Thursday, January 26, 2012

Unit Review: Brotherhood Champion – Discordian

The Grey Knight Champion is a very odd ball choice (probably why I like it). He comes in two flavors, one being a standard HQ choice and the other as Crowe the purifier tax. It’s very important to realize that both choices serve very different rolls which I will retouch on later in this article.

Brotherhood Champion
For a cheap price you get a Borther-Captian stat line, +1 ws, -1 bs, -2 wounds, a unique set of equipment and very unique set of special rules.

Equipment wise you’ll notice he doesn’t come in terminator armor but artificer instead, this opens up the ability for sweeping advances assuming your not babysitting other terminators. It also lets him ride in light transports, which is something no other pure grey knight HQ can do (Apparently older grey knights never leave home without their security blankets). He still keeps the standard marine HQ iron halo which combined with his nemesis force sword gives him a durable 2+ armor and 3+ inv in close combat.

Weapons wise he has an already mentioned nemesis force sword and storm bolter, the sword is special in that it always re-rolls to wound. He also comes with frag, krak and psyk-out grenades. Too bad he didn’t get the option to take other grenades; this is often why he’s passed over for other utility choices.

He has a whopping 3 upgrade choices, one of which is digital weapons which in case you’re wondering is completely useless given the nature of his sword (unless you really want that storm bolter security). The other two are brain mines and psybolt, the former can have wacky fun results and the later is kind of meh. All options are really cheap but really not too useful.

Now for his special rules, the stuff that makes these guys real champions. He gives the unit he’s attached to re-rolls to hit on the charge, this can be pretty helpful when fighting other heavy assault units because grey knight have recently lost their weapon skills. He has Hammerhand, which it pretty sweet considering that means he can cast it and so can any squad he’s attached to making them str 6 or if you want allow your squad to activate their force weapons. Those last two abilities combined can make even basic strikes pretty devastating on the charge.

Now for the two rules that make this guy much more then a standard marine chaplain. Heroic sacrifice is a goofy psychic power that basically says “kill target important model with no saves allowed”. This rule alone makes him an incredible tool in close combat especially considering how cheap he is, instead of paying a super high price to put a super close combat monster in your list your putting a 100 point insurance policy against super close combat monsters. This ability was a big deal when the codex first came out but faded away because champions see very little play on the table.

The other important rule is both a great and bad ability. The good. Instead of having a normal attack line the champion can choose between 3 stances. One that lets him gain attacks equal to the number of enemies in base contact with him, one that lets you attack a monster or independent character d3 times at I 10, and the last which lets you re-roll all your saves. The bad. He doesn’t have normal attacks so you can’t just swing away at normal dudes.

Unfortunately it’s also worth noting that unlike a chaplain the champion doesn’t have the ability to make a squad he’s joined to fearless. Something I would gladly have paid more points for if he had it built into his rules.

The ways I have been successful with this guy is to attach him to any non terminator unit. Bide your time until you able to hit an important unit super hard. Following turn have him break off from his squad and run amuck in the back field killing small squads or tanking units I don’t want to deal with (I kept a Def dread locked in combat half a game by doing this). If my opponent has a special character I can’t go toe to toe with, Ill assault him and make sure that only the champion is in base contact. The attached squad focuses on the enemy attached unit while the champion keeps the character in time out, or if he gets killed attempt to sacrifice. Low point games and getting the assault is where this guy shines.

Pros: Super Tank, Anti-character, Cheap compared to other Grey Knight options, Has great potential in buffing a single squad on the table

Cons: No normal attack method, Zero army wide bonuses, Not cheap compared to Inquisitors who can get grenades, Can’t get grenades

Has all the rules of the dudes mentioned above, but with some slight modifications. To start off he’s 50% more expensive, which is still pretty cheap. He in fact decided to be a douche and use some super demon sword instead of nemesis force sword, a demon sword that doesn’t actually do anything but hinder him. He loses the ability to have a 3+ inv in close combat and a force weapon, to gain a non power weapon and the ability to give units assaulting him re-rolls to charge and furious charge. I repeat the enemy unit charging him! Wacky right? Did I mention he is in fact not an independent character?

So here’s where he makes up for that. He has +1 Ws, In and Wound. He is the bestest swordsman whoever lived, he has the innate ability to rend on a 4+. So basically instead of having a normal power weapon he has a power weapon that always wounds on a 4+ and generally hates vehicles. He also has the added psychic power Purifying flame, this combined with the champion stance to re-roll saves makes him a super flame blasting tank, that has the potential to generate more attacks then any other single character. This can be very surprising. His last special rule makes purifiers troops. Min or max squads of these guys will make a very power force.

Pros: SUPER Tank Horde KILLER, Anti-character, Cheap compared to other Grey Knight options, Purifier as troops, Makes the most use out of Champion stances

Cons: No normal attack method, Not Independent character, Make people charging him better, have to find a way to get him places or stuck having him wait for people to come to him

The Skinny
If you for some odd reason have an open HQ slot in Grey Knight army (not easy considering the competition) I suggest giving the generic Champion a try. He adds a very unique set of utility options most people don’t expect and adds a lot of potential in making games interesting in variously different ways.