Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Drunken Master: The grand strategy... Or is it???

Good Day!

Today I would like to take some time to talk about a bad ass ability that GK Grand Masters come with.
The Grand Strategy.  
For those that don't know, this ability lets you roll a d3 before the game starts and then you add a special ability(chosen from the list on pg. 22) to that many units!  This is a super powerful ability that lets your otherwise small and static GK army gain a bit of flexibility it would otherwise not have.  I am going to cover the abilities themselves and then briefly touch upon the units in the GK codex I feel they work best on.
He ain't afraid of no Khorne

Let's take a look at the abilities you can confer:

  • Hammer of righteousness - The nominated unit/s gains the ability to re-roll all rolls of 1 to wound. 
  • Shield of blades - The nominated unit/s gains the Counter-attack USR
  • Spear of light - The nominated unit/s gain the Scout USR
  • Unyielding Anvil - The nominated unit/s gain the ability to score as if they were troops
These abilities can be allocated to infantry, jump infantry, monstrous creatures, or walkers.  They can't be allocated to vehicles, ICs, Henchmen, or Ghost Knights.  I think these abilities best benefit Psyrifleman spam, a crowe/grandmaster hybrid list, or a majority jump/deep striking list.

Hammer of Righteousness

I have used this ability a couple times and I am fairly impressed by it. You would only use his ability in kill point games or in games where you have a sufficient amount of troops to claim objectives.  This ability basically guarantees your ability to wound with high strength shots or CC attacks.

Assigning Hammer to a dreadknight seems like the optimal use for this ability.  I generally run my Dreadknights with the heavy incinerator/personal teleporter, so the benefit is doubled against most units of t4 and below.  It wounds on 2's with the S6 incinerator and with the S6/7 CC attacks, so any failed wounds will be a 1... netting a re-roll! 

The only other time I could see assigning this ability would be on a dedicated CC unit (purifiers/paladins).  The ability to pump up their strength with hammerhand will ensure that you will need 2+ or 3+ to wound the majority of enemy models.

3/5 I'm awesome points!

Shield of Blades

This is the mehest of the abilities you can assign with grand strategy.  There's not much strategy to it imo.  You give counterattack to CC units.  That's all.  It doesn't really affect the game at all other than maybe giving your opponent second thoughts about charging one of your units.

1/5 Awesome points

Spear of light

I find this ability to be one of the most interesting.  It adds a bit of mobility to an otherwise mostly slow army.  Giving your jump troops or Dreadknights with teleporters scout greatly increases their early threat range.  Even giving it to a unit of purifiers in a rhino with 4 psycannons is awesome due to it getting them positioned in that sweet 24" threat range quicker.

Be careful with this if you are going second though.  You don't want to expose your units to unnecessary fire.  The Strength of GK is in the quality of their shots.  If you start losing models before you have got a chance to shoot then you will be doing poorly.

4/5 Awesome points!

Unyielding Anvil

Finally we get to the meat of the Grand StrategyYou will be using this as your option 2 out of 3 games on average and is the main reason to take a grand master besides Draigo.  Just having this available as an option greatly affects your list building.  Knowing you can add 1-3 troops during a given mission means you can build your list light on troops and spend points on things far more bad ass!

I would recommend using this on your more hearty units.  Venerable dreads camping home objectives, Dreadknights taking forward objectives, Large squads of purifiers or paladins for midfield or advancing, or a camping assassin if you want to get tricky!  Be careful with that last one, as assassins tend to be a bit flimsy with only 2 wounds and a 4++ save.

5/5 Awesome points!

All in all, I feel that Grand masters are a good HQ choice if you are not going the path of purifier spam.  They lend a modicum of flexibility to what is otherwise static point and click army.  

A quick note on the grand strategy when fielding grand master special characters:

Draigo - The use of Draigo is in his special rule to make paladins troops. You will most likely be using Hammer or Shield when fielding him in an army.

Mordrak -  I don't like this SC very much. You get much more out of a regular grand master and a squad of termies for a similar amount of points.  He doesn't change how you would allocate the abilities very much other than you can't assign them to his squad.

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