Thursday, January 20, 2011

Black Templar Thoughts: One Week Later

A week has passed.  The collective 40k blogosphere has had a chance to clean up after metaphorically (or not) finishing in their pants when the new FAQs propagated around the net.
My Marshal.  It's what Lysander wishes he could be, but alas he is in a garbage chapter.

When the news first broke, everyone was in a mad rush to post their Belial with command squad, and 4 units of TH/SS termies and a Cyclone.  Until cooler heads began to prevail and question the groupthink theory hammer.  

On the Black Templar side of things, the internet was in a mad rush to post lists with 5x5 terminator squads with dual Cyclone Launchers.  Until, similarly, they realized that 20 missile shots and no other support and crap troops does not a competitive list make.  To his credit, Stelek realized this pretty early on.  His early analysis was pretty good, too.  He identified all the new potential tricks, including things I didn't consider like huge Reclusiam command squads with FNP Cenobytes.  However, when he posted some early lists, the reception was cool at best.  This isn't his fault, really.  These lists may be very good, and nobody has playtested any of them to say differently.  But I suspect that they feel flawed to most people because they are.

A couple reasons why this is:

1.  People want terminators to be good, so badly.  The hysteria this week wouldn't have been nearly so big or pervasive if the models affected weren't, for the most part, Space Marine Terminators.  The lists people want to see include Terminators.  The question then is, can lists featuring terminators actually be as good as people want.  Remember, vanilla marines already had 3++ terminators with master crafted Thunderhammers.  Those lists haven't dominated much.  Blood Angels already had shooty terminators with FNP.  Those lists haven't been dominating.  Granted, BT and DA do those things better now than the 5th Edition books, but doing a bad job well doesn't make it a good job.  

2.  Black Templars have relatively crap troops.  That's an exaggeration, actually.  Their troops do a lot well.  They fight in CC nearly as good as Space Wolves, and since they can have 5 man heavy/special squads they shoot better than any other chapter's basic troops on a point for point basis.  What makes them crap is their transports.  They are just overpriced, and don't have all the razorback options.  Point for point, they can't compete with Grey Hunters or jump pack equipped Blood Angels.  Dark Angels avoid this same problem by being able to use their terminators and bike squads as troops.  Thus, DA are fine.  BT have to work at it.

So what are the solutions?

1.  Treat BT shooty terminators the way other chapters treat Devastators.  2x5 Terminators with 2x Cyclone Launchers and Tank Hunters sitting in cover are more expensive than Long Fangs, and pack less firepower, but they are way tougher.  The biggest Long Fang drawback is that they need to be protected from assault.  BT ones don't need nearly as much protection because nothing except dedicated CC units are going to scare them.  And while they get fewer shots, theirs are noticeably better.

2.  Don't waste points on the second HQ.  Almost every terminator based BT list, including my own first impressions, used 2 Castellans or a 1 Marshal and 1 Castellan and dual terminator command squads.  This is only necessary if you are planning on maxing out your elite choices with other units, like 3 Dreadnoughts, or 3 more units of terminators.  Since 5 units of terminators doesn't work in 2k chances are you won't be.  The 100 odd points for the 2nd Castellan and his gear is enough points to actually bring the necessary support to make BT good.  I recommend a Marshal (for Rites of Battle) and a command squad and one normal terminator shooty squad as your "Devastators." 

3.  Don't waste points on a Reclusiam Command Squad.  Giant FNP squads with Cenobytes to suck up wounds sounds nasty, but they cost a fuck ton.  Like 400ish points.  But they are one Genestealer or Incubi or Nobz charge away from being wiped off the map.  Or worse, Lashed and hit by 3 heavy plasma templates.  There is little point in bringing a death star that gets munched by dedicated combat units.  This unit qualifies as cute, but not necessarily good.

4.  Power of the Machine Spirit Vindicators are still Vindicators.  And still suck balls.  They are better than anyone else's Vindicators by a mile, by like I said above, doing a bad job well doesn't make it a good job.

5.  BT typhoons are dirt cheap.  And good.  But missiles and lascannons are not the area where BT is lacking fire support.  BT are missing good downfield melta and heavy flamers.  Unfortunately, the overpriced speeders fill that role.  Call it unintentional internal balance.
6.  TH/SS terminators don't need Furious Charge.  They don't get the initiative buff, and the difference between strength 8 hammers vs strength 9 is marginal.  Certainly not worth an extra 3 points per model.

7.  Focus on what BT do well.  5 man Las/Plas squads in Rhinos or Razorbacks are actually cost effective when you compare the firepower they are able to put out.  5 Grey Hunters with a meltagun in a lasplaserback is indeed cheaper than 5 Crusaders with lasplas in a TLLCback.  But the Templars put out more firepower.  I honestly think 4 of these should be the defacto Troop choice for Templars.  But you can actually substitute Missiles for lascannons to save points, or increase duality.

OK that was long and rambling, but I'm glad I got my thoughts out.  Comments?

1 comment:

  1. Heh, it's funny to read this. I wrote a pretty similar thing on my own blog, mostly regarding DA. I like your thoughts on Templars though. Gives me food for thought, since it's not really an army I play (either as, or against) much.

    As a sidenote, I'd love to see the Templars 'devastator termie squads' with tank hunters used in a game. Whereas they'd be expensive, it really would be interesting to see what kind of impact they had on the game, and how they changed the dynamics. I certainly wouldn't know how to react if someone did that. Not at first anyways :)