We thought we had this battle well handled. We'd driven back the forces of Chaos past the lookout point, shelled their daemonic engines to molten slag, and even dealt with that snarling Warpsmith. And then the ground started to shake, and the smoke-choked clouds turned from grey to black. Around me, my best men, brave men one and all, began to turn heel and run. And off in the distance I saw why - hulking, huge, belching foul smoke and radiating noxious warp energy, that thing spewed chaos, fire, and heavy battery shells down on us. And I knew then and there: all hope was lost. If this sounds like the kind of scenario you want to inflict on your opponents, then the new Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box may be just the thing you're looking for. Games Workshop sent us a box to check out, so read on for our review.
What's Included In The Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box?
Included in the Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box are the following:
- Sprues to construct 1x Knight Abominant
- Sprues to construct 2x War Dogs (w/ multiple variants)
- Chaos Knight Transfer Sheets
- 112-page limited edition Codex: Chaos Knights (hardcover)
- Chaos Knights Datacard Set
It likely goes without saying to anyone familiar with Chaos Knights, but these three models make up a potent fighting force, equaling around 700 points before adding on any special upgraded weapons, powers, and the like. There's also a ton of customization available here, and this new Codex is full of incredible lore and tactical options for the Knights, which we'll dive into below.
How Does The Knight Abominant Play In The Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box?
The Knight Abominant included in the Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box is a towering behemoth of a unit. First, let's talk about its staying power. With a whopping 24 wounds and a 3+ save, this model is going to be incredible hard for an opposing army to take down. Plus, it has the Ion Shields ability, which give it a 5+ invulnerable save against ranged attacks.
The damage it can deal out is extreme, as well, both at range and in melee combat. To start, it has a Diabolous Heavy Stubber, a useful shot at 36" range. But the showstopped for its ranged capabilities is the Knight Abominant's Volkite Combuster, with 30" range, this absolutely nasty blaster is Heavy 6, Strength 10, -1 Armor Penetration, and deals 3 damage per hit. What's more, for each unmodified wound role of 6 you make with this weapon, you deal 3 mortal wounds in addition to any other damage normally dealt. It's melee weapons are equally nasty, including it's Electroscourge which rolls three attack rolls for each attack (the model has three total melee attacks, so nine dice rolled per thwack with the Electroscourge). In other words: this is an absolutely menace on the battlefield!
Add to all that the fact that the Knight Abominant is a Psyker who can attempt to manifest two psychic powers in your Psyker phase (and attempt to deny one psychic power in your opponent's), and you're staring at the center-piece of an army built around blunt force trauma. And we haven't even gotten into the Harbingers of Dread special ability which this and the War Dogs can utilize, but we'll dive into that when we talk about the Codex.
How Do The War Dogs Play In The Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box?
The War Dog options included in the Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box are where you can really start to tweak your attack style. While the Knight Abominant is amazing at doing what it does (i.e. mass destruction and sewing chaos), there's really only one build for it in the box. With the sprues for the two War Dogs, you have the option to construct one of three different War Dog archetypes: the War Dog Karnivore, the War Dog Stalker, and the War Dog Brigand.
Each of these models come slightly differently equipped, and serve a different purpose on the battlefield. The War Dog Karnivore, for example, has a 14" movement speed and a 2+ weapon skill (as opposed to the other two models 12" speed and 3+ WS) and is focused on getting into the middle of combat and causing chaotic charnel frenzy with melee weapons like its Reaper Chaintalon, which can strike or sweep for differing effects. The War Dog Brigand, on the other hand, has no melee options, but its Deamonbreath Spear deals D6 damage on a wound (D6+2 if the target is within half range). The War Dog Stalker splits the difference, with some heavy ranged firepower and a nasty melee Slaughterclaw.
With 12 wounds each, these units are extremely hard to take down, and I love the flexibility of these different builds. I'm going with the long-range Brigand and melee-focused Karnivore, leaving no room in my heart for the sensible middle ground of the Stalker.
What's Included In The Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Codex?
Even though this is a slightly smaller tome than other army Codexes we've seen (like the behemoth Aeldari Codex), it's still absolutely packed with useful material and engaging lore. The first 34 pages of the Codex are dedicated to said lore, with a description of how the Chivalric Imperial Knights were first corrupted, and a detailed breakdown of each of the fell houses of the Chaos Knights. After a dozen or so pages of lushly photographed showcase imagery, the Codex dives into the rules for running a Chaos Knights army.
One of the more ingenious additions in the book is the inclusion of Dreaded abilities, these are abilities that affect enemy models or units with a model's "Dread Range." Unaffected by rules that affect Aura abilities, these Dread abilities have a 12" range at the start of the game. The Codex also covers the various Dread Households, and the benefits you get for choosing a specific house. For the strategic House Lucaris, you can re-roll one hit roll or wound roll when resolving that model's attacks (among other bonuses). For the speed-focused House Korvax, the potent Rune of Darkness allows them to change the damage characteristic of an attack they failed to save on to zero (once per battle round). Thematically tied to the very essence of each house, these bonuses are varied and almost all seem extremely useful.
Now onto the Favour of the Dark Gods, one of my favorite abilities in the book. Available to War Dog, Abhorrent-Class, and Tyrant-Class models in your Chaos Knights army, you essentially pledge your model to one of the Chaos Gods. By doing so, you'll choose an ability that offers some tactical advantage, and if you deal enough wounds, you'll become "Favoured" by the Dark Gods, granting you an even bigger boon. Here's one for Tzeentch which I really like:
There are also fantastic War Storm Discipline psychic powers for your models, relics like the one pictured at the top of this section, Crusade Rules to take your Chaos Knights down the Eightfold Path To Damnation (what a name!), rules for the Harbingers of Dread ability (which allows you to choose various dreadful effects split between Doom, Despair, and Darkness, these just emanate from your unholy chassis), and Datasheets for five different types of War Dogs, the Knight Despoiler, Knight Desecrator, Knight Rampager, Knight Abominant, and Knight Tyrant.
What Are Our Final Thoughts On The Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box?
Though it's likely to carry a bit of a high price tag, the fact that you could essentially field an entire Combat Patrol with this box is pretty incredible. I love the look of these models, the variation of the different War Dog builds, and just how in-depth the Chaos Knights Codex gets. We barely scratched the surface here covering it! I think this is one of those big box sets that really wows with what it brings to the table, and you'll have everything you need to field a very nasty force here.
Should I Buy The Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box?
Whether you're looking to get into Chaos Knights and you don't have anything else Chaos-related, or you're a long-term devotee to the Dark Gods, this box will offer an incredible strong and surprisingly flexible core to any Chaos Knights army. If you're looking for a more affordable army starter, or don't want to play with just three models out the box, you may need to look at other entries from Games Workshop.
Want to learn how the "good guys" (big air quotes on that term) handle their giant mechs? Check out our Preview of the upcoming Imperial Knights Codex, which also goes up for preorder this weekend.
The Warhammer 40K Chaos Knights Army Box used in the creation of this review was provided by Games Workshop.