For context, I highly recommend you click this link to a thread on B&C and read it. For those that don't want to do that, I'll summarize for you. A large crop of the Black Templars, and pretty much every non-BT player, believe that the Black Templars got nerfed into the ground with the release of 6th Edition and the resulting FAQs. A knock-out punch, of sorts. This is primarily due to the change to the "Accept Any Challenge" Vow from Preferred Enemy, to the new Rage. In addition, the transport nerf which disallows charges the turn a unit disembarks (unless its an Assault Vehicle), looked like the end of close combat in Black Templars armies.
That's just the thing. It hasn't deteriorated at all, its all an illusion. Just seems that way, with the loss of a Black Templars staple: Preferred Enemy. We've not had a rule set without it before. However, that doesn't mean we're worse off. Our image was just imprinted in the fact that "Accept Any Challenge" meant close combat. It gave us our image, even if the reality of it was poor (unfortunately). Put bluntly, it was a crutch for players not wanting to explore other options. I'm not convinced that some of the anger everyone is feeling, isn't due to the fact that we didn't keep Preferred Enemy and receive a FAQ that allowed us to use it in the shooting phase as well. Disappointment hurts, but don't let it cloud your vision of something else.
Do I believe that using Allies is a more balanced way of playing Black Templars in 6th Edition? Sure. But did CC just give its last breath of air? Hardly. In fact, I would argue that for the first time in two editions, close combat actually stands as a legitimate alternative to gunline/hybrid BT lists.
The change from Preferred Enemy to Rage, is only a slight nerf to our CC capabilities. I'll elaborate. Tell me, what were we effective fighting with our Preferred Enemy buffed units (excepting Terminators)? Basically things that didn't have power weapons, featured poor armor saves and/or toughness values, or simply did not have the size to win a combat against us. Even then, we required the charge to get the maximum amount of attacks on our opponent to make the best use of PE. Rage gives another attack on the charge. PE used to act in a similar fashion in that it essentially gave us "more" attacks to hit the enemy with. So let's do the math. How many unsaved wounds does a normal BP/CCW Initiate do against a normal MEQ with the old Preferred Enemy? 0.375 wounds. How about the new Rage, with the same setup? 0.333 wounds. There is hardly a noticeable difference at all. Its so small (0.042 wounds), you'd never notice it on the battlefield.
As I explained above, Rage is only a tiny statistical fraction worse than the old Preferred Enemy was. Now that we are required to take another HQ besides the Emperor's Champion, we're stuck with either a Chaplain or a Commander. In the old rules, the Commander was a better choice as it gave LD to our lowly Crusaders so they could pass Righteous Zeal and Kill Them All. While RZ still exists, we don't have KTA to deal with so he's less useful. Likewise, in the old rules, a Chaplain was worthless as we already had re-rolls in close combat. Now, with our new AAC Vow, we don't get those re-rolls anymore. Add in the fact that Rage only affects charges, and you can see the synergy between the Chaplain and the new AAC.
What statistics cannot account for, however, is damage potential. Rage has higher upside, as it gave you more attacks. Whereas the old PE simply allowed you to re-roll the ones you already had. Even before, with PE, our Crusader squads were a sorry excuse for a dedicated CC unit by themselves. They required an IC to tag along or help. Power Fists had only 2 attacks on the charge previously. Now they have 3 attacks. Which one do you think I'd prefer to have? Damn straight I want Rage. While it won't affect the subsequent rounds, we already know that charging a single unit into another is folly right? Overwhelming force prevails in CC-oriented armies. Even your opponent knows this, so they'll charge opportune targets. That is where Rage falls short, as it doesn't do anything if our forces don't get the charge.
However, I have to ask a serious question: unless its a terminator squad (or barring some devious strategic move), who purposefully places their units in such a fashion so they get charged by their opponent? If its a unit of ours that will obviously win a combat, a smart opponent will avoid it anyway. Why would they charge something they won't kill? Nine times out of ten, when an opponent charges you, its with an unit that will kill ours with ease. Just like how we should be doing to them. Having the old Preferred Enemy won't stop them killing us. If we're lucky, we'd get to put some attacks back on them, but do you really think it'll matter in the end? They just charged us with TH/SS terminators. Or Thunderwolf Cavalry. Or Incubi. Or Grey Knights wielding a billion power weapons. Just a few of the many dedicated CC units that will maul our Crusaders without thinking twice. Preferred Enemy or Rage, it won't matter.
Close combat units act like Alpha Strike armies: they want to do enormous amounts of damage and then quickly move on. There is only so much time to get into CC in a game. It makes no sense that we should try to charge an unit that we cannot reasonably expect to kill in a maximum of two player turns. Why waste the damage potential of an unit in a stand-still combat? The only good that can happen is that both units get ground down, making both inefficient. That is why we use either A) units with lots of power weapons/thunder hammers/lightning claws/etc or B) use multiple units to kill a target quickly. Even with our old PE, if we got into 2nd round of combat, we were going to be there for a long time as we likely took losses ourselves, causing our unit to lose efficiency. That was key to running a successful CC-oriented army in 5th Edition -- making sure you didn't get stuck in combat to a 2nd/3rd round. It hasn't changed now that 6th Edition has arrived.
The game has evolved. It started in 5th Edition and I tried to teach players this. We need to change with it. If you're going to get into close combat, make sure you have something that is going to kill stuff quickly. And if the dice are against you, they need to be durable enough to survive the retaliatory attacks. What does that leave us with? Terminators and IC's. Yes, we do have to purchase IC's to "create" CC units. It can get expensive to do this, especially with multiple HQs. I was against it in 5th Edition, preferring only the EC as my sole HQ. But 6th Edition has changed that. We need to take a Warlord and the Emperor's Champion isn't it. So whether we want to or not, we have to buy either a Commander or a Chaplain. Its no longer optional. So we might as well make the most of the requirement don't you think? I don't advocate trying to make sub-par CC units into good CC units. Its a waste of precious resources. Use what we have to make our already good CC stuff, even better.
The fact of the matter is that if you're playing your army right, few opponent's should survive your initial assaults. I don't care what army you're playing. Unless there is some tactical reason for it, the point of charging is to kill your opponent and to do it quickly. What Rage has done is give our already effective units the ability to do it even better (when paired with our required HQ). It also gave units that were close to that threshold, just enough extra punch to be able to say the same (again, when paired with our required HQ). Does that mean we need an HQ for every unit? Absolutely not. Our Terminators never needed them. It was actually of a waste of points and overkill. They can still do the same thing now, with Rage. Give your Chaplains to our other "potential" CC units with new rules. Triple-power weapon Bikers. Assault Squads. 13+ man Crusader squads.
The thing with the Rhinos/Razorbacks? Its not really a nerf. Well, it "is" in a bubble, but not really. Why? Because every other armies' transports act the exact same way. They all get hurt by the same thing. However, Rhinos are MUCH faster than they were before. More mobile. Better at contesting and more durable against shooting. They synergize much more effectively with embarked shooty units. And guess what? Only the Blood Angels can field numerous Land Raiders like we can. Those aren't nerfed, they are buffed through the roof.
Our reputation hasn't diminished at all. Its a travesty that everyone believes we got nerfed into the ground. We are, at worst, the same as we were in 5th Edition. At best, we got a significant buff to certain units which can make us the CC-oriented army that everyone wants.