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Thread: SW vs. GK

  1. #1
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    SW vs. GK

    So as a Space Wolf player I hear a lot of gripes. Grey Hunters are the best troop choice in the game, the Rune Priest is so broken, Thunderwolves are way too good, etc. etc. I've personally found these criticisms to be by and large baseless, but nowadays it bothers me quite a bit more. Because, you see, I still see these complaints all the time, but the landscape of the game is quite different and I'm a bit bothered by it. Because one thing seems very clear to me as the true unstoppable juggernaut of the game right now...

    The Grey Knights codex.

    Now, I'm not usually one to complain. I run a club and our attitude there is bring whatever you like; we really don't care about lists or codexes, and we really don't care if an army is underpowered or overpowered. Our club exists because we are made up of people who are tired of that crap and just want to play. But I have to wonder why I don't see more discussion of this book as unbalanced or broken, or shifting the game horribly.

    It is readily apparent from the local tourney and club scene that this army is prolific: it is easy to collect, stupidly easy to paint if you are a minimalist, and well...it seems stupidly easy to use, too.

    I am trying to figure out if anyone despises this army as much as I do. I think it is much more terrible than anything else in the game; and by terrible I mean, game-changingly too good. IG came along and the meta changed to heavy anti tank being critical, but it's still plausible to deal with them; how the hell do you deal with Grey Knights?

    I recently tangled with a Draigo/Paladin combo unit. The person controlling them was great and we had a great doubles game. But I threw thirty Grey Hunters' full shooting and assault into that unit, along with a Wolf Lord and a Wolf Priest giving the Lord and 10x Hunters a re-roll. I barely scratched them. Just a handful of psycannons can mangle any light vehicles in your army. And the psyfleman dreadnought? That thing is insane. The Dreadnknight is also the best monstrous creature in the game by far right now, as well as one of the cheapest. Strength 6 Heavy Bolters and Strength 7 assault cannons across the whole army, too. Really, why was that even necessary? About as necessary as having the ability to make random units scoring. I appreciate that they have their own flavor but that flavor seems to revolve around being by far better than everything else in the game at every turn.

    I realize that with 6th coming next year the changes to the turn structure will balance this out, by why on earth put out this army now when it is going to mangle the meta game instead of waiting, if that's the case? It still would've sold like nobody's business.

    I don't know. I don't usually ever feel this way, I'm typically all for any changes to the game and all. But these guys, it seems like they can really be disheartening to fight against. I have one of the best armies in the game, too; I can only imagine how this must feel for some player using a less powerful army.

    I just feel every time I see it that this was an army made for the worst kind of folks in the game -- WAAC players with no interest in background or painting or anything, just superior numbers. I dunno, I just don't get how anyone can complain about anything ELSE in this game when Grey Knights are so much more obviously off the charts. I was wondering if anyone else feels the same way. I don't know. The army just leaves a bad taste in my mouth after facing it sometimes, you know? It's not that I can't beat it, either; it's just more like the army seems designed to take that very one thing that is sacred in gaming, the mutual unspoken goal of two people having fun, and completely replaces that with this competitive ugly version instead.

  2. #2

    Re: SW vs. GK

    Well, basically, you pretty much felt what most people feel when facing SW or IG for that matter. Some lists are just better than others, in a competitive sense. GW doesn't publish rules for balance.

    Grey knights are the top dogs atm. Since the codex(es) have been written for 6th ed., some rules logically don't follow the current metagame. Less than a year to wait and see

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    Re: SW vs. GK

    I just don't understand why people feel that way when facing the Space Wolves, as opposed to the GK. The two aren't even anywhere near on the same level in my eyes (at least from an opponent's perspective).

  4. #4
    Chapter Master Thanatos_elNyx's Avatar
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Both books are "overpowered", the GK just more so.
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    To me:
    Space wolves have two 'umm...' moments , where something just feels wrong to face:
    - the power and utility of rune priests, both offensive and defensive
    - Grey hunters at their price with counter attack and short ranged fire power

    Guard have one
    - How many? I've killed 3 squads and vehicles this turn, and you don't care...

