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Chaos Knights Army Set Unboxing and Codex Review

As the forces of The Warmaster pour out of the Nachmnd Gauntlet, the Chaos Knights march alongside him. Once proud and noble steeds, this engines have been twisted and corrupted by the ruinous power and are piloted not only by those fallen to the dark gods, but some by the very creatures of the warp! In the new Chaos Knights Army Set, up for pre order today, you can take command of a traitor Knight Household and lay waste to the Imperium with 3 new models and the brand new Chaos Knights Codex! In this review and unboxing we will be taking a look at the miniatures contained within the set, seeing what they look like painted up and checking out the new Codex to see what new tricks they have!

Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a copy of the new set to unbox and review and share with you all! If you would like to support the site then why not pre order your copy of the book through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself money too! The Imperial Knight Codex is also up for pre order today and our full review will follow this week!

We have also filmed an unboxing video and flick through of the new codex – so if you you would rather watch this review than read it you can check it out below or over on YouTube

Ready to take the fight to the Imperium? Then strap into your Knight and let’s take a look at the new Army Set!

Chaos Knight Army Set Unboxing and Review

So let’s crack this box open and see what’s inside!

First things first we need to take a look at the real star of the show, the Knight Abominant!

What’s really cool about this kit is that you actually get the full existing Chaos Knight kit, plus the additional sprue to build the Abominant itself, which means it can be built as any variant of the Knight including the existing Desecrator or Rampager! The new sprue is really cool and comes with carrion birds picking at the mutated scraps of the Knight and the awesome looking weapon options that the Abominant is armed with.

It was an absolute joy to paint up too! I’ve painted mine as House Khymere as they lean towards a more aggressive close combat force – Plus I thought the red and black would compliment my Word Bearers! I would recommend building this in sub assemblies in order to make this easier to paint, leave as many as the armour panels separate as you can and it makes painting the metal areas much much easier!

Next up is a pair of War Dogs, two Armiger sized Knights to accompany your Abominant into battle! This is a really nice kit that actually builds a choice of one of three different loadouts – the pure close combat Karnivore, the ranged Brigand or the best of both worlds Stalker which gives Chaos Knights players a load of choice in how they put together their forces! As many people will be getting multiples of these there is a decent choice of heads, my favourite being the skull heads that I’m planning on using for my Karnivores to represent their more aggressive nature!

I decided to paint up both a Karnivore and a Brigand to give me a mixture of close combat and ranged support in order to give my force a bit of variety on the tabletop! It also meant I had two different looking War Dogs to paint up too. You get a choice of leg positions meaning that if you have multiples you should be able to get some variety across your force.

I’m really happy with how they turned out together, and will be adding a Knight Rampager to round this out to an army for Crusade! In the box you get around 750 points worth of models in the box depending on how you build them making this a great way to start collecting the army!

Also included in the box are the full assembly instructions, transfers for all the models and a set of Data Cards with Stratagems and Psychic Powers (Yes, the Abominant is a Psyker!)

As with other recent Army Sets and Launch boxes you also get the limited edition Codex Chaos Knights with an exclusive cover – and I have to say this looks absolutely gorgeous! This makes this box the first place to get access to the new rules!

While this set is available while stocks last, the component parts will be available separately, though you do get a decent discount getting them together in this box, making this worth picking up if you are looking to start a new Chaos Knight army.

So speaking of the new Chaos Knight Codex, lets take a dive into the pages and see what exciting new things are hiding within…

Codex Chaos Knights Review

I think it’s safe to say that Knight armies of all flavours have struggled a little bit in the current edition of the game and while a single knight can be quite destructive they often struggled in the objective game. The new Chaos Knight Codex looks to try and fix this by giving them options and abilities that allows them to feel a lot more competitive than previously. Let’s take a look at what makes Chaos Knights tick in the new Codex!

Detachment Abilities

We get some cool new detachment abilities for the Chaos Knights that changes the way the force works as an army – firstly we get a biggie in that War Dogs get Objective Secured and count as 5 models for the purposes of objectives and Titanic models count as 10 models – this is a great change that will make it much easier for Knight players to start racking up objectives!

We see the return of Lances, allowing you to nominate a single engine in your army to be a character, while also giving you a command points refund based on the number and types of Knights in your force – allowing the army to stay in line with Command Point levels of other armies

If you play another Chaos army then you are also able to take a single Chaos Knight in an Auxiliary Detachment without breaking any of the rules or abilities of your main army. This is fantastic as allows you to pick up a single Knight to add some super heavy support to your chaos faction that might be missing this kind of firepower.

