|Knight Errant: I love the model's skull-shaped head|
|Knight Paladin: the Avatar of Khaine in |
the foreground gives an indication of size
Back when Apocalypse 2.0 was still just a rumor, there had been whispers of so-called Imperial Knight models. (Knights are essentially Adeptus Mechanicus mini-Titans.) I was sorely disappointed when these failed to materialize. Now that these images have leaked, I have to wonder if the rumor-mongers were correct that GW was working on Knights but wrong about the release dates or if this is just a coincidence.
The look of the models is exactly what I would have hoped for; i.e., hunched, aggressive-looking, and fantastically garish. I guess my only complaint is that I had hoped that they would be a little taller. The Forge World model of the Avatar of Khaine seen taking on a Knight Paladin is about 4.7 inches tall, which suggests that the Imperial model is somewhere between is 6.5 and 7 inches tall. This puts it at about the height of a Riptide.
Although I had been hoping for something closer to a Wraithknight in size, the model will easily dwarf my troops and Dreadnoughts and should be adequately intimidating. And the bulk looks like it will easily make up for any lack of height.
Images showing the rules for the Knight Paladin and the Knight Errant have been leaked and are readily available. I don't know if there will be other Knight variants with this release, but what we know so far suggests that we will only be getting these two.
The Knights are relatively small Super-Heavy Walkers and have a lower points cost than the Super-Heavies found in the Escalation book (each is about 50% more than a Land Raider). Both are equipped with a D-strength Reaper chainsword. The Knight Paladin also carries a two-shot Battle cannon while the Knight Errant has a Melta weapon called a Thermal cannon. This weapon, which I find a lot more interesting than the Paladin's armament, has slightly more range and greater strength than other Melta weapons, in addition to being a large blast.
The Imperial Knights' armor values are middle-range, although they benefit from a 4+ invulnerable save granted by an Ion Shield (which has no effect in close combat). This shield protects a single facing during any given turn; the player chooses which facing is protected at the start of the opponent's shooting phase.
At first glance, the Knights seem to be lacking compared to other Super-Heavies, and I was a little concerned that a single model would have a hard time surviving long on the table. However, only a short while after I first saw the rules for the Knight Errant, I saw another image from the White Dwarf revealing that the Knights aren't Lord of War choices at all. Instead, a player can take three to six as a Primary Detachment or he can take up to three as an Allied Detachment. Individually, an Imperial Knight might not cause an opponent too much worry. A pack of two or three would be a different matter.
Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case with the 40K hobby, the new models were immediately compared to Wraithknights and Riptides, with any number of players griping that the Knights are overpriced for what they do and that nobody will buy the models with those rules. Well, call me "nobody" since I was already determined to buy one regardless of the rules. And once I found out that I could field several, I decided to buy at least two. Despite the certainty of some people, there are plenty of us who are modelers first and foremost; if a great new model has awesome rules, then they are merely the icing on the cake.
White Dwarf Rules?
Now, it's certainly possible that the complainers are right and the Knights won't work well under their current rules. That's why I think it's interesting that these rules are being released in White Dwarf. Given what a big release this will be (pun intended), and that GW is going as far as allowing players to form Primary Detachments of Knights, I would have expected at least a digital codex to accompany the new models rather than a few pages of rules in a magazine. There's also a lot of fluff that could go with the Imperial Knights that a single issue of White Dwarf probably won't be able to get into. For these reasons, I think that these are essentially glorified beta rules meant to allow players to use the brand new model as soon as possible.
Similarly, the Stormtalon's original rules were included in White Dwarf upon its release. Less than a year later Death from the Skies was published and the Stormtalon saw a decrease in points cost, it was given the unit type of Flyer, Hover, upgrade costs were revised, and the Hover Strike rule was deleted and replaced by the Strafing Run rule. All these changes seemed to be in response to players' experience with the model.
Here's my theory; as with the Stormtalon, GW is reluctant to set down the Knights' rules in a more permanent format until they can polish them and ensure that their expensive new model is adequately competitive. It's also possible that the new kit is merely the first in a line of Adeptus Mechanicus models that will eventually get their own official codex.