Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Crusades Part VI

Revisions to the original Post have been made in light of the newest FAQ. These revisions will appear in red

Greetings to all you crazed 40k players out there, and welcome to Part VI of the Crusades. Last time I covered the agile fast units and transport vehicles, so lets look at the bulkier units today. We're looking at selections ranging from the big daddy heavy shells fired from the back field, to the megaton transports shoving the killiest of killy right down the enemy's throat. that's right, it's time to look at the Heavy Support section of the Black Templars codex.

Heavy Support
Just like all codexes out there, this unit's title sums it's roll up very nicely. The units chosen from here are those that answer the big shots that make your enemy worry about his little space men/monsters/robots/bugs/whatevers! Often these are the primary targets the enemy will seek to silence before they can cause too much harm to their own forces. Within the Black Templar Codex, each has a specific roll to play in an army's construction, much like other marine codexes out there. However, I feel that some have a larger roll to play over others based on the style of the Black Templars. So what's the selection look like?

The Vindicator
Probably the biggest of the big shots, the Vindicator is a monster of a support unit. The threat of a 10 2 pie plate blasting the bajesus out of anything it looks at is already enough, but to rock a 13 front ark as well can make this baby a pretty tough nut to crack. As far as punching a whole in the enemy's lines, it's hard to pass this option by.

Now, it is still for the most part a standard Vindicator, and so it's impressive strength is balanced by it's slow speed, and limited range of visibility. While some argue that a max 24" range (potential 30" when adding the movement in) is not very long, it can be very misleading. This can be a misconception to capitalize on. The one glaring difference I see when looking at this baby is it's lack of Siege Shield. This piece of wargear is a relatively new addition to the marine vidicators out there from 5th. And while no it can not purchase it, it still has access to the dozer blades... but remember, the old dozer blades only work when moving 6" or less. However, a vindicator will usually only be moving that or less to optimize it's use.

Now with that set back addressed, I can offer one amazing counter to it. This codex still has access to purchasing Power of the Machine Spirit for it's vehicles. It is pretty salty, but it does allow the vehicle to fire in the event it is shaken or stunned. This is amazing. Vehicles have the weakness of only getting to fire 1/6th of the time when the enemy hits the damage table against them, and even so they're now immobilized. This add-on gives it a remarkable 50/50 chance of firing. And now with the new rules for Power of the Machine Spirit, we maintain our normal BS4. I whole heatedly feel that you should run the PotMS in ever vindicator you can to keep these things throwing death as much as possible.

Overall, I have a special place in my heart (and my list) reserved for the Vindicator. If you want a tank that will not only cause psychological harm to the enemy, but also have the brute force to back that threat up, the Vindicator is a prime choice. Thumbs up here mates.

The Predator Annihilator / Destructor
I will start by saying these are two separate options in this codex, but as they are very similar I will cover both together. They perform the same basic rolls as the selections from any other marine counter part. But remember back when I said some options have a bigger roll than others? This is one of those moments.

Looking at Black Templar as a whole, the infantry units in the army have all the anti-infantry you could want. Generally having 2 attacks base, and 3 on the charge, all with the Preferred Enemy rule to back them, they can cover taking out the enemy footsloggers. As this is the roll of the Predator Destructor pattern as well, it's uses tend to bleed into something the army already has covered well. Of course it can be helpful to have the extra shots, and with the strength and ap value of the Heavy Bolter and Auto cannon, it will put the hurting on anything (even the Space Marines).

What the Black Templar Infantry need is a way to punch open enemy mech, or drop the big nasty MC's out there. And while the option of a special weapon like a meltagun or plasma gun can help with this, sometimes it just isn't enough. This is where the Annihilator comes in. Bringing 3 lascannons (of which one is TL'ed) to bear against the enemy, it can be pretty scary; and like all Preds, it boasts 13 front armor.

Now, as they are two different patterns, they both come with no side sponsons, and both patterns have the option to upgrade to either heavy bolters, or lascannons on the side. The only real difference is the turret mounted weapon which can not be changed. The Annihilator (TL LC) comes in at 20 points base over the Destructor. And here is where the new FAQ really hit the jackpot. the new rules for PotMS are unbelievably amazing for the Predators. Both benefit quite well from this perk for several reasons.

One the one hand, they can continue to fire at least one weapon (probably the turret mount in both cases) in the event they would not normally be allowed to fire. They can also use this perk to fire an additional weapon on the move. So move 6" and fire two weapons, or 12" and fire one. But above all else it's great to be able to fire at an additional target. So now the Destructor can fire HB's at troopers, and the Autocannon at another unit or even a vehicle; likewise the Annihilator can potentially crack two tanks in a single round.

Overall, they both look great, but I can only really recommend the Annihilator when building an assault based army for the above mentioned reasons. The new FAQ has increased both tanks ability by a substantial bit, but the Destructors still suffers from doing something the rest of the army already does well.

The Land Raider
This is once again a moment where I must say I find this unit a little less than ideal for the Templar. While still bringing 14 box armor, heavy fire power in the form of 2 TL LC's, and all while being a transport, I don't think it synergies well with the army, or even itself. This tank is a good ranged platform and can be used quite well from a distance or moving forward, but it just seems a little off to me; like it doesn't know what it wants to do. It also holds a max capacity of 10. This is a bit of a bummer to me as it is roughly 5 times the price of a rhino, with no bolster to it's capacity.

Overall, it has a place... well it has a few places, but in comparison with the Iconic next choice, I'm not a fan of this variant. But let me assure you in no way does my opinion make this a bad choice, just not my first.

The Land Raider Crusader
In my opinion, not enough good things can be said about this tank. First off this is a variant that was created by the Black Templar chapter itself. Second it hosts an impressive variety of shots (including a massive number of bolter shots which count as defensive weaponry). Third, it has a built in multi-melta, frag assault launchers, and extra armor for 15 points base over the standard pattern (making it 10 points cheaper than the alternative marine codex variants out there). Forth, it has the option to take Blessed Hull, nullifying the lance rule. With Dark Eldar now hitting the tables more with their recent update... this can prove quite handy on the table. Fifth, it has a capacity 15 (or 8 terminators), making it a superb transport that wants nothing more than to bring the pain to the enemy in the form of throat shoving goodness.

I just can't say enough about this tank. I love it, and just about ever list I run about 1,500 points has one in it somewhere. Generally it holds my Sword Brethren Assault terminators or a Command Squad with Helbrecht... and I have yet to really have many problems allowing it to serve it purpose. To me if you run Templar, a small portion of you should want to run this tank. Also, don't forget that darn near every unit may take one as a dedicated transport unit. While not particularly found of the land raid spam army... if you are, this codex, and this tank are made just for you.

So there you have it. Some of the heaviest shots around lie within this selection. Bringing death from a far while supporting the infantry of your own army is what these units are made for. And generally it shows.

And with that we have covered the standard options provided by the Black Templar codex. In the next and final part of The Crusades, we'll take a closer look at the Special Characters as well as a closing summery of the codex. So until then