Monday, May 16, 2011

Grey Knights Week - Part 1: The Beginnenning

My little psuedo-vacation gave me a chance to sit with the Grey Knights codex and I think that I can safely say that I'm one of the proud few who did most of his pondering at airports or at cruising altitude.

When the book first dropped, I was not in what I'd call a mood to be fair and objective.  I  was and am currently making my way through a big ol' box of daemons and there were quite a few things about the book that a daemon player couldn't help but notice.  Specifically, the fact that every unit in the book seems to have been given a number of value added features for no cost specifically aimed at raping all daemons in all their holes all the time.
The inanity of the accompanying WD bat rep wasn't helping either.

My first read-through was a little less open-minded.  I came away with the opinion that it was the single most boring expansion since the last thing EA crapped out for the Sims.  Everything looked the same in a way that put even the regular space marines to shame - both rules wise and physically.  Nothing was grabbing me except the named characters.

About a month went by, the heartbreak of Warp Quake's existence was over, the internet pundits had started producing valuable reference points and a box of GK Terminators for use in conversions had arrived for me.  Time for a second chance.

So here we are, another blogger is about to start another review on a book that's already been out for a month.  So why the hell should any of you care?

Because I'm not going to insult everyone's intelligence by pretending I know enough to do a unit by unit analysis, that's why. 

I have a way to make my review (hopefull) unique and I understand why that's important in the first place.

+++ Grey Knight Review - START +++

Crap.  I have to deliver on my boasts.  I was hoping for more time than the giant text up there gave me....

One of the things I like to do with army reviews is talk about the total package.  When most people go out to buy an army, it's not just how well it does on the table - its how well it looks on the table too.  Hell, I'll go so far as to say cost and model availability are key factors as well.

Sure there are the odd few who honestly don't give a pair of dingo's kidneys what the models look like, but I don't think I've ever written for that kind of an audience.  So why start now?  It's a holistic review, dudes!

Ok... Let's just get it out of the way before I do anything else:

"I'm Crowe. I'm a Named Character.  This is my partner, Coteaz.  We'd Like to Ask You a Few Questions"  
The stars of the book, really.  Everyone is talking about these guys.  Either because they love them, hate them or just wanna sound smart.  And for good reason, they both unlock some of the coolest shit in the codex as troops and both have drastically shaped the running discussion so far because of it. 

Crowe:  Crow is kinda funny, because as nearly and completely shitty as he is, people can not stop putting him in lists.  Seriously, look at his state and special rules.  Can't join units, barely fights in any phase of the game and costs too damn much for what he does.  He practically screams 'fun' unit.  He'd be completely forgotten except for desperate requests to YTTH and 3++ to fit one of the better looking models in the GK range into lists as something other than a 150 point boat anchor.

But there's one thing that will give people pause and make them begin to consider the trade off in efficiency that Crowe asks for:  The box that says the coolest unit (yes, Purifiers are the coolest) in the book count as troops.

Because of that, I rate Crowe as the best designed HQ GW has ever made.  Matt Ward has figured out a way to trick the most efficiency obsessed gamers out of their cheap-o utility librarian caves and talked them into paying a 150 points fluff tax for a fairly goofy special character.  Genius, I tell you. 

Coteaz:  I'm less excited about this guy.   But only because I'm not particularly interested in Not Grey Knights.  Don't get me wrong, I see the utility and power he brings to the army, it's just that along with a ton of other people, the Inquisitors just don't get the juices flowing.  Though the mix-n-match warbands are FULL of opportunity for people with the right mindset.

Coteaz is the poster boy for the all the left over crap that found it's way into the original Daemonhunter's codex.  Back in those days, the army represented a much different kind of fighting force.  One where you had to have the =I= henchman to make the army really work.  I love the fact that the new codex goes out of it's way to include all the old fun stuff people sunk money into.  Hell, Ward even went so far as to make all the old stuff much better than it was AND much easier to incorporate into a new army.  It's just that the new codex is called Grey Knights.  It's where the focus of the work is and what's capturing people's imagination.  Coteaz and his buddies feel tacked on and uninteresting by comparison and if they're abused just right, they kind of break the fluff on the table.

However, in the interests of fairness...  Despite all the above, Coteaz is super important and worth considering.  He unlocks Inquisitorial warbands, Chimeras and the only source of cheap melta in the entire book.  All of this done with a minimal amount of cost. You can't help but consider him as an inclusion.  He's just that useful.  Coteaz allows some of the most powerful builds in the book to exist while at the same time keeping the book from being completely perceived as "the silver ultramarines" by people too stupid to know the difference.  Plus, the actual model is pretty bad-ass.

Well.. if I go any further, I will have definitely crossed over into the TL:DR zone.  I'll call it quits for the day right here.  If anyone wants me to talk about anything specific, just hit me up in the comments.

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