40k List-Tech: Five (Knights) is the Bloodiest Number
Come check out this second place 5 Imperial Knights list. With the rise of deathstars is now the age of the giant robots?
The list-tech segment is a series of articles designed to focus on unique, competitive lists crafted by players in the community in order to provide new and experienced players with tactics, tips, and tricks to use in the heat of battle.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
― Sun Tzu,
Hello everyone! Welcome to another List-Tech article. Today we are going to pick the mind of a successful Imperial Knight player, who loves himself some giant robots and a quick game. He recently got second place at the Reddings League GT with 5 knights. Usually knight armies play spoiler and rarely win big in the ITC’s msu driven meta, but I think with the shift to the deathstar culture, and a good general we will see knight lists make the top tables… or not, who cares? Giant robots are frickin’ awesome!
Ben Vaughn’s 5 Knight List
Knight Warden (Warlord & High King)
1. Tell us a little bit about your army, why did you go with certain units? Why did you pick this army list in particular? Is there anything special about your army that you want to highlight?
After trying out a number of different 5 Knight lists, I settled on a very shooting oriented list. The Exalted Court formation offers some amazing benefits, specifically upgrading all of the Knights to WS5 & BS5 and making them characters. This means that in shooting, I can take full advantage of the Warden’s Gatling Cannon hitting on 2’s, and in close combat I’m not only hitting most opponents on 3’s but I can also challenge out their characters, which is especially valuable against units where the sergeant is carrying something like a meltabomb.
The Knight Warden is by far the best of the knights as a generalist, and that gets even better when you up him to BS5. The Gatling Cannon can threaten pretty much everything on the board, including flyers. There are also a number of units that even knights don’t want to engage in combat, and having a solid shooting game means I can focus fire on the stuff I don’t want coming near me. Specifically in my list, it means I can throw 48 STR6 AP3 Rending shots downrange, which is often enough to wreck that key transport, or force otherwise scary units to jink, even if they’re in the air. It also helps with matchups like Battle Company, where each knight needs to damage/destroy multiple units per round if I’m going to win.
2. What expectations did you have for the meta? Were there any armies you were worried about? What match-ups did you feel most comfortable with?
As far as the meta goes, I tend to be afraid of specific units in armies, rather than armies themselves. For example, as far as Eldar goes, I the scariest thing to face across the table is a Wraithknight with CCW & Shield. Since he swings at init5, he can reliably knock out a knight before it can even swing, and my shooting really isn’t that effective against it (although thanks to the recent ITC vote, he won’t be rocking a 4+ cover nearly as often any more). Fortunately, the meta seems to be moving away from the CCW Wraithknight and more to the Skatatch Knight, which doesn’t cause me nearly as many issues. When it comes to Battle Company, that means Lascannon Razorbacks and Grav Cannons, which need to be silenced as soon as possible. The single worst thing to face, however, is Haywire heavy Skitarii, usually in a War Convocation. 2-3 units with Haywire can absolutely wreck me from Drop Pods. I expect that the recent GW FAQs will actually help Knights significantly, between the changes to Jinking, Drop Pod allies, and cover saves.
3. How did you prepare yourself and your list for “meta” armies like Eldar varients, Battle company, and Daemon lists? Who did you beat on the way to victory at the tournament?
Honestly, the best thing about playing Imperial Knight is how relaxing they make tournaments. Almost every game I play is over with plenty of time to spare, so I never feel rushed, I have a chance to chat with my opponent both before and after the game, and I have plenty of time to wander the floor, check out other armies, and rest, which makes a long tournament day so much more bearable. It’s also nice for me (perhaps not so much for my opponents) that there are a number of matchups that I have a significant advantage in. I’ve had countless army list discussions that ended with “I think it’ll perform well, but I have no idea how to beat 5 knights.”
4. Hindsight is 20-20 and looking back on the tournament was there anything you would have changed about your list to better accommodate the meta you experienced?
Specifically at Redding I played against:
1) A Space Marine player running a very eclectic combination of units that really didn’t have a way to handle Knights. He put up a decent fight, but unfortunately his list just couldn’t muster enough firepower to stop me.
2) A White Scars Battle Company piloted by a good friend of mine. He was running a very standard list, and outflanked pretty much everything. Unfortunately for him, I was able to kill his mobility early in the game by destroying his transports, which let me sit in the middle of the table with the objectives and rack up maelstrom points. He was able to kill one of my knights, which earned him Big Game Hunter, and ended up costing me the tournament.
3) A War Convocation piloted by another friend of mine. He deployed very defensively and I was able to take out most of his threats from range. I ended up ignoring his Knight (seriously, killing a Knight through a 2+ cover save is hard from range) and instead killing his Warlord, Kataphrons and Sicarians, which meant that I could then move forward and engage the rest of his army.
5. What are some tips or tricks you have for people who might want to start using your army?
As far as tips are concerned, I should probably mention that unless you want to see less of your friends, 5 Knights are not an army you want to drop on your casual game night. This is an army that’s a lot of fun at tournaments where you’re there for competition, but barring tournament practice my Knights don’t come out for friendly games, or at least not all of them. Now that that’s said, don’t discount how much shooting Knights can put out. There are a lot of matchups where you can actually outshoot your opponents, thanks to your front AV13 and high ROF weapons, and severely weaken them before you engage them in combat. Also, magnetizing Knights is incredibly simple, and gives you the option to run pretty much whatever you want.