James’ Thousand Sons - 1500 pts
Ahriman - Tzeentch’s Firestorm, Doombolt, Temporal Manipulation
Exalted Sorcerer - Seeker after Shadows, Athenean Scrolls, Proserpine Khopesh - Glamour of Tzeentch, Weaver of Fates
Sorcerer in Terminator Armour - Aetherstride, Battle Psyker, Exalted Mutation - Swelled By The Warp, Temporal Surge
11x Tzaangors - Brayhorn
10x Rubric Marines - Soulreaper Cannon, Icon of Flame, 2x Warp Flamers, 6x Inferno Boltguns - Cacodaemonic Curse
10x Rubric Marines - Soulreaper Cannon, Icon of Flame, 2x Warp Flamers, 6x Inferno Boltguns - Desecration of Worlds
5x Scarab Occult Terminators - Helfyre Rack, Soulreaper Cannon - Presage
5x Tzaangor Enlightened - Fatecaster Bows
Mutalith Vortex Beast
Kaldor Draigo - Gate of Infinity, Empiric Amplification
Librarian - Sanctic Shard, Warp-Shaping, Sanctuary, Foretelling of Locus
Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight - Servant of the Throne, Sigil of Exsigence, Nemesis Greatsword, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon
3x Strike Squads - 4x Nemesis Force Swords, 1x Psilencer
10 Interceptors - 8 Force Halberds, 2 Psilencers
Nemesis Dreadknight - Nemesis Greatsword, Heavy Incinerator
The Mission and the Board
Grand Tournament Pack 2021
So I’m taking Cult of Mutation this game and am trying something new. I’m a bit hesitant going into this, my last games was vs Sisters and that went… not so well. And Grey Knights, although they don’t deny on a 5+ they do have some pretty nifty tricks in denying my spells. I’ve taken the “smash sorcerer” With the Prosperine Kopesh and the Exalted Mutation. It feels a bit clunky, the Cult of Mutation only allows this to be put on a Sorcerer model, who now can’t take Discs, and you want them to be fast. Also the upgrade to give him Multiple combat Relics is for an Exalted Sorcerer. Still he’s a Terminator and if he at least gets Swelled by the Warp off he should pick up units of Grey Knights very quickly.
Otherwise, its going to be a battle of powers and I'm pretty sure Grey Knights do better without theirs than Thousand Sons do, whether my AP -2 shooting can tip the edge back is yet to be decided. Either way it’ll be an interesting game! I've gone for Mutate Landscapes, Engage On All Fronts and Raise The Banners. I want to try get up the board and deny Joe some of his amazing re-deployment abilities early and keep my home objectives safe for my Banners and Primaries so these secondaries seem like a good choice.
Experimenting with a new codex always makes you want to change every thing at the drop of a hat whenever something goes wrong. But I’ve found that building a list and putting in a few games with it before changing anything, is always better for helping to get the hang of things. This game was actually played before the previous Necron game posted earlier, so my list remains unchanged from there. But the concept is fairly simple… Go fast, and go hard enough that James struggles to recover. With him having several small units, I chose to take Teleport Assault, and then the two fairly standard Grey Knight secondaries of Engage on all Fronts, and Retrieve Octarius Data.
I’ve tried to deploy my entire force behind cover other than 1 unit of Rubric Marines. If Joe does get first turn he’s got to commit quite a lot to coming forward which should let me pop out with the Tzaangors and Characters and pick up whatever he’s committed to taking that Rubric unit out.
Much like James, I’ve tried to deploy conservatively. Of course, I do have the advantage of having a three unit redeploy using Foretelling of Locus, which I end up using when I don’t get first turn. Having seen James’ Risen Rubricae and his Mutalith Vortex Beast on one flank, I decide to move my Interceptors to the opposite side, along with my Nemesis Dreadknight. To keep the flank secure however, I replace them with a unit of Paladins. Whilst I don’t expect them to stand up long to a concerted attack, they do have Armoured Resilience as one of their two powers, giving them a 0+ save in cover, making them ignore the AP on inferno boltguns. This means against an early game push, they should last a little longer as long as I can get that power off.
With the first turn I pushed out with my Rubric Marine Squad who had forward deployed with the Risen Rubricae stratagem and with the other one who walked into the crater ahead of them with a pretty comfortable advance roll. My Vortex Beast hides behind the left building and the Scarab Occult poke their head out to claim Objective 5. My Enlightened zoom up the board ready to claim my Engage on All Fronts and get in the way of Joe’s Grey Knights.
