Rise of the Knights


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.


About Reecius

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

21 Responses to “Rise of the Knights”

  1. Avatar
    Joshhodg August 13, 2014 12:33 am #

    I do ok with most of my armies but my Tyranids still can’t really do much without sacrificing most of my army in the process.

    • Avatar
      Simon August 13, 2014 1:33 am #

      Really? I find nids have no problem taking out knights!

      Hive crones and tyrants with wings will make little work of knights. Just overwhelm them by surrounding it and blast away at rear and side armour with haywire templates and S6 devourers.

      • Avatar
        Sockhands August 13, 2014 5:49 am #

        I’d have to agree with Simon here; last time my Nids went up against a Knight, I brought it down Turn 1. Granted, I got lucky, but the Hive Crone, EG Grubs on a Flyrant, and even the HVC of the Harpy made short work of it. Had I not gotten as lucky as I did, it still would have died nbd Turn 2.

        Also I think its explosion only took out 4 spawned Termagants.

        Can’t stress how amazing Electroshock Grubs are.

        • Avatar
          Simon August 13, 2014 6:48 am #

          It does make me wonder though, 7th edition nerfed nids into the ground. The book still kinda sucks and vehicles got a lot better – yet they still kinda kick ass…. I don’t understand- what is this magic!!!

          • Avatar
            Adam (Thediceabide.com) August 13, 2014 8:04 am

            Couldn’t have possibly been people over reacting to the new edition. 🙂

          • Avatar
            fleetofclaw August 13, 2014 8:44 am

            You’re right; the problem with Nids is not taking down 1 Knight; it’s taking down 2-3 Knights. Sure, egrubs, tentaclids, or BL devourers in the rear can chip away at a Knight (and who isn’t going to put their shield on their butt vs a Flyrant); but you’re investing way more points than the Knight costs to knock 1 out. Fortunately, Nids are usually point efficient enough to deal with 1 Knight and still tangle with the other elements of an opponent’s army.

            But throw 1 or 2 more Knights in the mix and the situation gets worse. You can’t use 3-5 FMC’s to take a couple turns per Knight to knock them down and expect to keep up; especially if they’ve brought flying elements to do work on your FMC’s while they’re busy running all over the table killing Knights. If 500-600++ of your points need to spend 2 turns dealing with 370-ish points of IK, that deficit of resource allocation will bite you.

      • Avatar
        Joshhodg August 13, 2014 1:21 pm #

        Guess that’s why I’m having trouble. I’m only taking 1 Hive Tyrant without Electroshock Grubs and no Hive Crones or Harpys.

        • Avatar
          Simon August 13, 2014 2:05 pm #

          Alot of people fight it, but they shouldn’t. just embrace the two Flyrant build : )

  2. Avatar
    chris August 13, 2014 2:05 am #

    Free tip.

    If assaulting knights, try to hit them in the side. The oval base makes you less likely to be hit by the explosion.

  3. Avatar
    bridges60 August 13, 2014 4:52 am #

    Melta my friends, melta every where….but seriously, in my last tournament i fought a dude with 3 knights (the formation) and a guy with 2 knights and 1 wraith knight…i had to get lucky to kill them all with my Night Lords CSM assault army. Thank you invisibile maulerfiends

    • Adam
      Adam (Thediceabide.com) August 13, 2014 8:08 am #

      Yeah, whenever I run my knight army I’m always surprised how easy they go down. Even a pocket melta bomb can make a huge difference in marine squads as it usually takes 2-3 rounds to wipe 10 out.

      The armies I’ve seen struggle the most with them are lists that haven’t been adapted to the new edition. If you can’t handle a Russ squad, you’re going to have a hard time against any super heavy, knight or not.

      • Avatar
        bridges60 August 13, 2014 1:23 pm #

        Yup Exactly, i have had no problem and frankly know i will be seeing at least a couple at each tournament. This is why i am bringing my Dark Eldar to this weekends tourney… My meta has had a ton of Knights pop up, so i think i am going to run a xouple 7man wtych squads with haywire grenades to make them think twice. lol

  4. Avatar
    Gwotaz August 13, 2014 5:38 am #

    Great to finally see some paint on those Knights 🙂 great looking FAT MAT, I am very happy with my Blast Zone one but that does look sweet.

