Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grey Knights are changing how people build their list...but why?

The GK fervor has really and truly hit.  Bartertown is full of GK models being bought, sold, and traded.  Blogs are ranting about how good they are or how unfair they are. 

Recently, I read an article by Jawaballs on his thoughts on GK versus AV11.  It was a really interesting article.  I encourage you to read it.  Then from there I encourage you to read his tournament report about his army list answer to the GK.  Very good read there.

So is the sky falling?  Nah.  Do GK change the way people will play against them?  Yes, but who tailors lists all of the time?  I could see that if your only gaming partner only played GK, then you might resort to that, but you won't come across that in most cases.  However, I do agree with JB's assessment that, for time being at least, GK will be a majority portion of armies in attendance at competitive events.  So they will change the way people plan for major competitive events. 

Jawaballs said that GK have changed how people create army lists, but why do they change this?  I think it is because they have an answer to a major element of the game, namely armored transports.  With the advent of the 5th edition armor/transport rules, it became much easier to bring multiple transports and in reality very desirable.  Armies without transports have suffered greatly in 5th edition.  I am thinking of Nids and Necrons.  We have even seen the trend towards MSU in which we saturate our opponent with large(ish) quantities of cheap transports.  Consequently, armies that can bring them, bring transports in quantity.  That has become the norm of 5th ed. 40k.  In fact, it is a major dynamic of the game.

GK change this because they have the ability to torrent high strength shots easily capable of taking out armor.  The strength of MSU is that you have so many targets that your opponent can't reasonably take them out without himself taking losses in great numbers.  Unfortunately, GK can handle a target rich environment.  They can do this to the point that missile spam Space Wolves or Leafblower IG do a double take.  Bloggers and naysayers have mentioned their high cost per model and the midfield range of their guns to show how they are truly a balanced army.  While I don't think that GK are broken, I don't think they are as balanced as they could be for the reason that I have mentioned.  They have an answer for massed armor.  When a 200-250pt. squad can take 8 rending S7 shots, this army shows it has the ability to laugh off all armor with relative ease.  That is why GK are changing army lists.  That is why people are sweating and crying and ranting about GK.  This is, in turn, backed up by decent combat ability and devestating psychic abilities. 

I posted awhile back about why the psycannon will be game changing for GK and I stand by that.  The evidence is immense. 

Of course, in JB's tourney report his GK opponent is a great player.  We have to remember that average and poor players will also be playing GK and so GK will be beatable in many situations.  This isn't a case of an unbeatable codex.  In fact, many people may have already developed an opinion about how hard GK are based on beating a newer, less experienced player.  So, the perspectives can lean both ways.  GK in a competent player's hands are a real threat while in a poor player's hands aren't any scarier than any other army. 

In the end, 5th ed. 40k will remain 5th ed. 40k.  I think the new codex smell will eventually wear off of GK and/or the next new thing will take away from their focus, but as a whole, I think we will trend back towards normalcy in the end.

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