Legions Imperialis – Knights & Titans

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In previous episodes I looked at the infantry and the vehicles in Legions Imperialis so today I’m going to take a shot at looking at the Knights and Titans. I’ve spent some time looking through the profiles to better understand what the options are and I’ve gone through the forums to see what other players think. I have not fielded anything beyond a few knights myself, so all this is in the abstract. That said, I have come to some conclusions that seem to make sense to me that I would like to share. I’m sure I’ll get a bunch of things wrong, so please do check the comments, I know I will.

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These are the profiles I’m going to look at today. Starting from the left, Questoris Knight, Certasus Knight, Warhound Titan, Reaver Titan, Warlord Titan, and Warmaster Titan. So I am skipping the Acastus Knight and I’m skipping the Dire Wolf, the Warbringer, the Warlord-Sinister, and the Warmaster Iconoclast Titans. My hope is that the lessons from the main knights and titans will give you what you need to know to make your own assessment of those I’ve missed.

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Lets start with the Knights. The first thing to understand is that these are basically just fancy vehicles. There are no special rules unique to knights. The closest you will find is the Ion Shield trait which only appears on the Knights. This is kind of like an invul save but rather than ignore armour penetration it reduces it slightly, so AP minus one is treated as AP 0, AP 2 to 3 is treated as AP 1, anything worse than that is treated as -2 AP and no matter the AP it can’t make the save go worse than a 6+.

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Our first profile is the Questoris Knight. This comes in a box of 3 each with a different weapon set. The old version of this box had the arms for one each of a Errant, Paladin, and Warden. So that’s the Reaper Chainsword with either a thermal cannon, rapid fire battlecannon, or avengor gatling cannon. This kit was then upgraded with an extra sprue which added 6 gauntlets, 3 meltaguns, and 3 rocket pods. The gauntlets are obviously a melee option, the meltaguns are a hull mounted option to replace the heavy stubber, while the rocket pods are a 5 point upgrade to slap a rocket launcher on top. 

Move 8, Save of 3+, and 3 wounds so it’s a little like a Kratos but with an extra wound. Morale is great at 2+ but it’s got an insane close assault factor of +8. All but the Crusader option have a melee weapon with rend, so straight away this looks like a melee unit.

When looking over the weapon options I think it’s important to consider whether you could get a better version of this by taking a tank instead. These are some interesting options, but you do end up with 2 Kratos for 150 points rather than the 180 for a single Questoris Knight. So the goal here is going to be to rush across the battlefield and slam into a tank unit where they can get a few close combats and kill multiple tanks. That should earn some points back. With that in mind, anything for the ranged options should work fine. The thermal cannon has demolisher which might take down a building which could be fun, the battlecannon has excellent range of 28 inches, while the gatling cannon has 5 dice and rapid fire so it could rip up some infantry. 

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Our second Knight is the Cerastus at 215 points. This is a little faster than the Questoris at 9 movement, with the save wounds and morale all the same. There is a considerable jump in the close assault factor though going up to 11. All the options of this knight have rend so we’re looking at 3d6 + 11 and an extra 2 if they charged due to the furious charge special rule. That’s a minimum of 16 if you roll all 1s which is still going to win many combats. The various options do switch around the melee weapons as well as the ranged weapons. The warblade and chainfist are mechanically the same, but the Shock Lance does have reach which let’s it extend it’s melee ranged by 2 inches to attack more units. With that crazy CAF the Cerastus can keep killing units for a considerable chunk of time. For the ranged options, you can get a flame cannon that ignores cover, great against garrisoned troops which come with twin heavy bolters with point defence, then you have the bolt cannon with 4 dice and rapid fire which should get a good number of shots on targets. Last is the Ion Shield which isn’t great with only 6 inch range but it does come with the lance so there’s merit to it. The core box for Titanicus has two of the Knight Lancers, so I’m a bit of a fan of them. It focuses on what they’re good at and even though you’ll lose out on a turn or two as you get into place that extra reach can effectively double the killing potential.

In both cases, these knights seem to be best focused on Melee but they are vulnerable to long range tanks or aircraft picking them off in the first couple of turns. So try keep them behind cover as best you can while they approach.

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Moving over to Titans proper we have a ton of special rules. Their movement is a little bit awkward so you will need to plan ahead to make sure they end up in the right place with the right facing. They have special rules around buildings, the Titans after are all essentially buildings themselves. When adjacent to a building they are considered engaged with it but not the troops inside. That’s partially a downside as the Knights can run up to a building and reaper chainsword all the troops inside. The Titans are more likely to use their weapons or even just their bulk to try collapse the building. For this move they actually get a free attack once per round. Troops inside a collapsing building have to make a minus 1 AP save and those who fail die.

