Dan's Imperial Knights - 7CP
SUPER HEAVY DETACHEMENT - Freeblade Detachment
Knight Gallant - Warlord (Knight Seneschal) Relic (Banner of Macharius Triumphant) Second Relic (Sanctuary) Legendary Warrior and Indomintable Qualities, Driven to Slaughter Burden.
Knight Crusader - Ironstorm Missile Pod, Thermal Cannon. Relic (Endless Fury) Sworn to a Quest and Peerless Warrior Qualities, Exiled in Shame Burden.
Knight Crusader - Ironstorm Missile Pod, Thermal Cannon. Extra Warlord Trait (Ion Bulkwark) Sworn to a Quest and Last of Their Line Qualities, Haunted by Failure Burden.
Knight Crusader - Thermal Cannon Extra Warlord Trait (Cunning Commander) Sworn to a Quest and Mysterious Guardian Qualities, Impetuous Nature Burden.
Armiger Warglaive - Heavy Stubber, Sworn to a Quest Quality - Random Burden.
Grand Tournament 2020
32. Sweep and Clear
I'm playing Knights so it's already a hard slog, I am however playing a Freeblade Lance which lets me have obsec on all my big Knights and lets me get a bit of consistency with the qualities and strats. Secondaries are also hard to pick; Grind Them Down seemed sensible. With only 5 units I should get between 9 to 12 points on it provided I live long enough. With 5 objectives, Domination is good provided I can keep 3 Knights standing. Finally, the mission specific Direct Assault as I'm going for the middle of the board.
The great thing about Knights, however bad they are at the moment, is that the plan is often simple. I will target the obsec units first, without them my Knights can hold the objectives no matter what is there. The goal is to rack up as many points turns 1-3 and deny my opponent’s, after turn 3 I suspect I will be running low on resources. Let's see how we do.
I'm somewhat confident, although it's been a long time since I've played Knights. If I can get in early, knock one of his Crusaders down early I think I can snowball to a solid victory. If he grabs the first turn it really depends on what he manages to shoot down. I haven’t played them since Engine War or with the new Book of Rust, I know they got some fancy new tricks and Dan’s running the new Freeblade Lance.
I’ve opted for Domination, Titan Slayer and Direct Assault. Knights struggle to hold objectives so scoring 9-12 points on Domination and Direct Assault shouldn't be a problem and Titan Slayer is an obvious pick. If I can pop a Knight a turn the game should progress in my favour.
Wow first turn, I feel this is crucial to my Knights. I push Firestorm (Crusader with endless fury) to the far left objective, giving them line of sight of the Immortals and Annihilation Barge. Reaper (Gallant) surges up the middle, using Full Tilt to allow it to advance and charge. Starstrider (Crusader with ion bulwark) and the Mysterious Guardian (Crusader with cunning commander) push right to get line of sight of the Warriors and back Immortals. Finally the Lord’s Contempt (Warglaive) moves up looking at the barge on the left if shooting fails. End of the move I've got Domination and Direct Assault.
So shooting started with Firestorm and Exiled in Strength strat being played; this allows me to reroll hit and wound rolls of 1 provided I am more than 12” from any other Knight. All the guns bar the thermal target the left most Immortals wiping them out. The thermal cannon rolls 5 shots and 3 get through the saves. I then roll a 5, 1, 1 for damage. With a 3 needed on one of the 1s a reroll is used…….. and it's a 1. Great. The Warglaive lines up its guns to finish the Barge failing to hit or wound. Next up is Starstrider with everything into the back Immortals, Last of Their Line means I reroll 1s against units of 10 or more. I sadly leave 1 Immortal alive and they reanimate 4 out of line of sight. The Mysterious Guardian opens up on the Warriors killing many, but it’s Necrons and they don't stay down. Not the best shooting phase but it's a start.
The Reaper stomps forward making his charge into the Scarabs, while not likely to kill them he is positioned in such a way as to make it difficult for the Necrons to get to the centre objective. The Lord’s Contempt attempts a 8 inch charge into the 2 wound barge, not only does he fail he takes 6 wounds in overwatch, oh the shame. Combat goes as expected, killing lots of Scarabs with only 1 base returning, and the Gallant takes a wound in return.
In terms of points a good turn, however it would have been nice to take a bit more of the enemy firepower out. Let's see if the Knights can weather the storm going into James’ turn.
So not a terrible bottom of turn 1 going 2nd into three Crusaders, I lost a handful of Scarabs and one of my Barges is down to 2 Wounds thanks to the Quantum Shield Stratagem. However, without losing a unit it does mean he can’t score Grind Them Down this turn.
