We hope you’re sitting comfortably in your Throne Mechanicum, because in today’s Faction Focus, we’re taking a look at the Imperial Knights! Yet we do not do so alone, for we are guided by the neural echo of our Knight suit’s former pilot, Jason Lippert. Let the klaxons blare and sound the charge, for the glory of the Omnissiah!
Who Are They?
The Imperial Knights are arguably the Imperium’s oldest institution. In fact, they pre-date the Imperium’s founding by many thousands of years and can trace their history back to the time when Mankind first set forth across the stars from the cradle of Humanity in great exploration fleets. Many of these voyagers bore with them highly advanced Standard Template Construct technology, enabling the nascent civilizations to adapt to whatever environments they encountered on each new world they settled. The Knight suits were one such innovation for providing the means for the settlers to carve out a living and protect themselves from the myriad horrors of the galaxy.
During the Great Crusade, many Knight worlds were rediscovered – each a unique legacy of the ancient explorers who had first settled there. Their feudal societies were dominated by noble families who piloted enormous, armoured Knight suits bristling with upscaled guns and melee weapons, and they soon proved themselves to be an invaluable military asset to the crusading forces. A single Knight holds the power to turn the outcome of a battle on its head; a banner of them can destroy an entire army in a matter of minutes.
How They Play in the New Edition
For the technical bit, we’ll hand you over to playtester Jason Lippert who, as well as being one of the game’s longest-serving playtesters, is also the head judge for the Warhammer 40,000 events at AdeptiCon, no less!
Jason: There are two ways in which you can field Lords of War units such as Imperial Knights – either as a Super-heavy Detachment of 3-5 Knights, or singly as part of a Super-heavy Auxiliary Detachment (usually as an allied Detachment). Even though it may at first seem expensive (as Titanic units, it will cost 6 Command points to include a Super-heavy Detachment of Imperial Knights), it’s possible to get those CPs refunded, like the ‘core’ Patrol, Battalion and Brigade Detachments.*
When playing a pure Knight army, I look forward to putting some or all of my Armigers into Strategic Reserves, balancing the opportunity for them to arrive in a prime position with the risk of the optimal flank being blocked off by a canny opponent. Or, I might put a key Knight into Strategic Reserves to shield it from a potential ‘alpha strike’** and give it better targets and positioning once the battle has developed.
In terms of mission strategy, I’ll continue to take the straightforward ‘scorched earth’ approach to winning games, pressuring opponents early and keeping their chances of scoring victory points to a minimum. However, if you’re looking to contest the objectives directly, you may want to consider including some allies. Thankfully, all of the factions from the Imperium of Man will be solid allies for a three Knight army list. Astra Militarum and Adeptus Mechanicus Detachments will want to be mounted in transports to add a layer of protection against all the Blast weapons sure to be shooting up the place. For Adeptus Astartes Detachments, you’ll want to go with multiple small units and may also want to include at least one Drop Pod, because establishing and skirting board denial will go a long way to determining which player is able to control scoring opportunities on the primary objective.
In terms of which knightly house to go for, I think House Raven will be a great choice in the new edition. In addition to gaining access to their exclusive Order of Companions Stratagem, the reduced minimum size of the battlefield and the introduction of terrain you can’t shoot through means that the speed boost offered by their Relentless Advance ability will really come into its own.
Thanks, Jason! The various patterns of each class of Imperial Knight have a lot in common, so rather than pick out some key units, we’ve decided to focus on their best wargear load-outs instead.
Rapid-fire Battle Cannon
The staple of Knights Paladin across the galaxy, the rapid-fire battle cannon has the range to comfortably engage foes almost anywhere on the battlefield and benefits enormously from the upgrade to Blast weapons. It’s time to get trigger happy! But with battle cannon shells!
Whether you prefer it as the primary ranged weapon on a Knight Errant or one of two arm-mounted cannons on a Knight Crusader, a thermal cannon will make for an exceptional weapon to bring to bear when arriving from Strategic Reserves. Not only can it vaporise armoured targets with impunity, but its Blast weapon status means you can just as readily sear a host of enemy Infantry into a pile of slag!
If you have a Questoris Imperialis Knight Valiant, make sure you upgrade its conflagration cannon to the Relic equivalent, Traitor’s Pyre. Now that your towering Knight suit will be able to open fire upon enemies within Engagement Range, you can get your flame on even more often with all those beautiful re-rolls to wound!
How are you planning to lead the charge with your banner of Imperial Knights in the new edition? Let us know on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page, Instagram and on Twitter using #New40K.
* We’ll have more on the specifics of this in tomorrow’s Faction Focus for the dreaded Chaos Knights!
** ‘Alpha strike’ refers to armies that include multiple units that are able to strike hard and fast in the first one or two battle rounds, often with the intention of eliminating their opponent’s most powerful units before they can respond. It’s a high-risk strategy, but it can produce a solid lead early in the game.
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