May 7, 2015
Some Thoughts on the New Knights Codex
So the biggest question I've heard form people in discussing this is: What about Freeblades? I am assuming that Freeblades are going to be talked about in the fluff. After all, they were mentioned in the original codex and had a decent amount of space in the big fluff book for the Knights that was released at the time of the codex. I don't see that changing. I think people were hoping for data sheets of the named characters. Rumors were flying that there'd be named characters in the codex, but I guess we'll have to wait and see on Saturday when the codex officially drops.
Another big question unanswered as of yet is if Freeblades will be able to take Heirlooms. Granted, what makes something a "Freeblade" is giving it a non-House paint scheme and saying it's a Freeblade. Nothing fancy there. Make it your Warlord and that automatically makes it a character and can thus take Heirlooms. What remains to be seen is whether the old restrictions on naming a Knight as Warlord remain. Namely that you have to have 3 Knights in your army if there are any other characters in your army list. Then again, what of named Freeblades that have their own data sheets? Such as Gerantius and Obsidian Knight? My guess is that, barring updated data sheets for them, they won't be able to take Heirlooms unless their old data sheets specifically listed them as a character. Additionally, they won't have access to the carapace weapons or the gauntlet.
Another bit of curiosity is the absence of the Knight Errant from the pictures. Truthfully, the possibility of it being gone from the Codex is slim to none, but I find it amusing that the person shot a pic of the Paladin entry but not the Errant. This has gotten some people speculating it isn't in the Codex, but I have all confidence that it is.
I started thinking about what could be done with the new formations and the Heirlooms to boost things even more. After all, isn't that what everyone does with a new Codex? Try to find combinations that beef up what's there? I have so far found two.
First one uses the Exalted Court formation. Give the "King" the Heirloom Sanctuary. In the Exalted rules, the King gets a +1 to his Ion saves. Sanctuary is an Ion Shield that gives a 6++ to all other facings. Now this is a necessary bit of rules lawyering here. Sanctuary increases Ion Shield saves by +1. So that normal 4++ becomes a 3++. The wording on Sanctuary very deliberately calls it out as an Ion Shield. So that means it applies to the other facings as well. So you have one model with a 3++ to it's declared arc, and 5++ to all others. On top of getting the +2 WS and BS boosts, it becomes much more deadly and survivable.
The second one involves the Gallant Lance. You have to take the Lance for this and not just a Gallant because you want the Rage USR that comes with the Lance. Name one the Knights your warlord, making them a character and take the Heirloom The Helm of the Nameless Warrior. The Helm gives you Rampage. So charge that Gallant into a unit of troops and you will have 8-10 S D attacks on the charge (4 base + 2 for Rage charging + 1 for two CC weapons + D3 for Rampage). Granted, even without the Helm, any Gallant from this Lance will have 7 attacks on the charge which is nothing to sneeze at and will make the unit, or an individual Knight from it, hit like wrecking ball and reduce the enemy to a fine, red mist.
My final thoughts are on the Thunderstrike Gauntlet. Some people have complained about it having the Colossal rule which means it strikes at Initiative 1. Certainly a concern. I see the Gauntlet being useful in some situations. Mostly against vehicles. Vehicles don't strike back in Assault so no reason to not use the Gauntlet and start throwing vehicles at your enemies. It's also useful vs. MCs that you feel don't have a reasonable chance to kill you before you strike back. I4 on the Knights is good, but there's still stuff that will go before you. Again, make use of the Hurl rule. Hurl makes it all worthwhile. Best bet is to have more than one Knight, one with the Gauntlet and one with the Reaper Chainsword, to be able to effectively react to any situation. Got something nasty that you'd be able to go before? Send the Reaper after it. Got a vehicle or something unlikely to hurt you? Use the Gauntlet. The other option is to use a Gallant that has a choice between the two.