Saturday, 15 September 2012

Ties of Brotherhood

WS 7 gives you that power
Ah....the poor old Brotherhood Champion. The consolation prize in the Grey Knight HQ slot. Often overlooked and left to sit and play Solitaire on the Emperor's tarot while the rest of the Knights do the real fighting (a little laboured as a description but I liked the image) But does he actually deserve this treatment?
I should start out by saying that although I'm a great fan of this little feller he is probably not the most optimised choice, many better players than I will likely swear by other choices like the bookie's favourites the Libby and Coteaz himself. However, I think this guy actually has within him the ability to be a close contender and I hope I can try and persuade you to at least give him a bit of a try.

 Vital statistics

WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  LD  Sv        Wargear                              Special  Rules
 7      4    4  4   1   5  *   10   2+    Anointed Sword                        'Standard GK stuff'
                                                          Iron Halo                                 Titan's Herald
                                                   Frag/krak/Psyk out grenades    The Perfect Warrior
                                                       Storm Bolter                        Psyker: Heroic Sacrifice
                                                    Artificer Armour
    In Brief
    The Perfect Warrior:

    Sword Storm --Use if surrounded (usually by horde units). Good for cleanup.                                   
    Blade Barrier --Use if neither of the others are prime choices. Good for survival/tarpitting units.
    Rapier Strike --Great for taking out enemy ICs or Monstrous Creatures. Particularly if they are high I.


    Digital Weapons --This cracks me up. I mean how did this even come up?? For those who don't know, if offers 1 reroll to a failed wound, when you already reroll failed wounds and can't reroll a reroll. Dear me....
    Empyrean Brain Mines --I usually have place for these gadgets. Not great, not terrible, a pretty good buy for 10pts
    Psybolts --If you want. Only 5pts, but you're only BS4. If you have the points left over then they're a good choice. You can't too go wrong with S5 really and they're cheap.

      The Good

    • First up, he's 100pts. This may sound quite expensive in terms of other codices (best plural ever) but he's at least 50pts cheaper than any other Grey Knight HQ (excluding the inquisitors), so if you don't want to break the bank and don't want to abandon any 'Pure Grey Knight' loyalties you may have, this could be the guy.
    • He has some very nice stat values: WS 7, I 5, a 2+ save and a standard marine line puts him into a pretty good place as a fighty character (particularly with the reduction of ap2 combat weapons). With his Anointed Sword for wound rerolls and rerolls to hit on the charge he's got a fairly good chance of wounding his opponent (giving him the chance to ID them with his force sword). In case you hadn't guessed, he really flourishes in combat.
    • The Perfect Warrior. Well, this is the complicated bit really. The important thing to notice is that Rapier Strike only affects Independent Characters or monstrous creatures. So no challenging unit champions (or any standard character) and using this style. This is not yet on the FAQ (which is a shame because it would make sense). Therefore, if you have a fair amount of support, and no IC to challenge I would generally use Blade Shield (he is often my warlord in small point games so this can save a victory point). However, if you want kills and are fairly heavily surrounded, go Sword Storm. It's fun (but no bonus attack for charging here. Important). He also has a tasty I5 to go before most guys even when not using Rapier Strike.
    • Titan's Herald: a nice, simple power. Similar to Chaplain abilities (or the old ones anyway, it may have changed in the most recent codices). He and any Grey Knight (codex) unit he is in rerolls all failed rolls to hit on the charge. I love rerolls! This can turn ok assault units into great ones! My preferred tactic is to have him in a Halberd armed Termie (or occasionally Purifier) unit to act as counter assault. They can lay down Psycannon/Storm Bolter fire for most of the game and then mash something up with an assault with 3, I6, S(hopefully)5 AP3 attacks each. And then S8/10 (depending on hammerhand) Hammer attacks. This is ignoring what the BroChamp can do. This is, in my opinion, his best ability. It really counters the average WS (4) of most of the Grey Knight units. Do not overlook this, it's really quite powerful.
    • Heroic Sacrifice: a little gem of a power. As a summary, if you die, pass a psychic test, hit the opponent, they die. That is it. You only have to hit them and they die. I almost always save his psychic power for this. His squad can hammerhand, he can force weapon (if you get a wound on an opposing character do this instead. Get the kill) but otherwise, it's a fantastic power. My interpretation is that as it does not roll to hit LoS! cannot be taken against it but I haven't researched this and it hasn't come up yet. However, you do still get your reroll for 'Titan's Herald', so if you've charged in be even less worried about dying as you can reroll this hit. With WS 7, this is a fairly safe gamble.
    • Finally, for 10pts he can buy Empyrean Brain Mines. If you have the points, do it. You get one shot at the start of an assault phase (not FAQ-ed and the rule book says 'after moves but before blows are struck'. I would rule, once per assault, at the start of the fight sub-phase, but that's my call) to take one figure out of the equation. It may not always work (as many times their Initiative will be high enough to pass the test) but when it does it's a great boon. Plus they're fab against monstrous creatures.
    Who else has a picture of them taking on Skulltaker?
     And this is before breakfast.

    The Bad 

    It wouldn't really be a fair review if I didn't look at the negatives of choosing this fellow would it? I'll cover it in the same style. So,
    • The stinker. The biggest problem I think this guy faces blazes out of his stat line like a big, flaming Ork (or a flaming big Ork, depending on your outlook). 1 Wound. Yep. 1 Wound. 100pts, a HQ slot, a Victory Point for Slay the Warlord all resting on 1 Wound. That's one heck of an issue. He could kill himself with dangerous terrain or Perils of the Warp in one go. Ok, now we know about this how can we limit this problem. He has a 2+/4++(3++ in assault) so he's got some good saves. He also has Blade Shield in assault for rerolls at the expense of fighting. My solution is screen him with his unit, watch out for angles of fire as you don't want him closer to the enemy than anyone else in this edition, one poor roll and he's gone. He does have a 2+ LoS! save as well so don't panic. Just don't be too careless. In Assault, hide him in challenges (particularly ones he can win easily and ones against enemy ICs) or just Blade Shield with him. He's hopefully still granted his rerolls to hit to your unit so they should be able to do enough killing without him. Also, don't risk hammerhand unless you really need it. His unit can go for it without losing him but as he no longer gets an invun. against it it's a bit of a risk, a good gamble as the odds are in your favour, but there's a lot on the line if your luck turns sour (or is already sour in my case).
    • That's really the worst part. The second problem I see is his competition. There's no denying a Librarian's use. They are pretty amazing (to say the least), particularly as they now have access to the tasty divination powers and they are only 50pts more (a lot for most armies, but not when you're a Grey Knight). He is also the same price as Coteaz, who brings Henchmen troops and his own shiny rules and equipment. With 3 wounds. Of course, Henchmen aren't as good now their transports are more likely to go down as they're pretty fragile but they can still beef out Grey Knight lists, it's just the pure Henchman army is not as good as it was. All I can say here is though these are good choices, the BroChamp still has many uses and is worth a shot. It's a matter of personal taste but I'd say go for it. He's very flavourful and definitely not useless.

    Note: I would also recommend keeping a tally of his most impressive kills. It builds up a little story/reputation. What is it gw would say yeah, Forging a Narrative!  (sorry, it had to be said)

    BroChamp Ezra's current Kill Count: Mephiston, Gazghkull, Ahriman, Farseer, Marine Captain, Archon, a couple of Haemonculi and counting.

    'Let my Brothers practise their swordplay. They can finish off whoever is left.'

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