Horus Heresy Faction Focus: Divisio Tactica – Knight Household

EDIT: I forgot about the Traitor Knight Household upgrades. I’ll update the article in a few days.

The mechanics of Horus Heresy mean that skew lists are always a challenge for fun and balance. It is a consistent issue in most wargames in that a balanced take all comers list will sometimes struggle to hand a hard “skewed” list, containing lots of a single defensive profile or unit type when deployed on mass.

Imperial Knights are the skew list of the Horus Heresy. Big stompy robots (with some little stompy robots) and nothing else.

The Specialist Games Design Team have put a number of steps in this new edition to make Questoris Knights more enjoyable to play against. Most Knights chassis have lower armour than you might expect and a lot of hull points, making a higher variety of weapons good at attacking them. You are compelled into vast quantities of Armigers, which trade poorly into many melee focused targets. Your Knight’s melee weapons don’t tend to have Brutal, meaning they struggle into Dreadnoughts, Demons and other multi-wound targets with high toughness.

Knights are expensive, swingy and honestly quite difficult to play, but they do gracefully and excitingly deliver on their main fantasy, deploying an entire army of enormous metal robots with low model count where every unit is the size of a building.

More so than any other faction, Knights are heavily reliant on allies to work well, mainly seeking melee threats and screening units to add to their exceptional resilience and firepower.

Read on to see how the Faction works!

Lenoon’s Lancer

How Do I Run Knights?

First option is a classic. Grab any Knights that you like as a Lord of War allied choice.

Second option is run Mechanicum, who get access to some special Lord of War Knights, as well as the bonkers Moirax Armigers as a Heavy Support choice. Honestly, it’s criminal (but sensible, they’re very good) that you can’t take Moirax in a Knights list. The Knights taken as part of Mechanicum Lord of War detachments gain Flare Shields, which helps reduce the Strength of weapons used against them. Remember, you can’t ally Mechanicum with other Mechanicum, unless you have a Archmagos Dominus with Archimandrite Technoarcana, and at that point you’re going to struggle with your 25% LoW cap.

Finally, and the focus of this article, you can run a Knight Household as your primary OR allied detachment. If you run it primarily, you can grab an allied detachment on top of this, and you can ignore the 25% Lord of War cap. If you run it as an allied detachment, you still have to watch out for that 25% cap.

Even the cheapest Questoris Knight is 385pts, so at 3000 pts you can’t run 2 of them inside the 750pt 25% point cap, meaning a primary Knight Household is the only way to run multiple big knights.

This gets you access to the juicy Household Ranks, which give your knights little buffs in exchange for making them all cheaper!

What is the org chart? It’s kinda simple. Each Lord of War Knight slot requires a pair of Armigers to accompany it. Every Knight (400-750 points) thus must have about 400 points of squires with them. This org chart demands a varied army composition, with your little Armigers (who have line) screening and grabbing objectives, while your big Knights murder things.

It does however mean list building can be a tad difficult, because your army comes in very expensive blocks. A 3000 points army tends to include an Acastus (700ish points), 2-3 Questoris (400 pts each) or Lancer Chassis and 6-8 Armigers (200 points each). The Household Ranks can be used to wiggle this about, or you can grab some allies!

The gangs all here! Credit: Magos Sockbert Imperial Knights
The gangs all here! Credit: Magos Sockbert Imperial Knights

What Is a Knight?

Knights are Super Heavy Walkers with the Knight Keyword. Unlike a bunch of the smaller walkers, they are Vehicles.

