A Look at Grey Knights: The Morning after LVO 2022.

The Emperor’s Gift comes roaring out of 2021 looking for the win at LVO.

I know it’s not the end all, be all, but I like to look at some of the data of factions that interest me after a bigger tournament, and none are bigger than LVO.

This year I thought maybe I would make a post about it since this year has a lot of controversy surrounding some decisions, army releases, point adjustments and a decision by GW to hook their competitive band wagon up with Frontline gaming.

So specifically with Grey Knights, since I love the army, I wanted to do a bit of a breakdown and reality check.

I’d like to establish we all know the argument about the ‘best player in the world can win with the worst army.’ That’s not what this is going to be about. Instead I think it’s interesting to look at Grey Knights as a faction that at the point of LVO is:

1. Very accessible. GW has all the kits out, and the limited dataslates come from a very small selection of kits.

2. Very played, and known. There’s a lot of data now. The Grey Knights have been exposed to top competitive fields for a respectable amount of time in their current iteration.

This gives us a good solid foundation going into LVO 2022. Few surprises, lots of data and Grey Knights have been a very solid performer out of the gate. So when you take all the above into account, the Grey Knights would be a very strong favorite to win this grand event.

But going into this event there would still be the long standing favorites… back yard bullies from the Xenos category like Drukhari, and Tyranids getting a boost, and Drukhari, the Orks, as well as Drukhari. This is a faction that has withstood several nerfs and still continues to resurrect itself with a few tweaks and continues to dominate.

Another honourable mention in the top tier in my mind is Adeptus Mechanicus. The army came out of the gate in 2021 with an extremely potent codex. Its main detractor was: expense, and complication. This is a difficult army to jump on the ‘Band Wagon’. But they too saw some nerfs to bring them in line.

So this still leaves our Emperor’s Chosen, largely untouched, to win the biggest event of the year, right?….?

Out of the way filthy Xenos! We have yet to see our unbridled awesomeness nerfed into oblivion!

Represent!

I had the count at about 40+ players that participated (did not drop out) with Grey Knights. There’s some notable names in the list including gaming groups we are all familiar with.

Looking back at something for comparison; White Scars were a very strong faction at past events and numbered 3 players, and 1 of those dropped out.

My beloved Ultramarines saw 7 players make it to the event, including Thomas Byrd whom I follow on Youtube and enjoy his enthusiasm for the army. (He would finish with 3 wins, placing him at 387th place.)

Even though we’ve established the Grey Knights are the Emperor’s chosen ones, let’s have a peek at what a brand new codex like… I dunno… Custodes for example, would have in attendance:

55 players! 55 Custodes players in attendance!!

We are the favoured small, collectible, metallic coloured army of choice now! Pack your crap up and go back to Titan you Grey Nincompoops!

There is nothing to worry about here. Although Custodes show up in astonishing numbers, then codex is brand new, and the Grey Knights still have all those (undercosted?!?!) Nemesis Dreadknight units and that secondary to fall back on, right? Right?!?!

I know some people will say, well the Custodes can be an easy army to get to that 3 colour minimum for tournament play! Or how about… They Custodes are a smaller model count army and easy to travel with! Well obviously none of that applies here. Something must be up…

As the event rolls on, it becomes quite apparent there will be an upstart faction in the competitive arena, but it will it be enough to dethrone Grey Knights as the favoured loyalist faction? (Some may think Genestealer Cult as a favourite loyalist, but that’s a whole other discussion!)

As the weekend rolled on, it became quickly apparent the Grey Knights were not the boogey man in the room. Some very strong players represented a wide array of factions, but to my surprise I did not see many take on the Grey Knights mantle. In fact I was surprised to see most of the high level competitive players I recognize, swap over to Custodes.

Burn Band-Wagoners! BURN!!

Now at the end of Day 1, about 90 players were still undefeated. This also saw the defeat of one of the stronger Grey Knight players from Art of War.

If you wanted a shot at winning the event, you pretty much needed to go into the final day with an undefeated record, and even then there would be a shadow round for those players requiring tie breakers. After day one, a lot of Grey Knights would fall to the wayside in some very tough match ups. Custodes still looked good for the event, and some favoured players were still sitting undefeated.

But at the end of day 2 we had 1 Grey Knight player left in the top rankings. And Custodes had 3 top players sitting in the top 12. Not bad for a brand new codex. There were a few non-top finishers that did surprise me; the type of folks you just expect to see in the top bracket, like Mani Cheema and his Drukhari or Andrew Gonyo and his Grey Knights (with 5 or.. 6 Dreadnights!) or Sean Nayden as well just missing the top cut.

The Finals: A Rain Day on Titan?

Yup. It always rains on Titan!

It’s time for the nitty gritty. How did the Grey Knights finish up? Did we see a victory for Titan, or are we dialing up Malcador for some new geneseed?

As far as the LVO 2022 tournament, the standings were:

  1. Richard Siegler: Mechanicus
  2. Matt Lorah: Custodes
  3. Evan Tomchin: Custodes
  4. Alex Macdougall: Forces of Hivemind
  5. David Gaylard: Tyranids
  6. Anthony Vanella: Drukhari
  7. Ben Neal: GREY KNIGHTS
  8. Raphael Jaffre: Drukhari

So as we close down this discussion, it becomes apparent that the Grey Knights have slipped considerably, but still maintain a strong, playable role.

