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Lord Malorne's Black Templar Tactica


Black Templar FAQ: http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_...th_Edition.pdf

Hello all my fellow crusaders, may your journey here be fruitful.

I have decided to do a breakdown of the Black Templars army. Everything hereafter is from experience, so may differ from your own views on the army.

A few things to remember, Black Templars still suffer from a last edition rule called ‘target priority’, AKA kill them all! this means they have to test to see if they can shoot at units that are not closest to them, if they are shooting at the closest enemy then no test is taken, nor is a test taken if it is a vehicle or monstrous creature, furthermore this test is taken at minus one to their leadership.

Righteous Zeal

One of the most important rules to a Black Templar player, whenever a Black Templar unit suffers at least one casualty, note Jump infantry are not bound to this rule, if the test is passed the unit surges forward 1D6 inch and if the test is failed they fall back…a double edged sword in a lot of cases (e.g. RZ off an objective, suffering one casualty and falling back, being out of enemy assault range and then RZ into range , and so on ), with the new no consolidate into enemies rule this special rule has become more of an annoyance to most players. Also not you do not have to move the maximum/full distance...it does not tell you to do so...so you can move 0.001 (basically touch the model and it will slightly move) so not too bad, it can be used if you think next time you will be out of assault range, crusader seals allow you to re-roll this result even if you rolled high,,,but since you can move 0.001 inch you should only re-roll if you want to get closer.

No Pity! No Remorse! No Fear!

This is a special rule which makes Black Templar units fearless in combat, which of course makes us susceptible to No retreat! But this is not as much a threat to us as it is to the horde armies out there with their low armour.


Right, the Black Templars vows (not in order).

Accept any Challenge, No Matter the Odds:

Normally a no brainer with how great 'accept any challenge' has become, allowing you to re-roll failed ‘to hit rolls’ in all rounds of combat, which is a great difference from the 4th ed's 3+ to hit which did not work on IC's, vehicles and monstrous creatures. So with the shift to 5th the versatility of this vow cannot be underestimated as this is a benefit to all games and not just armies with comparable skill (WS mostly), this of coarse has effected the usefulness of the chaplains litanies of hate, but you will still find uses for them. IMHO this is the vow to take.

Suffer Not the Unclean to Live:

Plus one strength at the expense of minus one initiative, this is a good vow as in most cases the loss of initiative is not that important compared to the benefit of easier to wound or to even penetrate tanks with their bare hands (truly the Black Templars are mighty!), the main reason someone would not take this vow I believe is because they could take the 'accept any challenge no matter the odds' vow instead. Second choice for vow.

Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch:

Abhor is a very limited vow that is not suited for an all comers list, it allows you to surge all units consolidate 1D6 inch towards the closest enemy unit in sight at the beginning of the game, before the first turn and before scouts, it also grants a 5+ save against psychic powers and immunity to minor psychic powers (which is pointless as there are no longer any minor psychic powers)…Only if the enemy army has a psyker. A very limited power and not of much use.

However, with the Grey Knights coming out, this may come in handy as they are all Pykers.

Uphold the Honour of the Emperor:

This vow means you can no longer benefit from cover…at all! But you gain a 6+ invulnerable and immunity to pinning, as the above a very specific and often useless vow. Something to note is these last two vows are cheaper than the other vows, but all in all not very desirable.


Now for wargear, pretty much the standard set up as most marine armies with a few exceptions, one of which is the holy orb of Antioch, this is a very nice item and can be useful (I have wiped out a five man squad with this before) cheap at 10 points but by no means a must have, crusader seal, in most cases free with a HQ these allow you to re-roll a RZ move which can be useful if moving off a objective you roll to high first time around or if you need to close the distance between the enemy (Tau are usually the culprit here), cenobyte servitors, gives you plus one to your RZ distance for each servitor, finally our last army book specific item is the blessed hull vehicle upgrade for LRC only, it basically ignores the Eldar and Dark Eldar Lance rule, which may prove more useful when the number of DE players increase with a new book, though a item not usually taken as it is an army specific upgrade.

