Imperial or Chaos Knights: Playstyle Differences

Come to the (slightly less) Dark Side

Line of Sight makes some fantastic Chaos Knights content. Jaden and Chandler both have extremely successful and powerful results with them. In spite of all this what I will say is….Chaos sucks and the Imperium is awesome. Come play Imperial Knights with me!

Imperial Knights are my second faction and I started slowly collecting them over the last year. They are extremely synergistic and a ton of fun. One thing I noticed as I collected them is that the Venn diagram between Imperial and Chaos knight models is pretty much a perfect circle? GW is doing a great job, especially for chaos, at forcing these factions to have a bit more of a robust model selection but as of now I had collected an Imperial Knights army, Chandler randomly was selling a chaos knight’s codex and data cards, so I bought those, and boom! now I play Chaos Knights too!

Cue the Imperial March

While the model selection for the two knights armies is heavily overlapping there are SERIOUS differences in how each army plays. Starting with the Imperial side of things you are going to notice drastically more synergy. Imperials are able to layer buffs, auras, warlord traits, bondsmen abilities, and knightly teachings (Think chaplain or priest buffs) with the best of them.

For example, I have been running around with a House Griffith NYOOOOOM list. A simple list that asks the question “Can you handle my army being ALL THE WAY in your face turn one?” As a Questor Imperialis list the army receives plus one to advance and charge rolls pretty cute right? Add on top of that my warlord is a knight errant, who gives a friendly Armiger model +1 to advance and charge, and the ability to advance and charge. On top of that my Warlord is a high monarch, so instead of one armiger it is EVERY armiger within 6″. On top of that we layer on the landstrider and master of the joust warlord traits so that my warlord gets +2″ Movement, advance and charge rolls of 1-2 become 3 and they can advance and charge in the same turn. ON TOP OF THAT! Anything affected by a bondsman ability have incoming damage reduced by 1 to a minimum of 1. AND ONE MORE THING anything that charges receives an extra attack. THEN I took a knight preceptor to give all Armiger models within 6″ exploding 6’s to hit. OH AND ONE MORE THING The preceptor also gives all Armigers within 6″ a 5+ FNP. AND THEN FOR JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE FUN I can use a stratagem so one of my armigers within 12″ of the preceptor can do an action and still shoot.

So to summarize. My armigers are advancing 12″+D6″+2″, charging 2D6″+2″ for a cool 26″ (more or less, dice are still dice) threat range turn one? Almost all of the scenarios have deployment zones 24″ apart, some are even less. My army will run at you, and I haven’t even covered a stratagems that make them NYOOM even harder!

As my opponent put it today “Honestly I can’t keep up with all the buffs you have layered up, just tell me what happens and I’ll believe you” Every single non-forge world Questoris class knight (These are the ones you build out of the Canis Rex kit) has a bondsmen ability that they can give to Armigers, they can then be upgraded with a points upgrade called the exalted court to further enhance nearly all of their abilities, and then we get into the household/warlord trait/relics and all the other “normal synergies” that factions enjoy.

There are so many fantastic ways to play knights with many households and an extremely viable and powerful army of renown. Each one feels quite unique and has specialty buffs, synergies, and strategies to make them feel fantastic and powerful on the table. I currently have 3 lists I am playing with and iterating on and I feel that I am just starting to explore the book.

Honestly? Imperials are way better than those Filthy Heretics.

Come to the (Way More) Dark Side, we have Cookies. And Skulls.

Now, full disclosure I haven’t played Chaos nearly close to as much as the Imperium as I am new to the faction. But there are some pretty stark differences on this side of the heresy that make building the army and playing it on the table quite unique even if the models and weapons are nearly the same. If the corpse Emperor’s lapdogs are all about “Synergy” and “Nobility” and “Being a team” then the Chaos side of things is about “Being awesome” and “There is an I in team when you’re this powerful”.

Chaos takes the spread out diluted synergy of the Imperial side of things and places it squarely onto one model. It makes you jump through a few hoops because the Gods are fickle dirtbags, but once the hoops have been cleared you will have truly some of the most devastating and powerful single models that exist in the entire game. Also Chaos has a psyker knight which is just too dang cool.

Speaking of said Psyker knight, I will shamelessly use a build Jaden of Line of Sight fame has been using for his Knight Abominant because it pretty much perfectly encapsulates the differences between the rotten nobility of the Imperial Knights and the Swollen exaggerated power of the Chaos Knights.

