At a solid BS 14, he is going to be good in firefights with high burst weapons like the Combi Rifle and Spitfire. As well, he has access to Boarding Shotgun for up close and personal engagements to get some shots off before going into CC with him. With having a Spitfire Lieutenant option, you can have him be an aggressive piece with access to an extra order just for him. Keep in mind though PanO only has access to one Chain of Command specialist in the form of Kirpal Singh, which means that it will most of the time be an unwise decision unless you are taking Singh.
Looking at his CC stat, he stands at a whopping 23 but is downplayed a little due to no Martial Arts skill at any levels. This said, you can still crit on a 17+ if your opponent has no MA at all to lower your CC. And with DA CCW, you have the potential to make him roll two ARM rolls at a Damage 14, meaning that most Line Infantry are going down most of the time if he gets the hit. Tied into this is the special skill Assault, which can be of dubious value as you miss out on a higher chance to get a critical on your dice.
With a strong Arm 5, BTS 9 and standard W 2 on a HI, Father-Knight is able to move up out of cover with relative ease. In cover he goes to an amazing Arm 8 base, meaning he is getting to near TAG levels of survivability in a fire fight in most scenarios. And not having any frenzy after hitting or be hit means that he is able to keep his cover bonus.
At BTS 9, he is able to save most of his BTS rolls against Viral or hacking attacks. Against Breaker Ammunition, he is able to still sit at a comfortable BTS 5 base for the most part. In cover, this jumps up to a 12 and 8 respectively, making him almost impossible to down with Viral or any other types of BTS ammunition. As well, he can survive against Plasma ammunition on both ARM and BTS rolls.
- With the Forward Observer profile, you can toss out Nimbus grenades to act as an pseudo-smoke grenade to cover your approach or the approach of your army in general. Though this is used more defensively in the ARO turn to set up saturation zones to make the opponent's shooting less effective on their ARO turn.
- Playing the assault hacker specialists, he can be an effective piece of possessing TAGS or grabbing objectives without too much fear of a Killer Hacker attack or ARO fire putting you. As well, it does come equipped with D-charges for some potential CC shenanigans or completing the Sabotage classified objective.
Even with his great stats all around, Father-Knight can still be dealt with. First and foremost he is only ARM 5, meaning that it can be viable to use an AP shot to shave off a couple of points of Armor if the shot hits. As well, having no access to any MSV means that he is not going to favor any engagements that includes Mimetism or anything that acts like camouflage or smoke. If you can help it, try to keep in pressured at long range to make him easier to deal with as most of his load-outs favor close-range engagements. As usual, K1 ammo also helps with taking him down in ranged engagements if you happen to have access to it.
Engaging him with a unit that has higher CC and access to Martial Arts may be a good idea in dealing with him. Monofilament, like usual, takes care of the heavy armor the knight has. As well, it can help with tying him down if you do fail or survives from creating any more problems for the rest of your army.
There are two ways to consider list building with Father-Knight: Either as your specialist or as an Active Turn killer.
Your only two specialists are the Assault Hacker and Forward Observer, both rolls he can preform quite exceptionally. Both have Combi Rifles, so they are going to be good in firefights in close range. Where they differ is their secondary BS weapons. With the Forward Observer being the cheapest, he gets Nimbus Grenades that can cover his approach against ARO or to dampen the opponent's kill potential in their active turn. At a WIP 13, he is able to pass his rolls for objectives 65% of the time and 50% percent when doing some of the classified objectives if they do come up.. As well, he gets access to Flash Pulse for some blinded shenanigans if needed. While being a 46 point specialist, he is able to be an effective specialist for his points cost. For an up cost of half an SWC and four more points you get access to the Assault hacker. With WIP 13, he has some chance to get off a good amount of his hacking attacks and objectives as stated before along with being able to survive against most Killer Hacker programs that he comes up against with his BTS 9.
As your Active Turn killer, the Spitfire is the primary option you want to look at. The Combi Rifle does not have the sheer killing power or dice output as Spitfire. In comparison, the Boarding Shotgun requires you to be up close in order to be effective from the get-go. And the Missile Launcher acts more as an ARO piece, which there are units who can use it for cheaper in Vanilla to do so. With the Spitfire option, you have the choice that is good in close-to-mid range engagements against most things. There is also the option to make the Spitfire option as lieutenant, making him an aggressive Lieutenant choice that can take the higher WIP and use his special order to make one last round of shots or go into suppression. As mentioned however, it is wise to take Singh for Chain of Command if you decide to go this route.
In Military Orders, the Father-Knight becomes a less viable choice due to the fact it is competing against other great Knights in the sectorial. Both Santiagoes and Hospitalliers can form a link team, Hospitalliers able to form links with Joan, De Fersen (who counts as a Hospitallier for Fireteam purposes), and Magisters potentially. As well, Montesa is a better option for Duo for free and due to the fact they have Mechanized Deployment and access to a Light Rocket Launcher for closer range engagements. While the Order Sargent is not a HI, they have access to an infiltration specialist in TO camo which is much better at grabbing objectives without having to spend as many orders getting up to it and hold it with Antipersonnel Mines. With this consideration, Father-Knight is better played in Vanilla than sectorial.
Due to having higher ARM and BTS as stated, Father-Knight can afford to be a little more exposed than most units. Keep in mind though you want to keep the Father-Knight in cover to help keep him alive for the time being. Having no forms of deploying past the deployment zone, he is going to want to get into position to start moving forward. However, be aware of firelanes he can potentially get in on the way to objective and try to mitigate it with your Nimbus Grenades if you are running him as a forward observer. If you are of the mindset that your opponent has some infiltration up to the objective, it is usually a good idea to hold Father-Knight back unless you believe he can take the fight. With Ninjas and Oniwaban however, it is imperative you keep him back as he is most likely going to lose a fight between those two.
Active Turn Role
As stated before with his profiles, Father-Knight wants to be attacking and pushing forward towards the objective to score it himself or secure it with your other specialists. While he has the armor to tank hits from Combi-Rifles, you want to make sure you advance along cover to make sure he can survive most exchanges if he fails to hit.
As mentioned before, the Spitfire loadout is going to be his primary for Active Turn offense. While he wants to be getting up close and personal, he able to put a lot of pressure on most infantry outside of link team or marker states. The forward observe is decent in the active turn as well, able to use his Nimbus Grenades to cover the approach of himself of the rest of the units in the army. The downside to this though is that Nimbus does not block line of sight but only counts as a saturation zone. The best way to use Father-knight in this context is to neuter the potential of a sniper or a long range ARO from something with a combi-rifle.
While the Missile Launcher option is usually not taken (due in part of which Father-Knight wants to be aggressive), he can preform it quite well if you think you are coming up against TAGs or some high ARM His. That said, it is better to take an fusilier ML for that role. However, the Father-Knight can go into suppressive with Spitfire after a turn of being a rambo to lock down a lane from the enemy. As mentioned with the Nimbus grenade ealier, it can be used to mitigate your opponent's active turn shooting creating a saturation zone. Father-Knight for the most part does not need to hide, but he should definitely be in cover to be the most survivable.