    Grey knights have loads;
    The force weapons all round
    Purifiers- that ability is just not balanced
    Psybolts- badly undercosted on all platforms
    Dreadknights-
    The making stuff scoring buff
    For a start...
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    SW: Long fangs, comes standard with all you SW trimmings and with the ability to splitfire as you see fit. For some reason better than basic devastator with cheaper upgrades is not enough, but they also need to be able to shoot at different things.

    GK: Grenades. Mother^$%&ing grenades. Rad grenade and Psychotroke makes assault utterly retarded.

    Fortitude. I couldn't care less about how powerful their guns are so long as I can stop it from shooting. No, being in cover thanks to shrouding is not enough, they also happen to have a psychic power that allows them to ignore shaken/stun.

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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Bunnahabhain, you've put it very simply but you also elegantly illustrate my point:

    Your Space Wolves "umm" moments pertain to only two units; the guard and GK ones apply to pretty much the entire army, and the GK ones are all significantly powerful buffs on their own.

    The guard ones make fluff sense so I can live with that. They're really off my hate radar, so to speak; while I found the army annoying to face, it walked the line of being fightable and I never felt hopeless fighting it. The GK, however...I feel like I could write a page-long list of stuff that makes me go, "How did they expect us to fight that?" I shouldn't feel like a THSS Squad of Termies is necessary to fight most units in an army.

    Now granted I do have options, but I'm looking at it from a whole game perspective. They have high strength, high initiative, high volume of fire, high utility vehicles, high psychc offense and defense, high survivability, and high volume of special weapons available. Where's the balance supposed to be?

    EDIT: Just for the record, Long Fangs can split fire because those are the only heavy weapons in the army, since there are none for the troops like in other MEQ armies.

  8. #8
    Chapter Master Thanatos_elNyx's Avatar
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    There was a thread on this forum before making light of the fact that armies play nothing like their fluff.

    SW are described as a close combat army, with troops that are just baying to get to grips with the enemy. With a particular hatred of psychic powers.

    How is this represented on the table?
    3 squads of long fangs blowing the carp out of everything and rune priests being the best psykers in the game (until GK came along).
    Lion: Hey Russ, you'll never guess what!
    Russ: Yeah, I know! Magnus is a traitor! To think that he could accuse our beloved brother Horus of turning against us. Impossible! But don't worry. I have taken care of it, Horus asked me to destroyed Prospero and I have. Magnus shouldn't be bothering us again.
    Lion: ... actually, I was going to say that Magnus was right. Horus has turned to Chaos, 7 other Legions have joined him and he has destroyed 3 Loyal Legions already!
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapters Unwritten View Post
    I just don't understand why people feel that way when facing the Space Wolves, as opposed to the GK. The two aren't even anywhere near on the same level in my eyes (at least from an opponent's perspective).
    SW's in many ways can be easily and directly equated to other SM books. In that respect, there are several units which form the core of most armies that are clearly superior to their counterparts. Grey Hunters are just as shooty (minus the heavy weapon which many C:SM players would ditch in a heartbeat for a second special or BP/CCW) and far superior in CC while being cheaper with more (and cheaper) options and while sergeants must come from an Elites unit they're signficantly cheaper with cheaper upgrades and that Elites slot is often already being taken anyway or wouldn't otherwise be filled with a different unit so little is lost. Rune Priests likewise have better powers with better wargear and more special rules than Librarians for the same cost. Long Fangs are probably the most cost effective heavy weapons unit in the game with 6 dudes sporting 5 split fire missiles for less than the cost of 5 dudes sporting 4 missile launchers that can't split fire (unless 10 strong) in other SM armies. Then there's the army-wide counterattack on top of the BP/CCW combo, which basically acts like a giant crutch and cushion against tactical errors and removes much of the decision making necessity other marine units face.


    With Grey Knights, they have completely different wargear, and against many foes much of their wargear is empty points. Ork Boyz, guardsmen, etc for instance don't care about I6, powerweapons, or force weapons. GK's also often (unless utilizing Henchmen units) tend to have noticeably fewer models.

    Now, this isn't to say there hasn't been a good deal of griping about GK's, but GK's are a radically different army from other marine armies. SW's basically just end up being "C:SM+1 with a discount".
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    There was a thread on this forum before making light of the fact that armies play nothing like their fluff.

