Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ave Imperator, Black Templars!

When my game shop closed in Buffalo, NY, some buddies from the Fallout Gaming Group in Erie, PA invited me to a 40k tournament.  Not knowing what the future of my personal hobby was, I vowed to use this as an excuse to ham it up.  I had one month, half a dozen finished armies to choose from, and a group of guys that I only got to see once every couple of months (so I didn't know what was played down there).  All gamers have some superstitions (don't try to lie about it, gamers!), and one beat into me by my gaming group growing up was that you should never take the same army to another tournament.  Well, that ruled out my Ultramarines, my Dark Angels, and my Imperial Guard.  That left me with a brilliant idea.  In the span of four weeks, I would furiously create a space marine army out of the cave of wonders that was my hobby room.  Every day my buddies would come over and see me bent over under a pile of boxes and tupperware full of sprues and bitz and untouched boxes of model glory.  Every night my friends would leave with armfuls of bits snuck out just for helping me find the perfect parts.  But each new day brought the army closer to glorious, elegant completion!
Now, you're thinking to yourself- 'self, why is he going on like this army is some kind of miracle?'  Let me answer that by saying that it was my THIRD miracle in the hobby.  The first being my first trophy, the second being a DA army in a month, and now this.  From the ashes of a bitz room came the vicious, yet barely proper, Black Templar army:
Now, that army list is simple.  It's known in the tournament circles as a 'spam' list.  What's funny is that, at the time, I also made it to represent a Space Marine army with the 'Take the fight to them' trait.  So here's the breakdown (more or less so you can stare at my awesomeness.  Especially when you remember that I did this army in a month with no preparation, from find to build to paint to play, in a month):
Marshall Chamberlain, Lord of the Templars 2nd Crusade Group, the company Reclusiarch, and of course the Emperor's Champion.  They were all decked out and I'd like to personally thank GW for 4th and 5th edition, it made my BT really really mean.

Two Crusader squads.  I made them full strength with 10 initiates (marines) and 10 neophytes (squires), with a melta-gun and power fist issued.  These squads played delivery for the characters and often participated in my dreaded 'split assault' tactic. 

Two of these combat squads as well.  They're composed of five initiates, one wielding a plasma gun and another wielding the lascannon, while accompanied by a Lascannon-turretted Razorback armored transport.  These units served as fire support and objective garrisons.  The irony is that every objectives game I played, I lost because I would righteous zeal off the objective.  I've had many a laugh at that, as have my often victorious opponents.  (also, I would like to note that the camera really enhanced the grey line highlighting on everything.  As I'm not as expert in camera-work, all I can do is assure you that the models look far crisper and subtle in real life.)

Two of these Predator Annihilator battle tanks.  Armed with the heaviest direct-fire weapon in the Imperium, the Annihilator scares everyone with armor.  As the combat squads, these sat rearward and threw sheets of lascannon fire downrange to knock out enemy armored vehicles, heavy assault units, and sometimes even 'hero-snipe'.  (one of my buddies can tell you about a time this pair targetted the muchly-feared Typhus, Bringer of the Hive.  No amount of Nurgle protects you from that much pew-pew, sadly...)

Only one squad of assault marines, armed as normal plus a power weapon and meltabombs.  I can't lie, this squad served no real purpose at all, other than filling points.  They did, however, account for a goodly number of timely interventions, sacraficing themselves so the larger crusader squads could break free and pursue the targets properly.  But that was more about strategy and less about the unit.  Assault marines aren't as special when the whole army is made up of assault marines...

There were even a couple of surprises hidden in the army.  I lent the army to another game shop to display in their figure cabinet.  As happens to all case armies, models get broken and lost.  When, finally, I recieved my army back, some were missing.  Luckily, I still had a handful of Dark Angels leftover from the army I had recently given away.  Remembering the fluffy bit about the Ophidian Gulf incident between the two armies, I figured a couple of DA were stranded with the Templars, equally confused about what had happened.  As any good soldier does, he joins the cause and gets to work...  (If you look closely in the first pic, you'll even notice a Deathwatch brother hidden in there.  The Dark Angels were done fast and well.  The Black Templars were done fast and fun.)

