We got a look at the Imperial Knight spoiler from Games Workshop earlier today, and while my forte is the Chaos side of the coin, there are many things that we can talk about from what we’ve learned that apply to both loyalists and heretics alike.
Before we do anything else, here are the two most relevant images from the reveals, I’ll be referencing them extensively.
Durability Is Up
We kind of knew this already, but the exact values were up in the air. Armigers (presumably all of them) are now Toughness 10, and bigger Abhorrent or Questoris Knights (again, presumingly all of them) are Toughness 12.
We have no information about the Dominus/Tyrant, the Cerastus, or the Acastus Knights at this point, but I think we can probably safely assume all of those are at least T12, and I would be disappointed if the Dominus/Tyrant is not 13 or 14.
If the Acastus Knights are not T13 or 14 I will also be quite annoyed, as I want an
good reason excuse to buy one and despair over painting it justify the ludicrous expense to my wife enjoy having the coolest looking knight actually hit the table.
This is actually a massive boost in durability against most things in the 41st millennium, and the numbers are dramatic.
Assuming Ballistic Skill 3, no modifiers, and Knights innate 5+ Invulnerable saves, 9th edition meltas were pretty effective at killing knights.
These tables all come from the phenomenal unitcrunch.com by the way, check out their sweet probability calculator!
Now wounding on 5s, they’re approximately 33% less efficient, which is sort of obvious but also kind of insane. 40 melta shots not downing a Knight hyper reliably continues to blow my mind.
Additionally, Armigers/War Dogs will share their big brothers’ relative immunity to regular infantry weapons. Previously, a bunch of Bolter shots at an armiger was something to be a little wary of, but now at T10, they only suffer wounds on 6s and can wade through most infantry weapons with ease.
In addition to that, the first Detachment for Imperial Knights gives everything a 6+ Feel No Pain that can potentially unlock to a 5+ instead. This is a fairly ludicrous increase in durability. For context, even though the Canis Rex has lost 2 wounds, the 6+ FNP on average makes it have gained effectively 1.5 wounds, and with a 5+ Feel No Pain it is more like +5.
A quick other point here on the durability front – with bracketing now being basically the bottom third of health only, Knight models will continue to be faster than most everything else for longer.
Games Workshop Isn’t Afraid of Giving Knights Good Rules
Okay hear me out – the Canis Rex is yes, a character, but it also has a combination of synergistic rules that make it much deadlier than meets the eye.
Sustained Hits is an ability that basically says every critical hit explodes into an extra hit. By default, this is a 6, but the Canis Rex turns that into a 5. Note that every attack this model comes with has the Sustained Hits 1 rule.
Those 2d6 shots? Average of seven attacks, average of 9 hits (when accounting for the Detachment re-roll hit).
Those 5 melee attacks? Average of 6.7 ish hits.
In addition, that model gets a free Stratagem every turn applied to it, and it can be one applied to another model.
Going off what we know Knights are likely to get, this is an effectively free “rotate ion shields” every round at minimum if that Stratagem sticks around, and potentially more than that depending on what the rest of the Detachment Stratagems are.
The humble Armiger has some sweet rules of its own that I am surprised and happy to see, such as an Objective Control of 8 (I was expecting 5 or 6) and Melta 4 on its Thermal Spear. Extrapolating off that, we might see the Heavy Thermal Cannon on the Questoris/Abhorrent knight be Melta 6, which would start putting it into the extreme ranges of lethality.
And if that were not enough…
This gun gets 2d6+6 shots at 36 inches or closer, and then an additional +1 against a unit for each multiple of 5 models in it. While the AP is not huge, neither are the AP values on most attacks in this edition, and asking a unit to take a dozen 3 or 4+ saves against Damage 3 will still be a daunting prospect.
Another piece of spoilers they showed off:
The Dominus/Tyrant has been a lamented model for most of 9th, being too slow, fragile, and inconsistent to really see play at competitive tables for its cost.
This Harpoon does not necessarily change any of the speed or fragility issues (T14 30 wounds when GW?!), but it is yet another example of Games Workshop being unafraid to give us cool rules. The Anti X+ rule counts every wound roll of X or higher as a critical wound (auto wound), and Devastating Wounds turns every critical wound into mortal wounds equal to the damage of the weapon.
In other words, this gun that hits on 2s has a 50% chance of just doing 12 mortals to any Vehicle or Monster it shoots it at.
Side note: With the spoiled Detachment rule of re-rolling one hit and wound roll per phase, this thing has more like a 75% chance to do 12 mortals once it hits.
If the accompanying flamer gun is okay and the model is cheap enough and durable enough to justify playing, I could see this becoming a staple of Knights lists, which is very exciting. (And frustrating, I don’t have a painted Tyrant and the Tacoma Open is in TWO MONTHS AHHHHHH).
Random Other Stuff
A few things have stuck out to me that do not really warrant their own section.
First, Armigers are Battleline, meaning we can bring 6 of each of their datasheets. We assumed this was going to happen, but it is nice to see it confirmed.
Additionally, there is no mention of Armiger/War Dog Squadrons on the card anywhere. This is potentially very intriguing for Knights players as deploying blobs of 2 and 3 Armigers/War Dogs could be very difficult on some tables, and the utility of having more units to deploy cannot be overstated (again, assuming deployment functions the same way).
There are still a ton of things I want to know about Knights for tenth.
What does the Walker key word do?
What are the points costs on these things?
Are weapon “upgrades” free?
What are the ballistic and weapon skills on the other weapons?
And many more. We are seeing Chaos Knights (hopefully) soon, which could definitely answer some questions, but the wait is agonizing.
So far? I am extremely optimistic about Knights. The rules look engaging and fun to work with, the durability boost will likely feel great on the table, and the new degradation rules will feel better as well.
I think the spoiled Imperial Knight mechanics (which I deliberately have not touched on, I am going to compare them to Chaos Knights whenever we get their spoiler) look extremely fun to play with as well.
Overall I could not be more excited for what we have seen for the big robots, and I cannot wait to see even more.