Black Tide and Blue Primarch: Black Templar and Roboute Guilliman

As I have previously mentioned, there are so many different methods for integrating Roboute Guilliman, especially given that he can be taken as a LOW by any Imperium faction, that I find myself continually exploring more possibilities with him.

As I have thought about it, one army that I think he would pair particularly well with is the Black Templars. Just reviewing, Black Templar arguably have some of the weaker Chapter Tactics for competitive play, with Crusader/Adamantium Will on all infantry, the ability to gain Rage and Counterattack for a turn if they suffer any casualties, and a restriction that prevents them from taking any Librarians.

To compensate somewhat for these “so-so” Chapter Tactics, Black Templar do get access to the unique Crusader squad as a Troops choice, which is basically a more flexible, more capable Tactical Squad in almost every respect (the only thing Tactical Squads get over Crusader squads is the Combat Squads special rule).

In place of this, Crusader squads can take an additional PW, PF, or Heavy Weapon in the squad, no matter the size, can have its squad members trade out Bolters for CCW for free, and can take 10 point Neophtyes (basically Scouts, but without Infiltrate/Scout/Move through Cover) equal in number to how many Initiates (i.e. “normal” Marines) are in the squad. Finally, the squad can take the normal Special Weapon option, can upgrade one member to a Sword Brother (i.e. Veteran Sergeant, with all the normal options), and can take either a Rhino, Razorback, Drop Pod, or Land Raider Crusader as a DT. Taking all this together, you have quite a versatile Troops choice that can be customized multiple different ways, including for close combat, MSU shooting, mechanized assault, or even giant “blob squad” foot squads of 20 men each (i.e. 10 Initiates, 10 Neophytes).

Now that we have gotten an overview of Crusader squads, I think Guilliman can integrate with them in two major ways:

[1] Close Combat Infantry Horde — If you choose to go for large Crusader squads on foot, the Guilliman can be in the center of the line and buff them in multiple ways, including giving them Ld10 (with re-rolls for Pinning/Fear/Morale checks), Move through Cover, +1″ to their Run and Charge moves, and re-rolls of 1s to Hit for both shooting and assault. With good positioning and Guilliman’s 12″ buffing radius, you can have multiple 20 man Crusader squads benefitting from all these buffs, which in turn makes them more mobile and more deadly in both shooting and close combat. In particular, the combination of Move through Cover, +1″ to Run distances, and Crusader means that even footslogging infantry can get across the board quickly. Combined with the cheap Neophytes and Black Templar forces can potentially replicate Orky “horde” tactics with masses of Zealous Astartes (i.e. the infamous “Black Tide” tactics of 4th edition). As an added benefit, Guilliman can serve as a “fire magnet” for enemy heavy weapons to draw attention away from Crusader squads, further enhancing their ability to get across the tabletop and safely into close combat (or, if they shoot at the Crusader squads, then Guilliman is left unharmed and can wreck havoc in close combat himself, so either way it is a losing proposition for your opponent).

[2] Mechanized MSU Force — With the ability to take a Special Weapon and a Heavy Weapon in a minimum 5 man unit, Crusader squads are an excellent choice for loading up in Rhinos and using them as mobile bunkers, with their two firing points, to put down lots of protected firepower each turn. Guilliman can serve as the “anchor” for just such a mechanized force, both buffing the shooting of all friendly squads/vehicles within 12″ and providing a devastating counter-assault element if enemy forces come too close themselves. This can make for a very strong “mid-field presence” force that can shoot, assault, and (importantly) take lots of Objective while still keeping pressure on the opponent’s army. This also works quite well with lots of Dreadnought support, since Guilliman can buff them in the same way he would enhance the “black tide” style army mentioned above and also provide highly effective close combat capabilities alongside them (i.e. massed S10 AP2 attacks at full initiative from both the Dreadnoughts and the Primarch). Finally, if you decide to go with massed Land Raider Crusaders for your Crusader squads, then you can force your opponent to choose between engaging them (and thus ignoring Guilliman as he footslogs across the battlefield) or ignoring the Land Raiders and trying to deal with Guilliman (and thus leaving himself open to massed assault by the Crusader squads riding inside)… either way, it poses a significant dilemma that can be used to your tactical advantage as a Black Templar player.

Besides making different styles of Crusader squad based armies more effective, Guilliman can also enhance the “supporting elements” in a Black Templar army, especially fire support elements like Predators, Devastators, TFCs, etc. One unit in particular that I think benefits from Guilliman being in the army is the Stormhawk Interceptor, especially when taken in mass (you can take three of these in a CAD and up to six of them if you run the Castellans of the Imperium special detachment). With BS4, re-rolls to Hit of 1s (when within 12″ of the Primarch), and the ability to put out 2 Lascannon shots, 4 Assault Cannon shots, and 2 Krak or Frag missiles a turn (with the option to shoot at enemy flyers/FMCs at full BS) from a single airframe, these Astartes flyers can be exceptional fire support platforms for a Crusader squad heavy Black Templar force, further reinforcing the value that Guilliman brings to such an army.

