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Thursday, October 13, 2022

Choosing your Black Templar HQs


HQs are vital to running a tight list and Black Templars have some serious solid choices. What’s best for you depends on what you want to do with your army. Here are some abilities I want:

+ Chapter Master Rerolls -> Makes your Eradicators armed with heavy melta rifles super killy

+ Litanies of the Devout -> We have some of the best litanies, every list should have a Chaplain

+ Utility -> heavy dreads, take a Forge Master… want a beat stick, the Emperor’s Champion, etc.

I consider High Marshal Helbrecht an auto take unit. Sure he costs some serious points but he has two weapons that are both relics for all practical purposes, and his ability to buff core units with +1S can be quite handy. One thing our HQ have going for them is they are Primaris, so don’t forget to pop Transhuman Physiology if they are caught in a tight pinch. You can roll your own but he won’t be as killy and will be comparable in points.

Grimaldus is the best choice for a Warlord versus psychic heavy armies such as Thousand Sons and Tyranids. Grimaldus takes some skill to properly utilize since he has his cenobite servitors… they must always be protected via Look Out Sir. The generic litanies are good as well so running double Chaplains can be quite effective - in particular 2" added to a unit’s charge roll can be game breaking. It’s very important that your Chaplain is very reliable when casting litanies so make sure to take the proper upgrades such as Ancient Breviary, you’ll be glad you did.

The Emperor’s Champion is a true murder machine and requires some skill to reap his benefits. The Black Sword is AP4 when attacking with the thrusting strike… this is a natural anathema to Armor of Contempt along with three flat damage. He is our most underrated HQ choice for sure.

If you like to run dreadnoughts then the Primaris Techmarine upgraded to Forge Master is an excellent choice, healing up wounds and handing out +1 to hit.

These are my top choices, let me know if I missed any you like to take.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Heavy Support for Black Templars


While Black Templars are primarily an assault army, some ranged shooting that can deal effectively with enemy armor is critical. Eradicators are my go to choice and I typically I run a five man squad with four heavy melta rifles and one multi-melta. That’s 12 shots due to their special rule Total Obliteration, which will typically trash most targets unless it’s got a good invulnerable save. Heavy melta rifles are always +2 damage and +4 damage at half range. This is extremely effective versus any target with -1 damage, as its basically ignored.

There are two tricks for Eradicators, one is giving them the Chapter Master rerolls, and great when they have to move to shoot or are shooting through certain cover (-1 to hit). The other trick is to use the stratagem Devout Push during your assault phase with them positioned so they move back towards an objective, taking them out of line of sight from enemy ranged weapons.

Eliminators with Lasfusils are another popular choice but I don’t rate them due to the low number of shots, plus they are quite squishy being a three man T4 squad with a 3+ armor save.

While dreadnaughts are typically an elite choice, they have many good options for ranged heavy weapons plus they are resilient and move-shoot well. The Redemptor dreadnought with a heavy plasma macro canon is a very popular choice - some players bring as many as two to three. The main drawback to the macro cannon is its d6 hits, which is extremely swingy. You’ll need at least two dreadnaughts to help endure you have enough effective fire power. I always arm my dreadnaughts with a dreadnaught close combat weapon so they can effectively deal with enemy units that charge them. Dreadnoughts have Eternal Duty for -1 damage plus there’s a stratagem, Wisdom of the Ancients, for them to provide reroll 1s to hit or to wound for core units, so are good to have around.

Another choice are Hellblasters but they aren’t nearly as effective as Eradicators. Gladiators are still overcosted and not core units either.

