Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The Crusades Part III
Revisions to the original Post have been made in light of the newest FAQ. These revisions will appear in red
Welcome back to part III of The Crusades. Today we're going to continue into the depths of the codex to review the Elites section of the army, and see what tricks can be brought to bare upon the enemies of mankind. I know I said I would also review the Troops section, however I do feel it would be good to keep the post separate, as the troops squad will take a good long bit to explain. But back to the Elites. As a marine army, this section tend to be the bulk of the meat and potatoes of the might in the force, and rightly so. So lets look to them.
Generally seen as the best the force has to offer in skill and ability, the Elites of a Black Templar army are similar in many ways to those of the other chapter counterparts out there. However, the story behind these is a bit more interesting than simply those who have been granted the Terminator Honors and thus become sergeants. The Elites of the Black Templar are those who showed skill on the battlefield and were inducted into the Fleet Marshal's House; these knights are known as the Sword Brethren.
On the battlefield they serve as what you would expect from marines. The general idea would be mostly on the Terminators and the Dreadnought selections, however there are a few other units that make it into the Elites portion.
Sword Brethren Terminator Squad
These guys make up what is classically referred to as the "Shooty Termies." They come equipped with a storm bolter and a powerfist, which is not terrible. They do have the option to take the heavy weapons that most terminators do... but they do it much more efficiently. Like all the units in this codex there is no min or max number required to access this gear, and so it is possible to get 2 assault cannons if you only have the minimum number in the squad. Let us not forget to notice that the new Cyclone missile launchers are now Heavy 2's, and thus we have at out disposal a potential of 4 S9 missiles per squad going when firing at vehicles (gotta love Tank Hunters). However there is one catch that I noticed.
In the HQ section, you can buy the Terminator Command Squad. This unit may purchase the same gear, and also has a sergeant who can access the Templar Armory, which the squad in the elites section lacks. the HQ terminators also have the option to start at 4 models and reach up to 10, while this squad must have a minimum of 5. This becomes a slight issue when looking to be the most efficient with point in this codex (and with the points working the way they do in the BT codex, it is very helpful to save points where you can).
Now, both squads can take veteran skills at 3 points per model, so there is no difference there. The Tank Hunting shooting terminators work very well in many cases, though I myself do not frequent this tactic for a more assault based feel. All in all this squad is decent, but if shooting terminators are your thing, I'd recommend the HQ terminators instead. Obviously it you have used up you're HQ selections, these may be your best bet, so I won't say they are bad. But I do still push for the HQ terminators when possible based on equipment options and point savings.
Sword Brethren Terminator Assault Squad
Now you have a hard time going wrong with this unit when building to assault. These guys are your basic assault based terminators; armed with lightning claws which can be replaced for the TH/SS combo for free. With the newest FAQ we now have the new 3+ invulnerable at all times shields. With that said, i still urge the use of at least some (I prefer more) Lightning Claws, as they benefit more from the Furious Charge skill. and they do usually look to have a land raider, but most Hammer units in the marine codex line up tend to look in the same direction. Yet, this unit has one big thing that really makes it shine when comparing to other terminators.
This unit, like many in the codex has the option to take the veteran skills at 3 points per model, and with an assault unit, Furious Charge is always a good thing. Now couple this with the Preferred Enemy ability the army usually have an you have a combo of much win. This means those bearing the lightning claws are I and S 5 with re-rolls to hit, and to wound. It doesn't take much to see these guys are going to hurt what they hit. Follow that up with some S 9 TH's and you have an extremely smash based unit. I can't recommend these guys enough, and if not going for the expensive command squad as a Hammer Unit for the army, these guys make an efficient and capable unit.
Sword Brethren Squad
I will not lie, these guys show their age, and it makes me very sad when looking into them. Now, by no means is this squad a bad choice... but it is expensive for very little options. They come at base 19 with no more than standard weapons, and need 1 point per to get the frags that is usually standard. On top of this, it is usually a good idea to get the 10 point per Term. Honors they can buy, making them 3 attacks base, and 4 on the charge. They also need to look into additional wargear, but this becomes a conflict of issues in many ways.
The models (still beautiful) come with a set of lightning claws and a power weapon. Though the unit does have the options for things like a power fist, a meltagun, etc. the old metal models do not have the options to do so without heavy conversion work This is a bit of a problem as the usual pushed build (power weapons and pair of claws) does not allow for anti-mech, and thus the squad is not very well rounded. They are also expensive. Coming in at 30 points per without any vehicle or additional weapons is salty fora unit that isn't even scoring. This makes me quite sad.
Now, there is some positive to be taken with them. They do get veteran skills for free compared to other units which have to pay 3 point per to get. The squad (if it takes Term. honors on it's members) may also purchase the new Storm Shields for only 10 points per model. This is 5 points cheaper than any other outlet to the new shield. Keep in mind that this will only further increase their price, and will lose them an attack. However, the thought of adding a combat shield to some models for 5 points may not be a terrible idea, now that it offers a 6+ invulnerable. They also have a few more skills to chose from, though I still strongly urge the use of Furious Charge. All in all they aren't bad, but they are expensive with few options, and in a codex that needs to be as efficient as possible they do take a lot of points to do very little. But if you're looking to fit the fluff, a squad should hit the table if a marshal does. and with models that pretty, a fanatical Templar player should really look to pick some up.
All kinds of deadly, the Dreadnought brings the pain in many ways that the normal foot based units in the army can not. They come standard with the Assault Cannon with options to switch out for alternative weaponry, but I suggest keeping what it has for versatility and point savings. For every 2500 points you run (so basically one per army) you may run a venerable dreadnought. Along with the snazzy rule, it also allows him access to veteran skills. And with an army that could use all the tank busting it can get, and Tank Hunting Dreadnought will make even the mighty Monolith cry.
I usually keep the Assault Cannon and DCCW to allow him to move forward with the rest of the army and provide support, then hammer into an enemy tank with effectively S 11 hits. Now of course you can't go above 10, but Tank Hunters simply adds one to the roll for armor pen, so you get S 10 +1d6 +1. This is pretty nice as you are glancing a land raider on a 3 and penetrating on a 4+. Of course you can go with an alternative route and have a TL S 10 Lascannon and a S 9 Missile Launcher from range, but I always like synergy, and the ability to show off my DCCW conversions :D.
I would not take a dread in this army less you plan to make it venerable, as normal dreadnoughts tend to fall apart quickly to anti-mech shots. That's not to say you can't, but I think the lone Venerable Dread can stand up to a lot of hurt before he falls.
Serving as a great defense when running mech, the Techmarine has his place. If you plan to run mech heavy here, this is a good unit to take to cover your bases. Coming with the ability to upgrade to the Harness and take Servitors to increase his ability to shoot, repair, and even melee (last one not recommended) he has good options at his disposal. He has one thing that I like above the new standard Techs though.
His servo harness while giving him a 2+ armor save and the same additional weaponry works differently than the new harness. The new ones simply add one to the roll needed to repair, so a 6+ would be a 5+... much like adding another servitor would be to a max of a 2+. His simply says re-roll failed repair rolls. So while he may only get to a 3+ if he takes all tech servitors, he gets the option of a re-roll. I am one for re-rolls (and may I say this army does that very well) so it is a nice difference between codexes.
All in all he's a solid choice if you run mech heavy, but I wouldn't suggest him if you aren't running the tank wall.
So there we have the Elites portion. I really want to hear what you guys think on this section, especially any of the other Templar Players out there. Tell me how you run yours and if you have alternative strategies I may have overlooked. Look for part IV to hit the Troops section.