We got data sheets, army rules, enhancements, and more today, so without any ado, we’re going to dive right in.
Army and Detachment Rules
We have known about our army rule for most of the last month, but what we didn’t have access to was the leadership stats of the other factions.
So far, elite level of leadership is 6+, there are a couple of characters with 5+, and then the rest of the game sits at 7 or 8+.
This is highly relevant, as it means we only really need to remember a handful of probabilities for enemy models failing battleshock as follows:
6+ – 27.78% chance
7+ – 41.67% chance
8+ – 58.33% chance
9+ – 72.22% chance
Our Detachment Rule makes enemy models below starting strength make battleshock tests during the battleshock step, and this includes single models with any missing wounds. This is highly relevant, as we can start forcing battleshock tests almost instantly if we go first, and repeated attempts at battleshock make it increasingly likely that at some point even the most resilient enemy models will fail.
For example, if an enemy has a leadership of 6+, the chance of them passing 4 battleshock tests in a row is only about 27%. This means that if we can force them to test every round of the game, they are much more likely than not to fail at least one test, and the odds only go up as the leadership stat changes in our favor.
Additionally, we have two ways to force battleshock tests outside the battleshock step, and these could be particularly impactful swings in the middle of the game both for our lethality and for primary control.
There are significant contradictions in the core rules and tournament pack about when battleshock is going to be relevant and when it isn’t as far as scoring goes, so I am not going to comment on that here until an FAQ is issued, but obviously past turn 2 the more battleshocked enemies the better.
Quick final note here – most of the vehicles we have seen have lower leadership values than troops, which means that we might be deceptively more anti-tank than expected.
Super-Heavy Walker is actually one of the top 3 things I’m excited for in this faction. Most terrain features have segments of them that are shorter than 4″ tall. You see this in the WTC terrain selections, as well
as in the GW open terrain. This will be hugely impactful in allowing our big knights access to more of the board.
A final rule I want to touch on is Towering, which all the big knights have. At its simplest, this lets models with the rule shoot at models that can shoot at it. This is a big deal, as using true line of sight for terrain features is something that Knight players have had to deal with an unequal set of rules for at least the last two editions, and now shooting at a knight means that it can shoot you back.
The new warlord traits and relics rolled into one, these will be point upgrades that can apply, best I can see, to any of our models.
Lord of Dread: Potentially very strong, though hard to deliver. Being able to battle shock a unit mid combat stops the opposing player from playing stratagems on that unit, all but guarantees control of an objective, and gives your models +1 to wound it from turn 3 onwards. This last use case is very important for the bigger knights attacking T11 or higher vehicles/monsters, and then very important for War Dogs attacking more elite troops such as Custodian Terminators which are T7.
I suspect the difficulty in delivering this particular rule, as well as its random based nature will make it taken the least of the four.
Aura of Terror: Access to “sticky” objectives is a massive boon to an army that can run as few as four models. The secondary portion of this, giving enemy models -1 leadership within 12 of the objective, will probably rarely matter but could occasionally come in clutch. I almost wish this was a different rule that could stack with the army rule, I feel like that would make Knights much better into Space Marines – one of our guaranteed predators – and be a taste of the stacking synergies that other factions can muster.
I would be surprised if this isn’t taken in every army, assuming the points aren’t prohibitively high.
The Traitor’s Mark: This is just a great ability, giving conditional penalties to hit and bonus offensive prowess to approximately 1/5 of the list is massive. This will be in every list unless it costs more than 50 points.
Panoply of the Cursed Knights: Another highly useful enhancement that I expect to see in basically every list, bringing the durability of the big guys up is massive and this combines with cover on the smaller knights to let them ignore up to AP 2 if that seems needed. I would expecting this to be in every list as well.
Overall: I think we came out pretty well on our enhancements. They seem to do the things we need to do (make our big guys more durable), and assuming they aren’t insanely expensive we have three clear winners to bring in most games.
Just like the other
armies detachments, we ended up with six stratagems, and honestly I think there are no flat out bad ones.
Quick Note: Sustained Hits turn critical hits (normally sixes) into an additional hit.
This is a powerful force multiplier against super-durable or super-large numbered enemy units. With the potential for +1 to wound thanks to the army rule, sustained hits can crank damage output quite high across multiple models with 8 or more attacks. I don’t think we will use this every game, but we will use it often.