As a game progresses your melee units should be able to take out enemy armor with powerfists and thunderhammers - once you’ve reached the enemy lines if say your Eradicators are still in play it’ll be a tough choice for your opponent to focus on them, so it should be easier to find juicy targets for them to obliterate.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Black Templars Unit Analysis - Primaris Crusader Squad, Assault Intercessor Squad and Primaris Sword Brethren


Black Templars Unit Analysis - Primaris Crusader Squad, Assault Intercessor Squad and Primaris Sword Brethren

This article is the analytical comparison of three units:

Primaris Crusader Squad (PCS)

Assault Intercessor Squad (AIS)

Primaris Sword Brethren (PSB)

All three are core units, while the first two are troops and count as objective secured. The PCS is the most versatile and can be kitted for ranged shooting, melee or a combination of both. I would argue that PCS is always a better choice over AIS since it’s much more flexible and better at melee since you can take multiple powerfists. The one advantage AIS has is it can fight twice using a stratagem, which can be quite situational and not always advantageous. PCS offers everything desired for Veteran Intercessors, costs less points, is objective secured and again is more flexible. Remember that PCS get most of their wargear for free, such as the powerfists.

To reap the benefits of fielding PCS you must be willing to field squads of 10 or more Marines per squad. Based on my experience the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, such as blast weapons and morale checks. 15 to 20 Marines per squad is optimal and well worth the points.

Now let’s compare a five man PSB versus a five man AIS. Assume the former is armed with a thunderhammer, pair of lightning claws and three power swords while the latter is armed with a thunderhammer and chainswords. The difference in points is only 22 points. Chainswords have been nerfed by the Armor of Contempt rule - the power swords and lightning claws will inflict much more damage than the chainswords. PSB is amazingly cheap for what you get plus they have the weight of attacks at three base attacks per Sword Brother. If objective secured is important Black Templars have a stratagem (Strength of Conviction) that makes a core unit count as objective secured, plus it occurs at the start of the command phase, so you can steal an objective from your opponents and score more victory points - CPs for VPs. PSB have an amazing stratagem (Exemplars of the Crusade) that each time a model rolls an unmodified six to hit in melee scores an additional hit. If you combine this with the stratagem Gene-Wrought Might, then each hit roll of six automatically scores two wounds - that’s a powerful combination.

Some Black Templar players wish that PSB had more to offer but I’ve heard many loyalist Space Marine players for other Chapters state they wished they had an equivalent unit… isn’t that ironic and so typical for Warhammer 40k - some people are never happy.

Monday, September 19, 2022

How to 20 man Primaris Crusader Squad

How to 20 man Primaris Crusader Squad

I finally was able to play a good game versus Chaos Knights to test my new list with a 20 man Primaris Crusader squad. I run them as follows:

Sword Brother -  master crafted power axe & heavy bolt pistol

4x Initiate - powerfist & heavy bolt pistol

7x Initiate - chainsword & heavy bolt pistol

8x Neophyte- chainsword & bolt pistol

You can arm the Sword Brother with the Sword of Judgement (SoJ) and even make him your Champion of the Feast but I prefer to spread the relics around… for example, a Blade Guard veteran sergeant with the SoJ really helps to boost his squad’s overall melee damage. Four powerfists combined with the litany Psalm of Remorseless Persecution (6s to wound inflict mortal wounds) is more than enough punch against any enemy unit.

When deploying this unit make sure the powerfists are placed up front so they can punch right away. The other litany I use for this unit is Divine Protection for the 5+++ Feel No Pain. My Judicar has the relic Aurillian Shroud so that one turn they can have a 4++ invulnerable save… you’ll probably want to pop this either the first or second turn so that the majority of the squad is intact when they reach close combat.

Both Helbrecht and Grimaldus are both excellent support characters for the blob. Helbrecht’ s buffs are twofold… rerolling hits and +1S due to his Crusade of Wrath aura. Grimaldus’ servitors provide a 6+++ Feel No Pain to backup the litany plus the 3" plus d3" run can mean the difference between making a charge the following turn. Pro Tip - use the Devout Push stratagem once they have charged to get more models in engagement range !!

The blob is really fun to play plus it’s something only Black Templars can do. Enjoy !

