Well, its that time of the year Brothers and Sisters! And what a great time of year it is! The Emperor has seen our efforts across the galaxy this past year and focused his thoughts in our direction. In the first time in quite a while, we get Black Templars rules! Feast your eyes on some of the goodies coming out of Vigilus Defiant and the new Chapter Approved 2018 book.
Hello everyone. Today, I have a topic of a somewhat controversial nature: Black Templars and their competitiveness in today's current meta. Frankly, its a topic of much discussion over the past year plus since the Space Marine codex was released in 8th Edition. I've seen it discussed on the B&C forum, but the discussion really starts to fizzle out when the meat comes out due to people getting defensive. There has been various Youtube channels that have explored the thought of making BT competitive, as well as some other blogs out there. I am going to combine those thoughts with mine, to paint a picture of what the Black Templar reality truly is.
MSU or minimized size units are valuable element in any list building discussion and creation. MSU is basically taking the smallest sized or point efficient unit for normally the most raw offensive ability. DblPlasmTacticals in Razorbacks are the most salient examples of this in 8th edition. Or MSU Intercessors represent the opposite extreme, an MSU Unit with best durability per point spend. Those units are good because they represent methods to quickly project firepower or solid anchors to hold your line against enemy bullies for minimal investment. But MSU’ing is only a tool in the arsenal, a player has available. MSU’ing should primarily be used for fire support units and anchor units, not units you want in the thick of battle.
Those RazorPlasma Squads worked because the Razor had durability while the Tacticals inside were mostly on clean up duty. Gulliman would be the push to clear center and take the objectives while the Tacticals and friends followed behind. Creating a list that essentially ‘ignored’ weaknesses of MSU but basically refusing to engage. By extension, someone throwing 3 MSU Crusaders in into a LRC will fail because that set up embraces why MSU Squads are weak; low attack and wound count.
And while I see folks MSU’ing to avoid tax troop choices, because of the MSU effectiveness you need to unlike a larger tide squad, value high ROF weaponry over one shot weaponry, and you need to double squad. You need 2 MSU Squads to be equal in effectiveness to one larger squad due to lower attack count and poor ability to receive counter fire. MSU’ing to avoid taxes makes it so you're basically losing your long term army viability for a strong first or second turn alpha.
The RazorSpamGulli lists were not running 3 Razor + Tacticals but more along the lines of 6 Razor + Tactical, and BA Lists run 5-6 MSU Intercessor Squad. The power of MSU is concentration of firepower, but it needs enough of a concentration to actually kill the target. Then by extension it needs a way to project said firepower to actually use it (Intercessors 30” range and Razors for MSU Tacticals).
A tide list I run, surrenders concentration of firepower for long term attrition style engagement. Instead of wiping squads I engage them in melee, winning by attrition due to the additional wound count while using what are my MSU Units (Reiver and Intercessors) to act as clean up duty. Proper tool for a proper job. Armies cannot be purely one thing or another. Not every squad can be a full 10+ and not every squad can be barebones 5 man.
Tide Crusaders are able to withstand a turn or two of shooting. Able to lose around 7-8 men before they are rendered ineffectual. But they also only become relevant by turn 2. Essentially surrender the turn 1 shooting and assault phase unlike a Razor or Intercessor Squad. Meaning that you cannot have just tides or the enemy has two full tides effectively before you can engage them. Meaning your starting every game down with around 25% to 33% deficit because the enemy will kill roughly that many points at least turn 1. That is why I run Intercessors and my Guardsman so that I can actually shoot back and not be fish in a barrel.
So this was somewhat rambly, but perhaps I should say this and I’ll hopefully do a follow up article soon; units being strong and efficient by points is only half the picture. It’s important to understand why they are.
Hello all! Just wanted to throw out an update to let everyone know that I am going to get a post up this weekend. Its been a good chunk of time, since my last post and time to rectify that. I have a couple topics I have up my sleeve that I think need to be discussed. Until then, crusade on Brothers!
Given I have just started a new job, I might be posting less frequently. But I am hoping to at least take some time to dissect the various news in the the most recent FAQ’s. Of those changes that which are the most important is the Deep Strike Change.
