I’d like to get back to looking through the Psychic Awakening books today, as I work my way backwards from the last installment. Let’s take a look at the Ritual of the Damned!
This fourth book showcases the Dark Angels, with the Grey Knights and Thousand Sons taking something of a second fiddle. As we’ll see when I get to the third book, these Psychic Awakenings have served to provide the Space Marines with access to all of the Shadowspear stuff, the phobos-armoured goodness that was missing from the Dark Angels codex because it hadn’t been released at that point. There are a lot of pages of this stuff, providing the lion’s share (pun intended) of the new stuff really.
I suppose this is only in keeping with the fact that the sole new miniature to come out alongside this book was the new Lazarus mini:
While I have previously attempted to produce a Dark Angels army, mainly centred around the Deathwing, I’ve recently decided to move my focus from the first legion as I’m trying to thin out the collections into something a lot more manageable – so, while this is almost certainly a Dark Angels book, I don’t really have a great deal to add on this point!
By contrast, the Grey Knights have just one new datasheet, for the Chaplain. However, they have a lot of new rules! For almost the entirety of 8th edition up to this point, Grey Knights had suffered from being a distinctly bottom-tier army from a competitive point of view. Mainly this was to do with the cost of units, which successive Chapter Approveds sought to remedy, but the lack of real fancy rules has proved to be their detriment. However, no more!
Space Marines these days have access to new Doctrines that give them bonuses from round to round. Well, Grey Knights now have their own version of this – Masters of the Warp. You can choose one of four effects (“Tides”) to be in place at the start of the first battle round, and then in subsequent turns you can attempt to change it through the use of the Warp Shaping psychic power, which is part of the new Dominus discipline. In addition to the Sanctic discipline from the Codex, Grey Knight character models have the option to pick their psychic powers from this discipline – they must choose either the Sanctic or Dominus disciplines, they cannot mix and match. However, there are some really nice powers here, and I do appreciate having more options for my units. Previously, I’ve found myself fielding 12-13 units, meaning the powers were doubled up in an almost random manner. At least now we have more to think about, and I like it!
Especially as one of these new Psychic Powers gives the Grey Knights the chance to replenish command points!
But that’s not all that we have! There is another page of relics to choose from, one of which allows for re-rolls on Psychic Tests and seems to be all the rage in the competitive scene, from what I’ve seen. But that’s not all!
Two more pages of Stratagems, following the pattern that we’ve seen in other books where specific unit types have specific stratagems. Every one of the Grey Knights specific units has their own stratagem, for better or worse – while there are plenty of stratagems that can target across the army. There are quite a few that look really nice, and I’m excited to try some out, like Empyric Surge that seems like it might take some setting-up, but could be good to try!
But wait, there’s more!
Are you getting the impression this book is a must-have for the Grey Knights? Yeah…
The sole datasheet for the Chaplain is here because of the new Litanies of Purity – similar to the Prayers of the Dark Apostle that we’ve seen. The Chaplain knows three Litanies – the Litany of Hate that he had from the codex, plus two from the new list of six in the book. Litanies are “recited” at the start of the battle round on a d6 roll of 3+. Some of them are a bit meh, which is a shame as I’d initially felt like Chaplains were getting a wonderful boost in this series of books, but there a couple there to add range to some weapons, or increase the AP of some weapons which, when combined with certain of the Tides, could give some great effects.
Oh, and we get the now classic name generator that, I’m sure you’ll all agree, is the most important part of any of these books.
The Thousand Sons have the least number of pages devoted to them, with just a couple of pages devoted to the different Cults within the Legion. Each Cult has specific warlord traits and assorted other special rules, which is quite nice but, not being a Thousand Sons player, I can’t really speak to how good these are. But even with only a few pages, it’s still nice to see that GW are giving attention to everybody in these books.
I am really excited to see the addition that the Grey Knights have had from this book. It does leave me with the distinct impression that the Codex is now an incomplete book, though, as there is just so much new stuff in here for them, you can’t really have one without the other. Especially when it comes to the Chaplain, which has perhaps the most benefit here.
As it happens, I’ve recently painted up my special collector’s edition plastic Chaplain in Terminator Armour that is available to new stores when they open. Having set me back around £35 on ebay last December, I knew I wanted to give him to the Grey Knights but had only now gotten round to painting the little devil. I’m quite pleased with the result, anyway – my local GW has got an HQ/Hero painting competition for next Saturday, and I’ll be entering him to see how he gets on!
I’m still working on drawing up a new Grey Knights list, one that might provide me with something interesting to play, so stay tuned for news on that one soon! For sure, I’ll be including another Purgation Squad since they can Overwatch on a 4+ thanks to their new stratagem!