  5. Avatar
    Justin August 13, 2014 5:47 am #

    I’ve played quite a few games with Knights, to include all Knight armies, and the most success people have had in taking them down has been through multiple attack angles.

    Some might say fliers, but surprisingly, fliers just haven’t really done much in games I’ve played; this is largely due to the absurd movement range that Knights have and how it kills the angles most flyers have to work with.

    And as posted above, a lot of it has to do with luck. Knights are friggin’ resilient, so making the right rolls will go a long way (yes, a very “duh” type of statement). And sometimes the Knights need luck too; ex: played an Eldar army, got a Knight into combat with an Avatar, only managed one hit, and rolled a ‘6’ to wound. Poof went the Avatar.

    The article does leave out the incredible new Knight formation; it makes them much more survivable in the early stages of the game since all initial shooting should be going towards one angle, and thus at the re-rollable ion shield save.

  6. Requizen
    Requizen August 13, 2014 8:17 am #

    Necrons in particular seem like the army that doesn’t care much about Knights. Gauss can glance them down, Wraiths can S6 Rending them down, Crytpeks have Haywire, Tesla Destructors on Anni Barges and Scythes can make short work of them, Warscythes mess them up bad (but of course, exploding), and Doom Scythes can laser them pretty hard.

    A rise in Knights means a rise in Necrons, or at least forces the Knight player to have their allies as more anti-Necron than not.

    • Avatar
      Km August 13, 2014 10:29 am #

      I’m surprised more imperial players aren’t using vindicares (with their 4d6 armour pen and low ap) as well to deal with them, but maybe thats just me!

  7. Avatar
    fluger August 13, 2014 8:31 am #

    Last tournament I played at was a 6th ed one and in my 5 games I played two lists with knights. One had 3 knights in it and the other just one, but it was also an eldar list with wave serpents.

    My IG was able to handle them more or less with melta guns, meltabombs on the sarges, and lascannons.

    • Avatar
      fleetofclaw August 13, 2014 8:50 am #

      Yeah most of the improvement Knights have seen is vs MC’s of any variety; between the Smash & Vector Stirke nerf and the damage table buff, MC’s will struggle while high strength firepower is still just fine.

  8. Avatar
    DCannon4Life August 14, 2014 6:04 am #

    I’ve played against IKnights three times; once vs. 3 @ 1500 points (I had two Wraith Knights so I can’t exactly cry, ‘Spam!’), once vs. 1 @ 1850 (he brought the new ‘character’ IKnight, I had two Wraith Knights), and once vs. 1 @ 2000 points (he also had a Storm Lord and that Dark Angels 4++ field generator thing). Overall I’m 2-1-0.

    I lost my first game because my Wraith Guard went Dodo on me (20 shots in two rounds of shooting and only 2 glances), but still managed to take out 2. The trick there was to be the one to make the assault using the Wraith Knight (5 S10 AP2 attacks on the charge). Of course, there were a couple of HP dinged off of the IKnights before I charged in. I did indeed lose one Wraith Knight to an explosion, but the other one survived long enough to at least get into CC with the 3rd IKnight (went two rounds before getting stomped–literally).

    I won the second game because Warp Spiders are silly. They deep struck right at the intersection between side/rear armor and then used Battle Focus to tra-la-la to rear armor. I had other threats as well, so he was hard pressed to decide where to put the Ion shield. At the bottom of turn two, he charged the spiders and died to Overwatch….

    I won the third game even though I lost my Wraith Knight early (only brought one). Outflanking S8 (Hornets with Pulse Lasers!) and S7 serpent shields chipped away at it for three turns. I even fed it a Hornet to draw it out in order to get some better angles.

    My point (if I have one) is that while short-range, high strength/low AP shooting is definitely effective, high-volume S7 (S6 in the rear) is also legitimate–particularly against a solitary IKnight.

  9. Avatar
    hambilton August 15, 2014 8:26 pm #

    What are your thoughts on the idea of the new knight titan with a vulcan mega bolter? I haven’t used one or seen one played before so I wasnt sure how it would do vs air units.

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