    SW are described as a close combat army, with troops that are just baying to get to grips with the enemy. With a particular hatred of psychic powers.

    How is this represented on the table?
    3 squads of long fangs blowing the carp out of everything and rune priests being the best psykers in the game (until GK came along).
    ...and the entire rest of the army doing exactly what the book talks about.

  11. #11
    Chapter Master Vaktathi's Avatar
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapters Unwritten View Post
    ...and the entire rest of the army doing exactly what the book talks about.
    Between the runepriests doing their 'totally not power-of-fenris-and-not-bad-evil-psyker' powers thing and the overloaded heavy weapons units, there's usually a bunch of min/max'd GH squads with meltas/combi-meltas in razorbacks. Most SW armies I see sport more long range AT guns than the majority of IG armies.


    I'm not joking when I say that the overwhelming majority of SW armies I've seen since 2009 would be more appropriate with hazard stripes and boltgun metal color schemes than Fenris grey.
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Long Fangs do not have ablative wounds though. First hit severely hinders their performance. They do not have terminator armor or anything. They are just regular marines. Just shoot them, they die all the same.

    The Ven PSIfleman Dread...is basicly a squad of relentless Twin-Linked long fangs with a 5+ rerollable invul save (math-wise) for roughly the same cost.

    I see some lists and honestly if someone fields a GK army with 6 PSIfleman Dread. I would not even bother to unpack army because no list I have can deal with that AND if I tailor my list against that particular scenario I will suffer in the end against everyone else.

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    Re: SW vs. GK

    The 4 Rune Priest/15 Long Fang army does not really exist, at least not consistently. There's plenty of Razorspam and I've seen 2x Long Fang armies plenty, but ones like the ones described on Warseer, I'm convinced, are myths.

    Regardless of playing against the fluff, however, that point does little to detract from the fact that a Grey Knights army literally has almost every available unit in the book vastly stronger than any of their counterparts. Or more that the army is virtually impossible to successfully strategize against. It's just frustrating to play. At least against an SW army, even one like the fabled Superwolves of Warseer, you have some options (for instance my Long Fangs almost NEVER get attacked directly. I would think any marine player worth his salt would drop pod something nasty in to deal with them but people rarely if ever do that to me).
    Last edited by Chapters Unwritten; 10-11-2011 at 14:55.

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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Chapters, Space Wolves ARE an OP army. Full stop. They're top tier and do many things as well or better then even the GK. JOTWW, Long Fangs, Grey Hunters... they have several advantages that keep them on the top of the pile despite other releases.

    Now, GK are also overpowered. There's no arguing against that. But your protestations that your army is totally fair while the GK are totally cheese is an extreme case of the pot calling the kettle black. GK players could similarly argue that they pay for all the upgrades they get, and their basic troop choices are more expensive then any other army, so they're completely balanced. In both cases (GK/SW) the players are wrong: their army sits at a higher basic power level then the others and players using them have an advantage.
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    Chapter Master Vaktathi's Avatar
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik_Morkai View Post
    Long Fangs do not have ablative wounds though. First hit severely hinders their performance. They do not have terminator armor or anything. They are just regular marines. Just shoot them, they die all the same.
    Killing 18 marines in cover on the other side of the board isn't exactly easy for many armies, and the alpha strike capability offered by the Long Fangs helps ensure that the opponent isn't going to be in a great position to implement that plan. By the time the vast majority of opponents can start taking down the Long Fangs, they've already done their job, especially if there's half a dozen razorbacks on the board with grey hunters that don't get shot at as a result.

    The Ven PSIfleman Dread...is basicly a squad of relentless Twin-Linked long fangs with a 5+ rerollable invul save (math-wise) for roughly the same cost.
    A Venerable psyrifle dread is significantly more expensive, a normal psyrifle dread is the same cost, but lacks AP3, the ability to target multiple units, and is easier to take down (lets put it this way, a Long Fang unit is going to take down a psyrifleman before the dread can take down the Long Fangs)

    I'm not saying they're not silly units, 5pts to ugprade 2 TLAC's to S8 is ridiculous, but lets not forget the power of the Long Fangs here.

