Imperial Knights 7e: Making A Knight-Primary Army


Hey guys, it’s Adam from The Dice Abide. If you’ve been keeping up over on my site, I’ve covered both the units and the formations of the Imperial Knights, now it’s time to put it all together. When you’re making an Imperial Knight primary army, right off the bat you know you’re going to be running at least 3 Imperial Knights, which is also going to typically take up over 50% of the points you have for an army anyhow. Because of this, the Knights that you pick are critical to your list.

Covering Your Bases

First up, it’s good to have an idea of what Knights are useful in what roles. If you take 2 or 3 of the same Knight, you’re going to end up making your army very strong at one task, and probably pretty weak at another. Personally, I prefer to run 3 different knights with as few overlapping roles as possible.

This table pretty much represents what knights I consider for engaging what targets at range, in an ideal situation, where there are multiple targets of the same threat value. Obviously, if I’m facing an immediate threat, I may be forced to use a Knight against a less than ideal target, but them’s the breaks.

Name Light Armour

(AV 10-12)

Heavy Armour

(AV 13+)

Light Infantry


Medium Infantry


Heavy Infantry




Errant Maybe Yes No Maybe Yes No
Paladin Maybe Maybe Yes Yes No Yes
Warden Yes Maybe Yes Yes Maybe Yes
Crusader Yes w/Thermal w/RFBC Yes w/Thermal Yes
Gallant No No No No No No
Lancer Maybe No No Maybe Yes Yes
Castigator Yes No Maybe Yes No Maybe
Acheron No No Yes Yes No No
Magaera Maybe No Maybe Yes Maybe No
Carapace Weapons
Stormspear Rockets Yes  Maybe No Yes No Yes
Ironstorm Missile Pod  No No Yes Maybe No No


When making a list, I try to get at least two “Yes” or “Maybe” in each column, which the Crusader pretty much handles on it’s own with it’s versatility, though making sure it’s backup can cover Melee is critical as it’s not that spectacular compared to the other Knights against many combat threats. Stormspear rockets and Ironstorm missile pods can be helpful in shoring up a weakness, but are by no means should be your only “yes” in the column. Stormspear rockets in particular deserve some special attention, as they really make a huge difference, for 40 points, giving your knight 3 extra S8 chances to bust open transports is a big deal, as transports typically do an amazing job of making Imperial Knights firepower inefficient since they force you to fire at a cheap vehicle instead of a more valuable unit inside.

Anti-air is something that no Imperial Knights do well, even with the twin-Icarus autocannon, it’s typically best left to allies. In a pinch though, the Stormspear Rockets can be enough of a threat to at least make an an enemy flyer jink.

In close combat, they’re all relatively similar, except for the Castigator and the Crusader. Any knight with a destroyer attack is fine in combat against vehicles of any armour, medium and heavy infantry, as well as monstrous creatures. The Castigator is best used against infantry in melee and will have a hard time killing heavily armoured vehicles in combat, as well as Monstrous Creatures, where combat is best left to a unit with a destroyer weapon. When facing these units in combat, it’s important to be aware of the threats, units like Meganobz, which all are capable of putting some hurt on Knights should be avoided in melee unless there are only a couple models left alive in the unit. When facing enemies wielding Destroyer melee weapons, do not charge them if you aren’t going to be going first. Instead, position yourself to receive the charge where the enemy will be forced to charge you through cover, as it currently stands, nothing that has a Destroyer melee weapon has assault grenades.

Combinations I particularly like are:

  • Errant, Crusader (with Rapid Fire Battle Cannon) and Castigator is my favorite combo right now. This provides me with ample anti-transport firepower between the Crusader and Castigator. Decent anti-TEQ with the Errant and Crusader, and anti-horde with the Crusader and Castigator. I have a Destroyer weapon on the Errant when things need to get dirty, and I have the Tempest Attack from the Castigator when I’m ankle deep in Orks.
  • Double Crusaders and a Warden, which provides a crap ton of fire power, 36 S6 AP3 shots a turn, plus 4 Battle Cannons, and has the Warden with Meltagun and Stormspear to counter attack against any big threats marching in. Alternatively, to save a few points, you can downgrade the Warden to a Gallant.
  • Warden, Paladin and Acheron, which lacks AP2 ranged, but it keeps all of them with Destroyer weapons and should be able to thin out most hordes before you engage them.
  • Warden, Crusader, Castigator, like the double Crusaders above, with a lot of mid-strength firepower, but also keeps the Tempest attack in case any big hordes manage to make it across the board (like big mobs of Stormboyz).