They’ve got the following rules (and a few more very situational ones):

  • As you are a Super Heavy Walker, you cannot be exploded by an AP1 or AP2 weapon, instead it will deal D3 Hull Points (as well as the Hull Point it loses) on a 7 on the Vehicle Damage Table. Anything that would just destroy or remove you doesn’t.
  • You can always move your full movement and fire all your weapons.
  • You can only react to other “Big Units,” Knights and Titans, Super-heavy Vehicles, Lumbering Flyers or any model with 8 or more Wounds. This means those Lascannons Heavy Support Squads are going to get to fire lascannons at you without reprisal, and you can’t overwatch units charging you. This is sadly a big deal, as most units do not have those keywords. The vital Seneschal Household Rank (more on these later), lets that unit and units within 8” of them react to all units. PS: I’m going to call these “Big Units” for the rest of the article to save us all time. That said, there are some subtleties between different rules that could have been standardised but weren’t. Sometimes Lumbering Flyers and Super Heavy Vehicles are included, sometimes Monstrous units are included. Sometimes Primarchs are included.
  • Knights have Weapon Skills and Initiative, as well as the normal Ballistic Skill, Movement and Armour Values for facing that vehicles have.
  • You can always Split Fire.
  • When a Knight dies it always explodes! Catastrophic Damage does an AP-4, 6+D6” radius S 7+D3 explosion that Pins units hit. Like a normal explosion, but much bigger, higher strength and piercing carapace armour and equivalents. This is going to *absolutely fuck up* anything without a 2+ save. Some of the Knights (Megeara and Styrix) have an Overtaxed Reactor and explode with AP3. The Porphyrion has Catastrophic Explosion and explodes with AP2. The Asterius, for some god-forsaken reason, blows up with AP1 because of Catastrophic Destruction. The Mechanicum models have slightly different rules so be careful what you’re comparing. If you’re running allies, keep your Marines far away from these beasties.
  • Most knights have an Ion Shield. This gives a 4+ Invulnerable Save against Shooting Attacks which target its Front Armour and a 5+ Invulnerable Save against Shooting Attacks which target its Side Armour Value. It does nothing in melee, which is SAD, unless you have the Ion Gauntlet Shield on the Lancer, which is a 5+ Invulnerable save against all attacks (no 4+ in the front arc though).
  • In melee, your big boys can STOMP, gaining D3+ the model’s unmodified Attacks Characteristic attacks at Initiative 1 with AP2 and their normal strength. You can’t make these against the “Big Units” you couldn’t react to earlier. This means even ranged knights have a big punch in melee, even if they are vulnerable to melta bombs, power fists, etc due to their low Front armour (13 on most units) and lack of melee invulnerable save.
  • Kníghts can’t be locked in combat, and can always move, shoot and charge whatever they like.

Imperial Knights - Knight Gallant
Imperial Knights – Knight Gallant
Credit: Pendulin

What Is an Armiger?

Well it’s kinda like a Dreadnought, but it’s not! Watch out, this unit has been FAQed since the book was printed to make it more like a Dreadnought.

  • Successful Wounds from Poisoned or Fleshbane have to be re-rolled.
  • They are Stubborn.
  • They can fire all their weapons as part of an attack or action, and count as being stationary even if they move. They can also charge if they move or shoot.
  • Independent Characters can’t join them unless they’re also Armigers. There are no Armiger special characters, so this is just weird futureproofing.
  • Any rule that would affect a Dreadnought, like Armourbane, Haywire, Meltabombs, etc, affects an Armiger as if it was a Dreadnought.
  • Armigers have Skirmish, which means their Cover Save might be a 4+ in Ruins or near Barricades. This is actually pretty neat!

Imperial Knights - Armiger Helverin
Imperial Knights – Armiger Helverin
Credit: Pendulin

Household Ranks

These are a series of upgrades you buy with points that give bonuses to the Knights. They’re all really nicely themed, with some cool lore and a good justification for the fluffy rules. I think there is a real variance between how good they are, some are near mandatory and a few are sidegrades or downgrades for the unit. List building with Knight Households is awkward because you have to build them in “blocks”, and sometimes if you have a few points left you might as well just grab them. They can only go on Knights, not Armigers.

A bunch of these grant Character which could be a massive downside for a Knight. You get locked in a Challenge and you can only punch one person! Good news is that James Workshop thought of this, and you can only be challenged or issue Challenges to “Big Units.” Thank god!

