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The Knights are here and they got a BIG boost! They’ve now got the lighter Knight Armigers and the larger Dominus class Knights to bolster their ranks in addition to a host of awesome special rules in the form of relics, stratagems and Household Traditions. In this review we’ll cover the generic rules and in part 2, we’ll jump into the Household Specific rules. Let’s jump in a take a look at these Colossi of the battlefield.
Here’s our rating system:
- Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
- Efficient: This is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combined up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
- Situational: This is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.
Imperial Knight Special Rules
- Questor Allegiances: Imperial Knights have a second layer of faction keywords. Whereas most factions have a single sub-faction (such as the Ultramarines within the Space Marine faction) Knights must also declare allegiance to either the Imperium of Man or the Machine Cult of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Beyond cool backstory this also opens up different suites of rules to the Knight in the form of Stratagems, Household Traditions, and Relics.
- Knight Lances: If your army is Battle-forged, select one model from every Imperial Knights detachment. Those models gain the Character keyword. If you have at least three of Dominus and/or Questoris class knights in the detachment in any combination, you gain the listed Command Benefits. Competitive.
- This is solid as Character gives you so many benefits in addition to allowing you access to Relics, etc.
- Freeblades: Freeblades are basically Ronin Imperial Knights and a lot of fun to use. They do not gain Household Traditions which is a big loss, but they do gain access to the Freeblades Qualities and Burdens to reflect their backstory. The mechanic for how these work is quite cool. You can either pick one benefit or randomly generate two! Likewise, you can either pick two negative rules or randomly generate one. Very fun for the gamblers out there! The burdens kick in if you roll over the Freeblade’s leadership on 2D6-1. Otherwise you can ignore them. The benefits are always in place. Situational.
- I personally don’t opt to use Freeblades much but I can see an intrepid gamer finding a way to make them effective. They’re great for modeling and narrative play, though.
- Household Traditions: Your “Chapter Tactics.” These are very good for Knights and we will break them down and take a look at each set of them with their Stratagems, unique Relics and Warlord Traits. Generally speaking, there are two groups of Traditions, Questor Imperialis and Questor Mechanicus.
Here we’re covering Stratagems available to all of the Knights and in the next article, we’ll dig into house specific strats as I prefer to analyze a Household as a complete picture with all of their special rules.
- Ion Aegis: 2CP, used at the start of your opponent’s movement phase on a Dominus class Knight. That model cannot move until the end of its next turn and friendly Imperium units wholly within 6″ have a 5++. Competitive.
- Noble Sacrifice: 2CP, used with seeing it a Knight is going to explode. Armigers and Questoris Knights go boom on a 4+, Dominus class Knights do so if either roll of the die is a 4+. If both are a 4+ for the Dominus, then the blast radius is 3D6″. Competitive.
- This is a great strat. As you often lose Knights in melee (in my experience) and melee Knights are now very viable, this will come in handy more frequently than you may expect. It’s a bit pricey but man, in the right circumstances it can change the course of the game and take out some of your opponent’s best units.
- Thunderstomp: 1CP, used after a Titanic Knight fights. On a 4+, an Infantry or Swarm unit within 1″ of the Knight takes D3 Mortal Wounds. Situational.
- Not a bad strat, but not one you will be using all the time as only triggering on a 4+ for an average of 2 Mortal Wounds isn’t amazing. However, when you absolutely need to finish off a unit for missions purposes, or a key enemy Character, etc. this can pay big dividends.
- Skyreaper Protocols: 1CP, used in your shooting phase on an Armiger Helverin. This unit re-rolls misses when targeting an enemy unit that can Fly. Efficient.
- As the Fly keyword is so prevalent, this will be relevant a lot more frequently than one may at first expect. And when firing on Hard to Hit flyers who have a latent -1 to be hit, it helps a ton to overcome that defense.
- Rotate Ion Shields: 1CP/3CP: used when one of your Knights is targeted in the enemy shooting phase. You get +1 to your invulnerable save (to a maximum of 3++). The 3CP cost kicks in when used on a Dominus class Knight. Competitive.
- This is a bread and butter strat. You will likely be using this more turns than you don’t.
- Heirlooms of the Household: 1CP/3CP, used before the battle, same as all the other Codexes with this strat. You gain 1 extra Relic for 1CP, 2 for 3CP. Competitive.
- As always, this strat is as good as the relics it opens up and in this case, the relics are AWESOME. I see Knight players using this and the Exalted Court strat more often than not.
