40K Rules Conundrum: Grey Knights Stratagems “Grey Area”

Get ready for a Warhammer 40,000 rules debate – This time it involves the Grey Knights and the rest of the Space Marines.

The Space Marine codex dropped this past weekend and the world got access to everything inside. Included in that book is a set of 26 Stratagems that players can get access to if their army is Battle-forged and they bring a Space Marines Detachment to the game. The Grey Knights book is due out this weekend, but we happen to have a copy of it already. Included in this book is another 16 Stratagems for the Grey Knights. These Stratagems are available to the player if their army is Battle-forged and they bring a Grey Knights Detachment to the game.

Those rules are are pages 196 and page 98 of their respective codexes. The question that we stumbled across is what exactly is a Space Marine Detachment?

Is a Space Marine Detachment based off the Keywords? If that is the case – what is the keyword(s)? The Faction Keywords are Imperium, Adeptus Astartes, & <Chapter>

Is Grey Knights not a Space Marine <Chapter> also? They have the same Keywords: Imperium, Adeptus Astartes, & Grey Knights (which may or not be a Space Marine Chapter depending on your interpretation).

So if that’s the case, do Grey Knights have access to 26+16 Stratagems (minus <Chapter> specific ones, obviously).

What if I simply take a Grey Knights Detachment + a Space Marines Detachment? That meets the qualifications for getting access to both sets of Stratagems anyways. So can my Grey Knights benefit from Stratagems that require units have a <Chapter> ?

What about Stratagems like Orbital Bombardment? That requirement only states that you have to have a Warlord with the Adeptus Astartes keyword – only the Space Marines AND Grey Knights books both have that Stratagem. They are named the same and there is a rule that says you can’t use the same stratagem twice in a phase (BRB Matched Play – pg  215)but one is a “Space Marine Stratagem” and the other is “Grey Knights Stratagem”. How would that work? Can a Grey Knights Warlord use both as they have the required keyword.

Kill the rules debate with FIRE! Or from Orbit…. only way to be sure.


So what’s your take? Are Grey Knights a Space Marine Chapter? Do they also get access to the Space Marine’s Stratagems, too?

  • KingAceNumber1

    My interpretation of this is similar to my interpretation of Ksons and DG vs the CSM dex. They can use anything from the SM dex that only requires IMPERIUM and ADEPTUS ASTARTES, as they have those two keywords. Pretty clear there. Same way KSons and DG get to use the generic CSM strats.

    As far as the Orbital Bombardment thing… come the f*** on. This shouldn’t even be an argument, rules lawyering at its worst. They’re named the same thing, its the same rule, and the BRB says you cannot use the same strategem twice. Orbital Bombardment is the same as Orbital Bombardment. You’re telling me if KSons get a reprint of VotLW in their codex I get to use it twice? I don’t think so.

    • Agent of Change

      +1 for your stunning use of logic and reasoned thinking. I’m so tired of these pedantic RAW/RAI arguments that abandon all sense of…well, Common Sense, in order to bend over backwards to attempt to break the game.

      • KingAceNumber1

        Thank you =)

        I mean, I get it; I’m a tournament player, and finding advantages in the rules has been a part of this game for as long as I can remember, but the orbital bombardment thing is… pretty clearly a non-issue

        • Agent of Change

          It’s one thing to play within the letter of the law to make sure you aren’t disadvantaged especially in competition, it’s entirely another to torture the rules in order to make an advantage.

          I mean if Grey Knights was a It would be labeled as such and not an entierly new Keyword. If a Stratagem of a specific title and effect says it may only be used once a game then it’s pretty clear it can only be used once. These things seem obvious to reasonable people.

          But hey GW’s new improved rapid FAQing approach should be along shortly to FAQ this situation right up. 🙂

          • KingAceNumber1

            I am intensely glad they’re on top of this stuff. We as a community broke stormravens, brims, conscripts, and RWF’s right out the gate and the only one of those still remaining as a problem is scripts. I’m really hoping to get some clarity after the codices drop this weekend, I expect a quick FAQ to follow.

    • Koen CambrĂ©

      Actually, read page 194 of the codex again. It explicitly says that divergent chapters don’t get to use it (and aren’t even considered “space marine units” because you need to have one of 8 specific chapter keywords for them to be applicable.

  • Alex Simmonds

    Questions and posts like this are why we cant have nice things….

  • Jared van Kell

    I would say that Grey Knights only get to use the stratagems listed in their codex and the rulebook and that those stratagems, when in effect, would only apply to the Grey Knights in the army.