For one, the power level question in addition to units, while important shouldn't drastically hamper us (if nothing else we can spend 91 points (6 Initaites and a Neophyte) for 12 power (or rough equivalent to a 5 man Terminator Squad). The more important one will be the limitations on Turn 1 Deep Strike, sense before the FAQ; a tide list would use cheap deep strikers in mass to form as a functional faux screen. The second is functional removal of forward deployment deep strikers, turn 1. Now we have a couple options here to handle that, but here is my list for reference.
Black Templar Battalion
HQ - 179
Marshall - 101; Power Fist, Storm Shield
-Helm, Warlord (Rite)
Castallen - 78; Bolt Pistol, Jump Pack
-Teeth of Terra
Troops - 580
2x Crusader Squad - 392 (196); 14 Man, 7x Neo w/BP&Knife
-SB w/CombiFlamer&PowSword, 4x Init w/BP&Chain, 1x Init w/Flamer
-1x Init w/BP&PowSword
2x Intercessor Squad - 188 (94); 5 Man, 4x Inter w/BoltRifle
Black Templar Vanguard
HQ - 75
Emperor’s Champion - 75
Elite - 206
2x Reivar Squad - 200 (100); 5 Man, GravChutes
-Sgt w/Carb&Knife, 4x Reiv w/HvyPistol&Knife
Cenobyte Servitors - 6
Fast Attack - 280
2x Assault Squad - 280 (140); 7 Man, Jump Pack, 4x Marine w/BP&Chain
-Sgt w/TwinPlasmaPistol, 2x Marine w/PlasmPistol&Chain
HQ - 75
Company Commander - 30; Shotgun, Chainsword
Tempestor Prime - 45; CommandRod, Chainsword
Elite - 133
1x Special Weapon Squad - 45; 6 Man, 3x Gaurd w/Lasgun
-3x Gaurd w/PlasmGun
Militarum Tempestus Command Squad - 88; 4 Man
-4x Scion w/PlasmGun
Troops - 196
2x Infantry Squad - 118(59); 9 Man, 6x Gaurd w/Lasgun, 1x Gaurd w/PlasmGun
-Sgt w/LP&Chain, 1x HvyTeam w/Autocannon
1x Militarum Tempestus Scion Squad - 78; 5 Man, 2x Scion w/PlasmGun
-Tempestor w/PlasmPistol&Chain, 2x Scion w/HotShotLas
Fast Attack - 120
2x Rough Riders - 120 (60); 5 Man, 2x Pony w/LP, Chain + Lance
-Sgt w/LP, Chain + Lance, 2x Pony w/LP, Chain + PlasmGun
Heavy Support - 156
2x Heavy Weapon Squad - 156 (78); 3 Man, 3x HvyTeam w/Lascannon
Total - 680
Grand Total - 2000
So this list is my post FAQ list with 12 Command Points, 119 Models, 45 of those capable of deep striking or otherwise, and a net ‘118’ Power of which 52 of is droppable as Deep Strike. Furthermore there are 23 Units and up to 10 Reserve Units of various stripes. On average I will place 5 Units into reserve, the Reivars, and the Scion Units. And if curious I have 2000 total points and around 970 (969 exactly I believe) can be placed into reserve.
The beta’s rule, affects our use of deep strike as screens, Reivars and in the above list my Assault Marines. The basic change requires a different kind of melee ‘screen’ unit, fast moving and cheap. Rough Riders and Assault Marines for example, in the list above fill that role. The corollary is that using flank units, are no longer as needed.
I’d still advise have something that can do that role, because of niche scenarios vs lists like Blood Angels (whom have a redeploy stratagem), Grey Knights with Gate, and Genestealer Cults, are limited examples. It is no longer a main concern, at a list building level. It is now a concern on game level. The lack of a flanker or deep strikers also means our center can advance more aggressively as they don’t need to meander as much in the turn 1 backfield because there is no worry about an Alpha anymore.
Turn 2 Alpha or Beta’s will represent a different issue. You are less likely to have a center unit in position to counter assault, but a deep striker has now choose which to tackle vs forcing their opponent which unit to tackle back with. That also means certain glasscannons (Scions) with slow movement have to choose the operative target on the drop as that is their only viable target. I meandered quite a bit, but I’ll just look at the basics and my intention next month.