    I see some lists and honestly if someone fields a GK army with 6 PSIfleman Dread. I would not even bother to unpack army because no list I have can deal with that AND if I tailor my list against that particular scenario I will suffer in the end against everyone else.
    Yup, they're ridiculous, and yes, entirely abuseable and in such numbers definitely do not fit the nature of the army.
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Sorry, but that the two armies are equivalent is ridiculous. Having an extra missile launcher and two good psychic powers doesn't even come close to equalling the advantages the Grey Knights level.

    A Venerable psyrifle dread is significantly more expensive, a normal psyrifle dread is the same cost, but lacks AP3, the ability to target multiple units, and is easier to take down (lets put it this way, a Long Fang unit is going to take down a psyrifleman before the dread can take down the Long Fangs)
    This very thing happens to me pretty much every time I play GK. One of the few units that attacks my Fangs directly. Not that it's a normal occurence, mind you, but it does happen to me constantly.
    Last edited by Chapters Unwritten; 10-11-2011 at 15:01.

  17. #17
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapters Unwritten View Post
    Sorry, but that the two armies are equivalent is ridiculous. Having an extra missile launcher and two good psychic powers doesn't even come close to equalling the advantages the Grey Knights level.

    This very thing happens to me pretty much every time I play GK.
    Space Wolves have Grey Hunters, Rune Priests, Split Fire Longfangs, and potential lone wolf shenanigans, none of which come at an extreme premium. Grey Knights have numerous impressive toys, all of which cost a significant amount. Hit grey knights with some pie plates and they evaporate faster then other marine armies. Use some Psychic Defenses and you counter many of their meanest tricks. If they're running 6 psyflemen dreadnoughts then their troops are going to be even more woefully low in numbers then usual. Draigowing can be demolished by focused AP2 and proper target management.

    I'll say it again: BOTH armies are overpowered. BOTH armies require their opponents to have the right tools and jump through the right hoops to get the win. Grey Knights AND Space Wolves have several tricks up their sleeves that make other armies groan in frustration. You don't see it because the wolves are your main army and thus they are completely, absolutely, unarguably balanced.
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  18. #18
    Chapter Master Vaktathi's Avatar
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapters Unwritten View Post
    Sorry, but that the two armies are equivalent is ridiculous. Having an extra missile launcher and two good psychic powers doesn't even come close to equalling the advantages the Grey Knights level.
    the significant cost discount and pricing differences relative to GK's is also definitely something to think about here.

    This very thing happens to me pretty much every time I play GK. One of the few units that attacks my Fangs directly.
    GK's are very good at facing other marines, they're an anti-marine marine army in many ways. Against many other armies, their advantages are significantly less powerful, where as an All Comers army the SW's have it better.

    my IG for instance care not one wit about I6, powerweapons, cleansing flame, etc. Hammerhand and Might of Titan are of some use against tanks but normal marines all get those S6 krak grenades and usually have a hidden powerfist which does the job just as well anyway. My infantry die to bolters very quickly anyway, making them S5 doesn't functionally change too much. However, there's usually significantly fewer GK's than there would be marines in other armies, so while their advantages are minimized since my troops are so weeny, I'm able to better concentrate my fire and my big guns make more of an impact.


    If I'm playing my Eldar or Tau, the situation is much the same, except my Eldar care about the I6 aspect a little but if anything in there gets stuck in CC it's dead anyway.

    Of all my armies, only my CSM's really care about the GK's advantages because they're exactly the type of army that GK's wargear bonuses really matter against and they have to play somewhat similarly due to also being a marine army.
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  19. #19
    Chapter Master Bunnahabhain's Avatar
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    'Just use psychic defenses' isn't an argument.

    Too many forces, both new and old, weak and strong, simply don't have any available at all.
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    Re: SW vs. GK

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnahabhain View Post
    'Just use psychic defenses' isn't an argument.

    Too many forces, both new and old, weak and strong, simply don't have any available at all.
    I'm not arguing that GK are balanced against every codex. In fact I said several times that they are overpowered. I'm simply pointing out the hypocrisy of a SW player defending his own top tier army while complaining about a different army.
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