Many Ranks also give Ballistic Skill and Weapon Skill upgrades. The BS upgrade is nice, and increases the damage of ranged weapons, but the WS upgrade is an absolute must for melee Knights. Being WS4 and hitting elite infantry and dreadnoughts on 5s sucks, especially since Knights typically have so few attacks. It is also a big deal in Knight on Knight combat. If the other guy hits you on a 5s and you hit them on a 3, it’s a huge advantage.

Running through the options:

  • Seneschal is a 0-1 choice costing 80 pts and granting Character, representing the Warlord of the army. It can’t be given to the two Acastus Knights. It grants +1 WS and BS, which is a very important breakpoint that can’t be overlooked. The main feature is that it allows the Warlord and Knights within 8” of it to react as per the normal rules, instead of only “Big Units” as discussed earlier. It grants a Warlord Trait with an additional Shooting reaction, which means the Warlord can do a tasty Return Fire or Shrouded! This is a very interesting trait that gives a lot of lethality, survivability and flexibility to the Knight. The ability to react 6” away in the Movement Phase, Shroud, Return Fire or Overwatch really ups the lethality of your Warlord. It also gives the buffs to nearby allies, really pushing you towards creating a castle of grouped deployment.However, it paints a massive target on the head of your Warlord, as they’re more expensive (without any defensive upgrades), give extra VP for the Warlord kill, and enable a lot of power in your army. Weirdly, I think it’s good to put this on a Questoris Knight and hide them behind a big building if you can to keep them alive. If you have the points, I think this is a really good upgrade to go for.
  • The Arbalester upgrade costs 55 pts and grants Character, and represents a gunner or artillerist. It gives +1 BS, and allows you to roll 2 scatter dice and choose which one to apply. On the big blast weapons in the army, present on the two Acastus Knights, the Maegera Lightning Cannon and the Questoris Melta Cannons, this can be a big damage upgrade. I think it’s good on the “Porph”, but the fact the weapon is already twin-linked makes it a bit redundant. I think 55 pts is too much to reduce the chance it misses (although the extra inch of scatter is also good!). A strong situational choice.
  • An Aspirant is a young, inexperienced knight that is a -30 pt downgrade knight. The knight gets -1 BS and -1 WS, and -2 Movement. It is really really bad throwing debuffs on your incredible expensive Knights. Only do this if it’s absolutely necessary, and it allows you to squeeze in a final big model.
  • The Aucteller are melee specialists and duelists among the Knights, costing 55pts and granting Character. It also gives a +1 WS, and grants a special rule giving the unit plus +1 WS and +1 Attack when fighting a “Big Unit”. This puts a Knight at WS6 when in a duel. I think this is pretty underwhelming. Knights lack Brutal and are only I4. If they were fighting something they are going to kill (a big vehicle, a ranged unit, another Knight), they don’t need the bonuses. If they were fighting something they can’t kill, a Dreadnought, Primarch or Demon Sovereign, then the bonuses aren’t really going to help. I think this one is a miss, and I would rather go with Dolorous.
  • Dolorous Knights are aggressive melee specialists. It costs 35 pts, and gives Character, +1 Weapon Skill and the ability to Sweeping Advance, which cannot normally do. Getting a chance to kill a whole unit is really good, and a big opportunity to up the knight’s lethality. A strong choice for melee Knights to stop them getting screened by infantry.
  • Preceptors are leaders and trainers of the Household, an expert at training Armigers. At 45pts, it grants +1 BS, Characters, and means all Armigers within 6” of them increase their Ld from 7 to 9. Armigers aren’t Fearless, Stubborn or immune to Pinning, so upping their Leadership is very good. Extra BS always helps, but the range is very short. Perhaps worth it in certain situations.
  • The Implacable knights are experts in siege warfare, and particularly resilient against damage. The upgrade costs a weighty 75 pts, but you gain +1 Hull Points, Characters, and also cannot take more than a single Hull Point of damage from an attack, making them immune to rolls on the Vehicle Damage Table and Exoshock. This is a massive durability buff, having the potential to make your Knights stick around for a while!
  • An Uhlan is a swift knight, a skirmisher and encircler: old school cavalry. It costs 30 points and is really cool. You gain a simple bonus of +4 Movement, and Scout and Outflank. You can’t put this on a Porphyrion, but you actually want it on a melee Knight like one of the Cerastus models with Flank Speed (for +4 Movement AGAIN in exchange for not being able to shoot), allowing them to hit something very far away and blow it up. Using this you can give the Cerastus (probably an Acheron looking to pop a valuable tank) 22” of movement on turn 1. Getting a 12” reposition with Scout is really nice as well, allowing you to hide the Knight or reposition. Just remember if you Scout in the pre-game phase, you aren’t allowed to charge! Outflanking a Knight (and leaving it in reserve) just feels like a trap, but if you tried this and it works, let me know. You want this on a melee Knight, but it doesn’t give a WS upgrade, so be careful who you charge!

