New Warhammer 40,000 Codex Grey Knights Review | 9th Edition
The Grey Knights have returned with a brand new Codex which builds upon the new rules content we saw in the Psychic Awakening series. We’ll take a look through the different sections of the Codex below (including the brand new Crusade content) so grab a mug of tea and your Nemesis Reading Glasses and enjoy our 40k 9th Edition Codex Grey Knights Review!
Oh, and if you want to see the new Grey Knights in action against the nefarious Thousand Sons be sure to catch our battle report which can watch live on our Twitch and Youtube channels at 13:00 (GMT+1) today!
Thank you to Games Workshop for providing this Codex for us to review you can preorder the book and save cash by ordering through Element Games at this link.
Fancy watching our video runthrough? Check it out below!
Lore and Presentation
As with other 9th edition Warhammer 40,000 Codexes, Codex Grey Knights is packed with background, history and timelines, descriptions of battles and major conflicts involving the Knights of Titan and plenty of gorgeous images and artwork depicting Mankind’s most secretive of warriors. A lot of the information presented in the older 8th edition Codex is presented here again although there is some new material too. The Codex itself clocks in at 111 pages and looks beautiful! I really like the little scribbles and notes that can be found on many of the pages that give the impression of a scribe deep in the bowels of Titan hunched over a dusty tome transcribing forbidden lore to its pages.
Brotherhood Command and The Aegis
We get the usual Detachment restrictions as is custom in many a 9th edition Codex. Here you’re restricted to a single Grand Master and Brother-Captain model per Detachment in your army. In addition each Grand Master and Brother-Captain must be from a different Brotherhood (more on this shortly). Troops units also gain the Objective Secured ability as standard.
On top of this, as long as every unit in your army is a Grey Knight (excluding Agent of the Imperium and Unaligned models) every model in your army also gains “The Aegis” ability, providing a 5+ shrug against mortal wounds and a +1 to Deny the Witch tests.
Masters of the Warp
The ‘Tides’ rules return from Psychic Awakening but the bonuses they provide have changed slightly. You still pick a Tide to be dominent at the start of the first Battle Round and you’re able to change it during subsequent Psychic Phases using the Warp Shaping power from the Dominus Discipline. There is one small but important change to the mechanic though in that you can no longer return to a Tide that was previously dominent (as indicated in the Warp Shaping power itself). Let’s have a closer look at the different ‘Tides’ below.
Tide of Convergence
This is an interesting ‘Tide’ as it enhances both ranged and melee attacks for units in your army, allowing your Purgation Squads tucked safely out of harms way and the unit of Grey Knights embroiled in combat with some Death Guard to benefit at the same time. It adds 6″ to the range of “Psi” weaponry but also adds a very nice effect to your Nemesis weapons causing them to inflict a mortal wound on a wound roll of a 6 (in addition to normal damage). I really like this tide and there are lots of ways to buff attack numbers and provide wound re-rolls allowing you to really go fishing for those mortal wounds.
Tide of Celerity
A new ‘Tide’ which makes running and charging a bit more reliable. Any rolls of 1-2 count as a 3 instead which can be pretty useful if you’ve just arrived via Teleport Strike and are looking to make some cheeky charges. The problem I see is that if you want this ‘Tide’ active to enabled easier charges you’re then missing out on the ‘Tide of Convergence’ bonuses for the next two combat phases (until you get a chance to change it in you next Psychic Phase).
Tide of Shadows
Allows your units to benefit from Light Cover if they are targetted by a unit more than 12″ away. This improves to Dense Cover if the unit is already benefiting from Light Cover. This seems to be the go-to ‘Tide’ when starting a battle. Start off with improved defences and then switch to Convergence just before you start shooting or fighting.
Tide of Escalation
This is a niche ‘Tide’ that allows you to make better use of the new Brotherhood Psychic Powers (we’ll get to these shortly). It basically allows each of your units to cast their Brotherhood Psychic Power even if a unit has already cast it that turn (with an increasing Warp Charge). There are some great Brotherhood Psychic Powers so I can see this ‘Tide’ being a great one to benefit from for the duration of a Psychic Phase only to be changed at the end via Warp Shaping. Some of the Brotherhood Psychic Powers are pretty good (an opportunity to get +1 attack on multiple units for example) but with limiting casting attempts across the different units I’m not sure if missing out on Convergence for two Shooting/Combat phases is worth it.
