Dec 17, 2011

We can top Blood Angles in mobility, and we can top their Deathstars too.

Earlier today I came read one of Stelek’s fan-favorite articles about a Blood Angels Deathstar unit. He gave three common ones and then he gave his and asked three questions.

The common ones he gave were pretty predictable: Librarian and Priest with 5 Assault Terminators in a Land Raider, Librarian and Priest with 5 Assault Terminators and Furioso Dreadnought in Stormraven, Dante and Furioso in a Stormraven… But his unit at first seemed a little odd. A Chaplain with Jump Pack, Librarian with Jump Pack, Priest with Jump Pack, and ten Assault Terminators without a transport. His three questions were:

1) What are the key differences between the other units, and my unit? List both.

2) What rules do you use to make full use of this unit? List both.

3) What tactic do you use to extend the threat range of this unit? Describe it in detail.

I was curious since the Jump Packs can’t really be used while in the same, slow unit of Assault Terminators, they are vulnerable because they are without a transport, and it is just really, really expensive (coming in at 800+ points). Then I started reading the replies, and it all opened up to me.

FNP plus 3++ saves means that these guys are hard to kill. The Chaplain makes them fearless and gives them re-rolls to hit when they charge. Not buying the Transport means more points spent on bodies, which also means more attacks and harder to bring down (and less weakened by losses). You can move one of the characters 12”, another 10”, and the third 8” with the Terminators rushing up 6” behind them, which strings out the unit and allows that front character to assault (with the entire unit) something 18” away, and you can compare that to the 21.5” that the Land Raider would allow. On top of all that, since there is no reliance on a Transport to get them places, a lucky Lascannon shot or a Melta-Hunter team means very little. And there were other rules, such as a fear psychic power and combat squading, which had their own benefits.

So I thought, “Can we do something similar for Black Templars?”. Why not?

Alright, we need three Independent Characters with Jump Packs. Scratch that, we need two (if you work it out, the base sizes of those two make up the distance that the third gives, minus .01”). We need one of those guys to be a Chaplain for the Fearless and re-rolls against vehicles on the charge, but what about the other one? Should it be a Techmarine or Commander? The Techmarine comes in with more gear than the Castellan, which means that he is also cheaper unless you don’t want those Power Weapon attacks (or the extra Powerfist attack, and even then you’re only saving 10 points). I’m going to go with a Techmarine, adjustable if the list needs that Ld10 that the Marshal gives. Okay, so a Chaplain and a Techmarine.

How about gear? Jump Packs, obviously, and they already have Power Weapons. Give the Techmarine a Storm Shield so that he has a good Invulnerable Save; the Chaplain already has his Rosarius, so he doesn’t need one. We still need Melta weaponry, so that we can crack Transports and then assault their occupants. Hand out Combi-Meltas and we should be done. Oh wait, also grab Frag Grenades and a Bolt Pistol for the Chaplain to give him an extra attack; the Techmarine already has two weapons so no pistol for him (I should make a note here that you could elect to give him a Plasma Pistol instead of the Combi-Melta so that he maintains his Tank-busting shot but also gets an extra attack; except for using the pistol against a vehicle more than once, this isn’t as good of an idea).

What about the Assault Terminators? Half and half with Furious Charge sounds nice, but since we don’t have the Frag Grenades from the Land Raider Crusader that I5 isn’t going to be quite as useful; it is also hard to keep 12 models from moving through any part of difficult terrain, so let’s avoid that. Stelek’s deathstar had two with Lightning Claws and eight with Thunder Hammers, and that seems reasonable as you still have plenty of those 3++ saves but you also can kill some stuff before it attacks. I’m going to hold off on a Veteran Skill for now, as Furious Charge would be mostly wasted and Tank Hunters would only help if the Melta failed (plus, that’s 30 points for that Veteran skill).

And here’s the unit that we have:

Reclusiarch: Bolt Pistol, Combi-Melta, Jump Pack, Frags

Techmarine: Combi-Melta, Storm Shield, Jump Pack, Frags

Assault Terminators (10): 2 PoLC, 8 TH/SS


Expensive? Absolutely. Plus you don’t have the option for taking more than one other Elite choice, and you’ve only got one HQ slot left (which you shouldn’t be using, as this costs enough for you to need all of your points on Predators, Typhoons, and Troops). So the question facing us is, “How far can we trim it down before we have lost something important?”.

We have two minimums. The first is enough Close Combat threat to kill anything and avoid being Tarpitted. The second is enough bodies that after taking expected losses, we still meet the first minimum.

