8th Edition Faction Focus – Imperial Knights

Mighty war engines of the 41st Millennium, Imperial Knights stride into battle leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, but how well do they fair in 8th Edition Warhammer 40k

Imperial Knights


One of the biggest changes to come in with 8th Edition is the switch from Armour Values (AV) on vehicles to a much simpler Toughness Value. So gone are the arguments about facings on vehicles and what constituted front/side/rear all replaced with a simple Toughness value.

Gone too are the different classes of vehicles, no more Walkers, Tank, Super Heavy Walker, etc. Instead everything is essentially as it appears on its data slate. I like the way they’ve done this, as it allows for a more individual feel for every unit, with every unit having specific locked in values rather than sharing the same class as before.

The other big change is that now when vehicles start taking damage they get slower, decreased BS, attacks, etc. All on the unit’s data slate, creating a more narrative feel to armies as things slow down and generally become worse as they take damage. That’s a big change from the previous editions where Super Heavy Walkers would still have the same damage output and speed with just 1 hull point or 6.

Also, another big change is that with the To Wound chart changing significantly under 8th Edition, now everything can hurt everything. So even the humble Lasgun can start to strip wounds on a Knight!

Imperial Knight

The Imperial Knights Statline

How does the new edition Imperial Knight statline look, well it’s pretty impressive while it’s on full wounds. But as it starts to take damage, its performance drops off remarkably quickly.

Basic Strength and Toughness of 8 are impressive, but again, what this Edition gives with one hand it takes with the other. Toughness 8 is high and durable enough that unless you’re being shot at by S16 most weapons S9 or more will only be wounding on 3+. Strength 8 is good, and with a Reaper Chainsword giving you +4 will bump you up to an impressive S12 in combat, but that will still only wound T7 – T11 on 3’s!

24 Wounds! You read that right, these guys have 24 Wounds, that’s pretty high, in fact during the Warhammer Live Q&A the guys mentioned that the Imperial Knight had (along with the Lord of Skulls) one of the highest number of wounds in the game…a title currently held by the Ork Stompa though at 40 wounds! (Although the Warlord Titan has 70!)

They’ve also gained an extra attack now as well. 4 Attacks base is actually pretty good considering they hit on a 3+ in close combat and can substitute any of their normal attacks for Titanic Feet allowing them to roll 3 attacks instead of 1. Titanic Feet replaces Stomp, but is nowhere near as deadly. It wounds using the Imperial Knights unmodified Strength and has a -2AP doing D3 damage, not that powerful, but if you have a wounded Knight on 6 or less wounds, (therefore hitting on 5+ in CC) then it’s the go to weapon choice. In fact I’ve seen what a heavily wounded Wraithknight can do using Titanic Feet in CC against a wounded Knight!

Leadership 9 is high but it doesn’t really effect single wound models too much.

A 3+ armour save is a little low perhaps, and any high Strength weapon with a decent AP modifier will start to worry a Knight player and will quite quickly start to strip wounds off. However, it’s not all that bad, Imperial Knights do get a 5++ Invulnerable Save against anything but Mortal Wounds ensuring you will get some sort of a save in most instances.

Imperial Knights also get Super Heavy Walker rule on their Dataslate which allows them to fall back from combat and still move, shoot and charge in the same turn along with never having a -1 for moving and firing Heavy weapons.

Imperial Knights also no longer have to worry about firing arcs anymore either, which does seem a little weird to start with but completely removes any arguments about what’s in or out of arc now.

Imperial Knight

The Big Guns

This is what you bring Imperial Knights for! The Big Guns, let’s have a look at what the ranged weapons do now.

Thermal Cannon; 36”Range, Heavy D3, S9, -4AP, D6 Damage. When it targets a unit with 5+ models it becomes Heavy D6. It also gets to roll an additional D6 when rolling for damage when within half range, discarding the lowest result. OK, it’s basically a big Melta Gun, S9 is still powerful, but will only be wounding T5-T8 on 3’s now. However, when it does wound, it’s going to strip multiple wounds off at a time.

Rapid-fire Battle Cannon; 72”Range, Heavy 2D6, S8, -2AP, D3 Damage. Ok, now this is what I’m talking about! This bad boy is seriously powerful now, dealing out multiple damage at long range with a decent modifier to boot means that most Infantry squads or even high Wound models won’t want to face too many rounds of shooting against this kind of weapon.

Avenger Gatling Cannon; 36” Range, Heavy 12, S6, -2AP, 2 Damage. Another good weapon choice, with a high number of shots a decent AP modifier and damage to boot. It lost Rending from the last edition, but it’s still a great gun capable of ripping multiple wounds of most units in the game.

Imperial Knight

Close Combat

Reaper Chainswords; +4 Strength, -3AP, 6 Damage. Ok, so they lost Destroyer, but then everything did! However, doing straight 6 Damage per wound is an incredibly efficient way of killing multi wound monsters or vehicles now.

Thunderstrike Guantlet; x2 Strength, -4AP, 6 Damage. Ok, so you wanted to wound Wraithknights on 2’s? This is your weapon! However, it does have a -1 To Hit modifier which does offset that, but it’s not terrible. It also retains a somewhat changed version of Hurl, but now if it kills a Vehicle or Monster unit it picks another enemy unit within 9”and on a 4+ that unit suffers D3 Mortal Wounds from the Imperial Knight literally throwing its dead comrade at it!

Imperial Knights


Carapace Weapons

Ironstorm Missile Pod; 72″ Range, Heavy D6, S5, -1Ap, 2 Damage. Not a bad choice, seeing as it can target units out of line of sight and is a pretty good addition to a full Imperial Knight army as a way to thin out back field units and saves on wasting shooting from your main guns.

Stormspear Rocket Pod; 48″ Range, Heavy 3, S8, -2AP, D6 Damage. A low number of shots and a random Damage make this a kind of an odd weapon, especially for 45pts! However, every now and then it’ll do some serious damage to some units. Pumping out a potential 18 wounds could be tempting, maybe in higher point games.

Twin Icarus Autocannon; 48″ Range, Heavy 4, S7, -1AP, 2 Damage. A much better weapon system in this edition, as it no longer snap-fires against ground targets. It does suffer a -1 to hit against units without the Fly Keyword, but still it’s not bad for stripping wounds off some targets.

Imperial Knights


Well, their not cheap! A standard Knight Paladin comes in at 458pts! At 2000pts you’re not getting any more than five Gallants (Gallant master race anybody?). But then again Imperial Knight armies were never big armies, if anything I can see Imperial Knights being used in other Imperial Armies to give them some additional fire power and a dangerous counter combat unit. Using them in a Guard army or a Sisters of Battle army to boost the armies Close Combat ability seems like a decent drop in for them. Even with a full Militarum Tempestus Scions list too they’d add some greatly needed ranged shooting.

I’m keen to see what the Forgeworld Imperial Knights look like too, especially the Cerastus Knight Acheron or the Acastus Knight Porphyrion, that thing should be nuts!

I love my Imperial Knights, and I’ll  be putting a full army on the table in 8th Edition at some point, how effective they’ll be as a whole army remains to be seen right now. At higher point levels they should really start to gang up on some factions. Keep them close and working together and the army should work well. Just bully opponents into uncomfortable positions and beat them into submission. They’ll struggle to cap objectives under 8th as it’s done by purely numbers of models, so you’ll need to keep objectives close together and bait your enemy into charging you…only for the Imperial Knights to counter charge and tear them up!

Stomp away guys!