Stick Implacable upon your Porphyrion, Ulhan on your Acheron, Dolorous on a Lancer and maybe Seneschal on a Maegera at the back. Most of these are fun, and if you can afford them, do it!

Imperial Knights - Knight Gallant
Imperial Knights – Knight Gallant
Credit: Pendulin

Unit Review

Armiger Talons

Two variations here on the wargear side: ranged autocannon Helverins and melee anti-tank Warglaives. The great woe of this army is that these models are just so much worse than Dreadnoughts. An Armiger might be a full knight when they grow up, but now they’re a big and very expensive Sentinel.

Clocking in at 200 pts, they are a WS4 BS4 I4 platform with S7 and T7, with 6 wounds. They have Fleet (2) and Move Through Cover, which makes ‘em pretty speedy when combined with M8. They’re reasonably survivable, but only have 3+ save and a 5+ invuln, not the 2+ save of its armoured battle sarcophagus cousins. They also have Eternal Warrior, which makes them more survivable than the Atomantic Fields of a Dreadnought, which causes Instant Death wounds to do D3 damage. Generally, the 3+ armour makes them less immune to bolter fire, generic melee weapons and heavy weapons fire than you might expect.

These are your only source of Line, so expect the Warglaives to run forward and grab the midfield, while the Helverins sit in the backfield and pop away shots. Neither of them have huge amounts of damage. Warglaives prey on vehicles, but struggle into elite infantry with high Strength, whereas Helverins do well into Marine equivalent infantry, but struggle into anything with a 2+ save (Artificer Armour sucks).

The Warglaive is armed with a pair of anti-armour weapons: the melee reaper chainblade and the short ranged thermal lance. The Chainblade is solid. S9, AP2 and Shred will make short work of anything with a low rear armour value, coming in with 4 Attacks on the charge. The Thermal Lance has 2 twin linked shots with a 36” range, Armourbane (Melta) and S9, but only AP2?? Come on! This is going to kill a tank or put a few wounds on a unit of Terminators, but is going to be eaten alive by anything WS5 or with good AP. You can give it a Meltagun for 15pts, and I’d recommend it so you can commit to your role as a tank hunter and bring a gun with a better chance of causing an explosion.

The Helverin however has two profiles on its pair of Phaeton Autocannons. Both have 2 shots with S7 AP3 and Rending (6+), with the AP rounds having Sunder and Ignis rounds Ignores cover. This preys on midweight infantry with a 3+ save, but struggles into Artificer Armour or 2 wound models, since it won’t Instant Death your average T4 marine. It’ll do a hull point or two into a rhino or the side or read armour of anything heavier, or clean out a few Marines a turn.

Thank god these units are Line, otherwise you wouldn’t run many of them. Like a shooty Contemptor, they are intensely vulnerable to getting tagged in melee and being made useless for the rest of the game. They’ll get cleared by most dedicated melee troops. The good news is that they’re often fast enough to fight where they want to be, but where they need to be is in the midfield grabbing objectives.