Also of interest is that Black Templars have use of the smoke launchers, under some armies this is a 4+ cover save, not so for the Templars, these when used turn any (and I mean any, even apocalypse Destroyer weapons!) from a penetrating hit to a glancing hit, making the rhino extremely hard to destroy in a single turn, most rhino tactics for a BT army revolve around a first turn surge forwards at maximum speed, 'firing' smoke launchers, then on the following turn the passengers disembark within 2 inch (or more exactly the back of the base so it is almost a 3 inch leap) then move and assault, the amount of people who believe the BT's won't be in assault range due to the position of the rhino never ceases to amuse me.

Well that is a summary of the special rules and wargear and how they effect us, we have plenty of rules that differentiate us from the codex chapters. All in all the rules edition change has not effected us as badly as some (Dark Angels) and in some cases has opened up the path for some really deadly combinations and overall a powerful and in my opinion well balanced army.

A breakdown of the Black Templar units.

What follows is a breakdown of each unit and what combinations are effective and how each can perform a specific role in the army.



First of all we have the Marshal or Castellan, we still benefit from the rites of battle which allows any unit in the Black Templar army (who is a BT) to use the Marshals/Castellans leadership as long as the HQ is on the table, which is very useful for everything leadership related ( ), while the codex marines have the options of several chapter tactics we have the RZ our own double edged sword, with this the chances of falling back are quite slim and the chances of rushing forward are great indeed. A good layout I have found for a Marshal/Castellan is one of two things, 1)Power sword, power fist, Iron halo, Terminator Honours, that clocks in at 160pts, he has the choice of the power sword or the power fist in combat, as he is an IC then he is counted as a separate 'unit' in combat so the amount he has to kill to receive no attacks back is quite small (2 usually) the Iron Halo and the 3 wounds should see him long enough to pulp the enemy IC's, artificer armour IMO is pointless, if you are worried about enemy grunts then something is wrong, if it is an enemy IC then the 2+ is useless in almost all cases. 2)the twin lightning claw and terminator honours marshal/castellan, with 5 attacks standard he is a beast in combat with re-roll failed hits and re-rolled failed wounds, beyond the terminator honours he needs no more protection as he should be able to take out the threats in combat, you struggle with the tougher units out there were you can't possibly wound them so that is why he is my number two choice, very deadly.

Emperor's Champion:

Next is the Emperor's Champion, our star player whether we like it or not, remember due to the BT FAQ we can take him as our one and only HQ (yay), he has a lovely strength 6 power sword, which is a single close combat weapon so gains an extra attack unlike the codex marines relic blades, a high WS and the best armour the codex can offer, the champion has t move straight to a enemy IC in a unit and attempt to whack him, the champion has an ok chance of this but you will (or have) found it to be a close run thing, we get no benefit for going for the IC, but 'your honour is your life'. Of note is that the Emperors champions armour gives a 4+ invulnerable save only in close combat (maybe a hard truth for some).


The next is the BT chaplain, a nice bargain unit that IMO is twice as good as the codex marine one as he has more attacks and access to terminator honours, he grants fearless to his squad (so they are fearless outside combat) and gives them re-rolled to hit on the charge (good if you took a different vow), as with the Marshal/Castellan I go for option one for all the same reasons...and that is the only option of that I take, as it makes my chaplain do anything (well...kill anything ) and I have three all armed the same. A jump pack chaplain is also something to consider, giving the assault squad some real hitting power.


Now for the HQ's retinues options, first I want to say another reason to take them is to gain access to the transport option of a Land Raider Crusader, possibly saving a heavy support slot for something else. First is the Sword Brethren Terminators, first thing is they have Storm bolters and Power fists, no option for the 'more' combat oriented weapons...yes I know that’s odd for a CC based army. You have the option of a 4 man squad so they could squeeze in a normal land raider, the unit has the choice of 2 'special' weapons (either assault cannons, heavy flamers or cyclone missile launchers) unlike codex marines , one really good thing about the retinues besides counting the leading HQ as a upgrade character and not an IC is that if you buy the unit a veteran skill you also can buy it for the HQ, also with a retinue you can choose to attach a chaplain to the unit...which counts as a single HQ giving you the maximum choice of 5 HQ's in your army, wow. A good choice here would be, because of the high number of power fists, is a lightning claw Marshal/Castellan, this would be a very deadly unit.

