Imperial Knight Allies: Sisters, Guard, and Scions
Something unique to the Imperial Knights is their reliance on allies. Aside from playing 1500 points with 4 Paladins, or 1850 with 5 Errants, you can't really build a list that fills up the points without taking allies. The nice thing is that being an Imperial faction, they get many options for Battle Brothers. So many options in fact, I think it's going to take 3 articles to get through them all! Imperial Knight Battle Brothers:
- Adepta Sororitas
- Astra Militarum
- Militarum Tempestus
- Grey Knights
- Officio Assassinorum
- Space Marines
- Blood Angels
- Dark Angels
- Space Wolves
As discussed before, the main weaknesses of Imperial Knights are: lack of scoring, lack of anti-transport (AV10-12) weaponry, and the lack of anti-air. I'll be discussing these different factions and how they relate in regard to fulfilling those roles.
This article will cover Adepta Sororitas, Astra Militarum and Militarum Tempestus, skipping Blood Angels and Dark Angels for now (I'll do one article that covers Marines and the variations there of).
While my experience playing with Adepta Sororitas is minimal, I have played many games against the space nuns. While this army is heavily ignored by the public, especially when considering potential allies, the Sisters of Battle actually don't do bad at filling the gaps in an Imperial Knight army. Their basic infantry bring a lot of BS4 bolters and weigh in at only 12 points per model, additionally a minimal unit of 5 can bring both a heavy and a special weapon, or 2 special weapons. When mounted in a Rhino, a unit of 5 with 2 meltaguns comes to a respectable 120 points, or 140 with an Immolator. Despite that squad not being terribly big, it is providing two objective secured units isn't bad at all, grab 3-4 of those and suddenly you've got a lot of objective secured with enough points left over for some supporting firepower.
To deal with transport vehicles from long range, the sisters have one option that outclasses the rest by a mile, the lovely Exorcist. Not very expensive, only slightly more than an auto-las Predator, the Exorcists dishes out D6 Ap1 krak missiles a turn. While not horribly reliable, a good volley can easily take out a transport, and even a single shot can get lucky and cause an explosion. The only other option that jumps out as a decent anti-transport unit are the Dominions, though unfortunately after buying them a transport and 4 meltaguns, you're already up to 145 points and it's quite likely that after they blow up one target, they will be focused on and destroyed. Might be good for handling high armour transports, but then again, so are Knights once they get in charge range.
As far as anti-air goes, the sisters have only one option, the Avenger Strike Fighter from Forge World. It's a fairly inexpensive flyer, only has 2 HP, but delivers quite a punch and can take out AV10-12 vehicles! It competes for Heavy Support slots with Exorcists who are more survivable and a bit cheaper, so if you do run Adepta Sororitas as allies, it will probably be with 2 Exorcists and an Avenger, or the other way around.
Sample 1850 list
Imperial Knight Detachment
Knight Paladin: 375 Knight Paladin: 375 Knight Castigator: 380
Sisters of Battle Combined Arms Detachment
Canoness: The Book of Saint Lucius: 70
5 Battle Sisters: 2 Meltaguns: 80 Rhino: 40 5 Battle Sisters: 2 Meltaguns: 80 Rhino: 40 5 Battle Sisters: Heavy Bolter: 70 Rhino: 40
Avenger Strike Fighter: 150 Avenger Strike Fighter: 150
This list provides a lot of air support, plus a fair amount of scoring units. The Avengers combined with the Castigator gives you a lot of fire power for dealing with low armoured vehicles, while the sisters themselves can try to hide and stay alive, but in a pinch they can do some damage.
One of the most iconic armies in the 40k universe, the Astra Militarum, or Imperial Guard, are many players first thought when they think of appropriate allies for the Imperial Knights. When it comes to coming up with some scoring units, nobody brings them like the IG, who can easily fit in 60 or so infantry along side 3 knights in a 1850 game, with room to spare for support. When picking Astra Militarum, I usually think of the support units first and then fill the rest with infantry, though for a mere 160 points, you can bring an Infantry Platoon with 25 models and 3 autocannon. While I typically do like Veterans in Astra Militarum armies, I feel that their points can quickly get bloated when being used as Allies in an Imperial Knights army, and their roles are frequently redundant (who needs that melta when you can just stomp on a vehicle), so personally I'd stay away from them.
Killing AV10-12 transports can be a trivial matter for Imperial Guard. Every infantry squad can bring an autocannon, they can take Taurox dedicated transports with twin-linked autocannon, Sentinels with autocannon, Leman Russ Exterminators, Vendettas and Manticores. On top of that Forge World adds things like Thudd Guns, Medusas, and the list goes on. For me, I try to aim for at least 20 S7+ shots a turn, not counting Knight Paladin's battle cannons, when I'm running Astra Militarum. That gives me a lot of firepower to try and kill wave serpents, or at least force a few into jinking to reduce their firepower the next turn. There are many ways to do this, but my particular favorites are infantry with autocannons (cheap and objective secured), Taurox (objective secured when taken for Infantry Platoons), Leman Russ Exterminators (people have to use the same guns to kill Leman Russes as they need to kill your Knights) and Vendettas (double as air support).
