Updated Imperial Knight Review and Tactics, Part 1

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Hey everyone, this is Adam from TheDiceAbide.com, I thought I’d share a little article I wrote with you guys over on Frontline Gaming.   A lot as changed for the Imperial Knights since they came out and that pretty much means any review you can find on them is woefully out of date!  So because of that, I’ve taken up the mantle of writing an updated review and tactics, with 200% more knights and 100% more detachments. As always check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews.

As of publishing this article, the Imperial Knight army now has the following at it’s disposal:

  • Imperial Knight Paladin
  • Imperial Knight Errant
  • Gerantius
  • Cerastus Knight Lancer
  • Cerastus Knight Castigator
  • Questoris Knight Magaera (Experimental)
  • Adamantine Lance Formation

That’s come a long way from the army of only 2 models we had at release! With all these options, it’s really important to understand what each one brings to the table, and what differentiates them from the other variants.

Knights in General

Right, so what exactly is a Knight? Imperial Knights are the smallest super-heavy walkers in the game, each (so far) with 6 Hull Points, AV 13/12/12, and an Ion Shield. The Ion Shield for those who don’t know, allows the Knight to pick a facing (front, left, right, rear) at the beginning of each shooting phase, and any shots originating from that facing will have a 4+ invulnerable save. That basically means that if you want to reliably kill a Knight Titan, you need to offer threats from multiple facings. Aside from durability, a Knight, like other super heavy walkers move 12″ a turn and can stomp stuff in combat. Each one is a bit of a swiss army knife, it’s just up to you if you want the corkscrew or the phillips head screw driver.


Imperial Knight Paladin


The Paladin is pretty much the “generic” knight, with a mighty rapid fire battle cannon, plus reaper chainsword and two Heavy Stubbers. If you’re not sure which knight you want in your army, the Knight Paladin is never a bad choice. Like you’ll discover with each knight though, it’s not without it’s limitations.

I recently discovered how difficult it is for Knights to handle a plethora of Rhinos. Due to it’s AP 3, the rapid-fire battle cannon is incapable of killing a non-open topped vehicle in one volley, meaning if your opponent is meched up, you need to come up with another solution for opening cans. Sure, a Knight can easily pop them in combat, but now you’re spending 375 points to kill 35 point metal boxes. Against infantry hordes however, tossing two battle cannon shots around can make short work of anything less resilient than terminators.

Another fringe benefit that the Paladin brings is that it has two heavy stubbers. That might not seem like a lot, because what is 6 bolter shots going to do? The big deal is that it means you can fire your rapid fire battle cannon at one target and a stubber at two other targets, giving you 3 potential units to charge in the assault phase. That means if you obliterate 2 of your targets with the knights battle cannon or other units shooting, you still have a 3rd option you can go after.

Imperial Knight Errant


The second “generic” knight variant is the Errant. Like the Paladin, it’s equipped with a Reaper Chainsword, meaning it’s melee attacks are Destroyers, but it sacrifices the Rapid Fire Battle Cannon for a Thermal Cannon. This gun is beastly, a 36″ range S9 Ap1 Large Blast, Melta weapon, any armour it hits within 18″ is rolling 2D6+9 for armour penetration! The Errant serves two purposes, it’s great at killing things like Meganobz at range, which can really devastate a knight in combat, additionally, unlike the Paladin, it can actually kill a transport vehicle in a single volley. Since rolling a 5+ on the vehicle damage chart isn’t exactly reliable, it’s also fortunate that it comes armed with a heavy stubber so that you can shoot a back up target to charge in the assault phase. It’s a good second knight that fills some gaps that the Paladin leaves open, if you’re taking a single knight titan, unless you really need the AP2, I’d probably stick with the Paladin.



A whopping 500 point knight Errant. For that extra 130 points you get a Knight Errant that’s always a Seneschal (+1WS/BS, 3+ Ion shield), though cannot have a Warlord Trait. He also gains It Will Not Die, can run and shoot and re-roll’s 1 on the stomp table. That all sounds great, but when you realize that it’s an extra 130 points, I really can’t justify him… I’d like to, but I can’t. IWND isn’t reliable enough, the 3++ shield just means that the one side you’re already defending is slightly more defended (and people will just shoot at 2 sides like they already do), re-rolling 1’s on the stomp isn’t mind blowing and an extra D6″ of movement (but you still can’t charge) isn’t blowing my mind.