The next choice is the 'normal' Sword Brethren command squad, we are allowed larger command squads than the codex marines, ours do not have the best stats out of the two but we get better rules. This unit has a number of useful upgrades, they start out no different from a basic crusader squad other than being a command squad, no initial points increase, now for the options, we get the apothecary which as far as I am concerned is nowhere near as good as the codex marines one as ours does not grant feel no pain, but at the points can and has been very useful, fighting company banner allows all units with 12 inch re-roll failed morale or pinning tests, coupled with a Marshal you will find your units going were you want them to, company champion, a mini emperors champion in almost every way, a good bargain IMO (one battle he was in combat with a GK dreadnought for two rounds and passed his 5+ invulnerable every time and the emperors champion saved him!) good for getting the job done, the unit is allowed to take up to two heavy or 'special' weapon, generally speaking I would only go for either none, or a combination of flamer meltagun (or two of one) as you do not want to jeopardize the units combat potential, the sergeant can take terminator honours which allows the squad to do the same at a slightly lower cost (I have never done this as I find it pricey but some players may have) which also lets him take things from the armoury, with a HQ and usually a company champion I usually keep the sergeant unarmed in that respect, as above you are allowed to give veteran skill to joined HQ's which is always good in regards to the lightning claw HQ. Also the LRC transport option and Rhino or Razorback, I take a rhino or a LRC when I use my command squad.


Sword Brethren Terminator:

Not much to add with the description of the SBT command squad, remember that attached HQ's cannot buy a veteran skill with these terminators.

Sword Brethren:

A unit with a lot of options, yet probably one of the least used units, as the other elite choices are very good and because in many cases the crusader job can get the job done (harder) yet count as a min troop choice, so if you do take a squad here are a few options. The unit can have bolters or bolt pistol CCW, usually taken for the combat options by most player the shooty options are never the less worth considering, any model may have terminator honours, so two guys could have them, the whole unit etc. this allows the choice to give them a storm shield (don't bother) or a combat shield (nice but very expensive) weapon options are next with frag and krak first, usually they charge from a (stationary ) LRC so no frag need, krak...that’s a personal choice, first guy can have a choice of heavy weapons or a pair of lightning claws ( ) or powerfist, both are good, I love fists so unless a HQ with one is in the unit that is what I would take. Next guy can have an 'assault' weapon or a power weapon, so a power fist and power weapon would make a good stand alone squad. The unit automatically (included in the units points) has the choice of a veteran skill, I always assume I choose the skill when writing the army list, I do not know if this is the black and white law for the skill.


Dreads come with several options chief being whether to take a 'combat dread' or a 'shooty dread', both have there merits, your combat dread will usually have an assault cannon and DCCW with an upgraded heavy flamer, a good all round dread that can take down anything whether it is elite infantry, hoards of troops, light vehicles, medium vehicles at a stretch and can even stand a chance of hurting a heavy vehicle, once in combat most enemies will be crushed by the DCCW, though the dread does not have a quantity of attacks it does have quality ones, 'shooty dreads' namely a assault cannon/lascannon and missile launcher armed fella, good at shooting the crap out of an enemy with mobile fire and can take down many tanks or a lot of infantry given the weapon choices, for these standing around in area terrain is a good idea. I take a combat dread with the options given above as he is an all rounder and there is a diversity of armies in my local area.

Venerable dreading is an option you can give to one dread per detachment (FOC) this allows you to (with a smirk on your face) to force the opposing player to re-roll on the vehicle damage table when firing at your VD, coupled with smoke launchers this makes the dread almost invincible for a single turn barring combat monsters, this also allows the dread to take veteran skills in the form of Tank hunter (useful only against tanks...obviously) and furious charge (the skill which can be used on all enemy armies) though remember you do not have to buy a veteran skill if you think he will not use it. I always give my dread no matter the weapon configuration, extra armour and smoke launchers, IMO a must have upgrade if you are taking one.


I really can't say anything at all because I have used him in one battle in 8 years (an apoc...he just wandered around) I find him more of a gimmick unit, he has some really good wargear but his points are to high for me to justify him. That's my experience with him, I am sure other players have had better times with him...?


