Welcome to the Eternal Crusade! This book has been something people wanted for four editions and to see it finally happen has gotten a lot of people rather excited and both new and old are going to be digging into the codex. As such I'm going to endevour to keep this updated with changes as they happen so this first post can be relevant for some time to come. If any sections change they'll be marked with the date they were last updated, as will the title of the thread.
Who are the Black Templars?
A second founding chapter hailing from the lineage of Rogal Dorn and first led by the first Captain of the VII Legion Sigismund, the first Emperor's Champion the Black Templars are not known for walking in the footsteps of the Imperial Fists or even paying basic lip service to the Codex Astartes. They organize into squads not based on length of service or specific assignment, but rather common cause and the needs of the mission.
But you're not here to find out some rote description anyone could read off a wiki, so I present the words of Baldemort (Sigismund the First Templar, Aug 27, 2021
) instead for he has done the chapter more justice in a few short minutes of description than I could far more words:
"It is often said that the Ultramarines are the most numerous, have over sixty percent or more of all Space Marines before the Indomitus Crusade and the Primaris Marines. It is said that they have held the walls of the Imperium for all that time. For ten thousand years. It is said that they are the true defenders of the Imperium. That without them, the Ultramarines, that the Imperium would have fallen. Aye, maybe. Hard to refute by way of logistics. A good defense is key after all. But I would like to pose another vision:
The Imperium stands today due to the Eternal Crusade! For the best defense is not the best offense, the best offense is the best defense. Fight them on their ground, in their space. Ravage their worlds. Strike first. Strike hard.
The Ultramarines are professional soldiers
. They are trained and organized, but they are not knights
! They are not the burning fire that frees nations and eradicates dictators. The Ultramarines hold the walls; it is the Black Templars who sally out! And I say the forces of Chaos, Xenos
, Heretic, Mutant, and Witch have not eroded the Imperium because they have been on the back foot. Because of the Eternal Crusade!
The Black Templars are one of the most efficient recruiting and training factions within the Imperium. Their losses are staggering, but their war is eternal. Just think of how many enemies of the Imperium they have taken down. Taken out. Neutralized before they ever smashed against the walls of Ultramarines chapters. They equip their men with vast factorums within their vessels. They recruit the best from where ever they purge and move on. They are trained in the crucible of battle. The Crusade is as every bit as efficient as Ultramar, and every rapacious as any splinter from a Hive Fleet of Tyranids.
They come. They see. They conquer. They move on! This. This is why the Imperium still stands! This! Because the Black Templars leave the Ultramarines and the others to defend the Imperium. For them the Scouring never ended. As the Great Crusade never ended. It was not complete. And it is only the Black Templars who keep the fires of the Crusade alive. It is only the Black Templars who are true to the wishes of the Emperor. And it is only the Black Templars who keep the Emperor's dream alive!"
Why Play Black Templars?
There should be only one reason to play the Templars: because they set your soul alight with the flames of zeal and you wish to bring the Emperor's wrath down upon the foe, but if you're just here for a more competetive breakdown I'll do my best. Black Templars have all the strengths of Codex: Space Marines, minus Librarians of course, along with six unique datasheets, six extra warlord traits, six extra litanies, several relics, as well as Vows which supplement the Doctrines from the codex by providing bonuses to the army (along with drawbacks as well). They are more melee focused than the vanilla codex fitting them in with the ranks of Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and White Scars geneseed chapters, though less focused on hit and run tactics or punishing the opponent for daring to get too close but rather they're more about the sustained assault where they can grind the foe down through a sustained assault.
Black Templars are one of the two loyalist chapters who can drown the opponent in ceramite (the other being Space Wolves), this build being classically refered to as the "Black Tide", and even with Primaris we can take 60 bodies in Crusader Squads for less than you would if you took 60 Intercessors or Tactical Marines thanks to both variants of Crusader squads being supplemented with Neophytes who hit just as hard as the Initiates do in melee despite being less armored and having worse leadership (Firstborn Neophytes also have one less wound). This build best exists as a form of skew list, but it's incredibly striking to see on the table and is a long time favorite of many older players for the visual it creates.
For the purposes of the breakdown I'll be covering both the supplement and the codex, discussing everything relevant to the army as completely as I can and describing the roles those items can fill. This is not to grade the competitive nature of any item as looking at how strong something is on paper alone can lead to overlooking potential choices and combos for specific list building or playstyles strictly because those things aren't "competitive" on paper.
If you want to be the best (or just win games more often) you can't just rely on what looks to be the best on paper, you need to be willing to experiment, try new things and look past the obvious stuff in the book and think about the roles various units can fill and flex into them as the meta shifts over time. So that's what I aim to do here.
Sadly due to the main codex being a tome capable of knocking out a Warlord Titan if dropped on it I won't be deep diving into the codex proper. I will try and touch onto some of the things that stand out to me from there, but there is no timely way to break that codex down in its entirety in a timely manner, so I suggest that after getting a feel for the Black Templar supplement that you take some time looking at the codex again with the special rules and options we have in mind.
Righteous Zeal: Re-roll advance and charge rolls for units with this tactic; ignore wounds inflicted by mortal wounds on a 5+
A strong bonus allowing us to make it into combat sooner and more consistently and giving us much needed protection from moral wounds, something that has become increasingly prevalent as the ways to generate mortal wounds increases in the game. Also one of the chapter's sources of anti-psyker protection by blunting any mortal wound generating power the psyker is able to get off.
