Somewhere between a regular walker and a Titan, the Imperial Knights are large single pilot war machines, similar to the Tau Riptide. Usually humanoid, the cockpit for the pilot is mounted in the head or just behind it in the main body.
In other words, they're a Battlemech.
Their somewhat unexpected return to the 40k setting is possibly a sign of GW deciding that people would only play Warmachine because 40k has insufficient warjacks (and not because of arguably better rules and update schedule), or that they make more money by selling one huge model than lots of little ones.
They are really a fairly fan-wanky insertion of Fantasy-era knights into 40k, which, let's face it, is not exactly a setting devoid of knight analogues, but unlike the others, this one is much closer to the original source material: aristocratic dicks in high tech armor suits grinding the faces of the poor while being grimdark and all knightly and shit, including the politics, incest and backstabbing that brings.
Funnily enough for such an in-universe niche unit, Imperial Knights are currently among the most popular models from the 40k range, if the top-seller list of Games Workshop is any indication, and with good reason; their whole design and grimdark steam-punk style catches the eyes, and surely a lot of people are buying it just because it looks that cool. Also, for 150 Naggaroth buckets you get a unit strong enough to be an army on its own or join any imperial force.
- 1 About the Knights
- 2 Knight Patterns
- 3 Times of Epic
- 4 Why Knights are Awesome
- 5 6th Edition and Beyond
- 6 Warhammer 40,000 Freeblade
- 7 See Also
About the Knights
The knights are allied with, or in some cases part of, the Adeptus Mechanicus rather than being part of the Imperium. Knight Worlds are worlds which supply Forge Worlds with foodstuff and raw materials and are defended by Knight Households. As with most Imperial or Mechanicus forces, the Knight Households wear bright heraldry. The Knight World gathers foodstuff and ores for a set period of time (usually a year) before the Adeptus Mechanicus arrive in a forge ship bringing new knight suits in exchange for the raw materials. Knight Worlds themselves are typically Feudal Worlds, which were easily brought into compliance during the Great Crusade, and which explains the rather aristocratic tone about the Knights. Knight World politics is fueled by the constant resource tithes and the possession of Knight Titans. Any kingdom that possesses a Knight Titan could absolutely smash a kingdom without one, so it behooves a kingdom to concede to being tithed in exchange for the (relatively) ultimate weapon. Once a kingdom has become a Knight Household, any Household with more Knights than it does is a huge threat, so getting more is always important. By the time that the escalation becomes preposterous these Households are already out cruising the stars and fighting things, so the losses constantly need to be replenished lest the Households lose their on-world detachements to off-world conflicts. All that said, Knight Worlds tend to exist rather happily alongside their Forge World; Mechanicus get a defensive buffer and food forever, and the Knight Households get to continue ruling their chunks of the planet. Or all of the planet, depending on how far you can stretch a feudal society.
The Knights themselves are STC relics, dating before even the Dark Age of Technology; with no way of returning to Terra when they arrived on what would become the Knight Worlds, the original human colonists were forced to become self-sufficient, and the Knight suits were vital for their protection and for fighting against the myriad threats to their existence. Additionally, they could also be repurposed for peaceful uses, such as cutting down trees with their chainswords or blasting apart boulders for ore with the battle cannons. As a byproduct of the Throne Mechanicum bonding processes (see below), the Knights' pilots soon came to see themselves as protectors of their people and eventually formed noble households as time went on. By the time of the Great Crusade, many of them had perished in the Age of Strife, and in many cases the survivors were in great need of new raw materials or the expertise required to maintain the suits.
A Knight's Machine Spirit is of a particularly unusual type: to interface with the suit, an aspiring noble must first join with the Throne Mechanicum (the Knight's control system) in a ritual known as the Rite of Becoming. Due to a quirk in the bonding process, the device retains an imprint of each of its former pilots' personalities at the time they were first bonded, and as a result individual suits may develop traits echoing those of their former masters. The link also affects the noble's own mind as well; exposure to the metaphorical (or possibly literal, since there's been at least one case where a Throne Mechanicum took over operating the Knight when its noble was slain by using the memories of its old operators)) ghosts in the machine inevitably causes the noble to develop strong positive feelings towards the concepts of fealty and hierarchy along with a near-mystical reverence toward the noble's ancestors. This idea isn't very original. Nobody knows why this is, but the Mechanicus thinks it may have been a failsafe in the original plans meant to ensure that no Knight would willingly betray or abandon his own House. Either way, this benefits the Mechanicus rather neatly.
