Friday, September 9, 2011

Black Templars: Unique Competitive Units

Recently I have breathed new life into my Crimson Fists by running them with the Black Templars codex. I'm really enjoying the army, its both competitive and unique. My opponents are usually suprised by the nifty tricks that it packs. For those who might complain about this form of counts-as, did you know that the Crimson Fists are known to occasionally field Emperor's Champions? Both armies are founded off Imperial Fists geneseed :)

I'll take you through my Black Templars list in a subsequent post, but first I want to introduce you to the individual units that I have been playing with. The post-FAQ Templars codex is chock full of unique and powerful units that cannot be fielded from other marine codices.

Chainfist Marshal

Marshal - chainfist, storm shield, terminator armour, adamantine mantle, crusader seals (175)

This guy is roughly the equivalent of Lysander, but instead of making your army Stubborn (which is of dubious value) he makes all units Leadership 10 - which is full of win. Like Darnath and Draigo he's great for absorbing those high powered AP 2 wounds that would otherwise be blowing apart your Terminators. Take the preferred enemy vow and he will rip Dreadnoughts a new arsehole.

Don't forget that if you need an extra elite slot, you can take one of your Tactical Terminator squads as a command squad for the Marshall. In this instance, you can bizarrely upgrade the Sergeant to have a storm shield - this is a good idea! Don't know where he puts it though...

Emperor's Champion

Emperor's Champion - Accept Any Challenge No Matter The Odds (140)
or Emperor's Champion - Abhor the Witch (110)

OK you have to take this guy, but he's not half bad. He comes with a S 6 power weapon and 2+ save with a 4+ invulnerable (in close combat only) as part of the package. I am finding it difficult to choose between the two vows above however. "Accept" is everyone's favourite, and rerolling misses in melee really helps to make terminators reliable in combat.

But with the number of psykers being fielded these days "Abhor" is becoming tempting. The 5+ save against psychic powers that target you is nice, but the army-wide free Scout move when facing psykers can be game changing. Moving my cyclone terminators and typhoon landspeeders an extra six inches down the flanks before first turn can do nasty things to a guard army with the obligatory psyker battle squad. Finally, it's 30 points cheaper, which is significant.

Tank Hunting Tactical Terminators

5 Sword Brethren Terminators - 2 cyclones, 1 chainfist, tank hunter (270)

In the old days, we could take two special weapons for every five terminators. Playing Black Templars I still can! But what's that, you want more? How about +1 S against vehicles. With the FAQ upgrading 20 point cyclone missile launchers to Heavy 2, that's 4 S9 shots per turn - booya!

All up this is a very scary thing to face, especially when you add in the Chainfist Marshall to absorb incoming AP 2. As a bonus, and model can be equipped with a chainfist. And don't forget they also get +1 S in close combat against vehicles with their power fist.

Furious Blessed Assaulting Terminator Land Raider of Doom

7 Sword Brethren Assault Terminators - furious charge, 5 lightning claw pairs, 2 thunder hammer / storm shield (295)
Land Raider Crusader - multi-melta, blessed hull, dozer blades, smoke launchers (298)

600 points later, and do you have a hammer unit! Those lightning claw terminators are hitting at I 5, doing 4 S5 attacks that reroll to hit AND to wound (thanks to the vow). Feel free to chuck the Emperors Champion in there too as there is space for him - or maybe a power armored Marshall (give him the Orb of Antioch).

Now take a look at that Land Raider. Yes its bloody pricey, but it has a couple of key features. Firstly, dozer blades! No one knows exactly where they go, but this is the only Land Raider that can move cheerfully through difficult terrain without fearing the 1. The blessed hull upgrade ignores the effect of the Lance rule. This is great against Dark Eldar, Tyranids and Eldar, making the Land Raider nearly invulnerable to the first two armies (note that Eldar have Fire Dragons!).

This is the only unit listed in this article that I don't play - it's too many points in one basket for me! More of a fun unit, but it deserves to be listed here because of its uniqueness.

Strength 9 Thundershields

5 Sword Brethren Assault Terminators - tank hunter, 5 thunder hammers (215)

Feel free to add additional Terminators to taste. Your standard thunder hammer and storm shield Terminator enhanced by the tank hunters USR, giving them a permanent S 9 against vehicles. They are FAR better in combat against Dreadnoughts, and great when multi-charging parking lots - which is why you might want to add a couple of additional models. Not much else to say here, you have all seen these guys used successfully before, but for 15 points the extra strength is IMO well worth it.

Tank Hunting Dreadnought
Venerable Dreadnought - tl lascannon, heavy flamer, smoke launchers, tank hunter, spotlight (169)
or Venerable Dreadnought - tl lascannon, missile launcher, smoke launchers, tank hunter, spotlight (169)
 The Black Templars Venerable Dread is a bargain - you only pay 20 points for Venerable status. Although he doesn't get the extra WS and BS of the latest Codices, that is mitigated by choosing the twin-linked Lascannon, and by the Accept Any Challenge vow letting him reroll misses in close combat. Then add the Tank Hunter USR and you have a S 10 lascannon and a heavy flamer that is S 6 against vehicles - very nice thank you!

Of course you always have the option of trading that CC arm for a missile launcher. Then you can add another S 9 shooting attack. Against vehicles in close combat he is still S 7, so can be effective even without the Dreadnought close combat weapon. The best option depends on the rest of your list.

Discount Typhoons

Landspeeder - heavy bolter, typhoon missile launcher (70)

The typhoon was upgraded to S8 Heavy 2 (from S5 blast!) in the latest FAQ, whilst keeping the old price. That's 20 points cheaper than the Space Marine codex - an absolute steal! Use that 48"'range to keep them out of trouble.

Delayed Pod Troops

Crusader Squad - 5 Initiates with multi-melta, melta, 3 bolters, drop pod (130)

The great thing about Black Templar Drop Pods is that they don't have the Drop Pod Assault rule. That means that they drop in as reserves in later turns of the game. This allows you to keep your scoring troops safely off the table in the games early turns, messing with your opponent's ability to target prioritise. Then drop them strategically on objectives, once your opponent has committed and you have softened up their army with S 9 missiles.

I am currently running them melta-rich, but there are so many different ways that you could run these guys. Armed for assault or multi-role, large or small - there are many viable options to use with this tactic. The drop pods are a bargain at 30 points. Bizarrely, they have Power of the Machine Spirit and thus can fire on the turn they drop; but the pod only has BS 2! Consider paying the 20 points for the deathwind missile launcher...

Las/Plas Squads

Crusader Squad - 5 initiates with lascannon, plasma gun, 3 bolters (101)

Back in the heady days of 4th edition, Tactical Space Marines could field a heavy and special weapon in a five man squad. Inevitably we would team up the lascannon and plasma gun, for some medium/long range AP 2 and tank killing potential. Black Templars can still do this!

Every army should take one of these in my opinion. It sits in your backfield and shoots stuff whilst holding an objective. Don't forget you can move the squad forward in your opponent's turn if they take a casualty, and still fire that heavy weapon in your next turn.


  1. As a fellow Black Templar player I've really enjoyed your run down of the Templar units and quite a nice summary/primer for those thinking of running them!

  2. Hey Fritz. I'm honoured that you like my summary :) I'm a big follower of your blog, and similarly to you I like taking armies and models that are not always the most "competitive" but then do mean things with 'em.

  3. This was very helpful! I am fairly new to Templars and this tactica has helped me in many ways. Feel free to check out my blog to see how the Templar army is progressing...


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