I suggest a smooth blend of Armigers, since each does better into a different type of unit, and has a different prepared range.

Lenoon’s Imperial Knights

Knight Questoris

The standard chassis covers most 40k Knights, 13/12/12 Armour with 7 HP and a Ion Shield. There are no differentiations between the different types of Questoris Knight. You won’t see Gallants, Crusaders or Paladins here. They just get the free choice of weapons, with some massive skew in their quality.

The Reaper Chainsword and Chainfist are both S10 AP2, with the Sword having Shred and the Fist having Armourbane. Both are entirely lacking any Brutal. How does a Contemptor Fist have Brutal (3) and this has no Brutal at all? Nonsense. I’d leave both of these at home, or ask your opponent nicely if they can pretend they’re Brutal (2). Avengers aren’t great but they’re better than this, especially considering you’ve already got stomps and you can always leave combat.

The Avenger Gatling Cannon fires a nasty 12 shots with S6 and AP4, and Rending 6+. This will clear a unit of Militia or Auxilia off the table, force a whole load of saves on a Tactical Squad or glance a rhino chassis to death. It’s a solid gun, but outcompeted by some of the other weapons on the Questoris Chassis.

The Rapid Fire Battle Cannon makes me sad. Two shot S8, AP4 and a Large Blast is really not enough damage on a 400 point chassis.

Unlike its 40k counterpart, the Las Impulsor has a melee profile now? Just a single attack at S10 AP1 with Armourbane and Instant Death at Initiative 1 and WS1. It also has a ranged profile with a 12” range, S10, AP2, Sunder and Instant Death. Absolutely bewildering. Please don’t take this. It’ll only hit a Vehicle in melee on a 4+. Nonsense. I think it’s also unclear if you use Stomp due due to the terms of “Cumbersome” but anyone who enforces this has no soul.

The Thermal Cannon is my favourite weapon. Only a 36” inch range, but it’s a Large Blast S8 AP1 weapon with Armourbane. Cor blimey! Every gun we’ve mentioned so far struggles into elite infantry, whereas this will blow up Terminators like it’s Judgement Day.

You can swap the Heavy Stubber for a Multi-Laser or a Meltagun. You can also grab some lil’ turret weapons, either an anti-flyer Icarus autocannon, a large blast AP4 Ironstorm Missile Pod, or an AP3 3 shot Stormspear missile pod. All of these are fine, and a good way to spend points if you have some left after buying your favourite Household Ranks.
If you want to run a Questoris, I’d do it with a Thermal Cannon and an Avenger Gatling Cannon. I’d take 2 Thermal Cannons if I could, but the Gatling Gun is better than the melee weapons.

Knight Styrix

A special Questoris Chassis with weird weapons. The Styrix has a Volkite Chierovile (the only volkite weapon not named after a ludicrous brand of renaissance firearm), and a Reaper Chainsword that you should swap for a Siege Claw, which comes with an Irad- Cleanser. The Siege Claw comes with Brutal (2), Sunder and Wrecker, as S16. Now that’s a melee weapon! The Chieroville compares poorly to the Avenger Gatling Cannon, having many less shots but a much higher strength, meaning it’s really a light vehicle hunter. Unlike the Questoris, the Styrix has no access to carapace weapons.

Its extra weapons, Graviton Guns and the Irad-Cleanser (built into the Siege Claw), won’t change the world but are leagues better than a stubber and a flamer the equivalent Questoris would get.

Being a Mechanicus Knight model, it comes with Nightvision which is pretty useful at ignoring Shrouds, as well as Range and BS penalties while Night Fighting.

I love the Styrix, it’s a cool midfield, takes all comers brawler that might kill a Dreadnought in a fight, and blows up big. Sadly, the Maegera is even cooler and has even weirder weapons.

