Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Black Templar Vows Part 1

There is no shortage of bad press for the Black Templar's vows. Many have asserted that there is really only one worth taking under the new rules. I don't share their sentiment. Not because I think they are wrong, but because I think that a canny player can find a place for each vow within their army. Over the next couple of posts I will run down some of the value I see in each of the vows. The purpose of this is not prove the internet wrong, or to profess to have a better understanding than others. It is to illustrate that if people would like, there are ways to make any vow work. And because, when building a Black Templar force, you have to have one, you may as well make the most out of them. This post, and the three following, will look at the vows in the order they are presented on pages 24 and 25 of the Black Templars Codex.

Before we jump right in, for those who don't know, every Black Templar force of at least 750 points must include an Emperor's Champion. When you buy an Emperor's Champion you must also choose/buy a vow with him. So in essence, unless playing relatively small games, you have to take a vow.

Suffer Not The Unclean To Live

This vow will cost you 35 points, and comes in as the second most expensive one to take. The vow makes it so that you are treated as +1 STR when rolling to wound in assault, however you are strike at -1 Initiative. You still count your as your normal initiative for catching people in close combat. It also specifically states the bonus to STR does not stack with Furious Charge.

This vow is one that that like two others, makes me feel like I am paying points to be penalized. But there are places in which this vow can really do well. As you imagine, they are on units where initiative doesn't matter.

One of those units is shooty terminators. Because Black Templars are operating under an old Codex a favorite squad of mine is the 5 man squad with two assault cannons and Tankhunter (255 points). I like Tank Hunter with this vow because with the +1 STR not stacking and being primarily powerfists, Furious Charge is all but wasted. This squad, in conjunction with this vow, can get into just about any AV reliably, especially considering they are assaulting vehicles at STR 10 (Fist for 8, +1 for vow, +1 for Tank Hunter).

Yet another silver lining for this vow is that you can easily make up the cost of it by just not giving you rank and file frag grenades (BT's still have to pay for them). There is very little difference between I 3 and going last against other marines. Against the nastier stuff you bring a land Raider Crusader to give the guys that need to assault into cover the benefit for at least one assault.

Although it seems like, because of the vows benefit coming in Assault, this vow would do well in an assault focused list, I tend to find the opposite to be the case. Assault focused lists are hurt badly by going at I 3. This vow is actually more helpful to me in "shooty" lists. I realize this assertion only really applies to Black Templar players. Many would say, "If you want to play shooty marines why play Black Templar?" All of that aside, being able to unload bolters/assault weapons/heavy weapons into a squad assaulting you next turn is going to be nice because they don't hit back. When your guys are finally assaulted, odds are you will attack after the squad assaulting you, but at least at STR 5 you will able to drop a wound or two off on your way out. Really if you have an opponent that eats a turn of shooting, then assaults you anyway, they were probably going to kick your ass no matter what initiative you went at, or they are tossing a Hail Mary.

As a side note, dreadnoughts are also bound by this vow, and if the dreadnought has a dreadnought cc weapon it only hurts them. I don't normally run dreadnoughts under this vow if they have dreadnought CCW.

Following is a list I would play under this vow. It is a primarily shooting list that would use one assault based Crusader squad to for counter attacking:

1 Emperor's Champion @ 125 pts (Bolt Pistol; Crusader Seals; Frag Grenades; The Black Sword; Suffer Not The Unclean To Live)

Commander @ 106 pts (Marshal)
(Crusader Seals; Holy Orb of Antioch; Power Weapon x1; Bolter; Suffer Not The Unclean To Live)

5 Sword Brethren Terminator Squad @ 290 pts (Power Fist x4; Storm Bolter x3; Chain Fist x1; Assault Cannon x2; Tank Hunters; Suffer Not The Unclean To Live; Drop Pod)

10 Crusader Squad @ 448 pts (Bolt Pistol x9; Close Combat Weapon x8; Meltagun; Power Weapon; Suffer Not The Unclean To Live)
1 Land Raider Crusade

6 Crusader Squad @ 210 pts (Bolter x4; Plasmagun; Lascannon; Suffer Not The Unclean To Live; Razorback)
1 Razorback (Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked Lascannon)

5 Crusader Squad @ 189 pts (Bolt Pistol x3; Close Combat Weapon x3; Plasmagun; Missile Launcher; Suffer Not The Unclean To Live; Razorback)
1 Razorback (Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked Lascannon)

Vindicator @ 128 pts (Smoke Launchers)

Total Roster Cost: 1496

Thanks for reading,

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