Tide of Banishment
If you’re playing against a Chaos army with lots of Daemons this Tide may be of some use (I want to stress the ‘may’) allowing each model to re-roll a hit and wound roll of 1. I’m not sure it’s that big a buff to be honest (you can find hit/wound re-rolls elsewhere) and the other Tides work just as well against Daemons anyway.
Brotherhood of Psykers
A new addition to the Grey Knights Codex, you now get access to eight individual Brotherhoods (think Chapters) each with their own Stratagem, Warlord Trait and Brotherhood Psychic Power. Each Grey Knight unit gets access to the Brotherhood Psychic Power in addition to any other powers they may know meaning you get a lot of casting options across your army. It’s a shame they don’t grant a generic bonus to the Detachment (in the same way that Orders work for the Adeptus Sororitas for example) but there is enough here to lean into different playstyles. It’s also worth noting that some units do not have the requisite Brotherhood Keyword and so can never benefit from the below rules. This includes a Draigo, Crowe, Paladins and Purifiers.
The 1st Brotherhood are focussed on buffing your vehicle units. Their unique Stratagem grants a +1 to hit with ranged attacks against a single enemy unit whereas their unique Psychic Power gives Vehicle units a +1 to wound with ranged atttacks against a targetted enemy. Their unique Warlord Trait allows you to pick one Vehicle unit with range of your Warlord and confer a 4+ invulnerable save upon it. If you like fielding Dreadnoughts, Dreadknights and even Landraiders etc. this is the Brotherhood for you. Stay in the Tide of Shadows or Escalation for additional resilience or hitting power too.
Blades of Victory
The 2nd Brotherhood focus on closing the distance to the enemy quickly and they have access to a very tasty Stratagem when they do get there. Their unique Psychic Power and Warlord Trait provide charge re-rolls and and a ‘post-deployment’ normal move. Their unique Stratagem allows you to inflict a bunch of mortal wounds on an enemy within Engagement Range, you roll a number of dice equal to the number of Grey Knights in the unit and any that equal or beat the Toughness of the enaged enemy unit cause a mortal wound. I can see this working well with Tide of Celerity to ensure you’re getting lots of charges off with as many units as possible.
One of my favourite Brotherhoods, the 3rd are all about debuffs and psychic shenanigans. Their unique Stratagem lets a Character them swap their Psychic Powers with those in the Dominus Discipline, giving you a bit of flexibility mid game. Their Brotherhood Psychic Power targets an enemy unit within 12″ and prevents them from benefitting from any Aura effects! A great power that can be spammed in the right Tide. Their unique Warlord Trait causes your succesful Psychic Tests of 8+ to become unstoppable, preventing your opponent from being able to Deny them. I think this may be a tricky Brotherhood to use well but in the right hands you could be removing key buffs from multiple enemy units and tipping engagements in your favour.
A bit of a mixed bag, the 4th Brotherhood provides bonuses for attacking via their unique Stratagem, allowing a each model in the targetted unit to re-roll a hit and wound roll of 1. Their unique Psychic Power places a debuff on an enemy unit causing them to potentially suffer mortal wounds each time they make a Normal Move, Advance Charge or Fall Back. Their unique Warlord Trait grants access to a new Psychic Action, allowing you to gain a Command Point. There are already a few different ways to grant re-rolls to your units and with so limited casting attempts I’m not sure you’ll find much capacity to use the Brotherhood Psychic Power very often anyway.
As the name suggests, the 5th Brotherhood focusses on their Apothecaries and Dreadnoughts. Their unique Stratagem allows you to buff each Dreadnought in your army, increasing their Movement and Damage and granting a re-roll to charge rolls. Their unique Psychic Power grants a 6+ FNP to the casting unit, increased to 5+ if they are within range of an Apothecary. Their unique Warlord Trait increases the range of any Aura abilities they have by 3″. I quite like this Brotherhood and I think you could create a very resilient force focussed around Dreadnoughts and Terminators with these rules.
