BigRed asked me to write an article that discusses in detail how to effectively neutralize Draigowing. Lets get talking.
At first I thought I’d delay the article a bit as I made it to the Ard Boys finals and I wouldn’t necessarily want to give away all my secrets prior to the big showdown… but it turns out that is the weekend right before a GT (BeakyCon) I’ll be running in Florida so I really don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the Ard Boyz finals anyways now…. So no problem giving up some thoughts how to beat this army.
As a preface I would like to mention I find it a bit entertaining to say the least that an army that only a few weeks ago was considered fairly lame is now suddenly being touted on the Internet as a very WAAC list. I think Blackmoor’s fine performance at NOVA last month is what finally sparked the flame. You can’t argue with success and Blackmoor played his army to the hilt. It’s not often we see what is considered an unconventional army do so well and obviously that turned some heads.
Know Thine Enemy
If you are having problems beating this army the first thing you probably need to do is get yourself a copy of the new Grey Knight codex and read it from front to back then read it again. Grey Knights have lots and lots of special rules – all of which are quite powerful in gameplay. If you don’t understand how the army works in detail at the basic level then you don’t know how to counter them. For example let’s take a quick look at some of the more popular psychic powers typically selected for the Grey Knight Librarian.
Might of Titan – This psychic power adds +1S and +1d6 to your rolls for armor penetration in melee. Grey Knights can take down Dreadnoughts before they ever even have the chance to swing back and shred Land Raiders like tinfoil. Its amazing and stacks with Hammerhand so how can you beat this psychic power? What you might not know if you aren’t intimately familiar with the codex is this can only be cast during the owning player’s assault phase. You need to setup and time your assaults such that your Dreadnoughts are charging the Paladins, not vice versa. Paladins are slow… So why are you shoving your tanks into their grill? Maintain a safe distance from them with your vehicles – if your tanks are mobile then the Paladins should never reach your line.
Quicksilver – This psychic power makes the Librarian and the squad he is joined I:10 in melee. That’s pretty much unstoppable – you’re going to be eating lots of force weapons to the face before you get to strike back. What you might not know is this psychic power can also only be cast during the owning player’s movement phase. Again I’ll repeat – Paladins are slow… They should never get the charge unless you let them get to you first which should never happen unless you’re throwing everything you’ve got right into their grill. Like I said it’s all about the timing and setup of your assaults. Be proactive, not reactive.
If you play Space Marines then it’s time to invest in a Librarian with Null Zone. Now you’ve got a psychic hood and can force the Paladins to reroll their invulnerable saves. If you play Eldar then it’s time to invest in a Farseer with Runes of Warding. Space Wolf players often take a Rune Priest and I think the Runestaff is currently the best psychic defense (nullifies a successfully cast power on a 4+). Some armies don’t have any psychic defense – it’s tough without it versus Grey Knights indeed. If you don’t have access to psychic defense then you’ll have to look to other means to curb them.
And They Shall Know No Fear (ATSKNF)
Paladins are not fearless. One of their biggest weaknesses is if they should fail a morale test and break. Most of the games I have lost have been due to failing a morale test at the worst possible time. In fact if I’m fighting against a tough dedicated melee unit such as Thunderwolves often I’ll split Draigo off from the Paladins so if they break I won’t lose him as well. Some people have advocated running multiple tank shocks at the Paladins… They are Ld:10 with Draigo and/or the Librarian attached so I think this tactic is only worthwhile as a last ditch effort in the closing turns of a game. Mostly likely they won’t break then the Paladins are free to shoot and assault your vehicles which can be just like shooting fish in a barrel.
Blood Angels have access to the psychic power Fear of the Darkness (can be hooded by the Librarian since it’s 24″ range) and IG have Weaken Resolve which can outrange the hood. A smart Grey Knights player will keep their dreadnaughts close by for the -4 Ld penalty on your psykers due to the reinforced Aegis so its best to pop them first if possible (good luck with that… Heh).
Bring Your Best Tools to Get the Job Done
If you really think Draigowing is the big bad monster and you want to beat it then you are going to have to probably make some adjustments. To be honest I don’t believe that many people are playing it – Deathwing are much better as a point and click list. You can always just hope it never comes your way. I highly doubt it will ever be as popular as IG leaf blower or SW TWC-GH-LF spam. I like to play in competition for stakes so I spend most of my free time play testing against what I think are the top lists. Both Imperial Guard and Space Wolves have all the right tools to beat Draigowing. Blood Angels on the other hand I think are on the short end of the stick. It is what it is. IG and SW are still top tier so don’t expect things to change all that quickly. It seems like GW has been very ample for Imperial armies in general and if you think about it Matt Ward has been refining power armor all along the way throughout his career as a 5th edition 40k developer. I have heard all the same diatribes versus Phil Kelly and Gav Thorpe. One thing about Matt is he is very meticulous in my opinion.
I’ve given you what I believe to be some useful tips that provide insight how to beat Draigowing. I think it’s a solid army with no major drawbacks so you’ll have to play a good game to beat it – there are no shortcuts that I’m aware of to tip the scales in your favor. It doesn’t work that way… it never has been. It’s a good army but not the best and it can be beat. This past weekend in the Ard Boyz semifinals I narrowly lost my first game against a friend who had played against my exact list with his mechanized Eldar in a test match then I beat Blood Angels and Dark Eldar. IG and SW are always hard fought games and these games can come down to a couple rolls of the dice. Don’t sweat it. There will always be armies you don’t like and we all feel that way. If you want to stay current and improve your game then you’ll find a way to do so. Hopefully this article will help you just a bit along the way.
~The floor is yours gentlemen (and ladies)