Cerastus Knight-Acheron and Psychic Support

The Knight-Acheron is a FW variant Imperial Knight that can be taken as part of  Codex: Imperial Knights or as a LOW choice for any Imperium army.

https://www.forgeworld.co.uk/resources/fw_site/fw_pdfs/Warhammer_40000/Cerastus_Knight_Acheron.pdf

As you can see, it has basic Imperial Knights stats (AV13/12/12, 6 HPs, WS4 BS4 I4 A4) and Rules/Wargear (Super-Heavy Walker rules, Ion Shield) and comes in at a cost of 83 MBs. What separates the Acheron from other Imperial Knights is its Flank Speed special rule (if it chooses to Run, it moves 3D6″) and its weapons:

1 – Acheron-pattern Flame Cannon — Hellstorm S: 7 AP3 Ordnance 1

2 – TLed Heavy Bolter — 36″ S: 5 AP4 Heavy 3

3 – Reaper Chainfist – S: D 2 Melee, Machine Destroyer (when attacking any target with an Armor value, rolls of 1 on the Destroyer Damage table may be re-rolled)

Obviously, the Acheron is built to get in close with the enemy as quickly as possible, light them up with its Hellstorm template, and then charge into melee with S10 Hammer of Wrath/5 x Destroyer attacks on the charge. The question is, how to make sure you can do this successfully?

To answer this, I think we have to look at two key elements… mobility and survivability. Since Imperial Knights are battle brothers with other Imperium factions, they can benefit from at least some of their buffs, in particular they can profit from allied Psychic support.

Right out the gate, some of the best Psychic Powers that I can see to help the Acheron with its Survivability are:

1 – Invisibility — Naturally, being able to make enemies only Snap Shot at it and only hit it on 6+ in combat makes it WAY more survivable, giving it time to get across the table and lay down the hurt

2 – Warpmetal Armor — Improving the Acheron to AV14/13/13 is a BIG boost to its durability, making it immune to S7 shooting from the front and anything not S8+ in close combat, plus combining with the Ion Shield to make it just that much more tough to damage.

3 – Flame Shield — While the Ion Shield provides a 4++ for ONE facing, Flame Shield provides a 4++ cover save on all sides, making the Acheron 50% less vulnerable to melta drops in its rear arc and other anti-tank shooting that can engage it from the flanks.

4 – Reforge — Basically a power that restores a lost HP and gives the Acheron IWND, which obviously can be very helpful during a game, potentially “healing” up to two lost HPs a turn.

In terms of mobility, the Psychic support options are more limited, but two new Space Marine powers can help the Acheron get across the field very quickly:

1 – Magentokinesis — Grants the Acheron a free 18″ move in the Psychic phase. While it cannot charge the same turn it does this, it can still shoot its mighty S7 AP3 Hellstorm template or just use its 12″ move +18″ Magnetokinesis move + 3D6″ run move displace a total of 33-48″ each turn, setting up basically guaranteed flaming/charging in subsequent turns.

2 – Shifting Worldscape — If the Acheron is inside a piece of terrain, then you can “levitate” that terrain (and the Acheron inside it) up to 24″. This normally forces a Dangerous Terrain test, but with Move through Cover and Super-Heavy status, the Acheron can basically ignore this risk and still shoot and charge the enemy that same turn (the biggest shortcoming of this ability is that Shifting Worldscape costs 3 WCs, making is difficult to cast reliably).

Finally, in terms of enhancing the damage output of the Acheron, there are a couple of options:

1 – Prescience — While the Hellstorm template hits automatically and the Heavy Bolter is already twin-linked, this in essence gives the Acheron “Hatred” in close combat, greatly increasing the chance that its 5 x Destroyer attacks on the charge actually hit their target.

2 – Null Zone — Dropping enemy Invul saves by -2 gives the Acheron much more damage potential against tough units, both in shooting and close combat. Additionally, when dueling with powerful close combat enemies, this can mean the margin of victory for the Acheron.

3 – Doom (Runes of Fate) and Drain (Runes of Battle) – While Eldar are allies of convenience and so cannot cast Blessing powers on the Acheron, there is nothing stopping them from casting a Malediction on the common foe and benefiting the Imperial Knight in that way. Doom basically grants the Acheron Shred when shooting at a selected target, meaning it has a 97% chance of wounding anything with T5 or below. Drain, on the other hand, lowers an enemy’s WS/I by -1, which can be critical for when the Acheron charges say, an enemy Wraithknight, since it gives the Acheron a better chance of hitting and also the ability to hit simultaneously in close combat.

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