Once upon a time he was a must for a GK army. Now he's an expensive optional "if you need him" sort of guy. This is what bothers me the most. He damn expensive. If you take a base model Gm its only 175 points. Which is expensive for a non-named HQ.
What you get is a very powerful stat line:
-6's in WS/BS
-3 wounds in termie armor and an Iron Halo. Meaning a 2+/4+ save.
And some okay gear. This by itself isn't anything to sneeze at. With his special rule and psyker abilities he can be a great keystone unit to build an army around. Grand Strategy is a very versatile and useful power that can really vary how an army functions. Depending on the scenario and your roll you can add special rules to units. From 1-3 units can be given 1 rule each. Need more killy? Reroll 1s to wound. Playing a CC army? Add in some counter attack USR. Want a forward position? Scout those Paladins. And lastly (probably the most focused on use); do you need more scoring units? The GM has you covered.
I personally have had success using the Scout USR to outflank with a set of Paladins. Combining it with Psychic Communion you can better control when a reserve unit comes in to cause destruction. Fun stuff.
Now lets look at the options-
- Melee Weapons first- Base load is a sword but I prefer the halberd to the sword (but that's for another post). Giving him a staff is 35 pts which is too many even fr the 2+ I save in CC.
- Ranged Weapons- Storm Bolter for free, Incinerator for 5. Not bad, but with a psycannon for an expensive 45 points he is utterly devastating. BS of 6 gives a reroll, and the 5 points to Master Craft makes him nearly unable to miss. It happens but it is hard to accomplish.
- Grenades....all of them available. Rad grenades please, blind grenades too if you have the points. Brain mines and psyko-stroke or melta bombs are all low on the cost/benefit list.
- Servo-skulls? yes please! Easier deepstrike placement and keep the bad guys' infitrators further away during deployment...exellent.
- Orbital Relay? This depends on your build strategy...if you buy this then there are no other upgrades needed as you will be parked the whole game. If you want this I suggest looking at a tech marine in a bolstered ruin, or Karamozov. This isn't my style but I may try it in a for fun game in the future. The possibility of cooking multiple LeMann Russes with a Lance blast is awesome.
- Master Crafting or a level 2 upgrade can be useful.
Sadly at his cost level, he rarely sees action below 2k points.