How did Imperial Knights become such a dominate part of the meta of Competitive Warhammer 40,000? Let’s talk about the factors that led to the rise of the Knights.
If you’re going to play in a Warhammer 40,000 Tournament you’re going to have to deal with Imperial Knights – that is a fact that is backed-up by the data. There are a handful of key factors that really pushed the game in this direction. Some of them are in game rules, some of the are just factors of logistics. But the end result is that Knights are a HUGE part of the competitive scene. So how did we get to this state of the meta? Let’s break it down.
Bigger Is Better
There are lots of ways to build your Knights – but all of them are large chunks of points that can be very effective parts of your army. They create a firebase that you can use to reach just about any part of the board. They are tall and thanks to the Line of Sight targeting rules in 8th, it’s actually really hard to hide from the gaze of one of these superstars.
Sure, Knights are also easy to shoot right back but they are tough and have a massive bucket of wounds. With ways to stick around and soak damage dealing with a Knight is just a pain. They also have an invulnerable save so even high AP weapons can bounce. A lot players will also “bubble wrap” their Knights so you can’t even get to them in close combat. Even if you DO get close they can stomp their way to victory.
Basically, being BIG isn’t a bad thing for the Knights. They are take advantage of the LoS rules, they are tough enough to take the return fire, and make list construction easier thanks to their large point investment in an efficient package.
Swiss Army Knight
As mentioned there are lots of ways to build a Knight. Depending on the role you need to fill, there is a load out more that capable of filling that hole. Long range firebase, close-up support, and anywhere in between – the a Knight can do it all. Sometimes, it can even fulfill those roles completely solo without support. They can be used as gap-fillers for other armies or they can be used as the cornerstone for a new list. The only thing they can’t do is hold objectives…but that’s when you can take advantage of the next subject.
Knights – The Perfect Ally
One of the biggest factors that has turned Knights into Kings in the meta are the Detachment rules. It’s almost like you can hot-swap them into any Imperial List and instantly make it more effective. Those same detachment rules allow you to super-charge Knights with bonus Command Points creating an even more point efficient investment. “Hey there Astra Militarum, not spending all those CPs? Can I take a bite?”
By adding a Knight to a list you’re raising the over-all power of a list because it creates a comparative advantage. It does it’s “thing” while the rest of the list does it “thing” and both parts benefit from each other.
8th Edition Vehicle Changes
Firing Arcs, Armor Values, Shaken/Stunned/Weapon Destroyed Results, Template Weapon Changes – the list goes on. I’m not saying I’d like to go back on these rules tweaks but it’s had an undeniable impact on the rise of Knights. Can you imagine if you could do enough damage to a Knight so that you could actually prevent it from shooting again? It’s not without flaws but having those types of rules removed has certainly aided in making Knights much more viable these days.
The Traveling Player’s Army
While these models are BIG, they are actually easy to travel with. It’s a low model count, army too. There isn’t a lot to track from a logistical point of view. With the right packing and some smart placement of magnets, you can get your Knight(s) from one event to the next without having to worry too much about breakage. And even if things DO break, it’s a lot faster to repair one model vs 100.
Pretty Simple Point and Click Interface
Using a Knight in your army isn’t exactly rocket surgery. Coupled with the shoot rules of 8th (ie, being able to split fire) means that you can put the right weapon on the right target. Again, I don’t think this is inherently a bad thing, but it does mean that units that pack a LOT of fire power (like Knights) get to use that rule to the max. It goes back to being really efficient for what Knights can do. The hardest part of using a Knight is deciding which target you want to remove first.
What do you think – what factors have led to the rise of Knights in the meta? Drop us a line by opening up the “Load Comments” tab below!