By now, most people have read the most recent FAQ for the Black Templars. Let's just say, it wasn't the most pleasant treatment we've ever received. Actually, it caused quite a few problems for our previous builds to be quite frank with you. I'm not going to run it all down for you, so I'm just going to assume you've read it. However, there are a few troop-related things that cause complications when creating a list (remember, this is a competitive viewpoint):
- Righteous Zeal
- 6th Edition transport rules
- 6th Edition scoring rules
So what does this mean for us? In essence, it means that objectives (the primary goal of 75% of tournament missions) is much more difficult claim. Why? Because one of our main strengths in 5th Edition was the fact that we could take 5-man units, with both special and heavy weapons. This kept our cost down, as we pay a premium on Rhinos. By doing this, we could effectively take 4-6 troops. That gave us maneuverability and tactical options. So what's the big deal?
You can no longer score from the inside of a vehicle, nor do they count its points towards the claiming of the objective. Getting out of our vehicles to claim an objective (nor can we assault from a transport that moves that turn) leaves us extremely vulnerable to incoming enemy shooting. Thus, larger squad sizes are likely needed to compensate for losses. Which brings us to our next problem: Righteous Zeal. For the entire duration of 5th Edition, it was widely agreed amongst players that because this move was a consolidation move, it was an "up to" distance. Meaning, you didn't have to move the full amount on the D6. Now, courtesy of our new FAQ, we are required to move the full distance on the die. Our old fear of being pulled off objectives is now a legitimate one. While their are some tricks to help avoid this, such as placing your unit in a stretched line or making use of Crusader Seals, this isn't always possible. Its also one of the reasons Las/Plas units are going to find less use. They are easy to damage and by doing so, you effectively move them from their position. Add in the fact that there are quite a few Flyers out there now that have some pretty nasty anti-MEQ weaponry (e.g. Heldrakes), then you should be concerned.
What we also know of the new 6th Edition transport rules tells us that taking full sized close combat squads in Rhinos is bad news. Transports prevent you from assaulting the turn you disembark. Unless you're in an assault vehicle. But the only one of those that is applicable is the Land Raider, which makes it too expensive for wide-spread use. Nevertheless, even if we did, the majority of troops out there now are one of two things: A) Better at close combat than we are or B) Designed to be durable tarpits. I'm not going to get into the specifics of that in this post, but without HQ support and numbers, just take my word for it right now.
That leaves us with few non-ally options for troops. You can build larger sized squads (preferably 15+), either footslogging or in a Land Raider Crusader. These squads will certainly need to make use of a Chaplain, as we all know, the re-rolls to hit charging into combat help immensely. It also helps you maintain a certain level of control of your squad by giving them fearless, as well as some direction to your Righteous Zeal. You also have Drop Pod options for your squads, with the squad sizes depending entirely on what you want in your list. Regardless, I don't really feel that those types of squads (i.e. Drop Pod) should be devoted to close combat. You can also take minimally-sized troops in rhinos to use as bunkers. Plasma and Multi-Meltas are good choices here.
But what is most optimal? I tend to believe that each of these types of units have their place in the right lists, but they each do have their pros and cons. How do you know which one to go with? I'm hoping that there will be some community interaction to discuss them and maybe bring up a couple more viable troop options that I may not have thought of. If I don't see any discussion (in comments) in this respect, I'll come back and edit the analysis into this post. I didn't want to write up a novel here in my first post back in a while. Let's hear what you have to say! :D