Titan’s can split fire and that applies to both their weapons which can target different targets and also the dice within the weapons. So if you have a Vulcan Mega Bolter and a Plasma Blastgun on your Warhound you can take the Plasma and aim it at a tank detachment but you can also take the Vulcan Mega Bolter’s 10 dice and split it across multiple infantry detachments for maximum carnage. This gives the Titan’s a lot of flexibility in fire and as they numerous big guns, it actually front loads a lot of damage into a single activation. So you could take out multiple threats before they get a chance to activate.

Like the Ion Shields, the Void Shields are not a rule inherent to a Titan but they all do have them. While there are active void shields, any hits are first assigned to them. If the attack is AP 0 it is completely ignored. After that hits deplete the void shields. So it’s a buffer you have to get through before you can start doing actual damage. As a kicker, these void shields reignite each turn. On average 50% of the missing shields are going to restore and you have to burn through them again the next turn. As we’ll see, this can vary from the 2 of the warhounds all the way up to a bonkers 12 on the Warmaster. That’s a lot of hits to get before you can even start doing damage and that warmaster has 7 wounds so you need to get 12 hits and then get enough hits after that to do 7 woulds against a save of 1+. If you don’t manage to do all of that, then you’re probably going to see 6 shields reignite and you have to get through those again the next turn.

Due to the nature of these void shields, often you need to do the mental calculation turn one to decide whether to try take down that titan that turn. Due to the attrition in the game, turn 2 you’re going to have less firepower available to do it so if you can’t get that Titan down turn 1 it’s likely to stay active for the rest of the game.

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The first Titan we have the the Warhound. You’ll have 2 of these from the starter box and they’re 330 points so the game would need to be at least one thousand one hundred points before you could field one. It is armed with two weapons from the list and you can double up. The kit can and should be build with magnets in the weapons to let you switch them out as needed. 

At 7 move it’s fast for a Titan and with just two void shields and 4 wounds it is definitely killable despite that 2+ save. It has great Close Assault Factor, but as it doesn’t have a rend weapon you’re better off leaving that to the knights. Again, we need to mentally compare what we’re getting to just taking some tanks as 330 points is a big investment. The recommended loadout for Titanicus was always mega bolter to take out void shields and plasma blastgun to finish things off. For Legions Imperialis, you’re probably more interested in the Inferno Gun for templating masses of infantry or the Conversion Beam dissoluter which with two shots hitting on 2s and with -4 AP are probably the most reliable kill shots you’ll get. That this has demolisher is definitely a bonus.

The key thing here is the Warhounds are definitely killable, those 2 void shields are much of a buffer and killing 330 points worth of titan would definitely be some good value. So you need to go into a game with a plan on how you’re going to use your Titan and please cautiously with them.

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The next titan to look at is the Reaver, which stats wise is just a little bit of an upgrade but it all matters. Move 6 is one less, save is still 2+ and wounds are up by 1 to 5. CAF has gone up by 2 but again we’re probably going to be focusing on this as a ranged platform. Void shields have doubled to 4 which is a small difference but will have a big impact. Even if we lose all 4 shields turn 1, on average we’ll be back to 2 the next turn. This is going to cost you 415 points though, so we’re closer to a 1500 point game before you can field one.

For weapons, you get two arm weapons and a carapace weapon which sits on top. The arm weapons can be doubled up and again all these can and should be magnetised so you can switch between options as needed.

For the arm weapons the laser blaster and the gatling blaster are very similar with the laser blaster trading an extra dice for an extra AP and 5 more range. I don’t think I’d say one is necessarily better than the other as it’ll probably depend on what targets it’s going after. If you’re looking to kill knights or titans the Volcano cannon  is a great option. With 2+ to hit and -4AP theres a good chance you’re doing a point of damage and with engine killer 3, against super heavy tanks, knights, or titans that gets upgraded to a 4. That outright kills a Knight. Against a super heavy tank it is going to get a kill but it isn’t going to splash over to others. Against a Titan you do want shields to already be down but it will will Warhound right out and put a significant dint in any of the others.

 The melta does have demolisher but you’ll probably just crash into buildings to destroy them. The chainfist and power fist do have Wrecker which is like engine killer for buildings but I suspect fitting for ranged is going to work a lot better. 