Crusader squads:

Now for the backbone of all Black Templar armies, the crusader squad. You have to of course take at least two of these units and for what they do you should be happy, they can be described as on par with elite units of other armies, the ever present preferred enemy makes the unit a force to be reckoned with and the wargear a unit can take means nothing can't be killed. A typical squad for me consists of 9 men (10 if no HQ is in there) with a power fist and a flamer...power fists have taken a back seat with the 5th ed rules, still I find them very useful and in some cases a necessity, with this build you can take down anything in enemy army...if not with ease then at least a chance (trying to fist AV14 ), some people take meltaguns which is a good thing to take, I myself used to, but I have bad luck with meltaguns and seem to always miss () and I usualy found the rest of my army taking down enemy vehicles or gribblies (though you should be saving the gribblies for CC!) in a rhino of course with extra arnour and smoke launchers, has worked in pretty much every edition of the game.

Another build is that of a shooty Black Templar squad, I take tanks for anti vehicle and vindies for hordes (and get annoyed when my enemies whine Templars are a CC army so shouldn't take tanks ) so usualy stick to combat crusaders, I do sometimes take a squad or two with plasma canon, it is great for toasting those armour saves of 2+ or better (works a treat on khorne berzerkers and leaves no blood for the blood god to boot...haha!) or sometimes a missile launcher for flexibility...as you can guess I never take certain builds (as in a focused army) I always go for an all comers list as it is better to adapt to the battle than to spend hours planing and then something ruining that plan, I don't like to take any specila weapons in the unit as I rarely take it for anything other than the heavy weapon.

Well that is my crusader squad builds, there is no right way to take a crusader squad as it depends on players in your area and your own play style, certain builds are more effective (multi-purpose squads) I see a lot of people take the big 20 man squads, others take larger better equipped shooty squads...what do you take and why?


Now for dedicated transports, namely rhinos, razorbacks and drop pods...LRC will be covered at a later date.


The mainstay of most chapters in regards to chapters for many, many reasons, IMO the best transport in the game and I rarely leave home without at least two of the beauties. They come with a special rule called repair which as the name suggests is used to repair...itself...if the vehicle is immobilised you can pass up shooting in order to try and repair the damage, on a roll of a 6 the vehicle is no longer immobilized...very nice but as my luck has it I think it has worked for me once , at a starting price of 50pts you get a bargain, the front and side armour is unscathed by light arms fire (S4 or less) and the vehicle itself is quite small when you consider 10 marines squeeze in so tha is also gaming gold, it comes with a storm bolter (...don't bemoan them I and I am sure a lot of other players have had good times killing things with those storm bolters once the squad goes for a walk...) buying extra armour and a smoke launchers is practically mandatory and should pretty much always be bought, this gives you the ability of going 2's are 1's haha on the vehicle damge table, allowing you to keep pushing forward, with smoke launchers you can as was said in the first post benefit from the -2 glancing rule...so the biggest threat is multiple 5's and '6's making it immobilised after a bit of shooting (so one six or two fives to do so) which calls for bad times, this combo make the rhino almost unstopable for one turn so use it wisely.

A popular rhino tactic is: First turn: Move rhino forward 12 inch, smoke launchers 'fire'. Second turn: If enemies in range, diembark 2 inch of the rhino (back of the base so pretty much 2.9999... inch) move six inch (...do NOT say disembark 2 and move six for a total of 8 as that puts models were they should/could not be as you have to disembark then move...) the assault 6 inch for a total of 14.99 inch assault from any access hatch...pretty sweet.

There is also maneuvering the rhino to block line of sight (very good to stop a unit being battle cannoned) annoying enemies, taking storm bolter pot shots, taxi service...and more! Rhino's as you have guessed perform (or should perform) a starring roll in any BT army. Deciding when to pop smoke launchers is different from player to player and dependent on the battlefield.


Half transport, half tank... it may be of use in a heavy mech army because you can go with up to 6 razorbacks and each can carry up to 6 marines. Also works fine as fire support, but predators do it better, and are ok as transports. As a common sense, put your melta+pf 5~6 initiates squad in these vehicles and get moving 6" and fire the weapons, when close to an objective or a squad you want to assault, disembark 2 or 3 squads and assault with everyone the same squad..