There are two types of knight household, though a third association does exist.
- Those who align themselves with the Imperium directly such as Imperial Houses, acting as independently operating vassals of a greater empire (much like Space Marine Chapters do), therefore answering calls for aid as they feel like, rather than being ordered to. Examples of Imperial Houses are:
- House Terryn - House known for its honour and bravery as well as rigidly adhering to ritual and ceremony. Supposedly its homeworld of Voltoris is so peaceful and boring and the aforementioned rituals so tedious that it only encourages them to campaign across the galaxy. (Their colour scheme is blue.)
- House Hawkshroud - A very Noblebright house, who believe that kindness should be returned tenfold and who answer any and all requests for assistance, which means their homeworld of Krastellan lies virtually undefended. Also have links with the Imperial Fists having been praised by the chapter master for their efforts against the Eldar of Alaitoc. (Their colour scheme is yellow.)
- House Cadmus - Were once bound to the Mechanicum, but regained their independence and became an Imperial House when Gryphonne IV was nom nomed by Tyranids. Based on the mutant infested forest world of Riasa, they engage on mutant hunts every year, with the winner getting to rule the house until the next hunt. (Their colour scheme is green).
- House Griffith - A house of hotheads who almost exclusively make use of the Knight Errant pattern and come from a planet once inhabited by actual dragons. They are also one of the smallest knight houses, but remain one of the most respected. They engage in regular jousting tournaments using old fashioned horses, but wearing adamantium armour. Have a preference for close combat.
- House Mortan - A house only recently introduced to the Imperium after being cut off by a nebula which made their planet a night world. For thousands of years they fought giant monsters in the dark until the nebula dissipated in M35 and the Imperium arrived.
- House Drakkus - Featured in the mobile game 'Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade'. Known for being dead, and for having a rather fetching jade-green colour scheme.
- Other households are directly aligned to the Adeptus Mechanicus and are based on (or linked to) forge worlds, though retain their independence from the Cult Mechanicus they do have reciprocal trade and resupply agreements as well as swearing oaths of protection. Houses directly linked to the Mechanicus will have access to better weapons and technology than their more primitive cousins. Which isn't surprising because Techpreists tend to be greedy buggers.
Examples of Mechanicum Houses include:
- House Taranis - The First of all Knight Houses (read Mechanicum by Graham McNeill). They were founded on Mars during the Dark Age of Technology, and were later the first Martians who met the Emperor before the Great Crusade. This house has ownership of some of the oldest knight suits. For some reason, their Knights' Throne Mechanicum units lack the typical mind-altering effects that they would normally possess; nobody knows why. One reason could be that the pilots of House Taranis are loyal to the mechanicus first, and house second.
- House Raven - The largest of all Knight Households, based on the world of Kolossi and have close links to forge world Metalica. Suspected to hold secret STC data which explains why they have so many Knight suits. Their fortress, the Keep Inviolate, is said to be one of the most well-protected bastions in the Imperium, on par with the Fang and the Imperial Palace, and appears on their coat of arms.
- House Krast - The first Knight World (Chrysis) to be rediscovered during the Great Crusade, its proximity to Mars meant it was swiftly brought into the fold, but had its homeworld ravaged by Horus during the Heresy, leaving them the only Household left on the planet. Since the forces on Chrysis were led by the traitorous Legion Mortis, they have a preference for hunting traitor titans.
- House Vulker - A very wealthy but deeply mysterious house from a star system with vast mineral resources, they never expose any flesh and wear golden masks to cover their faces. Their close links to the Mechanicum are evident in the golden servitors they share between worlds, and their courts being filled with tech priests... Not that outsiders ever get to see inside their courts.
- Sometimes, individual Knights detach themselves from Noble Houses entirely, either having been dishonoured, shunned, or otherwise made unable to continue life within the Household. These knights break out on their own (with a handful of retainers to maintain the suit), either questing across the stars, or settling down and protecting the settlements on whichever worlds they end up on.
- Amaranthine - Never ever speaks or leaves his suit. Inquisitors chase him around trying to have a word about his loyalties.
