Friday, July 19, 2013

Let's be Friends! - Black Templar

Hello readers and welcome to the first official post in my series about the allies matrix, Let's be Friends! In this inaugural article, I'll begin with the first army on the matrix, the Black Templar. These guys are currently the oldest army in the game. Let's find out if making some new friends can help them mitigate some of the ailments that come with their age.

No Librarians Allowed!

The first thing to remember when looking at the Templar ally matrix is their codex special rule, Abhor the Witch. This says that they cannot be allied with a psyker other than a Grey Knight (guess they have to deal with those inquisitor I'll jerk just like the rest of us). As Godfrey just indicated in his Showdown article, psykers have become a pretty big deal with the rise of 6th edition, and not being able to bring one really heavily influences what allies you should consider bringing.

That in mind, the Templar codex is still largely bent on being a close combat army. It's got its shooting tricks, but nevertheless it much prefers to assault. This begs the question of what do you want from allies? There are two schools of thought here, either bring allies to shore up your weaknesses, or to give you variant options with which to go all in on your strengths. Obviously some codices will present you more options than others, but we'll make sure to consider each option as best we can. Without further ado, let's have at it.

Our first pair is blood angels, and wow are they a versatile ally. Being another assault oriented marine book, there's a lot of (fairly straightforward) options to help out our boys in black. The most obvious of which would be to use either FnP assault marines (or death company) to screen for your Templar and pressure your opponent with some turn two assault threats whilst the remainder of your army follows suit. Otherwise, you can leave a few angels tacticals or scouts to hold down the fort while you go punch the other guy in the face. This isn't as attractive as the former option though, as sitting at home can be better left to other choices. Red marines also offer the furioso dreadnought (which is still mostly excellent), as well as fast vehicles like the baal predator. On the whole, I like these guys for allies so long as you're going to capitalize on their speed.

Then comes Dark angels. Allying here can be a bit tricky, since you don't want to waste an FoC swap character, but it can still be done. Bringing a unit of deathwing knights with Belial or an interrogator chaplain can add some very durable punch to the Templar forces, and it lets you leave stubborn power armor dudes back home. Cool. Or there's access to some rad grenade launchers via black knights, which are never a bad thing. These guys pair nicely too and make for some downright gorgeous model options.

From here, we can choose to ally with the Eldar forces, but this poses a bit of a problem. Ignoring the fact that you aren't battle brothers, Black Templar special rules forbid the elves from bringing a farseer, which is certainly one of the choices that usually make them tick. This isn't to say they aren't without options, as an autarch is still functional, and the blogosphere is still mostly atwitter with the "Solitaire" build which gives him a laser lance and the mantle of the laughing god. Either way, an autarch on bike, bringing bikes (for late turn capture/contesting) or guardians to sit at home (or bring a wave serpent) is something valid to consider. While not taking full advantage of all tools at your disposal, these two don't oppose each other in structure and composition, so they might be worth considering.

Moving right along, we find the Templar's "exception" to their allies rule, the Grey Knights. These make for interesting allies for a variety of reasons. The first is for the modelling opportunities. Lots of cool options to explore in that realm. Next is for the fact that the knights are the only marine codex to be more expensive than the Templar. This puts the pairing in a bit of a bind as Templar rarely leave points floating around. However, Grey knights, in addition to offering one of the best monstrous creature solutions in the game, also can choose to bring Coteaz to the table, giving our primary some much needed cheap objective sitters. Certainly the regular power armor guys are useful, but points restrictions will often encourage the use of henchmen.

We see that same mentality of cheap home point control shine through when you ally Templar with Guard. Guard bring some armored spearhead to add to the mix,via Demolishers, giving your charging crusaders some significant firepower and distraction. Add the vandetta to that and you've got some winning allies. Only thing to be warned of here is making sure you have enough points left to put a meaningful amount of crusaders on the table.
Next to bat comes the opportunity to field a Dornian gene seed army through blue book allies. These offer a scout or tactical squad to sit on the home point... and that's about it. Anything these guys can do, you want red to do more. No. Seriously. You do. Unless you want odd toys like a thunderfire cannon or to make a dornian themed army, look at another marine codex.

Like space wolves! Largely possessed of may of the same quick assault capabilities of the red codex, courtesy of crying havoc and letting slip the dogs of war, these guys can bring quick pressure for your crusaders to capitalize on. Grey hunters aren't quite as awesome to keep at home, but they get the job done. If you don't like the thought of sparkling and drinking blood, or if you're maybe just in love with beer and dogs, these guys are more than suitable for fulfilling the same sorts of roles you'd get from the red angels.

Our last choice is Tau. These guys do much of what guard does, but without the Russ chassis to help your guys run forward and smash the other guy. This isn't to say they're strictly worse than guard, but they're not better by any stretch. That said, they're easy on the pocket book as compared to guard, so it's not a total loss. If you like the tau and currently play Templar, don't be afraid to make some new friends.

So, there you have it, an analysis, neither quick and dirty, nor mind numbingly in depth, about who the Templar could look to make friends with. Just remember, no witches. Thanks for joining us and be sure to come back next week for Blood Angels!

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