House Mortan – Imperial Knights

It’s been a while since we’ve had an army feature so thought I’d get us back in the swing of things with an update on my House Mortan Imperial Knights.

….Ah but Knights….they are cheesy, they are overpowered, they are no fun. You are THAT GUY Fingers, a thousand curses to you and your dice.

Utter drivel I say to you!

What’s overpowered and cheesy is the damn House Raven Castellan with all the other bollox  (Cawls Wrath/Order of Companions stratagem). Throw in the loyal 32 giving you 5cp plus another 5 per game from farming and you’ve got a terrifying unit that can be used to it’s full effectiveness every turn. The FAQ unfortunately did nothing to address the problem of souping but for me, it’s not a ‘Knights problem’ it’s a specific unit/strat combination problem.

I speak from experience as have been on the receiving end of the Raven Castellan treatment a few times now. It sucks gorilla balls and I can certainly sympathise with the eye rolling when I say that I play Knights.

In my last match I got seized on and  lost my Valiant to a single round of Raven Castellan shooting turn 1. That’s a 28 wound T8 model vapourised. So I definitely ‘get’ the animosity that Knights players are garnering right now as it’s assumed that if you play Knights you’ll bring a Raven Castellan

Chapter Approved will no doubt try to address the issue by increasing its points wise. Then all the WAAC crew will move on to breaking the next unit.

I actually think that would be a shame, as I feel when used outside of House Raven and the blessed 32 for a stupidly healthy CP pool (Knights weren’t built to have oodles of CPs IMHO!!) it’s actually just a very strong unit – rather than a broken one. I just hope the rest of our units don’t get penalised via a points increase.

If you look at any of the major tournaments in recent months you will struggle to find any mono-knight lists finishing in the top ten, or even top 20. In the 60 man ITC event I recently attended I had the only mono knight list there. However there were many, many Raven Castellans souping up.

If you can sense any salt here it’s in my tears of disappointment that playing my beloved House Mortan Knights is generally now perceived as a douche move…because they are Knights and Knights are “broken”. Arrrgggghh.

So back on track – House Mortan. Ah my sweet House Mortan. A Knight World stranded in the arse end of the Galaxy isolated from the Imperium by a rather inconvenient Warp storm for 100s of years. It’s ok though, as they were in complete darkness the whole time with only giant monsters for company which they had to battle for centuries using mostly hand to hand combat. Company is company though right? Anyway, the storm lifted, the Imperium dropped in for tea and now Mortan are renowned for their aptitude at smashing the bejeesus out of things up close (and in the dark).

To be honest when choosing a House,  it was the above fluff which sold me. The fact the colour scheme was also a little different (and you never see them on the table!) was a definite bonus.

House Mortan are often overlooked when it comes to the rules too, but imho they are actually pretty sweet.

Firstly you are getting +1WS any turn you heroically intervene, charge or are charged. We can pretty much always fall back and charge, so it means you will have the +1WS the majority of the time. Mortan aren’t the most competitive House but there is still fun to be had!

So how useful is the the +1WS? Well…it means your Gallants are hitting using the -1 To hit gauntlets on 2’s and still reliably smashing face even when in the lower damage bracket. Your other non-punchy Questoris are stomping on 2s which makes even the most dakkary of Knights stomping killing machines.

The Mortan Black Pall warlord trait is ok giving you a -1 to hit from over 18”. Pop that on a Crusader in the backfield and you’ll find that it will mostly be ignored while attentions focus on more “pressing threats”.

Talking of which, any Mortan player that wants to sleep at Knight  (groan) should have 2 Gallants in their list. They are wonderful. The problem is everyone knows they are badass and will do everything they can to avoid one crashing into their lines. So take two and share out Ion Bulwark and Armour of the Sainted spirit to keep them fisting/dancing for longer (I’ve seen that movie).

For the love of god don’t ever forget to advance them as you want them closing that distance as quickly as they can every turn. That being the case, give the carapace weapons a miss unless you have the points spare. Yeah you can shoot them the turn you fall out of combat, but largely you’ll be advancing everywhere.

When Gallants do reach their victim(s) they will get seriously killy, very quickly.

You’ll have a Knight doing x5 attacks at S16 -4 flat 6 damage (or 8 damage with the relic gauntlet) . Hitting on 2s. Pay the CP tax for the Knight Seneschal WLT for some sizzle on the steak and you are swinging that beautiful metal fist 6 times or line dancing on a Drukhari’s head a majestic 18 times! Praise the Sun.

Let’s take a moment.

With your base WS2 Gallant you are hitting and wounding other Knights and most other super heavies on 2s. If you’ve decided to upgrade to the Paragon gauntlet and the Seneschal warlord trait,you could reliably be doing 40-48 damage per turn. Even with the standard base 5 attacks @6 damage you are dealing some serious pain. 18 x stomp attacks hitting and wounding on 2’s, -2 D3 damage is very efficient at killing Elites and thinning hordes.

What can be an utter bastard for a Gallant is thunder hammers and storm shields. Not having an invun in melee means that if we don’t kill or seriously weaken a potent melee enemy the turn we charge, the return damage can hurt, badly. I’ve also had completely ineffective rounds of combat due to 3++ TS saves being made against me so pick your fights carefully. Usually high wound, no invun machinery or monsters.

