Mar 30, 2011

Sword Brethren, a closer look Part 1

Alright, I said I'd do this so now to it. Due to the length, I'm making this a 2-parter.

At 19 points each they are equal to the cost of regular Initiates plus a special skill. This isn't so bad until you realize that regular Initiates are scoring, these guys aren't (a problem due to this being a 4th edition codex in a 5th edition game). So how can you make them worth taking? This becomes difficult when our other Elite options are Terminators and Dreadnoughts.

Making Sword Brethren into cheaper Terminators is the wrong decision, I checked. But let's look at upgrades. For upgrades they can take a variety of things, essentially the same selection than Crusader Squads but doesn't have the doubling option that Command Squads do.

Firstly they can use bolters, or bolt pistols and close combat weapons. Not a mix, though, and it seems like using bolters is laughing at their name. But this choice comes down to what kind of army you are running and how you plan to use them.

Next they may be given Terminator Honors. While this can be advantageous, you must be careful as the price these guys begin to mount up. For a 3++ save that is only another 10 points each you can have some dangerous guys. 39 point guys. Then we need to start looking to see if it isn't better to just take Terminators, which are much better for only a few more points. But you don't have to give them all Terminator Honors, nor all of those ones Storm Shields. A mix is best, and provides some good Invulnerable saves for facing power weapons.

Don't bother with Combat Shields. Compared to Storm Shields you gain 1 attack and 5 points each, you lose 50% greater chance of surviving Power Weapons. Pre-FAQ the option was viable to select instead of Storm Shields since you save the same amount but lose only 16% chance.

Frag and Krak Grenades are better selections than they are for Crusader Squads since if you are charging into cover the improved initiative is much more important for a more expensive unit and with 5 members the Krak Grenades are more reliable against light AV than if they have a Powerfist. Still, they are not staple upgrades to take.

The options are essentially the same as Crusader Squads with a few differences: Power Weapons are now in the second paragraph and costs 5 more points, a Pair of Lightning Claws are available, the Plasma Gun is 4 more points, and you don't get Bolt Pistols with the Powerfist or Power Weapon.

This gives them an advantage in CC over Crusaders since they can take two weapons that ignore armor (One of which can be Lightning Claws). Add in some Terminator Honors for those who have the Special Weapons and you have a deadly Close Combat unit, but we'll get back to that in a moment.

Crusader Seals and Transports are the same as Crusader Squads. The only two changes, tactically, is that Land Raider Crusaders are a nicer option since they help the Close Combat orientation that these guys will have quite nicely, same thing with the Crusader Seals.

And now we get to the skills: I'm going to go in a reverse order from how they are listed. Infiltrate has some nice uses, especially for a mechanized rushing list. You can start the game much closer than the rest of your army and on foot so you free up a few points from not having a vehicle. But you can't have an Independent Character joined and you are on foot. So if you want to have the unlikely chance to charge first turn then this is for you, but I recommend not doing so.

Counter Attack has some different uses, and is best when used with bolters and heavy weapons. This is an option, but you are paying for a Crusader Squad with a special skill that helps if you get charged. But it is only useful if you to get charged and it is always better for you to charge and deny the enemy an extra attack. And you aren't Scoring.

Last is Furious Charge. Unless you are going to be shooting with these guys then this is the skill to take. The +1 initiative saves lives and the +1 strength means your Power Weapons and Lightning Claws are going to wound more often. This is by far the best one as it capitalizes on the advantage Sword Brethren have over Crusader Squads.

So that's all the options and choices you can select for Sword Brethren, so what's the best way to use them? That will be answered in Part 2.

Mar 24, 2011


I've been playing around some more with facing the Ork army from Assault on Black Reach. I fiddle with my list to make it come out at 450 points (that of the orcs) and I've learned something (which is the whole purpose of playing these games).

Using a base list of my Crusader Squads and my Emperor's Champion lets me pick either my Terminator Squad or my Dreadnought and Castellan. I've tried the Dreadnought/Castellan approach and it always ends in a draw or a loss for the Black Templar. But just recently I tried the Terminators instead.

Now, it might have been the table, it might have been luck. But both games were great victories. In the first one I killed the entire Ork army. In the second one I killed all except for three of the Nobz and my Terminators survived being charged by both a squad of Boyz and the Deffkoptas, finally defeating both on their own before coming to kill some Nobz.

Why have I posted this? Well, for one is to let me practice my writing skills. But the other is to let me give my impression of Terminators.

Terminators are very expensive. But they are also worth the cost to a certain extent. Having thirty Terminators in your army, while impressive and awesome (I want to try that now), is not being cost effective. That's 1,200 points. Granted, you can fit this into a 1,500 point game but they won't do what those points could if split up.

Is 200 points worth a squad of Terminators? At low points, very. At higher points, it isn't that expensive, so yes. But keep in mind, they are better when you give them something. Personally, I like either Assault Cannons or Cyclone Missile Launchers combined with Tank Hunter. Either one is a valid choice for taking down light armor as well as being a threat to infantry.

