Norman’s road to the GW Narrative Finale, Pt 1: Big Knight Blues

The GW Narrative Finale is just….. Oh fuck no way its this week. Well better late than never I suppose. I’m Norman, you may know me as Greg’s Friend or as the Doom of Lenk, and I’ll be traveling with the rest of the Goonhammer staff to participate in the narrative finale in New Mexico. I’ll be bringing my sweet babies the Chaos Knights for an attempt to be remembered forever in canon GW lore as “pretty cool”. Now this is the part of the Road To where I tell you how fucked I am and how there’s so much to do, but actually my army’s done! It’s mostly just the list I brought to GHO. So I’m just gonna go through the list and talk about all my cool plans.

House Gloam makes landfall on Lenk

My Narrative is I’m Gonna Kick Your Ass


As you may have guessed, I’m not fucking around with my narrative list. I’ve been a proponent for a while of using Crusade to tell your army’s story but also using that story to make the most powerful stuff you can muster. Lore wise my knight lance comes from the twisted chaos ridden House Gloam, led by their silent religious leader, The Shadebinder, who will be accompanied by a blood crazed, Khorne sworn noble, and a bunch of daemon possessed War Dogs. A large part of my narrative is these knights should be horrific to fight and a scary prospect to face. I’m not gonna accomplish that with any half measures.

There are a couple of hurdles to accomplishing that, chief among them being that we’re using Power Level for this event. PL exists for easy and fast list building by incorporating the cost of wargear and upgrades into the cost of the model. The pitfall comes when those numbers don’t quite match up with the points value and when the upgrades are explicitly worse. To give an example; A war dog karnivore costs 140 points, with the option for a 5 point upgrade to take a havoc launcher (A weapon which could be considered worse that the default stubber now due to the nerf of indirect weapons). Generally speaking 1 PL translates to about 20 points, if you stay on that curve you’re generally got a relatively balanced list. Now that same Karnivore is also 8PL, which for you kids following along at home means I’m losing out on 20 points per Karnivore I take or 15 if I take the gun that I really don’t want. That means if I take my normal knight lists I like to play I’m leaving a bunch of points on the table. To Illustrate that point, here’s the points for my first stab at a 100 PL knight list that I wanted to bring.


It’s pretty dire. After playing around a bit more, I realized if I wanted to come close to 2k points at 100 PL I needed to bring a fully shooting oriented despoiler and another large knight of some sort. This is far from my first choice of army composition, but it falls in acceptable boundaries of meeting my narrative hooks. In my matched games I generally consider big knights a liability, something that can easily just be shot and killed by my opponent turn 1 with nothing I can do to stop them, so having to take 2 is far from my favorite thing, especially when lore wise my knight house is obsessed with these tiny possessed war dogs (I promise this has been the case since mid 8th edition when I started my conversion projects). This just means I gotta go hard in the paint on planning. Here’s where I ended up.

Knight Despoiler (The Shadebinder) – Thermal cannon, avenger gatling cannon, ruinspear rocket pod. Relic (Veil of Medrenguard)

Knight Rampager (Lord Cela) – Relic (Panoply of Cursed Knights) Warlord trait (Knight Diabolas)

War Dog Stalker (Carrion Hauler) – Daemonsbreath Spear, Slaughterclaw

War Dog Stalker (The Courtier) – Avenger Chain Cannon, Slaughterclaw

War Dog Stalker (It From Beyond) – Avenger Chain Cannon. Reaper Chain Talon

War Dog Karnivore (Goresplinter)

War Dog Karnivore (The Rat King)

War Dog Executioner (The Spawnsire)

War Dog Exectioner (Epitaph of Empires)

This list has a couple things going for it. First off, its 1990 points and 100 PL which is close enough to be ok. There’s no room for favors unfortunately, but that’s almost impossible in a good PL list anyway. Second we have 2 big knights that are relatively well protected, with the veil being for the backline big boy, and panoply + master crafted armor when it levels up resulting in a 1+ save rampager. 

Since we’re gonna be able to pick our upgrades, I’ll be gunning for Advanced Engines on my knight rampager to give her +2” to move and +1 adv and charge, and elite crew for reroll 1s to hit on the other big one. All armigers will get either enhanced engines or elite crew  

And that’s it, I’m fully prepared for the narrative with nothing left to figure out.






FINE I’ll repaint my entire army.

There and Back Again

Ok so one thing I didn’t talk about in my recap of GHO is that I was half heartedly going for a best painted award. I knew I didn’t really have a chance, as the painters at GHO were second to none and the judges easily saw through my cool conversion smoke screen and how basic my paint jobs were, but my goal was to at least be considered. I got close, but a much nicer painted army won in the end. Now I’m not bitter, but this was a bit of a kick in the pants that I needed to start considering stepping up my painting skills. So I started asking some of the amazing Goonhammer painters for advice on how I could step up my game.

The Army Standard Before Redoing Everything, Featuring Abbadon

The #1 response I kept getting was a lack of depth. I was told I needed to establish low, mid, and high tones on my white paneling, and to each of those very fair, valuable, and solicited pieces of criticism I said “but that sounds kinda hard”. At which point I was told “Ok then try and oil wash, if you wipe it away properly you’ll get a natural mid and low tone” and that sounded easy enough to pursue. 

So I bought a bunch of oil paints, glossed up some test models and dear reader it was a complete disaster. The wash ran weirdly, pooled poorly, and didn’t grime up any of the parts I wanted. My models either came away looking about the same or just really shitty. The only slightly ok was one of my Nurgle knights and that’s because I knew I could get away with it looking so dingy. So I gave up forever. Forever being about 3 months that is.

On a hobby call with Primaris Kevin (of Hammer of Math fame) he suggested that I just paint over the entirety of my model with oil paints, washes be damned, and wipe it away from there. I can’t believe it but it worked! The difference was immediately noticeable and it looked way better. This was horrible news as it meant I had to touch up my entire army.

So I did! I went through every single knight and gave them the oil treatment. They all ended up way better than where I started, giving them a lot more depth to those flat bone, colored panels.  I was done outside some small touch ups and my army was ready to go forever with no room for improvement. That was until I tried edge highlighting the trim on one and realized it looked amazing. 

God fucking damn it

This meant yet more work. I grabbed colors that would be an “extreme” highlight from the base color and set to work on the trim. I think the end results speak for themselves. 

Overall I’m very happy with where my army ended up, and that I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and tried something new. Now I’m actually ready, or at least ready as I’ll ever be, for the narrative. If you’re at the event and you see the guy with the highlighted chaos knights that look like they are over complicated and overdone, come by and say hey!

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