Linked Here:

House: Fell Bond – Frenzied Invaders

– Warlord Trait: Knight Diabolus
– Arch Tyrant: Eager for the Kill
– Relic: Veil of Medrengard
– Favour of the Dark Gods: Throne Mechanicum of Skulls

So you have this cool knight that has some mediocre shooting and melee but is a Psyker and that’s pretty powerful, I mean the chaos knights do have a pretty powerful Psychic discipline. WRONG you have one of the most killy melee murder machines in the whole game.

The Favour of the Dark Gods makes it so this is no longer a psyker, +1 attack, +1 WS, reroll advance and charges. Not bad. Not bad at all. But lets amp up the murder. As soon as the Abominant kills 10 wounds worth of models, they unlock the favor of khorne and get to have exploding 6’s

Now the first warlord trait Eager for the Kill gives +1 to advance and charge (Pretty essential for melee murdering) and an additional attack if you’re in the enemy deployment zone (Pretty easy to do cause knights be fast)

The next warlord trait Knight Diabolus gives ANOTHER attack and gives rerolls of 1, the household is an iconoclast house so they are getting ANOTHER attack on the charge with extra AP. And each model gets exploding 6’s to hit (Which will stack with the Khorne favor once it is unlocked)

And per usual, and because Jaden is extremely good at this game, defensive tech is included in the form of the Veil of Medrengard, often times especially with knights and how absolutely good at offense they are, a simple defensive relic or trait can go way further than you would expect.

Okay add all of this up and you have a knight that is attacking on the charge 6 times (7 in the enemy zone) with an extra AP. That’s super cute, but you have to consider that the weapon they are using TRIPLES attacks. So that’s 18 attacks at S8, AP -3, D3. Now that’s a lotta damage!

Like I said, there is an I in team if you are swinging around massive octopus arms this hard! The Abominant literally has no form of synergy or teamwork. There is no need. It’s killing whatever it wants! Leave teamwork to the weak.

All of your Chaos models can build internal synergies like this. There are a myriad of traits, relics, and favours of the dark gods available for an enterprising pilot that doesn’t mind putting a bit of their soulstuff in reach of some shady figures. Chaos plays an interesting game of killing the right models with the right knights to unlock favors. The favors are quite powerful and provide a dizzying array of buffs. Some of the tankiest models in the game are Chaos Knights with the correct buffs unlocked.

No Chaos Knights discussion would be complete without talking about dread tests. You know the leadership stat? And how it feels like sometimes it shouldn’t even be on the card cause it doesn’t really matter or do anything? NOT ANYMORE. Chaos knights interact with the leadership stat in some HORRIFYING ways. Bringing real live debuffs (remove everyone’s obsec, failing charges, and more. There’s some serious stuff here!) to enemy models and making them suffer for failing leadership checks.

Honestly? Chaos knights are way better than those filthy Imperials.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Honestly no.

GW has done a great job at widening the gap between the two knight armies and they are both extremely fun to play. They each feel super unique both in list building and on the table. They each have fluffy and thematic rules while also being quite strong and competitive. As I stated earlier, currently it is very easy to get into either army and once you have one army you basically have both. I would recommend highly if you play one side of the knights coin to find a codex for the other side and take it for a spin.

Thanks again for reading and As always, if you want to read more content about Marvel: Crisis Protocol, Conquest, or Warhammer: 40,000, there are many articles to be found on this very website! Consider subscribing to the Line of Sight Youtube, and joining the Discord! Finally, if you want to support this content directly we would be immensely grateful, check out the Line of Sight Patreon where you can help influence the very course of the podcasts and articles! Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next time!

One thought on “Imperial or Chaos Knights: Playstyle Differences

  1. One thing to consider with Chaos Knights is that they *can* buff each other… sometimes. Desecrators give an aura of rr1 to hit within 9″. Helm of dogs give a 6″ rr1 to wound.
    The knight Abominant is often used to indirectly buff – give it dread knight or whatever it’s called for the 3d6 drop lowest ld check and blessing of the dark master.
    Still gets 5 attacks with iconoclast and knight abominant (so 15), but forces every model to pass a 3d6 drop lowest ld check. If they fail, they have to shoot the closest knight (the Abominant, if you positioned well). If they fail again in the charge phase, they have to *halve* charge rolls. A 7″ charge is impossible without a 2″ buff to charges and then requires rolling double 6’s.

    They don’t layer buffs like IK, but indirect buffs – or nerfs, really – from the dread table can act as buffs.

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