Only 8 players took them as the primary detachment. Now, they may have been in other armies as allies, but the main trend here is that a once dominate and meta-shaping army is no where near what it used to be in terms of representation.

Now, let’s take a look at the new boss in town – Grand Master Aldrik Voldus:

via miniwars

Voldus is going to form 1/3rd of the Triumvirate of the Primarch. That means you know he’s going to have some pretty bonkers rules. If GW wants to make him really good they will allow him to swing his force hammer on an initiative other than 1. He’s going to be a powerful Librarian as well and he’s coming stock with Terminator Armor to boot. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some other abilities to help out in the psychic phase.

It would make sense considering Guilliman isn’t known for his psychic prowess and Cypher has always been more of a lone-gunman type. The other two Triumvirates have some cool psychic abilities (or psychic counters) so maybe Voldus is going to fill that role.

But what does this mean for the Grey Knights out there? To figure that out, let’s take a look at why they fell out of favor to begin with. I think what really hurt the Grey Knights were some of the changes to allies and the way regular Space Marines have gotten a lot of “the love” lately. I think the crippling amount of fire power that other armies are able to generate has also really hurt the Grey Knights as well. Considering they have the roughly the same types of saves as Marines but cost more points per model that could be a factor.

Also, because of that shift to ranged firepower, armies that did well in close-combat have become less popular. Hammer Hand is GREAT…have fun trying to get into close-combat. Oh – and lets not get started about formation envy…

Maybe having a new character that will breathe life into that faction. Voldus could be a cool “rallying cry” type model for Grey Knights to form-up around. Perhaps we’ll see a new Grey Knight formation that could also help them out. I know quite a few players that have Grey Knight Armies just waiting to take the tabletop – all they need is a little spark of hope. Maybe Gathering Storm III: Rise of the Primarch will be that spark!


What do you think about the Grey Knights? If you’re a Grey Knight player what are you hoping Voldus will bring to the table?

  • Defenestratus

    The thing that killed grey knights was the merciful fix to wound allocation and the nerfing of psybolt ammo.

    I still use GK as allies with the nemesis strike force detachment which allows some first turn deep strike shenanigans. If I want terminators to get into close combat turn two, I can usually do it, but nemesis force weapons aren’t what they used to be by a long shot. – but they still can carve up a unit of anything but terminators.

    • Karru

      From what I gathered, the thing that killed Grey Knights, or at least contributed to it, was the Psychic Phase. Instead of getting all their powers and benefits with a simple and reliable LD check, they now have to roll to manifest warp charges. Also, Grav.

    • J Mad

      Grav/Spam S6 and their Psychic nerf is what killed them.

  • BaronSnakPak

    Unless this dude gives them access to drop pods and cuts down on their points cost, then they’ll still be a lower tier army.

  • Durangil Estalio

    I hope, no prey he gives strikes, terms, paladins and the gk devastators the ability to roll their one power off sanctic instead of get HH.

    This would add some randomness and fun to gk whilst not making them overpowered. It would also finally makes strikes and devastators worth it…… dont know if its enough for paladins tho…..

    He on the otherhand i imagine as storm boltor, term armour, iron halo, relic weapon ( hammer) hopefully at i5, frag and krak and psyk out grenades, hopefully psybolts? I picture s4 t4 (i hope 5) bs5 ws 7-8 w3 a4 ld10 wih EW to protect him, aegis, ML3 maybe even ML4 , he can roll on everything normal GK lib can and either his hammer interacts with magic beyond force or some special harness on 3+ rule.

    And hopefullyness a rule like this
    Fight fire with fire: the 4 types i mentioned roll on sanctic instead of get what powers are allocated to them. (Possible balance thpught of making DVortex cause perils regardless on cast)

    Thats my hopes, dreams and expectations, thoughts ?

    • Defenestratus

      Ain’t now way that he’s getting ML4. With the extra spell book he can get an extra power but no way is he ML4 natively.

      • Richard Beard

        I could see ML4. He is a named character after all, and options (like the relic you mention) are usually not available on such datasheets.

  • Koen Cambré

    At this stage (as a GK player), I don’t want to carry another book around for the rules of a single model… My army (oldschool demonhunters) already good sliced into many small factions enough with 3 books needed to field my old army.