Drop Pod:

Good transports but better used in mass deployment or carrying multimelta-dreads. The old rules make your embarked troops immune to enemy fire the first and second turns (if he goes first), making it great for alpha strikes. Also, unlike the 5ed SM the BT drop pods may be taken by terminators that are not willing to suffer any mishap when deep striking. The fact that it has the PotMS makes it imune to crew shaken and stunned and the special rule that allows it to shot in turn it enters and the new rules for blast weapons makes it even better weapons platforms.

Fast Attack

Assault Squad:

First off assault marines, many things said about the crusader squad earlier holds true now as those are still the optimal builds for the assault squad as well, with the Jump pack they have several new options and tactics open up for the BT player, Firstly you can deepstrike them, I am biased against deepstrike as with this being a CC army I rarely see the use in it as you cannot assault on the turn you deepstrike, not to say it does not have its merits I just find normal deployment (depending on the deployment you are playing) is the better option here, the unit has access to a few nasty and versatile weapons, namely up to two flamers or plasma pistol (or a mix) as well as one power weapon or power fist, I take mine like my crusader squads as I like the jump packs ability which for me is the big choice on whether to take them or not, the good thing to do here of course is to...wait for an opening, the last thing to do with them is to rush forward as they will attract a lot of attention...unless that's the plan, also if you are pushing everything forward then that is also another time to move with them, but in general with a threat radius of 18 inch they they can afford to be positioned for assault for a turn or two to maximize effectiveness. You can also give the squad melta bombs and of course the good 'ol krak grenades...both are something that is really only bought at your discretion, as when I started BT's for 4 years my area had mostly all infantry armies so buying these tank busters would and was a waste. Storm shields are another option, quite cheap and useful in combat (only in combat) giving an ok invul of 4+...which is good but not worth the attack loss IMO, you only get it against things that ignore armour and generally an enemy does not have an abundance of those, if they do you are losing half of your combat effectiveness by buying these and losing the attack you would have had from 2CCW, so they have a greater chance of sticking around and laying into you, if you need to waylay a big gribbly the these are invaluable though not worth it IMO...so a few only if you think you will need them, never give an entire squad one each.

Land Speeders:

Land Speeders are a source of mobile firepower that's lacking in the rest of the BT list. The Heavy Bolter/Assault Cannon setup is good for cutting down light infantry and performs modestly against heavy infantry due to rending. While multi-melta Speeders are useful for supplementing AT fire; the Heavy Flamer is a nice add-on for when you run out of tanks to shoot at, and speeders have the mobility and indifference to assault (assuming you moved far enough) to utilize flamers to their maximum potential. The Typhoon lacks the Krak and multiple frag shot ability of the normal Space Marine version in exchange for +1 strength and twin-linked, but at 20 pts it's too pricey for me. Land Speeders tend to do better when deployed separately rather then in squadrons because of their low AV and the tendency for players to ignore lone speeders in favor of bigger targets.

Sample Army Lists

1500 points

People have a low regard for he EC so feel free to run him around as people don't really care, though with a minimum of 3 strength 6 attacks re-rolling to hit with WS6...that won't last for long .


Emperors Champion, accept any challenge-140

Master of sanctity, power fist, terminator honours (haha C:SM our chappies have more attacks!) Rosarius, crozius arcanum, Holy orb of Antioch, frag grenades-161

Crusader squad (9 men), power fist, flamer-165 Rhino, SL, EA-58

Crusader squad (9 men), power fist, flamer-165 Rhino, SL, EA-58

Dreadnought, Heavy flamer, assault cannon, SL, EA-123

Crusader squad (5 men) plasma cannon-100

Crusader squad (5 men) plasma cannon-100

Land speeder, assault cannon, heavy bolter-80

Land speeder, assault cannon, heavy bolter-80

Predator, all lascannons-145


1500 (frags for the chaplain lol)

As you can see the list is very versatile (and balanced, no matter what you say!) and built to weaken the enemy for a crusader assault, clever rhino positioning (as discussed on above) lets you get the charge easily and little grots with numbers to mighty monsterous creatures will find themselves blasted to bits...


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