We also get what are called ambitions, which is a way of distinguishing the fallen Knight households to those than have given themselves to Daemonic possession! These are Iconoclast and Infernal Households

The Iconoclast households are the fallen Knights and they are rather aggressive gaining +1 attack and +1 AP to melee weapons when they charge, get charged or heroically intervene. This makes the close combat focussed Knights every nasty (As we will see later in the review the pure close combat specialists are also rocking a WS of 2+) and can be enhanced further with more of the combat buffs available.

In comparison, Infernal households are those that are possessed by Daemons, and as such their abilities have a risk/reward mechanic. Essentially you can suffer mortal wounds to gain one of 3 bonuses – Increase movement by 3″, Make wound rolls of 1-3 against them fail, or increase attacks with a weapon by 1. You have a choice here – you can either suffer a single mortal wound and roll to see which you get, or suffer D3 and pick the one you want. This has to be done in your Command Phase and the ability lasts until your next Command Phase, so you will have to think carefully about if you want to push the dark gods for a benefit, but in the hands of a good player I can see this being very powerful!

Chaos Knights also get a new mechanic with “Dreaded Abilities” and and Dread tests – the Dreaded Abilities are similar to auras in that they affect models captured within range – but where they alter is that the range can actually change over the course of the game – they start at 12″ but different rules can cause this to increase and decrease. What’s more is that any rules that interact with Area abilities do not have any impact on Dreaded Abilities, making them really reliable. Dread tests work much like the fear and terror tests from older editions of the game where any units within range have to make a roll against their leadership or suffer negative effects if they fail.

As with their Imperial brethren, Chaos Knights can fall back and charge and move over models as if they are not there (excluding monsters and vehicles). They also still rock ion shields giving them a 5+ save against ranged attacks.

What’s brand new for Chaos Knights however is the Harbingers of Dread chart – this is a matrix of different abilities that unlock over the game with three tracks – Despair, Doom and Darkness.

You start the game at Doom and each turn you can shift left or right one space across the chart (so for example if at Doom you could shift to Despair or Darkness, but if you are at Darkness you can only shift to Doom and would have to move to Despair the following turn as it is two “steps” away on the track.)

These unlock some very cool abilities and part of the gameplay of Knight commanders will be deciding the best bath to take – for example in turn 2 if you shift to Despair you can reduce the range of enemy aura abilities or any abilities used in the command phase by 3″ to targets within Dread range, however you could also stick in Doom to increase your Dread range by 3″ or even shift to Darkness to make every enemy unit within Dread range to take a dread test if they want to shoot anything other than the closest model and also make them half charge rolls! There are really good abilities on each end of the scale, so the skill we be making sure you are swinging left and right across the chart to hit the most suitable ones at the correct time.

The Dread Households

We get 6 Households split between three Iconoclast and three Infernal, with each getting their own abilities, traits and strats giving you a good deal of choice in how to construct your household – and if these don’t take your fancy as with most recent books you can even cook up your own choice of either of those household types with a stack of abilities to pick from! Here’s a quick look at what the main households do:

House Herpetrax – These are blessed by Nurgle and have an increased wounds count compared to other Knights

House Lucaris – Combat masters, they get to reroll one hit or one wound in close combat each time they fight

House Khymere – Really angry and madder than a box of daemonic frogs, these get +1 to wound when they attack a unit at half strength as they are just big bullies!

House Vertrix – Our first Daemon house and allied to Legio Mortis, they get to re roll one hit or one wound when shooting

House Khomentis – Fully given over to their Daemonic possessors, they can pick 2 perks when they choose to suffer D3 mortal wounds!

House Korvax – The house formally known as Raven, know corrupted by Be’lakor and forged into his personal Knight household, once per battle they can choose any harbinger ability from the current or previous battle rounds. They also have a relic that changes the damage of an unsaved wound to 0!

Adding some Flavour

As with all other armies we get a nice assortment of rules to tweak and add to taste – Stratagems are good with lots of things adding attacks, adding bonuses to hit rolls and dealing mortal wounds here there and everywhere, such as the Ravenous Prerrorshades which forces a Dread Test to a target within Dread range and the poor unit suffering a mortal wound for each point it fails by! This could easily finish off a wounded unit on an badly failed roll. There’s also god specific stuff such as making Khorne Knights cause enemy psykers to suffer perils when they fail a psychic test!