My Psychic phase is mainly just sticking all my defensive buffs onto my Rubric Unit in the Crater. A few shots here and there, but nothing else happens as my Rubrics on the right fail their charge, I do try a CP re-roll here but they still fail. It would've been nice to get even further up and start messing with Joe's troops early but not a huge problem. And that ends my turn 1.
James’ first turn went how I expected. He couldn’t really line up shots on anything, so instead chose to push forward and try to use his first turn advantage to put down board pressure. I’m seeing already that Thousand Sons really are an army that bar a few units, struggle to reach out past 24’’. Fortunately for James, unless I’m in the Tide of Convergence so am I!
I had already decided that Tide of Shadows was the way to go for now, giving me a 4+ save against his inferno boltguns, and a 2+ on my Paladins if they could get Armoured Resilience off.
My big threats in this first turn are dealing with the flanks, James’ centre has hung back quite a bit but he’s pushed his Rubric Marines and his Tzaangor Enlightened up. Luckily, I have just the tools to deal with both. I push my Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight (Henceforth referred to as the Grandmaster) up, with his sweep attack giving 12 attacks at s6 -2 2d, he should annihilate those poor Tzaangors! I also pushed up my Interceptors, more to prepare for where they would need to be next turn. On the other flank, my Paladins advance forward, ready to try and slow down James’ push on that flank.
Into the psychic phase, and I manage to get quite lucky here. My Paladins get off Armoured Resilience, meaning if they can get to the cover with a charge, they should be a real pain for James to shift. Draigo, sitting in the backfield, gets off Gate of Infinity and my Nemesis Dreadknight rockets up to midfield, ready to cause some pain with a 9’’ charge into both James’ Scarab Occult Terminators, and also his Mutalith Vortex Beast… Suitable prey for a Nemesis Dreadknight! Finally that same Dreadknight, casts Hammerhand on himself for reroll wounds, if he makes the charge.
Into the shooting phase, and this is where I begin to see that Nemesis Dreadknights actually have highly respectable ranged output. Despite the all is dust negating the -1ap on my Gatling psilencer, my Grandmaster shoots his guns into the rubric marines, and despite them having a 2+ save in cover, manages to kill 3. My other dreadknight shoots into the Scarab Occult and kills 1, leaving another on 1 wound, and forcing him to now charge the Vortex Beast.
Charges, and this is where I need a few things to go right. My Paladins get lucky and make the charge into the rubrics, my Dreadknight however has no such luck and fails his 9’’ charge even with a reroll! On the other flank, my Grandmaster and Interceptor squad both make the charge into the Tzaangor Enlightened.
With neither of James’ units particularly good in combat, I fight with the Paladins first. I’d get a 2+ save but with a lucky roll, the Rubric Sorcerer could still kill a Paladin with his force-staff. Hitting on 2’s and wounding on 3’s, the Paladins tear through 6 Rubric Marines. James doesn’t think it’s worth it to use Counter-Offensive and so my Grandmaster on the other flank sweeps his sword through the Enlightened, killing them all with ease.
My turn one has gone well, with my Grandmaster poised to use Sigil of Exsigence to get back out of danger when James likely tries to shoot him, and not fearing the melee attacks of everything on this flank.
I launched my Sorcerer forward ready to take out at least half the strike squad and… honestly this was a big mistake. I needed my Terminators and/or Vortex Beast to strike at the Grandmaster first which will mean Joe will interrupt my Sorcerer. Either way I’ll lose one asset.
I open my Psychic phase with a few smites and go to use the same defensive buffs, Weaver of Fates and Glamour of Tzeentch, onto my Rubrics. Joe manages to deny Ahriman's Doombolt and Tzeentches firestorm with his Grey Knights Librarian super denier. He also denies my Weaver of Fates. However, I do get most of my other powers off, killing a Terminator and putting a wound onto the Grandmaster. My Terminator Sorcerer gets his Swelled by the Warp Denied, for what its worth… Finally I do get my Second Mutate Landscapes points
My shooting pretty much bounces, barely doing 2 wounds to the Nemesis Dreadknight. I charge my Terminator in Sorcerer Armour into the Interceptors, knowing he'll die, and the Mutalith and Scarab Occult into the other Dreadknight.
