Chaos Knights: Engine War review, Part 3

Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I am going to close out my review of Psychic Awakening: Engine War as it pertains to Chaos Knights. Last time, we looked at some of the custom Bonds that you can take, and today, we will look at the others that you can mix and match to make your own unique Fallen House. Remember: plenty of other factions are getting new rules, so keep up with it all over at Frontline’s Tactics Corner!

So with the new Bond system, you can either choose a pre-existing House to serve or create your own House with Bonds that you select. Last time, we over the “Doubles”, the Bonds that count as 2 choices. Today, we look at the “Singles”, the bonds that you can select and combo together with another “Single”, so in other words, you get 2 choices. Let’s take a look:

Pinpoint Cruelty – Re-roll a single dice when determining damage. Applies to Shooting and melee.

This is a fun bond that really boosts both Meltas and Battle-Cannons, particularly Meltas. Getting to reroll one dice when you are already rolling 2 and taking the highest really skews the math that you are getting 4+ wounds through on a single roll.  Getting a free reroll on a damage roll makes sure that you are really doing damage when you need to, and even with d3 weapons, being able to get a reroll helps when you are in that situation where to maximize damage, you need to roll a 2 or a 3 (like say against Primaris bodies or some such). 

This is an excellent general bond that really works well with Iconoclast who love to stomp and shoot, so you are getting a lot of mileage out of the bond.  It also pairs nicely with several other of the bonds to really up your overall threat.

Infamous Heredity – reroll a single hit roll for this model. Overwatch, shooting, and melee.

A free reroll for each model in your army doesn’t seem huge, but it absolutely changes the math ever so slightly in your favor.  The more models you take, the more this adds up, so if you like War Dogs, this is a great choice as getting a reroll on a Thermal Spear helps make it far more reliable as a damage dealer.  If you like Dub-Meltas, this is also solid as each hit of the melta-cannons matters, and can matter a lot, so getting one reroll in shooting and then possibly in melee can be the difference. 

Because of its general utility, it pairs well with just about any other bond.  Pairing it with Pinpoint Cruelty is a great way to get some highly efficient Dub-Meltas.

Slayer of Kings – +1 to hit in melee against MONSTER and VEHICLE (not Dancing shoes).

This is more of a thematic choice, but it is meta dependent, especially if 9th becomes much more vehicle and monster oriented.  A flat +1 to hit, except with your feet, means that Thunderstrike Gauntlets are going to land those big hits, and even non-melee primary Despoilers are going to be deadly accurate in melee against the big targets.   This means you can still have a super accurate melee threat with the big swings that can also bring a gun along for a bit more flexibility, so think Reaper and Melta Despoilers that are cheapish but bring a lot of varied threat. 

This works well with Iconoclast (for even more power in melee) but also Infernal as Infernal has the speed to make sure that your Knights get there first.  If you really like to run a combo Knight with one gun and one melee weapon, this is a good choice in Infernal. 

Dark Forging – +6″ to range for weapons 24” or more. +2″ range for all others.

This is another really solid bond that gives a lot of benefits to just about all of our shooty platforms.  Really, the Meltas just win the day as getting up to range 42” with the cannons means getting melta-range at 21”, and when you add in a standard Knight movement of 12”, that means that any big target within 33” of a Melta is going to get those big damage rolls against it.  That makes it very hard for enemies to hide.  Getting Gatling Cannons up to 42” also helps with the ranged game as it means it is harder for enemies to hide outside of your range, and with Battle-Cannons? Well, 78” range is pretty much impossible to hide from, especially if playing on the minimum sized table.

What about the shorter ranged weapons? 10” range flamers is fun, especially considering some of the new Strategic Reserves rules shown for 9th.  If you really love playing a Tyrant, getting the Harpoon’s range up is always a blessing, and even the Conflaguration Cannon is not going to say no to just a bit more range to help roast some enemies.

Overall, this is a solid choice that pairs really well with Pinpoint Cruelty if running Meltas or Infamous Heredity if doing a more general shooty list.

Pride-Fueled Fury – +1 Attacks and +1 to hit in melee if you are under half or more of your starting wounds.

This is one half of House Khomentis, and well, it gives you the option to help take the sting of your damage track, even if you are Iconoclast.  If you really like +1 attack and +1 to hit in melee, but don’t want Infernal, then this is perfect as Iconoclast really gets more mileage here, especially if running War Dogs.  A standard Chain and Spear War Dog with this is going to Fight pretty well, pretty much until it is near dead. 

If you want to run a more melee focused Iconoclast list, this and Frenzied Attackers is a solid combination. If you want to run a very War Dog heavy force, this and Harrying Packs is really, really solid.

Abominable Constitution – +1″ movement, and always use the top row of damage table for Movement.

If you like speed, this is quite handy. The flat bonus to movement is never bad, but really, always getting your full move (so usually 12” or 14” for War Dogs) means that you can always navigate the board well, and Knights need that movement.  Since Knights are generally constrained by terrain, having a long stride helps go around pesky buildings or sometimes even up and over some terrain, and it can hurt to have a wounded Knight that just doesn’t have the movement to get anywhere.  15” moving War Dogs can be scary, and even 13” Knights is nothing to sneeze at. If you really like to use a Tyrant, then this can actually be clutch as Tyrants on their bottom-tier are basically stuck in position, but always being able to move 11″ gives you so much more flexibility.

You can pair this with a lot of different options depending on your style, but if you like movement and lots of it, check it out.

Harrying Packs – War Dogs can either shoot or charge after falling back. If they choose to shoot, they suffer -1 to hit.