Anyone familiar with Codex: Space Marine supplements will be familiar with the idea of "super doctrines", but for those looking at Black Templars as their first Marine army: Codex: Space Marine supplements usually have special doctrines for the chapter that the army gets in addition to any other bonus from Doctrines that the army would get that turn.
Black Templars don't get those. Instead they get one of four Vows chosen at the end of the Read Mission Briefing step (so after both players have constructed their lists and the board has been set up). There are also some ways to trigger a unit to gain an additional vow and unless otherwise stated both the effects of the Vow and Passion apply to that unit. This means if you have a unit under two Vows for any reason they'd also be restricted by the Passions that come with those vows.
Suffer Not the Unlean to Live: Each time a model in a unit with this vow makes an modified melee to-hit roll of 6 against a non-Vehicle unit the attack automatically wounds the target.
Passion: Each time a unit with this Vow declares a charge they must charge the nearest unengaged by Black Templar units non-Aircraft unit within 12".
Previously the Knights of Sigismund special rule this bonus is back to help Templars hunt Orks, Wraith Constructs, Tau Suits, Plague Marines and Tyranid monsters. Best paired with as many bonus attacks as you can bring this makes it easier to drag high toughness models down through volume of attacks. Doesn't work against vehicles, and comes with a harsh stipulation to charge specific targets that could force you to fail charges by being required to declare long charges you can't make due to engaged units being in the way this requires a meta of big stompy things, and a lot of careful movement. Probably best against Death Guard since their slower movement means it's harder for them to manipulate your charges as easily if you're trying to get as much of your army engaged as possible.
Uphold the Honour of the Emperor: Models with this vow have a 5++ and can't be wounded on unmodified to-wound rolls of 1-2.
Passion: Units with this vow can't gain the benefits of cover against enemy attacks.
One of the obvious winners of the book and likely to be seen in most lists (unless GW
nerfs it to not apply to vehicles in the future) since it gives a much needed invulnerable save to our vehicle options, as well as allowing us to never be AP'd out of a save like many other chapters can. The diet version of Transhuman across the entire army only adds to the durability by making it harder to wound us. Also pairs well with Crusader squads of either type since they're not likely to be able to get cover due to their size, allowing them to weather more punishment while they move in to punch the enemy in the face. With chainswords.
The inability to benefit from any kind of cover means that you'll need to play smarter around controlling line of sight to your units. Additionally this turns off camo cloaks completely since those require you to "recieve the benefits of cover" so be aware if you like to run Scout Squads, Eliminators or other Phobos units in your crusade.
Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch: Once per battle during the first movement phase, if there are any Psyker units in the opponent's army units with this vow may add 3" to their movement characterstic. Each time a model in this unit makes a melee unit against a Psyker unit re-roll to-wound roll of 1.
Passion: Units within 18" of an enemy psyker can't perform actions.
Highly situational, but great for getting a jump on armies like Thousand Sons and Grey Knights (or Eldar) who like to bring a number of psykers this helps us punch them harder as well. Not the strongest ability we have, but the re-roll to-wound rolls of 1 can free us up from needing to bring Castellans for the re-roll in a psyker heavy meta. If you think you might need to take this one just don't choose secondaries that require actions to gain points to prevent your opponent from gaming your list out of points.
Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds: Units in engagement range of enemy units gain the benefit of the Assault Doctrine instead of the active doctrine. Each time the unit fights add 1 to the attacks characteristic of models in the unit. This does not stack with bonus attacks from Shock Assault.
Passion: Units with this vow can't fall back.
If you aren't taking this vow, you'll be finding ways to turn it on if only for the ability to flex into the Assault Doctrine while the army remains in the Tactical Doctrine, but the ability to get bonus attacks during multiple turns spent in combat is always a win making this a great vow for when we need to grind down the enemy in melee through volume of attacks (looking at you Orks, Necrons). The inability to fall back can, and likely will, get units killed, or just let the opponent keep feeding units into combat with our engaged units while they run around scoring points elsewhere.
Devout Push: No longer allows us to drift into combat, but still provides a double pile in, or the ability to grab objectives on your opponent's fight phase.
Vicious Riposte: Potential mortal wounds back while dying in combat. Situational, and possibly best popped on full sized Crusader squads rushing into melee blender units like Incubi.
Crusader's Wrath: Army must be in the Assault Doctrine during your command phase to activate, but if you do until the start of your following command phase to-wound rolls of 6 increase the AP of pistol and melee weapons used by 1 which stacks with the Assault Doctrine. Ever want Astartes Chainswords that can cleave at -3AP? This is how you do it.
For the Emperor's Honour: Force an enemy character to fight one of your characters in engagement range until the end of the fight phase. Ever want to force Abbadon to fight your Emperor's Champion like your channeling Sigismund himself? Best used to force beat stick characters to attack a character while a larger unit buries it in attacks.
Allows a Black Templar Chaplain to automatically inspire a litany they know, and then recite one additional litany. Keep 2CP on the side for this one because with the army's reliance on Chaplains (at the least our reliance on Grimaldus) it's good to be able to use this one at a moment's notice to ensure that we can get a key litany off when we really need it. With 13 total litanies chances are there is at least one that'll support how you want to play so being able to use them at will is always worth the CP
, much less the ability to then attempt to get a second litany off as well.
