Sunday, January 2, 2011
The Crusades Part VII
Revisions to the original Post have been made in light of the newest FAQ. These revisions will appear in red
Welcome to Part VII and the final look into the Black Templars codex. As mentioned before, We're looking at the special Characters within the zealous ranks of the Templar, both of which having a unique and all around amazing feel to spice up the power of not only the HQ section, but also the rest of the army as that is one of the main specialties of this codex... but we will also take a final closing look at the codex as a whole. So lets take a look at the big shots themselves!
These are the major hitters in the codex, and provide players not only a chance to use more powerful options, but also allow them the ability to relive a bit of 40k's past. Long ago, the Armageddon Campaign was the big scoop, and much of the events and tournaments played centered around this colossal engagement. At the heart of this fight was the Black Templar Chapter. Both in the ship to ship combat in orbit, and in the Hive Cities below, the knights of the Chapter brought death to the enemy. A look into the Black Library's book Helsreach, you can see this first hand.
High Marshal Helbrecht
The big shot himself, he is the equivalent of any other marine army's Chapter Master, he is considered one of the most tactically intelligent, and vicious of any marine chapter. He has the ability to really hit the enemy's front line, and do some major damage alone.
Now his stat line is not much more than a regular marshal from the rest of the army (as in 4th, characters weren't always gods :P ). He does have two bumps where it can really count though, both his Wounds and Attack profile are 4 base. This gives him an extra wound to play with which can really come in handy. His attack is a little less bang for the buck as he is not duel armed (and similarly equipped marshals usually are as well as taking Term. Honors putting them at 5 base as well). Where this is offset is his weapon. The sword of the High Marshal does not give him duel armed, instead it says that on the first round of any combat (charging or not) he gains D3 additional attacks. This is a nice bit of rules play that really hits what the army is designed to do. Helbrecht (to me) is a character designed to finish the job in one turn (maybe two if dice don't go the way he wants). He hits hardest the first turn of the combat, but then settles down a bit for the rest of the engagement. Now keep in mind every new combat he'll get the additional attacks, so it's not a one hit wonder.
He comes with the wonder that is Rites of Battle, and is of course an I.C. He bears Artificer Armor as well as Bionics (I have had that 6 come up to save him many times now and it never stops being funny when it does) as well as a combi-melta. This is a nice tank buster that the enemy never expects to see coming. He also has his own Iron Halo, and the extra griblets you'd expect a Marshal to carry...
But where Helbrecht really shines is with his Command Squad. Being from an older codex genre, he still has the old Retinue rules for his Command Squad. This is not only amazing at keeping him alive, but really charges up the command squad. He allows them to take 5 Neophytes which like any others act as surplus wounds in time of need, and forces them to take Furious Charge (which generally they will anyways) and believe me they really come in handy here. I have used the Command Squad with Helbrecht to devastating effect before, and the only way I can see to do it is with Helbrecht joining the fight.
Now, outside of the command Squad I can't really say Helbrecht will do too much. Most normal Marshals with similar equipment will do about the same, or better and also provide a way to take some nifty toys (Holy Orb being the big one). But if he is packed in with that large command squad, most anything they hit, won't be much besides a blood stain on the battlefield.
Overall, he's great in his command squad, but outside that, bring a regular Marshal.
I will say that this model and this character is the reason I really fell in love with this codex to start with. Again, if you read Helsreach you can really get to know this guy pretty well.
Grimaldus brings to the table some nifty rules that are more about support than personal glory. Now that's not to say he can't kill alone, as he brings his Crozious and MC plasma pistol into the fight. But here's the kicker. First and foremost he comes standard with 3 servitors (so there's the +3 to zeal moves). He gains the benefit of having a Holy Relic so long as any one is alive... which I'll get back to in a moment.
Remember the rules the Chaplains have to bolster the righteous zeal movement and make them fearless (Unmatched Zeal on page 32), well Grimaldus has this with an extra perk of it applying to all squads with a model within 6" of him. This is amazing. It is a single chaplain that can effectively bolster multiple blob squads (or any squads really). Talk about efficiency. Now his servitor benefits do not apply to any other squad other than the one he is attached to... but remember that he has a holy relic to pop and give many squads on the line up to 4 attacks on the charge. I have not met many enemies that can stand up to 2 full blob squads (20 man and 24 with Grimaldus and servitors.) with 4 attacks base.
And lets not stop there! He has a rule that reflects his unprecedented will to fight, and it says that when he looses his last wound, he must make a leadership test. If passed he'll fight on with another wound. If this extra wound is lost, he is removed as normal. But this is a nifty trick to get around those pesky Power Fists that would normally kill any other I.C. dead. He simply returns to life and continues to kill what he can. Now, he is only Lead 9(as he counts as a Reclusiarch only) but he does have the bolster to his WS and BS. He's a nifty Hybrid character.
This guys is a great way to be efficient when it comes to running Blob Squads across the table. I strongly without question urge the use of him in the event you are running more than one 20 man crusader squad.
Both Thumbs up to this guy!
So there they are, the Big shots themselves in all their glory. Both characters find themselves in a unique position as they both have a massive benefit to give, but outside of that they are less potent. I feel both of them serve to fit the fluff they were designed with, and they add a great bang to the front lines in this army of Melee Masters!
And before you knew it, the codex has been reviewed in it's entirety! It has been a lot of fun to look through the pages of my old Codex and see just what it can bring to the table. I still invite everyone to revisit some of these old posts and make comments or suggestions, as it has been a fun experience learning tricks from the comments of you the readers.
But looking back at the sections of the codex, I can still say without a doubt that the codex has an element of synergy that is not seen much anymore. Of course many of the newer codexes out there still have ways for the HQ to effect the rest of the army, the biggest example of which is the Chapter Tactics seen with characters in the Codex: Space Marines. But this goes beyond that in that the HQ choices can really be used to bolster not only a squad's leadership, but really affect the rules the codex utilizes the fullest.
The Big Example of this is the Chaplain's effect on the Righteous Zeal rule. This rule alone in all it's glory is my biggest reason for claiming this codex is not only not as useless as our fellow gamers at BoLS and other sites claim in many an article, but I will even go so far as to say it has more power in it's pages than many of the newer 5th codexes.
I stood by this codex before the FAQ as being a potent and powerful army... the new FAQ has almost increased this army's ability to God Tier. With the best of the old world (armory Upgrade System) combined with the best of the new world (wargear such as the Storm Shields), we have an unbelievably killy army. This isn't to say we are unbeatable, but darn cloase.
Now the new FAQ wasn't all great news. Loosing old smoke did kill our Rhino's and the like the peace of mind of being darn near indestructible, but it's a small price to pay for the perks. We still have the R.Z. movement allowing this assault-based army close the gap with unparalleled speed and its unique manner. Yes I will say this is beyond a shadow of a doubt still very much a viable and powerful codex.
I hope you all have enjoyed The Crusades and I look forward to writing more and more. I invite all of you to post along with any comments you may have, put in your suggestions for the next codex to review. So until next time