Chaos Knights: Engine War review, part 2

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today we are going to take another look at all the excellent rules for Chaos Knights out of Psychic Awakening: Engine War. We will get into the new custom House Bonds, well, at least some of them. If you want to keep upping your game, make sure you check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner!

So besides the new Houses that Engine War gives Chaos Knights, you can also build your very own House with custom bonds. There are two types of Bonds, what I call Singles, these are less powerful bonds that can be used in combination with another Single Bond, or Doubles, bonds that are much more powerful but you cannot mix and match it with another bond. Today, we are looking at the Doubles.

Endless Torment – Reroll a single dice when determining the number of attacks with ranged weapon.

 This is a solid bond that pairs well with either Iconoclast or Infernal.  If you love Dub-Meltas or Dub-BCs but get a bit sad when they roll low for their number of shots, this is a good bond to help solve that problem.   This is especially true for Dub-Meltas that really, really want to be getting close to average amount of shots, namely 7, but it is very easy to only roll 3 or 4.  Dub-BCs are a bit more resilient to rolling incredibly poorly thanks to rolling more dice, but still, it can happen, so having that one reroll in your pocket is a big boost to their overall efficiency.  For those super critical attacks, you still have the CP reroll as well.  Remember that these models are priced according to their average, so any time that you are getting less than average shots, you are wasting efficiency. This is all about controlling that variance, so that makes it quite powerful.

Dub-Meltas are generally better in Iconoclast than Infernal, but if you are trying to super charge one Melta, this is a bond to have as it helps you get more than 1 or 2 shots on that super blast.  With this bond, I can even see running 3 Despoiler’s with a melta and chainsaw each for a (relatively) cheap detachment that has some strong ranged threat but also some surprising melee speed when running in Infernal.  Plenty of the variable shot Forgeworld Knights also really benefit from this as well.

Gheists of Ruin – Gain benefit of cover from ranged attacks originating from more than 24” away.

It is easy to see why this counts as double for the bonds, and well, getting most of your Knights to a 2+ save on the first turn is pretty good.  If you like long ranged shooters like Battle-Cannons, this can be a good bond just for some extra ranged protection as you can set yourself up near your own back line, and if your opponent doesn’t want you to have the extra protection, they have to move up the field, putting them into greater danger.  I tend to think Iconoclast would be better here as that gives you access to Vow of Dominance and the Veil for more protection, but if you are going for very shooty Infernal, particularly Knights with a single long-range gun that does big damage, this can also work.

That said, a lot of weapons that Knights worry about are AP -3 or better, so the +1 save doesn’t really matter.  There are not that many weapons that can really threaten a Knight that are only AP -1 or -2, and while they are some, I think there are better bonds to choose.  Still, anything that gets a Knight a cover bonus is good, and especially against armies that rely on a lot of high volume fire with weak AP, this can absolutely ruin their day. This can be especially fun if doing a few Auto-Cannon War Dogs and Desecrator.

Warp Vision – Ranged attacks ignore cover.

This is another all-purpose, solid bond that is easy to remember and easy to use.  Ignoring cover really helps against a lot of armies, particularly Primaris armies that can become absolute pains to kill when camped in cover.  If you really like Castigators and Dub-Gats, this is a solid bond as it helps take the sting out of the weaker AP of our more high volume weapons.   Electro-Lock War Dogs also really benefit from this as they can do even more damage when their target doesn’t get a bonus to their save, so if you are going for a high volume of shooting list with lots of AP-1 and AP-2 weaponry, this is a really solid bond.

Even just a War Dog detachment of lots of Moirax’s (and even your standard War Dog) can get a lot of mileage out of this, and if you are going for a 2 Knight detachment list, some shooty War Dogs with a lot high volume fire that ignores cover is not terrible at all.

Enlightened Idolators – Ignore -1 AP

This is another really solid choice that is a nice increase in survivability against chip damage.  While it is meaningless against the typical Knight killer weapons, there are plenty of time that high volume of fire weapons with AP -1 do those extra 2-3 wounds that put you over the edge, and this bond helps put a stop to it.  This works in both shooting and melee too, so especially against things like Primaris spam on Turn 3 and later, you have a bit more protection against last ditch charges trying to take you out. 