The 6th Brotherhood is perhaps the most straightforward in terms of bonuses. Their unique Stratagem provides extra hits on hit rolls of 6 and their unique Psychic Power adds an extra attack. Sit in the Tide of Convergence and you’ve got nice little set of bonuses there. Their unique Warlord Trait allows you’re Warlord to Advance and Charge which is great on a Nemesis Dreadknight Grand Master, especially as you can give Grey Knight Warlords two Warlord Traits! This appears at first glance to be the strongest of the Brotherhoods. It’s much simpler to use with the different bonuses synergising well.
The 7th Brotherhood have allow your units to Heroically Intervene via their unique Stratagem and their Warlord Trait buffs the Leadership of your Warlord and allows nearby units to automatically pass ther Morale Tests – all faily average compared to some of the other Brotherhood rules. Their Psychic Power however can get some work done, you roll a dice for each model in the targetted enemy unit and on a 4+ it suffers a mortal wound. I
The 8th Brotherhood have some nice rules that buff ranged attacks of your Grey Knights. Their unique Stratagem allows a unit to Fallback and still shoot and their Psychic Power turns a unit’s Bolt weapons into type Pistol 4 with a range of 12″. Their unique Warlord Trait allows the Warlord to fight first and re-roll hit rolls.
Wisdom of the Prognosticars
The Wisdom of the Prognosticars rules allow you to upgrade a non-named Character in your army with either a Visions of the Augurium or Gifts of the Prescient (each with an associated points/power level increase). A Character can be given one of these upgrades in addition to any relics they may be equipped with but you can’t duplicate them across your army.
The Visions of the Auguirum provide a once per battle effect, a small advantage during the game that may just be enough to secure victory. The Gifts of the Prescient are basically the same, a piece of one use wargear that may just surprise your opponent.
Here are some of my favourite…
A Noble Death
You ‘experience’ this vision in the Command Phase, the Character gains a new Aura ability until your next Command Phase which grants nearby Grey Knights Characters and Core units Objective Secured. If they already had Objective Secured they now count as double the number of models. It’s a nice effect, potentially game winning in fact. The problem is making sure all your pieces are in the right place at the right time when you come to activate it and I’m not sure the cost reflects how difficult this is to achieve.
Omen of Incursion
You ‘experience’ this vision at the end of the opponent’s Reinforcement step during their Movement Phase and it allows a nearby Grey Knights Core or Character unit to shoot at a unit that has just arrived on the board (within 12″). Just like an Astartes Auspex Scan…but you can only use it once and it’s not exactly cheap.
Foretelling of Locus
You ‘experience’ this vision just after Deployment, allowing you to redeploy up to three Grey Knights Core units (including adding them to Strategic Reserves for free!). This is a great ‘Vision’ allowing you to gain an advantage at the start of the battle. If you can find points for this I think it’s always worth including.
Servant of the Throne
This gift can be activated to grant a 3+ invulnerable save to the bearer when it is chosen as the target of an attack. Use it to ensure your Grand Master survives long enough to complete the mission! I’ll be trying to find a few spare points to include this in most of my army lists. A 3+ invulnerable save is quite rare nowadays and can be used at a clutch moment to keep your character in the fight.
Gem of Inoktu
There are often times during a game where you just absolutely have to get that Psychic Power off. This gift can be activated during one Psychic Phase to grant a +2 bonus to casting attempts from the Dominus Discipline. With the limited casting attempts available to your non-named characters there may be a point in the battle where this ‘Gift’ really pays for itself. Alternativly you could use it on a Librarian who can make better use of the buff with their base two casting attempts.
This sacred bolt round can be given to a Character equipped with a Bolt weapon. Before the game begins you nominate an enemy Character model. Once per game you can forfeit the Bolt weapon’s regular shots for a single shot with the Severance Bolt. The targetted Character cannot benefit from the Look Out, Sir rule. If the shot hits the Character suffers D3 mortal wounds. In addition, if the Character was a Psyker there is a chance they ‘forget’ one random Psychic Power. Can be usefuil against the right opponents but like many of these upgrades they just seem a bit too tricky to use for their points costs.
There are 35 Stratagems in the new Codex split across the different sub-types. I will not cover each and every one here but I will take a closer look at some of my favourites.
Mental Focus (Strategic Ploy) – 1CP
The majority of non-named Grey Knights Characters now only get one casting attempt by default, which is a bit problematic as they now have access to more Psychic Powers. This Stratagem allows a targetted unit to cast an additional power and combos quite nicely with…
Psychic Channelling (Battle Tactic) – 1CP
This allows a unit to roll 3 dice for all Psychic Tests that phase and discard one of their choice. Useful on Draigo, Voldus or a Librarian (who get two casting attempts by default) or even a unit who is also benefitting from Mental Focus.