- Auric Arachnus - Somehow connected to the Ultramarines and earned honour slaying a Dominatrix during the battle for Macragge.
- Crimson Reaper - Freak who wears a red & black face mask, who is rumoured to be a blood sucking mutant. Is very prone to collateral damage.
- Living Litany/Litany of Destruction - A grey, black, and orange Knight Gallant who constantly voxes droning sermons in High Gothic, only changing into loud chants when fighting. He's probably bonkers, but everyone lets it slide since he's still loyal to the Imperium at least. Or at least, they used to- at some point he lost what little was left of his sanity and went renegade. As the Litany of Destruction, his color scheme is identical to what it was as a loyalist but is now visibly emblazoned with the eight-pointed star of Chaos.
- Gerantius The Forgotten Knight - maintains a secret mountain base on Alaric Prime, though his planet is shared by other lesser knight houses. Thought to be undead and in command of spirits. Days which he chooses to fight upon are regarded as ill-omens. Rules for him are in White Dwarf, making him a Seneschal-level knight with It Will Not Die and the ability to both run & shoot in the same phase.
- Justice - A freeblade connected to the Iron Hands chapter who is a master of slaying traitor knights. The Iron Hands chapter appear to be keeping his secrets and will not talk of his past.
- Obsidian Knight - Fought in the Damocles campaign along with House Terryn on the planet Agrellan. - Has his own rules in Warzone: Damocles making him an absolute WS/BS 6 badass who hates Tau with a passion.
- Mydos Almighty - Hails from a world that was done in by the greed of its upper class, which it fled to actually fight. Rather hypocritically, this Knight is entirely bedecked in fucking GOLD.
- Retribution Incarnate - A hero of the Macharian Crusades, believed to be the last member of an established household.
- White Warden - The last man standing for House Degallio from the planet of Alaric Prime (same as Gerantius), known for his cracking mustache and his willingness to stand up for ridiculous laws.
- Tellurus - Only living member of a fallen house, and refuses to be seen without armor. Tellurus fought alongside both House Cadmus and House Hawkshroud on Vondrak. "...towering and monstrous, a giant of adamantium and fury. With a booming cannon and a roaring chainblade for arms, it was clad in armour the colour of a winter’s sky. Blue and cold, chevroned with streaks of black and amber. A bright gonfalon streamed from its left shoulder. A rearing horse with a fluted horn at its forehead." - from Knights of the Imperium by Graham McNeill. Turns out to be a girl.
- Domeenito Ohashi - Imperial Knight who got stuck on a primitive world under attack by the Orks. In spite of being sworn to go back to his world of origin, he decides to go freeblade and fights back the greenskins becoming a hero to the population until receiving Imperial Guard reinforcement. since then he has wandered across the galaxy helping the Imperium to crush all kind of xenos raiders in the hopes of getting back home eventually.
- Dyros Kamata The Scorched Knight - A Knight whose rider apparently severed all ties with his house and burned off all his livery by walking into a volcano. He eventually learned that his dad was a corrupt prick, so he killed the old man before going off again.
Unlike the much larger Titan legions, most Imperial Knight Households do NOT retain techpriests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to maintain and repair the knight suits. (Though Mechanicum households usually do.)
Instead they invariably include a specific class of individual called a Sacristan, who is basically an artisan and a technology specialist. These Sacristans accompany the knight on his travels and keep his suit operational on campaign, and if a knight becomes somehow divorced from his household and becomes a Freeblade, the sacristans associated with the suit shall travel with him.
Unbeknownst (or immaterial) to the Imperial Households however, these Sacristans ARE inducted into the machine cult in a similar fashion to the Techmarines of the Adeptus Astartes having been trained either offworld or under an apprenticeship to an already established sacristan. So while they may not be fully ordained tech-priests, they do further the interests of the Mechanicum amongst the Knight Households.
Chaos and Renegade Knights
Though they are rare, there are a number of Knight Households or lone freeblade knights who have fallen to Chaos. Most infamous of all is the Slaanesh Hellknights of House Devine, who turned during the Horus Heresy due to Lannister-esque amounts of twincest. That said, Renegade and Chaos Knights are hunted down by Loyalist households, who view their existence as shaming all other Knights. The "board game" Imperial Knight: Renegade shows one such hunt.