Revered Repositories: A Sergeant or Sword Brother model can get one of the following relics: Witchseeker Bolts, Sword of Judgement, Skull of the Cacodminus, Master-crafted weapon, Digital weapon. We can only use this stratagem once, and we can't use it to give a model two relics, or duplicate an existing relic but this still allows some great flexibility in the army.
Heir of Sigismund:
A Black Templar Character that is not named character who is your warlord can have a second warlord trait, but it must be taken from the Black Templars Warlord Traits table and you can't take the same trait twice. Ever want to see how hard you can make a heretic explode? Wonder no more because the answer is here for 1 CP
Champion of the Feast: Choose a Sergeant or Sword Brother in your army add 1 to the mode's attacks and wound's characteristic and improve their weapon skill by 1. RIP. AND. TEAR. Templar edition. Expect to see this on Bladeguard Veteran Sergeants, Terminator Sergeants, or on Vanguard Veteran Sergeants just to ensure that the maximum amount of pain is dished out.
Abhor the Witch: If an enemy psyker within 24" of a Black Templar unit passes a psychic test and a Deny the Witch attempt is made, deny that power on a 4+. Still strong, but less strong against Grey Knights and Thousand Sons who have ways of preventing you from deny their powers.
Tenacious Assault: 4+ to prevent an enemy Infantry or Beast unit from falling back. We like being in combat, this keeps them from leaving combat. Everybody wins. The enemy wins death, but a prize is still a prize, right?
Strength of Conviction: Objective secured for a Black Templar unit until your next command phase. Endless possibilities of denial with this one, especially with durable units like Bladeguard Veterans or Thunderhammer/Stormshield Terminators who will force the enemy to work harder than they want to shift them back off the objective.
The Emperor's Will: A Black Templars Infantry unit that Advanced this turn can shoot with Pistol, Rapid Fire or Assault weapons, and Assault weapons do not gain a penalty to hit from Advancing. Move fast and shoot like you're taking a Sunday stroll. Always a win.
Shock and Awe: You you like Land Raider Crusaders? Good. This lets you make a normal move with a Land Raider Crusader and then disembark the unit inside. The unit won't be able to move again after disembarking that phase, but it can still charge later in the turn meaning you can drive up a Land Raider, unload Terminators or your other favorite Firstborn melee unit into the enemy lines and start smashing face.
Exemplars of the Crusade:
Choose a Sword Brethren
unit during the Fight Phase. Until the end of the phase when models in that unit roll an unmodified 6 to hit scores 1 additional hit. For context Sword Brethren have 3 attacks base, which means a unit of 10 with Astartes Chainswords can do 50 attacks a turn (3 base + 1 Chainsword + 1 for Shock Assault/Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds) averaging 41.33 hits without re-rolls (33.33 hits + 8 bonus hits). Obviously less appealing the less attacks you get, but even the base 30 attacks the unit can throw out should still see 5 bonus hits on average making this well worth the CP
Costs 2 CP
if the unit has the Mk. X Gavis keyword, otherwise costs 1. Basically flame weapons in the unit gain the benefits of Blast: against units of 6-10 models do a minimum of 3 attacks, and against units of 11+ models make the maximum number of attacks. 2 CP
for a unit of 3 Flamestorm Aggressors to do 36 flamer hits automatically? Well worth it if you need to thin some hordes.
Shooting phase only. Astartes Shotguns in the unit become Damage 2. While this seems like the best pick for this might be a Crusader squad as you can bring 8 in the Primaris Crusader Squad or 10 in the Crusader Squad, this is probably best used on the humble Scout Squad. 10 shotguns and the ability to be dropped near the enemy or stuff 5 into a Land Speeder Storm is more a better place to spend the CP
since they can more readily get into the enemy lines and put the shotguns to use early game unlike Neophytes in Crusader squads.
Honor the Chapter: Assault Intercessor Squad in engagement range can fight again. Probably the biggest reason to take Assault Intercessors over the cheaper Crusade Squads beyond the ability to run them in smaller numbers in an Impulsor.
Are you taking Primaris? Then you're using this. Costs 1 CP
for units of 5 or less, and 2 CP
otherwise. Great for keeping large bricks of Primaris Crusaders alive thanks to forcing your opponent to not wound on better than a 4+.
Rapid Fire: Intercessor or Veteran Intercessor Squad from the army can shoot again. If you're taking Intercessors or Veteran Intercessors then it's worth keeping this in mind. Especially if you need to clear a screen so a nearby melee unit can charge a key target instead of being forced to charge what's left of the screening unit.
Gene-wrought Might: A Primaris unit selected to fight automatically wounds on to-hit rolls of an unmodified 6. We get this as a vow, but not only does this work on vehicles, but it doesn't come with a Passion that restricts where units charge and should always be kept as a option when dealing with tougher enemy models that you need to force as many saves on as possible each turn.
Power of the Machine Spirit: Essential to keep around if you plan on running Land Raider Crusaders, but also good on Repulsors (if Repulsors ever come down in points).
Wisdom of the Ancients: if you're running a Dreadnought it's worth keeping this in mind as a way to flex into helping core units within 6" re-roll hit rolls or wound rolls of 1. Great for any army, but even better for Black Templars who can trade those Castellans away for more Chaplains if you keep this in your back pocket.
and you auto-inspire one litany that hasn't been recited by a friendly model this turn. That's right, we have two
ways to force litanies through any turn we want.
Steady Advance: Only useful for counting stationary after a normal move, this still allows you to get heavy weapons tucked away in Infantry squads moved into better position without sacrificing your ability to hit the opponent.