Psychic Onslaught (Battle Tactic) – 1CP
Improves the Strength and Armour Penetration of Psi weapons by 1. I’m tempted to run a Dreadknight with two Heavy Psi-cannons for 12 Strength 9 AP-3 D2 shots. With the bonuses from Tide of Convergence, re-rolls from Aura abilities, +1 to hit and wound via the different Stratagems, the -1 AP the Psalm of Purity and finally the damage bonuses from the Empyric Amplification power you’re potentially putting out a lot of S9, AP-4, Damage 3 shots!
Psychic Locus (Epic Deed) – 2CP
Bestows a new Aura ability on a Brother-Captain that grants a +1 bonus to casting attempts for nearby Grey Knights. A great Stratagem to ensure you make the most of your limited casting attempts. I think a Brother-Captain will be a mainstay in most lists to make use of this Stratagem.
Empyric Declamation (Epic Deed) – 2CP
Can be used during any phase to allow a Grey Knight Chaplain to recite a Litany. That Litany is automatically inspiring. What’s really cool about this Stratagem is that it does not state that the Chaplain must already know that Litany, meaning you can choose from any of the Litanies in the Codex (and there are some great Litanies!).
Psyk-Out Grenade (Wargear) – 1CP
Can be used in the Shooting Phase by a unit with the Psyk-Out Grenades keyword (pretty much all your Infantry). On a 2+ an enemy Psyker within 6″ suffers a Perils of the Warp! I love this Stratagem and it can be used to great effect against certain opponents.
Haloed in Soulfire (Strategic Ploy) -1CP
Bestows a -1 to hit on a Grey Knights Core unit that arrived via Teleport Strike until the start of your the next turn. If your units fail their charge from deepstrike at least they’ll have a little bit of protection from the inevitable enemy retailiation.
Truesilver Armour (Wargear) – 2/3CP
This is your Transhuman Physiology Stratagem (albeit a bit more expensive). Can be used on any Core Infantry to give them a bit of staying power against high strength attacks. Use alongside the Purifier Untainted and Unbowed Strategem and Sanctuary Power to create a tanky unit that can only be wounded on a 4+, reduces incoming damage by 1 and has a 4+ invulnerble save.
Relics of Titan
There are 15 Relics in the new Codex and I’ll pick out a few of my favourites below.
A buffed up Nemesis Force Halberd with improved AP and re-rolls to hits and wounds on top! If you’ve got a spare Relic slot this seems like a great pick to me on a Grand Master or Brother-Captain.
Fury of Deimos
A respectable Storm Bolter with type Rapid Fire 3, Strength 5, AP-2 and Damage 2! A nice Relic for a Silver Blades Character (where it becomes Pistol 4 in certain situations). Can be buffed further with the Psybolt Ammunition Stratagem.
Allows the bearer to perform a new Psychic Action (Warp Charge 5) that if successful, allows you to choose a Grey Knights Core or Character unit within 3″ to fight first. Lasts until your next Psychic Phase too. Quite a nice effect but in most situations you’d want your Characters casting their Dominus powers.
Artisan Nullifier Matrix
Can be given to a Libarian, bestowing a new Aura ability which makes nearby Grey Knights units immune to Perils of the Warp. This is a fantastic Relic and will probably be an auto pick for every Grey Knights Librarian as even losing a single model from your units as a result of a Perils of the Warp can hurt such an elite army.
The Dominis Discipline returns and there have been a few changes. We’ll go over each power below.
Gate of Infinity (Blessing) – WC7
Allows a Grey Knights unit with 18″ to removed and set up again anywhere on the battlefield with the usual restrictions. The utility provided by this power ensures it will be picked in most lists I think, allowing you to contest objectives anywhere on the board, bait your opponent to commiting resources or extract key pieces from dangerous situations.
Empyric Amplification (Malediction) – WC7
Attacks with Nemesis or Psi weapons against the targetted unit inflict +1 damage! A fantastic power and synergises really well with all the +1 attack buffs. A unit of 10 Strike Squad Grey Knighst with the right buffs are getting 51 attacks (with re-rolls) doing 3 damage each with their Halberds and Swords (plus some mortal wounds in the right tide). If you manage to get the Words of Power Litany off as well you’re potentially 6 damage with each successful wound roll of 6!