For those who survive, these renegade knights can find employment and protection within the warbands of Chaos Space Marines, or find themselves on the heretical end of a warp incursion that puts their skills and equipment to "good" use. Of course, being a massive war machine, Chaos Knights may find themselves converted into massive Daemon Engines called Daemon Knights.
The Knights themselves come in several varieties, all of which have an energy shield to protect them from incoming fire and have a mix of shooty and choppy. 6th edition introduced two varieties have just recently appeared in the 40k model range, the Knight Paladin with its rapid fire battlecannon and the Knight Errant with its thermal cannon. Forge World later joined in with several of its own varieties of Knights, and as of 7th edition three other types (the Crusader, Gallant, and Warden) were added to the main 40k line. Other varieties, yet to be seen in 40k, are the Knight Castellan with Autocannons and a Quake Cannon and the command Baron Class Knight with an even faster firing battlecannon, improved armor, and the speed and choppiness of the Lancer.
Knights usually deploy alongside Titan legions as auxiliary forces. Although some patterns of Knight are capable of going toe to toe with smaller titans, or even larger titans outfitted exclusively for ranged combat, the Knight's usual role is anti-infantry or anti-light vehicle freeing up the Titans to attack superheavies.
Standard Knight Patterns
| Knight Paladin & Knight Errant
In 40k tabletop terms, the Knight Paladin and Knight Errant are superheavy walkers with strength D close combat weapons, a heavy stubber and a special Ion Shield that gives them a 4+ invulnerable on a facing chosen at the start of each of your opponents shooting phases. The only real difference between the two is arm loadout, since they both use the same basic model: The Paladin has a two-shot battle cannon and an extra heavy stubber, whilst the Errant has an S9 Thermal (i.e. Melta) Cannon with a large blast marker. They and all other non-Forge World Knights can take either an Ironstorm Missile Pod (think Whirlwind minus Ordnance), a Heavy 3 Krak missile launcher, or a pair of Icarus autocannons (I.e. actual anti-aircraft weapons) as carapace weapons to supplement their firepower and can also replace the heavy stubber with a meltagun for extra anti-armor usefulness. Fun fact: In ye olde Epic days, the Errant carried a power fist.
| Knight Crusader |
The first purely ranged Knight, it has the same Battle Cannon as the Knight Paladin (which it can replace with the Thermal Cannon for tankbusting) but replaces its close combat weapon with an Avenger Gatling Cannon, which can unleash 12 S6 AP3 Rending shots per turn. You know, for when you need that squad of MEQs wiped out right now and they aren't clustered close enough for the Battle Cannon alone to kill them all. As an added bonus, the Gatling cannon comes with a built-in heavy flamer to compensate for its relative weakness at close range. (The key word is "relative". It can still Stomp, after all, and thanks to Smash it's still shitting out S10AP2 with normal cc attacks. It just can't give anyone the D.)
| Knight Gallant |
Designed to smash apart enemies at close range, very few enemies can withstand the initial assault of the Knight Gallant. The ground shakes as the Knight Gallant stomps forward, closing in on their prey. The purely choppy counterpart to the Knight Crusader, the Gallant eschews its arm-mounted ranged weapons for a Reaper Chainsword and the Thunderstrike Gauntlet (described below) making it an absolute beast in close combat but of dubious use if it can't close in for the kill. Carapace weapons can mitigate this slightly, but it'll still struggle against shooty foes if it can't get into melee. A noble designated to pilot a Knight Gallant will learn the three basic tenets when he is bonded with his war machine. Though they may subtly differ, the three basic tenants are to trust in your Ion Shield, make all speed towards the foe, and strike swift and sure.
| Knight Warden |
A somewhat more customizable Knight than most, by default it comes with the Reaper chainsword and the Crusader's Gatling Cannon on top of the obligatory heavy stubber and a heavy flamer, but it can replace the sword with a Thunderstrike Gauntlet. At first glance, the gauntlet doesn't look like much of an improvement due to the gauntlet always striking at initiative 1 because of its Colossal special rule; however, if the fist ever kills a MC or vehicle the Warden can then throw whatever it killed at someone else. In game terms, this translates to an out-of-phase shooting attack with a large blast template that has a Strength score equal to either the MC's toughness or half of the vehicle's front AV value. Even though it has no AP, it's still capable of serving as an unpleasant surprise for careless opponents.
