First off I need to apologize for my absence. Between the holidays getting done with and school starting (and getting Modern Warfare 3 for Christmas) I have just been too tired or otherwise engaged to write, which means no blog posts. On the plus side I have gotten in a couple of actual games against an actual opponent (!). Granted, I lost both times but I am getting a better idea of what in my arsenal is effective and what I’m doing wrong, so things are going uphill.
Anyway, I’ve gone over what the Black Templars’ fluff is and how they are portrayed, but a question still remains: “How do you make a Fluffy Black Templars list?” Well, we’d have to check the specific unit entries in the codex to see any requirements or limitations on them that aren’t applied in the rules, but first let’s talk about basic structure.
We’ve got two obvious directions at first based on the tactics we are given: Drop Pods and Mechanized. Drop Pods are fairly straightforward, but for Mechanized you could argue between a close combat focus and a more shooty approach. You could also split the Mechanized lists into ‘Heavy’ and ‘Light’ depending on whether or not you are using Land Raiders.
Okay, Drop Pod armies (including ones which have more Deepstriking than just the pods) are basically valid fluff-wise with exceptions for specific units which we’ll look at later. As for Mechanized, it should basically function as a Space Marine army, but also have a predominant close-range focus. I don’t mean you shouldn’t take any weapons with a range greater than 12”, I just mean that, in general, your army should excel at Bolter range rather than farther away.
Now then, let’s tackle those specific units. Just from memory, I know that some units will be more available in larger forces, which raises an important question: “Is a list the entire crusade/fighting company, or just one section of a larger battle?” This is a valid question considering that it determines some crippling inclusions in your list. If you assume that it is the full force, then you need a Marshal, Chaplain, and probably a Techmarine, which aren’t very efficient purchases, and taking all three will have lasting consequences for your list. So I’m going to assume that this is not the full army, but just the area that has the greatest importance on the overall outcome or something (think of a justification that you’re happy with).
I’ll be going over the units as detailed fluff-wise in the codex (not in the order they are given for stats, but before that). Some of these have restrictions but those are almost never specifically stated, so be prepared for a lot of subjectivity to this (as there should be). Also be warned that no vehicles (except Dreadnoughts) are described, and thus I have left out; think of them as supportive elements and less important.
Initiates. They are the backbone, so be sure to take some. :) And yes, most of them should have Bolters, but feel free to take a few armed for close combat. Assault Squads are mentioned here as well, and are basically intended to be your close combat units rather than Crusader Squads. This should be given special attention. In a truly fluffy list you will not have those Powerfist/Meltagun Crusader Squads. The Crusader Squads would be more all-purpose or shooty while the assault contingent is made up mostly by Assault Marines.
Neophytes. You can have a few, but the codex isn’t very clear on how much of the force are Neophytes. Only about a dozen per year are enlisted, so keep in mind that they are probably rare.
Sword Brethren. Once again, not many clues as to how many compared to Initiates, but assume not a whole lot. Terminators are included here, and remember that they are technically taken for their Powerfists, not their guns.
The High Marshal. Okay, one special character out of about 5,000 guys who are spread out over the entire Imperium. Just how important is your little ‘battle’? Not a single significant threat to the Imperium? Yeah, he’s probably not there.
Marshals and Castellans. Not much requirements here aside from a general (and loose) rule of thumb that bigger armies should have Marshals while smaller ones should take Castellans. However, there I the one caveat that Marshals leads Crusades, Castellans lead Fighting Companies, so select accordingly. For example, I have a fighting company (plans on that sometime in the future) and so I should use a Castellan; Marshal Learoth has a Crusade and so can either use a Marshal or a Castellan (since the Castellan could be leading a single fighting company of the Crusade).
The Emperor’s Champion. Yes.
Techmarines. Not much to limit them, but you should probably keep it down to one of them, maybe two in a large force. They’re technically supposed to basically be Initiates but with a strong loyalty to the Machine, so there really isn’t much of a connection between how many vehicles you have and how many Techmarines you should have.
Dreadnoughts. Similar to the High Marshal in that they are really only brought out when they are needed, so this is situational but if you can think of cause to take them feel free because their numbers are already limited to three with no more than a single Venerable.
Apothecaries. At your leisure, but neither required nor restricted.
Chaplains. Kind of like Commanders, they’re available. Nothing mentioned about Reclusiarch vs. Master of Sanctity, so choose at your own discretion (once again, however, size could affect this).
Land Raider Crusader. If you’re tackling (or going to tackle) enemy fortifications (or if you’re fighting in a city, or something), then these become available. But they have a role that they play and it is not for every battle.
Grimaldus. There’s really not much I can say about him. He’s almost like any chaplain you might invent, except he probably isn’t in your army. I suppose there really isn’t anything keeping you from taking him aside from the point limit in the codex though.
So when we’ve taken all of this, what would a fluffy list look like? Well, it could probably look a whole lot like pretty much any competitive Black Templars list out there, with PotMS and some Gunlines being potential exceptions because of their focus on longer ranges. But something such as my ‘Best of Black Templars’ list? Which is mostly intended to get 12-24” away from the enemy? Yes, that fits all of the parameters rather nicely. Mechanized column, Land Speeders shielding the outskirts, close-range; except for the Dreadnoughts (which can be explained, though every battle could be challenging) and the standard size for the Crusader Squads (which is excusable), it’s a fluffy list.
However, to be fair a better example of a fluffy list would be Algesan’s Deepstrike list. It’s got everything and probably uses Terminators in their most accurate role, free use of Powerfists plus providing an important service in firepower.
I hope that this entire series has been both helpful and interesting but until I get (or am given) another idea, this pretty much wraps up my posts about Black Templars Fluff (though you might be able to expect a few to come out a while after the new Codex). I’ve looked at it, analyzed it, and talked about applying it on the table. Not a whole lot left to do (I suppose I could find something to do with the Crusades, but that feels forced without having an actual idea of what to do). I’ve got some plans for what’s coming up and I pretty much just need to finish a single Vassal game to get the next post almost entirely done.