Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Crusades Part V
Revisions to the original Post have been made in light of the newest FAQ. These revisions will appear in red
Apologies first for the delay with Part V. Many films to work on and final projects piling up, along with a tournament this past weekend has had Loki running in several directions at once, so lets dig right in.
Part V of my look into the Black Templars will look at two sections, Transport Vehicles, and the Fast Attack Section of the Codex. As usual (especially with the older codexes out there) there are some good choices, and some not so good choices. None of them are bad, but they can get offal pricey at times.
As most Space Marines players will know, there are generally three major selections when it comes to this area. The Rhino for the bulky Squads; the Razorback, offering support fire for the smaller more static squads, and the Drop Pod for those who like to close the gap early. To each, his own here, but lets look a little bit more closely at these options, and even throw in a surprise at the end.
This is you standard run of the mill transport, commonly seen within the fluff and tabletop when it comes to the Angels of Death. The Templar also make good use of these mobile bunkers to quite good use. The standard 11 11 10 armor with the added perk of "Rhino Repair" makes these babies resilient little boxes to house those marines in while they cross the field. Now we did loose old smoke, but that doesn't mean these little babies aren't still useful.
The down side to all of this is that is is still just a Rhino. Once it's smoke is used up, it will die pretty quick to enemy anti-mech. In Annihilation, Rhinos become points to the enemy's favor quickly. They also won't do much if they are destroyed before you can do anything with them (losing them at the top of 1 for instance). Another down side is the price. Like a lot of things in this codex, it isn't cheap. at 50 points base before any extras, it takes more points than usual just to field it. If all wargear is equal (i.e. smoke launchers, extra armor, and searchlights) the B.T. Rhino costs 9 points more a pop. Granted we have the old smoke rule which is exceptional, but it is still 9 points more that must be taken to field it. I suggest shaving the searchlight for the extra point, but it's you call.
Overall, if Rhino Rush is your style, the Templar can do it quite well. Thumbs up to this choice.
Got points to spend (of course not in this codex), but if you do, these babies work very nicely. To save time, they too have the ability to pop smoke, but on the Razorback, this means you lose the shot you are paying an arm and a leg for, so it's someone less of a perk for this transport. And lets look at options.
The standard Razorback from the newer codexes have 5 options of weapons to take. The B.T. version is limited to 2! This in itself is a sad mark for the vehicle, but of the options of Heavy Bolter and Lascannon (both Twin linked of course) it's a far cry from the options of the newer variants. In addition, the price is outrageous! 70 base before optional wargear, and if you want to add the TL Lascannon, it's another 20 points. This makes it a total of 99 points that this codex does not really make room for easily.
Granted, the squads taking the Razorback will be smaller, and generally ranged so the lack of numbers is negligible. Add this to the wargear upgrade system not requiring specific numbers in the squads makes this tank and it's unit capable of massive firepower for a reasonable price. 6 marines, armed with a plasma gun, a Lascannon, and a Razorback with Smoke Launchers, will run you 204 points. Not a bad unit to sit back on a point and provide good AP 2 support fire.
All in all, the Razorback has it's place, but that place is at range in an army that usually moves forward. Not bad, but not my cup of tea. Though I have seen them used quite effectively by others.
The Drop Pod
It takes a little work to figure out these things, but if you are one for the Shock and Awe Entrance tactic, these will do the trick. Now under Transport options for the Squads I noticed Drop Pod is never mentioned. You have to look in the Army Rules under Drop Pod Assault for the list of units that may purchase the vehicle. Note again they do no get the ability to send in half rounded up on turn one, they simply arrive via reserves as normal.
The list mentions the Command Squad, Sword Brethren Squad, Dreadnought, Crusader Squad, and all types of Terminator Squads (numbering 10 or less) may purchase them. It does say specifically Assault Squads may not purchase them, but If you look at that closely you'll see something odd. Any Terminators numbering 10 or less... this is an error on their part as the Drop Pod itself states that it may only carry up to 5 Terminators.
The neat part about this is that it starts at a base 30 points. So while it does not have the ability to come in first turn, it is actually cheaper than the new variant, which is relatively rare. It follows the same rules for new Drop Pods, including the ability to avoid hitting terrain or other models (Guidance System basically) and has the ability to upgrade the Storm Bolter to a Deathwind Launcher, however remember the BS on this thing is still only a 2.
