Warhammer 40,000/5th Edition Tactics/Black Templar

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Tactics? What's that? Pray! Kill! Burn! There, tactics.

Hot news: Templars got squatted and rolled in to the next Codex: Space Marines! Use Templars 'till 7th of September as much as you can.

Why Play Black Templar[edit]

Black Templar are, for all intents and purposes, Angry Marines. That should be reason enough. But, if you need more...

  • Cool models - The Black Templar conversion kit has lots of cool bitz and such to work with. They look far more hard core than your average marines.
  • Chop shit up. - Black Templar are one of the best hand-to-hand combat armies in all of 40k, and tied for best hand to hand army of the Imperium with Blood Angels (But Templar don't have bitchtits on their armor).
  • Bigger Metal Boxes - All your shit can drive around in Land Raiders if you so desire
  • Non-Special Character HQ units are actually worth playing.
  • The only marines angry enough to run FORWARD when being shot at.
  • An advantageous generational gap - Thanks to the latest FAQ's adding massive erratas to equipment (such as all-around 3+ Storm Shields and BS4 PotMS), combined with an equipment list from early 4th Edition 40k, the BT's have some new-ish tricks up their sleeves.
  • The last Codex written by Graham McNeill Praise the Emperor. The Great Beast will not taint us.

Unit Analysis[edit]


  • Emperor's Champion - You don't really *need* to take this guy (save for the fact that the rules require it and he doesn't take up a HQ slot), but you'd be retarded not to, for reasons that should become clear. He comes with pretty good gear, and Must take one of the four vows...
    • Accept Any Challenge... - Changed in the 6th edition, no longer Preferred Enemy, which sucks, or mandatory charge, which was easily countered by taking a boltgun, and has been replaced with "rage" granting +1 additional attack on the charge so you get more hits but don't get the re-rolls. The argument as to which is best is still on going, so wake me up when it's finally over.
    • Abhor The Witch... - A bit better now. It's not AAC, but there's a bunch of psychic powers that you don't want to find yourself on the ass end of. Unfortunately, there's a lot that work by buffing rather than by interacting with your models, and it doesn't do jack shit against those. However you don't get to take both this psychic save and the Deny the Witch save, only one, scrap this vow. The scout move is lackluster, because even though you might get into CC a little sooner, you won't be nearly as good without AAC.
    • Suffer Not the Unclean... - +1 S in exchange for -1 I. Mixed bag, probably worth it over all, but nowhere near as good as how Accept Any Challenge USED to be, so take it if you want this vow. While the net benefit of it may not be as impressive as Accept Any Challenge, It still allows you to have some degree of control over your units rather then having them charging off of objectives you want. The -1 I isn't exactly as bad as it seems. At worse, you're swinging after Marines, at best, you're swinging equal to guard but hit harder when you swing, allowing you to engage targets with more success then normal, although the strength bonus doesn't stack with Furious Charge. For lulz, use the "discount powerfist tactic". Take as many normal power weapons as you can, model them as axes, and drink the tears of your opponents as you get cheaper than normal, non-specialist weapon attacks that wound on 2's and ignore terminator armour, all while not giving ANY shits about the initiative penalty. Lol.
    • Uphold the Honour... -(AKA Cover Is For Pussies) Cheapest of all, and a bit of a mixed box. 5+ invul saves is not a fair trade for being able to use cover. On the plus side, ground units cannot be pinned while the vow is active. If you think about it, this gives you at least a chance against weapons that ignore armor, and are shot at you (whereas if you normally anywhere and got shot with something only and invul save could fix, you'd be choking on plasma)
  • Chaplain - He's pretty cool. Lets his squad re-roll all missed to hits on the charge which is now extremely useful when paired with the new AAC. He also gives the squad he joins "Fearless". His upgraded version has 1 more wound, and 1 more LD (which is worthless as he is fearless). Now extremely valuable in 6th Ed. Has access to the armory so you have a great deal of say in how you kit him out. If you jerk your points around right you can take two or three and have three squads that tear off heretics heads and shit down their necks.
  • Commander - This guy is cheap (though more expensive than a Chaplain when outfitted) and has access to a LOT of really good wargear. While he doesn't make his squad fearless, he allows the whole army to test on his LD, so spend the 15 points to upgrade him to his LD 10 version. Considering that Templar squads test whenever they take any wounds from shooting, and only run forward if they /pass/, he's an essential addition.