- Exalted Court: 1CP/3CP, used before the battle. For 1CP you can make a second Questoris or Dominus Knight a Character, for 3CP you can do so for 2 Knights. With the Knight Lances rule this means you can have 3 Character Knights in a single detachment. They also gain a Warlord Trait, although you can not have any duplicate traits. Competitive.
- This is amazingly good as, again, the Warlord traits are all good. I see this being taken very frequently as stated above.
- Pack Hunters: 1CP, used after an Armiger Warglaive has charged. Until the end of the phase, you can re-roll failed charge rolls for friendly Armigers while they are within 12″ of that model. Efficient.
- A solid strat, perhaps not one you will use every game but quite good when you need it.
- Oathbreaker Guidance System: 2CP, used when firing a Shieldbreaker missile. That missile can target an enemy Character, even if they are not the closest enemy model or are not in LoS. Competitive.
- A great strat. As Shieldbreaker Missiles are 48″, strength 10, AP-4, D6 damage and ignore invulnerable saves, they’re quite deadly. Things like Daemon Princes, Custodes Shield-Captains on Jetbikes, etc. can all be dealt a heavy blow at range, or you can outright kill smaller support characters such as many Psykers in the game with this weapon. Very, very potent and probably going to strike dread in the other player.
- Full Tilt: 2CP, used in the Charge phase. One of your Knights may charge even after Advancing. Competitive.
- This is one of the many new rules that makes melee Knights viable. Really, this is good for any Knight as their stomps are so good, but in a Knight detachment you can gear one of the Knights towards melee and this helps a ton, making it very possible to get first turn charges off, especially when used in combination with other rules such as the Landstrider Warlord Trait.
- Ironhail Heavy Stubbers: 1CP, used before the battle. One detachment of Knights in your army counts all of their Heavy Stubbers as AP-1. Efficient.
- The only reason this doesn’t automatically get the Competitive ranking is because not all Knights can make use of it. However, if you have lots of basic Knights, for a measly 1CP this is a no brainer.
- Devastating Reach: 1CP, used in the Charge phase when one of your Knight charges an enemy unit entirely in ruins and not on the ground floor. If you end your move within 2″ horizontally and 6″ vertically of the enemy unit you count as having completed the charge and you can swing at the enemy unit with non kick attacks. Efficient.
- This resolves those annoying situations where you cannot attack a unit because they are not on the ground floor or a ruin due to the way the rules work with assaults being measured base to base. As such, this will be very handy but only with Knights that have a melee weapon which some do not.
- Chainsweep: 1CP, used after fighting with one of your Knights equipped with a reaper Chainsword or relic version of the same weapon. Roll a D6 for each enemy model within 3″, on a 6 that model’s unit suffers a Mortal Wound. Efficient.
- Death Grip: 1CP, used after one of your Knights with a Thunderstrike Gauntlet or a relic version of that weapon fights. Make one more attack with the Gauntlet against an enemy unit that consists of 1 model and if it hits, you deal D3 Mortal Wounds. Both players then roll off adding their strength characteristic. If the Knight player rolls higher, you deal D3 more Mortal Wounds. If the other player rolls higher, their model escapes any further damage. Both players continue to roll off until either the model is crushed to death or escapes. Competitive.
- This is possibly the coolest stratagem ever written, lol. The idea of a Knight just crushing something in its giant Power Fist is amazing. It’s also very good as Knights are strength 8, and so they will typically be winning that roll off, allowing you to just obliterate a high value enemy model.
- Bonded Oathsmen: 1CP, used at the end of the enemy Charge phase. Choose a Questoris or Dominus class Knight in your army that has been charged. All friendly Armiger class Knights within 6″ of that unit can immediately perform a Heroic Intervention as if they were Characters and move up to 6.” Situational.
- Not bad at all for protecting say, a Dominus class Knight, but there are a lot of conditions that have to kick in for it to work. However, when all moon and stars align and you’re able to toss a few melee Armigers into a charging enemy unit and catch them by surprise, it can be quite good.
Again, here we will cover the generic Warlord Traits available to all Knights and in the next article will dig into the house specific versions.
- Cunning Commander: Once per battle, you may re-roll one hit, wound, damage or saving throw roll for your Warlord. Additionally, you gain +1CP if your army is Battle Forged. Efficient.
- Not bad, but not great. If you’re playing pure Knights this is certainly one to consider as you need every CP you can get your hands on but for competitive play you can assume Knights will pretty much always have a CP battery detachment to go with them and as such, this trait isn’t strictly needed.
