MUSTERING A KNIGHT HOUSEHOLD
A force must consist of at least one Lance. A Lance is a formation of three Banners. This means the smallest lance is only six (6) Cerastus Knights. For those that love Cerastus [like Hertford], it means that they can buy more.
The Lance must have at least two of the three Banners as the same class (Questoris, Cerastus, etc.) of Knight. The Acastus class is mentioned, so hopefully it's coming soon!
Knights in a given Banner must have the same main (arm) weapons. Secondary weapons (melta and missile pods) do not need to be uniformly equipped. This could be a source of contention as the weapon options in the Imperial Knight box is limited to one load-out per Knight. The Avenger Gatling Cannon has been basically useless in AT against most things, so you need a minimum of three Questoris Knights boxes for two or three strong Questoris Banners. The coordinated fire rule alleviates this somewhat.
It is not clear what forces can be taken as reinforcements. The only other unit explicitly called out is the Freeblades Banner. It doesn’t state you can buy additional Household Knight Banners. As written, it doesn’t appear that you can take a mixed Titan Maniple and Knight Lance force [one mission in the book hints at it, but doesn't confirm it], in the same way you can take mixed Titan forces.
Freeblades are more like the Knights in the main rulebook. They can take mixed weapons but can’t benefit from Lance rules.
THE HIGH SCION
- In each Lance a single Banner is nominated as the High Scion. This Banner gets a 2+ buff to command rolls, which is good, particularly for issuing Lance Orders.
- The Knights get +1 Stratagem Point for each Knight Scion in the list.
- The High Scion Banner may re-roll failed hits of 1 using the WS of the model.
- The Seneschal is in overall command of the force and replaces a High Scion of one Lance.
- This only applies if more than one Lance is present.
- The Seneschal gives +2 Stratagem Points.
- The Seneschal Banner may re-roll failed hits of 1 using the BS and WS of the models.
- The models of the Banner may use different weapons due to the status of the Baronial Court.
- The other Banner members can use a "Look Out Sir"-type rule to protect the Seneschal from harm on a 6+ roll.
- The Seneschal’s Banner may take a Battle Standard which allows Knights to re-roll command checks.
A Lance is activated as a single unit, which is realistically not a good move for this type of game. The minimum points cost of a Lance is the price of a well-tooled Warlord. This mean that a light Titan list (e.g. a Lupercal Maniple) will be able to use activation advantage over a Knight list. This will give the heavier Titans much more flexibility to counter the Knights.
The Knights rules have been changed to allow Knights to make smash attacks against units of an equal or smaller scale, which is a buff from the core rules.
Banners and Lances can now be issued with a Coordinated Fire order. This adds a +1 to the weapon strength for each Knight making the coordinated attack. This can be useful to buff any weapon, making even the humble avenger (see comments above) a strength 9 (six knight banner) weapon to give a shield- or hull-stripping volley. This rule can’t be used with melee weapons.
CLOSING THOUGHTS ON THE KNIGHTS
- The list seems like it's an overall good step forward for Knights.
- The fact Lances activate as a single unit is concerning, as it limits the main tactical advantage a Knight has (speed and responsiveness).
- The rules feel like they are missing a paragraph on force selection since it mentions adding reinforcements, but doesn’t say what the permissible reinforcements are (other than Freeblades).
- The limitations of the Avenger are offset somewhat, if a little reliant on the Coordinated Fire rule.