The Following are Special Characters.

  • Chaplain Grimaldus - He's a 3-wound chaplain. Has the ability to not-die even when killed (handy) comes with 3 servitors that carry a big magic stick that, once per game, gives all nearby friendlies +1 attacks. Besides he has "grim" right in his fucking name!
  • High Marshall Helbrecht - He's a 4-wound commander with some wargear, and a sword that gives him +d3 attacks in the first round of combat.

The Following can be taken by any of the HQs (Except the Emperor's Champion)

  • Command Squad - Comes with a staggering array of options, in Terminator and non-terminator form. Can take the Furious Charge skill (Nice!) or counter-attack, or even infiltrate. Can get a few specialists, from the apothecary, to the standard bearer, to the company champion, and pretty much any model can carry some kind of special gear. See Terminator entry for more info on the options available to the Terminator command squad. The standard bearer is notable for his ability to upgrade to carrying a chapter banner, which gives you counterattack AND +1 attack when charged.

The generic Chaplain and commander characters have access to a large armory, some of the most noteworthy entries of which include:

  • Adamantine Mantle. This grants your character Eternal Warrior, and is worth its weight in gold.
  • Bionics. Dirt cheap. It's 6+ FNP for 5 points, what's not to like?
  • Teleport Homer. These are mad-handy for calling in the terminators in opportune locations.
  • Terminator Honors. Give your guy an extra attack. 4A base? yes please.
  • Holy Orb of Antioch. It's a holy hand grenade. You never know when a fucking rabbit will try to bite your goddamn head off.
  • Frag Grenades. You don't get them standard. Make sure you pay the 1pt for them. Otherwise, life will be sad.


  • Dreadnought - Mean, lean, walking machines. They can crush people, shoot pretty well, and can get mad-tough when upgraded with Extra Armor and venerable. Their best weapons are the Assault Cannon, and, if drop-podding, the Multi-melta. The Lascannon is a little pricey, but can also work. I do not suggest replacing the power fist with a missile launcher, as being able to punch people in the face is far more rewarding. Drop-podding them helps them make it to the enemy intact, and lets them threaten people with their fists and meltas.
  • Chaplain Dreadnought (Forgeworld Only) - Fuck-off expensive at 175 pts. plus weapons, but comes with the following advantages: 1) WS/BS 5. 2) Has both the Venerable and Litany of Hate special rules. 3) Can roll with double dreadnought close combat weapons. Unfortunately, this guy has to compete with another Forgeworld model...
  • Contemptor Dreadnought (Forgeworld Only) - Just like the one for vanilla marines. WS 5, FA 13, fleet, atomantic shielding and all those wonderful weapons available to them. Best bet is to roll with double Dread CCW's or a chainfist and switching out the bolters.
  • Sword Brethren Squad - I've never bothered with these guys, and I can't see why anyone would. They're more expensive initiates (that don't score). They have the same options as initiates (1 special weapon, 1 heavy weapon Or special close combat weapon). Plus, can have "terminator Honors" to each gain an additional attack (but it's crazy expensive) and can have as many storm shields (FAQ'd to 3++ all the time, but got more expensive) as your little heart desires. I suggest you give them a skip.
  • Sword Brethren Terminators - They're terminators. Who can take a skill (Furious charge or tank hunters) and can get 2 heavy weapons. A squad of 5 with 2x Tank Hunting Cyclone Missile Launchers can output four long-ranged, strength-8 krak missiles. With preferred enemy RAEG and power fists all around, they're hardly slouches in CC either. So in conclusion, these guys take the typical SW Long Fangs build and improves on it in many, many ways.
  • Sword Brethren Assault Terminators - Assault terminators. Take a couple of Thunder Hammers to deal with the big things (fex's, tanks) and put them in a Land Raider Crusader. Point this unit at anything within 18 inches and watch it disappear. Don't leave home without an LRC and don't teleport or drop in--you want them on the table turn 1.
  • Techmarine - *cough* has this guy ever been good? Actually, this guy isn't horrible. He is, essentially, another Commander, who doesn't have Rites of Battle, but does have 1 free power fist attack, and the ability to (occasionally) repair vehicles. If you really want to give him a go, I suggest tooling him up as you would a commander (for close combat) and just sticking him in a squad as an additional power-weapon/fist wielder. Skip the servitors and all that junk. If you feel like trolling you can always count on this guy to deliver. Pair of Lightning Claws, Servo-Harness, Jump Pack (Yes you can have a techmarine with a jump pack and full harness.), terminator honors, and holy hand grenade if you feel extra lulzy. That gives you 5 AP3 attacks with Shred at Initiative 4 (AAC plus Charge) followed by 2 free Power Fists. Throw him in a squad of assault marines with a fairly cheap chaplain and tear through units of small objective holders.