All said and done using the above list, as a sort of baseline, I’ll try and discuss each element of the list, over month or so. The first week is mostly a review of earlier posts, sense it’ll deal with my ‘center’. The second week, looking at the Reivars, Assault Marines And Rough Riders, their role as screens. And how especially the former two have changed in function. The ponies will be used as a way to transition into Week 3. Where I will discuss what we need in our allies (if you are bringing them) and what you should not use for allies. Then finally, recap the previous weeks, and conclude with some thoughts on the FAQ. My hope is try and share what I have learned about dealing with newest FAQ and how it’ll affect our boys in black.
Week 4: The Crusader and their Line Brothers
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?
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.
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.
Line Squads: Projection, and Bully
Reivars and Scouts fill important roles in our army, target saturation, and projection of threat. Reivars alongside their older cousins, Assault Marines, also function as bully units. I refer to these three units as Flank Line Squads, sometimes also rarely as projection after their primary role in an army.
Target Saturation - If you have only 4 Shots but 5 Targets, well your gonna run out bullets. Is the same concept of the rule of two, put enough targeted out your opponent cannot possibly destroy or kill them all. These units are cheap to use in mass, alongside more expensive traditional lines, to saturate enemy firepower.
Project - Other key category, it’s why they project your firepower. Being able to threaten your opponent with six plasma shots then following with a charge, forces your opponent to keep themselves either spread out or centered. In the first case you can do a denied flank and claim half the board with your main force. The second case you can use your projection units to claim board.
Bullying Units- Not necessary high kill count but just enough, that if they drop by the enemy. A unit like devestators or a gaurd heavy team will be rendered ineffective or killed. They are vital for forcing enemy to delegate resources to defending their high priority anchors or accepting only getting a couple of shots from them.
First up are the Reivars are only a hundred points. With 10 Bolter Shots on drop, and 12 Bolter Attacks on Charge, or 1 Mediocre Heavy Bolter, 2 Bolter Shots and 16 Bolter Shots in melee, they can punished backfield MSU Anchors, and then win the following slapfight.
The Reivars leadership debuff ability when used versus Scout-teir Units (Scouts, Scions, anything with a 4+ Save base) or versus horde Units, enables to get another 2-3 Dead from battle shock. Combining that rule with Angel of Death gives -2 leadership debuff for minimal investment. That will threaten even leadership 8 models after 2-3 dead (an LD 8 Squad that lost 3 models and has -2 LD debuff, fails battleshock on a 4+). If you don't wish to force that, they are cheap enough, to be dropped midfield to act as combat support for Crusader and Intercessor Squads. Filling the saturation and support role.
Or if prefer more solo acting Reivars, the squad can act as flankers, with Carbines. The squad can move, advance and shoot. I.e they can kite. The ability to advance is important keep up with slingshotting melee Crusaders (a successful charge easily adds 6-8 inches between the Crusaders and their support elements). However for all this, they are best versus Scouts, Hordes and can fight Power Armor, what Reivars cannot do is take down 2+ Save Units like Terminators, lacking high damage and high AP Weaponry, while they can do appreciable scratches, by reducing 2+ saves to 3+, they won’t win with pistols. In general all Bully and Projection Units suffer vs Terminator for the same reason.
However, the versatility in Reivars is pressing the engagement, pistol or carbine they want to be constantly moving and constantly applying pressure. Lacking ranged AP with Carbine, they cannot engage in long term firefights, and lacking range with Pistols, they cannot exchange fire with more traditional firefight units. And like Intercessors, but even worse, tanks make a squad of Reivars really sad. Taken together, Reivars are one of the best examples of a ‘Flank’ Lines, able to project, bully and cheap to be taken in mass. However like Intercessors, how good they are depends on if you agree with the second half “Jack of All Trades Master of None, better than Master of One”.
Now the second style line, is the good old reliable Scout Squads. While flavorfully anti-Templar, the six edition codex, said some initiates would rarely allow their charges to act independently. That and I’d model the heavy and sargeants as initiates. Scouts are similar to Reivars, cheap versatile and able to fill a variety of roles.
