I have just got hold of the new Codex: Imperial Knights, and as a keen Knights player myself, I was eager to dive in and have a look!
I haven’t gone through the background sections with a fine tooth comb yet but they are, as always, very pretty. Where the Knights come from, their organisation, a timeline – you know the drill by now.
There is also a fairly lengthy section on specific Houses and Knights within them, including a few from the House I picked, House Cadmus.
This is followed by the usual ‘hobby’ section, where there are lots of nice ideas on how to paint your Knights.
Then we get to the rules section – and I presume at least 80% of you have quickly scrolled down to this part. In which case, hello and welcome!
Two detachments are provided, the Household and the Oathsworn.
The Oathsworn is kinda like a special Allied detachment for Knights, as basic 1-3 Knights choice with no special rules.
The Household is designed as a fuller (possibly Primary) detachment, with 3-5 Knights (so, absolute minimum of 1,000 points, and you will have serious issues trying to squeeze three Knights into that). The Command Benefits include the usual re-rolling of Warlord Traits, plus you get to choose on of the Knights to be a Lord Baron, giving him +1 WS and BS, and access to Heirlooms (more on those in a bit).
On top of that, all models in the detachment have ObSec. Which is quite funny when you think about it (if you are a Knight player, at least – others may be less amused).
The army list itself has the five ‘standard’ Knights – Errant, Paladin, Warden, Gallant, and Crusader. All the same basic chassis with classes differing by main armament. You have already seen the Errant and Paladin, and the other three most like in White Dwarf. No points changes (can’t say the Paladin and Errant needed them), but they do have new options. These include swapping the Chainsword for the Gauntlet, the Heavy Stubber for a Meltagun (only one of them on a Paladin), and adding a carapace weapon; missile pod, rocket pod or autocannon.
I have a couple of the Knight Warden box sets (which can make any of the five Knights), and I have a feeling you can make two carapace weapons in each set. If that is the case, my existing Knights will be getting some upgrades, as I think you can just pop a carapace weapon into the slot on the top of the Knight, plugging and unplugging it as you need. This will give some nice variability in building armies without needing to buy whole new Knights just to have access to a new option.
Of the new Knights, the Warden carries a big Avenger gatling cannon, the Gallant has two close combat weapons, and the Crusader has the Avenger and Thermal Cannon or Battle Cannon.
No Forge World Knights are included, but you can download their stats from Forge World’s own site and they are fully compatible with the detachments and formations in this Codex.
Speaking of formations, there are five in this book…
Exalted Court: Five Knights of any type, so this might be your go-to in a 2,000 point game. All Knights get access to Heirlooms, and all Knights get +1 WS and WS – except for one High King who gets +2 to WS and BS, and +1 to his Ion Shield save. Also normal re-roll Warlord traits. This one will see a lot of use.
Baronial Court: This an interesting one. When the 3-5 Knights of this formation are within 6″ of each other, they add +1 to their Ion Shield save in the front arc, and when within 12″ of the Baron (Heirlooms, +1 WS and BS, re-roll Warlord Traits) they gain Counter-attack and the ability to Overwatch. Good but not awesome.
Tripartite Lance: Needs a Warden, Gallant and Crusader and they must always travel as a single unit. While all three are still around and kicking, enemies have -1 on their Cover saves, all Knights gain D3 Hammer of Wrath attacks, and all Blast weapons become Twin-Linked. Restrictive on a tactical level, but some nice bonuses. To be used in big games alongside other Knight formations, I think.
Gallant Lance: Three Gallants (the close combat ones, remember) with Crusader, Rage and can re-roll failed charges. Funny as Hell and could likely cause some consternation as they charge towards the enemy but a bit one trick. Possibly a reason to buy Gallants for your force though, as I suspect they will otherwise be the least popular Knight. It is not as if the other Knights are bad in close combat and they get very big guns to boot…
Skyreaper Lance: Three Knights of any type, though they must all have the Autocannon on the carapace. When targeting Flyers/Flying Monstrous Creatures, they get to re-roll armour pen and wound rolls. Will probably appear only when a Knight player has just had his rear end handed to him from a canny Flyer player.
Then we get the ‘meaty’ bits, the actual rules.
The Warlord Traits are okay – nothing absolutely amazing but also nothing that you will turn your nose up at. Re-rolling failed to hit rolls when charging or getting D3 Knights to Outflank could be very useful. But you won’t sniff at +1 A or a master-crafted weapon either.
The Battle Cannon and Thermal Cannon have not changed. Added to them now is the Avenger Gatling Cannon which comes in with 36″ range, S6, AP3, Heavy 12, Rending – which will get Marines scurrying for cover.
For the close combat-minded, there is the Thunderstrike Gauntlet which you will know, if you have seen the White Dwarf, goes at Initiative 1 but can throw big enemies. So, your Knight can run up to a transport and pick it up, shake out all the models inside, and then throw the remains of the vehicle at them. Got to love that.
On the carapace, you can now put an Ironstorm Missile Pod (72″ range, S5, AP4, Heavy 1, Large Blast, Barrage – does a good impression of a Whirlwind), the Stormspear Rocket Pod (48″ range, S8, AP3, Heavy 3 – a bit more anti-tank for you), and the Twin Icarus Autocannon (48″ range, S7, AP4, Heavy 2, Interceptor, Skyfire, Twin-linked – finally some anti-aircraft cover for Knights!).
Heirlooms are the relics/wargear of the Knights, ranging from 10 to 30 points. Highlights include a helm that grants Rampage, a mark that grants It Will not Die (that will be popular), and an ion shield that grants a 6+ invulnerable save in all facings it is not currently covering.
And that is about it. Some people have raised the issue that the last Codex was not particularly full and this one has come too soon to replace it. Your mileage may vary on this, but you pays your money and takes your chances. Ignoring that, I think this is a good, solid update to the Knight army and makes them feel a bit more ‘complete’ as a force, especially if you add in the Forge World offerings which integrate nicely into both detachments and formations.
For my part, I am going to be painting up my two new Knights (one will definitely be a two-weapon Crusader, not sure about the other yet) and adding carapace weapons to a couple of my existing Errants/Paladins.
Watch out for a battle report!