All adding up to what you see here!  At this current time, the army is worth nearly 1850 points, the normal Grand Tournament size. 
This army travelled with me to Erie, PA.  I was accompanied by a number of my buddies, amongst them a young man named Hoff, new to tournaments and with a newly created army himself.  I had a number of trophies under my belt already, so I gave Hoff all the tips and advice I could.  My army, during the weekend frenzy of playtesting before the tournament, did very well against everything.  Massacred face.  Religiously.  Except Hoff's Tau army.  For some strange reason, that Tau army was my bane.  My Templars didn't care who the enemy were, as long as they weren't those damned red Tau!  The tournament in Erie actually sucked (not at all).  I gave away a whole bunch of shoulder pads (around $600 worth, because I had it 'laying around'), hung out with some buddies (one whom would later come work with me in Illinois!), and watched as Hoff walked out with the trophy!  Dammit Hoff!  I was slightly upset (not really), but that was the start.  I played with my Templars in a GW staff tournament, where they crushed Grey Knights, demolished Necrons, and, going into game 3, were listed at second place (out of 40 or so).  Then it happened- my Templars ran into their primogenitors, the Imperial Fists.  Every plan failed, every initiate faltered, every roll went south.  Again, poor performance.
Then the new 5th edition came out.  The templars were tired of almost winning.  Hoff's Tau had been kicking their butts all over the tables for months, and then the steady progression of other hollow-victories.  Battling the newb, the untested, the unsure, crushing them, waiting for the day...  Then it happened.  Nowicki's Dark Eldar and my Black Templars were the last two undefeated armies in the shop, and everyone demanded an accounting of who's best.
It was a hard game.  Not!  Nowicki was a very good player with a pretty darn good army.  He knew the mission, understood the rules very very well, and had been crushing every opponent.  I thought I was worried.  Until I used the mission rules to 'outflank' his xenos scum.  I thought I was concerned.  Until my lascannon brigade downed all his transports right away.  It was overwhelming force coming from all directions.  Every benefit he had, I eliminated.  Every skill the Dark Eldar claimed to have, the Templars simply crushed out of them. 
The Black Templars went crazy from that point forth.  Marshall Chamberlain commanded his army to excellence and glory, and I lost less than half a dozen games afterwards (out of scores of games with this army).  Eventually, I treated the army as an 'enforcer', bringing it out just to destroy the egos of wargamers that like to win more than play.  It worked.  (ask Hodgy, his sallies still don't know what happened!)

Final stint. I brought them out for a tournament at my local game shop just after I moved here.  Not knowing anything about the area or the gamers, I expected little but hoped for much.  Going into the third game, the army had one win and one draw, and I was in second place overall (go go gadget soft scores!).  Then I played another Black Templar player.  I must admit, in all honesty, he was more Black Templar than I could ever hope to be.  He had oddly shaped squads, Crusaders rolling around the table, and Terminators shredding everything nearby.  I just wasn't Templar enough and he crushed me.  It wasn't a bad result, so I left happy. 
The army is now proudly owned by a gentleman in New Jersey named Jeff.  He was so ecstatic when he finally openned up the cases that he replied immediately.  It sent a tear down my cheek.  Marshall, take care of your troops.  Jeff, take care of my army.
Ave Imperator


  1. Well said, you should post more often. -Matt

  2. Outstanding work, and in only a month? I once did a fantasy Orc army in a month, but there were a lot of washes involved...

  3. Thank you, guys! I appreciate the compliments.
    Geek- I am a lover of the washes! Wait till you see my Blood Angels army, and that was only two days!
    Lambshead- sadly, I am famous in four states for rolling ones. Apparently, I'm now even a 'verb' in those gaming circles. *sigh. But at least my models look good! LOL!