If you really love War Dogs, and I do, then this is one of the best Bonds out there because it directly addresses one of the biggest weaknesses that War Dogs have: they can be tied up easily.  Melee focused War Dogs can get tagged by chump units that the War Dog can’t clear fast enough and shooty War Dogs can get touched and then have no way to Fall Back and do something meaningful next turn.  With this bond, you can Fall Back and charge around the pesky screen or Fall Back and gun them down (with a bit of a penalty).  That’s far superior to before, so if you really like running War Dogs, which can actually be a surprisingly mean list, this is an absolutely wonderful bond to take. 

Harrying Packs pairs great with Abominable Constitution for super fast War Dogs, Infamous Heredity for a lot of extra efficiency from re-rolls, especially with a Desecrator nearby, or Pride-Fueled Fury.  If running a lot of Reaper War Dogs, Frenzied Attackers can also be very fun.

Frenzied Attackers – An unmodified 6 scores 1 additional hit in melee (no Dancing Shoes)

This is another cool bond that has the potential for big spikes, and really, that means it is a lot of damn fun. This unfortunately does not work on Stomps, but hey, we have other weapons than those, right? You can throw in a Rampager who is now getting 2 extra hits on each 6, which is tasty, and it makes them absolute murder machines against any hard target, or, you can be sly and use them on Reaper War Dogs who can make 8 attacks on the charge (or 10 if Iconoclast) when Sweeping with that blade, getting you some extra mileage if going through some chaff.  The Castigator also enjoys this as getting some extra hits in with the sword lets you cleave through heavy infantry much more than before.

In terms of combinations, Hate-Driven Charge is excellent for even more death in melee, and if you are in a horde heavy meta, Loathing for the Masses also gives you another attack, so even more chances to pop off and get a lot of extra hits out of nowhere. 

Hate-Driven Charge – If you charge/are charged/heroic intervene, -1 AP to your melee weapons (No Dancing Shoes)

Do you like the whole bonus to AP in melee but don’t want to be Iconoclast? Here you go, although it doesn’t work on Stomps sadly.  If you really like Castigators, this is a cool option as suddenly those attacks are AP -5 if Iconoclast, not too shabby at all.  Or, you could live with AP -4 and be Infernal so you can spend a turn charging up the cannon for a lot of ranged death, and when it is time to boost up speed to get into combat, you still get the bonus AP to your sword.   This also works well with Reaper War Dogs, especially on Sweeps as AP-2 is much more reliable than AP-1. 

If you want melee killing, Frenzied Attackers, Pride Fueled-Fury, and Infamous Heredity are all good choices.

Loathing for the Masses – If you are within 1” of an enemy unit that contains 11 or more models, +1 attack.

This is going to be meta dependent, but if we still see a lot of hordes, this is a good choice as Knights can make +1 attack go a long way.  This is especially good on Iconoclast who already get a bonus attack, so getting a Dub-Melta to 18 attacks at S8 AP-3 is amazing, and it definitely will take huge chunks out of enemy units, all while also having a lot of excellent anti-tank ranged power.  Again, this is very much a meta choice as it only applies in limited situations, but still, it can be brutal if you play against a lot of Orks or Tyranids.

You can build a fun TAC style list with this and Slayer of Kings for a bonus against a lot of different threats, or combo it with some of the other more all-purpose traits.  Really, this and Slayer of Kings are the ones that I am most hesitant on simply because they are so meta dependent.

Bold Tyrants –  -1 AP to ranged weapons when targeting a unit within 12”.

If you love to be Danger Close, then here you go.  This is absolutely excellent on a variety of builds. If you love a lot of Lightning Lock War Dogs, then you can rush up to your target and get that sweet extra AP.  If you love Dub-Meltas or Dub-Cannons, you can do the same thing and move in forward to get those weapons up to AP-3, making them far more brutal.  Really, this pairs well with any list that likes to shoot and fight at the same time, so particularly Iconoclast armies that rely more on the dancing shoes to do damage in melee and the guns to take out harder targets. 

If you want to run a shooty War Dog list, this pairs really well with Harrying Packs as you can get in close, blast, and then Fall Back to do it again.  If you want to run more Despoilers, then this and Infamous Heredity is very solid.

Rapid Offense – Do not suffer the penalties for advancing and shooting assault weapons

This is an interesting one as there are not that many Assault weapons available to Chaos Knights. Really, we have meltaguns (which this does help) and heavy flamers, which don’t care about hit rolls anyway.  This seems built to allow Thermal Spear War Dogs the chance to run and gun a bit, which is nice, but then unless you are really, really dedicated to running a lot of War Dogs, then this probably isn’t a solid bond. 

Unhallowed Inscriptions – 5+ save against Mortal wounds caused in the Psychic Phase

Do you like half of Khomentis but don’t want to be Infernal? Here you go.  This is another meta dependent choice, but it is a bit more wide ranging as there are plenty of armies that utilize psychic wounds, so this isn’t too bad at all.  If you know that you are going to see smites, a lot of smites, then this is a good choice, particularly if you already love Iconoclast and don’t want to switch.  One weaknesses of a Knight army is that it mostly cedes the Psychic Phase unless you take allies, but this bond gives you a bit of protection. It isn’t going to make you immune to the Psychic Phase, but at least you get to roll some dice to try and stop the incoming damage.

This really pairs well with just about any of the “always good” bonds like Infamous Heredity or Dark Forging. 

So, that’s a lot, isn’t it? There are a lot of excellent combinations here, and really, it just depends on how you want to build your Chaos Knight force. I love bringing off-kilter lists, so I may have to break out all the War Dogs and try Harrying Packs and Infamous Heredity or Harrying Packs and Frenzied Attackers.  I also really like taking my standard Iconoclast list and just throwing on Endless Torment to boost up my Dub-Meltas. 

Thanks as always for reading, and what crazy combinations have you tried lately? Let’s see what 9th brings and how we can ride our despoiled machines to victory!

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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