What Formation?

When you’re making a 3-knight list, with more than just Gallants, and intend your Warlord to be an Imperial Knight, there are only a few options:

  • Household Detachment – The default detachment, your warlord gets a stat boost and all your Knights gain Objective Secured, unless you have a specific reason to use another formation, this is always my choice. Scoring objectives is something that Imperial Knights usually suffer with, so this is a great boost.
  • Baronial Court – If you’re using a lot of Wardens, Crusaders, Castigators and Acheron, then this formation isn’t bad. Overwatch is a fun trick that can really catch people off guard, but most enemies that want to assault a Knight aren’t afraid of a few bolter shots, and you can’t overwatch with a Thermal Cannon anyhow. Alternatively, if you’re using 3 Knights that are going to sit in the back field, like the Double Crusader + Warden suggestion above, and facing an enemy that isn’t super maneuverable, then the 3+ front facing Ion Shields can be really awesome.
  • Triparte Lance – This requires that you use a very specific set of Knights, which I don’t think compliment each other very well, especially all a part of the same unit. Maybe for fun, not sure I’d do this competitively.
  • Skyreaper Lance – Maybe if you’re facing a lot of Stormtalons in your meta?

What do I look for in an Ally?

Knights do a few things very well, and many things quite poorly. They’re generally quite good at killing MEQ units, and killing Vehicles and Monsters in Melee. They struggle greatly with scoring objectives, as they typically create a low model count army, flyers can be an issue (especially Flying Hive Tyrants), and if left unchecked, Hordes are a total nightmare in combat, especially if they’re fearless, stubborn, or get Feel No Pain (on T4 models obviously). If your army lacks Wardens, Crusaders or Castigators, transports can also be surprisingly obnoxious, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having to put multiple Knights of firepower into killing a single Rhino.




Put it All Together

Here are a few lists that I like and why. They try to cover all the bases illustrated above, while also being fun and interesting to play. You’ll notice that I stick to Imperial Allies, which is mostly due to how my collection is structured, and because I can’t be bothered to keep track of what non-Battle Brother allies are up to.

Knights of the Damned

Household Detachment

  • Errant: Sanctuary, Meltagun, Stormspear rockets, Warlord: 430
  • Crusader: Rapid Fire Battle Cannon, Stormspear rockets: 470
  • Castigator: 380

Legion of the Damned Detachment

  • 7 Legion of the Damned: Plasma gun, multi-melta, Sergeant with combi-grav: 210
  • 6 Legion of the Damned: Meltagun, multi-melta, Sergeant with combi-grav: 180
  • 6 Legion of the Damned: Meltagun, multi-melta, Sergeant with combi-grav: 180

Total: 1850

This list forsakes Anti-air, with the exception of the token support from the Stormspear Rockets, hopefully being enough to make enemy Flyrants jink. On the flip side, everything is incredibly hard hitting, the Legion of the Damned are able to hold cross-field objectives quite well, while simultaneously opening up transports for the Knights, or alternatively, deliver a powerful punch against enemy super-heavies and gargantuan creatures which may be lurking in cover.

Tech Knights

Household Detachment

  • Errant: Sanctuary, Meltagun, Stormspear rockets, Warlord: 430
  • Crusader: Rapid Fire Battle Cannon, Stormspear rockets: 470
  • Castigator: 380

Skitarii Maniple

  • 10 Skitarii Vanguard: 3 Arc rifles, omnispex, Alpha with Phosphor Blast Pistol : 160
  • 10 Skitarii Vanguard: 3 Arc rifles, omnispex, Alpha with Phosphor Blast Pistol : 160
  • Onager Dunewalker: Icarus Array: 125
  • Onager Dunewalker: Icarus Array: 125

Total: 1850

The Vanguard provide some serious anti-transport capability, as well as the ability to shred hordes of infantry with their radium carbines, while the phosphor blast pistols can help the Knights make long charges, propelling them across the field even faster. The two individual Onagers provide some serious anti-air capability.