But that is just my opinion. In the next few days I'll get back to Sword Brethren.

Mar 15, 2011

A Glance at Sword Brethren

Yesterday I emailed what I thought was a viable tactic to Marshall Learoth about Sword Brethren with the Infiltrate skill in a Razorback with a Twin-Linked Lascannon. If you're sharp you can immediately spot the mistake I made. Otherwise, or for a more in depth look at both the email and Learoth's comments, you can read his blog post here:

So, I'm still looking for a worthy use for Sword Brethren that makes them worth their points. This is not very easy since they have both cheaper, scoring Crusader Squads and hard, deadly Terminators to compete with.

Currently I'm examining using them as something of an assassin group by putting them in a drop pod with Bolters an assault weapon and Counter Charge. Drop them behind enemy lines and get a rapid fire off along with being a dangerous unit to charge. But I still have the problem of making them a better option than transporting Terminators in who have a bunch of power weapons and can even fire heavy weapons their first round. But they are a better option than using Initiates for this with their Counter Charge Skill.

Well, that's all I have for now. I'll be sure to give them a full examination sometime soon though. I hope to start a series so that I make sure I look at units completely.


Mar 11, 2011

Update on the Waaaaagh! and my Emperor's Champion

Alright, I've run several battles using each game mode and each deployment, though not every combination and some more than others. After the first couple I realized that the Templar had an unfair advantage points-wise. So I changed some of my Castellan's equipment and dropped the Dreadnought and Chainfists, bringing my total to 496, only 46 more than the orks. The battles continued and, as they did, I adjusted the tactics as necessary.

Now, the Templar stay back and don't charge unless to deny the enemy charging them and unload as much firepower as possible before the orks reach them. The orks, on the other hand, use the terrain better and have their Boyz run in front of their Warboss and Nobz to provide both cover and distraction. Rather than shooting at all they simply charge across the board as fast as possible so that they can get into close combat.

Surprisingly, a squad of 5 marines can hold their own in close combat with 7-8 Boyz for a few rounds. Also, the Warboss is the most devastating figure on the board. There is nothing he cannot kill aside from a full terminator squad and he even gives them a run for their money. 4 attacks at WS 5, S 10, from a power klaw is so dangerous. Fortunately if he's out in the open and I get a rapid fire off I can wound him enough to take out in close combat with a higher initiative.

Another thing I've noticed is that the only protection I get from cover is if the orks end their movement close enough to charge easily, when they shoot. I already go before them so I literally get no benefit from holding a position in cover.

I will continue to run battles and become more fluent in the rules, I've been considering switching out my Terminator squad for the Dreadnought to change things up. I also need to play on a board that is actually about 4-6 rather than 3-3.

On a side note, I have begun shopping for my Emperor's Champion and will be making a purchase in the next couple of days. When he arrives and I paint him, I'll post a update about it.

Mar 9, 2011

Battle Report 1. Orks.

Fighting Company Devjon was stationed near the southern border of Ultima Segmentum, in the Realm of Ultramar. They were going through exercises devised by the Ultramarines there and had just received their gear from the ship when the news came. From out of nowhere a hundred ork warships appeared in the sky and every available man was sent to his battle stations. There was a Waaaagh! to stop.

Castellan Devjon and his soldiers were stationed on the right flank of the force counter-attacking the ork's reserve forces. Success would mean the defenses would hold and so Devjon positioned aggressively to smite this threat. He had nearly a dozen initiates and a handful of sword brethren in Terminator armor, along with the company's dreadnought, Redemption. He placed half his Initiates with himself on the right side of a hill, the rest of the Initiates took their places on top of the hill with the Terminators and Dreadnought on the left.

Then they saw the orks. A Warboss with a squad of Nobz stood opposite from Devjon while a score of Boyz stood ready to rush the Terminators and a squadron of Deffkoptas could be seen off to the left, behind another hill.

Devjon rushed forward with his men; the Initiates on the hill opened fire upon half the boyz and, thanks to their missile Launcher, killed most of them, driving them from the field. The dreadnought and Terminators moved forward and caused the rest of the Boyz to fall back.

Some of the Boyz regrouped and shot back, doing little damage. The Warboss Charged forward, crashing headlong into Devjon's squad. They were too much, too terrible, Devjon fell back with only one of his Initiates, hoping to get some room and kill the beasts from a distance. The Deffkoptas fired upon the dreadnought and wrecked it.

The Terminators turned to help against the Warboss and, with some help from the Initiates on the hill, smashed into it.

The Deffkoptas began their barrage of the Black Templars, a barrage they kept up the rest of the battle. The Warboss killed the last of the Terminators, though not before all of his Nobz died, and moved closer to the last of the Initiates.

Devjon had the room he needed and turned around. The Initiates opened fire upon the Warboss and killed him. Then they shot at the Boyz and routed them as well.