  • Crusader Squad - This is it. This is your troop choice. You get these guys and nothing else. Rejoice. They're basically tactical marines (initiates), who can also have scouts (neophytes) in their squad. Neophytes are great, they're cheap bodies to throw onto incoming power fists, or krak missiles. The initiates can be armed with either Bolt Pistol + Close Combat Weapon, or Bolter. Neophytes can be armed with Bolt Pistol + Close Combat Weapon, or shotgun. Additionally, you can take 1 special weapon, and either 1 heavy weapon or 1 special close combat weapon. A few ways you can outfit them:
    • Small, shooting squad. 5 Initiates (with bolters). 1 Neophyte (with shotgun). 1 Lascannon. 1 Plasmagun. You can throw them in a Razorback if you so desire to add a shooting box to your army.
    • Rhino squad: 5 Initiates with BP+CCW 5 more guys (either Neophytes or Initiates) 1 Power Fist, 1 Meltagun (or flamer) frag grenades, in a rhino with extra armor. Alternatively, this squad can mount in a Drop Pod.
    • Rhino Squad Mk.II. 8 Initiates + 2 Neophytes with same loadout as above. The initiates serve as good throw away guys for that power fist or rogue lascannon shot.
    • Man mob. 10 Initiates and 10 Neophytes. Doesn't really matter how you arm them at this point, they're walking across the table, and probably want to punch things when they get there. Or, cut the squad down to 15 models, and throw them in a Land Raider Crusader (lots of points)
    • Wanna-be Tactical Squad. 10 guys with bolters. Meltagun or flamer. Power fist. Rhino with extra armor. You could also put them in a drop pod.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • Attack Bike Squadron - What are you, guard? These guys aren't for hitting things so move right along. As for regular bikers, they cost twice as much and can't hold objectives. A rhino squad is a better bet every time.
  • Assault Squad - Fantastic, but you need two squads to really get the most out of them and that's 500 points without the characters you need to lead them. Great fun, but you have to commit to it. Note: unlike vanilla assault squads, these guys dole out meltabombs like candy on Halloween. For ~135 points you can have a 5 man tank eating suicide squad. Unfortunately, Accept Any Challenge... does not apply to grenade attacks.
  • Land Speeder Squadron - Land Speeder Typhoons are worthless. They were before the new FAQs, maybe. Now they're cheap, fast, far-shooting MONSTERS at dirt's price. Tornado's either anti-infantry or anti-tank, are very useful because this army does not have great anti-vehicle firepower and the assault-cannon variant is great for any army. Take two.
  • Stormtalon -Along with the Stormraven, the Stormtalon is one of the two fliers the Templars got from the wallet-raping waste of paper and ink known as "Death from the Skies". Great for anti-air and popping transports. With Strafing Run its got BS5, couple that with the Twin Linked AssCan and you will mow shit down. Good for smaller games or have it escort your Stormraven in.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • Land Raider - Carries 10, shoots lascannons. It doesn't really know if it wants to be a transport, or a battle tank... You're probably better off getting your Lascannons from somewhere else, and your transportation from something else as well.
  • Land Raider Crusader - This is how you transport terminators (which you want to, unless you hate getting the charge every time, or surviving, or winning, or breathing) as it holds 16 15 models (8 terminators) it also puts out an alright volume of dakka at short range. Oh, yeah, it's also essential to the background of your chapter, and is available as a dedicated transport for your freakin' troop units. That being said, it's expensive, and you don't absolutely need it if you don't field terminators. It's fun if you want to just deploy a 16 15 man "whack their faces in" Crusader squad too.
  • Predator Destructor - Fairly expensive, costs more than the Codex: Vanilla variant. Give it Heavy Bolter sponsons for infantry hunting, or LasCannon sponsons for light tank hunting, though at that point why not just buy an Annihilator? Either way, Extra Armor is probably a good idea. Heck, just go for Power of the Machine spirit while you're at it. It's a Marine tank, so you have to take two to be effective.
  • Predator Annihilator - Pretty expensive, but cheaper than the Codex: Ultramarines variant. Give it LasCannon sponsors, and possible Power of the Machine Spirit if you want it to keep on shooting. Plop it in a corner, and shoot at other metal boxes. Take two.
  • Vindicator - This thing's pretty good. it draws a lot of fire, is fairly tough (AV13 to the front) and has a big, nasty cannon. Best bet, Give it Power of the Machine Spirit. And take two.
  • StormRaven (New Vehicle) - Remember that flying metal box the Blood Angels exclusively had? Well good news, we have it now! This is flying AV12 bristling with guns, so freaking take it for Emprah's sake! Other than us having it, the stats are basically the same, so paint it with all the BT colour scheme, add our vehicle bitz on it and go crazy with it!