Sanctuary (Blessing) – WC6
Grants a 4+ invulnerable save to a Grey Knights unit within 18″. Useful for every unit in your army and synergises well with the Tide of Shadows bonuses too.
Vortex of Doom (Witchfire) – WC7
The closest enemy unit within 12″ and visible suffers 2D3 mortal wounds. In addition, enemy units within 3″ of that unit suffer 1 mortal wound. Follow up with a Smite or Purifying Flames and with the right positioning you can assassinate enemy Characters.
Warp Shaping (Blessing) – WC4
A very important Power for the Grey Knights allowing you to select a different Tide to become dominent. It looks as though you can only move to a Tide that has not yet been dominent (so think carefully about switching as you won’t be able to go back). Ideally you’d want to try and enter the Psychic Phase with the Tide of Escalation in effect and then cast this at the end to switch into something else.
Ghostly Bonds (Malediction) – WC5
An enemy unit within 18″ suffers a penalty to their movement (reduced by half). An interesting Power with some nice utility that can be used to disrupt the movement of an opponent’s key unit, allowing you to better position your own forces or even get the jump.
The Santic Discipline has also seen some changes, and not just to the powers themselves. In most cases the unit’s Datasheet will specify which Sanctic Power that unit knows (Hammerhand for Brotherhood Terminators for example). There are some exceptions, notably Paladins who are able to freely choose which Sanctic Power they know. In additon, there is a new rule Psychic Confluence which allows multiple units to cast the same Santic Power (albeit with increasing difficulty).
Astral Aim (Blessing) – WC6
The unit can re-roll one hit roll each time it shoots. In addition the target does not gain the benefit of cover. Purgation Squads have this power. The limit of re-rolling one hit and wound roll limits the effectiveness of this power (we don’t have access to melta guns or lascannons in our units) but denying cover perhaps makes up for this.
Purge Soul (Witchfire) – WC6
You choose one enemy unit within 12″ and both players roll a D6 and add the Leadership of their Caster and the target unit respectively. If the Casters value is higher the target suffers D3 mortal wounds. if it is equal to the opponent’s value the target unit suffers 1 mortal wound. Otherwise nothing happens. No unit has this power by default. The advantage of this spell is that you can pick out Characters to target. If those Characters have the Daemon keyword you have some tools to reduce their Leadership so this could prove to be a powerful Power in the right scenarios.
Hammerhand (Blessing) – WC5
Allows the Psyker’s unit to re-roll wound rolls in melee. Strike Squads, Brotherhood Terminators and Dreadknights have this power. A great Power, the only problem is it is now competing with Symphonic Strike (+1 attack) which is the other Power you’ll be wanting these guys to cast. I guess you could use your Mental Focus Stratagem to try and get both off though.
Purifying Flame (Witchfire) – WC5
The closest enemy unit with 9″ suffers 3 mortal wounds, increasing to D3+3 if the Psychic Test was passed on an 11+. Both Castellan Crowe and Purifiers have this power (and get a bonus +1 to cast as well). It being a Sanctic Power you could have multiple attempts with different units at this Power and put the hurt on any unit close enough.
Armoured Resilience (Blessing) – WC6
Grants a +1 to armour saving throws to the Pskyer’s unit. Dreadnoughts (of both varieties) have this power. I think Dreadnought are quite good in this Codex, especially in the right Brotherhood. Sitting in the Tide of Shadows they become pretty resilient.
Ethereal Castigation (Blessing) – WC6
Allows the Psyker’s unit to shoot as if it were the Shooting Phase and then make a Normal Move as it if were the Movement Phase. The unit cannot make a Normal Move, Advance, charge or shoot again that turn. This could be used to reposition a unit that has just arrived via Teleport Strike so that they are much closer to the enemy (potentially contesting objectives). Some units have access to Heroic Intervention (with increased range) meaning you may catch a few opponents off guard in their next turn.
Litanies of Purity
I really like the updated Litanies of Purity and can see myself including a Brotherhood Chaplain in most lists I write.