The rest of the fight was simply the Deffkoptas firing and being fired at. But their Rokkit Launchas proved too strong to withstand and the Templar were routed. The Waaaagh! continued and more lives were lost.

I learned some important things in this battle. For one I learned how dangerous a Warboss with five Nobz is. Another is how devastating Rapid Fire can be. After this I fought two more with the same forces on similar terrain. As long as I killed most of the Nobz with guns and kept my dreadnought alive more than one round, I crushed them. One annoying thing was that when the Deffkoptas fired at my Castellan they got two hits. I had given him Artificer armor so he had a 2+ Sv, I got snake eyes.

Next I'll play something with objectives and put up that report, though probably in a different format. For the Emperor!

Mar 8, 2011

My Commander

Last night I finished painting the rest of my army, now to take all of that accumulated experience and put it to good use with my most special figure, Castellan Devjon.

Using the Space marine Captain figure I got from Assault on Black Reach except with a different back pack he is almost complete. I just need to do the highlights on the black areas and check over to make sure I didn't miss anything. Fortunately, it looks as though my intentions for him to stand out among my forces will be met. He has black and red shoulder pads rather than the white and black of the regular marines. Combined with his cape (black on the outside, red inside) and stance to make him almost as imposing as my terminators and an ornate bolter, he looks pretty good.

Once he's done I am going to find a place where I can set up a battle between my army and the orcs from the same set that my brother has been throwing together. After playing that battle with myself I will be sure to put up a battle report on here, hopefully tonight but we'll see.

Mar 7, 2011

Painting Update

Alright, I've got most of the painting done on my models and they're really starting to look pretty good. All I have left is a bunch of detail work (eyes, purity seal wax, writing, blue and red wires, etc.) nearly all of which I need to go and buy some red paint for and then I'll begin work on my commander.

Though there is one thing that has me stumped: I'm not sure how I'm going to do the Black Templar symbol on their shoulders. With normal marines I can just purchase the special Black Templar bits which have the cross modeled on but it looks like I'm going to have to do some free hand work.

Mar 4, 2011

Current Army list

Alright, my army. I just thought that whoever is reading this might be interested in what I have set up, so here it is.

HQ: Castellan Devjon: Artificer Armor, Crusader Seals, Master Crafted Combimelta, Melta Bombs, Power Sword.

Elite: Dreadnought (Redemption): Multimelta, Close Combat Arm, Storm Bolter.

Elite: Sword Brethren Terminators (5): 5 Storm Bolters, 4 Powerfists, 1 Chain fist.

Troop: Crusader Squad (5): Missile Launcher, 4 Bolters.

Troop: Crusader Squad (5): Flamer, 3 Bolters, 1 Chain Sword, 1 Bolt Pistol.

Total: 629.

I could add in a few things to increase the points, but I would rather have this amount of points for this many minis and only increase it when I get some more.

Not much to speak of right now, I've got my Castellan to improve my leadership as well as beef up on of the squads with some anti-tank and close combat ability. The Dreadnought should make for a good core during the battle and should be more than capable in handling almost anything thrown at it, except for long range fire power. Terminators can back it up or provide serious support for my two Crusader Squads. As for the Crusader Squads they won't be doing much as of yet. I can use the missile squad to hold an objective near me while the flamer squad can advance to take a different one, with help from m Castellan, of course.


I have begun painting my force. I'm using black paint for my primer/base-coat on all of them except my commander, which I'm priming white and thin will base-coat. This is because I want him to be the most striking model in my army and what I had heard was that black primers are easier to apply but white primers make the end model look better. So far, it's true. The black paint is easier to apply than the white because it only needs one coat and a couple of touch-ups while the white needs two complete coats and another to get the parts that need it.

Unfortunately, painting is more tedious than I had thought. For my future minis I will purchase the spray paint so that I can make that step that much easier. And

Fighting Company Devjon

This blog is dedicated to my new Warhammer 40k army, Fighting Company Devjon. It is a Black Templar army and as a warning I have been strongly influenced by Marshal Laeroth in my planned designs so it may rub against the grain for some people as it is focused on shooting more than assaulting. You've been warned.

Now, so far I have only the contents of the Assault on Black Reach box set, Black Templars Codex, and some painting equipment. It is somewhat dissappointing because there are no extra bits. The Dreadnought only has a multi-melta and a close combat arm with storm bolter. So even though I wanted to equip it with a missile launcher and lascannon, I can't; nor can I give him searchlight or smoke launchers. You get ten marines, one with a missile launcher, one with a flamer, one with chain-sword and bolt pistol, and seven with bolters. I was hoping to have two with missile launchers and two with meltaguns. This applies also to the terminators and commander. The commander isn't such a problem as he has what I wanted him to but I was really looking forward to equipping two of my terminators with cyclone missile launchers.

But, this was still a great deal, I got something like $120 worth of figures plus the rules, some templates, and a scatter die for about half that once I sold the orcs that came in the set. So a very good deal over all, especially as my first set. But not worth getting more than once.