After my Scarab Occult have fought they have left his Dreadknight on 3 wounds remaining, this should go down to the Vortex Beast. As suspected, Joe use the Counter-Offensive stratagem with his Interceptors and my Sorcerer is toast! I messed up big time here and losing such a valuable asset to nothing I know is going to hurt here going into the mid-game. To add further insult to injury on this turn my Mutalith doesn’t manage a single wound as Joe rolls all 4++ saves! He then swings back and leaves my beast on 2 wounds remaining! These Dreadknights are tough to pin down and even when you do they hit back HARD. I do get my Engage On All Fronts for 3 points this time.
I really lucked out this turn. I think in retrospect, me still having both Dreadknights despite the resources committed to killing one of them was the swinging point in this game. I do need to punch hard this turn though, and seal the game.
I push up hard on the right flank with my Grand Master, also putting him within 18’’ of the other Dreadknight just barely, meaning if I can get the power off, I can pull him out of combat. Deciding that my Grandmaster can probably hold this flank, I use Teleport Shunt to move my Interceptors to the other side of the board. I’m going to throw as much at those Scarab Occult as I can to knock their threat down! With the Mutalith Vortex Beast seriously wounded, my brave Strike Marines who’ve been holding objective 1 all game step forth, ready to charge and kill it.
The psychic phase goes well, Gate of Infinity goes off and James fails to deny it, pulling my other Dreadknight out of combat, meaning he can shoot into the terminators… Hitting on 5’s, but still! Every bit helps! On the other side, my Strike Marines cast Hammerhand, preparing to charge! Back in my backlines, my Librarian uses Warp Shaping to change the tide to the Tide of Convergence (Wound rolls of 6 in combat with a Nemesis weapon do a single MW in addition). With that, I’m ready for a pick hit!
Shooting is negligible, my Grandmaster shoots into some Tzaangors and with his 12 Gatling Psilencer shots, manages to bring down a mighty 3! His Heavy Psicannon is fired into the Rubric Marines, but fails to score a single kill. On the other flank, my Interceptors open up with their storm bolters, combined with the firepower of a Nemesis Dreadknight (whose hitting on 5’s but still!), manage to put a SINGLE mighty wound on Scarab Occult Terminator and kill him!
Into the charge phase, and my Grandmaster goes into the Rubric Marines. On the other side, I fail the deepstrike charge with my Interceptors unfortunately, but my Strike Squad do make their charge into the Mutalith Vortex Beast. I daisy chain back onto the objective, meaning only 3 can fight, but that should be enough with Hammerhand.
The fight phase begins with the Strike Squad, who manage to tear the Mutalith Vortex Beast apart quite handily thanks to Hammerhand. My Grandmaster pops Deadly Efficacy (6’s to hit, hit twice) and uses his sweep attack on the Rubric Marines. Unfortunately, I fail to roll a single 6 on 12 attacks, but he still manages to hit and wound with the majority of his attacks. Thanks to some good rolls from James though, despite each fail on a 5++ being a kill, he only manages to kill 5 Rubric Marines, who cannot fail a morale test anymore!
That was an incredible turn from Joe, killing 2 of my Scarab Occult, my Mutalith, leaving me with only 2 Rubric Marines on the board and denting my Tzaangors. I’m going to really struggle to stay in this game with both of his Dreadknights still alive and the capability to pop a unit up wherever he wants. It really shows the resourcefulness of the Grey Knights, and I am very impressed with their Manoeuvrability.
I pull the Scarab Occult back ready to try and tackle the new threat of the Interceptors and keep the Rubrics in Combat with the Grand Master Dreadknight - If I try and shoot him he’ll just teleport away anyway.
In my Psychic Phase, Joe Denies my Weaver of Fates but I do manage to throw a few smites out injuring the Grand Master and my Exalted Sorcerer finished off the other Dreadknight. The Scarab Occult attempted a Presage on themselves and managed to get it too.
My Shooting Phase comes and goes and pretty quickly, the main takeaway is my Terminators killing ⅘ of a Strike Squad further upfield - I didn’t want to make the charge any harder on the Interceptors. Similarly, I smartly elected not to fire my Inferno Bolt Pistol into the Grand Master to make sure he doesn’t zap away.
Ahriman Steps up in the Fight Phase having made his charge. Swinging his Black Staff of Ahriman he does a mighty 9 wounds and slaying the Grand Master! Proving he is the superior sorcerer here! This was high-rolling at its best, but it definitely felt great that this went in my favour considering how the game had been going.
