Friday, March 2, 2012

Purgation Squad vs. Dual Dreadnoughts

This unit has been overlooked in the shadow of the Grey Knight Dreadnought (with requisite ammunition).

Some of my peers online claim that given the choice between a pair of STR 8 AP 4 wielding titans and 10 Purgationeers (4 x Psycannons), the Purgation squad is just a decent second place. 

Consider though:  every army is geared to kill armor.  A lot.  Your own is probably festooned with many meltas and the like.  The dreadnoughts are definitely not at the bottom of the enemy's priority list either.  Dreads must stay in danger to be effective and many Grey Knights have taken to using Venerable versions at tremendous additional cost to keep them on the field a while longer.

Here's my take, and you tell me if I am crazy. 

The Purgation Squad does not needs to be in much danger (if any) so in KP missions, they are absolutely stellar. 

Combat squads allow you to REALLY pelt the enemy softies with your Storm Bolter fire while reserving the heavier stuff for the heavier targets (obviously).  The dual Dreads are not going to get 12 Storm Bolter shots every round nor be able to guarantee its torrent will continue like Purgation squads can; and those Storm Bolters come with Force weapons attached by the way!  That is no small issue.

On the heavy side, they can fire 16 heavy duty shots insted of the Dreads 8.  The twin linking only affects the Dreadnought shooting 33% of the time, so many times you're really only re-rolling one hit or none at all.  The Purgation Squad isn't insta-killing like the Dreads, but when the armor is mostly gone after a couple rounds, which unit are you really going to want at your side for the remaining FOUR rounds of the game?  With 16 shots, Purgation chances of rending are pretty good in the first two rounds, making the STR difference of the Dreads look somewhat less relevant to the discussion.

I am in no way suggesting the Dreadnoughts aren't very good.  They are.  They help keep the enemy honest using their Autocannon range.  Yet if you can get TL Lascannons on Razorbacks, Vindicare Assassins and other such things, I feel the ranged threat profile is high enough that you can forego the Dreads range.  Certainly you can when the Grey Knights get first turn and are able to move to firing range (from out of line of sight) turn one, a more than fair trade off.

The Psychic defense is the most compelling reason to take the Dreads in my opinion, and that one reason keeps me testing them out.  Frankly my Win/Loss percentage hasn't fallen enough regardless of which option I take which makes it all the more difficult to really say (in my mind) which is better overall.  ForumHammer might say the Dreadnoughts but in actual practice (and I get a lot of it) they are a hairs bredth apart and the enemy has more to do with their overall value than any actual comparative analysis and even when the scale tilts, it doesn't tilt very far.

What I can say is there is a STRONG argument to be made FOR Purgation Squads and players should feel good about going either way on this issue.


  1. I hadn't thought about it, but you're right. In all my games with Grey Knights, it's been Terminators and Strike Squads, or Henchman and Terminators/Paladins. A couple Crowe lists but even in those it's always the Dreadnoughts that are the heavy support.

    You make a pretty good point about the fact that the Dreads aren't equipped with Force Weapons. heck they don't even have power weapons! Makes the Purgation squad a lot more versatile and dangerous in general it seems to me.

    Does the Psyker defense stack from the two Dreadnoughts? I would assume it does?

  2. Well I have decided to go to a tourney I have been eyeballing for four years, called TSHFT and the theory will be tested.

    I am quite torn as to whether to bring no Dreads or two, in place of a Purgation Squad. Any opinions? I am thinking that by taking both types of units, I am giving myself a powerful plus when dealing with difficult terrain while acknowledging that terrain may not help in which case I will need range to avoid being whittled. Would also help if I read the missions. I hear they use wierd ones at TSHFT. I guess I'll find out. Anyone been there vefore that can share thoughts on how the tourney generally goes, or at least how it differs?

  3. TSHFT was great. I had a lot of fun there and was able to test out the Purgation and the Dreadnoughts together in a highly competitive tournament, with clubs from all over, some from over 500 miles away! Quite the regional event. Met a lot of nice people too.

    The army did very well. The big surprise in it was somethign we don't really talk about: the Doomfist. it turned out to be a mighty deterrent in my games. While I was definitely hit hard in my two games against other Grey Knights who spammed the Dreadnoughts, it was the Fistyness of my Dreads that drove many of their decisions in my backfield and they clearly respected what it could do to their chances of taking objectives. They would not advance on it until they could clip that thing and it really made a game difference. Many units were unable to assault the units they really wanted to and the TL LasCannon was very reliable. The Multimelta Dread mattered in one mission where the guy just was NOT going to get close enough to lose his Raider from it, even though it was probably the right move for him. hindsight is 20/20. Gonna try it with just Purgation again and see how it "feels" now that I have done it Hybrid.

  4. As a minor feedback point msny games later, purgation squads have proven, thus far, to be a very strong alternative. Dreads are, again, proving their worth but the Purgation squads have been the more effective of the two options taken as a whole. I remain impressed with both but would now be firmly of the opinion that Purgation Squads provide the stronger play


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