By Ben Ballard
Have Deathstar, Need Proton Torpedo
Lets face it, Warhammer 40000 is a very large game, there are dozens of threats that might hurt an enterprising young noble out with his compatriots. One of the scariest things you can come across is a well constructed Deathstar, a large unit buffed up to 11 and ready to wipe the floor with anything and everything that dares show it’s face across the table, and sadly knights are usually visible.
Many factions have different ways of handling a Deathstar, some will avoid it and play a scenario game, some will counter punch with their own Deathstar, for Imperial Knights I present the humble Knight Crusader. Combining some of the relics, traits, household buffs and stratagems we have available can bring the Crusader to some truly absurd levels of damage. Though I will do my best to clarify as I go, this article does assume the reader has a basic understanding of how Imperial Knights function as an army.
The Crusader is the all ranged all the time variety of the Questoris chassis. It comes with your choice of nipple weapon in a melta or stubber, an avenger gatling cannon (36″ Range, 12 Shots, S6, -2 AP, Damage 2) and the choice between a thermal cannon (30″ Range, 2D3 Shots with Blast, S9, AP -4, D6+2 Damage) or a rapid fire battle cannon (72″ Range, 2D6 Shots with Blast, S8, AP -2, D3). I don’t mean to say the RFBC is bad, just that in our application the thermal cannon is going to do so much more work. Coming in at a healthy 10″ move and a 3+ BS the Crusader is going to be mainly in the back of your army shooting away with an absurd amount of firepower each turn.
Alrighty, here it is, the trifle of deliciousness. We are going to layer just about every single available buff in the knights codex onto one guy so hold with me. Broad strokes, there is a 2-4 CP stratagem called calculated targeting (It’ll cost 3 for the Crusader) that says “every unmodified 6 to wound causes mortal wounds equal to the damage of the weapon and the attack sequence ends” pretty cute on a gun that is D6+2. Even cuter still is the fact that we can turn many dice to a 6. Lets get into it 🙂
First Layer – Household and Chivalric Oaths: we are going for the Sacristan pledge and House Taranis. Following that up with Defend the Realm and Lay Low the Tyrants as our Oaths
House Taranis – gives us a 6 up Feel no pain for anything besides mortals, which on a 28 wound model is potentially 5-6 more wounds*, Access to the Fury of Mars relic which makes our thermal cannon D6+4 damage at all ranges, and most importantly the Knight of Mars warlord trait allowing you to turn a dice to a 6 once per game and once you are virtuous you can do it ONCE PER TURN.
Chivalric Oaths – Defend the realm gives us the almighty CP, Nephilim is stingy and there are A LOT of stratagems you want to use. At virtuous, every model gets Objective secured and if you already had ObSec you count as 3 more. Very good, very nice. Lay low the tyrant allows us to reroll a hit or wound per attack phase, and then once we are virtuous we can change a wound roll (and other things) to a 6 once per round (ARE WE SEEING THE PATTERN YET)
Second Layer – Teammates and Friends, I have pair my crusader with a Knight Paladin he is a Princeps which means he can give his bondsman ability to a friendly Questoris knight instead of a Armiger, his bondsman ability allows rerolls of 1 for hit and wound. Fishing for 6’s! I have also given him the Revered Knight warlord trait starting the game an extra honor point and giving the Paladin fight first. We gotta get to virtuous ASAP. You should pretty easily be virtuous at Round 3**.
Third Layer – Gameplay. Okay this is tricky. CP is definitely a valuable resource and this list currently is starting with 3. If you get a sweet angle you could definitely have the turn one Calculated Targeting and scalpel out something essential to your enemy. By being Knight of Mars we don’t have to wait for virtuous to turn on the free 6’s. Realistically you’re going to tie things up with some Armigers, save the CP and be defensive with it, and then when the enemy is good and trapped and the moment is right…unleash pure ranged annihilation. Once we are virtuous you are going to be able to throw absolute destruction with two free 6’s to wound. With 6 shots on the Thermal Cannon (The gun has blast pretty often you’ll be throwing out 6 shots), 5 should hit and one wound roll should be a six already*, add in the two free 6’s from our combo and you are now sitting at 3D6+12 Mortal wounds. Fun fact, that’s a lotta dead terminators***.
Alrighty, here is what I’m running and a potential list to fire sweet molten destruction at my enemies.
House Taranis, 2000 Points, Starting CP 2
465 Points – 3 x Armiger Helverins w/ Stubbers (One has the bastards helm, it’s just so good I thought it was worth the CP)
300 Points – 2 x Armiger Warglaives w/ Meltas
290 Points – 2 x Armiger Warglaives w/ Stubbers
485 Points – Knight Crusader w/ Avenger Gatling Cannon, Thermal Cannon, Fury of Mars, Knight of Mars
460 Points – Knight Paladin w/ Rapid Fire Battle Cannon, Reaper Chainsword, Revered Knight
There are seriously a myriad of options in the knights codex. This one just seems like a ton of fun to play. I think the ratio of 2 Questoris and 7 Armigers is the sweet spot, but even then there are so many potentially amazing lists that don’t follow that formula! Hopefully you’ve been having a blast with Imperial Knights like I have, share some fun combos you’ve found with me so I can shamelessly steal them! I’m Arrest7 on the LoS Discord.
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*Line of Sight is not liable for dice rolls, we all know this will never happen in any game Ben plays ever
**There are MANY ways to get virtuous faster than this, but not available to us.
***Yes this is mathhammer and we’re playing in a perfect world where nothing bad happens and my opponent doesn’t try to hurt my nice toys, but knights also have a lot of strengths just on their own, this combo is not the only arrow in our quiver.