    • kingcobra668

      Well, that was hard, wasn’t it BoLS?

  • Bootneck

    Clearly GK is a chapter and any other view of that would be for the sole purpose of some rules cheat/manipulation.

    GK have there own set of relics and stratagems simple as that. they don’t get and or.

    This is a stupid article I wish BOL wouldn’t try to provoke by writing things like this.

    • Shaun

      They do it to feed the WAAC trolls. Its their bread and butter.

  • Scott Resnick

    Page 194.

    In the rules described in this section we often refer to ‘Space Marines units’. This is short hand for any ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit that has one of the following Faction keywords: , ULTRAMARINES ,IMPERIAL FISTS, SALAMANDERS, WHITE SCARS, RAVEN GUARD,IRON HANDS,CRIMSON FISTS or BLACKTEMPLARS. A Space Marines Detachment is therefore one which only includes units with one of these keywords.
    Note that other Space Marine Chapters, such as the Blood Angels and the Space Wolves, deviate significantly in terms of organisation and fighting styles.These Chapters therefore cannot make use of any of the rules or abilities listed in this section,and instead have their own rules.

    it’s almost like they spelled it out for us.

    • Bootneck

      Reckon they should just close this article here – BOLS myth busted – OFFICIAL .


  • Shaun

    Grey Knights can only use the units in their own codex. You can
    include units from any other Faction you want, as long as they all have
    the Imperium super Keyword, and you can include any Adeptus Astartes
    units you want as they all have the Adeptus Astartes and Imperium
    keywords. These units will not gain any benefits from any boosts that
    check for Grey Knights, as they are not from the Grey Knights codex. If
    you open the Imperial Index 1, you will notice that at the bottoms of
    all non codex Chapters, the Faction keywords work as follows: 1.
    Imperium 2. Adeptus Astartes 3. whatever chapter the unit is for. This
    is also reflected in Strategems: Any Imperium and Adeptus Astartes
    genric Stratagems can be used, but not chapter specific.

    • Koen CambrĂ©

      nope, p194 of the C:SM mentions that divergent chapters never get to use the rules from that book.

  • Koen CambrĂ©

    Actually, when you skip pas the datasheets in the SM codex, it’ll have all the extra rules. It says there that none of the rules in that segment can ever apply to detachments that are not made up entirely of 1 chapter AND can never be used by non-codex SM armies (they only list 2 in the codex).

    p194 of the codex under “space marine units”:

    “in the rules described in this section we often refer to “Space Marine units”. This is shorthand for any adeptus astartes units with the follwing faction keywords (names the 8 chapters in the book). A space marine detachment is therefor one which only includes units with one of these keywords.

    Note that other space marine chapters, such as the blood angels and the spacewolves, deviate significantly in terms of organisation and fighting styles. These chapters therefor cannot make use of ANY OF THE RULES or abilities listed in this SECTION.” (ie: the sons of the primarchs, detailing the extra abilties, strategems, warlord traits and relics).

    I think that’s pretty clear cut. GKs are obviously a divergent chapter and therefor cannot use the rules for more normal codex astartes armies.

  • AircoolUK

    Seriously… that rules aren’t that hard to follow regarding Faction Keywords. As for Orbital Bombardment being different from Orbital Bombardment; are people so benighted that it isn’t obvious?

    I’ve an old cricket bat from my college days if anyone would like to have some sense smacked into them.

    • kingcobra668

      They are just *desperately* trying to break the rules so they can claim, “FIRST!”

  • IronGryphon

    You’re reading too much into this. Grey Knights is a specific “chapter” of space marine, so don’t get access to the vanilla marine codex.

  • Josh Felstead

    The real question Adam Harry should be asking here is “how much of a complete, absolute d***head would I be if I actually try to justify using 2 orbital bombardments?”.

    I can save you from going through the play-testing phase here by just saying a) literally no one will let anyone play this silly interpretation of the stratagem and b) how much of a complete, absolute d***head? 100% a complete, absolute d***head.

  • vash113

    SM Codex page 194: “Note that other Space Marine Chapters, such as the Blood Angels and the Space Wolves, deviate significantly in terms of organization and fighting styles. These Chapters therefore cannot make use of any of the rules or abilities listed in this section, and instead have their own rules.”

    Essentially any chapter not in the codex space marines book cannot use the codex space marines special rules of any kind including strategems, warlord traits and so on. This would include the Grey Knights, Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Deathwatch.

  • EvilCheesypoof

    It’s understandable but you definitely missed a rule before writing the article. It says before the Stratagems that only the Chapters in the Codex Space Marines book can use them.