EDIT: After writing this, I think I came up with the only way I’d consider using Gerantius, and that is with 2 other knights, which would allow me to make another one warlord, giving me 2 Seneschals.  It’s still a bit expensive, but it distributes the cost and having 2 Seneschals is pretty dirty.

Cerastus Knight Lancer


The first of the knights released by Forge World, the Cerastus Knight-Lancer is a dedicated combat knight. It’s a bit more expensive than the Paladin, but it’s considerably different. It’s Ion Shield cannot be used to the rear, which is really rough against Drop Pod space marines, but in combat it gives the Lancer a 5++ and if fighting an enemy super heavy, it is -1 to be hit. It’s gun is fairly lack lustre (18″ S7 Ap2 Heavy 6, Concussive), and without a stubber, it means you have to charge whatever you shoot that at. Finally, the Cerastus frame knights can run 3D6″.

While the Lancer looks awesome, I really struggle to find a place for it. In combat, it has one more attack than a Paladin, but it’s a destroyer weapon still the same, either one will still kill just about any single model it fights. While it can run faster, it cannot charge after running it’s 3D6″, and since it has to charge what it shoots, if you want to kill infantry, you risk it’s gun shooting you out of charge range. Ultimately, it is better at killing enemy super heavies than a Paladin or Errant, but for how many points it is, it’s a bit over specialized for my taste.

One last thing to note, unlike the Paladin or Errant, it can be used as a Lord of War in any Imperial Army, which at least means you can take it without taking a Knight Detachment.

You can download the Cerastus Knight-Lancer’s rules from Forge World.

Cerastus Knight Castigator


Hands down, my favorite Forge World knight so far is the Castigator. Like the Knight-Lancer, it is a Cerastus chassis, which lets it run 3D6″ and has an extra attack as well. What really differentiates it is it’s main gun, the twin-linked Castigator pattern bolt cannon. This beefy gun does something that I mentioned is a bit of a problem for most knights, it kills transports dead. With 8 twin-linked S7 Ap3 shots, it’s like firing 4 autocannons into a vehicle, so metal boxes are far less of an issue with it around.

In combat it’s very different than every other knight so far, mostly due to it’s total lack of a Destroyer weapon. In exchange though, it has the Tempest warblade, which gives it two special methods of attacking. When you make normal attacks with it, any unsaved wounds you inflict will cause an additional automatic hit with the profile of the weapon (S10 AP2), so if you’re fighting a single monster with your 4 attacks, you could potentially cause 8 S10 Ap2 hits on it. The second way of attacking is the Tempest Attack, which allows it to cause a single S10 Ap2 hit on every model in base contact at Initiative 2, though unfortunately it doesn’t stack with the ability that also causes additional hits.  Couple this with the knights normal stomp attacks and you actually have a titan that doesn’t mind getting in combat with hordes, though personally I’d still avoid that to keep it popping a transport a turn.

EDIT: Turns out that FW intended Deflagerate to stack with Tempest, the “Normal” in the Deflagerate rules is just a hold over from the 30k rules, which is where Deflagerate is copy/pasted from (see Volkite weapons).  That changes a ton right there!  Now if you’re in B2B with 10 models, you could potentially kill 20!  The Castigator is the perfect second knight, basically being the polar opposite of the Paladin.  At range it can kill single models and in combat it kills hordes.

The downside to all of this is much like the Lancer, by lacking a heavy stubber, it’s required to charge what it shoots at, which with 8 twin-linked shots, can easily mean you are not in range to charge after unleashing it’s weaponry.

Also like the Lancer, it can be used as a Lord of War in any Imperial Army, which at least means you can take it without taking a Knight Detachment.

You can download the Cerastus Knight-Castigator’s rules from Forge World.

Questoris Knight Magaera


The newest kid on the block is the Questoris Knight Magaera, and unfortunately it’s the only knight that I think falls totally flat on it’s face. It has a massive price tag (20-45 points more than a Paladin) and for that you get a tiny bit more survivability, and a significantly worse gun. The Ionic Flare Shield gives it some additional protection to the side it’s already protecting with it’s shield, which is amazing if your enemy is only in your front arc, but against more mobile foes, it’s really a bit redundant.  To add a tiny bit more to survivability, it has the Blessed Autosimulacra, which is essentially IWND that only works on a 6.

