Being a very lucky boy, I got to review the Imperial Knight kit. So, it seemed only right and fair that I took at look at Codex Imperial Knights as well. Sure is tough being me some days…
Codex Imperial Knights is the most original codex from the Games Workshop since the introduction of the Tau back in third edition even if the content isn’t entirely original. It’s a welcome to change to be looking at something not only fresh but a facet of the Imperium that hasn’t ever been fully explained until now. That’s not to say the book doesn’t have the usual vagaries one has come to expect from the background but the ambiguity is what allows for variety on the table. Although there is perhaps less vagueness than normal in this codex. I think it’s got everything to do with the fact that the Imperial Knights occupy a very unique position within the Imperium and that needed to be explained carefully lest gamers get the wrong end of the stick.
As with all of the new codices it looks gorgeous with stunning artwork and the livery of the Knightly houses rendered in all their glory. And like most of the new codices it’s an interesting read. Whilst it’s a thin book it possesses a wealth of background about the Knights, the houses and their loyalties. It’s also an interesting twist that they seem to exist within the Imperium yet apart. They have their own laws and codes of conduct that can often lead to two houses going to war with one another. Despite the obvious loss of men and material the Imperium and the Adeptus Mechanicus seem largely fine with it. Which is amusing if not odd.
It also hints a lot about the rivalry between the Imperium and the Adeptus Mechanicus. There’s all sorts of stuff in the background and Horus Heresy books about how the Emperor engineered events so the Machine Cult would come into being, and the nice reference from Mechanicum, all go a long way to do more than the usual hints we’re used to in this book.
The rest of Codex Imperial Knights isn’t so much a let down as predictable. There’s a lot of photos. Granted they’re all way cool but 16 pages of photos in a 64 page book seems a little much. And then there’s the two entry army list. Whilst, at present, there’s only the option to build the Errant and the Paladin we know Forge World are releasing the Lancer, and there are other Knight variations. I don’t think it would have been a huge ask to include the rules for those. Hell, even if they don’t release the other variants, we’re an industrious bunch – we can and will do conversions.
That aside, there’s plenty to gush over in the Codex as well. The timeline is nicely done with lots of nice references. The galaxy map is gorgeous and it’s quite fun identifying which Knight Houses would most likely fight with which Space Marine chapters based on location. I was slightly disappointed when I found out the one nearest Ultramar painted their Knights blue. Oh for a little contrast…
As for the Imperial Knights army list (such as it is) there’s plenty to get excited about. The special rules for one thing. The list includes Fear, Hammer of Wrath, Move Through Cover, Relentless, Smash & Strikedown. Knights also get to stomp, their Reaper Chainsword gets the Destroyer special rule and to really rub salt into the wound of non-Imperial players…it also has the Invincible Behemoth special rule making it even harder to kill on top of its Ion Shields. And decent armour.
The fact that you can field them as allies or as a force in their own right is awesome the latter being done because it’s an amazing idea. Sure the Games Workshop will make a pretty penny from anyone doing it but 4 Knights is, depending on variant, comes in at 1500 points. And that right there would be a lot of fun.
I also like the fact that the Imperial Knights are allies of convenience with Grey Knights. I like to think that their mind wiping habits makes the Grey Knights dishonourable to the Knightly houses. It isn’t that, I just like to pretend.
Oh, and the Imperial Knights get Warlord Traits. Just in case they weren’t bad ass enough…
Codex Imperial Knights is a great read. Aside from the ability to take bonkers warmachines of bonkerishness (that may not be a word) it provides enough new fluff to be worth having in its own right. But the fact that it does give you the ability to field bonkers warmachines of bonkerishness just makes it all the sweeter.
Codex Imperial Knights is available from Firestorm Games priced £22.50.