The Templar Experiment

I was able to make it to the monthly tournament at the FLGS on Saturday.
I brought a Black Templars list, built using my Ultramarines. As I may have mentioned before, I'm working on playing at least 3 games with each Chapter Tactic, just so I know what they all do and to test some theories.

The list I brought was:

Captain - artificer armor, plasma pistol, power sword
Command Squad - power axe, power sword, apothecary, two plasmaguns
Razorback - Dozer, TL Assault Cannons

Crusader Squad (10) - sword brother with power sword, heavy bolter, flamer, one Marine with pistol and chainsword, Rhino
Crusader Squad (10) - sword brother with power axe, missile launcher, meltagun, one Marine with pistol and chainsword, Rhino
Crusader Squad (5) - sword brother with power axe, meltagun, one Marine with power fist, Razorback with Lascannon/TL Plasmagun

Assault Squad (10) - veteran sergeant with power fist, two flamers

It's very simple, and suboptimal. I simply don't have the pistol/chainsword models to do Templars correctly. I wanted to see how a full-on Rhino blitz worked out, and wanted to see how useful the reroll and Rending benefits to challenges worked out.

My first game ruined the day for me. I faced a Tau/Space Marine list that consisted of Farsight, some other Commander in a suit, two 10-strong Kroot Squads, Tigurius, a 5-man Scout Squad, and six Devastator Centurions with grav cannons and amps.
We were playing Bomb Sweep.
The mission didn't really matter, because I didn't really participate in this game. Tigurius, Farsight, the Tau Commander, and the Centurions were all joined in one big unit. It was simply a matter of using Tigurius to Gate the unit 24" away, not scatter at all due to Farsight, point at one of my units, and have me remove it from the board. The Centurions were all twin-linked every turn die to some piece of wargear on one of the Tau models, rrolled failed AP and wound rolls, and had Ignores Cover from another piece of Tau wargear. I tried locking them in melee, but...they have Hit and Run from yet another Tau wargear item or rule.
This list illustrates everything that is wrong with 6th Edition.

My second game I had originally drawn Thor over at Creative Twilight, but since I was tied at 0 points with another player and Thor and I had played one another last month, I asked to swap for the bye round and instead played the swing player.
He was using loaned models for the day, running Black Templars as well. Chapter Master with artificer armor and thunder hammer, one Tactical Squad in a pod, a multimelta Dread in a pod, a Vindicator, two Landspeeder Typhoons, a Hunter, five bolter Scouts, and a 5-man Devastator Squad with 4 missiles. We played Target Priority, but forgot to nominate a unit for the double kill points. Oops!
The board we played on was VERY open, with all the line of sigh blockers in corners and no really obscured sight lines. My transports weren't going to last long.
I mucked around trying to keep units alive and kill off the large squad that landed in my backfield as well as the Dread and the scouts. We pointed out Assault Marines at one another and decided to have a punch fight, which was entertaining.
I also completely forgot to have my Captain and Command Squad get out of their Razorback when it was wrecked...which was sort of huge. But we didn't realize that until after the game was over. I laughed about it, because I didn't really care.
We learned that in a Templar versus Templar fight, NO ONE ever leaves combat until they're dead. Seriously. The Assault Marine versus Assault Marine fight was a six-turn battle of attrition. I'd lose by two, and make morale. Or lose by one and fail, but be caught in the Sweep due to the Crusader rule and fight on.

Third game was against the same third round opponent from last month, with his Blood Ravens. He'd made some good progress on painting models. He'd brought a Chapter Master, two Tactical Squads with las/plas Razorbacks, two Dreads with las/missile, a Mortis Contemptor with Kheres Cannons and a missile launcher, and a Stormtalon with missiles and assault cannon.
We played King of the Hill.
The board we played on was pretty diverse with some WHFB buildings scattered about, tree stands, and a massive LOS-blocking tree near the mid-left. It also had a river running through it diagonally, which happened to be the no-man's land between the Vanguard Strike deployment zones. My plan was basically to ram a couple units forward in their transports, block the bridge with hulls or wreckage, and hold on tight. It didn't work out. I faced too much S6+ fire from multiple angles to hold up. Tabled, to a man, but it was an entertaining game.

