New Chaos Knights in the Meta. I test some things out.
I am wondering (in the long term) how the meta reacts to this. Some people think the options provide a good add on for a Chaos army but we have Renegade dual gattlings already ( arguably the best current knight load out). We also already have Forgeworld options which have the dual benefit of being Daemon engines and have access to Legion Keyword. Frankly unless GW nerfs that set of keywords it’ll be interesting to see how many Chaos players bite on this vs playing loyalist Knights. It looks like the temptation to play Chaos Knights as a function will be there, but what about a Chaos player that just wants a Knight force to compliment his/her army?
Knights as a supporting force; Is it worth it?
So if your willing to trade in the Keyword bonuses for Chaos Knights what do you get to make this tempting? the 5++ Aura towards friendly chaos units being one synergy I like.
There are only 2 House types to choose from; Iconoclast and Infernal. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they both seem to have their advantages.
If you are playing a single, supporting Knight then you are looking for the equivalent of a “Freeblade” called a Dreadblade. They work a lot like loyalists in that you get a positive, and possible negative rule set for going down this path. There are tons of articles including GW’s own how these guys will work: https://www.warhammer-community.com/2019/07/04/chaos-knights-preview-2-dreadbladesgw-homepage-post-2/
Giving the new Desecrator and Wardogs a spin with Flawless Host:
I wanted to try going another route, and I decided to play a proper detachment with my Flawless Host Chaos army.
I used the new Desecrator ( preceptor) and 2 wardogs ( Helverins ) last night against a very strong Tau army. While I was playing this game I intentionally did not use the new house traits.
I did not like the new Desecrator over the preceptor; 1 I did not know if I could take a missile pod for indirect which I love ( and I believe today I found out you can) and 2 I did not use the relic Desecrator gun and literally felt useless shooting a single shot for three turns ( which is gonna happen) into a drone invested fish bucket hiding Riptides. Pro-tip: If you’re going to take the Desecrator, remove the random, abysmal math from your shooting phase and get the relic gun for a guaranteed 3 shots per turn!
I don’t want to make a full batrep out of this early Chaos Knight article, so let me cut to the chase. I got whooped. Far worse than my standard Flawless Host army in fact! Actually I’ve beaten this Tau list with my Flawless Host and Black Legion. By now you have to be wondering why the difference? Aren’t Knights omnipotent?
This particular formation (Wardogs + Desecrator) failed me. Why?
It may seem premature to say this so take it with some salt, but the issue here is that I’m used to hammering Tau quite early, In fact you have to. And you’d think to yourself; how in the warp did Prot get outshot with all those “Helverins” and “Preceptor”? The reality is it’s not about outshooting Tau. It’s about what you can shoot.
Typically I smash into Tau with 2-3 Lord Discordants, and disrupt early intentions with Heldrakes, and fast moving troops. Getting rid of Drones in this particular Tau build (Very popular in tournament play right now) is paramount!
The Chaos Knights can’t do that. Any table with decent terrain can hid fist fulls of drones and you may be able to outshoot the fish people, but you’ll just be hitting sushi disks until they have some real bad luck. The drones give Tau ridiculous survivability on top of what you can already do with Riptides. So all the Tau player did was get rid of my Daemon Prince, and Lord Discordants, and he had no fear of the Knights. I could not displace the drones, (no indirect nor close combat left.)
Some final musings…
- I enjoyed the formation but it actually hurt how my Chaos army works. It felt extremely similar to the Loyalist version but admittedly the Iconoclast rules and relic Laser Destructor would have been good, but realistically had zero effect in this game.
- Going forward I think this formation may work but the rest of the army has to be dirt cheap and do a better job of pressuring opponents.
- The Knight Tyrant (I believe) has a relic that allows all Chaos units wholly within 6″ to gain a 5++ Invuln. I think this could be great for my Black Legion Havocs with a mob of Cultists. They won’t run and no one wants to shoot at 5++ cultists. Plus I’ve always wanted a reason to build this particular variant of “Dominus” class Knight.
- There is a very obvious choice right now in the old Renegade Knight build of Dual Gatling Cannons with Iconoclast’s trait of +1 Strength and +1 Damage to a single weapon. Combine this with the 2 Command Point Strategem that allows full to hit Re Rolls and this Knight might be the obvious contender for a massive Turn 1 spike of damage that could change the outcome of a game.
- That solo option aside, as far as supporting a Chaos army, does the new Chaos Knights faction really beat the Forgeworld Options? Keep in mind that Daemon keyword + Daemon based Invulns + Legion Keyword gives your army a LOT of support options that the Chaos Knights simply don’t have access to. I assure you I’ve done pretty well with a Kytan with =1 to hit from shooting, +1 to hit (Lord Disco), and getting healed from a Master of Possession is quite decent with the proper support. Not to mention cheep Decimators, and the Deredeo’s.
- The main contender for a support Knight aside from the dual gatling, and Tyrant, might be the Rampager. Already most Chaos armies are aimed at fast pressure units. This unit is key at doing this and has bonuses that (finally) Imperial Knights don’t have! He’s just cheap enough to be included in your army without stealing too many points from your main force and might prove to be the most common, single unit from the codex.
So those are my top choices from the new Codex as far as supporting an existing force. I will continue playtesting them all against difficult match ups to see what works best for me. It’s still early yet and there’s sure to be more gems in the codex. It’s a good time to be Chaos!
As a final bonus shot, this beast was at my local Gamesworkshop store in action: Someone brought their own Warlord Titan.
If you’re thinking this looks a little lopsided well you’re not wrong. There was an apoc game at the store and this Warlord Titan took on a pile of Knights from everyone that could supply one for the Apocalpyse game. I think the Titan cleaned everyone out and still had 20-ish wounds remaining! (He starts at 70 wounds!). -Prot.