Imperial Knight Review and Tactics, Part 2: Your Core Force
So last week I kind of discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each Imperial Knight in a vacuum. The bigger question is how they work together in the context of an army. Additionally, if you're running a pure Imperial Knight army, you need to think about Allies (which I'll go over next article), as it's unlikely, and not recommended, to run an army composing of just Knights (much to my chagrin). For the purpose of this article, I'm going to be talking about an army compromising of 3 Imperial Knights, as that is the number required to take one as a Warlord.
The first step to picking your core army is simply to pick your 3 favorite Imperial Knights. I've found that it's best to diversify them, as taking 3 of the same type quickly leads to an imbalanced army. In general, it's pretty safe to assume that you will be spending around ~1125 points on just this core force. Here are a couple of the variations that I prefer:
Adamantine Lance: 1120
Knight Errant: 370 Knight Paladin: 375 Knight Paladin: 375
This is probably one of the most common ways to run 3 Knights. You have 4 Battle Cannon shots a turn, plus a S9 large blast melta for trying to pop transports. You can mix up the variations, but ultimately, this is the way I prefer to run them. The downside to running an Adamantine Lance is that you honestly can't protect all the sides of your Knights. Opponents will threaten multiple flanks of your knights and take shots at the sides that aren't shielded. Since all of your Knights want to be bunched together to get the benefit of the formation, it really makes it much easier to be outmaneuvered. While the Adamantine Lance sounds amazing on paper, it can often be a fool's folly, leading to a false sense of security. That said, if you're running 3 Knights, just using the two standard variants, there's absolutely no reason to not take the Adamantine Lance.
Imperial Knight Detachment: 1125
Cerastus Knight Castigator: 380 Knight Paladin: 375 Knight Errant: 370
This is the formation that I've come to prefer lately. It doesn't get the fancy bonuses from the Adamantine Lance formation, but it does have a lot of utility. The Castigator can pop transports, the Paladin can shred infantry and the Errant can keep heavy armour and terminators at bay. If you have the extra points, upgrade the Errant to Gerantius and make the Paladin or Castigator your Warlord, giving you two Seneschals, and even potentially a third if you roll on the ranks table.
Imperial Knight Detachment: 1280
Gerantius: 500 Cerastus Knight Lancer: 400 Cerastus Knight Castigator: 380
Definitely an expensive trio, this detachment can really dish out some punishment. I would make the Lancer your Warlord so that he's striking with WS5 and his non-twin-linked gun is hitting on 2's, not to mention gaining a 4++ save in close combat. Since Gerantius can shoot and run, and the Cerastus Knights both run 3D6", you can really close the gap quite quickly. The Castigator brings a bit extra ranged firepower, helping Gerantius wreck transports on the way in.