Mantis Knights

Household Detachment

  • Errant: Sanctuary, Meltagun, Stormspear rockets, Warlord: 430
  • Crusader: Rapid Fire Battle Cannon, Ironstorm missile pod: 470
  • Castigator: 380

Allied Detachment (Space Marines, Mantis Warriors)

  • Librarian: Level 1, grav-pistol, meltabombs: 85
  • 6 Tactical Marines: grav-gun, in Drop Pod: 134
  • 6 Tactical Marines: grav-gun, in Drop Pod: 134
  • Stormtalon Gunship: Skyhammer missile launcher: 125
  • Deathstorm Drop Pod: Whirlwind launchers, Drop Pod assault: 100

Total: 1848

A much more traditional list, the Space Marines provide 4 additional objective secured units, and the Mantis Warriors Librarian is able to roll on Divination, meaning Prescience on a Crusader. The grav weapons sprinkled through the marines allow them to concuss any potentially dangerous Monstrous and Gargantuan creatures which your Knight may be charging into (good night Wraith Knight), while the Deathstorm can be delivered turn 1 to obliterate enemy hordes, or kept in reserve long enough for the Crusader and Castigator to bust open a few transports before the Deathstorm lands and wrecks what was inside. This list may benefit more from the Baronial Court instead of the Household Detachment as it already has sources of Objective Secured.

marine pics 1-31-13 011

Bring all the Knights!

Exalted/Baronial Court

  • Crusader: Rapid fire battle cannon, Warlord: 430
  • Warden: Meltagun: 380
  • Gallant: Meltagun: 330
  • Gallant: Meltagun: 330
  • Castigator: 380

Total: 1850

It had to be done, right? 5 Knights, with a variety of Firepower. It should be able to pop open some transports before the might of the Gallants is rained down on the occupants. Overall though I don’t think 5-Knight armies will ever be that great… but they’d be fun as hell to bring!

imperial knights

Pascal’s lovely knights


What About Xenos?


There are thousands of permutations of list that can be made in the game, especially once you open up the seemingly infinite combination of allies. As far as Xenos goes, I can’t think of an army that compliments Knights more than Eldar. They give you good, fast, cheap scoring units, capable of thinning out hordes of infantry, as well as solid anti-air, and with both of these, Imperial Knights become an absolutely disgusting army to face. You might also be able to make a solid army with Necrons, as they have very robust units and quite capable anti-air through Night Scythes. If you have any exciting Knight + Xenos combo’s that you’ve tried, please share them in the comments!

Now that I’ve literally written over 7 typed pages on the subject, I think it’s time to put down the computer and see what the outside world looks like!


About Adam

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

29 Responses to “Imperial Knights 7e: Making A Knight-Primary Army”

  1. Klr May 31, 2015 12:41 am #

    Great article. I think the best knight formation still is the ad.lance.

    And as you say – best ally is eldar. Fast ob.sec bikes for the win.

    • Adam ( May 31, 2015 6:58 am #

      Thanks! Though I totally disagree about Ad Lance. It’s restricted to Paladins and Errants, plus cannot have your warlord in it (unless there are no characters in the army). 🙂

      • AbusePuppy May 31, 2015 9:44 pm #

        I dunno, I think you can still make a strong argument for it- rerolling Ion in any direction is clearly better than +1 Ion on the front only, and while you can’t put your warlord in it, that’s actually not a huge issue. Not being able to take Acherons/Wardens is unfortunate, but you do still have all the usual options at leastand the bonuses are VERY strong.

        If you were running a full five Knights, I think you could argue against the AdLance (since the bonuses there are a lot higher), but if someone held a gun to my head I’d still say AdLance is the best of the detachment options because it’s still the one that is most likely to keep your Knights alive.

        • greggles June 1, 2015 5:51 am #

          In actual practice, It always seems that ad lance is a trap for those who want to shoe in knights into their list. They bunch all the knights together, in that 6 inch little bubble. One knight blows up, scatters onto the other two, blowing a second one up, which sometimes can blow up the third.

