I believe that we're still viable as an army. We've gotten a few more tools to deal with flyers. When done properly, assault is not an issue. And we have reasonable ability in the shooting department. Add in allies and we get much more in that department. However, with all of the updates to the other armies, there are a few things that are becoming more and more critical in games.
The game is shifted from 5th Edition's need of vehicles, to 6th Edition's large squads. But with the past few codex releases featuring units that are especially good at killing infantry, I can't help but wonder if transports might be worth their weight in gold again. Perhaps I'm imagining things here. Nevertheless, larger troop squads are still important to the game, as they are more survivable and provide more points in which to capture objectives. So a combination of the two might be worth visiting.
There is also a dramatic need for torrent of fire in today's game. The higher power, with the lowest AP value possible, the better. That is why plasma has become popular once more. It quickly deals with all types of armor, which is important when you need to focus fire something down quickly. Assault Cannons have also come front and center for Imperial armies. But let's face it, the Xenos/Chaos factions are getting fun new toys to play with and we need to start adapting.
Is it possible for the Black Templars to stay competitive as a pure force? In very, very specific builds I would say yes. Overall? Without ally support, we're really showing our age. But all is not lost. I'm looking to build up our knowledge of what works and doesn't in this current meta. So that means lots and lots of comments and brainstorming. I'll start with a few notable things we need to think about. A couple I mentioned before just a second ago.
- Troops need to either MSU, durable, or large in size to be reliable objective takers. The newer codices have great ways to combat small squads, so having sufficient numbers will be critical. This also helps prevent easy kill points for your opponent.
- Like yourself, your opponent will likely have hard to kill troops. Or a large number of them (i.e. IG, Orcs, Nids, Cultists). Torrent of fire is the best way to dealing with these threats. High power, low AP ordnance is a close second. But that secondary source is worthless against the following:
- Monstrous Creatures. We're all familiar with Tyranid MC's and how important it is to bring them down. If they hit your lines, they'll wreck havoc. With the introduction of MC's with shooting AND close combat abilities, we're seeing a 2D dynamic with them and its becoming essential to kill them if you want to remain in the game. That takes torrent of fire or high power, low AP weaponry (the more accurate, the better...no blasts). These guys are showing up with more and more redundancy, making it very difficult to deal with them.
- Flyers/Flying Monstrous Creatures. Early in 6th Edition, these things were not necessary to focus dedicated defense against them. They simply did not do enough damage to warrant it. Now? Welcome to the rape-mobile if you don't. Necrons, CSM, and Daemons can make you pay for not including any defensive measures. Even the new Eldar codex with their Crimson Hunters can lay waste to strategic parts of your army (ESPECIALLY your flyers). If you don't take flyer defense of some kind, preferably in the way of a flyer yourself, you're looking for a whole lot of hurt.
- Mobility is as essential in 6th Edition as it was in 5th. You need to be able to outmaneuver your opponent, or failing that, quickly form a defense. If you don't, you've lost the initiative and you'll be on the losing foot all game. Having mobility also gives you the opportunity to make late game objective grabs.
- Distraction and/or initiative forcing units. You have to have something that directs the focus of your opponent that has the ability to survive those attentions. If you do not, you allow your opponent to make all of the targeting decisions without any stress. And that is bad news.
Do you guys/gals have any more? What kinds of things do we bring to our BT lists that counter the above? How to we combine these into a singular list to become competitive? Look outside of our codex if you need to, but remember: the goal is to create a Black Templars army. Not use them as allies themselves. Let's see ya'll can come up with. :D