The Crusader Squad alongside Grey Hunters is the ideal line squad for much the same reason that Intercessor and Reivars have been discussed throughout these last few weeks. They are jack of all trades, while each having their own focus or role they excel, they don’t do poorly in any role. Of those four units, Crusader Squads are special. They are only of the four without battlefield flexibility, only strategic flexibility. Flexibility determined in the list building stage. That is all vaguely nebulous, let’s focus on Hunters, and Crusaders vs Tacticals. Why are Tacticals bad?
- They are what is essentially a tactical firefight unit, they want to get within 12” for maximum effectiveness. However they lack the ability to follow up once they are in optimal engagement range.
- The Chaos equivalent, to Tacticals, the Chaos Marine Squad, doesn’t have that issue, being able to go ChainBro. So why are they still worse than Crusaders and Grey Hunters?
What is perhaps more important than even that? A power sword for 4 Points let me iterate does increases the damage output of a squad. For 4 Points (say that 5 times fast). The cheapest special for Marines is 9, and the cheapest Heavy is 10. Power Sword is saving you essentially half a marine, the cost which we can then use to pay for the power sword on your Sword Brother. Finally, a squad of ChainBros want to advance every turn. Meaning you are forced into Flamers or Meltaguns as specials. Or limited to 6” movement, making you very static. Grey Hunters while would nominally suffer this same issue, can afford to be more static as they can engage from afar. Then using their rapid specials still do damage and then can receive enemy charges. All while avoiding the dreaded one’s on charging or advancing.
- Weapon Options, Crusaders and Grey Hunters Weapon access enables them to do the role required for line squads
- Neither squad suffers an identity crisis, that affects other ChainBros or BolterBro Squad
Even if the Lascannons tank hunts while rest of squad shoots infantry. If you are moving to allow proper targets, your Lascannon at -1 to hit. This is why heaviers with high rate of fire like HvyBolters and GravCannons are good for line Squads. Plasma and Grav Specials, for most part cannot advance and shoot. Meaning a chainbro Squad that wants to get into around 12” at start of there turn. Takes two movement phases to get their against a non moving opponent, and getting in range by turn 3. When you have a squad like Grey Hunters which while like to be within 12” are still useful out of it, it’s less of an issue.
But a unit like ChainBro Chaos Marines or Crusaders that a death sentence. Your delaying your charge by at least a turn. And in exchange you get two rounds of special shots. At which point why are you using ChainBros? (Answer once in magic, need ChainBros needed to seal the deal). This makes that 4 point power sword, important as unlike other upgrades it doesn’t drag the squad down by diluting your role focus.
So how does it come back together to what makes Crusaders good and best Tactical or Line Squad (beside maybe Grey Hunters)? Because every part of the Crusader Squad is used when properly setup. You don’t have chaffBros, your Bolter or ChainBros are a fundamental and intrinsic part of the squad and how that squad functions. They aren’t afterthoughts, they are the squad. If you need a certain unit in the army at List building, Crusaders can be and are your answer. Ultimately that idea applies to all good line squads and what makes a good line squad from a bad one, is that good line Squads don’t see non-CoolWeaponBro as ChaffBro, but see them as fundamental and necessary part of how the unit engages the enemy.
And in comparison to other good 'tactical' squads (Intercessors, Strike Squads and Grey Hunters especially), is while those squads are good 'tactically'. Meaning on the battlefield able to role shift to whatever, well role you require of them at that moment in time. Crusader Squads are good strategically, in that whatever role you need them to fill, they can fill at list building stage. At the end of the day that is important, because being Troops, it makes leveraging at Battalion or Double Battalion easier for those sweet command points. A pure Templar list should at 2000 be able to easily leverage two double battalions, 2 Castellans, 1 Marshall, and the Emperor's Champion, with two backrow FauxDevi Crusaders, two Tide Crusaders, then either 2 Intercessors, Fire Support Crusaders, Scouts or just third tide and third MSU FauxDevi Crusaders.