Ceratus Knight Patterns
| Cerastus Knight Acheron |
Another Forge World model, tall and lanky like all the other Cerastus pattern models. Acheron pattern Knights were configured as rapid moving strike units who rose to prominence during the legendary battles of the Great Crusade, but whose most terrible renown was to be found on the battlefields of the Horus Heresy. Rare, even in those ancient times for the singular difficulties of their construction, the Cerastus Knight-Acherons were amongst the most dreaded of their age. The Acherons’ machine spirits were regarded as particularly lusting for wanton destruction and only the strongest scion-minds could master them via the Throne Mechanicum, especially during the tumult of open battle. Has a Flame Cannon to make those Heretics extra crispy, and a chainfist (with built in twin-linked heavy bolter) that lets it reroll 1s on the Destroyer damage table against vehicles. Now you can give your opponent the D while also fisting them.
| Cerastus Knight Atrapos |
One of the rarest and most potent types of Knights, the Cerastus Knight-Atrapos was created solely to destroy heretek engines and xenos war machines whose very nature and existence were considered a blasphemy to the Omnissiah. The machine spirits of the Knight Atrapos are said to carry with them a cold and all-destroying hunger, and for the scion who bonds with them, madness is a constant risk. It comes with the same Blessed Autosimulacra and flare shields the Questoris Knights have and also has a special rule that makes all his weapons twin-linked, if it is firing at a Super-heavy or Gargantuan Creature. All of his weapons are very close ranged but they are a big fuck off to armour and thanks to the swiftness of the cerastus knights he should be in range soon. It is armed with an Atrapos lascutter, a D weapon that can be used both in close combat and as a 8" shooting attack, and a Graviton singularity cannon (yep, it shoots black holes), a 36", S8, Ap2, large blast weapon with Armorbane and the Collapsing Singularity rule. This means that before firing the weapon you roll a D6; on a 1 the knight looses one HP (but the attack is still carried out as long as the knight survives), and on a 6 the attack gains Vortex.
| Ceratus Knight Castigator |
A Forge World event model, and another close-combat variant. While fluff states that it is used to handle and take down hordes of lesser foes that could overwhelm other patterns of Knight through sheer numbers, in actuality there are other Knight variants more suited for horde cleansing such as the Porphyrion or Crusader who actually have more weapons suited into turning blobs of infantry into minced meat. Hence, it can be argued that the Castigator should be used as more on the lines as both crowd control and vehicle destroyer. Uses a big fuck-off sword (which is "only" S10, but has the same Deflagrate rule as the Volkite weapons, rerolls failed armor penetration, and can exchange its attacks to hit everything in base contact once), and a Bolt Cannon which is essentially a S7 AP3 Heavy 8 giant bolter.
| Ceratus Knight Lancer |
The close assault variant of Knight, much taller and faster than the Paladin & Errant by virtue of longer legs. It is far more specialized than the Paladin or Errant due to its weapon loadout and suffers if it is not supported. Has a physical ion shield rather than just being a force field, which means it cannot block attacks to the rear, however it can be used against close combat attacks. In its other arm is has a combi-melee/range weapon that gives it extra initiative when it charges into combat, its shooting mode is basically a 18" range 6-shot plasma rifle that concusses its targets. So better to get it into melee with other big things. On a slightly more hilarious note, the Lancer's ranged attack is of a decent Strength and AP, and fires a lot of shots. It's also not a Template Weapon. While not recommended, it means in a pinch the Lancer can be used as an anti-aircraft gun should the Knights lack sufficient AA from other sources (e.g. you are running pure Knights and don't have the Icarus autocannons), the amount of shots it fires making it second only to the Forgefiend in terms of emergency AA. It's also excellent against TEQs! And, with its concussive plasma shots, this thing is actually capable of countering a Wraithknight; even if you don't knock it down to initiative 1, you will be hitting at the same time on the charge.
