Feeling…spiky? In our first preview of the Chaos Knights, we’re looking at just how their households are structured with a peek at the lore and rules for the Infernal and Iconoclast Households! First up – a word from the designers about how they created this tome of shadowy and forbidden lore…
Types of Chaos Knights
Chaos Knights organise themselves like dark and corrupted mirrors to Imperial Knights, but there are some distinct differences. Broadly speaking, while Imperial Knights come from knightly households, forge worlds, or fight as Freeblades, Chaos Knights come from Iconoclast Households, serve the Dark Mechanicum as Infernals, or fight as Dreadblades.
On the tabletop, this is represented by the choice between two broad sub-factions – Iconoclasts and Infernals – that offer every Chaos Knight in a given Detachment some thematic and deadly special rules. Dreadblades are a bit different, and they’ll get a preview all to themselves later this week.
Psychotic, sadistic killers, the Knights of the Iconoclast Households follow twisted codes of honour and chivalry. During the Horus Heresy, many traitor Knights were driven insane, unable to reconcile following their oaths to Horus and the Traitor Legions with the increasingly debased and awful acts of carnage they were compelled to participate in.
In an attempt to quell their increasing doubt and self-loathing, these Knights dedicated themselves more deeply to their oaths, driven steadily insane by the disapproval of their forefathers in their Thrones Mechanicum.* Over the years, the Thrones Mechanicum would become inhabited by the spiritual echoes of increasingly insane and bloodthirsty nobles – which would serve only to deepen the madness of any who used them. With the passing of centuries, this cycle of corruption has led the Iconoclast Households to transform into a brutal parody of their honourable kin.
On the tabletop, Iconoclast Households are perfect for players who like to go at their enemies full tilt! Thanks to the Conquerors Without Mercy rule, these Knights are brutal when charging into close combat, gaining an additional attack and point of Armour Penetration to better crush their foes.
This is, of course, absolutely amazing when combined with the new Knight Rampager, but works with the melee weapons of any Chaos Knight you choose – everything aside from War Dogs (that’s “Armigers” to you loyalist whelps of the Corpse-Emperor) can attack with their Titanic Feet. Woe betides the enemy who thinks your double avenger gatling cannon-armed Knight Despoiler is an easy target in melee…
Iconoclast Households can also make use of a host of fun and thematic pre-battle Stratagems, representing the twisted oaths made by their Nobles. Vow of Dominance, for example, makes your chosen Knight incredibly hard to kill – perfect if you’re expecting to come up against Shadowswords and other anti-armour options.
If you’re looking to mulch through hordes of infantry, meanwhile, the Vow Of Carnage rewards you for crushing your foes with additional Attacks!
Iconoclast Households also have access to a fantastic relic that gives them a 4+ invulnerable save without having to rotate their ion shields – ideal for a Knight Tyrant (that’s a “Knight Dominus” for you loyalist lapdogs) that expects to come under heavy enemy fire.
The result of twisted experiments to subvert the Thrones Mechanicum, Knights of the Infernal Households are capable of drawing on dark and arcane power in battle. Dedicated to the Dark Mechanicum, these Knights have had their noble purpose subverted by arcane science, with their Fallen Nobles often fused in grisly fashion to their steeds. Now, each Knight of an Infernal Household teems with pathogenic scrapcode, specterphagic Daemons and other dark modifications.
On the tabletop, dedicating your Knights to the Infernal Households allows you to draw on incredible power – for a price! The Daemonic Surge rule allows you to increase the abilities of your Knights in exchange for taking Mortal Wounds. Take 1, and you get to roll randomly. Take D3, and you can choose!
This allows you to modify your strategy on the fly. Need to close on the foe? Use Daemonic Hunger. Looking to utterly annihilate an enemy? Grab Daemonic Power!
If this wasn’t awesome enough (seriously, you’ve not seen destruction until you’ve witnessed a Knight Tyrant let loose with a Daemonic Power-ed conflagration cannon), you also have access to some utterly insane Stratagems. Let’s say you get destroyed – on a 4+, you can come back.
That’s pretty cool, right? But with only D3 Wounds, you won’t last for long – which is why you’ll want to follow up with Bind the Souls of the Defeated, which lets you heal up as you slaughter your enemies!
And that’s just the start of it! We’ll be back later in the week with more rules previews, including a look at Dreadblades – evil Freeblades with deadly special abilities.
If you’re looking to get a head start on your Chaos Knights in the meantime, you can do so RIGHT NOW – you’ll be retaining access to all the ‘classic’ patterns of Knight in the new codex, with the exception of the loyalist-only Knight Preceptor. Dominus-, Armiger– and Questoris-class Knights are all fair game – get yours online or in-store today.
* For those of you unfamiliar with Knight lore, each Imperial Knight is piloted via a mind-machine interface known as a Throne Mechanicum. Over the years, these ill-understood devices collect psychic imprints of the nobles who pilot them, who will advise – or chastise – the current Noble making use of them. This has led to the deep conservatism and honour-bound nature of the Imperial Knights – and the abiding insanity of their traitor kin. I mean, if you were trying to pilot a war machine the size of an office building while your grandparents screamed in your mind about honour and glory, you’d probably end up a bit kooky too.
** You can still use the kit to build a variety of Chaos-compatible Knight loadouts though – and Sir Hekthur makes a great hood ornament.
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