Speaking of Vendettas... Imperial Guard also have a crap ton of anti-air available to them. Another short list off the top of my head would be Vendettas, Hydras (duh), Thunderbolt Fighters, Avenger Strike Fighters, and Sabre Defense Platforms. When thinking about only having about 725 points to spend on my allies, I really try to focus on units which can perform multiple roles, or are incredibly inexpensive. The Vendetta is obviously a multi-role unit, being both good anti-tank and anti-air, though fairly expensive at 170 points, similarly the Thunderbolt Fighter can fill the same roles for close to the same cost. If you have less points to spend, a battery of 2 Sabre Defense Platforms with extra crew and autocannons is under 100 points and an objective secured unit, so not bad at all. Finally, for even less points you can take a single Hydra, which has the survivability of a Chimera, but if you need AA on a tight budget, this is as cheap as you can get.
Some other units of note with Astra Militarum are Wyverns, which don't really perform any of the tasks that Knights are lacking, but they do provide a TON of anti-infantry firepower in an incredibly inexpensive unit, if you're focusing on the specialist Knights and not using any Paladins, definitely consider a unit of 2-3 Wyverns. Additionally, while I don't necessarily recommend it, you can actually squeeze in a super-heavy tank in a minimal Combined Arms detachment of Astra Militarum to bring along side your Knights... maybe not the best idea, but something to think about at least.
Sample 1850 List
Adamantine Lance Formation
Knight Errant: 370 Knight Paladin: 375 Knight Paladin: 375
Astra Militarum Allied Detachment
Company Command Squad: Autocannon: 70
Platoon Command Squad: 3 Meltaguns: 60 Infantry Squad: Autocannon: 60 Taurox: Twin-linked Autocannon: 50 Infantry Squad: Autocannon: 60 Taurox: Twin-linked Autocannon: 50 Infantry Squad: Autocannon: 60
Vendetta Gunship: 170
Leman Russ Exterminator: Multi-melta sponsons: 150
As you can see, this list packs quite a punch! 16 Autocannon shots, 2 multi-meltas, 3 twin-linked lascannons, all with 35 objective secured infantry and 2 objective secured vehicles. If you wanted, you could drop two Taurox and an Infantry squad for a second Leman Russ Exterminator, but I prefer to have all the scoring units.
Probably one of my favorite models added to 40k in recent history is the Tempetus Scion, so it should be no surprise that I have quite a few of these! Their iconography is actually very inline with the Imperial Knights, so when running them side by side, they actually look quite nice. As far as bringing scoring troops goes, the Scions, like Sisters, weigh in at 12 points per model. Lacking power armour, they at least have a nice 4+ save from carapace, plus shorter ranged Ap3 lasguns, and a handful of special rules. They all have Deep Strike, meaning you can keep them off the board turn 1 to deny First Blood, then drop them in to deliver their firepower, and with Move Through Cover, there's no risk jumping directly into terrain to grab a cover save. Two models per squad can carry a special weapon, and I almost exclusively take either a meltagun or hot-shot volley gun, though I could see the case for plasma guns as well (a squad of 5 bringing in 4 S7 Ap2 shots, plus some hot-shot las guns is nothing to sneeze at, either for anti-infantry or anti-transport duty). Larger squads of 10 with volley guns can drop in unleashing a withering hail of Ap3 firepower that can easily evaporate a space marine squad, and will be fairly survivable against the fire they'll receive in return.
For anti-transport duty, aside from their basic squads deep striking with special weaponry, you can take the Taurox Prime. It's kind of an expensive transport, though at it's basic cost, you can have a fast vehicle with a twin-linked autocannon and a S7 blast main gun. It does have the option to replace it's turret cannon with a 2 shot missile launcher, though it makes it come in at 100 points per model for an Av11/10/10 vehicle, so if you go this route, you should reserve them, especially if you're going second (which isn't a bad idea anyhow to avoid giving up first blood). The other way I'd consider running a Taurox Prime is with the gatling cannon, twin-linked hot shot volley gun, and a heavy stubber, which puts out a punishing 17 S4 shots a turn, which comes in at 95 points, though Knights don't typically need the anti-infantry support. Generally I think you're better off sticking with the autocannon + taurox battle cannon configuration.
Unfortunately for the Militarum Tempestus, they utterly lack anti-air... the closest they have is a Valkyrie with a lascannon, hellstrike missiles and heavy bolters, which for the cost is really just not worth being used in this role... Even if the hellstrike missiles don't cause each other to snap fire (which they don't anymore now that same-type weapons are rolled simultaneously), you're paying a lot of points for a single S8 hit.
Sample 1850 List
Imperial Knight Detachment
Knight Errant: 370 Knight Paladin: 375 Knight Castigator: 380
Militarum Tempestus Combined Arms Detachment
10 Tempestus Scions: 2 Hot-shot Volley Guns: 150 Taurox Prime: Twin-linked Autocannon, Taurox Missile Launcher: 100 10 Tempestus Scions: 2 Hot-shot Volley Guns: 150 Taurox Prime: Twin-linked Autocannon, Taurox Missile Launcher: 100 5 Tempestus Scions: 2 Plasma Guns: 100 5 Tempestus Scions: 2 Plasma Guns: 100
You could swap the Castigator for a Paladin to run an Adamantine Lance, but I prefer the additional firepower that the Castigator brings.