Questoris Knight Patterns
| Questoris Knight Magaera |
Yet another Forge World model, this one is different however, this one is a Questoris variant, which means it's short and fat. It was specially made by the Mechanicus to curry favor with Knight Houses (or to control them, depending on who you ask), and it shows in the unique wargear options it gets. For a start, it has Blessed Autosimulacrum (giving it IWND-lite), and its ionic shield acts similarly to the Flare Shields normally used by superheavy tanks like the Spartan Assault Tank. Its weapons are no less unusual- it can replace its chainsword for a Siege Claw which grants it Wrecker (and a built in TL rad-cleanser to fuck with Toughness scores), and at range it can employ a phased plasma fusil and a Lightning Cannon that mulch both infantry and all but the heaviest-armored vehicles. There's a catch, though- its reactor is highly unstable, as reflected by the +1 it gets when rolling on the Catastrophic Damage chart.
| Questoris Knight Styrix |
Yes, Forge World is releasing another pattern of Knight, and it's another short and fat Questoris chassis with Blessed Autosimulacrum. The Styrix house a machine spirit which some say became too accustomed to slaughter during the Age of Strife and the Great Crusade that followed it. Many conservative Knight Houses consider the Styrix to be a malevolent pattern, the wanton destruction it unleashes being beneath a true Knight. Other Households hold no such reservations, loosing entire formations of Styrix Knights to annihilate their foes. This one packs a Volkite Chieorovile and a Graviton Imploder, and shares the Magaera's option of upgrading its Reaper chainsword to a Hekaton Siege Claw with complimentary Rad Cleanser.
Acastus Knight Patterns
| Acastus Knight Porphyrion |
A newly announced Knight variant, and by far the bulkiest one yet. I mean this thing is so big it is literally the size of a Warhound Scout Titan for Emprah's sake. As such, it is one of the most heavily armed and armored of all the Knight chassis in service. While it has no melee weaponry of its own, it packs a pair of twin-linked magna-lascannons- which are Ordnance 2 Large Blast lascannons which become Strength D when fired at a range of 12" or less, making it an ideal superheavy-killer. It also comes with a built-in Ironstorm missile launcher (that can be replaced with Helios defense missiles for anti-air purposes) and a pair of autocannons that can be swapped out for rad-cleansers or lascannons. Essentially, it is by far the most Dakkaest of Imperial Knights and one so big we were all fooled into believing that Games Workshop was actually releasing a new Titan.
Times of Epic
Back in the times of Epic Warhammer 40,000, there were more types of Knights apart from the Paladin and the Errants (though Codex: Imperial Knights references the Lancer, Castellan and Crusader Knights in fluff at least, and the Lancer, Crusader, and Warden have all gained models):
|Lancer: Faster than other Knights, this pattern is all about scouting, distraction and hit-and-run tactics. Instead of its standard Shock Lance, it can swap it for a shorter in range, yet more powerful Power Lance. The only downside of them is that they are the most fragile of Knight Pattern. Now in 40k too, being the first Forge World Knight kit.|
|Crusader: Slower, yet sturdier and more powerful, Crusaders are armed with heavy weapons that are usually found on Warlord or Imperator Class Titans (such as the Quake Cannon). Due to them moving slow (blame the heavy weapons and loads of armoured bits) compared to other Knights, these behemoths are used to snipe targets from extreme range and act as a powerful support force for the rest of the Knights.|
|Castellan: The short-ranged cousin of the Crusader that swaps its standard Lascannons for multi-barreled Autocannons. This makes the Castellan a nightmare for infantry and light vehicles, as well as allowing it to deplete an enemy Titan's shields in a disturbingly short time.|
|Baron: The biggest, baddest of all the Knights. Baron Knights are piloted by the deadliest members of a Knight House. Each Baron is actually build from the very basics as an ace-custom for its pilots, combining the power to keep up with Lancers and armor nearly as tough as Crusaders. Typically armed with Battle Cannons and the Lancer's Power Lance, the Barons lead their kinsmen to war and victory.|
|Warden: Piloted by the eldest (read retired) members of a Knight House, these goofy-looking Knights shouldn't be underestimated, much like the old-timers that pilot them. Warden Knight make up (like the Crusader) the heavy support part of a Knight House in the long-range category. Although not as fast as the youngsters, the pilots of Wardens make it up with years of brutally hard-won experience that makes them as deadly as the Barons.|
Why Knights are Awesome
Knight Titan lore is some of the coolest stuff in 40k. True to both the medieval tradition and epic feel that 40k thrives from, Knight Titans protect the Agri Worlds that the Mechanicus use to supply (and predominantly feed) their incredibly ravenous forge worlds. These Titans are easier to produce by far than even the humble Warhound Scout Titan and so can be made reliably, produced almost as an afterthought. So Knights aren't the biggest, baddest, most overblown thing in 40k -- but, they are to the Knight Worlders. The people who live and die on those Agri Worlds, delineated from other Agri Worlds by their designation as Knight Worlds, are all on the technological and societal footing of Medieval Europe. A lot of these worlds look like the Empire, from Warhammer Fantasy. Kings and Queens, Arthurian legend, stone brick castles and skullcapped peasantry abound; fields and forests extend to every horizon without end. Remember, it's much, much more important to obey societal doctrine than to optimize food output.