Adaptive Strategy: Always handy to keep around since it allows us to flex a core unit into all the doctrines. More situational since we can take a vow to be in the Assault Doctrine while in melee, but worth having for those games we need a different vow.
Orbital Bombardment: You don't even have to use this one but rather remind your opponent that you have it before rolling off before deployment to force them to not castle up. And if they do castle up, drop hell on them.
Shock and Awe:
Yes, there really are TWO stratagems with the same name. Good job GW
. Lets us turn off Overwatch for a unit within 6" of a unit with the Adeptus Astartes Shock Grenades
or Land Speeder Storm
keywords and then force that unit to subtract -1 to hit until te start of our next turn. Probably not going to see use unless we're running Shotgun Scouts in a Storm, but worth knowing about due to GW
naming two stratagems the same thing.
Smokescreen: Important for one reason: Firstborn Crusader Squads with any Neophytes in them have the Smokescreen keyword and can force a -1 to hit against the unit shooting them giving the Crusader squad a bit more durability since their Neophytes only have 1 wound each.
Before diving into the litanies proper, there are two things worth noting: a Chaplain can only know Litanies of the Devout (from the Black Templar supplement) OR Litanies of Battle (from Codex: Space Marines). They can NOT mix and match litanies, so if you want both you'll need two different Chaplains. And Grimaldus only takes Litanies of the Devout. This does not apply to Litany of Hate which all Chaplains still get as normal.
Litany of Divine Protection: One Black Templars Core or Character unit within 6" of the Priest gains a 5+ FnP. Not my first pick, but if you want you can make a 20 man Primaris Crusader Squad have a 5++/5+++ and be unable to be wounded on 1s/2s. Nurgle eat your pus-filled heart out.
Psalm of Remorseless Persecution: One Black Templars core unit within 6" making melee attacks does 1 mortal wound when rolling to-wound rolls of an unmodified roll of 6. Maximum 6. Great on units with high volumes of attacks like 20 deep bricks of Crusaders with Chainswords, or 10 model units of Sword Brethren with chainswords.
Plea of Deliverance: Black Templars Core or Character unit within 6" of the Priest stops being affected by ANY psychic powers and are not affected by ANY psychic powers until the start of your next command phase. Useful for shutting down smite engines, but also fun for team games since you can look your partner dead in the eyes and shut off the buffs they gave you because you don't need their dirty witch powers.
Fires of Devotion: Black Templars core or character unit within 6" of the Priest adds 1 to the attacks characteristics of models in the unit. Want to do 60 Chainsword attacks with 10 Sword Brethren? How about double piling in a Primaris Crusader Squad and doing 100 attacks? Chainsword go brrrrrr indeed. Pair with Gene-wrought might if you need to get past high toughness values and watch things melt under the bucket of dice they'll need to roll for saves.
A Black Templars Core or Character unit gains an additional Vow. RAW
this does not end, nor does it prevent you from stacking all four vows onto a single unit. I expect an FAQ
on this, but until then enjoy seeing if you can get all four litanies onto a unit of Sword Brethren in a single game. Hard mode is to not use EITHER stratagem to force litanies to go off when doing this.
Oath of Glory: Priest can fight first if it's in engagement range at the start of the fight phase, Crozius, artificier Corzius or Relics that replace Crozius do 2 additional hits on to-hit rolls of unmodified 6s, priest gains +1 strength.
Catechism of Fire: <Chapter> Core or Character within 6 of the Priest. If you want to maximize your shooting, this helps by forcing more wounds through by adding +1 to wound rolls if the unit shoots the closest target. Great for units that can maximize their shooting to clear screens or force elite units to take more saves.
Exhortation of Rage: <Chapter> Core or Character within 6" of the Priest. +1 to wound in melee? This is one of the biggest reasons to take the Litanies from the codex since we can throw buckets of attacks but don't innately wound or hit easier.
Recitation of Focus: <Chapter> Core or Character withing 6" of the Priest gets +1 to hit when shooting. Pair with Catechism of Fire to maximize your output.
Canticle of Hate: <Chapter> Core or Character unit within 6" of the Priest gets +2" to charge, and an additional 3" when piling in. Pair with Devout Push to allow you to move up to 12" by piling in 6" twice. The other big reason to take the codex litanies since it makes charges easier, allows us to really push into the enemy lines, or completely encircle the enemy unit with a large Crusader squad.
Note: The Emperor's Champion doesn't have a set Warlord trait but can choose any of the Black Templars Warlord Traits.
Epitome of Piety: Allows your warlord to attempt to deny one psychic power as if they were a psyker, and gives them +1 to deny. Grimaldus' trait (the servitors don't count as the Warlord for the purpose of the trait). Good second trait, or a trait to put onto a character who isn't your warlord via a stratagem, but not my first pick unless you constantly see Psykers in your meta, or Grimaldus is in charge.
Paragon of Fury
: After the Warlord completes a charge they gain +1 strength and roll a D6 for each enemy model in Engagement Range of it and on a 5+ the enemy suffers a mortal wound. RAW
they don't stop gaining strength each time they charge since it doesn't have an end state, but that is likely to change in the future. Until then enjoy the additional 2-3 points of strength you can likely pick up every game.
Master of Arms: If the Warlord is in engagement range of any enemy units it fights first. Additionally the Warlord has +1 added to their attack characteristic (no this doesn't trigger more than once). Decent as a second trait if you're double dipping traits for a warlord, or as a way to let the Emperor's Champion reap more when using their Sweep Attack.
