I’ve been in something of a hobby slump as of late. I’ve gotten a few games of Malifaux and Dropzone Commander in, but I’ve not put brush to model in nearly a month! That’s quite a bit longer than I usually take off. I am planning on breaking that here shortly by working on another titan though. It’s a model for a charity army (Toys for Tots) and I will have progress pics soon. In the meantime, I’m going to write about the 5 Knight Titan tournament list I’ve been running and why I take what I take. It isn’t a comprehensive guide to running an all-knight list, but it is a reasonably good introduction to the conceptual underpinnings of my list. I will also go through and describe the role of each knight in the list in rather more detail than I’ve seen elsewhere.
First off, the list:
Cerastus Knight Lancer – Warlord with Sanctuary
Knight Warden – Stock
Knight Paladin – Stock
Knight Gallant – Stock
Knight Gallant – Meltagun and Helm of the Nameless Warrior
That’s it. Only 5 models. I have been asked why I run the Exalted Court instead of the Baronial Court. The Baronial Court grants Counter Attack and Overwatch to a wide swathe of the army. It also confers a significant bonus to front arc shielding. An entire wall of AV13 with a 3++ invulnerable save is truly intimidating. There are a number of reasons that I don’t though. First is that it rewards maintaining a cohesive formation of knights. That prevents you from being aggressive as you try to maintain the formation bonuses. It is unlikely that all 5 knights will be able to keep them all for more than a round or two without sacrificing a lot of offensive potential. With the Exhalted Court, each knight is maintained as it’s own self-contained killing unit without sacrificing bonuses. The other major reason I run the Exalted Court is that it confers two different bonuses that complement each other well.
A major army-wide increase in WS and BS is a fairly big deal on an army that can be functionally run on 12 D6 plus a scatter die. Your blasts will hit what is under the center dot a full 2/3 of the time and 2s to hit in shooting is always nice. Hitting a majority of models in Close Combaat on 3s is also a rather significant deal, as you are getting 3-7 (at the very outside) attacks in close combat. More hits means more casualties. But the bigger advantage is that each knight becomes a character capable of issuing a challenge (and taking relics if you are so inclined). That effectively eliminates many of the biggest threats to your knight in Close Combat, power fists and melta bombs on sergeants. A single melta bomb hit can seriously ruin your day as a knight player. The ability to pick those out of combat is significant. Even if there isn’t anything special on the sergeant, it’s often worthwhile to chop him in half. It isn’t foolproof, but with the proliferation of MSU marine lists, taking out their sergeants makes them fail a lot of leadership saves. That helps you control the battlefield a bit.
Now onto the individual knights themselves:
Cersastus Knight Lancer (Warlord with Sanctuary): Many people think that this is a substandard version of the Cerastus chassis, especially compared with the Archeron and it’s huge flamestorm template of AP3 doom. While the Archeron is good, the Lancer performs an important role in the army. Killing other heavy hitters. Especially other Knights and Gargantuan Creatures. It can even take down a CC equipped Wraithknight with a reasonable chance for survival. Additionally, as the warlord of the army, it gets a few extra benefits. WS 6 is a significant advantage as you are now hitting just about everybody on a 3 and they are probably hitting you on a 4. That helps as mentioned earlier in that you only have so many attacks. You have the same character benefits as before in issuing challenges, and you are able to reroll all misses in those challenges (so always challenge!). Also, nearly all the warlord traits are excellent. Ending up with an extra attack or rerolling 1s on your shield saves is significant, as is the extra inch of range on charges and runs. Speaking of runs, don’t be afraid to forgo shooting for a round to run, as you get 3d6″ of movement. Being able to move that fast is a huge benefit (shared by all the Cerastus chassis). People underestimate just how far a decent roll will get you. Moving an effective average of 22″ can really catch out an opponent who was planning on at least one more round of shooting!
That brings me to his taking Sanctuary. Now, there is some online confusion about how him taking sanctuary works, as it is nominally unclear. There is an interpretation that says that because it doesn’t replace the Ion shield, that it is an additional shield (because the Lancer’s shield is not an Ion Shield) and it would allow him to toss his shield on the rear arc or possibly also have a second arc covered by the shield. That’s kinda douchey and any half-reasonable TO will smack that crap down hard. I simply run it as an upgrade to the shield that he does have. It does help a great deal, as the +1 to Ion Shield saves that your warlord in this formation gets does apply to the Sanctuary’s 6++ on non-shielded faces. It’s a good way to help keep him alive while being aggressive with him. His job in the list is basically to run around as a bully, mugging any and everything he can reach with that big pointy stick. He should get stuck in early and often.
Warden (No upgrades): This guy is my Swiss Army Knife. When I need to have somebody hold a flank for a few turns or clear out a section of the board, he’s usually the one that gets the job. He puts out a very significant amount of firepower and can even threaten fliers (though as we’ll discuss later, there are serious limitations in this!). His general utility is really able to get a lot done with a (relative) minimum of investment. Also, because it is a relatively new variant, people seem to give it a bit more space. This is already changing (as people are beginning to see it, quite correctly, as just another knight).
Gallant (No upgrades): This guy is there to back up my Swiss Army Warden. He jumps in when he’s threatening to get overwhelmed or bogged down. He often leads the way for him. He plays a very straightforward role leading the way for the Warden to do his job.
Gallant (Helm of the Nameless Warrior and Melta-gun): This guy is there to back up the Lancer. He is usually coming in later as the Lancer is faster. Ideally, he will hit a relatively large unit to get a large number of attacks on the charge, but none of that is particularly important. He’s really a second body to draw some of the heat off of the Warlord.
Paladin (No upgrades): This guy is my backfield guy. He’ll often sit back and lob Battle Cannon shells into the opposing army. He usually runs forward late game to plug any holes. This is the least important knight, and I’ve considered downgrading him to an Errant (or even a Gallant!) to encourage more aggressive behavior, but the Paladin is just too good in comparison. If I were to swap it over to anything else, it would certainly be another Warden. It’s also important not to underestimate the second Heavy Stubber. It’s been a hero in a couple of my games before.
Tactics and overall game-plan:
I play in primarily ITC events (I am in California), so this advice is centered around that style of event. I will be brutally honest about it as well. This list is not designed to win an event. It lacks a lot of vital “good list” components and has a huge secondary mission gap issue. When things go well, you will often end up with 9-11 points only giving up 1-2 to your opponent, but if things go badly, you are likely to get nailed losing 11-0 quite a lot. Losing a knight not only takes down a 20% chunk of your model count, but it gives up 2 secondary mission points (as many as you can earn normally in a round!). That is a huge disadvantage that you’ll often have difficulty overcoming. Your strengths are that you are super mobile and hit very hard. Rule 1 for any all-titan list: be aggressive. You will rarely come off better by sitting back and trading shots with your opponent. They will always have more shots than you will. If you aren’t charging, you aren’t going to do well.
Often, you will want to refuse a flank. If possible, you should be looking to go second. This not only presents you With the only Maelstrom advantage yo u will have all game, but also allow you to refuse a flank in all the missions save mission number three. As that is also the Relic mission, that one is going to Present yo u with some difficulties regardless.
Lastly, be aware of your biggest threats. Units deep striking with multiple meltaguns will wreck your face. Know when to castle up to present the fewest good shots on you knights. Also, if you can manage it, being able to prioritize your opponents’ antitank units effectively will pay off greatly as the game moves though the rounds.
I should have a fair bit of paint on the tots Titan Sunday afternoon!