So all in all, a very mediocre day. I brought a suboptimal list to try some things out, and it wasn't as fun a day as I thought it was.
What I did learn was: the challenge mechanic for Black Templars might work better when you're not blindly trying to get it to work purely for the sake of shits and giggles. I was issuing a challenge any time I could, like having my power fist Assault Sergeant challenge a Templar Assault Sergeant carrying a power sword. Stupid idea, but it led to an entertaining moment later in the game. Honestly,  if I hadn't been knocked off my horse by that first game, I'd probably have played smarter and harder.
Crusader is a very useful USR. I found lots of chances to roll two Run dice (take the highest), and the +d3 to your Initiative during a Sweeping Advance all but guaranteed you were sweeping or at least staying in combat with models you can't sweep. Adamantium Will didn't help at all in the first game (the only one in which I faced a psyker), but it would probably be much better in a larger sample size.
You can't force Templars to run like regular Space Marines. Arming everyone with bolters just doesn't cut it. My guess is that you'd want at least a 50/50 split between bolters and chainswords.
Also, Rhinos are shit for Templars. Total shit. For standard Marines, they work just fine because you have other rules to make up for the inability to charge out of a Rhino. Rerolls, bonuses, etc. Templars simply cannot walk across a board, no matter if you have five men or twenty. But they also cannot roll up, jump out, fire, and survive the replying fire. You need something with the Assault Vehicle rule. I really wanted to add a Land Raider Crusader to this list, but felt that at 1250 points, it was simply too much invested in a single model.
Drop pods might be a better choice for Templars, but you'd have to mix your unit with some bolters in there to make full use of the delivery method. Eight to ten pistol shots isn't worth much, and you're only packing one special weapon per squad. The lack of mobility post-landing is somewhat mitigated by Crusader.

Anyhow, despite the lackluster day I was energized to get some more painting done last night. I got the fin assembly of my drop pod edge highlighted, and now I have to go back and do the cleanup on the messy areas. That was a lot of work! Over an hour to get all five fins done.

I also packed up all of my Tyranid models and put them away. My enthusiasm for the army is at zero. When I first started planning for them, I was excited by the prospect of painting something that wasn't power armor, and I really did enjoy painting my Hive Tyrant and Genestealers. But then I got bored, because there's no real variation in the Nid models. Posing is minimal without extensive recuts and sculpting. So, I've put it all away until I either get reenergized about it, need room and sell it, or find someone who wants to buy it all in one go.


  1. That first game you had...yeah, I would have just conceded when he told me what he had and spent that time doing anything else. I'm just glad he didn't win that day.

    Regarding Nids: is it an army you were interested in gaming-wise when you started with them? I find there's a balance between models and gaming to drive interest in an army. You have to like the models for sure but you also have to want to put them down and game with them too. Without the latter then the former can become tiresome. You know what it's like to paint lots of power armor, I loathe it when I have to do some batch painting, but I want them on the table to use and that drives me. It just seems you lack that with Nids, that gaming drive.

    1. I didn't realize what the list could do until after the first turn was done. All the twin-linking and rerolling and ignores cover wasn't apparent until then. My fault for not knowing what the Tau wargear does. I couldn't have beat it even if I knew though.

      Nids were interesting on a gameplay level when I first started, but now not so much. I don't think it's the new codex so much as the realization that Tyranid units are single-faceted. You take Genestealers, and they do ONE thing and do that thing well (charge and pour out attacks like a river, Rending when they can). You can't kit them any other way. it's why I gravitated towards Warriors, because you can kit them for a little bit of this and a little of that, but nothing overly well.
      I'm just not excited about the prospect of playing games with them, so your observation is spot on. They were good for a one-off painting project. If I'd been less enthusiastic about it when I started and NOT traded for and bought a shitload of models, I'd be less pained about it.

  2. Why was he not scattering. Does farsight say "does not scatter when deepstriking". If so, he cheated as the unit is NOT deep striking, it only uses the rules of deep striking. It is similar, but not the same. Thus is CAN mishap like deepstrike, but it is not actually deep striking. It is a wording thing, but his entire army works on wording and nuances. I suspect there may have been other nuances that could be found in it. I have discovered the Tau lists (just like Necron lists) need to be hyper-scrutinized because it is full of so many rules that it is very easy to make a 90% correct combo and slide it past someone.

    I am disappointed to hear that there were some pretty bothersome lists. Lots of big killy things, min troops. Makes me glad I don't normally go to monthlies.

    It's a shame to see you packing up the nids. They looked simply amazing, and the concept of having a player around here run stealers and warriors vs. the usual gaunts, tervigons, and FMCs was exciting.

    1. Unfortunately, it's rules legit. It's a Tau warlord trait that allows it, stating that the Tau warlord and any unit he joins "do not scatter when arriving by Deep Strike." Gate of Infinity tells you to remove the unit from the board, and then they immediately "arrive by Deep Strike."

      It's against the spirit of the power and the rule, but there's not much we can do about that.

      Well, at the rate I was painting Tyranids, I never would have fielded an army anyways, if that's any consolation.