Inspirational Fighter (Aura)
: Black Templar Core units within 6" of the warlord making a melee attack improve their AP characteristic by 1 on an unmodified roll of a 6. This stacks with the Assualt Doctrine. This does not say it stacks with Crusader's Wrath which might be worth an FAQ
. If it can enjoy your -4AP Chainswords.
Front-Line Commander: +1 advance and charge rolls for the warlord, additionally each time a Black Templars Core unit declares a charge against a unit that the Warlord is in engagement with add +1 to their charge roll. Helbrecht's trait. Good for Helbrecht, though less synergistic. Good thing for Helbrecht that units generally want to follow him into combat thanks to his other rules.
Oathkeeper: Warlord is eligible to heroically intervene 6" horizontally and 5" vertically and can heroically intervene up to 6". Great for Larping as a Space Wolf.
Imperium's Sword: Warlord re-rolls charges (we already do that), and if the Warlord made a charge move or heroic intervention in the same turn it fights (and until the fight is resolved) the Warlord adds +1 to their strength and attacks characteristics. Pair this with Master of Arms or Paragon of Fury to stack further attack or strength bonuses on this and gain either a free shoulder check on the charge or a fight first ability.
Iron Resolve: +1 wound, 6+++. Situationally good on a secondary warlord character like a Castellan.
Champion of Humanity: No. Just take an Emperor's Champion instead.
Rites of War (Aura): <Chapter> Core or Character within 6" of the Warlord gains objective secured. Good for sticking on a Chaplain who hangs out with Sword Brethren, Terminators or Bladeguard. Better as a secondary warlord trait though so there is less of an incentive for your opponent to go after this character first.
Crusader's Helm: +3" to aura abilities (max 9"), in your command phase one Black Templars Core unit within 9" is considered to be in the Assault Doctrine until your next assault phase. More situational now that the entire army can slip into the Assault Doctrine by getting into engagement range under the correct vow, but still a good choice if you need to stretch out an aura of re-rolls across more combats.
Witchseeker Bolts: Special bolter ammo that lets the bearer make a single bolter shot that ignores Look Out Sir for when targetting Psykers and does d3 mortal wounds on a successful hit roll in addition to any additional damage. Best paired with an Eliminator Sergeant to let you reach out and touch a psyker before they can be a real threat.
The Aurillian Shroud:
Once per game you can unveil the shroud during your command phase, granting the bearer an aura of 4++ to Black Templars Core Infantry units within 3" until the start of your next Combat Phase. Put it on a character between two large blocks of Crusaders and force your opponent to be unable to
Chaplain rolls one additional dice when attempting a litany and discards the lowest. Great choice for a support chaplain to ensure they can get litanies off without spending CP
(or being Grimaldus).
Skull of the Cacodominus (Aura): Enemy psykers within 12" have -1 to their psychic tests and suffer a perils on a roll of any double. Additionally once per battle you can unveal the skull to gain an ADDITIONAL aura of -1 to psychic tests with a range of 18". Yes they do stack. And yes Grey Knights lost their +1 to cast bonus army trait in this last codex update. Enjoy making them fail to cast more often. Against Thousand Sons it merely resets them back to their roll (assuming no other bonuses) since they get an innate +1 to cast.
Sword of Judgement: S+3, AP-3, D3 sword that replaces a Power Sword, Master-crafted Power Sword, or Relic Blade. If you're making a beatstick you're probably taking this. Or using the bit off the upgrade sprue to replace the Judiciar's sword with something more chapter appropiate.
Adamantine Mantle: Bearer gains a 5+++. I'm not especially fussed about this one with all the other ways we have to buff durability (plus I'd rather take the Sword of Judgement), but if you need to keep a character alive it's an option to up their durability.
Artificer Armour: Bearer gets a 2+/5++ save. Not bad, but Indomitus Armour also gives a 2+ and we can get a 5++ from one of the vows so this is more if you want a better save for a second model and the first already took the Indomitus Armour.
Master-Crafted Weapon: One model the bearer has (that does not have the Master-crafted word in it's profile) gains +1 damage. Best paired with the new autoplasma or autoflamer since it applies to both profiles for maximum effect.
Digital Weapons: Bearer gains +1 additional attack using the close combat profile in the core rulebook. If it hits the target suffers a moral wound and that attack sequence ends. Splash mortals each attack isn't bad (especially if you hit on 2+) but I feel like this prevents us from taking some of our more interesting weapon options. Probably best on a Sergeant if at all.
Aquila Immortalis: +1 to bearer's toughness and attacks characteristics. Not going to lie, for a pure buff relic I do like this one since if both makes the bearer harder to kill and ups their fighting potential. Stack with the warlord traits to up the number of attacks the bearer gets to add +3 to the bearer's base profile and blend away!
Perdition's Edge: S+3, AP-2, D2 weapon that replaces the Power axe or master-crafted power axe. Also does 2 mortal wounds on an unmodified to-hit roll of a 6 (and then ending the attack sequence). Nice option if you like power axes and lots of attacks.
Breath of the Throne: Combi-flamer or auto-flamer replacement with 12" range, Assault D3+3, S5, AP-1, D2. It's a heavy flamer that hits at least 4 times each time it shoots. Not bad, but not my first choice for any model really.
Tannhauser's Bones: Each time an attack is allocated to the bearer the damage characteristic of that attack is reduced to 1. Great for making characters that your opponent just can't kill easilly, but watch out for buckets of dice being thrown your way since you'll still go down to massed failed saves.