On all vehicles (Excluding the StormRaven)...

  • Smoke launchers are a MUST. You will get shaken at some point in time, so even shooty tanks can benefit from a turn of cover.
  • Keeping mobile is essential, always take Extra Armor (if not Power of the Machine spirit) and, if you plan on crashing through the shrubbery, a dozer blade.
  • Searchlights are 1 point, so if you end up with a 998 point list, throw 'em in. They're pretty hand in 6th ed, now that night fighting is more common... and what else are you going to do with 2 points? Crusader seals? Fuck that shit.


Drop Pod- Drops. 6th Ed FAQs finally brought us in line with all the other Marines Pods. Various good uses for them include a tank-hunter dreadnaught for mechanized armies (it will meet you on the other side of the table) and a small squad to grab objectives or back up assault marines. Not for beginners. Putting terminators in them is iffy because you're going to be sitting exposed for at least a turn before you can do anything, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a LRC.

Rhino- Your Metal Box. Either you're doing horde, in which case nobody will be in these, or you aren't, in which case nobody is in these. Smoke is about as important as the treads, extra armor won't hurt.

Land Raider Crusader- As above, this should be carrying large squads of terminators. You can put a 1615-man squad in one if you really want to, I guess. Fielding an entire army mounted in LRC's and only LRC's wins you three (3) Black Templar Points, redeemable for exciting prizes.

Building Your Army[edit]

With Glue and Paint, preferably Revell glue because it's a lot better the the overpriced shite GW sells.

Seriously though... Your army is going to be focused on close combat so, the majority of your points should be in things like power weapons and power fists. However, it's generally a good idea to have 15-25% of your list be some kind of fire support id est vindicators, predators, shooty dreadnoughts et cetera. No no no. The real strength of Black Templars is in using assault defensively, and their heavy weapons, all of their crusader squads can carry them, and their terminators can carry two, so model a few Initaites with Lascannons or other special/heavy weapons variants, you can put out a large amount of S9 firepower with a few squads and Razorbacks, and make sure to have at least one redundant choice (as in 2 squads of BP, CC, and 1 Lascannon) so that if a squad dies, it won't hurt you that much, and if you really want protection from close combat, get a few cheap commanders to help/hide in squads, and speaking of commanders, you can get a few really cheap ones with command squads toting 2 Missile Launchers, Plasma cannons, or Lascannons (stick with the missile launchers or plasma cannnons for when your Lascannons blow the shit out of enemy transports), so while you can blow a lot on Close Combat, it's wiser not to.

Bolt pistols and chainswords are for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The extra attack makes Accept Any Challenge all the more deliciously deadly. The battleforce box will supply you with a pile of chainswords from the assault squad kit. If you don't have the Black Templars conversion kit: 1) You are doing it wrong. 2) You are missing out on sweet Bolt pistols and chainswords. 3) You are a dumbass and you are still doing it wrong. In total from the two boxes you'll get about 11 or 12 Chainsword and bolt pistol pairs. If your neckbeard "friends" at the FLGS don't give a fuck, you can use power weapons as CCWs in dire situations.