          It goes bad really fast, and it’s partially due to the players just adding the knights in because the internet said they were awesome, and partially because being in that tiny 6 inch range means the chance that D will scatter on you is much higher.

          The best use I’ve seen using ad lance involves separating them out, so at least one knight isn’t getting the buff at all. In that situation, I feel some of the other lances might be a better choice.

          • Adam ( June 1, 2015 6:24 am

            Precisely, bunching them up makes it far easier for smart opponents to be in multiple flanks of multiple Knights, which is pretty much a death sentence regardless of where your shields are pointed.

          • AbusePuppy June 1, 2015 9:45 am

            In that sense, though, multiple Knights are just as much of a trap, and in order to get any benefits from the Court you have to keep them near each other just like the AdLance, so same problem there.

            Playing AdLance isn’t just “durr stand close get buff win games,” you HAVE to know when to separate and when to stick together. It’s like any other list in that way- bad players will make mistakes and lose with it.

            (With all of that said, I don’t think AdLance- or any other multiple-Knight army- is particularly competitive under ITC rules anymore, but I do feel it is the best of the options available.)

          • Adam ( June 1, 2015 10:06 am

            Notice how none of the lists I suggested use the Baronial Court. 😉

          • AbusePuppy June 1, 2015 11:41 pm

            The only full-Knight army you suggest does list the Baronial Court, actually.

            And I consider the Household Detachment to be significantly worse than the Baronial Court AND the AdLance. ObSec is a nice rule, but not better than the alternatives.

          • Adam ( June 2, 2015 3:14 pm

            Well it says Exalted/Baronial… Not “only ever do this with Baronial”, and I even make it a point where I talk about the Baronial, that it’s not that great unless you can really take advantage of it, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this, but I’ve never said much positive about the Baronial Court.

      • klr June 1, 2015 1:16 am #

        There is one important case, where you can have warlord in ad lance, even though you have characters in your other detachment; if you only bring along an allied detachment.

  2. fluger May 31, 2015 8:10 am #

    The outside world is dumb! Write moar great articles like this one!

  3. Stilgar May 31, 2015 8:44 am #

    This is just a theory hammer list but what about something like this?

    Baronial Court
    Errant, Stormspear, Sanctuary, warlord
    Crusader, Battle Cannon, Stormspear

    Eldar CAD
    Farseer, bike, spirit stone
    3 Jetbikes, scatter lasers
    3 Jetbikes, scatter lasers
    3 jetbikes, scatter lasers
    Crimson Hunter

    That comes out to 1793 so it leaves a few points to spare for something else.

    • Jason Brown May 31, 2015 8:58 am #

      Speaking as an eldar player to the eldar CAD; I prefer canons over the lasers. With that being said, I find hunters to be lackluster in numbers of one. I would probrably try doing the windrider formation and loose the Hunter and do a vyper squadron. Give everything as many canons as possible. That shred comes in really handy. Just a thought, I know you loos ObSec, but I have found that to not be as helpful as may people think. Thats more play style, and thats what makes this game o great.

      • AbusePuppy May 31, 2015 6:52 pm #

        Cannons are shorter range and fewer shots than the Lasers; there’s really no reason to ever take the Cannon. The Windrider formation forces you to take Warlocks (which you don’t really want) and a Vyper (which is middling) in order to… gain Shred on a gun that you shouldn’t take that wounds on 2s? Nah.

        • Jason Brown June 1, 2015 7:15 pm #

          I hear ya on the locks. Cannons have preformed better for me personally. Bladestorm has its advantages, I have a greater chance of exploding transports.

          I dont get why people are all down on the vyper. They are not all that bad, and you can truly spam them if one so desires. Its a cheaper venom with less range, smaller profile and can hurt AV. While not totally synergistic with this list, a unit or two allied into venom spam is pretty nice, and are cheaper per shot than the bikes with a hair more survivability.

          • AbusePuppy June 1, 2015 11:44 pm

            No you don’t? Bladestorm doesn’t apply to vehicles in any way, shape, or form.

