For Ol’ Grim Syne

Not too long ago, Khador got a smattering of Riot Quest solos released relatively close to each. 3 of these solos are in the Jaws of the Wolf and have made a massive impact to the viability of the theme. These models are:

The undead sniper – Ol’ Grim.

The ambusing hunter – Yuri 2

The sneaky gangster – Underboss Vizkoya.

These 3 models represent, for me, the three tiers of Riot Quest releases, the amazing, the okay and the meh. Today, I’m going to be discussing the amazing out of the three and talk about Ol’ Grim.

The model that is, clearly, the Marksman but dead is a pretty crazy model. Let’s start with the basics. He costs 6 points, which is pricey, but is a requisition choice in any theme he can be taken in. As such, he realistically costs 4ish points, as he will be a free card when taken.

Spoiler: He’s going to be taken.

Theme-wise, he’s a small based Widowmaker/Wraith solo and is available in any theme that allows those models. This means Winter Guard Kommand and Jaws of the Wolf in Khador, Black Industries and Ghost Fleet in Cryx and Operating theater in Mercs. As such, regardless of faction he’s going to be taken by a list of small arms fire or of jacks. He helps a great deal in either.

“We get Ol’ Grim!” “No, We get Ol’ Grim!”

Let’s look at his stats. The important ones are his speed, def, RAT and Arm. For those, he sits slightly above the curve everywhere. Speed 6 with apparition is very fast for a solo (effectively speed 8); Rat 8 is excellent, especially as he will often get to aim with his apparition; def 15 is slightly higher than the normal 14, making him harder to hit than normal. In addition, (unlike every other widowmaker) his arm of 13 is actually high enough that he might survive being hit some times.

His gun is a slightly better version of the Marksmans gun. Range 14, Pow 12 and ROF 2 is excellent, allowing Grim to threaten multiple models in a turn (especially when he starts getting souls). Being magical on top of that is icing on the cake, but very useful. Especially in Khador, it allows him to take shots at things other guns in the faction can’t, such as at incorporeal models or Menoth jacks.

His front of card is excellent, so let’s look at his other rules. He lacks the Stealth of the Marksman, but makes up for it and more with the inclusion of Incorporeal. Magic weapons are much more common these days, but it’s still a big advantage, due to magic melee still being more common than magic range. Gun fighter is also massively useful, as it allows Grim to act as an unjammer, floating spookily through his friends and shooting jamming models in melee.

Sniper and Marksman are bread and butter to this kind of model, with Marksman in particularly synergising nicely with his soul based boosting ability. Ol’ Grim shares the ability of the Pistol Wraiths to take souls from models he kills. He can then spend these souls on giving himself +3 defense (taking him to a pretty ridiculous def 18 stood in the middle of nowhere) or on giving a shot fully boosted attack and damage and Ghost shot.

This last ability really defines what is so awesome about Grim. With 0 souls, he is still a rat 8, apparating, incorporeal sniper wtih great stats. Highly accurate, highly survivable, great at solo hunting and scalpling. However, getting him a few souls turns him ridiculous. Suddenly, nothing is safe. With an effective threat of 22 inches, and ignoring trifling concerns such as LOS, cover and concealment, Grim becomes a threat to most models in the game. He can certainly be a big part of an assassination or just killing key solos. Want that Ascendent Mentalist dead. Bang!. Want a pretty good shot at killing that Void Archon. Bang! Need to reach that last Immortal that the rest of the unit are going to recur from. Bang!

“That’s a pretty nice Hermit you got their, shame if anything should happen”

Now, of course, the current meta features a lot of offensive soul denial. Most archons deny souls, undead models are more common, etc. The biggest plus for Grim, in my opinion, is just that he’s worth 6 points with 0 souls on him. Due to his ROF 2, high RAT and the sniper rule, he can always, at absolute bare minimum, plink 2 damage onto something. Hell, even just having a high defence incorporeal solo to stand on a flag is pretty amazing.

He is also exactly the kind of model that is likely to survive till end game, when the Archons are dead and souls are starting to become available. Even being able to get 1 soul throughout a game can massively impact a game, as being able to pick off that key solo or be def 18 for a turn can be game winning.

This is all without getting into his synergies. Cryx synergies are fairly obvious. They debuff stuff and then Grim shoots them. Traditionally, Cryx has not had access to these kind of guns (frankly, Cryx would probably be fairly broken with access to the likes of Chargers), because they can drop armour trivially, effectively boosting the damage range of guns. Denghra, with no outside help, can get Grim’s gun to effective POW 17.

“Shoot the Cortex off that Jack, Ghostboi!” – The Queen of Debuff

Grim’s role in Cryx then is pretty clear. Fire support and clearing. Cryx just doesn’t have a lot of models like Grim in their catalogue. Pistol wraiths have often struggled with their low range meaning that they die immediately after shooting, His extra range over the likes of the Hellslinger means that Grim can keep a lot safer, contributing turn after turn.

Khador, on the other hand, doesn’t offer Grim much in the way of direct fire boosts. What they do offer is access to even more special rules, as he clearly didn’t have enough to begin with. Swift Hunter from the Marksman (allowing him to move back to safety or deeper for another kill), Guidance from the Adjunct, trivial access to concealment to make him even harder to kill, etc. There are also a number of caster synergies, such as Tactical Supremacy from Kozlov or Sentry from Strakhov 1 (amusingly, Grim can spend souls to boost his maintenance shot). Irusk 2 also sticks out, with Fire for Effect being particularly hilarious on him.

“Shoot the Cortex off that Jack, Ghostboi!” – Russian Sun Tzu

Grim’s role in Khador is something fairly new for the faction, that of a scalpel. Khador doesn’t really have a lot of ways of removing hard to reach support models. The likes of Kwaack, Beast Handlers and Grave Ghouls have traditionally been out of standard reach for Khador, but Grim is an excellent hunter of those models. He even has some resilience to shield guards due to having 2 shots. His other role is that of a flag scoring solo. Khador does not really have access to incorporeal, and as such, most lists that drop into Khador don’t consciously take magic weapons. This can often mean that Grim can win games just by standing in a zone and doing nothing. This is particularly excellent in Winter Guard Kommand, as that theme has struggled with access to scoring solos.

Overall, Grim is an excellent solo, in any faction that he plays in. For Khador, in particular, he represents a sea change, making the taking of snipers viable again. He’s fairly hard to kill, extremely accurate (Rat 8 with access to boosts is ridiculous) and useful in every match. He’s a model that can help win games without ever firing his gun, and should be taken in every list he is allowed in.