I actually love this Stratagem. A way to sneakily finish off something that has failed a battleshock test and, more importantly to my mind, a way to repair knights, has massive utility. We can trigger this ability in the command phase at the normal battleshock step, as well as in the shooting phase with the Abominant and in the fight phase with the Lord of Dread enhancement. The average here is 3 mortals and 3 regained wounds, but on T12 and T10 models, those wounds aren’t necessarily easy to carve off again. I expect to use this stratagem at least once per game, maybe more depending on how useful Mortal Wounds are in the matchup.
Disdain for the Weak:
This is a powerful defensive tool, which in combination with Diabolic Bulwark (see below) and our faction ability if the unit is battleshocked can make a Knight extremely hard to shift from range, and somewhat difficult to move in melee.
We were all a little envious of the Imperial Knight army rule of a flat Feel No Pain across the army, but it’s nice to have access to it on demand. We will use this stratagem every game.
A Long Leash:
Giving us 3 War Dogs worth of re-roll ones to hit with the Desecrator is probably worth a CP in many situations. I would be surprised if we need to take battleshock tests on enough War Dogs at a time to make this relevant for the Despoiler aura, and I feel like, unless they are very low points, Rampagers will continue to be absent on competitive tables. I think this is the most situational of the Stratagems we have access to, but it is certainly strong when it applies. A combination of re-roll 1s to hit, extra hits on sixes, and +1 to wound seems like it would make quick work of most enemies.
Not much to say here, a 4+ ranged Invulnerable Save is just great. I am very happy to see this one in our roster of options. We will use this nearly every turn I expect.
Knights of Shade:
I’ve explicitly not talked about 9th edition in this article so far, and I’m going to break that rule exactly once here. Knights of Shade was a stratagem tied to a specific house in ninth edition. I considered it the most powerful stratagem in the entire book, but it was tied to a house bond, relic, and mechanic I thought was sub-optimal. I am delighted to see this as an army wide stratagem at 1 CP in our tenth edition rules, and it gives me hope for playing Knights on more terrain dense boards such as the WTC or GW Opens.
The War Dog Executioner is my favorite War Dog chassis, and this stat line looks to continue that trend.
The Autocannon at S9 will wound most Marines and Terminators (when battleshocked) on 2s – very important – and at flat 4 shots with two of them, this guy really loves the Devastating Wounds stratagem. AP -1 is a little lackluster, but it’s better than AP 0, and the Executioner rule combined with the Desecrator aura should mean that with good target selection this model rarely misses.
At various points in the game, with the potential for enemy vehicles to battleshock a little more readily than infantry, this guy can even turn his Autocannons on tanks and expect to wound on 4s. I’m excited to continue jamming at least two of these in basically every list to hold backfield objectives and make 3 wound models scared.
The answer to “can we just play all War Dogs” is apparently yes, with the Stalker giving us a character model to bring onto the field.
I am a little unconvinced that the Reaper Chaintalon remains the option of choice now that it has the same number of attacks, AP, and lower damage and Strength than the Slaughterclaw, but perhaps the sweep attacks will prove useful into some armies.
This is the most mixed arms of the War Dog chassis, benefiting nicely from both the Desecrator and the Rampager auras.
I absolutely love the Stalker rule, as knights are pretty good at isolating enemy targets – especially ones in combat with other knights already – and this can help that Chaincannon wound Marines on 2s or even lighter tanks on 4s. The Thermal Spear with this ability wounds almost everything in the game on 3s as well. Sadly, there are some pretty gnarly anti-character rules floating around the game at the moment, so this guy is not pure upside. Still, points dependent, I can see playing a couple of these in many lists.
The Karnivore remains the pre-eminent melee terror for the renegade knights, being faster and more accurate, and making 50% more attacks than the other chassis of War Dog. Assuming this model stays proportionally cheaper than its mixed arms or all ranged counterparts, I could easily see running a pair of them around the table, charging through terrain and making enemy models die in droves.