I shift my units forward and fall back with the Scarabs, the Lokhurst Heavy Destroyers pop out in line of sight of both the Gallant and the far Crusader at the top of the board. If I get lucky with the Gallant maybe I can strip off some wounds on a 2nd Knight. I Veil of Darkness the Skorpekh destroyers up on the bottom flank - an 8” re-rollable charge (thanks to the Chronometron ability) should hopefully see them bring down the back Crusader - All the AP -4 melee should easily pull one down on their own.
Both Barges open up into the Gallant and do 3 wounds… not a great start. I use the Disintegration Capacitors stratagem on the Warriors to try to bring some more wounds off the Gallant. That with the Overlord, the Chronomancer (who fails to hit) and the remaining Immortals manage to strip off a load more wounds bringing him almost down to his lowest bracket. Dan’s Rotate Ion Shields came in really handy here.
I decide it is probably best to use the Lokhusts to try and at least finish off one of the Knights. With both Extermination Protocols and a CP re-roll I get three wounds through!... Dan rolls his saves and gets 3 4++!! This phase hasn't gone entirely to plan!
Into my charge phase, I send the Warriors and Catacomb Command Barge into the Gallant and the Skorpekh Lord into the Armiger. Now for the Skorpekh Destroyers - first roll.. a 6… I re-roll it and get a 5. They didn't make it in. This is critical - from planning to be able to easily bring two Knights down this turn, It’s looking like I might not even manage one.
And that's exactly what happens. That Sanctuary relic comes in clutch for Dan as my Overlord completely bounces off his saves even with a Command Re-Roll for one of the wounds. One small victory is that my Skorpekh Lord easily tears apart the Armiger and consolidates within range of the objective. Due to the Gallants Warlord Trait to act as 10 Objective Secured models we were tied (thanks to the attacks back from his Gallant) but as the Skorpekh Lord moves onto it I secure it, this scores me Domination and Direct Assault and will stop Dan from gaining Hold More in his turn 2. Lets see what his remaining four big knights have got for me in turn 2.
End of Turn 1
Well that wasn't too bad! Made some absolutely critical saves there, James failing the charge with the Skorpekh was also pretty big. I lost the Lord’s Contempt but they kinda deserved it after utterly failing.
Movement was very minor, I didn't fail any burden rolls. Reaper is tied up with Necron Warriors and the Lord on Barge, being obsec and 10 models he is right where he wants to be. Starstrider moves up to the middle to provide support, the Mysterious Guardian falls back to get line of sight of the Skorpekh that are on the left flank.
Shooting; this is the make or break turn and phase. Firestorm starts with Exiled in Strength and unleashing on the 6 Skorpekh, when the dust settles 1 is left on 1 wound. Of course. There is reanimation and only 1 gets back up. The Mysterious Guardian is up next putting his gatling into the wounded Barge and every else into the Heavy Lokhust Destroyers, he kills the Barge and 2 Lokhust. Finally Starstride puts his thermal cannon into the last Lokhust and everything else into the remaining rear Immortals. This was a stressful moment as I rolled 1 shot on the thermal cannon, but by some miracle I rolled perfectly and killed the last Lokhust.
Combat was a shorter phase with Starstrider charging the Warriors. Starstrider fought first and killed 8 warriors only for 5 to get back up, Reaper followed this up by wiping out the Warriors.
End of turn I Dominate, Direct Assault and in a great place for primaries and Grind Them Down. I've put the pressure on and James is low on resources, but something I've learned over the years playing him, is to never underestimate James.
Ouch - that turn really hurt. Losing all my objective secured is going to be really tough as well as my Lokhust Destroyers - I hadn't accounted for his Knights all having obsec, I'm going to struggle getting Direct Assault and Domination from turn 3. That's if I have much left! Dan doesn't quite kill all the Skorpekh, leaving me with my two Reap-Blade models left. They may be able to dent the defending Crusader but I doubt they can do it on their own AND I can't take the objective due to his obsec. I'm quite regretting taking Direct Assault and Domination (usually they've been a safe bet vs Knights)
I scored 10 for the Primary thankfully bringing me not too far from Dan's current score.
I decided I need all my assets back on my side of the board. I drop both Ophydian and the Hexmark units in range of the Gallant.
A quick and simple shooting phase - everything into the Crusader in the middle to try and start to bring him down. I peel off a handful of wounds but nothing really worth mentioning. Into my charge phase! Only one of my Ophydian units makes it along with the Skorpekh Lord. I go first with the Skorpekh lord and fail to kill him! Dan uses the Intervene stratagem and wipes out the Ophydians.
As expected my Skorpekh Destroyers manage to dent the defending Crusader but I lose one in return. Unfortunately due to his obsec I fail to hold enough for Domination but do manage to pick up Direct Assault.