Monday, August 29, 2022

Black Templars - A Tale of Secondaries

Black Templars - A Tale of Secondaries

Black Templars are an excellent melee army and the vow Uphold the Emperor’s Honor makes them highly resilient as well - every unit has a 5++ invulnerable save and mini Transhuman Physiology (can only be wounded on a 3+).  Yesterday I was playing a game versus Blood Angels and my 20 man Primaris Crusader squad took a full charge from a 10 man Death Company squad hitting on 2+ with full rerolls. Thankfully my squad had Litany of Divine Protection for the 5+++ after save. When the smoke cleared I still had 10 Marines left, including four power fists and they destroyed the Death Company… they simply shrugged off many many chainsword, power sword as well as thunderhammer attacks. I should add that the Death Company squad was in the assault doctrine as well. It was a game changing moment to say the least.

While Black Templars do well scoring primary objectives, scoring secondaries is not nearly as easy. Obviously we typically have no psykers so there’s no need the worry about the Warpcraft category… however, there is a good case to made for including a psychic Inquisitor in your army and they are fairly cheap points wise. The one exception is Abhor the Witch - you score points by killing psychic enemy characters and psychic units - this could work quite well versus armies like Eldar, Grey Knights, Thousand Sons and Tyranids.

No Prisoners is typically a good choice, if you’re playing the Templar game then you’re killing many enemy units (not including characters, monsters and vehicles) and it quickly adds up. This falls under the category No Mercy, No Respite.

Oaths of the Moment also falls under the category No Mercy, No Respite and you can’t take more than one secondary from each category. If you’re playing a large Primaris Crusader squad this is not as good of a choice - you’ll probably fail morale once or twice. You score points killing enemy characters, monsters and vehicles; if you don’t fall back or fail morale and if you have a core unit or character within 6" the center of the board. However, if you’re playing against an elite army with a low unit count it’s possible you could score more than No Prisoners.

If you’re up against an army with a lot of characters take Assassination - you score 3 points for each enemy character you destroy and 4 for their Warlord. If your playing against an army with lots of monsters and/or vehicles take Bring It Down - you score multiple points for each enemy unit with 9 or more wounds. You can’t take both though because they both fall under the category Purge the Enemy.

Engage on All Fronts falls under the category Battlefield Supremacy - you score 2 points each turn by having units in at least three table quarters and the unit must have at least 3 models. If you have units in each table quarter you score 2 points. It’s fairly easy to be in three table quarters but be careful if the mission requires you to start off deployed in only one table quarter… if you’re opponent goes first and has a fast army they can trap you in your table quarter.

Raise the Banners High falls under the Shadow Operations category and is a good choice if you have say ten or more units. You’ll need at least two units that are dedicated to scoring this secondary. The deployment zone is an important consideration when selecting this secondary - again if you have to deploy in one table quarter it could be hard to achieve.

These are the easiest secondaries to score generally in my opinion. We don’t have any really easy ones to choose from so it’s very important to dominate your opponent in the primary game.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Playing Black Templars Competitively


Are Black Templars Competitive

Black Templars have new rules and many new Primaris units:



Emperor’s Champion

Primaris Crusader Squad

Sword Brethren

++ Sword Brethren +

Sword Brethren are the fluff unit but make excellent conversions for Blade Guard Veterans. All other units listed above are competitive. The best way to play Black Templars competitively is Black Tide - all infantry swarming the table. All units listed above are Primaris and as such have access to THP. Black Templars play the primary objectives well. Scoring secondary objectives requires some degree of skill.

++ Emperor’s Champion ++

Our champion is often called out as non competitive by those who have not yet grasped our inner strengths - they cannot win at the competitive level with Black Templars and so look for scape goats  to blame. Often they will also decry secondaries as well. For 100 points you get a true monster with AP4 S8/9 3D melee attacks. AP4 prior to the assault phase I should add… even Sanguinary Guard truly fear him and rightly so. AP4 is the utter bane of Armor of Contempt and at S9 you are wounding Knights on 3+. Consider that you never need more than one Chaplain.

++ Primaris Crusader Squad ++

Even Chaos Space Marines can no longer field squads of Marines greater than 10. I have discussed this unit in great detail in two other articles. There’s absolutely no reason to ever take Assault Intercessors for Black Templars.

