Hey everyone, Reecius here to discuss two of the new Imperial Knights: the Gallant and the Crusader, and which may appeal to you in your list! Be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
Now let me preface this by saying I still love Old Trusty, the Knight Paladin for his versatility, and the Acheron for pure power, but two of the new kids on the block bear special attention due to their specialization.
I am a strong proponent of the single Knight in many lists as they add so much: speed, durability, powerful melee, decent shooting and board control. That's a powerful mix of amazing benefits and well worth the price tag. In general terms, I gravitate towards the Knights listed above: the Paladin and Acheron, but lately I have been taking a much closer look at two of the more extreme Knights: the Gallant and the Crusader.
The Gallant is the melee specialist Knight, sporting a Heavy Stubber, Reaper Chainsword and Thunderstrike Gauntlet (both str D, melee weapons), which grants him an extra attack in melee and the funny ability to throw vehicles and MCs it destroys in melee as a large blast weapon with a strength dependant on the toughness or AV of the unfortunate victim. Primarily though, he's the cheapest Knight, coming in at 325. That's a significant savings over the other Knights.
Is this worth it to lose a weapons such as the Rapid-fire Battle Cannon the Paladin and Crusader sport? That's a tough question to answer and will really come down to the composition of your army as a whole. If you're adding the Knight primarily to serve as a counter-attack unit, for board control, or to apply pressure to your opponent while the rest of your army supplies the firepower, then I'd say yes. That extra attack in melee is pretty dang useful on a D weapon, and not worrying about shooting means you will be running in the shooting phase, closing distance to your opponent more swiftly. The Gallant pretty much plays itself: you run forward then assault and smash.
Now, the downside to this is that if you find yourself facing someone that can handle a knight in melee fairly easily, you may be left kicking yourself. Luckily, not many armies can do that, but those that can will be happy to see a big chunk of your points wasted. I'd say this is a fairly low probability, though.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Knight Crusader, which is the most expensive Knight, weighing in at 425 base, and specialized for shooting: sporting a Thermal Cannon (Heavy 1, Str 9, Ap1, Melta, 36"), or the afore mentioned Rapid-fire Battle Cannon (Heavy 2, Str8, Ap3, Large Blast, 72") for an extra 5pts and an Avenger Gatling Cannon (Heavy 12, Str6, Ap3, Rending, 36"). That's some powerful shooting, particularly when you consider they are mounted on a fast platform that cannot be stunned or suffer weapon destroyed, and can fire at different targets. You can further boost this firepower with a carapace mounted weapon if you desire, and I'd go for the Stormspear Rocket Pod if anything (Heavy 3, Str8, Ap3, 48") although it comes at a hefty 40 additional points.
At first, I wrote off the Crusader due to its high price tag, but, after seeing it in action in several tournaments in the hands of skilled players such as Goatboy and InControl, I have had a change of heart. This thing packs some serious firepower and while it loses the dirty D in melee, it retains the ability to stomp which in most cases is the better attack, anyway.
Like the Gallant, the Crusader largely pilots itself, perhaps with a bit more versatility than the Gallant, but still pretty straightforward: you shoot stuff with it, and only engage in melee when you need to tarpit something or really need those stomps. You're paying a premium for all that dakka, you don't want to spend turns locked in combat if you can avoid it.
So, is the Crusader the right choice? Again, it will depend on the composition of the rest of your army. If you've got an aggressive army that runs up field taking objectives and winning the game in melee, then yeah. The Crusader is a strong back-field unit that can provide a ton of diverse firepower that allows you to engage multiple units and provide multiple weapon types to help you adapt to various enemy units and then jump into combat if you need it to. That's a lot of value and versatility that some lists will greatly benefit from.
Conversely, he also fits well in a shooting army where he provides even more firepower but can also serve as a counter-assault unit should the need arise. Not bad!
I think either choice is a good one! For me, I am leaning towards the Crusader in my AdMech army, and the Gallant to compliment my Astra Militarum. What's your favorite Knight to use and why?