My Terminators manage to kill 7/10 of the Interceptors who then kill 2 of the Scarab Occult in return, not a terrible trade and the Presage and Wrath of the Wronged combination. Whether it’ll be a big enough swing depends on how Joe’s turn goes...
Well, time to nut up or shut up. Losing so many Interceptors, and my Grandmaster… And my other Dreadknight -- all in one turn is rough, but I’m ahead on points and James doesn’t have much left. In the movement phase, I use Fight on the Move to allow my Interceptors to fall back and still shoot/charge. They head off towards the middle to try and pressure that objective. My lone remaining Paladin senses his chance and moves towards James’ last Scarab Occult, ready to finally end the unit.
Into the psychic phase and I finally get off Gate of Infinity, having failed to cast it 3 turns in a row. My remaining unit of Strike Marines teleports up, ready for a 9’’ charge into James’ character holding his backfield objective. They then get a smite off and take 2 more wounds off the Rubric Marines.
Into the shooting phase, and massed storm bolter fire once again doesn’t disappoint. The Strike Marines take aim at the remaining Tzaangors, wiping them out with weight of dice. My remaining Inceptors and Paladin fire into James’ backfield character but thanks to being in cover, they only manage to get a single wound through.
Charge phase, I fail my deepstrike charge from my Strike Marines, but my Paladin and Strike Marines both make their charge left. With no CP left to interrupt, both units are killed by the Nemesis Weapons of the Grey Knights!
James: Going into Turn 4, it’s a "Hail-Mary" now as my lone Aspiring Sorcerer Advances up the board and Ahriman turns to get rid of the Strike Squad. He throws out all three of his Mortal Wound spells, I only get the Tzeentch’s Firestorm and Doombolt off however due to Joe stopping the Smite with a Deny the Witch. To double down on the pain I dont roll a single 6 or Tzeentch's firestorm! My Aspiring Sorcerer also gets Denied by Joe's Librarian
Straight into the charge phase and he cuts down another 3 Grey Knights, Vengeance for Prosepero? Ahriman has really shown his combat metal this game and has got a lot of use of his Black Staff.
My turn 4 is mostly cleanup. With only Ahriman and a Aspiring sorcerer left, I charge Ahriman with my Inceptors and tear him apart, whilst my Librarian steps forward and smites the last remaining son of Magnus off the board.
The dust blows across the snowy plains as the remains of my Thousand Sons remain deathly still.
I think a big take-away from this game is that Grey Knights are a VERY solid army. They have incredible manoeuvrability, incredible outplay potential and a fantastic set of stratagems and tools within their datasheets. A big problem for me playing against them is, it’s almost impossible to pin them down and difficult to plan more than turn ahead. Right, when you think you have a plan, a unit Shunts away across the board and another Teleports with Gate of Eternity. Meaning the weak flank you have has now been immediately reinforced without any deep strikes you might have expected either.
I did make some critical errors - Literally throwing away my Mutation Sorcerer was a huge mistake and really cost me quite an important asset (on paper he chops through most of a unit of Grey Knights.) I think the Small unit of Scarab Occult has play and I could possibly see 2-3 units of 5 at a 2k game really valuable, despite my initial thought that a unit of 10 might be better?
I’m absolutely enjoying trying out all the new combos and tricks they have and can’t wait to get a few more games out - hopefully, I might get a game where I can get more powers off next time!
This was one of my first games with the new Grey Knights, and whilst at 1,500 points it’s harder to draw any concrete conclusions… The book is nowhere near as bad as everybody screamed when it came out. This battle report has been a long time in the writing, and since this I’ve played about another seven games at 2,000 points. The army has incredibly hitting power and maneuverability, both of the things you need to play 9th edition 40K well. I feel the primary difference between them and Thousand Sons, who are their closest competitor I would argue, is that if I fail all of my powers? Every marine is still running around with a storm bolter, and a master crafted power sword. The powers simply turn what are already very strong datasheets, into point and delete units.
The army is also resilient where it needs to be in the Dreadknights, who can be a real pain to take down. I do wish Terminators were a bit cheaper, as at 47 points per model, my Paladins didn’t feel anywhere near impactful enough!
This was a great game, with both armies active in every phase! And I look forward to coming up against James’ Thousand Sons again… Hopefully with some less grey, Grey Knights!