Based on all this, I think Guilliman really can be a tremendous asset in a Black Templar army and maximize their value of their unique units, while also mitigating their somewhat mediocre Chapter Tactics.

Black Templar “Decurion”

Here is my idea for experimental rules for Black Templar to get their own Gladius, or Decurion, type detachment, as well as special Relics, etc:


BLACK TEMPLAR CRUSADER FORCE (1-2 Core, 0-3 Command, 1+ Auxiliary)

Special Rules:

1 – Litanies of Hate – All Chaplains and High Chaplain Grimaldus in this detachment grant themselves and their squad Shred when in close combat

2 – Vows of the Templar – Before each game, must choose one of the following Vows, which then applies to all models within the detachment for that game:

*Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch – All units in this detachment gain Preferred Enemy: Psykers, Brotherhood of Psykers, Pyschic Pilot

*Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds – All characters in this detachment gain +D3 attacks and Initiative when fighting in a challenge

* Suffer Not the Unclean to Live– All units in this detachment gain Hatred when locked in close combat with one or more models from the Eldar, Dark Eldar, Harlequin, Orks, Tyranids, Tau, or Necrons faction



1 – Warlord gains +1A/+1WS

2 – If the Warlord’s Unit fails a morale check during the Shooting or Psychic phase, they run 2D6” toward the nearest enemy unit, instead of falling back

3 – Warlord has Hatred: Psykers and Preferred Enemy: Psykers

4 – Warlord and his unit may re-roll charge distances

5 – Warlord has Fearless and may re-roll failed to Hits when in a Challenge

6 – Warlord and all friendly units within 12” may re-roll failed Morale, Pinning, and Fear checks



1 – Blade of the Crusader – S: x2 AP2, Two-Handed, Massive (always strikes at I2)

2 – Armor of Hatred – Terminator Armor that gives bearer +1T and Eternal Warrior

3 – Black Rosarious – Bearer and unit gain 5++ save, or re-roll failed Invul saves if they already have one, while locked in Close Combat (Chaplain only)

4 – Orb of Antioch – 12” S8 AP2 Small Blast, Ignore Cover, Shred, One Use Only

5 – Chains of Zeal – Bearer and his unit add +3” to Run and Charge distances

6 – Banner of Wrath – All friendly Black Templar units within 12” gain Fearless/within 6” gain +1S when locked in combat (Command Squad/Honor Guard only)


CORE (1-2 Option)

a) Battle Demi-Company (see Codex: Space Marines)

b) Crusade Fighting Company

(*1 Castellan [Captain] or Chaplain)

(*0-1 Emperor’s Champion)

(*0-1 Sword Brethren Squad [Command Squad])

(*4-8 Crusader Squads)

(*2-4 Assault Space Marine or Assault Centurion Squads)

(*0-1 Devastator or Devastator Centurion Squads)

Special Rules:

1 – Crusade of Wrath – Once per game, choose an Assault Phase and all units in this detachment have the Hatred and Fleet rules until the end of the phase (this can be used separately from High Marshal Helbrecht’s ability of the same name)

2 – Unequalled Zeal – Any unit with the Righteous Zeal special rule in this formation gains Counterattack and Rage FOR THE REST OF THE GAME if it suffers one or more casualties in the Shooting phase or as the result of Overwatch


COMMAND (0-3 Option)

a) Strike Force Command (see Codex: Space Marines)

b) Reclusiam Command Squad (see Codex: Space Marines)

c) Council of Zeal

(*3 – 6 Chaplains)

Special Rules:

1 – Reclusiarch’s Vow – All Chaplains in this formation gain +1WS/A for free

2 – Shield of Faith – All Chaplains in this formation grant themselves and their unit +2 to their Deny the Witch rolls (this is not cumulative if there is more than one Chaplain in the same unit)


AUXILIARY (1+ Option)

a) Storm Wing (see Codex: Space Marines)

b) Land Raider Spearhead (see Codex: Space Marines)

c) Armoured Task Force (see Codex: Space Marines)

d) 1st Company Task Force (see Codex: Space Marines)

e) Marshal’s Hammer

(*1-2 Land Raider Crusaders)

(*2-4 Vindicators)

(*1-2 Techmarine)

Special Rules:

1 – Anointed Armor – Vehicles in this formation ignore the effects of the Lance rule

2 – Awaken the Machine Spirit – All Vindicators within 12” of a Techmarine from this formation have the Power of the Machine Spirit rule

f) Drop Zone Clearance Force

(*1-3 Dreadnoughts/Venerable Dreadnoughts/Ironclad Dreadnoughts – must take Drop Pods)

(*1-3 Thunderfire Cannons – must take Drop Pods)

Special Rules:

1 – Clear the Zone – All units in this formation must start in Deep Strike Reserve and arrive on turn 1 automatically (their Drop Pods do not count when calculating the Drop Pod Assault rule). Thunderfire Cannons gain the Relentless rule and Dreadnoughts/Venerable Dreadnoughts/Ironclad Dreadnoughts count their weapons as Twin-Linked on the turn they arrive from Reserve

g) Templar Lancer Assault Squadron

(*1 Command Squad – All Veterans must take Space Marine Bikes and Power Lances)