Scouts also one of methods we have to deny turn 1 warp times, if we don’t manage to get first turn. And in filling the three roles of flank squads, are excellent at saturation and projection. Saturation wise they are cheap, a 10 Man Squad is only 110 Points. 10 Points more than Reivars and 20 Points cheaper than Full Tactical. However unlike Reivars, if they go shotgun (or even Bolter), they lose ability to effectively bully.
And it should be noted they have only a single heavy and special compared to Tactical-equivalent, 2 specials and single heavy when trying to firefighting. Heavy Bolters are cheap, and enable hellfire, but scouts would rather they be camping with snipers (for around 15 Points a Model!) or in midfield acting as denial. Here taking a small 7-8 Man Squad with shotgun and a heavy bolter, enables hellfire and threatens low Squad count Marines and even Units like Bikers and Plague Marines.
That squad is comparable in price and function to 5 man Intercessors with Power Sword. They lose a few wounds and 3+ save but gain the ability to forward deploy and immediately threaten the enemy in melee. You want Scouts to be able to threaten but not necessary lock the enemy while deny’ing board. The reason you don't want to lock the enemy, is slingshotting units, but also because if that scary terminator squad munching your scouts you cannot shoot them. While you can choose to flee, you'll be running back into your lines, risking having your Crusaders and Intercessors tripping over the fleeing scouts.
Which is why they cannot Bully, sense they start on board the enemy will know their location before turn one. That method deployments allows your enemy to avoid putting something near the unit that can be bullied by Scout Marines. Taken together, Scouts have reasonable range, appreciable melee and can secure a flank. They are similar to Reivars but they are actual operational perimeters are different.
They are primary units on flanks to gain early board prescence while soaking early wounds that would otherwise go at your traditional line Squads instead. And due to to their alternative deployment make bad Bully Units. Finally the last of three, Assault Marines.
Assault Marines are the worst of the flank line units. Not to say they are bad, but just have a weird position where they don’t really fit. A 7 Man with Triple Special is 130-140 Points. And if it wasn’t obvious you need larger squad for flank lines because they need to be able to take wounds. Its more so the other units are better, and other purpose of assault marines are being a line squad of chainbros for vanilla marines. The latter we obviously do not need because our Crusader squads do that already.
At 130-140 you are starting to price traditional line level points. A classic Crusader Line, 6-4, Double Special, and Heavy is gonna run 150-160. And once you get them without packs and in direct competition Crusaders outshine them even more. If you are simply going for deep striking shooting they is scary for similar cost and being to Deep Strike out of auspex comes Inceptors at similar points level.
That said Inceptors cannot Bully effectively because they are unable to charge effectively due to low wound and attack count. While Reivars lack the proper weaponry to bully high armor and Scouts cannot Bully because of their preferred setups. So if you want an all target bully unit. Assault Marines with Jump Packs are here for you.
Next and final week, I’ll be looking at Grey Hunters the other gold standard for line Squads and then Chaos Marines alongside Tactical Squads, to help demonstrate why Crusader Squads are amazing as they are.
Intercessors and Crusaders are the basic line Squads available to Black Templars. No weird deployment gimmicks, just some basic weaponry and squad configurations. And fill the niche of bulking up our army, for (relatively) cheap. Now as awesome as Crusaders are, hold your horses, I’ll be talking Intercessors first.
Hello everyone! Every once in a while, you want to play games that give you supreme enjoyment in the game no matter how the list performs. You play it for the rule of cool, rather than competitive prowess. This is one of those lists, that takes competitive traits and puts it in a more casual list. In this case, its an army many people have probably fantasized building. Let's take a look at it.
The Units I refer to as Line, which is short for frontline, are the ‘bulk’ Unit. They are what defines the army strategic game plan, even if they are supportive in the Tactical sense. Our great Chapter has access to 5 Line Squad; Crusader Squad, Intercessor Squad, Assault Marines, Reivers and Scout Marines. Okay we have 6, sense we also have access to Tacticals, but Crusaders are better most of the time.
This blog is devoted to the Black Templars chapter and the tactics, list building, and general musing associated with them. Readers will see posts from both Schlitzaf and Marshal Laeroth regularly. Enjoy!