And talking of god specific upgrades, there’s 15 different upgrades that can be given to Knights that give them a god mark (or undivided) along with extra abilities and unlockable favoured abilities (these are unlocked by hitting a tally of wounds caused to destroyed models)! These are fairly expensive but are a nice way to use up the left over points that Knight players are often left with – and there’s some really cool stuff here such as a Khorne Blood Shield which is a once per game effect that turns off invulnerable saves for both the user and the target! I guess Khorne wants a good clean fight without any invulnerable shenanigans! Or how about getting the Blessing of The Dark Master which stops any model targeting your Knight from rerolling any hit, wound or damage dice – and when the upgraded version is unlocked the Knight can only be hit on a 4+ making this a very tasty ability to have!

We also have a wide suite of Relics with some great abilities – some stand out ones are a 2+ shrug against any wounds you cause to yourself from Daemonic abilities (Stick this on a Kormentis engine for a reliable 2 abilities up at a time with minimal downside!) an upgraded 4+ invulnerable save against range and 6+ against Melee, or my favourite, an upgraded warpstrike claw that lets you re-roll hits and increases the strength and attacks characteristic of the Knight for each character it kills!

As usual we get 6 Warlord Traits in addition to the household specific ones, and there’s some great stuff here such as being able to degrade enemy vehicle profiles with scrapcode, the warlord gaining objective secured or granting the warlord an extra attack and rerolls of 1 to attack!

What is new in the book are the psychic powers – these take advantage of the new psychic Knight and theres some amazing stuff here:

Winds of the Warp grants you a 5+ shrug and on a high roll gives nearby War Dogs a shrug

Vortex Terrors reduces enemy leadership and forces them to make a Dread test when they want to fight or shoot or reduce their relevant stats by 1

The Storm Malevolent gives you +1 to wound against a target unit with any 6s causing a mortal wound in addition to any other damage

Cyclonic Lamentation forces dread tests in a 12″ bubble causing mortal wounds to enemy units that fail

Coruscating Hate causes mortal wounds to a target with a chance of causing extra splash damage to nearby units

Spitesquall turns off overwatch and gives the target unit a chance of taking mortal wounds at the end of a phase based on how many wounds they have suffered – really nice way to force a load of mortals on something you have very nearly killed outright

Crusade

One of my favourite things about the new edition of 40k is Crusade, and the Chaos Knights Codex is no exception with some really fun and thematic rules!

Essentially, at the start of your Crusade you get to pick one of your Knights to begin the fall to chaos – every time that Knight kills a unit they gain a Damnation point, and once they have met a threshold (based on the size of Knight) they start to move through the circles of chaos!

Now, a lot of these are beneficial – so for example they can gain a mark of Chaos – but they can also get one of 3 different types of abilities known as Lesser, Greater and Exalted pacts

These pacts can be very powerful such as granting additional characteristics, stopping enemies from deep striking nearby or best of all stopping the Knight from suffering more than 6 wounds in the first turn saving it from an alpha strike

However, as with all things chaos there is also a downside, and as you move through the circles you also get cursed and this results in negative effects being applied to you – command points cost double to use, movement is reduced, battle scars are forced.

I really like this as you get the full rise and fall of someone committed to chaos – yes you will gain some powerful abilities however you risk this at the cost of very tangible penalties too! As you HAVE to move through the circles as soon as you are eligible you have no choice but to take the bad with the good – and maybe at the end when your maxed out deadly close combat knight is corrupted beyond recognition and can hardly move might you learn the error of following the path of chaos

What’s also really nice is that there are separate traits and scars for both the pilots and the Knight itself giving you a range of thematic ways of using these during a Crusade

Crusade games are absolutely the most fun thing we have done for 40k, and I highly recommend giving this style of play a go if you haven’t before!

Datasheets

With the addition of the new kits, the Chaos Knights army selection has increased considerably and there’s some really fun stuff we can play with now! Let’s take a look at the carious options now available to us!

War Dog Stalker – This is the best of both worlds War Dog, armed with a choice of ranged weapon and close combat weapon. Being a quick moving unit and having objective secured this gives you the ability to change your plans between shooting and fighting as best suits you during the mission

War Dog Brigand – The Brigand gives up its close combat weapon to go duel weapons wielding an avenger chaincannon (12 attacks at S6 but only Ap -2 and 1 damage) and a Daemonbreath Spear (Heavy 2 S9 AP-4 D6 damage melta weapon that does +2 damage at close range). A nice choice to sit back on an objective and pepper things with firepower!