Knight Maegera

I am unashamed to admit this is my favourite knight. Like the Styrix, you should swap the Reaper Chainsword for a Siege Claw. The other gun is a Lightning Cannon. It’s a large blast with Rending 4+, Shred, S7 and AP3. It clears out 1 wound Marines nicely (while struggling with 2 wound Vets and Terminators), doesn’t care about Artificer Armour as much, and swaps the Graviton Gun for a Plasma Fusil. Like the Styrix, the Maegera has no access to carapace weapons and gets Nightvision.

This is my go-to choice for Seneschal Warlord. Just watch out when it explodes due to its Overtaxed Reactor.

A Lancer strides forward to do the true Greater Good of crushing Tau. Model: Jack from Oxford Outriders. Photo: Mine.

Knight Lancer

So all the Cerastus Knights (the Lancer, Castigator, Acheron and Atrapos) have an extra attack, 4” more of movement, and the Flank Speed rule, which means they can forgo shooting in exchange for moving an additional 4”. They’ve generally got slightly underwhelming ranged weapons, so this is a good move, especially since you can still charge.

The Lancer has a Shock Lance, which has a neat ant-infantry ranged profile with 18” range, 6 shots, S7 and AP3. This might cut down a couple of Marines before you can charge, and Concussive (2) might get their Weapon Skill down too which is dead helpful. In melee, the Shock Lance is S10 AP2, with Reach (1), so it’ll punch before I4, and Exoshock (5+). Exoshock and 5 attacks on the charge means you’ve got a solid chance of a vehicle, and Reach makes it good at killing other Knights or Instant Deathing T4 I4 infantry.

It also has a defensive bonus, it’s Ion Gauntlet Shield. It only gives a 5+ invulnerable at ranged against Front of Side Armour. This is worse than the Front Armour save of 4+ on the normal Ion Shield, but that extends to melee, unlike the normal Ion Shield.

Knight Castigator

A twin-linked Castigator Bolt Cannon makes this a menace against infantry. A withering 18 twin-linked shots at S6 AP4 is going to force 13-14 saves on a unit, with Pinning and Shell Shock (1) to follow up. Its fearsome melee weapon is a S10 AP2 Tempest Warblade that has Deflagrate! You don’t very often see Deflagrate on an AP2 weapon, especially one that does Instant Death. It also has the option to make an attack against every unit it is in base contact with, instead of its normal 5 on the charge. S10 AP2 isn’t shabby into vehicles either, making the Castigator a front runner of the Cerastus Knights, even though it’s the cheapest Knight at 380pts.

The Knight Castigator. Credit: Lupe

Knight Acheron

Oh Acheron! Oh Acheron! The flamestorm template that GW doesn’t sell anymore that this unit uses and basically no one else. The Acheron Flamestorm Cannon is a S6 AP4 weapon with Shred, which will force a lot of armour saves but not do a lot of damage. Since it’s only a single shot, it does much less than the Castigator Bolt Cannons against anything but the most bunched and hordelike up of units.

The Reaper Chainfist the Acheron has is the same version as the Questoris has access to, with the addition of a twin-linked heavy bolter. This is a pretty rubbish weapon, but it has the grace of being a much faster knight, meaning it’s more likely to find purchase against its speciality target: helpless vehicles.

The Acheron has a bit of an identity crisis. The Cerastus is clearly hunting infantry, the Lancer aiming for other vehicles, whereas the Acheron has an anti-infantry ranged weapon and an anti-tank melee weapon. While not unusable like the Atrapos, this jack of all trades ends up as a master of none.

Knight Atrapos

Next up is a weird Cerastus. The Singularity Cannon is an S8 AP2 graviton weapon with Concussive (1) and all the normal graviton nonsense. Meanwhile the Atrapos Phasecutter is a Las-Impulsor like weapon, with a single shot S10 AP2 Ordnance 12” range weapon that is twin-linked against Knights, Titans and Super Heavies thanks to Macro Extinction Targeting Protocols, or a single melee attack at S10 AP1 with Armourbane and Instant Death, but at full Initiative unlike the Impulsor. It’s still WS1 though because of Cumbersome. A slightly bewildering unit, that I cannot wholeheartedly recommend, especially since it’s 100pts more than any other Knight. The best thing about it is that it has a special rule called MACRO EXTINCTION TARGETING PROTOCOLS.