+++ VOWS +++

Our two best vows are Uphold and Accept Any Challenge. I find myself always taking the former… it is super powerful for Marines. The latter is excellent versus any faction that has Armor of Contempt. The less you have to think is powerful.


My next tactical article will cover scoring secondaries.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Black Templars Blob - The 20 man Primaris Crusader Squad


I played my first game this afternoon using a 20 man Primaris Crusader Squad versus Chaos Space Marines:

8x Neophyte - Bolt Pistol & Chainsword

4x Initiate - Heavy Bolt Pistol & Powerfist

7x Initiate - Heavy Bolt Pistol & Chainsword

Sword Brethren - Heavy Bolt Pistol & Power Axe

I selected Helbrecht and Grimaldus as my two HQ, mainly to buff the squad - +1S, 6s to wound in melee converted to mortal wounds, and 5+++ Feel No Pain. I selected the popular vow for 5++ invulnerable save, and mini Transhuman (cannot be wounded on a roll of 1 or 2).

The squad did well enough, quickly cutting through a large cultist squad and then tying up a Lord Discordant until my terminators could crush the metal beast. By the end of the game the squad was down to around eight Initiates, so they held up rather well. I will definitely use them again.

Positioning is very important. The first two turns I tended to pull models from the front when removing casualties, and then later pulled them from the back, keeping all four powerfists up front so they could punch. You’ll probably never get the entire squad in engagement range but obviously they are very good at holding and stealing primary objectives. Pro Tip - use the Devout Push stratagem once they have charged to get more models in engagement range !

Friday, July 22, 2022

Introduction to the Black Templars


My first article was tactical and while popular many readers said they want some background regarding this Chapter. First let me say if you like to play assault heavy armies you might want to consider Black Templars. While their rules aren’t overpowered they do benefit from having a true ninth edition codex. Black Templars aren’t as fast as Blood Angels or White Scars but they can be one of the most resilient Chapters… and they are fast enough.

Black Templars are a second founding successor Chapter of the Imperial Fists and their first Chapter Master, Sigismund, was around during the Horus Heresy - first Captain to the Primarch Dorn. Sigismund was one of the most skilled fighters ever. Dorn gave him his best armor and weapons during the Siege of Terra so he could lay waste to many champions of Chaos, triumphing over all he met in battle. Sigismund was the very first Emperor’s Champion. Alone Dorn and Sigismund held back the Emperor’s Children, which is truly a mighty feat.

Sigismund led the more zealous of the Imperial Fists with him to the founding of the Black Templars, and became their first High Marshal. Sigismund swore an oath upon leaving Terra, that he and his new Chapter would prove their loyalty by never resting in his duties against enemies of the Emperor. Sigismund spent much of this time remaining vigilant over the Cadian Gate, insisting that Horus' Traitors would one day return to plague the Imperium. Every High Marshal has renewed Sigismund's oath of never-ending crusade and as such, the Black Templars' Crusade has continued for over ten thousand years.

Black Templars are a fleet based Chapter and roam the galaxy in their warships, conducting long arduous crusades. Unlike many other chapters, the Black Templars do not have a homeworld. Eschewing the idea of one, they opt to live aboard their crusade fleets. These vary in size and are made up of dozens of Battle Barges, Strike Cruisers and other craft such as training vessels and huge forge ships.

Given this fleet-based nature, the Black Templars are rarely assembled as a Chapter, but are instead divided into many Crusades, every Crusade being responsible for its own recruiting as well as training of new Neophytes. This flexible, mobile nature allows the Templars to continue the first mission of the Black Templars: to actively seek out the enemies of the Emperor and destroy them before moving onwards to find the next foe.

The exact number of Crusade fleets active at any one time, as well as the size of the individual fleets, varies according to the Chapter's needs and abilities. The exact size of Crusade Fleets varies, with some numbering a handful of warriors while others may even number thousands. However the typical size of a Crusade Fleet is between 50 and 300 warriors.