War Dog Karnivore – My favourite variety, it sacrifices a gun in exchange for both close combat weapons ( the claw letting it hit at S12, AP-3 and D3+3 damage) and boasts an impressive 5 attacks at WS 2+ which as we have seen can mean they van get to a silly number of attacks with some of the upgrades available putting a very real threat onto a lot of targets for a bargain 140 points!

War Dog Executioner / Huntsman – These are the War Dogs built from the Imperial Knight Armiger kit, giving you the option for duel autocannons or a less chaotic version of the Stalker (with a Daemonbreath Spear and Chaintalon it is pretty much identical loadout wise, just lets you use a converted imperial kit)

Knight Despoiler – This is the profile used to represent Knights made out of the classic Imperial Knights kit and can be armed with any weapons outside of those included on the preceptor. A nice way to use converted Knights if you have them, though astatically I rather the new Chaos Knight pose – It does have a nice aura ability for war dogs through, as any within 9″ gain the ability to heroically intervene

Knight Desecrator – This is the “shooty” Chaos Knight and it’s main weapon is the impressive Laser Destructor – boasting a 72″ range, 2 shots at S14 with AP -5 and D3+6 damage. While not as scary as some weapons we have seen recently this will punch a hole in most targets with a minimum of 14 damage if both shots get through. As it also has a close combat weapon in the other hand it can also be put to good use in combat, with the trusty chainsword now getting a sweep attack in place of the feet giving this up to 12 attacks at S8 AP -3 and 2 damage or opt for a strike with 4 attacks at S12 AP -4 and 6 damage. It also has an aura that affects nearby War Dogs allowing them to reroll ranged hits of 1

Knight Rampager – For those who rather punch things to death, this is the Titanic close combat unit and like its smaller War Dog brothers it trades in its gun for an extra attack and a WS of 2+ which makes this very very tempting to take now! The Warpstrike Claw is particularly good, having the choice of striking at S16, AP-3 and Damage 8 or sweeping at double attacks at S10, AP -2 3 damage. This gets very scary when you consider the amount of extra attacks you can start stacking on these through upgrades too! Like the Desecrator it has an aura that affects War Dogs, this time allowing rerolls of 1 to hit in close combat.

Knight Abominant – This is the new option available in the box, and it’s a psyker able to cast 2 spells and knows 2 powers from the new discipline! It’s also got some interesting weapons including a heavy 6 S10 Dam3 Volkite Combuster that while only having rend -1 causes 3 mortal wounds in addition to any other damage on a wound roll of 6+. It also gets a lot of attacks with it’s melee weapons – a total of 9 with its scourge at S8 AP-2 and Damage 3 and another D3 with its tail! Feel this will be good at chancing mortal wounds on a high save unit before punching units of multi wound infantry into the ground.

Knight Tyrant – This is the Chaos version of the Dominus (Now having a 2+ save!) and boasts the same weapon options – the best I feel is the volcano and plasma option, with both weapons getting some changes. The Volcano Cannon only gets D3 shots but has Strength 16 and an improved D6+8 damage meaning that this thing has the potential of one-shotting other Titanic models! The Strength, AP and damage on both plasma firing modes has also been increased making this quite the Primaris killer even when fired in standard mode!

Summary

So in summary what do I think of the Chaos Knight Army Set and the new Codex Chaos Knight inside? First of all, I’m a big fan of Army Sets and Launch boxes – it’s a great way of getting a stack of new kits together a little ahead of release with the new Codex bundled together. For this box you are essentially getting the core of a Chaos Knight army with the ability to build any of the 3 core knights plus and 2 of the War Dogs! From here you can add a couple more kits to have a decent usable force and have plenty of space parts to convert up any of the Imperial knight models if you so wish! If you are looking to start the army this is a no brainer as you also get a nice limited covered codex and a set of data cards at a discount (Especially if you order through a 3rd party such as Element Games)

The models are beautiful and gives the Chaos Knight armies their own personality rather than being just Imperial Knights with spikes on, which was always an issue I had with them. I would like to see a new Chaos chassis based on the Dominus, however we now have distinct looks for both standard Knights and War Dogs that are dripping with personality which is a great upgrade over the previously limited range.

As for the book itself it seems like great fun, addressing many of the issues Knight players had and giving them some tools that should make for more interesting games! I look forward to expanding my force out and taking it through a Crusade as my pilots and their steeds make the slow fall to chaos!

The Chaos Knight Army Set is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 17th May

Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews with a copy of the Chaos Knights Army Set for review purposes.

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