Litany of Expulsion
All Grey Knight Priest units (basically Brotherhood Chaplains) know this in addition to one of the below Litanies. This particular Litany grants a new Aura ability to the Chaplain allowing nearby Grey Knights Core and Character units to re-roll hits in melee. This army loves to get into combat and will always find a use for this Litany.
Words of Power
A single Grey Knights Core or Character unit within 6″ gains a new ability which affects attacks made by Nemesis weapons. Any unmodified wound roll of 6 made with such a weapon causes the enemy unit to suffer an additional wound and if Tide of Covergence is dominant, an additional mortal wound too! This has the potential to be a brutal Litany. Save your Empyric Declamation Stratagem for this one to guarantee it is inspired.
Intonement for Guidance
Allows a single nearby Grey Knights Core or Character unit to ignore all hit roll modifiers when shooting. Whilst I would not waste a Litany spot for this one, the ability to use the Empyric Declamation Stratagem to inspire Intonement for Guidance if the situation calls for it means it’s always an option should you need it.
Psalm of Purity
Grants a new Aura ability to the Chaplain allowing nearby Grey Knights Core and Character models to benefit from a bonus to their ranged attacks, wound rolls of 6 now improving the AP of that attack by 1. Sit your Chaplain next to a Dreadknight with Heavy Psi-cannon for some respectable anti-tank firepower.
Refrain of Convergence
A great Litany for stripping psychic debuffs cast by the enemy on your own units or even remove beneficial psychic buffs from enemy units. Another tool for disrupting your opponents game plan and an ideal candidate for the Empyric Declamation Stratagem.
Recitation of Projection
A single Grey Knight Core or Character unit within 6″ of the Brotherhood Chaplain benefits from a +6″ range to their Bolt and Psi weapons, stacking with Tide of Convergence (although Psi weapons are capped at +9″ in total). Useful in the early turns sure but I think there are better options.
Invocation of Focus
Grants a new Aura ability to the Chaplain allowing nearby Grey Knights Core and Character models to benefit from a +1 bonus to Psychic Tests when casting Blessing powers. This, coupled with the bonus from a Brother-Captain can make sure you’re limited casting attempt get through.
On the whole Warlord Traits have seen some buffs when compared to their eighth edition counterparts. It’s also possible to stack two Warlord Traits on your Warlord thanks to the Exemplar of the Silvered Host Stratagem!
Grants +1 attack if the Warlord charged this turn. In addition, Daemons attacked by the Warlord in melee cannot make invulnerable saving throws! Take that Bel’akor!
Hammer of Righteousnous
+1 to wound in the first round of combat. Much better than the previous version and a great option for that second Warlord Trait (especially if you’re piloting a Dreadknight!).
Grants a new Aura ability to the Warlord, bestowing Objective Secured on nearby Grey Knights Core and Character units. If such a unit already had the Objective Secured ability they now count as double the number of models.
First to the Fray
+1 to Advance and charge rolls. Grey Knights Core and Character units benefit from the same buff if they charge the same unit as the Warlord (as long as the Warlord makes his charge). I think this Warlord Trait may now be passed over in place of Daemon-Slayer and the Rapier Brotherhood’s Inescapable Wrath Warlord Trait, both of which can be taken on the same model by using the new Exemplar of the Silvered Host Stratagem. Synergises quite nicely with the Tide of Celerity which means you’re Grey Knights are rolling at least a 7 for all their charges now.
Unmodified hit rolls of 6 automatically wound the target (melee attacks only).
At the start of your Psychic Phase you choose a single Grey Knights Psyker unit within 6″. If an enemy unit suffers any mortal wounds as a result of a Witchfire power cast by that unit they suffer an additional mortal wound. The fact you can multi cast powers like Purifying Flames means this has the potential to inflict a lot of mortal wounds on an opponent’s unit. Three units casting Purifying Flames are doing potentially 10 +3D3 mortal wounds to that unit!.
Chapter Approved Rules
The Grey Knights Codex includes three faction specific Secondary Objectives for you to choose from in your Matched Play Games.
Destroy the Daemon (Purge the Enemy)
Up to 12 victory points can be earned via this Secondary Objective by destroying various Daemon units in the opponent’s army over the course of a game. Fitting for the Grey Knights I suppose.