It’s gun sacrifices a shot and a point of strength to gain rending and shred… which again on a S7 Ap3 weapon really isn’t gaining much.  Finally, for 25 points it can get a flamer that’s S2, Fleshbane, and twin-linked (kind of silly with Fleshbane) that permanently reduces the toughness of whatever model you shoot with it.  Since it’s effect works on “models” and not “units” it means that you’ll only be able to reduce the toughness of multi-wound models, provided they fail any saves they may have (AP5 is really not helping here).

I really wish I had more positive things to say about this knight, but aside from looking awesome, it really doesn’t bring anything to the table that you can’t get elsewhere in the army for cheaper.  Like all the other FW knights, it can be taken as a Lord of War, but I’m not sure I’d even consider it then.

The Magaera’s experimental rules can also be downloaded from Forge World.


Adamantine Lance Formation

One of the most interesting options that has become available to Imperial Knight players is the Adamantine Lance Formation.  This Formation is made up of 3 Imperial Knights (Paladins and Errants only), and they get a really brutal set of special rules.  While they’re within 3″ of another knight in the same formation, they are allowed to re-roll their failed Ion Shield saves, re-roll failed charges, and cause D3 Hammer of Wrath hits when they do charge.  Since you’re running 3 Knights, you can also nominate a Knight to be warlord as per the rules in the Imperial Knights codex.  If you’re running 3 Imperial Knights and not using any of the special Forge World variants, there’s absolutely no reason to not take the Adamantine Lance.  That said though, there may be some value in using some of the variants instead, but I’ll go over that in a later article.

Next article probably will be less long winded, but I’ll be going over some core Imperial Knight armies and what to think about when making an army built around at least 3 Imperial Knights.


About Adam

Cofounder of RUMBL – player finder for Miniatures Wargames. I also run a little blog called TheDiceAbide, check it out.

43 Responses to “Updated Imperial Knight Review and Tactics, Part 1”

  1. Leth September 24, 2014 2:51 am #

    Where did you get that it is supposed to stack with the tempest attack?

    I have one on the way and if so that is HUGE

    • Leth September 24, 2014 2:52 am #

      For the Castigator

      • Pascal Roggen September 24, 2014 4:32 am #

        from emailing forge world to be sure, the deflag rule is a copy paste job and is designed for shooting weapons. when you read it in the context of it’s 30k roots it’s easy to see the confusion

    • Adam
      Adam September 24, 2014 8:31 am #

      Yeah, I emailed FW after Pascal did, and like he says, the “normal” usage in the deflagerate rule was just copy pasta, it wasn’t intended to interact with the usage of the word “normal” in the Tempest attack. I even explained in my email to them why I think it wouldn’t work and they just said: “Hi, Thank you for your email. The Knight Castigator can make its Tempest attack and use Deflagrate at the same time.”

  2. Superunknown September 24, 2014 3:42 am #

    Knights are Superheavies, did they change the rule where superheavies can shoot one target and charge another?

    • Leth September 24, 2014 4:22 am #

      Its not in the rules anymore, but you can charge any target that you shot.

    • Hulksmash September 24, 2014 4:28 am #

      That rule isn’t in the Rulebook under super heavy walkers or gargantuan creatures. Looks like they removed it.

      • Morollan September 24, 2014 7:36 am #

        You can fire each weapon at a different target and therefore any of your targets are valid to declare a charge against.

    • Adam
      Adam September 24, 2014 8:34 am #

      Unfortunately that rule has actually been gone for quite some time, it was removed in the latest edition of Apocalypse, long before Escalation and 7th edition. Similarly, they got rid of the rules that allow walkers to disengage from combat, so it’s entirely possible this edition that a big unit of grots could effectively take a Reaver titan out of the game.

  3. ZeroWolf September 24, 2014 5:57 am #

    Really interesting article! Thank you.

  4. Cuddles September 24, 2014 7:52 am #

    Imperial Knights Tacticia: Take 1-5, but try for 3 so that you can make an already cheesy model even better. On the battlefield, march forward, shoot stuff, assault stuff, and put up shields where you are about to get shot.

    In case of lack of skill, break glass and remove imperial knight.