However, it goes without saying as I write this we are looking at point hikes for Grey Knights, as well as point decreases for Custodes! While this isn’t meant to be an anti-Custodes piece, it just shows that GW does struggle to understand the competitive side of their game. It took players all of 5 minutes to gravitate towards Custodes, and I know for a fact many of these players are ‘play testers’ and have a line of communication to GW.

It’s not all cloudy skies of Titan grey….

Hey we can always go kick Magnus’ butt!

Does this mean the end of the road? I don’t think so… in fact I think it’s safe to say starting now the band wagon jumpers will be starting to off load as the Custodes simply become fantastic for tournament player, with a low model count, an easy paint scheme, and a very accessible model line.

At the same time, it always bothered me to see so many Nemesis Dreadknight models in lists. I believe the NDK should not be increased in points. I believe some codexes should have their key, or defining units that are a great option for their respective armies. Just simply… limit them and you’ve solved the problem. I personally have never used more than 3, and often have fun with 2. They simply shouldn’t be -that- numerous!

Also it is a shame the Terminator suit is not a better unit in the codex. Truly it deserves a better place in the unit ranking as it is as iconic to the Grey Knights as anything could be.

So we turn to a different era. One that makes 4 NDK suits difficult, and 5 or 6 nearly impossible while having a respectable model count.

I don’t mind this new era, I just don’t think GW did it right. The problem is it may take another 6 months for us to see a counter correction, if at all! Meanwhile the Custodes apparently wake up to some discounts this morning. This will be a bit grim dark for Grey Knights, but I think we’ll still have a solid codex.

Before I conclude this rundown, I’d like to just take a look at the top Grey Knight performer’s list below:

7th Place Finishing Grey Knights List

Looking specifically at Grey Knights, Ben Neal’s 7th place list:

It uses a patrol detachment of Wardmakers:

  • HQ +

Brotherhood Chaplain [8 PL, 140pts]: 1. Words of Power, 5: Warp Shaping, Brotherhood Psyker Power, Crozius Arcanum, Frag & Krak grenades, Omen of Incursion, Storm Bolter

Brotherhood Librarian [8 PL, 135pts, -1CP]: 4: Purifying Flame, 4: Vortex of Doom, 6: Psychic Epitome, Brotherhood Psyker Power, Crux Terminatus, Exemplar of the Silver Host, Foretelling of Locus, Frag & Krak grenades, Loremaster, Warlord
. Nemesis Force Sword: Nemesis Force Sword

  • Troops +

Strike Squad [12 PL, 220pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades
. 9x Grey Knight (Falchions): 18x Nemesis Falchion, 9x Storm Bolter
. Grey Knight Justicar: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Falchions: 2x Nemesis Falchion

  • Fast Attack +

Interceptor Squad [14 PL, 250pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades
. 9x Interceptor (Halberd): 9x Nemesis Force Halberd, 9x Storm Bolter
. Interceptor Justicar: Frag & Krak grenades, Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Daemon Hammer: Nemesis Daemon Hammer

Interceptor Squad [14 PL, 240pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades
. 9x Interceptor (Halberd): 9x Nemesis Force Halberd, 9x Storm Bolter
. Interceptor Justicar: Frag & Krak grenades, Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

  • Dedicated Transport +

Rhino [4 PL, 80pts]: Storm bolter

Wardmakers gives the inherent psychic power which allows you to exclude an enemy from receiving any Aura benefits. (Projection of Purity)

The Chaplain’s Omen of Incursion wargear is expensive but gives a once per game built in “Auspex Scan” which I personally love to use. Otherwise the Litany here is standard giving an extra wound, and mortal wound on unmodified 6’s to wound rolls.

The Librarian is going to be your mortal wound bomb, with your Psychic Epitome stacking mortals on the Witchfires, and Loremaster ensuring un-cancellable powers on a cast of 8+. This is something I always take with a plethora of sister’s players in my meta.

In the above patrol it’s nice to see a big 10 man Strike squad. Most of the lists I see minimize the troops in favour of Interceptors (which there is no shortage of here).

Then we have the second detachment, a Spearhead of course to lock in those extra NDK’s:

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [44 PL, 935pts, -4CP] ++

  • Configuration +

Brotherhood: Swordbearers

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

  • HQ +
    Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight [11 PL, 230pts, -1CP]: 1: Gate of Infinity, 2: Empyric Amplification, 3: Unyielding Anvil, Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Dreadknight teleporter, Gatling Psilencer, Grand Master Chapter, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Daemon Greathammer, Servant of the Throne, Shield of Humanity, Sigil of Exigence

Kaldor Draigo [9 PL, 180pts]: 1: Gate of Infinity, 2: Empyric Amplification, 3: Sanctuary, Frag & Krak grenades, Master-crafted storm bolter, The Titansword

  • Heavy Support +

Nemesis Dreadknight [8 PL, 175pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword

Nemesis Dreadknight [8 PL, 175pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword

Nemesis Dreadknight [8 PL, 175pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Psycannon, Nemesis Greatsword

++ Total: [104 PL, 7CP, 2,000pts] ++

This Spearhead is Swordbearers, to maintain higher wound rates through the inherent power “Empyric Loadstone”. This gives those Dreadknights a little more teeth in the shooting phase.

Will this list be a thing of the past? I saw some lists with 5 NDK’s and one with 6! That’s something I quite honestly am okay with disappearing.

I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to talk about with the new missions from Nachmund hitting the scene as well as those point tweaks!

Until next time… -Prot

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