Benediction of Fury: S+2, AP-2, D3, unmodified to-wound rolls of 6 inflict 1 mortal wound in addition to normal damage. Replaces a Crozius Acranum and is best on a more aggressive Chaplain who is expecting to end up in combat.
Reliquary of Gathalamor (Aura): Enemy Psykers in 18" have -1 for psychic tests and if they fail roll a d6, on a 4+ they suffer D3 mortal wounds. Pair with the Skull of the Cacodominus to create a -3 to psychic tests for a turn and force psykers to not cast or suffer a potential D3 mortal wounds.
Standard of the Emperor Ascendant: +3" to the bearer's Astartes banner ability, and allows you to re-roll moral tests for <Chapter> core units within the range of the banner's ability. Great for supporting large Crusader squads and ensuring models don't break as easilly.
Teeth of Terra: S+1, Ap-3, D2, +3 attacks for the bearer and now available to Primaris Castellans thanks to the new wargear options!
The Armour Indomitus: +1 wound, 2+ save, once per game 3++ until the end of phase. The classic for characters you want to keep alive in the thick of it, now even better since the army can have an always on 5++.
The Burning Blade: S+3, Ap-5, D2 and replaces a power sword or master-crafted power sword. Honestly just not as good as the Sword of Judgement since D3 is more relevant than D2 thanks to the numerous ways of reducing damage, as well as many things you'd want to use the AP-5 on having an invulnerable save negating at least 2 points of AP.
The Shield Eternal: Replaces a storm shield, relic shield or combat shield. Grants a 4++, adds +1 to the bearer's armour save, and grants a 5+++. If you need to create an anvil this is a solid way to do it. Less good to give to the Primaris Captain with a Relic Shield since he has a 4++ already, but still a good pick if you need to add a layer of durability to a model.
The Vox Espiritum: No. Take the Crusader's Helm. It does what this does plus has a bonus ability.
Tome of Malcador: Put it on the pyre.
Available to a Black Templars army as long as it contains at least one Black Templars Chaplain unit this allows us to sprinkle up to eight additional relics into our army for a small points cost per relic. Each Black Templars Core Infantry or Black Templars Biker unit may only have one of the relics, none of the relics may be duplicated and the model must be distinct but does NOT have to be the unit's Sergeant or Sword Brethren meaning we can still take other relics in on them. The designer's note in the codex recommends using some of the unique bits in the Chapter Upgrade kit to represent these relics.
Beastpyre: 15", Assault D6, S6, AP-2, D1 BLAST replacing a flamer or Pyreblaster. +10 points. As much as I love flamers, especially ones with ridiculously good statlines and rules like BLAST, no. Not for +20 points over the cost of an initiate for buy the Pyreblaster AND this upgrade to it. This is great, but honestly I'd rather take something else more affordable so I can take another Initiate or Neophyte instead.
Bones of Mordred: Each time the bearer makes a melee attack on a to-wound roll of an unmodified 6 the bearer inflicts +1 mortal wound in addition to normal damage. +10 points. Overcosted at this price since it's not going on a character model and if you go all out and get 6 attacks with a Chainsword Sword Brethren you'll average 1 mortal wound. Pass at this cost.
The Crux Obsidian: Attacks allocated to the bearer subtract 1 from the damage characteristic (to a minimum of 1). +15 points. Nice upgrade for a Storm Shield terminator or for a Sergeant you want to live after the rest of the squad has died. Be careful though because even if you pass the saves that model must keep making saves, meaning your opponent can bait this out and then use lower strength weapons to force you to fail saves by weight of dice.
Fist of Balthus: Power fist replacement with Sx2, AP-3, D3. +10 points. Hits harder than a Thunderhammer, and has no penalty to hit. Enjoy casting fist with this as the bonuses are definitely worth the points bump.
Holy Orb: Once per battle the bearer can select one enemy unit within 6" and visible to the bearer. Roll one D6 and on a 2+ that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds. ADDITIONALLY, even if the mortal wounds fail, the target unit fights last. Note that because this is NOT a grenade you can throw it into combat, the bearer's or someone else's! At +15 points it's pricey but worth the points since it's more reliable than the Judiciar's aura and it frees up an Elite slot for other options.
Icon of Heinmann: Attacks allocated to the bearer with AP-1 or -2 become AP0 instead. +15 points. Pricey, easy to bait out so best left on a unit with good invuls, likely on Bladeguard or Stormshield/Thunderhamer Terminators.
Light of the Emperor's Grace: +1 Leadership for models in the unit, bearer gains an aura of -1 to psychic tests for psykers in 12". That's right, we can stack up to -4 to psychic tests within 12" for a whole +10 points for this and two more relics (one of which can be taken on a Sergeant or Sword Brethren). Even the aura of -3 can force psykers to give you a wide berth in order to avoid the increased chances of perils and getting hit with mortal wounds for failing to cast. If you go this route take all three on biker models so you can use your increased mobility to hunt witches.
Sigismund's Seal: Nominate an enemy unit on the battle field, each time a melee attack is made by the bearer's unit against the target unit you gain re-roll to hit and re-roll to wound for those melee attacks. Good, but good luck getting your opponent to let you connect with your beatstick unit. At +20 points I'd skip this one completely honestly.