    • Jural September 24, 2014 8:38 am #

      They are definitely a rock to some other scissors… especially if a player isn’t prepared to face super heavies. The guy who bought his Ultramarine army in 2001 and has handpainted every miniature and hasn’t updated it since his purchase hates the Imperial Knight most of all 😉

  5. Jural September 24, 2014 8:41 am #

    And of course they pair so well with Tyranid, for the sterotypical “‘Nids and ‘Nights” lists…

    But to be honest, I don’t think there are many lists in the game that wouldn’t benefit by shoehorning a Knight in. They are fast, versatile, and surviveable. And unlike some LoW, A single one wont’ win you the game all on it’s own, typically.

  6. Slaede September 24, 2014 8:55 am #

    Since the adamantine lance formation is going to be everywhere going forward, has consideration been given to changing the rule you guys made that doubles their move through cover roll? It would be nice if there were a drawback to taking these things.

    • Adam
      Adam September 24, 2014 3:47 pm #

      The problem is that RAW, you can argue that they always move 12″ with no reduction, or at best they’re slowed to a half speed if they even consider moving over some barbed wire.

      Since nothing else in the game is forced to move slower than it’s max with the best difficult terrain roll you can get, I think it’s safe to assume they intended that they’re not slowed at all. But since that is unclear, the difficult terrain x2 seems like a decent compromise.

      There are drawbacks to the Adamantine lance, you lose most of your maneuverability, end up striking a single place, and are often unable to diversify your threat angles, making it far easier for your opponent to shoot at you from different sides.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 24, 2014 4:11 pm #

      I honestly don’t like the Adamantine Lance after using it at NOVA, I wouldn’t play it again. I think it is too one dimensional. I would take a single Knight in a list, now.

  7. Reecius
    Reecius September 24, 2014 9:05 am #

    Vince had a great idea to run an Anti-Knight article, for counter tactics. Might have to make that happen!

    • DCannon4Life September 24, 2014 10:16 am #

      I’ve played against IKnights a few times now (maintaining a plus score!). Those experiences and the occasional encounter with a Lord of War have had the most significant impact on my list (1850) and my strategy/tactics of anything since I returned to the game at the beginning of 6th.

      Knights can be beaten (it’s been done plenty of times). Collecting the various ways to do that into one article would be great. Please do make it happen.

      • bigpig September 24, 2014 10:48 am #

        More specifically, anti knight in a take all comers list and noting that some armies can’t field a mess of melta gun. Many of the anti knight strategies I hear from people are consider that they KNOW they are facing one or more in the enemy army. In a multi round competitive event, you may face one, many, or none.

        • DCannon4Life September 24, 2014 10:56 am #

          For sure! My list has been stable (with minor adjustments to weapon loadouts) for a few months now. I run 4 Wave Serpents, one of which has Bright Lances. I run 1 Wraith Knight with a Sun Cannon. I’m not beating IKnights with spam and I’m not so narrowly focused (specialized) that I can’t beat a horde list.

        • Jural September 24, 2014 11:42 am #

          How about anti Knights for Nids? Unless Hierodules or Harridans are allowed, you are in trouble (although I did once have twin Warp Blast Tyrants flying around… that works 😉

          I find I can handle one, but at 2 (or 1 Knight + one super heavy), it is all over quick.

          • dr.insanotron September 24, 2014 4:15 pm

            Flying Tyrants with warp blast and electro grub beetles are your best bet

      • Jural September 24, 2014 11:39 am #

        Unlike a lot of lists (Seer Council, Flying Circus, Drop Pods, marine bikes), you really can’t beat Knights if you aren’t prepared.

        A lot of those other lists you may be in trouble if you don’t game especially for them, but with tactics, the right mission, etc, you have a chance.

        With Knights (really most LoW), if you build your list not thinking about them, you can be in for a quick defeat with near certainty

        • Adam
          Adam September 24, 2014 3:39 pm #

          I play almost entirely against take-all-comers lists, not specifically prepared to fight against 3 knights, but I have yet to come across an army that couldn’t handle it.

          If you build your army where you can’t damage AV13/12 vehicles, then you’ve got a lot more issues than just knights.

          • bigpig September 24, 2014 10:03 pm

            …but up to 36 hull points of AV13/12? (18 twice due to Ion Shield) That’s a bit different. Even 18 hull points of AV13/12 can be tough for a lot of TAC lists that some armies field. That’s why 3 Knights can be very rock/paper/scissors.