Loyalist Knight Atrapos
Loyalist Knight Atrapos. Credit: Jack Hunter

Acastus Knight Porphyrion

The Porphyrion gives me nightmares. My regular local opponent CJ has one, and Olympus Mons has lost me more than a few games.

Twin-linked Magna Lascannons are problematic. The Porph spits out 4 scatter-rerolling large blasts per turn, with S10 AP2 and the ordnance armour pen rolls. Four of these probably clears any infantry unit in the game. For what it’s worth, it also has 2 hulk mounted Lascannons, Autocannons or Irad-Cleanser, and either an Ironstorm Missile Pod or the even better Hyperios Whirlwind Launcher.

The 400pt Questoris with a single terminator clearing S8 blast costs 400 points, so why does this 655-after-updates point model have 4 of them??

The Heresy rules writers are clearly terrified of high AP blast templates, and everywhere else in the game they don’t exist. The power of the Porphyrion feels like a bug that someone missed, or a relic from a different edition. This is the best Super Heavy in the game and it’s not even close. If you are running a Knight army and really care about winning then you should buy one.

The Porph is too good. I would only run it at nastier events, and warn your opponents if you want to use it in a casual game. If it gets killed early, you’ll lose. If not, it’ll slowly level a few units per turn with a 72” range. It doesn’t help that the chunky chassis has Front Armour 14 and 9 Hull Points. If you slap Implacable on this, it’s never going to die.

Pete Allison’s Golden Demon winning Porphyrion @runebrush

Acastus Knight Asterius

The overlooked and less overtuned sibling of the Porphyrion is still pretty good. The Karacnos Mortar Battery normally is at home on the Karacnos Assault Tank. It has possibly the most special rules of every gun in the game with Massive Blast (7”), Barrage, Fleshbane, Rad-phase, Ignores Cover, Pinning, Shell Shock (3) and Crawling Fire. If this hits something the AP4 will bite into, an entire unit might disappear, but otherwise it’ll probably force a wound and then force a -3 LD pinning check. Juicy.

The Heavy Conversion Beam Cannon is some beautiful jank. At a close range target, its large blast is S7 AP-, at medium range of 18” to 42” it’s S9 AP4, and at more than 42” it’ll hit S12 AP1. Ouch. Remember, you’re a Knight, so you can split fire, force 2 Blind Checks and the debuffed pinning check, or even more if your 7” blast hits multiple units.

This is a kinda bad but deeply cool debuff Knight that CAN do some serious damage against the correct target but probably won’t. I wish this was a power space that more stuff in Horus Heresy occupied, but the game is just a bit too “dog eat dog” for units like this to shine.

Acastus Knight Asterius. Credit – Clayton (Twitter: badposturepaint IG: badposturepainting)


This guy is Traitor locked and is a Troop Choice in the Divisio Tactica: Questoris Household. He is slightly more expensive than a normal Armiger, and lets you take Castellax and Vorax as non-Compulsory Troops. I have no idea what is happening here? Maybe this is good? A neat way to spend points? I’m baffled. If you ran this, lemme know what you think of it.

Wrapping Up

Putting it all together, this is a weird list. There is some serious power contained within the skew here, and while I don’t think knights are in a powerful place they’re in an interesting one, with a few available playstyles and a shallow roster of potent units.

This faction makes me weep for the fact we aren’t in a 40k like environment with more points adjustments and balance dataslates, because I don’t think the Knight Households would need much of a tweak to be a deeply compelling faction, but right now the variance of power within the units is just a bit too high. If you bring nothing but Porphyrions and Maegera, you might blow your opponent’s dedicated anti-tank off the table, but if you don’t, you’ll probably lose a few key units early and then the rest goes downhill.