Imagine what someone from that world would think when they see a Knight Titan. The most agile giant robots the Imperium makes, capable of shrugging off lasers and plasma bombs, tower silently over a field on a world that probably doesn't even have gunpowder weaponry or a Copernican idea of the night sky. The kingdoms of the planet may have their petty wars, but life is dominated by meeting the food and resource quotas of machine-men from the sky, who build and fix the Knights that children and adults view with awe and reverence, like some amalgam of god and monster. These machine-men could destroy entire kingdoms on a whim by dropping stars from the sky. Kingdoms train their nobles and knightly warriors to fight with swords, horses, and hammers. They conscript armies from farming peasants, and use squads of bowmen to kill men at range....except for the Knight Titan pilots. Those who are honorable enough or skilled enough may graduate beyond knighthood, to Knighthood. Someone who takes a bath maybe twice a month and lives by torchlight has the duty to step inside a machine of such power and complexity that the science of the Fortieth Millennium proves incapable of comprehending it. Those men are revered beyond their kings, for they are the wielders of magic and death, and are entrusted with more true power than any other man on the planet. Those men fight monsters, murderous warriors from the sky, and even other Knights from enemy kingdoms. Sometimes, when the machine men come down when they aren't expected, the men who pilot the god-monsters must go far away to battle alongside the machine men in their wars. Not a war on the other side of the world, but a war on a distant star, surrounded by machines and giants even larger than they.
Imagine the man who has the lifelong job of knowing how to run the Knights, whose sacred duty is to recruit and train pilots. Imagine. A lord or general may give the order to bring cavalry around the left flank, and fire the laser cannon onto the walls of his enemy's castle. Despite his most valorous deeds, his children grow up playing with a giant metal god standing over them, silent and omnipotent, resplendent in livery and gold leaf. These children one day grow old and tell stories not of lords and generals, but of the time when their kingdom's metal giant slew a great beast, or razed an entire castle single-handedly, or ran across the entire world to deliver medicine to a dying king. Imagine what a pilot is to his subjects, or his lords. What legends would be told of them, the men who step inside the kingdom's giant? Their legends are not sagas of inscrutable gods or immortal emperors or statistic-scale tragedies, but of simple, honorable soldiers told by humble, hardworking people centuries after those soldiers are but dust and memory.
6th Edition and Beyond
Imperial Knights became a Codex in 6th edition. With the ability to be a Household detachment of 3-6 knights or an allied detachment of 1-3 knights, Knights may ally with Chaos, Daemons, Necrons and 'Nids as Come the Apocalypse, Dark Eldar, Tau and Orks as Desperate Allies; Eldar as Allies of Convenience; and all of the Imperium Faction as Battle Brothers (Yes, even Grey Knights).
Note: Imperial Knights are only Vehicles, only scoring if they're your primary. But let's face it you're always playing Purge the Alien anyway, even when it's not. The GW Imperial Knights are not Lords of War for other Imperial armies (the FW ones, however, can fit there), they are an army unto themselves. If you're playing 3-6 as a primary detachment, pick one as your Warlord; he gets relics and +1 WS/BS
Lets do the numbers:
- 1000 pts - You can have up to 2 models to fit the points cost. Sadly this means no Primary Detachment or even formations in low point games as everything has a bare 3-knight minimum requirement. You could run 3 Gallants, and have 75 points left for other options/upgrades, but it's not even remotely competitive, even as the formation.
