There’s a lot to talk about here.
First, Chaos Knights themselves got zero actual changes. No units got stat changes, nothing happened to any of our stratagems, and our points remained completely unchanged.
However, the game around us is changing considerably.
Other Faction Changes
Armor of Contempt is going away, making the Auto Cannon, Volkite Combuster, and Avenger Gatling Cannons much more interesting, as well as pushing the power level of the Infernal Houses up a solid notch.
Predator factions like Votann and Tyranids got much more expensive per model, and factions that could compete with us on primary scenario elements – such as Necrons – have been brought down a peg.
Contrasting this, Iron Hands gets to be in Devastator Doctrine ever round – scary for us – and Space Marines in general got cheaper and a bit killier to compensate for their renewed squishiness.
Changes That Affect Us
The new Arks of Omen tournament pack means that if you want to play Knights…you’re not playing anything else. No more Daemon detachments, (probably) no more Abaddon in a Supreme Command, just one Arks detachment and one Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment. Seven Lord of War Slots.
However, this opens up a few new list archetypes thanks to the 0 CP cost of the Arks detachment.
First, nothing but War Dogs is back on the menu with zero CP cost. These lists can easily start on 5 CP, which lets us use the exploding sixes stratagem and the damage reduction stratagems freely – a huge boost to our output.
Additionally, free Strategic Reserves allows for the possibility of playing one or two big knights and just…not deploying them until turn two (or even turn one if you play House Khomentis). This can be really huge in matchups like T’au and Guard, and can even completely turn off the Psychic Interrogation secondary. I could easily see 2 Knights and 7 War Dogs (continuing) to do well with this new arrangement.
I’ve got an article in the pipe about Infernal Houses and my thoughts on a bunch of new list archetypes, so I’m going to save the majority of thoughts for then, but I believe Chaos Knights list building is wide open now, and we can use our big stompy robots in a ton of other factions as well which is very exciting.
New Secondaries are Great
Knights are losing A Fitting Challenge which is honestly usually not the best thing to take anyway.
Storm of Darkness got two major changes. First, it’s now worth 4 VP, meaning it’s a relatively easy 12 points and a possible 15 points. Second, the -1 Leadership Aura off the objective is now 9″ rather than 6″. This means that enemy models that are within 6 inches of contesting now have to suffer -2 Leadership if they want to make a charge against a Knight on an objective, which really changes the math on failing charges.
I think this secondary is legitimately really strong now, giving us a consistent 12 VP secondary that can also help our gameplan out.
Ruthless Tyranny got even stronger. Formerly, this secondary scored you 2 points if half the objectives or more were controlled by a Chaos Knight model at the end of the turn, with one additional if half the objectives were underneath Dread Ranges and a fourth point if all of the objectives were.
Now, you can score 2 additional points if all objectives are under the effects of Dread Auras, which takes this from a relatively solid secondary to among the best in the game, easily maxing out most games.
The static secondaries also got largely better for us, with the ability for War Dogs that score the secondary – like killing one enemy unit in Grind them Down for example, giving us a CP at the same time they score. This is a massive boost in our ability to spend CP on our defensive stratagems and will help keep our robots alive for longer.
I think that Arks of Omen is going to be a net benefit for Knights, with most of the scariest things in the meta toned down and the likely new “top lists” full of things that Knights fight really well. I think Infernal Houses got a huge boost with the removal of Armor of Contempt, to the point where I might start testing out a couple of purely shooting Infernal lists in the near future after LVO.
We’re going to have plenty of CP to spend on things, our secondaries are better than ever, and we continue to play Primary better than most other factions in the game. Is the dataslate flashy or exciting for us? No. But I think Knights are going to come out of this quite happily.