Teleport Assault (No Mercy, No Respite)
Gain 3 points a Battle Round if you’re able to destroy an enemy unit with a Grey Knights unit that arrived via Teleport Strike, used the Teleportation Shunt Stratagem or was set up via the Gates of Infinity psychic power that Battle Round. The problem here is you may fail a charge, meaning you’re not able to claim points that turn.
Purifying Ritual (Warpcraft)
A cool Secondary that can grant up to 6 victory points a turn depending on how many objective markers you’re able to purify in each turn. To purify an objective marker each Psyker unit in your army can perform a Psychic Action (WC5) whilst within 3″ of an objective marker.
I feel the Secondary Objectives are a bit weak compared to some of the recent codexes. Sure, if you’re playing a Daemon heavy army Destroy the Daemon will be a good choice but I think the other two may be quite tricky to exploit. Each of your units has a limited number of casting attempts and you’d have to think carefully before you sacrificed it for a Purify action.
There have been lots of changes to the Datasheets in the new Grey Knights codex, most notable additional wounds and attacks for most units (including your basic Power and Terminator armoured Astates). Bolter Discpline, Combat Squads, Teleport Strike and And They Shall Know No Fear are still there but gone are Daemon Hunters, Rites of Banishment and Shock Assault. Regular Smites are back on the menu I guess.
In addition there have been a few changes to weapon profiles with Halberd, Swords (including the Greatsword) looking very nice now with flat 2 damage.
The other big change of note is the fact that most units now only get a single casting attempt (named Characters and the Librarian get two) which means you’ll have to make careful use of the Mental Focus Stratagem to get those extra casts off. My overall impression of this Codex is that all the potential to do lots of damage and make a big impact on the game are there but you really need to work hard to unlock it, carefully choosing your different Powers, Litanies and Stratagems during the game.
I won’t cover every Datasheet below and instead focus on some the interesting changes.
Kaldor Draigo, Grand Master Voldus, Castellan Crowe and Brother-Captain Stern
Both Draigo and Voldus now have 6 attacks 6 attacks base (with Draigo getting an extra +1 if he charges thanks to his Warlord Trait.). They can both also cast two powers but do not know any from the Sanctic Discipline.
Draigo has an impressive weapon (+4 Strength, -4AP Damage 3) which ignores invulnerable saves if the target is a Daemon and makes a fine alternative to a Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight, especially now that he has a 3+ invulnerable save too!
We have an updated profile for the new Crow model too but I’m not sure it’s much improved. Crowe now gets 6 attacks base (7 in the first round of combat) and has finally figured out how to use his weapon properly (Strength +1, AP-3, Damage 2 doing D3 mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6). No longer re-rolls hits and wounds which is a shame and can no longer chain attacks. Instead he can heroically intervene within 6″ and fights first. He does get a bonus to casting Purifying Flames but can now only make a single casting attempt per turn and knows only one power from the Dominus Discipline. Overall I like the flexibility that Crowe brings, him knowing both a Dominus and Sanctic Power means he is a good candidate for Warp Shaping Power and has the flexibility to swap powers via the Alloy of Discipline Stratagem. It’s a shame he no longer re-rolls hits and wounds (especially with his new weapon) but there are ways to replicated some of these effects via Stratagems and Litanies.
Stern looks good as well with 6 attacks base. He also has a nice new rule called Zone of Banishment which inflicts a single mortal wound on each Daemon unit within 6″ everytime he casts a power. Shame he can ony cast one power per turn now and knows only a single power from the Dominus Discipline.
Other HQ Options
In most cases your other HQ options also gained an attack in exchange for a casting attempt, with most now limited to one casting attempt (and restricted to a Dominus Power). The exception is the Librarian who still keeps his two casting attempts and flexibility to pick powers from both disciplines. The Brotherhood Champion has seen some changes in line with Crowe (gone are the different stances).
Both Strike Squads and Terminators received an extra wound and attack, which when combined with their new weapon profiles and the different attack and damage bonuses available in the Codex means these are perhaps the most improved units in the book. Units of 10 Strike Squads can really lay down the hurt in both the Shooting and Combat phases and have increased staying power to boot. I think the age of the Paladin Deathstar may be over.
Again, each unit received at least one extra attack and wound. The Brotherhood Apothecary looks like a great choice to further improve your unit’s defences and the Brotherhood Ancient is a great force multiplier for your Troops too (with his +1 attack Aura).
