Don’t Fear the Knight

Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to relate our experiences with play-testing the Imperial Knights.

We’ve played over a dozen games with the Imperial Knights so far and I feel confident that we have a really good handle on how they play, their strengths, weaknesses, and the impact they will have on the meta.

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Have we tried every combo and iteration of Knight lists? No, of course now. But we have run them through the paces against a wide variety of armies and I can say that while there may be some crazy combos that pop up in the future that we are unaware of now, in general terms they are a fair and balanced addition to the game.

For a hefty points cost, you get a powerful unit. They have fairly good shooting, and fairly good melee with their D attacks and are quite speedy with a 12″ move. But the Stomp is really the secret sauce with these guys. Some lucky 6’s and great googly moogly, they reap a toll on your opponent. We have found the stomp attacks to be their most powerful weapon in most games.

They are also fairly durable with 6 hull points, Ion Shields and Super Heavy Walker status. This means that they take quite a few hard hits to topple, but, at nearly 400pts in cost that is to be expected and totally fair.

However, they are not over powering, in my opinion. They really do a good job of walking that fine line between too powerful and not powerful enough. Achieving that balance is very difficult to do and for a nice change of pace, the design team seems to have struck the mark.

My only real complaint with Imperial Knights is how many gosh dang rules issues came along with this guy. We all see that GW is pumping out rules at a break-neck pace with little, if any, regard for quality control. But this one is really bad, some of these rules issues had to have come up if the unit was play-tested at all such as moving through difficult terrain. Below I list some of the rules issues that pop up with Knights and the solutions we have come to. I am not saying these are holy writ, just the solutions we have come to and will implement in our events as well as will be seen in many of the other big tournaments.

  1. How does an Imperial Knight move through difficult terrain? Roll 3d6, take the highest and multiply it by two. We felt this was a rules oversight and that the intent was not to have Super Heavy Walker slow to a crawl through terrain.
  2. Can a unit assault an Imperial Knight that can’t hurt it? Yes, as walkers are assaulted like infantry and the rules for walkers override the rules for vehicles as they are more specific.
  3. Does a Knight Titan get its Ion Shield save against Barrage Weapons or Vector Strikes? No. Barrage weapons hit an unspecified “side” armor which is meant to represent the shell hitting the top of the vehicle. Vector Strikes are a pseudo close combat attack that also hit an unspecified “side” armor. The Ion shield can only protect a specified facing, front, back, left or right, against shooting attacks.
  4. Can an Imperial Walker pivot in the shooting phase more than once to target different units? Yes. Nothing in the rules prevents this as a Knight can shoot multiple targets. However, it is left facing the last target it fires at.
  5. Can an Imperial Knight assault any of the units it shoots? Yes.
  6. Can an Imperial Knight “walk” Stomp attacks up to 15″ away from a combat it is engaged in to hit other units? No. While RAW certainly indicates that this is possible, we have decided to limit it to only being placed on models engaged in combat with the Knight. Models not engaged in combat with the Knight that are under the templates are ignored. Friendly models can be hit by Stomps.
  7. Can an Imperial Knight snipe models out of a unit with a result of a 6 on the Stomp table? Yes. Note though, that result 2-5 puts wounds into the wound pool per normal, and do not “snipe” models.
  8. Which weapons on the Imperial Knight actually have the Strikedown rule? Stomps and Close Combat attacks. This one was totally ambiguous, so we went with the rulings that seemed most logical.
So again, these are our rulings based upon a mix of logic, RAW and our perception of RAI. Feel free to disagree or debate these interpretations, but remember that these are a necessity for organized play so that everyone comes to the table on an even footing.
As for dealing with the Knights, they go down fast in assault if you can hit them with a high In Monstrous Creature, or lots of rending attacks. Multiple Melta Bombs also gets the job done, too as Stomp attacks are I1 and so can’t stop you from attacking. Anything that lowers their Initiative is good too, such as Grav weapons or Harpies. That helps a ton to get in there with hard hitting weapons that may swing slowly.
Also, ram them! They can’t Death or Glory (per the Walker rules) and so things like Deff Rollas or any high AV vehicle moving at a good clip will really do work on them.
With shooting, obviously you want to hit them from multiple angles. Make them choose where to put that shield and then hit them in a weak facing. At AV13/12/12 you can chip away at them with lots of weapons. Str7, 8+, even 6 on the sides and rear, to wear them down. In our games the Knights almost always die. Rarely have we had a game where even one survives.
In all, after a great deal of testing them out we are for sure letting them into our tournaments. They are a lot of fun to play with and against and while the first game against them may bring some shock and awe to the opposing player, simple tactics and a little list tweaking is all that is needed to counter them for pretty much any army. And, most importantly, they go by the rule of cool: they look AWESOME on the table!


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

28 Responses to “Don’t Fear the Knight”

  1. Avatar
    Tom March 27, 2014 4:02 pm #

    I know you guys play pretty cutthroat lists, do you think Knights have a place in a more casual meta?

    • Avatar
      MrMattyWoodz March 27, 2014 4:30 pm #

      I play in a very casual meta that only has about 12 players max. We have a player that allied in one night and it is fine, and more than fair. Wraith knights usually do the same amount of damage than it seems to do. That being said I haven’t played against more that 1 at once.

      • Reecius
        Reecius March 27, 2014 4:54 pm #

        We have found the same thing. They are about like a Wraithknight or Riptide. Better in some ways, worse in others. I think they are totally fine.

      • Reecius
        Reecius March 28, 2014 9:39 am #

        Even at 3 we have had no issues. We need to try 5, that will be the really telling part.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 27, 2014 4:50 pm #

      Yeah, totally. They are actually a lot of fun to play with and against!

