Easily dismissed, easily not acknowledged they are even in the codex, the Purgation Squad is another unit that is rarely seen in the lists of a Grey Knight player. I'm here to tell you that not only do these heavy support units compete, they deserve a spot in your lists.

Lets take a basic look at your purgation unit.
Purgation Squads are much like your standard devastator unit. 4 heavy weapons can be taken with 5 men. However, the weapon choices are not really good heavy weapon support as the distance they can be used at is 24".  Does Astral Aim make up for this? Not at first glance it doesnt.

Astral Aim.
A psychic power that allows for the Purgation unit to fire its guns at a unit that it does not have line of sight to. The big part of this is that you can take your 5 man vulnerable unit, and have them completely secured behind things, and still lay down a hail of fire at units within range. With Astral aim and a psycannon, pick out the units that already are going to recieve cover saves, or have something that enhances their cover saves beyond a 4+, as astral aim negates any bonuses.

The weapon choices are not as robust as a standard devastator squad. You have 3 options, and none reach further out than 24".

Incinerator:
Most people will say that this is the weapon of choice for the Purgation Squad. It allows 4 nasty flamers into your list that will take away the cover save. I see these as an average choice, that really needs additional models in the unit above the 5 that is standard. This is simply because if you are shooting off your flamers, you had best be able to handle a weakened counter attack. So some additional guys had best be there to increase your close combat ability. This greatly increases the cost of this unit. Unless you are designing your list with a full unit like this in mind, pass by the incinerator.

Psilencer:
Once again, a 24" heavy 6 weapon, that if you want to consider it, consider it on terminators that can move and fire heavies.

Psycannon:
This where the Purgation unit is going to find its niche for you. 5 guys is rather vulnerable, however the 24" assault or heavy firing weapon of the psycannon allows for them to follow other units into battle. Protected by scarier units ahead of them, and able to hide behind objects and still pick off targets makes the purgation stand out. I don't need to tell you the damage 4 psycannons can dish out. 16 shots sitting still, or 8 on the move.

Competition:
Competition is the reason you will rarely see Purgation Squads on the tabletop. There are much shinier objects to catch the Grey Knight players eyes. Psyriflemen Dreadoughts, and even Nemesis Dreadknights are the competing eye for this unit. While I love the Psyriflemen Dread, I have been finding them collecting dust of late, replaced by the lonely Purgation Squad.

Layout:
Standard 5 Grey Knights with 4 Psycannons. No need to upgrade the Justicar's weapon here, this is a shooting unit, that is behind your front line. He comes with a power weapon, you do not need much else. Make sure you add at least a rhino to this unit, so that on Dawn of War missions you can get them onto the field. These guys need to move forward or at least get into a fire support position and the early mobility is needed.

Tactics:
I tend to field full units of Purifiers. Take that into account, I rush my purifiers forward, (often with scout from a grandmaster). The purifiers deploy into any area terrain into forward positions in front or on the side of their rhinos. Behind that, the purgation units rhinos rush forward, and instead of getting out in front, the rhino turns mostly sideways and the purgation models get out on the the backside of the rhino to be completely hidden from opposing fire. (5 guys can hide very well behind rhinos.) The purgation squad will be using astral aim, so will not need to be able to see their targets to shoot at them.

From here they just pick off targets regardless if they are smoked or not (since targets will get a cover save anyways.)

This tactic of getting out into a nearly midfield position and not being visible to your opponent while you pick off a large amount of psycannon shots is incredibly useful. You are able to provide your own line of sight barrier with your rhino anywhere needed. If that rhino becomes a wreck, its a nice permanent barrier.

If you are fielding a librarian, they are also an excellent unit to summon forward and lay down a hail of fire, yet keeping them out of sight of retalitory fire.

Conclusion:
I am using these 5 man squads in my lists. 5 unit purgation squad + rhino is 220pts. They are a finesse unit, as far as getting them into position and taking advantage of line of sight, but they are well worth their points. I know many of you will scoff at the idea of putting away your psyriflemen or your dreadknights. However a couple purgation squads really brings with them a tremendous amount of firepower, and if worked into your list will provide superior fire support for your Elite forward forces.

9 Comments:

  1. We are starting a 1500pt Cities of Death league at our game store. Our Grey Knights player is gonna be taking these. They are going to rape face.

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    1. Especially if you have buildings, 4 incinerators ouch.

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  2. I run a unit of these in an otherwise all-henchmen army, and they are a wonderful beatstick. Whatever I shoot them at just evaporates. Nurgle deamon princes, assault squads, all gone

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  3. What I find quite tempting is spamming mastercrafted orbital strike relays with prugation squads. Infinite range + no LoS + reroll to hit...the only bad thing is the 2d6 scatter...

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  4. I always thought the physics of alstral aim hilarious. Do the GK guide the bullets with their mind or some other mystical way like shooting into a Portal like enter-exit hole?

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    1. Think of it as the repeating ammunition from the fith element, except u don't need to fire the first shot haha

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  5. I woudl argue in favor of Incinerators over Psycannons for one simple reason: cost. The five-man Incinerator squad is still only 100pts (110 with a MC Hammer in the squad) and will annihilate pretty much anything Xenos it touches, and even Marines will take significant casualties (and be forced to roll saves on their heavy/special/sarge.)

    The Psycannon team, on the other hand, costs almost twice as much, is just as vulnerable to damage (BLOS aside), and really just brings more of what your list can already do. GK don't lack for MEQs with Psycannons, so swapping out a Psyfleman- one of the most efficient tank-killers in the game- for some more of those doesn't impress me. But Incinerators bring something (cover-busting) that is largely unique to the GK list, which gives them a potential niche.

    I think considering the competition with Psyflemen is a key point for Purgation squads. If you're bringing them to wreck tanks, you need to be thinking twice because you have a much, much better choice for doing that.

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    Replies
    1. Question for you then.

      When you are talking cost value, what happens when your opponent which is probably got a 3+ or even a 2+ save out there (the game right now is almost all powered armour these days).

      If you are close enough to use flamers, you are close enough to suffer a counter assault. With 4 flamers and a nemesis sword, the counter assault is going to ruin your day unless you increase your numbers, thereby increasing the cost of your unit and negating any cost benefits.
      A small unit of 5 is easy to hide, and very good at range.

      With so many storm bolters possible in a grey knight list, taking out infantry isnt so much an issue.

      In regards to psyflemen, I love them, and is mostly what I have fielded. I have moved away from them, simply because I have found the dreads are limited in durability.

      This is more of a current list I am running thing, than overall though. there is no real armour besides rhinos, and the dreads get taken out since they are the only real armoured threat, thereby making target priority rather easy. Purgation squads have fixed this.

      The increased firepower moving upfield behind rhinos has been invaluable every game I have used them. Only once or twice because of their abilities, have they even been able to be shot at, and thus have survived every game I have fielded them and continued their mid to back field shooting every round of the game.

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    2. I think I lost my question. Any ways, I think your counter is good, and its what I have been battling in my lists. Regardless of preference, I personally have settled in with the purgation squads with my competitive list.

      Definetly when you are next in this area, we should get together if not for a game, at least to sit and talk tactics.

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