Today, we talk about the last unit in the Chaos Knight codex, the Knight Rampager. Do you like smashing? Do you like thrashing? Well, this stompy robot likes all of these things too, maybe too much.
Danny from TFG Radio here
Knight Rampager Basics
- Reaper chainsword – S14 AP-3 D6 melee weapon.
- Thunderstrike Gauntlet – S16 AP-4 D6 melee weapon. Subtract -1 from the hit roll. When a VEHICLE or MONSTER is destroyed as a result of an attack made by this weapon, select one enemy unit within 9” of the bearer, roll a d6: on a 4+, that unit suffers d3 mortal wounds.
- Titanic Feet – S8 AP-2 Dd3. Make 3 hit rolls for each attack made with this weapon. Get those dancing shoes on.
- Heavy Stubber – Range 36″ Heavy 3 S4 AP0 D1
Ion Shield – 5++ Invulnerable save against ranged attacks.
Explodes – When this model dies, roll a D6. On a 6, it explodes and each unit within 2d6” suffers d6 mortal wounds.
Super-Heavy Walker – This model can shoot and charge after it Falls Back. When Falling Back, it can move across enemy INFANTRY models and SWARM models as if they were not there but must end its move 1” away from enemy models. This model does not suffer the penalty for moving and firing Heavy Weapons. This model does not receive the benefit of cover to its saving throws unless at least half of the model is obscured.
Frenzied Rampage – When resolving an attack using a reaper chainsword or thunderstrike gauntlet, an unmodified hit roll of 6 scores 1 additional hit.
Using the Rampager
The Rampager is a close combat machine, very much akin to a melee Despoiler. Really, they are just about identical save for one rule as the Rampager already has WS 2+ and 5 attacks on its base profile. Frenzied Rampage is very situational, but it can also be awesome. Getting an extra hit on a 6 is swingy but can be sweet, but that is the only functional difference between a Fighty Despoiler and a Rampager. The Despoiler is far more multi-functional as it is able to include carapace weapons while the Rampager cannot. That said, the Rampager is a better titan killer than a Fighty Despoiler thanks to the high possibility of rolling a 6 and getting an extra hit with the chainsword/fist. Seeing as 1 extra hit can do 6 more damage, that’s a lot of punch gained. With 5 base attacks at WS 2+, this is either 5 big hits that do a flat 6 damage or 15 S8 attacks. That is a lot of smackdowns, especially on a platform that can move rather fast with potential for big bursts of speed. There is no room for subtlety with the Rampager, and that’s both a boon and a bust.
On the happy side, it makes your in-game decisions easier. What does the Rampager do? It runs forward as fast as it can, and it punches something as hard as it can. That really is it. The Rampager, just like the Fighty Despoiler, is really there to be intense front line pressure. You want to run this baddie right up the gut, and force your opponent to answer a simple question: Can you kill this before it hits anything of value? A Rampager is not about being shy and skirting the edges of the fight; it is about forcing conflict where you want it and forcing your opponent to react to the giant walking machine of death that is barreling down the center.
Your choice of Ambition is going to matter here. Infernal is a narrow choice as you really only have two viable choices: boost for speed or boost for durability. In some ways, this does help make your in-game choices easier again: do you need to charge this turn? Speed. If no, you need some extra protection, T9. The extra speed is not to be overlooked as while an Iconoclast Rampager has more attacks, those attacks mean nothing if it is not actually fighting in combat, so with Infernal, you get +2 movement and +1 to advance/charge, so that is up to 4 extra inches of threat, which can be the difference between taking a turn of enemy fire and being in the middle of their lines. If you know you can’t make it that turn, T9 can make it rather tough for your opponent to bring the Rampager down. While Infernal can help some shooty platforms, the extra speed really is amazing for melee knights, and again, an Iconoclast Rampager could have 20 attacks, but it never makes it into combat, it is all for naught.
On the other hand, Iconoclast gets you more mileage of out of the special rule as 6 attacks on the charge with the Reaper/Fist more or less ensures you an extra hit. This really does make the Iconoclast Rampager the premier Titan killer in melee as it will far more times than not one-shot any other Knight, except for a Lancer (thanks 4++). You also get the bonus of using the Chainsword, now at -4 AP, but hitting on 2+, which isn’t too shabby at all. Iconoclast also has access to more consistently solid stratagems, namely Vow of Beastslayer for this armor killer. To math it out, an Infernal Rampager does 17.18 wounds with the Chainsword on the charge to another Knight. An Iconoclast Rampager with Vow of Beastslayer is going to do: 27.88 wounds with its Chainsword. That’s a lot more average efficiency right there, just about killing a Castellan in one hit.
So, what about Dreadblades? Really, there is a clear winner here, and that’s Daemonic Vigor. 50% of the time, you get an extra 2″ of movement, and on a melee monster, that’s sweet, and even getting the 33% chance of WS 1+, that just lets you use the Gauntlet without any worry. Path to Glory can be useful if going against Titans or a lot of characters, but it is not essential. Really, what you want is Daemonic Vigor more than anything as the more speed you put on the Rampager, the more it is likely to do in a game.