Chapter Approved Rules
Bathe your Blade in the Blood of Your Foe: Select a Black Templars character and your opponent selects a character (if either character doesn't have a character they instead select their Warlord). Score 5 points at the end of the battle for each of the following conditions: 1. Enemy character was destroyed. 2. Enemy character was destroyed as a results of a melee attack. 3. The Black Templar who was chosen was the one who made the attack that destroyed the enemy character.
I'm not going to lie, this is a fun one to pick, but it's not a competitive one since your opponent can play around it to deny you the points. So great for casual/narrative games, less great if you want to win a tournament.
Allow Not the Worhship of Unclean Idols: Score 4 points at the end of the Battle Round if you control one or more objective markers that were controlled by your opponent at the start of the Battle Round AND a Black Templars Chaplain is within range of that objective marker. I'm going to be honest: unless you're maxing out all your Chaplain options, no. And even if you are, still no. This requires you to go second to even score it with any amount of consistency and even then you'd need to have Chaplains right next to the enemy unit you just pushed off the objective meaning they won't likely be alive to help claim it back again next turn. Basically this is a worse (albeit thematic) Shock Tactics. Skip it outside of special scenario narrative games with friends.
Carry Out Your Vows: 4 victory points at the end of the Battle Round if you destroyed more enemy units via melee attacks than they destroyed friendly Black Templars units (max 12 points this way) with an additional +3 Victory Points at the end of the battle if you complete an objective based on the vow you chose.
This one will put you on a Crusade to complete, much less even attempt to max successfully. It's not bad, but it's hard and will fail spectacularly against some match ups. Great for fun, but don't count on it for tournament play.
Oaths of Moment: Score Victory Points per oath completed each battle round (destroy an enemy character, vehicle or monster for 1VP; don't fail a morale test or fall back for 1VP; score 2VP if an Adeptus Astartes unit from your army is wholly within 6" of the centre of the battlefield). Popular for a reason since it buffs Marines for being Marines, but definitely a must have for Templars who have to avoid any action based secondaries due to one of our vows (or alternatively never use that vow). A standard for most matched play games for sure.
Black Templars Armoury
Thanks to the new models and upgrade sprue Black Templars get options not available other chapter as detailed below. These options are in addition to any options that exist on the respective datasheets in Codex: Space Marines.
Black Templars Primaris Captain who is not equipped with a master-crafted power sword, it's bolt pistol and master-crafted auto bolt rifle can be replaced with one of the following:
1 auto-flamer and 1 master-crafted power-sword
1 auto-flamer and 1 master-crafted power axe
1 auto-plasma and 1 master-crafted power-sword
1 auto-plasma and 1 master-crafted power axe
I'm more partial to the auto-flamer since it can be swapped for a relic if you want, but it also means you can use the "Oh Emprah, he crusadin'" Castellan model as a Marshal.
Black Templars Primaris Lieutenant can replace their master-crafted auto bolt rifle with: 1 combi-flamer and 1 master-crafted power axe to represent the Blanche Castellan, or they can trade their bolt pistol and master-crafted auto bolt rifle for one of the following:
1 heavy bolt pistol and 1 Astartes Chainsword
1 heavy bolt pistol and 1 master-crafted power sword
1 auto-plasma and 1 Astartes Chainsword
1 auto-plasma and 1 master-crafted power sword
You may remember that I mentioned the Teeth of Terra some time back, this is why: one model from the Sword Brethren can instead be built as a Castellan which allows them to have a chainsword which can be upgraded to the Teeth of Terra relic for maximum Crusading! Regardless of what load out you go with for melee, I'm more partial to the heavy bolt pistol, though for shootier Templar players the auto-plasma will likely look decent. Additionally since the Castellan is still a Primaris Lieutenant, that means you can take two in a single force org slot giving even more options!
Black Templars Gladiator Lancer, Gladiator Reapers, Gladiator Valiant, Impulsor or Repulsor Executioners have the following option:
If this model is not equipped with an ironhail heavy stubber it can be equipped with 1 multi-melta.
Black Templars Repulsors have the following option:
Instead of being equipped with an ironhail heavy stubber, this model can be equipped with 1 multi-melta.
Honestly this option looks most attractive on the Impulsor who can be put into an army with a free 5++ (via Vow) and instead take a Bellicatus Missile Array for additional fire support for the army to give your units a decent little gunboat escort that's far more affordable than our other Primaris transport options right now.
High Marshal Helbrecht
Crossed the Rubricon, starting bringing around his attendants to keep the blood of the foe from staining his armour and making sure he always looks good for a holopict. Now sporting EIGHT wounds and 6 attacks base (plus his attendants can make no more than 2 additional attacks with their cleaning rags at S3, Ap0, D1 to humiliate the enemy if they die to it) his bolt rifle brings a melta gun that always damages like it's in half range, and the Sword of the High Marshals can either make twelve attacks at S+2, Ap-3, D1 or make his standard 6 attacks at Sx2, AP-3, D3. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!
Helbrecht has retained the Crusade of Wrath (giving +1 Strength to Black Templar Core units in 6" of him), and comes with the Rites of Battle and Chapter Master rules we normally see paired on Chapter Masters these days. Basically he's 160 points of beat stick who makes the Templars around him hit harder and will likely see a place in many armies.
Also crossed the Rubricon, Grimaldus has gone up to 5 wounds, 4 attacks, and now acts as a single unit with his servitors (who must have attacks to allocated to them first with 1 wound each making the total wound count for the unit 7). As the servitors die you lose the relics they hold (Banner: d3+3" Advance rolls; Remnant: 6+++ to units within 6"; Sceptre: Grimaldus gains +1 when attempting to incite a litany).