(*2-4 Space Marine Bike Squadrons – Must take Veteran Sergeant with Power Lance)

(*0-2 Attack Bike Squadrons)

Special Rules:

1 – Furious Charge

2 – Tank Hunter/Monster Hunter


Black Templar and the Mastodon

Forge world recently released 40K rules for the Mastodon Super-Heavy:


Imagine three 10 man Crusader squads (with PF/LC Sword Brother and extra PF on Initiate), plus Helbrecht, Grimaldus with two Cenobytes,  and 6 Sword Brethren (i.e. Honor Guard) with Relic Blades and Banner of the Emperor Ascendant all loaded into the Mastodon… Turn 1, move up 12″, then Flat Out another 6″…. Turn 2, move up 6″, disembark everyone another 6″, then activate Helbrecht’s Crusade of Wrath and charge 2D6″ (with re-rolls because of Fleet) with all 40 models.

Everyone has Fearless/Hatred from Zealot and FNP from Grimaldus’ Cenobyte Servitors, plus everyone within 12″ of the Banner have +1A, so even your basic Initiate has 4 S4 AP- attacks (with re-rolls to Hit) on the charge (becomes 5 attacks if they suffer a casualty from Overwatch), while your squad leader Sword Brethren are rocking 5 x PF or 5 x LC attacks each and the Honor Guard Sword Brethren are hitting with 4 x S6 AP3 attacks each, again, all with re-rolls to Hit.

In terms of survivability, it has AV14/14/14, 10HPs!!!, Immunity to Melta extra dice, and 2 Void Shields (plus Super Heavy rules, which mean that any Explodes result just inflicts another D3 HPs, vice destroying it). Thus, the Mastodon is totally immune to S7 and below attacks (except for Lance, Haywire, and Gauss weaponry, of course), which takes A LOT of the potential enemy arsenal right out of the game.

So, that means that, AFTER stripping the two Void Shields, it would take an average of the following to destroy the Mastodon:

-45 x BS4 Lascannon or Grav Cannon/Amp shots

-90 x BS4 Melta or Krak Missile shots

-30 x BS4 Railgun or Bright Lance/Dark Lance/Blaster shots

-18 x BS4 Haywire Blaster shots

-90 x BS4 Gauss weapon shots

-90 x S8 PF/TH attacks in close combat

-30 x S10 Wulfen TH attacks in close combat

So, really the only things that a Mastodon are really vulnerable to are Assault Centurions (Armourbane S10 attacks really do a number on it), massed Haywire shooting (which is pretty hard to come by in 40K, outside of Kataphron Breachers and Skitarii Vanguard), and VERY massed Necron Gauss shooting… that and of course D shooting/attacks (i.e. Wraithknights, Wraithguard, Imperial Knights in close combat, etc.)… everything else is going to have a very difficult, if not impossible, time bringing down the Mastodon before it delivers it cargo of Zealous BT Crusaders into assault.

Grimaldus and the Skyhammer Annihilation Force

One combination which creates a highly versatile assault force goes as follows:

-Chaplain Grimaldus with 2 Cenobyte Servitors
-Command Squad with Banner of the Emperor Ascendant and Drop Pod
-Skyhammer Annihilation Force with:
*2 x Devastator squads, each with 10 Marines and 4 Grav Cannons, Drop Pod
*2 x Assault squads, each with 5 Marines, Jump Packs, an Eviscerators, and a Vet Sgt with PF/LC
-2 x Scout Bikers with Locator Beacon, 5 Bikers

-2 x Assault Centurion squads with melta guns

-2 x Fast Attack Drop Pods

Attach Grimaldus and Cenobytes to Command Squad and their Drop Pod (I am working off the assumption that Cenobytes count as “Wargear” and so Grimaldus can still attach to other units with them in tow, kind of like Iron Priests with Cyber wolves can attach to other units; this is controversial and some don’t agree with this interpretation, but for now, I am going to go with it).

Use the Scout Bikers to bring in the Devastators, Assault Marines, and Grimaldus Command Squad precisely where you want them. Make sure the Assault Marines are within 6″ of Grimaldus, his Servitors, and the Banner. With their ability to charge turn 1, they combine quite handily with the +1A, Zealot, and FNP handed out by the Grimaldus, Servitors, and the Banner. This means that the Assault Marine squads each get 4 x S4 AP- attacks, 5 x S4 AP3, Shred attacks, and 3 x S8 AP2 Unwieldy, Armourbane attacks on the charge. Throw in Zealot for Fearless and re-rolls to Hit and Feel No Pain for better survivability and these units should be able to roll up even very tough opponents in close combat.

Devastators combat squad to provide four different units that each put out 10 x Grav shots a turn to deal with hard targets and the Scout Bikers provide fire support, objective grabbing, and even the ability to charge and add some more weight in combat when required on later turns.

Finally, the Assault Centurions provide vehicle popping power with their melta guns and Sieg Drills, plus they benefit quite a bit from Grimaldus, Cenobytes, and the Banner to make  them more durable, potent, and reliable.