I myself am not a huge fan of this option, but again I can see it's uses.
And now for the surprise...
The Land Raider Crusader
While not expressly under the Transport Vehicle Section, all multi-model units except assault marines and vehicle units in the army may purchase it as a Dedicated Transport. Yes even our Crusader Squads may take them as a Transport, giving our army (now along with Blood Angels) the ability to take a Land Raider for our Troops. I will cover this more in Part VI since it is technically from that section, but it is nice to see this Chapter Based Variant get the love it deserves. If Land Raider Spam is your style... it's hard to beat this one.
So there you have the transports. All of them have a good place in the army, and as I noticed yet again, there's not a bad choice among them, just some options that will be more pricey than others. So onward to the next part of this review...
I will give you all a bit of a warning, as I will try to be objective, but I have never been completely sold on Space Marine Fast Attack sections. This army hasn't really changed that for more, though I do not opt to run these units a lot in my personal army... I know others do, and usually pretty decently. So lets catch a gimps of these agile units.
The Assault Squad
In an article I wrote called "Jumping the Gun" I mentioned this choice, and my opinion on them has yet to change. They are a decent choice with some nice options. However, they are very expensive, they have no way to take a meltagun, and instead may still have meltabombs. This is not bad, but it means that if assaulting a transport the charge must be wasted on the vehicle itself, rather than hitting the unit inside if the meltagun destroys it. It does provide them with a decent answer to Walkers and the like, but it still is a risky endeavor.
The biggest problem I have is that the unit may not righteous zeal. This is one of my favorite abilities of this army, and can often make them just as fast, if not faster than the assault squad. This is probably the biggest reason I am no a fan of these airborne knights. I personally am very sad as I love the aesthetic of the jump pack.
Now there is a nice perk for this unit that I unfortunately failed to mention before, but in light of the new FAQ, it's a pretty nifty trick. The entire unit may replace it's bolt pistols with the new Storm Shields for 15 points a pop. It's very expensive (and thus not always optimal) but it is a way to make this unit a very durable unit as it will almost always have a 3+ save. Again, you loose duel armed, and they cost a pretty substantial price (37 a model with the shield and meltabombs to be precise) but they might be an interesting addition.
Sadly I can not recommend this unit, but if you like them, then by all means try em out.
The Land Speeder
Again, I do not like the Speeder types on a personal level, but they can be effective. This codex runs the same Speeders are a slightly higher cost than the new codexes. The Typhoon Launcher now has the ability to fire the same style shots as any marine Typhoon pattern, however there is a catch. Terminators have the ability to buy Vet Skills, and thus can have S9 missiles. To each his own on this one all, S9 missiles on the termies, or more and mobile S8 shots here. Not a bad choice.
Solid choice if you like speeders. I would stay clear of the Anti-Infantry build, as the army already has that covered in the troop and elite sections quite nicely. However, the tank busting melta speeder, and the Typhoon patterns are decent choices for adding some mobile firepower to the army.
Bikes / Attack Bikes
Now I can say there is some positive here, but again it is vastly out shined by the new codexes. They are more expensive, have no sergeant, a smaller max unit size, and also loose the zeal movement. I can see a practical use for the Attack bike Squadron for mobile tank bust to support the troops, but neither of these options for the price is very efficiently. As most bike units are, they are vulnerable to heavy shots, and at the points you must pay to field them, along with the small cap size to keep models with additional wargear safe... they just don't seem to be the first choice (to me) when it comes to answering the problems they seem designed to do.
On a positive note, the bike squads wargear is open, so you can potentially have 3 special weapons and a heavy in one squad making them very hard hitting, but it will again cost you mucho point...o's
Once again, if you have points left open, and you're building for speed, these options are all useful, and can easily do the trick, but it will cost you much more than alternative options listed in other sections of the codex.
So there is the Fast Attack. I must say I am sorry that my look is so bleak on these guys, but to me they just do enough to merit their higher costs, and in some cases lack of options. You will all be happy to hear I have much more positive things to say about the Heavy Support section in Part VI. So until then.