            The Vyper isn’t _bad_ at all, but neither is it particularly impressive froma competitive standpoint, especially when Bikes can provide the massed S6 and the Hornet is a superior light skimmer. (Bikes are 6.75 pts/shot with a Scatter Laser, the Vyper is 8.33 pts/shot with twin Cannons.)

  4. iNcontroL May 31, 2015 9:23 am #

    nice article adam 🙂

  5. DCannon4Life May 31, 2015 10:15 am #

    I appreciate the matrix quite a bit.

    What do you think about supplementing Imperial Knights with Imperial Guard (particularly two huge, fearless blobs)?

    For clarity’s sake: What is your stance on Ranged D?

    • Adam ( May 31, 2015 12:58 pm #

      I actually don’t mind ranged D, but it is something that you have to deal with ASAP, really it’s the platform it’s on. A unit of Wraithguard witha WWP already obliterated a knight when it came in, so it doesn’t really affect my perception of them. WK’s are a bitch though, but the threat of a 6 is different than the reality of how frequently a 6 occurs… It all balances out in the long run.

      About IG specifically, I really like them and the relic banner is great for supporting them. The problem with fearless blobs though is that people can engage them to avoid being shot, which is really obnoxious when it’s something like another knight that you’d rather handle at range.

  6. Leth May 31, 2015 6:14 pm #

    I think the cult mechanicus would be a better second formation.

    You can bring 1-2 dominus that can heal knights, you can bring the breachers as additional OS that are also shooting platforms. Add in the Cognis relic to help against flyrants and you have a solid fire base with strong scoring and melee support.

    Or for the lulz you could bring the robot maniple with the cognis relic.

    That is your anti air taken care of right there. Lots of Twinlinked BS2 ap3 shots that can split fire to multiple targets.

  7. Jp May 31, 2015 7:22 pm #

    We pretty much ruled out Knights as a viable tourny army… Your bringing 6+ extra maelstrom points for your opponent… Until ITC stops using apocolyspe rules anything more then 1 knight is just too much of a disadvantage… Ya you can win a few games, but any competent play + army will be able to prevent you from winning tournies, either by denying you points needed for rank or flat out using maelstrom to beat you.

    • pascalnz May 31, 2015 8:41 pm #

      not being able to stomp out of combat also screws them in the itc, it’s hard enough to kill enough units:).

      But I love them, and I do play them every so often:) the new codex is lovely, it’s not mentioned much, but the new maelstrom cards for them are really fluffy and fun

    • D-ManA June 1, 2015 6:52 am #

      Not everyone plays by ITC rules. There are still some of us who like to play with normal 40k rules. I agree about ITC needs to stop using escalation penalties since the superheavy and gargantuan creatures were included in the 7th ed rule book and took the penalties away. I do understand that the ITC has made rulings for their style of tournaments but I feel that some players think ITC is official when it is not and should be discussed before playing a non tournament game.

  8. Lardus June 1, 2015 1:36 am #

    We currently play 1500 in South Africa. I was looking at a list with either 2 Wardens&1 Crusader, or 1 Warden&2 Crusaders, filling up the last points with the Vengeance Weapons Battery for anti-air Icarus or possibly more Battle Cannons. Will be using your awesome table to play with the load-out.

  9. D-ManA June 1, 2015 7:01 am #

    Nice article Adam, I enjoy your articles on this sight the most. I agree with you on the ad-lance formation. Hitting it on multiple sides takes it out easily and them bunched up hurts sometimes. Take out the middle one and the other two no longer have the bonus unless your opponent super bunches them up together lol.

  10. Lord Krungharr June 1, 2015 1:00 pm #

    This was a very cool comparative analysis of all those Knights. But I feel the Knight Acheron deserves applause for one reason: KILLING JETBIKES AND BIKES! Those are super prevalent these days in Imperial and Xenos armies, and ignoring their cover saves AND generally their armor too is just too amazing to ignore.

    Otherwise and Adamantine Lance w Tau allies is super awesome.

    • AbusePuppy June 1, 2015 11:44 pm #

      Acheron and Warden are both pretty good at murdering bikes of various sorts; the Paladin does a decent job, too.

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