          • Jural September 25, 2014 12:24 pm

            I think bugs have a particular problem as only Carnifexes in melee and Zoanthropes with Warp lance reliably remove HP.

            When the IK get to two, you get run down in melee more often than not.

  8. iNcontroL September 24, 2014 9:46 am #

    well said adam! I am a forever nid player but the knights are tickling my fancy for a 5 model secondary army 🙂

    • Adam
      Adam September 24, 2014 10:34 am #

      Well maybe we’ll have to try out your nids vs my knights next time… You might be disappointed that my army is 11 models though, far too many for a proper knight army.

      • Jural September 24, 2014 11:45 am #

        11 models? What do you run the Knights with, if you don’t mind my asking?

        • Adam
          Adam September 24, 2014 3:40 pm #

          Lately it’s been IK + GK, though I usually run them with Militarum Tempestus (which is more than 11 models).

    • Jural September 24, 2014 11:43 am #

      It sounds like you are tempted by the Knights and Nids team up, but it is lingering in your subconscious… come to the dark side iNcontroL…. search your feelings…

  9. Steve September 24, 2014 1:41 pm #

    Was there ever a ruling on how knights defend against barrage weapons?

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 24, 2014 3:12 pm #

      No, but the commonly accepted ruling is that they do not get their Ion shield save.

  10. Hotsauceman1 September 24, 2014 1:48 pm #

    I have to disagree with your sentiment on the Magera.
    It is a knight on crack. It can have 3 weapons that are pretty brutal. It is easily converted from a regular one(Seriously make the weapon. And your good) and it is a LOW meaning you can take that, a CAD and a Ally

    • Adam
      Adam September 24, 2014 3:44 pm #

      If you’re taking a knight as a LoW, the Castigator or Lancer are far better options. It’s “brutal” guns are actually pretty pathetic. It’s main gun is half as effective as a Paladin’s gun, and the Fusil, while good, is a far cry from making that knight worth 395 points, if anything, it’s more likely to shoot you out of charge range than the Paladin’s stubber. If you do go with 3 weapons, then you’re talking 420 points for an AP5 flamer that wounds on 2’s? The toughness reduction is almost pointless as it affects wounded models, not units, and you can’t even overwatch with it.

      I really want to like it, but I see no good reason to take it, other than asthetics or theme.

  11. Black Blow Fly September 24, 2014 4:16 pm #

    Against barrage it hits side armor so 50 percent chance to ignore ion shield. Manticores will shred them.

  12. jy2
    jy2 September 24, 2014 9:41 pm #

    I am actually currently writing an article Tyranids versus Imperial Knights.

    • bigpig September 24, 2014 10:05 pm #

      Make sure it’s from a take all comers approach or at least designing a competitive list that can handle the odd knight but isn’t so unbalanced it struggles against other opponents. For me, I find the commonly run twin dakka flyrants to be pretty effective against a single.

      • jy2
        jy2 September 25, 2014 6:25 am #

        Don’t worry. It’ll be good. BTW, I always take a look at a challenge from a Take-All-Comer’s perspective. Basically, any army I look at needs to be able to deal with all the other tournament armies as best as they can in addition to Adlance knights.

        • bigpig September 25, 2014 9:53 am #

          Figured it would be. I just wanted to feel like I was involved in the conversation 🙂

  13. Julio Rodriguez September 26, 2014 4:49 am #

    Winning against 5 Iknights at the BAO was super fun with Marines. After taking out 1 for 1st Blood and then taking out his Warlord later in the game made me able to control the board. He had a really hard time popping my tanks in the shooting phase and it allowed my guys inside to survive to take all the objs at the end of the game. Knights need very good back up inmy opinion. I’d run just 1 or 2.

  14. charley November 14, 2014 8:51 am #

    Ive been running knights since they first arrived, my introduction to the 40k universe was adeptus mechanicus and since then big robots have always been top. Anyway, the mech variant has a place cos the model is cool, lancers and the massive bolter variants are MUCH needed anti air. Not a fan of the formation as keeping those explosions close together can leed to twenty minute games. Moddled the pilots out of IG new vet box but cant work out how I cam ever use them. Btw tho does killing a low give another vp in brb games. I had a great weekend playing waaaaagh council but wasnt sure gaz is another vp or not.

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