  2. Avatar
    Ming March 27, 2014 5:39 pm #

    Nice article and I look forward to getting one!

  3. Avatar
    Conflagration March 27, 2014 9:24 pm #

    Ok how do you rule the D explosion from the knight? It say when it explodes place the blast over the model and then scatter. Now does that mean dead center of the model or can you place the blast anywhere on the model example the tip of the D blast is on the tip of the oval base so you can place the blast on units 4-5 inches out?

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 28, 2014 9:37 am #

      We center over his exact spot, then scatter.

  4. Avatar
    xTHExCLINCHERx March 28, 2014 3:33 am #

    Have you guys found the best way to maximize their output is to buff one with psychic powers, or to brute force take multiples? Seems like for 750 you could have 2 Knights, or one + some repair, Divination, and anti-podding behind it (etc.) support.. Have you compared the two play styles? If so, which has been more effective?

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 28, 2014 9:37 am #

      We have found that you can take a lot of support for the Knights even at 3. However, 2 is good as well. A lot of folks want them as scoring units, but they usually die so I don’t know if that is necessary.

  5. Avatar
    adam March 28, 2014 6:36 am #

    hey guys like the article, havnt actually played an imperial knight but my two cense is about when barrage hit, if the blast lands directly over any vehicle it always hits side armour as described in the BRB on page 34, hits that deviate off allocate the hit from the centre of the blast……hope this helps the bring them down faster!

  6. Avatar
    EvilLairChandler March 28, 2014 6:45 am #

    I’m interested to know how you guys are handling how techmarines can effect them. According to the brb FAQ a techmarine cannot repair a hull point on an allied vehicle, yet I keep hearing talk all over the webs about people running techmarines behind them to repair their lost hull points. Seems this is not possible. Thoughts?

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 28, 2014 9:34 am #

      It says friendly models which would include battle brothers in the codex though, which is more specific than the BRB FAQ.

  7. Avatar
    Cruzcontrol39 March 28, 2014 7:34 am #

    It’s just sad that they haven’t fleshed out the rules for this model… If they had I would have bought one…

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 28, 2014 9:07 am #

      Yeah, it is a bit crazy how many huge rules oversights there were in this book.

  8. Avatar
    iNcontroL March 28, 2014 8:40 am #

    one of the best looking models GW has ever made imo.. rules are pretty damn balanced and they are fun. REALLY happy with them. Good for fluff bunnies and OK for competition.. excited to see what they do at a tourney.

  9. Avatar
    Weidekuh March 28, 2014 1:39 pm #

    I actually think that the Wraithknight is more resilient than a Imperial Knight. It has an armor save, it should always have a cover save, it is faster and it never loses more than one hitpoint per wound (except instant death, but you should be able to very easely avoid those.)

    In our todays match the Imperial Knight was killed T1. 😛

    Also i find the template weapon underwhelming. If i have my units spread out, as it always should be, it doesn’t do a lot of damage. It’s Wounding 6 infantry with two templates is pretty weak (only AP 3). But it could be nice for instant deathing <T5 multiwound models.

  10. Avatar
    umbo March 29, 2014 2:33 am #

    Don’t fear the knight. Fear 3 knights.

    We have tested too and with good support like ig (sabers and thudds) and coteaz. They have won every game easily. list I could see giving it trouble is FMC spam. Drop pods won’t work if ig bubble wrap them and coteaz I’ve been expecting you with thudd guns….

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 29, 2014 9:28 am #

      That’s interesting. We have tried triple Knights in a ton of games so far and they have won about 50% of them, but every game was really close.

  11. Avatar
    Gregorius42 March 29, 2014 7:25 am #

    Played the army as pictured above at local GW as folks were theory hammering how well their armies would stand up to and crush the three knight list. I played Dark Eldar and set up some nerds with lots of terrain in front of my army and played regular moved through cover, no doubling.

    Coteaz went with the strike squad and they held their own for a while thanks to Precognition.

    The game changer was getting the Warlord Trait for Outflank and bringing the warlord and another knight off the left flank, as it was hammer and anvil the DE players super fast army was out of position and had to come into the open to head back and engage. Twin battle cannons on Raiders are pretty good.

    End result the DE had 4 models left and I had two Imperial Knights and collected 13 kill points to losing 5. The Knights are pretty good!

  12. Avatar
    Re dog March 30, 2014 7:10 am #

    Totally agree with all those rules but the stomping other units… I feel the knight can kick and splurge trough anything he wants thus going into other units…

  13. Avatar
    Re dog March 30, 2014 7:59 pm #

    I ve been play testing 5 knight errant list for crucible… At 1850… Took a beating against IG, barrage sucks, hell drakes are a problem, triple wraight knight plus telepathy is always a tough match… Any flyers.., but for the most part… It’s pretty solid

  14. Avatar
    Drachnyen January 27, 2016 9:13 am #


    I have two questions regarding #4

    “Can an Imperial Walker pivot in the shooting phase more than once to target different units? Yes. Nothing in the rules prevents this as a Knight can shoot multiple targets. However, it is left facing the last target it fires at.”

    It is not started anywhere that the torso can pivot.
    Also your #4 would make the torso become a “turret” which I doubt that it was designed this way. I originally thought Imperial Knights would follow regular walker rules for weapons. (45 degrees from weapons)

    How do you deal with shield facing? Does it follow the base or the new facing?

    Does this mean the torso can rotate during assault phase?


    • Reecius
      Reecius January 27, 2016 10:31 am #

      No, the torso can no longer pivot, this is a hangover rule a lot of people still get wrong as it used to be in the game. Also, this article was written in 2014, for the 6th ed ruleset.

      • Avatar
        Drachnyen January 27, 2016 12:22 pm #

        Ah! Makes sense!

        Thanks for the quick response.

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