- 1250 pts - Up to three models this time, making it the first points level you can play with your Primary detachment. With the new codex and a slew of upgrades, depending on what you choose, you can fill out the remaining 100 points with either upgrades to the knights themselves, or take one of the more expensive knights (like the Crusader).
- 1500 pts - Perfect if you plan on only taking Paladins, taking Errants will nab you some extra points to upgrade those stubbers into melta guns (or take a gauntlet for every 2 Errants). At this points cost you can field 4 of these Knights. If you want to field any other types, especially the formations, you're gonna have to start dropping knights, or take a few Gallants to free up the points.
- 1750pts - Now possibly the new sweet spot for Knights. With around 250 extra points to play around with, you can either afford to bring in some Crusaders to pack more damage, upgrade every knight with a carapace weapon, or take 3 Gallants (the cheapest Knights) to bring 5 knights in a 1750 game.
- 1850pts - Similar to above, but now you can field 5 Knights without having 3 or 4 of them be Gallants while still having a decent amount of points to play around with. Note that 5 bare naked Errants cost exactly the same amount, so if you're confident in your melta-spam, this works too.
- 2000pts - Now with upgrades, this has also become a sweet spot for people looking to field the Exalted Court or Baronial Court. With roughly 150 extra points to play with, you can either grant each of your knights one of the relics, or start upgrading them with extra weapons and other whistles. Alternatively, you can field up to 6 bare-bones Gallants at this point, which is just enough to take two Gallant Lance Formations (although this is not wise, it is recommended, if only to see the horror in your opponent's face when 6 knights basically leap across the table to charge him).
So what if you want to deploy 6 Knights on the field at once? You are looking at somewhere between 2220 - 2250pts. If you can do this you just paid $840 USD for an entire army of only 6 models, you sir are the envy of many neckbeards and clearly have more dollars than sense. And we thought the Grey Knights were an elite army per model. Or you can just, oh I don't know, scratch build 6 knights and save yourself $820 bucks. Just sayin'.
Note: Flyers may not be laughing quite as hard with the new 7th edition codex, but may giggle a little as the carapace mounted AC isn't too scary (unless you have five knights all with that weapon...but then your opponent may laugh for different reasons). The Warden/Crusaders gatling cannon can do some credible anti-flyer work and may be your best bet. Regardless, it remains a valid tactic to continue to take all those point you couldn't spend (see above) and buy a Vengeance Weapons Battery w. Quad Icarus, or two, or even better a Firestorm Redoubt.
Second Note: FW have made their own version of an all-knight list, which actually has Knights fitting into a modified force org chart.
Warhammer 40,000 Freeblade
Yet another exercise in wasted potential, Warhammer 40,00: Freeblade is a badass looking third person Imperial Knights game for iOS and Android and is most likely getting an extremely hackneyed out PC port later on. Someone will POSSIBLY make it look like a PC game during the process, but keep it on mouse controls and not change anything at all basically. On the other hand, Freeblade seems posed to bring the lore of Warhammer 40k to a new audience of mobile gamers, so there's hope yet. freeblade can now be played on pc if you use facebook gameroom.
You can play it on Windows 10 now!
The plot's simple, you're a newly initiated knight of House Drakkus and your bonding ritual only just finishes when Chaos Space Marines dedicated to Khorne show up and fuck shit up. You end up being the last knight of House Drakkus and you get rescued by the Dark Angels who take you on a merry adventure of fucking Orks and Chaos up.
- Imperial Knight House Creation Tables, work-in-progress tables you can roll on to generate a Knight House of your own.
- Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Imperial Knights(7E)
- Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Questoris Knight Crusade (30k)
- Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Imperial Knights(8E)
|Playable Factions in Warhammer 40,000|
|Imperium:||Adeptus Custodes - Adeptus Mechanicus - Imperial Guard - Imperial Knights - Space Marines|
|Officio Assassinorum - Inquisition - Deathwatch - Grey Knights - Sisters of Battle|
|Sisters of Silence - Squats - Militarum Tempestus|
|Chaos:||Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines - Lost and the Damned - Renegade Knights|
|Xenos:||Dark Eldar - Eldar - Eldar Corsairs - Harlequins - Ynnari|
|Genestealer Cults - Tyranids|
|Necrons - Orks - Tau|