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Imperial Knights Codex Review - Warhammer 40k

Updated on March 8, 2014
Imperial Knight Codex Review
Imperial Knight Codex Review


I am beyond excited! Murphy, here, back with another codex review for Warhammer 40k. This time we will look at the brand new, Codex: Imperial Knights! We've had the Imperial Knights models for a week now (I'm still building mine!), and we've had teases of the Imperial Knight rules in the White Dwarf magazine, but now we have the official Imperial Knight codex! If you haven't read my earlier Imperial Knight articles, you can click on them below:

In this article, I will look at the quality and contents of the new codex, some of the artwork and background information, and of course, the rules on how to play and field the Imperial Knights! Please note, that all photography included in this article are for the purposes of review only!

I will be covering the history of the Imperial Knights and the contents of this codex first. If you want to skip directly to The Rules then click the link right here:

Are you ready? Then allons-y!

Imperial Knight Codex Review
Imperial Knight Codex Review
Imperial Knights Hawkshroud
Imperial Knights Hawkshroud
Imperial Knights Freeblade
Imperial Knights Freeblade

Imperial Knights Codex

The physical product is beautiful book. It is hardbound book with a glossy cover and embossed lettering. The cover artwork is striking and on par with the other 6th edition codexes. The book is 64 pages long and, at a $41 price tag, it is a steep price. However, let's be honest, most of you will not be paying full retail for the book. Regardless of the price, the quality is top notch.

I read through the book, cover to cover, last night and several times I said out loud, "Oh, wow!". I'm a nerd like that, and I was struck my the artwork, the scenic photography, and the additional color plates inside. Examples are to the right.

I will be honest: this codex is very "rules light"; as everything is condensed down to maybe five pages at the end. However, this codex has a lot of background, pictures, and color artwork. The Imperial Knights are being listed as a new faction, so it makes sense that so much would be devoted to telling their story.

In fact, page six is completely dedicated to a fictional narrative that is often found in a tiny sidebar in other codexes. It follows a Noble, Brom of House Griffith, as he connects to his Throne Mechanicum and the machine-spirit of his Knight. The story describes Brom's descent through his house's bastion where he completes the merger with his knight and the three pieces (noble, throne, and knight) merge into one being and stride forwards to war. I really liked this piece, as it gave the Imperial Knight some character beyond giant stompy robots! I also got a "Pacific Rim" vibe from it, while being a unique narrative with its own details.

Imperial Knights Codex
Imperial Knights Codex
Imperial Knights of the Adeptus Mechanicus
Imperial Knights of the Adeptus Mechanicus
Imperial Knights Freeblades
Imperial Knights Freeblades
Imperial Knights Map
Imperial Knights Map

Imperial Knights Background

Pages seven through forty-one are dedicated completely to the background of the Imperial Knights, the story of several of the knightly houses, and the timeline of important events. I will run through that story very fast, just to give readers an idea of what and who these mechanical monstrosities are.

Imperial Knights Founding

Imperial Knights are not part of the Imperium; they are allies to it. The knights are all hosted on a Knight World, which are some of the earliest interstellar settlements of Mankind. Founded during the ancient Age of Technology, vast colony ships were sent on decades-long missions to settle new worlds. These were one-way trips and the vast ships were converted to terrestrial bases and were supported by giant mechanical walkers that served two purposes: to help collect resources and aid in construction, and to also protect the colonists from hostile natives.

These early knight pilots served such a pivotal role in the success of the colonies that the pilots emerged as leaders. They were called Nobles and they formed themselves into houses, bound by duty and honor to protect the colonists that they now saw as their subjects. Little did these nobles realize that a subtle form of mental influence was being asserted on them. The tech-priests of Mars, creators of the knights and the throne mechanicum, inserted mind conditioning into the bonding process that enhanced their own aggressive natures, but also committed them to protection and duty.

Thus, despite almost complete isolation from each other, the Knight Worlds evolved along similar lines into feudal systems bound by traditions that would later seem remarkably similar.

Imperial Knights Current Timeline

When the Emperor of Mankind swept across the galaxy in the Great Crusade, the Knight Worlds were rediscovered. Interestingly, though, they were not brought into the fold of the Imperium. The Adeptus-Mechanicus won the right to deal with these worlds, and being a pseudo-independent organization itself, the Mechanicum decided to work out a partnership with the knights rather than absorb them.

The Mechanicum set up forge worlds near the newly discovered knight worlds and the two factions began to support each other. The Mechanicum supports the knights by training their citizenry and supplying technical knowledge and labor, while the knights support the Mechanicum by supplying raw resources from their planet along with Knight warriors to fight alongside the Titan Legions.

For whatever reason, some of the knight worlds have parted ways with the Mechanicum and have instead aligned themselves directly with the Imperium. Now bound by new oaths, these knightly houses support the armies of the Imperial Guard and the Adeptus Astartes with their adamantium-armored machines.

