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I played my first battle using the Black Templars rules for my Space Marines last night. It was a Meat Grinder mission against the Tyranids, where the Tyranids were the invading army and the Space Marines were making their last stand.
I was happy with their performance, even though I hadn't finished my 20 man Crusader Squad, and all I had were Rhino and Razorback mounted Crusader Squads with Bolters. The Righteous Zeal special rule was particularly helpful at times, denying the enemy their charge bonus. I particularly liked that.
The Emperor's Champion didn't get a chance to shine, however. Though he fought admirably (two rounds against a full squad of genestealers), he didn't get to single out any enemy IC's. I had to use him and his Rhino mounted Crusader squad as a blocking force to keep the genestealers from rending my more expensive Sword Brethren Terminators. Their assault cannons were proving useful against the oncoming swarm!
The Marshal was particularly tough to put down, and that help a lot. His pair of lightning claws, coupled with 'Suffer Not the Unclean to Live!' vow was incredible! The initiative loss wasn't at all an issue, since genestealers are faster than he is anyway. The increase in strength and the re-roll to wound worked out VERY well indeed! He was killing everything that he came into contact with. He and his Crusader Squad were finally put down at the bottom of turn 6 by the 6th full unit to assault them! They were even able to wipe out a full unit of genestealers, lead by a Broodlord. That was a great fight!
I like the idea of mechanizing the force, since it keeps the Righteous Zeal controllable. I use the Rhinos to move up on the enemy (deploying smoke during the advance), and deploy in their face, so to speak. This puts me close enough that I can rapid fire the bolters and most likely deny my enemy their charge bonus after they shoot me in their next turn. It worked pretty well for me.
Hey, sounds like a great game! I'm glad you had fun using the Black Templars. They seem to catch a lot of flak around here ever since the release of their new Codex, but it looks like they can still dish out a beating.