As I just mentioned, troops are the most important unit in any good competitive list, as they are the very heart of any scoring your army does in a mission. Whether it be capturing objectives, holding table quarters, killing your opponent for VP/KPs, or being durable enough to deny those to your opponent, you need to have a solid troops choice to succeed. We now have three to chose from, but I'm going to start with the Crusader squad since that is "ours".
First off, and most importantly, space marines got cheaper overall. This includes our BT brethren. Not only do they cost only 14 points a piece now, they come standard with both sets of grenades. That is a 5 point "discount" from before! Neophytes remained the same points, but it doesn't even matter. Across the whole of the squad, this is a huge points savings. We also retained the ability to field 10 initiates and 10 neophytes in a single squad, giving us a cheap, yet large, squad to hold objectives with. However, there is a slight hitch to that which I'll mention in a moment. We still have access to all of our dedicated transports: Rhinos, Razorbacks, Drop Pods, and Land Raider Crusaders.
The unit has access to pretty much all of the standard fare special and heavy weapons, including the new grav-gun. The points cost on these weapons fluctuated a little bit, but nothing too huge. The biggest change was the plasmagun going from 6 points to 15 points, but that was to be expected with how powerful plasma is in this edition. Also incredibly important to note is the fact that we still retain the ability to take special/heavy weapons at the minimum squad size of 5. That is huge, as everyone expected this ability to go to the wayside. That gives us a lot of options going forward, with only a minor price increase to go with it. In addition, much like the last codex, our marines can replace their bolter for a close combat weapon if they so desire. Its unfortunate that they just didn't have a bolter standard like the Grey Hunters do, but considering everything, that would make this squad stupidly good. It should be noted that you should always keep the AP2 close combat weapon "hidden" in the squad itself. In other words, do not give it to your upgrade character (I'll be touching on them next). That way, you protect that valuable power weapon from your enemy's challenges and any casualties you may take at initiative.
Something new to the crusader squad is the ability to take a sword brethren to "lead" the squad. He's essentially a sergeant from other troops selections, so has access to the armory. This includes a variety of close combat and ranged weaponry choices. With our Chapter Traits, he is potentially very dangerous to whomever decides to challenge. Either way, armed with a CC weapon and/or a combi-weapon is a huge boon as it gives us a second special weapon and/or close combat weapon. That is something we were really missing in the last codex and was one of the biggest problems in sustained close combat fights. It also gives our units just that little bit more "oomph" shooting, if and when its needed. Again, that is something that we've never had before. I'm inclined to equip him based on what I need the squad to do. If the squad is CC-oriented, the dual-LC option is attractive to me. He'll rip into MEQ and carve huge swathes through them. However, it will also make challenging him a dangerous proposition thanks to our Chapter Traits. At the very least, a power sword, as you need to be striking at initiative in a challenge. If I'm drop podding him or putting him in a rhino, combi-weapons are extremely appealing.
However, as I alluded to earlier, there is a slight RAW issue with taking the sword brethren upgrade to your Crusader squad. The codex very clearly says that you may take a neophyte for every initiate that you have in the squad. Without the upgrade, you can have 10 initiates, thus you can have 10 neophytes. If you take the upgrade however, you only have 9 initiates left...so you're stuck with 9 neophytes. I send in a question to GW's FAQ department on this, hoping it'll be fixed...but...we'll see. For now, its 19 man squads if you take the upgrade.
So what can we do now with the new and improved crusader squad? Everything we could do in the previous codex, we can do better in this one. Want to build a footslogging blob squad? Awesome. We now have the power weapons to support it (plus Crusaders helps your run moves) and squad is so much cheaper now overall, that it doesn't matter if it gets shot. Want to run large squads in LRCs? Same thing: more power weapons, cheaper squads, and slightly cheaper LRCs! Drop Pods? Oh yeah. More special weapons, more power weapons, cheaper squads. Rhino/Razorback rush? 5-man squads with special/heavy weaponry, cheaper rhinos, and more weaponry to bring to bare. All win. Add in some Helbrecht/Grimaldus spice and you have some very powerful combinations. All-in-all, the crusader squad is infinitely better than they were before. I would definitely say on par with the Grey Hunters, if not better. Very, very solid troops choice now. :D