With that being said, Space Marines do not function well by themselves as pure forces anymore. The codex has aged and even the vaunted Primaris marines have counters by the dozens in numerous newer codices. Fortunately, there are rumors of a new Space Marine codex on the horizon. But until then, we need help -- especially if we are using the Black Templars. I am not one of those players who bash the Chapter Tactics of the BT, as I feel its pretty good, but the game doesn't currently favor assault. So that means we need to look for outside help. Those who have been following Implausible Nature for a while know that I use what I have available to help win. In this case, it means allies. And those allies need to include things (i.e. psykers) that are typically...unsavory for BT players, myself included. But allies give us access to psychic powers. Normally, that is a line even I won't cross, but we need something to help us compete.
So we know what we need to open our lists to all options, but how do we construct the list? What we used to do with our army does not work anymore. We need to adapt to how the game is being played. You either have fast and maneuverable forces, you spit out tons of shots into your opponent, have an exceptional assault component, and/or have a durable/numerous force that can weather your opponent's firepower or assaults. And the best list are those that fulfill several of those requisites. Vehicles are not currently in favor, but that doesn't mean that they are not useful in the right list. However, its my opinion that they are taxes in an army that is already expensive. Knowing this, we need to construct our arch-type. Mechanization usually doesn't work. Min-max Razorback gunlines don't work, because we don't have a Primarch to assist us. Aerial assault can work, but you are fielding a glass cannon force that has too many counters to be safe. Concentrating on foot-based units with lots of guns does work. Lots of infantry on the board does work. Strong assault units in your opponent's face works. Mass deep strike and assault lists, unfortunately, no longer work. What works?
I tend to build my lists balanced, but that doesn't mean that I don't focus on a goal. The lists I have recently had success with revolve around overloading my opponent with durable targets, while I advance into close combat. As noted, this has been largely successful. However, I need to evolve again. The release of some of the newer Adeptus Astartes codices have been enlightening to what works. Everyone has seen or heard of the BA Smash Captain. Fortunately, we can replicate it for the most part -- minus the infinite CP utilization (which the FAQ took away anyway). But what is important is that we found out how powerful characters can be in combat and how much damage they can inflict on the opponent's army. One of the great things about the Space Marine codex, especially the Black Templars, is that we have access to exceptional characters. Even the generic ones can pack a huge punch.
Leveraging that advantage is where the future is. We need to utilize it. Space Marines are great character "transports". Maximizing our characters in the list, hiding them with our Crusader or Neophyte squads, and getting them into the fray. A single character can hold up an entire unit or completely destroy it. Utilize the other parts of your list to hold ground, provide a fire-base, or support your characters. We can supply all of the close combat that we need in our list just from characters. Or they can supplement our Crusader squads. Anything is possible. Tie in our BT chapter tactic and we get reliable charges. I'll take it all day.
One thing that has been lost in our list building is the realization that we are playing at an event that is probably using one of two different mission sets: Nova Open or ITC. Thus, we can make reasonable assumptions in how we build lists. Build to play to the missions, not to your opponent. Optimize your firepower and close combat, use allies to fill your holes, and buff your units with force multipliers.
I am curious to see if you have had similar experiences. Or perhaps you disagree with me? Let's get some healthy discussion going.