Every war needs machinery to take up roles impossible for even the largest amount of men to perform. The Inquisition knows this and applies this to almost all of their strike forces. Grey Knights even have vehicles specialized towards their force and needs, including allowing their brothers to fight once more. The Heavy Support option for Daemonhunters brings in the indomitable Land Raider and ferocious Dreadnought and allows the force to call in strikes from the sky upon its enemies.
There are four Heavy Support picks for Daemonhunters, one of which I personally would never use, which is the first to be covered. The others have their uses, and I'll mention each of them in their respective entries. I won't include statlines, as usual, as the codex is online if you wish to view it, but I will give an overview on the "unit" and some personal opinions after in italics, as usual.
- Grey Knight Purgation Squad(25 pts., 50 pt. sergeant) - This squad is nearly identical to the Grey Knight in Power Armor squad but specializes in heavy weapons, those weapons you hold dear to yourself every game. They may take up to four, twice the number of a troop choice, but they do not get a 5pt. discount with each weapon. Also led by a Justicar, these Grey Knights simply carry more heavy weapons, but at a point cost and the fact that they can no longer score, something which would be ideal when you would be carrying around heavy weapons.
The four Psycannons seem to be a better choice in my mind, though taking four Incinerators to cleanse out hordes of opponents is nice, too. Though I would never take this squad, as stated before. These aren't useless, per se, but they take up one of your precious three Heavy Support slots. And these slots, as you can probably assume, almost have to be filled with anti-tank options in order to be a crutch for the weak leg of your army. The extra Psycannons can be made up by adding an Inquisitor with one or simply adding another squad of Grey Knights, reducing others in size if you must. It may seem that I consistently say "just add an Inquisitor to do it!", but seeing how you can only have three (and 2 if you want the assassin) it just gets impossible to meet your need with them. So this is where you can fill for your lack of Inquisitor spam ability. Speaking of which, I hope Inquisitors can be taken in squads of 3 for one slot in the upcoming codex, just like Death-cult Assassins or Sanguinary Priests.
- Orbital Strike (60-80 pts.) - Inquisitors have the option to declare Exterminatus on a planet, having it completely glassed or destroyed with a rain of fire from orbit. The same ships that perform this may do a more surgical strike on occassion, attempting to destroy a nest of corruption and heretics. The strike, however, is very inaccurate and may kill friendly units. Upon purchasing one of these strikes, the Daemonhunter force would pick a piece of identifiable terrain, kept secret from its opponent. It comes onto the battlefield just like any other unit out of reserve and scatters off the terrain using special (In)accuracy rules. The blast may be delayed but once it comes onto the field, it lasts until the game is over. The Inquisitor may launch a Lance Strike(70 pts.), with a Strength 10 and AP1, a Melta torpedo(80 pts.) with a Strength of 8 and AP3, or a Barrage bomb(60 pts.) with a Strength 6 and AP4. All of these are Ordnance blasts and pin just like an Ordnance Barrage weapons
Well, a Strength 10 AP 1 large blast that is completely unstoppable might seem quite amazing, and it is if you look at it like that, but in the end I feel the Orbital Strikes are simply for mental pressuring. In order for them to hit where you want, you have to get very lucky. Plus, you won't know if where you aim it will have a single unit near it. Sure, it can be used for things like blasting units off objectives or closing movement lanes, but it usually doesn't do all too much other than keep your opponent on their toes about it. I usually prefer a dreadnought over this, though there are times when I have taken them and they do usually earn their points, but I rarely find them earning their Heavy Support slot. If you are to take one, the Lance Strike is the best and in my opinion the only one you should even consider taking. Strength 10 AP 1 with a reroll on the armor penetration and take the highest is amazing, and it is 10 points cheaper than the AP 3 melta.
