The Emperor's Champion:
- 140 points
- Same stat-line.
- 2+ armor save and 4+ invulnerable save at all times.
- Same wargear
- Black Sword is AP2 and Master Crafted
- 1H Stance: Causes Instant Death on roll of 6's to wound in CC.
- 2H Stance: Unwieldly and +2 Strength.
- Now takes up a HQ slot, but is NOT mandatory inclusion.
Alright, now that he's in front of you, let's discuss his merits. First off, I agree with many other player's view that he is too expensive for what he does. Especially since he's no longer the bearer of our vows. However, the buff to the Black Sword is worth at least 10 points (even with loss of +2 strength) and I'd say the ability to cause instant death to things in 1H stance is worth 20 points. So 120 points would have been more appropriate, in my opinion. Secondly, he's no longer a force multiplier, so he fits into the list purely as a close combat HQ. Fluff-wise, he's the challenge "machine". Does he do well in that capacity? Let's take a look.
Against normal MEQ in close combat (no charges), he'll cause 1.333 wounds with his 1H stance. When not in a challenge, master-crafted essentially gives him re-rolls to hit since he statistically misses exactly one attack per round in 1H stance and less if in 2H. If using his 2H stance, he'll cause 1.481 wounds. Unfortunately, he would be striking at initiative 1 though. Ironically enough, that is the same kill ability as a power fist against MEQ, but not having strength 8 will hurt his abilities against things like walkers and vehicles. Nor does he have that ID ability against T4 models via high strength. I think unwieldy on 2H stance is super lame. That's something that should have not been, as the loss of an attack is more than sufficient to make up for the +2 strength bonus. By using it, you would do more damage against MEQ, but risk getting hit by your opponent first.
In challenges, his wound potential against MEQ is exactly the same as listed above. 1H grants 1.333 wounds and 2H does 1.481 wounds. You do get re-rolls to hit in challenges, but master-crafted essentially granted that to you anyway. Rending also is irrelevant, as the Black Sword is already AP2. Against GEQ, its even better: 1H stance causes 1.778 wounds and 2H stance remains the same at 1.481 wounds. Note: Following percentages are NOT my math. If using the 1H stance, fighting someone without Eternal Warrior and no better than a 5+ invulnerable save, you'll have about a 19% chance to cause instant death. If they have a 4+ invulnerable save, its a 9.8% chance to cause instant death and obviously less chance if your opponent has a 3++.
In summary, he does a reasonable amount of damage to your opponent's units themselves. However, unless he is lucky enough to pull off an ID on a HQ unit, its going to take a couple turns to knock off a 3 wound model. If he survives that long. Thus, he's better suited towards killing upgrade characters and other non-CC oriented HQ units (with some exceptions). He'll bounce Librarians and other non-MEQ models easily enough though. But where he might earn his strips is in the "impossible" fights against MC's like Riptides, Nids, and Wraithknights. Because of their lack of eternal warrior and poor invulnerable saves (if any), you'll have a 19% chance to kill them in one shot. They won't live long against high strength MC's, but you can potentially tarpit other MC's if you don't kill them. Obviously, if you're with an unit, you won't likely try to charge a MC unless its a Riptide or something (which is too dangerous to leave shooting)...but if you do, you'll gain Moral Support re-rolls.
Worth his 140 points? Too early to say right now, but he's certainly not worthless in a list. A captain may prove to be a superior buy for the price, but the ID chance on the EC is definitely useful. He is definitely not worthless, that's for sure.