The shooty counterpoint to the Karnivore, the Brigand has had quite a nice lift in its Ballistic Skill compared to the rest of the stable. I could easily see a trio of these hanging out with a Desecrator missing VERY few shots and taking advantage of the increased AP from good target selection or activation order to blast enemy models off the table. I think a particularly interesting part of this is the Stubber or Havoc getting a pip of AP when targeting the closest enemy model. Enemies without cover beware!
The “what if I was a Stalker with a specific load out” option, I’m pleasantly surprised that 10th edition Huntsmen have a legitimate place in the stable with a unique role of “anti tank” not shared by most of the rest of its peers. The ability to take a second go at rolls of 1 on such variable weapons as Daemonbreath Spears and Meltaguns makes this model uniquely suited to taking on enemy armor.
Sadly, I don’t think this specialization is unique enough in a faction full of high damage and strength weapons, and unless this particular version has some surprises in points differences from the other War Dogs I would be surprised to see this option on the table much when compared to the others.
The first of our big knights is the Despoiler, who stands out from the rest due to sheer versatility. A significant portion of this models’ viability rests firmly on the points, as paying a tax to take two of a particular weapon would be a significant blow to the argument of taking this model over its loadout locked peers.
In particular, the Battle Cannon and Gatling Cannon both look like fantastic anti-infantry options, especially as they come with the flamer (gatling) and additional stubber (battle) to supplement the output.
Its aura is by far the worst of the big knights, and I would not rate it as a particularly strong reason to include it in a list.
I would probably avoid melee/ranged versions of this model as the Abominant and Desecrator both seem to fill that role and better, but with the Towering keyword and a ton of options to tailer this model to a particular need, I could easily see the Despoiler slotting into lists.
The absolute best of the codex Abhorrents, the Desecrator packs a gnarly ranged weapon which can instantly vaporize enemy vehicles and monsters as well as reasonable melee capability for a big knight and the best Aura for War Dogs.
Unless this model is many more points than the other titanic knights, I expect to see this on the table in most knight lists.
Faster, more accurate in melee, and able to advance and charge once per game, I still can’t see playing a Rampager in competitive games unless he is significantly cheaper than the other large knights. In a faction where each model really needs to contribute significantly every game, only really working in the fight phase is a huge problem. Terrain no longer blocks enemy models from the wrath of a large knight with a gun, so this difference becomes even more pronounced.
That said, the universal access to moving through terrain combined with the ability to advance and charge might earn this model a place on the table in some builds, particularly if Karnivores are cheap and often played.
It’s the strangest of the titanic knights, with the worst ranged output, the worst melee output, and very little in the way of defensive tech.
However, it also has the opportunity to force enemy battleshock tests mid turn to turn on +1 to wound for the army guns and can pop out a truly ludicrous number of mortal wounds turn over turn to help trigger more battleshock tests in the next command phase.
I think points are ultimately going to determine whether this model sees play or whether it is relegated to the shelf. If it is cheap enough, I could see running multiples of this model to force multiple battle shocks and perform mass mortal wound bombs.
If it is more expensive than the rest, I am unsure if it will make the cut.
And finally we come to the Tyrant. I am actually fairly excited about this model in a vacuum. T13 is a massive breakpoint. Turning off enemy reinforcements within 12 is a powerful rule, and giving War Dogs in the open the Benefit of Cover is also extremely powerful.
Similarly, this model has a 2+ save in a world of AP -1, and the most powerful ranged weapons the faction has access to (and many of them at a time).
But the points will, once again, make or break this model. If it stays approximately 600 points as it was in 9th, it is dead on arrival. It is not survivable enough to cost 1/3 of a list, and does not have enough extra ranged damage to compare to 4 War Dogs or 1.5 Abhorrent Knights.
Overall, I think knights have pretty strong rules, very strong stratagems, and a decent suite of enhancements and army rules.
But we are missing too many important data points to make a definitive call where we will stand in 10th.
First, we need to know what the forgeworld side of the stable looks like. We know Cerastus Knights are coming to us sometime this summer, and they could be the mixed arms with an emphasis on melee portion of the equation when it comes to the faction that we are really missing.
I think the points are going to be crucial to determining the viability of most of the big knights. 400 points is probably the highest we can really afford to pay for the Abhorrents with enhancements, and the Tyrant really needs to be 500 or less.
Overall, I’m tentatively excited to keep repping the cooler knights, and I can’t wait to see more soon.