- Grey Knight Land Raiders (250 pts.)- The Land Raider is a mobile shrine and near impenetrable fortress. Inside, Grey Knights cleanse their minds and ready for the upcoming battle while the Land Raider fires heavy weapons at any force of Chaos, even having some weaponry fired by the Machine Spirit inside. They can drive at even the corrupt Chaos force and immediately launch an assault out of the ramp in the front. The Land Raider comes in two variants, the Godhammer pattern and the Crusader pattern. The Godhammer pattern is regarded as the classic, having a twin-linked Lascannon on each side with a twin-linked heavy bolter hull-mounted, carrying up to ten Grey Knights (or five in Terminator Armor). The Crusader is much more focused on the assault, having two hurricane bolters, a hull-mounted twin-linked assault cannon, and a multi-melta on the top, but having much more room on the inside, having fifteen Grey Knights or up to eight in Terminator Armor. The Crusader also has Frag Assault Launchers, shooting grenades as the assault ramp opens, allowing the men inside to count as having frag grenades for one round. Both Land Raider variants can be equipped with extra armor, searchlights, smoke launchers, and a pintle-mounted storm bolter. The Crusader automatically takes extra armor
The Land Raider is a mobile bunker for your Grey Knight force. It also serves as a massive anti-tank platform when taken as a classic Land Raider, firing Lascannons at two different targets each turn all the while keeping Grey Knights inside safe. You can either try to castle up with it, which the Godhammer is better at, staying stationary or moving a small amount and firing lascannons at your opponent, granting cover saves to allies if possible or you can try to use it offensively, driving at your opponent and shooting wildly, allowing the squad inside to get off an assault, which the Crusader is more focused on. I always take at least one, and they have won games for me if played correctly or wasted 259 points for me if I'm reckless. I will usually equip them with smoke launchers and I will put on extra armor and searchlights if I have the points. Again, both variants are playable, but I prefer the two twin-linked lascannons over the one multi-melta (N.B.: Assault Cannons are Heavy 3 and not rending in this codex sadly), and the transport capacity of the crusader rarely matters as I never have more than 5 terminators and don't put the Inquisitor in a Land Raider often. It is possible to take 3 Land Raiders in one force, and many Grey Knight players do it, but I think if you are going to spend half your points on Land Raiders, perhaps going Blood Angels or some other Space Marine faction would be wiser. It is a very possible play style but it isn't really the way I would like to play. If used defensively, I will usually either have Terminators start in it for a counter-assault or have it be empty. When a squad gets low on numbers and I either A) need the scoring unit or B) don't want to give up a kill point, I'll put them in the Land Raider, preserving them until the end of the game or any other time I think I need them. Offensively, put your strongest assault units (Terminators) and charge the Land Raider at your opponent, popping smoke as you probably couldn't quite get in 6" of a squad you would like to assault. Next turn move around as needed and send out the Knights to attack. Land Raiders are a key part of your force, even when you only take one, and you should try to utilize to fit your playstyle and army style.
- Grey Knight Dreadnought (80 pts. + weapons)- The Dreadnought is a walking and living tomb for a fallen Grey Knight, a rare sight in the Ordo Malleus. Grey Knights often wish to rest in the catacombs of Titan when they die, having served the Emperor well during their time as a member of the holy Chapter. However, at time a Grey Knight might be wounded so harshly they cannot continue as a soldier and see the necessity of serving the Emperor further in this machine instead. A Dreadnought can be equipped with a multitude of weapons including an assault cannon (30), a twin-linked lascannon(50), a twin-linked heavy bolter(30), a multi-melta(40), a plasma cannon(40), or a twin-linked autocannon(35). In addition, they have a close-combat weapon for their left arm that has a storm bolter which may be upgraded to a heavy flamer(10) or incinerator(15) for a small number of points. Instead of a close-combat weapon, a Dreadnought does have the option to equip a missile launcher(10) instead. The Dreadnought can either be a long-range heavy firing platform or have a focus on getting into close-combat with foes, tearing them to pieces with massive claws or blades and flamer fire.
The Dreadnought is one of my favorite units in the Warhammer game. They are awe inspiring in fluff and amazing looking on the table top while still bringing power. I often take two, both with lascannons and a close-combat weapon, attempting to both be a counter-assault unit and a long range anti-tank while I wait for the gap to close. In a Grey Knights army, I don't have a particularly powerful focus on one thing or another with most units, and my dreadnoughts continue that. I have toyed with taking one with a Lascannon and Missile Launcher and another with a Multi-melta and close-combat weapon, but I find myself wishing I could have them support my units even more than they do, the firing Dreadnought not getting enough focus from the opponent to take some fire away from the squishier infantry and the close-range not being able to take out long range fire. Dreadnoughts are also one of the only options for anti-tank in a Grey Knight army, so you should really consider them for your army in the current metagame which includes many vehicles.
So that is it for the Heavy Support. I hope you found it interesting and my next post will probably briefly go over the vehicle upgrades I skipped. If I missed anything you think is important or worth saying, post it in the comments and I'll take it in for consideration.