The High Marshal himself has his own personal Battle Barge, the Eternal Crusader, a huge vessel that is the spiritual home of the entire Chapter and contains its most sacred relics, chapels, and reliquaries. It has been expanded and refitted many times and can currently hold twice as many Space Marines as a normal battle barge.

By their doctrine, the Black Templars abhor the traitor, the alien and the mutant. The last category includes psykers, but Black Templars do use psykers in other non-combatant roles, such as Astropaths and Navigators. Black Templars view these beings with special reverence as they see them as able to commune directly with the Emperor. The Black Templars are also one of the few Chapters to not utilize Librarians since the psychic catastrophe known as The Howling.

Black Templars place great emphasis on close combat prowess and honour. As such they can often be seen charging into suicidal situations to avenge fallen comrades. Black Templar Marines also set themselves apart from standard Codex doctrine by including Neophytes into squads of fully initiated Marines to help teach them the ways of battle and the art of combat.

The Black Templars have continued in the style of their first High Marshal, preferring close combat over ranged warfare. This is further emphasised by the fanaticism of Black Templars Initiates, whose righteous anger makes them impulsive and headstrong.

When making war, the Crusade will focus on two main tactics. The first is orbital assault; where the Crusade will use drop pods and Thunderhawks to perform a mass-landing in the wake of a heavy orbital bombardment. If resistance is still strong after this, the Templars will land their heavy armour and launch an armoured spearhead against the weakest link in the enemy's defensive line, using Crusader-pattern Land Raiders.

As part of their dedication to the Emperor and their Crusade, the Black Templars swear fell oaths of faith and protection. Before a battle, it is considered customary to renew one of these oaths, the particular vow serving as a focus on the particular aspect of their duties considered to be necessary to ensure success.

The Black Templars were the first Chapter to find the design for the Land Raider Crusader and were the first chapter to make use of it. The Crusader design replaces the lascannons mounted on standard Land Raiders with Hurricane-pattern bolters, placing a greater emphasis on anti-infantry firepower and freeing up greater space within to carry larger squads.

The Black Templars are also notorious for defying Codex doctrine that states a Chapter may only number 1000 battle brothers. This is partly due to the divided nature of the Chapter, being spread out everywhere on separate crusades (usually consisting of several hundred Battle-Brothers) and no one has thus been able to keep track of their exact numbers. However, it has been estimated that there may be several tens of thousands Black Templars Companies spread out around the galaxy - an almost unstoppable force if gathered at one place and cause for the Inquisition to keep a close eye on the Black Templars.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Introduction to Black Templars

Black Templars finally got their own codex in ninth edition along with a slew of new Primaris Space Marine units such as Chaplain Grimaldus and the Primaris Crusader Squad. Black Templars can be surprisingly resilient and are a melee centric Chapter.

Why are Black Templars resilient? First, the faction has a built-in 5+++ after save versus mortal wounds and that’s amazing in the current state of the game… they can stick around while other factions just melt. Second, Black Templars have access to a vow (basically your Chapter tactics) that provides a 5++ invulnerable save for every unit (including your vehicles) plus they can never be wounded on a to wound roll of 2 or less (mini Transhuman). Ninth edition is one of the deadliest versions of the game yet so these inherent buffs are what provides them their super resilience and it makes a big difference on the table top.

Unit Analysis:

Now I’ll cover some of the new Primaris units, such as the Emperor’s Champion and the Primaris Crusader Squad.

Emperor’s Champion - Clocking in at only 100 points, this HQ is both an efficient character killer and can literally tear apart enemy infantry units. It’s common for Black Templar players to run two Chaplains along with High Marshal Helbrecht. While Chaplains are great at buffing core units, the ability to nuke a beastly enemy character can quickly turn a battle. The Emperor’s Champion has two battle stances and is -1 to hit in melee. He also rerolls all hits and wounds versus enemy characters, can heroically intervene up to 6" to reach an enemy character… and finally he also fights first versus  enemy characters. One battle stance (sweeping blow) he hits on 2+, S7, AP3, 2D per attack. The other stance (thrusting strike) he hits on 3+, S8, AP4, 3D per attack. The first stance is great versus infantry units up to two wounds per model, while the second stance is perfect for most any enemy character - AP4 ignoring armor saves up to 3+! A good Warlord Trait for the Emperor’s Champion is Master of Arms, which allows him to always fight first and gain +1 attack when he charges for a total of seven attacks. I always use he thrusting strike stance versus everything.