Just like Fighty Despoilers, the same relics apply here. Khornate Target is a great choice if you know you are going against Daemons, Bullgryn, or really any unit with a good invulnerable save as nothing makes those stomps sweeter than no invulnerable saves. The Teeth That Hunger is also a solid choice as it has native AP -4 and an additional attack, and oh lordy, do Rampagers like more attacks. This works well if you are Infernal but want more of the hitting power of Iconoclast. The Gauntlet of Ascension is also another tasty choice as while it loses the ability to throw a vehicle/monster, you do not suffer the -1 to hit penalty and you get to re-roll hits and wounds. What is crazy about that is you can reroll any hit roll, so you can start to fish like crazy for those 6s, and well, you are putting out enough heat to start threatening just about anything in the game, even those whispered Iron Hands dreadnoughts. Plus, if it kills a character, get you +1 Attack and Strength.
Thanks to the FAQ, using either Teeth or Ascension still triggers Frenzied Rampage. The Putrid Carapace is a good choice if you are going against hordes to reflect wounds back at them, and finally, The Quicksilver Throne is a strong, strong choice as it provides two great abilities. First, +1 to advance/charge is amazing for a variety of reasons, and to reiterate from my article on Despoilers, with the full kit of Infernal, Quicksilver Throne, Eager for the Kill, Daemonic Vigor and Full Tilt, you are looking at an average threat of 32.5 inches. Don’t forget that it allows you fight first in combat as if you charged, which means that your opponent cannot try to stack multiple melee threats on you as the Rampager is only going to take one hit before it gets to swing. You can also go for the 4++ to shooting if Iconoclast or the act at double wounds as Infernal, and both are always money if no other knight needs them.
A fun trick that has a super low percentage but is a blast to try is to take The Pyrothrone as Infernal. Run in, throw a smite, fight, and if/when you die the next turn, use Pact to bring yourself back up. Then, in your psychic phase, try as hard as you can to perils so you get the double explosion from the Perils and Explodes. High comedy, but again, more of a possible thing, not really guaranteed. The downside to all of this is that you need to mind your CP and how many relics you are spending, but really, even with a full boat of 5 knights, there are 5 artifacts worth having here.
This big bot does have a few standard stratagems that it is going to want to use. Full Tilt is the obvious one as advance and charge make this murder machine so much faster than it appears. If you want a first turn charge or even to zoom across the board in the mid-game and threaten a whole new flank, this is how you get there, especially when paired with things like Infernal’s speed boost or the Quicksilver Throne. Spiteful Demise is absolutely essential as a Rampager is disposable. Its job is to hit the frontline, try to crack it, and then die horribly, but in doing so, explode and do even more damage. For every melee knight that you take, you should be saving 2 CP for this.
Trail of Destruction can work if you really, really need the accuracy, but that’s a variable decision that depends on a lot of other factors. Pact with the Dark Gods can be very useful if Infernal as getting the big bot up after combat means another round next turn of stomping, and since the Rampager only goes down to WS 4+ at its lowest tier, it can still do some work even when crippled. If Iconoclast, vow of Beastslayer is great if you are going against other Knights where you can really increase your efficiency, and if going against hordes, you can try Vow of Carnage, but in my experience, Rampagers and Fighty Despoilers don’t live long enough to really wrack it up, unless you are going against a gant-horde or some other army that is unlikely to kill the Rampager in two turns.
Summing It Up
Really, is this baddie worth 15 more points than a Knight Despoiler? It depends. Do you have 3 despoilers already and want a 4th? Well, Rampager has you there. You can comfortably fit 2 double melta, a gallant despoiler, and a Rampager. You even have room for the spikey 17. That said, should you pay 15 points? Not unless you need the data slate or you are absolutely sure that you are going to go against heavy armor where the chance of generating an extra attack with the sword/fist is essential. The Rampager also suffers from the same problem that a Fighty Despoiler does: it is a melee monster, but that requires that it gets into melee. This makes it tactically very limited as there are places on the board that it cannot go, and there are enemies that it cannot ever kill (hey, Eldar Fliers).
Your opponent has a lot of control over where and how they engage the Rampager, and terrain can absolutely ruin its day. The Rampager is far cheaper than other knights, but it is still a hefty investment, so if your opponent out positions you or the table denies you a lot of avenues to attack, that is a lot of points suddenly pulling much less weight. They provide forward pressure, but if they can’t get into combat on T1 or only sit mired in chaff, that’s 20% of your army doing not a lot. Rampagers are also CP hungry as you need CP to Full Tilt, and you need CP to Spiteful Demise, and that starts to add up very quickly. It is a bit rough that you can’t take any carapace upgrades as being able to add some out of LoS shooting really helps an army that struggles with terrain.
When all is said in done, a Rampager can work, but if you just want forward melee threat and you are not trying to take 4+ knights, a Fighty Despoiler is generally better (again, unless you are positive that you are going to need to swing with that big weapon like say a vehicle-heavy meta). Of course, if you want full-throated, blood for the blood god, 3 fighty Despoilers and 2 Rampagers is only 1890 points.
69/100. Failing, but just barely. A fighty Despoiler is better more times than not, but there are some reasons to consider the Rampager, some of them being meta-dependent. Really, a Rampager goes well with 2 other fighty Knights with a battalion or two of friends to hold the board and add either some shooting or psychic threat.
Thanks as always for reading!
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