- Ion Bulwark: Your Warlord has a 4++ vs. ranged attacks. Competitive.
- Awesome. Just, awesome and a trait you will see taken very frequently. Combo it with Rotate Ion Shields to make this Knight extremely durable.
- Knight Seneschal: Add 1 to your Warlord’s Attack characteristic. Situational.
- This is a great choice for a melee knight in a detachment using the Exalted Court strat. But, outside of that context it isn’t going to be chosen very frequently and isn’t as good as Landstrider. It does, however, mean you get 3 extra kick attacks in melee which is no joke.
- Landstrider: Add 2 to all advance and charge rolls for friendly Household Knights within 6″ of your Warlord. Competitive.
- This is a great Warlord Trait and one of my favorites. Adding distance to charges really alters the math of the way the Charge phase works in your favor, and makes even long charges vastly more likely to occur while making short charges automatically successful.
- Blessed by the Sacristans: Choose one non-Relic weapon on this model, for each unmodified wound roll of a 6 the weapon deals a Mortal Wound in addition to any other damage. Efficient.
- Fearsome Reputation: Enemy units subtract 1 form their Leadership characteristic while within 12″ of your Warlord and subtract 2 while within 6.” Situational.
- This is a Warlord Trait that when it is good is awesome, but in many games simply won’t be used. However, when fighting against high value model armies that don’t have sufficient morale mitigation this can be incredible useful.
Heirlooms of the Noble Houses
Here are the generic relics available to all Knights and next article we’ll dive into the house specific relics. Knights are absolutely spoiled for choice in the relic department!
- Sanctuary: Gives the bearer at 5++ against melee weapons in addition to ranged weapons. Competitive.
- Great relic for a melee Knight as this is where they are typically most vulnerable, ironically.
- Ravager: Replaces a Knight’s Reaper Chainsword and has the following profile: Strength +8, AP-4, 6 damage, re-roll hit rolls of 1 unless the Knight is House Krast in which case you re-roll all misses. Efficient.
- Great relic! The bump to strength 16 means you wound nearly anything on 2’s and the re-rolls to hit make it ultra-efficient. The only thing holding this back from a Competitive rating is the sad fact that Kicks are still your best bet in most cases and that other defensive relics tend to just be better choices. However, if you take it you will not be mad you did.
- The Paragon Gauntlet: Replaces a model’s Thunderstrike Gauntlet: Strength x 2, AP-4, 8 damage, if you slay a Vehicle or Monster with this weapon, you can throw it at an enemy unit within 9″ dealing D3 Mortal Wounds to it on a 4+. Also important to note is that there is no -1 to hit on this weapon! Efficient.
- As with the Ravager above, this is a great relic but oftentimes you will opt to choose a defensive relic instead. However, in instances where you have a viable target for it, it is brutally good!
- Armour of the Sainted Ion: The bearer has a 2+ armor save. Competitive.
- Absolutely amazing relic and my personal favorite. This makes a Knight essentially invulnerable to low strength, no AP weapons. It also gives you a boost in melee where Knights often struggle defensively.
- Endless Fury: Replaces a model’s Avenger Gatling Cannon. 36″, Heavy 14, Strength 6, AP-2, 2 Damage, each unmodified hit roll of 6 scores two hits instead of 1. Competitive.
- Outstanding weapon! If you have an Avenger Gatling Cannon in your army (which you probably do) then you take this. It’s that simple. 2 extra shots and an average of 2 sixes to hit means you will net an average of 4 shots over the standard Avenger and if you roll hot it can get stupid really quick.
- Judgement: Replaces a model’s Stormspear Rocket Pod. Heavy 3, strength 8, AP-3, D6 damage, re-rolls failed hit rolls. Competitive.
- Twin-linked, AP-3 Krak missiles? Yes, please.
- Skyshield: Replaces a model’s Twin Icarus Autocannon. 60″, Heavy 6, strength 7, AP-2, 2 Damage, +1 to hit vs. models with the Fly keyword, -1 to hit vs. all other targets. Efficient.
- Loads of models in the game have the Fly keyword so it has more targets than one may expect at first glance. And, even with the -1 to hit vs. non-Fly keyword units this is still a great weapon. Not top tier perhaps but still very viable.
Whew, part 1 of our review done and dusted! What do you think of Knights so far? Planning on making a Knight army? Stay tuned for part 2 in which we look at the Household specific rules.
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