    I’m ready for warscrolls for 40k.

    • Randy Randalman

      Well said. AoS handles that so much better with all of the rules for a unit on a single scroll (and now reference cards); also free on the app. So much less to carry around.

  • Drew_Da_Destroya

    “To figure that out, let’s take a look at why they fell out of favor to begin with”

    Ooh! Ooh! I know this one! It’s when their codex got redone and nerfed into the ground, post-Chapterhouse.

    • Drpx

      And Tyranids became their drinking buddies.

  • Karru

    What killed Grey Knights you ask? Well, as some pointed out one of the major reasons was the massive nerf that was the current book. It removed a great deal of their power with the removal of Inquisitors and Psybolt Ammunition.

    It wasn’t the only thing that affected them. For a faction that before relied on their ability to cast minor buffs to their units, they now have to struggle with them. The Psychic Phase made the use of multiple small powers extremely unreliable and as such people don’t want to use them. The other thing was the power weapon change. Instead of having weapons that just outright ignored all armour, they now have majority of their weapons at AP3 “only”. This does cut into their ability to kill tougher units like Artificer armour models and other 2+ saves that are now getting re-rolls like it was a standard.

    Overall, Grey Knights suffer from the same problem as many other books from that period. They were released for a different game. It was still during the time of 40k history that resembled a normal game. Then it just turned into Apocalypse lite for some armies and they got left behind because they couldn’t compete any more.

    Voldus most likely won’t be bringing anything “drastic” to the table. Basic Grand Master statline with maybe one additional wound, Eternal Warrior and ML2-3. Rules-wise I think it’s just going to be very minor, most likely something that assist with casting of Psychic Powers. Nothing nearly as broken or effective as Cawl or Celestine.

    • Jeremy Larson

      Pretty much the only thing he could bring that would be on the level of those two would army-wide psychic defense, a reliable ability to shut down enemy psychic buffs/summoning, and/or ‘Teleportation mastery’ or some such that would give greater reliability/control to terminator deep striking.

    • J Mad

      Yeah, Orcs, DE and GK all got this odd Nerf treatment out of no where and Tau/Eldar/SM got this huge buff all within the same year or so… IDK what they were thinking.

  • Jonathan Ellsworth

    Doubt it. Celestine did not revive or tweak the Sisters of Battle play, even so, no player used them at the LVO, at no surprise though

    • Inquisitor Valeria

      New Celestine wasn’t allowed at the LVO. Came out after the deadline.

  • Kerran

    I don´t think it would be something extra..probably something like Stern with some extra rules like Eternal Warrior.

  • Sparti67

    3+ or 4+ invul would help. After all they are Grey Knights. Drop pods, a unique weapon or two that closes the gap in ranged weaponry and eliminates some shenanigans from other armies. I never understand GW’s logic; let’s make an elite fighting force but in actual gameplay they are mediocre. One thought I have had for some time is have all of these “special” forces combined in one book. Give them all access to weapons and abilities only they possess. Up their point cost so essentially they are only affordable as allies, but allies that can 180 a game with their presence.

    • Drpx

      Special forces aren’t necessarily better so much as suited to a unique task.

      Pre 5th edition GK were even more mediocre against regular armies but they absolutely wrecked daemons to the point where they gave daemons respawning rules if they were played.

      • Sparti67

        That’s more of the direction I would take them, “special tasks.”

  • Tesq

    lol strike not at I1 ? you’re out of road XD

    see how much is long i can say unwedly and 2h, probably force

    this is not draigo… is not a fighter rather the strongest GK psyker it gona be a lv3-4 psyker probably with some in built broken access to santic.
    Now the question since draigo is a lord of war and this is a grandmaster too: does it mean it will be a lord of war (and so out for any good match of 1850pt due hq tax)

    • Sylvester Holmes

      Kaldor Draigo is Supreme Grand Master, not just a grandmaster. Chapter Master vs Captain type comparison.

      • alberto alderighi

        Is a supreme because is from the 1rst company i think, all from 1-3rd company are in the same power creep

  • Kinsman

    I thought it was 6th edition that killed 40k. *shrug*, go figure.

  • Earl Tower

    I still have my Grey Knights army. Mostly now though I use them as part of a mixed heavy Inquisition, Sisters of Battle, Grey Knights combination army.