If you play this little game called Warhammer 40,000, you may have also born witness to the rise of a certain very cool model on tabletops near you! Whom am I talking about? None other than the Imperial Knight! Go to the Tactics Corner for more tactics articles!
From a purely aesthetic point of view, I understand the appeal. It is an awesome model. It is also extremely good on the tabletop! Fast, hard hitting, resilient, and good at range and in assault. You can’t ask for much more.
They were excellent in 6th, but in 7th a few key rules changes have elevated them to awesome status. For one, Vector Strike took a hit. That was the easiest way to dispatch Knights as it kept you safe from them exploding when dying, and Knights have little to nothing to deal with aerial threats. Now that that has largely been mitigated by the nerf to Vector Strike, a major threat to Knights has been eliminated.
The second big change was the nerf to Smash. MCs would often swing before Knights, and with the ability to Smash up to strength 10 with Sunder and at least AP2, Knights could be brought down quite readily by MCs. However, that is now a much less severe threat, too.
As a result, we have a meta at present where Knights are coming into what is likely to be the apex of their power. We are seeing them all over the place in tournaments and for the reasons stated above, a lot of players are looking forward to trying them out.
How to take Knights down is a question we get a lot at Frontline Gaming. And while there are a number of different ways to do it depending on your army, a few still stand out. For two, vector strikes and smash attacks. But, wasn’t I just saying those aren’t so good? Yeah, they did get a nerf, but they still work. The ket now is to do this in conjunction with other attacks to take the Knights down.
Haywire attacks are great. Necrons and Dark Eldar really pack these in, but other armies have this ability in their lists as well. Also, the old trusty Melta weapons are still fantastic for taking down armor. High volume, high strength shooting is also effective. Missilesides can gun a Knight down head on, even through the Ion Shield, particularly with Marker Light support and/or Tank Hunters.
Assault can do it, although it comes at a risk. D attacks have been mercifully toned down, but Stomps are still brutal. Plus, the explosion that comes with a Knight biting the big one is brutal. But, if you army has the tools to take on Knights in assault, that is a risk you have to take. Just try to set yourself up to trade a cheaper squad for the Knights if you can manage that.
Also, as always, set up cross-fires. Force the Knight player to choose where to put that shield but give him no good options. Meltas in the front and on a flank or in the rear, will take a nasty chunk out of a Knight.
In the end, the big guys are good but not unstoppable. Be sure to have a plan for dealing with them though, or you will get blindsided by the big bruisers and left wishing you had better prepared yourself.