Chaos Knights
Chaos Knights

Chaos Knights / Daemon Knights

There is a sidebar in the book that deals with the Horus Heresy. See the photo to the right. I loved this section because a lot of Chaos players are dying to use the new knight models in their chaos armies.

Unfortunately, this cannot be done directly right now. I will explain the allied chart later, but I will safely say that the Imperial Knights cannot directly ally with Chaos of any kind. This sidebar explains why.

During the Horus Heresy, a knightly house DID fall to chaos: House Devine. Perverted by Slaanesh, House Devine turned against their titan legion allies, just as Horus' forces assaulted the front line. The betrayal was a great loss for the Imperium and House Devine continued to prowl the galaxy in the name of chaos. House Devine were not the only knight traitors, however.

So why can't the Imperial Knights ally with Chaos now?

First, it explains that there ARE chaos knights, called Daemon Knights. These are the souls of the original traitor knights that are long-since dead, now corrupted and merged completely with their machines. Being that these Daemon Knights are 10,000 years old, they are a rare sight.

Also, due to the mental conditioning that is part of becoming a Noble pilot, and the conservatism of the knightly houses, Imperial Knights are highly resistant to the corrupting influence of Chaos. It isn't impossible, but the codex states that "Daemon Knights are therefore an extremely rare sight on the battlefields of the 41st Millennium."

There's the fluff, but what about the rules. There are no rules to play Daemon Knights or ally knights with Chaos. However, this is an important side-bar. The authors specifically put it in here two do three things:

  1. Acknowledge the history of chaos corrupting knightly houses.
  2. Explain with story why Imperial Knights are NOT allies to Chaos now.
  3. Leave open the door for an ADDITIONAL codex and range of truly chaos knights.

If you think about it, a 10,000 year old Daemon Knight is going to look very different than the current Imperial Knight models. Look at the new Helbrute that just came out. It is filled with baroque filigree, daemonic flesh, mutations, horns, and tentacles. Can you imagine how awesome this kit would look? Also, how different would the rules be? This sidebar specifically explains that Daemon Knights are daemons... so they would likely have all that goes with it: daemonic invulnerable saves and special rules for dedications to specific Chaos Gods. Perhaps they will have additional special rules to represent their crazed and blood thirsty nature.

My point, chaos players will be better served with a set of specific rules and amazing models of their own.

Will this ever happen??? That's the question. However, as hot as these Imperial Knights have been, and seeing that they left the door open with this sidebar, I don't see GW passing up this opportunity. Whether through GW or Forge World, it believe it WILL happen.

So what to do now. If you want to include Imperial Knights and Chaos in the same army, then you can do this.

  1. Field Imperial Guard as your Primary Detachment (take the bare minimum).
  2. Ally with Chaos Space Marines or Chaos Daemons as your Allied Detachment.
  3. Take an Imperial Knight detachment of between 1-3 Knights.

Yes, Knights are fielded as a Detachment and do not take up the Allies slot!

Alright, let's get to the Imperial Knights rules below!

Give Your Imperial Knight Ratings!

4.4 out of 5 stars from 19 ratings of Imperial Knight Backstory

Imperial Knight Rules

Beyond the history of the Imperial Knights, the new codex also has 17 pages of photography. These are battle scenes set up with other 40k models (so you can see the scale of these knights!) and the traditional 'Eavy Metal photos of different paint schemes and positions.

Beyond this, we get to the rules for using and fielding Imperial Knights. I have several more photos and a detailed analysis of these knights rules, but I don't have room on this page to cover it all. Click right below for PART TWO of my Imperial Knight Codex Review and will get straight to the rules!

Thank you for reading. Please leave a rating to the right or leave a comment below. If you are bored of Imperial Knights (really?) then be sure to check out one of my other 40k articles listed below the comments. Otherwise, I'll see you in part two. Just click above to get right to the meat!


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    • murphy80 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Florida

      Thinker, I see your reasoning and I can't deny that is a possibility. It's a complicated situation and the codex only gives a few sentences to explain it. We have had no official rules on "allies of allies" yet, as far as I know. I would be okay with someone mixing apocalypse-allies as long as they were treated as desperate allies and/or enemy models on the field; meaning that characters can't join units, cannot be targeted by psychic powers, cannot approach within 1", and have to test for trustworthy if starting within 6" of each other.

      Hopefully a FAQ will clear it up. Regardless, I think we will see Daemon Knights releasing in the future :)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      there is a sideway about your reasoning in the last part ... when targetting ally matrix ... and in this rare situations ... of 3 detachments ... even if a single one (this case knights) are allied or in the same army with another one that has both one that allies you normally and another one(chaos - apoc) ... the equation is broken and hence knights couldn't ally with that IG since he allied with chaos ... is tricky and makes a whole debate about this discussion but ... more likely ... it will not be possible since at least 2 detachments in one army have apoc treatment (no ally allowed) ...


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