The go to carapace weapon is probably the apocolypse missle launcher which has 100 range and heavy barrage. This means you can target anything even if you don’t have line of sight to, although that is at a -1 to hit. That it’s heavy barrage rather than just barrage means you can target a building to try destroy it. The other big option for the carapace weapon is the Warp missile which did get an errata. The warp trait means it ignores all saves including warp shields. The dice are listed as SP or special, as you roll dice equal to the number of stands in the detachment you’re targeting. There also was a section saying you got to roll for each wound left on a knight or Titan which made it a Titan one-shot killer but they changed that to only 1 dice for a knight or titan. The limited trait means you can only fire this one, so it’s an almost guaranteed wound wherever you can draw line of sight to but only once. Certainly interesting it will basically kill any detachment of 1 wound models you point it at, but no longer the must have it was before the errata.

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The next Titan to look at is the Warlord. Slower at 5, 1 more wound, but importantly 2 more void shields. So that’s 6 -AP hits before you start to do damage, then you need to beat that 2+ armour save and get all 6 of those wounds down before the shields regen. Doable, bu tthat will take a lot of concentrated fire and some preplanning. Luckily these Titans are big and need big buildings to hide behind. A lot of the Titanicus players tried to get a decent mix of 3 store buildings in to get some cover for their Warlords but the Legions Imperialis players are much more likely to spread out that terrain box with single story structures. I guess LI players in the suburbs while Titanicus is downtown. 

Tons of weapon options again, but this time we have some standard inbuilt. So we have bolt cannon turrets and lascannon turrets. These are all point defence and basically are there to stop the Titan getting swarmed. It’s relatively short range but nice to have. Again we get to pick from a weapon on each arm and a carapace weapon, although in this case the carapace weapon on top comes as a paired set. 

To a certain extend the Warlord is similar to the Reaver big more expensive and with bigger guns. The volcano cannons can kill a reaver without shields and will do good work against another Warlord. The plasma and gatling weapons are good all rounders while the conversion beamer does similar but with shorter range and demolisher for buildings, while the graviton adds in graviton pulse which among other things does extra damage to buildings. 

For the carapace we do have the missile launchers which are are the same as the Reaver but double the dice. We also have the option for some more all purpose weapons like the paired gatling blasters, paired turbo lasers, and the mega bolter array.

I’d love to give you a particular loadout and say that’s the one, but I suspect the best loadout will change depending on what you’re up against. If you’re going up against other titans you’ll need something to strip the void shields and you’ll need something to pack the final punch. Unfortunately a single Titan can’t do all that, as the defender gets to pick the order for the hits assigned. So if you had a gatling blaster array and 2 volcano cannons, those cannon shots would get assigned to the void shields before the blaster had a chance to strip them. Similarly, if you’re packing Titan killers but don’t have Titan targets then your 600 point titan is going to pop a few tanks and not much else. 

There are two Titan kits currently, one with double Volcano Cannons and and a set of Apocalypse missile launchers while the other has Power Claw, Plasma Annihilator and twin laser blasters. The weapon kits from each box is available seperately but does cost almost half the price of getting a Warlord. Then the rest of the weapons are resin ones available seperately, although do be careful as the 40k scale ones look the same until you get to the price.

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The last Titan I want to look at is the Warmaster. This is a chunky 750 points so to fit into the 30% allowance this needs to be a 2500 point list or more. There are a ton of inbuilt weapons with this Titan missle launchers, bolt cannons, lascannons, and either defence batteries of bombards. Then you add in two shoulder options from the list and you have those two massive suezerin plasma destructors. That’s a ton of firepower. I’m not sure it necessarily matters which of the shoulder options you go for but the inferno guns will be great against garrisoned troops.

The key part about the Warmaster is the void shields are now up to 12. How on earth do you kill something like that. It’s a monster. 

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Okay, if you’ve made it this far hopefully you’ve got a bit of a better idea what you’re looking at with Titans. I think I do even if I don’t necessarily know what exactly I’d run.

Titan’s look great, but they are super expensive and they need to do a lot of work to justify their points back. If you do field one, then there is always a risk your opponent will take it down turn 1 and you’re suddenly out a lot of points. If your opponent brings one and you don’t have a way to deal with it, then it might just maul it’s way across the battlefield. It’s not going to contest objectives, but it can sit on one and kill everything around it. If you decide to take one, you do need to work out what you want to do with it, field it with the right weapons and focus on getting that done.  It does have some nice advantages, mostly it can pack a lot of punch into a single activation that can neutralise enemy detachments before they have a chance to activate. Honestly though, I think those points would probably be better spent on more flexible units. Infantry to hold objectives and tanks to do damage. Although the Titan weapons are impressive, you can probably get more damage per points if you invest in tanks. Chances are you’ll have the other half of your core box which you can run as your 30% whether that’s Solar Auxilia or a Legion force. Including a titan definitely makes your forces a little more manageable though, even a relatively lower number of points the number of bases does get pretty impressive. More importantly, they’re a fun option and they should make for some memorable games.

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