Primaris Crusader Squad (PCS) - This troop choice can do something no other Space Marine infantry unit can do, field up to 20 models! I haven’t tried it yet and it seems the sweet spot for a large squad is 15 Marines… however the option is there. Buffing a large squad with a 5+++ after save, reroll hits and/or inflicting mortal wounds on a hit roll of 6 to wound in melee via your Chaplains turns them into a nigh unstoppable force. I find the unit to be better than assault intercessors and typically run 10 man squads. You can go shooty, choppy or a combination; however it’s best to focus on one aspect. Here are my current two builds:


Sword Brother - Power Axe & Heavy Bolt Pistol

3x Initiate - Chainsword  & x Heavy Bolt Pistol

2x Initiate - Powerfist & Heavy Bolt Pistol

4x Neophyte - Chainsword & Bolt Pistol


Sword Brother - Power Axe & Heavy Bolt Pistol

3x Initiate - Auto Bolt Rifle

2x Initiate - Pyre Blaster

4x Neophyte - Shotgun

My army does not have a lot of shooting so the shooty unit fills quite a valuable roll, often holding an objective in my deployment zone and providing ranged firepower. The choppy unit will go forward to take objectives and tangle with enemy units… it can hit like a truck too with a lot of attacks at full strength.

In conclusion I’ve provided a brief introduction to the faction as well cover two of our more important units. My next article will go more into tactics and I’ll present more of our units for review.


Monday, July 11, 2022

How to Optimize Armor of Contempt

 How to Optimize Armor of Contempt (AoC)

AoC has been out for awhile now and given a sorely needed boost to Space Marines. Let’s take a look how it works and how to best take advantage.

The rule:

Each time an attack is allocated to an Adeptus Astartes, Sanctic Astartes, Heretic Astartes or Adepta Sororitas model, worsen the Armour Penetration characteristic of that attack by 1.

This rule does not apply to any of the following:

• Models equipped with a storm shield, a relic shield or a combat shield (or a Relic that replaces one of these shields).

• Models with either the Sacresant Shield or Force Shielding ability (Celestian Sacresant and Nemesis Dreadknight units).

• Models that are under the effects of any other rule that worsens or reduces the Armour Penetration characteristic of an attack.

A simple example is a Space Marine in the open shot by enemy bolt rifle (AP1). If a wound occurs then the Space Marine armor save is 3+ ignoring AP1. Here’s a table up to AP4:

AP     Sv  (NO COVER)

 0      3+

 1       3+

 2       4+

 3       5+

 4       6+

AP     Sv  (COVER)

 0       2+

 1        2+

 2       3+

 3       4+

 4       5+

Now let’s consider the same example for a Terminator:

AP     Sv  (NO COVER)

 0       2+

 1        2+

 2       3+

 3       4+

 4       5+

AP     Sv  (COVER)

 0       2+

 1        2+

 2       2+

 3       3+

 4       4+

Now let’s consider the case of a Terminator with a storm shield (does not benefit from AoC):

AP     Sv  (NO COVER)

 0       2+

 1        2+

 2       3+

 3       4+

 4       4+

AP     Sv  (COVER)

 0       2+

 1        2+

 2       2+

 3       3+

 4       4+

So AoC is great versus both ranged and melee attacks, although the Terminator with a storm shield is still the most resilient. The difference for melee is there’s no benefit from cover. If you’re playing a melee centric army versus Space Marines the assault doctrine (typically does not occur prior to turn 3) coupled with at least an AP1 melee weapon (effectively AP2) helps dampen the benefit of