Today we bring you a review of the new 8th edition Grey Knights bread and butter troops choice, the Strike Squad!
Hello fans of Frontline Gaming and TFGRadio, SaltyJohn here. The warriors of the Adeptus Astartes are the most elite soldiers mankind has ever produced, and the Grey Knights are the elite of the elite. With even more intensive screening processes for their initiates than other chapters the Grey Knights are incorruptible to Chaos. Among these most elite Space Marines the “rank and file” members of their chapter, if you can use the term rank and file in reference to Space Marines, are the Grey Knight Strike Squad. While all chapters have squads for their most basic marines the Grey Knight Strike Squad has access to the most exotic weaponry of any of them. With every member of the Grey Knights being a powerful Psyker and their primary purpose being the destruction of Daemons of Chaos it makes sense these warriors would be armed with weapons to match such a purpose.
In game terms the Grey Knight Strike Squad both lives up to, and falls short of, their fluff description. If you’re going to run a pure Grey Knight army then you’ll definitely be including some of these in a Battalion. Luckily they aren’t a terrible unit. While they lack the ability to be spammed in high numbers as bubble wrapping, the thing most players look for in a Battalion troop choice these days, they have a versatility that can make up for it when a player uses them intelligently.
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The obvious place to start with these guys is discussing the “best” basic load out for them. With Storm Bolters, and Force Weapons, galore it’s good to remember that they can put out some withering fire at close range and potentially pack a punch in Close Combat. This firepower can be bolstered via stratagem and the proximity of Draigo. If you use the Psybolt Ammunition stratagem on a unit, with Draigo near by, you have a unit that now fires a massive number of Storm Bolter shots, re-rolling misses to hit, and with an increased Strength and AP stat (S5 AP-1). If you’re in 12 inch range with 8 storm bolters (remember you probably have 2 Psilencers, Incinerators, or Psycannons in your unit of 10) that’s 32 Strength 5 AP -1 shots that re-roll to hit. That is going to kill a lot of Cultists, Poxwalkers, Brimstones, Conscripts, Ork Boys etc. If you need to clear out some enemy bubble wrap then a 10 man Strike Squad with Draigo hanging around is probably the cheapest way to do it in a pure Grey Knight list. This Stratagem/Draigo boost even makes them decent at killing off other MEQ (Marine Equivalent) units.
With their shooting potential unlocked, it’s important to not forget that a Strike Squad, like all Grey Knights, are Psykers. You can give them one additional power than Smite. Normally I take Gate of Infinity to give them some late game mobility. Your mileage may vary, but I’ve found that when I use Strike Squads I rarely find myself wishing they’d had a power other than Gate. If I am not Smiting with them, I normally want to re-position them. During deployment you have the option of putting them into the Teleportarium to deepstrike later on. This is a neat trick to use for a few of your strike squads. If they don’t form the backbone of your force, probably because you’ve allied in a cheaper screening unit via another Battalion etc, then having a few 5 man squads, or a big 10 man squad in reserve to drop with Draigo and some Grand Master Nemesis Dreadknights isn’t a bad option. Once on the board though they will be slow, like all marines, so make sure when dropping them in you really think their placement through. This is another reason why I like to have Gate as my Psychic power for Strike Squads. When you couple their ability to redeploy via Gate with their Objective Control rule it can be a clutch move in the late game.
The Strike Squad has access to Psilencers, Incinerators, and PsyCannons. These three weapons, beside the Storm Bolter, form the back bone of GK fire power and are what can really give the army flexibility. The Psilencer is generally considered the best choice due to it’s higher volume of fire and general versatility. The Incinerator is generally considered the worst option as it suffers from the same problem all “flamer” types weapons have on units that can deep strike in, which is short range. The Psycannon is a good option for specific circumstances and metas. The higher strength is quite important in certain circumstances in 8th edition. While everything can hurt everything now it is nice to have a few higher strength shooting options. Generally in a Grey Knight Battalion, because you need those CPs, I will take about 4 Strike Squads and load at least one of them with a Psycannon, for versatility. I like a diverse tool box of weapons when I play so keep that in mind. Many players still adhere to the “spam the best” mentality and if that’s you then you’ll want to take as many Psilencers as you can.
For close combat you really can’t beat the Falchions. With 1 additional attack, because you have a pair, plus the ability to get Hammerhand you really can generate a high number of S5 -2AP D3 Damage attacks from a unit of just 5. Again, I am a player who likes a differentiated approach to my units but even here I have to admit that other than perhaps 1 Hammer in a few squads the Falchions are overall the best option. The Halberd was king in 5th edition GK lists so you might find a lot of GK models modeled with those on them, but it is a sub par choice in 8th. While their weapons won’t make them a super unit in Close Combat when you combine the potential for withering firepower via Stratagems and Characters buffs with decent Assault potential you can, through smart play, lay down a nice one two punch with a 5 or 10 man Strike Squad via shooting and assault.
If you’re looking to play Grey Knights as a pure force you’ll be fielding Strike Squads. Grey Knight lists need a lot of CPs to take advantage of their stratagems, the best way to get a lot of CPs is through the Battalion detachment and that will require either Strike Squads or Terminator Squads. Overall the Strike Squad is the superior choice as they cost less for 5 and 10 man units, and points are very limited commodity in a Grey Knight army. Keep in mind the Strike Squads strengths and weaknesses through out the game and during deployment and you can get a lot of mileage out of them.
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Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.