Okay, lets start!!!
The first post on this blog is dedicated to one of my favorites miniatures from Warhammer 40.000. The mighty Imperial Knight!
I felt in love with the Imperial Knights while I was reading the Mechanicum novel by Graham McNeill. The idea of this large and massive walkers (or just Knights!) protecting the wide deserts of Mars was so great, that it find its way directly into my heart. It was not the total superiority of the Kngihts that fazinated me, it was the mix of a very strong weapon, which was although totaly outgunned by the godmachines of the Titan Legions, sophisticated with the descriptions of theyr noble pilots. During this time of upcoming love, there was unfortunatly no modelkit for the Knights available. Gnnnaaah!
When Games-Workshop releases the first box of the Knights the decision was taken in seconds “I want it and I want it NOW!!!”, so on the release day my first Imperial Knight stands onto my desk. I was happy to see, that the miniature was one of the biggest ones, that can be bought by Games-Workshop, so that it would be a very nice spot on the gaming table. That was what I was expecting when a Imperial Knight enters the combat.
After Assembling the model, I started to think about the Color sheme of my Knight. I wanted the model to play it with my Cadian Forces (Cityfight-Camo) and my Black Templars. For this reason I decided to give my Knight a simillar look. The main Parts should be Grey, like at my Cadian troops, while the detail parts should adopt the red and white from my Black Templars. The bigger question was, is my Knight addicted to the Mechanicus or to the Astra Militarum? It was a long way to think about that question. Finaly I decided, that my Knight should be part of the imperial forces. For everyone who wonders about this decision: when I take this decision, the books of Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus wasn’t released. 😉
Equiped with these decisions I started the paintjob. I had a lot of fun painting my Knight, only the missing Airbrush was a little bit… annoying. The paintjob followed the placement of the decals. I placed primarily imperial icons from the Imperial Knight Transfersheet, one symbol of Cadia from my Baneblade and a single Cross on the left knee to represent the honor of a battlebrother of my Black Templars.
Now the time was right to field these incredible warmachine for the first time. I was sure, that I can’t bring this Point intensive model in a game with 1500 or less points, so its first action was a 2000 points game along with my Cadian forces against a heretic stronghold. But what happend during this game destroys every joy of playing this unit.
During the battle the Knight was a serious power on the gaming table. It slays down some troops and was responsible for the destruction of two large bunker complexes until it explodes in a massive Explosion during the last turn and kills a couple of enemy units with this last “action”. The rest of the enemy was beaten by my cadians. Well, till now it was fun, but the discussion afterwards to this game was not. “It’s totaly over powered”, “undestructable” or “IMBA!” were just some comments my oponents give.
I felt sad. Was this unit, which I like so much, realy so unballanced? After my mates have gone, I started to remember what happens during the game. Undestructable? Ok, they shoot at the Knight each turn, thanks shield and a nice armour the Knight takes some of the hits, but at the end in turn 5 he was down. So, it is possible to kill him. For sure, you need firepower to do so, but if you are playing against Astra Militarum you should expect armoured vehicles (if not a Knight, then Leman Russ Battletanks). Ok, so that was a feedback, that I don’t agree with. Was the Knight over powered? Ok, thats a fact I can’t deny. The Knights weapons give him the possibility to react on every treatment. Shooting? No problem, the shield and its balistic weapons can handle most enemys on distance. Close Combat? Ok, you miss the shield now, but the TK weapon and stomping make the Knight a realy hard combatant in close action. The massive explosion at the end of life gives the Knight also a “I don’t want to fight him in close combat!” feature. Ok, this feedback was understandable. But what should I do with these experiences?
My first impulse was to say “ok, if you can’t handle my Knight, you have to switch your troop choices!”, but that’s not the way I like to play. No one should be compelled to buy new models, because I like to play a new one. Especally not because that’s the way Games-Workshops rule strategie works. So the hint to other super heavys or boxes with TK weapons was no option. What else was possible? My decision in discussion with my mates was simple. The Imperial Knights are part of the rules, but they are unfortunatly to hard to play them in low point games with fluffy armylists. We arranged to bring the Knight only in realy great battles (which means in our case 3000+ Points), where you can assume that the opponent has enough firepower to stop a Knight. That was a little sad for my brand new model, but it was the right way to keep the joy of gaming.
So what is left to say about the Imperial Knight? It is a very beautifull modelkit. Assembling and painting were a lot of fun to me. On the battlefield the Knight is as hard, as it should be from fluffside. Unforunatly that doesn’t bring fun to every oponent, especaly not to those, who hasn’t own super heavys or other kitan killers. The compromise to field the Knight only in big games (or with announcement) is a good solution for a fluff oriented playergroup and while the model is at home it is nice to look at them.