The lack of resources proved key as I held firm. I got Grind Them Down and 15 on primary. Again not loads of movement. Reaper falls back on 1 wound; the invuln in combat and the extra wound is proving critical.
Shooting is now difficult; it's hard to move in a way I get decent line of sight. Starstrider kills the rear Ophydian Destroyers. The Mysterious Guardian kills the Lord on Barge who explodes with Curse of the Phaeron and kills Reaper.
No combat for me I'm just holding 3 objectives and looking to weather what's left of the Necrons. I got Domination, Direct Assault and again in a good place to score Grind Them Down and 15 on the primaries.
Dan is on clean up duty now - I lose most of the rest of my force. As a final act of revenge I use the Curse of the Phaeron stratagem and finally kill my first Questorious Knight. I'm left with a Barge, a Chronomancer, my Scarabs, Hexmark and my Skorpekh.
He’s left his wounded Crusader on the Objective, he’s really racking up his Secondary points now. My fear in turn 2 is coming true - I’ve lost too many units to hold objectives going into the late game. I pull my Annihilation Barge back behind cover and pull my Chronomancer back onto the objective.
Maybe, just maybe if I get lucky I can down the middle knight and hold steady with my Skorpekh Lord I could manage to pull this off.
My shooting phase passes quickly and manages to get one wound off the middle Knight, but it's the charge and fight phases I'm waiting for - The Skorpekh Lord Charges in and cleaves the 2nd Questorious Knight apart scoring me my max points for Titan Slayers.
Necron Charge Phase Turn 3
Start of Turn 4
Well there isn't a lot left. I lost a Knight to the combined efforts of what was left with the Skorpekh Lord showing his skills. I got Grind Them Down and 10 on the primaries. Movement was short with 2 knights I moved the Mysterious Guardian to the middle. Being obsec I took it back, and Firestorm moved to get line of sight of the Skorpekh and Scarabs.
Firestorm used Strength from Exile again and wiped the Scarabs, the Mysterious Guardian followed this by killing Skorpekh Lord.
Well that was a nice turn, short and effective.
Well there goes my hope of holding out with the Skorpekh Lord! Even using the Whirling Onslaught stratagem he can't stand up to the full fire power of one of those Knights!
A very short turn, my plan is to try and and max my primary, at this point I know it's a long shot for me to try pull a win off - If I'd had Engage on all Fronts instead of Domination or Direct Assault it may have been possible but Dan’s just really pounded my Necrons back to the Tomb World.
I advance the Hexmark up to try and get him out of line of sight of both remaining Knights, and my Annihilation Barge and Chronomancer play Hide and Seek. If all three of them can stay alive for turn 5 I can make a break for it with the Barge to the middle objective and see if I can get Direct Assault, Domination and 15 for my primary. If I can pull this off I may be able to pull a miracle off!
Well this is a summary, I didn't do much here as what's left is out of line of sight. I got 10 on the primaries and Grind Them Down. No movement.
I fire the Ironstorm missile pods at the Cryptek in a bid to deny James 15 on the primaries on the last turn and it pays off., with the Cryptek being slain.
All in all a short turn but I get Direct Assault and that's the end of the game.
Dan seems to enjoy crushing my hopes! His Ironstorm Missile Pods make short work of my poor Chronomancer leaving me to have two models remaining.
Very short turn, my Hexmark jumps on one objective and my Annihilation Barge sits on another. I score 10 points at the end of my turn and it brings the final score 81:67 to the Knights!
post game thoughts
Well that was a game, it's rare that a plan goes the way it should. I think the MVP was Reaper in the middle, the Gallant just held and held, and being obsec counting as 10 really helps in the primaries. He must have denied James so many points just on his own. Firestorm with Endless Fury and using Exiled in Strength really gave some punishing consistent shooting.
Knights might be in a bad place, but they can hold their own and the Freeblade Lance seems really strong if you can work out all the qualities and burdens. And Knights are a lot of fun to play and that's what's most important.
It was fun running a list with a lot of Destroyer Cult models. They're some of my favourites in the range. Unfortunately the Lokhust Heavy Destroyers really held me back here, they did nothing the turn they popped out and I was really banking on at least one of the wounds getting through. Similarly, the Skorpekh Destroyers failing the charge really hurt - If I’d managed to punch at least 1 Questoris Knight off the table in turn 1 I think it could have really let me snowball the game from there, that unit of Skorpekh can really chew through a Knight list if they get the chance and I respect Dan’s response to them when he went into his turn 2.
I think one major problem was my secondaries - the last time I faced Knights I took a similar style of secondaries and scored 39/45. However, Dan’s Freeblade Lance where they are all obsec was huge! I really think it is probably the best way to run Knights as a stand alone faction. All in all it was a great game! Its always great fun playing vs Knights.