Don't forget that you're still using the old armory system. Abuse the ever loving shit out of that. You can get a Marshall (LD 10) with a 2+/3+ save toting Eternal Warrior that gets 6 attacks on the charge, or a Chaplain that gets 7 lightning claw attacks when he rolls out of his GIGANTIC METAL BAWKSES with a few of his chainsword wielding friends. Or maybe a 2-wound Supernerd with 4 powerfist / 3 powerweapon (power axe?) attacks on the charge. Oh, and he can fix shit on a rerollable 5+ that can get down to a 2+ (but who brings tech servitors, honestly) and also has a 2+/3+ with a twin-linked plasma pistol (can still charge and fire) and flamer (for torching the heretical scum before you powerhug). Will he fold to anything designed to fight in close combat? Yeah, probably, but he's an elite choice that can whoop ass. While it was covered in the section above, a good practice may be to shove an independent character into each squad of murderboner Initiates you have and let them have fun.

Try not to focus on 'what will my guys be doing in close combat' so much as 'how will they be getting there'. The possible 1:1 ratio of Neophytes to Initiates can still let you run a Black Tide list across the board (have fun paying for/painting all those damn models), with the options of sending in waves of Drop Pods, Rhinos, Land Raiders (LRC for the win) or a newfound flying land raider, the Storm Raven. Still has enough for a 10-man squad of Initiates plus a HQ or two, is an assault vehicle (if you hover, count on losing it next turn though) that can shove a Dreadnought up its ass and have it pop out with your infantry as well. It's marginally cheaper than a land raider (if you take Hurricane Bolter sponsons, et all) that can still fuck with flyers due to its Multi-Melta on front assuming it's not hovering.


In practical terms, don't try to play any stand-off shooty strategies, Black Templars aren't that kind of army. Try to move your infantry forward in such a way that you can always take advantage of Zeal rolls by getting close to a unit it can assault the next turn. Forgetting for a moment about this mechanic can result in units being kited away from the bulk of the enemy for the whole battle, stuck off in some corner trying to catch a couple of Guardian Jetbikes and squish them, instead of wailing on the Firedragons or Farseers. No. Just no. The worst thing you can tell yourself about Black Templars is that they are only good at melee.

This guy will tell you why: http://www.implausiblenature.net/laeroths-blog.html

One of the best things about Black Templars is the HQ's; they are extremely cost efficient and excellent, I repeat fucking excellent, at dueling. Take this example build:

Master of Sanctity 196 pts -Power Fist -Frag Grenades You can't take grenades with terminator armour. Read first! -Adamantine Mantle -Terminator Armour

This mean sonofabitch can dish out 6 power fist attacks on the charge with AACNMTO, 5 without. He has a 4+ invuln and immunity to instant death, so he can't be insta gibbed by say, Lysander or Calgar. His 2+ save lets him laugh off power swords and the like. Its for this reason that this guy can outfist Calgar, and certainly Lysander do the math, Lysander averages 1.1 unsaved wounds against that master of sanctity/turn, MoS averages 0.7 wounds against lysander/turn and has less wounds. Also, he doesn't buff your army like lysander and costs the same. He also doesn't lose his Crozius, so you can still use that against Eldar, Dark Eldar, Traitor Guard, etc and abuse that I5. Put him with a squad of Hammernators and he will be unstoppable.

In small to average games (around 1000 points), Stuffing your HQ in rhinos with your crusader squads isn't a bad idea. This diffuses their fire magnet propensities and gives your scoring units a powerful first strike if you're against I4 enemies. Lightning claws (You are taking a pair, right?) at I5 with re-rolls to hit and wound? Terminator Honors too? (That's 5 attacks, 6 on the charge, motherfucker. Might as well add in the AACNMTO for a grand total of 7 attacks on the charge, fuck yeah) Well... That ork mob just picked the wrong squad to mess with because, it's going to be swept like a bitch. (In case your thick skull didn't get it: this is a fantastic build for a marshal.) The Emprah's Champ is awesome in this role as well.

(Actually, they're really good at standing off and shooting, due to heavy/special in 5 man troop squads, and 2x heavy weapon tank hunting termies. They just also happen to be excellent in CC, which is useful for when the enemy inevitably hits your lines.)