Paladins are deadly with a base WS 2+ and 4 attacks each (can be buffed to 6 in the right situation). They also provide extra flexibility in terms of being one of the few units with free acces to the Sanctic Discipline. They do however lack the Brotherhood keyword so miss out the Brotherhood bonues. Personally I think regular Terminators are a better choice now, as with the right buffs they are hitting on a 2+ with the same number of attacks and have Objective Secured to boot!
Purifiers have an almost identical statline to the Strike Squad (with +1 Leadership) and gain access to the Purifying Flame Sanctic Power with a bonus +1 to cast it too. They have access to a nice damage reduction Stratagem as well which means they are a bit tankier than a regular Strike Squad but miss out on the Brotherhood bonuses.
Both flavours of Dreadnoughts recieve an extra attack and the regular Astartes Dreadnought upgrades (Duty Eternal and Unyielding Ancient). In the right Brotherhood and with Psychic/Stratagem support these near dead warriors become quite resilient.
Inceptors gain an extra attack and wound but lose the ability to make that once per game redeploy (this is now a Stratagem). They have access to the Ethereal Castigation Sanctic Power which gives them the potential to make some tricksy repositioning after deploying via deep strike.
Dreadknights have received a few buffs, with an extra attack and wound on their profile and improved weapon profiles. I’ve talked above about the potential of a HEavy Psi-cannon armed Dreadknight but the Greatsword option looks nice too now that it has an optional 2nd profile (12 Strength 6 attacks, AP-2 D2). This weapon can be buffed via various Tides, Stratagems, Litanies and Powers too for a potential 14 Strength 6 attacks, AP-2 D3, with +1 to wound, re-rolling hits with each wound roll of a 6 doing a potential 6 damage and 2 mortal wounds!
Crusade, my favourite section of the new 9th edition Codexes. The Grey Knights have a very flavourful Crusade mechanic that revolves around tracking down a Daemon and attempting to banish it to the Warp. When you start your Crusade you pick a single non-named Character to become a Nemesis Hunter and then create a brand new Crusade Card for the Daemon he is hunting. This Daemon can be anything from either a Herald level Daemon right up to a Greater Daemon. The Daemon is added to your roster (and starts with a single Battle Honour) and each time your Nemesis Hunter gains a rank over the course of your Crusade so to does his Nemesis. Now,the hunt begins…
During your Crusade games if you’re opponent is playing with a Chaos army there is a chance that the Daemon you are currently hunting will appear. If it does appear your opponent may include the Daemon in their army and gains access to an additional Agenda granting them additional experience and Requistition Points should the Daemon survive.
If the Grey Knights player is able to destroy the Daemon in this game they may attempt to banish it after the game ends. To banish a Daemon the Grey Knights player must roll an 11+ on 2D6 and may add different bonuses to this roll depending on the circumstance of the Daemon’s destruction. For example add 2 to the roll if the Nemesis Hunter landed the killing blow in melee. You may add additional bonuses depending on the number of True Name points your Nemesis Hunter has collected over the course of their hunt (more on this shortly).
If the banishment attempt is successful your Nemesis Hunter gains a Battle Honour (and a Psychic Fortitude if the Daemon was of the Greater variety) and the hunt ends, you pick a new Character to become a Nemesis Hunter and create a new Daemon for them to hunt! A Grey Knight’s work is never over it seems. If the banishment was unsuccessful you instead gain True Name points which can be used in later encounters to improve your chances of success.
This seems like a fun mechanic and has the potential to create some very thematic battles where a small force of Grey Knights is deployed against a much larger Chaos host. Often times the Daemon will escape and your hunt must continue and in other battles you’ll gleam only a shard of knowledge about the Daemon’s true name. This is what Crusade is all about and I look forward to those narative encounters where I finally managed to track down my quary only to see them foil my banishment attempt and esape!
Overall I’m impressed with the new Grey Knights Codex. There are lots of little improvements in this book but I think you’re going to have to work hard to pull them altogether – more so I feel than with other more straight forward armies. This may put some people off who are looking for a more straight forward path to victory but I really think the Grey Knights have the tools for some very powerful plays – it will just take practice and a bit of the Emperor’s luck to pull them off. To be honest I quite like this, your games will never be simple affairs and you’ll often feel like your back is against the wall and you’re only moments away from disaster…I suspect this is how the Grey Knights have felt for the last 10,000 years!