Grimaldus still shares his Ld9 out in a 6" bubble to other units, and once per game he can attempt to stand back up on a 4+ the first time he dies with 3 wounds remaining (because he is too angry to die) and he can attempt to deny one psychic power as if he were a psyker (as the warlord he does it twice, otherwise he only can do it once).
All in all it looks like a great bundle for 140 points but there is a major issue right now: RAW
Grimaldus counts as 4 characters for Assassinate because the Servitros don't have their own keywords making them all characters. This needs a FAQ
or else poor Grim will have to be too angry to die...on the shelf.
The Emperor's Champion
No longer available in "Classic" flavors we only have the "New Coke" based on community reactions to the model. No longer forced to take a pre-set Warlord trait (and honestly none of them are great on him) he's 100 points of beatstick glory with 5 wounds and 5 attacks. Sadly he lost any rules pertaining to enemy Monsters but the Black Sword now comes in Sweeping (S+3, AP-3, D2) and Thrusting strike (Sx2, AP-4, D3, -1 to hit) flavors. No longer the mandatory inclusion he once was in the last codex, he will likely see inclusion in a number of lists for being a cheap beatstick who can go after enemy support characters like a slasher villian: and if he catches them chances are he's going to leave a horror scene behind afterwards.
Primaris Crusader Squad
Starting at around 178 points (depending on loadout) for 10 models (1 Sword Brother, 5 Initiates and 4 Neophytes) and able to go up to 20 models (1 Sword Brother, 11 Initiates, and 8 Neophytes) for 356 points (before paying for loadout options) they aren't as flexibile as the Firstborn Crusader Squad, but their Neophytes come with 2 wounds standard and the unit has the Primaris keyword allowing them access to Primaris only stratagems it's a not a weak option. The Iniitiates come standard with auto bolt-rifles for +1ppm, but can instead take heavy bolt pistols and Astartes chainswords for free (and 2 for every 10 models can take a power fists instead of a chainsword for +10ppm allowing you to put up to four power fists in a unit of 20). Neophytes come with regular bolt pistols and Astartes chainswords but can swap for Bolt carbines (24" range, Assault 2 bolter profile) or Astartes Shotguns (18" range, Assault 2 bolter profile) all of which are included in the Neophyte's point cost. The Sword Brother can have a Heavy Bolt Pistol and Power Sword or Power Axe. The Heavy Bolt Pistol can be exchanged for a Pyre pistol (Pistol D6, S3, AP-1, D1, autohits).
Honestly I like the squad tooled up for melee the most, but I have to say I am a little sad you can't use the extra power weapons from the sprue with the Initiates, nor can the Sword Brother take the weapon options available in the Sword Brother kit, or even a chainsword. I know that unit options are far more limited than they used to be (as we can see when looking at the classic Crusader Squad who can take so many wargear options that you could make a nigh infinite number units of them and never duplicate your load out from one unit to the next) but they were so close to greatness for what we're working with. That said the base of the squad leans into shooting or melee rather solidly and can perform both roles solidly and makes a good backbone for a Primaris crusade thanks to coming in cheaper than the Intercessor troop options thanks to the Neophytes in the squad.
5-20 models with Initiates now costing 18ppm, and Neophytes costing 13ppm they still have all the previous wargear options they had access to and benefit from the Smokescreen keyword. Initiates have 2 wounds, 1 attack base and Neophytes have 1 attack and 1 wound. They punch softer than Primaris Crusaders in terms of volume of dice, but their depth of options and tactical flexibility is going to keep them around for some time into the future, assuming GW
brings the upgrade set back.
Starting at 88 points for 4 models (putting them a mere 3ppm over Primaris Initiates) each model brings 2 wounds and 3 attacks to the table, and comes standard with a Heavy Bolt Pistol and Astartes Chainsword, but any number of them can have a powersword instead. The rest of the wargear options swap for the chainsword are limited to 1 per 9 models or less, or 2 if the unit contains 10 models:
2x Lighting Claws (it's one set that goes on one model)
Plasma Pistol (replaces Heavy Bolt Pistol instead)
Pyre Pistol (up to 2 models for 9 or less, up to 4 models at 10 models, replaces Heavy Bolt Pistol)
Looks like a mess, right? Here's the thing: the best way to this unit is to NOT go all in an all the special weapon options we have available and instead build around chainswords or power swords and take the one or two sets of the special weapons we need for the role we're flexing them into. Dealing with a lot of GEQ
hordes? Chainswords and Lighting Claws with Heavy Bolt Pistols. MEQ
? Power Swords, Lighting Claws, and possibly plasma pistols.
Basically our best use for this squad is to build for the sort of things we want to throw them at and ignore the other options. Those left over bits can be used in other squads to splash some alternate Templar weapons onto Sergeants, or you can magnetize the entire unit so you can always swap to whatever you need in this part of the meta cycle. It's a flexible unit that can be kitted up for any job and is the only unit in the supplement who is not affected by the Vow's Passion. Additionally they can also combat squad, making them the able to be taken in a unit of 10 and split up into two units with different jobs to keep our investment in slots down. They won't outfight Bladeguard or out manuever Vanguard Veterans, but they definitely have a place in most lists as a toolbox unit that can be used to handle a number of jobs, or just kept cheap with chainswords and thrown into enemy units where they can Rip and Tear like the best of them.