Remember the Titans: Initial Thoughts on Grey Knights in Ritual of the Damned

Bmoy here with our initial thoughts on this morning’s Grey Knights reveal in Ritual of the Damned. Overall, the reveals have me very excited about the direction of Grey Knights and believe that combined with CA2019, Ritual of the Damned will help put Grey Knights in a position to be much more competitively viable and interesting.

I’ll take a look into what I believe are a few current issues with Grey Knights and then discuss how the reveals address some of those fundamental issues with the army.

Current Issue #1: Resources – Points and Command Points

One of the primary issues with Grey Knights has always been that they are expensive (points-wise) for what they are. Additionally, due to the points costs, it was difficult to field a double battalion in order to supply the necessary CP to utilize the 4-5 useful stratagems they have access to. There’s an arguement that their stratagems are overcosted as they were one of the earliest Codex releases and more recent books have similar stratagems that cost less CP.

Chapter Approved 2019: CA2019 went along way to help ease this burden. Points decreases across the board yielded 250 – 300+ points savings for many, including myself. These points decreases makes it possible for GK players to run a double battalion for the valuable CP required to run their primary stratagems.

Empyrean Domination: The ability to reliably farm 5-6 CP per game will be huge for GK players. Empyrean Domination demonstrates that GW understands some of the limitations GK players were faced with.

Current Issue #2: Durability

At the end of the day, most Grey Knights are still Toughness 4, 3+ save models, with a single wound. While historically being expensive, there were just not enough bodies on the board, and Grey Knights were unable to take a punch. Enter Tide of Shadows:

Tide of Shadows: I like that this doesn’t specify INFANTRY models. This gives extra potential survivability for GMNDKs, Storm Ravens, and other GK vehicles/units. GMNDK’s with a 1+ save at -1 to hit can become very problematic, and GK fliers can even get a 2+ save giving them the “stealthy” equivalent.

Current Issue #3: Limited Psychic Options / Output

Being locked into the Sanctic Discipline, once the few useful spells were utilized, it often meant that you were reliant on the Rites of Banishment baby smites, or out of range and unable to take advantage of our Grey Knight Psychic Superiority (hard eye roll).

Dominus Discipline: Opening another psychic discipline will go along way to making Grey Knights a more viable and a strategically flexible army.

Tide of Escalation: 2 Dmg baby smites (4 dmg smites to Daemons?? …. #gulp). I can see some GK armies basing their entire lists off spamming MSU adolescent smites at 24″ with a Brother-Captain after using some Bolter and Psy weapons to clear screens. Mortal Wounds also mitigate some defensive abilities like strats that halve or reduce damage by 1, the Ironstone, etc. so the damage is much more reliable.

Current Issue #4: Limited / Poor Relics, Warlord Traits, and Stratagems

Currently, Grey Knights have access to 1 useful relic, 1 useful warlord trait, and 5ish useful stratagems. While the initial reveal didn’t provide too much detail in addressing these issues, the fact that Grey Knights players will have access to new relics and potentially new stratagems is promising. I still see us lacking in the Warlord Traits department, but we shall see where that leads.

Stave of Supremacy: Meh … but it’s nice that we’re getting new relic options

Empyric Surge: If only we had super smites … Could be nice depending on the Warp Charge requirement for the Dominus Psychic powers.

Potentially useful? Hopefully we will see if there are some powerful spells in the Dominus Discipline that are WC 7+ that are worth spending 1CP on …

Dynamic Insertion (via Warhammer 40,000 Facebook Page): Wow … now here is a real game-changer. Outside of pure damage output and Purifier Bombs, in an ITC environment, this is absolutely game changing. The ability to Dynamically Insert yourself more than 3″ away from any enemy models, let’s say onto an objective with your own OBSEC troops, can secure you Hold More and potentially Bonus Points. This is worth every penny of 1CP (considering GSC pay 2CP for theirs).

Just make sure to dynmically insert yourself onto the right objective. With no limitations, for 1CP you can strike with incredible precision over and over and over again …
Current Issue #5: Limited (Ranged) Anti-Armor Damage Output

Grey Knights are primarily a mid-to-short range army. Our only real long-range firepower comes in the form of fliers, Dreads, or some tanks and all of these options are sub-optimal to be relied upon for anti armor duties. I am excited to see that Grey Knights will have access to their own unique Litanies, one of which increases the range of Psi and Bolt weapons. Additionally, Tide of Convergence and Tide of Escalation will go along way to help increase overall ranged output.

Tide of Convergence: I can see some potentially powerful combinations with this one. While limited to INFANTRY models, there can be some play in embedding Psilencers within each of our units which can significantly boost our overall damage output. I can see a Purgation squad with 4 Psilencers being incredibly powerful with Psychic Onslaught for Strength 6 Ap-1, D3+1 Dmg shots at 30″ range and not needing LOS due to Astral Aim.

I can potentially see a place for Psycannons pumping out 16 Strength 9 AP-2 at 2 damage a piece, though my money is still on the Psilencer.

The combination of enhanced psychic damage output through mortal wounds and increasing our shooting output via psy weapons should go along way to making Grey Knights more capable in removing heavy armor.

Recicitation of Projection: I can definitely see this being paired with Astral Aim, Tide of Convergence, and Psychic Onslaught for a potentially nice combination. I’m curious to see what other Litanies Grey Knights will have access to as well.

Other Thoughts and Still on the Wishlist …

Tide of Fury: Tide of Fury seems a little bit of an afterthought for me, as currently, Grey Knights don’t really want to be in combat until the middle to later rounds of a match. But Paladins and Interceptors could definitely take advantage of this Tide. Depending on some other melee combos, this could see some use.

Wishlist Item #1: More Powerful Damage Output Psychic Spells. As the most powerful psychic presence in the Imperium, Grey Knights feel a lackluster here. I’ve always hoped they play a little more offensive like Imperium’s version of Thousand Sons.

Wishlist Item #2: Moving and Shooting without Penalties. In the lore, Psi weapons are supposed to be some of the most powerful and mobile heavy weapons available to the Imperium. None of that is reflected in their current rules. It would be neat for GK to have more reliable firepower, especially given how mobile a GK army can be.

Wishlist Item #3: New Primaris Grey Knight Model. Wishful thinking, but if everyone else is getting access to Primaris why not a new Primaris Lord Kaldor Draigo himself?

Closing Thoughts

Again, I’m very excited to see what’s fully in store for the Grey Knights here. They’ve always been one of my favorite armies in the lore and also a fun army to play on the tabletop. I can see some competitive aspirations for them on the horizon and hopefully they’ve paid their dues from 5th edition.

What are your thoughts on GW’s reveals for Grey Knights and Ritual of the Damned? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments or feel free to engage with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We will also be covering the full suite of Ritual of the Damned releases in the coming weeks and have a lot of exciting things happening behind the scenes that we cannot wait to unveil. Don’t forget to follow to stay up-to-date for all of our latest releases.