Let’s start with bodies. Do we really need 12 guys smashing things? Let’s consider, how many Terminators do you usually lose before you can get them into Close Combat? For me, in my limited experience, about 4 when the enemy concentrates on killing them; let’s assume 3 because of all the Storm Shields and the small arms fire that can be directed to the multi-wound guys. Okay, so we need high enough Close Combat power to be a major threat. I’m going to say that killing an average of 12 marines on the charge should be enough when you consider that that’s how much a standard unit of 5 Assault Terminators has. Once we find how many we need to do the damage, just add three to that and we should be good. Starting at 2 Terminators, and going up until we have enough, what do we score for the entire unit?

2 Terminators:-7.7 (not even close)

3 Terminators:-9.6 (getting there, but not yet)

4 Terminators:-11.5 (that’s more like it, but what if we added one more?)

5 Terminators:-13.4 (nope, that’s overkill and, at 40 points each, let’s try to avoid that)

Okay, so 4 TH/SS Terminators. Add three ‘fodder’ Terminators (one with a PoLC) and you have the same unit as above, but only 7 Terminators instead of 10; which puts the cost at 493 points.

On the one hand, a 500 point unit is incredibly expensive (one of the big reasons that Assault Terminators aren’t a good unit in general); on the other hand, how is your opponent really going to stop it? You could even pay the 30 points for Servitors as cheap losses for Righteous Zeal to (hopefully) increase Mobility. The real determining factor is if it is a better unit than the 5 Assault Terminators in a Land Raider Crusader.

Now, let’s see if we can make a list that uses this unit.

Start with one, add the Emperor’s Champion, and two Las/Plas squads in Rhinos for Objective holding with the requisite wing of Typhoons. 1,201 points so far and we’re light on both scoring and fire-support. We need some support in Close Combat, so take two Close Combat Crusader Squads (you know, 8/2 with Powerfist and Meltagun in a Rhino) to bring us up to 1,643 points. 3 Predators maybe? Darn, that puts us 58 points over. There isn’t a whole lot we can do here without dropping an entire unit (which I would rather not do). How about reducing the numbers of our Close Combat Crusader Squads? Take out an Initiate and a Neophyte from each and we are only two points over. I’m very tempted to say just drop the Frag Grenades from our Independent Characters, but I know that they are important. Okay, change one of the Initiates over to a Neophyte, which nets us 6 points, 4 away from the maximum. Grab Krak Grenades for our Reclusiarch and Techmarine so that they have a chance against Vehicles in Close Combat.

And here’s the list:

Emperor’s Champion: Vow (Accept); -140

Reclusiarch: Bolt Pistol, Combi-Melta, Jump Pack, Frags, Kraks; -134

Techmarine: Combi-Melta, Storm Shield, Jump Pack, Frags, Kraks; -123

Assault Terminators (7): 1 PoLC, 6 TH/SS; -280

Crusader Squad (6/2): BP/CS, Powerfist, Meltagun, Frags; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -207

Crusader Squad (7/1): BP/CS, Powerfist, Meltagun, Frags; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -213

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Lascannon, Plasma Gun; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -159

Crusader Squad (5): Bolters, Lascannon, Plasma Gun; Rhino: Extra Armor, Smoke; -159

Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter; -70

Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter; -70

Land Speeder: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter; -70

Predator: Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons; -125

Predator: Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons; -125

Predator: Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons; -125






Okay, so it has trouble with vehicles, but I wasn’t counting the melee Anti-Tank that the Terminator unit can do. My biggest problem is against Land Raiders, but there I don’t need as much because I’m less concerned with what’s inside them (because I can kill it). Not getting charged is going to be something that will be a little difficult, but with those two supporting Crusader Squads, I should be alright.

I’m going to be getting a game in with this list sometime next week, but are there any thoughts until then?

Last thing: no one wanted to answer how many Heavy Weapons a Crusader Squad can take? I'm disappointed. So I'm going to hold off on the answer until the next article. But I'm still looking for guesses!


  1. I like the list very much, I run a very terminator heavy list here;

    I have always been very underwhelmed by Templar Crusaders, they seem to do very little for a lot of points for very little bang.

    My only real concern is weight of fire from DE Venom Spam or IG Blower which can torrent the Assault terminators off the board in a couple of turns with average dice rolling.

    I would be interested in how you 2k list would pear down to 1850?

  2. The Crusader Squads aren't great in Close Combat, but they are the cheapest option to support my Deathstar and come with the added bonus of being scoring (well, that and the Meltaguns).

    If I'm concerned about the unit getting Torrented to death, I can block LoS to it with the two Rhinos (and I can send the Rhinos from the Objective Holding squads up with them to provide greater protection). So Large Blasts might be annoying, as they can target the Rhinos and still hit the Deathstar, but they would still be hard pressed to take the unit down.

    To drop to 1850 you can probably just drop a Las/Plas Crusader Squad and spend the 9 extra points (one idea is upgrading one of the Neophytes to an Initiate, or you could go with Meltabombs instead of Kraks or something).