This is also good if you are taking War Dogs and the like as at T7, they are a bit more vulnerable to high volume weapons as they are wounded on 5s and 4s much more often, so being able to ignore AP-1 and getting that 3+ armor save makes them much more resilient.  AP -1 is pretty common, so being able to ignore it really helps, and anything AP-2 or better, well, you were on Ion Shield save anyway at that point. Plus, you can stack this with a cover save (if you can manage one) for some extra protection.

Again, this is solid, and if planning to play more defensively, this works.

Knight valiant photo

Hellforged Construction – +2 wounds (+1 for War Dogs)

This is your choice if you want some nice and easy extra wounds without having to go Iconoclast. If you want to be Iconoclast, then go Herpetrax instead so you at least have access to their awesome WL trait, but if you like being Infernal but want a little extra padding on the whole hurting yourself for more power, here you go.  It is nice actually as it gives you a bit more room to cut yourself, even on War Dogs which usually don’t have the durability to do it consistently. 

Infernal has some of the fastest Knights in the game, so having 2 extra wounds really does let you charge up and get into the scrum and still be more or less where you would have been at the start otherwise, and that can matter.  If you can get 2 Melee Knights right into the fight on Turn 1 and both are still at 24 or more wounds, then your opponent has a lot of work to do to stop the tide, and again, a few wounds can make a huge difference between a dead knight exploding in chaff or a knight getting into a sweet spot to explode the next turn. 

I really like this for the simplicity of it but also that it allows you to still be in Infernal if that’s what you prefer. 

Vengeful Outcasts – Reroll wounds of 1 against IMPERIUM.

Seeing as how Space Marines are the meal de jour lately, and I doubt that’ll change much, getting some extra kill against them isn’t bad at all, especially since this is for both shooting and melee.  If you are stomping some Primaris, you are suddenly rerolling your wounds against them, always extra nice, and in shooting, that extra 8-12% efficiency can be the difference between a wiped squad and a few annoying stragglers. If going against Astra Militarum armor spam, this still works or even against Sisters, so all in all, if you know you are in a heavy Imperium meta, this is just an easy to slot in bond to just about any list, whether Iconoclast or Infernal, shooty or fighty.

Really, that is one of its best features is that if you already have a solid Knight list that you love, you can just slap this bond on top of it and call it a day without worrying about anything else.  For a friendly game, this may not be all that useful, but if you are going to a tournament or playing in a league, you will see Imperium, so getting some rerolls against them is going to pay dividends. If you have a list that you already really like, this is probably the best bond to just slap on it when taking it to a tournament.

Heretical System-Bond – +1 to hit if the target has any negative to-hit modifiers.

This is an interesting choice that seems much more geared toward 9th edition than 8th.  A flat +1 to hit bonus against a target that has any negative modifiers is nice, and it helps Knights not fall victim to modifier stacking, but as previewed earlier, there is a hard cap on to-hit modifiers in 9th, so this would actually work out even more, essentially meaning that you can ignore most shooting penalties.  We will have to see the full rules to really tell how this will interact, but in any case, being able to help negate, for your whole detachment, the sting of negative to-hit modifiers is awesome.  Seeing as how Knights often rely on doing big damage each time they get a chance, anything that skews that damage down is super impactful, so again, getting to help offset that is solid.   I think this is another really great bond to just slap down if you already have a list that you enjoy.  Some of the others might require building towards it to maximize what you can do, but this is one that just is flat out good on just about any build.

We’ll see how this plays out in a few months once 9th is here and settled, but I think that this can be quite strong to help mitigate your opponent’s defenses (or just pesky terrain). We’ll see how much multiple modifiers are still taken to help balance out those forces that get +1 to hit.

Well, these are all the custom Bonds that count as two choices, and they are powerful to be sure.  I think Heretical System-Bond is the best for just taking a pre-existing list and giving it a bit of power, but for  tournament play, if you have a standard list that you already know and love, then Vengeful Outcasts is the way to go.   If you want to build lists to maximize the other Bonds, you absolutely can, and I think Endless Torment is going to be a go-to option for me as I build lists going forward.

Thanks as always for reading, and next time, I’ll finish the review with looking at all the Single bonds that can be combo’d together for glory. Take care!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.

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