Three other things to remember when fighting with a Gallant (or other CC Knight):

– If you kill or destroy a monster or vehicle with a gauntlet don’t forget you can throw it on a 4+ causing mortal wounds to a unit near by.

– Death grip. It’s cheap, amazing and fun. Even without the strength roll off D3 mortal wounds, you are doing D3 mortal wounds straight off the bat (assuming you hit, which you should on 2s).  That could be critical to polishing off that Smash Captain or Daemon Prince that you failed to kill.

– Valliant last stand. Hear me out here….yes it’s 2CP, you will be in the lowest bracket for damage and your Knight will still die…but you can fight again. Assuming your Gallant was polished off by a charge you are actually still at WS3. So potentially throwing back another 18 fairly accurate stomp attacks. Brutal. Nobody I have used this against ever expects it and it’s swung a game in my favour a couple of times. Situational but worth remembering.

The third benefit to Mortan is the Slayer of Shadows Strat and it’s a good’un. For one CP you can negate modifiers for all weapons fired for that turn. Use that on a Helverin with the sky reaper protocol and you are making Hemlocks weep filthy Eldar tears. Or chuck it on a Crusader to really piss off anything that’s gone balls out to stack their minus hit modifiers. I’m looking at you here 30 x -2 to hit plague bearers.

So that’s House Mortan in a nutshell.

My biggest issue playing mono-knights isn’t CP. You can get 12CP with the right combo of Knights in two SHD which is ample. The problem is having enough models on the board to reliably score points through securing objectives.

Now I started this post with the moral high ground about my MONO list…but the more competitive games I play the more I am succumbing to the allure of the loyal 32. Not for the CP shenanigans, but with such few models (5-6 all without Obsec) I find it very hard to compete in games on objectives which invariably means I need to table the enemy.

These could quite easily be my failings as a player but having an extra option of cheap units hiding away on objectives out of LOS while the big boys do their thing is very tempting. Not to mention that a few mortar squads would be very welcome to combat those same tactics applied against me. More tinkering needed!

The Knights so far:

Valliant

Seriously blows hot and cold. More cold than hot in all honesty. I really want it to be good. The problem is that everyone is fully aware of how much of a fucker they can be when they get close, so you end up having to load them with heirlooms, relics and strats to keep them alive long enough.

I can go one game where it absolutely wrecks face and then 4 games where it ends up earning nothing like its points and devouring CPs. The Siege breaker missiles with the ignore invun strat strat are lovely when they come off. One shotting a key buffing char that’s hidden out of LOS (Hi there Chaos Sorcerer. No death hex today thanks) is great.  Annoyingly I tend to miss with them more than I hit.

Again, the harpoon is great when it hits. Which for me is infrequently as by the time I’m close enough to use it I’m degraded.

I dropped the Valiant from my recent tournament list in favour of another Crusader and a Helverin. Which seemed to give me a much more reliable damage output and more versatility. Not to mention being able to run dual SHD for the velvety feel of 12 CPs. I may give him a second chance though as he’s a sweet model and took me weeks to paint!

Gallant x 2

Already covered in the above and probably our best/funnest (yeah funnest) unit. Had limited success outflanking using the strat so tend to keep both on the board now. They should be advancing and hitting lines turn 2 regardless using the full tilt strat. A switched on opponent can easily prevent you from outflanking where you’d ideally want to be anyway – So save your CP. Just dont let yourself get charged by high AP melee weaponry and always remember heroic interventions (I generally always spend the CPs to make all your Questoris characters as Heroic interventions can be very powerful).

Crusader x 2

On balance my most consistent and probably best units. Usually one will be third on the target priority list behind the Gallants and Helverins which means they tend to dish out multiple turns of fire before catching much back their way. Always go Thermal rather than RFBC. It’s better.

If playing Mortan consider making a Crusader your warlord and giving it the -1 to hit strat. If you’ve got the points throw on the storm spear rocket pod, but don’t dismiss the effectiveness of the iron storm as we have very little that can ignore LOS. Which can be a godsend to try and pick of that annoying unit of Nurglings snuggled up on an objective getting all snotty in a ruin.

Helverin x 2 

Very strong, especially when combined with a couple of juicy strats. Mobile too at 14” and can nip about to secure those backfield objectives. Hefty range of 60” means you should be able to set these up in adjacent corners and pretty much shoot everything. Unlike its big brothers it can’t fall back and shoot so obviously try and avoid getting bogged down. Shots are only -1 AP but you are averaging 6 per turn each at flat 3 damage. That can really spoil an elite/multiple high wound units day.

My latest list which I’ve had a fair amount of success with is…

1 x Crusader (Iron storm rocket pod, Thermal cannon, Avenger Gatling, Black pall)

1 x Crusader (Thermal, Endless fury)

1 x Gallant (Ion Bulwark)

1 x Gallant (Armour of sainted spirit)

2 x Hellverin

I’ll wrap it up there for now but send over any questions or feedback you might have as a comment here or via my IG account here. 

I’ve posted up a guide on how I weathered my army here

You can see how I got on with my Knights in a recent ITC here

 

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