The main problem with the faction is their lack of ability to deal with Dreadnoughts. It’s going to take a while for any Knight in this list to clear a 6 wound Dreadnought, especially if they’re hitting them on 5+. Most of the high AP weapons in the list are blast weapons, and there is a lack of good Rending and Breaching. The complete lack of Brutal in this faction is, well, brutal, and none of the weapons have enough Strength or Instant Death to double out T7, so it’s sadly feast and famine for the Mechanicus.

Very rarely will a Dreadnought kill a Knight, as the Brutal (3) of the Gravis Power Fist has no effect on the vehicles like a Knight, but they’ll be a hell of a roadblock to clear. A WS5 Castigator might do 4 wounds to a Dreadnought in a turn, including stomps, but a WS4 Knight with no melee weapon can only push through with stomps that hit on 5s. Watch out for Gravis Chainfist Dreads though!

If some of the more overtuned stuff in the game took a hit and there were a few less lascannons and contemptors, it would be a day in the sun for the Knights Households.
I also wish Armigers were a little bit cheaper. At 200 pts each, they trade incredibly unfavourably compared to almost everything in the game, and are paying too vast a premium as the faction’s only line option. At 150-175 pts, they’d be a lot more efficient and would leave more space for toys.

A powerful knights strides through the devastated landscape of the Parallel during the Battle of Marinus

Sample Lists

Maegera with Siege Claw and Seneschal – 490 pts

2x Armiger Helverin 400pts

Castigator with Dolorous – 415 pts

2x Warglaives with Melta Gun – 430pts

Knight Lancer with Ulhan 445pts

2x Warglaives with Melta Gun – 430pts

Porphyrion with Lascannons, Missile Pods and Implacable 720 pts

2x Armiger Helverin 200 pts

Defence Line with Skyreaper Battery 60pts

Here’s a solid 3k list with a Porphyrion in it. Our Maegera is going buff up the Porphyrion with the ability to react to the anti-tank stuff shooting on it, alongside their 4 accompanying Helverins.

The Castigator and the 4 accompanying Warglaives are going to seize the midfield, with the WS5 Castigator hunting troops and melta blowing up everything else.

Meanwhile, our Ulhan has movement 16” now. Yikes. If your opponent has the first turn, you can probably move 16” and have it charge something useful on your first Turn. If not, you can Scout or Outflank it. You’re looking to charge some anti-tank or valuable enemy tank.

We have a Defence Skyreaper Battery here because we have 60 pts left and this is the only Fortification we can run with some kind of gun.

If you’re running 2500pts, I’d drop the Armigers, Skyreaper and the Porphyrion, since the Porph is a challenge to deal with at lower points values. You then have 500pts or so to spend on some allies, or some Armigers of your preferred flavour.

I love allied Militia or Auxilia, since they’re incredibly cheap, have a lot of Line, and can screen your Knights from scary melee units. However, they’re deeply vulnerable to explosions as most Knights explode with at least AP4.

Mechanicum can’t be allied, since you can’t ally Knights with any other Mechanicum faction (including Knights) because of science. Any flavour of Marines are good here. I most like Recon Company with Delagatus Recon Marines with Nemesis Bolters, with 15 available in 500pts. Grabbing some early objectives, Pinning some anti-tank and re-rolling for Strategic Advantage and Seize The Initiative is also great, since Knights care a lot about first turn. Death Guard for moving snipers, Imperial Fists for +1 to hit with bolt weapons, Raven Guard for Strike and Fade, Shrouds and Infravisors, or White Scars, to re-roll their dice, meaning they’ve get to roll an additional dice AND reroll their dice.

Anything is possible though. Maybe just grab some Dreadnoughts, or a cool melee command squad.

There is genuinely a whole article of Advance Soup that you could write. Let me know if that would be interesting.


Thanks for reading. If you have strong opinions on Knights, or feel like I missed something, give me a shout!

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